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Tuesday, July 31, 2012


D as in Disaster.
D as in DAMN IT!
D as in Didn't let it get to me.

Long story short - Yesterday, I lost my car keys. (Well, I suppose I lost them Sunday, but I noticed yesterday.)
Yes, we have a spare. And yes, they were both on the same (lost) key ring. There's a back story, but that would make the short story long.

I'd been trying to get into the doctor for months. (No big deal, but I do need the check-up.) Finally, I had a day off, and he had an opening. Then, I'm ready to walk out the door. No keys.

No big deal. Not the first time. I looked for a bit, then called my husband to help me. It's a cute reversal of the usual stereo-typed gender roles. He finds in 1 minute what I looked for for 10 minutes without finding. Not this time.

My parents arrived to watch my daughter while I went to the doctor. They both looked. They each also have a fair track record of finding things I can't. Not this time.

Finally, I called to reschedule the appointment. My dad & husband went off to work. My mom & I planned on some light cleaning, so we figured the keys would turn up in the process. Not this time.

Bright sides?
I got two unpleasant things out of the way simultaneously - cleaning house & getting new keys made. (Thanks AAA!)
My mom & I kind of had a good time -- we took turns cleaning & playing with my daughter.
Since we were stuck near the house (waiting for locksmith etc) all morning, and it rained in the afternoon, we didn't do anything too taxing. Usually, I entirely over-schedule my days off. I go back to work feeling less rested!

I was also darned proud of myself - for?
With only a little guidance from husband & parents, I took care of the problem.
I actually can't remember the last time I lost my keys. (Big news in my world.)
And, most importantly, I did not berate myself for losing my keys.

Yes, I know the Olympics are happening. I just watched 5 gals less than half my age accomplish an amazing victory for our country. My victories are smaller (much much smaller), but they make me happy. I'll take it. :)

My Mantra

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Change: Too Much of a Good Thing?

"Change is good."

People throw that sentence around a little too freely for my taste sometimes. Oh, I grant you, change can certainly be good. But a couple of things:

  • It isn't always good
  • You can get too much of a good thing.
  • Saying & knowing it's a good thing doesn't magically erase stress.
My little family of 3 is experiencing 2 of the 3 right now. Happily, all of the changes are happy ones.
But all 3 of us making big changes at once? Whoa. Just, whoa.

  • My husband started a new job a few weeks ago (his second this year).
  • I start a new position at current job in two weeks.
  • Kiddo starts a new school next week (her second this year).
The career moves are one things. People of a certain age & mindset have to do those things. (Right? Or do we? Thought for another day ...) 
But that last one. Why oh why would we move our daughter when there's so much going on? When she's just starting to used to the newest teacher at current school.
For 4 main reasons:
  1. Location - Current school is right next to my work, which is roughly 40 minutes from my house. Translation: commuting with a toddler. No fun for either of us, and unnecessary exposure to road hazards for her. (But really, just plain selfishly? I used to enjoy my commute. My coffee, my NPR - it was my me time. Currently, I spend a good half the time explaining why I cannot turn around and find the shoe or sippy she just threw on the floor.) New school is 8 minutes from my house.
  2. Schedule - Our first school (attached to Husband's job of the previous few years) gave us a Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday schedule. My parents had her on Mondays & Fridays. I loved the compartmentalization. It was like a mini-week for our family of 3. Then the extended family might do something together on Fridays. Current school made us do Monday/Wednesday/Friday. It has its benefits, but none outweigh the fact that none of us ever seems to know where we're going when - least of all the little 2 year old in the mix! New school? They said I could pick my days & seemed unable to fathom why the other school wouldn't allow it.
  3. Professionalism - I love the teachers we've had at current school. Management leaves something to be desired. They seem to forget when it's time to transition a child to the next level. Therefore, my daughter, who talks like a 3 year old, was in a room with 18 month old's till well past her 2nd birthday. I finally had to jump up & down on one foot to get the director to notice. And when they did transition her? They did it sort of out of the blue, and also never bothered to tell me that I'd have to drop her off in a still different room from the one she was moving to. Also!? The staff doesn't have a uniform. Sounds like a dumb complaint, but I like knowing easily who works there. I also like my daughter to see women dressed professionally, which their dress code falls short of. New school - logo'ed polos & khakis - is that so hard?
  4. PS - the proverbial icing on the cake. With all the negatives, we just kept chugging along, thinking change would be harder than maintaining the status quo. Then there were a couple of "incidents" - just things I heard from other parents. Things about teachers - not terrible things. But not warm fuzzy things. So, I had an "if not now, when" moment.
So, there you have it. The timing couldn't really be much worse. The changes will be good for all of us in the end. But facing 3 new routines at once is .. a little daunting. I know it will pass. Knowing that doesn't blow my funk away. Yoga does. An extra splash of wine and/or an extra spoon of frozen yogurt do. And, naturally, sweet times with my husband & daughter do.

Oh, PPS - that picture of us is from Christmas last year. "Things" had been the same for nearly a year & a half at the point. I just realized I was no more or less happy then. Which is to say - very happy. So, there's that.

How do you deal with change?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ease & Effort

"What do I want this to be about?"
I asked myself before the yoga practice tonight.

Ease & Effort - the balance between them. Yes!

I heard that last week or the week before in the same space. But tonight, it just popped in my head & made total sense.

Ease & Effort. Yes. Finding that balance has been my whole life. I mean, the goal of my whole life.

When life's too easy - boring.
When life's too much effort - stressful.

In general, lately - and today, in particular - feeling just right. A challenging but fun day at work. A completely awesome yoga practice. Return to the family for bedtime!

Sometimes, I go a little too far toward effort or ease. Boredom & Stress equally lead away from equilibrium and away from being in the moment.

Adjustments are necessary.  No need for a tug-of-war. Just a little give & take.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Thinking about Thinking

"You are not your thoughts." -- my latest yoga-inspired pondering.

When the teacher said it, I thought - "right, you have to take action."

But then she said, "... and isn't that wonderful?"

Wait a minute! 

No. No, it is not awesome.

If I were my thoughts, imagine ...

  • My house would always be impeccably clean.
  • I'd read more, work out more, blog more, and sleep more.
  • All my work projects would be complete and presented to the ooh's & aah's of my colleagues.
  • I'd turn all my "Pins" into reality.
Or at the very least ...

  • My laundry would be put away the same day it's washed.
  • I'd read more OR work out more OR blog more OR sleep more.
  • I would not be best known at work as "most often to forget her ID badge."
  • I would have opened the sewing machine I bought to turn "Pins" into reality.
But, we all know what she meant.

We all have bad thoughts. Self-deprecating thoughts & judgmental thoughts. Mean thoughts, even sometimes violent thoughts.

The idea is that you can't control what thoughts come into your head, but you can control what you do with them.

  • Let go of negative thoughts.
  • Act on positive thoughts.

Still, it would be nice if this post had just written itself when I thought of it ... 8 days ago.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Silence is Golden ... and now Broken (Healthcare part 1)

I've been trying not to write this post for over a month now.
It's too serious.
This blog is supposed to be light-hearted, a place to unwind. At the heaviest, to consider parenting dilemmas, such as which Disney princess to allow my daughter to emulate.
But. I can't keep this inside any more.
I don't get opposition to the Affordable Care Act. Every time I hear "Obamacare," I cringe. I guess it's appropriate. I assume that's the part many opponents dislike about the law.

Most people aren't going to argue with the goal of the law - improved access to health services and improved health outcomes for all Americans. At least, they aren't going to argue with it out loud.

And the thing is - each part of it is necessary. They imply each other. The best analogy I've seen is "the three-legged stool."

  1. Require insurance companies to cover everyone.
  2. Mandate everyone to have health insurance.
  3. Subsidize people who truly cannot afford health insurance.

Remove one, and the stool falls down. And, the mandate is the one with a big bull's eye on its back, right?

  • If insurance companies cover everyone, but not everyone has to buy -- healthy people wait till their sick to buy insurance; premiums go up up up.
If you want to opt out of buying insurance, and you were never ever going to use the healthcare system? More power to you. 
But when people get sick? (Even if they intentionally are intentionally uninsured or truly couldn't afford it.) They typically go get healthcare. And when uninsured people get healthcare, hospitals lose money. So -- Hospitals have to charge insurance companies more for services to their patients to make up the difference. 
And then? MY premiums go up.
So I? I believe in the mandate. I believe it in strongly.

Did you get your kids vaccinated with all the vaccines your doctor said was mandatory? Most likely. Because otherwise, your kids can't go to school.
We mandate vaccines because they only work when enough people have them -- herd immunity.

Insurance is similar. It only works if enough people have it.

Now that I've started, I find I have more to say about this. Like - 1. why I would prefer my health insurance not be tied to my employer. And 2. what a great world it would be if there were no health disparities. But those will have to wait for another day.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Truth & Lies

So, before you become a parent, parents tell you many things.

Some of them seem obvious, and you wonder why they even bother to tell you. Like how much you'll love your kids and how tired you'll be. (But then you have the kids and realize that on both counts, no - you really couldn't even imagine.)

Some of them seem like BS, but turn out to be true. Others seem like BS, and turn out to be BS.

Here are a few examples (re)learned today:

1. Giving toddlers choices can work.

  • This one seemed like BS. Duh, the toddler will choose their way every time. Just like I would. BUT - one must be crafty. After all, one is the adult. Not - "Do you want to eat your green beans or not?" Rather - "Do you want to eat green beans or carrots?"
  • Witness - This girl was dirty after running around "ChuckECheese's house" for 2 hours.

So, after dinner tonight, I told my daughter it was time for she & mommy to take a shower. She didn't wanna. In fact, she wanted to scream really loudly in my ear & pull my hair. I calmly asked if she'd like to take a shower or a bath. I did this mainly to kill time, not out of any real hope of success. BUT? It worked. She stopped pulling, stopped screaming, and answered "a bath." So, she took a bath, and I took a shower. (They're adjoining, but Daddy also watched to make sure she didn't drown.)

2. You won't want to laugh when it's your kid.
  • LIE
  • A friend or cousin said this to me one time, when I had to leave the room to keep from laughing at something terribly naughty their kid was doing. I had to do this literally ALL THE TIME. I apologized and told them I worried what I'd do when I had kids. Their response put my mind ease. Falsely.
  • Witness - bath time tonight (see above). Before my serenity breakthrough, I was biting my lip to keep from laughing, even as I was gripping my hair at the roots to keep from losing it.
And, once we finally got her into bed, I laid next to her till she fell asleep. In addition to a litany of other toddler insanity, I heard - "Oh, a booger. I like to eat boogers. Mmmm ... yummy!" accompanied by smacking of lips. Yep, I let my kid eat a booger. But, doggoneit, she didn't get a rise out of me! And once again, I had to bit my lip to keep from laughing hysterically.

3. ChuckECheese is awesome.

  • Okay, not everyone told me that. But some variation thereof. Like how much you enjoy things you would never dream of and so on.
  • It was totally awesome to see the absolute delight in my daughter's eyes while we ran around and played games. Her exuberance at ChuckE's entrance & performance were so cute. It was awesome to help our neighbors celebrate their son's 5th birthday.
  • BUT? The actual staggering toward the end, as though drunk on pizza, cake and flashing lights - not awesome. Slightly terrifying, actually. The fact that she was all whacked out on crazy balls the rest of the afternoon & evening - exhausting and (again) pretty scary. 
I mean, she's two & all, but she was crazy even for her. I mean, what does that place do to kids' brains? Or my brain for that matter? I feel like I have a hangover. I'm all nauseous and hungry at the same time. I have a headache, and I hurt all over. Glad we went, but I'd be even more glad if we never go again!

PS - believe it or not - their pizza's pretty good. They put it on this bubbled pan that keeps the crust crispy. (Feel like I need to give them a shout out, because who knows - maybe I just have a toddler, and tonight's craziness has nothing to do with their crack-like facility.)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Summer Nights // Movie Night

The theater? We're not ready. I mentioned this recently to explain why I won't see the much anticipated & already beloved Brave for many moons to come.

However, I realized anew this evening - we are not ready for the theater.

Tonight marks movie #3 that we are half-way through.

Let's recap:

1. A few months back - Snow White - too scary. (Yes, vanity is terribly scary. Let's all remember that.) We made it to her first night in the Dwarfs' cottage.

2. A couple weeks ago - Cars - too esoteric. Past the opening high-paced scenes of races & such other flashiness, it drops into cautionary tale against egotism. We made it till McQueen learns that Doc won 3 Piston Cups.

3. Tonight - Follow That Bird - Okay, first of all? Not my first choice. My plan was to finish Cars and eat a pizza.
But we had no pizza, and it turns out the AppleTV was downstairs (which, I learned after getting my lovely & our makeshift dinner of hummus etc UPstairs) ... so Netflix!
However ... we were quite enjoying the 27 year old Sesame big-screen foray, when I decided we should get ready for bed & finish the movie downstairs. (Love you, technology!)
BUT? Child associates bed routine with Dora or Diego. So, there you have it. Big Bird had just escaped Ms. Finch disguised as a haystack when we lost him.
But my favorite part was, of course, Waylon Jennings. (And if you didn't know that, do you even know me at all?)

Spoiler Alert!
I know how each of these movies ends --
1. Snow White ignores the Dwarfs' good advice and any modicum of common sense and eats the apple from the totally creepy looking old woman, falls into a death-like sleep, wakes at the kiss of her one true love, and lives happily ever after. (Oh, and the evil queen gets chased off a cliff to her death, which is why I think we'll wait a few years to finish it! PS - anybody else think it's weird that this woman obsessed with her beauty disguises herself as a hideous beggar?)
2. Lightening McQueen learns the value of true friendship. I'm also guessing that at some point Doc had to learn a similar lesson.
3. Big Bird gets back to Sesame Street. (I really hope Waylon makes another appearance. I seriously teared up. Click the link above. Seriously.)

I don't mind at all watching half a movie at my house. But (again - if you know me at all?) not gonna pay for 2 adults & 1 kid to go to the theater, get even a small snack ... then stay for half.
Not. Gonna. Do it.

Any movie suggestions to wile away some hot summer hours with a 2.25 year-old?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Tale as Old as Time

I haven't seen Brave yet.
I want to, but I won't till it comes out at least on RedBox, and probably not till Netflix. But that's just because my daughter is 2. I will not brave the theater with her for some time to come. (See what I did there?)We will not use a date-night for a family flick either.

So ... excited but willing to wait.

Excited why?
Because I love kick-ass girls, obviously. I also love how many little boys I know who are loving this kick-ass Merida.

But I don't get people thinking the kick-ass heroine is new.

Before they lowered the neckline on her dress and started merchandising her along-side my much maligned Cinderella, Belle kicked ass.

Kicked ass why?
  1. Loves to read.
  2. Cares not a lick if the townspeople think she's odd.
  3. Repeatedly turns down a marriage proposal from "the handsomest man in town," because he's "a brainless brute," --- who does not respect her interests and only wants her for her looks.
  4. Rescues her father from the Beast by offering to stay in his place.
  5. She was pretty inept at fighting those wolves, but she did try.
  6. Falls in love with the Beast despite his "monstrous form" because of what's on the inside.
Beauty and the Beast came out in 1991. I was 14. It was the last Disney movie I loved. Whether that relates to my age or the movies ... 

Belle is a heroine, a protagonist. She is not a passive part in her own story. 
Cinderella, Snow White, and Aurora -- they all know how to work hard and stay sweet and talk to animals, but they just wait around for a handsome dude to make their lives better. 
Belle takes action. Belle falls in love over time, with a person - not a face.

The movie scared my daughter a little, so we don't watch it. But when I read our Little Golden Book version several times per week, we take turns singing the song - she's amazingly good, by the way!
She knows that "Gaston is not nice." She knows when the Beast is sad and hurt, and she feels badly for him and shows no fear of his appearance. I'm not sure she knows that the handsome prince on the last page was the Beast all along. But she will.

I don't recall Belle directly inspiring me in 1991. Looking back, I do see that while I may have strayed, I never settled.

I hope my daughter will be able to say the same. I hope she'll know the transformative power of love.

I hope marketers don't lower Merida's neckline in the years to come.