Saturday, July 30, 2011
Friday, July 29, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
- Despite being just a week or so shy of seeing the first anniversary of my herniated disc and a year of really struggling with it, I was surprised to learn that I qualify as someone in chronic pain, which lasts for 30 days or more. In fact, this whole article was both surprising and reassuring, as it calls for support for the millions of Americans trying to cope. And so what am I doing to commemorate the occasion? Going to see another specialist, a neurosurgeon, for a third opinion.
- If you're a meat-eater considering your health or the planet, read yet another article on why cutting back is good for you and everybody. If you aren't considering it, definitely read the article.
- First, the poor little boy in Brooklyn, now Norway. Here is a compelling video on how to talk to your children about a tragedy. Interestingly, one of the main points is to get out ahead of the news by being the first to talk to your children. I haven't mention either event to them and they don't know. I did, however, talk to them about our friend with cancer and how she would lose her hair. I wasn't sure they were listening, but they were--today they talked to Mrs. S about how very very very sick people need wigs. Which is a reminder to me that the kids do listen, so I better be the one talking.
- Space Shuttle. I was relatively indifferent to the demise of the space shuttle program, remembering too vividly the Challenger and Columbia and not otherwise holding much interest in space or science. But I read a few articles in the paper and was bowled over by the grieving of the commenters It was like "space program" was up there with "Mom, apple pie, and baseball." Someone even said we'd have no cause to chant "USA!" again. I was touched by their pain and their loss of a dream, coupled with their certainty that our children will never be able to dream about being astronauts. Almost makes me miss the shuttles, too.
- Amy Winehouse. I didn't listen to her music, except the song or two covered on "Glee," and I hadn't really followed all the press about her drinking/drugs etc except when her concert in Serbia was booed, making headlines. But I was oddly touched by her death, sad for her parents, sad for how young she was (27) with so much ahead, sad for all the people who watched her decline and could only shake their heads. But the "I told you so" by some critics and people were heartless, even if she sang "They tried to make go to rehab/And I said, "No, no, no."
- Norway. I'm not even sure I can write about the tragedy in Norway, so like our Oklahoma City. But like many others, back then and this weekend, my first thought was Islamic terrorists, not homegrown Christian "extremists," whom we should call terrorists too. And I was disappointed to recognize that I harbored that prejudice, however knee jerk.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
- the red wall?
- the scarlet-colored letter?
- the red lion of . . . Gryffindor? Narnia?
- the Little Prince's moon and rose?
- the poisoned apple of Snow White?
- a girl in a red-riding hood?
- a red fern growing?
- the Queen of Hearts?
- James on the Giant Peach?
- the yellow-brick road?
- a yellow ugly duckling?
- THE golden ticket?
- a golden compass?
- the man's yellow hat? (from Curious George)
- the giant's green beanstalk?
- a green frog in a prince's crown?
- green eggs and a side of ham?
- Sal's blueberries?
- the blue dolphin, albeit with its island?
- one blue fish? (where's the red fish?)
- the dragon from Eragon?
- Harold's purple crayon?
- the caterpillar-eaten plums?
- Harry Potter?
- a Hobbit House and the One Ring that Ruled Them All?
- and so many more, some I've never heard of and some no one has figured out . . . .
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
Sis loves camp. "Awesome!" she says. And here's why:
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
- How to Cheat: Even though Bud was the one with his foot left in the game of "bubble gum," Neighbor Boy declared himself It. Bud objected, saying Neighbor Boy was out, just like Sis had been, with both feet out of the game. Neighbor Boy didn't relent, again declaring that he was it even because both of his feet were out. So then how come Sis wasn't it, Bud wanted to know. But I think he wanted to play more than be right so he gave up and let Neighbor Boy be It.
- How to Change the Rules Mid-Game: In "television tag," the It-person chooses a topic and chases the others around. If they can name something in that category and sit before It can tag them, It has to keep going (because our kids don't know many tv shows, they do Star Wars characters!). Well, midway through the game, when he wasn't It, Neighbor Boy didn't want to sit anymore. When Bud tagged him and said he was It, Neighbor Boy said no. Of course, earlier, Neighbor Boy had declared Bud It because he didn't get up and down each time while Neighbor Boy hovered over him waiting to tag him.
- How to Compromise (or set your priorities): Despite both of these above, and no doubt other instances to which I was not privy, Sis and Bud played with Neighbor Boy for two hours, overlooking his need to be in charge in order to have a playmate.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Each scarf, handpainted on silk, showed its maker's love and care for our friend Miss M, who is beginning chemotherapy for cancer and expects to lose her hair. We gathered today and painted flowers, drew birds, made footprints, tie-dyed, wrote Chinese characters, drew musical instruments and notations, dribbled splotches, painted pink bunnies. We hung the colorful creations on the clothesline, where they dried in the wind, declaring in their colors and designs our good wishes for our friend.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
- They are going to be exhausted after being gone from home for 8 hours, including bus ride. In fact, I've been told they'll probably be tired the first month.
- And with that tiredness will come grumpiness, restlessness, argumentativeness, and poor choices.
- And an unwillingness to get up in the morning and go, even if they love it. Exhaustion is just hard to overcome. Plus, we're going to have to streamline the morning routine, as they'll have to be out of the house and at the bus stop almost 20+ minutes earlier than in times past.
- They're going to miss play time. Bud essentially came home with Mama, ate, and got ready for bed, with a little bit of downtime. During the school year, they'll be home around 4, with homework, dinner, and bath before stories and bed around 7:30. Which doesn't leave much time to play. Especially when compared to the 6+ hours a day they got in kindergarten. This will probably be the hardest part for them.
- Which means we'll probably change bedtime to closer to 8 p.m. If they sleep in 'til around 7 am, that's still the recommended 10-11 hours a night, even if they don't fall asleep right away.
- Homework timing: homework was already a probably in kindergarten, though it was only one small packet once a week (or one sheet a day, depending on how you wanted to it). I don't know if it'll be best to do homework right away when they get home, as some families do, or give them a break from the day and do homework later . . . but having to pull them away from playing might just be too much.
- Lunch. I'm going to have to come up with more and better lunch options. I don't like the menu of the school hot lunches--tater tots, hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza--all the horrible crap you read about in news reports about childhood obesity and poor food choices. Besides, neither of my kids really likes those choices. But they can't have deli ham and crackers, or just fruit, everyday.
- As for their being in the same classroom all day, sharing teacher, classmates, and assignments, I'm sure they'll do the usual twin thing: they'll love it and they'll hate it!
- Between the two of them, I should get a better picture of what they do all day, something I didn't get in kindergarten (especially after being spoiled with the daily updates from the teachers in preschool).
- I'll have fewer projects, deadlines, events, etc to remember. A couple of times this year, Sis and Bud's homework packets got switched and we didn't know whose was whose. Next year, they'll be the same!
- And I won't have to divide my time between two classes. I can go to one book sale, one walk-a-thon, one gingerbread-decorating party, without running back and forth. I can also focus all my volunteer time in one class, which gives each child more time. And less opportunities to be jealous that I'm in the other class.
Friday, July 15, 2011
2 cups pinto beans
8 cups water
Rinse and drain beans. Add to favorite pot with water. Set on high, with timer on for 10 minutes.
Go upstairs at Sis's request. Forget beans. Watch tv. Don't hear timer.
An hour later, detect odor. Suspect Sis. Remember beans.
Run downstairs. Find smoky kitchen. Turn off burner. Transport hot mess outside. Curse. Kick pot.
Put cats in room. Open all windows and doors you can reach. Bemoan the still air. Have visiting neighbor--great timing--open windows you can't reach. Avoid being inside. Change stinky shirt.
Be grateful you didn't burn the house down. Wonder why smoke alarm didn't go off.
Decide on pizza for dinner.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
- The Da Vinci Code (I did eventually read it)
- "American Idol"
- "Dancing with the Stars"
- "Mad Men"
- Jodi Picoult
- Vera Bradley
- And almost all the other trends Bruni mentions.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Saturday, July 9, 2011
There were Legos! And a ramp/racetrack! And cupcakes!
But they are not the friends I've come to expect at our birthday parties. For the first time, the members of our original playgroup were not invited. While I still see some of their moms, we almost never seen any of the kids, who are spread out in different schools and even different grades in more than one town. Even during preschool, we invited their playgroup buddies to our summer birthdays instead of their classmates.
This year, however, we invited the 40 kids in their two kindergarten classrooms. Only one of these children was in our playgroup. I know most of the guests by sight but not all of their parents. But these are Sis and Bud's friends now. When asked who they wanted to invite, these are the kids they know.
So, it's the end of the playgroup era in a very concrete way. Sure, it had been happening slowly as we were dropped from invitation lists of other playgroup friends, their moms awkwardly explaining. Of course, I understood; I expected it . . . . And now I've left them off our invite list and feel just as awkward.
Maybe awkward isn't the word. Maybe the word is sad or nostalgic. Especially because, in truth, I see the moms of most of those playgroup friends less and less with each passing month. And so, while I'm very excited about the kids' sixth birthday, I can't quite completely celebrate the party.
So here's a toast to that playgroup, with which we celebrated so many occasions (and cried together and kvetched together over many others). You might not be there today, but you'll always be with me. Thank you.
Friday, July 8, 2011
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
With my aunt suffering a significant setback last night, I am passing along my dad's request for all of your prayers. He says, he who is thoughtful but not at all religious, that we need everyone on her side.
So tonight, for her, we fly the Scottish flag she gave us, as she is very proud of our supposed Scottish Hay clan heritage, right next to our Tibetan prayer flags.
- One of my new favorite websites is Lifehacker, which has technological solutions and "hacks" to make life better. One of these is a Google Document to manage "end-of-life" information like who's your lawyer, where are your bank accounts, and when is your cat's annual appointment at the vet. Considering everything, I think it would be handy to have all that information in one, encrypted place accessible to the people who need to know. Like, what's the password to my blog so someone can post if something happens . . . .
- As per the above, see here for "DNR by Another Name," namely "allow natural death."
- The article "How to Talk to a Little Girl" is valuable reading if you ever interact with young (or any aged) girls. Basically, Lisa Bloom posits that we should engage young girls over something other than their looks--not commenting on how they look or what they're wearing but instead asking about what they are reading or like to do.
- The "Oxford" or Serial comma is again under attack, with Oxford University's PR dept dropping its use. I love this comma and use it, despite increasing movements against it. What, you say? This is the comma in a list, before the "and." As in "Mommy, Sis, and Bud," instead of "Mommy, Sis and Bud." I vividly remember my language arts teacher's instructions on this, revolving around a will in a legal case. Siblings A, B, and C were left money in the will, written as, "I leave all my money to A, B and C." A used saying B and C were a unit, not separated by commas and that the money was supposed to be divided between the two units. Meaning more money for A and less for B and C. A won. And I've always used the serial comma since then.
- I haven't done my Italian lessons in a few weeks, but I did watch several Italian movies and some Italian cooking shows, able to pick out words and meanings here and there (and I even noticed when the subtitles were a bit off!). And I've been dreaming about Rome and gelato . . . .
- I've been thinking a lot about compassion, first reading Pema Chodron's book, When Things Fall Apart, and practicing tonglen, and then watching Karen Armstrong's Ware Lecture at the annual UU General Assembly (I'm also thinking of getting her book, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life)--definitely worth the watch. Plus, of course, non-violent, or compassionate, communication. Compassion for self, compassion for loved ones and acquaintances, compassion for strangers. Feeling the connection, acting on the empathy. Because, I wonder, is compassion actually compassion if you do nothing? If I feel for someone but never do anything, does it matter that I felt it? In fact, without the action, can the feeling really be compassion? Doesn't compassion, real compassion, really compel us to act? Which begs a question: can you be too compassionate? You can't possible act on all your feelings of empathy, can you? I'm realizing that compassion is an extremely important concept for me and I have been surprised, even disappointed, when I have not readily or easily found it in others. Is there a reason why people reserve or restrict or withdraw their compassion?
- I talk and think a lot about "teachable moments," grasping the right time to instill a lesson. But reading Karen Maezen Miller today, I had my own moment. Bud and Sis draw their own lessons from their emotions and experiences and don't need my banging them over the head with what I think they should learn. Sure, manners and questions they ask me, I'll address. I will even ask about their difficult moments after the fact, just to check on what they were feeling and thinking. But interrupting their crying jag when one doesn't get invited to a party that the other does or their angry tantrum when one earns a trophy or medal the other doesn't? No discussion at that point is going to matter, much less help; it might actual inhibit their own personal teachable moment. Because there are some things Mommy can't teach you, some things you have to learn for yourself. (Though, Mommy can learn lots of things from other people!)
Monday, July 4, 2011
4 slices bacon
½ cup chopped onion
2-1 lb. can Pork and Beans
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon ketchup
chopped bell pepper
Cook bacon until crisp, drain and crumble. In 2 tablespoons of drippings cook onion and bell pepper until tender but not brown. Add with bacon to beans and other, mixing well. Put in 1 ½ quart casserole dish. Bake uncovered at 350°F for 20-45 minutes or until bubbly.
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sugar
2 t. Dijon mustard (I used spicy brown)
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
Cook dried beans (I soaked them overnight in salt water) by bringing to a boil for five minutes and then simmering for about 1 1/2 hours. Prepare vinaigrette. Add dressing ingredients while beans are still warm. Chill for several hours. Serve chilled or at room temperature.