Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Mom's Last Birthday Present

Today is my birthday and I am SO fortunate for all of the loved ones surrounding me today.  That includes my mom, whose presence I feel very strongly right now.  My mom died a year and a half ago, but she is here with me now more than ever.  Two years ago on my 37th birthday she bought me a gift card to Eastwest Bookshop, a new age bookstore in Seattle, and I never used it.  Today I felt a deep calling to go there today and use the money to buy myself a gift.  I think she wanted to give me one last present.

This stood out to me the second I saw it.  It's a sticker decal for your car window, and if a single picture could embody a person, then this picture is my mom.  If you look closely on the bottom it says "Rainbow Mountain".  She loved and lived in the mountains, and she felt a huge connection to rainbows.  I love this sticker.





I also bought the most beautiful little statue of Kuan Yin.  She is a bodhisattva associated with compassion and my mom really loved her.  I remember she had a lovely white statue like this that she kept in her sanctuary, and this purple one (my mom's color) reminds me of her.  When I saw this I knew I had to have it.




Even though this is the last gift my mom will ever "buy" me, I know that the gifts she continues to give me...her love, her positive energy, her support, are constantly felt and appreciated.



My Best Birthday Intentions




As I sit here in a coffee shop by myself, (I KNOW!  What’s next?  Human sacrifice? Dogs and cats living together…mass hysteria!), on my 39th birthday, I want to not just think about what I wish for, but what my intentions are for the last year of my thirties.   After all, intentions are the building blocks to the reality you create. 

I have had a great decade.  My thirties have been a time of growth and prosperity.  I went to college and graduated with a degree in art, I got married to the man of my dreams, I had two awesome kids, we bought two wonderful houses, I traveled.  Sure I had some major losses, the death of my mom is the biggest, but I have had many, many more incredible gains.  I want to round out my thirties with a running momentum-filled leap of prosperity into my forties. 


Right now I’m in a coffee shop called the Wayward Cafe in Seattle.  I love this place, not only because it is the only place I know with a Firefly theme (I KNOW RIGHT?!), but it also has some lovely art on the walls right now.  And that inspires me to make the intention to do more art this year.  I love doing art, but I have barely eeked out so much as a teensy little drawing since graduating from UW with a degree in Interdisciplinary Visual Art.  I think it’s partly because, even though IVA should have been a super fun and creative major, the building block classes that I was required to take were quite mundane and dry.  I think I could only take so much in the still life/figural drawings with charcoal-type practice art, and had to take a long break.  I also think that it’s not that easy to have messy non-kid-friendly art supplies lying around, so I don’t usually bother.  But PISH I say!  I am going to find a way to make art happen this year, and it doesn’t have to be painting if that’s too hard right now, it can be sewing, it can be paper art, it can be more refurbishing of cool furniture.  I just want to be creative.

I want to write more.  It has been so wonderful starting this blog!  I love to write, and I have a lot to say.  I have also been “writing” a book for a while now.  It’s a young adult book that I started writing right before my mom died.  I stopped writing it for the most part because I had the excuse of babies and grief, but I don’t want excuses anymore!  It’s started and I want to continue it (if now finish it).  I think that writing this blog is a great outlet to get me writing more, and I look forward to continuing this as well. 

I want to continue my healing.  I think I’ve done a good job healing from grief after my mom passed, and this happened, which was a major shift for me, but I feel like there is so much to do.  I want to continue to heal any lingering crap that I deal with on a daily basis.  Sometimes it feels like a tornado of crap, sometimes it feels like a light dusting of crap.  But, I think I’m done having crap in my life.  No more!

I want to be a more patient person.  And I am thinking about my kids when I write this.  I am tested a gazillion times a day.  Bajillion, really.  And sometimes I pass with flying colors and do a little happy dance, but a lot of times I look and feel like a tired zombie-meanie-mom who just wants to snap at them for climbing on the counter for the hundredth time or for having a temper tantrum for no actual visible reason.  I think I need the patience of Mother Theresa and have not illusions that that’s how I’ll actually be, but a little more patience for now with suffice. 




I want to continue to have a great relationship with Brennan.  I think that in the last 3 ½ years (hey, isn’t that the same amount of time we’ve had children?  Huh, go figure), we’ve struggled to maintain smoothness in our relating with one another.  It’s been more of a “let’s survive this day of pandemonium so we can get to the next day of pandemonium” thing with us.  I do not want to have the energy of survival in my family and my marriage, I want the uplifting energy of THRIVING.  I want to take a breath, bring some peace to our house, and more connection with us. 

Finally, I want to just learn to BE.  I actually really struggle with that.  I tend to let my internal voice get me down, or let the external (ie: internet, facebook, the latest episode of Who Cares tv), influence me and divert my attention.  I want to stay in the moment, be present, and just be who I am.  That would be lovely. 


SO.  Here’s the list of my birthday intentions (in no particular order):
1   .     Art
2   .     Writing
3   .     Healing
4   .     Patience
5   .     Relationship
6   .     Being


I’m going to do it people!  Happy birthday to me!






Sunday, October 21, 2012

More ebay oddities

More goodies came in the mail!  I said it before, but I LOVE weird stuff found on ebay, and this latest lot doesn't disappoint.

I adore antiques.  Even if I don't know its complete history, just appreciating that something is super old and was made by people whose world was so completely different than it is now is thrilling to me.

These beads are 3000 years old from Egypt!  Imagine who made them, who wore them.




The next item is something I was so excited to get because it has to do with my favorite thing on the planet: Disneyland.  I can't count the number of times I've been to Disneyland.  My grandparents lived in South Pasadena near Anaheim and whenever we visited them, we went to the happiest place on earth.  I have incredible memories from the 70s, and 80s of old school Disneyland, during the era of ticket books.  I'd love to get my hands on a completed book, or even an elusive E ticket, but they are surprisingly pricey. I did get ahold of some fun C tickets from the 60s though.


Anyone up for a ride on the Mike Fink Keel Boats?  Maybe after some Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.  


Moving on, we have a lot of very random postage stamps.  I know, I know.  This buy is really silly.  It actually looked a lot cooler on ebay than when I opened up the tiny envelope they came in.  I doubt they're worth anything, but I didn't pay much and I like having more stamps for my collection.




I really love this next one.  I'm not sure what year this is from but it's a vintage packet of black and white photos from Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland.  When I was twenty I went on a two month backpacking trip around Europe and found this place to be one of my favorites.  This coastal area is filled with over 40,000 hexagonal basalt columns.  The effect is amazing and beautiful.







I still have more birthday bucks to spend and more fun stuff coming in the mail.  Can't wait to share!



Friday, October 19, 2012

My BIG, wonderful boy

I have two kids.  My first is a sassy, gorgeous, smart as a whip little three year old girl named Megan.  She is loud, creative, opinionated...wonderful.

My second child Finn tends to be overshadowed sometimes by his big sister.  He is quiet, and doesn't talk much.  He follows Megan around and mimics her every move.  He isn't half as mischievous as Megan and I think because of our constantly "correcting" her behavior, he gets a little left behind.

But he is TERRIFIC.  He is the best, snuggliest, sweetest, little 19 month old boy you can ever imagine.  Megan never really hugged and snuggled much (sooo independent that girl!), but Finn just melts into you.  He'll hang out in your lap, just chilling, or bury his face into your shoulder with a huge smile.




Like I said, he doesn't talk much.  I think I counted 9 words at his one year old birthday and right now I think he's still at about 9 words.  This is okay with me because he communicates so well in other ways. He points, nods, shakes his head, signs and gestures, and we can always understand what he's saying.  He is so smart...and playful, and pure of heart.  What a kid!

Finn is my big boy.  And I do mean BIG boy.  He was 12 pounds 2 ounces at birth.  Someday I want to write about his birth story, because yes it was natural, and difficult and scary, and if we lived in an earlier century, we might have both actually died.  It's quite a story!  But for now, let me just say that he was and has always been very big for his age.  He wears 3T clothes at 19 months.  Yesterday we were at the park and he didn't fit into the baby swing anymore.


ok, so the swing next to this fit him fine, but he outgrew this model...

Finn is big yes, 99th percentile for height and weight (this means he's bigger than 99% of other kids his age), and he'll certainly be tall all of his life.  My dad is 6'7", and I'm 5'10".  I don't think he'll ever be a jockey as a career.

But what I want for my dear Finn to know is that he is loved just the way he is, because of who he is.  It does not now, nor will it ever matter how big he is, how tall he is, how much he loves basketball (because that kid already breathes basketball), what size clothes he wears, what he fits or doesn't fit--because he is always loved for just being Finn.  Our special, wonderful boy.






Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sometimes life's a f*****g parachute

Today I was at a thing called Kids Gym at our local YMCA with the two children.  This is a weekly group that meets in a big gymnasium filled with fun toys like bouncy houses, balls, tunnels and tricycles-- with the added feature that the teachers lead us in songs at the beginning and the end.  It's a pretty fun way to fill a tuesday morning, or so I thought when I signed up both kids.  Only, the thing is, Megan still doesn't really like it much.

I have to say that I'm pretty surprised by this.  She likes all of the components of the class--bouncy houses, other kids, big space to run around, toys--but for some reason put it all together and she gets completely clingy and crying.  I feel torn by wanting to comfort her on the sidelines and wanting to interact with Finn who's thoroughly enjoying himself.

Today all bets were off though by the mere mention of a parachute being brought out to be played with.  Megan lost her shit.  She screamed and sobbed and everyone stared.  I had to sit with her on the bleachers hugging her and trying to calm her down, but she was inconsolable.  The teachers approached me and said that if I needed to I could take her out or leave early or do what I needed to do, which was nice but I just tried to explain the unexplainable...Megan has a thing with parachutes.

I don't know why.  When she was really little we had her in Little Gym classes and they frequently brought out the parachute to play with.  Megan loved it.  She loved it so much that she started making up stories about the parachute game.  We'd talk about the parachute all of the time.  That's all she thought about.  We'd talk about the things to do with a parachute, (go under, shake it, walk around in a circle, throw balls on it); the parachute became a character in itself, and I dare say, she was obsessed with it.

One day at a yard sale we found an old small parachute and thought we'd buy it for her.  Her very own parachute!  She saw us buying it and was stoked but then she realized we were bringing it home with us and she flipped out big time.  It took weeks of cajoling before she became comfortable playing with it.  But she still wasn't going to have anything to do with that Kids Gym parachute by golly!

I think that Megan had built parachutes up into such mythical proportions that the real thing was just...too crazy, or real or...I don't know.  She can't stand the real thing, only the idea of the thing.

Psych!

So all of this was happening, and I was trying to put on my game face and keep positive so that Megan didn't feel more like crap than she had to and that Finn could still feel like he could have fun.  A mom approached me and made some small talk.  Our children were the same age with the same difference in age and I found myself slightly losing it.  You could tell she just wanted some light conversation, but the next thing I know I'm tearing up and telling her how freaking hard everything is and how having two toddlers makes me rip my hair out.  I felt like I was rambling on and on and she sort of had a fixed smile and that "I'm going to back away slowly now and talk to a sane person" look on her face, so I let her go and continued to try and keep my cool.

But fuck it!  It's not easy!   Having a 19 month old and a 3 year old is, sometimes, too hard.  How many tantrums a day do I really have to go through?  (Let me tell you, the amount I go through now is TOO MUCH).  I know I should be starting to potty train Finn, but I've barely got Megan potty trained and she's nearly 3 1/2!  Megan had three time outs at preschool the other day and I had to talk to the teacher...and it's all just too much sometimes!  I feel like poor Finn is going to need therapy because he's the neglected one...and I just don't have enough hands to do it all, or functioning brain cells to even think sometimes.  I work really hard to be happy, but some days it just doesn't happen.

So, I guess in a way I can relate to Megan's screaming about the parachute.  If life's like a fucking parachute, I'd want to scream too.  Some big, loud, out of control thing being waved willy nilly in your face.  You know it's supposed to be fun, but sometimes it's just a bit...much.


Monday, October 15, 2012

More ebay adventures! Thrills from the AYPE!

I got another ebay treasure in the mail!  I'm so excited about this one since the subject is near and dear to my heart.  It is a souvenir from the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition of 1909.  And this is a cool souvenir too!


It's a horoscope wheel!  Amaze your friends with the astrological wonders of the heavens!  Impress your family with your powers of prestidigitation!

You turn the wheel until the pointer is on your birthday and then you'll be able to see what sign you are (which is hilarious since nowadays everyone pretty much knows their sign when they're a baby), then you turn it over and read your horoscope.


I'm a Scorpio and this is what it said about me:  "You are heavy set, the weight laying through the thighs".  Well I never!  It just goes to show you that the ladies probably didn't mind being a bit on rounder side back in the day.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

The craziest bit of "coincidence" you'll hear today!!!

The most amazing bit of serendipity you will ever hear, at least today:

We were at the Northgate mall play area today with Grandma Wendy.  I saw a kid around Finn's age who was wearing the same shirt as Finn so I commented to his mom "nice shirt!" and she smiled.  A few minutes later I overheard the mom talking to her son saying "Finn, be careful...".  I had to go up to her and share my astonishment that MY kid with the same shirt's name is Finn too!  We were like--WHOA!

THEN... I said, "I have to ask--how old is your Finn?"
"19 months".....(mine too).

"What's his birthday?" I asked, my heart hammering.

"March 10".  Two days before my Finns.

"What's his full name?" she asked amazed.

"Finnegan".

"Mine toooooo!!!!"

The hair on my arms still stands up just thinking about this!



ASTOUNDING!!!

Exploring ebay: I'm a BILLIONAIRE!!!

I have the best in-laws  For an early birthday gift they all got me gift certificates to ebay.  I love ebay.  I also love old stuff.  I have collections tucked away of a lot of different things... postcards, coins, stamps, toys, neat antiques from the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition (I really should do a post dedicated to my book), and a bunch of cookbooks and housekeeping guides from the 50s.  I'm not a hoarder mind you, I just love having old things, things with wonderful histories.  It makes me happy.

I hadn't really used ebay before now, but I love browsing all the cool things that are for sale.  My favorite search phrase is "weird stuff".  (Try it!  You'll like it!)

That is where I found these:


Three twenty billion dollar bills and one five hundred million dollar bill.  They are from Zimbabwe where there had been hyperinflation from 2003-2009.   It is said that you would have needed a wheelbarrow full of these just to get a bus ticket.  From what wikipedia said on the matter, things are better now but you can still come across this funny money.  I am now a billionaire!




I have since bought more strange and wonderful ebay finds and will share them with you when they arrive.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Things that I'm in love with: David Weisner books

This summer I went yard sale-ing....a LOT.  Every friday I would pack the kids up along with my list of sales I found on Craigslist, and shop until I dropped.  Soon I will dedicate an entire post on all of awesome treasures I found, including a book called The Three Pigs by David Weisner.  I had never heard of the author but it was a kids book and only 25 cents so I added it to my pile of goodies.


I LOVE this re-imagining of the traditional three pigs story.  The pigs escape the book...and explore a bunch of other stories before the wolf can get them.  Completely imaginative.  And M loved it.

Look at those pigs hightailing it out before the wolf blows their house down.  Excellent.

The next one I got was a library book called Flotsam.  It was something my sister Sherri threw into my pile at the last minute and I had no clue what it was.  I got home and read it to Megan and, seriously.....my jaw dropped and my brain exploded into a million pieces of happiness.  I think that this is my favorite kids book EVER.
There are no words in this book, but the story is beautifully written with mini masterpieces on every page.  I won't spoil the plot too much but it's about a boy who discovers an old underwater camera that washes up on the beach and he runs to get the film developed (old school one hour photo style).  The photos show what kinds of wonders lurk beneath the ocean. 



This is one of the most creative books I've seen.  

Of course I had to go to the library website right away and add the rest of Weisner's books to my queue.  I've read two more and they don't disappoint.  

There's Tuesday, another wordless story about the mysterious phenomenon that happens on a tuesday night when every frog around starts to float throughout the countryside.  





The last, book I borrowed from the library is also one of my favorites and is also about unexplained floating phenomena.  June 29, 1999 is about a third grader's science experiment that results in giant flying vegetables.  Not only is the story super cute, but the artwork is grand and sweeping.  



I think that my favorite thing about David Weisner books is how darned creative they are.  In a sea of silly, rhymey nonsense stories, it's so refreshing to come across these unique works of art.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Speedy delivery to the Sesame Workshop

I was feeling pretty powerless about my feelings toward the recent changes in Sesame Street.  I wrote a post all about it, and that helped me sort out my feelings, but I still felt kind of angry that I wasn't ever really going to affect change.  So I took my dad and aunt's advice and wrote to the Sesame Workshop.


I went to their website and filled out the email form.  I basically just sent them a slightly edited version of the blog post.  I don't know if they'll ever get it (especially now with all the politicians fighting over Big Bird, I imagine the Sesame Workshop inbox is pretty crammed), but I feel so much better having voiced my opinion.  I don't expect change....but you never know!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Big Bird's not the only loser here...



I have an issue I want to talk about.  It's actually the reason I wanted to start a blog.  It's about the change that has happened with something very dear to me.  I couldn't fit my rant into the tiny status update that Facebook allows and I really wanted to share this with as many people who would read it, so blogging seemed a good jumping off point.

There's been a lot of talk lately about Mitt Romney trying to kill and filet Big Bird, and what a mean jerk he is.  (I mean REALLY).  If the quotes you read on Facebook can be trusted, then this one I read really makes Romney look like a piece of garbage:

"Cutting PBS support (0.012% of budget) to help balance the federal budget is like deleting text files to make room on your 500Gig hard drive."

~Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist 


0.012% of the budget?!  Dude, focus on cutting war funding.  That should save a couple bucks. 

However, I feel that in addition to Big Bird being bullied by the GOP, what we need to actually be worried about is the demise of ELMO.  And it's not the republicans we need to blame this time, it's our friends at Sesame Workshop--the creators of Sesame Street, who have decided to oppress your favorite giggling red monster and all he stands for.  

Now, I am not a huge fan of mainstream television for children.  Most of it is like crack for little kids' minds.  I find it frenetic, unhealthy, brain-draining, sexist, often violent.  I don't let my kids watch it.  I do let my kids watch Sesame Street though.  

Let me also say that I LOVE Sesame Street.  (Probably more than any adult should).  And Megan LOVE LOVES Sesame Street.  And Finn, well he could care less about Sesame Street, but I have a feeling that since it's on every morning he's going to come around.  Like many people I grew up watching Sesame Street.  I remember a boy in my kindergarten class named David knew how to spell "motorcycle" because of Sesame Street.  I love the muppets, the often hilarious skits filled with double entendres, the simple messages of sharing and friendship, the faces of diversity.  I love that Megan has actually learned a ton from a TV show and she is always entertained while counting and singing the alphabet.  

Before I had kids I didn't really like Elmo; all I saw was the annoying Tickle Me Elmo dolls and commercialized junk.  But now I love him!  He's cute and sweet and all he wants to do is love you.  Cookie Monster loves cookies, Oscar's a grouch, Bert is always irritated, Abby's magic, and Elmo just loves you.  Megan eats it up, and even Finn says "Elmo" whenever he sees a muppet.  Also, I saw the documentary Being Elmo and fell in love with his creator Kevin Clash as well.    

For 13 years Elmo has had his own eleven minute segment at the end of every Sesame Street episode, called Elmo's World.  It is Megan's very favorite thing in the entire world.  Each segment has a simple theme, like "ears", or "the weather", or "animals".  There are songs and educational videos about the themes.  Megan's favorite part of the segment by far is Mr. Noodle, a clownish guy who tries to figure out silly things like how to use an umbrella or how to get dressed.  It's wonderful.  



Since we have watched Sesame Street every single day for the last year I have seen every episode a million times and Elmo's World in particular about three million times.  I was so excited when the new season was going to start a few weeks ago.  Not only would there be new main stories with their celebrity guests and funny morals, but there would be new Elmo's Worlds.  (I was maybe a little too excited.)

When the first episode of the new season came on, you can imagine my surprise when, instead of hearing the familiar opening notes of Elmo's World there was something called Elmo the Musical.  It was...um...different.  Megan looked at me with confusion and then started to cry.  She sobbed for a good twenty minutes solid.  After frantically googling for what the F was going on, I had to explain to her that there wasn't going to be any more Elmo's World and that this....this...horrible, horrible abomination was here to stay.  

What I found out in my research is that Sesame Street has used something called the STEM system of education.  This stands for Science-Technology-Engineering-Math.  I don't know a thing about educational techniques, but that seemed like a pretty good deal.  This year, with the advent of Elmo the Musical, they are starting something called STEAM, Science-Technology-Engineering-Arts-Math.  That's the justification for phasing out Elmo's World and starting Elmo's Musical, because musicals are artsy.  

The problem with Elmo the Musical though is that, sure it's artsy-ish (simply because they're calling it a musical), but it has absolutely NO educational value.  Elmo's World explained things, it had real-world videos of real kids doing the things that were explained, it had kids "teaching" Mr. Noodle how to do things, it had counting, it had letters, it had songs.  AND it was artsy.  Elmo the Musical is mostly a non-sensical cartoon with Elmo blue-screened in. It is supposed to bring the arts into Sesame Street because it's a musical, but it added no artistic value, while actually depleting educational value because it replaced something that did educate.

Now, the good news is that we have multiple platforms with which to watch Sesame Street.  We have it live and set to our DVR (the new Sesame Street), we have it On-Demand through our cable (old Sesame Streets), and we have it streaming through Netflix.  Megan requests "old Sesame Street" every morning and I'm happy to oblige.  

The major problem that I'm having, aside from my child being disappointed, is that Sesame Street, something that is supposed to be the sacred cow of educational children's television programming, has sunk to a new and dangerous low.  The old Sesame Street format is drastically different (and better) to the new one.  The reruns that we watch are mostly from 2008, just four years ago and the format is like this:

-the main story
-2 vignettes (adorable little animations or real life videos that have to do with counting, the alphabet, sharing etc, or they can be Ernie singing about his rubber ducky.  Something sweet and educational)
-the letter of the day
-1 vignette
-Grover's travels around the world (these are the BEST.  He hosts this little video documentary about how other kids around the world do things.  The other day we learned how kids in South Africa make metal wire cars.  So cute)
-6 vignettes
-Elmo's World

Compare that with today's format:

- Murray's "Word on the Street" word of the day
- the main story
-2 vignettes
-the letter of the day
-Abby's Flying Fairy School (an animated Abby Caddaby segment which I kind of like)
-1 vignette
-Bert and Ernie's Great Adventures (a claymation segment in which Bert and Ernie go somewhere and learn something.  Not my favorite, especially since Sesame Street seems to be moving away from using actual muppets)
-2 vignettes
-Elmo the Musical

There is a trend toward more "episodes within the episode", (like Abby's Flying Fairy School), but I really like the vignettes because that's where the learning happens.  I swear Megan learned to sing the alphabet from watching these.  Plus, there were real children, children who were mostly not white.  That diversity is rare for television and now it is practically non-existent on the new format.  The more segments of these "episodes within the episode" like Bert and Ernie's Great Adventures or Super Grover 2.0 they have, the fewer opportunities they have to show actual children of color on TV.  And this new format of Sesame Street is mostly filled with those segments.  

Now, I hear you saying that all of this is so minor in the grand scheme of things.  It's just a TV show, and you don't need to let your kids watch.  In fact, it's just a segment inside of a TV show, and there are puh-lenty of other real things to worry about in this world.  Well, that is true, but I have to say that this is a legitimate problem, (and not just because my kid's unhappy).  The trend is disturbing.  40 years ago, when Sesame Street began and Jim Hensen was in charge and life was good, it was a pure, sweet and simple educational television program.  Change happens, I get it, and shows need to grow and adapt to those changes.  But even in the last four years Sesame Street has moved drastically away from simple education to became the "crack for kids" format.  It's faster and flashier and more colorful.  Sesame Street has drastically decreased its didactic, quality content in lieu of a ratings boosting (I can only assume) candy-like subject matter.  And Sesame Street was one of the LAST shows that you could count on for good TV for kids.

And the worst part of all of this is:  IT WILL NEVER GO BACK TO BEING A QUALITY EDUCATIONAL SHOW AGAIN.

Dramatic, I know.  But throughout its 40 plus year run, Sesame Street has moved in one direction, especially in the last few years, and there is nothing to think that it will make an about face.  I just think that there's already too many kids shows that are fast and hyper and only a teensy bit, if at all, educational.  I think that Nickelodeon and Disney channel should be able to air any old stupid cartoon that they want, and we will choose not to watch them.  But SESAME STREET???  PBS????  My last refuge?  What a terrible, terrible loss.  And I think this problem of losing our sacred Sesame Street is emblematic of the irreversible damage to what our society provides for children in general.

It turns out we don't need politicians like Mitt Romney to eviscerate Sesame Street and take away quality programming on PBS when it is doing the job just fine on its own.  

Friday, October 5, 2012

Muppet memories

When I was in kindergarten my parents let me choose my own wallpaper.  I think I got to choose from a variety of lovely florals but I wanted something with pizzazz.  This is what I picked.


MUPPETS!!!

I LOVED my wallpaper.  And kudos to my parents for letting me do it...in our rented house no less.
Would you let your kid choose this wallpaper?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

My amazing sweetie

Today I read an article that showed pictures of men overcome with emotion as they watched their bride walk down the aisle and it made me smile to myself.  Here is what my wonderful husband Brennan looked like when he saw me.  I love it when he comes from the heart and shows his tears.


My husband is such a wonderful person!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A treasured video of my Mom

A few months ago I was going through my iphoto library.  I like looking back at the videos I have stored amongst the photos (and am wondering if there's a better way to organize them).  I happened across a thumbnail that I had never noticed before.  It was a video with my mom.

This video was taken with our crummy old camera.  I think it was the only video taken with the camera because shortly after that I got my iphone and started using that for everything.

When I watched it, I cried and cried.  It was taken on Father's Day 2009 when Megan was just a few weeks old.  The video is of terrible quality, completely over-exposed, and really short, but Mom is there and beautiful.  She was happy and laughing and pre-cancer, and I feel so blessed to have this very rare bit of memory.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do...

video

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Forays into Pinterest

     I love Pinterest.  I love browsing the kid stuff especially.  I'm eternally in need of activities and crafts for the kids, yummy and easy recipes they would like, parenting advice, smoother ways to run the house... and Pinterest is lousy with creative gems I would never even consider.

     I found a great one to try and so yesterday I took the kids to the dollar store.  The plan was to buy five small plastic bins and lots of little activities and toys to fill the bins, then I would label each tub with monday through friday so that Megan can have a "Relaxation Time" activity each day.  (Relaxation time is my favorite, favorite time of the day and I would do anything to keep it going.  The day it ends is the day I start taking to the bottle before noon, I swear to God).

     The dollar store in Kirkland is suuuuuupppper yucky.  I had never been there before and the minute we approached the door I knew I should probably rethink this whole thing.  When I shop with both kids on my own ideally I like to have a cart with two seats.  Costco, Target, Home Depot, Fred Meyer. All of these places are good for a double cart.  If no double cart is available, I like a nice single cart for Finn and a prayer that Megan won't run around like a wild banshee destroying the store.  I usually have mixed results with this.  The dollar store in Kirkland was small and didn't have carts which meant I carried Finn and Megan carried the basket... for about three minutes.

     It had soon devolved to both kids running around the cramped aisles grabbing every single tiny thing they could get their hands on and either throwing it, moving it to another place on the shelf or putting it in our basket.  I needed to move quick.  I found plastic bins, I found coloring books, colored pencils, magnifying glasses, pens, stamps, puzzles and squishy balls.  In the nick of time we made it out of the store with minimal damage and brought our goodies home--all for about $35.


     My intention was to fill the bins and stack them nicely in a closet with perfect little label maker labels denoting the days of the week.  On Saturdays and Sundays Megan would get the choice of which bin she can use.

     Things that didn't quite work:  The lids don't really fit well.  You get what you pay for and if I were to re-do this I would have gotten the cheap tupperware from the grocery store.  Also, the coloring books don't fit in the bins so I can't close the lids anyway.  No stacking neatly in the closet.

     Things that were great:  Megan loves the idea and she gets to have a fun new bin of activities each day.  That way it won't get boring and she stays in her room.  She even still slept after playing with her stuff.

     All in all I think it's going to be a success!

Monday, October 1, 2012

The moment I became happy

     It really was just a single moment, like magic!  I know that I've actually put in a bunch of work towards this and it really wasn't some miraculous bolt of lightening or anything, but when it happened it was amazing.

     It was my dad's 66th birthday and he got us all free tickets to go see an Eagles tribute band at the Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville.  I love my dad, and I was eager to spend time with the family celebrating his birthday.  It was a hot day in August and Brennan and I were meeting Dad and Sherri at the already packed venue.  I didn't have much time to change and so I ended up wearing the clothes I had on all day: elastic waisted sports shorts and a t-shirt I got from running a 5k.  Plus my hiking sandals and a baseball cap.  Not what you would call a styling outfit but so comfortable that I just didn't care.


     In fact I think that whole night was all about not caring.  It was a beautiful sunny early evening at a gorgeous winery.  I had wine.  I had my awesome family.  There was an hilarious drunken haze in the air and all of the middle aged (read: the entire crowd) concert goers were three sheets to the wind and getting awfully chummy.  Dad had already made friends with our entire section by the time we got there.  Everyone was happy and mellow.



     And then the band started.  Now, I did not have high hopes for this band.  When I think of tribute or cover bands, I think of a second rate, cheese-fest that pales in comparison to the real thing.  But these guys were AWESOME!  They were note-for-note identical to the Eagles and who doesn't LOVE the Eagles?!  From the very first song I just wanted to dance.  Dad and I were some of the first people on the dance floor and from that moment I just let go.

     I hadn't danced in...well...years I think.  Something in me--the wine, the sunshine, the cabal-frenzied middle agers, the comfortable I-don't-freakin'-care-what-people-think-of-me clothes, the night off from kids air of freedom--made me just dance like a wild and carefree dork.  It felt a-maaaazzzinggg.

     It was a few songs into the Hotel California album that it happened.  I was singing at the top of my lungs, dancing like it didn't matter, and feeling so good, and I felt a physical sensation on my chest.  Like a bolt being removed from my sternum.  Remember in Star Wars episode IV when R2D2 cons Luke into removing his restraining bolt and then hightails it to find Obi Wan Kenobi?  (If you don't, shame on you).  Well, that's what it felt like.  My restraining bolt had been removed.  I felt free to be happy for the first time in my entire life.

     I fully expected this new feeling of freedom to wane since every other time I've had a similar epiphany it has only lasted a few weeks at most.  But I'm still going strong.  Not every moment of every day, but for the most part this wonderful lightness has prevailed and I think it's here to stay.  Now I'm in maintenance mode and blogging and facebooking have kept it going.

     And as an added piece of joyous kismet, Star Wars just came on the TV while I'm writing this at the EXACT SCENE WHERE R2'S BOLT IS REMOVED!!!!!  R2D2 is cheering me on.  :)