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.