Sunday, May 31

Family Randomness

(All of this is from last Friday)

Pie had pizza, salad, and a whoopie pie last night. Oddly enough, it was apparently the salad that gave her a stomach ache.


I have my own name plate and name tag for Adam's HBS 5 year reunion, in case I want to go to any academic presentations. The boy came in this morning wearing my name tag. "Monkey boy," he said to me, "you need to get ready for school!"

"Huh?" I said.

"Look," he said, pointing to his tag. "I'm Jenny Brown. Get ready for school!"

I laughed. "You, Mom, need to go drink your smoothie!"

He smiled sweetly and said to me, "Sorry, but you can't direct me, honey!"


Adam took twenty minutes to decide what to wear to the reunion academic presentations today. "Can I wear jeans? Kevin's dressed nicer. I should dress nicer. Should I wear khakis? I guess I'll wear khakis. I feel so funny wearing khakis these days. Maybe I should wear nice jeans? I'll wear the khakis." He puts on the khakis and a blue-and-white shirt. "Maybe I'll wear this tonight," he says, at which point I told him I had enough and he wasn't wearing a blue shirt and khakis to a friggin' cocktail party if I had to wear a freakin' cocktail dress. And then he told me to chill. And then I reminded him that all these events are optional for me and he quickly backed down.


Doodles announced that he wanted to go to the hardware store.

Me: What for?
Doodles: I need stuff for my invention.
Me: What do you need.
Doodles: Just plastic and wood.
Me: Nothing else?
Doodles: That's it.
Me: Do you have a plan for what you want to build?
Doodles: It's all in my head.
Me: What is it?
Doodles: I'm going to build something special! It's going to be a babysitting machine! And I'm going to make robots and they'll watch the kids. And then I'm going to make these helicopters the robots will use!
Me: Oh?
Doodles: Yeah! So can we go get my wood and plastic now?

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Sunday, May 24

The boy definitely had fun. Maybe too much fun. He's absolutely walking funny and it occurs to us it's been hours since he peed. Oops...

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Long Day

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In a Pumpkin Coach

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In the old days I couldn't make the tea cups at Disney spin fast enough. Now one ride on the Cuckoo Clockenspiel and am ready to puke. Aging at its ugliest.

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Doodles said on the Twirling Turtles--as we're whipped around at top speed and his friend exclaims, "My stomach is all the way in my chest!"-- "I don't know how Dad can not like this!" Um, I might have an idea.

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The Italian sausage and ice cream with sausages just after the Twirling Turtles and right before the Teacups may have been a mistake. Just sayin'.

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Not Everyone Loves a Circus

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Spotty service is foiling my posting plans. Doodles has two friends here, both girls, and they're fighting over who gets to sit next to him. Hope he doesn't get used to it. I took the kids on the Krazy Barn. Now I'm Krazy Nauseous. Ready to watch the freaky cats at the Hannaford Circus. Do you wish you were me?

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Nothing like mediocre coffee in the morning to pump you up. Yea, Glen Junction breakfast! Or, as Adam says, it would be better called Ultimatum Point because every second sentence uttered is, "If you don't X, then no Storyland!" Children fortified with chocolate chip pancakes. Time to hit the park!

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So normally I'd post all my brilliant and oh-so witty (let me have my delusions--at least until I get some coffee) comments on Twitter, but apparently I can now text posts to Blogger so I thought I'd give you guys minute by minute (sort of) updates of our exciting adventures in Storyland. Of course, you may not hear anything for a bit because the other family we're with isn't moving very fast. I just have to remind myself, not everyone can be a Brown. Although a girl can dream...

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Friday, May 22

Biting My Tongue

I'm doing my best to ignore the shrieks coming from upstairs. The boy has his first sleepover tonight. Tab is here, not sleeping on the Aerobed in Doodles's room. I've gone up six times already and those kids, much as I love them, just aren't the sharpest crayons in the box. I've told them they don't have to go to sleep. They don't even have to try to go to sleep. They just have to whisper. That's it. But I keep hearing thumps and shrieks and squeals and gales of laughter. It's going to be a very long night.

So this blog has become somewhat of an issue. Throughout the week things happen and I'll think, "Oh, I've go to blog that!" But most of what I want to blog is about the stupidity of others. Really. I have such a low tolerance for stupidity. There was a time when I would have written with glee. When we first moved here and Adam entered business school, oh what fun I made and had with this blog! And make fun I did. Often. And it was fun. And I would often get called on it. I made a few enemies with this blog. And I reveled in that. Because what's the worst that could happen? I could cripple Adam's HBS-standing, thereby placing in jeopardy his career possibilities and making him a leper in his colony. No biggie.

But now, now it's different. I can't trash the PTO (which in my day was the PTA), mock moms, or make general scathing comments about my local community. Because I have children. I always knew that children would interfere with my drinking life, my writing life, even my sex life. But who knew they'd interfere with my blog life? Because it's one thing to alienate my husband's community and make a pariah of him, but it's another thing with the children. I don't want them to suffer for my sins. "Oh, you want to have a playdate with Doodles? The one whose mom drinks too many martinis and who called me an anal-retentive Attila the Mom? Sweetie, I have a better idea. Why don't we have Christopher over instead?"

So I swallow so much. I think that's what's making me gain weight. The snarky, biting comments are just festering in the bile of my stomach. But I still think the thoughts. I still daydream of an anonymous blog where I could talk about the cliques and mommy mafias around me. But I refrain.

However, next week, I'll have another outlet. It's Adam's five year HBS reunion. I'll see if the Corporate Wife training turned out any successful Corporate Wives. I'm sharpening my nails as I type....

Dumb question of the night: Adam just came in and asked, "Are they asleep?"

Um, duh. No. And they probably won't be for a few hours. Might be time to go up and flex those claws. Get them ready for next week. Grrrrr!

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Wednesday, May 20

Republican Beginnings...

I volunteer every Wednesday in Doodles's kindergarten class. They're studying community helpers and talking about what they want to be when they grow up. For a couple of years, Doodles had said he wants to be a paleontologist. That's what he drew for his class last week.

Today, though, it's a different story.

Me: What are you drawing there?
D: A doctor.
Me: I thought you wanted to be a palentologist when you grow up!
D: I heard doctors make more money.

And there you have it.


Sunday, May 17

Daughter of the Commandments

When I was about eight or so years old, I told my parents that I wanted to go to Hebrew school and have a bat mitzvah. Now, as I've mentioned before, my parents aren't exactly what you'd call, um, observant. In fact, I think the words we're looking for are apathetic, atheistic, non-joining Jews (adjectives used only in relation to religion). They talked about it and they sat me down. "Jennifer," they said, because in those days I was just beginning the transition to Jenny, "if you want to have a bat mitzvah, that's fine. But if you want to have a bat mitzvah, we have to join a synagogue and we will have to attend services. Now we don't want to go to services, but if this is that important to you, we will do it. But you will have to follow through. This isn't like dance or the guitar where you can just do it for a couple of months. You have to go to Hebrew school every week, for the next four [or whatever it was] years. No quitting. No changing your mind. So? Do you want to have a bat mitzvah?" And, of course, as they planned, I was terrified and said no.

Flash forward thirty-two years. I finally had that bat mitzvah.

For the past two years I've studied with eleven other grown-ups (and a rabbi), arguing, learning, discussing, discussing, discussing, and yesterday was the culmination: the actual ceremony. I learned three verses of Torah--got the trope down, learned to read it without the vowels--and I wrote our group's introduction to what our Torah portion was and our d'var Torah (a sermon, if you will, and no, it did not start with "Today I am a woman," although I really wanted it to). But the ceremony was just a small part, just a recognition of all the studying I'd done these past couple of years. I was surprised at how meaningful it was for me. I went armed with the women of the family: I wore a pin made by Pie, a sweater that had been my paternal grandmother's, a necklace that belonged to my maternal grandmother, my mother's ring, and a purse that the Tweedle Twirp had bought for me a few years back. My tallit was purchased by me in Sfat on our recent trip to Israel. My non-synagogue parents came up for it, my in-laws came, Beetle and Tab came, as well as my husband and kids. And it was nice. Very, very nice. That's the only way I can really put it.

Of course, as well as I read the Torah, I didn't do as well as Pie. While I absolutely made sure to learn the trope and how to read the Hebrew, I also had a CD my rabbi made for me to hear how it was chanted. I'd listen to it in the car, and it was Pie's favorite. "Mommy," she'd say every time we got into the car. Put on Rabbi J.!" It wasn't until I was practicing--"Im Be-hukkotie telechu. V'et mitzvtie--"--and I stumbled that Pie chimed in, "Mom! 'Tishmru!" that I realized she'd memorized the whole thing. Maybe we should make sure we have the same Torah portion for her bat mitzvah, since she's already halfway there.

I'm feeling that post-achievement letdown I often get. I'll keep studying, because I enjoy it. And it's something I can cross of my lifelong "to do" list. But there's now this big "what next" feeling. I have no excuses anymore not to finish this novel of mine.

I will say there is one cool thing about having a bat mitzvah at 40. I got an SLR camera with an extra lens for a present. At 12, probably all I would have gotten is an $18 savings bond. Not too shabby!

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Friday, May 15

Support the Arts!

Most of you know that I won't run Boston until I can qualify. I always support my friends when they run for charities, but fund raising is so not my thing. I won't do it.

Okay, disclaimer aside, here's a little fund raising pitch for a friend of mine. Not for a charity, though.

My friend Geoff is making a film. Not just any film. A really cool film. He's trying to personally reunite the Kinks. He's got most of the film done, but he needs to raise funds for editing. I encourage you to watch the clip of his film, and then send him $10 or $20 (or more) to get this film completed. Folks will say to you, "Hey, have you seen that really cool new film, Do It Again?" and you'll be able to say, "Know it? I was an original investor in it!"

In his own words: "I need to raise just $3,500 to finish the editing. (That’s after already raising about $65,000 to make the film, in addition to what I've put in from my now deceased bank account.) My hope is that you view this request as you might one from for the local fire department’s fund or friends raising money for charity – minus the altruistic mission, of course. Because anything ($10, $25, $100) will be used wisely and prudently on pure Kinks film work.

"I don’t have much to offer beyond thank yous. I will do my best to organize informal screenings in Boston, New York and Raleigh in the fall for folks who helped me along the way.

"The film, as you probably know, features interviews with Paul McCartney, Sting, Zooey Deschanel, Brian Wilson, Paul Weller, Robyn Hitchcock and Clive Davis, among others. How about the Kinks? You’ll just have to wait and see..."

Pretty cool, huh? Go ahead and Paypal him at or e-mail me (or him) for his address if you want to send him a check. Tell him I sent you.


Saturday, May 9

Where Does That Train of Thought Go...?

Doodles comes downstairs, looking tired.

Pie: Hi Monkey Boy. Hi Doodles!
Adam: Hi Monkey Boy
Pie: He doesn’t like to be called Monkey Boy or Bugs.
Adam: Oh really? You know what else he doesn’t like?
Pie: What?
Adam: To wear PJs.
Pie: You know that book where his marble goes down the drain? [She’s talking about Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day]
Adam: Yes, I know that book.
Pie: He doesn’t like to wear his train PJs either.


Wednesday, May 6

From the Mouths of Babes

From the "takes after his father" department:
Doodles had a playdate over, a girl from his kindergarten class, J. They were playing nicely, but at one point J. bumped her head and came to find me. Nothing serious, but I gave her an ice pack and yelled down to the playroom for Doodles.
Doodles: What?
Me: Could you please come up here?
Doodles comes upstairs.
Doodles: Whadda you want?
Me: Doodles, J. hit her head and is going to sit here for a minute with the ice pack.
Doodles throws up his arms and says: So, what did you call me up here for?

From the "in the vault" department [with a spoiler for Kofefim parents]:
At pick up from school, Pie and her teacher were whispering, and then the teacher said to Pie: Now, don't forget! It's a secret!
Pie: I know! Mommy, I can't tell you! It's a surprise!
Me: Okay.
Almost exactly one hour later.
Pie: Mommy, I made you a pin!
Me: What?
Pie: A pin! I made you a pin! You know, for mother's day!
Me: Didn't your teacher tell you to keep it a secret?
Pie: Yeah! So make sure you don't tell her that I gave it away!

From the "teen angst" department:
Doodles was clearly overtired and just having a rough time. He came downstairs with both his backpacks and tears in his eyes.
Me: Whatcha doing?
Doodles: I'm leaving.
Me: You're running away?
Doodles: Yes?
Me: But why?
Doodles, starting to sob: I don't want to move out. I have to move out. I can't live with all these rules!
Me: That makes me sad. What rules don't you like?
Doodles, sobbing heavily: All the rules! Like you make me make me eat energy food. J. gets a cookie in her lunch every day for snack. And I never get one! I want to eat junk food every day, too!

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