Tuesday, March 04, 2008

An announcement from this sister over here on the left coast...

This could really be life altering for some of you, I'm sure, so don't be shocked. I'm quitting. Not smoking, or living, or that job I don't have. I mean I'm going to stop blogging for a while. Maybe a month or six, and then I'll likely come running back with a million things with which to spout about. That's not to say the BLOG goes down, because my sister, the more erudite one, isn't putting her voice on hold. But for right now I just need to stop. Since I'm sure you're dying to know why, so I've got a few reasons for you.

First of all, and this reason probably gives away my age more than anything, I'm still a little weirded out not knowing who in my real life is reading my junk. I *love* that people I don't or can't keep in touch with via email or phone (or that stamp-envelope thing that no one does anymore), but it's still odd when I don't know they're there and it turns out I'm talking to them. A comment from time to time letting me know who's out there would help, but I think I'm just not used to the anonymous-but-not-really thing. (Side note: Thanks to those of you who *do* comment, and this is not a guilt trip to those of you who don't, it's just an observation.) I guess I sometimes want a real dialogue about stuff, which is fine, but this is not the venue for that, I'm learning. It'd be one thing if I was truly an anonymous blogger and no one in my real life knew who I was, but then that would take out some of the fun of it anyway. Obviously I'm no MySpacing-social-networking-with-people-across-the-globe chick. It's a good thing I wasn't born 20 yrs after I was (and right now my mother is agreeing with me more than any of you). I don't think I'd make it as a teenager today for a variety of reasons but this internet thing is one of them.

Second, I feel like my posts have become, as my sister would say (although she hasn't because unlike me, she's too polite), a bit of a one-note wonder. I don't really like that super-opinionated side of myself and for some reason it seems like what I resort to when I'm in posting mode. So basically it's exposing the yuckiest side of myself for a bunch of people I know (maybe, or maybe not)... not a good combination. I know I'll never be this good as a writer (for example), but it'd be nice to feel like I was a little more than a sarcastic griper.

Thirdly, I'm trying a little experiment with myself. I'm limiting *my* screen time. I've decided to cut way back on the time I spend in front of a cursor. Initially I thought I'd try a living offline altogether, but I've quickly realized how close-to-impossible that is in today's world. It's hard to bank, look up directions, find a recipe, research whatever medical issue comes your way, etc without internet access. But being in front of a screen puts me into such a trance that I completely ignore whatever's happening around me, which this morning involved paper, glue sticks and the kitchen wall. Had I not been reading the headlines online, I kinda sorta think I could have nipped that in the bud. It's not that this blog itself takes up so much time that my kids are out foraging for berries for dinner, just that it's hard for me to have enough downtime to do this, and sleep and do all the things I'd like to do.

That's the crux of it really, I have a lot that I want to do and when I get online I end up spending more hours goofing off than finishing a project would have taken. For example, I would love to have a few more photos in albums, even though I'm not nearly as crafty as this girl. I want to learn how to sew, even though I'll likely never make quilts as lovely as she does. But as it is, I just am not organized enough to get it all done in the 24 hours my globe spins in.

I often end up leaving sleep out of my life when there's more I want to do. If my choices were to sleep or stay up late watching something online or reading about some oddball on wikipedia, you can bet there'd be a blue glow in the house. And the thing is, although I don't *think* I need much sleep, the fact that I almost cried at my son's preschool conference (which was far from negative, traumatic, surprising or sad) is telling me otherwise. And the fact that I was so short with him for not getting on his seat belt in a right-now kind of way this morning tells me that too. And the fact that I wanted to scream at the woman working in a store I went into recently because (if you can believe this horrifying story) she asked me if she could help me when I had only just entered the store a nanosecond prior. (That does really annoy me, but still. It's like I could feel my blood pressure rising instantaneously.)

That is probably the biggest reason. I want to see if I can stay off the computer for 23 and 1/2 out of the day's 24 hours and if I am a happier, less exhausted person at least in part because of that cutback. I will check my email but only for essentials so that I don't end up with 4.5 billion offers for pharmaceuticals in after a week of not loggin in. But I won't surf the net aimlessly, I won't be checking all my favorite blogs religiously, I won't look at airfares to places I've never been just for the why-not of it. I'll be as offline as I can be, just to see if my mood lightens and my patience with my dependents increases.

I am particularly looking forward to extra sleep, I know I need it. But I'm also interested to find out if I actually *can* stay away from the computer, or if there's a level of addiction involved here. And if staying away makes me a more tolerable person to be around (not tolerant, tolerable, I said). Oh, and one more thing, in case the emotional volitility of a few paragraphs ago didn't give it away, I'm pregnant. One more reason to get more sleep.

So keep checking in because prrrof will continue to enlighted the masses (right, prrrof?!). We're a fortunate species that that isn't left up to me to do. Although it would be one more reason for me to keep quiet a lot longer!

Monday, February 18, 2008

celebrating presidents?

What Presidents' Day meant at our house:

*For my 3-year-old, it was about a trip, or having extra clothes, or anticipating an accident. He diligently packed a backpack with pajamas this morning and wore it around. "For Presidents' Day, momma!"

*For my 5-year-old, it had something to do with on-foot transportation: "Mom, for Presidents' Day, do we go on a walk or on a hike?"

Huh? I'm confused too.

*For my DH, it meant working.

*For me, it meant a luxurious 3rd weekend day, a scream-filled afternoon with the kids' good buddy over here, and the chance to leave them for an hour this morning and run a few quick errands. Lovely!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Having nothing of value to write about, LCS posts anyway

Since my dear sister is being so tightlipped about her Barack-in' experience (get it??), I'll just cover that post. Additionally, I have nothing of any intellectual value to add to these internets, (get your shocked self off of the floor, reader!) however I can't stop from sharing anyway.

Boy #1's preschool had a free vision test courtesy of our local Lions club. I asked him what the lady said about his eyes, and he said (in all seriousness), "Oh, they were mostly clean except for a little dust right here" (pointing to the outside corner of his eye). So I guess that's good.

In other health related news, the great Golden State is now requiring all kindergartners to have a dental exam prior to school*. That seems a little weird. I mean, I'm all for clean teeth, and I'm lucky enough to have a 4-year old who LOVES our wonderful tooth doctor, but is it really necessary to go to school with dentist approved teeth? That kinda sorta seems over the top. Reader? What thinkst thou?
*There is a waiver but there has to be a medical reason why you didn't have the kiddo's teeth looked at by a professional.

My mom is coming to visit for a week, starting in 108 hours. The kids are excited, but I'm simply over the moon!! Conversation with another adult for more than 2 days a week! Another person to distract screaming banshees who only scream when a telephone must be answered! Someone to push the swings! To get kids into carseats! To go grocery shopping! To... I'll stop. But you catch my drift. It's like a week of having a nanny who actually is in love with your kids. Fan-tastic.

I keep having this thing where I read a really, really good book and then can't remember what it was about or the author or the title. So know that I read a really good book last week. But I do remember (after pondering this for some time now) that it was called *Symphony* and I have no idea who the author was. It was about Hector Berlioz (a Romantic composer) (that's a composer from the Romantic Period, not some guy who writes love songs) and how he married an actress (which was a scandalous move in the 1800's in France) and how his life unfolded. I found it really interesting and a fun read. (The author's name just came to me, it is Jude Something. Not Jude Law, although that would really have caught my eye. Jude Morton maybe?? Ah, well, it'll come to me.) And I guess it officially makes me a nerd if I completely got sucked into a book about a guy who composes symphonies.

And now, for the biggest news in our house!!!!! I've saved the best for last in this post!
Ladies and Gentlemen, WE NOW OWN A DISHWASHER!!!!
(drumroll and ecstatic cheers)
Yep, that's right. For two years now, I've been earning these dishpan hands, and now dinner cleanup takes about 10 minutes. I seriously should have written commercials for these handy devices in the 1950's, because I tell you, a dishwasher is just about the 8th wonder of the world if you ask me. Amazing. I'm not even as annoyed when there are five sippy cups on the kitchen table and two kids with cups in their hands. This thing rocks! The other cool thing about it is that the kid at Best Buy who sold it to us (who I daresay was about 12) gave us a discount since his dad and my DH work together, so we got it for under 300 clams! Then we had to have our 1967 house plumbed and wired for it, which didn't even take much more effort than we thought, and voila! LCS's family has officially entered the new millenium. (Actually, I think it's more like we entered the old one, but better late than never, right?!) Now if only someone could invent a bathroomwasher. That would completely rock my world!
In conclusion, my husband would like you to notice that this post is an example of me having nothing to say. And he has chosen to stay married to me for over 7 years. That he will put up with me is amazing. The 9th wonder of the world, he is, right behind the dishwasher.

Saturday, February 02, 2008


...you've been warned. Actually, this isn't really a political post--just a "wow, I just had an experience shared with 13,000+ others in my small Hip City" post. Look!

That's Barak Obama. In our little state. Drawing huge crowds. Amazing.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Some thoughts for you to have

A few things:
  • My pal over at j.m.b. had a link to this which I thought was interesting since I'm somewhat presidentially wavering. It's a survey that aligns your views to those of the candidates. Interesting. And no, I'm not telling you who was my winner according to this survey. Wouldn't you love to know?
  • Heard a spot on the radio about China and the need to push and shove and elbow your way into the subway. The reporter said that while you are on the platform a Chinese announcement is telling you to be courteous and allow others off before you get on, but if you did that you'd never get on at all. Add that to the things I've heard and read about life in the Chinese countryside and I don't think the words "bucolic" and "pastoral" must exist in that language. I get stressed just thinking about it.
  • While I was running into the grocery store during a downpour the other day, I was reminding myself of how good we have it here in this country. Some people have to make a life-threatening journey to the market only wait for hours for a few loaves of bread and then go home to no electricity, no running water and no end of that life in sight. We don't know what inconvienence is like here. Say whatever you want about the politics and policies of this country, it's darned easy livin'. I feel fortunate for that.
  • Our main computer is having a little virus problem and since I'm as technologically sound as an 8-track tape, I took it to the Geek Squad. Let me first say, my congratulations to the person who came up with their schtick. (If you don't know, they are "agents" and act all FBI-ish, even calling their counter area their precinct, which is funny to me. I guess when they first opened they had to add some color to their cars because they looked too close to official in black and white. I must say I'd fall over laughing, however, if real FBI agents started driving VW Beetles.) Anyway, they have been nothing but helpful and even though I was there for 1 and 1/2 hours today (with two kids in tow no less) I left feeling fine. So they are doing something right. They charge an arm and a leg and have that super-annoying understaffing thing at times wherein your agent is talking to people on the phone and you and filling out some other person's paperwork simultaneously, but somehow I wasn't totally angry, which that kind of stuff usually makes me. Maybe I'm getting to be more Zen than I thought. (With regard to the two kids along with me thing: I had TONS of snacks and we went to Best Buy's home theatre section and watched movie clips for about an hour. Good work, Best Buy. You and Gymboree win the easy-to-shop-here-with-kids award.) That's all on that.
  • Which leads me to why there are no pictures forthcoming. I don't have the right program on this machine and won't be installing it because I don't know how. So there.
  • Volvo, on the other hand, is not on my good list as far as the overall company goes. We bought our car 4 yrs ago basically because of the Volvo safety record and I really do love it. It's spacious, drives nice, super-easy with car seats, the kids sit far enough away that they can't poke each other, etc. But the airbag went bad, so we took it in to the dealer. In mid-December. First we were told there was a nation-wide back order on airbags. From the company who prides themselves on safety, that seemed a little odd. But after two weeks of driving around my death trap (isn't it funny, not so many years ago there were no airbags, now I consider them as necessary as tires...), the part came in and I took in my car so they could "pop it in", as my service advisor said. Right. Should have known, first he came out to tell me it'd be a different color (huh?) than the rest of our interior (it'd be tan, our interior is grey), then he came to tell me it wouldn't fit at all. So he got me a rental car which was two door and smelled like a New Jersey bar (translation: very smokey). It was great fun putting two car seats in that puppy. So the next day we took that back and got a 4 door with less smoke smell. We've now had the rental for two weeks and the part just came in and they discovered we need.... another part. Which will add $500 to our bill. So, all in all, good times in the transportation department. The car should be done tomorrow. But then again, I've heard that before.
  • With regard to the above mentioned issue, did you know a car manufacturer does not have to provide parts to their car after it is 10 years old? So if in 3 years our airbag goes bad, Volvo can say, "Sorry. We don't make that any more," and we get to decide whether to (a) sell our car to another sucker with no airbag, (2) drive a car with no airbag, or (3) donate or otherwise junk and otherwise perfectly working car because Volvo doesn't want to keep their cars on the road. Weird.

That's more of my thoughts than you really needed, but I'm just here to share. Hope you are all well and not needing to swim around town like we are.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Travel fun

We're back! And we survived, all of us, a huge trip. Some observations regarding international travel:

*Five-year-olds can find the "how to jump down the inflatable ramp when your plan lands gently and in one piece in an emergency" pamphlet endlessly interesting. I think #1 spent almost as much time with this information as she did with books.

*Our kids are great plane sleepers. I, on the other hand, must concentrate with all my might to keep the plane afloat. So I don't get much sleep (duh--don't want that plane to crash).

*I am embarrassingly, oh-so-Americanly monolingual. Europe is so not. I know a few phrases from my stint in college German, and usefully used it to ask, "Sprechen sie English?" Each time, I could use my own language and someone else had to adjust. I loved the multi-lingual announcements in Zurich and Frankfurt, and we were likewise amused at the airport workers shouting at arriving passengers in English when we arrived in Philadelphia. Our favorite: "Please make sure to have your boarding pass with your passport. If someone near you doesn't understand what I'm saying, please make sure they do." Um, okay.

*Swiss health care is reasonably priced. At least for treating a double ear infection (#1). A doctor visit, antibiotics, ear drops, and nasal spray came to about $55.

*Another language observation: There is something downright funny about Disney experienced via French. Blanch-neige et les Sept Nains just doesn't have the same ring as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, does it? But another sign of English's inroads as an international second language: the "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience" ride/show was in English. If you spoke French, you had to listen via headphones. In your. own. country.

*We have officially consumed enough (very good) cheese to meet our family's per-capita consumption for the year, thanks.

*Jet lag is miserable coming home. Yes, I made mac n cheese for two kids, two early a.m.s in a row. As in 3:30. Yawwwn.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Life after holidays

So, to play catch-up...
  • Our holidays were nice, filled with family (his and mine, minus prrrof since they are galavanting about Switzerland). Unfortunately, DH's grandpa died a few days before Christmas which was sad for us, but I have to say, I don't know if I've ever known anyone ready-er than he was. At 95 yrs old, he was tired and his old body didn't allow him to do many of the things he once loved. Most of his friends and peers are gone, of course, so there aren't that many around to remember with him. But he loved his kids, his grandkids, his great-grandkids and his great-great-grandkids. He never got old and sour, at least that I saw. We'll miss him.
  • After torrential rainfall (and as a former Pacific Northwesterner, my use of "torrential" is highly qualified), our playroom got somewhat flooded. DH has fixed and is still fixing it, thankfully, but we're moved out of that space for a few more days. Which meant toys that used to be in that room are now spread out over our 1200 square feet, added to which is the new Christmas loot. Yikes. I take some comfort in knowing whoever decides to break into our house will surely break bones trying to navigate around the Lincoln Logs, hotwheels, train tracks and other things. And it would be a real disappointment to subsequently find out that they are the most valuable things in the house.
  • Boy #1 has very odd hearing capabilities. I was shouting at him from one room away that dinner was ready and his reply five minutes later was "I couldn't hear you". My husband suggested I pick up a certain treat for the boys on my way home from an errand and this same boy, who was playing on the other side of the house, heard him.
  • News media annoys me. After Hillary Clinton's (note to reader: I'm not saying you should or shouldn't like her or vote for her or campaign for her, this is just a point of interest I'm kindly sharing with you) loss in Iowa, they declared her campaign as "floundering" and then after New Hampshire, she's once again "the front runner". That was quick. How can any campaign flounder after losing Iowa when there are approximately 49 more states to go (depending on whether one is counting Michigan and Florida because of their pushing up their primary dates and the DNC saying now they won't count, which I don't understand, but anyway.)? I just wish there were no 24 hour news channels because they have to make up news just to have something interesting to say.
  • My new pet peeve (which is quite petty, compared to greater social ills, but is my pet peeve of the day nonetheless): Mispronouncing common words in common ways. Like the guy at the car repair shop who was making an appointment for "Mondee, or Tuesdee if that works for you." Erk. "DAY!," I wanted to scream, "Mon-DAY!!" It's like saying nekkid or crik when the words are clearly phonetically driven to be pronounced naked (no short e sound comes from a) or creek (no short i sound comes fro 'ee'). Stop the madness and start reading people.
  • I had a long phone conversation with a friend from our old town, and may I say it was just what I needed. Thanks, M! There's nothing like catching up with an old friend and remembering just why she's so great and why you want to stay in touch. It was almost as good as a night of Mexican food and then listening to David Sedaris...

Since nothing else of interest is going on in my life, I'll think about posting a picture or two in the next few days. How's that for committment.