Tuesday, July 31, 2007


They start in the middle of May.

People stare. Sometimes with open mouths.

Other times they nudge the person they are with, and either point or motion their chin in my direction. The other person joins in the stare.

Occasionally someone will smile. Mostly it is a look of disconnect. As if they can't understand what I am doing.

Only once in a blue moon will someone actually say it.

"Nice hat."

I border on obsessive about wearing hats from late spring through early fall. I live in fear of sunburns and since I insist my children wear hats, I do the same.

So I asked the brood to help model some of my favorites (note the use of the word some).

A hat that I can roll up (a mere $15 on sale at a chi-chi store).

The reverse of above hat so really two hats for $7.50 each!

Another $15 find at the same store. It feels like it was made from burlap bags.

I just love the huge brim on this one. And for some reason it gets ALOT of stares.

When I wear this one, a colleague comments "Oh, you've got your church hat on."

Much to my patient husband's chagrin I have lost count of the number of hats I own. There are a fair number of caps in this mix as well including one with the Cat in the Hat and another from an awesome bar in St. Louis.

So I walk proud in this northern city with my big, ol' sun hats. When I walk through Chinatown I'll see a few women walking under paper parasols. We give each other knowing smiles.

We won't have nearly as many wrinkles.

Monday, July 30, 2007


For several weeks the boys have been planning a lemonade stand. This is a complicated business endeavour since we live on a state highway which means stopping is illegal. Our driveway is very short so folks can't pull into it.

But why should logistics hinder a dream of owning a business? Especially when the investor doesn't ask for his money back.

Then there is the time of day they insisted on setting up their stand. 9:00 on a Sunday morning is actually a quiet time on our street/highway. And who wants to drink lemonade at 9:00am?

Apparently one of our town leaders. The chair of the town Democratic party pulled up in his big car before I got the lemonade in the fancy glass pitcher and asked for a cup. He handed the boys $6 and told them to keep the change.

Then there was the guy who jumped out of his car, asked for 2 cups and gave the boys a $10. AND TOLD THEM TO KEEP THE CHANGE! Of course, the boys don't really know how much they just scored. One starts to decorate a tip jar. I told him to stop since they had just received a $9 tip!

So in the end they sold about 10 cups of lemonade in 2 hours. They earned over $20 because nearly everyone handed them more than 50 cents and told them to keep the change.

Thanks to everyone who made two little boys successful business men.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


This is part of the Weekly Photo hunters. Click to find other hunters.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

She's leaving

Yup. Jenn is leaving China this week.

And if you haven't clicked Heart to Heart Talk over on the right, you should. And spend an hour going through her photographs. They alone will make you wish you could live Jenn's life.

Jenn has spent the last 10 months on a Fullbright Scholarship studying women and work. From the about section of her blog she explains, "My one sentence topic description is 'how rapid economic development and reemerging traditional cultural beliefs are currently affecting women’s work.'"

Yes. She is a smart as she sounds. But she isn't one of these people who grew up with a silver spoon in her mouth. Her life experience is varied and textured. It gives her a perspective few of us are capable of having.

But the most exciting thing for me? I get to give her a hug when she returns.

While we worked in the same office for more than a year, we didn't really know each other. Before she left the country she gave me some blogging tutorials. But our friendship really bloomed over this near-year. And while I am sad that she won't be in China for now, I'm glad to have her back.

Because maybe she'll give me some photo tutorials.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I was invited to a ceremony at a middle school in a city neighborhood that has seen its share of gun violence.

There were police officers in dress uniforms, cadets handing out programs and proud families clutching digital cameras. In the front row of the tiny auditorium, little boys in polo shirts and khaki pants sat next to their mothers while television cameras set up in the back.

I was invited to attend the pining ceremony for a Sergeant Detective who had been promoted to Deputy Superintendent.

He is unique in the oldest police force in the country for a variety of reasons.

He is an African-American male with a very high rank in a police department in a city not exactly known for easy race relations.

He is openly gay.

His name is Norm.

Of the three, I think the last one is the most difficult.

I arrived in the auditorium 15 minutes before the ceremony. Seven other officers were also being pinned so the room was filling up. But there was a group of men in the middle in various outfits. Some had on street uniforms, others were in street clothes. But they all had guns and badges. They all were fit, even large chested, and looked like they could take down a suspect in seconds.

So when a new fellow yelled a greeting from the aisle there was none of the standard, guttural "hey" with a stilted hand shake like I saw else where in the room.

No, it was full-on hugs. The newcomers were greeted with "Hey there!" with a tad bit of, yes, swish. Outfits were complimented. Weights, hair, and yes, shoes were commended. These men were out of the closet, in the force and proud that one of theirs was recognized for his hard work on behalf of the citizens of his city.

When the new Deputy Superintendent was pinned by his mother with the Mayor and Commissioner of Police watching, he got the loudest cheers of all. Those men were beaming. People around us smiled. There were hearty applause from the other officers in the room. This was a reason to be proud.

And I was.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

There was a circus in the botanical garden

Ever since Brian was sent to Circus Smirkus on last year's Fetch with Ruff Ruffman I have wanted to go see this. It's essentially a summer camp of older high school kids who learn circus skills and perform under a big tent. No animals. Just lots of acrobatics, clowning, juggling and general merriment.

My favorite was these huge pieces of fabric. The kids (really the oldest looked 17) climbed up, hung upside down and at one point, intricately wrapped themselves then dropped quickly to the ground. They had somehow created knots to stop their falls.

If I was one of their mothers, I would've had a heart attack on the spot. Not sure I would let my kids run off to join the circus.

And who did I inflict the joys of a hot circus tent on a Saturday afternoon? My college friend of nearly 20 years (we co-hosted a 3am-6am Friday morning radio show our senior year generally after a night of dancing). She is also one of my son's godmother and truly game for anything.

The other amazing part of the day was discovering the location of the circus was a botanical garden. I had never heard of the place and we were all pleasantly surprised at the gardens, old buildings and creative play spaces.

It was an extra bonus to a lovely day.

Friday, July 20, 2007


A porcelain doll head found in our backyard.
This is part of the Weekly Photo hunters. Click to find other hunters.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Wandering weekend

We went away last weekend to another state. We visited one of the smallest beaches in that state.

Little lady sang on the beach.

The men "experimented" with a piece of drift wood.

At a wonderful museum about shipping, boats and the sea, they watched a play about whaling ships. We learned in the 18th century some sailors were as young as 7 years old.

Hmmm.... that's how old a set of twins will be next month.

From a little shuttle boat we could see beautiful ships.

Oh, and we even sidled up to the bar of the local pizza shop for a pepperoni pie. (And when the food arrived, the boys' caps came off. I assure you.)

We did go in a rowboat. The big, strong rugby player took on the task of rowing a boat with the four of us. Of course, I'm not sure what made us think taking two tornadoes, errr boys, in a row boat with a 3-year-old was a good idea. She was perfect and sat motionless the entire time. I'm still amazed one of the lads didn't go overboard.

But just like we had to do on the (two) horse open sleigh in January, we sang "Row Row Row Your Boat" causing the sailors on one boat to exclaim:

"You are the happiest boat on the river."

And in spite of our anxiety about ending up in the river, we were indeed the happiest boat on the river.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Two weeks is too long

My boys are BACK! Oh and how I missed them.

[The above clip is so completely, over-the-top that it has to be funny. Horrifyingly funny.]

Now keep in mind I TiVo so I'm a day late. But did you hear Mr. Stewart's rage that we can't expect the Iraqi Congress to meet in August because it is too hot? He asked why we expect OUR TROOPS to be there if it is too hot the Iraqi politicians. Unfortunately the rage part is cut off from the link but just know, it was funny.

Funny in a sad, pitiful, who-the-hell-voted-for-this-*sshole way.

Anyone who reads my blog willing to admit to voting for the President?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a registered lobbyist. Yup, in the same profession as Jack Abramoff. I've even been known to start my part of a meeting by donning a fedora, just for the laugh.

But before you start slinging rotten food at me (or your computer screen), I am a registered lobbyist in the Commonwealth where I work for a non-profit organization that supports community economic development through affordable housing, small business development and asset development. I spent the bulk of today at a legislative hearing about affordable housing. I ran into people I knew, introduced them to each other, met new people and listened to nearly five hours of testimony. Some of the testimony was heartbreaking. Elders, adults with disabilities and low-income mothers talked of their fears that government subsidized buildings might start renting at market rate, effectively forcing them into nursing homes, out-of-state or into shelters.

That is one definition of a schmoozer.

But now this has some cache since I now have been bestowed THIS!

Jenn, lovely, lovely Jenn, has given me the Official Schmooze Bicep button. I could not be more honored. Especially after reading this:

Schmoozing is the natural ability “to converse casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection.” Good schmoozers effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogosphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don’t limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello - all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship.

Yes, dear readers, I was built for schmooze. But not for gaining an advantage. Simply to make connections.

So now I get to pass this along (see these are the things I like to pass along - an award with a pretty, err, forceful button). My top schmoozers are:

Gunfighter - this man oozes schmooze and coming from me this is a huge compliment! He definitely embodies the spirit of bringing people together.

Soodz - she was one of the first folks to pay attention to me. She was also my first hostess for the Blog Exchange (which is sadly taking a break this month. Boo-hoo).

Jodifur - she set the bar really high for Blog Exchange host. She actually forwarded to me every single comment left on her blog from my piece. She also never let's a comment go without a reply and the ensuing conversations are funny and thoughtful.

The Real Life Drama Queen - she. simply. rocks. My trail is definitely happier after she has strutted on by. And as a fag hag, I just love a drama queen.

Formula Fed and Flexible Parenting - she not only chats it up with me, she actually met me in person. That gets a gold star.

And I had every intention of giving one to this blogger but Mz. Jenn had to jump in and add her after the fact so while I hate giving people awards they already have, she's too good not to get it twice.

Twas Brillig - First of all the name is just awesome. Secondly she is one of those "popular" blog kids who still finds time to visit those of us hanging out in the science labs (or political science in my case). How popular is she? She got 28 comments (I was one of them) when she complained that her site was broken. Twenty-eight.

Now go forth and schmooze! Pass along to as many, or few, as you want.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Fear

We were all enjoying an evening in another town's municipal pool, the guests of beloved friends. I offered to take the oldest kids (my two boys and my friend's eldest) to the bathrooms.

I have struggled with what to do when my nearly 7-year-old boys need to relieve themselves. They are coming to the age where dragging them into the women's room is embarrassing for them. Once we had to use a women's room inside a locker room and, well, the boys got an eyeful much to all of our embarrassment.

But then I live in fear that someone will hurt my children and I won't be there to stop it. I know that children are more likely to be hurt by someone they know then a boogie man lurking in a public bathroom. But I also know they can be hurt by someone their own age.

So when one of my boys ran sobbing out of the bathroom with dirt on his chest, I thought I would vomit. I wrapped him in a towel as he heaved his tears.

When I was 6 or 7 years old I was invited outside to play by a neighborhood girl. A year older than me, my parents had known her parents for years and didn't think anything of her offer to play. She took me to the backyard of a third kid, a boy older than both of us. All I remember is my underwear was off and he is touching me with his dirt covered finger. Nothing else happened. But the only other thing I remember is crying in my family room with my parents.

"What happened?"

"I slipped and hit my head!"

"No one pushed you?"


"No one scared you?"

"No. I just slipped in a really big puddle on the floor."

The lump started to appear off of his forehead. It was big so now I had other concerns to worry about.

I can deal with those.


I can honestly say that the account described above is the only time someone inappropriately touched me as a child. I have dear friends that have dealt with much, much worse. I am also not an expert on these issues so please, if you are dealing with trauma from abuse, or worried about a child you care about, please seek out professional help. If you have concerns for a child's immediate safety, call the police.

For more information about child abuse, visit Prevent Child Abuse America for an organization in your state. Information for adult survivors of childhood abuse can be found at Adult Survivors of Child Abuse.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Crossing the line

I read about them with envy. People meet, talk, laugh and comment how wonderful it was.

Actually seeing someone from the blogosphere live and in person.

Now Ambassador and Jenn don't count. I knew them before I started to blog (in the Ambassador's case before email became a regular part of people's lives. Yes youngsters, a really, really, really long time ago).

But I was a bit paralyzed with "what if". What if the person turned out to be someone that I didn't like? What if they weren't who they seemed (to me) on their blog? And then there are always those ax-murderer, identity-stealing, thug-like fears.

So meeting Alex Elliot of Formula Fed and Flexible Parenting was great for several reasons. She didn't want my credit card information and wasn't a jerk.

Now dear readers who have yet to meet her, she is wonderful. Funny, bright and truly one of the kindest parents. Period. I also got to meet OS and YS and according to her OS wasn't in his best mood. Now, if that wasn't sterling behavior, that kid must glow when he is behaving. He was great and YS just lapped it up when my daughter rubbed his head. Which is good because she did it often.

Those of you going to Blogher at the end of the month, go find Alex E. She'll be there. And I'll be a little less envious since I've already met her. Plus we've already mentioned the next place to meet up.

But this one won't allow food inside.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


This is part of the Weekly Photo hunters. Click to find other hunters.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Taking over

Shhh..... don't tell anyone but this isn't your regular hostess.

It's the tooth fairy. I've decided to jump on to let you know that one of the boys lost a tooth this morning. It was funny because in the car he told his mother and brother that I have a huge microphone that hangs in the sky below my office. I listen in to find out who has lost a tooth.

He couldn't be more wrong.

I'm a FAIRY. It is all magic. And also so much more manageable. Sure, I have to do this every day, 365 days a year without a break. Those dudes - the one up North and bunny - have it so easy. One crazy day and they've got the rest of the year off. Santa has all those elves make the toys while he's off "strategizing" and rabbit threatens all the other rabbits to work on the eggs. Who do you think makes all those "lucky" rabbit feet key chains?

"You not gonna work fer me? I'm cutting off this foot. But first I'll dye it, and let you pick the color out. Oh, now you wanna work for me?"
But back to me and my magic. You see I already knew his tooth would come out this morning. I'll collect it and add it to all the others. Do you know what I do with the teeth? I grind them up and turn them into fairy dust.

Because what could be more magical than children's teeth? They still have the first laughter, words and kisses in them.

That's magic.

I was being nosy and reading some of those blogs she has listed over on the right. I saw that The Ambassador wrote up his list of Eight Interesting Things about Himself. He is interesting. I can attest that his baby teeth were very magical.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Whooping it up

I spent the night before flying listening to the family tell never ending stories about horrible violent crime - including rapes, car jackings and murders. I was starting to think I had lost my mind even thinking I could do this.

I worked a second job to pay for this trip to South Africa in 1999. I read Nelson Mandela's autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, during my breaks and while riding the subway. I wanted to visit this new democracy while a living legend was still her president.

My first few days were spent in Johannesburg with a woman I met in a Paris youth hostel 9 years earlier. We had exchanged letters over the years but in early 1998 she had access to reliable email. We decided I would come visit for three weeks in January. I would start in Johannesburg, fly to Cape Town for a solo trip, return to take a tour of Kruger National Park, then finish in Jo'burg.

The night before my solo travels we were in her parents' backyard with extended family, eating barbecue, and they are telling never ending stories about crime. Crime rates, statistics, personal stories, stories they had heard, on and on and on.

I have no room lined up in Cape Town and don't know anyone there. I've done this before, traveled alone into a city and found a room after getting oriented but for some reason this felt crazy. Like I was intentionally setting myself up to be hurt by a crazed criminal, or criminals.

I had already bought the round trip ticket on South Africa Air. The next morning, my friend drove me to the airport and wished me "Bon Voyage". I still remember the feeling of terror trying to wind its way up from my stomach to my throat. It would occasionally get as far as the back of my mouth, and I would tear up as I tried not to scream or cry.

But then I saw magic out of my plane window. I saw textures I didn't know land could make. Mountains with crevices and trees. Later it was a flat that went on forever. As the plane flew into the setting sun there were long shadows that seem to go on for miles.

I arrived in Cape Town and eventually found a room in a quiet inn with a view of Table Mountain. One night a German family staying at the inn insisted on taking me with them to watch the sun set from windy Signal Hill. I visited the island where Mandela and other political prisoners were held during the long struggle to end apartheid. I walked up to Table Mountain by myself. I visited wineries, ran on the beach with African penguins and saw the point where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet.

The last night I decided to treat myself to a fancy meal in a small Italian restaurant I had noticed during my hike up to Table Mountain. Walking in alone it became clear the waiters didn't know how to treat me. I was sat at a table and they hovered. Every time I put down my water glass it was filled again to the top. I decided to be extravagant and order a salad, main course and desert along with a glass of wine. All this food meant I would be at the table for a long time.

During the meal I watched the staff and the street outside the window. I enjoyed the food and the wine. When the check came, the total came to 56 Rand, or around $8 US. At that price I felt like I was stealing their food and since they had been so attentive, I left a $10 tip.

As I walked out the waitstaff could be heard whooping as they cleared my table. It was either a whoop from my generosity or utter stupidity. I didn't care. I was whooping too.

This is my submission to Scribbit's monthly Write-Away contest. This month's topic was "My Most Adventurous Moment." Check her out on Friday, July 20th for a list of all the submissions.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Princess and the Pond

My high school was written up in a recent biography of the Crown Princess of Japan Masako Owada. She attended the high school before I got there. I have no idea if she was interviewed or even consented to this biography.

A friend, and fellow BHS grad, received photographed pages of the book taken in a Tokyo bookstore. He in turn sent them along to me. The following dissection of the translated passages are in no way meant to offend anyone (so calm down all you readers in Japan).

I indent the passages from a translated version. The author writes:

Even though she had attended primary school of three years in New York, nothing better illustrates the culture shock the young Masako would have to cope with than her new school. The contrast between the strict, prudish nuns of Futaba and freewheeling Belmont High School in semi-rural Massachusetts could not be starker.
Freewheeling? Semi-rural? I read that and think cows (well, cows on drugs). Or Vermont. We were less than 4 miles from the state capital, had public transit and no farms. I comment on drugs below.

Set beside a large lake in grounds full of silver-birch trees,

The "large lake" is called Claypit Pond and would never be mistaken for a lake. And full of birch trees? This is a photo from around the time the eventual Princess attended BHS. I did drive by last night and there are a lot more trees around today. So many you really can't see the school from the street. While an accurate description today, not so 20+ years ago.

Belmont's emblem is not a symbolic green sprig, but a pirate with a dagger clenched between his teeth wearing a tricorn hat emblazoned with a skull and crossbones.
I never thought of our Marauder that way but yes, we were fancy pirates. Argghhh.

The school has grassy sports grounds, where Masako would continue to play softball, an ice-skating rink, and a huge parking lot for the staff and teenage students, many of whom drive themselves to school.
It is true we had very, very nice sports facilities including a pool. The parking lot, however wasn't THAT big and in my day some kids did drive themselves to school (I was not one of them). What? Everyone walked to your school?

Instead of religious icons, the walls are covered with great splashy pictures of comic-book characters.
Really? Where? I would've LOVED to gaze at Wonder Woman during biology.
It is co-educational, and as for tucking one's socks over three times to just 15 centimetres above the ankle, the uniform is gangsta (their spelling) rapper chic - forage caps on backwards, baggy pants, football jumpers and sneakers. And make-up - banned on pain of expulsion at Futaba - is de rigeur (their emphasis).
Had "gansta rap chic" even hit the suburbs in the early 1980's? And what are football jumpers? I was too busy wearing over sized Frankie Says Relax t-shirts to notice.
Ethnic homogeneity is replaced with diversity - one in five of the students at Belmont is Hispanic or African-American.
This part is probably the most horrific because it is just patently not true. While I was at BHS I literally cannot recall any Latinos and all the African-American students were bused in - I kid you not - through a program to get "inner city" (read Black) students into suburban schools. There were maybe 5-10 Black students per class of 250-300. That's more like one in twenty. And at times a pretty lonely one too.
The notice board, rather than having notes about upcoming softball fixtures and music clubs, has the phone number of the Samaritans' suicide helpline, and newspaper cuttings with cautionary headlines such as '20 Shots of Scotch Prove Fatal to Student' and 'Six-Pack Cost Him $4722'.
The only place I can think of that had these posted was the health ed classroom and I was able to get out of that requirement because it met during band. Plus, what health problems could band kids get into anyway?

Julie Yeh, a Taiwanese student who befriended Masako, says that, compared with their new American classmates, they were both initially rather socially naive. Masako was shocked at the drug use and dating.
Yes, there were drugs at BHS. I can't comment if it was more or less than other schools since I didn't A) attend any other high school or B) use any illicit drugs. Yes my dear friends, I have never smoked, snorted, nor injected. I've never smoked a cigarette.However, did you notice that in the above sentence from the book they put dating and drug use together? As if they go hand-in-hand? Yes, I dated in high school but wasn't getting stoned or drunk with them.

When they went to the school prom, Masako blushed at the couples kissing in the dark, and since they didn't know how to dance, the two girls spent the night watching movies in the school auditorium.
Now I know for a fact that the author(s) have no clue what they are writing about. Every BHS Prom is held at one of the swanky downtown hotel ballrooms. And the room is always well-lit so kids can enjoy the ridiculous opulence around them.

There you have it. Of course, I'd love to know what the huge busloads of Japanese tourists who drove through our town in the late 1980's and early 1990's thought of it all.

I've got to say that letting people pick if they want to participate in a meme takes the stress off of receiving them. Jodifur listed a wonderful set of 9 (hey, more is better). My favorite of her list - she wants to own a winery. Darling you have an investor, as long as I get a case every year.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Not even PG-13?

Free Online Dating

(Brought to you by Mingle2)

I was determined a PG Rating (oh, how, safe) because of the following words:

I wrote "Fag" three times and wrote "Shoot" twice.

Now I am impressed that violent words are counted, but come on.

I have written FAG more than three times!


And guess what? The Real Life Drama Queen posted her own list of eight things about herself. I think the list is both hysterical (300 DVDs) and touching. Fodder for more posts darling!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Went to a hockey game

Insert all the bad jokes here. They were true.

My cousin's son is a hard core hockey player in his home state south of the Mason Dixon line. His parents decided to send him to a camp up here, in a state where hockey is wicked intense.

Over the weekend I brought the boys to the rink 7 miles from our house for the 9:40pm game, the team's second in a tournament that followed the camp. They played against a team from Montreal. Within five minutes of the game, a Canadian player repeatedly hit and kicked a player from the home team. The beaten player ended up with a broken ankle. The aggressor was never penalized, I guess because the referees didn't see it

That led to a game with 16 year old boys constantly tripping, hitting, slamming, and other aggressive acts. I'm familiar enough with hockey to know that is part of the tactic. However, even seasoned hockey parents told me this was going too far.

It did go too far. The game was called because the players were fighting too much. We literally went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.

But this was great. A blessing really. One of my guys has been nagging me constantly to let him take up hockey. This is a kid, who along with his brother, plays (deep breath) soccer, basketball, t-ball, and tennis along with starting on a swim team this week. Aside from the ridiculous number of sports he plays there is no way in hell I will

  1. pay the outrageous costs for hockey equipment (I learned one of those sticks alone can cost up to $150)

  2. deal with 4:30am practice times or tournament games ending at 11:30 at night

  3. encourage my children to participate in a sport that expressly endorses fighting
So there we were in the dark parking lot past midnight and I told him never to bring up playing hockey again. Because if he does, I'll ask him which part of that evening he enjoyed.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Cleaning house

Tags. They really are tough for me. I have these plans for what the week's worth of posts will look like and - bam - someone publicly hands me a task. One poor person gave me one months ago that I just couldn't fulfill (I mean I take ALL of my goals seriously!). Sorry.

There are three in the cue. Here's the first one.

The Rules:

Players start with 8 random facts about themselves.

  • Those who are tagged should post these rules and their 8 random facts.

  • Players should tag eight other people and notify them that they have been tagged.
Eight random things about me:

1. I read Gone with the Wind between 5th and 6th grade. When I wrote that what-I-read-over- summer-vacation 2 page essay (they didn't assign books back then), my teacher didn't believe me.

2. I was one of the two murderous, spinster maids in Arsenic and Old Lace in my senior class play.

3. I was in a movie with Daniel Day Lewis.

4. Growing up I was teased for not having a "girl" middle name - my middle name is Mitchell.

5. I miss reading books. There are not enough hours in the day to be a mom, work and blog.

6. I was set up on a blind date by someone I met on an airplane. The man I met on that blind date? Mr. SMID.

7. When I entered college my parents told me not to "darken the door of the theater department". I joined the crew team.

8. I believe that the government can play a role in making people's lives better and that the conservatives have done a grave disservice spreading a small government message. Do you like having clean water to drink, cook with and bath your sweet precious children in? Do you appreciate roads that are paved? Do your parents or grandparents like the universal health care (aside from the Republicans creating prescription "coverage") that the government provides? Thank big government.

So now I am suppose to pass this along. Guess what? If you are reading this and think "hmmm I would just love to do this" then considered yourself tagged. Just be sure to let me know you did it and I'll highlight you at the end of upcoming posts.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Or, if you prefer, fake crystals on my daughter's new chandelier over her new, big girl bed.

This is part of the Weekly Photo hunters. Click to find other hunters.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Explaining sad

And to salute our troops, the musicians unveiled Samuel Barber’s “Adagio For Strings,” a somber piece that was used in the film “Platoon.”
-- Boston Herald review of last night's Boston Pops

The boys were struggling to stay awake to listen to Tchaikovsky's 1812th Overture and see the fireworks that followed the Pops July 4th concert. Little lady gave up a while ago and asked to be put to bed (did I ever tell you how reasonable this 3-year-old can be? Asking to go to bed - how did I luck out?).

Conductor Keith Lockhart introduced the next piece while wearing a bright yellow EMT rain coat. He said it was a tribute to all military past and present. As it started I gasped and said it was such a sad piece to play. The son sprawled on my lap asked why it was sad.

"Listen to the music - how the notes make you feel."

"Just tell me" he moaned.

"No honey, you cannot explain music. You feel it. Can't you hear the way the notes flow? It sounds like sadness."

He was silent and asleep before Adagio for Strings was finished.

Then I realized that was one of my more boneheaded attempts to explain something to one of my kids. Why would I expect a nearly 7-year-old kid to know that kind of sad? That heart-breaking, make you cry from the depths of your soul kind of sad? If he did know it, he had already lived a hard life.

But he didn't. And I am glad.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

"My job is to enforce the law"

'Please,' Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, 'don't kill me.'

From: "Devil May Care" by Tucker Carlson, Talk Magazine, September 1999, p. 106

"Bush's brand of forthright tough-guy populism can be appealing, and it has played well in Texas. Yet occasionally there are flashes of meanness visible beneath it.

While driving back from the speech later that day, Bush mentions Karla Faye Tucker, a double murderer who was executed in Texas last year. In the weeks before the execution, Bush says, Bianca Jagger and a number of other protesters came to Austin to demand clemency for Tucker. 'Did you meet with any of them?' I ask.

Bush whips around and stares at me. 'No, I didn't meet with any of them,' he snaps, as though I've just asked the dumbest, most offensive question ever posed. 'I didn't meet with Larry King either when he came down for it. I watched his interview with [Tucker], though. He asked her real difficult questions, like 'What would you say to Governor Bush?' 'What was her answer?' I wonder.

'Please,' Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, 'don't kill me.'

I must look shocked -- ridiculing the pleas of a condemned prisoner who has since been executed seems odd and cruel, even for someone as militantly anticrime as Bush -- because he immediately stops smirking.

'It's tough stuff,' Bush says, suddenly somber, 'but my job is to enforce the law.' As it turns out, the Larry King-Karla Faye Tucker exchange Bush recounted never took place, at least not on television. During her interview with King, however, Tucker did imply that Bush was succumbing to election-year pressure from pro-death penalty voters. Apparently Bush never forgot it. He has a long memory for slights."
[Carlson, Talk, 9/99]

[Ed. Note: During the Larry King-Faye Tucker exchange, Tucker never asked to be spared.]

Such a compassionate conservative. When you are white, male and in the club.

And was the above the conduct of a Christian?


Monday, July 02, 2007

Tongans, fire and sugar

What did you do this weekend? We had a pig roast in our backyard. With Tongans. That last point will make sense shortly.

It all started at 5:30 in the morning on Saturday. My daughter - aka the rooster - awoke and we snuggled in my bed. As we got comfortable we heard the first of the Tongans arriving at our house, helping my husband with clearing out the backyard and preparing the pit for the second annual rugby club pig roast. The first one was held in our backyard last year.

Next came the pig, a 130+ pound recently slaughtered pig. Craig (known around these parts as Mr. SMID) came up with the idea of using a new mop to help marinate the pig while on the spit. We were told that "back home in Tonga" they would marinate the pig overnight in a tub. Since we only have one bathroom in our 130+ year old farm house, I'm glad I wasn't even asked to offer up our claw footed tub for the effort. I would have said no.

I was enjoying the fact that my little men were hanging with these guys with stories of growing up in the South Pacific. I envisioned my sons recounting how they heard of playing on beaches, running for hours, and never ending sun.

I should've grown suspect when I was asked for the largest bag of sugar we had and two spoons.

Did you know that if you throw some sugar on smoldering charcoal, it will shoot up flames? I didn't either.

I have several (at the time) drunk Tongans to thank for teaching my almost 7-year-old sons this new found knowledge. The first time I saw this skill set one of my sons stood over the pit and had, oh, MILLIMETERS between his lovely head and the flame. With much restraint I calmly said, "Love, could you stand back while you shoot flames into the sky?" Really, I was that calm.

But then I could've hugged the guy who showed my sons the scar on his hand and told of how he was playing with fire when he was 9 years old. He seriously burned his hand. When he ran home crying to his father, the man flicked his son's ear twice, told him not to play with fire, and ordered him to walk to the hospital 1 1/2 miles away. Which he did. My boys were just wide-eyed recounting the story

We brought out the television to watch a recorded match between New Zealand and Australia during the Tri-Nations Games. Folks, if you have never seen a Haka Dance, complete with running commentary from actual rugby players, then you haven't had a good time. Especially if there are jokes about slitting the opposing team's throats and eating their kidneys.

Then came the fire dance, by a drunk Tongan (and before anyone thinks it was only the Tongans drinking, there were Irish, Americans, Australians and some other nationalities running amok with the beer). The performing Tongan though was in a sarong type get-up. He swiped the blue fabric from a local bar owner (much to hard to explain here). For those of you concerned about children's welfare, we kept all children on the deck far away from the fire stick

Aside from some grass catching on fire, it was amazing. Then afterwards my sons made charcoal mud and ripped the teeth out of the remnants of pig.

A fun time had by all.

** yes, I do have plenty of photos of the pig, roasting, kids "mopping" it, etc. However, after 10 attempts to download just one of them, I've decided that Blogger is managed by vegetarians.**

Sunday, July 01, 2007

In My Child's Eyes

Belief, nothing more, nothing less.

For the rest of my days I want to look into those eyes, one set a deep indigo, the other an icy blue, and see belief.

I want them to believe in love, so I work at it everyday with their dad.

I want them to believe in holding hands, so I offer mine and take theirs.

I want them to believe in doing what you love, so I pursue my dreams.

I want them to believe in themselves, so we celebrate their wins and their better-luck-next-times.

I want them to believe that I did my best, so I do.

Not yet a soccer mom, but guilty of the odd bit of denial, Amanda usually writes about life with her two girls and their equally blue eyed dad over at The Wink. Scoot on over to catch up with Allison and her delicious Blog Exchange post. Be sure to catch all the other incredible writers featured in the July Blog Exchange .