Monday, December 29, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Maggie (age 4) & Aleita (9 months) - taken in 2004
Sunday, December 21, 2008
After a few decades though, Mattel began to recognize that they had better keep up with the times if they wanted to milk the Barbie cash cow for all she was worth. Those smart toy makers have transformed Barbie dolls into various Disney princesses, DC Comic Superheroes, Spice Girls, and more recently, assorted members of the cast of High School Musical. Barbie has also had a variety of careers, ranging widely from astronaut to paleontologist to veterinarian to McDonald's employee to US President -- heck, she has even been a Nascar driver! When it comes to careers, you name it, and Barbie has probably done it.
(Needless to say, that won't be waiting under the Christmas tree for Maggie this year.)
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
A few weeks ago, I was up Chicago-way, and decided to stop in a browse for a bit at the Bolingbrook IKEA (I know that Schaumburg is bigger, but I was closer to Bolingbrook.) I think that most of the furniture from IKEA is kind of janky, but I do like looking at all their assorted what-not – I believe they refer to it as the “Marketplace.” Regardless, for some reason, shlepping through bargain priced aprons, lamps, picture frames, tables cloths, glasses, spatulas, and other assorted home paraphernalia apparently brings me some odd sort of happiness. I also like looking at their slightly-freaky Swedish cartoony kids’ toys for some reason. It is easy for me to while away a few hours just complacently meandering through a whole bunch of stuff that I never knew I wanted but now somehow feel the compulsion to purchase.
My husband refers to IKEA as “IKEA-Hell.” If given the choice between just about anything else and IKEA, he would choose the anything else. He simply can not understand how I can spend two hours slowly browsing around a large two-story warehouse, and then simply purchase a set of hand towels and rug and call it good. After about fifteen minutes in the place, his patience is exhausted.
His solution to this problem is now to simply refuse to visit IKEA with me. If we are together and I insist on going, he will drop me off, and then set a time to pick me up later. I think he usually hits a nearby bookstore while I shop, but who knows – he may be somewhere walking on hot coals or swallowing glass – both of which I am sure he would prefer to leisurely following me through IKEA. This method of IKEA visits works out better for the both of us.
As I said though, I was there a few weeks ago and saw the couple that Chris and I used to be in IKEA. A young woman was in the section of glassware where I was, meticulously looking through various wineglasses. The young man with her looked tired and pissed off. He finally said to her, “Amy – FOR THE LOVE OF GOD – Can we go already?!!?” She looked around, somewhat embarrassed, and then said to me, “I’ll bet your husband doesn’t act like this, does he?”
I smiled at her slightly, but honestly replied, “You’re doing better than me actually – my husband won’t come with me to IKEA anymore.” Her husband smirked at her while she gave me that tight-lipped grin that basically said, “thanks a whole helluva lot.”
Upon my return home, I relayed this story to my husband who found deep satisfaction in knowing that he isn’t the only man who loathes a visit to IKEA.
CHRIS'S HELL ON EARTH
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I heard those words yesterday that I thought I would never have to hear - - “I’m sorry – there’s nothing more we can do.”
And just like that – it was gone. In fact, they were all gone. All my phone numbers, that is. On Sunday, as I went to shut my phone off before church (lest I become a Sunday morning ringer,) my phone pitifully gave me the message, “NO SIM CARD.”
The phone had just been working the night before, so I couldn’t imagine what the trouble could be. I turned it off and back on (also known as the “magic fix.”) In this case, it wasn’t. I took the battery off and removed the sim card, then put it all back together and turned the phone on once more. Still, it stubbornly declared, “NO SIM CARD.”
After playing around with the battery and sim card a few more times, I simply threw it in my purse and waited until I could get to the phone place on Monday. I was hoping there was something wrong with the phone itself. I had that nagging suspicion in the back of my mind that the sim card had shot craps, but didn’t want to say it out loud, much less think it, lest it become all too real.
As the young salesclerk took a moment to examine my phone, within a few minutes he heartlessly announced, “I think your sim card is bad – that’s easy to fix - -we’ll just replace it for you!”
“Try it again!” I begged, "I can't lose all my contacts!." He looked at me and sighed. “Don’t be mad if this doesn’t work,” he said. He tried it in a different phone, and indeed, it also did not recognize the sim card. I hung my head and sighed and finally allowed myself to admit that the sim card was dead.
Sensing my downtrodden demeanor, the salesguy nicely told me that normally a new sim card costs $20, but he would give it to me for free. I told him “thank you,” but any fool could tell that my heart wasn’t in it. He was trying to help me out, but all I could think of was myself - - -all my phone numbers - - gone.
I do have some of the phone numbers that were in my phone written down somewhere – but there is a good percentage that I don’t. I will be spending time over the next week working to restore my lost contacts.
Let this be a lesson to you – write those numbers down, my friend. You may think it will never happen to you, but I am living proof that cell phone tragedy can strike at any time.
Oh yeah - - and send me your phone numbers. I’ve got lots of work to do.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Sure, I miss them - and Chris too - - when I travel. Do you feel a big BUT coming on? Look out . . here it comes!!! BUT, I don't always mind being gone, as long as if it isn't for too long. SHHHH!!! Don't tell anyone!!! Good mothers and wives aren't supposed to enjoy being apart from their beloved ones. Damn. There goes my mother-of-the-year award.
Actually, this isn't a big surprise to Chris. He knows that while I don't always enjoy being gone, every once in a while, it isn't exactly torture either. I am actually writing this blog from St. Charles, IL, where I have been staying at Pheasant Run Resort since Sunday evening. I have been doing my conference duty during the day - today I took a class to renew my principal's certificate for the year. However, of an evening, I have gone Christmas shopping and taken in a movie. I slept later than I normally get to during the week, got myself ready without having to dress anyone else or make anyone breakfast, and ate dinner in peaceful silence while reading my book. I helped no one with second grade math homework tonight, and I did not have to enforce punishment on a four year old who was a hellion again today at preschool (I hear there is another rock from Santa in her near future. . . but that is a story for another day. . . . )
Do I miss them? Of course! Am I enjoying a little time to myself? Uh...yeah. But - tomorrow after my sessions at the conference, I will head home. . .And I am very much looking forward to hugs and kisses all around from my loved ones. They will be glad to have me back home, and I will be glad to be there.
Traveling for work . . . .part of my job. . . have to do it. . . but not always a bad thing.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
It may take awhile for Dandy’s blind trust to rebuild. When I dropped Dandy off at the vet on Tuesday, he was happy, happy, happy. Little did he know that later that morning, he would undergo a surgery to ensure that there would be no “little Dandies” running around in the future. Yep – Dandy got neutered.
When I picked him up on Wednesday after work, he was happy to see me, to be sure. I am not sure whether he was genuinely happy just to see me, or if thought I would be the one to take pity on him and de-cone him. Like a lot of dogs, Lil’ Dandy decided to try to lick repeatedly at his incision sight, so they had to slap the Elizabethan collar on him. His greeting to me was more like, “Oh Mom! I’m so happy to see you! I missed ya, you bet! NOW GET THIS DAMN THING OFF ME!”
Poor, pitiful little boy. He made an awful racket in the hatch of the SUV as we made our way home. I refused to make eye contact with any of the people beside us in traffic because I know they had to be laughing at his pathetic self as he pressed his nose against the glass, seeming to furtively be begging someone . . .anyone. . .to throw open the hatch as soon as the car slowed down and free him from his coned imprisonment. He ran desperately from side to side of the car looking for anyone who might offer him assistance.
When we got home, I let Dempsey out the main door to go to the bathroom, but Chris let Dandy out through the garage since we were coming from there anyway. Dandy raced around the side of the house just about the time Dempsey was finding the right spot to relieve himself. Dandy, obviously a bit stir-crazy from having been at the vet for two days, went racing around the yard like his ass was on fire. At a glance, Dempsey didn’t recognize the crazed little fur-ball with the big plastic cone around his neck that was running around the yard at 110 mph and his fur went up and he began to growl at him. As soon as he saw Dempsey, Dandy tackled him and in his excitement, proceeded to repeatedly beat him about the head and body with his large plastic collar while Dempsey peed on a rose bush.
Once Dandy got inside the house, he found that the children were not to be his liberators either. In fact, they both laughed at him as well, eliciting no sympathy for him whatsoever. Actually, Aleita took one look at him and asked why he still had long hair and why he was wearing a lamp shade. It took a bit of inquiry to figure out that she had overheard me mentioning that I was going to get Dandy “snipped” and she thought I meant he was getting a hair cut at the groomer. The “lamp shade” further added to her confusion. He is supposed to wear the cone for the next week, but hopefully we will be able to take it off sooner.
Because I am a little sadistic, I took some pictures of him this morning. As you can imagine, he was not thrilled. If you think it is hard to get a 6 month old puppy to sit still for a picture, you should try doing it with one wearing a large plastic cone. Anyway, here is my pathetic little puppy:
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
I know that there are some people that go to a whole lot more trouble to make sure that everyone knows that they are in the Christmas spirit. I do indeed admire those folks that literally spend hours putting together a tastefully decorated lights display for the outside of their home. Notice I mentioned the words “tastefully decorated.” I understand that though not everyone holds the same idea of what constitutes beautiful, it seems that when it comes to Christmas light decorating, there is simply no standard in place. To each his own, blah, blah, blah - - I get it. But since this IS my blog, I guess I can talk about my own standard of beauty, right?
I think that some people simply lack the sense that tells them when they have reached a good stopping place. At what point is one more light string just one too many? When does your home cease to become an attractive outdoor display of holiday cheer and instead become something that could be mistaken for a small town’s airport landing strip? When does someone decide that simply outlining the roof is no longer good enough, and instead, it is necessary to make stripes of lights on the roof? Do people who completely overdo it with lights and wooden lawn stuff and blow up Santas and such really think it looks good, or are they trying to be funny? At what point do the decorations cease to be attractive and become something that conjures up an image of Clark Griswold?
The thoughts that follow are not law - -they are just my thoughts. If you want to create a winter wonderland disaster in your yard, you go right ahead. Just don’t be mad when I drive by and laugh at it.
My thoughts on Christmas light displays:
OK – I think that’s the end of my list. Anyone else out there have any?
Friday, November 28, 2008
Far be it from us here in Central Illinois to actually offer a concert of a group when they are popular . . . . no, we prefer to book them about 20 years after the fact, when they only have the one loser member of the actual group remaining. Perhaps in a few months, we can get Rick Springfield to come back to town. . .
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Today though, since Maggie was not in the car, she was free to hook to her heart’s content. I had to laugh though, at the dialogue she had with herself about her activities. She actually made up a little tune to go along with her ramblings. It went something like this:
“I’m a hooker! I’m a hooker! I’m a great big hooker. I am the best hooker in Blue Mound. No one is as good a hooker as me!”
So there you have it. We all want our kids to strive to achieve great things. Mine is currently the best hooker in Blue Mound. Somehow I don’t think they make a bumper sticker for that one.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
She then wandered into the bedroom where I was getting dressed and told me that she had never cried happy tears. "Have you ever cried happy tears?" she asked.
I smiled as I recalled happy tears that I have shed. I told her that she probably wouldn't cry happy tears until she was a little older. I told her that the day I married Daddy, I cried happy tears. I told her that the first time I held her and Maggie at the hospital, I cried happy tears. I told her that the day we adopted each of them, when the judge declared the adoption granted, I cried happy tears then as well. I also explained that sometimes I have laughed really, really hard and that made my cry happy tears too. (She then inquired if I cried "happy tears" on the day that we brought the dogs home as well. I assured her that though I was indeed happy at bringing the dogs home as little puppies, that it wasn't quite a tear-inducing moment for me.)
Thinking about this reminded me of an article I read several months ago about tears and crying. I looked it up online to refresh my memory after all the talk about happy tears with Aleita. The basic gist of it is that scientists found that "happy tears" and "sad tears" have two very different chemical compositions. They found that happy tears are pretty much just brine and water - saltwater, basically. But they found that sad or angry tears contained chemicals and enzymes that the happy tears did not. The scientists concluded that in addition to the hormonal or stress release that can be felt after a "good cry" when you're hurting, it is also beneficial because it assists the body in flushing toxins out of your system. Interesting, huh?
Apparently whoever told little boys that they shouldn't cry didn't know what they were talking about!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
That night, we are having family over for a simple supper of chilli, veggies, cake and ice cream. After having had Cheetos and root beer floats only a few hours before, I am guessing Maggie will be enjoying her birthday with a side of indigestion.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Check out the following pictures, taken straight from their catalog:
Meanwhile, for the girls in "Lillian's World," there are apparently far lower expectations. Girls can aspire to do the following:
DRESS UP IN LACE AND SEQUINS
WORK AT MCDONALD'S
CLEAN THE HOUSE
I kid you not, the caption by this picture states, "She'll feel like the queen of clean."
Thank you, Lillian Vernon, on behalf of the working women of America for working so dilligently to set up back about 50 years.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
We went through this process with Maggie a few years ago when Chris's grandmother died. Maggie was about the age that Aleita is now at the time. For weeks afterward, we dealt with frequent inquiries about what had happened to Grandma Lillian. Of course Aleita was only about a year and a half old at the time, so she has no memory of the event. Maggie did really well in dealing with Grandma Dot’s passing - - she is old enough to at least understand the concept of getting old and dying. Aleita on the other hand….maybe not so much.
I decided not to have the children attend my grandmother’s visitation at the funeral home because I felt the evening would be too long for them. I also wanted to be able to greet family and friends who came to pay their respects appropriately and not be completely distracted by two bored, restless kids running around and getting loud. Chris and I instead opted to just have them go with us to the funeral the following day. We had done our best to prepare the kids for what was going to happen. Maggie did fairly well - - I think it was a little surreal for her to see Grandma Dot lying there in the casket, but she seemed to take the whole thing in stride.
Aleita on the other hand, was completed flabbergasted to see Grandma Dot lying there in the front of the room for everyone to see. As soon as we got close enough to the casket that she could see her, she looked at me in complete shock and declared, “SHE’S STILL HERE!” We are church-goin’ folk, so Aleita has been schooled about the idea of dying and going to heaven since she was born. When we talked to her about Grandma Dot dying, we told her that she was in heaven. Aleita took one look at her lying there in the casket and decided that we were big liars. We took a few minutes to clarify that Grandma’s soul was indeed in heaven, but that her body stays here on earth.
As we drove to the cemetery from the funeral home, we tried our best to explain what was going to happen next. I apparently used a bad choice of words because I told her that we were going to put Grandma’s body underneath the ground. She said, “but I’m wearing a dress!” It took only a few more questions from her for me to realize that she thought that upon arrival at the cemetery, all the funeral-goers were going to hop out of their cars with shovels and set to work in putting Grandma six feet under. I quickly elucidated that there would be other people who would do the actual digging and be putting the casket in the ground - - we would just say some prayers and tell her goodbye one last time. I think she was slightly disappointed to learn that she wouldn’t actually have more involvement in a process that involved the digging of dirt.
So of course since Grandma's passing, we have had lots of questions concerning death and dying. At first, Aleita's primary concern seemed to be focused on whether or not she would be checking out anytime soon. We assured her that Grandma Dot was old and nothing would be happening to her until she was very, very old. It’s been a little difficult for her to accept that everyone dies eventually - - that it is a natural part of life. She is discontented enough right now with the whole idea of death that she has vowed to live forever. I told her that I hope that works out for her.
Aleita’s daycare teacher told us that last week, Aleita was sitting at her table working on her art project when one of the other kids started talking about going to his grandma’s house after school. She said Aleita looked up briefly from her coloring and declared, “My grandma died and her soul went to heaven, but her body is still here on earth. Somebody buried her under the ground.” Her teacher said that without another word or any fanfare, she went right back to her coloring. She said that the other kid who had been talking about going to grandma’s house just walked away, looking a little confused. Perhaps Aleita will enlighten him one of these days.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
“What happened?” I queried. She told me that during art class, they had been working on a painting project and that she and her friend Emily were seated at the same table. She said that when the teacher was turned around helping someone else, Emily reached over to her and painted on her shirt. After a deep breath on my part, she quickly mentioned that Emily painted on her paint shirt that she was wearing to protect her clothing.
I said, “and then what happened?” to which she replied that she didn’t like Emily painting on her shirt, so she responded in kind by painting on her face. Unfortunately for Maggie, the art teacher had turned around at that point and witnessed her during her exceptional lapse of judgment. Maggie ended up having to serve a time out for her untimely face painting episode.
She wasn’t so much mad about having to serve the time out for the face painting as she was that the other girl, Emily, didn’t get in trouble at all. According to Maggie, Emily lied and said that face painting attack was completely unwarranted.
Hoping that she had at least gleaned something from the incident, I asked her, “Maggie – what did you learn from this? What do you need to do next time?” She thought for a moment and then replied, “I know I should have just told the teacher….but if I do paint someone else’s face, I should make sure she isn’t looking first.” Ah yes, experience truly IS the best teacher.