In The Bleak Midwinter

Posted on 1/31/2009 04:00:00 AM

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Snow Angels

Posted on 1/30/2009 05:34:00 AM In:
"If you pull the wings off a snow angel, you've still got a 9-year-old in a snow suit. But if you pull the legs off a cricket, you've just got a pathetic, crippled cricket."

- My husband

I neither remember the reason for, nor the context of this quote. But he said it - I have witnesses - and now every time my daughter wants to make a snow angel, this is what I think about.


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Why I Will Never Live in the Desert Again. A Photo Essay.

Posted on 1/29/2009 02:18:00 PM In:
In the desert, you never get SNOW DAYS!

OK, in Chicago, you don't get snow days either. That's why I like living here with all these boughie, spoiled Washingtonians.

Several weeks ago, we bought a little $5 plastic disc for sledding. So when all of Washington pussed out yesterday and canceled school (at least according to our new President), we promised The Dormouse we'd take her sledding.

It was really kind of them to build this school on a hill so that there would be plenty of good sledding hills.

The first time The Dormouse went down the big hill by herself. She wasn't quite prepared for the experience and staying upright proved to be difficult. She ended up using her face as a breaking mechanism and dragged it across the ice for about twenty feet. After than she would only go with one of us. And let me tell you... that tiny round disc wasn't big enough for either of our asses.

I couldn't quite manage to get my legs under me and in the disc, so I went with the "hold your legs out and let the snow take the shoes right off your feet" approach.

I love this picture.

But I love THIS picture even more!

When The Dormouse finally got brave enough to go down the hill on her own again, she slid so far I thought we'd have to go get the car to retrieve her. It's a good thing there was a fence back there.

The long walk back.

Of course, you get a little cold when you're outside sledding, so I recommend hot chocolate... and of course an outdoor hot tub never hurts to top off the event. If you ask me "flinty, Chicago toughness" is overrated when you can take a day off work and sit outside with your family in hundred degree bubbles.

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Walking in Her Footsteps

Posted on 1/29/2009 01:50:00 PM

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First Snowstorm

Posted on 1/29/2009 01:47:00 PM In:

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Movies, Explained

Posted on 1/29/2009 04:26:00 AM
Watching Van Helsing during the climactic moment when Hugh Jackman runs off to kill the vampire and Kate Beckinsale plans to get there with the cure to his lychanthropy before they all die in a big fiery death... but first... they kiss.

The Dormouse: "That's the
Goodbye, Ill see you again kiss."

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It's a Dead Language

Posted on 1/28/2009 06:03:00 AM In:
Thirteen things The Caterpillar has recently said that sound like words but probably aren't
  1. Hezbollah
  2. Gargamel (What? That's a word. At least it is if you're old enough to remember The Smurfs.)
  3. Bastard
  4. Pow! *while pointing the remote control at the television like a gun*
  5. Boutros Boutros-Ghali
  6. Chicken vindaloo
  7. Obama
  8. Burglary
  9. Please sir, may I have some more? *as heard by The Dormouse... who, apparently, belongs in a musical*
  10. Bupkis
  11. Bubbellah (maybe she's Jewish?)
  12. Habeas Corpus (clearly, she has no place in the outgoing administration)
  13. I love you *said while looking longingly at the table*
  14. Special bonus item: Ganja

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Morning Frost at the Bus Stop

Posted on 1/27/2009 05:23:00 AM

Lately on the days I work in the office, I've been loading both girls into the car and driving The Dormouse to the bus stop. It makes me feel like the ultimate Ugly American to drive a only half a block, but dayum, it's cold outside and hauling my one year old all the way around the corner just to turn around and get back in the car seems pointless because once The Dormouse gets on the bus, we just continue on down the same road we were stopped on. It might not be the greenest of choices because I am wont to run the heater as long as we're in there. But there are some nice opportunities for pictures. Now if I could just get all the neighborhood kids who have to wait outside in the cold to stop banging on the car windows.


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Predictions

Posted on 1/26/2009 05:38:00 AM
At some point in the future I will say to a medical professional...


"No, doctor, I do not know why both my kids weighed three hundred pounds by the time they were eighteen."


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The Night We Met the New President

Posted on 1/25/2009 05:45:00 AM In:
...and my five year old gave him a reach around.


The Dormouse learned about Inaugurations and how they are celebrated in school and, not surprisingly, was most impressed by the Inaugural Ball part. She desperately wanted to "go to a ball" and I had nothing. So I found a community party to take her to on the Internet. It wasn't formal, but she insisted on dressing up in her best ball gown (Why does my child have a ball gown, you ask? Thank freecycle.), which is good because this was apparently one of the ten balls the new President to made it to and he was there to greet us. (Shhh... don't tell her - she still doesn't know.)

The KingofHearts was just going to attend in his normal clothes, but on the way out the door, The Dormouse realized he was inappropriately dressed and instructed him to put on a suit jacket. I however, was in slacks, and she didn't seem to care what I was wearing. I'm not sure if that's because I'm always the one taking the picture and no one ever sees me anyway, or because I'm still carrying around what I now like to refer to as my toddler weight* and she just knew that I was up and dressed and that was more than anyone should expect from me.


*Copyright, 2008

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Why Can't I Be the One to Think of Stuff Like This?

Posted on 1/24/2009 11:23:00 AM In:
Aretha Franklin's Inauguration Hat now has it's own facebook page.

Clearly, someone has too much time on his hands.


Okay, maybe two people.

(In my own defense, I've spent the majority of the last two days retching on the bathroom floor. This is pretty profound for how I feel right now.)

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Front and Back

Posted on 1/24/2009 08:12:00 AM
On my way to work the other day driving down this street, I was so struck by the views in front of me and through my review mirror that I had to stop and take some photos.

Here's what I was driving into:



And here's what I saw when I did a 180:


The fact that these two pictures were taken from the same spot, mere seconds apart still astounds me and makes me think there should have been another verse to that song from Fiddler on the Roof.

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Deep Down We All Want to Do This Sometimes

Posted on 1/23/2009 03:22:00 PM
Oh, Cheetos, I may not eat your product, but you certainly do make me laugh.


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Now is ze time on Sprockets vhen ve dance!

Posted on 1/23/2009 10:01:00 AM

Does the fact that I'm making reference to an almost twenty year old Saturday Night Live sketch make me more cool or less? She does kinda look like Dieter though, doesn't she?


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It's Like I Just Found Out There's No Santa Claus

Posted on 1/23/2009 06:45:00 AM In:
Deep down, you know that it's not possible for one jolly fat guy and eight flying ruminants moving at what would have to be six hundred and fifty miles per second, three thousand times the speed of sound, to visit the home of every girl and boy in the world. At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that’s 91.8 million homes (presuming that he doesn't handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children) in thirty one hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west.

But you just wanted to believe it was true... SO MUCH.

Live or Memorex? Some Music for inauguration taped

WASHINGTON – The classical music played for millions of people watching President Barack Obama's inauguration was not the live performance it appeared to be.

Unless you were one of the fortunate few sitting within earshot of the celebrated performers, what you heard was a recording made two days earlier.

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Itzhak Perlman, pianist Gabriella Montero and clarinetist Anthony McGill made the decision a day before Tuesday's inauguration to use a previously recorded audio tape for the broadcast of the ceremonies.

Carole Florman, a spokeswoman for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, said the weather was too cold for the instruments to stay in tune. "They were very insistent on playing live until it became clear that it would be too cold," said Florman in a telephone interview Thursday night...


Deep down, I knew the sound was too good, the weather was too cold. But I still wanted to buy it, hook, line and sinker. Next you'll be telling me that John Williams lifted entire sections of the piece from Copeland's Appalachian Spring.

"...It would have been a disaster if we had done it any other way," Perlman told The New York Times, which first reported that the music was taped on its Web site Thursday. "This occasion's got to be perfect. You can't have any slip-ups."
Ummmm..... PRESIDENTIAL OATH OF OFFICE anyone?

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Medieval Lights

Posted on 1/22/2009 07:12:00 AM
For The KingofHearts' birthday present, I planned a surprise trip to Medieval Times. The problem was that was months ago and he very rudely ruined my big surprise by spending the entire night on the floor of the bathroom throwing up. I know! Inconsiderate much? Sure he could say he didn't plan to get the flu, but I'm not so sure about that. So I kept the event in my back pocket and it became an invisible stocking stuffer for Christmas.

I might have gotten a little slap happy with the camera and the lights.

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Nature in Black and White

Posted on 1/21/2009 06:06:00 AM

We've had more than our fair share of cloudy days lately. It makes for some nice pictures but it's hardly worth it to buy color film.

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Wake Up to a Brand New Day

Posted on 1/20/2009 05:50:00 AM In:
The Dormouse came home with this drawing last week. I'm not even sure that this coloring page was really intended to be Obama... a) with different crayon choices, I can see how this could also pass for George Bush and b) it seems a little early for him to have been immortalized in coloring book form. But then again, he got a whole series of bridges shut down... so I guess anything is possible. (Aside: The Dormouse now owns both this book, because she received it as a birthday present from someone who might be a little too in love with the guy, and this book because the line, "She didn't vote for a llama, Mama voted for Obama" tickles me to no end. I'm wondering how far other presidents were into their administration before they got their own children's books and whether that is somehow indicative of their respective places in history.) Either way, it seems The Dormouse has recovered nicely from the disappointment of Sarah Palin not winning the Presidency and has returned to her old hero worship standby:

Barack Obama's teeth look a little yellow, don't they?
Perhaps if he
really gave up the smoking, they'd whiten up a bit.

I'm extremely disappointed that I won't be spending the day downtown today. Believe me, it kills me to live as close as I do and not go to experience the city on a day like today. I was there for the Million Man March, several installments of A Capitol Fourth, the opening of the Korean War and FDR Memorials, a large percentage of Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rallies and a host of other events that occurred there. Whether you believe in the cause that's going on or not, whatever happens in Washington, it's just an amazing place to experience community and people and the political process and the first amendment and everything that goes with it. This is why Washington, D.C. is "my" city.
"Whatever we are looking for, we come to Washington in millions to stand in silence and try to find it."
- Bruce Catton, 1959

Even up until late last week, I'd still planned on bringing the girls to experience this day with me. The KingofHearts has to work, mainly because his company hates America (he also had to work on Milk Day -- tell me I'm wrong). But I was still up for it. Transportation problems? Pshaw, I know the streets better than most who work on the hill everyday. Hard to get there? Pfft, I can get up earlier than anyone else in the city. Crowds? Phooey, I am an expert at squeezing my way through crowds. Once I heard that you couldn't bring strollers to the mall, however, my heart sank. There is no way I'd be able to carry a squirming, twisting, Tasmanian-devil-cloud of a twenty-five pound Caterpillar on my hip and chase after a five-year-old who tends to wander off and has no concept or fear of the word stranger amidst a million-plus people in a 68.3 square mile area. I might be an idiot, but I'm not a complete moron. I do not want to spend the day looking for my kids lost in a sea of unfamiliar faces. Add to that the fact that I can't even bring a diaper bag and, well, I like the guy and all, but even I'm not willing to walk around with a child who's oozing feces for half the day with no way to change her. I'm thinking the other inaugural attendees would thank me.

This is a page from the Washington Post. See the large red arrow in the corner? If you look close, you'll see that it says "Does your bag fit in this box? If not, it is prohibited along the parade route and on the Capitol grounds."
This box isn't even the width of one side of a page from the newspaper.


I was talking to a colleague at work and mentioning how my plans to go had been thwarted. I complained, "It's just something I wanted to be able to say to my grand kids, you know? 'I was there.'"

"Oh I plan to tell my grand kids I was there," he said, "I just don't plan to go. Just like the last eight inaugurations."

Well, it's a thought.

Ultimately, it doesn't really matter. Did people have to be on the moon to appreciate the moon landing? No. Renting an apartment here to remember the Watergate scandal? Not if you ask my mother. The important thing here is that we're about to experience an historic moment in this country and you can't help but appreciate that collective consciousness no matter where you are. I hope that he turns out to be all we expect him to be. I know that he can't. But I still feel like it's a brand new day, and having hope? Well, that's a welcome change, now isn't it?

So we are staying home, wrapping up in our Snuggies and watching the whole thing the way God and the networks intended: on 25" television screen. We'll hear all the words and see all the people's faces and I'll tell my girls to remember this moment because they were there and someday they'll want to tell their grandchildren about it. And because they are one and five, they won't remember a thing. But at least I'll have this photograph to prove it.


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Arsonist in the Making

Posted on 1/19/2009 07:05:00 AM
Like I said before, working with children in church might be tiresome, thankless, and an overall pain in the *$%^, but it gives you a bunch of good stories later on.

Stake presidency member speaking to the Primary at Ward Conference: "God's love is like wrapping yourself up in a warm, cozy blanket. What do you do when you're cold?"

Sunbeam #1: "I put on a coat."

Sunbeam #2: "I like to sit on the heating vent."

Sunbeam #3: "I like to build a fire in my living room."

Older Brother of Sunbeam #3: "Hey! We don't have a fireplace!"

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In Which I Justify Myself More Than Madonna

Posted on 1/18/2009 06:35:00 AM

I've been putting off writing about this because I feel deep down inside that if I say it aloud it might mean it's true, but I put The Caterpillar in a day care two weeks ago.

My intention in writing about this issue is not to start a war here about working moms vs. stay at home moms. So if you're planning on making some self-righteous comment about how day care is tantamount to whipping your child with an electric cord and moms who use day care are evil or an equally self-righteous comment about how moms who think their kids shouldn't be in day care are sad, pathetic shells of a human being and how dare everyone not completely agree with you, nay, embrace and follow your choice, please remember that I am queen here and I will shoo you out of my comment section with a broom if I have to (I'm one of those evil queens).

I, personally, have had the great luxury and flexibility to keep my full time job while being a full time mother. At least that's the way I look at it. So, in essence, I've been both a working mom and a stay at home mom. While my situation is fairly unique and often I think it causes more stress than if I'd made the choice to simply do one or the other, it's given me a unique perspective on the issue and I've been able to learn that there are, like anything in this world of ours, both pros and cons about each choice.

I totally and completely admire women who make the sacrifice to stay home with their children full time. In fact, I stare at them with little beady, green-colored eyes of jealousy. For various reasons, that isn't an option for us. Sure, we could live on my husband's salary alone... now... but that wasn't a possibility when The Dormouse was born. We live in Washington, D.C., so while we might have been able to pay the mortgage with only his salary back then, we would have had to beg on the street corners for those little extras: things like heat, food and health care. Now, he's out of school, has a steady job that might last more than a year (fingers crossed, folks!) and I have to admit, if I really, really wanted to only be a mom, we could probably do without my income. I could stay home and clip coupons and budget and we could make it work. But by the time we were in this situation, I'd already set up the sweet working arrangement that I have now. When you have something good it's hard to give it up. And now we can afford things like clothes that are on the 30% percent off rack at Target, a modest deposit into each of the girls' college fund and our retirement fund each month, and health care. Plus, I have this deep-seated fear in the back of my mind that at some point in the future one of will lose his or her job due to some unforeseen circumstance and we'll actually need to rely on the other's salary. It's happened too many times in our marriage and the only thing that's kept me from jumping out a window like a stock broker in 1929 is the fact that when my husband's come home to tell me he's been laid off... again... I knew that my salary could carry us through until he was able to find work again. I am not secure enough to go without that safety net.

So that's our situation. I've kept my full-time job while we are raising the girls but I've been able to work out a situation with a very flexible employer where I can work in the office but bring my baby with me, telecommute from home, use liberal flex time and leave and still see my daughters' first steps, hear their first words... be an overwhelming presence in their lives, etc. It wouldn't work for everyone, but it does for me... mainly because I gotz the mad multitasking skillz.

So lately my kids have made me feel like drinking a bottle of vanilla. The Caterpillar still refuses to communicate with speech and instead screams, although the growing vocabulary of signs has made it significantly easier. The Dormouse has picked up so much attitude from school that I think they might be teaching it as a regular subject of coursework in Kindergarten. She sometimes comes home with poor reports about talking too much and not finishing her task and we are desperately trying to find a way to nip that in the bud before it turns into Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors. All of this turned into The Perfect Storm over the holiday break with The Dormouse, The Caterpillar, and I all home all the time. I contemplated checking into a hotel... in Guam... just to get away from the cacophony of screaming, whistling, yelling at The Dormouse to stick to her task, fighting over a toy, banging on the piano, cleaning up messes, climbing on me, sensory overload that was my life this Christmas. At some point I realized that I hadn't had a break from it all for a very long time and if I didn't get one soon... well Involuntary Admission into a psych hospital would be a lot more expensive than my Zoloft prescription.

Add to that the fact that The Caterpillar is becoming more of a handful at the office and while it hadn't come to the point that my boss had asked me to look for other arrangements, the handwriting was on the wall.

And the last fact: my weakness as a mother is socialization. It's not one of my better qualities that I would prefer sitting around in my pajamas watching TV to almost any kind of social interaction, but I know this about myself. I just would prefer not to pass it on to my kids. I've tried to do the playgroup thing, but between the life schedule I lead and the fact that I hate them with a red, hot fiery hated, it just doesn't work for me. So knowing that I have to stay on top of the language development thing, I needed an opportunity for The Caterpillar to be around other kids.

So I bit the inside of my cheek until it bled and after the first of the year, enrolled her in a toddler pre-school program two days a week. If you can't tell from all the over explaining here, I'm conflicted about it. Intellectually, I know it's the right thing to do. The right thing for her; the right thing for us. This is the place where The Dormouse went to preschool and not only did she have a great experience there but the staff already know and love The Caterpillar. When I went to talk about enrolling her, the director actually clapped her hands and said, "Oh goody!"

The Caterpillar is loving her new digs so much. She squeals with excitement every time I bring her in and she sees her new friends. She loves all the toys, the activities, the large expansive room to play in and the gym equipment she can safely climb on without anyone yelling, "no No NO NO NO!!!" She hardly notices when I leave.

But for me? The guilt. I feel badly every time I drop her off, every time I enjoy the fact that I can go to the bathroom without first concocting an elaborate plan. On the days after she's been at 'Little Girl School' as The Dormouse calls it, she takes extra long naps, prompting me to email my friends and exclaim, "Day care ROCKS!" And then the guilt, it burns even more.

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Electricity, Electricity

Posted on 1/17/2009 06:43:00 AM
Electricity at rest is called static electricity.
Like in the winter, wearing a heavy coat,
You get a shock off the doorknob.
Or you scrape across a carpet
And sneak up on your very best friend,
And zap 'im on the ear with a shock of-
Electricity, Electricity

Schoolhouse Rock never mentioned this:


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Rikki Tikki Tavi is Gonna Get You

Posted on 1/16/2009 02:32:00 AM

Our neighbor came over the other day with some Christmas gifts for the girls. (A little late, but who's going to look a gift horse mongoose in the mouth, right?) One was this little guy. He reminded me of the Rudyard Kipling story that I read about a thousand times as a kid.

If you're not familiar with this worn out fad from the 90s
collector's item trend, all the Beanie Babies come with ear tags - ostensibly so that we can track them when we release them into the wild. The tags have information on them like the animal's name, it's birth date, and a some little tidbit of information about the animal. I don't collect these things and I'm incredibly brazen about removing the tags. *gasp* So if that kind of thing makes you nauseous, you might want to stay away from my house.

This little guy's name is Runner and below is the poem printed on his ear tag which, by the way, The Dormouse has memorized and repeats to everyone she meets, but doesn't always explain the origin of the poem. So yeah, it sounds like she's talking about herself:

I'm not so mean, I'm really shy.
But every cobra has to die.
I grab them by their little head,
And whack them 'til they're stone cold dead!

I think someone at Ty has been watching too much Wild Kingdom.

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It Signs!

Posted on 1/15/2009 09:13:00 AM
My opinion on sign language with children is well documented. Bottom line, I view it as communication and communication is good... especially considering the alternatives. So far, The Caterpillar has only used one sign, more, and while we've had a couple of glimpses of the beginnings of words with her, she has yet to use any word or sound purposefully and in any kind of consistent manner.

On the receptive language side, her comprehension is astounding. Last night I told her to pick up her bear, her piggy, put them both in the toy box, go into the bathroom to get ready for a bath, take off her socks, take off her shirt, take off her pants, get in the bathtub and brush her teeth all at different instances and she responded appropriately to each request. (Not that she was able to do all those things by herself, but when I said "It's time to take off your shirt," she pulled up her shirt... you get the idea.) At this point, I'm not worried that she's not developing language (although I am keeping an critical eye trained on that issue), I'm just desperately searching for a way for
her to express her needs to me.

In the past week, we've had an explosion of signs. She signs about eight different things right now and it's made life so much better. (Although good luck getting documentation of all eight of them with a child who cops an attitude of "I am not your dog and pony show!" every time you pull out the camera or make a claim to another human being that she can do X.) If she knows the sign, she tells me what she wants and I get it. No tears, no screaming. Done. So this is an intervention I can get behind. Here's a smattering of what I could get on camera before one of the other humans in the house distracting her or walking through the frame.


Banana:

(Please to ignore the fact that she's wearing underwear over her sleeper here. She found them and insisted. I plan to file this video away under B for
Blackmail Her On Her Wedding Day.)

Milk:


Again:

Bonus footage: awesome baby laughs.

Orange:

I love this because she hasn't quite figured it out yet and she's actually just signing banana near her mouth. Hey, if it gets her an orange, she doesn't care.

The cutest of all the signs, Please:

I will pretty much give you anything if you're a cute baby and you sign please this way.

Cheese
:

If cheese wasn't one of her first signs, I might have to bring her back to the hospital and claim she was switched at birth because THIS IS NOT MY CHILD!

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Here's Why You Have Kids, Right Here

Posted on 1/14/2009 05:08:00 AM
For the entertainment value:




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Two More...

Posted on 1/13/2009 01:45:00 PM
305,608,312 to go.

I'm well on my way to becoming the evil, maniacal leader of my very own cult bent on taking over the world. Don't you want to come over to my house for brunch???


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Wealth is Relative

Posted on 1/13/2009 07:06:00 AM
I'd Like to Live as a Poor Man with Lots of Money
- Pablo Picasso


The Dormouse: "Momma, we're rich, you know."

What I think: Suddenly, all the hours of lectures on Empathy and Standard of Living and Gratitude have come together for me in this simple sentence. My efforts have been realized. She understands that not everyone in the world has two cars, meals three times a day and a couple of television sets. She gets it! She appreciates what she has and will never again take it for granted. Now that she understands we have a ridiculously high standard of living, maybe she will make it her job to increase the standard of living of others. Maybe she will work to end starvation in Africa... conflict in Darfur. Maybe she'll just concentrate her efforts her in this country and work in soup kitchens, securing donations to feed the homeless or to ensure universal healthcare for all children. And there were no poor among them. I have taught my child to appreciate and value money - one of the hardest things to impart to any age, let alone a five year old. Perhaps when she grows up she'll secure a job at the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. The MacArthur foundation. Maybe she won't even wait. She can create her own foundation at young age ten. I see a future for her in philanthropy. She'll change the world.

What I say: "What makes us rich, do you think?"

Dormouse: "We have a lot of hairbands."

Perhaps Mr. Obama would like to have her advise on how to use that seven hundred billion dollar bank bailout.


Oh, and time to give back that mother of the year award.

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Don't You Want to Be in This Family?

Posted on 1/13/2009 04:11:00 AM

I took this at a recent birthday party that shall remain nameless. That old adage, a picture is worth a thousand words is the thing to keep in mind right here because this photo so perfectly captures who these three people are that if I were asked to attempt the daunting task of describing them in words, with no photo, I might begin to weep. All I can say is to my Dad, if you ever decide to fly halfway across the country to show up at your granddaughter's birthday party unannounced and, to make it that much more memorable, make your appearance in a blond Afro wig and pedophile clown face paint? Well, it's been done. So think about doing something different... like a purple Afro wig.

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True Blogger Confessions

Posted on 1/12/2009 06:37:00 AM
Throughout the entire lead up to Christmas, The Dormouse talked about one thing: a yo-yo.

Some kids want a pony, some want a jet, some want a mink coat. My kid wanted a yo-yo. I'm not complaining mind you, I loved the idea of that one perfect present that would totally make my child's Christmas special being something that could be purchased for less than ten dollars. I never asked why she wanted a yo yo, I just thanked my lucky stars that she didn't ask for a Nintendo Wii - because Santa has definite issues with video games in the house.

Early on, I dutifully bought the yo yo, this one to be exact, because I had a gift certificate from Klutz. So not only was that one perfect present less than ten dollars, it was free. Can't beat that with a stick.

Every year at Christmas time, I have one goal: to not step foot in a mall at anytime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Because this desire is so strongly embedded in my soul, I pretty much start Christmas shopping in August. I just buy things here and there as I come across appropriate gifts and then stash them around the house until Christmas. This tendency results in three things happening: 1) I tend to get people things they really would like and use, rather than one more pair of slippers or that cordless nose hair trimmer, 2) I sometimes forget what I bought and find it later in January and 3) I don't have to deal with the December 23rd rush of oh crap I didn't get anything for Aunt Bessie we must go to the mall now - it doesn't matter that eighty thousand people are right this very minute crowding Bed Bath and Beyond all trying to pick up a Tranquil Sounds Oxygen Bar syndrome. Numbers one and three outweigh number two, so I'll live with it.

My mistake this year was not knowing that it actually mattered what KIND of yo yo she got. I got her a sparkly purple one, thinking that it'd be perfect for my little nightmare in pink and I promptly stashed in it a drawer and forgot about it.

Then suddenly Christmas was upon us and we went to see Santa. Where they had this conversation:

Santa: "What do you want for Christmas."

Dormouse: "Nedyoyo."

Santa: "Huh?"

Dormouse: "A Nedyoyo."

Santa: "A yo yo?"

Dormouse: "Not just a yo yo, a Ned yo yo."

Santa: "A new yo yo?"

Dormouse: "No! A NED yo yo!"

Santa: *looks at me, perplexed*

Me: *shrugs* "Hey dude, you're Santa. Shouldn't you know this stuff?"

So that night I did a little reconnaissance. Turns out her school had had an assembly with this guy, Ned the Yo Yo Master. It created quite the yo yo phenomenon at her school and all the kids had bought special limited edition, Ned Yo Yo products. When I asked her about it, she recited the Ned creedo to me: "N. Never give up. E. Encourage others. D. Do your best. Ned is a yo yo master. Ned is the best. I love Ned." I'm thinking Ned could have led a battalion of Hilter's H.J.s in another place and time.

The next day we went to a holiday party at her school and I realized just how big this Ned thing was. Everywhere there were kids with yo yos... yo yos that had Ned indicia on them.

"Look at me, I can do Around the World," yelled a kid as he whipped the yo yo around and around in a circle at the end of it's string and everyone ran for cover.

"Look at me, I can walk the dog," one kid said to The Dormouse. Then he let his yo yo roll all the way to the bottom of the string and dragged it sideways into the cafeteria.

"Momma, look at him, he's soooo good with his Ned yo yo," The Dormouse swooned with stars in her eyes. (This also happened to be the kid who's just the right amount of handsome.)

That's when I realized that even the Original World's Number One yo yo just wasn't going to suffice. What she wanted was the Ned experience. The KingofHearts tried to tell her how there were Even. Cooler. Yo yos. Than. Ned's. She didn't care. I said something about how you could get specialty yo yos that had glittery colors. She wasn't interested. It was way too late to order a Ned yo yo at this point, so I just readied myself to explain that Santa was sometimes kind of a dunce and couldn't be expected to get every present right.

Then after the girls went to bed on Christmas Eve, I got an idea. Alice got a wonderful, awful idea!

I pulled up Ye Olde Trusty Internet and found Ned's website. Then I lifted his logo and saved it to my hard drive, printed it out on photo paper on our color printer, cut a circle around it and glued it to the yo yo.

And that's the story of how the Internet saved Christmas.


Yo.

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Windy Corn

Posted on 1/12/2009 05:00:00 AM
Here's a photo of the very windy cornfield at the farm where we murdered cut down our Christmas tree this year. I originally didn't think this photo turned out well because of the big lens flare right in the middle of the photo and I put it aside. But recently I was clearing out my hard drive of unwanted files and this caught my eye again. I decided I liked the lens flare and all it's glory. So I've determined the key to being a great photographer? It's complacency.

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Limitless

Posted on 1/11/2009 06:32:00 AM In:

This sculpture stands outside the National Museum of American History and I really dig how it looks completely different from anywhere you stand. It's called 'Infinity' and was created in 1967 by
José de Rivera.

And can you believe that there's a Wikipedia article on
Jose ben Yochanan, Jose the Galilean, Jose ben Halafta, Jose ben Joezer of Zeredah, Jose ben Abin, Jose ben Saul, and Jose ben Akabya, but NOT José de Rivera? What's this world coming to?

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Long May She Wave

Posted on 1/11/2009 05:28:00 AM In:
The National Museum of American History recently reopened after a renovation and I went downtown to check it out the other day when it wasn't crawling with people like cockroaches coming out of the walls. It's an odd museum now. The new open design is hip and modern but it seems there's very little in the way of exhibits now. Other than the addition of the famous portrait by the bathrooms, it appears half the stuff that was formerly in there got boxed up and put in a storage space somewhere. Now there's just not a lot of stuff. It's great if you like really clean and empty spaces, but if you're going to see prime examples of our Nation's History, you've got the choice of a couple of little alcoves filled with half the First Ladies dresses that formerly were in there (Where's Jackie Kennedy's? How is that exhibit complete without her?) and Kermit and the Ruby Slippers.

I'm hoping that they're still working on the renovations and will
be filling all the empty space with stuff that's actually more interesting to look at than the Exit sign. Although The Caterpillar enjoys that part of the Museum more than anything else and pointed out every Exit sign in the entire place. If you ever need to make a quick escape from a building, I've got the person to ask.


The bright spot, however, is the Star Spangled Banner exhibit. I love it! After something like six years of renovation to the flag itself, they've created a whole new display around it and it's so much better than before. That is all to explain this photo - the sculpture of the large flag outside the real one (where you can't take photos). It's a poor substitute for the real thing, but a cool sculpture, right?


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Washington, D.C. Metro, United States
Married, 40ish mom of two (or three, or four, depending on how you keep score) who stepped through the lookinglass and now finds herself living in curiouser and curiouser lands of Marriage, Motherhood, and the Washington, D.C. Metro Area.

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