Tuesday, February 23

Clean Searches

Tonight we were flipping channels, and we hit upon American Idol. Normally, it's one of the few reality shows that I don't watch. But the contestant was singing Chris Isaak's "Wicked Games," so I paused.

"This is one of those songs that I can't help but listen to, but makes me think of years that weren't necessarily the best. This song. k. d. lang's songs. What was that song? Constant... I know it wasn't Constant Contact, but that's what I keep thinking."

Adam replied, "I dunno the song at all. I don't know k. d. lang."

Which of course meant I had to grab the nearest computer and do a search on k. d. lang. "Here's the song! 'Constant Craving.' Here, I'll play it for you."

I play it for him. Doesn't really ring a bell for him. But he does say, "Oh, great. Now Amazon is going to give me a bunch of crap in my recommendations. I like a clean search on my account"


First of all, I didn't use Amazon to search for the song. Second of all, he's worried about crap in his Amazon results? Him?? Let's look at what's in my recommended results right this very moment at 9:43 p.m.: Kidz Bop 17. Wow. Can't wait to hear that one. Clarice Bean, That's Me. Think I might join a book club to discuss that one. LeapFrog Leapster Learning Game: Batman. Leaping lizards! StarStruck. Oooh! That Christopher Wilde is soooo dreamy!

That man better hide his computer at night. Because it'll be worth it to me to wake up in the middle of the night to come do stealth searches on his computer on Amazon. I'm thinking: Selena Gomez or Martha Stewart, or, if I'm feeling particularly malicious, menstrual cups.

Clean searches. Bite me.


Saturday, February 20

M-I-C (See you real soon! ) K-E-Y (Why? Because we like you!)

We made it back. All in one piece. Oh, you didn't know we were gone? Disney World! I have to say, it was a really great Disney adventure, and I was truly sorry to come back. I think that Disney is one of those places where you either go as a stick-in-the mud "I hate this bullshit" attitude or you just suck it up and drink the Kool Aid. And you all remember the family motto. I sucked it up. I drank that Kool Aid and I asked for seconds!

I'm truly tired and don't think I can blog everything at this moment, so I'll hopefully add more later, but it was an excellent trip. But a few of the highlights, which may be repeats for those who are Facebook friends:

--The trip started a little ominously when we checked in at home for our JetBlue flight and then brought our bags to drop off. Now, we usually fly American. We're used to this drill. With American we usually drop our bags at curbside or head to a kiosk. JetBlue? Not so much. The line for bag drop stretched longer than the hour and ten minutes we had till our flight. In a panic, we decided to take our bags on the flight. Only of course we had packed all our toiletries and TSA decided to be sticklers on the gels over 3.5 ounces or whatever the ridiculous rule is. Out went Adam's hair gel, out went my shampoo, out went my $40 face cleaner (that sounds much better if you read it to the tune of "Rock Island" from Music Man. Here, I'll even give you the next line: Look whatayatalk. whatayatalk, whatayatalk, whatayataalk, whatayatalk?). And then, of course, the TVs on the flight weren't working. Fun times!

--Our family was following the certified, patent-pending Goldfarb System®. I don't want to give too much of the system away, but it is a fool-proof method for doing the Disney parks in the most efficient and line-preventing way. I will testify that the Goldfarb System® works. But... only if you follow it to the T. The first day I got cocky. I thought I could figure out a few shortcuts to the Goldfarb System®. But I was wrong. And I paid in a big way, with a screaming daughter and a son who waited in line for thirty minutes for the Astro Orbiter. The next day I followed the plan to the letter and had an immensely successful day. Day three, we had the system perfected to the point where my son had a mere five minute wait for Toy Story Mania, got to ride Star Tours... twice, and still got to have another go at the Buzz Lightyear ride. Yes, the system is that good.

--We had characters up the wazoo. First Pie met Cinderella, Belle, and Aurora in Toon Town. Then we had breakfast with Cinderella, Belle, Aurora, Ariel, and Snow White. Then another breakfast with JoJo, Goliath (from JoJo's Circus) and Leo and June (from Little Einsteins). Then dinner with Chip and Dale, Mickey and Pluto. Plus we ran into Goofy, Daisy, Donald Duck, and Minnie around the parks. We also caught glimpses of a whole bunch others. But that girl of mine, she can hold a grudge. Our final dinner, at the Garden Grille in The Land, Dale, Mickey, and Pluto came to our table. But not Chip. "When is Chip coming? I want to see Chip!" She would not be put off. "There's Chip! Why isn't he coming to see us?" Finally we left without Chip. She shook hands with Pluto, flirted with Mickey, had her picture taken with Dale. So I asked, "How did you like dinner?" "It was awful!" she told me. "Chip never came to see us."

--Most exciting thing for girl? When Belle noticed that her skirt had "Beast print" on it. (Why more about the girl than the boy? Because for much of the trip we split up and I spent most of my time with the girl)

--New form of torture? My mother and daughter singing "It's a Small World" over and over and over and over... and over and over and over... (deep breath) and over and over and over. And then not understanding why I wanted them to stop.

--The Wishes fireworks display was only a mild hit. I let Pie stay up late to watch it; Doodles decided to pass. We went with the Nana to watch the display over Cinderella's castle. Pie seemed to be into it, but later informed us, "I didn't like it. The booms made my teeth shake."

--At the princess breakfast, you walk in and the first thing that happens is a picture with Belle that the family gets a copy of by the end of breakfast.
Me: I want a family picture with Belle.
Pie: I want to stand between Mommy and Belle!
Doodles: I want to stand between Daddy and the wall.

I'm sure I'll have more to say later. Or maybe I won't. That's the way these blogs fly. Now I gotta go have another swig of Kool Aid. Mmm, that's good!

1973, Disney World (which only consisted of the Magic Kingdom) is 2, the boy (my cousin) is 5, I'm weeks away from 5, my first trip

2010, Disney World is 39, The boy is 6, the girl is 4, their first trip

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Saturday, February 13

You Just Can't Win

For the summer of 2011, we're talking with two other families about spending the summer in Israel. The trip we took in February of last year was so amazing, that I'd love to spend more time there, get to know the country better. Husbands would only be able to spend a couple of weeks, but moms and kids could be there for four to eight weeks. Send the kids to camp there, learn the language, really immerse ourselves.

I told the kids about the idea. Pie said, "Yea!! Israel! It was so much fun! I can't wait!"

Doodles threw his head back dramatically and complained, "Israel! Again!"

Watching the opening ceremonies (finally!) we watched the dance of the First Nations. Doodles had lots of questions about them, which I try to answer. Then I say...

Me: Maybe we'll go there this summer. What would you think?
Doodles: Go where?
Me: To the Northwest. We could go to Seattle and then to Vancouver.
Doodles: Awwww! [Throws his head down in disgust.]
Me, surprised: That doesn't interest you?
Doodles: No!
Me: If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go?
Doodles: Egypt!
Me: Well that's not going to happen now. Where else would you want to go?
Doodles, with a big sigh: Nowhere.

Six years old. And already jaded. Wait till he realizes it's all downhill from here.


Friday, February 12

Whistler Wonder

Now that Pie is asleep, and Doodles is steadfastly holding out till 9 p.m., I can tell you about my last trip to Whistler. All those images of Vancouver and Whistler in the coverage of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies (not the ceremonies, mind you; we're still in the "coverage" of the opening) really make me miss the West Coast. So beautiful. I miss the mountains and the rain (yes, really, the rain) and the lack of snow (although I understand that this winter has proven Seattle to be snowy). The coverage showed the Peace Arch and I spent a lot of time, sitting in my car, looking at that Peace Arch, cursing the freakin' traffic at the border. [Quick side note: the remake of "We Are the World" is on, and save Babs and Michael Jackson, why don't I recognize half of the people singing?]

Anyway, I was in Whistler. I was on a date. With this guy I had just started dating. We went on a mountain biking weekend with a bunch of his friends. Advice to you guys: Don't go on a mountain biking date with a guy you only started dating. I wasn't sure I liked him, I wasn't sure I liked his friends, I was pretty sure I didn't like mountain biking.

I had never been mountain biking before, and now that I'm a sporty gal, I realize that what we did wasn't really mountain biking. It was flying. Down a hill. On a rented two-wheel vehicle of death. The bumpy dirt path went straight down, and I rode my brakes the entire way. Not so fun. And really not so fun when my date when flying over his handlebars, lay on the ground in a bloody mess, with two chipped front teeth. We'd been dating for about three weeks. What was I supposed to do? Be the concerned girlfriend? I wasn't sure I could call myself a girlfriend. Brush it off, like, "Hey, it's all cool"? Did I coo? Get all worked up? Talk about stress! I decided the guy wasn't worth the hassle. I didn't need a bleeder. Besides, he was arrogant as all get out. At least Whistler was beautiful and the Bellinis I drank for the first (and last) time helped numb the pain of it all.

You know what? Sometimes I still think he isn't worth the hassle. But in for a penny, in for a pound, so I guess I'll just keep him.

(Happy Valentine's Day, Adam!)


Olympic-Tired Kids

I've been suckered. It's 7:59 p.m. and I've got two incredibly sleepy children next to me. But I made the mistake earlier of saying, "Hey, the Olympic opening ceremonies are on at 7:30. If you guys want to stay up late, you can watch it." They, of course, took me up on the offer, and we started watching.

Before we began, I said to Adam, "Did you hear about the luger?" "No," he said. "Look it up. But don't say anything. I don't want it a topic of discussion." What was I thinking? Doodles and I had a huge battle when I turned off the TV when Tom Brokaw said, "The footage you are about to see about the death of Georgian luge slider Nodar Kumaritashvili is graphic." We had no choice but to explain to them about the accident. Pie keeps asking over and over, "So he went off the quarters?" "The course." "So he died?" "Yes, he died." "How did he die?"

Let me move on by saying the (male) sportscaster is interviewing snowboarder Shaun White. Me: "Man, I wish I had a head of hair like him."
Pie: "Him? That's a guy?"
Me: "Yeah."
Pie: "How do you know?"
Me: "I just know."
Pie: "Are those two people [Sean and the sportscaster] married?"
Me: "No."

So all this is happening, and I finally say to Adam, "What time, exactly, do these opening ceremonies start? I thought it was 7:30."

He does a little zing zing on his computer and then laughs at me. "Coverage of the opening ceremonies start at 7:30. But the opening ceremonies don't start till 9."

Try telling my kids, "Nevermind! I was wrong!" So instead I have two already tired kids trying their best to make it up till 9. It's not going to happen. But they're giving it their all, although I predict Pie will be out in about 2.73 minutes.

5. 4. 3. 2. 1. No, the ceremonies haven't started. But Pie wins the gold medal in sleep. One down, one to go!

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Sunday, February 7

Who Dat? The Who? Who's Still Awake?

Let it be known that at 9:18 p.m., I am the last remaining person in this household standing. New Orleans keeps scoring, and everyone around here keeps snoring. The two little ones went down with a fight about 15 minutes ago. The big one went down without a peep, although he squawked when I tried to wake him to rejoin me watching the game. For the record, so far the Betty White commercial is winning hands down.

We had a fairly impromptu Super Bowl party, which ended early as little people had to get to bed. I whipped up some jambalaya in honor of the Saints, made some homemade turtles, which I should say, taste as good if not better than any I've had in New Orleans, and got the annual football cake from Wilson Farms.

Ah, 78-yard touchdown. And Adam's asleep. Sucks to be Adam.

But forget Adam and football. Let's talk about the Who. What was that? Oh my, who let those old men who can't sing on stage? Does Pete Townsend really think he still looks rocking with those windmills? And what was on Roger Daltry's head?

Me: Keith Moon was their drummer who died right?
Adam: No. Keith Moon played for the Rolling Stones.
Me: Are you sure? I'm pretty sure Keith Moon was with the Who.
Adam: No. Definitely not. Definitely the Stones.
Me: Hey, Dan, who was the drummer for the Who who died?
Dan: Keith Moon.

In 1981, I begged my parents to let me see the Rolling Stones on their Tattoo You tour. My parents refused. The were playing at Folsom Field during my Colorado years and I wanted to go so badly but, no, my parents said absolutely not.

It wasn't long after this that I did get to go to a concert. My friend Karin and I really wanted to see the Go-Go's at Red Rocks, which my father told me I could go to only if I found an adult to take me. "What's an adult?" I asked him. "Someone over twenty-one," he told me. That summer I worked as a Water Safety Assistant at the Boulder Rec. I was friendly with one of the lifeguards. I was 14. She was 23. My father had to let me go. The lifeguard introduced me to Seven and Sevens, which the guys in the row behind us had smuggled in.

In October of 1982, the Who were playing at Folsom Field--it was their Farewell Tour. (Everyone please note the last lines of this article: "One has to applaud their decision to call it quits now. But that doesn't mean they won't be missed." Um, yeah. I missed them tonight.) Jethro Tull and John Cougar (and I mean John Cougar--this was a few years before he became Mellencamp) opened. For the life of me, I can't remember two things: one, with whom I went to the concert and two, why the hell my parents let me go to this concert. What were they thinking? I'm positive there were no adults with us--I remember sitting in the row in front of the delinquent of my ninth grade class. I loved the concert--whatever happened to my Who concert T-shirt? I'm almost positive it was a baseball shirt, because baseball shirts were so cool and they went perfectly with my braided hair barrettes.

Oh, look who came back just in time to see the game being over? Yea, Saints (Me, to Doodles today, "Who are you going to root for? The Saints or the Colts?" Doodles: "What's a Saint?" Me: "Uh... someone who's dead who in some religions is considered is really important. Everyone will be rooting for the Saints tonight." Doodles: "Okay, then I'll root for the Colts"). It's been a long time since I've been to New Orleans--that last two trips I was pregnant with a Brown Brown, although I didn't know it on the first one (I was better behaved on the second one)--but I'm happy they won. If it can't be my Dolphins, the Saints are a good second best.

And once again, I'm the last one awake (that man can sleep anywhere, anytime. I'm jealous). Time to fix that problem. Good night.

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Wednesday, February 3

Tick Tock

Lots of times when I run, my mind is focused on something specific: a problem I'm trying to work out in my novel, working out a school situation for Doodles, thinking about ways to get Pie over her tantrum stage. I frequently make and go over my to-do lists when I'm out there. Running is the best method I have for de-stressing and working things out. But occasionally, I'll just crank up the iPod and my mind will float where it may. This past Monday, as I kept up a nice tempo and ABC (the band, not the kid song) was playing, my mind wandered and I started thinking about the kids. But oddly, I realized, that when I think about the kids, I think about them about two years behind. When I picture the kids, I think of Pie as a toddler, speaking in halting sentences, and Doodles, as this little kid bopping around and tripping on himself with his uncoordinated walk. When I see them in real life, it's almost shocking.

Who are these big kids? I sign Pie up for kindergarten today and, oh, the things she can do! She can go to the computer, turn it on, load up her phonics game, and play. She can add and subtract and write the names of everyone in the family. She's the best Go Fish player I've met. She's adept at using my iPhone and knows the words to Selena Gomez's and Hannah Montana's most popular songs. She oozes attitude like a teenager.

My boy is not just reading, he's reading. We've moved way beyond Minnie and Moo and Biscuit and his new "just right books" include my childhood favorites, like Judy Blume. We're reading Freckle Juice together and last night, as we went to bed, he said, "Yea! Another chapter of Freckle Juice!" He absorbs information and can spew out things he gleaned from books or school or by looking it up on the computer. Adam and I are no longer the ultimate sources of knowledge--he can find things out himself.

I've noticed of late that my kids simply take up more space. Pie's outgrown her car seat and we're going to be a booster-only family. Doodles laughs every time I mock-cry, "My baby boy! Stop getting so big!" and he tells me, "Mom, I can't help it! It's what I'm supposed to do!"

What's a mama to do?

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Tuesday, February 2

Pah-ked My Cah in Ha-vahd Yahd

Talking about the weather sucks, but the fact is that the weather here does suck and it makes me crazy. I skipped running (outdoors) this weekend because I have a policy of not running in anything that "feels like -x." And this past weekend was "feels like -12." No thank you.

But, weather aside, I've been feeling very fortunate of late about living in the Boston area and the advantages it affords our family. Doodles and Adam just had a Cub Scout overnight at the Museum of Science. How cool is that? They arrived at about 4 and had programming till midnight (midnight! My baby boy is only 6!). They camped out on the floor of the museum in sleeping bags, and then were woken up at 6:45 for more programming. The kid loved it. Lightening shows, illusion experiments, a coral reef IMAX movie, science demonstrations. Heaven for the boy.

And then there's my hockey-playing, Hannah Montana-loving, Pinkalicious-worshiping little girl. One of the challenges I have is finding the right balance between respecting the interests of my kids and pushing them out of their comfort zones. It's easy to say, "Oh, Pie loves art and music and dancing" and encourage her in those directions. But just like I wanted Doodles to try a hip-hop dance class (which he gave his all, but after three months, he decided it wasn't for him, and I have to respect that), I want Pie to explore other things as well. So when an opportunity came up for her to take a (free!) LEGOs robotics class at Tufts, how could I refuse? One group session and then three one-on-one classes with a graduate student. What an opportunity!

We live 20 minutes from rural farm area, 20 minutes from an honest-to-goodness city, 4 hours from the center of the universe (okay, so I'll never be an true Bostonian). Ocean is 45 minutes away, mountains (or at least close approximation to them) are a couple of hours away.

Yes, I hate the Patriots. True, the accent can be near impossible to understand. So putting up with rabid Red Sox fans (including the one I'm married to) can be painful. But I like this place. I think we just might stick around.


Monday, February 1

Telling It Like It Is

Me: Okay, everyone out of the car. Little people out. Big people out. Medium people out.
Pie: I'm big!
Doodles: I'm big and Pie's little.
Me, standing by Doodles: Oh, really? You don't seem so big to me!
Doodles: Well, duh. Compared to you I'm little!
Pie: I know! You're big. We're little. And teenagers are medium.
Me: That sounds good.
Pie: Yeah, I'll be medium when I'm a teenager.
Me: Yep.
Pie: And you were medium about 400 years ago!
Me: 400 years ago?!?!
Pie: Um, 500 years?