Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Welcome to 10 Years Ago!

I got a smartphone.

You're thinking, pfft, big deal, I get a new smartphone every time my contract renews, blah, blah, big deal.

But no, this is a big deal.  It's my first smartphone.

I'll give you a moment to stop laughing.

I like to think of myself as current, up to date, one with the new-fangled gizmos.  I love technology - we have several tablets, multiple computery devices, and high speed internet.  But then I remember that I'm mostly a crotchety old lady who would prefer it if you stay off my lawn.  I have to face the facts that my children probably know more than I do about the latest technology, or at least we're coming to that crossroads very, very soon, and there's no turning back.  But that's as it should be.  One day, they will be exasperatedly trying to explain how their new hover board works, and I'll be all, back in the day, we had to use our legs to get from place to place, and that's the correct order of things.  Doesn't mean I won't appreciate new things (where is my jet pack already).

You totally want to pat my head and say, Sweetie, the smartphone is not a new thing, don't you?  And you would be absolutely correct.  I admit I have be stubbornly hanging onto the notion that I could get by in this day and age without one, but that's only part of the equation.  I am also unbearably cheap and didn't want to pay for it.  This is news to exactly nobody: I hate spending money.  Aren't you glad you're not married to me?

However, I have coveted a smartphone for years.  I just couldn't pull the trigger.  I had a super cheap cell phone that did the bare minimum.  I had a small tablet I could keep in my purse and use whenever I needed it.  I even had an iPod I could slip in a pocket to use as a camera.  Didn't all these things do the job of a smartphone.  Well, yes.  And not exactly.  And it all made my purse really heavy.  Plus, it got really annoying watching my dad upgrade to the latest phone over and over and use it as... a phone and not much else.  I knew I could do I better job as a smartphone owner. (Hi, Dad! Love you!)

What was the breaking point?  If I have to pick an impetus, I would say it's an upcoming excursion in which 14 of my closest family members will be traveling together and need to be able to find one another when we're spread out doing various and sundry things.  But that's just part of the picture.  As my kids grow and get more involved at school and in extracurricular activities, so am I.  And how does the school communicate?  How do the other parents communicate?  Through texts and tweets and status updates that I apparently need to read (in the midst of all the other detritus on the internet) (including this) (but certainly not including you - you are the most important part of the internet, yes and truly).  I've been missing out and falling behind.  Do you know how much easier  smartphone would have made my being Girl Scout cookie mom? (Yes, I was cookie mom.  Or rather, Cookie Czar, if you please.)  Soooo much easier. 

And so, after much exhaustive research (exhaustive for my husband who was so tired of my hemming and hawing), I bit the bullet and got my own handy dandy handheld talking computer machine.  And for grins, old Hub got one, too.  Now I can pester him with texts and pictures all the live long day.  Aren't you glad now, Chris?

If you've made it this far, I hope you're at least giving me a slow clap for finally joining this century.  Heck, I give one to myself.  My super power is procrastination.

That said, I'm on the lookout for text buddies.  I'm pretty sure my husband will figure out he can turn off his phone pretty quickly and I'll be out of luck.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

One Syllable

This morning, there was an email from Sabrina's teacher.  Now, this is not an uncommon occurrence, seeing as I'm the room mom and the chief parent correspondent.  The subject said "Recess," so I figured she needed someone to cover playground duty on the fly, and I'm usually able to do that, so no big deal, right?


"At recess today, Sabrina lifted her shirt and showed her boobies to some of the other kids on the playground."

Excuse me while I melt into a puddle of embarrassment goo.

Come on.  How can this be?  How many times have we discussed that certain areas on you body are private, and only a parent or doctor should look at them?  So many times I've lost count.  She knows this.  And yet, here she is, creating her own personal Mardi Gras West.

My mind went through dozens of scenarios at lightning speed.  Start with a little fear of God?  Throw down a little shock and awe?  Be sweet and friendly and then hit her with Mom Knows All?  Or worse, send her straight to Grandma?  There were so many approaches, but I had to pick just the right one.  I decided to hang back and see how much she'd give away.

I picked her up from school, and she seemed her usual self, full of leftover energy but tired from a long school day, alternating between being sweet and downright ornery.  Yes, typical.  She gave away nothing.  This continued after we got home and went through the ritual of cleaning out the backpacks and getting everything ready for the next day.  Still nothing.  So I stared at the bull and took hold of its horns.

Sabrina followed me into the bedroom and I closed the door so curious big brother wouldn't disturb us.  I asked her how recess was today.  At first, she said, "Nothing, " but when I looked her in the eye, I think she knew the jig was up and said, "You saw the email?"  And promptly burst into tears.

Embarrassment?  Guilt?  Remorse?  I figured any of these were a good enough place to start.

Once I got her to calm down enough to form partial phrases I could somewhat interpret as English, I told her to tell me her side of the story.  It took a few spits and spurts, but she told her tale."

"Jack and Penny were showing their boo boos and I wanted to show them mine, too!" 

And that's when I remembered she had a scratch on her chest, right across the breastbone, probably from roughhousing with her brother and father.

Good gravy.

And here I had visions of my darling daughter ending up in a Girls Gone Wild video, when she was really just swapping war stories with her rag tag group of friends.  And somebody mistook boo BOOs for booBIEs.  So many innocent mistakes wrapped up into a horror show of misunderstanding.

That's a heart attack I can't give back.

I hugged her, reminded her to keep her swimsuit-covered parts to herself from now on, and gave her a special snack to change the mood in the room.  A little later, I will crack open the bottle of wine I went and bought immediately after receiving the original missive.  And toast to booboobies.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: Checkpoint

Oh look, here we are again.
1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

Way to start off with a tough one.  Planned and executed a family trip as the official cruise director.  Became a Room Mom and a Cookie Mom (heaven help me).  

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Here's what I listed last year:
·         Organize and label all the digital photos from 2013 (I'm up to May) and make my 2013 photo album of the best shots.
·         Finish converting all my old VHS tapes to DVD so I can throw all those old cassettes out and use my bookshelf for actual books.

I finished organizing all the pictures I had in September, and that was a wonderful feeling.  Have I done anything with September through December?  Nope.  But that seems more manageable, and I'll tackle it once the kids go back to school so I can make my 2014 photo album.  And I promise not to let this get as out of hand again.

I did convert all my tapes (except the purchased ones - I need to buy a gizmo that will let me do those) and a good portion of my dad's when I realized I didn't finalize any of them.  So I'm working through that.  But the old tapes are gone, gone, gone.  Nice.

As for this year, I want to keep better track of the budget.  I let that get away from me at the end of this year, and that made me feel bad.  And I'd just like to keep on top of things better.  I'm a terrible procrastinator.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My cousin's wife, and a good handful of pocket friends.  But I haven't met a fresh baby in some time and I'd like 2015 to rectify that, please.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Thankfully, no.

5. What places did you visit?

Charleston, South Carolina. I went there by myself in 2013, but brought the family back this year.  We hung out with Chris's nieces and their families and took the kids to see an ocean for the first time.  They LOVED it.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

Same as last year: I always say money, and that's always true.  Patience.  I'd really like some more of that.  Chris being able to come home earlier in the evenings so he can spend more time with us.

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

The kids' birthdays.  July 24, the day my baby boy stood up on a surfboard.  Lots of little moments that don't have to correlate to a particular day.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Getting new windows.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Lather, rinse, repeat, sigh: getting frustrated too easily and defaulting to yelling as the answer.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing serious, thank goodness.  Sabrina got an ugly stomach bug right before Thanksgiving, then the flu in mid December.  They boys came down with it just after Christmas.  I am the last man standing, and I hope to remain so.  ALL the vitamin C for me.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

The new Christmas tree, although I think I made the purchase last year.  But I did buy all new LED lights, and it's so pretty, I'm reluctant to take it down.  Anybody know where I can get some Valentine's ornaments?

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

The school board for hiring our awesome vice principal as the new principal.  My kids' teachers. All my internet ladies.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

A certain company that makes people come to work even though they have the flu, ahem.

14. Where did most of your money go?

It just vanishes. Who knows.  The usual suspects, I suppose.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

That there was a brand new Jeni's ice cream shop in Charleston when we visited.  Getting back into painting my nails because it makes me feel pretty.  Bell Bell peppermint bark ice cream (that I haven't been able to find all month, gosh darn it).

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?

Please.  "Shake it Off" is the only acceptable answer.  It was everywhere.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? About the same, although all this flu has me rather bummed at the moment.
b) thinner or fatter? I was down a tad at my last doctor's appointment, so I'll take that.
c) richer or poorer? Well, I didn't win the lottery, so.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Stopping before I get ramped up.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

"Sammy, hands out of your mouth!"  "Sabrina, we look with our eyes, not our hands!"  These sound eerily similar to last year's quotes, and indeed they are.  Let's get them gone, 2015.

20. How did you spend Christmas in 2014?

Since we wouldn't be going to Mass early in the day, I feel like I got an extra holiday day.  We hung out, watched movies, and relaxed.  So nice.

We had an appetizer dinner at my grandma's residence, and went to Mass in their chapel.  It was extremely hot, and Sabrina was miserable because of it, but we were together, and that's what mattered.  Then the kids went to bed, and Santa did his thing.

21. Did you fall in love in 2014?

Still weird.  Next.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

I love TV, but I'm sure I have a favorite right now.  Nothing new anyway.  Shame.

23. What did you do for your birthday in 2014?

I ignored it as hard as possible, again.

24. What was the best book you read?

I'm in the middle of Amy Poehler's Yes Please, and she is such a wonderful writer.  I knew she was funny, but this is beyond.  Very smart and entertaining.

25. What did you want and get?

Chris to be with us Christmas Eve.  Good, dermatologist recommended skin potions.

26. What did you want and not get?

The Big There - a magic housecleaning fairy.  A truckload of cash backed up into my garage.  A significantly smaller backside.

A really good local, in person friend with whom I really connect and can hang out.

Also, a smartphone.  I really need to join this century.

27. What was your favorite film of this year?

I have not set foot in  a theater this year, to my recollection.  I loved Veronica Mars, though (thank you streaming video).

28. Did you make some new friends this year?

I got to know people in my community better now that I'm more involved (see question #1).  I feel like I have people to go to in a pinch now.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Always, always, always: the ability to communicate anything to my children and have them understand instantly.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?

Long tunics and leggings.  Basically public pajamas.

31. What kept you sane?

Running.  Sugar.  Iced coffee.

Still not sane, but maybe a tick closer.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I don't think there was anyone new, so I'll go with last year's answer. Kyle Chandler.  

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

Healthcare.  Are we ever going to get this right?

34. Who did you miss?

Everyone I don't see often enough (which is most everyone).

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.

It always feels better to get something done instead of waiting for it to go away.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Sabrina, who is home sick with the flu (editor's note: despite the flu shot, grr): "I wish I could go to school."

Me: "Oh, Sweetie, this makes me happy and sad for you.  Sad because I know you want to be somewhere you can't, but happy that you like school so much."

Sabrina: "So you're sappy?"

Monday, December 8, 2014

SAy Cheese

Ah, 'tis the time of year for Santa photos.  We've been here before, with varying results.  Let's see how this year turned out.

My typical MO is to take the kids to the mall early during Thanksgiving week, since the lucky little suckers have the whole thing off.  We haven't encountered a line that way, which give me plenty of time to commandeer the photo booth and make them take dozens of shots until I give up from sheer fatigue am happy.  But this year, my brother and his family decided to visit for Thanksgiving, and our time together would be limited, so I wanted to keep as much of that time available so the kids could hang with their cousins.  It occurred to me that since Chris had the Friday before Thanksgiving week off, we could grab the kids and head out after school.  I was betting there wouldn't be much of a wait because of the early timing.

I was right.  The end.

No, that couldn't be the end of the story, could it?  Of course, it couldn't.

(Don't get too excited.  This isn't the making of a Hallmark holiday movie or anything.)

We made it to the mall, marched right up to the photo kiosk and found... nobody.  No Santa, not even a photo elf.  I checked the sign 3 times to make sure I was reading correctly that Santa was slated to appear at that very minute.  We hung out, getting increasingly anxious (me) and fidgety (them), until finally Santa came back from his milk and cookie break (I'm making an educated guess here).  I ushered the kids over to Santa and put the photographer to work while I got out my own camera for backup. 

I forgot my husband was with us this time. 

My husband, who has never seen of picture of himself he could call decent, much less liked, was fine with every single shot and said so.  I, however, was not.  At first, every shot was 9 million miles away, and I really don't need my son's grimy shoes in the picture when I can't even see his face.  So I made the elf zoom in.  Then began the coaching, because my children, while adorable, are terrible photo subjects.  Look here.  No, HERE.  No side eye, Sabrina.  Sammy, that's not a smile; you look like you're in the beginning stage of rigamortis.  Relax.  Sit up straight.  Fix your dress.  Ugh.

All the while with Chris standing behind me, probably exchanging "Isn't my wife insane?" looks with the elves.  Oh well.  I'm paying for this moment of delight.  I want it right.

After several rounds, I reached the end of my rope, I settled.  It's not the best pic of the kids, but they're both smiling and looking relatively near the lens.  But then, Santa:

Y'all, he's the grumpy cat version of Santa.  Grumpy Ol' Saint Nick. 


Note to Surly Santa: this was November 21.  You have a long way to go.  Better find the jolly, Man.

Then there was yesterday.  Our church had a pancake breakfast with Santa as honored guest.  And we commemorated this moment as well.

Not bad.  Sabrina might be checking out stage left, but at least nobody looks constipated.

I haven't downloaded my snapshots yet, so there's still hope that I managed to capture something the professionals missed.  Eh, who am I kidding?  But still, memories made. 

And we get to do it all over again next year.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


And with that, I am done.

30 posts, 3 Thanksgivings, 4 daisy scout meetings, 2 cub scout meetings, 13 karate classes, 1 week of husband on vacation, 1 week of kids on vacation, and not nearly enough caffeine. 

Thank you, November.  Until we meet again.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thankmas 2014

Oh my, what a day.  I think this is the first time I've stopped.  It's been nonstop 3rd Thanksgiving prep and Christmas decorating.  But it's done.  Mostly.  I think.  (I hope.)

Chris (predictably) spent most of the day outside, getting the lights just right and hooking up his new toy, the synchronization system.  Now, we're not complete fuddy duddies, but perhaps we are not up to the cutting edge of technology (do not tell me what I'm about to describe is old hat and by the way get off my lawn).  We had to figure out what device to use for the music and make it talk to the speakers and make the whole system talk to the lights Chris had just rearranged for the 17th time, and well, we are now strobing out to holiday tunes and probably giving our neighbors aneurysms.

Trees and ornaments and garlands and tchotchkes of all kinds have been deployed, and I love it all.  All the same, I'm a little overwhelmed by everything, but that will fade to the point that when it's time to put it all away, I will be sad to see it go.  We're not magazine worthy, but we're homey and happy and it's us.  Every item has a story and it's wonderful to remember each and every one.

I may even forget the trauma of putting 1,200 lights on the tree.  In a few years.

So tomorrow, we shall wrap up Thanksgiving with one final blowout bash with Chris's side of the family, hosting a good 25ish people for food and togetherness.  I'm going to throw out a warning to my sister in law to forget about the marshmallow guns because that business is not getting tracked onto my clean carpets.  But beyond that, let the frivolity flow.  I love being able to stretch out Thanksgiving and segue into the Christmas season.  It's just delightful.

If you wouldn't mind, a kind thought for a tasty turkey and no one accidentally melting plastic wrap in my oven would be greatly appreciated.