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Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Bad singer, good daddy

I just don't understand why this whole Ashlee Simpson is making the news. Is it really a surprise that she's lip-syncing? Puh-leez. (Though we can question SNL's choice in musical guests these days -- perhaps they could select some people who actually perform.)

I do love her daddy's defense: She had acid reflux and her voice was hoarse.

I can only hope that my babies' daddy would come to their defense the same way. That's good paternal instinct. I think the only thing he could have done better was punched a paparazzi and landed in jail to totally take the spotlight off his little girl.

posted by Laura at 9:26 PM | 0 comments

Monday, October 25, 2004

Fenced in

We've owned two homes. In those homes we've shared property lines with just three neighbors. But our relationships with those neighbors have been defined by the fences.

In our first home, a 110-year-old Victorian, we had a darling wrought-iron fence surrounding our property when we moved in. The sellers warned us about the neighbor (the Wicked Witch to the West is what we ended up calling her) and her desire to put up a privacy fence. "Don't let her bully you. She wanted us to pay half the cost." We were warned. But we had no idea how quickly she would act on the matter.

It must have been just a couple weeks after we moved in (we are talking pre-kids days so the details are a little blurry as is all of life pre-girls) when we looked outside to see some folks removing our fence on the property line between the homes. Wait a minute, we said. What's going on? That's our fence. The guys digging it out said they were just doing what they were told to do. She said she was taking the fence down and was going to sell it so she could earn our half of the price of the privacy fence. Had she shared her sunny personality (read: witchy) we might have gladly paid to get a 6-foot fence between us. But her approach to act first and be a bitch later didn't go over so good. So we ended up in a note-writing, drag out with the Witch about whose property the fence was on. Luckily our sellers had all the documents we needed and the Witch put up the fence on her property with her own money.

Needless to say, three years living next to the Witch was three years of unpleasantness (read: hell).

Fast forward to us living in our new home for nearly six years. We really like our neighbors on both sides (yahoo!). And this weekend we were reminded how lucky we got in the neighbor draw this time. The gentleman to the south has a ride on mower (trust me, the lots here are not large enough to warrant such a machine) and once a month or so he hops on, with pipe in mouth, and makes about three circles around the yard, parks the mower until the next month.

We just laughed when we saw that our fence was broken where he must have run into it once. When my husband pointed it out in a good-natured jab, he said yes he ran into it but didn't realize he had split the wood. Fast forward a week to Sunday and we hear Bang! Bang! Bang! (make those hammers hitting nails and wood, not gunshots -- the gunshots would have been appropriate in the old 'hood). Brent goes out to see what's going on to find the neighbor rebuilding our broken fence. He went out -- without saying a word -- and bought the supplies and just went about fixing it. When a few of the posts he bought were the wrong size, he ran to Home Depot to get the right ones.

Two fences and two very different neighbors.

posted by Laura at 8:52 PM | 0 comments

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Hemp, hemp, hurray

While on a shopping trip yesterday at WalMart, I picked up a bottle of Hemp lotion because I liked the way it smelled. (Not like hemp, but like coconut.) But now I'm wondering, will I get a contact high when I put it on?

posted by Laura at 1:22 PM | 0 comments

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Giving thanks

OK, OK I got the message. It might be some time before I take for granted my (usually) healthy daughters and my amazing husband.

To start my day a student came by looking for another prof, her eyes were red and swollen and she didn't look steady on her feet. She was worried about the attendance policy because, "My son died in Iraq yesterday." To paraphrase a friend, no way would I even be pulling myself out of bed for God knows how long, but she's there making sure she won't be penalized in her class as she handles funeral arrangements. I locked myself in my office and cried for her loss.

Later, I talked to another student who is a single mother of a child with multiple disabilities. I can't imagine having to raise healthy children without my husband, who happens to be my best friend, my partner, and along with the girls my EVERYTHING, but to be a caregiver for a child who is not progressing toward an independent adulthood. I can't even imagine her burden. Never mind that she's a full-time college student right now. When she talked about feeling like she might not survive the semester, I felt ridiculous for thinking at any point that I'm struggling.

Tonight I am so very thankful for my family.

posted by Laura at 5:54 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The Race for President

While subjecting the girls to watching the last presidential debate, I decided to conduct an informal poll.

"Who would you vote for?"

Madi asked, "Who's our guy, Mommy?" Just like she asked during the Olympics. I suddenly felt an amazing responsibility in trying to shape not only good children who will grow up to be good people, but also in shaping future Citizens. I can clearly remember my Nana being a Republican, and I know my momma is (mostly) Democrat -- or at least this year in that "anybody but Bush" way. (It would probably kill my mom to know that I'm one of those suburbanite moms who is still undecided -- though edging closer to making a decision.) I don't want my girls to be anything simply because that's what I am (or because it's what I'm not for that matter). I want them to be thoughtful citizens who make up their own minds.

Max gave the whole voting issue some thought, and picked Kerry because his tie looked more purple than Bush's (think we need a new TV?). I fear that for many undecided voters it could come down to just that.

And if Max's first-grade class is any indication (they voted by secret ballot), it will be a 2-1 landslide for Dubya.


posted by Laura at 11:28 AM | 0 comments

Monday, October 18, 2004

Things I Love

Slurpees. Best on really hot days, but really good on any ol' day.

I think my favorite flavor is Grape Fanta, but I love them all (all mixed together) as long as you don't throw in those sugar-free varieties (still don't trust, don't like those artificial sweeteners -- I just can't get past the aftertaste).

posted by Laura at 6:07 PM | 0 comments

Hal. I. Tosis.

A textbook rep just stopped by my office and as soon as I saw him I remembered how painful it was last time he dropped by. The boy (he looks to be fresh outta college) has the type of bad breath that fills a room. I am not exaggerating.

I think I know when my mouth stinks. Post coffee, pre brushing of the teeth. And sometimes after especially yummy foods. But I am aware of the problem. I will not give my husband passionate, good-morning kisses for his sake. I try to keep to myself when it feels like my tongue has a layer of scum covering it. I keep gum and Altoids at the ready for such special occasions.

How can one go through life as a salesperson with bad breath? I pity the kid because no one will be honest with him, I'm sure. He'll be fired for not meeting quota or goals, but the reason why he's not meeting them is that people cannot stand to be trapped in an 8-by-10 office with him for the time it takes to talk about the textbooks his company offers. I'm guilty. Really I'm not interested in the texts he sent, but I didn't even want to spend that much time in the room with him. It's that uncomfortable.

A quick postscript: The handy-dandy Blogger spellcheck didn't like the "Tosis" from the title above. It's suggested replacement? Toxic. Even the computer knows how bad this kid's problem is.

posted by Laura at 11:57 AM | 0 comments

Sunday, October 17, 2004

File Under: Things I never thought I'd hear

"Quit beating your sister with a french fry!"

posted by Laura at 6:43 PM | 0 comments

Thursday, October 14, 2004

40 before 40

After being inspired by another blog, I decided to write a "40 things to do before I turn 40" list. Without having sat down and actually put pen to paper (a dangerous thing for my overcrowded brain), I realized number one on my list will have to be: Finish this damn list.

Followed closely by:

Buy a very expensive pair of shoes (I'm thinking Manolo Blahniks or something like that. These days it's a lot if I spend more than $40 on shoes - thanks to Land's End my feet stay comfy on my nonteaching days in All Weahter Mocs, which are ridiculously affordable).

Be self-employed.

I'd also like to see a Redwood tree and visit Graceland.

That's all I got so far. Good thing I have almost 6 years before I have to complete this To Do List.

It should go without saying that I'm open to suggestions!



posted by Laura at 8:54 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Things I LOVE

Adjustable waist jeans at The Children's Place

Max is tall and skinny and these jeans were made with her in mind. Get whatever length you need and then just pull on that inner elastic to tighten it right up. Whoever thought of this is just genius!

posted by Laura at 1:35 PM | 0 comments

Thursday, October 07, 2004

I approve this message.

I am so ready for the election already. I cannot stand any more political ads. They are all starting to blend into one ... and I am getting better and better at just tuning them out. But in tuning them out a funny thing happens. Sometimes that "I'm blah blah and I approve this message" comes at the start of the commercial and sometimes at the end. For some reason that part of the ad catches my attention. But an odd thing happens when it comes at the end of the message, I look up, only to find the next commercial on. So it goes something like, "I'm George W. Bush and I approve this message ... Are you troubled by a less-than fresh feeling?"

Am I just easily confused?

posted by Laura at 3:30 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Materialistic environmentalist

Inspired by a rather old Oprah where her guests kept appreciation diaries, I decided to have the girls consider thankfulness a long time before Thanksgiving.

In the darkened room, we took turns saying what we were thankful for:

Mommy: My family.

Madi: Trees.

Daddy: A quiet room.

Max: Being able to buy toys. And trees!

Good night.

posted by Laura at 10:06 PM | 0 comments

Monday, October 04, 2004

Blink.

Sitting down to with Maxine to read her library book from school, I began by reading the title (Big Cats) and author (something like Simon Scholls). To which Maxine said something very much like, "That's alliteration!" (She definitely said a much more Rugratsy version, but she knew what she was talking about!) First grade ain't what it used to be. I can remember when I learned about alliteration and I'm pretty sure I was in 9th grade at the time.

(Don't get me started how she actually knows what onomontopeia is too ... by the time she's in third grade I'm afraid I'll have to hire a tutor to help her with her homework because her abilities will far exceed mine. And I used to be a nearly straight A student!)

posted by Laura at 8:54 AM | 0 comments

Saturday, October 02, 2004

The power of pretend

When the girls play, either just the two of them of when friends come over, there is a magic word: Pretend.

Not that I'm eavesdropping (OK, I am), but it's just so funny to hear how the games go.

"Let's play house."

"OK, pretend I'm the Meagan." ("you call them teenagers" we were once told).

"Pretend I had to go to work."

"Pretend you came home."

"Pretend we were going to the store."

These are not different games, this is an actual conversation that took place in about the same time it took you to read this. All it takes to change the entire direction of the game is "pretend ... " and it is done.

If only pretend were so powerful once we're all grown up. Pretend I was skinny. Pretend the war was over. Pretend I was sleeping right now.

What would you pretend?

posted by Laura at 6:54 AM | 0 comments
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