Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hear This....

I am in the midst of parenting bliss, and I know it!!  Both my kids are as creative, enjoyable, thoughtful and helpful as they have ever been.  I have left the sleepless nights, running at the park to catch a falling toddler, and endlessly cleaning the floor of finger-foods behind me.  I soon will venture into pre-teen and teen drama, mood swings, an empty fridge and worry about my kids driving.  For now, I am reveling in all the interesting things my children have to say.  They are wealths of knowledge about grade-school topics.

Our son is usually a walking encyclopedia (remember those?) but lately our seven year old has joined in.  We now have Boyipedia and Girlepedia (I'm sure it is parenting justice for years of babbling at our folks, we both are that way).

Our girl has a way of getting our attention when something is particularly interesting.

"Hear this Dada!...
     did you know the sun has spots
     did you know that Earth is the 3rd planet from the sun, and mars is 4th
     the sun is 15 billion degrees
     the sun is the biggest star,
Boys: No it isn't
Girlt: I mean in the solar system
Dada, hear this....."

I imagine each bit of trivia like a newsboy selling newspapers (remember those?) on the corner.  To her, it is that exciting.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Let's Put On Our Thinking Caps!

Federal funding for National Public Radio was cut last week.  Our federal government is sustaining itself on temporary budgets because we spend more than we make.  On the whole, I've been unimpressed with federal programs.  They don't seem to impact me (besides the free medical care while a dependent of the military, free university tuition, and housing allowance.  Thank you America!).  It seems to me the federal government is in the business of impacting BIG things, and I am a small thing.  A small thing I partake of is NPR.  I know it has a liberal bias, but so do I, so I listen.

When I heard that the funding had been cut, I assumed that it was because our government is financially stretched beyond our means.  I am still assuming while writing this post.  I have only ever made a budget for my small family, and can only relate the scenario to my personal finances (which I can judge the government, because they are in order).

If we were living extravagantly on our credit cards because we were spending more than we earn, it would be moronic to cut toilet paper out of the monthly expenditures.  Would we expect that to impact our finance enough to help?  Would we expect that our kids wouldn't get angry, after using toilet paper their whole lives?  My eight cars are too expensive, my house is too expensive, my insurance is too expensive, my trip to Antarctica was too expensive, my Whole Foods groceries are too expensive.......

People don't really NEED toilet paper, but isn't it super nice?  It is a modern luxury, just like NPR.  We might even think, 'how did we ever live without this white, soft paper product?'

I'm hoping that there is a silver lining.  It is my observation that when funding gets cut, and it is something people care about, people get creative.  Loads of money oftentimes make us turn down our creativity.  I'm hoping, that institutions are like people, or actually made of people.

*all the facts in this post I learned from NPR, National Public Radio, are assumptions, exclusively my opinion, or I made them up.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Something Old, Something New

I guess I'm in a sentimental mood, or maybe I am just sentimental. I think it's the latter. I'm sentimental about stuff, people, places, music and photos. I fit in lately, as things like, retro, vintage, up-cycling, and going green are popular. I don't think it has always been so trendy (example: the 80's). I'm not one for trends: capris, Ikea, Justin Beiber, and Farmville. I think they are silly and leave little scope for imagination!

Even when this photo was taken of me,
the tiny ring was hiding in the attic, in an old toiletry case.
When my grandparents passed away, when I was in my early 20's, I got their wood furniture from the 1950's. Maybe it was trendy back when my dad was a boy, but now it is old. Good, and old. I also received a small, and long forgotten, antique ring of my great-grandmother's. It is now more than 100 years old. It had a tiny diamond, and a thin band, for a person who's genes did not pass on to me. It also had an antique setting, and whimsical engraving on the outside.

For the last 15 years (before that, maybe 30 years) it has been sitting in a box, taking up beautiful, dark space. I would see it now and then, like when we moved. It only fit on my pinky, and made the small-ish finger look like a sausage. Another drawback was that if I wore it, it would break. Besides its beauty, it was useless, and unseen. It's daintiness, and beauty was almost a complete waste on me.

Before Christmas, my husband took me into my friends jewelry store. He asked if they could take the modest diamond out of the setting from my engagement ring and put it into the little antique ring. They also made the ring bigger and stronger, to suit the farm-hands I inherited from my mother. When they returned the ring I felt all the sentiment and tenderness I could feel, for a thing.

I felt the presence of a woman I never met. She was the mother of one of the best people I've known. The diamond was from my sweet young husband, years ago. I put the new/old ring on my hand, a hand that has been changed with the generations, and felt all that love.

I know that jewelry is a thing, and I strive not to be taken by shiny things, and yet it conveys what is in my heart.

Today when I read the blog my friend keeps for her jewelry store, the very same shop which artfully made my grandmother's ring mine, I realized sentimental is trendy. All this time I've been thinking trendy wasn't my taste. It turns out the whole point of jewelry is sentiment.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Girl Books, Boy Books

Growing up my parents read to us every night before bed.  We also watched old episodes of The Andy Griffith Show and The Rifleman, so I did get to watch television also.  We are carrying on the tradition of reading to our children, which our parents faithfully passed to us.

I have to admit that I am a bit dissatisfied by the latest choices of books, and I think it is because of my 'Y' chromosome.  We read a Terry Pratchett book which was about a police department, in a world on a disk with fantastic creatures.  Then, a book about an ancient Egyptian war, set in modern times.  Both were full of intense battles and boyish humor.  If you only read an hour a night, aloud, a medium-sized book can take up to a month to finish.  Some of my dissatisfaction is that each book is taking so long to read, although they are not bad books.

At the breakfast table last week I started to plead my case for Anne of Green Gables.  Two of the people in our family are female, which I think the book was written for, and the other half could give a little.  They could consider that a story without a battle or an ogre might be meaningful.

Silas conceded, he wouldn't mind reading a book about me.  ME?!?!  I started into what was sure to be a fiery lecture about," how.... Anne and I....well,  he must know those books are fiction, from the author's imagination, and...anyway, well.....I really think the kids....and you know, well.....Shut-up, Gilbert!!!"

Today, I found a copy of Anne of Green Gables on Gilbert's Silas' desk.

Silas & Tyson

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Update: good husband/bad man

Tomorrow Silas has a colonoscopy.  He has to return to the office where he had an endoscopy.  I guess they don't have a camera that goes all the way through, he dopily asked after the first procedure (they do have a fancy camera pill).
I'm curious about what will happen this time, as he visits the same nurses, and is sedated again.  I'm sure silliness will ensue.  I hope it is blog fodder, and that whatever the heck is wrong with him will come to light, so he can feel better.  I mostly hope for the latter.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

good husband/bad man Part III

I'm waffling on the title of this post.  It could be 'good man/ bad husband', but I think I'll keep it the way it is, and let you decide.  Also, be warned there is some bodily fluid in this post, so stop now if you are anything like me!

The concept of sympathy is near to me, but I think who ever coined the term didn't understand the concept in regards to vomit.  If you are a 'sympathetic puker' then you know it is mis-named.  I feel no sympathy.  I feel things like revolution, gagging, aggravation, and stomach cramps.  I do not feel sympathy.  This is an especially challenging feeling in regards to parenting.  I had NO IDEA that parenting would require such a strong constitution.

It seems that at unpredictable intervals, one or both of my children are sick from one end or another, usually on a trip or in the middle of the night.  It was a stretch getting through the diaper phase of parenting, but the messiness sporadically continues.  I can walk 20 miles in a day with a huge pack, I can stay up all night, I can fast for a day, I can climb the highest peak in California, I can run for an hour, but I can not clean up after my children when they are sick.  This is where that good husband of mine comes into the story.

We are parenting together.  Only months after becoming parents, we discovered that I only add to the problem/mess, when trying to clean up a mess.  My part of the team, is staying out of the way, or rinsing off a kid in the shower (even that is questionable).  Near the beginning of our life as parents, in a moment of feeling bad that I was unhelpful, or even more destructive, I told Silas I would clean the bathrooms in exchange for his super human ability not to vomit while mopping.  I feel that this is a reasonable trade, even though I intend to be an octogenarian.

Fast forward ten years, at 2am, after both our children had emptied the contents of their stomachs onto the beds, carpet, and hallway.  Silas is quickly taking care of business as I try to help with the relief efforts, though I know I'm not supposed to.   I then find myself hunched over, trying to control myself and Silas angrily yelling at me from down the hall, "get away from here, you are just making it worse!!".

Silas is not a yeller, and is very very slow to anger.  I think the stress of cleaning up and managing two sick kids is frustrating, at best.  It was so uncharacteristic of him, I was momentarily stunned.  What was I supposed to do, just go back to the warm bed and leave him alone?  That's what I did.  I did, however, have clean towels and sheets ready, clean clothes to change the kids into, and things manageable enough before hand, that he was close behind me going back to bed.   I understand that he would raise his voice to be perfectly clear, that I need to stick to my end of the arrangement.
Yelling = bad man

Silas, just before a night of cleaning a sleeper car in Egypt.
mopping up puke= good husband