Friday, April 28, 2006

Say What?

Do you ever see something written and misread it? It's been happening to me with increasing frequency. I used to see signs for this band in college called "The Instigators" as "The Investigators". The other day I saw a Florida license plate that said Seminole as Shithole (no comment). And just now, I saw an add for a "Portable Hammock" as "Portable Hemlock" (wouldn't that come in handy?).

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Picture Day

Today is spring picture day at preschool. So, kiddo is dressed to the nines.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

One Fine Day

Today was one of those days that we live for as parents and as people. The weather, though grim in the morning (too bad for the race D ran), turned beautiful by the afternoon. Our son, though cranky on Saturday, was a downright deity on Sunday (that's actually the general pattern with him, devil on Saturday, deity on Sunday... go figure).

D ran his first trail race (the subject of many a conversation and even blog post) today, the last in a triple threat series called the Backyard Burn. He came home from the race on cloud nine and with this cool t-shirt. Running has made a profound impact on this man (much like the transition from Saturday to Sunday does for our kiddo) and I realized that the next step is for all of us to find ways to enjoy these activities together, particularly as they consume more free time and D becomes more serious and competitive about it. The next trail race is coming up and D will be running with our friend, B. That leaves her husband to hang out with my boy and me. I see a picnic in our future.

After I was done with my exercise, we got cleaned up and went to the libary. My boy was totally overwhelmed. It was his first trip and he had never seen so many books. He just ran around not knowing quite what to do with himself. He made friends. He made noise. We quickly ushered him out. A library is not always the best place for a free-spirited kid. We each selected a few books and went to our next stop....

This was our first visit to this particular park this year, and we were delighted (The boy was downright elated) to find a new jungle gym in just the right size. He has this sorta sideways shuffle that he does when he's super excited about something, and there was no dearth of the funky stuff yesterday. We were at the park for about an hour and a half, a new record. We finished out our day with dinner out, which went swimmingly, and ice cream (this time the only thing swimming was our boy, in chocolate ice cream). Too bad for his new t-shirt.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

DQ Desire

I have had a problem lately. Here it is. In the past couple of weeks, I have sampled the creamy delight of

-Mint Oreo Blizzard (600 calories for a small)
-Peanut Butter Oreo Blizzard
-German Choclate Blizzard (twice)
Oh, and some kind of choclatey, nutty goodness whose name escapes me. I got it because I thought it might have fewer calories. Yum....

I must make a clean break. But, but! The DQ! It has such a hold on me!!

Friday, April 14, 2006

My Budding Photographer & Genius

Photographer: Like any parent over the past 150 years, I have a maniacal urge to record my son's every breath, shimmy and burp. Digital imaging only accelerates the pace. Knowing I don't even have to worry about photo chemistry being dumped into our environment means I can snap shutters with a truly reckless abandon. So, my son is naturally accustomed to being photographed. He poses and has known to do so since before he hit his first birthday. But, in the past few months, my desire to photograph him has been tempered by his desire to mess with my precision instrument, which is strictly not cool. So, in an attempt to head off the confrontation towards which we seem to be heading, I bought a disposable film camera. He took to it like a fish takes to a tasty bed of sticky rice.

Or did he...

Genius?: As a first-time parent, I am aware that I have a maniacal urge to obsessively fret and analyze ever breath, shimmy and burp. [Aside: I love being a parent. It's like a rebirth of sorts, but I'm am mentally drained from all my worrying. Worrying can seriously wear a soul out!] I also am very concerned about raising a child with a strong, positive self-image, something I lacked. I am starting to think, however, that I can lay that fear to rest. Witness his "Daily Sheet" from his preschool teacher from earlier this week:

[Your son] is just not humble. Today he told me that his artwork was beautiful and that he did a great job (but he was right). Then he told me that he's a handsome boy. And he was right again....

Later that night, he told us that he's a genius. Apparently positive reinforcement is effective!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Seattle Redux, Part 4: The dream (or at least the decision) deferred

I've been dreading this post, but it should be written.

I found out on Monday that no decision has been made regarding my employment by Uncle Bill and none will be made for several more weeks I'm told. It's disappointing, more because of what it says about the organization's orientation than any reflection of my own worthiness. The "communications" I've received have been so obtuse and indecipherable, that I simply need to let it go. Hey, I'll just chalk it up to good interview practice (7 interviews over 8 hours on the other side of the country, piece o' cake!) and a free trip to see a beautiful city and some wonderful friends.
I [finally] started applying to other jobs today and found one that I am truly excited about. Particularly now that my period of severance is over, the pressure is on to figure it all out.


What a relief the tulips and daffodils are after a long winter, especially one that seemed only to gain momentum, as this winter did.
I took this completely unremarkable photo on Monday at Meadowlark Gardens, where our friends will be married later this year. The garden is beautiful and varied and I am tempted to go over there for a walk and a few more [well-composed, hopefully] photos. Perhaps a trek with the camera and tripod in hand would burn a few extra calories.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Prynne Picks

Something I read (A Prayer for Owen Meany) made me think of Hester Prynne and I decided that there was a band name for some new wave or riot grrrl band somewhere in there, but settled on a playlist title instead -- since that is far more likely to come to fruition.

Clever title, so what songs?

I have come up with one. "Shameless" (get it? get it?) by Ani Difranco.
Okay, so not much of a list, but I'm going for quality.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Someday I make noise

Yesterday, just before we put our son to bed, the man hung some new shades. We have been waiting to pull the wrapping paper off our family room windows for months. Really!

So, the man got his drill and went to work. The boy was, of course, fascinated. He even got his own drill and "helped." At one point in the evening, the boy declared (much to our shock)
Daddy make noise. Someday, [his name] make noise.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Bemoaning radio

Do you listen to the radio?

I listen to NPR fairly religiously and we support NPR, but you know, some days I am just too depressed to hear about:

1. The utter disintegration of Iraq at our hands
2. Global Warming (I refuse to call it "climate change" a term whose neutrality implies it merely necessitates a change in outerwear)
3. Scenes from a political cesspool (covering politics -- even as well as NPR does -- is just putting lots of blind folk around the elephant)

So this morning, I tried my hand at the dial. I heard:

1. Rod Stewart singing jazz standards
2. The dude who directed Benchwarmers make fun of Roger Ebert's weight
3. 27 different stations of country, latin pop and shock jocks

None of which is remotely interesting to me. sigh.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Know Your Limitations

There was a switch that got flipped in my brain after we had some perfect weather last week. That switch turned my brain from winter mode to that of a glorious, rejuvenative spring ... ahhh. Can't you just count the pollen?! So, in my brain, it is time to ride, baby. (It is particularly time to get out from under the albatross of the gym and its resident goddess, but anyway.) I pumped the tires on my sweet old bike, donned my helmet and took the old squeaky green beast for a spin. The first couple of times were great and I rode longer than ever before (on the road, gym doesn't count). But then came today. It's spring and it's time to ride, right?

In the case of today, wrong. Very VERY wrong. As I am a beginner and as my gear is modest, (dirty old hybrid bought used, cutoff sweats and a hand-me-down vest from Dave, who is now too svelte and chic to wear it -- that's my get-up for gettin'round) I am hindered and hampered by the sorts of impediments that more skilled and well-outfitted riders would take in stride, like for example, gale force winds. Never have 15 miles been so nearly the death of me. Never has pedaling downhill felt like trying to swim to the bottom of the deep end of the pool. And never have I been inspired to such ... ehem... colorful language every time the wind picked up, which incidentally seemed to coincide with every uphill section of my ride. I didn't time myself, but my excursion was somewhere between 90 and 120 minutes. Few fools suffered the wind yesterday, actually. I only saw one cyclist (that I recall, but then again, I think I blacked out for a bit). He was on a road bike that was black and red and he wore an outfit that matched his bike (like he was going to the cycling prom or something), so naturally he sailed past me. I'll save my rant about cycling snobs for another post. Or not. It's kind of incoherent, since it is normally being formulated when I'm on my bike and all my blood is in my legs.

I did fantasize about a friend stopping to pick me up in a nice warm car and me tossing my bike into a ditch. But, my bike and I both made it home and I didn't walk.

Don't you roll your eyes at me!

Some sort of pheromonal badness was in the air yesterday because I just kept coming up against the dirty bootheel of humanity seemingly everywhere I went. You ever have one of those days, where people keep cutting you off on the road or can't manage to hold the damn door open for you as they rush off to their equally [to yours] trivial existences? You ever just want to bust out and say, "You know, your every attempt to manage the chaos of your meaningless day only comes more undone by your lack grace." Hold the damn door! Will it kill you?

I was picking up prescriptions and a few groceries yesterday, which took far longer than expected. I didn't fuss because although I have had this experience of the pharmacy mismanaging my expectations ("oh it'll be 30 minutes" cut to sheepish grin as I sign the electronic signature pad an hour later) more than once in the past month, I realized that heaping 'tude on the hapless man behind the counter would amount to nothing. It creates only bad chi. And I don't have no stinkin' job so I was able to build extra time into my day for just such an eventuality. The fact that this was robbing me of time with my son... well... I digress.

Fast forward to me in the car. A small gift from God/fate/chance/the Ford Taurus previously parked in the spot was the fact that there was no one in the spot facing me, so I started to pull through, rather than reverse out of my space. At the same time, I was vaguely aware of another car careening around the parking lot just passing behind me. As I pull halfway through the spot ahead, the careener and I both stop and look at one another when the other driver, who is on her phone, rolls her eyes at me.

Let's take a moment to think about this. Clearly, this woman was in a hurry. Witness the screeching of the tires, the furious multitasking, the rolling eyes. And she wanted this spot I was currently occupying, even temporarily. This is a woman with important fast-paced things happening. This is a woman whose spot is not to be occupied lightly.

I have been faced with these situations before. I have gladly reversed before, because I like to be polite to others. Call me crazy, but being curteous makes me feel a little more connected to the human community and thus a little more stinkin' human. But, eye rolling??? EYE ROLLING! Well, let's just say that that made me feel a little less connected to the human community. So I, dear reader, I pulled on through and let the other driver back up to accommodate me.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Parenting Prowess from Mommy Dearest

[Ascending the soapbox]

How does one know if a particular parenting tool is suboptimal for achieving the intended result? Well, ask yourself, "Do I remember hearing this as a child?" If the answer is yes, throw the darn thing out. You can assume to be garbage anything you recall as a ploy from your own childhood, and that is a shame. Of course you remember the worst elements of emotional damage! And of course, in moments of desperation, you may be tempted to employ these same tactics with your own children. If you could remember the good stuff, you might use it, but, but...

Now one must resist any statement or approach that comes off as humiliation, bargaining, threats, etc. And man, that can be hard. Witness, as evidence, the following from my own experience:

1. [Fill in the blank] is [fill in the blank]ing. Why can't you?
2. Whoever finishes the food on their plate first is the winner. (Winner of what exactly? Oh, yeah... obesity. right.)
3. If you're not good, Jesus won't love you anymore.
4. Stop crying. I SAID STOP CRYING!!

That's not to suggest in the least that previous generations of adults didn't stumble onto some good tools along the way, but how is one supposed to remember those? They, after all, were effective and thus necessarily subtle. What a shame. I could use a little help right now.

[Descending the soapbox]

Seuss Abuse

Honestly, if I never read another Dr. Seuss book, it will be fine with me. Few things are as irritating to me in the world of all things toddler as reading "One Fish Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish" -- and that, dear reader, is saying a lot.

The book is long
It is so long
I don't know why the book is long
But a book so long is clearly wrong

You think that's a bad rhyme???? IT IS. And that's my point. That's as good as most of what's in the boy's most recent literary (gaffaw) obsession. Okay, I'm done. I'm sorry to be so salty. I've had a long week. Good doctor, I still respect you, just perhaps a little less than before.