29 September 2005

Ears . . . hurting . . .

Fourth grade.

That should strike fear in any heart.

The homework gets harder. The projects get loopier. The textbooks are written poorly (or at least the science book our daughter uses was written by morons who don't have a good grasp of language).

Oh, and the recorders.

Now, our daughter actually can carry a tune. The recorder, not so much.

Our eldest has had piano lessons since she was 4. She begged for them. She's been reading music about as long as she could read English.

No matter. The recorder she happily brought home today thwarts that. It's not that it sounds bad. It's just shrill.

Like Rita Crosby Live and Direct. On high. With nails going across the blackboard in the background.

It's painful. Fourth grade means recorders for lessons in music reading and basic instrument playing across the nation.

Buy stock in Excederin, folks. I'm gonna be using a lot of it.

12 September 2005


This game has been floating around, but I thought I'd avoid being tagged. I'm a low-profile blogger. Sadly, my friend Gina has now made me IT. So here goes:

10 years ago - 1995. I was starting to figure out that I had by far the most psychotic beat at the newspaper in Westchester/Putnam County, N.Y. I had sources stalking me by phone. Threats. And an unlisted number. I was also feeling my way through the first few months of marriage. You can date as long as you like, being married is much different. Not bad, but there's an adjustment. We hung out in Cooperstown, visited our shrine, drank apple cider. Figured each other out. Sort of.

Our friend Gina moved in with us while she hunted for an apartment, and helped abate some of the worst homesickness I've ever had in my entire life.

5 years ago - 2000. I was doing my darnedest to not get fired from my telecommuting job, while hunting for a way out from a boss who felt the need to wield the hatchet every six months. I'd already watched her drive out two other editors, so I knew my number was up. Thankfully, Sylvia came along with a job that melded my editing with my love of planning and development, and my Chicago years started in full swing. We'd just moved into our new house in Ill., and Cathy had started preschool. Oh, and the years of angst over infertility started, too.

1 year ago - 2004. I was still braindead from giving birth on 9/5. No sleep. Sore nipples. And my mil and mom helping me out. The rest is a blur, sorry. I do remember cuddling my baby a lot, and I think I was actually more coherent this time around, but that's probably a hallucination from the pain medication I was on at the time.

Yesterday - I hurdled a childproof gate to rescue my son, who decided it would be a great idea to leap off of a moving glider on the swing. Before that, I was sitting on my porch, reading "Family History". Great book, btw.

5 snacks I enjoy - Chocolate. Dark chocolate. Doritos. Lay's Salt & Vinegar chips. Carrots/black olives/anything on a relish tray.

5 songs I know all the words to - The Itsy Bitsy Spider. World on Fire, Sarah McLachlan. Green Eyes, Coldplay. Pink Houses, John Cougar Mellencamp. I Hope You Dance, LeeAnn Womack

5 things I would do with $100 million - Donate a chunk to charity. Buy a house that works better for us. Pay off my siblings' loans, and set up trusts for our kids. Start a PAC to lobby for better rights for working (and not working) parents, one that would lobby for tax credits to companies who offer flextime, job shares, onsite daycare, and generous family leave policies.

5 places I would run away to - Grand Cayman, Mackinac Island, Mich., Napa, Calif., Austin, Texas, Chicago.

5 things I would never wear - A muu muu. Big, gigantic prints. Most shades of pink (red hair + pink = hideous). Tube tops. Anything yellow.

5 favorite tv shows - Sports Night. M*A*S*H. Mad About You. The Simpsons. Cheers.

5 biggest joys - The birth of my kids. My husband and our honeymoon. Our trip to Mackinac. Our trip to the Caribbean. Walking my family's farm alone, just to think and sort things out.

5 favorite toys - iTunes. Legos. Thomas Trains. Any trivia game. Frogger.

06 September 2005

Heart-heavy over reality

I just spent most of this past weekend sick as a dog with some stomach bug the kids brought home.

At 3 a.m. Saturday, bowed over the toilet and retching up bile, I had one thought: Thank God I'm here, and not in New Orleans or Mississippi's Gulf Coast, or else I'd be dead.

I took today off because I needed to recharge my soul. We went to visit my family on Sunday once I felt somewhat better and celebrated my little one's first birthday. Wow, where did that year go?

It also forced me away from CNN. My parents, you see, live in a part of the country that can't get cable and a dish won't work because of topography. They get six channels: NBC, CBS, ABC (fuzzy), FOX, PBS and UPN.

I needed that. I broke down in tears before we left our house on Sunday morning, while I was sorting through the kids' clothes, blankets, and shoes to pack off and send to Houston and Baton Rouge.

"We have so much," I wailed to my husband, as I was literally surrounded by kid clothes and blankets a foot deep in any direction. That was the stuff we don't even use.

I'm still crying, so I've spent much of today at home, sorting, shipping, and cleaning our house.

I'll go back to work tomorrow, but my heart will still be incredibly heavy.

Give. Give until it hurts, then give more.

02 September 2005


As those who know me, I'm rarely at a loss for words.

I've been watching CNN at work and at home. I can't believe what is going in New Orleans. We have an entire military, a Department of Homeland Security, heck, FEMA's job is dealing with stuff like this.

And there are people dying. Babies dying. And our illustrious leader of Homeland Security was on NPR bloody arguing with the anchor over whether or not there were thousands of people at the Morial Convention Center.

"Just rumors," Michael Chertoff had the gall to say.

My God.

Go to snarlingmarmot.typepad.com. Her rage is my rage.

Donate to your reliable charity. Find someone to ship your extra clothing to in Houston, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, San Antonio, et al.

Those poor people.

My God.