Monthly Archives: March 2010

action shots

28 March 2010

I still have reminders, phantom pains, about my laptop going kaput. I don’t have photos under control. I have barely emptied the camera. Today I realized I had to use GIMP as I never loaded PhotoShop on the new-to-me laptop. And I have been using a newer version of PhotoShop at work and I love it. Time to save my pennies and upgrade.

Way back:

Making Mars

Making Miranda's Mars visual aid

And the for Henry’s birthday, we went to the Hilton. It was very nice. We got very wet.

Catch it!



Henry lost his first tooth

He is now down two teeth, and the first one that fell out is almost all grown in.

The stairs, not just for climbing.

Hugging her fuzzy puppy while wearing her fuzzy jacket.


She has probably just hit the dog. The surest way to get a kiss from Bella is to have her first smack you in the face. I am not sure I ever want to see what goes on inside a toddler’s brain.

Star Wars: Battle of Unfair Advantage

Arabella loved wearing Henry's Obi-Wan robe.

That was last month’s obsession. She has moved on to taking her pants off and on. All day long. Extra fun – getting stuck taking off her shirt.

Happy Birthday to Sarah

The lovely roses from Rob, who was not glowering at Miranda or me, I don't think.

Sitting in the plastic hat box, reading the story Miranda wrote

Leaping lizards

25 March 2010
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I took today off. It is my birthday. I did very little. I took a leisurely shower. I played with the baby, who is cutting an eye tooth and is very very grumpy. I went out to dinner. I opened my lovely presents. I had cake! I finished my blook club book, which is good because I only have a 2 week rental? lease?  lend? on it. What an odd book. I should write a review that I don’t publish until after the club.

I have always liked my birthday. It almost felt strange to stay at home and not go out and foist my birthday on other people.

I meant to take photos of the children and get away with a picture post tonight. No one was quite cooperative. Maybe tomorrow. For weeks, I have had it in my head that tomorrow is a half day from school. Not a “no school” day. Despite my work and home and pocket calendars all saying “No School.” I am staying home tomorrow, but between it not being my birthday and the kids all being home, I don’t think it will be as off and tranquil as today.

that’s why death and taxes are mentioned together so often

23 March 2010
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It was ‘file the taxes’ night. I e-filed. I went with the flow. I didn’t stand up to the Man, whoever he may be and whichever side he takes on taxes. And I was weak, I paid to e-file the state taxes.

<Head hangs in shame>

I don’t think taxes are particularly taxing. I have a small business. I carefully deduct my expenses. I think taxes are somewhere between a dare and a standardized test. But paying to file them when a stamp only costs 44 cents? Who am I?

When did I get so old? I was a talking to a friend on the phone, a friend who I don’t know if I will ever again live in the same time zone as much less the same area code, and I felt the future curling in. I need some sci fi, STAT, with parallel universes and limitless horizons. Will I ever bump and bumble along, not seeing more than 6 months ahead? Not worrying more than 6 months ahead? Being caught up in the tunnel of children, nursing and diapers, with the future so bright and vague and far away. Will I go back to school and get that Masters degree in history, specializing in analysis of Mitterand’s Europe? Will we move to one of the coasts? Pursue a job at a newspaper? Make couple friends that have children of matching ages, political philosophies and live within walking distance? Find a sport that makes me want to exercise and then get really, naturally, happily excellent at it?


If this is growing up, I am glad it didn’t start until I was 30.


In other news, Bella continues to amuse me by laying down on the round and kicking her legs during tantrums. Has her exposure to babies been purely through TV? (NO, if you were worried.) She says Mama and hot and up all day long. Do we, as English speakers, have a word that means both up and down? Bella uses Up with context–if she is up, she wants down. If she is down, she wants up.

Sunday night blues

21 March 2010
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I don’t think I am going to take up swing shift work to find out if Sundays are less traumatic when the specter of Monday’s school and work doesn’t hang so heavily. But I wonder.   It was a slow weekend, which at some point in my childless days would have been a bad thing. Rob puttered in the bike shop outside. We lamented that the weather was cold. I cooked the meatballs for spaghetti in the sauce (no turning!) and we marveled at the difference. 32 little meatballs disappeared. Today I went to Costco. The kids had friends over.  We probably all should take Benedryl at bedtime (or Tylenol PM if we’re pretending that’s not the same thing plus acetaminophen) so we fall asleep quickly.


17 March 2010
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Daylights savings is stirring us all up. It’s a silent killer. We didn’t suffer until Monday and Tuesday night.

Henry has been crawling into our bed in the night. This is not highly unusual – someone is always crawling into our bed or calling out. But the recent stealth attacks have been from Henry. Last night at bedtime, I reminded him for the 4000th time that I’d hope to see him in his bed in the morning. Not mine. And he argued. He wouldn’t commit to agreeing to stay in his bed. He wouldn’t commit to falling asleep. He wouldn’t commit to saying good night to me. And while I am as unreasonable as the next person, I didn’t lie just so he’d drop off to sleep in his normal 5-10 minutes span.  I suggested that if he woke up at 4, he could climb  into bed with us. This has been a reasonable compromise in the past.

So I did not expect that at 4:01 a.m., he’d came into our room talking a mile a minute. He wiggled and talked for an hour until Rob said, go to sleep or go to your room and play. Just let me sleep. I think we both dozed, but it was bad sleep.

He refused to leave unless I went with him. I took him back to his bed. Got him settled. Sent a silent thank you to myself for buying him a comfortable mattress.  And he kicked me out of his room. I did tell him that he could turn the light on and play if he wasn’t tired.

I crawled back to my bed. Slept hard. And at 6:30, awoke to wailing from Henry in his room in his bed with the lights on. He was seriously pissed as only a 6 year old can be. He was tired! And he didn’t sleep enough. And now it was almost wake-up time. !?!

I told him if he could sleep, go for it. We can be a few minutes late for school if we have to be.

He couldn’t sleep and by 7 he had tried to sleep in his bed and a downstairs on the couch. He decided to eat breakfast and went to school. I think he had a fine day. But Rob is putting him to bed tonight. And his clock will be turned away. (he admitted to checking to several times in the night.)

practical learnin’

16 March 2010
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A long time ago when I was a college student studying advertising in the journalism school in Madison, we talked about truth in advertising. I think more than most, we J-School majors who studied the dirty practical arts of advertising were constantly being forced to consider whether advertising was evil, a necessary evil or just horribly misunderstood. And I have never had a problem with the idea that advertising  can be an information source. Probably not your only information source.  But I constantly use advertising, consciously, to find out about products. Did the advertiser create a product that solves a problem I didn’t even know I had…maybe.

An example that had stayed with me is when plastic sandwich bags were introduced. The problem, as far as the market researchers could tell, was that the woman making a sandwich lunch for her working man’s lunchbox worried that the sandwich would get stale. Stale sandwiches, yuck! So the advertiser put a sandwich into the new nifty sealable plastic baggie and immersed it in water. This showed the little lady that the sandwich was safe. From spilled coffee and apple cores and stale air.

The professor then pointed out that the water molecules that the plastic prevented from reaching the sandwich–those molecules were far bigger than air molecules. And keeping water out didn’t prove that the air and its following staleness were being blocked.

I thought of that today. I was being frugal (I know, so 2009 of me) and put my PBJ sandwich and my 8 pretzels in the same sandwich baggie. Sealed it and headed to the office. Around 12, I was hungry. Got out my sandwich. And damn it all, it was crusty and stale. But the worst was the soggy distortion that my pretzels became.  Somehow, the moisture in the sandwich and the crunch of my pretzels merged. It wasn’t pretty.

And I think I wish I had taken more science classes and less advertising and media theory.

The Ides of March

15 March 2010

At risk of violating my no-talkee-about-workee rule, I feel completely buried. We have a big event in mid April. The deadline to register at the low price was today. And the phone rang off the hook with people wondering how the 15th had followed the 14th, just like that. Calendars, really really handy.

Not that a calendar got me to a volunteer meeting I wanted to attend last evening. Note to self, the 14th, it follows the 13th. Every month.

After watching Looney Toons the Movie for the bazillionth time, Henry realized that they use movie magic to make Brendan Fraser punch out Brendan Fraser. I would say split screen, but I think the technology has moved on since the days of Hayley Mills running around a ranch. As a digression – why not twins? It just sounds exhausting. And back to Looney Toons – Henry loves this movie. A movie which is mediocre, but I have my own playlist of movies past (Strange Brew, Up the Creek (the original Tim Matheson version),  My Chauffeur, Transylvania 6-5000 :) that are definitely mediocre. And yet I practically wore out the dubbed VHS tapes.  I’ve digressed again…Henry would like to have a double.  He could go to gym for him and recess on boring days, and wouldn’t it be awesome, Mom?

Yes, it would.

I will admit we have credit cards that don’t get paid off in full every month. A shame and a millstone and yadda yadda. And we have a card that we use for Midwest Miles. It has goods and bads – more goods when I can finally book a trip with miles and take the kids as companions. Right now, this card has $2000 balance on it. For some reason, the minimum payment is ridiculously low, as in $29. The new credit card act of 2010 has introduced this strange little box in which they show you how long it will take us to pay this card off (if we charge nothing else to it) if we make only the minimum payment. And what you’d have to pay each month to pay the card off in 3 years.

If you make no additional changes using this card and each month you pay… You will pay off the balance shown on this statement in about… And you will end up paying an estimated total of…
Only the minimum payment 753 years $213,951.00
$78.00 3 years $2808
Savings = $211,143.00

For the record, I am relieved that I will pay at least $100 toward this card this month. And more with the reimbursement for Rob’s travel from earlier this year.

I am still not sure I needed to know that.

Maybe I could leave that debt for my double? Or my great-great-great grandchildren? Shouldn’t they just say, hey, we’re applying your $29 payment to a life insurance policy so you can pay this off when you’re dead?

one liners

11 March 2010
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This will probably be an odds and ends post – what else can I do when I haven’t written for a few weeks?

Is it more embarrassing if your mom talks about your mental or gastrointestinal health?

If Bella is going to be a more typical kid — pickier eater, better sleeper, stranger aware, fall down on the ground tantrums, frustrated by her inability to speak intelligible words, sharing and smacking in equal measures — boy, the next year is going to suck.

I feel cheated by the lack of rain. Rain is not my favorite part of spring, but rain now would wash away the dirty icky snow (and dirty icky airmass hovering over Wisconsin). And the dirty snow needs to go. Instead of drenching rain, we have fog.

Drifting fog + stagnant green water in the far fields + ice patches + winter trees = the landscape of a ghost tale. In Scotland.

Just because you know what you’re doing is potentially and probably dumb, it doesn’t make it any easier to do the smarter thing. Self preservation may be smart, but it isn’t easy. This is probably universally true, not just in worklife.

I am struck that Scott Walker’s idea to break MPS into 10-12 districts is not nearly as interesting as if he suggested a county wide solution. You know, creating a city-county school district. Of course, the 10-12 districts could each be the suburb at the edges of Milwaukee, each taking a piece. Leaving behind maybe 2-3 smaller fully urban districts.

I can’t even tell if I hate this idea.

I really can’t even believe I don’t live in Milwaukee anymore.

And I wonder where the suburbanites who fled Milwaukee would flee if there were combined city suburban districts.

How can I be frustrated with my daughter’s pessimism when I am not exactly a ray of sunshine?

Just rain! Rain! Rain! Blow in some new weather.

Henry has more homework in kindergarten than Miranda had in first and second grade.

Miranda got her state test scores and her MAPS scores. She is doing well. She finally wants to read harder books.  I wonder if testing well is an inherited trait? They make her more nervous than I even remember feeling.

We had a quiet weekend ahead of us. I hope.