Thursday, March 31, 2011

Driving me CRAZY....the first in a series

Because....dum dum darling daughter is in DRIVER'S ED and I cannot wait to bore you with all of the ridiculous and traumatic details.

For example:

She had a SIX page worksheet that she had to complete this weekend, full of questions about the vehicle she would be driving.  (ahem....that would be MY vehicle, for the record, since her father, conveniently, drives a cantankerous, air bag-free, rattle-trap piece of metal....whose name is Georgia, btw, with whom he is inappropriately in-love, but more on that later.)

Out we went to my car, where she sat in the drivers seat, and I in the passenger.  She worked her way through the questions with my help and a little leafing through the manual.  I felt gratified that I knew most of the answers already, but, as it turns out, there were a few features on my car about which I was heretofore unaware!  Huh!

(Do you think I set a bad example by drinking a glass of wine in the car while she undertook this activity?  Nah, me neither.)

Last night she said to me "Oh!  I hope you don't mind, but I forged your signature on something for drivers ed." 

"Well, I don't know, maybe I DO mind!  What was it?"

"Just a form saying that you and I had changed a tire on your car together, you know, took the old one off, put on the spare, put the new one on......"

This is called a Parental Catch-22......where you are forced to positively reinforce negative behavior.

"Uh......well.......sure, yeah, I guess that's okay."

"Yeah, I figured it was.  Turns out all the other kids forged their parents signatures, too."

Right.  Because, really?  Who changes a tire anymore?  (Other than my husband that is.)

I am impressed, however, with both the quantity and quality of work that they make these kids do now, and I'm a huge fan of graduated licensing.

I keep telling her that there's no hurry.  Really.  Faced with the reality of being a passenger in my own car for REALZ......the alternative of driving her to and fro is suddenly much less irksome.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sh*t my daughter says

I should start a new blog with that title, because there's a lot of content.

Last night, we're having a conversation about school, and how her AP History teacher is a nice person but a horrible teacher and the fact that most of what my daughter has learned thus far she's had to teach herself.  Point in case, she was watching youtube documentaries on the Haitian revolution last night in order to find material to compare/contrast the French and Haitian revolutions.  I resisted suggesting that she read Madison Smart Bell's books on Haiti, which, while beautifully written about that time, are a shocking treatise on how brutal people were to on another.  In any event, we then discussed her Chemistry teacher, who, in spite of being "scary" is an excellent teacher because she brings the concepts home, if you will, makes them relevant and places them in context which enables the students to understand and therefore know them.

"Well," I said.  "You really have a firm grasp on what it takes to be an effective teacher!  Perhaps you should become a teacher one day."

"I hate kids"

"Oh, well, you don't have to teach could become a teacher of adult learners!"

"I hate people"

I suspect this will significantly limit her career options. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

To buy organic or not to buy organic

Upon loading a heap of items onto the conveyer belt at the grocery store last night, the man behind me mentions he's just there to buy a gift certificate.  I allow him to move ahead of me, hoping that perhaps his gift certificate is a good deed, and therefore worthy of mine.  In any event, he feels compelled to speak with me now, since we're good-deed-pals, and upon eyeballing my loot he says "do you really think it matters to buy organic?" 

Now, mind you, we're not in line at Whole Foods.  We're in line at my neighborhood Food Kitty where organic products are (a) few and far between and (b) not necessarily in the forefront of this particular shopping demographic's consciousness. 

"Well, honestly, I'm not sure.  I think so, but who knows.  I feel pretty strongly about buying organic milk, but I wonder sometimes about whether the rest of it is worth it."

"Mmmmm"  he says to me. 

"I think it makes me feel better about the product, but there's a financial trade off that I'm not always willing to make."

He realizes that maybe he shouldn't have asked and that he hadn't anticipated that I would be such a chatty good-deed buddy.

So, I've seen these lists before, but I'm reposting the following list, which I came across today, coincidentally, which tied up the loose end of last night's shopping adventure nicely:
The Dirty Dozen: These fruits and vegetables tend to be high in pesticide residue when grown conventionally. Buy them from an organic source whenever you can.

•sweet bell peppers
•spinach, kale, collard greens
•imported grapes

The Clean 15*: When grown conventionally, these items remain low in pesticide residue. There are fewer advantages to buying them from an organic source.

•sweet corn
•sweet peas
•kiwi fruit
•sweet potato
•sweet onion

*Data and title courtesy of the Environmental Working Group (EWG)

Isn't there an APP for this somewhere?  Hmmmmmmmmm.

Monday, March 28, 2011

My new life calling....

Most of us currently have DISASTER PREPAREDNESS on our minds. I’m sure the number of hits to related websites has been its own sort of tsunami. It takes something like what has happened in Japan, or the like, to remind us…oh yeah…..I keep meaning to do something about that.

But that’s the funny thing about emergencies; they are generally disasters because we aren’t equipped to deal with the consequences.

I spent 6 years volunteering for my local Red Cross Chapter. Part of what got me started there was the fact that, years ago, I took an infant child CPR course, the result of which was that on a very ordinary day in my very ordinary life I saved my daughter’s life using a skill I otherwise would not have known. It made me very committed to the concept of preparedness training.

Disaster planning, or emergency preparedness is an amorphous subject, hard to wrap one’s arms and mind around. WHAT do I plan for? WHICH disasters are most likely to happen to me? WHAT should I buy, do, think about? HOW much do I need? WHERE do I draw the line between reasonable, thoughtful planning and completely obsessive hoarding?

There are a lot of resources on line. You can spend days and days drilling down. For the most part, however, the government and the Red Cross have guidelines, depending on your situation, where you live, the statistical likelihood of a given disaster in your area, etc. from which a reasonable person can derive a reasonable game plan.

There are, of course, certain disasters that fall into the category of “We’re Screwed”….like nuclear holocaust, complete destruction of the ozone, combustion of the planet core….you know, things like that, so there’s really no point in worrying about those things. Better to analyze the greater risks, and just plan, nominally, at least, for those.

Does it still seem daunting? I can see why. Where to start? Wouldn’t it be great if someone could just do it FOR you?

I think this should be my calling. I should be a freelance disaster planning consultant.

Here are my qualifications:

1. I’m OCD.
2. I’m incredibly organized (in an almost scary, color-coded-spreadsheet kinda way).
3. I’m a big-picture kinda gal.
4. I grew up in an area where there were frequent hurricanes.
5. I grew up in a house that had a fully-stocked (I KID YOU NOT) fallout shelter, and spend hours down there playing out disaster scenarios as a kid. (This explains Item No. 1)
6. I have a little professional volunteer experience under my belt.
7. I’m really comfortable (and good at) telling people what to do.
8. I completely believed that Avian Flu was going to be the next Armageddon, and, secretly, am a little disappointed that it never came to full fruition, because, dammit, I WAS READY!
9. Your messy closet/pantry/attic/basement won’t scare me. I’ve seen worse.
10. You don’t want to have to do it yourself.

Seriously.  Call me!

Favorite emails from my children

I've gotten some hilarious emails from my children over the years.

For example, the one where my daughter tells me that she doesn't feel well, has researched her symptoms on webMD, thinks she has X and would I please make an appt with her pediatrician.  (She was correct, by the way.)

Then the one that I get from her one day when she's home, and I'm at work, that reads "What the hell is that beeping noise?!?!?!?!?!!?"  (I love that they still think I'm psychic.  Turns out it was a battery in a smoke detector).

The one that reads "GAWD....crazy people irritate me."

This one that I love b/c it so accurately reflects 8th grade angst:

Starts with me forwarding her an email from the PTO asking for parent chaperones for the 8th Grade End of Year Dance:

ME:  I was thinkinging Daddy and I would be CHAPERONES!  So fun!

HER:  hahahahahahhahahahahahahah.  NO.  Mrs. X will be there!  She knows me!!  Good enough, right?  *pleading eyes*

ME:  no, i thought daddy and I should come and support you, since we really haven't been at anything this year.  plus, i can't remember the last time he and i went to a dance together, so that would be so fun for us!
maybe we can teach your friends some of our cool old dances!  *excited eyes*

HER:  oh, thats too bad  i actually thought it would be cool to be one of those teens who loved their parents


I routinely wonder how different my relationship with my mother would have been if we (a) had called each other ridiculous nicknames and (b) had access to instant communication.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Date night

Last night I went on the perfect date. We started out strolling along our pedestrian mall, in the late afternoon sunshine. There were scads of people, many of whom I knew, so we stopped to hug and chat and catch up with people as we walked. We listened to all the street musicians, did a little window shopping, and then decide to have a light dinner at one of my favorite French bistros. We sat on their patio for an hour and watched the world go by.

We talked about art, and politics, education and music. My date was charming and intelligent, witty and clever and very, very funny. We befriended the waiter. We waved to friends. I drank in both the last of the day’s sunshine and two glasses of a delicious Cabernet before the sun dipped below the tallest surrounding buildings. We shared a cheese plate and lots of delicious crusty bread and we splurged on an order of profiteroles for dessert. There was nowhere else I would rather have been.

After dinner we walked to the movie theatre and went to see The King’s Speech which was poignant and delightful. We discussed English history as we walked back to our car afterwards. We sat in the driveway for a few minutes when we got home, subconsciously preparing for re-submersion into reality.

I kissed my date goodnight, and I went off to bed, and she went off to finish her chemistry homework, like the diligent and darling daughter that she is.

I hope she asks me out again soon.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Things I love

Kashi Frozen Entrees - Lemongrass Coconut Chicken

It's a challenge to find some sort of healthy meal I can eat at work that either isn't either full of processed CRAP or that I didn't have to slave away at home to make the night before.

The upsides to this product are:

I recognized most of the ingredients and they're minimally processed.
Nutritional content is decent (though, unfortunately, high on the sodium least i'm drinking a low sodium V8 with it).
FANTASTIC ZIPPY LEMONGRASS FLAVOR that tastes freshly grated!
Moderately priced, I believe I paid $3.39, which isn't bad.

They have other frozen meal products as well, which I'll try now, since that one was such a hit....but I'm guessing this one will be the highlight of the line. We'll see.

The Shamrock Half Marathon

Where you can find me and my crazy friends running in a few weeks....we'll be the ones in green tutus, beads, and other ridiculous St. Paddy's Day gear. Can't wait!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Not original but funny nonetheless


1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is a great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. I keep some people's numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

15. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

16. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night that more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.

17. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

18. I sometimes have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

19. How many times is it appropriate to say "what?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

20. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

21. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

22. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

23. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and pinning the tail on the donkey - but I'd bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time.

24. The first testicular guard, the "Cup," was used in hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974. That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important.