Sunday, September 30, 2007

Let me 'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

1. Work: Eh. Lovely catching up with coworkers and demonstrating that I am, indeed, more than just a voice wafting through the speakerphone. Much slower pace than last visit. Project that I went to launch didn't launch, thanks to no help at all from other parts of our group. Blah blah story of our little team's life blah blah.

2. Opie: excellent companion. Befriended many fellow travelers. Dug the subway (except when it was "too woud"). Can demonstrate Statue of Liberty pose. Wants to be a "stick guy" for Halloween.

3. Neighbor child doting on Opie: Largely annoying (mostly because he riled Opie up so that it took me an average of one hour each night to get him to fall asleep). All forgiven when I learned he'd written in his school journal that "the best part of this week is taking care of the Baby Opie."

4. Celeb sightings: No Clooney, but Opie saw Chris Noth and Eric Bogosian and we both saw John McCain.

5. This weekend, aka The Return:

Guess whose is whose?

The lost tooth, by the way, is literally lost, somewhere in the depths of Home Depot. I only hope the next person rummaging through one of those drawers full of nuts and bolts doesn't find a small, bloody incisor instead. Jo wrote the following note to the fairy (punctuation emphatically hers):

Jo! lost! my! Tooth!
Look! for! it! at!
Home!
Depot!
[signed]
Jo!
Bye!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Gimme a muffin to go

For the record, this is what I brought to entertain one 2.5-year-old boy during two airplane flights and an airport layover:

6-8 miniature vehicles, including motorcycle, airplane, and various cars and trucks
4 books
2 coloring books/markers
2 pacifiers
1 laptop/5 DVDs
1 string of beads (vehicle theme)
1 baggie goldfish crackers
1 baggie trail mix
1 apple
1 turkey sandwich
1 sippy cup

This is what proved to be most entertaining of all:

1 overpriced, very dry blueberry muffin (place both hands on top of muffin; squeeze. A good 10 minutes of hilarity!)

I'm in New York this week with 1 junior sidekick. So posting will be light as I am busy massaging unused-to-high-heels feet, playing Frogger trying to cross Atlantic Avenue (see: feet too sore to reach crosswalk), catching up with friends, and -- oh yeah. Working.

Friday, September 21, 2007

ahhh-'ku!

Indian summer
Pool closed, sprinklers put away
Just soak up the warmth

Tell me dear husband
Why it's so hard to grasp
what's recyclable?

My scalp is itchy
Please don't tell me it's that--No,
It's all in my head

Thursday, September 20, 2007

My stay at the Home for Wayward Girls

'Gramercy Park' by George BellowsLast Sunday's New York Times blasted me to the past with this article about the Salvation Army's Parkside Evangeline Residence. When I first moved to New York City after college, I needed a place to stay while I was interviewing for jobs and looking for an apartment. I spent about 10 days at the Parkside Evangeline, which I insisted, then and now, on calling the Home for Wayward Girls. I think it cost $35 a night.

This women-only, single-room-occupancy, extended-stay hotel was a throwback even then, with its dingy decor and prim rules about male visitors to your room (as in, none allowed. Not that I had anyone to invite up). I didn't eat in the dining room or spend any time in the lobby -- if I wasn't out prowling for a job or an apartment, I holed up in my room with a few books and a tiny radio for company.

I did have friends in the city but I mostly remember feeling lonely and scared. I'd lived in Philadelphia for the past four years but was still felt like a total rube in NYC. Sleeping alone in a dim, narrow room, skulking down the hall to use the bathroom, and communicating with the outside world via the hallway pay phone didn't help at all. Nor did the bank screwup that left me with almost no cash (or credit) for a few days, weighing whether to spend my last $1.50 on a subway token or a bagel on the morning of an interview.

And I never availed myself of my one and only chance to visit Gramercy Park! Curses.

As for the plan to evict the remaining tenants from the Parkside Evangeline and sell the building, I can't say I blame the Salvation Army. Yes, the deal stinks for the current residents and for people in the position I was in. And it's a shame to see one of those places that makes New York New York be turned into yet another luxury condo. But all that sentiment and $1.50 will not even get you a ride on the subway.

A real pain in the wrasse

All I didn't really need to know I learned in the first three weeks of kindergarten:

1. If the teacher says it, then It Is So. "Mommy, we can eat that brown stuff on the apple. It's just from air."

2. There is a fish called a wrasse that specializes in cleaning the teeth of other fish by swimming into their mouths and eating leftover food. Yum!

3. "Dear Parents: We have had a case of head lice reported in your child's classroom ... "

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Beer, breastmilk -- whatever gets you through the night

Yesterday I opened up my fantasy football scoreboard to see if my come-from-behind victory was proceeding as planned. Indeed it was, but that's not what made me do a doubletake.


So if the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the Ad Council think that a sports website -- with a beer sponsorship, no less -- is a good place for an ad encouraging breastfeeding, what is Facebook's problem? Or Bill Maher's?

I've read many eloquent posts on the subject of what an idiot Maher is and how ridiculous Facebook is, and I completely agree with them. So I'm not going to add anything else except this little Moment of Zen from the world of sports.

And, no comments from the peanut gallery (ahemKyleahem) about my crappy team. It may have been an ugly win, but it was a win.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Stop the world, I want to get off

http://www.home.unix-ag.org/simon/gimp/globes.htmlYesterday, I caught Opie singing "There's not a star in heaven that we can't reach..."

That's from High School Musical, for the uninitiated. My baby!

And this evening, we discovered that Jo has a loose tooth. MY BABY!

Friday, September 14, 2007

to-do-haiku

Three free hours today
To-do list goes on for miles
Maybe I’ll just blog

It's Haiku Friday again!

Now that school has started, my schedule has changed and I am giving myself Friday afternoons off from both work and kid care. That means they are on for freelance jobs, household stuff, and maybe once in a while even something fun. My plan for the next several weeks is to slowly, surely purge this house of about a metric ton of accumulated crap. I will pick one closet/storage area/black hole per Friday and devote an hour to clearing it out. Realizing I still had a 15-year-old dress in my closet was definitely a kick in the ass, as was the change in weather that arrived this week. This happens every time the seasons change: I feel like I have no idea how to dress. I need to reset my brain from "capris" to "jeans" and back again, to find the long-sleeved shirts that have been buried under the short-sleeved ones for four months. But since very few of my clothes would really pass the Clinton/Stacy/Tim Gunn test, I feel the need to start fresh.

Wish me luck -- and I am counting on you to hold me accountable to my goal. Stay tuned for photographic evidence!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Every mother's dream: 1st place in the tractor pull

Being the mother of a girl is a tough, scary job. On top of general health, happiness, and welfare, you have to worry about plummeting self-esteem, body image issues, an overly sexualizing culture.


So when it comes to my little xx-chromosome bearer, I praise her athleticism in addition to her adorableness. I ban Bratz dolls and their skanky sisters. When, a few months ago, a classmate told Jo she had fat legs (!) (I know), we talked about strong muscles and how it's not kind to call anyone fat or skinny.


And today, I'm going to pat myself on the back just a little because I think some of this is sinking in. We stayed after school yesterday afternoon, hanging around at the playground as many kids and moms do. As we left, Jo told me that one of the girls had been telling her about the "secret pee places" (!) (?) (I know) in the schoolyard. "Like places you can go pee if you need to. When you are outside."


I reminded her that we most certainly do not pee in the yard. She replied that her friend said she had to or else they couldn't be friends.


My mind raced, trying to think of the best way to respond. Then Jo nonchalantly added that she didn't have to pee, so she just told the other girl that she didn't need to go right now, and they both carried on. Minor peer-pressure crisis averted.


On a roll, once in the car I reminded her of the birthday party invitation she'd received recently, for an "utimate hula girl party." And I quote: "Each girl comes in her swimsuit, gets a hula skirt to wear and is treated to a Hawaiian makeover with up-do, make-up, and nail polish. Then the whole group learns the hula!"



Win #2: She stands by her first instinct, to decline the invite. She'd said she wanted to go, but she did not want to "wear the bathing suit or do the part with the lipstick or the dancing." That's my little feminist! When I told her that she couldn't really avoid that stuff if she attended the party, she decided she wouldn't go at all.


Oh, and win #3? That would be the tractor pull she won this weekend. Oh yeah. At "family farm" day at the zoo (where, how lucky are we, we also got to meet two lovely residents of Binkytown), she pedaled a mini John Deere more than 8 feet -- the second-place finisher eked out 3.5 feet.


tractor pullin' girl



















You go, girl. (Also, tell those guys to get out of my shot.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Igneous, sedimentary, and highly questionable

everythingcoffee-tea.com
Has anyone else seen the ads for the new line of Secret deodorants, Scent Expressions? One of the fragrances is Vanilla Chai. I am not kidding. Does anyone out there want their underarms to smell like a nice frothy latte (or arctic apple, for that matter)? I can't stop thinking of that scene in Flirting with Disaster where some guy licked Patricia Arquette's pit "because it's my favorite part of a woman's body."

For a review of a product I do think is worthwhile--a kids' science show called "The Zula Patrol"--please visit The Full Mommy today. While you're there, help a girl out: Amy is bootless and bereft in Binkytown.

Another sunny Tuesday

Image US Air Force www.af.mil
My September 11 story is here. Six years seems like forever ago but I can recall every minute of that day in sharp detail. I can't let it pass without a moment of remembrance and a prayer for peace -- the peace that means "no more wars" and the peace that means grace and comfort too.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Salvation Army, lock your doors 'cause here I come

pretty pretty flowers




God only knows why
This shapeless sack of rayon
Wastes good closet space












I'm only showing it to you because I'm participating in today's Parent Bloggers Network Blog Blast for the new book The Little Black Book of Style, by Nina Garcia of ELLE and Project Runway fame.

I decided it would be too easy to bring out the forest green velvet bridesmaid dress from 1993 or anything maternity. Anyway this particular example is pretty bad on its own. Nina would roll her eyes all the way back into her head if she saw this gem, which I've been toting around since before the first (and I don't mean Bill vs. Hillary) Clinton administration. I wore it for my college graduation party and somewhere there is a picture of me and about 5 of my friends at that occasion. Each one of us is wearing a print dress of this ilk and let me tell you, it's a pretty scary sight.

So. What've you got? It's worth a $250 gift certificate to Coach, so bring it on (anytime before midnight PST). And just for fun, caption it with a haiku!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

...to be continued...

Once upon a time, after the evil stepmom had put up a Barbed wire fence around everything, the Empress came and shouted: "I've come to give you A little piece of me mind!"

The evil stepmom, Shelby, came out to see what all the Rambling from this Crazy person was about. The cranky, evil stepmom watched in horror as the insane person began to parade around singing "A Boy Named Sue."

It seemed like forever this insane person would sing and for miles he would parade, all the while twisting and dancing to the song.

It was nothing short of sheer brilliance, though, this Empress, dancing like a wild monkey in an accordian store, waving goodbye to the evil (and I mean very evil) stepmom and heading off to her job as a Kelly Girl on a military base in South Carolina. It was there she was swept off her feet by Officer Gorgeous and signed up to be part of the USO.

It was day by day living with Officer Gorgeous. They went to dances, watched movies, star-gazed, & drank their fountain drinks from the same glass. Then, her Mother, Sister, and Friend came along.....She hadn't seen them for years, and couldn't wait to introduce her new love to them. "This is Officer Gorgeous," she said. "He's really a misplaced midwesterner. We're crazy in love!"

"You must come all the way home with us!" her family cried.

She countered their pleas by saying, "I can't go all the way back to Mayberry, Mom."

Her brother stepped in and said, "Hey, while your Officer Gorgeous has been keeping your fires burning on the homefront, his wife -- yeah, I said wife -- is raising their screaming masses."

"His wife?" shouted the Empress. "He messed with the wrong woman. You better get me out of here now before I smother him with his prized eucalyptus pillow."

Undaunted by Officer Gorgeous's treachery, the Empress set out to taste the world. She believed that life is an ongoing education. Still, she wasn't prepared for the lesson she learned when she arrived in Istanbul that sultry April evening.

*

Thanks for the tag, Patois!

Rules
1. Copy and paste the story, and the rules, on your blog.
2. Find out who you're going to tag. (2-3 people, or more, if you wish)
3. Write one or two sentences to continue the story, and use the titles of the blogs you're tagging or any word(s) associated with them as keywords in the links you include in your part of the story.
4. Remember to tell your taggees that you've tagged them!
5. Feel free to use this and start your own viral link story. I'd very much appreciate a link back to Mother's Home if you do. (Or a tag, if you prefer!)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Bone appetit!

So, the kindergarten report: All was well. Drop-off and pick-up, while logistically messy (wait outside! no, wait near the cafeteria! no, go to the classroom!), were emotionally pretty easy. In four hours, Jo and her class squeezed in group time, an art project, a story, and a snack (Scooby-Doo animal crackers--Mrs. B. taught the kids to say "Bone appetit. Let's eat" first), plus trips to the bathroom, playground, library, and cafeteria. She's thoroughly ready to go back for more tomorrow.

So now I turn my attention to my first baby, our 9-year-old dog. Paradoxically (and I'm sure this is familiar to many of you who've made similar moves), she often got more exercise back when we lived in a 1200-square-foot apartment. Then, we had to take her for regular walks. Now, we turn her out into the backyard a few times a day and that's about it. If we're spending time outside, she'll run around and play; but regular walks are, shall we say, irregular.


I've noted before that my attempts to exercise, including long dog-walks, seem to be constantly thwarted by children. So unfair. So it was kind of a stretch for me to tell the good people of Parent Bloggers Network that "Yes! I'm an exerciser! Sign me up for them free shoes!" But follow my logic: If I replace my six-year-old (yeah, six) cross-trainers with new, wonderfully comfortable, designed-for-women walking shoes by Ryka, I will be forced to use them.

Cliffhanger: Did I? What do I think of the shoes? And more importantly, what does my dog think? To find out, please check out my review over at The Full Mommy. There's more good stuff there too: a cool building toy endorsed by our resident preschool teacher, a how-to video for dads, even our top picks for kiddie snacks. Plus, we're welcoming a new reviewer: Mrs. Chicken!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Hot saucy hedgehogs

Two conversations that made me go hmmmm.

1. Indoors, having lunch (which isn't PB&Js).

JO: I smell ... Mr. B.!
ME (slightly afraid of the response): Uh... what does Mr. B. smell like?
JO: Peanut butter sandwiches!
OPIE: No! He smells like ... hedgehogs!

2. The bathtub.

JO: Opie is my hot saucy boyfriend and I am his hot saucy girlfriend!
ME: ...
JO (singing): Hot saucy girlfriend! Hot saucy girlfriend!
ME (deciding to go all child psych 101): Hot saucy girlfriend? What does that mean?
JO: It means your girlfriend is in a volcano and she is hot from lava!
ME: I see. And how about "saucy"?
JO: Saucy, like she is covered with tomato sauce!

Mayberry is burning

Yesterday was a pretty average Saturday. My parents were visiting and we walked downtown to the farmer's market and the bakery. We played outside with the neighbor kids. We ate dinner and gave the kids a bath and put on their jammies. Then we walked over to another neighbor's backyard for a performance like this:



The neighbors have a new foreign exchange student and this is her hobby. Performances nightly!

(That's not her -- I didn't want to show up toting a videocamera -- but it's similar to what she did.)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Dear Mr. President

Dear Mr. President,
I understand that you are used to getting your way, in fact have never not gotten what you loudly demand, but I feel there are some things that we should discuss. I’d like to take a minute to review your take on the environment, your foreign policy, and even weapons of mass destruction. Is that OK? Do you have a minute? Good.

Let’s start with the environment. Seriously, what do you have against the landfills? Why do you feel the need to wait until I change your diaper to have a poop? Couldn’t you use the slightly wet diaper that’s already on your tush? No, you wait until I’ve changed you to let loose, forcing me to use yet another diaper. One of these days the landfills are going to overflow and it’ll all be your fault. OK. Maybe my fault a little for not using cloth diapers, but still! You’re the one who wastes perfectly good diapers. (Not to mention the fact that you are wasting away your college tuition. Just sayin’.)

Moving on to my foreign policy issues. How exactly do you decide who will be friend or foe? We walk into a room and you’ll befriend someone and latch on to them for the rest of the day. Everyone else who tries to talk to you or play with you gets the cold shoulder. I have yet to understand what draws you to one person, but not to another. Is it the color of their shirt, or something more abstract? It would really help me if you could give me a hint or two so that I can clue in the people who really want to bond with you.

Maybe it’s a bit of an exaggeration to categorize your gas as a weapon of mass destruction, but when you come into our bed early in the morning, snuggle under the covers, and let one rip, well, let’s just say that you can get us to get up pretty darn fast. I really wish you would refrain from using your secret weapon, especially when we’re in the closed car on a warm day. It’s really uncalled for, I’d even go so far as to say downright evil.

Now that you have acquired a Vice President your father and I are quite worried about our little democracy. Aside from the few issues I’ve mentioned above we feel that you’ve been quite a reasonable ruler. We hope that now that there are two of you and two of us you will not take advantage of the situation. If you do we might have to consider impeaching you, or at least taking away your Dora privileges. Consider yourself warned.

Sincerely,
Your mommy

This was a guest post written by Rose at It’s My Life... in honor of this month’s blog exchange.

When I’m not busy working, cooking, or running after my toddler, C, I’m usually hiding in the bathroom thinking up my next blog post or trying to read a chapter or two of the book I’m currently wading through. When I do come up with something witty to write about, you can read it here where your usual blogger extraordinaire is blogging today.