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Leveling the playing field

16 Jan

No, this is not a post about Lance Armstrong.  I could not care less about Mr. Armstrong or his cheater-cheater pumpkin eater liar-liar pants on fire ways.

So Goose, who is now 11 (11!), received an iPod touch for Christmas this year and has started playing games with her dad and me.  When I play games with my kids I don’t necessarily bring my A game.  I don’t believe in letting them win all of the time because I think it’s important for them to learn to lose and lose gracefully.  Good sportsmanship, accepting defeat and trying again, and playing for the fun/love of the game are important life lessons. At the same time, I don’t think an almost 40 year old woman massacring her 11 year old daughter  at Words with Friends on a regular basis (or maybe even at all) is an especially effective way to teach sportsmanship or confidence or self-esteem.

Chuck does not share my philosophy. It’s really more like he doesn’t have a philosophy–he doesn’t think about it. He plays the Z on the triple word every time. He does not instinctively hold back or go easy just because his opponent is a child.

I remember as a kid being excited for a new high score on some game only to wake up and see MOM on top of the leader board.  And not just at the top but in every slot.  My hard fought victory completely obliterated in a single night’s sleep!  That’s a fond memory for me now, mostly because pretty much all of my mom memories are fond now. But I also think she knew me well enough to know it wouldn’t break my spirit.

It’s a fine line to walk sometimes–pushing our kids a little harder so they can grow, but still giving them the confidence to believe they can.  We all need a victory now and then, however small.

Who does that??

19 Sep

So one of those dear newly-befriendeds sent me a thank you note for accepting her friend request. I’m thinking she might notice if I suddenly drop her–will have to go with the hide/block for now.

But seriously, a thank you note? I’m trying to decide if that’s incredibly sweet or incredibly creepy. I think I know which direction I’m leaning.

Really

18 Sep

I’ve had about 20 friend requests sitting in my little FB friend request box for months now. I finally decided to accept three of them and almost instantaneously regretted it. Is it just coincidence that these three now constitute 95% of my news feed?

Your child drank two whole cups of ice water after playing outside in 90 degree weather? Really? Stop the presses!

A link to a “nice article” about Days of Our Lives? And you want to know if I have “any thoughts”? Really?

Watching the CMA’s last night with your kids was a memory that will last forever? FOR-EVER? Really?? Either way, I don’t care! Stop posting, people!

What is the proper etiquette for unfriending someone? Is there a minimum time you must try them out before you pull the plug? Or can I just call it now?

Bah.

I figured it was time for my monthly update

15 Feb

I had every intention of returning to a more regular schedule of blogging this year, but so far, well, you know.  I’m not even really busier than usual.  And quite frequently I find myself making “mental notes” for blog posts even.  Although, I’ve discovered my mental notes are good for about 4 1/2 minutes.  I don’t know what’s going on with me.

So what else is going on with me?  I’ve been watching an inordinate amount of TV lately.  Frankly, I always watch an inordinate amount of TV, but lately it’s been even more inordinater.  But I’d rather not talk about that.  It’s embarrassing.

My MIL was supposed to fly into town yesterday, but she has shingles.  FYI, Delta will wave penalty fees for ticket changes if you have a communicable disease.  They just have to confirm it with your doctor. 

Last week I exerted a lot of my precious time and energy preparing for her stay.  I had a long list of household chores to accomplish, and got as far as organizing the pantry, cleaning off the refrigerator (but not the inside) and microwave (the inside too!), cleaning/organizing the spice/pharmaceutical cabinet, cleaning the stove (but not the inside), wiping down the cabinets (but not the insides, except for the spice/pharmaceutical one because I found a dead fly in the back behind the ground nutmeg), scrubbing the countertops with a Mr. Clean magic eraser, and mopping the floor by hand.   That was my Mon, Tues, Wed.  It was exhausting, but also very gratifying.  But not gratifying enough apparently, because after getting the call on Thursday that Mom had the shingles, I lost all sense of urgency and momentum.

A note about the pantry cleaning…  This is something I do, like really do, maybe once or twice a year.  I know, gasp!  Anyway, in my experience, chores are more easily accomplished while doing something else that actually doesn’t suck like chatting with a friend.  So I spent the first half of my ordeal chatting it up with a pally of mine and then was able to finish the job while texting with another friend.  Here’s a portion of our stimulating coversation:

Friend: Oo I wish someone would clean out my pantry.
Me: If I lived there, I would totally do your pantry.
Friend: I appreciate that. If I lived near you…Let’s be honest, I probably wouldn’t. Unless eating some of the stuff out of it counts.
Me: That counts. Although the stuff that needs to be cleaned out probably shouldn’t be eaten. Muffin mix from 2008?
Friend: Yum. I have a big old can of clams that we’ve had since our first apartment. At this point I’m never going to get rid of it. I’ll keep it until the apocalypse and it will be the last thing we eat before we crawl in our beds to die. (that way we’ll die of food poisoning before the nuclear fallout gets us.)
Me: Good thinking. There’s a nice sentiment attached to that as an added bonus. The ridiculous thing is I do this deep pantry clean thing once a year, so how did some of these things make the cut last year? Or the year before? Or the year before?
Friend: It’s a mystery for the ages. And probably a question you’ll ask yourself again next year.
Me: And what’s with this “best by” date? I want a “do not consume under any circumstances after” date.
Friend: Ha. Yes!!
Me: I have about 20 partial packages of plastic/paper cups of all varieties. Similar count of “festive” napkins. ???
Friend: Have a party party for FHE tonight and use them.
Me: I would have to do that for every FHE this year. Is there a hoarders show specifically for disposable dinnerware?
Friend: Not yet but I think you’re on to something. Call the discovery network!!
Me: But can I live with the public shame?
Friend: That’s something you’re going to have to decide for yourself. But the whole process could be very healing for you.
Me: I wonder if that’s something the lady who stored her urine in dozens of half gallon juice bottles asked herself before signing up for the show.
Friend: It does make you wonder.
Me: The sad thing is when I’m done “organizing” most people won’t even be able to tell that I did anything.
Friend: Well they probably could until your kids get in there and screw it all up. And the kids probably could tell but they won’t care enough to notice.
Me: So basically it’s just another exercise in futility.
Friend: As is all cleaning.

I should also note that DynaGirl did notice and was very impressed and appreciative.  So I guess it wasn’t a complete waste of time.

Along with this early spring cleaning, I’m trying to establish specific chore assignments for the kids.  They do help around the house, but no one has a particular job they’re expected to do unless Mom says, “Hey, can you clean that up or something?”  I sat down with the kids one evening while Chuck was out of town and asked for their input.  Naturally, the first things volunteered for couldn’t even be considered chores.   BigHugs offered to pick up the couch throw pillows, and then it just went downhill from there.

Goose: I’ll get the eggs from the hen house!

Mr. T: As long as I get to milk the cow.

When I finally started to make some progress with my list, I met with some resistance.  I assigned Mr. T the downstairs guest toilet.

Mr. T: Wait, what?  I thought DynaGirl was cleaning the toilets.

Me: Why should only girls have to clean toilets?

Mr. T: Because I’m not a girl.

BigHugs: It’s true.

Me: BigHugs, how about you do the stairs–like if anyone puts stuff on the stairs or in the basket on the stairs you make sure it’s put away.

BigHugs: Noooooooooooooooo!

Mr. T: Also, if anyone gets hurt on the stairs, you have liability.

We’re still working on getting into the routine, but we’re making some progress.

Well, I think I’ve already exceeded my word count quota for the month.  Perhaps I’ll come back tomorrow and tell you about the third arm Mr. T is trying to grow, only partially successfully.

Yo, those kicks are streets ahead, Fresh Step

18 Feb

The other day as I was sitting in the hall of BigHugs’ dance studio (the dance studio where BigHugs takes dance, not her personally owned and operated by dance studio), one of the other moms complimented me on my shoes.  Actually, she said something like, “Every time I see you, you have the cutest shoes”, which I dismissed as an obvious hyperbole because I do not, in fact, have an abundance of fabulous footwear.  Perhaps every time she’s seen me I’m wearing that particular pair of shoes, which seems more likely since I am frequently complimented when wearing that particular pair of shoes.

It’s amusing to me that these shoes garner such a steady stream of compliments, considering that they’re actually a cheapy $10 pair of tennies I picked up a couple of summers ago at the Walmart on Maui.  When I was packing up for my long-awaited Hawaii trip, I became quite distressed that I didn’t have any footwear suitable for walking/hiking/exploring the island.  I had cute flips and multiple pairs of wedge sandals, but no stylish-yet-built-for-comfort walking type foot attire.  I searched high and low in the weeks preceding my trip, but came up empty.  It was really quite distressing to me.  So when we arrived on Maui and made a stop at the local Walmart for water and snacks and such (by the way, in case you were wondering, unfortunately a Walmart on Maui is no more fabulous than a mainland Walmart), I decided to take a quick browse through the shoe section just in case.  And I found them.  It was a Maui miracle!

Looking back at my trip pictures, I find it pretty hilarious that I was so concerned with having just the right footwear for my tropical island paradise adventures.

Obviously, this look would have been completely thrown off by the wrong pair of shoes.

Here I am on another day where you get a glimpse of the shoes:

Really, though, when it comes down to it, I’ll take whatever shoe-related compliments I can get because it has always been my dream to be the woman with the cute shoes—an as of yet unfulfilled dream except when wearing my $10 cheap tennies, but still.

You know what else I dream about?  I watch a lot of cop shows, and I’ve always wanted to have a cool street name.  You know, like Wishbone or Ice Bang or Funk Sister.  Well, the other night while I was tucking in Mr. T, I glanced up at his walls adorned with various incarnations of this ad, and it hit me.  Hello—it perfectly combines my dreams of wanting to be known for my fabulous footwear and having a super cool street name!  I can totally see it—I’m strolling through the hood and everywhere I go they’re checking out the shoes and giving me the nods of approval and admiration and some spunky/adorable kid who idolizes me calls out, “Yo, those kicks are streets ahead, Fresh Step!” and I’ll just flash him a smile and/or a double digit “pehce” or some other equally cool and appropriate acknowledgment of mad props.  Sigh.  Perfect.

Is it just me?  Have you ever wanted a cool street name?  What would it be?  Actually, I’m feeling a contest coming on.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had one, so whoever comes up with the coolest street name wins a prize.  Bonus points may be awarded for an explanation of origin or for devising a scenario in which my street name is used as well.  I’d like to see if it sounds as cool when somebody else says it or if it’s all in my head.

It’s a half-empty kind of day

10 Feb

I’ve been staying up way too late lately.  I don’t even have a good excuse like a compelling book or finishing up my Buffy/Angel dvd’s.  I just don’t want to go to bed.  Last night as I was watching one of my third-string DVR’d shows, wondering why I was fighting to stay up at 12:45 am, it hit me: I don’t want to go to bed because then morning will come that much faster.  And do you know what happens in the morning?  Everything.  Everything I didn’t want to deal with the day before.  It’s all there, either waiting to be done or waiting to be done again.  The bogeyman is not under the bed waiting to pounce on you in your sleep, people.  He waits for a new day.  The bogeyman is in the dishes and the six loads of laundry and the school lunches to be made and the homework to be signed and the bickering children and the grocery shopping and the floors to be swept and the dinners to be cooked and the 24 kids in the classroom who can’t tell the difference between clockwise and counterclockwise no matter how many times you personally demonstrate it for them.  And you can battle the beast all day until you finally dust him, but he only ever gets an overnight stay in Tartarus before he’s reformed and you’re fighting him all over again.

Sigh.

So, it’s much safer to be up in the wee hours of the morning when the house is quiet and the lights are out so you can’t see the disaster or potential disaster that is your house and no one expects you to be doing anything productive anyway.  Right?

Double sigh.

Thought on Thursday

20 Jan

The problem with low calorie snack food options is that when you eat multiple servings, they cease to be low calorie snack food options.  That just seems wrong to me somehow.

What seems wrong to you?