Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dinner Impossible

I stole dinner.  There I said it.  No, it is not because things are so bad here in at house that I have resorted to shop lifting.  No, I am not dumpster diving.  But I did steal dinner.

You see, our backyard neighbors planted a tomato plant in the back of their yard.  Right next to our fence.  Right next to the rabbit hole.  You can not see the tomato plant from their house.  It is totally hidden from view by a big tree.  We can see the tomato plant from our house.

I have watched this tomato plant grow.  I have watched the tomatoes blossom and go from flowers to green globes to red ripe tomatoes, bursting with flavor.  I then watch them fall to the ground to be eaten by the rabbits.  I decided, if our neighbor was not going to pick the tomatoes I would.  But, that is stealing.  They aren't my tomatoes to eat.  But, our neighbor isn't going to eat them either.  So here we are, in the gray moral ground of stealing tomatoes.  Bob does point out that they did say that we could take what ever we wanted when we were discussing the tomatoes last year, he thinks we are still operating on that invitation.

I could not stand it any longer.  I watched these delicious tomatoes fall to the ground.  I decided, this was a travesty.  I had basil in my house, I had a loaf of freshly baked basil/beer bread.  All I needed was some tomatoes to make bruschetta, and we would be good to go.  When no one was looking I marched outside and stole some tomatoes.  I bought some fresh mozzarella to go with my ill gotten gains and Bob and I had a delicious dinner.

What I did was wrong, but I don't feel bad about it.  I ate a yummy dinner and my tummy is full.  I think I will put some jammies on and snuggle up, knit and relax.  If they want their tomatoes, they better pick them before the fall to the ground or to my hands!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


My in-laws left.  The house is back to it's original state, just a stiff wind from crumbling under the clutter.  All 3 kids are at school.  Bob is out doing what ever it is he does during the day.  I am home, in the peace and quiet.

The problem is that there is not one but two cakes in this house.  One vanilla with chocolate fudge frosting and the other apple spice with cream cheese frosting. There is also fresh basil/cheese bread.  So many yummy left overs that seem to be screaming my name.  Come just have one piece.

We all know how that story ends, one piece turns into no more cake or bread in the house.  I am hosting our neighborhood luncheon today, so the people coming will enjoy the cake and bread.  Hopefully take it out of my house so I can sit here and enjoy the peace, without needing a piece.

I also have no intention of cleaning up for these people.  Nope.  Let the dog hair bunnies answer the doors and chase the kids around.  I am pooped!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Gmar Chatimah Tova

Pop quiz.  I know, those words render me to a quivering mass of hysteria too... but still, I am going to do it anyway, so pop quiz:

What does Gmar Chatimah Tova mean?

That is it, simple, easy peasey, all I want is a definition.  Oh, you want some multiple choice action.  NOPE.  I will not use it in a sentence, it is a sentence.  I just want to know if you know what it means.  All this questioning, is the entire reason, I am not a teacher.  

I will give you a couple of minutes to think about it, and most likely to google it, and then to come back with the text book definition.  Heck, I guess I could save you the trouble and get the definition from google myself.
Gmar Chatimah Tova translation;  Literally: A good final sealing   Idiomatically: May you be inscribed (in the Book of Life) for Good
 Who knew.  Certainly not me, which is why I was all excited about the pop quiz.  I have never heard that one, not in my 15 years of celebrating this holiday of Yom Kippur.  I like the whole idea of being inscribed for good.  Last year, I think we may have slipped out of the Book of Good.  It wasn't such a good year.  This year, I am optimistic.  Bob won his fantasy baseball league, more on that tomorrow, and I would say that generally, thing seem more sunny here than last year.

So, I hope you are inscribed for good today.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Typical Day in the Life

Yesterday, was an average ordinary day. 

  • We went to soccer, and watched Sammy's team score on themselves.
  • Came home had lunch
  • Played games with Grandma (that part isn't so typical, because she isn't usually here.)
  • Went to a birthday party
  • Went to the ER, because Hannah fell off her scooter and dislocated her elbow.
  • Told everyone 500 times that she really fell off her scooter, her injury is not because we beat her.  Really, she did fall off her scooter, and yes, no one saw it.  I was at a birthday party, Bob was turned the other way playing soccer and Grandma was walking down the street.
  • Waited for them to take x-rays, loose the x-rays, use the x-rays they gave me, decide they need to find the x-rays, x-rays located.
  • Got moved to the hallway, because the Adult ER was over flowing and they needed room.  Got to see some really sick people get wheeled by... great, is there enough purell in the world?
  • Finally, got the Dr, who looked like he was 16, to put her elbow back in place.
  • Left the ER, Hannah trips on the curb and falls again.
  • Rinse and repeat.
Just an average day in the life of a stay at home mom.  Thank you for reading.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


It is fall, so that means soccer.  Of course, I could say, it is winter, that means soccer.  It is spring, that means soccer.  The only time we don't play soccer is in the summer, when Sam might do a soccer camp.  Sam loves soccer.  He is very serious about soccer.  He is engaged in the game 100%.  When he is waiting to be put in, he is practicing on the sidelines.  Some highlights:

A heard of wildebeests is seen moving in a cluster on the field.  No, wait that is the kids trying to get the ball.  Screams of spread out can be heard from coaches. 

Sam is in the goal, the ball enters the goal box.  Sam picks up the ball and tosses it out, right in the middle, right to the opposing team.  SCORE.

#28 is out running hard, he gets the ball.  He runs towards the goal.  No one is trying to take the ball away, the kids are screaming at him.  He runs like the wind.  Dodging all the attempts to take the ball, he shoots.... SCORE.  (It is important to note that the goalie in this case had the same color shirt as the child who scored.  As you can not see the action, I thought I would share that bit of information.)

In the final quarter of the game, #15 is in the goal.  He dances to the left, he dances to the right, he crouches down to get the ball.  The opposing team kicks on our goal, the ball dribbles off the players foot, and lazily rolls towards the goal.  #15, spreads his legs real wide and sinks down to get the ball.  The ball, rolls through his legs.  SCORE

A bunch of 6 and 7 year olds playing soccer.  It is a good thing they don't keep score.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Forgot About the Van

I was so focused on cleaning my house, I totally forgot that we might leave the house when my in-laws were here.  This means that we have to get in the van.  My van.

Let me digress for a moment, I used to date this guy when I was in college, and we were going to get married.  I used to tell him how I would NEVER drive a mini-van.  NEVER.  I was going to drive something cooler.  I used to tease people for buying mini vans.  I would never, ever, in a million gillion years buy a mini van.

We all know how that story ends.  Anyway, back to the tale at hand.  If we leave my house, which I imagine, given its current state will be top of mind for everyone involved, we have to do that by getting into my van.  How do I put this delicately.  A couple of minutes in the van, and you will long for the sanitary environment of my house.  You will have a whole new perspective on filth.

So, basically, this realization washes over me, while I am playing on the computer.  Beds still unmade.  I decide that since the dog hair rabbits are chasing Hannah, it might be a good idea to just leave the van.  Forget about it.  Concede the fact that I am a filthy pig to my MIL.  I find this...Mom My Ride.

That is it, my story.  I had my ride Mom'ed.  I am no longer lazy and sloppy, but hip and cool.  I am current.  YouTube does not lie.  This video leaves me strangely thankful for the fact that the kids have kicked soccer balls at my car, scratch and damaged the paint with their bikes/scooters/rocks/toy cars/finger nails/keys/chalk/paint/glitter/stickers, left juice boxes in the van so we now attract fruit flys/ants/mice/moles/zebra, and that there are so many toys that we are never bored on the road.  Did I mention that if you feel hungry, just reach down, there are enough crackers/french fries/chicken nuggets/chips/candy/fruit snacks/PB&Js on the floor to nibble on for months.  I feel empowered.

Of course, I left out the fact that my van does not will not ever play kid CDs.  See I am not completely THAT mom, I am cooler.  Sure my mini van is a garbage can on wheels, but dang it we rock out.  Yup, I pimped my mom'ed ride.  You may have my autograph.

Bottom line, my house is a mess and my van smells funny.  Next stop, the kids won't behave I promise you that.

Edit:  After I wrote this, I took Hannah to gymnastics.  I had 45 minutes and needed to pick up some yarn for a baby blanket, and the yarn I wanted was at a store that is in a semi-rural area.  While driving there, no less than 5 skunks were dead on the road.  I hit one, already dead, but still stinky.  Now my van smells like skunk too.  ::shakes fist at gods of mini-vans:: it never ends!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Don't shovel during the snow storm

Monday, I cleaned.  I cleaned the bathrooms. I cleaned the kids rooms.  I cleaned the downstairs.  I cleaned from the time the kids left for school until the time they got home.  Then the kids got home.

Wednesday, I cleaned.  I cleaned the bathrooms.  I cleaned the kids rooms.  I cleaned the playroom and the basement.  I vacuumed.  I cleaned from the time the kids left for school until the time they got home.  When I was done, my house was Mother-in-Law coming to visit clean.  Then the kids got home.

Thursday, I was to busy to clean.  So I didn't.  Of course, the kids came home from school.

Friday, my mother-in-law comes to visit.  My house was clean enough for her to walk into it on Wednesday.  But she didn't come on Wednesday, she comes Friday.  So, here I sit.  I have gymnastics, a playgroup, a book sale and sunshine reading on Friday.  I do not have time to clean.  This would be why the house was clean on Wednesday.

She will show up and the beds may or may not be made.  The towels may or may not be clean.  The laundry may or may not be done.  Keeping in mind, I have cleaned for 2 days.  I have done 7 loads of laundry.  But the kids keep coming home.  I left my house, mother-in-law clean on Wednesday night.  I left for 3 hours.  By the time I returned, it looked like I didn't own a broom.  That my Dyson was in the shop.  I do not really understand how they do it.  It is like a force of nature, the speed at which they trash my house.

So, my mother-in-law will show up.  My house won't be clean, it was clean, but it isn't anymore.  The laundry will become a topographical feature, looming inside my laundry room.  The dog hair dust bunnies will hop around like no one knows the meaning of vacuum.  The kids will have left dirty hand prints on the walls.  There will most likely be toys on the floor that my father-in-law will step on, and break.  There will be untold bio-hazards in my bathrooms.  There will be dead ants in the corner, better a dead ant than an alive one, but I digress.  My house will have returned to its state of nature. 

But I go on the record by saying you could have eaten off the floors on Wednesday.


Not generally being the recipient of racism, I rarely think about it and the impact.  I am a white, suburban, stay at home mom, generally, I am treated the way you would expect.  I like to shock them with the fact that I am... wait for it... smart. 

So the fact that it is a big deal that the President is African American always catches me off guard.  I think it is great that he was elected, but I tend to forget that he is black.  He is a smart guy, seems to be doing a good job, and the majority of people in this country voted for him.  I seem to think that it was a fairly resounding victory.

Recently, I was shown a blog entry by Thomas Bowen, I don't know who he is, but the person that shared the commentary, is a pretty smart guy, so I read it.  (You can too at Blogging to the Choir, it is the open letter to the President.)  Generally, speaking, it is about the comment that Jimmy Carter made regarding Joe Wilson's comments.

I think it is interesting that the White House is distancing themselves from any sort of "race card" claims.  I wonder if their objective is to have people, do as I have, forget that the President happens to be a black man.  I wonder if it is because they are tired of having the conversation, and want to get down to the business of getting things done.  So that we can judge President Obama on the content of his character and the results of his office and NOT his color.

The whole situation around race is not something I understand or am even qualified to comment on.  I really thought what Mr. Bowen had to say was interesting.  It was well written and made me think about it, which I suppose was the goal.

Before I had kids, and I worked in retail, I believed it was ok to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.  Now that I have Jewish kids, I realize that it is not such a cool thing to do.  As such,  I do not believe I can understand what it is like to be a minority in this country.  I just wish we could all get along.  I wish that we could stop worrying about what a person looks like, and worry about what they do and how they do it.  I wish that we could focus on the issues surrounding health care and not the color of the person delivering the message.  I suppose until those of us who have forgotten what color Mr. Obama is start standing up and saying hey, the rest of you need to stop this insanity and look at what the man has done, it won't end.

Finally, please remember that this is my house, and I can say what ever I want here.  I realize that this is a touchy subject, these are my thoughts.  I am always open to a dialogue about the subject, but I am not interested in flaming comments.

I will leave you with this final though on the subject, because I used the word Obama in my blog, will I get blog hits from the government?  Probably.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

School Days

Parenting is not always hugs and kisses.  Sometimes your kid comes home from school bubbling over with excitement about the day.  Other days, you get emails, that start with Mrs. Lang, I would like to tell you about the day I had with your son.  When they call me Mrs. Lang, it is NEVER good.  For some reason, they know my last name when they have good news. 

Mac forgot to write down the spelling assignment, and as a result, did not do the homework.  The consequence for this is missing recess and going to Get It Done club.  Mac had Battle of the Books at recess, and he told this to the teacher.  Teacher, let him get out of GIDC, so he could go to BOB.  They had indoor recess.  Mac decides not to go to BOB, but goes to recess instead.  About 10 minutes into recess, Teacher realizes Mac is there, and well, I get an email about it.

Mac tells a slightly different story, where he talked to the teacher a couple of times before the teacher realizes that Mac is not where he is supposed to be.  I can sort of imagine that is correct.  Mac is very engaging and funny.  I am sure they swapped jokes, had a few laughs, and then it hit the teacher like a ton of bricks.  Wait a cotton pickin' minute, this kid is not supposed to be here, he is supposed to be at GIDC.  Oh, to be a fly on the wall at that moment.

While, I am not happy about what happened, it is kinda funny.  Stupid kid, you ditch BOB, and then go hang out in the classroom with the teacher?  Duh.  Clearly, a life of crime is probably not in my son's future.

I never like it when I have to talk to the teachers.  It is always a tough balance between being supportive and wondering what the hell they are thinking about.  Sometimes, I think they pick on Mac just to get their jollys out.  Today, I get to talk to another teacher about doing just that.  How do you tell a teacher that they are being mean, without alienating the teacher?  The teacher isn't always right.  In this case this teacher is wrong, and needs to apologize to Mac, but I really doubt that will happen.  But how do I explain the situation so that they don't get pissed at me?  I pray for patience and that God will give me the right words when I sit down with her.  I hope that I find the grace to help her be a part of the team of people helping my son, not part of the team of people bringing him down.  I was sort of hoping that the adults would be on board, even if the kids weren't.

Well, for now, we wait and see.  Wish me luck.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I know I promised pictures, but the camera battery wasn't charged, and I wasn't waiting for it to do that.  I wanted to pop that bad boy in the mail.  As was expected, my Dish Rag Tag box showed up right when I was going to get the kids at school.  Typical!

I cast on as soon as I got home and whipped that rag out in about 2 hours.  Not bad!!  It came out good enough. 

My pretty package contained some lovely mini skeins for my blanket.  Clearly the tagger had been doing a little light internet stalking to pick something she knew I would love... It paid off and I love my yarnie goodness.  I want to hug my little babies.  They will get their pictures taken once the camera is back in commission.  (Waiting, it is good practice.)

The picture on the card was of rabbits... I am not sure if that was an accident or on purpose.  Either way it cracked me up. 

Now, my part of the game is over.  We are in the lead, but it is still any ones game.  So, we wait.

Monday, September 21, 2009


If waiting was an Olympic sport, I would win the gold.  I have been practicing my waiting for a good long time now.  Recently, it seems all I have done.

For some light waiting warm ups, we waited for the house to be ready.  Then we moved into waiting for Bob to loose his job, followed by waiting for him to find one.  Yeah, we wait, it is what we do.  I wait for the kids to get out of school.  I wait for people to come and see us.  I wait for the day when I am done waiting.

Right now, I am waiting for my Dish Rag Tag box to come.  Good thing my waiting muscles are good and strong, because that bad boy is in Carol Stream, waiting to get on the truck and come to me.  It won't be delivered until late in the day.  I mean, I could go to the handling facility, break in and get it.  It is right there, 10 blocks from my house.  I have to drive by to take Hannah to school.

Classic wait and then hurry the f-up situation.  Once that box gets here, there will be nothing but knitting like a mad woman to get it out the door to the next person.  I am planning to have dinner done before the mail gets here, so I won't have to worry about that.  I can knit while helping with the kids homework.  I just can't knit while I drive to knitting...

Soon, there will be pictures of the box, its contents and what is going out the door, but until then you will have to wait.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A list for today

  1. I wonder if the library has any Zimmerman books... probably not.
  2. I hate driving Bob's car.
  3. Kids like Bugs Bunny.
  4. This causes them to ask why the rabbits in our back yard died though.
  5. Circle of life conversations are not fun.
  6. Mommy, how to the baby bunnies get in the mommy bunny?
  7. Some questions you don't want to answer..... but you do
  8. So, did Daddy do that to you to get me into your tummy?
  9. Suddenly, I have to go potty.
  10. Storks, they rock.  I am all about the stork.
  11. Almost 150 squares... this will never end, it barely covers my ankles....
  12. The blanket is about wide enough to be a tallit... Bob now wants a knitted tallit.
  13. Suddenly, I hear the kids calling, they have questions about babies.
  14. Does knitting make it all better?

Saturday, September 19, 2009


There is this blog out there called throwing quarters, which can be found at, it is about this man and his family.  It is very interesting to read about parenting from the father's perspective.  I don't really ever talk to Bob about how he feels about parenting.  I tend to feel that the heavy lifting on that particular job falls to me.  Why would I care about the way he feels about it, he doesn't really do any of it.

That probably is not, ok, is not without the qualifier, a fair description.  Bob just deals with the kids differently than I do.  Mostly he ignores them.  That sounds horrible, but he ignores their tantrums, and lets them do what they are going to do without trying to control everything.  I feel this overwhelming need to control it all.  By the end of the day I am tired from controlling and want to run away from home.  Bob, calmly puts everyone to bed and deals with the whine time.  He struggles on how to deal with Mac, but then don't we all?

Sure, I am the one who deals with all the poop and pee of parenting.  The 2ps if you will.  He never seems to be home when one of the kids pees all over the toilet, or when someone needs their butt wiped because they had a BIG poop.  That is the difference between what I do and what he does.  He gets to participate in a greater proportion of the fun stuff and a smaller part of the 2ps.

Dad's are important.  With out them, kids don't learn a lot of things.  Girls who do not think that their Dad's think they are pretty tend to have sex earlier.  Boys need a Dad to show them the right way to treat women.  While most Dad's miss out on much of the 2ps, they are still an important part of the equation.  I try and remember this when I am sitting in pee for the 8th time that day.  Or when I am the one cleaning poop out of the underwear (don't tell me to buy new ones, that isn't practical).  Dads do things differently, and I don't think that means the love their kids less, or that their way is wrong.  So, thanks to chronic blogger at throwing quarters for reminding me of this.

Now, to see if I can figure out a way to have Bob deal with more of the 2ps....

Friday, September 18, 2009

L'shana tova

Newish words for me... New in that I am 41, and have only understood them for 15 years.  My mother thinks it is ironic that I married a Jew, and am raising my kids as Jews.  Because this California girl, called her upon sighting Orthodox Jews walking home from temple on a Saturday, and exclaimed, "I just saw Amish people."  At that moment, my mother felt she had failed me.  My cultural up-bringing was a miss.

I am Jewish by association.  I know the prayers.  I can make the food, better than my MIL, according to my kids.  But I think they say that because they want me to make matzoh balls more often.  I drive the kids to religious school.  I am teaching a class at religious school this year.  Ask my kids, what are you and they will all tell you they are Jewish.  When my husband is not home, I take the kids to temple, by myself.  I am the one who remembers to light the candle on Holocaust Remembrance Day.  (Can't spell out all the Hebrew.)  I think my household is more Jewish than many of my Jewish friends.  Yet, I am not a Jew.

Yet, people have an issue with the fact that I am not Jewish.  That I married a Jew and did not convert.  Our Temple, which I love and is great, will not marry an interfaith couple.  I think that this is wrong, because 1) Interfaith couples are going to get married anyway, so wouldn't it be wise to embrace them, as the Temple I got married in did, so that the non-Jewish spouse has a good first experience?  2) It belittles the contribution and sacrifice of the non-Jewish spouse.

As we embark on a New Year, for those of us who identify ourselves as Jews, take a minute to think, there are non-Jewish people making a positive contribution to Judaism.  I hope that next year, the people that think interfaith marriage is wrong, stop for one minute and recognize that there are some of us who are working hard to create Jewishness within our homes, despite our own origins.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

More on the Mulch

I know I shared that the mulch came, but now that I have a little more perspective, it really was more than just mulch.  The morning was really crappy.  I was mad at Bob and the kids.  I was tired of giving all the time and getting nothing back.  I was feeling sorry for myself.  I missed my old life.  I could have stayed here in this funk and had a bad day.  But the mulch came.

Free mulch, it was like a gift from God.  Random, I know.  Bob and I worked together putting the mulch out.  We got it done in record time, we had a good time working together.  Being outside doing something, really improved my mood.

We stole some tomatoes from our neighbor and had a yummy lunch of bruschetta and crackers.  We laughed about the fact that our neighbor plants the tomato plants for the rabbits.  He will think the rabbits were really hungry today!  I don't know if they were home, or if they would even care.

I picked up the kids, we had fun doing homework.  Mac and I laughed about the evil lair his teacher must use when he thinks up his diabolical homework assignments.  Alphabetize your spelling list by using the last letter, where do they come up with this stuff.

Yarn came to the house.  Some to stay and some to swap out. All was lovely!  So, what could have been a really bad day turned out to be a good one.  Don't decide what kind of day you are going to have just because you have a bad morning.  You control your attitude, it doesn't control you.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Yesterday I got the call we have been waiting for... in May I signed us up for the free mulch the township provides.  When the woman took my name, I asked when she thought we might get it.  She laughed and said when my name came up and they had some.

The call came yesterday.  This morning at 9:15, the doorbell rang.  It was a man with mulch.  He backed into our driveway and dumped a full load of mulch.  Is it perfect?  No, there are sticks in it.  Was it free?  Yup, and that makes it perfect.

Our free mulch, minus about 5 wheel-barrel loads.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A bunch of finished objects

A Scarf for.... someone, who might read this.  Someone who keeps talking about how wonderful the scarf is...  someone who thinks it is for charity.  I hope I can keep it under raps until December!

Socks for my SIL.  She tried to steal the ones that I was making when I saw her this summer.  So, I made some for her.  I hope she likes them.  The colors are very her.

A hat for charity.  It looks pretty good.  I like it.  Might make one for Hannah! :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

First Day of Religious School

Last year on the first day of Hebrew School, was the day after the flood.  It was the second Sunday in our new house.  We were living amid boxes, after having lived in an apartment.  The kids had started a new school, I was finally starting to realize we weren't in a condo on Maui after all and that this was my new reality.

I dropped Mac and Bob off at the place where the older kids have Hebrew School.  There are too many kids for all of them to attend school at the Temple, so they rent space at the local Jr. High.  Then Sam, Hannah and I continued to the temple.  We were sitting in the sanctuary for the assembly.  When I started to freak out.  I really don't know what or why, I just started having a nervous break down.  They had us stand to sing the Shama, which at the time I didn't know.  The newness of this activity, the fact that I was doing it alone, was too overwhelming for me.

Sam was with me and he was starting Kindergarten, so I couldn't fall apart at that moment, so I silently lost it.  (What ever it is.)  I delivered Sam to his class, and Hannah and I went to the Tumlar.  We sat down at the table and were eating.  After a number of people choosing to not sit with us, a woman and her son, who is about Hannah's age, sat down with us.  She was one of those bubbly out going types.  She engaged Hannah, gave me a diaper AND wipes as I had none.  Watched Hannah when I went to the bathroom.  She introduced me to other people.  Without really realizing it, she took me under wing that day.  She propped me up, when I couldn't do it myself.  For that I will always be grateful.

Her Daughter is in Sam's class this year.  Last year they sat together.  So this isn't one of those stories where you never see that person again.  I have never thanked her for doing that for me, I think I should.

This year Hebrew School was better.  Sam likes his new teacher, we knew where we were going and it wasn't scary.  This year, only Sam cried.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


I wake up in the morning with a hand gripping my chest.  It feels like it is trying to squeeze the life out of me.  The owner of this hand is fear.  It grips me in the morning, when my defenses are down.  When my determination to keep it at bay is still lost in the place between sleep and awake.

All of the what if's run through my mind.  When will Bob find a job?  Is usually a central theme.  Yet, fears and worries about relationships that the kids and I are trying to develop sometimes pushes it's head into the game.  Mostly, though I worry about Bob.  I worry about the toll this experience is having on our marriage, on his self esteem, on everything.  I am tired of being tired.  We are in this purgatory, where nothing can happen until this one piece of the puzzle is completed.  Once that is completed, the floodgates of possibility will open, decisions about various things can be made.

My mother was sharing with me a story about the time after her first husband died.  She said she would sit in bed and wonder how she was going to raise 2 small kids (ages 4 and 2), by herself.  She was fortunate to have enough money to ponder her options, but the money was not going to last forever, so what sort of work was she going to do?  There she was, in the blink of an eye, her life changed when the policeman came to her house.  She said that she took a deep breathe everyday to shake off first the hand of fear, and then another to get the cobwebs left behind.

Everyday, she looked for one thing that she could be happy about.  In the end, she was alright.  The kids, well they turned out about as well as most kids do, not perfect, but their scars are probably not because of how she handled this situation.  Her message to me, was to not let the fear win.  To keep it out of your life as much as possible.

Besides she told me, if Jerry hadn't died, she wouldn't have gotten me.  You never know what life will bring you.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Sam brought home a book called Fly Away.  He picked it because he liked the pictures of airplanes on the cover.  I just assumed it was about things that happen in the airport.  It was not, it was about a little boy and his father who were homeless and lived in the airport.  Our school district will not play the President's speech without having a fit, but they have a book about a homeless boy who lives in the airport.  It seems odd to me.  But that is not the point of this post.

The premise of the story is that the little boy and his dad move around to all of these different areas of the airport, so they aren't noticed.  It details a typical day of trying to not get caught.  On the weekends the father goes to work, so another family watches the little boy.  The kids try and earn money by collecting carts and helping people with their luggage.  At the end of the book, the dad buys the other family dinner as payment for watching his son.  Then they go sleep at a gate some where.

When I was a kid, I remember there being homeless people in the airport.  In Los Angeles, they were every where.  The security guards spent a lot of time shooing them away, but they kept on coming.  The terminals were always packed with people.  It was a fun activity to go to the airport to watch the planes take off and have lunch.

These things do not happen any more.  Post 9/11, homeless people can not live in airports, which is unfortunate for the boy and his father.  Post 9/11, people can not make a day of watching planes and having lunch.  Now, we have to submit to a strip search, take our shoes off and carry our liquids in zip top bags, no larger than a quart.  In the US we can fly with knitting needles, but in Europe they are considered weapons.  NOW, who would use a proper knitting needle as a weapon?  They might break, and that would be bad, or worse get blood on ones project.

It was hard to live in Connecticut and not be impacted by it.  Everyone knew someone.  Bob had been in the towers a couple of months before for a trade show.  He could have been there or in the area that day.  While not likely, not out of the question.  We have friends who lost family members.  We have friends who had family members survive because they were sick that day.  We knew people that lost jobs in the aftermath.

Many people died on this day 8 years ago.  Some men made a choice that impacted the lives of almost everyone in the world.    May God be with those who lost their loved ones due to the choices of a few.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The First Day

Hannah is a big girl now.  She started pre-school.  All went smoothly.  There was one moment, when I was concerned.  We had started for school and were about half way there, and Hannah remembers that she forgot her blanket.  She was very upset that she forgot Stinky.  I was biting my nails, we did not have time to turn back and get it.

She rallied, because FluFlu was going to lend Hannah her blanket.  Since Hannah had a friend to walk into school with she thought she would be ok, especially if blanket was in the car when she got out of school.  FluFlu and Hannah leaped out of the car and ran into school.  They didn't even look back. 

At the end of the day, Hannah had lots of stories to tell.  FluFlu didn't even need to come home with us!  Hannah was very happy to see blanket.  But, once she gave blanket a big hug, she was bubbling with stories about painting, playing, cleaning up and going outside. 

This morning she woke up ready to go to school again.  I have not seen FluFlu recently.  Maybe she won't be going to school with us tomorrow.

I am proud of my baby.  She is doing so well with the transition from home to school.  I miss my baby too, but I guess that is part of parenting, helping them learn to stand on their own.  Or at least on their own with FluFlu and blanket.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

President Obama's Speech -- We get to see it!

The initial message from CUSD200 had the tone that they needed to preview the words of the President to ensure that they were appropriate for our children.  They would then, IF the message was apporpriate consider if they would share it. Well, as you know, I was outraged.

We sent letters.  My little neighborhood, my little corner of the world was not alone.  Many people sent letters. Teachers sent letters.  The populace spoke out and yesterday we got this message:

Good evening. This is Dr. Richard Drury, Superintendent of District 200. The Board of Education has asked me to clarify that all of our students will have the opportunity to hear President Obama’s speech to students. After listening carefully to many perspectives in the community, the Board has worked with the administration to provide the following process.

Tomorrow at 11:00 we will record the President’s entire message and send it to our teaching staff by the end of the day. Teachers will show it in individual classrooms on Wednesday. In keeping with our tradition of working in partnership with parents, each school will make arrangements to allow parents to opt their student out of viewing the speech. You will receive notice from your school about the specific arrangements for showing the President’s message. The White House has made the text of the speech available online.

District 200 strongly supports and is in agreement with urging students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning. At no time was it the intent of the District to censor or disrespect the President or his message. We apologize for any miscommunication that may have led to that perception.

Thank you and good evening.

They apologized.  I think that is a great thing.  It is a great teaching moment.  It is great for adults to admit that they were wrong, and apologize.  It teaches that we can learn from our mistakes.

While it would be optimal for the kids to have seen it today, they will see it tomorrow, and I am ok with that compromise.  I am glad that EVERYONE will be seeing it.  I am still sad that some people think they need to opt out... but at least we can now opt in.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I made it passed 40

I am the fifth child out of six.  I am the third girl, out of three.  I am the only living sister.  Both of my sisters have died very young.  My brothers now tease me mercilessly about when I will die.  Hopefully not soon, as I wish to taunt them as long a possible.

Yesterday, I turned 41.  My middle sister died during her 40th year.  My sister Leslie killed herself on Mother's Day.  I am not sure if it was a conscious decision or if it was just a consequence of drinking herself into a stupor that night.  I am sure that what ever pain she felt about her job as a parent drove her to drink that night.  

My sister's life was sprinkled with periods of happiness the way that most peoples' lives are sprinkled with rough patches or periods of sadness.  My sister spent her whole life trying to hide from what ever demons haunted her.  She started to drink when she was a tween, and really, never stopped.  It destroyed her marriage, her children and basically her life.  Her ability to cope with the pain of life was definitely outstripped by the amount of pain she felt.

As I think about her life, I wonder, are some people just programed to be unhappy?  Just like some of us are tall or short, fat or thin.  Perhaps happy and sad are just part of our chemical make up.  Perhaps we have less control over it than I would like to believe.  Who would choose to be unhappy?  Just as, who would choose to be fat, and I speak as someone in the know about this, it isn't so easy to change.

That said, Leslie, was the unhappy child in the family.  That was her job.  Just as mine it is to be the one who has life by the balls and makes it happen.  Perhaps she had been unhappy for so long, the thought of actually being happy was overwhelmingly frightening to her.  Perhaps she had viewed herself as depressed for so many years, she was comfortable there and didn't really want to change.

I don't know if happiness is something we choose or something that is.  I choose to be happy.  I choose to make the best of everything, in as much as I can.  Is that because I am a happy person? Or is it because I try my hardest to let things go and move on to a happier place, to be as positive as possible?  I don't know if we will ever really know the answer to that, but as I enter the next year in my life, I am going to choose to make it happier than last year, and by gosh, do not stand in my way!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


I have hit 100 squares in my blanket. It is a milestone I thought I would share with everyone!  I am very excited.  But, I also still have to do over 600 more.  I am 13.5% complete.  Yeah!!!

Some of the squares are yarn that the kids have dyed, that I have dyed and my 100th square was made with yarn I dyed from the stamen of the lilies Bob gave me for our anniversary.  There is even a square dyed with blueberries.

It has been a fun project so far!

PS, I have now also done a big square.  I was terrified of the mama-jamma 61 stitch square, but I have to say, there is a place for them.  Photos coming soon!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

In a Fog

I woke this morning to see a gray haze outside my window.  It was hard to make out the house across the street.  The very first thought that went through my mind, was FIRE, it was smoke.  Then, the more rational, but less awake part of my mind says, "Yo, dumb ass, if it was fire and there was that much smoke, think it might smell?"

Good point, so it is fog.  Fog in Illinois.  When I went to get the paper, I expected to smell the salt in the air.  Fog smells like ocean.  It makes the electrical wires crackle, it means that what ever fire is burning where ever will slow dramatically.  It means that planes won't take off from the airport.  It means June.  When it happens in September, it means that it won't be so hot today.

Yet, it hasn't been hot here.  It doesn't smell like ocean, because that stupid lake is NOT an ocean, it is NOT even a reasonable ocean substitute.  There are no electrical wires above ground to make that crackle sound.  I doubt OHare will be impacted and it isn't June.  This was some random unprecedented fog.  I have lived here for a little over a year, and never seen fog.

All of this was making me very nostalgic for home.  A friend of mine is going to the 'hood on vacation and has been asking me for advice about where to stay, what to do, where to eat, etc.  I have been missing my hometown very much.  I guess the fog was a little piece of home.

When I got in after getting the paper, Sam asked me what to do in an earthquake.  Maybe I am living in some sort of parallel universe?  Maybe this is now Chicago, California.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Stupid is the new black

Stupid is the new black.  I love this.  It was a Facebook status post from a new found friend of mine.  I cracked up.  This is due to the fact that the Wheaton School District banned President Obama's speech.

He is the President of the United States, he wants to talk to my kid, I am good with that.  Heck, if G.W. wanted to talk to my kid I would be ok with that, and in my opinion he is the stupidest President in the history of the world.

I got a phone call yesterday, from Robert Rammer, the communications guy at CUSD 200.  He says that we aren't showing it because we can pre-screen it and don't know if it is appropriate.  If we think the message is appropriate, we will make copies available at a later date and we might show it to the kids if we feel like it.  I heard the message when the kids were screaming at me.   But, my politically active friend fired me up... I did something.

While I didn't get the response I wanted, I did get one.  I will still be pulling my kids from school to see the speech, but this response seems more reasoned to me... granted they still aren't showing the speech.

Ms. Parrett,
On behalf of the Board of Education, thank you for your comments. Please know that the Board has received your email as well as this response.
The District is not denying students the opportunity to hear the President's message. We will make it available at more convenient times when students can be engaged in a discussion about his message.
Although we certainly support and appreciate the President's encouragement of students to do well in school, broadcasting a 20 minute program at 11:00 to all our schools, on a live web stream, is somewhat problematic from a logistical perspective. At the high schools and middle schools, for example, many of our students are eating lunch. These students would not be in a classroom setting where a discussion could take place. From a practical perspective, delaying the lunch schedule for an extended period would be disruptive at best. Some students will be in physical education classes or settings unsuitable for viewing. Streaming this message to all venues and computers at one time would most likely disrupt our technology.
Providing schools with multiple copies of the presentation allows teachers to present the message in a thoughtful and instructive fashion.
While we certainly appreciate your comments, it is our intent to provide the President's message in a more measured way.
The review of the content is more a factor of grade level than substance. Preparing a group of kindergarten students for the President's message is quite different than preparing a group of high school seniors. Teachers deserve to see the message before they show it and conduct instructional discussion with children.
Robert A. Rammer, Ph.D.
Director of Communications
School District 200

I won't comment on the spelling of my name.  I also will not comment on the fact that Bob's letter was addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Lang, that is another blog post for another day.  It will be interesting to see if what happens.

The great thing is that, I can pull my kids from school and bring them home so that they can see the message.  I might DVR it for them, but in a grand show of political dissent, I might pull them out of school too.

So for now I have a headache and am tired, I am not up to full fighting the man speed.  I think I might need a nap.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Random Thoughts

  • Curriculum night was last night... I am not so sure about these teachers.  Sam's teacher will probably be fine, I think she is the type of teacher you need to suck up to.  She likes to have people she knows in the class and to talk to them about herself.  Mac's teacher, he likes to hear himself talk.  I worry that we will have trouble getting him to communicate with us at the level which we need.  I will be damned if I had spent 1000's of dollars on therapy and energy on helping this kid get his shit together to have this teacher let him get off track.  Should be an interesting year.
  • I got to go shopping with Hannah yesterday.  It was an absolutely perfect day.  The weather was great, the company was great, we found some cute things that were cheap.  I was wonderful.  I wish I could bottle it so that we could replay this day in January.  I am so happy to do girl things with Hannah, she is such good company.  It is like a reward.
  • Still, no ants.  Perhaps the combination of Terminix and Terro worked!  Either way, we love Adam, our Terminix guy.  He is definately not a creepy bug guy like the one in Connecticut.
  • Since I used the word Terminix, three times now, I wonder if Service Master will hit my blog again....
  • Oh, some folks have asked, the other rabbit died.  So they all lived 2 days.  It was sad, but really, keeping the dog and the rabbits appart, that was never going to happen.
  • Barcley's, the folks who put out the Black Card, did not hit my blog, and I linked back to their website.  Interesting.
  • Genvieve is coming today.  Hannah can't decide what to wear, nothing is good enough.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

1 Year

1 year ago today, I went to a lawyers office and ended my brief period of homelessness.  We signed our lives away on what we thought would be the perfect home for our family.

Now, the period of homelessness, was because we sold our home in Connecticut faster than we could find one in Illinois, so it sounds way more dramatic than it really was.  But, living in a 1,000 square foot apartment with 3 kids, a husband and dog for a month, was not walk in the park. Yet, significantly better than actually homelessness.  I survived by pretending it was a condo in Maui.  I was still optimistic and this was going to be an adventure.

I guess it has been an adventure, but we have fixed or replaced:  1 leaky roof, 24 rotten windows, 1 door that leaked so much cold air it snowed in the house, 1 washer (it exploded), 1 dryer, 1 dishwasher, 1 refrigerator, 1 sump pump (which survived 17 inches of rain in 2 days, praise God.), 1 sump pump back-up battery, 3 toilets, every single outlet, switch, switch plate, wall register grate, entry lock,  and door handle in the entire place.  I am sure that I have left something out.  We have battled more ants than is really necessary.  I am now more handy than I ever expected.  I have talked to my brother more than I would have imagined.  We have painted, scrubbed, cleaned and otherwise made habitable our hugely expensive home.  The thing is that when we bought this house, we didn't think it would be a fixer, it was supposed to be move in ready.

There are still things that don't work right or need to be replaced, but we are off life support and can manage these items as we have time and money.  Nothing is earth shattering, but I live in fear that there is something I missed!  I knew all the warts in our old house.  I knew what needed to be done, what would probably go wrong.

This house was unloved, and uninhabited for 2 years.  That takes a toll on a home.  Even though it looked lovely on the outside, it was sad on the inside.  The house didn't feel the love.  I think the house feels the love now.  I think the house realizes we are friends.  Our trash compactor stopped working about 4 weeks after we arrived.  I didn't care, we are planning to redo the kitchen anyway, so let it be a big trash can.  One day about 6 months later, Hannah was playing with the buttons and it started working again.  The house regenerated itself.  At the moment, we knew that the house was on the team.

You might think we are crazy, a house is not an animate object, but they are in some fashion living things.  They need to be loved.  If you don't love them, they make you pay, and pay dearly.  Our house is still without a name.  It still really doesn't feel like home yet, but at least I don't feel like it hates us.  Maybe next year we will be on a first name basis and it will feel like home.

The Ants go Marching

When I worked in marketing, many moons ago, my philosophy was to under promise and over deliver.  It would seem today, many products over promise and under deliver.  Imagine, the pizza place says your pizza will be there in 45 minutes and shows up in 20, how happy are you.  Yet, if that same place promises 15 minutes and shows up in 20, you are livid.

We have had a small problem with ants this year.  No matter how many times Terminix sprays my house, they keep on coming.  Both Terminix and the ants.  We have had so many nests in the house, that I am sure that Terminix has been helping, but they can not seem to get them all.  It is like rival gangs, once we kill one nest, another one takes over.

I was tired of having my house polluted with all the chemicals.  We are going to be dead, but the ants will survive.  I heard from a couple of people about Terro ant traps.  They are all natural, and work like a champ.  They are the most expensive traps on the market, Raid traps are $3 and Terro traps are $6.  So the are twice the brand name option.  But, $3 dollars, it really is not a huge risk.

I had planned to do a day by day pictorial blog post about the traps.  The first day, show the ant super highway between the wall and the trap.  The next day how it was still there, but dwindling, etc.  Only, the ant super highway only lasted 12 hours.  By the next morning the ants were gone, and we haven't seen them since.

We thought they were sleeping off their hangovers and would be back for more, but so far, so good.  We have not seen one.  These traps are absolutely the best things in the entire world.  Nothing else has worked so well.  I will keep you posted on how long they work, but hopefully, for ever!