Monday, October 26, 2009

65 pages

My son brought home his schoolwork from last week.

All 65 pages of it.

Is this second grade or college?!?!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sentimentality run amok

I can honestly see how sentimentality can lead to hoarding. In fact, I think I may have some weird "lite" version of this problem (which probably explains all the clutter in my house). Today I went to the local jeweler to trade-in some gold jewelry that I don't wear.

A herringbone chain that pulls the hairs on the back of my neck. A pair of gold hoops that were bent out of shape. A claddagh ring that has cut my finger with its sharp little crown on more than one occasion.

Despite the fact that I haven't worn any of it for all these reasons, there is a part of me that found it so difficult to walk out the door. The chain was a gift from my then-boyfriend-now-husband. The hoops were a Christmas gift from my sister that I wore all the time until they were damaged. The claddagh ring was a gift from my mom.

I KNOW the memories don't disappear with the sale of these pieces. I KNOW these people won't be insulted if I sell these pieces. I KNOW all this. But still I feel guilty and a little sad.

I think I can take consolation in the repairs I'm having done to OTHER jewelry...the pearl ring I bought with my first "real" paycheck...the black hills gold heart ring that was the first piece of jewelry Steve ever bought me...the gold chain Steve got me (last Christmas) for my boys' birthstone charms. But then I wonder about the irrationality of attaching the memories to those things too.

Sometimes I wish I could turn my brain off.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dogs on Thursday

After being thoroughly embarassed when friends and family noticed dog-hair tumbleweeds in my house, I decided it was time to do some grooming. This is just from ONE dog...and we have eight. Your imagination can do the rest...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Whiskers on Wednesday


My husband said something really irritating the other day.

He said, "You're at your happiest when you are being creative."

And now I can't stop thinking about it because he's right and I, (a) hate it when he's right; and (b) wonder what happened to me that he has to point it out for me to see it.

The blogs I read...all creative. ONE lawyer blog in my entire blogroll of 262 blogs (and I only read that one because she rarely talks law, is an awesome mom, and she tells the best kid stories).

I've been unhappy in my chosen career for a while now. I thought I'd get over it. I kept telling myself that the intangible benefits were worth it. Now, because of my irritating husband, I'm not so sure.

So now what? Is it too early for a midlife crisis at 37?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Back to basics

Fresh Cilantro

Miracle Whip
Fresh Parsley
Green Onion

Baby shower tomorrow at work. I figure if the food is good I won't be able to negatively obsess. Right?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Perfect Moment Monday

Growing pains - a parental perspective

The first few years is easy. Keep them alive. Well...maybe not EASY but at least there is a clear directive and we generally have the skills to manage it (aside from any wonky biological factors that may unexpectedly screw with us). And you go along for a few years and you think you're doing soooo well...

And then they grow up and turn into real little people with little uncontrollable personalities.

And then you get the pleasure of the day the kindergarten teacher ambushes you with the news that your child "is making bad choices about which behaviors to imitate"...

or the first grade teacher shares the news that your child is "spending a lot of time out in the hall for excessive talking"...

or the second grade teacher sends home the weekly report that your child is "orally commenting on other students' incorrect answers."

And what do you do with that? The baby thing is EASY compared to this! You wipe a snotty nose. You give Tylenol for a fever. You're sure to try new foods slowly to keep an eye out for allergic reactions. But have no idea what to do with this.

So you ground the kid. And then he flips out one day at after school pick-up time...and refuses to leave...because he "is NOT getting grounded again." And you think you're being too harsh, so you tell him he can earn his privileges back by making it through a day without talking (getting all his work done). And then he doesn't even make it one day and you begin to wonder...what the hell?!?!?!

And then people start with the analysis and the helpful suggestions and you want to scream...DO YOU REALLY THINK I'M NOT SMART ENOUGH TO HAVE THOUGHT OF THAT?!?! And then you calm down and realize they're just trying to be helpful and, really, your child IS the one who is misbehaving...and you're posting blog posts where every sentence starts with "and" maybe they're justified in thinking you ARE that stupid.


The American Academy of Pediatrics book only goes through age 5! There is no resource for when your kid is scary smart and you worry that maybe he's smarter than you (or maybe there are and I'm just not looking in the right bookstore). The teacher suggests a book...Discipline Without Stress, Punishments or Rewards. I read a few pages and I call bullshit. "A more effective approach than consequences is the use of contingencies." Seriously? Bribery? That's the best ya got, doc? Guess's just semantics. He can earn his privileges if he just behaves for ONE FREAKING DAY. I know he CAN do it...he's done it before. But honestly...I'm not going to hold my breath (and no, I didn't tell him that...I was all, "yay, rah, you can do it!").

I did like this quote from the teacher's book though..."Stress is directly related to perceiving the world as manageable or unmanageable." Ya think?!?! Maybe I should send the good doctor my blog to read. But I digress...

Positivity and choice are GREAT concepts. But how about for the child that consistently makes the wrong choices? All this choice crap does is leave him (and his mother) feeling like a failure. And isn't that just great fodder for therapy later in life?

Parent-Teacher conferences aren't until the second week of November but I'm afraid I'm not going to last that long. See, I know my child. Surprising, but true. He has always enjoyed being the center of attention. Even more, he loves making the crowd laugh. While this may serve him well in a future career as a stand-up comedian, it's not really a great personality for second grade. And while I do want him to be respectful of other people and be mindful of classroom rules, I don't want to extinguish that spark of individuality he has.

I spent SO many years being afraid of the rules...being "the good girl"...that becoming an adult has been somewhat painful. It's been a difficult accepting that not everyone is watching me, sizing me up, judging my behavior against some mysterious standard of acceptability. I don't want that for my son.

And there is a part of me that resents that I have to worry about this. I mean, I've got enough on my plate keeping these boys entertained enough that they don't seriously maim one another in the evenings...where is the teacher for that? Can I call her and get her help? Nope. We're on our own. So how are we responsible for his classroom behavior? Shouldn't that be...I don't know...HER job to manage? To teach him more than teach him social skills and the rules of appropriate behavior for the classroom (and someday, hopefully, the work environment)?

Yes...I KNOW I need to reinforce the lessons taught in class. And I DO! I swear! This isn't one of those I'm-a-terrible-parent posts. Because I'm doing a pretty damn good job and I'm not so concerned with that. I just need ideas to GET THROUGH to my impress upon him the importance of good behavior without crushing his spirit.

I beginning to think that they don't tell you this stuff deliberately. Because if they told you about this...if that AAP book went beyond age 5...everybody would be too scared to ever have babies.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Perfect Moment Monday

After a week of gloomy rain, the sun came out on Saturday and it was a perfect day for my baby brother's outdoor wedding. There were, of course, the normal glitches and family embarassments (and even a few non-normal family embarassments). And to make it even more fun, my friend (the professional photographer) came out from Phoenix to capture the day in photos. Snark times two...that was us...and it was great! Yes, yes, there ARE stories to share and as soon as I have a couple minutes to get them in writing, I will. Promise.

All in all, it was a lovely day and I'm so thrilled for the happy couple.

Congratulations Matthew & Shannon!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Whiskers on Wednesday

October = awareness month

Pregnancy Infant Loss
Breast Cancer
Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Niemann-Pick Disease
Healthy Lung
Orthodontic Health
Down Syndrome
Brain Injury
Spina Bifida
Cyber Security
Domestic Violence
Child Abuse
Hispanic Heritage
Disability Employment
Rett Syndrome
Halloween Safety (which wouldn't really make sense in any other month, would it?)
Crime Prevention
Reading Group
Dental Hygiene
Gay & Lesbian History
Head Start
Better Speech and Hearing
German American Heritage
Polish American Heritage
Animal Safety and Protection
Women's Small Business
Physical Therapy
Photographer Appreciation
Auto Battery Safety
Positive Attitude (I'm out)

Electric company insanity

Let's start with the first story...

Our electric company has turned us over to collections for $60 of electricity that we never used and therefore refuse to pay for.

See, we have this barn. It costs us approximately $3 a month (never more than $5 a month) to operate the lights in that barn. A few months ago we received an "estimated" bill for $30 for the barn. I thought it would even itself out the next month when we got an "actual" reading on our meter. Nope.

The next month we got an actual reading and a bill for an additional $30. We called and were told that they had changed their policy and all "accessory structures" are now charged a minimum flat fee of $30/month. Our notice of this change? Reportedly sent in our bill...which we don't get anymore because we do e-billing. So I refuse to pay and they have now turned us over to collections.

Now there is this from the same company...

To help customers use energy more efficiently, we’re delivering two compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) to the homes of residential customers of FirstEnergy’s Ohio operating companies -- Ohio Edison Company, The Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company, and Toledo Edison Company. These types of bulbs use up to 75 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs and can last 10 times longer -- contributing to significant money and energy savings over the life of the bulb.

and this hidden in FAQs on their website...
Q. Will I be charged for these?
You will not see a separate charge for these bulbs on your bill. This CFL program is part of a larger energy efficiency program that is being mandated by state law. As part of this law, the utility is able to recover the costs of these programs through customer rates over a period of several years. However, the impact on your bill for this program will be minimal.

Now let's never mind the fact that I have accident-prone dogs, cats and kids in my home...and I do NOT want mercury-filled lightbulbs anywhere near them.

And let's never mind that I'm already ticked off by this company.

But REALLY?!?! Something seems...I don't Public utilities can now send you stuff you didn't order and hide the charges on your regular bill?!?! REALLY?!?!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Age is but a state of mind

Me: Just how old do you think I am?

Sam: 56?
Sam: Mommy, did you have indoor toilets back in the old days?

Friday, October 02, 2009

#41 way to change the world

Foundation Beyond Belief: Humanity at Work

It's time to make visible our values and our efforts to improve our one and only life. Thanks for being a part of it.