Thursday, December 30, 2010

January Goals

January knitting goals are brought to you by the letter A.

All things Alpaca:

I want to make some stranded mittens out of alpaca.  The pattern I selected is called fiddlehead, and it is a lined mitten.  I don't know if I have enough yarn, but I can always buy more.

Next, I plan to make a cowl out of some lovely alpaca I got from Bob for Christmas.  This cowl is a scarf in the day and the doubles as a head wrap when you go outside.  I love the idea and am looking forward to working with this yummy yarn.

On the things Acrylic:

While acrylic isn't my fav, I am going to start a baby blanket for a friend of mine.  I need to make my way through 4 colors and the starting square this month.

Other than that, I want to finish what I have on the needles, which isn't much, just a pair of socks.  Perhaps do a few squares on my blanket.

A Trip

We are back.  Home from the journey. 

Having done this trip every December, with one exception, since I have stopped living at home.  It is expected, normal and well, one thing that makes me feel whole.  I love seeing my family and hanging out with friends.

This year was very low key.  My brother and his family were in Asia, wrapping up their year in Australia.  My cousin didn't arrive until the very end and my nephew left for Colorado on Christmas.  It seemed there as enough time to hang out with everyone but just that one.  We reallly got to spend time with folks rather than rushing through one visit on our way to the next.  The kids would have liked more time with my cousin and her family.

The trip was fine, with the expection of the ice box limo trip.  There were no delays, not cancellations and everything landed when and were it was supposed to.  My kids didn't do anything too anti-social at my Uncle's fancy house.  No accidental swimming this year, no peeing contests, we may actually get invited back.

The weather was meh.  It rained, a lot.  We are not used to being stuck in the house.  But, then it was sunny and we played a lot of soccer.

They kids discovered Fox Desportes.  They watched a lot of soccer, in spanish.  My brother and I got my mom a new TV.  He walked in and said, "I thought this TV was in English, we should return it.  Sorry about getting you the Spanish one."

The trip was like the year, nothing to write home about, but not bad.  I am ok for with that.  After being on the rollarcoaster of great highs and great lows, I am happy to ride in the middle.  For things to just be.

Everyone is happy to be home and to play with their new Wii games, sleep in their beds and start the New Year.  Well, gotta run, David Villa is on the television.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Yarnie Year in Review

The yarnie year in review.  I always feel like I really didn't make that much, but when I stop and look at the list, well it is long!

Socks:  I made 16 1/2 pairs.  The 1/2 pair is because I finished my targets socks before I was killed off... this is during sock wars, so if it doesn't make any sense, just move on.  Focus on the fact that I made 16 pairs of socks.  That is crazy!

Hats:  I made 6 hats.  4 of the 6 hats had flowers on them, so I also made 4 flowers!  I am not counting this seperatly, but that is a lot of warm heads.

Toys:  I made 11 toys.

Sweater:  I made 1 sweater for me.  Just one... but it took a long time, I am a big person.

Christmas stockings:  4... they were so well received I am making another one.  Same friend, she just wants one for herself.

Dishrags:  8

Scarves:   4

Baby Blankets:  1... slow year for baby blankets!  I am happy about that, I hate making them.  But, with 3 pregnant friends, I feel that there is at least one or two more in my future.

I think that totals up to 51 1/2 Finished objects.  No wonder we are starting to feel over run with hand knits in our house.  No wonder I look like the crazy knitting lady when I leave.  I have a rule about that, no more than 2 handknits at a time, unless it is cold and I have a scarf and mittens on.

If you are getting hand knit items as a gift, well you know why!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Rain, rain go away, please come back another day.  Another day after I am home and not here. 

California has gotten 300% of their normal yearly rain in the last week.  We have been here for the last week, and it has been horrible.  Get your hammers folks, it is time to start to build an ark.  When we come to California, we come for sun, sand and palm trees.  In that order.  There is no mention of rain.  I realize that the rain is hugely important to the environment here in California, but can it just come when I am not here?

The problem with the rain, is that there is nothing to do that does not involve being outside.  At least nothing to do with the kids.  They are cooped up here at my mothers house.  It is a fairly good sized house, but for 4 kids to spend day after day inside, well it is getting a bit overwhelming for everyone.  We all have cabin fever.

There is only so much computer and television that can be consumed before even the children get tired of it.  Yesterday, in a massive fit of cabin fever everyone took to the backyard and played soccer for well over an hour.  In the the pouring rain, on the muddy lawn.  By the time they were done, they were not as muddy as you would have expected, because it was raining so hard.  Clothes were washed and everyone was happy that they were not inside all day.

Today, it is the indoor olympics, completely planned out by the kids.  They have come up with a series of events that are not athletic, but still fun.  It has been refreshing to see them use their minds to try and come up with something to do that isn't electronic.  They have even resorted to reading books.  I am getting serious about getting the hammers out, it is definately the end of the world if they kids are choosing books over television.

There hasn't been as much fighting as you might have expected.  Things have actually gone pretty well.  But, on that note I am going to sign off, it is not currently raining and we are going to go splash in puddles.  At least it isn't cold.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I awoke yesterday morning at it was -2.5 degrees Farenheit.  If you can't imagine it, it is Cold, with a capital C, Cold.  Not as cold as say -25 degrees Farenheit, which it has also been in the very cold place we live, but that it not capital C Cold and that is Capitals C,O,L,D COLD.

The plan had been to wear light coats, hop into the warm limo and go to the airport.  Because we are heading to California, bring one's Nanook of the North outfit is well... over kill. 

I am going to digress for a moment here, when I bought my boots and my coat, I asked the fine sales person what the tempurature rating was on the items I had selected. I was told they both ranged from -35 to 15 degrees.  I asked, "is there anything warmer in the store?"  I was told, no that was the warmest things they offered.  I would have to go to a specialty store to get something warmer. Then the sales representative asked me if I was planning a trip to the North Pole or something.  I said, no I just want to get my kids at school without freezing, same thing!

Anyway, we didn't want to bring our warm gear, inspite of the fact that the thermometer would warrent such a selection.  In the end, every single one of us chickened out and we wore our warm coats.  I didn't go full Nanook and selected my running around town winter coat and not my going to get the kids at school coat.  As there is the whole going through security issue, no boots were worn.

These were all critical errors in judgement, because we assumed that the limo would be warm.  That mistake in judgement almost cost me my baby toes.  The limo was NOT heated.  The limo was marginally warmer than outside.  My best guess would be that it was say 10 degrees back there.  We spent 45 minutes riding from our lovely heated home to the lovely heated airport in a freezer.  When we arrived, walked into the airport and exclaimed "oh sweet warmth how we love thee,"  the secuirty ladies huddling in the vesibule laughed. 

We complained about it being cold.  These complaints were met with grunts.  Finally, we decided that there was nothing to be done about this, all we could do was huddle together and hunker down, next to the open window were periodically wiffs of warm air wafted through the open window.  The driver was warm.

When I got out of that ice box, to be met with air that was about the same as the air in the car, I turned to the driver and said, when someone complains about it being cold, you might turn the freaking heat on because I think I may have lost some toes on this trip.  He was not moved by my reaction. I looked at him and said, I spend at least 2 hours a day outside almost every day.  I am not weak and I not a wimp and I am not joking when I tell you it was cold.  He was still un-moved by this. 

I am willing to be he was moved by his tip.  You freeze a man's children and wife, and you don't get a very big tip.

Maybe next time we will request a limo with heat, or use someone else.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Wrapping it up

As the year ends, it is time for the usual reflection on what transpired this year.  I have to say, that while this wasn't a banner year, it wasn't a bad year either.  It just was.  I for one, am ok with that.

Some not so good things happened.  My Father-in-law has experienced some rather large health problems this year.  That is pretty upsetting to all involved.  Living so far away from it, it is easy to disconnect yourself from it.  But the realities of the new situation come up in unexpected ways that are sometimes hard to manage.

Of course, there was the whole situation with my brother.  While in the end his son ended up in the right place, the emotional and financial fall-out from that situation will be long reaching for many years to come.  In the end, the reality is that no one will ever really be the same.  It is a heart breaking story.  The impact of that horrible woman's narcissism is some what mind boggling.  I wonder if she will ever look in the mirror and realize what she did.  No one is faultless, but BM does not recognize her role in this whole fiasco.

There were some good things that happened.  Bob found a job he loves, he has gotten a promotion and we are getting closer to being steadily on our feet again.  I feel that we are in a stable place with that right now.  In today's environment, well that is huge!

In the end, there were social justice issues at preschool, and other problems that cropped up.  Nothing was life altering.  I think we have had a pretty blessed year all things considered.  While 2010 was nothing to write home about, that is alright with me.  I am excited to start another new year.  I hope that the momentum we have started to build keeps on keeping on.  But, if next year is like this year, well that would be good with me.

Thank you for staying with me all year.  I wish all the best for you and yours.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Grandkids

While waiting to drop the kids off at school today, aside from being horrified at the chaos in the parking lot, we had an interesting discussion about interfaith marriage.  I asked the kids, do you think you will marry someone who isn't Jewish?

Mac said, probably, there aren't that many Jewish girls out there.  I can see from his perspective that is probably true.   As he has more experiences in life, he might find that there are more Jewish options than he thought.  This point of view was a spring board into the next question:  How will you raise your kids?

As you all know, I believe strongly in choosing one religion over the other.  I was semi-pleased when he said, "I don't know, I guess we would wait until we had a baby and decide."  At least he did not say "we would do both."  I discussed the importance of making that decision much earlier on.  Granted the kid is 10 and this is not exactly something that will happen in the near term.  Interestingly it brought up some emotions for me.

I have dedicated a significant amount of effort to ensure that my kids have a strong Jewish identity.  I think some place in my heart I feel like it would be an epic fail if my kids didn't have Jewish families.  Isn't that an interesting turn of events.  This from the person who gets all upset when people give me a hard time about my inter-marriage is going to be upset if my kids inter-marry. 

Well, more specifically, if the do inter-marry, I want them to have Jewish kids.  I really have no idea what it means to have Jewish grandchildren, but after all the fighting with the preschool, elementary school, park district and other places about being inclusive, I guess I feel like it is giving in to the man to have the Jewishness stop with my kids.  I have dedicated my life to this project and I want it to last.

I am sure that when my kids get married, MANY years from now, I may feel differently about things.  I am sure I will try very hard to welcome and love who ever they choose to spend their lives with.  I just really hope all this work isn't for naught.  At the end of the day, they will do what they will do, and all I can do is love them and hope for the best.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sick Day

We were sick yesterday.  I am talking about the down and out on your back, can not do anything kind of sick.  It was a horrible day.  We were so sick I pulled my 10 year old out of school so there was someone there to dial 911 if we needed it. Also, we needed someone to tend to our whims and needs.

Today we are all on the road to recovery.  Some outtakes from our day, also know as a few of the things I remember:
  • Sam stop bogarting the barf bucket.
  • I am Optimus Prime.  If you stand with us, we will stand with you.  What does that mean anyway?
  • I will give you a million dollars if you get me a slurpee. But Mom, I am 10 and I can't drive.  Really?  I think you could if you tried hard enough.
  • Mom, Sam won't share the buc.... ket.  Oh well, I don't need it anymore.
  • Mac, clean up on aisle 10
  • I want ice chips
  • Mac, find another bucket, Sam won't share.
  • Mac, we want popsicles.  Mom, we had this discussion, I am 10 and I can't drive.  You don't love me, why won't you try?
Finally, a friend called me on her way to the grocery store.  She just wanted to say hi.  If you don't believe in G-d, you should now.  The grocery store is a mile from my house.  I told her we were at deaths door.  She brought us popsicles and ginger ale.   The best kind of ding-dong ditch...the kind that leaves popsicles and ginger ale on your front steps.

We are better now.  It no longer seems like a resonable idea to have my 10 year old take the van to the grocery store for popsciles.  Everyone is still shaky, but we are on the mend.  Probably just in time for wave 2 to pass through, when Mac and Bob get it.  At least we already have popsicles.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Snowmen on Parade

It seems fitting that on this first day of snow, my California snowmen should parade.  If you live in California and think one of these might be for you, you might be right, you might be wrong.  The question is, if one is for you, which one?

 Don't know how to imbed music, but imagine a Sousa march playing.  Enjoy.

Monday, November 29, 2010

December Goals

Aack, December is upon us!  I did a ton of knitting in November, and I am excited to share it with everyone.  But, for now, it is time for the December Goals:

*Sunburned Sheep Socks
*Snake River Socks

Sweater for Sam

Start baby gift for one of my many pregnant friends.

Actually do something on my blanket, which has been sitting in a bag completely unloved for months.

I think that is pretty doable.  I am going to have a lot of knitting time once we hit Cali.  I feel that since the husband is going to be there, he will be able to help me with the kids.  The question remains, should I bring enough projects with me for Cali, or should I just buy some cashmere and make a scarf.  Life is full of decisions.  I wonder how much it would cost to make a cashmere scarf. 

Anyway, back from my trip to fantasy land, tune in tomorrow for pictures of Novembers finished objects.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Fat Lady is Singing

The Finale.  The final curtain call.  No matter how hard you scream or how many lighters you light or how many cell phones you hold up, this band ain't coming back.  This is IT!  There is enough post scripts in this story to create, well a sequel.  But it ain't happening folks, this story is done.  Let me tell you how it ends.

Phone rings, and my powers of deduction tell me is the BOD (Boss of Director, you may remember her from earlier tellings of this tale.)  Yes, I looked at the called id, but it did not say BOD on it, so I had to figure it out from the phone number.  Bob was on the phone, so I knew it was me that was bringing the ship down.

BOD:  Is Bob available?

Me:  No, sadly he is on the phone earning a living so I can pay the taxes that fund your salary. 

BOD:  I guess I can talk to you then.

Me:  Yeah, if you want to put this baby to bed, that would be your best bet.

BOD:  Well, inspite of the fact that we have known about you being Jewish for over a year, we have been planning this Christmas Concert for well over a week and we could not possibly make any changes to include your daughter.  But we will consider it for next year.

Me:  So, let me get this straight, you are knowingly planning a program that excludes my daughter?

BOD:  Oh, nothing of the sort.  You can come and talk to the class and read a story and play some games if you want. 

Me:  Ok, can Hannah's class learn the song?

BOD:  I guess that would be ok, because there are only 15 kids in that class that will be subjected to learning something that might cause them to burst into flames.

Me:  You know being inclusive is never a bad thing.  It makes me sad that it is so hard for you to be that way. 

BOD:  Well, we have been planning this for a whole week.  I am sure you understand.

Me:  I guess this will have to do.  We wouldn't want you to scrap your hard work of a week.

BOD:  You will need to tell Director your availability and that I said it was ok for Hannah's class to learn the song, but that it wouldn't be included in the program.

Me:  Inclusiveness is never a bad thing and it would be good for the Carol Stream Pre-School to be inclusive, but I guess it is still a private club after all.

BOD:  Yup, have a nice Thanksgiving.

Now, this is not actually how it went down, but the basic facts are correct.  They will think about being inclusive in the future.  But, this time they are not going to include my daughter.  I guess we are a little bit further along than when we started, because they are letting me do something about Hannukah.  Perhaps the next family won't have to fight so hard.

If you want to complain about it to the park district, have at it.  It is a public concert and they are not going to sing anything but legal Christmas carols.  Not a true representation of the community, but it is what it is.

Things are better than they were 10 years ago, better than 20 years ago, and in another 10 years they will be better, because people like me, like you complain and force folks out of their comfy corners.

This story is over, but this mission isn't.  I will always advocate for my kids.  Don't even try and stop me.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Post Script

I guess it was a mistake to say that the whole Christmas Carol thing was over, when we were still talking to them.  I expected them to trot out the plastic reindeer law and tell me to pound salt.  They didn't.  They told us to call their lawyer and he would explain it to us.

We called the lawyer, who is jewish, and he said, the song was fine.  That we certainly could sing it, and that it was probably a good idea to promote tolerance and inclusiveness.  So, all that remains to be done is to tell the school that they get to add a song to the play list for all the kids, not just Hannah!

I am excited that even though we thought we had lost, we ended up winning.  It makes me feel like perhaps things are more equatable than they might have orignially seen. 

I can understand how this is a very confusing issue.  You don't want to violate anyone's first amendment rights, but you also don't want to be intolerant.  I can completely understand how a well meaning person could end up looking like a bigot.  They are just trying to do the right thing, and sadly that right thing is sort of hard to see.

While we certainly didn't make any friends in this process, perhaps we made things a little easier for the next kid who is forced to sing about a holiday they don't celebrate.  Face it folks, we are a giant melting pot and there are lots and lots of different people.  Rather than be afraid of those differences, I believe that we should embrace them.  The more we know about each other, the less scary the differences will be.  If we can change our culture to truely be one of tolerance, I believe our standing in the world will improve.

There will be the reaction of the teachers to report.  So I won't say that we are done here.  Rather I will say, till next time!


Thanksgiving.  The days leading up to this holiday will always be bitter sweet for me.  My father died on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.  It was a shocking horrible event.  It was unexpected and while a lot less painful, I still miss him almost every day.

I wish I could pick up the phone and call him and tell him I love him.  I wish he could see my kids.  I think he would love them.  I wish that I spent more time with him when he was alive.  Time only goes forward, and there isn't an opportunity to go backwards.  It is important to try and remember to do the things that are important, and focus on the good.  I think my Dad would like that I have learned that.    finally.

This holiday is bittersweet.  It is bittersweet because it is also the anniversary of Bob finding a job.  I am thrilled that he found a job that he loves.  That things have worked out swimmingly for him.  I think that this is the sort of thing we should celebrate, so we do.

Today marks the 10 year anniversay of my fathers death.  We are not going to be sad today, we are going to a water park to celebrate Bob's 1 year anniversary.  I think my Dad would have liked that..

I can hear him saying.. "You never had it so good."

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I made bread today.  Rosemary/cracked pepper bread to be exact.  Those of you who have followed my trials with bread, will be impressed to see this little entry into my book of bread making.  I think this is the only other loaf I can make well.  It is cooling, and it looks so yummy, I can't wait to slice into it.  I will let you know if it tastes good too!

Update:  Well, I couldn't wait... I waited the hour, but I couldn't wait for our guests, I had to try the bread.  It is the bomb.  I will never buy another loaf of bread again.  YUMMERS

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I am having an identity crisis.  First facebook says I am impersonating myself.  They are pretty adamat about it, in fact they tell me that their decision is final and there is not appeal process.

Not being one to pay much attention to no, I email them back.  I tell them that I am me, and unless they can prove otherwise, they should reactivate my account.  As far as I am concerned, it would be a pretty good trick for them to prove that I am impersonating myself.  I am fairly certain the bank, my husband and a few others would be interested to learn that I am not who I say I am.

They email me back, and tell me that they have no freakin' idea what I am talking about, and my account hasn't been deactivated.  I attached the first email that said the decision was final.  I emailed from the correct account.

I guess my skilled powers of persuasion convinced them that I am indeed who I say I am.  I think I had them at passport authorities.  But, perhaps it was the fact that the state thinks I am me.  Or maybe, just maybe, it was all a glitch in the security software.

Regardless of what it was, I relieved to learn that I am, in the eyes of the powers at Facebook, me.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I got a phone call yesterday from a friend who wanted to know why I unfriended her and then hid my profile.  I was dumb founded as I had not been on Facebook that morning.  Aside from the fact that I wouldn't unfriend her, I was curious about how this happened.

I logged on to Facebook, and learned that my account had been disabled.  Apparently I am impersonating myself.  I would like to know who I really am, perhaps the real me has a better life.  At this point I have been impersonating myself since birth.  Well, technically, I was given my legal name at 6 weeks of age, so I guess I have been me since then.

Is that the issue?  The fact that I was a nameless ward of the state for the first 6 weeks of my life and not me, means that now I am impersonating me?  I am so confused.

When I deposit checks in the bank, sign the papers for my bank loan, and pay the bills, I certainly hope that those things are all legal, because Facebook thinks I am not me.  There is no arguing with them, because I am not me, and they are Facebook, and thus know better than everyone.

For now, my account is active, but I imagine that this will change at some point.  When it does, all I can say is good-bye friends.  I am not sure what remedy I have, but I am pretty certain, that I am me.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

New Math... Or the Final Chapter

I have been schooled in the legality of Christmas Carols.  Things have changed since I was in school.  Just like they don't multiply like they used too, apparently some songs about Christmas are actually cultural.  Who knew.

White Christmas, Here Comes Santa Claus, and a few others have been determined by the Supreme Court to be cultural songs and not religious.  The rule is the rule, but it still doesn't make sense to me.  Since when is a song about Christmas not religious?  Apparently, Christmas is a secular holiday.  As long as you don't talk about Jesus, you ARE good.

If I was Christian, I would be a little offended by the fact that one of the two most important holidays in my religion have become secular.  I suppose in our desire not to offend anyone, we end up offending everyone.  But it is what it is.

So, while it sure feels like my daughter's First Amendment rights are being violated by have her public preschool perform in Christmas Concert, the Supreme Court would say that they are not.  The only thing I can change it the title of the event.  It needs to be called a Holiday Concert.  Hollow victory at best.  It sure doesn't feel inclusive to have her learn songs about a holiday she doesn't celebrate.

I guess we died on the sword, and while I was so sure that we were right, it would seem that they were right and we were wrong.  The preschool I did finally find that seemed so inclusive because the allowed all the kids to share about their special traditions, may actually be violating the First Amendment rights of the children.  Seems strange to me.

I do not think Church and State are as separate as I would like them to be.  I am still thankful that we were allowed to have this temper tantrum without the fear of being shot.  I am saddened that the laws of this country are not inclusive.  But, this is a battle I am not willing to fight.

Peace out brothers and sisters.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Chapter 3

So the saga continues... We got a phone call from the Director.  Apparently Christmas is a cultural holiday.  I must have missed that when I was working on my degree in Comparative Religion.  I was really sure that Christmas was the celebration of the birth of Jesus.  Who, Christians believe is the Savior.

Sure we could debate when Jesus was really born, and why Christmas is on the 25th.  But, the fact stands that Christmas is one of the two top holidays of the Christian religion.  When did Christmas become a cultural holiday?  As long as you don't talk about Jesus, you are good?  Must be like new math, it changed after I was done with school.

The reasoning on why Driedel x 3 is such a problem is that it is religious and they don't do anything religious at a publicly funded Preschool.  They only focus on winter.

Again, we queried, why Christmas?  Because it is a winter holiday.  Oh, we respond so is Hanukkah.  So we can add Driedel x 3 to the song list.  This is great news.  No, we can't do that, do you people not understand Hanukkah is religious, but Christmas isn't. (I realize that it is actually a fall holiday here, but let's not confuse the discussion with facts.  That would just be wrong.)

We are meeting the Boss of the Director.  BOD, for short.  Apparently BOD will be able to explain it better.  She will be able to tell us how having a Christmas program is not religious but Driedel x 3 is.  In fact if I were to read Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, I would be reading a religious book.  But, reading a book about Santa Claus is not religious.

We would NOT want our children exposed to a song about driedels, or a story about goblins because they might all burst into flames.  Or worse, marry Jews, convert and raise their kids as Jews.  Pure Evil.

What are we doing?  Well we are going to the meeting and better connected friend hooked us up with some support.  I guess I am going to die on the sword for this one.

Bring it....

Thursday, November 11, 2010

An Update

So, here is where our little story stands right now...

1)  I talked to the teachers, and not surprisingly they were much more reasonable.  But, the songs that being sung is a decision out of their hands.  And they didn't think there would be any changes.

2)  I was pretty offended by the whole situation.  They are excluding my daughter and not really concerned about it.  I think the teacher gets it though, because when I said that to her, she indicated she understood.  I think that changing the situation is just outside of her span of control.

3)  So, I hatched a plan.  Military has don't ask, don't tell.  We aren't going to be here for the Christmas Concert, so if they sing Oh Holy Night, I am going to have no idea that it has happened.  If someone in the community is offended to learn that their tax dollars are funding this inoculation center, well, they can do something about it.  I suggested, rather than have EVERY ONE learn Driedel, Driedel, Driedel, perhaps just Hannah's class can learn it.  If it falls off the play list between the school and the concert, I will never be the wiser, you won't tell me and I won't ask.  I think Hannah's class is smart enough to learn a 6th song.  Hannah won't be excluded, the entire school doesn't have to change their program.  Sounds like a pretty reasonable compromise.  I was told, I don't know if we can do that.  I told the teacher that if she doesn't think she can do that, then she can call my husband and explain to him why it is so important to violate our daughters first amendment rights.

As of this minute in time, I have not heard from them.  I don't think I will hear from them.  I also imagine I will hear from my daughter that they are not singing the Driedel song.  But, you know what if I don't hear from Hannah about it, I am not going to say anything about it.

I realize that I am letting the violate the law and get away with it.  But, I have neither the support or the inclination to really fight with them about this.  I will sing it from the hilltops once we are out of there.  I will make sure that the Executive Director of the Carol Stream Park District knows that his Pre-School is regularly violating the first amendment rights of 3 and 4 year olds.

Part of me wonders if there isn't a story here.  Perhaps the folks at the Tribune might be interested in learning about this.  This doesn't just happen here in Carol Stream, there are other park districts around here that do it as well. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bill Clinton and Christmas?

Bill Clinton, you may remember him for not being able to define the word it, for playing saxophone on late night television, or for his 8 years in the oval office.  What ever you remember him for, he did one thing in regard to religion and the schools.  He published a handy guideline about how you can approach religion in the schools.

It boils down to you can teach not preach.  You can educate not celebrate.  The younger the child, the fewer religions you have to cover as you teach world religion as part of a social/world learning unit.  A preschool aged child would have the opportunity to learn about a few, Christianity and Judaism are the usual choices.  While the guideline does not say this, good sense would dictate that you should touch on all the religions of the students in your class.  Otherwise, you stand to violate someones First Amendment rights.

Ok, so the test is that the children should be learning about a variety of religions.  Let's apply this test to Hannah's preschool.  Is there a variety of religions being shared?  No, apparently there isn't, because the two major ones are considered to be Christianity and Judaism, and Judaism isn't being covered.  A variety is not one.

This of course leads me to believe that it might be time to ask some more questions, I hope it is all a misunderstanding that we can all laugh about in the next post.  A grand opportunity for me to trot out my stupidity and laugh at my foibles.  Let's face the good posts tend to be about that sort of stuff.

If it isn't, then I guess we have to deal with the fact that my 5 year old daughter has had her First Amendment rights violated.  It is pretty sad that it had to happen to her so early.  I was hoping she could wait until marriage.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Christmas bells are ringing

D:  Hello, this is the Director from Hannah's preschool.

Me:  Hi (a bit nervously)

D:  Do you have a minute, there is something I would like to discuss.

Me:  Yeah... (why are you calling, what happened??  Everyone was all smiles at pick up yesterday.)

D:  We are having a Christmas program at the end of December, and I know that you were upset about the stocking project that we had last year.

Me:  Christmas program??

D:  Yes, the kids will be singing Jingle Bells, White Christmas, Here Comes Santa and a few other songs.

Me:  How about tossing in Driedel, Driedel, Driedel?

D:  No, I don't think we will be able to do that, it is too religious.  (And White Christmas isn't?  Here comes Santa Claus isn't? What the heck.)

Me:  Ok, well, since you are going to teach my daughter Christmas Carols at school, can we not do any other Christmas projects??

D:  Well, I don't think that will be possible.

Me:  Ok, then can I come in and do something about Hannukah?

D:  I don't think that will be possible.

So why the hell did you call me?  To rub it in my face that you are going to basically do an entirely Christmas program, ignore all other faiths and religions and do this with my tax payer dollars?  I don't know what to do about this... but the director already hates me, so I think it is in my best interest to NOT rock the boat, but I think I might just talk to the teacher for a minute and see if I can reason with her.  Once Hannah is outta there, this blog post is being sent to the Board of Directors at the Carol Stream Park District.  Unless of course they read it here first.

In the spirit of all fairness, things were not presented this bluntly, but this was the condensed version of what was said.  I was a little mystified by the whole experience. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Laundry Day

All sorts of hand-knitted goodness....

Friday, November 5, 2010


I think I want to talk about what happened this Halloween.  I have gone back and forth on this topic, but I don't think I can just let it rest.

I am tired of the mean-ass football players.  They suck.  I hate all of them with the power of seven suns.  Why the heck do they think it is a good freakin' idea to pick on kids that don't play football or aren't athletic?  I know, everyone has their gifts, kids are mean, blah, blah, blah.  But, I just don't get it.

Why do you get your jollies from mocking someone else?  Are you that insecure?  I thought football was supposed to make you a man.  Apparently not so much.  Do they cut the penises off football players?  I am really not sure about this, I try and avoid them as much as possible.  Is that why they are such douches?

I am not talking about high school here either, I am talking about little runts that play football in elementary school.  But let me back up the train bit..

When we lived in rural Connecticut, kids didn't play football when they were 5, they played soccer.  Soccer is a much better game, but I digress.  So, when we loaded up the moving van and headed to the midwest, imagine my surprise when we arrived being oh so many years behind in playing football.  Not that any of my kids play football now, nor will they ever as long as I live.

So, here is the deal, these parents spend thousands of dollars on football.  Making the small fortune we spend on soccer look like the parking fee.  They have personal coaches in 2nd grade.  I know, it was shocking to me how much time and money these parents spend on this game.  It is highly unlikely many or even any of these kids will get scholarships or go pro.  Just from a pure statistics point of view.
Here is the part that I find so surprising, while they are learning technical skills about how to play the game, they aren't learning sportsmanship and how to be good stewards for their team.  Sam is the best soccer player on his team.  If Sam displays ANY un-sportsman-like behavior the coach will pull him from the game.  This will hurt the team, but it teaches Sam a lesson about how to act.  This is more important than winning.  Apparently this is not the case with football. 

Sam represents the Panthers everyday, every where he goes.  If his coach heard that he was picking on kids, he would bench him.  Learning to be a good citizen is part of learning to be a good soccer player.  We can not all be the best every day or every time, but we sure can represent every day and every time.

So, why is it that these football coaches do not do this?  Because when I see a group of kids picking on someone, it is 99.9% of the time the football kids.  This needs to stop.  These kids need to learn to be good citizens.  When is it that the coaches are going to man up and teach these kids how to be respectful.  Or is it that you can not teach someone to be a man when you aren't one?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Snaps like a twig

Hannah had 5 shots yesterday.  She was very cranky today, a fever, bad attitude, the whole 9.  ALL DAY!  Needless to say, it was a long day.  By the time I got in the car to take the kids I babysit home, I was cooked, fried.  I was definitely done with being patient and kind.

When I hear from the back of the car, "I forgot my elephant." A whole string of expletives ran through  my head including but not limited to, you forgot your freakin' elephant?  You never put the damn thing down, how the hell did you forget it?  I suck in a deep breathe of air, basically ridding the van of oxygen and turn the car around.

Deciding I will call Mac and have him meet me at the door with the elephant, I ask, where is it?  I am told, it is in my backpack.  Seriously, it is in your backpack?  We have turned around and are heading back to get an elephant that is in the car.  I flip another U-turn.  This one slightly more legal but still, minimal oxygen remained in the car as I tried to summon the last shreds of patience. 

The things running through my mind, were no jury would convict me, they would understand if I snap.  Who wouldn't snap after the day I have had.  It is ok to snap.  Then it hit me.  Remember the whole thing about self talk?  Rather than convince yourself that it is ok to snap, try and convince yourself that you still have patience and that you can still manage this situation.  You are in control of your emotions not the other way around.

I have been preaching this to Mac for the last couple of weeks, now it was time for me to try it myself.  Guess what, it worked.  I just kept reminding myself that I could keep it together and I did.  By the time I pulled into the driveway (yes angels sang, rainbows appeared and there was music heard from the skies, your point?) I was in a much better place.  I felt less like I was going to snap and more like I had my shit together.

By the time I pulled out of the driveway, the Dad's enthusiasm about his great day had infected my mood and everything was good.  Until Hannah realized she could have stayed home and played computer with the boys and had a temper tantrum.  But still, I didn't snap.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Santa is still a Bigot

It is the 1 year anniversary of the Santa is a Bigot post.  A lot has changed since I wrote that little doozie of a post that sparked a fire storm of hatred.  There are people, then when they see will not even speak to me still.  I say, pox on their house!

I have blogged about the transition away from the MOMS Club, no need to re-hash that now.  But, I do think that it is an important message for people to consider as they start to turn their thoughts towards the holidays.  There are many people in this melting pot of a country that do not celebrate December the same way as the majority.

It is a time where if you do anything different than the masses, your relegated to a lesser position.  Everyone will wish you a Merry Christmas, ask  your kids what Santa is bringing them without regard to the fact that they might be offensive.  It seems that going along with this assault is expected, because you don't want to rain on the parade.

So, as I brace myself for another round of holiday madness; write the letters/emails to the kids teachers telling them that it isn't ok, or legal, to have my kid count down the days until Christmas, I wonder, is there a better way?  Perhaps we should all wear little pins that identify you so everyone know what to say.  (Seriously, just kidding, I realize that there is great consequences to such a thing, so calm down.)

I have re-read the Santa is a bigot post many times, and the ones that followed.  I stand by them.  I truly believe that either Santa is a bigot or he is a religious tradition.  Not a popular position, but there you have it.

We watched Linus sit in the pumpkin patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin.  My kids appreciate the story, because they too wish there was a pumpkin that brought treats for ALL children and not just some.  We talked about how Linus was really a visionary, not just a confused child.

There will be more on this, because it will be hard for me not to rant about it.  Living in Bill Graham central, it is not really ok to be different.   So, brace yourself, it may be a bumpy ride.

HOLIDAYS... Bring it!

Monday, November 1, 2010


Some gratuitous Halloween pictures! We have the Karate Kid, a princess and a soccer ref.

Our pumpkins!

Friday, October 29, 2010

November goals

As I enter into November, it is high gear for holiday knitting.  So, all my goals are around finishing all the things I need to make to give for gifts.

Lilly --  Orizal socks out of the blue Elan
Leslie -- Just Enough Ruffles out of Hunter Green Wool-Ease
Brooke -- Stuffed Frog
Sam -- Sweater out of Red Wool-Ease, I haven't chosen a pattern yet, but I am thinking a placket sweater.
Snowmen for everyone... well perhaps not everyone, but some people

Oh and I am test knitting some spiral socks, so those have to be done by the 21st, or I will be in big trouble.

I probably won't be able to get all of this done, but I sure am going to try!  Then, it will be back to baby blankets, my sock yarn blanket, another sweater for me, a scarf for me and of course socks and all will be right with the world.

I am a bit freaked out by the lack of unfinished objects in my pile.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Finished Objects

Here is the most random thing.  I have absolutely NO unfinished objects in my knitting bag.  It is freaking me out.  I am so used to having all these projects to work on and feeling sort of overwhelmed to finish them.  It is strange to be done.  Guess that means it is time to cast on a whole bunch of new goodies!

Some pictures:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Employment Contract

Last night, Wiley was very agitated.  She wanted to go out.  Since she is an old dog, we usually assume it has something to do with her kidneys that causes her to want to go out.  We don't argue with her about this.

Not this time, this time she sensed that something was in the yard.  As it is her soul job requirement to keep other animals out of our yard, I guess she felt compelled to deal with the situation.

I would like to remind everyone, that until this very moment in time, Wiley has not actually take her job very seriously.  In Connecticut, she allowed deer to eat my roses.  Here in Illinois, she has allowed rabbits to give birth in our yard.

But, for what ever reason, Wiley was feeling very motivated to tend to her job.  She went out and barked at what ever animal it was until they left.  We didn't think much about it, until she came back in at 11:00 pm. 

Not only would this be a picture of the animal she chased out of the yard, it is also the one animal her contract expressly says she is not responsible for managing.

Yes, Ladies and Gentleman, it is the famous black and white striped cat, aka skunk.  We noticed that there might be an issue when she walked by leaving a trail of stench behind her.

11:00 at night, just when I wanted to give the dog a bath.  What is going to get the stench out?  A quick internet search yielded the following:  Peroxide, baking soda and dish soap.  I have those things in my possession.  With no regard to the proportions listed on the website I created a concoction of the above items and slathered the past on the dog.  It took me 45 minutes to clean all the soap off of her, but she doesn't smell anymore.

We will now have to review the language in her employment contract, but I am thinking we may need to get Donald Trump to issue the famous words of "YOU'RE FIRED."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


At my very first job after my MBA, I worked with a bunch of older and wiser ladies.  I was their boss, but they certainly coached and mentored me much more than I did for them.  Bearing in mind that these women did not make much money and all of them were in marginal situations.  I am sure that I was sort of annoying to them, as my problems were not even on the same playing field.

One of the ladies, who lived paycheck to paycheck and supported her adult children, told me, if you have faith, G-d will take care of you.  Now, I believe that G-d also helps those who help themselves, this conversation stuck with me.  I asked her, how is G-d going to take care of me?  I need money to pay bills, G-d can't provide me with that.  She said, sometimes G-d does and money arrives when you need it.

I thought she was crazy, how could a being that doesn't have a form give me anything tangible.  I thought that the whole thing was silly.  Yet, as I have gotten older I have learned that perhaps she wasn't so crazy.  Shortly after our basement flood, a check in almost the exact amount landed on our doorstep.  There are many other examples of this sort of thing.  I always find it curious when it does happen, and I am forever reminded of the conversation that I had with MF.

While I don't know if this is the case for all, most of the truly faithful people I have met, seem to be alright.  It would seem that perhaps G-d does take care of his flock.  This isn't to say that bad things don't happen, but in the end, these folks seem to end up ok.  Not always in the same shape or space they were in originally, but ok. 

Perhaps that has a lot to do with attitude, I don't know.  But, I do that things sometimes don't seem like they will work out, they always seem to in the end.  Sometimes it surprises me when they do.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What we used to have...

In Sunday school we discussed the concept of appreciating what you have.  The teacher told a story about a family that was very wealthy and then the lost their wealth, and through a series of misfortunes they ended up penniless and barely making it.  At each stage of their journey, they always longed for the comfort they had prior to their latest demise.

The story really struck home with me, because as a family, we have been through a series of misfortunes in the past several years.  Things seem to be on the uptick, but it was an important reminder that while things aren't like they used to be, they still aren't bad.

When ever I pay the bills, I certainly long for Bob's larger paycheck of days gone by.  But, in exchange for that paycheck, Bob lost out on being a part of his children's lives.  When we moved here we did it so that he could stop traveling and be a part of the family.  Watching him play Wii with the boys last night was something that wouldn't have happened when he was traveling.  He was just too tired when he finally got home to really hang out with us. 

He has coached Sam's soccer team and now is going to coach for Hannah.  This certainly would not have been possible when he was traveling, or even in last job.

There are times when I long for the friends I had before we moved, the house I had before I moved, and the life I had before I moved.  I sometimes wonder if that story wasn't a message to tell me to stop longing for that which is no more, and focus on and appreciate what I have right now.

When my father died and I was unemployed, my therapist told me to be present in today.  To not worry about yesterday and stop thinking about tomorrow, but to be in the moment today.  It was the same message.  Enjoy today, and what you have, because you don't know what tomorrow will bring.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Monkey Butt

I finished Hannah's monkey in time for her birthday.  She loved it!

Isn't she fancy?  I think she is very sophisticated, with the diamond earrings and bling-y sweater.

As we all know, there is the problem of evil monkeys in her room.  She isn't afraid of them, because her gorilla is a monkey butt kicker and he protects her when she sleeps.  The issue is that I just made her a monkey.  Would gorilla kick the butt of her new monkey?  Only time would tell.

As you can see, gorilla feel head over heals in love with the monkey.  They are getting married.  Gorilla has given up monkey butt kicking.

For now, the princess is happy that her friends are in love.  That is until she needs some evil monkey butt kicked.

For the record, I was told that she wasn't afraid of real monkeys, just the evil imaginary ones.  Go figure.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Self Talk

I have been thinking about the power of self talk a lot lately.  Remember in an earlier post I talked about the power of attraction.  How, you attract positive things when you view the world positively.  Conversely you attract negative things when you view the world negatively.

Recently, I was at the gym and we were doing a shoulder exercise that was hard.  My arms felt like they were going to explode and I thought, I can't do this.  Then I remembered the whole thing about self talk.  I thought, what would happen if I kept telling myself I could do this, rather than saying I couldn't and it was ok to stop.  As corny as it sounds, with every drum beat I said, you can.  You know what, I did and I could.

I have been talking to the kids about this a lot too.  Especially with Mac, when he starts to feel out of control I tell him to remind himself that he is able to control himself and he wants to be a good boy. 

It is hard to stop sabotaging yourself with negative thoughts.  Think about how many times a day you say something negative to yourself.  It is most of the time.  We aren't conditioned to say, hey, good job, way to go.

My final thought on the subject is, when you feel you can't, be inspired, because you probably can.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Birthday Interview

Birthday interview with Hannah.

So, what is the best part about turning 5?  Umm... because when I am 5 no one else will know I am 5.

Why do you think no one else will know?  Some people don't know when by birthday is and they might not know I am 5.

Are you excited about your birthday?  I am, I am excited.

What are you looking forward too?  Opening presents.

What do you hope you get?  A membership to Club Penguin.

Anything else?  yes... having cake.

What kind of cake?  Strawberry cake. (editor note, this might be a problem since I am not planning on making strawberry cake, and we discussed this.)

Hmm, didn't we just make a vanilla cake?  with strawberry frosting.

Umm, I thought it was going to be pink?  I want it to be pink.

But, it isn't going to taste like strawberries.  Strawberry IS pink.

Oh, ok we are good then.  What was the best part about being 4?  Being older than some people.

What are your goals for this year?  Shooting goals at soccer, and being good and not fighting with my brothers.   NO yelling or screaming.

That all?  that's not all, I am looking forward to seeing meatloaf.  That is going to be fun.  (note, meatloaf is the 6 month old baby we watch a couple of days a week.)

Are you going to have a good birthday?  I am!  I want to go watch Dora, are we done?

Thus concludes another birthday interview.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dishrag Tag

Well, today I received my dishrag tag box.  It was sort of anti-climactic, after spending the day checking the empty mail box to look out the window to see the mailman at the box and have the mail handed to me. 

It was the day after a holiday and this of course means that my mail will be later than usual.  It also means our regular guy will not be there.  He likes to extend his weekends.  Yeah, our postman must have like a million vacation days.  I think he works few days than he vacations.  I want a government job.  This must have something to do with the fact that stamps are 50 cents and the USPS is broke.  I digress.

This game is really a study in the postal service.  The pattern takes all of 3 hours to knit, if that.  There is no reason it should take anyone more than a day to crank it out.  So, if you got your box in the AM you could reasonably get it out in the afternoon.  So, the fact that there is variation in how the progress is going lies largely with the efficiency of the postal service and when your mail arrives.

Some teams have had their boxes go wandering.  Others, I think have been blessed with good postal mojo.  I was beginning to question our team mojo when, our box finally arrived.  The mail man gave it a good long look.  I think the postal workers must wonder about some of these things.

I must say, in the box were some goodies for me.  A very cool notions holder.  One can never have enough of these.  Also, some lovely goodies from our team captain.  I won't say what they are, but I like them a ton.

I can't wait to see what is in the final box, but we are one person away from the end!  It is a fun game, our team is pretty nice, and we are in the hunt for a prize.  I will keep you posted.

Friday, October 8, 2010


The power of attraction has been coming up a lot lately.  We were at Sunday school and someone was talking about it.   Just today I read a blog post about it.  I am wondering if there is some movement around the power of attraction that I am just woefully unaware.

It is a coincidence that it keeps coming up?  As Gibbs would say, I don't believe in coincidence.  So, if it is not a coincidence, and it keeps coming up, there must be some reason.

Essentially, the philosophy is that like attracts like.  That you will get what you think.  Your reality will represent what is going on in your mind and subconscious mind. Your attitude will be reflected back to you by the attitude of those close to you and around you on a daily basis. If you are positive and optimistic - you'll have positive and optimistic people around you.

I read an interesting fact, that 90% of our self-talk is negative.  Just today, a friend of mine was talking about the power of harnessing that self-talk.  She was discussing it in terms of dieting.  She said, when you say, I want a cookie, if you don't replace that desire with something else, you are going to end up eating a cookie.  In this example, you say, Hmm, I would like a cookie right now.  You then tell you self, I would like to loose weight.  Every time the cookie pops up, the desire to loose weight comes in after it.  Eventually the cookie will stop popping up.

Ok, so the premise is that if you want to be lucky you have to believe that you are lucky, if you want positive things to happen you have to be positive, etc.  You can google it and read more.  Couple this with 90% of your self-talk is negative, no wonder it is so hard to dig out of the hole.  I think you have to change the self-talk to turn the ship around. 

When the negative thoughts come up you have to be at the ready with a positive one to take its place.  I have been working on this with Mac.  His self-talk is, no one likes me.  I am trying to train him to say, I am a likable person and when people get to know me they like me.  When ever the worry pops up about the friends, he has a replacement for the thought.

I am curious about how this will work, because if all of us can stop the negative self-talk for just a bit, imagine what we could do.  I really want a cookie now, but I also want to loose weight.  So I think I will just go to bed.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I knew this time would come.  I knew that eventually my baby boy who eats, drinks and breathes soccer would eventually outgrow the rec league.  I fought it.  I encouraged him to learn sportsmanship and to play nice with the other kids.

What finally caught my attention, was that he stopped getting better.  He just wasn't improving.  When I talked to him about it, he said to me, "Mom, I am the best kid on the team, why do I have to get better?"  OK, wake up call time.  He was getting cocky.  Sure it is easy to be the best kid on the team when you have been playing since you could walk.  A lot of these kids are playing for the first time.

Ironically, I was walking by a bunch of vans with logo's from the local travel team.  The time had come for him to stop playing rec soccer and look into travel soccer.  I had hoped to wait until 3rd grade to have this happen, because well it is a huge time and money suck. 

I don't want to have to give up my Sunday knitting.  How will this mesh with Religious School?  I know that a lot of the tournaments are ALL weekend.  How do we balance the other kids needs and let him do this. 

Most importantly, how do we manage our oldest who thinks he is a great soccer player.  Sure he is about as good as his brother, but his brother is 7.  Sammy is developing his own set of skills and they are different than his brothers.  He will surpass his older brother in some areas, and how is big brother going to take that?  So far so good.

Sam was nervous before going to practice.  He cried a little and didn't want to go.  Mac let him use his special World Cup ball.  Once Sam started playing with the kids he relaxed, and everyone loved his ball.  A couple of the kids took him under their wing and showed him the ropes.  By the end, the kids asked him to come back.

The coach asked him to come back.  He was especially excited when he found out Sam's age.  It is all about building for the future.  Or perhaps the length of time I will be forking over billions of dollars, hard to tell.

I am proud of my baby, the youngest kid in the club.  I am nervous about my wallet and my schedule.  But, it all has a way of working out. 

Mac was as he put it, happy for his brother but a little jealous, because he wishes he had stuck with soccer so he could play with them too.  Life lesson learned.  We told him that this might happen.

Sam wants to go back.  But, after doing technical drills he said, "Mom these kids know a lot of stuff I don't know, maybe I am not the best." 

Mission Completion.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Some days I am just homesick. Some gratuitous footage of the 'hood.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Knitting goals for October

I know I haven't shown any pictures of my knitting lately.  It is mostly because I haven't taken the pictures, not because there isn't any knitting to show.  I have been moving along on my knitting goals, and it is time for my October goals.

Non-knitting goal:
  • Take pictures of my completed projects and post them
Knitting goals:
  • Finish things!!
    • February Lady sweater -- only sleeves left to do!
    • Mad Color Weave socks -- have 1 1/2 socks left to do!
    • The final stocking for Martha -- I am doing this for a contest.  For the contest you are supposed to pick something challenging.  These stockings are not challenging anymore, but just the sheer will to finish them, that will be the challenge.
 My stretch goal will be to try and get my sister-in-law's socks on the needles.  I haven't chosen the yarn for or the pattern yet.  I also need to make a toy for a friend who is having a baby really soon, actually, I should make two, 1 for the baby and 1 for the big sister.  It is never ending!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A thousand words

Some photos...

Mac at his birthday... my big boy is double digits.

Hannah all set for soccer.  She scored a goal in her first game... most recently she scored a goal for the other team.  But at least she is scoring!

The boys after face painting at the back to school picnic.  Harry Potter and soccer... big shock!

Friday, September 24, 2010


Change, everyone has something to say about change.  We change our hair, our clothes, our underwear, sometimes several times a day if you are 4.  We get change at the store.  Change is everywhere.

The world is in this cosmic period of change.  It is like we are all specs of dust on a rug and someone shook the rug out.  They are done shaking the rug, and now all of us specs of dust are settling back down.  The thing is, when we settle back down, we won't be in the same place we were when we started.

When there is massive cosmic change going on, it is an opportunity to reinvent yourself.  To be someone entirely different than you were before.  To embrace that change as an opportunity.  Be open to the potential of what could happen for you.

The reality of life is that nothing in life is constant.  We are all changing.  The only thing that is constant is change.  Change is the stable thing in our worlds.  To live with change and not be afraid of it, well that is the challenge now isn't it.

When I was fresh out of college, my father told me to feel the fear and do it anyway.  That it is ok to feel the fear, but do not let the fear make the decision for you.  You make the decision for you.  

A very dear friend of mine is in a very bad place right now.  She is faced with making a crossroads decision.  The kind that no matter what you choose, it will change your life unalterable forever.  She had made her decision, but wisely wanted to sit with it for a while, because she was worried she was making the decision out of fear.  It was incredibly wise of her to recognize fear as part of her decision process.

We can not stop change.  Change is a part of our beings.  What we can control is how much power we give to fear.  What did you do today that was fearless?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mice are partying

For all except the last 2 years, my husband has traveled, almost weekly.  In the beginning he didn't travel as much as he did before he left the "traveling jobs."  For 8 years he traveled.  A person gets used to that.

Now, he has a good job, works from home most days and rarely leaves the state.  This is great for the kids, they get to see their Dad every night.  He is coaching soccer, going to back to school nights and helping out around the house.  So, I preface the next part of this post with, it is a good thing for everyone that he is home more.

That said, give a girl a chance to freakin' miss you already.  I was so used to only seeing him on weekends that this new and improved togetherness, is well a bit much at time. So it is with GLEE that I bid him adieu for the rest of the week.  He will be home Sunday for Religious School, but not a second before.  This is 4 glorious nights in the bed by myself.

I get to decide what to watch and when to watch it.  I can watch tv in bed.  Oh, the luxuriousness of it all.  It is a bit like a spa vacation.

I don't have to make sure that the house is moderately clean or dinner is cooked.  The kids don't care if we have cereal for dinner.  They are happy with sandwiches.  We get to eat out at our favorite place that Bob doesn't like. 

We all remember, mostly the good parts, of him being gone all the time.  So, when he leaves we bask in the joy of him being gone. 

That said, it is hard to do it all by myself, and the amount of travel that he used to do was exhausting for everyone.  I am not really wishing he traveled everyday like he used to, but we do like it when it happens occasionally.  Even just a bit more than now. 

So, while the cat's away, the mice are going to tear it up a bit.  If you are in the 'hood stop on by for the fiesta mas grande!

Monday, September 20, 2010


While I am on the topic of adoption, it is hard not to also think about abortion.  Because the two tend to be very closely related.  Unwanted pregnancies, leave the mother with three options, 1) keep the baby, 2) adoption and 3) abortion.

Based on my earlier post, you would think that my politics would be pro-life.  That I would want everyone to choose as my mother did, and not chose abortion.  In reality, my politics and my beliefs are at a crossroads on this issue.  I believe very strongly that the government has absolutely no right to tell me or any of my sisters how they need to manage their pregnancies.  That decision should be left to the pregnant woman, her doctor, the father and G-d.  There is no reason the government needs to enter into that process.  For that reason I am strongly pro-choice.

My beliefs on the other hand are pro-life.  I believe that every child is a gift.  That unborn baby might be the one that cures cancer or negotiates world peace.  We do not know what impact that baby will have on the world and maybe we don't have a cure for cancer because that child's mother chose not to keep him/her.

I do not think that I could have an abortion.  If I got pregnant and did not want the child, I would choose adoption.  That said, there is more to it.  What if I got pregnant by rape?  Probably adoption, but who knows.  What if I had medical complications that would make it dangerous for me to continue the pregnancy?  I don't know.  I have not been confronted with that situation.  Would I be able to keep a child, not matter how wanted, if being pregnant might jeopardize my health.  To what extent would I let my health be jeopardized by a pregnancy?  I think that these are all questions that you can not answer unless you are in the situation.

I am thankful that I have not been in a position to test my over-riding belief about abortion.  I am thankful that those of us who have been forced to choose have the ability to do that.  I am glad that the women who went before me were able to give me the choice about what to do with my body.  I hope that we never loose that choice.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I have been thinking about adoption a lot lately.  I suppose it has something to do with my birthday.  I always wonder if my mother thinks about me on my birthday.  I imagine that she always did when I was younger.  I am fairly certain my first birthday did not escape her radar. 

Now that I am so much older and she has sat with her decision to give me up for a long time, does she still remember?  I imagine when September approaches she might think about it briefly, but on the specific day does she wonder where I am and what I am doing?  I know I always wonder where she is and what she is doing.  I wonder why she doesn't register with the services that help you find each other.  I wonder if finding me at this point in her life would be so horrible.  I certainly don't need another mother and doesn't she wonder how I turned out?

How many of you are mothers or fathers?  Could you imagine giving up your child to someone  you have never met?  How long would you wonder if that child was doing okay?  Now that I have kids, I can not imagine being pregnant for 9 months and not getting the prize at the end.  That said, I was also not 16 and alone in the world.  I was in a committed relationship with someone who would help me raise that child.

When I think about teenagers, children really, who have babies and keep them, I think but why don't you give it up?  But, I think it has a lot to do with getting the prize after 9 months of being pregnant.  A 16 year old child that gives up her baby is not really a child, but someone wise enough to understand that raising a baby to adulthood is a commitment that she isn't ready to make.  It shows a level of maturity that many are not able to muster. 

I am forever in debt to my mother, she made the choice to have me and not keep me.  She didn't take the easy way out and abort the pregnancy.  She didn't choose to keep her baby.  She wanted me to have a better life, a chance at something more than she could provide me.  For that I applauded and appreciate her wisdom and bravery.  One day I wish I could tell her that myself.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Last night was the season opener for Parenthood.  If you haven't seen it, it is a pretty smart and funny show about parenting, families and life. 

As the show opens, it has one of the characters getting called over to his parents house to resolve some sort of crisis.  Doing this makes him late for work and he gets called into the boss' office.  Basically the boss says,  your family is getting in the way of your ability to do your job.  He puts the guy on notice. 

But does he get the message, and tell his family to lay off?  No, in the next scene his daughter is in his office complaining about her mother.  Then the sister shows up to demand that he give her credit for her idea.  It seems that the family is all consuming.  His boss keeps giving disapproving looks, but doesn't do anything.

At one point, Bob and I look at each other and I say to him, I am more worried about his job than he is.  The character, who's name escapes me, doesn't seem to get the message that his job is in jeopardy and that he needs to tell his family to back the heck off.  In today's economy, this does not ring true to me.  I can not image anybody getting called to task for not be present enough and not doing something about it.

If you boss told you to show up on time or else, well wouldn't you tell your family to back off and show up on time?  I sure would.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Toys Might not for Us anymore

The following is an email I wrote to Toys R Us.  My plan had been to share the story and then share their response.  But, they have not deigned to respond.  I am now boycotting Toys R Us and invite you to do so too.


To whom it may concern:

I am writing in regard to two visits I have had to your Bloomingdale, Illinois store (located on Army Trail Road in Bloomingdale, Il).  It seems that store has so many customers that they do not need my business, as over the course of the Summer I intended to spend $169 on a Nintendo DSi and $100 on a bike for my daughter.  Both purchases were made elsewhere, because the service I got in that store was so deplorable I left.

Incident #1:  I went into your store to purchase a bike for my daughter.  Her first bike!  It was very exciting and all my other bikes had come from Toys R Us, so I didn't even look elsewhere.  I asked someone to help me take the bike down for my daughter so she could try it out and asked about the size.  I was told that they bike she liked was going to be on sale the very next day.  So, I told her we would come back the next day and she could put the money we saved in her piggy bank.  As you can imagine, in a toy store, it would have been unlikely to have actually made it to her piggy bank.  Most likely she would have purchased something else in the store.

The next day, bright and early we walk into the store.  My daughter is beyond excited about her bike.  The bike isn't on sale.  The person I spoke with isn't in the store at that time and no one seems to have any idea when this bike will be on sale.  I am a little upset, because I would have bought the bike the day before.  I would have saved the gas the wear and tear on my car, and my time if I had not been told otherwise.  The person that told me it was going to be on sale was the manager on duty at the time.  I requested to speak to the manager.  I wanted someone to apologize to me.  The manager, of the store, not the manager on duty, came and spoke to me.  He was rude and basically told me that he did not believe that what I said was true and that he would do nothing for me.  Tough shit was his response to the whole situation.

Needless to say, I was furious.  My daughter and I left.  It was a scene, as she was having a tantrum that we were not getting her bike.   We got into the car and drove a block down the street to Walmart.  My daughter rode her bike that evening.  The fine folks at Walmart, after sharing our story gave my daughter a sticker and a sucker and lots of attention.  They promised her she would ride after dinner.  They delivered on the promise, and we picked up her bike with a bow on it.  Now, I am not a fan of Walmart, but these folks certainly acquitted themselves well.

Incident #2:  Memory is a strange thing and eventually I stopped being so mad about the bike incident.  I had some coupons that my oldest son had gotten from the birthday club.  He wanted to purchase a Nintendo DSi.  He had saved up the money and off we went with coupons in hand.  I asked at the service desk if we could use them on the Nintendo and was told no.  Fine, we will purchase it elsewhere I told them.  My oldest wanted to use his $3 birthday coupon for a toy for his little brother.  We found a $2.99 airplane that we purchased.  The total was $3.25.  He handed the clerk his coupon and a quarter.  He was told he could not use the coupon because it was not over $3.  Apparently $3.25 is less than $3, and he argued that point.  He was told tax didn't count.  It does not state that on the coupon, it says a purchase OVER $3.  Our purchase was over $3.

We asked if they could just ring the coupon through at $2.99, a penny, seriously, and we would pay the tax.  The person that seemed to be the front end manager seemed to think that was alright given the situation.  I thought, hmm, maybe all has changed.  She said, but I have to ask the manager if it is ok.  Out walks the store manager, same guy from the summer.  At that point, I know he will not help me, not because I think he remembers me, but because customer service is not really in his gene pool.  Sure enough he tells me I am stealing to expect to get something for nothing and that I didn't spend enough money.  I told him my $170 purchase was walking out of his store and would not be back for a good long time.

We went to Target and had amazingly impressive customer service experience, oh and by the way they took your coupons.  So much so, that I have written a letter to them, congratulating them on a job well done.   I felt like we made the right decision giving the money to Target.

My question to you, is this, do you want my business or not?  It would seem to me that in this economy, if you pardon my use of the vernacular, pissing customers off to the point where they boycott your store and and poised to tell the world about it is not a good business strategy.  But,what do I know.

I expect that someone, perhaps the district manager for the region I live in, will contact me and answer my question.  Do you want my business or not?

Thank you for your attention to this matter,


FAIL blog post

When I was growing up we used to tease my mother mercilessly when she did really stupid things.  Us kids would question her intelligence.  We would tell her she was stupid.  Yes, yes, it was rude and disrespectful, but in our defense, she did do some really crazy things.

For example, she tossed the mail into the box, and my father's pay check went in along with it.  She ended up bribing a postal worker to give it back to her.  This was of course after we waiting for about an hour for him to come.  The times on the boxes apparently are just a suggestion.

Sometimes I think my mother cursed me to do really stupid things, now that I am an adult.  I like to say it is because my kids sucked all my brain cells out of my head, but I am not sure that is the issue.

Yesterday, I went to the bank to deposit a couple of checks.  I had enough that I felt a deposit slip was in order.  So, I grabbed a book of checks from my desk drawer and pulled a deposit slip.  I am much more anal about using deposit slips after I deposited money at the ATM and it didn't show up in my checking account.  (It showed up in my savings account... that is a whole different story though.)

I filled out the slip, did the math, and since it was mostly round numbers, I got the math right.  I drive up at the drive through teller and put all my stuff in the tube and press send.

All was going well.  Then all the other cars left and I was still there.  I began to wonder, is there a problem?  Just as I begin to ponder the situation, the teller comes back and says, "Are you sure you are at the right bank?"

"Am I sure I am at the right bank?" I ask back, "Yes, I am at the right bank."

"Well your deposit slip is not from here."

"Yeah, I know that, it is from National City, remember that hostile take over a couple of months ago?  I haven't bought new checks yet."

"I am aware of that, but this slip is from ACB."

"Oh," I replied lamely, "right bank, wrong slip."

The teller, in spite of my nasty remark, kindly offers to look up my account and make the deposit for me.  I was kicking myself for not just using the ATM.  This wouldn't not have happened if I used the ATM.

She sends my completed transaction back, and tells me she is sending some suckers too.  That it seemed like I was having a hard day and she saw a small person in my car.  Hannah was there to witness her mother's demise. 

I take the tube out of the holder.  I take the stuff out of the tube.  I put the tube down on the passenger seat and hand Hannah a sucker.  I drive off.

Pop Quiz:  What step did I forget?

Answer:  If you said to put the tube back in the holder, well you would be correct.  Yeah you.

I was half way home when I had to pull a U-turn so I could take the tube back.  I went into the bank just so they didn't think I was drunk.  I told the teller, not the first one I didn't see her, that I failed drive through banking and that I was really sorry.  She didn't laugh in my face.

Oh, and Hannah was in her PJ's.

Verdict:  Drive Through Banking FAIL.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

No more buffer

Every where I go, people out to know, not to blaspheme.  I take use of word like, fall, autumn, that other word I can't bring myself to say or even type, you know wons, very seriously. 

Such as the other day when I walked into the house, on a day cool enough to keep the windows open, finally, and my loving spouse assaults me with the following statement:  "It feels like fall."  I don't have anything against fall per say.  I rather like fall.  The issue I have with fall is that it is a heart beat away from that other season.  Fall is my buffer season.  As long as it isn't fall, that other season, is still a season away.

While walking with Hannah the other day, we were by the water retention pond.  I have been known to break up the monotony of our daily lives in say January, to take the kids to this area to ride on sleds.  Hannah stops, look at the area, points to the hill and says, "When it snows Mommy, can you take us sledding?"    This kid said the word.  Out in public.  Is there no decency left in the world?

Even worse, one reads a blog post such as this one in of the blogs I follow....  I should have been a stripper.  The link won't bring you back, but that is ok, because I am done here.  I am off to negotiate with that other season and see if we can have another summer.