Tuesday, June 30

Work Computers, the Vietnam War, and Just Another Average Day Stuck Inside

I'm blogging on Adam's computer. His work computer. Apparently. Although I don't get it. I called him because I couldn't figure out how to turn the computer on (yes, I know. I won't even go there). I was hitting some button but nothing was happening (turns out it was the WiFi switch. Not the power button):
Me: How do you turn on your computer?
Adam: My computer?
Me: Yeah.
Adam: What about your computer?
Me: I've given up on my computer. It's slow and the WiFi goes in an out [and let's be frank--it's upstairs and I'm downstairs].
Adam: Okay, but it's my work computer.
Me: Your work computer?
Adam: Yeah.
Me: How is that possible?
Adam: What do you mean?
Me: I mean I'm here. Your computer is here. You're at work. You have a computer there. How is this your work computer?
Adam: It's my work computer. For home. My home work computer.

Uh... okay. Whatever. I don't buy it, but if that's how he wants to play it, let me just say that this post is being brought to you by TripAdvisor.

I'm relaxing at the moment as my kids--somehow--play quietly on their own. We're on day 16 (okay, that's a guess, I lost count) of bad weather. I know the quiet won't last long, but for the second is good. I just had a long protracted "explaining" session with the boy (don't know how else to refer to it). It was one of those really roundabout things, too.

For my birthday last week, I received a bounty of goodness, including Carrie Fisher's book Wishful Drinking, which I'm thoroughly enjoying. Reading it, though, made me realize that my music collection is lacking in Paul Simon's earlier music, so I downloaded The Essential Paul Simon, which I'm currently listening, too. (Ah, "Kodachrome!" Will the song go the way of the film? First Polaroid, now Kodachrome.) Doodles complained about having to listen. "This isn't my kind of music. Can you please put on the Beastie Boys?"

Pie was into it, and the two of us were dancing in the kitchen to "Late in the Evening." I said to the boy, "You'll like this song. It's about boys getting into trouble!" His eyes widened as I put on "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard."

"What are they getting in trouble for?" he asked, fascinated. "Are they going to jail?"

"Just in the song. Um, I think they're getting in trouble for smoking."

"You can go to jail for smoking?"

"For smoking drugs." But then I wasn't sure, so I looked up the song and Wikipedia came to the rescue. Turns out the song is most likely about an arrest during an antiwar rally on a college campus. Which lead to "What's a campus" which lead into "What's an antiwar rally" which lead into "What's Vietnam" which then finally ended up at "What started the Vietnam war?" At that point I used a lifeline and called my father to explain it to him. I did attempt diplomacy, because while both my parents were antiwar, Doodles's grandfather on the other side actually fought in Vietnam.

So there you go. Reading Carrie Fisher can lead to the Vietnam War.

I'm enjoying this quiet. Yesterday was a bit hectic. Both kids had morning playdates. Doodles's went well, and Pie's eventually went okay, but there seemed to be a bit of confusion: Pie, the girl's mother, and myself all thought it was a drop-off playdate. No one, however, told the girl and she asked every few minutes when her mom was coming. The kids started playing exactly seven minutes before the mom came to pick the girl up. I really want to make a dig at the mom here, because I know she reads this (Hi, D!), but my mind is filled with Paul Simon and I'm not coming up with anything clever.

I was in uber-haus frau mode yesterday and I used up a batch of overripe bananas to make yummy strawberry-banana mini muffins. Only my boy and Pie's playdate don't like strawberries. So I made a second batch of banana mini muffins. And in a rare show of generosity, I spiked those muffins with a plethora of chocolate chips. Am I a cool mom or what? Of course the answer is "or what," as my son took one bite and announced, "I don't think I like chocolate anymore." Anyone want 48 chocolate-chip banana mini muffins?

To continue the haus frau theme of the day, I have a collection of fat quarters, which are large squares of cloth. At Pie's request (who by the way, has been calling me "Jenny" for months now, but in the past week or so has started calling me "Gin-tay") I made her a headband. But when I went to try it on her, she threw it across the room in a fit of something. She's been in a throwing mood lately.

So after a quick errand, I stripped the kids and let them loose with fabric paints. Doodles thought it was "boring" and he wasn't going to do it, but of course the minute Pie started, he was all over it. I made one for Adam and the kids spent about an hour working on their masterpieces. I then spent about an hour trying to get the paint off of them. Doodles still has some large streaks on his neck. I'm pretending he's just a punk rock kid because it's easier than cleaning him.

I planned a lovely family dinner for us--a quiche filled with our Boston Organics veggies--but a quick kid meltdown let me see the error of my ways, so it was a fast mac and cheese and off to bed for those two. The quiche was enjoyed by adults at a later hour.

And now, I'm going to read the final chapter of The Great Brain and then it's off to the library for the next round of books before our afternoon playdates. Exciting life, I know. But it's the only one I've got.

Okay, computer, I'm done with you. You may now go back to work.

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Better Watch My Back

Pie is already staking her claims.
Pie: When I grow up, can I have your house?
Me: Huh?
Pie: When I grow up, can I have you house? I need a house to live in with Jasmine and our babies.
Me: Well, where are Daddy and I going to live?
Pie: Oh, I mean after you die. Can I have your house after you die?
I guess Doodles is on his own.


Thursday, June 25

Unreasonable Birthday Expectations

Me: Thanks, Pie, for helping me have such a special birthday. It was really nice.
Pie: You're welcome.
Me: Can I have a birthday smooch before you go to sleep?
Pie: No.
Me: No? No birthday smooch? Really?
Pie: You can have two next year.


Tuesday, June 23

A Little Tipple in Your Torah?

Oh my gosh, if they had this in a Tanakh version, I'd be all over it! It would be the perfect birthday gift for the hard-to-buy-for suburban haus frau (hint, hint).

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Barbies, Bakugan, and Baking, Oh My!

Well, instead of ice cream and sprinkler parks, we celebrated the first day of summer with chicken soup and tea. Some summer weather. Happy summer.

Even though school didn't end till yesterday, Doodles had his end-of-year celebration last Thursday. I think he's a little sad the school year is over, but he's not talking about it. He's just been a little off these few days. It'll be hard to leave kindergarten--his teacher and the assistant were fabulous and Doodles has made such huge strides. He did a self-evaluation at the end of the year. He wrote the two things he learned in kindergarten were "read" and "write." The two things he is still working on are "write using spaces" and "keep my fingers out of my mouth." Of course, there are some downsides, too. We were introduced to the world of Bakugan. Think Pokemon. But more expensive. Way more expensive. Oh my goodness. Adam and I both have masters degrees. We both read those instructions about twelve times. Both of us have no idea how to play. Apparently, you need the mind of a six year old to operate these things.

On a random side note, Pie and I were listening to the album Celebrate Kids: Kids Kosher Cuts, and on it is a song called "Deli-ightful." It's about food. Kosher food. Pie says to me, "Mommy, I want to keep kosher."
Me: Okay. We can consider that.
Pie: Good.
Me: But you realize, if you keep kosher, you can't eat bacon or ham?
Pie: Why?!?
Me: Because they're not kosher.
Pie: Hmmmm. That's a problem!

Anyway, see the pretty picture of a cake? That was my contribution to the elementary school picnic cake walk and the final nail in the coffin that is my urban, cool life. I have officially given up all of my final vestiges of hipness. Just because I like to listen to "Modest Mouse," it only means I'm a suburban haus frau who listens to "Modest Mouse."

The Pie has discovered Barbies. She's been asking for Barbies for months, and finally for an end-of-school-year gift, I bought her a Barbie. And the, just a few days later, a big score. A Freecycle offer. Barbies. Two little bags of them. I managed to get them and we picked them up within twenty minutes of the item being posted. Pie is so happy. And I'm in a time warp. Because it was an older woman. Whose daughters are in their thirties. And it was their Barbies. Which means all these dolls are about twenty-five years old. We have the neon-colored "Rock" shirted Barbie with the big hair and the oversized earrings. We have the crocheted dress Barbie. We have the over-the-shoulder light blue chiffon dress Barbie. We have the Barbie accessories. Including the Walkman. The big Walkman. With strap. And plastic cassette. I tried explaining that one to Doodles.
Doodles: So when you were little, you listened to tapes on a Walkman?
Me: No,no! Not till I was much older. First when I was little I listened to records. Then I listened to eight-tracks. After eight-tracks, I started listening to cassettes. The Walkman didn't come till high school. And then when I was in college, I got CDs. And then, in the past few years, it was MP3s. You know. iPods
Doodles: Huh?
But Pie doesn't care about any of that. All she cares about is that she has Barbies. Lots and lots of Barbies. She has no interest in that one guy doll, but the rest is Barbie heaven. They now travel with us (maximum allowed out at any time, though, is two).

Which is good. Because apparently summer isn't coming to our neck of the woods. So it'll be Pie and Barbies. Doodles and Bakugan. Mommy and martinis. You know. Life as usual.

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Monday, June 22

More from the Mouths of Babes

Pie: Mommy, let's talk about piggies. I'll go first and then you go and then I'll go and then you go...
Me: Okay. Go ahead.
Pie: I like piggies when they're nice and they don't bite.
Me: I like piggies when they oink and snort.
Pie: I like piggies when they make good bacon.

And that pretty much stopped the conversation.


At dinner tonight, apropos of nothing
Doodles: Mom?
Me: Yes?
Doodles: When will I start making sperm?
Me: Um, uh. Puberty. So, what like thirteen?
Adam: Thirteen sounds about right.
Doodles: My body is already making sperm.
Adam: It is?
Doodles: The sperm are wiggling and moving all around me and that's why I can't stop wiggling.

Another conversation stopper!

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Sunday, June 21

Telling It Like It Is

Me: Here, draw a picture for Father's Day.
Doodles: I don't want to.
Me: You're going to.
Doodles: Why do I have to do that?
Me: Because I'm the meanest mommy ever and I live to make you suffer. Did you know that?
Doodles: Yeah. I knew that.


Thursday, June 18

And That Would Be No

We're in Barnes and Noble. I'm reading to Pie from National Geographic for Little Kids.

Me: "Baby bears like to play in trees."
I notice Pie is staring at the table next to me.
Me: Are you listening to me?
Pie: Huh? Oh, yeah.
Me: What did I just say?
Pie, leaning forward, whispering: "Are you listening to me?"

Literal, isn't she?


Monday, June 15

Food for Thought... and Tummies

Here I am. Me and my computer. Well, technically me and Adam's computer. My computer seems to be on its last legs. Or RAMs. Or whatever the hell it is computers have. Once upon a time, I was a tech savvy person. Those days are gone. I know how to operate my iPhone. I know enough to want a new iPhone. But that's pretty much it.

Of course, now that I'm having some good quality time with a computer, all I can think is, "Peach crisp is calling my name." Adam adds, "Nothing Pizza Hut makes is good. You should blog that." My father just called to tell me he sat next to Peter Greene on his plane ride to Miami. I, however, hadn't heard of Peter Greene before.

I've decided it's time to get back on the Weight Watchers wagon. Of course, now that I'm doing that, I'm obsessed with food. My BMI is actually in the healthy range right now at 23.3 But I'm anxious to improve my running PRs--so far I've signed up for six shorter runs (well, seven, but I've already run one) and I plan on signing up for a few halves--and the best way I know to run faster is to haul less weight. Runner's World has an article this month about avoiding aches and pains, and it said if you're doing longer runs, you really need to have a BMI lower than 21 to save your knees. I'm at that point of life that my knees need to be safeguarded. But that's not going to happen. I'd have to lose fifteen pounds to get to a BMI of under 21 and 1) really? and 2) I'd be a little bony. I'm not exactly a small-boned gal, and 3) really? So now I'm obsessing over the peach crisp in the fridge that I made for our weekend guests, but on 18 points a day, that's not happening. So--

Oooh! iPhone commercial! Shiny! Pretty.

Wait, where was I? Eh, there's nothing more boring than a person watching his or her weight. But it might slip in sometimes. Because there's nothing more obsessed than a person watching his or her weight. Did I mention the peach crisp? It is an exquisite peach crisp.

Of course, my son needs to be watching his weight. But in the other direction. The girl is solidly a pound heavier than the boy. That kid is a peanut. I measured both of them today: Doodles is 41" and 38 lbs. Pie is 38" and 39 lbs. (Does that make her more or less a square?) I still have him in his car seat in the minvan and he's been a real trooper about being the only kindergartner in a full car seat. In Adam's car we have him in a booster with a back. He's definitely a full year away from the backless booster unless he has a serious summer growth spurt (the rules for the backless are 4 years old, 40 inches, and 40 pounds). I'm ready to cave and put him in a booster with back in our car (he's more than big enough for that one. For that you need to be 3 years old, 38 inches, and 30 pounds). The five-point harness is the safest for as long as possible, but he's suffered long enough.

I'm cooking for the boy. I've been making magic out of our Boston Organics delivery (a home veggie and fruit delivery service). I've been putting my haus frau skills to the test. One night, we have zucchini, peppers, and yellow squash. I didn't want to make multiple meals. I peered in the fridge and we had cheddar cheese, salsa, green onion, and in the cabinet, I found a can of beans. So I made do-it-yourself burritos. But wait, tortillas? I didn't have any tortillas. So I made them. From scratch. In time for a family dinner. I was pretty impressed with myself. Of course, Pie refused to eat them.

Me: Look, Pie. Even Doodles is eating them!
Doodles: Yeah! They're good!
Me: See, Pie! They're great! They're even better than the store-bought kind.
Doodles: Well... I don't think I'd say they were better.

Why do I even bother? Okay, no more food talk. I've got to go and not think about peach crisp.

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Self-Portrait by Boy


Sunday, June 14

Don't Let the Bedbugs Bite

For the first time, my baby boy is spending the night away from us. Okay, there was one other time, but that was the night that both Adam and I were at Beth Israel because I was giving birth to Pie. And the next night, Adam was home for him.

But tonight, he has his first out-of-the-house sleepover. I've assured him if he wants to come home in the middle of the night, he can. But here it is, pretty much middle, and he appears to be sleeping (he's at Tab's house across the street).

He seems to be adjusting well to this "big kid" life. I just wish I could say the same about me.


Sunday, June 7

Yes, Virginia, There Is Art in Boston


Saturday, June 6

Get Out Much Lately?

Tomorrow Doodles and Adam are going to a Red Sox game, so Pie and I are having a Mommy-Daughter day (Pie was given the option of a Red Sox game or lunch with me, and she chose lunch with me). In the morning, the two of us are going together to do some volunteer work. But after, we can do whatever we like.

Me: I've been thinking about our day tomorrow. I have two choices that I think you might like: We could have lunch in Harvard Square and then watch the Dragon Boat Races on the Charles or we could go to the art museum. We could have lunch in the cafe there.
Pie: Dragon boats like on Kai-Lan?
Me: Um, not sure. Maybe.
Pie: I want to go to the art museum!
Me: That sounds great! We'll do that.
Pie [in a confused tone]: So, are we going to New York tomorrow?
Me: No. We won't go to New York till school gets out for the year.
Pie: But you said we could go to the art museum tomorrow!

It takes me a minute, but then I get it.

Me: No, Pie. Did you know that there are actually art museums in Boston?
Pie: There are?!?

Oops. Somehow, it's always seemed easier to hop in the car for a 3 1/2 hour drive to NYC to go to the Met than it's been to hop a T into town. Do you think maybe it's time for me to start exploring my own city with the kids? At the rate we're going, they're going to think that Boston is a suburb of New York. Well, a suburb with a superior baseball team. At least, according to their father.

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Thursday, June 4

A Family Man

Doodles: So, will I go to Daddy's business school when I grow up?
Me: Well, it depends. You may not want to go to business school. You might want to do something else.
Doodles: Well, I need to go to business school to become a paleontologist.
Me: For paleontology, you'll go to a school that specializes in that, not business school. You'll need to study archeology and dinosaurs and biology and all sorts of stuff.
Doodles: So I'll find a school for that?
Me: Yep. Did you decide you'll be a paleontologist again?
Doodles: Yeah.
Me: So you don't want to be a doctor anymore?
Doodles: No. Doctors might have to touch sick people, and I wouldn't want to do that, because then I could get sick.
Me: Very wise.
Doodles: But if I'm a paleontologist, I'll have to travel to where the bones are and that would be bad because I want to be with my family.
Me: Maybe your family could come with you.
Doodles: Maybe.


Monday, June 1

Hah-vahd Revisited

How to begin? It was Hah-vahd weekend for Adam as MBAs crawled out of their holes from all over the world to descend upon Allston for reunion weekend. I tried putting on my nice face, but apparently it didn't work very well, as I did get in a wee bit of trouble: Apparently Twittering through the section event was apparently not the way to make new friends. But since that was what I was up to anyway, here were a few of my observations:

# I'm paying $15 an hour for a kid-free night. That damn well be a midget over there.7:22 PM May 29th from web

# Adam keeps looking at me like I'm supposed to mingle. Sorry, babe. Mingling costs extra.7:36 PM May 29th

# Adam is trying to explain why the lecture "why smart people don't change" was so brilliant. Let's all pat our own backs here. Riiiiight.8:41 PM May 29th

# People are already talking about their second marriages. HBS knows how to breed them. 9:48 PM May 29th

# This thing is supposed to end in 8 minutes and I still haven't gotten my freakin' cake. MBA efficiency, my ass.9:52 PM May 29th

Anyway, it was highly suggested that I have an attitude readjustment for Saturday, and I did my best to comply. In my defense, Friday night's activity was not set up well--too small a space, too short an open bar, too mediocre food, and too many people I didn't remember (wait, does it count as not remembering if you've repressed the memories?). Luckily, I wasn't the only one who behaved badly, but since I'm attempting to be nice here, I'll skate over other peoples' rudeness. I'm nice like that. I will give some folks credit though: After all these years, people finally got my name right. Jenny Brown. Jenny Medros is a figment of MBAs' imaginations (yes, I'm giving them enough credit to assume they have imaginations--I told you, I'm being nice here).

Saturday's day event was fine--the kids' area was okay, although whoever thought that turkey, cheese, lettuce, and raspberry mayo on a sun-dried tomato wrap was a good lunch for kids, obviously never met my kids. The grown-up lunch's mac & cheese and bread was much more kid satisfying. The kids did a fabulous job behaving, even through the section's trip down memory lane (Doodles loved the slide show and now apparently thinks that business school is filled with guys dressed as women). They were amused to be sitting at the same desks that Daddy sat at, and bribing them with gum to keep quiet worked pretty well. The presentation brought up some sore memories (I still can't believe Adam didn't vote for me as a "better half") but also some fun times and surprise, surprise, they even poked fun of me for this wee, little, harmless blog.

The gala on Saturday was actually quite nice. Because of the economy, the event was downsized so instead of a black-tie gala, it was a cocktail-attire gala. I'm still not completely sure what the distinction is there, but apparently to someone, there is one.

Walking in was a bit odd because the halls were lined with security guys. Seriously, we passed four of them before we even entered the event. We couldn't figure out who was coming who warranted this. Turns out... it was us. Signs at the bar read, "No shots, no straight-up drinks, only one drink per guest at a time."

Apparently, at last year's reunion, the MBAs got loaded and there were actual brawls. A beer bottle over a head. A couple battling it out when he thought she was flirting too much. A bit of blow going on in the corner. Way to go class of '03!! I think I might have had more fun had Adam started just a year earlier.

But the food was fabulous, the views were great, and I got to talk to almost everyone I wanted to talk to (Meg, if you read this, I searched for you! I was bummed I never found you). We had friends staying with us and that was fun. Kevin and Shannan were two of my HBS favorites, and Shannan was absolutely my partner in crime at the reunion and we had a--gasp!--good time.

Of course, there were a few revelations this weekend. A marriage ended here. Jobs changed there. And the biggest, most horrifying revelation of all: As I was telling Shannan how I love my new remodel, but I'm starting to take it for granted; as I mentioned that I just don't do crumbs, that's what a house cleaner is for; as I mentioned how nice it is being home with the kids and that I've been managing to have dinner on the table for the whole family at 6:30 every night, it dawned on me.... Of all the CWITs (corporate wives in training) of our HBS years, I am the winner of the Corporate Wife Extraordinaire award. What? Really? Moi?

Dah-ling. It's quite an honor. I'll tell you all about it. Let's chat over martinis and manicures. Your Black Card or mine?

'Til the 10 year in 2014! Ta ta!

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