Wednesday, January 26, 2011


A friend of mine who is possessed of 2 small children recently asked those of us who are farther down the parenting road if we agreed with the adage that "the days are long but the years are short". I gave him a resounding "you betcha*".
When you're not getting a full night of sleep, when you never eat a hot meal, when you are convinced that your loin fruit will in fact be the only kid at college still wearing diapers, when you are putting your butt in the hard seat of one more school concert you never think that your life will be your own again. You are quite convinced that your future holds nothing but sandy eyelids, cold mac and cheese and the chapped hands that come from washing after yet another diaper change.
But that's not the way it is.
The little beggers grow up and they keep growing up. And then, all a sudden, you wake up one morning and the damn baby can't be found. It finally happened. You finally DID leave it on the bus. And then some adult-sized person walks out of the nursery wearing a "Twilight" tshirt, grumbles something unintelligible in your general direction and pours itself a cup of coffee. No need to call the Port Authority. You didn't lose the baby. It just frakking grew up.
Today The Child is 17. (Yes, she's still The Child. It is my last bastion and you'll not wrest it from me). More to the point, she is now only 1 year away from being a legal adult. Even more to the point, I have but one more year (and a few months...she'll only be halfway done with her senior year when she turns 18) to make sure I've taught her the rudiments of what it will take for her to make her own way.
She's a good kid. A very good kid. Oh, she can't unload the dishwasher in less than 30 minutes to save her life, her room is thisclose to being condemned by the health department and she still prefers the floor to all other surfaces for the storage of her stuff. But she's a good kid. She may drive us ocassionally insane with her know-it-all attitude but she doesn't drink or smoke or do drugs. She asked for a purity ring for her birthday. She doesn't skip school or sneak out or break curfew. And when she is dealing with anyone other than The Spouse or me she routinely impresses them with her open heart, happy spirit, level head and good humor. This is me, counting my blessings.
But it is certainly very much on my heart today that this is a milestone quite unlike many others. This time next year my role will officially begin to shift from supervisory to advisory. Yes, she'll still be in our house for a while and the old "as long as your under my roof" thing will absolutely apply. But once the government recognizes her as an adult, so must I. This is a gift that Dame Judi gave to me (Sean, not so much...he didn't really "release" his daughters until they were married. Sean is way old school). From the time I left home, Dame Judi stopped telling me what to do. She was always there for me - and still is - any time I needed advice or perspective or prayer or just a sympathetic ear. But once I was on my own, she respected that I had to make my own way. She didn't always like how I did it and she no doubt bit her tongue more than once but she trusted that she'd given me a solid foundation from which to launch my own flight. And so, having no other model for it, that's what I now prepare to do for The Child. I'm now closer than ever to turning her out into the world, whether I think she's ready for it or not. (And let's face it, part of the "readiness" only comes with the doing. Gots to push them baby birds out the nest!)
But she's not going anywhere for now, except out for sushi with her parents, so no need to get all maudlin and crap. Not to mention that if I did get maudlin in front of her I'd get a big eye roll and a "Mu-ommmmm". She's still not too grownup.
*time honored phrase which I am determined to reclaim from She-who-must-not-be-named.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Little Theory

Has anyone else noticed that a whole bunch of us slowly stopped blogging about the same time a whole bunch of us got on Facebook? Even though the fundamental purpose behind Facebook (annoying ads and Zynga games) is not micro-blogging, I think status updates, at least on some level, satisfy the same somethingsomething as blogging (at least in the short term). Plus, once nearly everyone I knew got on it there was the immediacy of response. We still get to play with the comments. (And lord knows, most of us would admit that some of the best of our writing emerged in response to the cleverness of our readers).

Some bloggers, no doubt, just plain lost interest. But should the above theory be even remotely true, it goes a long way to resolving the mystery of why so many bloggers suddenly fell to earth at the same time.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Isn't It Always the Way?,

Just when I decide to start blogging again, the 'e' key on my computer gave out. That's right. The 'e' key. Not 'q'. Not 'x'. Not 'z'. 'E'.

But, you say, you're using your computer now and there doesn't seem to be a problem.

You have no idea how hard those last 2 sentences have been. I have to do this pokey/slidey thing to activate the 'e' and it's annoying.

Well, you say, then do what I do: just blog at work until you get a new computer.

As I've explained to you before, that's not really an option, for a lot of reasons. For one, I share my office with MAB so when I'm not working she knows. And yes, I am allowed 2 15 minute breaks and 30 minutes for lunch but I don't usually take the breaks and lunch is usually spent eating at MAB's desk playing Monopoly (the card game...way faster than the board version). Plus, for me, blogging on company time isn't really company time. It's your time. Your taxes pay my salary and I have this big thing about not being a "typical government employee". I'm at work to work, to provide a service, and by cracky, I'm going to do it.

The Spouse did mention that he saw HP laptops at Costco for $400. So I may soon be taking some of that salary you so graciously allowed me and getting a new computer. One with a functional 'e' key. Also, one that doesn't require hitting ctl-alt-del every time I want to click on something other than the thing I'm doing right at the moment. And one that doesn't inadvertently click, drag and highlight whole sections of a page in a very random and weird way. And one that doesn't suddenly go "oorrrggg achugggggg". Or that doesn't occasionally pop up with a "no hard drive found" message that requires a panicked rebooting right in the middle of paying bills.

Yeah, I really need a new computer.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011


It happens every time...

Some meteorologist sees snow a'comin' and the word hurtles through all channels. "SNOW IN THE FORECAST! How will it affect your commute?"

And we all know better. That snow is going to gently waft over the bunny slope on Mt. Rainier and then it'll rain in the lowlands after the run on generators and toilet paper at the local Walmart.

Except, of course, when it actually does snow. And in these parts, as little as 3 inches of snow can shut down the city. Last time it snowed (in November), I was caught about 5 miles from home and it took me 3 hours to return to the domicile...and that after abandoning my car half a mile from home because I couldn't get up the second to the last hill.

So when it was reported this morning that up to 3 inches was expected in the late afternoon and that it was advised that people leave work early if at all possible (so's to prevent the cluster that was the evening commute on aforementioned November evening), all I could think was how buggered I would be if it really did snow because The Child had rehearsal and needed picking up at 5 pm.

My choices were these:

If the snow came as predicted, risk life & limb to fetch her and spend 6 hours (or more) stuck in traffic with a sullen teenager


Tell her to come home after school, on the school bus, and miss rehearsal thereby assuring an evening at home with a sullen teenager.

I chose the latter.

It started snowing about an hour ago. And the anticipation of a potential snow day has erased, at least for now, all her anger at my over-caution preventing her from pursuing her chosen career.

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Sunday, January 09, 2011

Sometimes it is Sooooooo Good to Wake Up

I just woke up from my Sunday nap. I don't actually always take a Sunday nap but we had a superfantastic party last night and I got sleepy while reading to Kiki so when she fell asleep I did, too.

Anyphantom, I had a dream wherein I was babysitting one of Sarah Palin's twin daughters. The one I was watching didn't seem to have a name (but she was very cute). Sarah arrived to pick up Nameless, accompanied by the other twin, whose name was Susie. Susie was on her tummy at Sarah's feet because, it turns out, she didn't like to walk but preferred to slide on her belly, which she did with remarkable grace. So they came in and first thing Sarah sees a reflection in a darkening window and cried, "Oh my gosh, is that Matthew Perry?" and then she ran into the adjoining room to see but it was only my brother, George Clooney, at the computer. (The truth is, my brother actually does look a lot like Matthew Perry).

Then Sarah came back out into the kitchen and we were just chatting and it was all very normal until it slowly began to dawn on me that I was talking to Sarah Palin. I casually asked her how she felt about her show being over, hoping to keep her occupied for a while so I could figure out how to tell her that I thought she was a very dangerous woman.


Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Just a Little Thing

After the Republicans repeal health care reform* I would like them to do something really useful and make more hours in the day. Not, mind you, work hours. 8 of those a day is plenty. My request is very simple, too. I would just like 2, maybe three more hours in the day. One of them would be wedged between 6 and 7 am and the other between, well, as it turns out, 6 and 7 pm.

The extra morning hour would give me time to blog before I go to work AND still have time to actually get the day started, maybe do a thing or two that would advance the household agenda and maybe even eat a damn breakfast. The evening hour would allow me to just muddle around doing things before I have to put food on my family.

Is that too much to ask?

I think not.

*Oh, and btw, I get why the Republicans are going to go after health care. But if they had some class the FIRST thing they'd do, before stripping millions of Americans from the new security they are beginning to enjoy, is opt out - every one of 'em - from the government health insurance they receive as federal employees. If they don't want government to provide health insurance for regular folks, it seems a little, uh, disingenuous to be taking government health insurance for themselves, don'tcha think?

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Monday, January 03, 2011

And We're Off

The Child has been on break for two weeks, me for one. Today everything gets back to the other normal...early rising, the trip into school and then off to work. I'm thankful that I love my job; makes the leaving behind of leisure a little less sting-y.

The Child has been doing really well in school this year. Finally. The whole nearly-flunking-out thing shook her up and she's finally determined that both doing AND turning in her homework has merit. She even studies for tests. One of the conditions of her returning to her school was being tested...her counselor wanted to rule out any learning disabilities that could be contributing to her struggles.

This was a fruitful thing. We'd always known she was mildly dyslexic and the psychologist confirmed this. It was also discovered that while she has better than average intelligence the processor in her brain works more slowly. So, for example, she has an excellent grasp of the workings of mathematics but it takes her a long time to compute formulas. Therefore, the gap between her intelligence and her performance is significant enough that she qualifies for certain academic accommodations: more time for tests, audio books are highly recommended and she'll be able to have more time for the SAT. And that first bit, more time for tests, should help her grades even more because this year it's test scores that are bringing down her grades. (Granted, she's getting As and Bs this year but there's been a little sliding in Science and it owes to test scores).

Anynoodle, point is, she is working much harder and performing to her potential and so, after a quarter of academic probation, she was allowed to audition for the spring musical. And landed a small role. (Not a lead but not in the chorus, either. Last year she didn't even make it into the chorus). She's very excited. And I don't know if all this school stuff is part of it or if it's the fact that she is nearly 17 or a combination of the two but she has, all a sudden, become a much more mature young woman. There are fewer and fewer glimpses of the little girl and more and more evidence of the woman she's becoming. Which is delightful and freaky all at once.

Of course, at this present moment she is still lying in bed despite having been called 20 minutes ago and I suspect that the moment I hit "publish" and go to rouse her again there will ensue the classic grumpy teen/irritated mommy routine but still.

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Sunday, January 02, 2011

A Little Housekeeping

Generally speaking, I have no intention of blogging on weekends. It's just that the first days of the year are falling on said weekend and I have motivational issues. Just so's you know.

It is a very beautiful, cold day. Kiki noted the "shunshine". Lots of that at the moment.

Oh, and speaking of Kiki, here are a couple of her more recent bon mots:

The other day I was fixin' on taking her out shopping (The Child had Christmas gift cards to burn through) and we planned on having sushi for lunch. I asked Kiki if she like edemame and she replied, "I like my daddy".

She is enamoured of computers and when she saw me typing an email to The Spouse she declared, "Me type". So I turned the keyboard over to her. She typed, and I quote, "hjkkkkklklkllllllllll;llkl;./ll;l;l;;l;';';';';oopopooop".

Isn't she brilliant?

Alrighty then. I took the week off between Christmas and New Years. I composed a list of areas in the house to organize. (Those cupboards and drawers used to stay pretty tidy when I was a full time homemaker. Now, not so much). Considering how much time I spent just sittin' on my arse, there are a lot of lines drawn through the list. But I never got around to my closet. And it has reached critical mass. So here I go.

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Saturday, January 01, 2011

First Blog Post of the New Year

Do you ever do that thing where you wake up on the first day of the first month of a new year in a new decade where you think, "Oh, the first text message of the new year"..."Ah, the first cup of coffee of the new year" that?

It occurred to me this morning, when I received aforementioned text (at 7am...but from someone in another time zone so I forgive her), that my kid self did it a lot. Almost obsessively compulsively a lot. I have no idea why I was so struck by the occasion of things being a first; particularly given that we're not talking here about significant firsts (like cars or kisses). It was all of the ordinary and mundane: "this is my first breakfast of the new year"... "this is the first time I'm making my bed in the new year"..."I am not going to yell at my sister Martha Stewart for that stupid thing she just did because if I did then it would be my first yelling in the new year and I don't want to start out the new year like that"...

Maybe it was (is) my latent Celtic DNA, something that makes me predisposed to embrace turnings, shifts and tilts and to look for some personal meaning therein. I will, very shortly, cease the running "this is the first time..." commentary because my brain will refill with other noises. But it is a reminder of the importance not so much of firsts but of mindfulness. It's easy to be mindful on New Years Day. Because all is quiet on New Years Day. It's a day for lying around, for recovering from the night before. And in the quiet and the not-doing of New Years Day it is much easier to be aware. And that's still a quality I'd like to better cultivate in myself.

You know what I just realized? I've been very mindful so far in the new year. Yay me!

Happy felicitated new year!

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