Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Last Straw(berry)

OK - so this has not been the best few weeks for the Polley family.

We are in the process of saying goodbye to Eric's dad.  He's lived a long, full life.  We'd like it to be a little longer and he would too.  We're going to miss him very, very much.  His death is taking longer than he would like which is heartbreaking.  In healthier times, he would usually be the last to leave a party.  It seems his body is just used to those types of departures.

There have been all kinds of bittersweet (with a heavy emphasis on the sweet) ending and beginnings for Sarah.  The end of preschool and the start of kindergarten in a few months is thrilling for her.  Even the idea of choosing a snack to bring to day camp and packing it herself in her little lunch bag is very exciting. These changes are exciting for me too, but I am a little emotionally worn out from the happy-sad tears on top of everything else.

Last night Eric was heading off to the hospital to be with his dad and I was attempting to put Sarah to bed.  She was coughing like crazy and needed to have an extra dose of her asthma inhaler (Full disclosure, I suspect that first dose might have been from an empty inhaler.  Oops.)  By this morning, she was coughing non-stop and I needed to take her over to the doctor to get her on some better medicine.  Obviously, it isn't the same thing but the constant cough was also a recent symptom of my father-in-law's so my nerves were a little jangled.

At this point I need to add this -- we are all actually surprisingly fine despite everything.

But.  When checking out at the Jewel after picking up the medicine, we opted for the self-checkout because Sarah loves pretending to be a cashier.  (She asks if you want paper or plastic after every item which I think is quite thorough.)  We got down to the last item -- a container of strawberries.  I used the "look up item" button and there were no strawberries listed.  I looked again and again until finally an actual cashier came over and said "just scan it!"  I came as close to losing it with this woman as I ever have (other than when I was in labor.)  I had to stand there and take deep breaths while swiping my debit card.  Hey, that Lamaze was actually useful!

So I think the end of this post is this:  We are sad but basically fine and a little more crabby than usual.  We're very grateful for our friends, family and our sense of humor.

Monday, May 9, 2011

It Didn't Exactly Work

I have to admit it.  My goal of 31 blog posts in May may not be possible.

I could post every day but I feel like I'm taking the fun out of blogging.  I couldn't think of a thing to write about today except possibly another post about our caterpillars (They're getting so big!)

This was supposed to be fun so I'm going to let it be fun again.  See you in a day or so.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day - Two Stories

I've been looking forward to blogging today.  But this is the third try because somehow I can't seem to capture the essence of Mother's Day.  I've decided to tell two stories that seem to capture it pretty well.

Both of these stories took place at "our park" which is our nickname for the park in our neighborhood.  It's a great park.  The equipment is just OK, but Sarah always seems to make a friend there, and I do too.

-Story #1 - A family had brought some bubbles to the park and the dad was making big bubble storms for all the kids to run through.  (Another perk of "our park" is that everyone in the neighborhood has an unwritten rule that everyone should share everything.  Most people just leave their sand toys there all the time for everyone to use. The bubble storm was for everyone.)  Another mom and I started chatting and, within about two minutes, we were in a deep conversation about what would be the ideal schedule for working vs. raising kids as we pondered the possibility of a life without mom guilt.  We both shared that our husbands were probably better suited to being the "mostly stay-home" parent but that isn't how it worked out.

This woman was a total stranger, but also sort of not after a minute or two.  One of the absolute best and unexpected joys of motherhood are these new instant friendships, and most especially the new instant friendships that have become lifelong friendships.

-Story #2 - There was a man at the park hitting golf balls.  This is not a usual activity for our park because the park is rather small if it seems highly likely that you could bonk a small child on the head.  The mom from Story #1 and I theorized that the man had been sent to the park with his kid and brought his golf stuff along thinking it would be boring at the park (which it sort of is but suck it up, dude.)  This theory was confirmed by the bubble-dad who went over and asked after he had to stop blowing bubbles because he was getting lightheaded.

After a while, golf dad's kid got bored and started to run after the golf balls.  Sarah joined right in and ran over to get a sand bucket to help gather up the balls.  As the kids ran around with the bucket collecting the balls, I thought to myself "I hope this dad doesn't decide it would be a fun idea to try to chip the balls into the bucket while the kids are holding it" which is exactly what happened as I'm sure you predicted right along with me.

So - I went over and got Sarah and said "Come on honey, this is not a good idea."  I think she must have agreed because she followed me right away.  At this point, golf dad walked over and wanted to demonstrate that the golf balls were made of plastic and would not hurt.  He emphasized this point by throwing a golf ball at me and saying "See?  No problem."  In what felt like an out-of-body experience, I let him know that if he hit my daughter with a golf ball, we were actually going to have a very, very big problem.

Nobody messes with my child on Mother's Day.  Or any other day for that matter.  It wasn't until hours later did it occur to me that he had actually hit me with a golf ball but somehow that seemed OK in comparison to him hitting Sarah with a golf ball.

We had a great day, Sarah and I.  Even thought I did think it would be nice to have a day to myself, I am very glad I got to spend the whole day with my wonderful daughter instead.

Happy Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

How about taking a brisk walk?

I have writer's block today.  I tried to think of something to blog about and I have come up empty.  I still want to achieve my goal of 31 blog posts for May so here I go anyway.

I'm thinking about the many conversations I've had with students about their writing.  I feel somewhat guilty that, just like lots of them, I am unwilling to really do anything to break out of this block.  I'm don't want to make a list, look through other things I've written, or take a brisk walk.  (Actually, I would love to take a brisk walk but I'm home alone with Sarah who is upstairs asleep so this isn't really an option according to DCFS.)

Sorry former (and current) students -- those suggestions are rather annoying after all.

But I suspect one of the reasons I can't think of anything to write about has something to do with this -- everything is just fine.  I'm glad for that.  It's boring, but I'll take it.

Friday, May 6, 2011

They're Here!

I bought a butterfly garden a few weeks ago.  It is a glorified mesh laundry hamper with a handle so you can hang it up or carry it someplace to release the butterflies.  I suppose you could also walk around the mall with your butterflies but I'm guessing they would not like it much.

The best part of the butterfly garden is the coupon which allows you to send away for live caterpillars. The caterpillars arrive in the mail with instructions that tell you, in a variety of different ways, "Don't worry, they're probably not dead."

Our caterpillars arrived today during one of the two sunny hours of the day.  Yay!!  This was without a doubt the most fun thing to arrive in our mailbox ever.  And boy, those caterpillars sure did look like they were dead.  Now, a few hours later, 4 of the 5 are perking up and crawling around the little jar.

Oh yeah - I forgot to mention I bought this for my child.  She likes it too.  Stay tuned for caterpillar updates...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mother's Day - Part II

I'm really struggling with the Mother's Day ads this year and I'm sad that I still feel sad.  

When she was alive my mother was not a fan of Mother's Day which she referred to as a Hallmark Holiday.  She liked getting cards though, and she liked it when we all came over.  

Sarah does not remember her but she misses her anyway and sometimes mentions that she really wishes she could have a grandma.  I remind her of all the people in her life who love her but I know this sounds insincere, even to a five year-old.  I wish she could have a grandma too.

Yesterday I noticed that a lot of people on Facebook have changed their profile pictures to a picture of their moms.  This is a nice idea I suppose but I'm not doing it because my mother wouldn't like it.  She was very private.  She was also not big on technology -- she didn't pump her own gas or even use the ATM very often.

So, the ads.  The ads remind me that Mother's Day is a Hallmark Holiday after all and, although I believe she is in a better place, I know mom would rather be here this Mother's Day, and I miss her every day.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Recipe our Whole Family Ate

This is a secret about the Polley family.  OK - Maybe is isn't a secret but I tried to make it seem more mysterious or something.  Here goes:  The three people in our little family generally don't eat the same things for dinner.  It has a lot to do with me trying to eat healthier foods and not eating much meat, Eric working strange hours and preferring a diet of pot pies, and Sarah being having a bit of a narrow palate. (I stole that narrow palate thing from another mom - don't you love it?!  Sounds so much fancier than picky eater.)

Anyway, I made this recipe a few weeks ago and everyone liked it.  I love making things in the crock pot because it gives me a feeling of accomplishment when I walk into the kitchen and something is cooking.  I realize that posting a recipe makes this even more of a mom blog.  Oh well.  Here it is!

Peanut Butter Pork Tenderloin

1 1/2 - 2 pounds pork tenderloin or pork chops (you can also use boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
1 onion, sliced in rings
1/3 cup soy sauce (you could use the low sodium)
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tbl. white whine vinegar
3 tbl. water
2 garlic cloves chopped
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (The original recipe calls for the natural kind but I used the cheap store brand.  I think you could use soy nut butter if peanuts are an issue.)
2 tbl chopped peanuts for garnish (I'm skipping these next time because the can of nuts was too tempting.)
1 lime cut in wedges for garnish (kids love squeezing lime wedges)

How to make it:
Place the onion in the bottom of the crockpot.  Put the pork or chicken on top. Add the brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, water, garlic and then put the peanut butter on top in dollops.  Don't worry about stirring or anything (although you will feel nervous because it looks pretty awful at this point.)  Cook it on low for 8 hours or high for 4 - 6 hours.  An hour before you want to eat, open the crock pot, flip the meat over and stir everything around.

An hour later, you're done.  Now I've also made it into sort of a "pulled pork" or "pulled chicken" by taking the meat out and shredding it with two forks and then sticking it back in the sauce for a few more minutes.  I also plan to put in some shredded carrot next time because the Meal Makeover Moms always do that.  Serve it with  rice and squeeze some lime juice on top of each serving.  Yummy!

And this is the 4th blog post in a row for May - Whoo-hoo!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fine Thanks!

I had an appointment today with my allergist.  I go to her office monthly to get shots which are given by some nice chatty nurses but I only have to see the doctor about once a year.

I had a busy morning of teaching and talking to various students (including one who seemed genuinely excited that he still might be able to squeak by with a D-.)  Even though the morning was fine, I had a headache when I headed over to my appointment.  The nurse who takes my blood pressure asks the same screening questions every month, including one about whether or not I am in any pain.  I was stupidly excited because I realized this month I could mention my headache and I also stupidly (and incorrectly) thought they would offer me some Tylenol or something.  Apparently the nice chatty nurses just ask about your pain to make conversation.

On the way over to get my shots, I mentioned in an equally chatty fashion that I had an asthma attack while I was teaching and my students seemed quite relieved we could take a break from discussing The Aeneid so I could have a little shot from my inhaler.  Funny! Or not.  The nurse stopped walking and said "Oh my God!  Are you OK?"  Clearly I was OK since after the asthma thing I taught for 3 1/2 hours and then drove 45 miles.

After the remaining nurses took turns asking me if I was OK, they zipped me in to see the doctor who asked me if I was OK.  (Apparently this question is a powerful diagnostic tool.)  After the doctor actually examined me she determined that I was OK and she started asking me why I had the asthma attack.  I answered that I must have been allergic to something.  She smiled and said "Hmmmm!" which I took to mean that that was not the right answer.  She asked a ton of other questions and I answered those wrong too.  She seemed to get increasingly irritated when I kept mentioning my allergies despite the fact that she is, in fact, an allergist.

I tried changing the subject a few times and finally mentioned that Sarah was playing t-ball.  Bingo!!  And I was outta there with the usual collection of samples including (score!) a fancy new neti pot.  (You have to have allergies to fully understand why a neti pot is exciting.)

I feel very fortunate that I don't get sick very much.  I also feel fortunate (or something) that I can't spend very much time thinking about it if I do get sick.  The allergist was annoyed that I didn't have better personal health insights but I actually felt fine and she eventually did begrudgingly admit that maybe just maybe it was some allergy thing after all.

The main lesson was, when they ask those screening questions, I should just keep my mouth shut or I'll have to come back next week for the shots they refused to give me this week and I'll have to pay another three bucks for parking.

I'm OK.  You?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mother's Day - Part I

In an scientific survey I conducted while standing around the playground with a bunch of moms the other day, I was able to determine the following:

For Mother's Day, 9 out of 10 mothers would appreciate a day off from being a mother.

We -- I mean THEY mean no disrespect to our children who we love more than anything on this planet.  They hold no grudges about the permanent damage they have endured from stepping on a Lego in bare feet.  They can hardly think of a more enjoyable way to spend an hour than the hour they spent digging through the contents of the vacuum cleaner bag searching for a Polly Pocket shoe.  They really don't mind cutting off crust from sandwiches or even picking through an order of rice from Chipotle with a tweezer to remove all the green stuff.  It is their pleasure to do just one more load of laundry because the very important Star Wars t-shirt was found stuck under the hamper at 10:15 pm.

Having said that, they would accept a day off from those things and instead spend time getting dressed alone and drinking a whole cup of coffee while it is still hot and then maybe reading a book.

Realistically, they know this is not likely to happen, and even if it did, the person entrusted with the kids for the day would eventually bring them back totally exhausted and all of the benefits of the relaxing day off would fade away faster then you can say "Mommy, I left my favorite doll at the museum and I can't go to sleep without her and the museum is closed until Tuesday and daddy gave me three brownies and I feel like I might throw up."

My research further indicated that the people who market Mother's Day gifts know they are not selling what mothers would really appreciate but they're hoping the moms will agree to settle.  And the moms would not trade being a mom for anything else, and by the way, thanks for the flowers.  They sure made our day.

Play Ball!

(Side Note - I am planning to blog every day in May.)

Sarah is playing t-ball this spring.  I was never involved in organized sports (or any other sports for that matter)  so signing her up for something like this took a while.  Sarah ended up on a team with only two other kids she knows.  Initially, this caused me great anxiety but she was totally fine with it so there you go.

There are only two girls on the team.  This seemed like a disadvantage but boy, it sure is not.  The brave, patient, kind coaches have got to find it nearly impossible to tell the boys apart.  As a result, when they need anybody to do anything, they just say "Hey Sarah, you want to practice batting?"  "Sarah, do you want to practice throwing with, um, that kid?"  "Nice hit, Sarah!"  

And she eats it up.  

The other girl on the team is a born athlete.  When the team was practicing throwing, the other kids would cower and duck when she fired the ball in their general direction.  When playing first base, she made damn sure to tag each batter when the ball eventually made its way to her, despite the fact that there are no outs in t-ball.  She slid into home plate when she was up to bat.  

Girl Power!!

The game itself was fun and the kids really seemed to try very hard.  It is very cute to watch.  The batting helmets look enormous on their heads.  The coaches seem to be working very hard to teach the kids baseball skills and Sarah can already throw a ball much better that I ever have. The "high fives" and "good games" the teams passed to each other at the end of the morning are very sincere.  

Stay tuned....

Friday, April 15, 2011

Sorry for the Late Post - We've Been Tied Up

(Not literally.)

Sarah is learning to tie her shoes.  (This has nothing to do with my late blog post but I thought it made for a catchy title.)

Tying her shoes makes Sarah very proud of herself.  On a warm day a few days ago, she tied up her shoes and we headed to the park.  The thing is, she was putting some loop in some wrong spot and her shoelaces were constantly in need of being retied and I was not allowed to help.  At all.  After an hour of this, I was practically begging "Just let me show you really quick where to put that loop.  Please."


But a few hours later she was ready for me to show her how to get those shoes to stay tied.  I showed her and now she can get them to stay tied a little longer.  It is very exciting.

This little experience has me thinking about the many, many mistakes she will make in life and how she's not going to want my help.  I'm just going to have to sit there and watch her trip and fall.  Yipes.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Goody Beg

I'm torn on the whole goody bag thing.

Before I weigh in on that, here's an important side note.  In general, one of the unwritten rules among my mom friends is that we don't judge each other's parenting choices and occasional goofs.  We understand that we're all just doing the best we can as we let our kids eat some pretzels that just fell on the ground.  And those other so-called "perfect moms" are probably drinking martinis out of their travel mugs at the playground in the afternoons (not that we're judging them.)

Planning a party is one of those choices.  It's nice to know you won't be judged no matter how much of a raging disaster your child's party turns out to be, especially since the children always have a great time no matter what.  Parents spend hours trying to plan the ideal party -- the kids would have fun if you took them to an abandoned warehouse and handed each of them a super ball (Damn - wish I thought of that idea a little sooner.)

But back to the goody bags -- you know, those little bags of useless plastic crap and stale candy that get handed out at kids parties?  Should you or shouldn't you?  There doesn't seem to be any kind of choice that anyone can make about those that really feels right.  Here are a few thoughts on this pressing issue:

-The kids love them.  You could literally pick up little pieces of trash from the ground and put them in a cute bag with a few Starbursts and the children would be totally thrilled.
-Nothing says "Time to go home" quite like that goody bag.  The kids might be having the time of their lives destroying your house, but once they see those little sacks of loot, they are outta there.
-They are a simple pleasure of childhood. The days when they will not satisfied with a little bag of cheap trinkets are fast approaching, and when our kids are begging for cell phones in I'm guessing second grade, we'll be wishing for these days when they were perfectly happy with a spiderman ring and some pixie sticks.

-The contents of those bags end up everywhere.  I feel I should include a note in the bag apologizing in advance to the parents who will find that half-eaten lollypop permanently fused to the floor mats of their car in a few months.
-Those little imported plastic toys are probably made from some deadly secret combination of kerosene and lead.
-Goody bags bring out the worst possible manners in children.  The shyest kid in the world has no trouble whatsoever screaming "Where's my goody bag?!" And if there is no goody bag, the nasty looks those little cherubs toss over their shoulders on the way out are truly chilling.

One year I attempted to make a little homemade item to hand out instead of a goody bag.  As a result of this, my daughter reminded me 8 months in advance that she wanted a Halloween costume "from the store."

So - there are no good choices.  And there are no bad choices.  Hope you enjoy that spiderman ring.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

It's Official

Sarah is registered for kindergarten.  I thought this day would be more, I don't know, more something.  On some level, I appreciated the total lack of emotion exhibited by the school district employees.  As you may recall if you are one of my three loyal blog followers, I like our preschool director very much because she loves the kids and tolerates the parents.  But we have been looking forward to this day since our children were born and...

Here's What I Imagined Would Happen:  After a short wait, I would turn in my carefully photocopied paperwork.  A district employee would gratefully take it from me and compliment my organizational skills.  This person would say "You have raised a human being for five years!  That is wonderful!"  This person would validate my decision to send my child to our neighborhood school and not try for one of the magnet schools.  She would ask to see a picture of my daughter and tell me how sweet she is.  She would remind me that we're starting an amazing journey together and public school would be fantastic and would prepare my child for a bright future. This is the beauty of a free, public education.  The whole process would take about 15 minutes, leaving ample time for my friend Beth and I to go out for coffee.

Here is What Actually Happened:  After a long, long, long wait, I turned in my carefully photocopied paperwork, including a registration form that looked similar to something you might have to complete when being released from prison.  The person who took it checked it, looking exhausted.  She eyed me suspiciously when I said "Thanks so much!"  After that first line, we were given a bakery-style number and told to take a seat and fill out some more paperwork.  One of my good friends had forgotten to bring her child's birth certificate and was given a piece of paper which implied, among other things, that she is a terrible mother.  When they called one of the numbers, a district employee actually checked that number to make sure this person was not trying to sneak in ahead of the other moms.  (She needn't have worried because at this point the other moms would have stoned any line jumpers to death like Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery")  When my number was called, I raced to the first of the three "stations" which was manned by a person who everyone described as crabby.  I was happy to find that she actually did appreciate it when I said "Thanks so much" and asked briefly about my child.  I suspect she did this to make the line move even more slowly, but it was nice anyway.  The lady in change of health forms must have been totally worn out because almost nobody had these forms ready yet and she had to explain the same things over and over and over.  I asked it I should drop the forms off when I had them and she cheerfully handed me three envelopes and said "Or, you could MAIL them!"  (Implying "If you are stupid enough to want to come back to this hellish district office, go ahead, but it seems to me you might want to cough up for a stamp and avoid this little nightmare.")  The person working the last station had the best job,  She was in charge of collecting the fees .  According to my careful calculations, this was .03% of the amount we paid for preschool.  Sweet!
2 hours after we started, we were on our way!

And the public school journey begins.

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Book Called: Things I Will Never Ever Do When I Have a Child

OK.  See the title of my post today?  If I wrote that book before Sarah was born it would be a big, thick book. A big thick book of lots and lots of things I would never ever do -- all of which I have done.

Today at lunch I was chatting with another mom about the relatively poor food options available for our kids when they go to school next fall.  We discussed that the things they are feeding the children really do not seem very nutritious.  Would you like to know where we were having this conversation?  McDonalds.  And to make it even better, the kids were eating Happy Meals, and the Happy Meal toy was a Barbie.

This was the lunch of my child who was exclusively breastfed for 8 months and then ate only organic baby food.  My child who now likes to eat those fruit snacks that don't contain any fruit.  My child who only eats white bread.

Now when we shop, she hangs from the side of the shopping cart at Target.  She uses the playground equipment in all the dangerous ways that used to horrify me back when I was pushing her on the baby swing which I had padded with a cloth diaper to make it more safe.

Most moms I know have a long list of things they vowed they would never ever do and then they did. At least it gave us a good jumping off point.  OK, so my daughter eats those crappy fruit snacks, but she also eats tofu.  She leaps off the top of the slide, but also will gladly tell another child that throwing sand is not nice.  She plays with Barbie but so far has not copied her outfits.

My new list of things I would never, ever do as a parent is quite short.  Pass the McNuggets.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Call Me Clueless

This was not a great day for me at work.  That doesn't happen to me very often.   This is sort of understandable because I'm physically at work for less than 4 hours at a time and that doesn't really leave a lot of chances for things to go too wrong.  (The rest of the time I'm working I'm planning and grading at home or at one of the Starbucks on Central Street where the baristas let me sit there for 6 hours with my grande vanilla soy latte.)

But today was a bad day at work and then got a little worse when I got home.

On a cheerful note, both classes had mostly productive debates on the Odyssey and my students seemed quite proud that we got through this long text.  But after class one of my students wanted to talk about how they were struggling in class and I tried to make helpful suggestions.

That last part is the kind of thing that happens almost every day at work.  I really like talking with students who are struggling.

But then I got home and the struggling student had sent me a scathing e-mail that said, among many, many other things, "You don't know what you're talking about."

You know what?  That may be true.  I'm pretty much winging it a lot of the time.  I stood with a few moms yesterday and we discussed if we were supposed to check yes or no on some question on the District 65 registration form.  (I checked yes.  Seemed OK.)  I cooked some chicken in the crockpot that had been in the freezer for a long time.  Was I supposed to do that?  (We didn't eat it but we would have if it would have turned out a little better.  The sauce was bland.) Am I supposed to put my daughter's leotard in the dryer?  Is the Disney Movie Club a ripoff?  Do sprinkles expire?  Is that new Yoplait Princess yogurt unhealthy?  What the heck should I put in those goody bags?

I don't know what I'm talking about but I am very willing to figure it out eventually.  And if I make a few mistakes, I'm fine with that.

But you know what, student?  I actually did know what I was taking about today with you and I'm sorry you didn't like it.  I'm sorry we didn't go someplace private to talk.  I'm sorry you thought it was a good idea to send me a pretty rude e-mail when we have 9 more weeks together.  And I'm really sorry that you will probably make that mistake a few more times in life before you figure out that it is not a good idea to insult someone who has the ability to give you a bad grade.

Wait - maybe I do know what I'm talking about sometimes.

Monday, February 28, 2011

More Things I Like

My blog seemed silly to me lately.

I am extremely grateful for the general dullness of life at the moment (ever try to type while knocking wood?  It isn't easy.)  Things are fine and all is well but it doesn't seem to give me a whole lot to write about.

But I am enjoying keeping this blog so I thought this Oprah-inspired post might get me moving again.

Here are some things I like:
-I-Pass - I can't even begin to tell you how many fistfulls of change I have unsuccessfully tossed at one of those toll baskets.  The State of Illinois must have collected hundreds of dollars in loose coins from the ground during the years when I used to teach a night class and tried to fling my toll money in a state of total exhaustion.  And if that little white I-Pass box is stealing my identity I'm just fine with that.
-Magic Bullet - This poorly named little blender is one of the few infomercial items that I have really enjoyed.  (You'll note I didn't say it's the only one I've purchased.)   It's totally fun to make a little smoothie and then drink it right from the same cup.  You can also do that with a regular blender but it would look like you've really sunk to a new low.
-The Amazing Race - Watching people race around the world while performing little stunts (luge!) and tasks (shop for groceries in a remote local market without signs!) is a totally entertaining way to spend an hour.  I will freely admit that Eric and I can never, ever, ever go on this show because he is way too slow and I am way too afraid of heights.  Also, we enjoy being married and we would like to stay that way.  But watching other people melt down is loads of fun.  (Hey - they volunteered.)
-Washable Glitter Glue - I'm happy my daughter enjoys art and I'm also happy that I don't have to cringe while she creates.

That's it for now.  Muse, let's get moving.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dr. Who?!

Lots of people have asked Sarah what she wants for her birthday.  Her answer?  Barbie.

Now you may recall that Sarah actually received a Barbie for the holidays.  Eric went and bought her a Barbie  -- oops I mean Santa gave her Barbie.  But Santa/Eric got the brunette Barbie thinking it was somehow less egregious than the classic blonde Barbie.  Sarah opened the brunette Barbie and smiled weakly.  We have actually practiced polite gift opening and she was polite but poor brunette Barbie was sent to live with the other misfit toys.

That was not Barbie.

Yesterday, one of Sarah's grandpas gave her "I Can Be a Pediatrician Barbie" and she was the real deal. Don't be fooled by her career...

She is totally glamorous!  I hope our actual pediatrician doesn't start dressing in this type of outfit  (although she could totally pull it off -- you go Dr. Robinson!)  

Sarah seems quite unaware that Barbie looks a little trashy and is having fun pretending she is a doctor to her one little patient.  Please join me in hoping the "you can be a doctor" message overrides the horror of those shoes.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Lunch of Champions

OK - My last few posts have been intense.  Even the people about whom they were written could probably use a break, so here goes something a little lighter.

I've been thinking about our school lunch program.  Jamie Oliver had a great (trashy, mindless, cooking) TV program last summer where he went to the "fattest city in America" and tried to overhaul their school lunch program.  People were resistant to his efforts to add healthy ingredients to the "otherwise filled with preservatives and other kinds of awful crap" lunches served to the kids.  Once he got people to accept the fresh fruits and vegetables, the residents of the town started packing lunches for the kids which were -- wait for it -- filled with all kinds of awful crap.  They tried to spin it with creative editing, but basically things did not end up changing that much.  Poor Jamie.

Eric and I watched the show with great interest and a naive sense of superiority.  Surely our public schools here in Evanston will have great, healthy school lunches.  Our child will happily eat these lunches.  I will not have to think of something to pack every single day for the entire 13 years our daughter will be attending public school.

Can you predict the next paragraph?  You can?!

Our school lunches are awful too!  It is obvious they are trying to make things somewhat healthy.  It is also obvious they know that steamed broccoli they offer on mac and cheese day will likely end up in the trash.

I'm sad but it seems this problem is pretty darn big and not too easy to solve.

And guess who's going to be packing lunches?

Friday, February 11, 2011


I just found out one of my former students has breast cancer.  I'm beside myself.  Although it seems ridiculous, those former advisees of mine have superstar status in my heart and I can't stand it when something rotten happens to one of them.

When they were students, there were sometimes problems, even big problems.  The thing is, those problems usually were pretty easy to solve.  Those two roommates who hated each other?  That awful breakup?  Flunking a class?  Coming out?  Changing majors?  They got through it.  Even some tough trouble at home or something else pretty rough -- seems like time passed and everything was OK.

Sometimes students would visit me when they were seniors and ask "Remember when I used to cry in your office all the time when I was a freshmen?  Did that drive you nuts?"  No, it didn't at all.  I was sad you were sad but I knew it would pass and here you are.  And now you are fabulous.

So Cancer?  Here's the deal.  You are messing with one of those fabulous superstars and you had better get the hell out.  Quick.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Diva with a Message

I haven't been blogging much lately but that ends today.  Today is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and it is a day to use social media to get a message across.  The message is, Get Tested, Get Educated, Talk to Everyone, Protect Yourself, Repeat.

If we think HIV/AIDS is over in the US, we're wrong.  As an example, in the United States, African Americans comprise 46% of all HIV cases, they only comprise 12% of the total population.  We have plenty of work to do here in the US and everyone can and should play a part.

Now I'm going to turn it over to Rae Lewis-Thornton.  She has been living with HIV for a long time and her message is simple, even if it isn't easy.  She is a beautiful Diva, and a real hero of mine.  She'll spend the day using social medical to get her message across.  Check her out.  She is awesome.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Re: Entry

Reentry from any trip is a shock.  We just spent 5 days in theme parks with pre-paid meals and princesses around every corner.  (More about that in a day or two!)  The trip was wonderfully surreal and we had gotten used to seeing Chip and Dale randomly throughout the day.

Now we're back.  We rode back from O'Hare with our insurance agent who thankfully did not try to sell us more life insurance.  This shared ride was a coincidence -- we don't usually hang out with our insurance agent but did make us understand that running into Chip and Dale was over and we were back to reality.

So it's a blizzard and it isn't pretend either.  Eric is working at Disney on Ice and he's stranded downtown.  Sarah and I have big plans tomorrow which involve eating popcorn (Jiffy Pop, baby!) and watching movies in our Snuggies.

Stay safe everyone.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


A note to Khalida, Sydney, Brandon, Jessica, Frank, Miranda, Ashley G., Carly, Max, Kyle, Kristin, Mike, Jodi, Morgan, Kayla, Kelly, Brandi, Jack, Sarah, Bernard, Ashley S., Chelsea, Abbi, Kevin, Chris, Tony, and Jenna:

I am lucky.  I get to go to work and do something I love.  And I get to meet new groups of students on a regular basis.  The downside?  I get pretty attached to those students and when the class is over I have to say goodbye.  I hate that.

J-Term '11 class?  I am really going to miss every single one of you.  I wish you all the best and I hope you keep talking about HIV and educating people.  I know you all have the courage within you.  I hope someday you all are lucky enough to have a job you truly enjoy and I wish you a life filled with fulfillment.  Be safe, be well.

I hope our paths cross again very soon.  Take care.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Kindergarten Information Junkies

We're heading out to yet another Kindergarten information meeting.  This one is at the actual school our child will actually attend.  We're deep in the midst of last minute trip preparations and I'm also frantically grading but nothing can keep us from our quest for information.

I suspect the information will be identical to the previous meeting.  If this is the case, the quest will end abruptly and we'll rush home to finish packing and watch Cake Boss.

Here's hoping.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Fun at a Price

January is fun for me.  I get to teach everyday.  I have a chance to eat lunch with friends.  I get to ride public transportation.  I get to teach subject matter that is important to me.

Of course there is a down side.  I end up having to plan class in the afternoon when I am stupid or in the evening when I'm even stupider.  My house is a total mess.  The weekends are anything but restful.

I wouldn't say my child has suffered although Eric has done the lion's share of childcare this month.  Sarah  loves her daddy but I'm missing out.  I am only support staff when it comes to parenting this month.  I think the extent of my quality time with my child today consisted of me putting a Hello Kitty temporary tattoo on her while I was writing an exam at the same time.  This feels like a pretty big price to pay.

Almost every mom I know talks about trying to achieve the balance between motherhood and work.  Almost no mom I know has achieved that balance.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

No Time to Blog

Wow - Blogging is totally time consuming.  I'm actually enjoying much more than I imagined but it's also much more time consuming than I imagined.

I'm packing (still) and finishing an exam so I'm taking a "Get Out of Blog Free Card" today.

Just so I am not totally free of content for the day, I'll suggest the iphone/ipod app "Paper Town" if you need a little stress relief.

Here are some samples, courtesy of my daughter.  I'm impressed with her ability to put together cute outfits.

Have a nice Sunday!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Magical Update

Vacation Update - I'm trying not to overpack for our trip to Disney World.  This is no easy task.  Several members of the Polley family like to bring a lot of stuff on vacation.  You can try to guess which ones and I'll give you hint -- it is the family members who are not me.

I spent some time today trying to thin down the number of princess accessories (hers) and the amount of gadgets (his) when I remembered we have The Disney Magical Express!

This is by far the best travel invention ever.  Here's how it works.  We got magical yellow tags from Disney to stick on our luggage.  When we get to O'Hare, we'll hand our luggage to a person at the curb and it (we hope) will go on its happy little way to Orlando.  We'll go and get on the plane.  When we get to Orlando, we'll scamper over to the Magical Express Bus and ride without our luggage to our hotel watching promotional Disney videos that are (I'm guessing) designed to brainwash my child into wanting things from the 10,000 Magic Kingdom gift shops.  The luggage will get there on its own somehow and a nice person will bring it up to our room.  On the way home, the whole thing will happen in reverse and our luggage will arrive in Chicago.  Yay!

The moral to this story?  Polley family - pack as much crap as you want as long as it doesn't weigh over 50 pounds!  We're going on vacation!

Hmmm - Do you think it would be possible for a person who weighs 36 pounds to pack over 50 pounds of stuff?  Stay tuned.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Wails on the Bus

As I mentioned in my previous post, there were no actual wails on the field trip or even whimpers for that matter.  That is due to the heroic amount of restraint and positive attitudes exhibited by my students.  Here was our day:

-Everyone arrived by 7:30 am.  In fact, several students arrived before I did since I had to stop for another cup of coffee. (I left Evanston at 6:00 am.)
-The bus driver met me before I climbed aboard and reminded me he used to portray Santa.  He had informed me of this on the phone the previous day and it must be a selling point for him as a driver because his ability to drive certainly was not. More about that later.
-Next I hopped on the bus.  My students looked horrified.

Wait -- I have to take a break from describing our day to describe the bus.  On the outside it looked like a normal bus that could fit 28 people.  But the inside was sort of a cross between a stereotypical bad bachelor living room and that van that takes people to prison.  It had a DVD player (we didn't have any DVDs though), radio, a connection for a ipod, and a useful feature which was a button that could close the window between us and Santa.  It also had buttons that could activate the disco lights which were not very appealing at 7:30 in the morning.  We had benches to sit on which caused us to be close together in a way that is only comfortable if you're in a romantic relationship, or if you are a preschooler.

-OK - back to the day.  Santa informed me that the bus was only authorized to hold 20 people but he'd let us all get on the bus.  (I had mentioned that we had 27 people in three separate phone calls to the bus company and again on the phone to Santa the previous day.)
-Despite Santa being willing to break the rules of the bus company 28 adults would never fit on that bus unless they were adult elves and even then it would be a squeeze.
-Two groups of students offered to drive and practically sprinted to their cars in relief.  The students who remained on the bus, who will from this moment forward be referred to as "Team Disco" looked miserable.
-Everybody took off.  Team Disco had decided to keep the shades down on the bus so they could nap and we rode all the way to Chicago in darkness other than the faint glimmer of the disco lights and the glow of 17 students texting "this bus sux" in unison.
-When we arrived at the field trip, many of us were rather carsick from Santa's driving.  One of the students was following in his car and he said something like "Dude, he was totally swerving."
(As I mentioned in yesterday's post, the field trip itself was totally awesome and was a nice distraction from the horrifying reality that eventually we would have to get back on that bus.)
-When it was time to get back on, Team Disco maintained a positive attitude which I think they should totally mention at all future job interviews.
-The Team seemed cheery and even tried their best to educate me on current music even though I thought Justin Bieber sounded like a girl and I was disturbed by the song about having unsafe sex with multiple partners and I helpfully suggested the sequel would be a song about chlamydia.
-I hopped off at a mall in Skokie and felt guilty and held my breath until I got text messages from all three groups of students that they had arrived back to campus safely.

To conclude, three important things:
1.  The bus company cut the price in half when I called to complain so at least we did not pay full price for that nightmare on wheels.
2.  The students all seemed very enthusiastic about the field trip and hopefully the trauma from the bus will eventually diminish.
3. I'm almost positive he isn't really Santa.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

No Day But Today

OK - I admit it.  I have an irrational fear of field trips.

It seems like potential disaster lurks around every turn.  The transportation seems fraught with disturbing possibilities.  The places we visit can sometimes have a lack of chairs, or they forget we're coming, or the guest speaker will decide to go horrifyingly off-script.  The students can occasionally have made the unfortunate decision to stay up way too late the night before and they spend the whole trip crabbing about the previously mentioned stuff.

Today's trip to TPAN?  In a word - Great.  Really.

Was it perfect?  Well, not exactly and you'll see why when I blog about the bus in a few days.  (Really -  I need to heal before I can write about it.)

My students?  Fantastic.  They listened, spoke, treated our speakers with great respect and were treated with respect in return.  The politely ate the donuts and pizza the agency kindly provided.  They completed their service project with speed and enthusiasm usually reserved for Santa's elves.

The speakers?  Awesome.  They shared their information and stories with great honesty and humor.  I could not believe how many incredible people work at that agency. They were so nice to us.

To TPAN and to my students -- many thanks.  I am totally exhausted, but in a good way.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Guilty Pleasure

OK - I admit it.  I love watching Cake Boss.  I'm a fan of any show that features sweets and uses cool tools.

The situations are totally contrived.  I question the sanitary aspects of using a power drill around food.  And I can't imagine how they can possibly run a business when it seems like the whole staff has to drop everything and rally around to finish that cake in the shape of a venus fly trap.

But I love it all the same.  People seem genuinely excited when they get these fancy cakes.  What they are able to do with cake and frosting is amazing.  Nobody gets sick, nobody dies, nobody even gets hurt.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Thanks for Sharing

I'm sure this happens to plenty of people who teach in J-Term.  Well maybe not, but it happens to me.  Every single year.  My filter disappears.  I just kind of assume that everyone I know will be excited to learn about the newest advances in HIV and other STDs.  Guess what?  Mostly they are not.

I singlehandedly brought conversation at a dinner party to a screeching halt the other day when I brought up the enchanting topic of drug resistant strains of gonorrhea.  I loudly discussed the female condom on public transportation yesterday and it was not even 7:30 am.

I'm very grateful for my good friends who tolerate this on an annual basis.  It can't be easy.

Now, do you want to hear about... Oh, you don't?  Maybe later.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tough Love

If you want to see a group of adults snap into line, just hang around our preschool.

Lois Wall is the director of Northminster Nursery School. She has been at this job for years and that school runs like clockwork.   Nobody messes with her.  (I've heard her tell the kids the story of Johnny Appleseed and I think she was probably right there to tell old Johnny to get off his butt and get some trees planted.)  Here are just a few of her important rules which we all follow (and we pity the parents who don't):
-Lois does not approve of us jaywalking with the children.  If you park across the street, you had damn well better walk down to the corner to cross the street.
-Lois wants all the children to dress warmly and she does not think scarves are a good idea (I've enjoyed her annual Isadora Duncan remark in the newsletter.)
-You think you don't have time to attend the fundraiser?  Think again.

I was a little weepy when I dropped Sarah off on the first day of school last year.  Lois told me to "Just go home.  She'll be fine."  A hug?  Not so much.  I'm a little ashamed to tell you that Lois has told me to "snap out of it" at least a dozen times it in a variety of ways these last few years.

But here are the three most important things:
-Nothing is more important to Lois than the kids, and that preschool is great.
-Northminster got Sarah ready for kindergarten.
-Lois got me ready for kindergarten.

I'm going to miss her.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cheap Thrills

We told Sarah today.  She now knows we're going to Disney World.  I was really excited to tell her and also I really want to start packing.  (I'm one of those people who likes packing in advance.)

Her first reaction was horror that she would miss school.  This made me happy that she likes school so much but also a little sad that we spent a lot of money for this trip and our child would rather stay here and do an art project.

This reminded me of Sarah's birthday last year.  We had a party at My Gym with 20 children, homemade (by me) cupcakes, goody bags, etc.  The advantage to a party at My Gym is that the staff entertains the kids while the parents stand around and drink coffee.  The staff also serves the cupcakes, cleans up, and loads all the gifts into a big garbage bag so you can take them home and open them later.

A week or so before this shindig (which required a non-refundable deposit) we went to a gathering at our synagogue.  They sang happy birthday to all the February birthdays and then served a cake from the Sara Lee outlet which looked just exactly like you'd imagine an outlet cake to look.  On the way home, Sarah remarked that she sure had a wonderful time at her birthday party.


(Just so the story won't have a totally sad ending, she also had a good time at her actual birthday party.)

But I have to remember, all these things we are doing are really for us.  WE want to go to Disney World.  SHE would be happy with a big piece of bubble wrap and a few friends to help her jump on it.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Geek Squad

One of the disadvantages to getting married a little later in life is the stuff.  I like my kind of coffee maker, he likes his kind of coffee maker.  I like my cutting board, he likes his cutting board.  We have both a toaster and a toaster oven.

Slowly we are adjusting after six years of marriage.  We now have just one kind of toothpaste.  Our Diet Coke versus Diet Pepsi debate is over and Diet Coke is the victor.

But since we became used to having multiples of things, we don't feel the need to thin out our stuff.  It just feels normal to us.  We have two Cuisinarts.  We have two menorahs. We have two crockpots.

So, it didn't seem excessive at first when I connected our Apple TV this morning.  But now we have so many options for watching television I am somewhat humiliated.  (I don't know how many people really read this blog or I would be totally humiliated.)  DVD player? Yes.  Apple TV?  Yes?  Cable?  Yes.  On Demand?  Yes.  Netflix?  Yes.

Is there anything good on?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Musings from the Couch

I'm worn out so here are just a few observations I can make from where I'm sitting.

-Those winter boots I bought?  Those Bogs?  They are one of the best purchases I have made all year.  They have actually made my commute at least 75% more enjoyable.  Those, combined with the ugly warm down coat I bought last year have made me hate winter slightly less overall.

-Our ceiling fans are probably too low for most people.

-Before microwave popcorn, we used to make air-popped popcorn.  Before that we used to make popcorn with oil.  It was fabulous.  This observation makes me feel old.

-Sarah's dolls have way more clothing than I do.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Shoe Store

The shoe store in our neighborhood is closing.  It has a name - Vose-Sander's Bootery - but everyone just calls it the shoe store.  It has been on Central Street for 89 years.  The owner (not the original owner, but he's owned it for over 40 years) and his wife have sold "first pairs of shoes" to every kid in the neighborhood for generations.

I went in today and bought Sarah a pair of shoes.  The store will be open for another month or two and they told me to come back again because they're marking everything down.  There is no joy in those bargains.

You know what?  I'm not in the mood for another loss -- even if it is just a shoe store.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Packing it In

Wow - these days are really full. I was heartened to learn that J-Term is actually shorter this year and it is not just my imagination.

I would like someone to volunteer to do the following for me:
-Pack lunches
-Do laundry
-Do the dishes
-Grocery shop
-Choose clothing
-Go through the mail
-Find my sunglasses

It seems I need "Part-Time Working Marla" (PTWM) to come and help "Full-Time Working Marla" (FTWM) with all this stuff. PTWM usually fits is all in.  FTWM is a whole lot busier, enjoys working a lot more but also feels a lot guiltier.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Big Baby

OK - I am (almost) too beside myself to blog.  I just returned from "Kindergarten Information Night" where the policies and procedures involved in sending your child to public school in Evanston were described.  I entered with that feeling I recall from starting middle school as a student.  I left in tears, although really everything was fine and kindergarten sounds like lot of fun. Really, I mean it.

I cried over the following stupid reasons (it built up - I didn't cry until I was nearly out the door.)
-A kindergarten teacher reminded is that the kids will be very very tired when they get home from school which goes from 9:00-3:35.  This will about as long our child has ever been away from a parent -- and it will happen every day.
-I was sitting next to another compliant and worst-case-scenario-filled parent who will forever be known in my mind as "Debbie Downer" and I am grateful my good friend Miriam was sitting on the other side to balance things out.
-A goal of kindergarten is to foster independence and the kids will have to remember to turn in their homework.  I regularly forget to collect student homework and my husband walks out of the house without his wallet pretty darn often.  Her remembering genes have her at a disadvantage.
-I spoke briefly with a very nice lady from food service who showed the the potential lunch choices and mentioned how the kids just step up say which choice of the day they want to eat.  This almost made me cry because: A. My child will have to talk to the grownup which she is not always willing to do and B. If she doesn't like the school lunch I will be packing her lunch every single day.
-I met a lady from the district health office and I asked her if we should send a asthma inhaler to school just in case and she said we should, just to be on the safe side.
And then I had to go cry in the parking lot.

I would like to think I've done a lot of things to foster independence in my child.  That doesn't mean I'm OK with it.  That day when she doesn't want to hold my hand or kiss me goodbye is coming and there is not a thing I can do about it.

I suspect she is ready.  I know I am not.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Things I Like

Here's a list of some things I like so nobody can accuse me of having a whiny blog.

-I like it when conductor on the Metra jokes around with me on my way home from work.
-I like when I think I am out of something and then find a whole new container of whatever it is just sitting in the pantry.
-I like when they offer an extra shot of espresso at Starbucks even though I usually don't take it.
-I like it that my job is one that doesn't require me to wear uncomfortable shoes.
-I like playing cards on vacation.
-I like Mary Lou, the coffee lady at the train station in Evanston.  She knows the whole neighborhood.
-I like when I take my daughter to the playground and she finds another child to play with and they are instant friends.  I especially like it if the mom of that child enjoys chatting with me.
-I like my GPS.
-I like Sesame Street.

What do you like?

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Yesterday I got an SOS e-mail from a new mom.  She had read the books.

I enthusiastically read many books about parenthood when I was pregnant with Sarah.  These books are full of information and tell you what to expect when your baby arrives.  I even had a book that explained what one could expect a newborn to be able to do -- week-by-week.

The thing is, those books stink.  They should be outlawed.  I can scarcely think of one thing about those books that is helpful.  My husband actually snatched "Your Baby Week-By-Week" away from me and used it to prop up our window air conditioner. (I had been fretting that our daughter was not grabbing toys the way the book said she should be two weeks ago.)

We need books for new parents that explain how to eat and also do laundry with one hand while holding the baby in the other hand.  We need books for new parents that tell you whatever you are doing is just fine and you should not worry if your baby will only sleep in their bouncy seat in the dining room with the ceiling fan running on high.  We need books for new parents that tell them that their crazy suspicion that their baby is upset by their polar fleece could be true and they can just take it off and not feel insane.

And what we especially need are books that tell new parents to stop reading books and go out and find some other new parents and hang out with them.

I just got back from a brunch with my mom friends.  I met most of these women when our children were infants.  I remember feeling sort of pathetic when we would go to coffee together in the morning, then I'd suggest have we could have lunch, and then we would all spend the afternoon together.  Of course, I found out quickly that everyone was lonely and happy to spend the day chatting.  We all felt isolated with these babies who had not read the part of the book which said they would sleep 18 hours a day.  Those days together (and we had a lot of them) were the days we finally realized it might actually be OK to be a mom.

Way better than a book.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


According to my calculations it is now almost 9:00 and I have not blogged today.  Why are weekends so busy when they are supposed to be relaxing?

Perhaps something blogworthy will happen tomorrow.  (Come on laundry, I'm counting on you!)

Friday, January 7, 2011

J-Term 2011 -The Week One Report

OK - Here are some general observations in no particular order:

-As always, I am very lucky to have an opportunity to teach something about which I am so passionate.  I practically skipped into my classroom on the first day.

-My students are awesome.  Every single one of them came to each and every class this week and they were on time and ready to learn.  And they have a sense of humor and participate in class.  Pinch me, I must be dreaming.

-The commute was likewise dreamy.  That extra time on the train to get work done is nice.  The time to chat with my friend Maria is also nice.

-My packed lunches started off strong but by today (only day 4) not so much.  The sad reality is that I must grocery shop this weekend.  I will have to violate my "no grocery shopping on the weekend unless it is a dire emergency" policy.  On a more cheerful note, the company at lunch is great.

-Our guest speaker today was inspiring and now that I think about it l'm ashamed I mentioned I was unsatisfied with my lunch.

-I was thrown by the 4-day week and I spent some time in class today more or less barking information at my students.  "Wait, don't leave until I tell you one more thing!"  They were good sports about it.  I gave them a huge reading assignment and I have a similarly huge amount of work to do.  Too bad we're not all living together in that Princess castle.  We could have popcorn.

-Blogging is actually pretty fun.

-Eric's week was certainly more difficult than my week and Sarah looking a little bedraggled.  (This afternoon she was sporting an attractive "one braid, one pigtail" hairstyle.)  But they deserve their own post, so stay tuned for that.

Remind me to tell you about the kitchen clock falling off the wall.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Princes (Sold Separately)

Here's the thing about those Disney Princesses around here -- the princes are so totally beside the point.

I asked my daughter who turns five next month what a typical day is like for the Princesses.  She told me the following Princess facts:
-They all live together in the same castle.
-They all have their own rooms with fancy beds.
-They all cook meals together and eat together, or maybe they go out to eat.
-They dance if they want to.
-They do crafts and bake and do other fun things all day long.
-Some of them have jobs (Tiana has her own restaurant) but they get to choose.

Notice anything missing?  The handsome, charming, or otherwise useful prince?  Yeah, he's mostly out of the picture.  When pressed, she said the princes come over to dance sometimes but too often.

Hey Fairy Godmother?  I'm available.

Dizzy Whirled

True Confession:  I can't handle things that spin.

I used to love the twirly rides.  The Tilt-a-Whirl was my personal favorite (remember how you could lean to make it spin even more?)  I liked that high swing ride where your shoes would sometimes fall off.  I loved that one ride where it would turn really fast and then the floor would drop out and you'd be stuck to the wall.  (Do they still have that one?  It seems like something people would sue over these days.)

Now I even get dizzy on the eastbound ramp of the Edens.

I am so looking forward to our vacation but those twirly rides are not going to be the mommy rides.  This realization makes me feel really old and no fun.

Update -- Eric claims he is willing to go on the Teacups.  Stay tuned three weeks from today.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Blog - Day 1 - What have I done?

This blog is my choice for my annual J-Term "must-do" project.  I was somewhat inspired (AKA I stole the idea) from watching "Julie and Julia" the other day.

My initial thoughts about blogging:

I must admit I have found blogs to sort of imply that we all want to know a lot of small details about each other's lives.  Or it might imply that someone wants to know the daily details of your life, but you don't really want to hear about their life or you might just start a conversation over coffee instead of blogging all by yourself.  And, it does put the pressure on you to do something even a little bit interesting.  "The blog of laundry and loading the dishwasher" does not sound great.  I also don't think I have anything particularly insightful to say, but maybe this will dredge something up.

I like the idea of cooking everything from a cookbook more and more but I'm not going to do that so stay tuned as I figure this out.

Over and out.