Tuesday, November 23, 2004
The good and the bad
The good: This morning as I was waking the girls and handing them their "hot chocolate" (aka warmed-up milk with Carnation Instant Breakfast), Madison, whose first words almost every morning are "Mama, can I have some hot chocolate?", looked at the sippy cup of magic and then at Maxine and simply said, "Snuggle." And they did. Even better, as they sipped their "hot chocolate" and watched SpongeBob (yup, I'm that kind of mother who wakes her daughters up with imitation hot chocolate AND mindless cartoons), Maxine said, "Hurry up and finish your hot chocolate so we can snuggle." Life was very good.
The bad: I just gave myself a papercut on that little bit of skin that extends from the thumb to the pointer finger. I can't locate the cut (as though actually seeing it would make the stinging stop) because it never bled. But this lingering sting is driving me crazy -- how could something that I can't see hurt THAT much?
Monday, November 22, 2004
Cannot believe it
Hi Internet. I'd just like to help you from making this mistake that MANY of my students have made this semester and it's about to drive me crazy.
Cannot is one word.
Seriously, I should have kept count, because I can't tell you how many times I saw "can not" in upper-division college students' papers.
One word. It's ONE WORD!
Thank you for your time.
When I was a kid, I just LOVED "Benny & the Jets." Listening now, I'm not sure why, but it was my FAVORITE. ALL. TIME. SONG. "Movin' Out" was a close second.
Ever since Maxine got a personal CD player for her birthday in June, the girls have developed a very strong interest in all things music. When they're behind closed doors in Max's room, they're listening to CDs and dancing. They cannot get enough music. (Max shocked us one night while B was channel-surfing: He cruised right by CMT, but Max screams, "GO BACK TO THAT!" It was the Kenny Chesney-Uncle Kracker song, she made us listen to the whole thing and declared: I want that CD.
Last week I decided it was time for a CD mixup in the car and I put in Elton John's Greatest Hits (the very first version) and introduced the girls to the wonder of "Benny & the Jets." They both said they liked the song. To what extent I wasn't sure until this morning when Madi said, "Mom, play 'Benny & the Jets.'"
I know this power to influence their tastes in music won't last long. The forces of evil (Britney Spears, Hilary Duff, etc.) are very strong. Luckily the forces of good have already made an impression (Madi LOVES Norah Jones).
With that in mind, I must develop a play list for these impressionable girls (I admit, "B&TJ" isn't exactly the best use of this influence). Of course I'll play The Beatles. Of course I'll play The Clash. But what else? What would you play to help ensure kids will grow up with discriminating musical tastes?
Thursday, November 18, 2004
Note to co-workers everywhere: When you come to a meeting, any sort of meeting, one thing you should NOT bring with you is a gallon-size Ziploc bag half full (oh what an optimist I am!) of Doritos. Even if you were to chew with your mouth closed the whole time (a good goal, I'd suggest) you still make a lot of noise with those chips. And if the sounds weren't bad enough, there's the smell. Sometimes that nacho-cheesy smell is heaven on earth, but at a 2:30 p.m. meeting when most of us are well into the digestion of our lunches, it's pretty disgusting. And when you share with others, it only increases my pain.
Given that I just realized I'm a true optimist, here's one way of looking on the bright side: At least the 32 oz.-cup-of-ice cruncher wasn't sitting on my other side.
Words can't hurt me
There are some words I can't spell (Warning: do not attempt this without a spellcheck close at hand): desperate, definitely are just two. I can't think of others now because I have blocked them, I'm so used to writing around them that I have purged them entirely from my brain.
Then, there are some words I can't say. Most people can't tell that I spent the first 8 years of my life living on Long Island. But there are a few permanent scars left; and a few old injuries that only show up from time to time (like that old sprained ankle that aches a bunch when it's wet and cold, ya know?)
On the permanent list of difficulties are words that start with H. Not those like Hot, but those like Hugh (pronounced "You" -- luckily I don't know anyone named Hugh because I'd say, "How are you you?"), huge ("Uge"), etc. Back when I was an entertainment copy editor (I took the title to heart and felt the extra responsibility of being the entertainment on the copy desk as well as editing the arts and entertainment copy), I approached an editor to ask her about the "U-glies" ... it took about 2 minutes before she understood what the heck I was talking about. I can make that H sound with some concentrated effort.
Get me around other New Yorkers and I quickly revert to "tawking New Yaulk." I am so very impressionable -- I pick up sayings from the girls more than they do from me or something ("or something" invaded our house via Madi who I believe picked it up from cousin Sam or something) and when surrounded by people who randomly move their Rs from the end of some words to the ends of others (yup, for Dad it's "wata" and "Kahluer") I just join right in.
Is it any wonder that I get songs stuck in my head so easily?
Monday, November 15, 2004
The headline: New TBS Reality Series to Feature Hunter.
First thought: Didn't know a buncha guys running around the woods wearning bright orange would make a compelling reality series. But we are talking TBS.
Second thought: I didn't realize that Holly Hunter would stoop so low.
Reality: Rachel Hunter. Of course.
The job: Associate Editor, NASCAR magazine.
Location: New York City (try to use the voice they used in those old Pace Picante commercials, it adds just the right effect).
Thought: NASCAR magazine in NYC? Isn't that a little like publishing Vogue in Dodge City, Kan.?
I'm done thinking for the day.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Tomorrow I will attend (weather permitting) just the third funeral (memorial service, technically) I've even been to. I think one funeral per decade is plenty. I know most funerals are very sad occasions, but it seems the services I've been to -- am going to -- are especially tainted with tragedy.
I was about 10 when I went to my first service. (My grandfather died when I was very young, and I've been told there was a blizzard that prevented me from attending the service. But at that young age, maybe 4 or 5, I told my cousins that kids were not allowed at funerals because the dead people were naked.) Even though I was just a kid, I did understand just how tragic a service it was. The boy was 4, he lived in our neighborhood and was run over while riding his Big Wheel. The driver was blinded by the afternoon sun and didn't see him going across the street.
I managed to make it another 22 years before I attended another service. A 19-year-old son of a friend who I used to work with -- she started as a "friend from work," but quickly became a true friend -- died. She had moved out of state, came back for the memorial service and hadn't called. I saw the obit (maybe I really should stop reading those) and went. This was planned as a celebration of his life, and my friend was strong, but I still cried for her loss.
Tomorrow, I am going to the service for a girlfriend of a co-worker. I believe she was about 40 years old. She had almost double the life experience of my friend's son, but the circumstances of her death are still tragic. 4 years, 22 years, 40 years -- lives all cut way too short.
When I read the obits in the local paper, I tell each one of them if they were too young, or if perhaps it's OK. But I know, for all those survivors named in the paper, no matter the age, it's not OK. The loss will remain.
Monday, November 08, 2004
Lord help me. At the young age of 4, Madi has become a victim of an annoying "sticky song," you know those songs that you hear just once and then find yourself singing for the next frickin week. ("And I would walk 500 miles..." for instance.)
She keeps singing, "Saturday is all right ... " from that terribly obnoxious National American University commercial on TV. Damn you NAU, just for this I will read and sing and work with my child until she is brilliant and gets accepted to every Ivy League school on a full-ride scholarship just so she never will consider attending your second-rate U. And if the scholarship route fails, I will save and sacrifice my grande caramel macchiatos for the rest of my life so I can afford all of those Ivy League schools.
National American University (you have to understand I sing that even as I type it), you will pay for this. Yes, you will pay.
Friday, November 05, 2004
I have to say that I'm feeling really let down that my very first commenter on this blog was just some political pundit who really didn't give a crap about what I've been writing (asking how I'd feel when my SON was drafted? As she'll tell you, Max's REAL name is Maxine, thank you very much. And given that she's 6, I'm thinking we'll have some time before we face her being drafted).
I was just used and tossed aside so some fool could make his/her political statement and move on. I guess this poster didn't realize that really almost no one is reading this (just a look at the total lack of comments should be proof, no?) and that diatribe was wasted keystrokes. I thought about hiding the comment, but I'll leave it for now.
Approaching the Starbucks drive-thru yesterday, I said, "Wow! That's a really long line."
To which the 4-year-old angel Madi said, "DAMN! That line is long momma."
"Where the hell did you learn such language?" I didn't ask, but should have!
Monday, November 01, 2004
So much to share
The last five days have been a whirlwind of activity. I couldn't count the number of "play dates" we've had ... both formal and informal. And mixed in with that came:
1. A parent-teacher conference with no surprises. Max is doing what she's supposed to be doing in school. And she's "a pleasure to have in class" and I thought, "She's a pleasure to have at home too."
2. The season-ending soccer game. Eight weeks, almost 16 practices and 8 games. It was a bunch of fun. Following the game came the season-ending party with pizza and eight very excited little girls. Max was named Most Improved Player, and for that I'm proud. She certainly had fun, and since the season ended 4-4, what more could I ask for? She had her first team experience, fell in love with all her new friends, had one killer shot on goal (that the goalie grabbed), she won some, she lost some. A total success.
3. Oh, did I mention the pizza party ended in a slumber party? Max's first. She survived that too. Madi went to spend the night at grandma and grandpa's but she didn't survive that. She was dropped back at home at 9:55 p.m., crawled into bed with me, grabbed my hand and must have been asleep before grandma and grandpa were at the end of our block.
4. Halloween! The best we've had since we moved into this house 6 years ago (Max had her very first H'ween in our old home). It was a tiny bit breezy and slightly cool. But since they called for a big ol' winter storm moving in during the afternoon, Brent and the Gs got around the two culdesacs and our long street without jackets. We had a diva-star cat and a princess on her day off (mom's ploy to make them wear sweatsuits for their costumes ... I pulled it off for another year, we'll see how long they actually fall for this one!).
Interesting thing about our 'hood. In hitting what must have been about 30 houses (I've never counted) the girls filled their pumpkins and ended up with a fascinating assortment of goodies. They got a votive candle holder and a tealight shaped like a pumpkin. They got full-size candy bars. They got a Halloween baggie that was stuffed with a piece of literature from a church that I didn't recognize (seriously people, if that's the only treat just leave the light off). And they got a few little baggies stuffed with candy, one of which did also have some scripture in it. May I just share with my neighborhood that I am not raising demon-worshiping children? Candy-worshiping, yes. Satan, no. But thanks for your concern.
5. A day that started off with a two-hour delay and ended up being cancelled. Since I didn't have class today, we managed to just stay home. But it wasn't without our share of drama. The raccoon that took up residence in our backyard got a little grumpy when the girls decided to see if it's still in the toy chest where it's been hiding. As Max tells it, "I opened the toy box with my bare hands and it growled at me like a mountain lion would grow, except that I've never heard a mountain lion growl. But it was scarier than when Belle growls. Then we ran." The startled raccoon ran to the stairs, which would have been the girls escape route. We have a 6-foot privacy fence that they can't open -- by design -- so they were stuck in the corner screaming for me while the raccoon stayed on the steps. I ran around the front of the house and rescued the girls from the back yard in the howling winds and the blowing snows. And all this happened before 9:30 a.m.
The rest of the day was blessedly quieter.
So tomorrow will be back to school and back to work. But I did love just having a cozy day at home with my babies.