Saturday, May 31, 2008

What a craptacular day. Starting with my parental lapse of the absent tooth fairy, and it just went downhill from there. Nothing big or tragic, just lots of stupid little annoying crap. Like, the wall plug in the pool cracked and broke off, and nobody around here sells it, and we have to get it online, and it probably won't be here in time for Tarzan's party. And Scooby's baseball game got called off because of the TORNADO WATCH and thunderstorm warnings, but then it didn't rain, and Tarzan's game wasn't cancelled, but he didn't want to go anyway, so we stayed home. And my prescription wasn't ready at the drugstore, again. And the 3 stores we went to didn't have any empty boxes we could have. And Tarzan threw a total fit when I wouldn't let him have candy from Cinderella's party treat bag. And the kids kept fighting all day long, over nothing. And the grill caught on fire and scorched the burgers, again. And when I finally went for a run, a cloud LITERALLY followed me, and rained on me the first 30 minutes of the uphill climb. Just like this picture!!! But it finally cleared up and turned sunny for the last half, and I got home and read the kids a story, and now I'm relaxing with my laptop while Don watches the Penguins play. The tooth fairy will come tonight. And tomorrow is another day.


I suck. The tooth fairy forgot to come last night. I have scarred my poor middle child for life.

Friday, May 30, 2008

A bit longer update

So much activity, and so little to write about! We've been really busy, and yet it somehow hasn't inspired me to write a whole lot.
The kids really enjoyed having "Aunt Blackbird" here. Cinderella says she should come back again, and sleep here. Tarzan drew a picture in his journal of her sleeping with a big smile on her face and wrote "My aint wut she dus is fun. i'm not kiting." (My aunt, what she does is fun. I'm not kidding) That's a pretty good endorsement! Actually, she didn't sleep that much, but then, nobody really sleeps much around here.
We had a really great time at Kennywood. They're all old enough to really enjoy it, and they each found something that really tickled them. Scooby liked the 3-D "scary" ride called Garfield's nightmare - where neon milkshakes and burgers float in midair towards your car, and giant scary veterinarians come after you with huge needles. (Tarzan said it was the worst ride ever.) He, on the other hand, loved the big kid rides where you plunge into huge splashes of water and get soaking wet. Scooby, the whole way up, kept chanting "I don't want to do this! I don't want to do this!" but he liked the splash part, and was glad he's done it once it was over. Once was enough, though. Tarzan wanted to do it over and over again! Cinderella loved just about everything in kiddyland - although the flying elephant ride was her favorite. I think she rode it 5 times. She made friends with every kid she shared a seat with, too. I got to ride the Merry-Go-Round, so I was happy too. It was great to have one adult for each kid so we could split up when necessary. Lisa impressed them all at the shooting gallery - she's quite a shot! We did get caught in the rain briefly, but it was right before we were going to leave anyway, and it gave us a kick in the butt to get out of there, since the kids did have school the next day. Hopefully they'll remember it as a really great time. I know I will!

I had my first rehearsal for Urinetown. I think it's going to be really fun. There's a really talented cast, and the music is fun to sing. It's going to be more of a time committment than I'd originally thought, which is going to get sticky as the summer goes on, but I'll cross that bridge later. It's good for me to branch out into a new group of theater people and make new contacts. It will also be something new on my resume, although I'm only "Poor Chorus" and don't even have a name! I'll make up a name for myself, I think.

I spent the day today retiring the winter clothes and pulling out the summer ones - we haven't really needed them yet since it's been so freaking cold!! It took me three hours. Exciting, huh? I have about six boxes full of baby/toddler clothes that I'm saving...should anyone ever need them. Anyone that I'm close to. You know, in my family or something. I'm just saying.

The invitations are mailed for the Webkinz party - tomorrow the Fetch party ones go out. Now I just have to figure out how to throw two parties with no "party budget." Should be interesting.

Lets see. What else?

Oh, Tarzan lost another tooth tonight! He requested two Sacajewea (sp?) gold coins from the tooth fairy. I think maybe he'll get one. The tooth fairy is a little strapped for cash. Fortunately, Mr. Tooth Fairy keeps a secret stash of gold coins for just such an occasion!

I'll post some pictures when I'm not on the laptop - they're all on the other computer. Only three more days of school. Lord help me.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Quick update

We're doing our best to wear Lisa out. She picked up Cinderella from school yesterday, played outside for awhile, went to Tarzan's T-ball practice, returned library books, went to Tarzan's T-ball game today, stopped at the bank, went to a birthday party at Chuckie Cheese, stopped at Sam's Club...tomorrow is (possibly) a picnic, and maybe Kennywood on Monday. So far, she's keeping up just fine!
Tarzan's decided he wants a Webkinz birthday, and Scooby wants a variation on Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman. Look them up, all you people without school age kids.

The weather is gorgeous so far this weekend. What a nice change! Maybe we will try to put the pool up this summer after all.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

SP and Pee

Tomorrow I have my actual first day as a working "SP" or Standardized Patient at the medical school. I have two cases that I'm working - and tomorrow's is the easier one. It's a phone conversation - yes, on an actual phone, and I'm the mother of a sick baby.'s a stretch, but I think I can handle it. I went yesterday and observed my two cases being portrayed by other SPs, and got a feel for how the program runs. I'm glad to finally be doing it - I've been training since October! Only about one day a month, but still, it's been a LONG process.

In other news, I've been cast in a production of Urinetown that my friend Becki is directing. My friends Deb and Michelle are in it too. (The four of us were the ones who did the four part harmony Christmas music that I subjected some of you to over the holidays) I'm in the "poor" chorus. Again, a stretch. I actually don't know the show at all - except that it's about a society which has run out of water and people have to pay to pee. Those who pee illegally are sent to Urinetown. If anyone is familiar with the show, let me know your impressions. The performances are the middle and end of July, right before I head up to Mass. I haven't told Don yet that I'm doing this. He knows I auditioned, but I was kind of vague about the details. I don't know the actual rehearsal schedule yet, but Becki assures me it won't be too bad.
Only one more day of school for Emily. Nine more for the boys. Eeeek!

Still running - didn't go today, but hope to squeeze one in tomorrow morning.
Don bought a new scale - and it made me gain six pounds.
I actually don't care too much about the numbers, but I would like to see them moving in the other direction!!!

Friday, May 16, 2008


So, here is where I ran today. Okay, I walked most of the uphill stuff, but ran most of the downhill and flat stuff. If this link works, check out the "show elevation" button under the map. It's crazy! But my goal was continuous movement, no matter how slow. And I did it! On Facebook, I called it 6.7 miles, but according to this, it's actually 6.96. I'm sore tonight, and I'll probably be really sore tomorrow, but I'm proud of myself. I probably won't do this route too often, and there are some curvy roads with NO shoulders and it's not very safe. But I did it today. In the rain too!

Hm..I don't think the show elevation button is there. But trust me, it's some big-ass hills.

In other news, Tarzan was off school for three days with fever and sore throat. No throwing up, which is nice. He went back yesterday, but still tires quickly. He is enjoying T-ball a lot - even though every game or practice they've had so far has been either in the rain, or on a mud-pit of a field after it rained.

Scooby had his third grade recorder concert last night, followed by the 4th grade "orchestra" (11 violins and one 5th grade cellist on loan) and the 4th grade band. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. They really weren't that bad! Next week, he gets to try out an instrument to learn in 4th grade. He's going to try clarinet and violin, leaning towards violin. Can't you just see him as a strolling violin playing waiter?

Cinderella only has 3 more days of school. Her graduation is on the 27th. Then I'll have no more preschoolers! It's going to be a long summer...

On that front, Scooby's been offered an opportunity to go to a week long sleepaway camp in the Laurel Highlands for free! He seems up for it - Don's a little worried about the fact that we don't know anyone running the camp, or the leaders, or who else might be going. He's afraid Scooby will be beaten up and picked on the whole time. I'm going to look into it some more, and see what we can find out.

I also joined the amazing time-wasting Facebook this week so I could be continually humiliated by my brother and sister and brother-in-law kicking my ass in games. On the plus side, I found Laura Heymann! I haven't heard from her, besides Christmas cards, since the five minutes I spent with her at my wedding.

I've picked up a little more work for the summer - some more standardized patient dates, and 3 weeks of drama camp - one week of full days, and two weeks of half days. Still don't know what I'm doing in the fall.

Oh well, I'll think about that tomorrow... (name that movie!)

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Here's my rant. It's not about marketing. It's not even about advertising. It's about the "consumer" - the innocent rube who's being "tricked" and "conned" into spending their money on things they don't really need.

I can't say it nearly as well as one of my favorite authors, Madeleine L'Engle:
"In the world of the theater, we touched on reality itself, and were shocked as the world around us seemed to reach out for the unreal. Planned obsolescence was just coming in, objects made with less than excellence, built to destroy themselves or wear out. Plastics and synthetics were just becoming available to the public. The word synthetics is enough: unreal.
Today we live in a society that seems to be less and less concerned with reality. We drink instant coffee and reconstituted orange juice. We buy our vegetables on cardboard trays covered with plastic. But perhaps the most dehumanizing thing of all is that we have allowed the media to call us consumers - ugly. No! I don't want to be a consumer. Anger consumes. Forest fires consume. Cancer consumes."

When we allow ourselves to be labeled as consumers - beings who take and take and use up, and take some more, whether we need it or not, be open ourselves wide to the negative influence of advertising. We become easy prey for scammers. The American Psychological Association estimates that children today see an average of 40,000 commercials per year. 40,000 commercials aimed at turning our children into mindless consumers who try to find happiness through credit cards. It’s the American Dream! But listen to this little bit of information from US News and World Report. “For Americans with household incomes under $25,000, it would take $54,000 a year to fulfill the American Dream. Those who make $100,000 plus crave an average of $192,000. In other words, the American Dream usually lies nearly twice the distance away.” It's what the whole "predatory lending" scandal is about - people who are so convinced that they need more and more and more that they willingly participate in lying about their means to pay back a loan.

Simplicity is living with what you need, and learning contentment. Consumerism is striving to always have more than what you have now. John D. Rockefeller was once the richest man on earth, with a net worth approximating $200 billion dollars. And yet when asked “How much money does it take to make a man happy?” Mr. Rockefeller replied, “Just a little bit more.”

Do I live in simplicity and contentment? No freakin' way. There is so much extra STUFF in this house that we definitely could do without. However, one of the lessons we are TRYING to install in our kids is that commercials are designed to manipulate your thinking. Or, in kid terms, to trick you. We point out how they are designed, what the goal of the advertisers might be, and how to control your thinking so that you are not blindly influenced by the ad. Scooby's got it. Tarzan's starting to understand. Cinderella...not so much. But one of the hidden blessings of being financially where we are is that it's easier to not give in to our children's demands and desires. We aim for simplicity. We recognize the value of contentment.

And we don't send money to Nigeria.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Day 17

Yesterday I sanded down the picnic table and benches, and bought sand for the sandbox. I also bought a variety of petunias to plant in the little garden in the back. Some purple ones, some red and white striped ones that the kids really like, and some pretty yellow ones called Lemon Zest. I also have some perrenials from last year that came back, but I have no idea what they are. Spiky purple things, star-shaped white flowers on a big fuzzy green leaves, and little purple ones on vines.
I also ran in the village, but then it got dark so I walked home.
Today I painted the picnic table and benches, and went for a very hilly walk. Not THE BIG HILL, but pretty hilly anyway. That's easy to do around here.
Today's soundtrack: Moulin Rouge

Monday, May 05, 2008

Dude, my bro got Dooced!

Not familiar with the term? Check out:
Also, check out her website if you're not offended by frank language and sometimes raunchy humor. See how I keep deflecting you away from my own blog? It's a clever ruse so "the MAN" won't find me and ...oh, wait; nobody cares what I write! See, there are benefits to being insignificant.

In other news, days 11 and 12 were skipped due to Scooby's illness. Days 13 and 14 were runs in the village, and today, Day 15, was a long walk to Moon park and back (from the church, not from my house.) Probably about 4.5 miles. Yay, me.


Friday, May 02, 2008

I read an incredible post from "Notes to Self" - one of the blogs in my sidebar. It struck home, and I'm still living with exploring why. Here is a quote from it, but you really should check out the blog yourself. It's pretty amazing.

"Even as good and exciting things are happening all around, I find myself slipping back into scarcity mindset. I wake up at night worried that I can't deliver on commitments I've made. That I'm not really good enough. That my dearest relationships won't survive my saying yes to new opportunities. That the house budget will run out before the flooring is installed, that my husband's business will grind to a halt, that the sky will fall.This fear is my default position, like slouching. It takes constant awareness and effort to pull my shoulders back, sit up, breathe, trust. To substitute every "what if?" with "why not?" forced me to take a good look at how coldly and quickly I want to disassociate myself from the howlers in the gutter. Because it's one tiny step for health and wholeness to recognize that for what it is—sickness. It's a much bigger stretch to get beyond the reflexive aversion to ugliness and see that the person howling is in pain, and a mighty, muscle-tearing leap to come to a full stop and see myself in them.We react most negatively to what we cannot allow in ourselves. For me, that's the victim card. Nothing will flip my switch like someone whining "poor me," whether it's in the key of self-rightousness or self-pity. But how many times have I been locked in the dungeon of my own thinking, howling and weeping while I held the keys? How many times have I blamed others for my own choices, because that was easier than taking responsibility and risking disappointment?"

Breathing that in for awhile.

Scooby and Tarzan are sick - Scooby more so. Temp of 103.8 this morning. Thank the good Lord above for Tylenol. Seriously - my life would be so much harder without it.