Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ricki, I've Got Your Number

Some bloggers have giveaways. Some bloggers review things. I have none of those things. I just have a post title that sings.

So, the Ricki Lake Story. Next on FOX. No, but I did get into a big contentious fight with a FOX personality on BlogHer yesterday. A good discussion of Keynesian economics, stimulus, fiscal responsibility. Fun stuff. I dig economics, always have. So, right now, it's like Britney [accidentally] getting married in Vegas to a pop culture junkie. Every headline has "read me" written all over it.

Enough of the thinking. Back to Ricki Lake. This is a LONGGGGG story. So, what better way to skip a lot of you hearing it but to blog about it on the weekend, when blog-land is deserted. The story begins back in 1995, when I was a camp counselor during the summer after my Freshman year in college. That, right there, should explain a lot. A freshman. What did I care about the future, or whether the name "Ricki Lake" was in my past? I went off to be a water-ski camp counselor at a [very expensive, exclusive] girls' sleep-away camp in the Adirondacks of Upstate NY. Literally, one of my campers' families endowed a major Washington DC university. Uh-huh. There was also a boys' camp, and it was on an island, far removed from the girls' camp.

However! There were plenty of little mixers. Especially for the counselors, whom I remember as some of the coolest, most interesting, most educated colleagues I had. The weekend routine became for a whole bunch of us to hang out off-"camp"us. You know, someone would get beer and we'd all hang out in a big parking lot, with a campfire. Exciting stuff, when you're not of age! So.... there was this guy. We'll call him "J" to protect the guilty. He was pretty much the life of the party.. Division I (Ivy League) basketball player, outgoing, etc. So, we hung out for the summer (really, I hung out with everyone.) But yes, we hung out a lot. My campers giggled, and to this day I do not know how they found out we were hanging out.

The summer ended, the way summers commonly end. Everyone went home and forgot all about all the people they'd met over the summer. I was a college Sophomore, that meant I was a Bigger Deal than the year before, I had a new apartment, I had an ID. It was awesome to be me. I was loving college life, my sorority, my friends, all my myriad activities that kept me from reading and writing papers.

Then I got the call. It was a producer from the Ricki Lake show.
"Yes, I'm serious! I'm one of the producers from the show, and we got a call from your old boyfriend, 'J'!"
"My.. what? Oh, he wasn't my boyfriend."
"Oh, THAT'S ok. We'll just call him that. He says you're sexier than his 'ex."
"Um. Heh. What?"
"So 'J' is now dating this other girl, and he says you're sexier than she is. We'd like you to come onto the show to talk about it. She'll be there too. It's just a light, fun show. You know, fun and light."
"Hm. Can I think about it?"
"What's there to think about? We'll fly you up to New York, tape the show, you'll get to meet Ricki, we'll feed you, put you up in a nice hotel, provide all the transportation you need. It's fun! So, can I send you over to travel?"
"Hm. Wow. Hm. Let me think about this.."


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Horse Toy's Revenge

Welp. There's no way I can follow yesterday's performance. More people came and read Black Squirrel's letter than have ever read my blog posts, so I think we're on to something here. No, it's not some sick twisted plot to get those of you waiting for the Ricki Lake story to read my blog every day until I post that dreaded little disaster. (Plus, I made a deal with Jeanne from the Raisin Chronicles to post pictures, and that means locating and scanning said pictures.) I went and spoke to Horse Toy about this phenomenon, and she had a lot to say about the matter. She wanted her say. And thus, her sweet revenge.

Dear Black Squirrel,

I hate to be the one to tell you this, but. He's just not that into you. Do us all a favor and just leave Echo alone. The way you stare at him from across the room all the time, frankly, is creeping us all out. Especially Bear Toy. I saw the Kongs rolling away, too.

Just face it. You're washed up. You're old. I mean, I got here at Christmas time. He got you, what.. a year ago? My plush coat is plushier, my eyes are brighter, my squeaker is louder. Plus, I have a mane! A year ago, maybe I'd have some competition. That's a century in dog years. Face facts, little rodent. You're beaten. Done.

Just wait.. Mom is going away on a trip in Feb., and guess who Echo has requested come with? That's right. Yours truly.

And just because Echo brought you in from out in the snow earlier today does not mean anything.

Yours "truly",

Horse Toy


To Echo. Love, Black Squirrel.

Echo, my loyal black lab.
Mama Kat over at Mama Kat's Losin' It has a writing workshop every week, and I usually like to participate (no, I'm not procrastinating from blogging about the Ricki Lake show, promise.) Today, however, I was asked to post a letter on Black Squirrel's behalf. Black Squirrel, it would seem, is doing:
4.) Write a letter to someone who bothered you this week.

Dear Echo,

It pains me to even write this letter to you, but I just couldn't figure out another way. I love you, Echo, I always have and I always will. But today, I've decided. I can't just keep rolling over for you. I've tried a long time to just suck it up, and look forward to the glorious, joy-filled moments when you hear Mom's car pull up, race over to grab me in your mouth to present me to her upon her entrance in the front door, and wriggle me all over the place as you try to vie for her attention. I live for those moments, Echo. I will always treasure the sound your nails make as they slide across the hardwoods towards me, as I am your prize that you must present to Mom.

But enough is enough. I can't take it anymore. Last week, when you accidentally took me outside, it was cold. Damn, was it cold. Real squirrels were laughing at me from their burrows. Then, when you left me outside, Gracie (the canine pogo-stick) stole over from next door and threw me around her yard for a while. As if leaving me wasn't cold enough, do you know how humiliating that was? And then today, the final straw. I've been buried up to my tail tip with snow and ice, all day. Snow and ice! Do you even know that I'm gone? Have you even noticed? Or has that new Horse Toy just completely taken over your brain?

Don't think I haven't noticed. You pick Horse Toy up soo gracefully.. gingerly.. even tenderly, whenever Mom comes home now. It's sickening. It's so obvious what's going on. I try not to blame myself. How can I get your love again? How can I get us back to how we were?

And then today, I just decided. With my tail numb from cold, my heart numb from neglect, I've decided that you no longer mean to me what you once did. So, I'm over it. I'm over you! I'm over you and next time Gracie comes over to steal me to her yard, I might just stay. I'll be able to laugh at Horse Toy from over the fence.

Black Squirrel

(I'm sorry! Can I make it up to you?)
Addendum! The One-Minute Writer has a prompt today to write from the perspective of an inanimate object! Great minds!


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I'm Getting Published!

Ok, not really.

But I do have an article getting printed in the MOM's Club newsletter, and that's a start. You have to start somewhere. Though I don't think it's going to make Virginia Quarterly come begging. I guess you never know.


Blogging: A New Way of Life!

I've recently come under the spell of the latest affliction to hit Moms, Dads and the general population everywhere. And I do mean everywhere--the UK, Spain, Portugal, Hong Kong and Ireland are just a few of the places I've visited.. and been visited by. I recently started a new blog, which I’ve been keeping up daily: Why, yes! Part of blogging is (shameless) self-promotion.

What is blogging and the blogosphere? The word originated from ‘web log’, or, from wikipedia: Blogosphere is a collective term encompassing all blogs and their interconnections. It is the perception that blogs exist together as a connected community (or as a collection of connected communities) or as a social network The typical blog involves daily (or regular) posts with day/time stamps, places for comments, archives and a recognizable structure.

It’s easy to start a blog. Many sites allow you to sign up for free. Blogger ( is popular. You can also try,, and, for more professional blogs, something like

I’ll admit, the last thing any Mom needs is another addiction! But, there is so much good information that I thought I’d digest some of what I’ve found thus far. There is a blog for everything: antiques to natural parenting, dieting to kid yoga to gluten-free. Name it, you’ll find it! The unfair part of this? There are literally thousands of great blogs out there, and these just happen to be some that I have discovered. (Note: all addresses start with http://).

Directories list and classify blogs so that they may be found more easily, and many are dedicated to Mommy and women bloggers:, (Moms blogs, loosely organized by category)

:, (Supportive blogger communities)

: Technorati (Very professional, “official” blog directory)

: Blogged (Also ‘official’, so to speak.)

So, what can you find out there? Cooking and recipe blogs are rampant, and for good reason. Check out foodie Chef E at, and hilarious Buffalo Dick at has a different crock pot recipe every day of the year (today: Orange-Apricot pork chops. Not your average crock pot lady here!)

Just interested in someone’s hilarious take on being a Mom? Looking for gorgeous writing from a Dad? I have a friend in real life that maintains a very funny Mommy blog,

There is a plethora of product review blogs out there, is just one (tons of giveaways, including Pedipeds recently.) There are also wonderful writing blogs, and I’ve become a loyal follower of two: The One Minute Writer ( and provides photographic inspiration. I try to write on both daily. There’s also a!

Really. You name it, and you’ll find it. If you’re looking for the kick in the pants to start writing (again, or for the first time,) blogging is an excellent outlet. The community of bloggers out there are wonderfully supportive, creative, self-effacing and dedicated. Oh, and most are busy, too.


Snow in the Capitol

My version of Wordless Wednesday. (Not quite wordless, but as close as I get.) The view out my front door yesterday. Today, everything you see is one solid sheet of ice.. like thick ice. The kind you shouldn't drive on. It's very pretty, though. Which is why I snapped these. And also, it's like reliving your childhood when your child discovers snow for the first time. It is pretty cool stuff, all light and fluffy and melty.
Also, I will post the Ricki Lake story in a few days.. when I have time to [remember] write the whole story. (And no. I do not plan to scan in the pictures I have from that trip.)


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Killing Two Birds, Part 2

This works out perfectly, sometimes life is just like that. I was just tagged my good friend R. on facebook, for 25 Random Things about myself. This works out just perfectly, since Keely over at the Un-Mom also has Random Tuesday Thoughts. So, I did my homework, and I'm ready.

1. I have a serious [granola] bar addiction. Quaker Chewy, Nature Valley, Trader Joe's Choco, Trail Mix bars, you name it, I have to have it.

2. I was once on the Ricki Lake show.

3. I sing. All the time. Shower, car, changing the Bear, changing the radio station.

4. I'm a Liberal Catholic. They do exist.

5. We adopted two lab mixes when they were 8 months old, who had been left in a cardboard box. Someone moved out and left them.

6. I used to work on a football-field sized trading floor.

7. I have a secret crush on Matt Damon. But my husband knows about it. It's okay because they look alike.

8. I've been to Kevin Costner's ranch in Aspen. Twice.

9. My secret dream is to be a film director.

10. I own 5 pairs of jeans. Three were purchased in the last six months. The first step is admitting you have a problem.

11. I'm obsessive about nearly everything. Especially my hands being clean.

12. I love coffee. I hate flavored coffee.

13. I'm a night owl.

14. I hate mornings. See #13.

15. It snowed today.

16. I rarely stop talking.

17. I moved to Breckenridge, CO after college to be a ski bum for half a year.

18. I've run a Half-Marathon. Twice. If I could add it together, I'd brag about running marathons.

19. I'm a recycling addict. I buy things just to recycle them, then recycle things just to get them back.

20. I'm a craigslist addict. I've sold both a house and a car on craigslist.

21. I'm a freecycle addict. I've given away a lot of crap.

22. I might, if prompted, tell the story about #2.

23. I probably won't tell the story about #8.

24. I'm not good at keeping things to myself, so #23 probably isn't true.

25. I wonder how many people will make it to #25.


Killing Two Birds, Part 1

As most of you out there in the blogosphere know, there lots of bloggy games (like reindeer games, but warmer.) I like them. Not only because it wards off writers' block before it occurs, not only because it's spontaneous and creative, but because someone asked you to do it! And if someone asks me to write something, it often follows that they will then read it. Parfait!
Twoday.. pun intended... I'm doing two for the price of one. High Heeled Mama, whom I know in real life, over at High Heels and High Chairs, tagged me for the bag game here. The bag game is great, it allows me to share a little story about what being a Mom is really about.

So, in that vein, here is the story. My mom got me a Coach bag for Mother's Day this year. It meant the world to me, because 1) I've never had a Coach bag before, nor have I ever owned a bag worth more than $40 (which was my last J.Crew Mom purse, that I called a "Mom purse" long before I was a Mom. Irony.) 2) It means I'm officially a grown-up. My son didn't do that. Just the Coach bag.

The problem is, I'm too disheveled and carrying too many things to carry anything more than one bag. Ergo, everything has been going in the Coach bag as late. This leads me to my humor.

This is my Coach bag:

This is my Coach bag on Crack:

Here are the rules:
1) Post a picture of whatever bag you are carrying as of late. No, you cannot go up to your closet and pull out that cute little purse you used back before you had kids. I want to know what you carried today.
2) I want to know how much it cost :) And this is not to judge. This is for entertainment purposes only. So spill it. And if there is a story to go along with how you obtained it, I'd love to hear it.
3) Tag some chicks. And link back to her post so people know why the heck you're showing everyone your diaper bag/non-diaper bag.
With that, I tag:
:: K over at Interstitial-Life. This is also a friend in real life, who has an amazing blog that you should check out. I have no clue what she is carrying these days but I do know she has her hands full with her little guy.
:: BigBi over at Songs in the Key of Kibi, another friend in real life. Really great blog, and a really cute kid! Though, she's been away, so not sure if she'll play.
:: Ditto for my pal at Isabel & Dudley; I hope she doesn't mind that I'm taggin' her! She's also a busy Mom, so I hope she finds time for the little game.
Remember to link back!


Monday, January 26, 2009

Poetry by Air and Wine Music

To recap, I accidentally got drunk in First Class this past weekend, and, with the help of my iPod, cranked a few quickies that I'm willing to share.
(In the order they were written.)

Strangely becoming
Twisted fate
Bifurcated freedom
My calling
Do you hear it?
Our wandering
Do you fear it?
Emptied vessels of pleasure
And squandering
Every square inch of
Our landscape
Our life
One life

:: :: ::

It's ours to take
Mine - ours - to make
Do it for love
What was it that drove
Endless tomorrows in sight
Give us a chance, we might
Slow it down now
I'll show you how
Chase away the demons
I'll show you the reasons
And I promise
You'll want to try
(I know why.)

:: :: ::

Earthly pleasures
And luxuries
And guidelines
No longer apply
No restrictions
More addictions
From the sidelines
Blink! You might miss it
Reclining, fair dining
Darkness is coming to us.
From you
I take no chiding.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Act Like You've Been There

"It's Like the Endzone." It's my husband's mantra. (He watches a lot of football.) It's a good one.

It can be applied to so many, many situations one finds oneself in, and allows for maintenance of a calm demeanor and appropriate reactions to things. Like you've been there.

Neither was the case for me on my flight on Friday night. Quick background: my husband is a consultant, and for a good while there, flew back and forth to clients, building up tons of miles on various and sundry airlines. So, he got some of that good ol' fashioned "status."

His "status" and my "genius" got married, and landed me in First Class for my flight down to Charlotte this weekend. First is not a big deal. You get a cushy seat, they look you in the eye, take your long coat from you to hang. No biggie.

Unless, of course, you are ME. And you decide to drink.

I'm not gonna go on and on about how it wasn't my fault. How she kept coming after me the ENTIRE (50 min) flight, smiling, pouring the Cabernet, or how irresponsible it is to drink before having dinner when you're a self-professed lightweight. But, when you get little time to yourself, another friend is on the plane, you're headed down to a bunch of girls you used to party with, oh and it's F-R-E-E, things happen.

It happened. I was hammered. I was crank my iPod, sing softly to myself, glare at the gentleman beside me, hammered. I was whip out my pen and paper to write poetry hammered. (Yes, I will share that in the next post.)

Embarrassing? Slightly (mostly for my friend.) Liberating? Absolutely. Who cares if it was a bottle of a cheap Cabernet that I'm pretty sure one other dude shared with me? I managed to get my roller suitcase out the overhead and didn't knock myself out, right? I coaxed a few smiles out of the Captain and my temptress flight attendant. That counts for something.

I then coaxed my friend into catching up with me once we arrived in the airport... and... Let's just end the story there.


Friday, January 23, 2009

I Blog, Therefore I Am

I'm going away this weekend. Flying. Away. By myself. (And if you need a translation, that means no toddler in tow.) A friend of ours is pregnant in Charlotte and I'm flying to her baby shower, which I helped plan. I'm very proud of the favors I'm flying down with, because, unlike a lot of you blogging women out there, I am not a crafty person. Actually, the word gives me the jitters. I'm twitching now. It's difficult to type.

But I wouldn't let that stop me.

I feel like it's important to reflect, now and again, on new developments that go on in my life that dramatically change how I live, what I do daily, what I think about, and with whom I interact. So, I solemnly dedicate this Friday to: BLOGGING IS SO FLIPPING GREAT day.

We get to chat. We get to rant. We get to disguise rants as raves. We get to disguise rants as cute stories with happy endings. We get to talk about our amazing kids. We get to rant again.

There are so many things yet for me to learn. Like, what the hell is "trackback" and why do people do it? Why do people put their email addresses like fingersandpaws[at]gmail[dot]com? Did they suddenly forget how to puncuate? Are they using a European keyboard? Am I the only one who doesn't understand this oddity?

I'm still relatively new to this [daily] blogging thing, and I'm lovin' it. That was not a product placement there. I realize some blog for the fame->readership->AdSense->Money. Some blog to keep up with each other or family. Some to promote a product, or another blog. Some because there is not a single household chore to do or meal to make (wait a minute.) I appreciate all of that.

I blog because, I just can't shut up. No... really. As melodramatic as it sounds (and it will, just wait,) it's adding to my overall life experience.

And.... truth? (Finally!) Yes, it's improving my writing. And I do hope it leads to something else which leads to something else and I follow the yellow brick road to publication.

As our pediatrician once said (discussing how to get a 3-mo old to sleep)..... "It's good to have goals."


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Flip Cup and First Union

Kathy, over at Mama Kat's Losin' It, has a writing gig game and I'm playin'. Tough assignment this week, but I'm up for the challenge. Or, at least, I'll try to keep your attention on MY blog with THIS post for at least.. 3 mins 30 secs..

2) Write about a joyous moment.

The year was 2001, just turned. February. We were in the midst of a "recession" (ha! Now we know what one of those is really like.) But anyway, we were calling it that. My boyfriend, for whom I had JUST moved to Greensboro, NC (we called it Greensboring, only because we were early 20s and needed more than flipcup and two bars to entertain us), got transferred to Charlotte, NC. Charlotte is a fun town. We, as a couple, decided that he should accept the transfer (as opposed to quit, and like, take over the world or something) and that I, too, would find a job in Charlotte.

Easier said than done. Apparently, when you are in your early 20s, recently graduated from college, and in a recession, they don't just hand you a job. You have to kinda sorta convince them you're great. Or smart. Or, both.
I managed to land an interview. At a bank. Downtown.

To make matters worse, once I 1) found the building downtown, and 2) arrived at the 8th floor to the cubical world, the hiring manager then led me out to the trading floor, which was a magic wondrous place I could only have seen in Wall Street (movie), or the Journal. This was a risk management job, measuring trading risk for.... oh, suffice it to say there were LOTS of numbers involved. Oodles. Statistics. Models. PhDs writing them, testing them. Data. LOTS of data. Smart, loud personalities were just outside the glass of the conference room, four and six flat-panel Bloomberg screens in front of them. Shouting to each other, tossing the football, shouting to the three phones they held.

I went inside after two initial interviews, back to Cube Land. Interviewed with a higher up. Then another higher up. If I'd gotten any higher they would have pulled out a hookah. They all smiled. I was nervous but smiled back a lot. Tried to act natural.

Then, the hiring manager took me to lunch, downstairs, in (what a early 20-something gal would call) fancy. Now I would deem it acceptable for a Valentine's dinner, but not Anniversary. With me? We sat on the patio. The sun was shining. This is how the conversation went:

Him: "So, what do you think? Do you have any reservations?"

Me: [To lunch? oh, the job.] "I don't think so. If you think I'm ready to jump in, I certainly am."

Him: [Dramatic pause. Sips water.] "Well, what were you thinking for salary?"

Me: [Seriously? Did you just say that word? I'd take anything. I'd pay you. No, wait. Don't say that.] "Ummmmm... X."

Him: "What would you say to X+5,000?"

Me: [I truly said this next thing] "I would say you're making it awfully difficult to say 'No'."

Yes, I said "awfully", and yes, that's how I phrased my inner self jumping up and down in JOY.

Joy, Joy, Joy. I had a job offer. I had a job! In my new city! With my cute boyfriend, whom I think could be the President of the United States or a Stay-at-home-dad, and do either gracefully.

I married that cute boyfriend, in 2003. Four years later, our son was born, leading to my parting shot. I'm also doing #4 in Mama Kat's game: Share the best picture from last month.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Served With a Side of Crazy

Random helicopter (hey, it could be "Executive ONE"! It wasn't.)

I've said previously, on this blog, that I procrastinate. Well, that ain't the half of it.

Yesterday morning, I procrastinated from showering until after I'd finished changing my son. I didn't want to change my son until after the dogs had been out and obviously done their deed. I did let the dogs back in. C'mon, it's freezing in Washington, DC, don't you watch the news?! Ok but I didn't want to change until after I'd finished my coffee and put the puzzles away. Also, I like my coffee hot, not warm, lukewarm, or cold. As long as I was finishing my coffee, might as well watch the Obamas head into St. John's church prior to the swearing-in. Also, this big event going on? My town.

I can't stand the idea of missing out on history in my back yard.. but let's review: 1) I have a 19-mo old, who gets cold, and tired, and hungry. 2) Foot traffic only, all bridges closed. 3) See #1 and #2. Ironically, I'd gotten a very cool invite to party downtown with a bunch of huge Democratic donors (thanks, S.!) But, see #1.
You see where this is headed.
Let's serve it up this way: one part capricious, two parts curious, four parts bored, one part frustration, eleven parts crazy. Perfect recipe for.. wait for it. Attempting to drive downtown into D.C. at the eleventh hour prior to the swearing in.
Okay, not really. But I did have to run an errand. My toddler was B-O-R-E-D of the four walls of our living room. I heard news reports of the Metro stations being closed, queues around the block. Bridges closed. National guard and tanks. That's something. We had time. I have Tivo. We hit the road.
I drove East, towards downtown DC. You know, just to see what I could see. I felt the ridiculousness of my own actions, but Toddler was happy, I was still curious, and there millions of people down there. Wanna know what I saw? A lot of cops, all posted to watch out for crazies.. like me.

Hill overlooking Washington Monument, the Mall, the Capitol (all the way to the right. It's far.)
This guy. Just chilling out, enjoying the view of above photo. With the top down. Did I mention it was cold? Side of crazy, dude?
Good shot of Arlington cemetary. Toddler had fallen asleep.

One last parting shot, that I sent to the PIC photo album! Yes, we made it back in time for the ceremonies.


The Cusp of History

This day has finally come. The beauty in this moment, in every moment today, is the fact that our forefathers did dream this moment, as Dr. King did.. the peaceful transfer of power between two parties, two very different men, two different tides coming together in harmony. Moving trucks outside the White House. Change.

As I watched on my own jumbotron (in pure frustration for not having the helicopter that I need to take my 19-mo old and I down to the center of the Capitol steps, wait for us, then take us back home,) I saw a few headlines underneath the picture of the massive crowds. One, sadly, was "Power sharing talks break down in Zimbabwe." A stark reminder of the alternative. This is what makes our country so great. Our citizenship so special. And this day bursting with greatness.

Keep up with it here, the Inaugural Blog.

Meanwhile, even my toddler is feeling the spirit. GOBABA.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Taking a Page From Our Lame-Duck

Something funny happened over the weekend, and you'll never guess who the perpetrator was. That's right! My 19-mo old toddler! (How did you guess that? Because I'm that good, you say.) Ok, you had a 50/50 shot, between toddler and husband. And dogs. 25% isn't bad.

I was sitting in my car in front of the house, chatting with my Mom about Important Topic #983. My mother has a predilection for calling me just as I'm pulling up in front of the house. Give me a package or two, a toddler, a purse and a sippy cup, and it gets difficult to de-car and climb the stairs up to our house. Ergo, I tend to sit and finish the conversation in the car. It's also important to note that the toddler car seat is in the passenger's side of the back seat.

Apparently it was taking too long, and apparently, my son is gaining momentum in motor skills. The Bear, in the back seat, starts to fuss. Then he starts to scream. Short, sudden bursts.

So, picture me there, in the driver's seat, in mid-sentence with my Mom, where we're taking turns cutting each other off. Suddenly, a 4-inch long toddler shoe comes FLYING by my face, landing on the floor of the front seat. I turned around, eyes wide, mouth agape. He was grinning at me, a little speechless himself.

Then he started to say, "Duh? Duh?" (as in "Done?" I am now, you crazy shoe-throwing toddler!)

I tried to relay the story to my mom, and could barely contain my shock. Well, that, and she couldn't hear me over her hysterical laughter.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Movie Review: Righteous Kill

Righteous Kill is a righteous attempt, all right. What other scenes can you freeze frame and show Al Pacino and Robert De Niro having an actual conversation between their characters? (Answer: only in Heat, from 1995.) Let's be honest, director Jon Avnet really starts with a leg up, doesn't he?

And he kind of screws it up, quite honestly. The opening title sequence quickly sucks us in with two cops, our A-list stars, on the shooting range with a variety of weaponry. After we get over our wonderment of two A-list actors in nearly every scene together, we jump into their 30-year careers just before retirement. We view that thirty year period that we feel is happening in real time. The plot is essentially answering the following question: what do you do about the criminal you've caught, know without a doubt is guilty, and know won't get prosecuted? Do you take the law, nay, justice into your own hands? Would that be right or wrong? OR something in between?

We're reminded of that question continually, the plight of an NYPD detective, as we view some righteous kills.. some clear cut examples of vigilante justice. The kills start piling up, and suddenly the whole department realizes its chasing what appears to be a poetry-writing, notecard-leaving, good marksmanship serial killer. We know who it is, they don't. Or at least, that's what we lead ourselves to believe.

The twist is a fairly good one, as twists in shoot em' ups go, but herein lies the rub: part of the twist completely, totally lost me. There are several dark and eery references to violence against women throughout the plot, and we manage to shrug that off, unwillingly. However, the twist has to include it as well. That's where I find the cheap attempt to heighten the dramatic ending falls flat on its face. You have extraordinary actors. Use them to convey the drama, not the damsel-in-distress bit that's been done for hundreds of years.

We do get a wonderful performance from rapper 50 Cent, and Brian Dennehy as Lieutenant Hingis stands out as well, perfectly cast. Donnie Wahlberg is forgettable, but John Leguizamo is not, his usual bulldog self.


Books and Cats

Cross posted at Poetry, Pictures and Prose and One Minute Writer.
OMW (prompt: book review):

I just finished is a light-hearted, quick read by one of my favorite new authors, Bridget Asher (pen name for J. Baggott). My Husband's Sweethearts is a great story about a high-powered corporate woman, deeply in love with her older husband, who discovers he's cheated on her.. multiple times. She leaves, but upon learning that he has a fatal illness that will soon take his life, she enlists the help of all his past "sweethearts", and this is where the story gets complicated.. and rich.

Funny, ironic, heart-warming (and wrenching), it also sheds light on the complex web we are all bound up in, and in finding her own strength, our protagonist begins to allow other women to find similar strength--in themselves.

from PP&P:

Jellybean was an old cat
10, maybe 15, and fat
He kept to himself
Put himself on top shelf
And waited for each meager pat.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Skinny Jeans and Cold Fusion

Not finding enough to read in my blog (ha!)? Check out my poem, "Ode to My Skinny Jeans" over at One Minute Writer (also below, the link got complicated) and my micro-story at Pictures, Poetry and Prose.

It's very cold here today. VERY cold. And there is an electricity in the air. The train is bound for Washington, DC, and we feel the ripple effects of it, through the cold, through the distance. Have we discovered cold fusion?

And now for something completely different.

Ode to My Skinny Jeans

There was a young gal with jeans
An addiction by any good means
With a shimmey and a shake
Any pair I won't take
I bow to you, O my blue Queen.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Holdin' Out for a Hero

I've made myself read this story three times, to make myself be less emotional:
Miracle on the Hudson

You know the one, about the plane averting the crash yesterday afternoon, instead "landing" on the Hudson River. I seriously have to call my dad (the engineer) to discuss the physics of that.

For some odd reason, I'm having an inexplicable emotional reaction to this story, and I've forced myself to re-read it so I can view it with the logical lens on. Maybe it's because my husband is supposed to travel 100% of the time for his job. Maybe it's because we know so many (many) people in Charlotte, having lived there for a while. OR, maybe it's because when you hear "New York Laguardia" and "plane landed in the river" from the radio guy, it just rings an inharmonic chord.

Back to the story behind the story. Two things that struck me: 1) the captain, "as befits a captain, twice walked the length of the sinking plane to make sure he was the last to depart"; and 2) as one passenger put it, "The most amazing part was, I saw no pushing, no shoving. I saw nothing but help and compassion."

Perhaps we needed a feel-good story right now, perhaps we are reminded that heroes live among us every day. They might not commit heroic acts every day, but they're here. They say the pilot, "Sully" Sullenberger, had moments to make a decision that impacted every life on that plane, and perhaps a chunk of northern Manhattan. Time probably stopped for him, for a moment. One nanosecond. And the choice he made was the right one.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Happy Thursday!

I'm playing along with my first blog game! Are those like reindeer games? What were those guys playing anyway, that Rudolph wanted in so badly?

Goddess in Progress has a Happy Thursday gig, where you list something you're happy about: for Thursday, or for the week being over, or for the weekend. Or all three. I'm playing along. After my thinly-veiled RANT from the other day, we're due.
:: I'm happy the week is over. From Sunday evening through today, both husband and 19-mo old had a stomach "thing". I'll spare you the details, but both bathroom and Diaper Champ got a work out. Poor boys.
:: I'm ecstatic that I live in the Washington, DC metro area, and that this weekend will be history in the making in my town. "Weekend" refers to tomorrow all the way through Tuesday, the BIG Day.
:: And finally... today. I'm thankful for the train table at Barnes&Noble 1/2 mile away, and for the Crazy Toddler Run. My toddler, clutching a Thomas train in one fist, waited for me to fully engage another Mom in lively conversation, paused (for drama), then went screaming down the kiddie section and made himself scarce. When I found him, it was the most hilarious thing EVER. His proudest moment.


Life in Reverse

I had a brilliant idea last night, as I was crawling into bed, and you, my adoring audience of two, get to hear about it. (P.S. This is part of the Spin Cycle, over at Sprite's Keeper.)

WHAT IF.. I could live my day in reverse? That would be ideal, wouldn't it? Just imagine it with me for a moment:

11:00 PM: Wake up, or stay awake, as it were. I'm WIDE AWAKE every night at this point, so here is where I start my day.
8:00 PM: I've just enjoyed three full hours of free time (think of it. The whole day is laid out before you. .the sun is shining, we have our whole lives ahead of us..) So happy. Like a golden retriever happy.
7:00 PM: Wrap up breakfast (Whatever. The first happy meal of the day.)
6:00 PM: Start preparing b'fast.
4:00 PM: Wait! We have the whole day ahead of us, remember? We're not winding down, we're winding UP.
3:00 PM: Put kiddo down.
1:00 PM: Wrap up lunch. Lunch is still lunch.
12:00 PM: Start lunch.
8:00 AM: Put the kiddo down. We're exhausted.
7:30 AM: Whew, I am exhausted too. Can barely keep my eyes open. Oh, right.. morning. Time to curl up and enjoy my bliss.

It is a little mind-bending, I'll admit. But it makes it okay for me to keep making those ready-made cookies at 9PM.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Quote From Bubble Butt


This is what we heard in response to almost everything we asked, for approximately the last two months. I love it. I'm a very positive person (except on Tuesday.) I remember it started before Thanksgiving. We were at Grandma and Grandpa's house, and had an entire discussion about the loveliness of hearing the word "Yes" from our toddler. It was wonderfully positive. Everything is a yes! Yes, yes, yes!

Times, they are a changin'.

A recent conversation went like this:
Me: Hey, sweetie, do you want to get out of the crib now?
the Bear: [shakes head vigorously 'no']
Me: Ok, well, what about some books, do you want some books in there?
Bear: [thinks. shakes head 'no']
Me: Hm. I bet you want to come out of there and have a snack.
Me: Ok! Let's change that diaper first.
Bear: No no no no no no no no no.
Me, laughing: Is that your new fascination, the word 'no'?
Bear: NO!


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Vote For Me!

I'm sorry. Did you miss the post where I said I was addicted?

RIGHT NOW, there is a poll on the left-hand side of the page at One Minute Writer, and I just found out I'm in it!! Read the choices. If you believe as strongly as I do that the greatest decade was the one of black plastic bands on your wrists, side-ponytails, Cyndi Lauper and Reaganomics, go vote for me!!!


The Daily Rant

I've been reading a lot of rants lately. And I understand, completely. There has been a lot to rant about, in these uncertain times. Ranting is easy, so I'm going to try very hard to do the opposite. I'm going to RAVE about my day.

My day has been blissfully perfect thus far, everything has gone just according to plan. Waking up to my husband's (surprise!) alarm clock this morning, I actually had visions of fields of sunflowers and butterflies, just a splendor of bright color as far as the eye could see. The fact that the shower had a colder mix of water than normal was perfect.. who needs a hot shower?

Things got really great when my son woke up early, and I'm thankful to have a husband who, on his way out the door, stopped in to change the little guy. Lucky for us, and I do mean us, the adorable, cherubic little toddler had a serious bout of .. hm.. what term should we employ here? "Loose stool" is a good one. "Not normal and easy to change" is another. "Horrific stench" comes to mind. But, it was great, because it meant we all got a non-caffeinated jolt, first thing. Who doesn't need that?!

Working in his preschool this morning, it just couldn't have gone better. I wouldn't have wanted all the toddling maniacs to be quiet, or calm.. because that just wouldn't be interesting. I was thankful for the 3-hour long high-pitched shrieking by one poor baby, because it reminded me what it sounds like to not have that. All day. No, seriously, it was really great. The shrieking.

It just made my day all the more sweet (which, as you can tell, shouldn't have been possible), when we walked through the front door to discover that my two Labrador retrievers had plucked two diapers from the trash, and shredded the insides all over the living room rug. They had the presence of mind to say to each other, "No. On second thought, let's do TWO."

I'd thought I'd plateaued with my incredible luck, until my son refused lunch. Not just eating, but the concept of lunch (i.e., getting in the chair.) I had to hold him to feed him half a yogurt, but you know what? All the more to cuddle him with. And if I hadn't been cuddling, I wouldn't have gotten so close to his little bum to discover ANOTHER bout of random stomach-bug-ness. TWICE. I practically begged him to cry after I laid him down for his nap, and wonders just won't cease, he did! Then, I did.

You know, tears of joy.


Looking Down From A Very Tall Branch

This is today's photo prompt from Pictures, Poetry & Prose.
And, what I came up with in one minute.

Stepping forward

No slack

Scratch the tree

and your back.

Hovering about

The tree people




And sigh.

Can we withstand

The pressure

To devour

Our teachers?

Holistic in strength

Patient in length

And in nature

There to the end.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Addicted to Blove, Part II

Welp. It turns out I have a pretty addictive personality. Here I am, well past responsible time, blogging away, having discovered an entire symphony of bloggers I want to visit and re-visit. I've discovered so much in such a short amount of time, that my new philosophy might be to just have the little guy SKIP the next 16.5 years of school and just read blogs.

"Mommy? Can you help me finish my book report?"
"Oh, sweetie, just read the book review blog."

Really. The only other time I was this hooked was when I tried smoking for half a semester in college. I thought it improved my image. Surprise!

The thing is, there is some emotionally raw, seriously intelligent blogging going on. I can't stay away from it. Today I found several writing blogs that I am excited to have inspire me, the One Minute Writer and Pictures, Poetry & Prose. Look forward to the creative juicer getting plugged back in. I also discovered a sardonic shopaholic mom blog that detailed my exact sentiments about the new "Bachelor" season. What?

Ok, with that last pitiful admission, I need to go differentiate some equations, review my Keynesian economics and trade some interest rate swaps really quick. But I'll be back.


Blogging.. to INFINITY

All right, people. You've got me. I'm hooked. I just started the "for REAL this time" blogging thing, and I'm hooked. I really am! I just did a very big dive, of the bloggy kind, and it took 1) my son's entire nap and my subsequent free time and 2) away from every other chore-y type of thing I had to do. And do you know why I proceeded to blow off planning the preschool curriculum, emptying the dishwasher, planning a playgroup?

Ah, yes, the procrastinator in me always absolutely, positively wins out, but this time was different. (Isn't that always the case?) I actually had a planned blog post for today.. something about the winds of change, the glorious state of being that is savasana, even a bit of prose. That has all changed.

I read my pal K's blog every day, and I'm fascinated with her blogroll, having sort of adopted it myself. Very quality bloggers, these, and by extension, their blogrolls' blogrolls, ad infinitum. Seriously, I started on a pal of a pal, wound up on an Irishman's gorgeous literary journey through the Himalayas, from there went to a fellow Brit's writing blog, jumped to a blog that inspires us all to write like our lives' depended upon it, and so on.

Fret not, o curious ones! I will soon be awarding my a Hoy awards to these and others. It requires much thought. Stay tuned.

The point of all this what? I do have one. It's this: blogging would be a lot less addictive if all that was out there in the blogosphere was crap. But it's not. It's amazing. It's lyrical and gorgeous and heartbreaking and self-effacing and hilarious. In a word, brilliant.

My toddler is bored, and is starting to unload the dishwasher without me. Toddler boredom is like an elephant stampede: you'll probably hear it coming, but if you don't do something it's going to crush you and all your best-laid plans.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Focal Point

My son's newest party trick is singing "Twinkle Twinkle" to himself, all throughout the day. To grandma's sheer delight, he sang her a melodic bar of it this week. We can hear him singing to us early in the am via his monitor, from his little man kingdom (e.g. crib.) We can't get enough of it. Ergo, he can't get enough of us not getting enough of it. Before that, it was climbing on the kitchen chair and banging the keyboard on which I now type. Prior to that, he had a killer 'toothy grin' (and if you've seen it in real life, well. You know.)

Our focus then, continually changes with these developmental stages.. when he can do more, understand more, vocalize more, we latch onto it and ride the new stage's wave. Sometimes it becomes hard to look back and envision the start of the stage, when he could first start saying the syllable of that new word. When he could sing. When he started to run down the hallway, stubby arms overhead, careening around a corner. When did that start again?

Is that not exactly what's happening with the financial meltdown?

Take this quote from a recent Washington Post article about AIG's implosion:

Many of the most compelling aspects of the economic cataclysm can be seen through the story of AIG and its Financial Products unit: the failure of credit-rating firms, the absence of meaningful federal regulation, the mistaken belief that private contracts did not pose systemic risk, the veneration of computer models and quantitative analysis.
(Washington Post, 12/29/08, The Beautiful Machine)

In other words, we all weren't all that focused on what was going on. People were making money on Wall Street, super. Stocks were going up, great. Credit Default Swaps and Hedge funds went unregulated. So what? (OR, in some cases, from Congress, "what are those?")

Remember that $168 Billion stimulus package in Feb. 2008? The Facebook group "I'm sending my stimulus check to Barack Obama?" Remember that Bear Stearns failed in March, a month later? But still, we enjoyed a nice bump in the stock market in the first half of the second quarter that followed. The point is, we weren't entirely all on the same page. Some were still sending vast sums to Bernard Madoff, while panic-stricken Bear employees had their bright futures and 401(k)s ripped away from them.

It's interesting to think about focus. Now we're all panic-stricken. The latest bad economic news is always a text or breaking email away or blog post away. We know how bad the numbers are, and we know right away. The information flow is unlike anything our economy has ever seen--New or Old. Just like we like to sing "Twinkle, Twinkle." We can't stop.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

So All I Have To Do Is Start It?

Really blogger? Can this be right? To get the time stamp fixed, all I have to do is start?

There was a young blog that had charm
Greener pastures never were on this farm
A city girl by her choice
Still finding her voice
Should have begun this last year.. well. Darn!


Friday, January 9, 2009

Economics Junkie

I try to maintain the belief that everything happens for a reason. That's an easier way to digest the economic and business-related news of the day. See my pal K's post from today.

In other related news, as I sit here, my hands are so cold it's difficult to type. We moved a space heater into my 18-mo old's room last night, because apparently, when they built houses in 1949, they didn't think it was necessary to prevent cold from coming in. I live with the frugalist of the frugal, the minimalist extraordinaire, a man who takes pride in a lifetime ban on non-essential spending. I've been doing my part to counter that, no doubt.

But the point remains, we are not very leveraged. We have a generous amount of equity in our tiny cold house, we don't really spend a lot and we're saving. So, when I see that foreclosures are at an all-time high, non-farm payrolls were abysmally worse than expected in Dec., nobody bought anything for the holidays, Madoff is still walking around the streets of NYC, and the nationwide unemployment rate released today is 7.2%, I have to think, "this must be necessary."

It is painful. It is scary. It is unequivocally the worst financial crisis of our time when traders screwing around with mortgage-backed securities and credit default swaps can take down Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, shake Fannie and Freddie to the core, bring Merrill Lynch and AIG to their knees and chase Wachovia into the arms of Wells Fargo. It's a horrible fact that some of these Wall Street jobs just might not be back. Party over!

But... in the back of our collective minds, are we asking ourselves, "is this a necessary evil?" Are we living Joseph Conrad now, choosing our future Responsible Lender/Spender selves as a lesser evil over the past hyper-consumerism? Were ours Hearts of Darkness, now destined to be lighter, in spirit and in debt? Aware of a greater collective purpose?

I hope so.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Let The Dogs Be Our Guide

This morning, I had a test of my judgemental tendencies. As one of my bloggy friends recently posted, I too am one of those people that secretly judge Parents Who Cannot Control Their Children In Public. My toddler and I teach a class at a nearby kid's gym, Monkey Business, which is great fun and an enormous treat for both of us. This morning, I listened to a Mom's harrowing story of her 3-yr old's complete nuclear meltdown in the middle of a crowded mall, kicking, punching, screaming and all. Her quote was, "I had to carry her out like a log, to prevent her punches from connecting." She was relieved no authorities were called to report a child abduction taking place. It seriously concerned her that they would be.

When I went to obtain my Level 1 Yoga certification with YogaFit, the mantra they indoctrinated in us to keep in mind before every practice was the following:

"Letting go of competition, expectation and judgement."

What an excellent way to live. If we all lived this way, repeating this to ourselves upon entering a dinner party, a fashion show, a blog post, a staff meeting.. well, we can envision the peace.

My dogs live this way. When we returned home from being out, and, come to think of it, every time we return home from being anywhere (including the front yard), my two labs greet us with energy and enthusiasm of which the Democratic National Committee would be envious. This particular morning, my black Lab greeted me with a mach-5 tail speed and presented his stuffed horse. His prized stuffed horse.

He was just that thrilled to see me. No judgement, no "where have you been?", no silent treatment for leaving them to fend for themselves on their plush, comfy, extra-stuffed Large sized personalized Orvis dog beds. Not to put too fine a point on it, but my (human) son has less personalized. Then again, he wasn't left in a cardboard box when he was 2 months old.

Letting go.. there may not be a competition. Reset the expectation. And judgement? Who are we to judge?


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Differently The Same

Differences, see them
The same
As always.
Not always
What you will.
and dying
To try to tell
A different tale
At the end of the day.

The instructions
They might be more clear
Wash, rinse
Bald has no hair.

At the end of the day
A different tale
It was changed
Just once
A wink and
A smile.


Movie Review: Slumdog Millionaire

Life has happened, and I've run out of time to blog. (Gasp) So, because I promised, and because I can riff on movies until I'm blue in the face, I give you my take on Slumdog Millionaire.

What a ride.

This is a journey we all take together, and what a ride. What a treat. The colors are spectacular, from the opening chase sequence to the final scene's scarf. It enriches us culturally, taking us on a journey of survival of two young boys that become victims of India's own religious wars. We view their plight through their eyes and, as such, we are prone to the same dread they feel when fate frowns upon them.. and also when it smiles.

This is a story for mankind, that begins in Mumbai, India. The plot is fairly simple: a poor young kid from nothing goes on an Indian game show, and does really well. Too well. How he does this is the story behind the title, behind our collective conscience, behind our labored human experience. Nearly every sense is treated: our ears to the pulsating rhythms of Indian baselines and drumbeats, our eyes the beautiful bright oranges and blues of saris and panoramas alike, the near ability to feel the ground under our feet as we run with our young protagonists.

We learn an amazing tale of survival, of the poorest and the fittest. Survival itself begins to take on various forms, morphing itself into sacrifice, betrayal, and ultimate redemption. And as we begin to cheer, to look forward to destiny's sly smile on this unlikely candidate, we're just not sure if he can pull it off.

If I have a modest complaint about the film, which I give an up-enough thumb for you to see it in the theater, it would be that Bollywood emulates Hollywood a little too much for me. A little too "two by four", if you will. However! I'm not the typical Hollywood audience, and one generally likes it when one feels good upon exiting.

You will certainly do that. It is written.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Steamy Post

I had a roommate in Breckenridge, CO (where I moved straight from early undergrad grad ceremonies) that was a Search & Rescue climber.. rock climber, ice climber, frozen waterfall climber, you name it. They'd have random drills at 3 AM.. you know, to make sure you were still a committed volunteer. So he was constantly out in the cold, diving into avalanches. He used to go sit in the steam room at the Breck Rec Center every time he started to get stuffy.

Think of it, that limitless lifestyle, being able to take off at any point and go rescue a lost skier. Or, more pertinently, sit in a steam room. How luxurious does that sound?

I decided to find out, since my fitness center mercifully offers 1) a steam room and 2) childcare. Not only childcare, but a play kitchen! Whoa! Said steam room was closed all of December, and part of November (I know, because I called every day.) Today, it was heavenly operational.

You know that feeling when you, the encumbered airline passenger approaching security, has to place all items into the gray bins, disrobing from all coats, shoes, bulky sweaters, jewelry and random metal objects on your person? You walk through the metal detector completely unencumbered, in your sock feet. Then, on the other side, as you pass the dude with the wand, you have to put it all back on? Yep.

However, here's one thing the airport security will never have on the other side.. as I walked back into the childcare area to reclaim my busy toddler, he came running at me with full-on careening toddler speed, and hugged my legs. Double Yep.


Monday, January 5, 2009

I Speak Starbulese

Wasn't it just a day or so ago I was singing "Back to life.. back to reality,"? Well, I didn't mean it then. NOW it's back to life. Waking up to an alarm clock, smack in the middle of a bifurcated dream about a ski vacation happening within the confines of South Africa. (Read: RUDE alarm clock.) Having to dress, even if it's in yoga gear. Downing some caffeine, out of necessity, not just because someone made it. Having to shuttle out of the house on time. Making it to my Asian yogis.

As I reheat my Tall Decaf Americano, debating the merits of having a 'usual' coffee at Starbucks (speaking the barista's Starbulese,) I sort out my thoughts vis a vis, the blog. One of my compatriots at Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, where I worked briefly during our 2-year Charlottesville stint, used to defend my practice of talking to myself as good: It helps to organize your brain, she used to say. Well, I think blogging sorts the brain as well. For example, what the hell am I talking about?

Last night, in my overexhuberance over my blog award, and my apparent premonition about losing our game, I decided to pour my bowl of chili on the living room couch. If any of you blogging Moms (or those of you in Hong Kong or Sweden) have any clues as to how one would successfully get that out, barring an entire bottle of Resolve, let me know! I'm happy to share my recipe for the chili, in exchange. I'm all ears.

My point here? I do have one. It's that there is no gentle way to get back to one's life, when one takes a hiatus from it for a while. Is this analogous to staying home with a child? Do you ever fully come back? There's no blog post long enough for that one.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Grumpy and Thankful

I know, I know. It seems an obvious oxymoron, and therein lies the rub. Our whole house is grumpy tonight that our beloved Heels lost to (a better shooting) Boston College, but I'm taking the broad view.. we need a loss to get us fully prepared for the tough ACC match ups. Right?!

More importantly, I'm thankful. Something exciting happened today, and I'm more thankful than grumpy. I've had wonderful support here in the blogosphere right from the start, and it's kept my spirits high and my keystrokes self-deprecating. What was this exciting event? What, you ask, could possibly lift me out of the doldrums of losing the #1 ranking in hearts and minds and college basketball polls?

My first blog award!

Yes, it is true. O, ye of little faith.. wait, that was me. My first blog award is A Hoy, given for "Best Up and Coming Blog" by my good pal K over at Interstitial-Life, a blog I am quite fond of reading. I recommend you check out her tales of toddler trials as well!

As part of the award, I will be passing along the honors soon.

To close this woefully last day of our ten-plus day holiday, a toddler tale of cunning and wit: Toddlers are amazing in their sense of humor, and knack for catching every detail. We live in Northern Virginia, and, as such, we recycle.. everything. From paperboard to cardboard to every numbered-plastic, it goes in the blue bin much more often than it does the trash. In other related news, we finally got my 18-mo old a set of those toddler-sized pots and pans, and a whole set of play food. You know the one, from when we were kids: the little grapes, the tiny bananas, the Lilliputian-sized carton of milk and box of cereal.

So, it goes over well. He wakes up from his nap, discovers the treasure trove of play food and cookery, and goes berzerk. Plays and cooks and flips and stirs, enthralled. He was having the time of his life, and yes.. this is AFTER the Christmas week.

You can imagine our collective surprise as my husband and I watched our pragmatic toddler suddenly throw the miniature carton of milk onto the kitchen floor, and proceed to stomp on it. Stomp on it! Hard! I could feel tears running down my cheeks before my laughter made a sound, so hard it was silent. We watched him stomp it flat, then bend to pick it up and hand it to me. He was recycling!

Now, to find a toddler-sized recycling bin.


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Back to Life, Back to Reality

Just a quick one here. Tales from the road. It's like the end zone. We acted like we'd been there before (95-North, that is) as we made our way Northward from the Carolinas.

Strapped the little guy in. Told the pups to jump in. Packed the Christmas packages up to the ceiling with care, in hopes that in 6 hours they'd all still be there. Placed the Pooh-choo-choo train next to car seat with purpose, in hopes that the Bear would find it's noise circus.

(He did. Pooh was talking to us the entire way back. But Pooh is such a positive little fella, isn't he?)

We couldn't see out the back (nor any window pane), the dogs were cramped but didn't complain, and we made it. There was a gorgeous sunset in the rear-view mirror, which is perfectly analogous to us leaving behind the free grandparental babysitting. Alas, back to reality...

Coming soon: my review of Slumdog Millionaire


Friday, January 2, 2009

Boys Will Be

What is it about having boys? I keep saying to myself that as my little guy adds months to his age, and we start heading away from 18 mos towards the '2' range, that everything will be different.

Just this morning, I think I have heard 3 or 4 distinct CRASH sounds, followed by a quick, "UH, oh." You always get the "uh, oh." If it's not a discrete crash, it's a dull roar, in a myriad banging, hammering, smashing and crashing. Is this just a boy thing?

My toddler, to start out the morning, took out all of Grandma's pots and pans, and started to bang; he apparently gave himself extra points for how hard the "CLANG" of the tops were. 10 pts. Then, while we were in the midst of the de-brief from the HVAC guy, he found a hard plastic spaghetti spoon and started to smack the sliding glass doors. 12 pts. He then started to de-ornament the Christmas tree. 3 pts. Pushed random buttons on the cable box (it took Grandpa all day to fix yesterday's experiment there.) 13 pts. He took the tiddly winks box and turned it upside down, CRASH. 30 pts.

The Bear: 68 pts Mom, Dad and Grandma: 0

I keep saying we have to have a girl next time around, that this boy thing has got to stop. Am I in for a surprise there, toddler-girl friends?


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Winding Down with Orange and Wine

I'm sitting here finishing the last of my wine, watching the Orange Bowl with my dad. I glanced down and happily realized I still had, what? 30 minutes. New Year's Day is not quite over.. I can still type quickly and get that date stamp.

A New Year's Resolution.

Resolutions and I are friends. Not just on New Year's Day, but every day.. you know how it goes: I'm going to clean more next week: 3 playgroups! I'm going to make dinner in advance tomorrow. I'm actually going to call ____ back when the little guy and I run to the store later. This weekend, we are definitely accomplishing X. I'm going to start watching more trash TV. (What?)

There is a bit of uncertainty in our life right now, and, as with any uncertainty and the predilection to plan ahead, I've been squirmy lately. Like any responsible mother, I like to know what's coming.

Well, enough of living with one foot in the 'future' door. I've been cheating my son, at times, of the very best thing I have to give him: being present. My presence. Not to be confused with "presents" - a la Christmas PRESENTS! we have a lot to load. Getting home with be a journey.. a good exercise in being present. As was listening to my mother reminisce about my childhood after dinner was over, long over, and the New Year's champagne was duly drained. I loved that moment, and I will love when I one day do the same thing with my son.

My other favorite phrases for said philosophy are many: Enjoy the Journey. Don't Miss the Miracle. Just Be. Breathe. Namaste. Being home is a good time for reflection, as is the first day of a New Year. Relax, renew, refresh.

And I don't just mean the screen.


Rhymes with Elation

Well Hello, 2009. The word of the day today (for purposes of this blog) is: Procrastination. Without getting into an emotional diatribe about the power of genes and the customs of one's own family sealing the deal, I'll simply state that my family procrastinates. Every one of us always has, because, why do your homework or finish your PhD when there's wind to be sailed? Sun to be soaked? Road to be traveled? Blogs to be typed?

I've held two passions my entire life: film and fiction. Words and pictures. Like many SAHM (that's stay at home mom) types, I was gloriously NPV-positive prior to my son. As in, Net Present Value. Now, I find myself examining my exact "net" Present Value, and, like many of my blogging friends, I have the ability to sort out the next move.. with you, my gentle readers, along for the ride.

I'm currently working on a half-dozen or so short stories (let's say short "projects" for fun,) and some photographic experimentation. The stories I'll slowly begin to share here, but I'm away from my scanner, so the recent point-and-shoot stuff will have to do for now:

Happy New Year! Hello, 2009!




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