Saturday, August 30, 2008


I have overloaded on Democratic convention watching, checking many channels' coverage through the wonders of TiVo (yeah, I know it's weird, but the old opinion editor/journalist in me has not completely died) and I have to say, "I hate the media." Old Media and its buffoons are embarrassing. I don't think there was a single commentator on TV who was worth listening too. They bashed one way, then they bashed the next way just to have something to say -- though I'm not sure they were actually listening to themselves.

Are we sure James Carville is a Dem? He was ridiculous (even more so than usual). CNN's lineup on the convention floor plus all the graphic crap on the screen ALL the time was asinine. Do I really need the barometer of noise from the convention floor the entire time CNN is on the air? They even kept that crap on the screen during commercials.

Thankfully, there's been lots of Daily Show and Stephen Colbert skewering politicians and media personalities.

I feel ready for the Republican convention in St. Paul.

Friday, August 29, 2008


I still have a crush on Al Gore.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I've been telling the Skank487 story lately so I thought I would share it here (My apologies if you have or have had the IM moniker of Skank487):

When we go away one of my brothers will stay at the house and take care of the dogs. Well, years ago my youngest brother watched the house and the dog. He was 21 or 22 at the time. He used my husband's work laptop to surf the internet. We won't discuss what he may have looked at or whatever he did online, but we do know he installed some instant messaging software that we were NEVER able to fully destroy.

You know where this is going, don't you? Yeah. Poor husband. He didn't see it coming. He is standing in front of a large group of higher-ups at Washington Mutual. His laptop screen is shown on a giant video screen so everyone can see. Other higher-ups who couldn't make it where connected online.

There's my husband pitching the e-bidding process he has been working on for the company when up pops a little window: Skank487 says "Want to play?"


My Eagle Scout husband was mortified. It took him a few minutes to figure out how to get that off the screen. There were more than a few snickers. Even more snickers when he threw out there, "My brother in law used my computer this weekend." Yeah, right, buddy...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Know thyself

Neil might be the most forthright person I know.

He knows himself and he is honest about it. No artifice here.

When our dog Walt died last year, Jack took it HARD. A day or two later I asked Jack how he was doing and he mumbled, "Fine."

Neil looked at me and said, "I'm not fine. I'm not fine at all! My dog died, and I want him back."
Exactly what we were all feeling, but not saying. Neil wasn't crying but he wasn't going to pretend that everything was OK.

At the beginning of the year we had a discussion about "pulling a card" (the school discipline system: green card is good, yellow card means you've reached the warning  phase, orange card is almost red and red means trip to the principal and a note home to mom and dad). I think Jack has pulled two cards his entire school career -- both of which he immediately confessed and cried over.

I suspect there will be a lot of card pulling in Neil's life. I've often joked that I work so much at school to soften the teachers up for Neil.

I offered the boys a prize if they went all year without pulling a card. Jack immediately agreed. That's just easy money for him.

Neil, on the other hand, contemplated my offer. He seriously thought about it for a bit and when I prodded him, he said, "I don't think I can agree to that. It's just not possible Mom."

He's right. Why set ourselves up for failure?

This morning he didn't want to get up to take Jack to school. Jack has to be there at 7:45 a.m. Neil doesn't have to be to school until 10:15 a.m. so every morning I have to wake him up. This morning he asked if he could just stay home and sleep.

"Can you behave and not get into trouble?"

He didn't even answer. He just got in the car.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I need to read more

Maggie at Mighty Girl has written a list of books that changed her. It's inspired me to write my own list. Though upon review, I realize these are books I read years ago. What have I been doing lately? Or do just the books you read when you were young and so much more impressionable stick with you? I still read these authors/poets, but it's the first reading I remember the most.

“Salvador” by Joan Didion -- It’s a very long essay on American involvement in El Salvador written in 1983. It showed me that journalism could be so much more than just the story in the newspaper. -- that an observer could also be passionate. For years, I made all my friends read it. My apologies to those of you who I quite obnoxiously forced to do so.

“Birthday Letters” by Ted Hughes: It is an amazingly honest, intimate and incredible book of poetry. It reminds me that there are many sides to a story and many years that carry that story even after death.

“Adrienne Rich’s Poetry”: It was a critical edition for a post-modern poetry class in college. Her imagery coupled with her politics and her personal growth as a feminist was so compelling, so engaging. It made poetry so “revolutionary” to me. The volume is still on my shelves and often next to my bedside.

“The Moving Target” by W.S. Merwin -- Again that post-modern poetry class. Perceptive, clear and vivid poetry that inspired me.

“A.P. Stylebook” -- The journalist’s “Bible.” I think I slept with it when I discovered it in my first journalism class. I loved the order, the rightness of it.

“Bachelor Girls” by Wendy Wasserstein -- She could chronicle smart, successful yet human women with such sass and spirit. You felt like she knew you. When she describes her mother’s response to her winning a Pulitzer Prize (“That’s nice honey, but your sister has given me grandkids...”), I could relate.

“Thinking Out Loud” by Anna Quindlen -- She is a journalist, novelist and a mother. She blends personal with political and always touches you. I want to be her (my version) when I grow up.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Just an update

I've been totally ignoring my blog! We've had school, family visiting and Cub Scout events until we couldn't stand it any more! What has my life come to?

Neil started kindergarten. No kisses and no hand-holding at school allowed (by him). He is quite pleased with his big-boy-ness.

He is a little disappointed in the teacher though. "She said she was going to teach me how to read, and I haven't seen it." What is that teacher doing with her day?!

Jack is liking 4th grade but the work is "much harder, Mom." Just you wait, sweetie...

Dean is in Chicago and I don't know how single parents do it... And let's be honest, I'm not really single-parenting here. I'm just keeping them alive till Dad gets back. 

I'm tired and cranky.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Cake gone wrong

I never really thought cake could go wrong... but oh, can it!
This is my favorite website now: cakewrecks. I found it on fussy.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Neil's turn

Neil starts school tomorrow. ... 

He has a lunch box, a backpack, new school clothes and a very short haircut. He is very ready.

The camera battery is charged. Mom has stocked the house with school supplies. The kitchen is overflowing with lunch stuff. I don't feel very ready.

We even checked the class lists at school. Yep. He's on there. He knows who his teacher is and where his classroom is. Jack's been schooling him on the rules.

Last night, he crawled in my lap to whisper that he was a little nervous. Me too, buddy.

Technology Gods are smiling

It's like the sun is shining on our humble home. Dare I say it out loud? We have working technology in all areas... Yeah, me! In fact, it's all working better than before. The TV is brighter, better, more HD. The new remote works better than the old one. It does everything a remote should do (a little lacking in the Mojito making, but perhaps someday technology will catch up). We don't even have to use the old Time Warner remote when we want to watch a DVD (which we did after the "professional" 5 1/2 hour DirecTV set up). I believe a pool is in order. We are taking bets on how long this will last. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A light at the end of the tunnel

The most amazing package arrived on our doorstep just now. It's the new lamp for the television. The boys are at Pa's house. Do I dare "fix" the TV on my own? Will it be a lovely surprise for Dean? Or will it be a big, big, big mistake?

I could be watching Michael Phelps win his 18th or so gold medal in no time!

Monday, August 11, 2008


The summer of technology continues. We had a few peaceful, blissful days, but then ...

When we returned from camping, we discovered a gnarled mass on the living room floor. What was it? Ahhhhh, the remote. Great.

Did you know a new remote from DirecTV is only $15, plus $1.25 in taxes. They won't overnight it and add the charges to your bill... 

Then we found swim trunks chewed on, a blue crayon that had seen better days, some chunks of who-knows-what and various other evidence that my brother, the dog sitter, had been seriously asleep on the job. I believe the cognac bottle in the freezer might be evidence against him.

But that all pales in comparison to turning on the TV (manually of course. Who knew you could still do that?!).... and NOTHING. NADA. ZIP.

The lamp on the TV blew. Exploded by the looks of it when we pulled it out... That's a bit more than the remote. And we'll be doing the repairs ourselves. Can you tell where this is going? We can't. We are actually going to give this a go. I'll let you know when we end up TV shopping.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Who am I?

So I joined Facebook. It's exciting and addictive. And oh so overwhelming. I've already exchanged e-mails with friends from college (let's not talk about how long that's been) and friends from Prague (slightly less long time ago). It's only been 24 hours. Who knows what will happen by Friday?

It feels like every aspect of your life is out there, waiting to come rushing at you at once. And frankly, there are portions of my life, I need some prep time to revisit! It's one thing to tell stories about yourself. I am an excellent editor. It's another when others get to chime in on the stories. When subjects of stories meet up with subjects of other stories -- it can't be good.

It's just a matter of time before old boyfriends show up at the door. How am I going to explain those choices? I'm nauseous.

That's the thing about blogging, social networking and just the Internet itself. It's all right there in one big melting pot -- no editing, no context, no kidding!

I can see where my Dad slept as a 3-year-old in an internment camp in China. I can see the ship he sailed on when he was in the Navy at 18. Distant relatives of my husband have sent me photos of his grandfather.

When it comes to my personal history, Facebook has brought collegiate memories, Prague friends, and I think I found a cousin (I'm assuming) who I didn't know existed who is living in this same town!

I suppose it's a matter of owning who you are (or owning UP to who you are) -- all of you, not just the right-now you.

It's about remembering all of you. Something mothers don't always do. We are so caught up in kids, homework, sports, and whatever else it takes to get through the day that we forget who we are sometimes. At least I do. And I am all those things you can find out there on the Internet. I might even be much more than just a mom (a label I wear very proudly).

Remind me to tell you about the time I deflected an armed robber. That was a kick-ass me.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Caught in the act

Last night's "after" the PTA meeting discussion turned to what happens when junior catches you and Daddy. We haven't been caught (that I know), but that's probably because we are slackers or at least more paranoid about making sure the kids are asleep. I hear the sex increases when the kids are a little older and less likely to crawl in bed with you in the middle of the night. But then they get old enough to stay up late and, if you are the worrying type and your bedrooms are close, you never have it again until they go to college or you get a hotel.

But apparently others are doing it enough to get caught.

One woman's husband explained that "Mommy has a tummy ache, and I'm helping her." Seriously? What happens next time the little guy doesn't feel so good and wants Daddy to "help" him?

Another's husband (why is it always Dad doing the talking in the story?) said, "We are exercising." How many calories does Dad really think he is burning?

My favorite actually comes from several years ago. Another preschool mom and dad had been caught in the act. Mom quickly explained that it was a "Married Hug." I was kind of impressed. It seemed like a great way to put it at a preschool level, convey your values (at least the ones that showed up when you had kids) and it got you out of explaining the whole thing.

And it was a great idea -- until her 3-year-old daughter started knocking over boys on the play yard, climbing on top of them and telling them that she was giving them a "married hug."

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Neil hurtles toward adulthood

"Neil, don't grow up."

"I'm five Mom!"

"Don't go to kindergarten. Stay little."


"You can have one more year of preschool. Won't that be fun?"

"Mom, I already have a backpack. I have to grow up."

I hate backpacks.

Friday, August 01, 2008


The boys are LOVING the X-Games. They have recorded them on the DVR and are replaying all the best parts. 

After the winter games, Neil wanted a half-pipe. I can't wait till the end of these games to hear what he would like to try next.

My favorite has been the stellar quote from one competitor who had a broken foot, shoulder and something else: "This is what the X Games are all about!"

Dean has already forbidden the boys from "Going Huge!"

Because I said so

These are all things I have actually said to my children TODAY:

"Don't let the dogs chew on your shirt (while you are wearing it)."

"Don't lick the carpet."

"Do not bite your brother's eyebrow."

"Yes, you do need to wear pants."

"Take that shoe out of your mouth."