August 21, 2007
Casual Conversations

Sometimes casual conversations are ... casual. Talking about what's for dinner. Or the theme for birthday parties. Or when Daddy's coming home from work.

Sometimes casual conversations are ... shocking. One of "those" conversations happened a few weeks ago we where on our way home from VBS.

I was driving along, mentally debating the pros and cons of chocolate-dipped pretzel rods versus chocolate-dipped pretzel twists. Suddenly from the backseat ...

Boy (Ron): I'm glad we're starting martial arts lessons.
Mom (Lucy): (Showing good "mommy-skills" with follow-up questions) Why is that?

Boy: You know, because the war is coming. Its good to be prepared.
Mom: (full stop at intersection, full attention on boy) What war?

Boy: (looking reassuringly and softly at rather ... focused ... Mom) War is always coming.
Mom: (vaguely creeped out, but refusing to add weight to his thoughts) Hrumph. True enough. But not today. I think we should have meatballs for dinner tomorrow. Do y'al want sandwiches or spaghetti?

Just that easily, the topic shifted to why peanut-butter-and-jelly is better than meatball sandwiches. Yet I'm still aware of that look. The one that he gave me, as if he were eighty years old and I were a small child who didn't understand. Not judging, mind you. Nor condescending. Just ... knowing.

Even if he had been taught graphically about wars (which I certainly specifically DON'T do at their age), at nine years old he shouldn't have such a clear understanding and acceptance. I suppose that's what really messed with me. He didn't seem phased or alarmed or excited or ... anything ... about the prospect. It was like he had said "The sky is blue, the grass is green, war will come, knowing martial arts will be handy, I like grape-sno-cones"

Casual glimpses into children's minds can be unsettleling.

August 19, 2007
No Good Reason

When we're honest with ourselves, deeply honest -- the kind of true honest that goes beyond political correctness, we must admit that there is no good reason for there to be STRETCH jeans in size 6x.

August 17, 2007
Crazy Week Update

The week is almost over. No one's dead. Yet. Appliance guy came this morning. Was here a total of four minutes. "You need a part. It'll take ten days, shipped directly here. I'll be back on the 29th". Another guy scheduled today, I'm pretty sure, after they percieved themselves to be stalked. In reality, its a small town and we're friendly people. No, I wasn't stalking him. And the computer guy? He's so wildly helpful that I'll be baking them cookies at Christmas. Seriously. The whole office is two guys in their very early twenties. They don't look like "cookie-bakers". They go on the same list with the excavation-guy, the football-player-mover-guy, and the dry-cleaner. Its a good list to be on.

August 13, 2007
Crazy Week

I mean "crazy" busy, not "crazy" people. Here's the official statement for the week:

No, I'm not dead. At least don't make that leap until I've not posted for two weeks. Its just that assorted repair people (plumber, electrician, appliance, computer, carpenter) had all better be making appearence this week. Plus, I still have to go over to the old house, finish the boxing (three days of hard labor) to be ready for the movers on Thursday to empty the old house into the new house garage.

Also, to mention briefly: post-office, printers, dance-studio, Blockbuster, Walmart, Kroger, Lowes, pack the school-room, unpack the school-room, set up school-room, switch the girls closets (ugggg, they were all organized, sigh), lose some weight, feed the family something sometime, stay on top of laundry or else.

As much as I love you (and I do love you) (ok, some more than others) blogging doesn't make the list this week. Having said that, I bet I blog wildly while procrastinating :(

On the other hand, I'll have a good time if I blog wildly this week :)

August 08, 2007
Thanks For Playing

Remember me posting about my new "project"? Well. Its over. [Note to Husband: You might as well go read the link] Not the project part, exactly. I'm just on a different time-table now. Highly accelerated. I thought we were going on vacation in late Spring, VERY late Spring. Now? Now, we're going on vacation the first few weeks of January! So I need to lose eleventy-million pounds by New Years!

This is no longer a pleasent surprise for my husband. This is ... is ... The March To Disney! Yes, we're going to Disney during the first of January. I have to be in really good shape by then, it involves a million miles of walking. And fitting in little seats for the rides. Well, they seem "little" to me.

Sure, Disney is a great place. The Happiest Place On Earth. But I was counting on those four extra months to prepare for the experience. This has effectively cut my training time in half! We're looking at areobics twice a day. Argh! And I skpped it this morning because I slept on my arm wrong! Argh!

I was a little less than thrilled about the "new" plan, until my husband made it ok. He can do that, you know. We can schedule the trip to NOT overlap the once-a-year-shoe-sale at that little boutique I love in the city. AND, surprising treat for me, he mentioned that I needed to find out when the sale was so he could make hotel reservations soon. GOOD hotel reservations ON SITE! Yay for me!!!!

I'm pretty sure he knows me AND loves me :)

August 07, 2007
Can't Say You Weren't Told

There are only 139 days until Christmas. Do with that what you will. Personally, I'm all kinds of freaked out that I haven't finished my shopping yet.


I was an extraordinarily polite and well-behaved child. Everyone says so. My aunt, an English professor who lived next door, had no qualms about taking me places with her. I remember the first time we went to the "big" library after her class. I was about eight. I remember the first time we went to the theatre, to see Romeo and Juliet modernized as a motorcyle-gang conflict. I was about ten. I remember the first time we went to see a movie with sub-titles, "Fanny and Alexsander". I was about twelve.

I was lucky. You name it, we did it. I will remember forever the day she mentioned casually at dinner, "A friend of mine has tickets for Baryshnikov in Atlanta next month. I could take a day off if Lucy wants to go?" She took great delight in taking me delightful places. She also made THE most delightful Christmas cookies (which I'll make too, this year, having unearthed her cookie-press and recipes during the move) So you think I would have recognized something on the movie-jacket when I picked up the movie at Blockbuster yesterday ... No, I didn't. It is my firm contention that they intentionally TRICKED me!

I would definitely have recognized a foreign-film if it were right there in my hand. Yep. I would have. Really.

August 03, 2007

Ok. I've just had a math epiphany. I saw a picture of a perfectly lovely family with two older teen boys and two younger teen girls and they looked like such a pleasent family except that there was just so much of them. THEN it dawned on me THAT WILL BE US in 6 years!

I was thinking about maybe another two. I feel good right now and babies are nice. WHAT WAS I THINKING!?! As it is I have four to shop for at Christmas. Eventually, I'll have EIGHT when they get spouses! If I got two more, then I"d have six biologicals PLUS six spouses to equal TWELVE!

Wait. I would have enough to assign everyone a line from "The Twelve Days of Christmas". Hmmm ...

Eleventy-Million Magazine Subscriptions

More than one person has pointed out that they'd be lost forever under mountains of magazines if they subscribed like I do (which is excessively with enthusiasm and exuburance) The key to success is not becoming attached to magazines. Look at it, read it, move it OUT!

There are lots of places that can benefit from a pile of good magazines. The local ER, where the wait can be for hours and hours. Or the maternity ward (now especially useful since most patients painkiller are administered through an IV which makes moving around more difficult). Or the local domestic abuse shelter. Or friends and family (extra-appreciated by those going on long car-trips). Or Neighbors who have colds (a pot of home-made soup and a pile of magazines is a GREAT combination).

Besides, its good for kids to see you read. And to see that you value reading. I read an article years ago, I wish I remember where, written by a doctor who was top of his field. His single mother had worked as a maid to support her two sons. She noticed that a big difference between poor and rich houses was that rich people had books and poor people didn't. She decided that the key to "rich" was to read books. So she took her sons to the library every week to get a book, which they read and then wrote a book report on. She made them stand up straight and read her the report when they were finished. He realized when he was an adult that she made them read the reports to her because she didn't know how to read. Incidentially, his brother turned out well too. Now, I'm not saying that having eleventy-million magazines will guarentee that my children turn out well. Still. I think it helps them see reading as something both interesting and valuable. Indirectly, THAT will encourage them on the path to turning out well.

There you go. My eleventy-million magazine subscriptions are really just a manifestation of my desire to be a good parent!

August 02, 2007
Lego Scares Me

No, I'm not afraid of the toys. I'm not REALLY afraid of the company. More just awe, I suppose.

Rarely, if ever, have I seen a company so clever and charming about their customer-service! They're just ... happy people. Even the recording when you're on hold with questions (and, yes, I manage to have "lego" questions) is a "happy" voice directing you to "push one to buy FUN products". While on hold, I really did have the image of tons of "fun" products being shipped by happy employees to giddy customers!

Questions were answered quickly and pleasently, leading me to edit my on-line order. Then I made a mistake on the fill-in-the-blank-address form. When I hit the button, did I get a glaring reminder to re-do the form from scratch? No. No I did not. Instead, it was a gentle reminder that I had forgotten to fill in the blank for "state". Filled that in, hit send, everything went well. Contentment oozed out of my computer.

THEN, they started to scare me. The next message was "Fun Things To Do Next!" with an option of ging to their site, and playing great games (like Brickbuster, don't ask me how I know) or subscribing to their free magazine (which is indeed both fun and happy, trust me). "Hmmmm. If I sign Katherine up then she'll be distracted from ripping up the older kids' magazines!" So I clicked on that option, WHICH TOOK ME TO A FORM PRE-FILLED WITH MY ORDERS SHIPPING INFO!!! All I had to do was plug in the correct childs name!

The Scandanavians are going to take over the world. I see it now. First HannaAndersson. Now Lego. Soon the world will be a fun and happy place :)

The Highest Value?

Sometimes you hear the phrase "family values", generally used to mean conservative Christian values. It brings to mind a particular set of values. Most of my friends are "family values" kinda people. Admittedly, some aren't. Which is neither here nor there.

Last week I was talking to a friend about a book we mutually enjoyed. To be brief (for me) the sub-plot we were discussing was which of two men we hope the main character ends up with (its a series). I was shocked, absolutely shocked, that my friend and I were rooting for different men! Eventually, I've come to the realization that while my friend and I share the same values, we rank them differently. It had never come up before, as we both agree that "doing the right thing" and "loyalty" are extremely important.

The two men in the book: the kinda-bad guy who is loyal past reason and the kinda-good guy who does the right thing while tending toward judging her for her complicated past (most of which isn't her fault). Ideally, of course, you'd choose a guy with both qualities. In reality that involves almost a blind-spot that stops the kinda-good guy from being judgemental.

It just struck me as interesting that I've known this particular friend for decades and never really understood that very fundamental difference in our value systems. Hmmm.