Thursday, August 31, 2006

Funny thing

So, we go on vacation to escape - work, our dirty house, routine, endless Katrina-themed retrospectives - to what?

A new friend named Ernesto. Now we're under a tornado watch until 5 am tomorrow morning. One kid was still awake when we learned this so we just explained that if need be we'll be using the bathtub next to the boys' room to hide from the wind.

Just what I want him to remember from his vacation.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Baby Girl

A year ago, we awoke to hear Craig's home town was drowning.

As our then 16 month old daughter was sitting in her high chair, singing to her breakfast, he looked over at her.

"I never got you to my hometown, Baby Girl."

She kept singing, oblivious to her daddy's sadness. He had never called her that. I walked out of the room to cry.

We've been calling her Baby Girl since that day.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Not so bad

As I was standing next to the van waiting for the men to return from yet another potty break on this drive to a different part of our glorious nation, a woman who was smoking with some other women asked me if the boys were twins. She told me she was the mother of 14-year-old twin girls and that they would fight in the car when they were little.

She said that years ago their fighting was so bad she pulled over the car, made them walk to the front of the car, "bungy-corded them to the grill" and threatened to drive like that if they didn't stop fighting.

"I don't know why I just told you that. But then it's not like you know me."

I'm not sure why she told me but it sure made me feel like I deserve the mother medal of the year for not having tied the kids to the front of the car during the previous 15 hours of driving. And don't worry, I didn't the last 2 hours either. The bungy cord was busy keeping the portable crib together.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Traveling Man

Why traveling with my husband is such fun.

As we drove past a sign that said "Welcome to town name. Where traditions meet the future."

His reply was "well, it looks like they met in a seedy bar."

Yup, we've been on the road. 17 hours over two days (lots and lots of potty breaks for the boys). Now we're hanging in a house by the beach. The boys spent tonight figuring out their new boogie boards. Harper is not too happy with the sound of the ocean. Or the sand. Or the general discomfort of hanging at the beach.

But at least Craig can make funny jokes about it all.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Elevator ad

My husband tells me about an ad that plays on the television in his office building (yeah, it is one of those buildings). It shows a fence with a guy in a backyard wearing a bathrobe acting like he's got bugs in his pajamas. The camera angle switches to the other side of the fence and he is furiously fencing with sticks with a little boy.

I had to wait with my daughter for a prescription this evening. I found myself in the school supply aisle with both of us clutching a day-glow roll of something in each hand. She was doing an interpretive dance complete with falling down and rolling to James Taylor singing "In my mind I'm going to Carolina...".

Then she ordered me to dance.

So I waved the day-glow things over my head. But I didn't roll around in the aisle.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Yaz: music or medicine?

This is horrible. I love '80's music too much. Particularly angst ridden techo.

Midnight it's raining outside he must be soakin' wet

And not because it is some hip retro funny thing to listen to at clubs. Like, oh, 70's music.

Everyone is sleeping tight, God knows I tried my best

No, because I actually remember when the songs came out, on radio, and we bought the records (funny vinyl things) that we flipped over when we wanted to listen to the other 5 songs on the second side.

Darling you know, it looks bad, just I lost the best thing that I ever had...

So much to my horror, I found in this month's Jane magazine an ad for Yaz. I thought it was about Yaz, as in Yazoo, the British band with singer Allison Moyet and keyboardist extraordinaire Vince Clark (now with Erasure).

No, it is a birth control pill.

What's next - a condom named Depeche Mode? A diaphragm called Spandau Ballet?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Red Balloon

A little girl pointed to a red balloon high up in a very tall tree. Neither the little girl nor her mother had a balloon with them that day so they didn't know where it came from.

"Balloon come down" she told her mother.

"No dear," her mother said knowingly. "Balloons like that only float up. That balloon won't come back down."

A while later the mother looked over and saw the balloon floating along the ground near where they were sitting.

"Oh my! That balloon did come down! You were telling me what you saw" the mother excitedly said to her daughter.

The little girl pulled the balloon behind her, held it over her head and called it "an umbrella" and dropped it to the ground to chase it. At one point she sat on the balloon.

Suddenly the red balloon started to rise off the ground. The girl and her mother watched as it went up and over the fence. It disappeared.

"Where did it go?" asked the mother.

"It come back," declared the little girl.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Birthday party

My boys had their 6th birthday party this weekend. While wanting a Power Ranger theme party, I still try to fight the total commercialism of childhood. Instead they designed medallions for capes. While the designs were either images or variations on their names, every boy pretended to be an established character - we had two Supermans, a Batman and a Robin - rather be one of their own creation.

I figure this will be my last year of giving a CD of their favorite songs from the past year. I've been making CDs since they were two years old. It was a way to remember what songs they loved and at the time be a different guest gift after the birthday party ended.

Last night I stayed up to burn the following:

  1. Roll Away - Papa Grows Funk
  2. Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond
  3. Country Roads - John Denver
  4. Tomorrow - Annie the Musical
  5. Hard Knock Life - Annie the Musical
  6. We are Family - Sister Sledge
  7. Four White Horses - from their camp CD
  8. I love the Mountains - same camp CD
  9. Right By Your Side - Eurythmics

Of course, while I am trying to avoid a completely character-themed life for my kids, I still have very fond memories of watching Wonder Woman on television. And I probably would have begged my parents for the Wonder Woman cereal, underwear, flashlight, books, toothbrush and nail polish if it existed. In fact, at 37 I still keep a look out for a good t-shirt.

And if I buy one, each boy will get a character t-shirt.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

National (Public Radio) Exposure

O.k. So Melissa Block said my last name wrong during All Things Considered tonight.

And was the quote about something meaningful like low-income women's needs for adequate job skill training to be economically self-sufficient? Or the importance of world peace?

No - it was a "letter" to NPR about how I listened to English Beat at work.

On Tuesday, Robert Krulwich reported on how people lose their sense of adventure, or willingness to try new things, as we get older. Get older as in past age 35. I'm 37. Krulwich's piece mentioned that part of the reason we stick with what we liked as 19 and 20 year olds (or in my case 14 years old) is that it brings back pleasant memories of being young and adventurous.

For me, while writing a project workplan I was having flashbacks of drama club dances in a church. A good memory. Really.

And there I had been, the morning before the story ran, listening to English Beat on my iPod (at least it was an iPod and not mixed-cassette tape on a Walkman) writing a project workplan. One of my colleagues came in, one who is 7 years younger than me, to ask something. Of course he inquired, "What are you listening to?"

"English Beat"

"Oh" with that tone that it might as well have been Jack Benny.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Orange peel mouth guards (plus yogurt)

Says it all...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Flying reptiles

I like to face windows - at home, in restaurants, at the office. During a meeting today I faced the windows so I could enjoy the big blue sky and all the sunshine on this perfect summer day.

At one point during the meeting with a board member, our CEO, COO and another colleague, I could barely contain myself as one of those planes that flies banners was in the sky with a huge sign reading

Snakes + Airplanes = In Theaters
complete with huge snake with fangs. What a sight.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Making the top bunk

How does one make the top bunk?

Especially when the kid who sleeps in it is a pack rat?

We've waited to get bunk beds until the boys were 6 years old. They were a month shy of their birthday when we bought them last month. Their feet were sticking out of the end of their toddler beds but their bedroom is too small for two twin beds so we waited.

One boy declared - for months - that he was sleeping on the top bunk. The other one was fine with this arrangement and never publicly longed to be in the top bunk. Then the first night and sheer panic set in for the guy on the top. He refused to sleep in his new bed. Complained the new red sheets were too bumpy among other things. The list seemed endless.

Then his brother offered to switch and take the top bunk. And like that, equilibrium was achieved in their reconfigured bedroom.

Now the top bunk kid (formerly of the bottom bunk) is the pack rat. This morning as I was changing the top bunk I had to contend with:

a pillow
his Summer 2006 journal in a plastic bag
silver ribbon tied to the railing
his bank
plastic container with pencils and notepads
6 plastic cups and matching bowls (for when he plays restaurant)
art projects from camp
his favorite stuffed animal (a lamb named Bobby)
pocket schedule for the local MLS team
several business size envelopes each holding something
clipboard with paper

There I am, on top of the mattress, lifting up the corners and trying not to let everything fall behind the bed. I can't get the sheet to sit snuggly on the wall side of the mattress. I feel like I'm wrestling but already pining down my opponent, unable to finish him off.

Then, does a nearly 6 year old really care if his bed has army corners?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Driving by for Peace

One night my son suggested we all draw after dinner. "What should we draw?" I asked. "Posters for peace!" said the other one, "That way President Bush will see them when he drives by."

We live in one of the bluest states in the country. There is no way the President will drive by and see our little posters for Peace.

"Why do you want to draw these?"

"Because of the picture in the paper. The one with the man carrying the woman." He was describing a photo on the front page of our local newspaper.

I've tried for years to shield my children from the news. They never heard about the tsunami in 2004. I turn off the radio so we can't hear news from the Middle East and we usually hide the newspaper. Although clearly I didn't get the picture with the photographer carrying the elderly woman out of view.

Now as almost 6-year-olds they are old enough. To talk about wars, natural disasters and other calamities. Because they believe that posting hand drawn Peace signs will make President Bush stop all the fighting.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Me too

I couldn't get my two-year-old to fall back to sleep to "finish" her nap. Finish being relative since she only needed half an hour that day while I needed her to sleep for much longer, like half the day.

I wrestled with her on my bed, asking, begging, pleading with her to go to sleep. "No" she would yell. Over and over. "I go dow-stairs! I GO DOW-STAIRS!"

Then after 10 minutes she bellowed "I wanna go to Margaret's! I wanna go to MARGARET'S!"

I nearly fell out of the bed. Margaret is my friend I saw almost once a week with my twins for over 4 years until last fall. I haven't spent much time with her since my work scheduled changed to 4 1/2 days a week. I miss her terribly. Out of the blue, my daughter yelled out what I had thought for months.

Me too, baby girl. I wanna go to Margaret's too.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

First time

I've been writing for an office blog - a practice "sandbox" - to see how a system change organization can use blogs and Wiki to change the world. Or at least help low-income women become economically independent. Not that many poor people have blogged their way to self-sufficiency. But once that is up and running I'll be sure to link to it.

I want to write my own things. I'm definitely the one on the office blog who keeps writing when no one else does. So time to jump on my own.

Musings of a soccer mom in denial. I have three mostly amazing kids who drive me nuts and make me love them more every day. I drive a mini-van (that's called "mom's car") complete with a soccer air freshener. Yet I've convinced my kids that Erasure and Eurythmics are children's music so now we are listening to "Right By Your Side" over and over again. Better than Barney...