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Showing posts from October, 2008

Pinch me, please -- my Phillies won!

I've been a waste of space this entire week, thank you, Phillies.

I have not been able to focus on much of anything, I have been nervous and jittery, and I have caught myself more than once humming the Rocky theme. Monday evening I finally let myself get excited, only to have my World Series dreams put on hold...and then I spent the entire day Tuesday in a phog (that's right, I did spell it that way!) not sure of what to do with myself during the longest rain delay in baseball history; I was truly unfulfilled, confused, and sad. All I could think was, dammit, this is a Philadelphia team, after all...something bad is surely going to happen at the last minute and knock us all down. Again. Just like always.

But by Wednesday afternoon, I'd regained my mojo and the buzz was back. Forty-six hours after Game 5 was called on account of a seeming monsoon, I (politely) kicked friends and neighbors out of my house -- people who had gathered to talk about books, eat, and drink wine, thr…

Baseball Gods, please have mercy!

Dear Baseball Gods,
Here in the Philadelphia region, we have been very patient Phans. Since the days of Schmidt and Carlton and Matthews, we have suffered through long, torturous seasons in hard plastic seats hundreds of feet from the field in that horrible concrete toilet bowl known as Veterans Stadium. Now we have this fancy, pretty new stadium and we are so grateful. And our team has been pretty good these last few years. We appreciate that, of course.

Sure, we boo when our Phils lose games in the preseason, but that's because we expect so much from them! But we also cheer. Loudly. I could hear the celebration of the NL Championship in 1993 from central Pennsylvania, for pete's sake. We got so close that year, Baseball Gods, but you did not smile on us then. I still cringe when I think of that meatball that Mitch Williams served up in the bottom of the 9th of game 6...

So many times we've come so close, in all our sports, only to have the ultimate victory pulled away from…

Candy, candy, candy, candy

If you're anything like me, you're psyched for Halloween not just because you get to see your kid glowing and happy in his new James the Red Train costume (which is truly a gooby costume but he's been uber-excited about it since you brought it home in July), nor because there's a chill in the air and the sound of children's laughter wafting through the streets. Oh, and there are jack-o-lanterns to carve and parades to walk in and fabulous photo ops. These are perfectly good reasons to get excited about Halloween, of course.

But if you're like me, you're really psyched for Halloween because your husband will take your sweet child out trolling for free candy! And where will all the free candy go? In the jar in the back of the pantry closet, to be doled out in small portions as "special treats" when the child finishes his veggies.

Right. We all know most of it will go right in my belly.

Halloween is just the start of the eating season around my house. S…

Better luck next year

Drinking cocoa and watching the Macy's Thanksgiving parade, picking out and decorating a Christmas tree, baking Christmas cookies, making Valentine cards, dying Easter eggs, watching 4th of July fireworks, and carving Halloween jack-o-lanterns... These are a few of the holiday traditions I have been excited to do with Sweet Boy, now especially because he is finally old enough that he can do this stuff with us and be excited about it. (My favorite line from this summer was sitting at his first fireworks display, not sure how he would react to the noise, when he turned to me and said "Mommy, this is fantastic!" That's my boy.) I was sure that carving a jack-o-lantern out of the pumpkin he picked would also be fantastic.

Wrong!

Sweet Boy wanted NO PART of this. He was horrified by the idea of putting his hands in the "gloop" as he called it. And note the expression on his face while Big Daddy pretended to eat the pumpkin guts. This kid is not happy!

About two sec…

Primer: Health care

Babble is featuring a great article about health care, its history in the U.S., how we got into the current state of ickiness, and how the major presidential candidates propose to fix things. Read it.

(You'll also learn in this article why Norway tops my list of places to move my family if things don't go well on November 4. Norway = many tall people + socialized health care + "prosperous bastion of welfare capitalism, featuring a combination of free market activity and government intervention" --- wow, sounds pretty good, don't it?)

Someone else wrote eloquently...and I'm just passing it on

I happened across this blog post in some reading yesterday (not really even sure how I landed on it), and although I don't want to get into any kind of abortion debate on this blog because we all have strong feelings about this topic, I feel that this woman writes her feelings so eloquently I have to share it.

Issue aside, McCain's disrespectful handling of this question in last week's debate demonstrated the overall disrespect for women that I'd begun to suspect (and his body language and tone demonstrated his disrespect for his opponent...but that's off-topic). His stance on women's issues -- health and reproductive care, education, women in poverty -- shows over and over his (dis)regard for women in our society. (And we all know now about his first wife and the circumstances that ended their marriage, right? That right there tells me a little bit about his feelings of women's worth.)

His actions in this campaign -- offering his current wife up for a wet t-…

Take me out to the ball game

The Phillies are going to the World Series. This is thrilling. Not really because it means much in the grand scheme of life, mind you. But in this moment in my life, it is huge.

Baseball means different things to different people -- and I think you either love it or you hate it. I mean, really, it's boring and slow. But there is no other game in the world that can change so quickly, in which one small error can be the difference between winning or losing. I don't think there's any other game, either, that carries such nostalgia and sentimentality.

I grew up on baseball. Literally. The whole time I was growing up, my dad was a coach for a nationally ranked high school baseball team. When I was really young, in addition to coaching, my dad played on two softball teams. Looking back from a mom-wife perspective, I'm not sure how my parents remained married -- him off coaching and playing while my mom did all the schlepping of two young children -- but from a kid's perspe…

Paying kids for grades?

I read an interesting article in the Washington Post this week about a new program that actually gives middle school students a paycheck for achieving good grades and meeting attendance standards:

The District's experimental program to pay 3,300 middle school students for good grades and behavior is filled with valuable life lessons about hard work, thrift and showing up on time, its supporters say.And on yesterday's first payday under the "Capital Gains" plan, kids at the 15 eligible schools cashed in. They earned a total of $137,813 from the initiative, a joint venture of the District and Harvard University. Students can earn a maximum of $100 every two weeks. The average award yesterday was $43.
The article doesn't state what, exactly, the standards are that these kids are aiming toward, but it does say that some of the programs goals have been met -- and the administration anticipates that as the kids realize what exactly they'll be receiving every two…

Top 10 reasons why my neighbor might not be speaking to me

I thought I'd started to develop a nice little friendship with my neighbor. She's really a lovely woman -- smart and funny and friendly. But in the last 6 weeks or so, she has become cold and unfriendly to me. Of course I am too chicken to go bang on her door and say, "What's up?!" so instead my little brain has been turning, guessing as to why she may not want to talk to me anymore:

10. She thinks my husband was serious about attending the kegger her kids might throw while she and her husband were out of town.

9. My cat snuck out and ate the goldfish out of her garden pond.

8. She's switched from regular coffee to decaf...or from decaf to Haterade.

7. She's offended by how horribly I've hacked down the shrubs in my front and side gardens.

6. She saw me running through the house naked that morning a couple weeks back, when I realized all my undies were in the dryer, and now she thinks I'm trying to seduce her husband....or worse, her sons! (Worse still…

Here's a really fun idea for a girls' night in

Dime Night
* Get a box and fill it with the weird little trinkets, strange canned goods, and no-longer-needed items sitting around your house. Great sources include your coat closet, your kid's toy bin, your garage, and your pantry.
* Invite 5-10 of your girlfriends over. Tell them to fill their own boxes with stuff, and bring 'em along with a baggie full of change.
* Sit around drinking wine, eating cheese, gabbing about your kids and your parents and your husbands, and bidding on the items your girlfriends brought over.
* Start the bidding on each item at one dime, and see who can come up with the best marketing campaign for their old hairdryer, the ugly novelty photo frame their MIL gave them, or the pair of St. Paddy's Day socks they grabbed on impulse at RiteAid last year.
* All proceeds go into a pot, and at the end of the night you donate the kitty to your favorite church or charity. Any leftover items can also be donated (or saved for the next yard sale).

This leads to s…

Stay at home Dad

How's this for a dream day: Big Daddy gets Sweet Boy out of bed and on the potty while I go on an early-morning walk with my friend, then they play and read books in bed until I get home and jump into bed with them. Then Big Daddy dresses the boy while I shower and feeds him breakfast while I get dressed. We all drive to preschool together and I wait in the car while the boys saunter into the classroom, stopping occasionally to chat with the mommies he met at the birthday part on Sunday. Big Daddy and I then go out for a cup of coffee and a bagel and sit together reading the paper in the coffee shop for a few minutes like a contended old married couple. Bellies full, he drops me off at home so I can get to work while he runs around town finishing errands. He picks up Sweet Boy from preschool and takes him to lunch. They bring me lunch back to the house and I don't even have to leave my desk, and Big Daddy gets Sweet Boy ready for his nap. He then turns his attention to some …

Obama comes to Mayfair...and we were there!

There are very few people in the world for whom my husband will get out of bed at 5:30 on a Saturday morning. But when I mentioned Friday afternoon that Barack Obama was going to hold a rally outside the Mayfair Diner, which happens to be 3 blocks from his mother's home in the neighborhood he grew up in, Big Daddy didn't even hesitate before saying, "Absolutely, we'll go!"

So I roused Sweet Boy from his angelic (sweaty and drooly) slumber at 6:00 this morning and hustled him into his clothes, telling him we were going for a ride to Nana's house to see a very important and exciting man. And he responded, "Is he gonna bring us breakfast?" Well, no, but I promise you, kiddo, it'll be even better than pancakes.

We got to Mayfair around 7:00 and Sweet Boy and I joined the line of thousands while Big Daddy took the car to his mom's house to park. We didn't see him again until we were through the security gate an hour later because he got swept a…

"Hi, my name is..."

Imagine this scenario: You walk into the library with your child and immediately spot another child from preschool. You say, "Look, honey, there's little Anna! Hi Anna!" And your child runs right over to Anna for a big ol' giggly hug or high five. You look at Anna's mom and smile and exchange pleasantries, and then you walk away telling your child "Say goodbye to Anna and her mommy." You see this woman every day at pick-up and drop-off, and you run into her in the library, grocery market, playground; you've spent hours chatting with her at birthday parties or at the preschool Halloween parade. But do you know her name?

I spend so much energy trying to teach my son to have good manners, to be friendly and outgoing. Every time he encounters a new child, he walks right over and says "I'm Sweet Boy, what's your name?" I'm always so proud of his bravery.

I'm a friendly person, I think. I mean, I have no problem talking to a strang…

Big Boy underpants: Week 1

Sweet Boy went to school in his Big Boy underpants for the first time on Thursday. He was so excited and proud. I was a nervous wreck.

In the many months since we started potty training, I've learned that potty training is more about training the parents than it is about training the kid. We have to be really, really proactive. At first we must sit the child on the potty at regular intervals throughout the day, whether or not he has to go, and whether he goes willingly or kicking and screaming. Then we must ply him with treats when he wizzes or poos. We must also praise him, great heaping praises for something that most of us either don't think of or think of with disgust. Finally, we must practice some tough love -- "you're a big boy now, and it's time you stop wearing diapers!"

Of course once the diapers are off, it's a whole new ballgame. Now we have to remember that the child probably hasn't yet mastered the whole thing yet, so it's our job to n…

Aspiring Grocery Goddess

I just spent 2.5 hours at Shoprite. You read correctly: 2.5 hours. With a three-year-old "driving" one of those horrendously huge carts with the car on the front. Wearing big boy pants for the first time in public. Yelling "Honk! Honk! I want to go home now! Honk!" the entire time. Have I mentioned that we were shopping for groceries for 2.5 hours?

I hate grocery shopping. Hate it! For some reason I have always felt some sort of weird grocery entitlement, like standard food items, such as chicken and milk and bread, should be just delivered to our homes each week, no charge. We need this stuff to live, after all. Sure you can pay for fun stuff like Twinkies or ice cream, but the basics should just arrive at my door, kinda like the water just arrives in my tap (I know I pay for that too, but you get my drift). So you can imagine my annoyance about paying over $4 for a gallon of milk! Or $5 for a bag of grapes! Or $7 for a friggin' frozen pizza!

The good news, I su…

Start spreading the news...I'm leaving today...

Well, no, I'm not really leaving, and not really today...but I want to wake up in a city that never sleeps.

Big Daddy's birthday is coming up in about a month, and I'd like to take him away for a weekend. (Can you believe we've not been away together, as a couple sans child, for more than a few hours in over 3 years?!) I asked him where he wants to go -- didn't give him any of my own ideas because I want him to pick a special place for him -- and he replied "Let's go to New York. For a full weekend. Just us. We always talk about it, but we never do it."

Woo-hoo! This is a fabulous idea, sweet cheeks! And I realized this morning that it was 10 years ago in November that Big Daddy proposed to me -- in a beautiful restaurant overlooking Times Square. So it's not only going to be a birthday celebration, but an Us celebration as well.

But now comes the hard part...planning and execution of the romantic getaway weekend...

Here's what I'm thinking: G…

What all parents should do

When accepting one of her Emmy awards a couple weeks ago, Tina Fey thanked her parents for "somehow raising me to have confidence that is disproportionate with my looks and abilities. Well done. That is what all parents should do."

I couldn't agree more, Tina -- about the job of parents, not your looks or abilities. (For the record, I think Tina Fey is one of the most brilliant women out there, and lovely to boot.)

I was also raised by parents who gave me confidence well beyond my looks and abilities -- even though they didn't have much confidence in their own looks or abilities -- and I am constantly grateful. In hindsight, I realize my mother struggled with terrible self-esteem, but she somehow projected all her hopes and dreams onto me. She told me every day that I was smart and beautiful and could do anything; she never missed an opportunity to tell me she was proud of me. (And the worst punishment in the world was to hear her say "I'm disappointed in you&…

Bad dream

I dreamed last night that I was in a car, driving all over the Southland with two of my college friends. We had been vacationing and were trying to get back home, but instead of heading north, we kept getting further and further south and west, into swampy marshy places. At one point we were looking at a map and noticed there were huge lakes and wide rivers that we needed to cross, but we couldn't determine which road to follow. We stopped for gas, but when I put my debit card into the gas pump, my card was denied. My friends were crying because we had no gas and no money and no idea how to get home. I called the bank discovered there was only $1 in the account because my husband, who was also on a separate vacation, had spent the last $200 on his own gasoline. I was frantic and angry, yelling at the banker about how my husband had spent all our money and I was out of gas and how was I going to get home now? My friends and I decided to stay in an abandoned house (which looked like…

Funny font forum

An editor friend sent this to me last week, and I have now watched it three times. I giggle with each viewing. I hope you enjoy good nerd humor as much as I do...

A boy and his cat

Our backyard is a decent size and backs to woods. Every time a visitor steps onto our back deck, friend, family, and neighbor alike, we hear "What a yard! You need to get that kid a dog!" Apparently this is the natural progression here in Suburbia: house + yard + boy child + dog = happiness.

Now, it's one thing to hear about our need of dog from friends or family who know us, but coming from neighbors and relative strangers it gets a bit old. My first response is always, Why do you think so? Which makes people hem and haw because they don't want to insult me by saying what's really on their minds: Because you're depriving that child of a human sibling, and he needs a friend.

One problem: We're not dog people. I mean, we like other people's dogs, and I often think having a dog would be a major motivation to walk long distances regularly and get myself into shape. But a dog is like a toddler who will never grow up. They are needy, and they bark and poop i…