07 December 2010

Death, you suck

You stole two classy ladies from us today. One would absolutely have some sarcastic comment to make about my comparing her with Elizabeth Edwards, but there you go. You don't deserve them.

You know what, Death?

Donne's way more eloquent than I can be right now. He says it best. So

Death Be Not Proud

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

02 December 2010

Been a while

Sorry. It's been a busy year.

I got a job.

I worked. A lot. And worked on a web redesign.

I got a new job. Worked. And worked on a new redesign.

I've been horribly bad. I'll try to be better. Promise.

01 September 2010

It has been crazy

I'm beginning to think I'm never going to have a quiet week.

School started. Web redesign at work. iPhone app development. Band camp. Marching season.

So, um, sorry. More to come. Until then, a photo of our one quiet, relaxing weekend: A hole created by rushing water, Pendernales Falls, Texas. Sort of a metaphor for what I have to push through to get through the collection of things I need to accomplish lately. :-)

28 June 2010

12 June 2010

The difference a year makes

So, one year ago we moved from Missouri to Texas.

To say our teen daughter was upset, full of angst, and depressed really doesn't cover it. She was pleading for us to stay even after the house was sold, the car and moving van loaded, and we were driving through Oklahoma.

One year ago this weekend, we packed her scared -- though she'll never admit that -- sad self into a church van and waved goodbye. It was a retreat/camp for young teens, and we figured that would be the easiest way for her to make friends. She hated us for doing it.

I worried and fretted the entire time she was gone, by the way. Would she make friends? Would she sulk the entire time? Would she get hurt?

She was radiant upon return. Not only did she make friends, she climbed some insanely high cliff, grabbed a brass ring, and rappelled down. She was one of a very few who did that.

It was the first time she had smiled in weeks.

This year, one year later, she stuffed her bags again. She checked in, was immediately hugged by her friend Mary, and then bounded off to help. All smiles from the start.

Amazing the difference a year makes.

04 June 2010

Consequences

We've all been there.

You make a decision that seemed good at the time.

Then, things happened.

There were consequences. Perhaps unintended. Perhaps the kind you didn't foresee because you didn't investigate the ramifications of your decision before you went ahead.

This has popped up a couple of times this past month for us.

The eldest was bummed at her graduation for a bit because she wasn't winning any scholarships. Name after name was called to be honored, but not hers.

We explained later that she didn't receive any scholarships because she didn't apply. She was going to the awesome public high school, the one with the awesome band program and architecture program. No scholarships needed.

Middle child runs into consequences all the time. He recently had to pony up $10 of hard-earned cash to replace the DS cord he gnawed to smithereens. (We're actually lucky Mr. Oral Fixation didn't electrocute himself. I'm sure he was doing it while it was plugged in.)

Youngest is learning all about consequences these days. That baby attitude won't fly when you are a five-going-on-six kindergartener-to-be.

It happens at work all the time. I know I'm not the only lone voice crying in the wilderness out there. More than once, I'm sure, we've all tried to point out the consequences of actions taken, only to have to deal with the messed-up results later.

You could even say that we, as Americans, are all dealing with consequences.

Most of us idly sat by and trusted our government to do its job. We didn't ask questions. We didn't push media outlets to investigate more when the past administration was pretty buddy-buddy with energy companies. We didn't ask questions about how quickly the new administration might make changes.

Now, with the Deepwater Horizon disaster, we are all suffering from unintended consequences. We didn't intend for this to happen. Nor did the engineers involved, I'm sure.

It happened all the same. Now we have to deal with our mess.

26 April 2010

CrazyBusy

This week was already a mess of meetings and social media session prep.

Add in a dead dryer. An injured cat. Last-minute help to daughter filling out Jr. National Honor Society application. Um, some other stuff I can't remember.

Hey, scientists: How's that cloning thing coming? 'Cause I could use one. Or ten.

19 April 2010

Me v. MommyMe

It was the episode of "Parenthood" last week that really hit me. The mom was trying to explain something to the teen daughter, trying to prove that her voice had value. The teen was, of course, blowing her off.

It took the dad taking the teen daughter to the park her mom helped create during her years on city staff to prove that mom not only had worth, mom did some pretty cool things pre-kids.

That's me. That's every one of my friends.

It's like we live two lives, constantly in tension. There's the Us-Who-Do-Career-Things. We do damn cool work. I've put together textbooks, edited and written stuff that city planning students are apparently forced to read as coursework. I've edited websites and alumni magazines.

Heck, I just presented at a major conference last week as an expert in a session. Scary, I know. But true.

My kids are oblivious. They only know me as Mom, washer of clothes, finder of stuff, cooker of food.

I have tried to show my eldest that I do cool things. Meh. She won't even read my books.

It isn't just Mommies who get this treatment, apparently. My husband presented at a different session. We were gone four days. We came back, the kids shrugged, and when we mentioned at dinner how our presentations went, the eldest looked at us funny and said, "You presented?"

Perhaps that is how it should be.

I never knew, until he was too old to care, that my crotchety grandfather was apparently well-known enough to win multiple awards for corn production, that he was one of the men on the board of our church who rebuilt the structure from scratch (although I do wish now he'd stuck to his opinion that they needed 12 more pews in back and put the choir in a true loft), who fought the county commission and had them construct a real bridge, rather than an old-fashioned ford crossing, over the creek near our family's farm.

But it sure would be nice for the younger generation to see that we have more than one facet of our identity, kwim?

07 April 2010

Family chaos crazy

Sorry folks. It's been insane lately.

It does not help that blogging non-work things is verboten in the current job, so by the time I make the commute home, make dinner, deal with kid crisis, laundry, and whatever freelance work is on my desk, I just haven't had it in me to write anything.

It isn't going to get better any time soon.

But we are alive. Easter was great. First Communion next. If you are in ACES, you'll be able to meet Mr. and Mrs. Mommy-Tracked, because we'll be in Philly presenting.

After that, it is home, 8th birthday party for the son, sleepover for the eldest. Then we crash.

So, maybe I'll be back. Maybe it will be May. But I"m alive.

17 February 2010

Olympic-sized fans

My kids have gone nuts.

They have set up a schedule.

They watch the Olympic Games. Then they pull out Mario and Sonic at the Winter Olympic Games and compete in their own version.

My littlest is ahead. :)

31 January 2010

Disney: A reflection

There was a time, not that long ago, when I would jump at the chance to see a Disney animated film. I could not wait to see Beauty and the Beast. Lilo and Stitch is among my favorites.

But there have been a lot more misses: Hunchback (which I have forbidden any of my children to see because of some scenes). Hercules. Pocahontas.

And now The Princess and the Frog.

Disclaimer: My youngest is princess-mad. Specifically Disney-Princess-mad. I've seen 'em all. Multiple times. I love most of the Princess movies, myself. I have issues with Ariel and her weak-willed self, but I can deal. (And of course the daughter LOVES Ariel the most. I'm trying to sway her to Belle, a better role model, IMHO.)

So we had to go to Princess and the Frog. I had high hopes for this one. I really did. The animation is beautiful. The storyline, not so much. The songs, not memorable.

When we came back from the movie, the older two asked me to say a few funny lines.

I couldn't come up with one. Not one line, not one moment that stuck with me. In Any Way.

That tells you where Disney is getting it wrong.

The story sells. The hook into our emotional core brings us back.

We re-watch Cinderella because the story is good and we want Cinderella to defeat the evil Stepmother. She's the underdog. Who among us hasn't been the underdog?

Coraline sticks with us because the story is good and we have ALL hated our parents and wanted something different. Up was funny, but it was true, heartfelt AND IT HAD A GOOD STORY about regrets. Who among us hasn't had regrets on things not done?

The Princess and the Frog had good storytelling potential, and Disney wasted it. The underlying theme of Up and Coraline is about family. They tugged at our heartstrings because they used emotion and made the story tweak our hearts.

Princess and the Frog is supposed to be about family. The importance of family over work or play. But you barely see the lead character's families. Heck, you see and know more about the dang Cajun fireflies and their family dynamic than you do the main characters' families.

You don't feel for the main characters at all. I'm not even sold that the main characters learned anything at the end.

That's where Disney falls down. Flat. Until they figure it out, Pixar and every other animation studio is going to crush them at the box office, and Disney's going to have to try and live by marketing the hell out of Princess crud to parents like me.

How long will we be buying if the story isn't any good? Will my daughters have fond memories of the movies out now?

I doubt it.

22 January 2010

Advice from strange places

If you know me, you know I'm a book collector. We have hundreds of them. Some of them more than 100 years old. Among them, I kept a freshman year college text. Humanties 101 at Mizzou, shout out!

Seriously, I pulled out The Handbook of Epictetus just to see how my perspective may have changed. It has been 15 years since I've cracked this book. Whatever pompous thoughts I had at 18 surely have been altered.

I was pleasantly surprised to recall that much of what this old Greek Stoic rang true then and it rings true now. I sweat the small stuff of life, the petty stuff that gets us down. As a stoic, Epictetus tells you to let it roll. Duck, water and all that. At the end, what we fret about ultimately isn't important.

As the mom of a 13-year-old girl, this passage hit true. More true than it did when I was 18. (Edited to swap "slave boy" for "teenager"):

"When you call the [teenager], keep in mind that he is capable of not doing any of the things that you want him to. But he is not in such a good position that your being upset or not depends on him."


AMEN.

Good advice to all of us with teenagers. Or those of us who will have teenagers. You can't make them do anything. It isn't you. Accept, move on.

Thanks, Honors Humanties Core profs. Sue Crowley and Bill Bondeson, I'm shouting your way. It meant a little something back then. It means a helluva lot more now.


BTW: The RateMyProfessors comment: if only they knew. That was true 15 years ago, right Paula?

06 January 2010

Wii have an addiction

My name is MommyTracked. I have become a Wii Fit junkie.

Santa brought us one for Christmas. The kids have played with it more; heck, they play with everything more. However, the Wii Fit was for all of us, and in particular, to get my lazy rump off the couch on days I don't run. Ditto for my husband, only without the run part.

The exercises are fun, and the yoga section is amazing. I feel more balanced. My back is less tight. This is after 12 days, folks.

Even better, those smart computer programmers have found ways to get you to exercise and get your heart rate up without you realizing it. I have become an obstacle course/ski jump/island cycling junkie. I just "cycled" for 45 minutes trying to track down 22 flags on a fake San Francisco park. Oh, and the kids got to laugh their heads off as I fell off cliffs, into water, into the Pacific, and get hopelessly lost. But I beat that darn thing. I also burned 135 calories in the process.

Go game designers.

Go me.

Okay, so this working thing

has totally kicked my tail this time. I just don't have the energy to write or even think many days when I come home. The cooking/cleaning/chasing kids thing doesn't help.

New year, new leaf. I'm trying to get back into the swing o' things.