Saturday, September 18, 2010

This is Why We Own The Pancake Puff Pan

Remember when we were kids? Remember life before ubiquitous computers and a laptop for every lap?  And remember life before eleventy-thousand cable channels all telling us what to buy? Remember before cross-marketing - before your toys appeared on cartoons, had their own website, and little substandard versions would appear in your Happy Meals?

Remember when the Sears catalog would come out around Thanksgiving? Remember sitting hip-to-hip and cheek-to-cheek pouring over that inch-and-a-half thick tome with such loving reverence and awe? Remember turning that last page that transitioned from the bikes to the camping equipment?  Remember starting back at the beginning of the toy section again and again?

Remember the hell that would come crashing down on the unsuspecting child who dared rip a page from its spine? Remember fighting tooth and nail with your siblings for the opportunity to browse through its pages alone? Remember imagining receiving just the right Barbie Townhouse/Dream Car/Giant Hairstyle-able Head?  Who are we kidding?  We wanted them all.  Remember when Christmastime started *after* Thanksgiving, not before Halloween had even ended? 

Today, I remembered all those things in an instant.  When the IKEA catalog came.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

For Christmas, Gremlin received a Fisher Price Power Wheels battery powered Mustang.  He's literally worn the wheels out driving it and Dad needed to order some new ones, which came the other day.

Further confirmation I chose the right person to be my sons' father:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Back to School Reminders - Part 1: Mornings

Dear Boys,

I know it's been a long summer (God knows it's been a long summer) and during that time, some rules have been allowed to slip.  In the interest of smoothly transitioning to the new fall schedule, I felt it would be in everyone's best interest to post a few reminders.
  • Each day, you will be required to wake up.  I know you are fully capable of waking up in the predawn hours of summer so it only stands to reason you can also emerge from your bedrooms at a time suitable to complete all morning tasks and still arrive at school on time.
  • Speaking of tasks, each morning you will be required to change out of your pajamas and place school-appropriate clothing on your body.  If mom is on top of her game, those clothes will be placed on top of your bureaus.  They include but may not be limited to:
  • Pants/Shorts
  • Shirt
  • Clean underwear (yes, every day)
  • Clean socks (see above)
The act of dressing should take place in your rooms. Upstairs. The living room is not an appropriate place to change or casually hang out naked.
  • Your parents are legally obligated to provide a breakfast of somewhat healthy, energy-producing, brain-feeding foods.  You are legally obligated to accept one of the two to three breakfast items offered daily.  You may have noticed that your personal preferences lean toward a pretty starch-heavy list.  For the love of God, from time to time, please eat a banana/apple/yogurt!
  • Brush your teeth.  You are both old enough to lose teeth.  The replacements are the last set God will ever give you.  Take care of them.  "I brushed them really well last night" is not an acceptable answer.  Also?  Have you smelled your own morning breath?  Seriously.  And Mom can tell the difference between ACT Fluoride Rinse and actual brushed-teeth smell.
  • Your hair will be gelled into place for the foreseeable future.  Mom has an irrational fear of lice and her only louse remediation plan involves shaving everyone's head and burning the house down.  Don't make me do it.
  • We leave for school at 8:15.  To clarify, at 8:15 am, you are required to get off the couch/floor/table, pick up your backpack from its designated spot in the dining room, walk out the front door, and get into the car.  It's really that simple.
Boys, thank you for your attention and anticipated cooperation.  Once we've had a chance to internalize this list, you can look forward to the next in the continuing series:
II. School Arrival Etiquette (subtitled: stop climbing on your classmates)
III. Post-School Activities (subtitled: it's your homework, I've already completed grammar school)
IV. Baths and Bed (how not to flood the bathroom)

I'm so very proud of both of you and looking forward to a nice, long, fun, school year!

Love you,


Saturday, September 11, 2010

To Always Remember

My first "I remember where I was" moment occurred when the Challenger exploded just after take-off. It was January 1986. A nor'easter was blowing into Massachusetts and my school closed early to make sure everyone got home safely. A bunch of us rented some movies and headed to my friend, Joe's house to watch. One movie was Thief of Hearts. I can't remember the other one.

My friend Michele called her father to tell him where she was. I can remember her saying, 'What?!" and to us, "the shuttle exploded! Turn on the TV!"

There are others now. But nine years ago,

I was sitting in my office in Andover and Andy called me when he got into his office in Cambridge. He commented he'd just heard on the radio that someone had just flown into the World Trade Center. We both thought it was some poor idiot in a Cesna. We both thought it was an accident. We hung up and I ambled into my boss, Lee's office and told her. She tried to get onto and couldn't. Then another co-worker ran in to say a second plane had just hit the other tower.

Not an accident. An attack.

We were in a new building and didn't have a TV so all over, small groups of people gathered around small images on computer monitors. Every time someone managed to get some news, it spread as horrible rumors through the office. As we learned about Flight 93, my friend, June got a panicked, crying call from her college-aged son. His dad was flying back from PA today. Had she heard from him? She had not but later learned, thank God, he was not aboard that flight.

Finally, Lee and I left the building to run to a local Best Buy to get a TV. Going home would take too long. It was in Lee's Jeep that we heard that the first tower had fallen. We saw the second tower fall standing among strangers in front of a big-screen TV in Best Buy.

We spent a longer while at work, eventually leaving to watch the horror unfold from the comfort of our own homes. There, I pleaded with Andy to leave the job he had just started a few weeks before. He worked in Kendall Square, where MIT is located. I was sure if there were more attacks "they" would target the academic centers soon.

He didn't leave until 5:00 and was home in record time. No one was on the roads. He found me in front of the TV exactly where I had landed when I arrived home hours before. We watched more. We headed to his mom's to wish her a happy birthday - yeah, 9/11 bummer. More TV, bed, God-Bless-America-sex, sleep.

In the morning, we woke up back to the bad dream that was our new reality.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

42 Years, 42 Things

Well, I believe in the soul, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days. - Crash Davis, Bull Durham

Here's what I believe:
  1. I believe all religions essentially worship the same God, only in different manners
  2. I believe eating chocolate makes you feel better
  3. I believe having pets adds to a family
  4. I believe holding a newborn is life affirming
  5. I believe human beings are capable of great things
  6. I believe there is life on other planets
  7. I believe in dancing in the kitchen
  8. I believe in education
  9. I believe in girlfriends who share the unvarnished truth
  10. I believe in good manners
  11. I believe in hard work getting you to where you want to be
  12. I believe in having a life plan
  13. I believe in healthy past times
  14. I believe in Kevin Bacon
  15. I believe in making popcorn and watching The Wizard of Oz
  16. I believe in mother's intuition
  17. I believe in multiple orgasms
  18. I believe in safe sex
  19. I believe in separation of church and state
  20. I believe in singing loudly in the car
  21. I believe in tea in the morning and wine in the evening
  22. I believe in using proper grammar and spelling at all times
  23. I believe it really pisses God off when wars are waged in His name
  24. I believe it's a choice to grow closer or to grow apart
  25. I believe mental illness is a physical illness
  26. I believe not all babies are beautiful
  27. I believe people in the public eye have a responsibility to behave better
  28. I believe political correctness has gotten way out of hand
  29. I believe professional athletes are paid way too much
  30. I believe reality TV is the lowest common denominator
  31. I believe Rome is burning and we need to find the fire extinguisher
  32. I believe sometimes people need a leg up, not a free hand
  33. I believe -strongly - in personal responsibility
  34. I believe that consenting adults have the right to marry whomever they choose
  35. I believe that the equality of women and men is a basic human right, regardless of religion
  36. I believe the Earth is warming
  37. I believe humans are largely but not entirely responsible for it
  38. I believe in respecting the position if not the person
  39. I believe the Muslim woman who rang me up at Target is just trying to make a living, like everyone else
  40. I believe the sound of my sons' laughter heals my heart
  41. I believe we are largely a nation of hypochondriacs
  42. I believe that in the end, we all do what's best for ourselves 
What do you believe?

    Saturday, September 4, 2010

    Shiny, Happy People Holding Hands...

    Have you "friended" any news outlets on Facebook?  If you haven't please do!  And be sure at least one of them is local.   One of my greatest pleasures these days is reading the comments - and comments on comments - posted by the jury of my peers currently populating my Facebook space.

    So one of our local news stations (best known for their sensational journalism, hyperbole, and alliteration) posts this pretty dry, yet informative piece about Hurricane Earl:

    Ladies and gentlemen, I present The People of Facebook:

    You've got your Generic Likers

    The Slightly Pissed Off

    The I Told You So's

    The Truly Pissed Off

    The Attackers

    The Defenders

    The Rebutters

    The Defenders - This time it's personal

    The Random Hate Speakers

    The Clairvoyant Grammarians

    The English Teachers (okay, these are my people)

    Think I'll stay on the right side of the law.  The jury pool's pretty shallow...

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