Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Not sure WHAT to think!

As perhaps a sign to my thoughts as to what I want to write this morning, my computer screen went black and published today's entry before I even got a word beyond "think!"

Is big brother watching me?

Read what I am thinking and then YOU decide.

This week some idiot tried to blow up a plane. People have been blowing up planes to make a point for as long as I can remember. As the saying goes "it's statistically the safest way to travel".

I haven't checked the statistics, but I admit I feel pretty safe. Usually. I've had a few incidents over the years where I was terrified, but for the most part I know that it is more likely that I'll die on the way to the airport than in the air. In the car, we are usually distracted as we speed up I 78, in a panic about making a flight - or worrying about what we forgot - or calling the neighbor to make sure we closed the garage door (twice we've forgotten!). That is probably more dangerous than anything else. I've blogged about I-78 near misses before.

We always give ourselves more than plenty of time. We know travel means long lines. We also have plenty to do on the plane. We also know that schedules are just plans and they often change. But we get there in the end.

This is at least the third time we've traveled home from my in-laws within 3 days of an attempted terrorist incident or major accident. I could write a blog just on travel with kids and our experiences. After some of our trips I could write a book!

This time the issue was security.  Reading about how security has been tightened in Europe was somewhat ironic as I drank my Continental Coffee. Yes, I want to be safe. But the added security this trip just made me annoyed! Here are a few of my thoughts from Monday's voyage:
  • Is it really necessary to frisk my 9 year old son, not once, but twice?? (Yes, it was two different airports, but still... the first time he was the only one of us they frisked!)
  • The underwire of my bra set off the x-ray machine in Frankfurt! Seriously? I mean I wasn't wearing even earrings - and I promise you there isn't enough metal in a wedding ring to make a weapon or millions of wives around the world would have thought of one! The German lady with the scanner said, "I zink it'z yourr BRAAA." She scanned me and let me go. I promise you on a day when I am traveling for more than 15 hours on no sleep, I only wear a bra to appease other passengers! Maybe Obama can say NO BRAS ON INBOUND FLIGHTS TO THE US!
  • If you've flown to the US via Amsterdam you know that Northwest interviews every single passenger just before getting on board. "Did you pack your own luggage?" "Did anyone give you something to carry?"  "How long have you been gone?" Now it's clear the only thing it helps with is delaying passengers, because Mr. Nigeria would presumably answered these questions in Amsterdam on Christmas Day. We had to answer similar ones in Frankfurt. It didn't seem very useful... who is going to be dumb enough to say "oh, this buddy of mine asked me to bring this bag of white powder. I think it's sugar but I didn't taste it, wanna see...?" And, yes, we remember to look the agent in her eyes as we answered, "We were visiting his parents for Christmas and now we are going home and we packed our own luggage".
  • If we had 2 1/2 hours to change planes in Frankfurt, and arrived at our gate about 15 minutes before boarding due to the changes in security protocol, how many people actually missed their flights? We didn't even take time to buy a bottle of water and only used the bathroom once we found our gate!
  • The most stressful part of the trip for me was the newest rule: which I call the final hour purgatory rule. Imagine you have 2 children, both of whom insist they don't have to go to the bathroom, but you know both of them have been eating and drinking during the previous 8 hours of the flight. How do you force them to pee? "But I don't have to go?" What is the equivalent of "I'm going to give you a reason to cry!" for peeing??? "But I don't have to go" just doesn't cut it!  Because anyone who is reading this blog knows that not being allowed to go to the bathroom is the key component to HAVING to go.
  • Part 2 of the new rule: NO personal items allowed during that final hour! For us that meant: No knitting, no video games, no ipods, No newspapers on your lap (but I got away with reading a section). No sweaters lying on your lap - figure out how cold you are beforehand. They also turn off the airline's entertainment system. I think they just want you to pray!
  • Part 3 of the new rule - the 60 minutes doesn't include the obligatory 30 minute circling of Newark airport. Can your kids hold it for 90 minutes?
I don't mind the plan I just heard to make passengers strip before getting on the plane... as long as the cute (but, alas, probably gay) male flight attendants are naked when they check me. It's only fair! The mousy gate agent questioning me in Frankfurt, she can leave her clothes on. I don't need to be reminded that she said nein danke to the Christmas strudel. I'm no dummy - I always say yes to 2nd on holiday pastry.

Who knows, it might be my last!

BTW - My kids finally agreed to use the john before the lockdown. I did too, but just the threat of not being able to use it made me think I had to go.... psychological terror??? Have the terrorists gotten the best of us? Well, they have control of my bladder!

So, is Big Brother watching me plan my blogs? Maybe I should show him my strudel tummy so he leaves me alone!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Countdown

It's that time of year... the presents are opened and we have started to unpack from the bi-annual Christmas trip to the in-laws, but it's too close to Christmas to take down all signs of yuletide. My mother-in-law kindly shared with me her handmade santa collection hand made by a relative as well as many hearts that MIL sewed back when she was a stay-at-homer like me (I imagine). I've already put them out for all to enjoy.

It is time to think about 2010.

I'll turn 40 this year. I'm still mostly a stay-at-home Mom. I am also quite messy. I am slightly overweight (at least according to WiiFit who still claims "That's overweight" when it has been "measuring"). I'm disorganized. I'm confused. I'm sure there are lots of other things to fix.

But in general I am also happy in this disorganized life. I like that, unlike most people I know, I am happy to blow off household duties to be with my friends. I'm glad that when my kids ask for something - a friend over, to go do something, a little adventure - I generally can answer, "Sure!" I'm glad that if I want to, I can read something uninterrupted. I am taking a history class again at RVCC, just for fun! I enjoy my freedom and my time.

I like that our house is nearly always filled with kids' laughter, the noise of kids' video gaming, and more recently overbearingly loud pop music (my mother is laughing her ass off in Heaven as she remembers my room and regrets that Santa ever brought me an amplifier).

But, I do wish that my weight were closer to what it was Before Kids. I wish I had a plan for what I want to be when I grow up - or were on track to being whatever that is. I wish that I could do more with this blessing of free time. I wish I could appreciate it more. I wish I were neater and more organized.

I wish I knew where to start.

T suggests that I make ONE goal and start with that - so now I have another question. Better to lose weight or be healthier? Better to have free time or a better job? Better to spend time blogging or cleaning? What is THAT #1 goal??? Suggestions welcome!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It's the night before Christas Eve

Hello dear readers!

It's late. Everyone else is sleeping. I'm watching the snow fall as I enjoy this peaceful & clean house. I'm not. Instead if panic I am enjoying the tree and being grateful for all I have.

I have a wonderful family, incredible friends and a lot of love in my life. I am so blessed with material comforts that I wouldn't know where to begin. Do let me just say the minimum. I'm grateful for this warm and peaceful living room to keep me safe from terrors of the world. I'm loving this tree with the beautiful decorations. MIL and FIL bought it. C and her cousins trimmed it. N added the star with loving help from TÅ.

Merry Christmas, my readers both near, dear and anonymous! I wish you happiness in 2010!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Shortest Day of The Year... with the LONGEEEEEEEEEST List


OK - so here it goes... today is the shortest day of the year and as usual I have too many things to do. But let's look at the busy weekend instead of stressing about what return got made and what return got forgotten.... and which gifts I want to get, even though I proclaimed myself as done on Friday.

We finally got snow this weekend. It was one of the only times I couldn't use my favorite expression, "this state doesn't know from snow!"when forecasters predict a lot on our way.


I spent the weekend doing some of my favorite things. N tested for his "high red belt" (1 before black!), then dinner with 2 girl friends, followed by a party, then on Saturday watched C at black belt testing - she didn't test, but was there to be an opponent to others who were. Then I came home, shoveled the driveway - which ended up being a colossal waste of time because it snowed more than I expected through the night - made gingerbread dough, made a great dinner. We watched some TV together and then early to bed. Yesterday my husband blew out the driveway while I shoveled the walk and steps. It was great that I didn't have to nag him, nor did I do it all by myself! Feminism lives on in my suburban division of labor. I usually do this traditionally male job! Then it was my favorite thing....

Making Gingerbread houses with T's boss's family.









Now it's off to finish a few cards and drop some teachers' gifts at school... more returns, more laundry... the seemingly unending list of labor and love!

Tonight: taking N & T sledding and C to have her nails done. It was the only thing I could come up with - since I saw last night at 10pm that I was short an advent calendar gift.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Prom?

Tomorrow night I am invited to a party where the theme is 80's prom.

I am a bit anxious over the whole thing. It is like High School revisited. Unlike in the 1980s, I don't have a date. My husband is refusing to go - and would really be even more adamant about not taking me if he realized the theme was prom.  I can't wear my prom dress... and feel like it is a competition to be able to wear your prom dress from 1980-whatever (although I am guessing lots of the women there went to prom in the 70s). It makes the fact that I am almost 50 pounds more than I was the night of my prom feel even worse when lots of them aren't. And, thanks to the wonderful world of evites I see that I am the ONLY guest going stag. All my insecurities from high school came rushing back to me tonight.

Should I go to a party that is making me feel so bad about myself?

But shouldn't I have the maturity to muster up the balls to show up to something without a date, if for no other reason to show that I don't have to have a date to go anywhere I want?! I can go as my own person and be confident enough to manage without my husband for a few hours? (Everyone who I know there knows I am married anyway). If I were to be alone I assume I would still manage to attend social gatherings.  This is far from the first time I have gone to a party on my own...

Why does the fact that the theme is prom make it so much worse?

Truth is, I don't know and I don't want to think about it because then I would be delving into a lot of other questions, like why am letting my petty fears take over my feminist ideals? 

Haven't I learned not to care what other people think?

And what kind of message and I sending to my kids - you need a date to go somewhere - to feel good about yourself? I can name several of my friends who would never go to such a party on their own. So just attending stag is a sort of an affirmation. (I do wish T would go, but I am not going to force him).

And more importantly why can't the dog figure out that it is bedtime????!!!! He keeps prancing over here with a toy and I keep playing. Maybe if I turn off the computer and the lights he'll take a hint.

High school insecurities - they turn up when you least expect them to. They'll vanish again soon, I hope.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Budget update

Originally I was going to blog about Christmas cards. Who is more important - the author or the target audience? (E.g. if you are Christian do you send a Happy Hanukkah card to Jewish friends or do you just send Christmas cards because *you* are Christian it's a greeting from you. Or do you send the watered-down, PC Happy Holidays cards? (I send Merry Christmas - mostly the Ho Ho Ho Santa'ish type)). And then there is the question of a letter. Apparently EVERYTHING is bad form. If you include pictures - if you don't. If you write a letter you are bragging about what you did, and if you don't take the time to write a letter others consider you lazy! This year I had a grammatical error and my pictures upset someone else inadvertently. 'nuf said! I have enough self-inflicted criticism, I don't need to obsess about this!

Luckily something else came up for me to think about so that I don't spend another evening thinking about all the (real or imaginary) reasons why our Christmas cards sucked this year and what faux pas we committed .

The first draft budget for BRRSD was made public.  The courier covered it here. As of now there is no concrete information that I could find on the website with specifics. Isn't that supposed to be EASY to find??? ARGH! If it is there - can someone point it out to me? Thanks!

Otherwise - thanks for the tip, Courier News!

***********

Update: BTW - If you haven't received a card, it is because I ran out of stamps... or I didn't have your address. It says more about me than about you. I didn't do the cards in any order... not alphabetically or A-list-B-list. So.... if I didn't get you one yet..... sorry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Also, I changed the background of the blog because it's winter and I wanted winter fonts.... more color this spring!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Nobel

Once in a while I wish I were somewhere else.

This week it was Oslo and Copenhagen. Are you surprised? Probably not.

I loved Barak's speech - the way he faced the irony head on.

Here are pictures from the Norwegian press of the Obama's visiting the King's castles in Oslo. http://www.vg.no/bildespesial/spesial.php?id=7272

Here are pictures of the demonstrations ("down with A-Bombs" "End American imperialism" etc.) But the torches at the later pictures are Pro-Obama images!

http://www.vg.no/bildespesial/spesial.php?id=7271 Here are pictures from the event itself.

Most often it isn't helpful that I know Norway... but this week it was!

Monday, December 7, 2009

A worthy sermon?

I went to church yesterday. The minister talked about a near-miracle he had seen by the patience of bank tellers dealing with the poor and infirm in a meaningful way in Somerville last week. He was impressed that even the people in line around him weren't freaking out by a 30 minute wait. He linked it to the week's readings, so maybe it wasn't quite the stretch I thought....

A few weeks ago I was at Somerset Pediatrics with N. It was an appointment to discuss something, not a regular physical, nor a sickness check. The doctor was fantastic! She really listened to me. She observed N and spent a lot of time with us. When we were leaving, I realized that she'd taken nearly 40 minutes with us and I felt very well cared for! As we returned to the waiting room, the woman who had been sitting next to me with her sick son was complaining loudly about the wait - giving me a dirty look - and ranted about how this took too long. I turned to the nurse and asked her to thank the doctor for taking the time she needed with us. In response to the impatient Mom, I said to the nurse that I'm sure she'll be just as thorough with her next patient.

I have to remember this the next time I am waiting unexpectedly long.

But a miracle? I might have felt saved at that moment by a doctor who gave me common sense advice and information... but I wouldn't describe people doing their job thoroughly while the rest of us wait patiently as miraculous, even if she was healing the sick!

Do we really live in a society where basic patience for people doing their jobs is compared to miracles? We live in an area with horrible traffic, especially around the Somerville circle (getting through there without an accident may be a miracle, though!) and areas around Bridgewater commons, not to mention the interstates. We live in a society of  people with an unreasonable sense of entitlement. And we live in a time where nearly everyone expects instant gratification.

So this year (and every year) remember to pour on the patience as we drive, shop, send things and run endless errands in this holiday rush. It may be the most holiday-spirit thing that we do!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wednesday in the news

I knew that if I turned on NPR or read a paper I'd be back in the thick of it. I haven't looked at any BRRSD issues this week, but I don't like what I'm seeing in the papers.

First of all - who cares about whether or not Tiger Woods was unfaithful or if he was fighting with his wife about it? Apparently lots of People!

I also don't care about wedding crashers who sneak themselves into the White House. I don't want to know their names (just like I don't want to know the name of the stupid guy with the hot air balloon stunt), or their motives. Isn't sneaking into the White House a felony???? Crashing a wedding with extra good food a the local Marriott is actually just a little ballsy... but as of today I've never done it (we once had a buffet at a restaurant in Spain that apparently was part of an all inclusive breakfast package at a hotel where we weren't staying... oops).

I am not happy about troop escalations in Afghanistan. Not because I dislike Obama, I like him, but because as a pacifist I don't want to promote war ANYWHERE. Put the money to educational programs - even if it means Afghan programs that would never help my kids - instead of war and more war and more war. And, while I'm on the subject, tell me, did YOU notice the irony of a president who is about to receive the world's most prestigious peace prize having a prime time speech to outline sending 30,000 more people to war?

Finally - I just read about the New York State legislature voting down gay marriage  in the New York Times. Not impressed with my home state!!! Not even a little bit.

Should I stick my head back into the ground for another week??

Very tempting!