Sunday, November 22, 2009

Can a Potato Get a Job?


It's been just over a week since I became redundant, was let go, was told "it's not you, it's us." To be frankly honest, I still haven't finished updating my resume, haven't shipped the work computers back to New Jersey, haven't posted anything or looked at anything on Monster or CareerBuilder. I'm a slug. I'm unmotivated, I'm easily distracted and my fear of so many aspects to being jobless is paralyzing.

As we move quickly toward Thanksgiving (made a plan? Oh, right, I have to cook a turkey dinner...hmm...better get on that) and only slight more slowly toward Christmas (gifts? I have to think what to buy and afford them?) I feel ill-skilled to get all this done.

Even right now I need to tidy the living room as Fletcher has a pal coming over tomorrow. It's a pigsty in there. I just look at it and sigh. Then I sit on the couch and it adheres to me and I don't want to get up.

I can only hope I can overcome this lack of inertia and move in the vector of a job hunt. Easily the least favorite chore of my adult life.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Letting It Wash Over Me


My Friday (the one just a few days ago) was going pretty well. I had finished my Friday report, was getting started on another project when my boss called. I admit that I don't remember the exact words because as soon as the words "bad news" entered my ear, so did a rushing noise of doom as I was told that the CEO who started on Thursday had made some cost-cutting decisions and I was one of them. After four years at this company, I am unemployed.

My British friends call it being redundant. What a mild word for such a sad concept. I'm no longer valuable. This CEO looked at a spreadsheet, saw some numbers next to my name, couldn't decide what I added to the company, made a red mark. I'm sad, shocked, a little blue. I'm trying not to be frantic. In my attempt at calm, I've become something more like paralyzed. Inaction is my task for today. Again, it seems sad.

Yes, I called the headhunter I used four years ago. She actually remembered me. Does that say something about me (and I hope it's good) or something about how sharp she is? Also a good thing. I'm still putting off redoing my resume. I will, really, probably tomorrow or Thursday. I just fear it. It's such a concrete admission of what's going on. Also, I managed to not get to the Unemployment office in time today. Actually, I got there 25 minutes before they closed, but they waved me off with imperious government employee waves, finally saying, "come back tomorrow."

I'm afraid. I'm still stunned. I was told this wasn't because of how I did my job, but how can I not feel like a failure for being some lacking in value to be easily dismissed. I will tell myself that better things are ahead and meanwhile fear that being 46, fluffy and with skills for a job usually populated by people at the beginning of their work history will consign me to something I dislike, or something that doesn't give me a survivable wage.

For now, I let the fear wash over me, I let the panic slide down my back, I let the paralysis take its time with me and I try to find joy in sitcoms, oat bran in a real fabric bag and lotion that smells like pink grapefruit.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thinking Through Cotton

I didn't realize that the lingering effect of flu would be a wooliness to my thoughts. Sure, I still have the gooiest cough that interrupts my sleep and continues to send me running for the bathroom as I try not to pee on myself, but it's the foggy brain that plagues me most. Plague - see what I did there?

Which is, frankly amazing, that I could make any sort of wordplay or joke as I feel like my personality has been folded into a tiny, sad square and packed away in a little, plain box. I feel dull, stupid and scatter-brained. I'm not known for having a great memory, but I can't walk three steps without forgetting why I started.

I can only hope that as the last of the insidious virus leaves my body, or the last of the white cells reorganize my internal system, that I will get back a bit of verve. Currently, I'm verve-less. Also, I'm lacking pep, vitality, energy and wit. Yes, totally witless.

So, while, inside my head I'm thinking complex thoughts about the misery of this House bill on healthcare that passed, but was neutered by the Stupak amendment, I can't seem to express any of the usual passion for or against the inspiring and irritating political types we've been seeing on our televisions. Bear with me, I'm sure my snarky, mean and hopefully, funny self will return.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Angry Ode to Swine Flu


I was coasting along thinking, "wow, my immunity is really holding up" when the cough started. I still insisted it was just allergies and no relation to the cough Fletcher had. Then Friday evening, I first started feeling the congestion, the runny nose, the general malaise. Saturday I was able to rally for the usual Saturday morning things, but was already feeling wan. I think the middle of Saturday was a big nap. I can hardly remember. Made it through Halloween night by the skin of my teeth. Sunday dawned with full realization, I was sick.

I started taking all the online flu assessments. All of them told me, based on my answers that I was VERY SICK. Chills started up, full body aches, headache, violent coughing, and fever. Thou foul flu filled with goo.

Thou demon of the chest and bronchial tubes. What evil biology forged your existence? What porcine curse has landed in my joints to produce aches and shivers?

Ah, angry misery has caused my whining that alienates my one true care-taker, the only one left not afflicted. Forever chilling my skin, bringing to mind a bath of ice. A burning forehead, a neck like a glowing coal, pushes thermometers to 101.6.

No ode can really get to the heart of what a craptastic beast this flu is. I also have to watch my poor child suffer along with me and fear that my husband will be next. Let the Tamiflu gods look kindly upon all three of us. O, fever hallucinations, I return.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

How Not to Be a Halloween Douche



After tonight's festivities, I have some rules to keep me from hitting you in the head with a brick:
  • Unless you are taking your OWN children trick-or-treating, no matter how good the costume, if you are 6'5", stay home.

  • Treat bags are $1 at WalMart, splurge on one instead of using that creepy pillowcase. If you are using it because you are worried about bag breakage, you are too involved in the quest for candy.

  • If you can grow facial hair, stay home.

  • If your idea of cadging for candy is loading up the van with everyone, and going to a different neighborhood, stay home. Or go to the mall, they give out candy. I want to give it to my neighbors kids, not huge quantities of random children from another town.

  • If I've dropped the piece of candy in your bag, no matter how small it is, DO NOT give me a look like you are expecting more. You get what you get, move on.

  • Once you've received your treat, GET OUT OF THE WAY, you are blocking my porch for the rest of the rabble. I want to get this distribution over with as fast as possible.

  • If you are under 25, and only have a child under 1, you don't need to trick-or-treat. No one cares about your costume, and your very uncomfortable-looking baby should only be shown to a handful of people who give a shit. Also, you don't need that candy.

  • I happen to be sick almost every Halloween (last one, this one, horrible coughing) so if you ring the bell and I don't show up right away. Give up. Don't bang on my door or continue to ring. I'm in the bathroom retching from the coughing. And if I reappear while you're still there, I will be mean.

  • No editorials on what I gave you, good or bad. I don't want to know, no one wants to know, it will either be perceived as pettiness or gloating.
  • If we have turned out the lights, we are OUT OF CANDY. DO NOT ring the bell or knock. Why are you walking up to a dark house anyway? Glutton for serial killers?

Oh, and have a nice Halloween.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What Won't We Do for a Patch



Here's my Cub Scout. He enjoys being a Scout, though he is so far from religious he has to work on his facial expressions when God is brought up. We had a Den Meeting last night and we met at the city Police Station for a tour. I'm not sure my child has one thought or another about the police. He's not the sort to be in trouble and I'm afraid, overall, he views police with some suspicion.

The tour was uneventful except the Autistic scout who kept pestering Fletcher and finally spit in his face. I'm sure I should be more understanding, but our Den meetings would go so much better without Jacob-on-the-spectrum. He's really disruptive. I don't have the tools to deal with him, his mother is exhausted and sometimes fails to deal with him, and the other boys freak at the sight of him. My son keeps turning around and rolling his eyes at me about Jacob.

The police officer (Officer Foster, to you) who took us on the tour was a short man, who looked a bit like a proper police doll in his little uniform. He seemed nice enough, but fairly dull and I suspect, not that bright. Our police station is very modern and homogeneous. At 7 p.m., nothing much is happening there. It's not as if they let the boys tour the jail. We stared at the 911 operators, saw a training room that was indistinguishable from every seminar room I've ever been in (though Office Foster did show the boys some training batons and the training cuffs) and peeked in a small gym.
At least the boys got a patch. And I'm sure this completed some step in the Wolf Cub achievements. We still have to determine which church will be the least offensive to my little Atheist so he can complete the requirement of religious institution attendance.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Witch of the West

Every year since Fletcher turned 3 we have a birthday party for him. Every year it's on a Saturday at 2 p.m. and we host it in our backyard with open doors and guests wandering in and out to get food from the table. Every year, my mother drives 500 miles to show off her skills as amateur caterer. I do love my mother, in the way you love something that is both good and bad, supportive and judgmental, bittersweet. But, she couldn't be a better user of the back-handed compliment and the best practitioner of damning with faint praise.

I cleaned like a maniac (badly and with loads of sweat) in preparation for her arrival and the party. To be honest, more of it was focused on making her happy than worrying about parents of my son's friends noticing how piggishly I live. I could tell by the way she looked around that I didn't accomplish what I should have. She sneers at all my attempts to keep house and begins moving things around and constantly wiping everything with a damp paper towel.

She rolled in around 5:30 on Friday evening and immediately said several things. My husband needs to help me more, using the words "well you (meaning me) work full time." Implication being he doesn't. No, he doesn't, but he does make money for us. Also called my son, her only grandson, chunky. Yes, he's gained some weight. We are addressing it. She needs to back off about it. I'm chunky. My husband is chunky. We're all trying not to be chunky. Guess what, woman?! Insulting us never helps.

She took us out to eat at Red Robin as Fletcher (who had just turned 8) had restaurant choice. She always orders a petite burger and gives us all the evil eye if we order something larger. Claims that she really isn't glaring at us, but her vision is failing in her old age, but I remember her when she was my younger mother and she did it back then, too. I can't be fooled.

After dinner, Mom and I made a big trip to WalMart to get beverages and other sundries for the party. She was mostly tolerable on that trip but we had to spend too much time dithering over sun dried tomatoes in olive oil. And there was a long discussion about the olive oil I had in my cabinet, along with the admonition that I really should keep it in my refrigerator. Cause, you know, I love having to make it go from solid to liquid each time I use it.

Saturday morning was a fairly early start so I could send Fletcher and Joe off to Fletcher's soccer game and Mother and I could get the house ready fort he party. She cooked and fussed with things and I finished the cleaning the house so desperately needed. I got myself into a sweaty, cranky mess and already had a list of things I needed help with by the time Joe returned.

The day moved on with lots of sweaty running about for me, errands for Joe and nice cooking smells a product of what my mother was doing. I managed to be almost ready when the first child was dropped off early by his grandmother. Certainly by the time most of the guests showed, we were ready to entertain and feed them.

Two hours later after much decorating of superhero capes, greedy mad dashes for prizes and pinata droppings, it was over. Except for the brother and sister who were still there because Dad used that time to do some work. The sister had been invited, the impulse-control impaired older brother was like a prize we couldn't give back that came with. He managed, during the party, to hit my son twice in the head with a soccer ball, which prompted Fletcher to whack him in the head with a whiffle bat. Only fair. Much crying ensued on both sides at each injury. Ice packs were distributed.

The evening after the party included dinner made up of party food scraps and going to a showing of Where the Wild Things Are. Mom and I enjoyed the movie but I think Joe and Fletcher found it too melancholy. It might not really be a children's movie. But, visually, it was so stunning, I had to love it.

Mother left this morning with admonitions about picking up the living room each night and more worried comments about my son's health. I appreciated her help with the party but was not sad to see her close her Suburban door and drive away. I can only take so much Judy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More Time to Create


I love making art. But sometimes the creative portion of my brain can't fight its way out from the part busy filling spreadsheets with numbers, or designing pegboard units for Sears or picking up a mind-numbing number of toy parts from the living room floor.
Even with a degree in art, I have no delusions about making much, if any, money from it. I will never be a good marketer of my art, not good at making multiples of one thing, just not that sort of artist. I make things for friends, family, myself. I make things because the thing is in my head and I want to make it real.
But lately (and that covers a lot of ground) I've been so busy with work projects, house cleaning, party preparation and just general laziness in the in between bits that I haven't been creating. Now we have reached that point in the yearly cycle where my creations need to be aimed toward gifts. I'm good with this. I have pictures of past gift creations that still make me happy that I made them. So, it's time to start thinking of what is in my head that wants to be made real AND will be a great present for family or friend. Start my engines...the creative ones I mean.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Three colors, one flavor

I do like Halloween. And, though it's not popular to say so, I like candy corn. My husband hates it, my son won't try it like most things and it's not good for me, so there isn't any in the house. But trust me, late the night of October 31st, after my son has looked over his haul, I will pick through and find the candy corn and eat it.


My son's birthday is essentially a week before Halloween. So, though usually I have decorations out, this year, I'm so swamped with work and getting ready for his party (cleaning the house so my mother doesn't tsk tsk about the state of my mind) that I haven't decorated for the season. Also, most of my outdoor decorations go in my flowerbeds, which are filled with weeds. I was hoping someone would tell me, that for a small fee, they would dig up the weeds. No one has volunteered to be paid for the honor yet.


And then there are the 22 superhero capes I have to make. Still working on that. But really...I'm looking forward to Halloween...and candy corn.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Admissions of a Shrew


I'm a shrew. Really. But I don't mean in the eats ten times my own body weight to survive, I mean in the taming of way. I'm a yeller, at my child, at my husband. Sometimes I'm also a thrower during a particularly heated tantrum, usually in housekeeping and equitable division of chores arguments.

I don't like being this way. I'd love to be one of these measured Moms who speaks in gentle tones as I ask my child for the umpteenth time to stop putting his toys on the floor where I just cleaned, but since the minute I see said toy sitting in the area I just picked something up from I turn into a raging bull. Hmmm, I'm mixing my animal metaphors. So be it. Line up all the negative animal associations that convey anger, irritation, meanness and screeching and you will find me.

Every sound irritant, every mess (and the house really is a pigsty, part my fault, more theirs), every overwhelming new request for a work project sends me into a tizzy. I live a lot of my life in a tizzy. I don't like it. I'm just not sure how to change.

And, yet, here I sit, typing this blog instead of working on the chores that have an endgame. I should be completing tasks that have a completion. Helping myself feel accomplished. But in addition to being a shrew, I'm also a slug. A champion procrastinator of a slug. Again, another negative animal metaphor to add to me oeuvre.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Celebrities, Has-Beens, Wish-fors: Oh My


I'm constantly reminded that there are people who really want the attention, the camera, the crowd on them, looking AT them. On Twitter, the reminders are constant. Oh, there are the "nice" celebrities - like Virginia Madsen or Stephen Fry. They tweet some personal items, more likely links to things that interest them. They don't seem to be dancing around trying to get us to notice. Course I also don't find their politics offensive. Unlike someone like Scott Baio, a washed up has-been I hadn't given a thought unless I accidentally (and most unfortunately) have happened on a Happy Days rerun with Chachi in it.

Suddenly, he's all over Twitter spouting his, clearly, uninformed and uber-conservative "opinions." (One hateful opinion was actually the bimbo utterings of his wife that he agreed with.) He's telling all us "regulars" (you know, those of us not in the media spotlight for some reason or other, or at least not sucking at media's teat in a whore-ish fashion) how great it is to be him and a Conservative and how great his life is. So a follower of his made a silly joke relating to his brag of how rich he was. He completely overreacts, claims he's being extorted, blah blah. What a tool. And, really, it's not as if this upsets some good opinion I had of him, just reinforces what I suspected. He's a stupid, tiny man with no talent.

Yesterday, our TVs were entranced with the silver popover zooming through the Colorado skies, possibly carrying a six-year-old boy. As the story has unfolded, the boy wasn't in the popover, he didn't fall from it, he hid in the attic and perhaps the entire thing was yet another bid for this media whore-ish family (or at least the father) to get more attention. Dad Heene, first off, don't name your poor child Falcon. Do you want him to be ostracized for the rest of his life? Or, spend so much time saying "Yes, Falcon, like the bird." And, Dad Heene, a six-year-old, even a particularly clever or media savvy one, still can't keep a secret straight and will easily blow the deal when you want him to "pretend" the facts.

And, if you are an actual celebrity, not a has-been or a wishing-to-be, such as Miley Cyrus (yes, I'll concede by definition she is a celebrity, though I will not pretend I find her talented or fun to listen to) stop being such a princess thinking so many people care if you are or aren't on Twitter or anywhere else for that matter. I know you have all these bubbly tween girl fans who still want to think of you as Hannah or a bunch of skeevy older guys who have gross fantasies about you. But I'm guessing most people won't notice your absence. So stop making it into something.

As for the rest of you has-beens, come back to us with style. You want us to pay attention again, do some good and do it a bit selflessly (and for my money, do it on the left, not right: I won't pretend to care about you if you agree with Beck.) And the wish-fors, do something truly interesting or heroic, or at least kind. Stop trying to get our attention like a four-year-old with a frog.

And, real celebrities, those I see too much in the news, on my television, on Twitter, use your galaxies-revolve-around-me for extra good things. Donate some of that money, notoriety, time to a good cause. Pay attention to the regulars, speak to them occasionally because even without the spotlight some of our ideas and lives are interesting, too.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Tale of the Trip, Part V: Last Day in the Parks


We had the opportunity with our Park Hopper passes to take advantage of a "magic hour" one of the days. We saved it for this last day where we could get in at 9 instead of 10. Apparently, we weren't the only ones as the line to get some magic was immense and our house turned into more like 39 minutes of magic.

All we had left was to spend time in Tomorrowland. First stop was Star Tours where we were loaded into our shuttle, vaguely amused by the robot pilot who shook us around on a wild ride. Fletcher loved it.

I can't remember the order in which we did everything else, but at some point we were getting lunch and Fletcher noticed the Jedi training going on nearby so we vowed to do that at a later point. We rode the Buzz Lightyear thing where you shoot at stuff with your laser gun. We took the Innoventions modern house tour. Now I want that dining table with the interactive ponds in it.

We sat through the Asimo presentation that was stunning. He runs, he climbs stairs, it still feels like a special effect but it's happening right in front of you.

We almost rode Space Mountain. I had sort of misjudged how much of a rollercoaster it was, made us stand in line, then when we caught sight of it, Fletcher (and me) happily took the exit before we got on it. Tower of Terror was already too much, never again do we want to drop that much. Instead we happily watched the slightly dated Honey I Shrunk the Audience, still fun for Fletcher and reminding us again how he needs to see some more movies.

When we went back at the afternoon time slot for the Jedi training we found Fletcher a place to squeeze in at the front of the group and he was picked. They put each child (about 25 of them) in a brown paduwan robe and give each a plastic light saber (the kind you press the button and flick the retracting plastic "light" out, various colors), then taught the children with lots of good patter and whipping of sabers about how to take down an enemy. Then, lo and behold, a bit of the stage rises to Darth Vader's theme and there he is and also Darth Maul. Each child gets to take a turn defeating one or the other. Fletcher fought Darth Maul. It was precious. He's a bit awkward. But you could tell he was having a blast.


The finish is a certificate and of course we had to promise to buy him his own light saber. Finally we rode Autopia where you drive cars around a track. Then we rode the claustrophobic but worth it Finding Nemo submarine ride. Fletcher doesn't really remember his toddler year of watching that movie in a loop. Joe and I do.


Last thing we did in that area was to purchase the double-ended super light saber that Fletcher helped create. Barely fit in the luggage on the way home. I found some lovely Alice in Wonderland tea for myself and some blue crystal Mickey head earrings. We had time to kill to we took the monorail to Downtown Disney as Joe wanted a chunk of time to really shop that big Disney store located there.


We found gifts for people, for ourselves, a bathroom for Fletcher to use. After lots of frittering, we walked out the other direction of the Downtown, then back to Disneyland so we could find a spot to see the parade. We kept finding spots that looked great but either were told to move along or found out they weren't actually on the route. Finally settled in behind some people who reluctantly allowed Fletcher to stake out a tiny bit of curb and watched the parade.


The parade was lots of music, colorful costumes, many of the classic and new Disney characters. Stitch was playful with Fletcher trying to put Fletch's hat on. Ending play with putting both his fuzzy little hands on Fletcher's head. Fletcher was handed one of the flat drums to beat on during the dancing. All in all, pretty cool, though we think the Pixar Parade at CA was probably better.


Our last hurrah at Disneyland would be the Halloween Screams light show and fireworks display at outside the castle. I left the boys to stake out a good bench while I walked back to the hotel to drop off the heavy purchase from earlier. I was tired of schlepping stuff, needed to take some medicine and use a better bathroom. I accomplished this (though the stupid room key card was again not working and had to go get a new one - the third time that happened) and found Joe and Fletcher back at Disney on a well-placed bench. I ate a churro. Disney seems to be powered by churros.


As the time neared for the show, the crowd swelled, got surly, calmed down and waited. The streetlights went out, powerful voices announced Halloween things over the loudspeaker. It began. Shapes in colored light were projected on the castle, while the darker of Disney characters narrated things about Halloween and songs were sung, then fireworks entered into the choreography. It was spectacular. Fletcher and I loved it. I think even Joe did, and he's not usually impressed with fireworks. Disney does these kinds of things well.


Once done, we trotted out of the park, back toward the hotel, skipping over it for a meal at Mimi's next door. Sure, it's a chain restaurant and we have one back home, but sometimes that's what you need. Except the host was super surly and slow. Could have done without that. Food was good. We went back to the hotel room to pack a little, goof off a lot. Next morning, I commandeered the packing so we could get everything in, we left a bit early for the airport so we could stop at what turned out to be a fairly disappointing Disney Outlet store, but made it to the flight just in time.


Two flights and two hours of dark, dark driving later, we were home. Our house smelled weird and alien, the cats acted odd and it was midnight.



Sunday, October 11, 2009

Tale of the Trip, Part IV: Day Two Means California Adventures


Day Two of the Park Hopper pass would go to California Adventures. It doesn't open until 10 so we could sleep in a bit and we convinced the child that we would eat the the hotel restaurant, Millie's instead of getting his daily does of McDonald's biscuits. He still had a biscuit, just from a new source. Millie's biscuits turned out to be gigantic, fluffy clouds. I regret we ordered him two. It was a lot of food. I had a pancake the size of a bicycle tire.


Then, off to California Adventures through the same bag-checking entrance and right across from our entry to Disneyland. The main circle features a giant candy corn with Heimlich from Bug's Life rising out of a big bite of it jabbering about eating more of it. It's cute. We pose Fletcher in front of everything candy corn-oriented and take many pictures.
We walk to the Hollywood Pictures Backlot to ride the Monsters, Inc ride making us realize that our son needs to see more Disney movies. It was fun. Then, since Joe loves Twilight Zone, we decide to ride the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror ride. Fletcher is tall enough now, but it turns out the ride is 5% Twilight Zone atmosphere and 95% falling. Even big people like us rise frighteningly off our seats, over and over. It was fairly terrifying. We will never ride it again. The culmination of the ride is the theme store. Things were bought.
Once it was open we saw the Muppets 3D movie. Loved it. Then wandered through the animation exhibit. Pretty cool spinning animation thing that shows the Toy Story people like a 3D flip book. Played with other animation exhibits.
Next up is going to the Bug's Land area to see more Bug's Life stuff. Starting with a 3D presentation about the trouble being a bug.


We rode bug-shaped bumper cars, Fletcher rode spinning ladybugs, we wandered about looking at everything made in a size to make us feel like tiny bugs. It's cute. We moved on to the bread factory tour where they hand you a sample, which just caused Fletcher to want more sourdough bread, so after the tour, I stood in the very long line at the attached cafe to purchase a loaf of bread and some water. After enjoying some bread and feeding crusts to the multitude of birds who have completely figured out the best place to be is outside the bread factory, we went to the Midway area to stand in line for Toy Story Mania ride. The line was long, but tolerable, the ride was really fun. You ride in little cards that spin you around to face targets you "fire" at with digital pop guns.


Fletcher loved it. Then we dropped too much cash on the excessively expensive midway games, but at least Fletcher came away with some stuffed prizes, his favorite being a Dumbo. We quickly walked through the Mission Tortilla factory tour so I could eat some tortillas. Fresh, hot tortillas.


It was nearing time for the daily Pixar Play Parade so we headed to find a snack near where we should sit to get the best view. We staked out a bench, one of us going for provisions, while the other kept our squatter's rights to, what would turn out to be, a perfect place for the parade.


After the parade, we considered going back to Disney, and then I don't remember what happened. Oh right, we were tired. Went back to the hotel.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tale of the Trip, Part III - Our First Full Disney Day



Husband had an idea that since we were in a completely different state, he could find a copy of Locus magazine in a local bookstore. We drove to the first Borders we could find, nothing. We drove to the second, Borders, still nothing and now we were hungry and forced to eat Johnny Rocket's mall food as we were in an Orange County mall and had to find a place with a grilled cheese sandwich to satisfy Fletcher. I think I waited too long to eat with low blood sugar and thus my patty melt struck me as absolutely nauseating. I survived by eating a few fries and figuring a snack could come later.

We found a Trader Joe's in the same area, bought snacks, went back to our mediocre hotel room and realized we were jet lagged, exhausted, and actually fell asleep at 10.

We were up early on Sunday morning because we could get into Disneyland at 8 a.m. and we were determined to do just that. We walked to the McDonald's next door to the hotel (seriously, this is probably a waking dream for my child), ate our usual McD's fare, then walked the two blocks to the Disney entrance. You feel like it's right there, but once you get through the carefully snipped bushes, you realized you must still walk at least a block of bus lanes and benches to get to where they search your bags. Then you still have half a block or so until the plaza where California Adventures on the left, Downtown Disney in the center and Disneyland on the right have their entrances.

We showed our printed tickets to the man at the Disneyland entrance, he turned them into cute little Disney ticket cards and off we went. We boarded the old-fashioned train to go round the park to Toontown, the place Fletcher (at least originally) wanted to see. As we rolled past Frontierland and New Orleans, we saw the backsides of several rides and then got off at Toontown station.

It looked just like Fletcher imagined a real version of the online Toontown game he plays. We stood in front of various buildings for pictures, we rode the Roger Rabbit ride, we bought water. Course this was all after Toontown opened. We got there a bit before 9 so we had to kill time on the It's a Small World ride. Fletcher liked the old-fashioned singing puppets and little boat. That was a win.

After exhausting what Toontown had to offer Fletcher and I rode the teacups (Joe isn't good for the spinning), then continued on through Frontierland. Didn't see too much to excite there but we found some lunch (if I recall) got a Fastpass for Indiana Jones, went on to New Orleans to see about a Fastpass for the Haunted Mansion and took the big steamboat for the 10 minute ride. By then it was time to take Haunted Mansion Holiday ride which has turned from whatever it was into something semi-scary completely featuring the cast of characters from Nightmare Before Christmas. I liked the look, husband wished he could have seen what it was upgraded from. I guess whatever went into that horrible Eddie Murphy movie.

After the Mansion we took the raft out to the Pirate's Lair and watched Fletcher climb on things. We rode the Jungle Cruise with its usual patter-y tour guide, ate some strange African BBQ on a stick (Joe and I did, not Mr. Grilled Cheese), and spent more time in a one of the stores.And then our time to ride Indiana Jones happened. It was great. Exciting, whiplash inducing, Fletcher's favorite ride up to that point. Thank goodness it had places to put your stuff (little net bags built in) cause everything we owned would have been lost in there.

By the time we finished we were exhausted, but decided to take the monorail to Downtown Disney (we didn't know at this point how close the Downtown entrance was, we are stupid) so we could pick up Fletcher's personalized Lego brick, maybe eat dinner, then take monorail back in time for fireworks. We made it to the Lego store, I wandered off to take advantage of a free consultation at Sephora and the boys, apparently, spent time waiting for them to redo Fletcher's brick as his name was spelled Fietcher on the first one.

By the time we found each other again, Fletcher was too tired for the fireworks, the monorail wasn't running because of the fireworks, so we took a cab back to the hotel. Even if we'd known about the other exit, Fletcher was in no mood to walk. We ordered pizza for us, got a Happy Meal for Fletch and the evening was done.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tale of the Trip, Part II - We Still Aren't at Disney

So after tooling around the Downtown Disney parking lot for 10 minutes looking for anywhere to shove our rental car, we finally did that stalking thing waiting for some family that did fake hurrying motions to get in their van. Thanks for pretending to go faster, family of three. We wandered into Downtown Disney looking to kill time and perhaps waste money. Immediately found the Lego store, much to Fletcher's delight. Spent many minutes in there wherein we ordered a personalized Lego brick for Fletcher and I hovered near the Lego head food scale I wish I had purchased (but couldn't justify at $25 and kind of big for luggage ride home.)

After Lego, we strolled around until 4-ish. Still hadn't received a call from the Fairfield, so I called them. "Yeah, your room is ready, we don't usually call people." Really? Then why did you ask me for my cell number you useless clerkbot. So we go back to the hotel, receive our dull (and soon to be realized useless) key cards, drive around to the far side of the hotel (which will turn out to have good view of the fireworks) and push our way into the mediocre room. It was a bargain, I'm not complaining.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tale of the Trip - Part I: Where all the dull bits happen

To give context to the whole vacation, we rolled in to our driveway last night at midnight. I might still be harboring some crankiness from that last two hours driving in the drizzly dark. From Tulsa. A place I like less each time I'm there.


Friday was our departure day to Tulsa to spend the night, then fly out the next morning. We were unwilling to get up at the crack of dark on Saturday, thus an extra night away from home. Then we had a tiny storm and not so tiny power surge that did something nasty to husband's computer. Turned out, it mostly (at the time, more on that later) just reordered what to boot up and was trying to primary boot from the photo printer. Almost a comical little computer problem. Look at the funny computer trying to boot from its photo printer, it should know better.

After much dialogue with the nice tech support from Cybertron, husband fixed computer so he would go with us instead of yelling, "You will just have to go without me. I'm ruined." We did go and he went with us a little later than originally planned, but we headed out before 5 p.m. to drive to Tulsa (about two hours away) to a Super 8 near the airport to spend one, cheap night before our flight at 9 in the morning.

We go to Tulsa, getting lost a bit as our GPS is a little bit of short bus, so we saw more of a seedy section of Tulsa before we found our slightly seedy Super 8. I checked us in, we trundled down the narrow parking lot to our slot in front of our beige room to find a king bed (what we wanted) with exactly two pillows on it. Two pillows? I tried not to stomp to the office to ask for more pillows to be told, "Sorry, only the first four rooms on this side have four pillows, the others just have two. We don't have extras." Who knew we'd lose the pillow lottery.

After we settled in for the night, it wasn't too miserable. We had eaten at Denny's, which was its usual post-modern pablum in the 70s setting. We knew we had an early morning to get re-packed and shuttled to the Southwest terminal for our flight. The uninformative East Indian guy took us to the airport, we dragged our big-ass luggage in, checked it and got our back of the group boarding passes. My walk through the beep hallway wasn't as miserable as usual cause Tulsa has a full body imager for those of us who set off the security alarms. Instead of being wanded, patted and foot-checked, I stood in a futuristic telephone booth thing with my hands out and some big magnet circled me a couple of times. Easy peezy.

Our first flight was a fairly uneventful one to Phoenix. Then we ate in Phoenix, but I can't remember what. Then on to flight from there to Orange County. That flight had absolutely no open seats, was really crowded and I was pushed to sit by myself next to a Middle Eastern guy I couldn't understand who hogged the arm rest. He might have said he was in gas futures or bass fishing. I have no clue. That flight couldn't have ended soon enough for me. I'm a big girl (and by that, I am not making a point about my grownup-ness, I'm fluffy, but not squishy and I don't fit well into the window seat with a shared arm rest) and this was uncomfortable for me.

When we landed, we were feeling excited about being near Disneyland. Then we had to endure the "renting of the car." I had already reserved it but the lines, me not realizing my damn license had expired, the car my husband picked that felt like it was digging into my hip. Husband drove, the GPS was pretty good, we found the Fairfield Inn. It looked a bit shabby but was located two blocks across the street from Disneyland, so hard to complain about it. Except the part where we got there just before 3, exhausted, ready to schlep our stuff into the room and were told it wouldn't be ready until four. Clerk asked if she could call me when it was ready and what was my number.

So, off we went to Downtown Disney to waste time. Etc.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Packing, the Packing


As promised to our son two years ago at the completion of our trip to DisneyWorld, we are going to DisneyLand in a few days. He loved DWorld but it was missing a few things he had heard about that are, apparently, at DLand so here we go.


Somewhere inside me I am excited about this trip. I love schlepping around amusement parks, spending too much money on bad food and riding pointless rides. Wait, that still sounded snarky, rude and not like I was excited. But really, I am. It's just the doing all the laundry, planning what we need, making sure my work is completed before I am disconnected from computer 24/7, packing everything, getting us into the car, the car to Tulsa, us on a plane, the plane to Anaheim (via Phoenix) then to the hotel. It sounds exhausting, not fun.


But, it will be fun for Fletcher and that's what parents are for. Providing memories for our children to tell others as they grow older. That currently manifests as gloating at school, but we're working on that attitude.


I do want Fletcher to remember family trips, worried what he will remember is the shrew mother screaming at everyone to "get in the damn car, now." I'm hoping he will remember that I found a McDonald's next to everywhere we would be to make sure he had his supply of biscuits. And that he will remember his parents gamely riding whatever he wants, and seeing and exclaiming and listening to his summary of everything else.


Right now, I should be doing laundry. But I also have to sit through a dull webinar for work in a few minutes. Some day I really would love to actually be ready for things without panic.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I Could Do Without the Sun

Yesterday one of the other soccer parents said how wonderful it was that it was warm and sunny. As part of the social convention of pleasantry, I had to nod and mumble agreement, but inside I was sort of cranky. I'm not really an outdoors person. Or a sun person. Or a warm day person. I'm more of an indoor, watching overcast skies and knowing the temperature is dropping sort of person.


I don't dream of sunning on warm beaches. I dream of being in some sort of big chair with a book and cup of coffee with wind blowing outside. I don't even like fires, but if I have to sit next to one to get snow, I will.


Today is very warm with a high of 86. I couldn't like a day less. I'm in a lathery panic about everything I have to do, feeling all sorts of work, messy house, getting ready for trip and birthday party pressure and to top it off, it's miserably sunny out there. I am much more productive on a cool, cloudy day. Tomorrow, it will still be sunny, but is supposed to much cooler. I'm holding you to that weather. Don't disappoint me.

Friday, September 25, 2009

If Money is Like Water, What about the Reverse


I'm not pretending we are rich, by any stretch of the imagination. But we do so-so. Usually, we can cover what we need to and have a bit of extra. Inevitably, we make a decision like going on a trip, then suddenly it seems like all the money I thought would be there, isn't. Not really my fault, I make the same paycheck every two weeks no matter what. I get my car allowance, kind of on time. Perhaps I'm slow in filing expense reports, but they are slow in sending the checks, so we're even.


Not my husband's fault, his money comes in more randomly, but abundantly. Are either of us spending like drunken monkeys? Not really. Maybe we eat out too much or I buy groceries we don't use right away. Also, I have no clue what to do with cheap cuts of meat, so I don't buy them. Sure, we go see a movie here and there with our son. And he is more often than not the beneficiary of my husband's need to shop. Or my need to shop.


Still, I'm amazed how fast it all goes. We leave for Disneyland in a week. The flight is paid for, the hotel is pre-paid, the tickets to get us into the park, paid. We will have to cover car rental, a cheap hotel in Tulsa for one night to avoid getting up at 5 a.m. and meals. So, can we do it? I'm sure we'll do our best. Will we ignore the cable bill in lieu of a great vacation? Possibly.


Why am I musing on this to know one's interest? Because I need to. And maybe, because I'm probably a representative of so many Americans who live like we do. Money comes in, money goes out. A few things to show for it. A lot of stress accompanying it. And, for now, my job gives us health insurance. But if it didn't, there would be no trips because we'd be paying for medicine and doctor's visits.


Do we deserve a trip to an amusement park? FDR sort of thought we did. Before he died, he presented the New Bill of Rights that included entertainment (along with healthcare, housing, education, living wage.) He felt that the average person needed fun things to hope for and do. My child certainly deserves it. He has done nothing to accidentally be born into a family that lives hand to mouth. He is a smart, loving child and I want him to have all good things. We get to go along for the trip, so by virtue of relation, we deserve a trip, too.


And, seriously, I'm not giving up my daily $1.29 I spend on McDonald's coffee either.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

In this Episode, My Head Explodes

So my day started with a migraine. Sure, I still got out of bed, got the child out of his bed, fed him, dressed him, shoveled him out the door and to school. I even let my husband sleep but it was not because I was being kind, I wanted to make sure it was my mitts on my McDonald's coffee first, hoping it would cure what ailed me. I sipped it on the way home and it still didn't help. I even ate a McMuffin (something I usually only allow myself on Saturdays) and that didn't help. The pain was dreadful. Shoving my eyes closed, throbbing, making me hate light and sound and all odors. Work wasn't emailing or phoning any urgent requests so I took to my bed.

I slept until some point when husband left to go volunteer at son's school, woke up long enough to say bye and "please bring me some tea" then went back to sleep. Until 12:30. I sat up, didn't feel pain, slowly got out of bed. I was pain-free enough to take a hot bath. Then ate lunch husband brought (sure, I gave in again and had a Schlotsky's sandwich, not really on the food plan, not really worrying about it by then.) As I was taking my pre-lunch shot, I realized I was shaking so I took my blood sugar, too. It was 59. 59! That is way too low for most people and really, really low for me. I was, by then, shaking so bad I could hardly put my sandwich on a plate. I was getting the tunnel vision I get when that low. Made it through lunch, though.

Then an afternoon of post-migraine, post-low brain fog. Accomplished little but began feeling the panic of all things not done. Things were done in the afternoon, son was readied for choir concert, made it in and out of that, made it to dinner. Somewhere along the way there or to the book store or back home, husband said the words that would start a new wave of panic "we go to Disney in ten days." If I drew cartoons, I would draw myself with large O's for eyes, staring straight ahead in panic.

Sure, I can use a calendar. I've been doing things to get ready but I hadn't really used a word like "ten." I wasn't really counting in that way. And it's not the trip that is the problem. Yes, I need to make sure we have the right clothing, etc. to go to Anaheim, but it's the sheer amount of work I need to finish before I'm not sitting at my computer. I admit it. I'm a monster procrastinator. I work from home. I do just what has to be done and when it needs to be done. But if I'm going to be away from my computer, I can't suddenly throw something together. I have to have things DONE before I leave so I'm not being pestered, or worse, spoken sternly to when I get back. I can't spend the whole vacation worrying about this planogram or that data sync batch.

So, I'm feeling the tightness in my chest now. The migraine pain is trying to push back to my forehead. My breath is a little short and my temper is shorter. If only, if only....if only he hadn't made it so concrete with those words "we do to Disney in ten days."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sundays, Lazy Sundays


I'm sure it's fingernails on chalkboard screechy to churchgoers to hear me say, we don't attend church. Sunday is the only day of the week that we don't have somewhere to be in the morning at a particular time. That alone prevents us from finding a church. That's only the logistical reason. The fact that, though I grew up in a Presbyterian church, I have rarely attended any kind of church for years and that my husband grew up with little church attendance and finds himself more aligned with views of agnostics also puts us a distance from committing to a visit to a church.


Then there's our son. He has declared himself an atheist who believes solely in science. I'm fine with this, if after some further exposure to various religious texts and dogmas, he still feels this way. But I do think he probably needs to see different sides of church before he abandons it completely. I still find myself a person who believes in God (some God, I'm not terribly picky) and I still pray (which I think I see more as meditation or affirmation than anything else.) I don't want Fletcher to miss out on what might be comforting and pleasant in a church or faith. So, at some point, I'm sure we will look for something that doesn't completely disenfranchise his views while still giving him a different perspective.


The last time I was happy going to a church was some years ago in Austin, Texas. I went to a Unity church (non-denominational Christian, very metaphysical) with the most amazing female minister. She was short, African-American, full of energy. Like having Whoopi Goldberg as your minister. My roommate and I went twice a week because we loved it so much. This church had the congregation saying affirmations together before the sermon. This relaxed us, left us open to the interesting, intelligent metaphysical interpretations of the Bible and dogma. It was church that could be applied to my everyday life and I miss that. I haven't found it since.


My husband would be open to attending a Unitarian Universalist church. So would I. The nearest one is 25 miles away and we are loathe to interrupt our extreme Sunday laziness to attend. And we are loathe to find clothing that would seem appropriate for our first visit to a new congregation. But we think that we will work toward this. Fletcher needs some religious attendance for a Cub Scout badge and that may be our impetus. That also may be the one way to get him to agree to this trip to a church without argument. He does love earning badges.


I do love waking up when I feel like (thwarted frequently by son who keeps whispering "I'm hungry" before I want to get up) on a Sunday morning. And not having to look anything more pulled together than rumpled and fluff-haired. And I love the relaxed pace of eventually getting the paper from the sidewalk out front, and eventually finding lunch. But, sometimes I do miss the community a church would provide and another way to meet people of like minds.

Friday, September 18, 2009

In Heaven We All Wear Crowns

After watching Carrie PreJean speak on the C-Span coverage of the Values Voters Conference (don't get me started on that title), I wanted to write more about her than just the snarky comments I kept posting on Twitter. Not that those weren't my feelings and true, very true.

Where to begin. Here. She looks like a high-priced call girl. This is a supposedly uber-Conservative Christian crowd and Miss Thang comes out in a ruffled, sleeveless halter-top thing, big ol' sparkly, dangly earrings, loads of makeup and fluffy up-do pony. She is five minutes from skank.

No matter what she is saying, she sounds like an idiot. Really. She can say "that was how I was raised" all damn day and it is still not an excuse for judgmental, close-minded behavior. If I were raised to think blonde girls like her were for white slavery, that wouldn't make it right. Being "raised" to discriminate against sections of humanity doesn't make it a good thing. It makes you a jerk. A bigoted jerk at that. In fact, she even referenced how she isn't a bigot. Clearly she doesn't understand the definition of bigot, because intolerance toward someone for their sexuality is bigoted. It just is.

I think there was even a reference to the fact that she didn't want to be thrust into the public spotlight. My head just popped off. YOU WERE IN A PAGEANT! ON NATIONAL TV! It's all spotlight, you moron. Nothing but spotlights. Clearly, you wanted to be in a spotlight. Stop lying.

Not that the crowd listening to her would be the least bit critical of her look, her stupid, stupid words, or her intolerant attitude. They were all applause, and the men were all drooling, no doubt thinking of Christian-appropriate ways to have their way with her.

I'm a bit torqued at C-Span for subjecting us to this. My hope is still that it was so we could mock it. In that case, thanks C-Span, it was fun to mock. Though now I still feel a bit stabby just thinking about that bimbo justifying her nonsense attitudes and putting the blame on the question, not her answer.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

And They Continue to Disappoint

I know not to have expectations of politicians, even the ones who are supposedly on my side, supposedly share my ideals. But, judging by the summary of points in Max Baucus' latest, I am disappointed beyond belief. HR3200 didn't even provide everything I wanted in a health care reform bill - frankly, I'm still holding out for single payer - but it covered most of the major points. Baucus has taken those ideas, crapped on them, then repackaged them weakly to produce the worst bill ever.

This bill stinks so much no one will come near it. He has alienated all progressives, tried some douchebag sleight hand by substituting lame co-ops for the public option and still hasn't managed to entice a single Republican to his side. Why was he left in charge? There must be a "we'd like something decent out of your committee" provision where someone like Baucus could be replaced.

I will keep searching for the full text of the bill. Mostly because I'd like to tear it down in detail. Also, I have a feeling something even lamer is hidden in it. Meanwhile, I will hope that President Obama says no thank you to this and again lists those provisions that MUST appear in a true reform bill.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Short message from Me


I have a headache. Go away now. Don't come near me unless you are offering coffee, hot tea or cheese.


Seriously. Not kidding.

Monday, September 14, 2009

If Legos Were T-Shirts...


The only super power I've always wanted was the ability to transmute (or some similar word, not bothering to look up) matter into other matter. Real world example, turning the thousands of tiny toy pieces I am sick of seeing coat my floor into a fabulous pair of yoga pants. Yes, I'm bitching about the mess in my house again.


But it's part of a larger discussion. Not only do I want to live in a tidy house with less clutter, it would behoove the environment if my household didn't create so much trash and seemingly hoard so many possessions. I know my son doesn't need the sheer amount of stuff he has. And, when he's not looking, some of it gets freecycled, thrown away, occasionally sold. I'm not trying to be an evil mother but I think having so much causes him internal chaos. I know it causes me all sorts of cranky.


I don't set the best example. My bedroom looks like I've allowed gypsies to camp there, but to be fair to myself, the largest portion of junk in there belongs to my son. It's where he hides his guilty pleasure of playing with an inordinate amount of Littlest Pet Shop pets, playsets, tiny plastic food. A collection he will show his small female friends but keeps from his male pals.


I don't have a good solution. Either I get that power to transmute, turning all the clutter into fashionable ensembles and good furniture, I am suddenly flush with enough cash to pay minions to clean up for me, or I just get to work. Meanwhile, as I wait for the Sears repairman to show (between 8 and 5, the most venal phrase ever uttered) to determine why the dryer dries so poorly AND leaves weird brown marks on our laundry, I will try to pick up a few things. Because it's getting hard to explain to strangers why the house of a woman who works from home looks like I let in hobo lodgers.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Persistence of Memory

I never think dwelling on the events of 9/11 is particularly constructive. I didn't know any victims nor do I know families of victims, but I would hope that whatever is done to memorialize the dead helps them rather than causing them to relive misery.

Certainly, like all humans who watched those events unfold that day, I have specific memories. I was pregnant with Fletcher, a little over a month until I would have him. I was huge, tired, and had swollen ankles. I was still reporting to work in an office back then so I was watching the television as I got ready to leave for work. I saw the confused coverage of the first tower/plane collision, thinking for a bit, that it was just a small plane accidentally hitting the building. As we watched the reporters discuss the first tragedy with no real information, no context, we saw the second plane hit. I had the confused response at the time that it was just showing us the first collision, not a second. But as the truth hit me, I realized none of this was accident. We were watching a singularly horrible event unfold.

I remember I had to go to work even though tearing myself away from the images was difficult. We were allowed to have the television in the conference room on and each person wandered in and out checking to see what was happening. I was just an administrative assistant so I had more time to check and was in the room watching when the first tower fell. I and others in the room gasped.

All day as the second tower fell and we watched people run from the dust cloud, fall from the sky, rescued or dead, we watched without believing. It was too terrible to view as anything but an event removed from us in Dallas, almost something pretend being shown to us. It would take days to truly understand the extent of the horror.

I saw someone write that they felt this year's anniversary particularly but didn't understand why. His wife remarked, perhaps it's because it's the first year, the anniversary isn't being used to illustrate some inappropriate political agenda. I think she's right. We have moved on to a new President, something of a new era, where we can remember our dead, our heroes, without the context of using this event as impetus to make bad decisions. I can only hope in the coming anniversaries that we see that the reminder of this event pushes our country to use those feelings for good.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

They All Lie...and I Don't Mean Obama

Not that I'm not constantly aware of the depths to which Republicans will sink in their behavior, propaganda, bizarre naming conventions. But yelling "You Lie" to our sitting President during a speech to Congress and the country is just childish, rude, and stupid. Course, I would love to think Joe Wilson's constituents would reject him based on this egregious behavior, but apparently he lives in delusional, red land and they love him for being a shithead.

But all that frat boy, douchebag behavior couldn't take away the excitement I felt at a great speech from President Obama. I felt hopeful and inspired, then I saw comments on my wall on Facebook. I'm rarely surprised at the idiocy on there as my husband and I are often at the center of a right versus left firestorm (I write it that way because we make left-leaning comments and the right wing nut jobs pounce, we didn't start the fire, etc.) but I found that in response to me calling Arlington Texas school district hypocritical for not showing Obama's speech but busing the fifth graders to Texas Stadium to see W (supported by many, many articles, one of which I posted to support my views) one of my acquaintances of the tea bag variety had posted several lengthy diatribes. (Sorry, that was a really long sentence, you should hear me talk when I get on this stuff.)

So this woman, who I worked with some years ago, and maintain a mostly Christmas-card-exchanging-rare-email-now-Facebook-friends relationship with argued that it wasn't hypocrisy as they children were going to see sports figures also (huh? how does that help) and I should respect Bush and why didn't I support him (I never have, I think he's a moron and I'm pretty sure she knew that about me) and besides Obama is half-white so why does my husband keep saying people are being racist toward him? My head spins with the stupidity of her statements. Also, it's clear to me she's been watching a lot of Fox, listening to Rush and perhaps showing up for some teabagger events.

She went on in a separate posting to call out how the health care reform is absurd and there aren't really 47 million uninsured cause 8 million of those are illegals (totally wrong, no illegals are included in that number) and again, why would I ever say anything negative about Bush. Really?? I can think of 25 reasons why I would starting with stupidest President ever.

So, once I saw this stuff, I exploded with words, unfriended her and will delete her from my Christmas card list when I can be bothered. She's a stupid person who obviously buys into every piece of crap talking point ever spit out by the demagogues of the right. I don't need people like her in my life. And, for the record, if I post something in my status, people can comment, even disagree but diatribes on my wall that are in direct opposition to me are just rude. I don't troll Facebook looking for something to disagree with. I don't understand the other trolls.

Taking a step back it appears that Repugs act badly at the micro level and the macro level. I'm not at all surprised, just amazed so many examples of it popped up in less than 24 hours.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Can Gene Therapy Cure This?




Yesterday in the car, and I don't even remember why, my son said to me, "In your face, SoRelle." (My maiden name is SoRelle, something my husband annoyingly calls me from time to time.) Then he decided to say it again, but this time prefacing with, "Daddy, join me this time. In your face SoRelle." They said that last bit in unison.




I smiled and it was fairly funny. But it also brought up two points - I don't really like being mocked, even in jest and, wow, my husband's goofy genes really passed on to my son. Sure, he was kidding but I can sort of get my feelings hurt when my son decides to join forces with my husband to "fake insult" me.




My husband has some bad verbal habits, weird free association banter that drives me batty. Seems my son has picked up a few of these habits. He makes nonsense rhymes, sings made up ditties and talks non-stop. I was sort of hoping my son would exhibit different behavior. No such luck.




Now I have two of them, bantering, clapping, singing nonsense at me night and day. My response - become a cranky shrew. Not my best look.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy Labor Day. I Got a Chair

Really. I work from a home office and my old office chair had taken to plummeting to child height at random times, causing the breathless roller coaster feeling I'm not that fond of. So I asked boss if I could expense a new chair, he said yes, and I took three months to get around to it. I continued to complain bitterly about plummet-chair but the van was having issues, which meant it would be hard to purchase something that came in a large box.


But, I finally got myself to Office Depot yesterday (because they were having a Labor Day sale, clearly what the holiday is all about) and bought this chair. It looks better than my old chair and the seat is cushier. It seems to roll pretty well considering I'm still resisting one of those plastic chair mats and instead roll across the ever flattening carpet. But, something I didn't notice when I tried it out in the Depot is that the arms are a little tight around my ample thighs.
There's a very specific point on my thighs where the chair constantly reminds me how stupid it was to eat all those Twinkies a few months ago, the ice cream five nights in a row last month and not bothering to take all those walks I kept promising myself. It will be fine. The good points of this chair outweigh the one flaw and I am already adding it to the expense report. But I'm wondering exactly how many pounds do I need to lose for two millimeters of space between me and those chair arms.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Facebook and Twitter Sitting in a Tree...


I'm joking of course, they would never kiss or join in any way. That's fine. I like the separation. I prefer Twitter where I feel free to say what I want without having people I never liked in high school claim I used to be different.


I'm fairly over Facebook except like the compulsive dork I am, I play some of the little games and don't mind seeing photos from friends. It has its place. If I want everyone in my friend group to get a sense of my life, I will say where we are eating or that I'm at soccer practice again. I might say those same things in a tweet, but hopefully I say it funnier, with perhaps a little snark thrown in.


I feel my personality has room to roam on Twitter, my photos can be stored on Facebook. When I accidentally forget how intolerant my friend group is and post an update with a little political flavor, then I become embroiled in endless posts arguing with right wing nut jobs, screaming Christians and old "friends" (read people I sat next to in English, found dull then, barely remember now) who are sure I can't really believe what I say.


I will never completely abandon Facebook - I still see an update here or there from an old acquaintance or new that seems interesting, I can be fans of things there, and there's Farkle - but if I want to discuss politics, religion (or lack thereof in my life) art, minutiae with like-minded or parallel-minded people, I will turn to Twitter. There we can work to mobilize tweeps to work for health care reform, changing the landscape of the public dialogue and sometimes just answering trivia questions.


I find Twitter fun and Facebook familiar. Ideas increase and grow with Twitter, local communication is eased with Facebook. I just have to remember to keep my "crazy" socialist, somewhat atheist thoughts to myself on Facebook and not bore Twitter with my meal choices.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Like They Pay Attention Anyway

The furor over President Obama wanting to address the country's students in a speech, about education, during the school day confounds me. I'm pretty sure I was made to watch or listen to Presidential speeches during my time in school. It's possible I wasn't but I'm old enough to remember the unveiling of Channel One in our high school. Before, televisions weren't used or only to hook up to the rare video tape player (yes, kids, this is before DVDs, when dinosaurs with Beta max roamed the Earth.)

So once we had Channel One in our classrooms, we watched a few minutes each day to whatever they wanted to show us. All these years later, I remember little except it was there. Even at the time - and I was a politically-minded youth with lots of knowledge of current events - I doubt I took much away from whatever was broadcast at me.

Other than the first hysteria-filled conservative Facebook updates about Obama's speech that were negative in a crazy, low-information way, my first contact with the knowledge of this speech left me with the impression it was just your typical President-as-education-cheerleader speech. You know, "stay in school" "work hard at your studies." Not once did I get the impression that until there was protest, Obama had planned a subversive, propaganda-filled speech to infect the minds of our young.

This is the President who isn't even left enough for me. I support him, but he keeps moving right and I and others on the farther left keep trying to pull him back. What are the Repugs worried about? Trust me, they've filled their heads with enough birther/deather/teaparty nonsense, there is no room in the tiny brains for Obama to insert any reason or socialism as they see it.

Why not let the speech go as planned, watch it yourself, discuss with your children? God forbid that you could take some responsibility as a parent to make sure your child is exposed to what you want. I know I want my child exposed to President Obama and his inspiring speeches and any encouragement to educate himself.

Again, I'm pretty sure this boils down to an undercurrent (hardly subtle at this point) of racism in this country among the conservatives. They are just still pissed we have a black President and that they lost the election. It happens. Get over it. Move on. Protesting everything Obama does with spurious arguments, yelling before you even have information needs to stop. Yes, I complained for eight years about Bush. He was an idiot. He took us into an incredibly expensive war for false reasons, he spent like a drunken monkey (sorry, I keep insulting monkeys, they hardly deserve that comparison) and managed to embarrass us world-wide. But even in my grumbling, I didn't take to the streets and make posters about his stupidity. I just bided my time, knowing that at some point, the people would move on from his ilk.

Bide your time, conservative people. If you are so sure Obama is a horrible President, so sure the Democrats are ruining the country, you will have your chance. Now get out of our way. We are in power for the time being. Stop acting like we stepped on your pet.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Do You Want Ice Cream with that Cape?



I'm starting to plan my son's birthday party. He turns eight near the end of October. I admit that I'm not Martha Stewart but I get a little ramped up about his party each year. We always have it in the back yard, my mother comes from Amarillo to make food for adults and I have a cake made. It's the games and favors that I focus on. We always have a theme, last few years have been Halloween (the holiday, not the creepy movies), Blue's Clues, Spongebob, Pokemon, and Pirates was last year. This year's theme has already been picked and approved by Fletcher - Super Heroes.




So, what do we do with that theme. Sure, I'll buy party supplies (probably stuck with an assortment of Spiderman, Batman (cartoon, not movie) and maybe Wolverine or XMen. We aren't publisher picky. But it's what the kids need to do at the party.




Last year, for the pirate theme I had a cake made to look like a treasure chest, the children had little pirate chest kits to make their own to take home AND we had them dig for treasure. On hindsight, filling two baby pools with sand and burying treasure wasn't the smartest move. I still have two baby pools filled with sand in my backyard. I didn't really think that once the 400 pounds of sand was distributed in the pools, they would be impossible to move unless I had my own forklift. Which I don't. So those pools are still sitting there, having already killed the grass below and are now a white trash eyesore between the porch and the playhouse Fletcher never uses. My new plan to deal with them, shovel sand 20 pounds at a time into heavy duty plastic bags and sneak into my trash each week. Sort of like being a trash spy.


Back to this year's theme, Super Heroes. My first thought, and already no doubt one that will have me in tears and panic is to make each child a simple fabric cape that they can then decorate at the party. I'm pretty new to sewing, don't have a pattern for said cape and have no clue what material to make it out of. Sounds like a project!


I guess I need to consider perhaps also building some sort of superhero obstacle course for them to gambol about it. Cardboard bricks, anyone? I'm certainly open to ideas. Also, what should the cake look like? There is always the problem of licensing. What frosting just says "I'm super and wear a cape?"


One day, my son will ask me to stop making these parties so elaborate and stress-filled. It will be disheartening when it happens. It will also be liberating.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Where Did I Put the Pet Taxis?

I do worry about everyone near the fires in California.I see the hollow-eyed people on the news stunned as they view where their home used to be. I can't imagine. When I was 9, my grandparents home was destroyed by a tornado that also tossed them in the air, breaking bones and leaving wounds.



A week after their house was virtually eliminated, we went to see the site. Half the kitchen and the bathroom that was next to it were left, roofless, but with the towels still hanging on the rod. I found a small, ceramic owl in the middle of a field. I was told that doors from the house were found a county away. Those images have never left me. All our family spent days combing the nearby farmfields for my grandparents possessions. We managed to recover an antique clock, some photographs, other bits. But, they moved into a very modern (for 1970) house in town, away from their farm, that had a large basement to protect them from future storms. None of significance ever came. But they were ready.



I've sat in basements many nights over the years listening to the tornado sirens, knowing the weather was turning bad. No place I've lived has been damaged. Grassfires have been known to be some miles away, but I live in town and nothing has ever come here. But, because of the tornado that took my grandparents home and because I see the devastation of the fires in California, my mind occasionally reviews what we would need to evacuate. It will probably never happen, but I know to look for the pet carriers for our two cats, I've thought how we should put the computers each in their own plastic bin to put in the back of the van. I know we should take medicine and clothing and toys my son finds important.

I doubt we will ever use my knowledge of how to evacuate. We don't live where there are hurricanes, tornadoes happen too quickly to leave and I don't think the fires from Oklahoma will ever get to us. But, I seem to need to keep that list in my head so I can go about my life, ready to leave.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Drowing in a Sea of Data


This is me, not really writing a blog entry as I'm swamped to the gills with this school directory. It's needed, it's due to the printer, and I'm not finished. Yes, it's a volunteer project, but no, it can't be ignored and frankly, I want it over with.


So, here I go diving back into the data, to sort, fix, format, layout....see you later...if I survive.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Name of the Emotion

I feel something watching the funeral, the procession, all the parts of these ceremonies for the passing of Senator Kennedy. He wasn't my Senator, I live in another state. I didn't know him personally, though I have always known who he was. I don't think I can point to anything particular in my life that he directly affected, but I know he is the force behind legislation that I have benefited from.

But I feel something beyond what I think I should feel for a public figure who has died. I guess it's sadness, but what is a sadness for the passing of a public figure? Is there another word to mourn someone whose hand guided important parts of the government, whose words inspired others to change things for the better?

My son saw me with the twinkle of tears in my eyes as I watched the funeral and asked why I was sad. I told him that Senator Kennedy was a great man who did so much for the country and that watching his wife, his children in their pain, left me with my own. (Pretty sure he stopped listening after the first three words.)

But I still think there must be a word for this feeling that is probably shared by so many watching this. Seeing so many file past his draped casket, let me know how many have this same emotion. We are sad. We are something even more, knowing that our champion, our lion has gone. Even those of us not from Massachusetts, can feel the great loss.

I wish I had a new, powerful word to express this feeling. Maybe desolation comes closest as we close the chapter on Kennedy's life and worry we are closing the book on what we needed him to do.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Oh the Blank Screen...My Eyes, My Eyes

You'd think I get paid or accolades or gifts for writing a blog the way I seem to persist writing almost daily. There is no money, few and far between comments, and I haven't received any chocolates lately, so I think it's either becoming a habit, or involves guilt, or perhaps verbal therapy.

Right now the only therapy I need is for my chronic procrastination. Behind me is another computer waiting for me to finish formatting info for the school directory that really, really needs to go to the printer. But it's tedious, a little outside my purview and basically eating my lunch.

Speaking of lunch... the news is understandably about the tributes and memorial to Ted Kennedy. I applaud this, especially how the health care reform debate has been added to the dialogue. Then there is also crazy train Sanford calling press conferences to talk about why he isn't stepping down, even though everyone in his state is now convinced he should. He not only needs to resign, he needs to be prohibited from saying more non sequiter crap on TV.

The sky darkens with impending rain. I'm ambivalent about rain, getting things done, my life today.