Thursday, August 30, 2012

Passwords

We bought a new computer -- a laptop to be exact -- mostly for my use.  I am enjoying the laptop, although I have yet to move it from the spot where the old computer is.  What then, was the point of getting a laptop, right?  Never mind.  It will move.

Tim set the whole computer up for me, complete with password for logon.  When the kids want to use the computer, they come to me and I type in the password.

"Mom," one of the kids said the other day. "We are going to figure out your password.  We already have the letter O."

Sure enough, there on the whiteboard in the kitchen, the kids had made a list of letters for my password.  The big black O stood out against the white on the wall.  I smiled.  O is not a letter in my password.

"We have more letters, mom!" I heard Aaron say yesterday.  And they do.  The list now includes the following:  E, F, M, L, and of course, the O.  Apparently, each time I type in the password, all three heads look down, hoping to get a new letter.

I am going to let them hope.  Once they get all of the letters they think are in the password, they then have to figure out what the configuration might be.  Is it a name?  A place?  A person?  Is my password even a real word?  Or might it be the first letters of a sentence?  They have no clue, and I am not telling.

Furthermore, if they get all the letters, and that is a huge IF, you know I'll just change the password to something else.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fashion Statements

Way back in February 2011, I told you about the people I saw walking to and fro in the pedestrian walkway at school.  The post was more of a fashion commentary than it meant to be, and it concentrated on the different types of pants people now wear.  The kind that barely stays on took center stage that day, and since I have once again started walking that same pathway into the building, I can happily say that perhaps, just maybe, fashion has moved on.  It seems as though people's pants are riding where they should.

However, there are many other things that stand out now.  Things that keep me laughing for the 25 yard walk, and make people look at me funny.  Who is that crazy lady laughing to herself,  they ask.  Yeah, sometimes I ask myself that, too.

Anyway, I started school on Monday, and so far, this is what I have to report.

1.  Patterns that don't match, at all (my kids have been doing this for years).
2. Girls dressing like guys and vice versa.
3. Lots of color in the hair (myself included).
4.  Dressing like winter even though it is 85 degrees out.
5. Skirts so short, the bum cheeks are peeking.
6. Shorts so short, the bum cheeks are peeking.
7.  The aqua pick sticking out of an awesome afro.

That last one literally had me laughing out loud this morning.  I hadn't seen a pick like that since the 1980s.  My day was buoyed by the whiff of nostalgia.

I am not here to judge, I just report the facts.  And if you can, by wearing what you wear, keep my mind off of the fact that my legs are killing me (a new, awful symptom of my period, now that I am getting older), then by all means, keep doing what you are doing.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Behaving Badly

I love my Saturday morning runs.  I live for them.  I run long on those days, anywhere from 7 to 10 miles.  I'd love to get up to 12 miles, but lately, I just haven't had the time.

This Saturday was no exception, for the most part.  The weather was nice, and there was no rain.  My legs felt fine, as did my lungs.  To be honest, I couldn't ask for anything more.

I don't carry water with me, so I tend to stop at outdoor water fountains.  About halfway through my run, I stopped for a drink of water at the parking lot of a local church. Kids and parents were starting to gather for the morning soccer games. As I stepped back from the water fountain to continue the run, I overheard a mother say to one of her kids, "Hurry up, you butthole!"

I don't run with contacts, so I couldn't see how old the child was, but the kids on the field were pretty small.  I was flabbergasted.  I did a double check to see if the lady was speaking to a child.  Indeed, she was.  And even without contacts, I could see the scowl on her face.  I ran on, debating whether or not to say something, and in the end, I chose not to.  Perhaps I should have.  Next time, I probably will. 

Why did the comment bother me so much?  It made me sad for a variety of reasons. The child thinks he/she is the equivalent of an ass, first of all.  That child might plod forth in life, believing what the mother says.  If she routinely makes comments like the one she did Saturday, that kid is in for a life of degradation.  When I think about that now, I kick myself for not stopping.

Furthermore, the mother thinks it is okay to call someone butthole. It is not okay to call your kids names.  It is not okay to call anyone a nasty name.  This might differ if both parties know you are kidding.  But it was clear in this instance that kidding was not happening, and there wasn't an apology.  I should know; I hung around long enough for one.

Had I stopped, the woman would have told me to mind my own business.  Of that I am certain.  And maybe it isn't my place to tell someone how to parent.  But sometimes, I expect more from people.  Perhaps people need to start expecting more from themselves.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Forms

Back in July, I received a phone call from a friend.  She asked if I'd be willing to input some data for the PTO when school started.  I said that would be fine. Computers and I are friendly, and I've done enough with spreadsheets over the years that they don't scare me.

The data I needed to enter is basically a volunteer sign up form that the PTO sends out.  You put your name, phone number, email address on the form, as well as the names of your children, their grades, and their teachers.  Then, you check the box as to what you might be interested in helping with over the course of the year.  This system allows the PTO to have a complete list of people willing to help.  Need to get the Spaghetti dinner accomplished?  Check out the spreadsheet with the list of people who said they'd help with it.  Easy enough to send the emails/calls out due to the spreadsheet.  Having people say they can actually do it is another problem.

Anyway, these orange sheets and I have spent a lot of time together over the past week and a half.  And here are a few tips for people if you ever need to fill a form like this out.

  1. Be sure to print legibly.  That means we need to be able to read your proper name.  Same goes for email addresses.  Is that a zero or an O?  Do you have an m in your name or an n?  We can't contact you if we can't read your information.  Then again, perhaps that is your intent.
  2. If you list an email address, don't follow it up with "if I don't reply in 1 day, please call me.  I don't check email that often."  The PTO members and other people of the school don't have time for games.  If you don't check email, then don't provide the address!
  3. Fill out the darn thing (I bet I less than 25% of the families in the computer right now).  You can't tell me that you have zero time to help with at least one event over the next 9 months.  Even if you don't particularly like volunteering, or you work full-time, there are opportunities for helping.  Don't expect me and other people to pick up all your slack.  And if you don't help out, then don't complain!

And then I have a few tips for people that get several of these forms because they have more than one child attending the school. 
  1. If you have multiple children, and the form allows you to list said multiple children, then only fill out one form.  That certainly has to be easier on you.  I know it is for me, when 3 of my kids are at the school.  And having only one form per family is easier to put into the spreadsheet. Why?  See 2, 3, and 4 below.
  2. If you do not abide by the above and fill out a form for every child, then please, write down the same numbers at which to contact you.  Can someone have 4 contact numbers all of which are different?  I guess so, considering blended families and the possibility of two homes.  But your name is the constant here, which means the numbers at which to reach you should stay the same.
  3. Write down the same email address for yourself each time, too.  Sure I can see a personal and a work email.  But a bunch of other email addresses listed for the same person is confusing and a waste of time.
  4. Finally, be sure to check the same activities in which you'd like to be involved.  It just makes it easier.  If I have to, I'll put your name down for everything, which means you will get a phone call or an email at all of your numbers and email addresses.  Ha!
Thank goodness this stint is done.  It was fun while it lasted, and friend, I'll do it again next year no problem. In the meantime, I am going to think if there is a better way to do this.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It's All in the A

I received an email today from someone I normally see on a weekly basis.  I haven't known her long, but we have emailed quite a bit back and forth.  I tell you this, because our emailing means that she has been repeatedly exposed to my email address and name, which clearly says Christina.  Not Chrissy or Chris or Christi.   And most of all, not Christine.  But yet, there it was, in the middle of the email, a reference to Christine

I looked up at the list of addresses, hoping she meant someone else, but knowing that she didn't.  I am tired of this mistake.  It has happened all of my life and I am just plumb tired of it.  Nothing more to say.  Except this:  if I can make sure that you are Kelli with an i, and not a y, than I think you can make a more conscious effort to make me ChristinA

By the way, Gina says I should sign all of my emails that way.  And of course, Kelli is a pseudonym.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Showers

All I really want to do is take a shower, but the universe is against me.

I haven't shampooed my hair since 11 am yesterday, although I did shower this morning at 8 am.  But my hair is starting to feel stringy, I am tired, and I just want the steam to help clear my head.

I've been trying since about 7 pm to get into the shower.  I thought I could do it after I put Melina to bed.  But Aaron had other ideas.  About a million of them.  And then, after he was in bed, I had to put the laundry in and check in on the girls.  And finally, after their snacks and such, just when I had gotten together my jammies and fresh underwear, the inevitable happened. The part of my family staying with me, in our room, all went to bed; therefore, the shower is off limits.  My parents are now occupying the other full bathroom.  And I just can't see myself trying to bath in the sink found in the half bath.  Can you see it?

I never thought I'd have to put shower at the top of my priority list.  But I guess I just did.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Cheese

I have a love/hate relationship with cheese.

I love it on pizza.  I hate it if it smells funny.  (Romano, I'm looking at you.)  I love it in enchiladas.  I hate it if it is too hard.  (That would be Cheddar.)

Back in college, I was so convinced that cheese was bad, I actually tried the fat-free variety.  It was tasteless and rubbery, and didn't satisfy properly.  I soon caved and learned that eating healthy is the key to weight maintenance...not getting rid of cheese in your diet.  I still cringe at the thought of eating fat-free cheese.  Something is just wrong with that.

The dichotomy extends into macaroni and cheese, too.  I was raised on Kraft, which for a while was okay, but I'd only eat it with a fork.   Why?  So the cheese sauce would drip off of the noodles and into the bowl.  It just had too much cheese.  Someone tried to serve me Velveeta brand once, but I turned up my nose.  To this day, I'll eat homemade mac and cheese if someone serves it to me, but I find it too cheesy, too rich, and just plain overbaked. 

When the kids came along, I certainly wasn't going to try to make homemade macaroni, so I tried Annie's, a brand that the kids and I both love.  I still eat it with a fork, but I find the taste and texture much more palatable than any other boxed variety.  Usually, Melina eats Annie's; in fact, she loves it.  But today, at the grocery store, she saw a Deluxe Kraft version that reminded her of the homemade version she had out to lunch 2 weeks ago.  Can we try it, she asked?  Uh, well, okay, I replied.

Let me tell you this.  I can't figure out how or why the Deluxe Kraft version is out there and selling.  It creeped me out to squeeze the cheese onto the noodles, and when I tasted it (since I always taste something before I give it to my kids), I almost spit it out.  The meal was the equivalent of making noodles and melting American cheese on top.

Which brings me to a question I have always had:  How can American cheese, the processed slice of dairy and chemicals, actually be called cheese at all?  There is no love/hate about that orange square; it falls wholly in the hate category.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Remembering

Tim, Melina, and I all attended a funeral today.  The funeral was for a man that lived in our neighborhood, one that we saw walking his dog and having fun with this family.  I encountered him many times at the grocery store, and Tim coached his daughters in volleyball.  He was a part of our parish, and judging by all the other people that attended the funeral, he was also well loved.

I think funerals are hard for everyone, but I find them even more difficult if the people attending and those conducting dwell on their loss.  I know that sounds absolutely callous, but what I mean is that I prefer to have a funeral that is a celebration of life instead of an elegy of loss.  Today's funeral certainly fit the bill.

I can't do justice to the homily or the songs and readings chosen by the family, but it was apparent that the mom and daughters took some time and put some thought into the selections.  They chose the songs and readings because they represented this man, or reminded them of him.  It truly was a touching ceremony.

Of course, attending a funeral always gets one thinking of one's own demise.  I try not to dwell on that day; I don't fear it, but I do think of my kids and how they will handle my passing.  I also have many thoughts on how I think a funeral should be conducted.   But that is for another post.  In the meantime, say a quick prayer or send positive vibes to the family of PJB.  I think right now they could use some.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Moving Up

I am sitting right here, in the family room, writing from my new laptop.  Woo-hoo!

It is a beautiful machine that will ultimately replace the 12 year old computer that has served us well.  And it is all mine.  Mine.  Can I say that again? 

Sure, I'll let Tim and the kids use it.  Tim did, after all, buy it for me.  But when push comes to shove, I can claim the beast as mine; I'll push the user off, and scurry my fingers over the keyboard in an attempt to either write the next best line in my novel or upload an image to my lectures. 

And 12 years from now, I'll move up again to the next technological marvel in existence at the time. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sales Pitch

I did it.

Despite my better judgment, I friended a friend on FB who just happens to be a salesperson.  My FB experience will never be the same.

Want to buy a new toaster?  A bag?  A new recipe book? A new life?  I would not put it past this person to try and sell new lives.  If it can be sold, there will be a post about it.

I'm just waiting for sanity to be the item of the day.  That is something in which I just might have some interest.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Skunked

We did it again.

The girls and I have stripes.

Talia went with a somewhat brighter orange this time.

Zoe chose a neon green (yikes!).

I decided to go nuts.  Right at the hairline, framing my face, I now have brick red hair.  Behind that, on the top layer, I have golden blond hair.  Underneath is my own chestnut brown with two stripes of the red peeking out in the hair that lies on either side of my neck.  A lady at the grocery store did a double take today.  I don't know if it was good or bad.  But I like it, and that is all that counts.

Pictures to come, of course.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Always With the Humor

Yesterday at dinner, the kids and I ate without Tim.  For some reason, they wanted to know details about our engagement and wedding, and I gave them as many as I could remember.  It isn't that I didn't enjoy our wedding.  I absolutely did and would do it again in a heartbeat.  But I cannot do justice to the day, company, music, and food with words.

I gave the kids a few details and told them that we'd had two desserts at our wedding.  The traditional cake, which was cut and put into cute to-go bags, and a lovely dessert called Paris Brest.  If you don't know what that is, take the time to check this site at Joy of Baking, and try to imagine indulging is the yummy treat.  It was delicious.  Leave it to my kids, though, to find the humor in it.  Here's how the conversation went.

Me:  We had a super delicious dessert called Paris Brest.
Kid 1:  Oh.  What is that?
Me:  It is sort of a huge cream puff type dessert.
Kid 2:  What is it called again?
Me:  Paris Brest.
Kid 1:  What did it taste like?
Kid 2:  Milk?
Me:  That was good, kid.  I gotta give you that one.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Third Time is a Charm

The wasps are haunting us.  And I don't like wasps.  In fact, after Melina was born, I called a neighbor to come over and help me get a wasp out of the house.  He probably thought I was crazy, but I had 3 scared little kids and an infant, and my hormones weren't quite back to normal.  Plus, Tim was out of town.

Back to present time, though.  On the way home from camp, amongst the rave reviews of all the fun the kids had, I hear, "Mom, there is a bee or something back here."  I looked in my rear view mirror, and then sharply turned the wheel and pealed into the nearest parking lot.  By the time I got out and opened the sliding door, the poor thing decided he'd had it with our lot and went out the window.  I bet he was tired of hearing the kids talk.  Anyway, that was encounter number 1.

Encounter number 2 happened yesterday, when Melina got stung on the thigh.  When I was able to coax out of the shaking little lady a description of what stung her, it seemed most likely it was a wasp.  She says it still hurts, by the way.

And the third encounter also occurred yesterday.  I happened to be on the phone when Talia calmly said, "Excuse me, Mommy, there is a wasp in the family room."  I, too, stayed calm, but quickly ended the call, and grabbed a cup to put over him while I found other useful items.  As Aaron held the cup, I pulled out some hairspray to immobilize said wasp, some paper towels, and a phone book.  When I lifted the cup, it was obvious the little wasp had gone to the top.  I plopped the cup on the phone book, and managed to move the wasp outside, with little fanfare.

They say third time is a charm, right?  I am so hoping we are done with wasps.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

24 Hours

In the last 24 hours:

I picked up two kids from camp and have heard every camp story just about 5 times.  I should have enjoyed the quiet when I was down two kids.

We lost power, again.  And the power came back on.  In fact, I am betting that the local power company sent out a crew to our area when the winds started to blow.  They knew it would need to be fixed.  That's how quickly the power was restored.

Zoe and Talia had a check at the orthodontist.  Once again, Dr. M confirmed that the girls mouths are identical.  It never ceases to amaze me that two separate people can have the same number of baby teeth left in their mouths AND the same number of loose teeth.

Zoe had a headache and vomited this morning.  Her symptoms and subsequent normal behavior lead me to believe that she might have had a migraine.  I don't wish that on her, but I also don't feel like dealing with a GI virus this close to the start of school.

And finally, a lovely black and yellow striped being with long, long legs stung Melina.  I heard her blood-curdling scream from inside the house (she was outside) and managed to make it to her in 2 seconds.  The poor thing was shaking and crying, but a bit of ice, baking soda, and a princess band-aid have made the world right again.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Camp Drop-off

"Are you excited?" I asked the twins as we pulled up to camp.  The incoming fifth graders would be spending two and a half days at a local YMCA camp.

"Yes!" Both girls piped up from the back seat.  I glanced at them in the rear view mirror.  For a moment, I saw the two as they were when they were much younger, poking each other in the ribs and rubbing their eyes with closed fists.  Then, my vision cleared.  The identical hazel eyes swam with joy, and broad smiles spread across the twins' faces.

As I put the car in park, the girls quickly unbuckled themselves.  They opened the door, ran around to meet me at the rear of the car, and started to grab their bags.

"I don't need any help, Mom," one of the girls said.  The other followed suit.  Maybe they did not need help, but I wanted to help.  I wanted to extend the time it took to drop off my precious girls because this was the first time we'd been away from each other for so long.  I know, it won't even be that long, but 2 nights away seemed like a lot at the time.

I did not dawdle.  I signed the registration sheet as the girls wandered to the dormitory.  The girls found their friends, made their beds, and gave me big hugs.  "Tell Daddy that we love him," they called as they waved, blew kisses, and walked away.  I loaded Melina and Aaron into the car and left. No tears, no problem.

Until Aaron reminded me that when the girls go to college, it will be just the two of them at home with Mommy and Daddy.  And then, when he goes away, only Melina will be left.

"I can have all the peace and quiet I want then, huh?" I asked the two quiet passengers in the back. 
 "Yep!" came their reply.

And there, on the road, not too far from the entrance to camp, I wanted to turn the car around.  I felt an overwhelming emotion take me over.  Not because I'd miss the girls.  It was, after all, only two days.  I could get through two days without seeing them.  But I wanted to feel their little cheeks between my hands as I bent to kiss their forehead; I craved one last bear hug from tiny arms; I longed to say I love you one more time, and take them by the hand and not let them go.  

I've said it before, but I need to say it again:  I never knew that growing up could be so difficult.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Greatness

It must be positive vibe month around here.  This post and the last one have to do with bettering yourself.  I promise not to go preachy on you.

Today at church, Fr. N spoke about having something greater in store.  We might not all know what the greatness inside of us is, but I agree.  We need to keep in mind that we can all achieve greatness.

So make sure you strive for it.

As for me, I hope I can someday make this blog greater.  At the rate I am going, though, it could be a while!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Flourishing

I realized the other day that I am defined by the people around me. 

I am Tim's wife.
I am Aaron's mom.
I am the mom of identical twins.
I am Melina's favorite person. 

A woman can get lost in that world, always doing things for other people, making sure the environment is calm and serene for everyone, attempting to keep sanity, but in the process making life revolve around the family members instead of herself.  But when the kids are grown and the house is empty, save for the animals and husband (who really, just might be an animal himself, you know?), what can a woman say for herself?  Where is that definition of self?  Where is the purpose? 

To paraphrase a friend of mine, we don't want to exist and simply stay sane, we need to flourish.

So simple and yet absolutely well said.  Perhaps the word flourish should be written and stamped on a t-shirt and sold in women's stores.  I think most of the women I know would look at that shirt, stop in their tracks, and reflect on whether or not they are flourishing.  It could be the new Life is good campaign.

And if you aren't flourishing? Don't feel bad.  Find a way to make it happen, and find it quickly.