Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Mom Song

This woman is brilliant.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Phone Call with Elizabeth Edwards

I just got off of a phone call with Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards. If you weren't aware, I blog over at DC Metro Moms as well as here, and we had requested a meeting with her and the Silicon Valley Moms Bloggers as she is in California right now. Bloggers from Chicago and DC joined in by phone. Mrs. Edwards graciously gave some of her time to meet with us, and while I won't go into total detail here, you can see the Liveblog of the meeting on the Silicon Valley Moms Blog.

I am however, going to take a minute to make a few comments on the messages and the delivery of the message, which is something that you might not get from the Liveblog mentioned above.

A few key things popped out at me. The first is the immediacy of the internet. I have heard over the years so much about controlling the news cycle - timing press releases just right so that they hit the TV and print media at a time so that they have the greatest impact. Well, the internet changed all of that. I am sure that folks in the media or in any lines of work that involve the media know how important it is, but those of us who are outsiders are not as plugged into that dynamic. I had never really thought about how much life has changed with the advent of the internet (along with cell phones) until a few days ago. Mrs. Edwards mentioned that there was an immediacy to blogs, and man is she right. Once it goes up, it is out there for everyone to see. There's no taking something back once it is out in the Blogosphere. She was referring specifically to her response time to a post by one of the Chicago Moms Blogger, and that she happened to pick up the post about her almost immediately due to the fact that she was online shortly after it was posted. She mentioned that this is not always the case, but it does make you realize that the words that we put out there are out there for real. No longer does someone have a meeting, then a reporter writes a story, gets his editor to peruse it, and it gets published. I'm not sure of the path to print, but the bloggers basically get information up almost immediately. Our live blog of the meeting with Mrs. Edwards is one example of this. This demands a new level of responsibility, not only from the media, but from any person posting information online.

The next thing that struck me was the idea of public health clinics in Elementary Schools. Not sure how this would work exactly, but the idea is a good one. If you can't get people to the clinics, bring the clinics to the people. Again, don't know if this is a new idea, if someone has tried this already, or if it would even work, but it was novel to me and I think it is worth pursuing.

When asked how our lives will change if her husband gets elected, Mrs. Edwards touched on a lot of areas where Sen. Edwards hopes to affect change. The metaphor that struck me was the idea that the government cannot climb the ladder for you (or for that matter push you up the ladder), but it can make sure that the ladder is there for you to climb. She referred to this idea in several instances - and I like the image that it evokes. Too often we talk about individual responsibility, but for some that is a tough concept to grasp. This is a very good way to talk to people about their role in many issues. I applaud her for using such a great metaphor.

She also spoke about re-establishing our "moral authority." She said that we need to change the way people think about us, and man, once again, she is right. She had a few suggestions as to how to go about doing this, but the idea itself is a good one, and we all need to take steps to make a difference. In the end she wrapped up by saying that we won't get the change we want unless we work for it. In this case, she was referring to electing a new president, but it also applies to changing the way others think about the US. In order to avoid the status quo, we need to go out and DO something about it, sage advice for any goal in your life, honestly.

All in all it was a very nice meeting with Mrs. Edwards. Not sure if I'm jaded or if I'm not quite tuned into the reality of the election yet (that's probably the case here), but I was non-plussed overall by what she had to say. I respect her immensely for supporting her husband in the midst of her personal health crisis (she did mention that there's been some research that shows that there really is some validity to "chemo brain") and really appreciate her taking the time to visit with us. A lot of the info I've heard before, and it often sounded like she was pulling out catch phrases and speaking in sound bites. I can't imagine how difficult it is to come up with new language though, city after city, meeting after meeting. So maybe this is what an election has come down to - truly capable people reduced to showing up and plugging in sound bites. I understand the boundaries that Mrs. Edwards must stay within, and I appreciate that it is often safest to resort to the campaign script.

Thank you Mrs. Edwards for taking time to come talk to us - even this slightly jaded blogger recognizes the sacrifice you made to be here with us.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mix Tapes

Man oh man. The kids asked me what the CD was playing in the car a few months ago. I explained to them that it was a CD that I made full of songs that I liked. After I got past the whole "I made this CD" - they thought I was singing (yeah, like I'd listen to that!) - they got it. We all went about our business and now they want their own. I think I have created a monster - three monsters actually. So, I told them that we'd make a list of their favorite songs and when we got enough we'd made a Mix CD for them. And here I thought middle school was over - that my time of making mix CD's had passed.

Wondering what on earth a 7 year old and two 4 year olds want on their Mix CD? Well, the lisat might surprise you:

Sister Psychic - Go kids! This one is their absolute favorite song (well, this weel at least). Thanks for picking something that doesn't have little kids singing or isn't mind numbing.

Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison has captivated another generation.

La Vida Mickey - Love Ricky Martin, but this is Mickey Mouse's version. Oh well.

I'm a Believer (from Shrek) -Witness the power of Disney's marketing machine.

Can't Get Enough of You Baby - More Smashmouth - can't complain about this one.

Celebration - Yup. It's the wedding standard and my kids want it.

Will2K - Will Smith? Yup, Will Smith.

Apollo (from Rocnoceros) - Yes, it's all about the moom landing in 1969

And last but not least:
Helloboodbye's Here - It's a dance track...

And just this morning they asked for some Black Eyed Peas. They have a pretty broad range of likes so I guess I can't complain much. And the Mickey song is the only one that might drive me over the edge. The rest, even the Rocnoceros songs, are pretty good. But a Mix CD kids?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Stargate Building

I love this building. Tom talked about this building after one of his numerous trips here a few years ago. He kept going on and on about the Stargate Building. You know, the Stargate, Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis? I was so excited when I finally got to see it. Well, a few weeks ago I actually took a picture of it and was going to post about how cool this area was to have a building that looked like this. . .
Little did I know, but apparently locals call this the Toilet Bowl Building. When someone told me that I nearly fell off my seat. Everyone knew exactly what building I was talking about. We were in the midst of a conversation about all the cool buildings in this area, and everyone but me knew that this was the Toilet Bowl Building. Man, that completely ruins it for me. No more Stargate Building. It will forever be a Toilet Bowl.
Cross posted at DC Metro Moms Blog.

Monday, September 24, 2007


So my boys decided that they wanted to be (from oldest to youngest) a Jedi, a penguin, and Superman. We are almost good to go on costumes, but I have NO IDEA where to go Trick or Treating. We live in an area where the homes are not only far apart, but there aren't many sidewalks. And honestly I'm not sure how many kiddos live around here anyway - haven't seen but one or two in strollers. So, where do we go?

Do we hit the mall along with the thousands of other kiddos? Do they even do that here at the malls? We went one year in Texas because they were forecasting very heavy rain and the mall Trick or Treating was a few days before Halloween Day. So we hit the mall, it didn't rain on Halloween, and we went again. It was a cool double Halloween treat for the boys.

Do we host a party? I remember going to lots of Halloween parties when I was growing up, and it was always fun. There was one family who hosted them regularly, and all the neighborhood kids went. But the boys are still kind of young for that, so I'm not sure how they and their friends would do. And I'm also not sure that I want to host a party - that's a lot of work.

Do we hit another neighborhood? Do I throw the kids in the car and head out to a nearby neighborhood to Trick or Treat? How weird is that? I guess if you live in a place like ours where you don't have any other good options, that you do head out to someone else's neighborhood. Oh, well. The kids don't care, so we'll be good.

We are heading to Boo at the Zoo again this year. This time I won't forget the costumes (thank goodness for really cold weather last Halloween and heavy jackets). You couldn't tell, but my kids were in jammies last year at the Zoo, and their costumes were on the couch at home, all laid out nicely. Sigh...

Saturday, September 22, 2007 old friend

I did something today that I haven't done in years. Literally - 9 years or so. I had a Diet Coke. While this may not sound like much, I'll fill you in and you can understand why this was a difficult choice, and also why it was necessary. First, the back story.

Years ago I stopped drinking caffeine in an attempt to make the female parts of me behave better and be nicer to the rest of me. It seemed to make a big difference, and was also right about the time that the coke folks (I don't mean just Coke - I'm from Texas so I don't call it pop or soda - it's all coke) started coming out with CAFFEINE FREE versions of their drinks, so it wasn't too much of a stretch. I have to admit that I drank a lot of Sprite and 7-Up as most of these new caffeine free drinks weren't widely available back then. But I trudged on and made my way out of that caffeinated world with very little trouble. (I am allergic to chocolate so that's not a source of caffeine for me at all.)

Fast forward to a few years ago. Tom and I were sitting in one of our favorite local restaurants (which they closed shortly after this - most likely because we said out loud to each other that we liked that particular restaurant) and I wanted some sweet tea. Now, growing up in Texas I drank Bill Miller's Sweet Tea like it was the only thing on Earth to drink. I had my HUGE mug that I'd get filled on the way home from work (at a restaurant that served sweet tea that I could have taken for free and didn't cause Bill Miller's was so much better...) and to and from school, etc. Bill Miller's was everywhere and their sweet tea tasted like heaven. There's probably also some genetic component there - I think if you are born and raised in the south that you have a sweet tea addiction from birth.

So, back to the story. I was sitting with Tom and having not had sweet tea or any caffeinated beverage for a few years, a surprising urge came over me. I wanted Sweet Tea and I wanted it bad. After he finished laughing at me (and not knowing the rest of what I'm about to tell you) Tom encouraged me to order said tea and drink up. I did - and it was a big glass of tea, so I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Then we discovered why I shouldn't ever again drink caffeinated beverages. Up until this point the most caffeine I'd had was that which was in decaf coffee. Yes, there's some in there but not massive amounts and I'd generally only have one cup. I had a very large glass of tea and the effects lasted for several days. I talked non-stop for three days, had trouble sleeping for several nights, and was basically bouncing off the walls. Thank goodness this was pre-kiddos or who knows what would have happened. After this Tom and I swore (me) off caffeine once again. I thought a few times there that Tom's head was going to explode from all the chatter. And so I did avoid caffeine...up until today.

Yesterday evening I developed a migraine. (And don't jump ahead here - it's not quite the end of the story). I used to take Imitrex when I got these and I'd sleep for a day and it would be gone and things would be back to normal. And I have the Imitrex here. But when I pulled out the package last night to down my first dose I was shocked (but also slightly relieved) that the prescription had expired in 2005 - OVER TWO YEARS AGO. The shock was that I was stranded on a Friday night without anything that could help me, and the relief was that it had been two years since I had had a migraine. I had been successfully avoiding all migraine triggers for two full years - and that's pretty impressive after years of having them.

So, lots of Advil, a hot HOT bath for my toes, and one very dark and quiet house later I fell asleep, and while having odd dreams, actually got a full night's sleep. I think I was so worn out that once I was able to get to sleep that it stuck. So, I woke up today with the migraine in tact, albeit at a slightly less irritating level. But, my face has been tingly all day - one sure fire indication that I haven't quite gotten rid of this pesky thing.

After Max's soccer game today I sat down for a bit while Tom messed with the blue van in an attempt to go get it inspected (which of course no one does here on Saturdays). We talked about taking some Excedrin but I wasn't excited about that, so Tom suggested that I drink a Diet Coke - a regular Diet Coke. Not wanting to call the doctor on Saturday (the meds don't work as well once you are this far into the migraine anyway) and wanting some relief I thought long and hard. Then I asked Tom if HE was ready for me to do that considering what happened the last time that I drank caffeine. He thought that I was so beat up that the little extra bit of caffeine in the Diet Coke wouldn't matter. He was soooo right. The vaso-constrictor did it's job and I got a bit of afternoon relief from the migraine, but have had no lasting effects from the caffeine. So, HAH to you Diet Coke. I'll go back to my Caffeine Free though - don't want to make those female parts mad again. And bummer - no incessant chatter this time. Well, maybe not so bad from Tom's point of view.

Oh, and remind me later to ask about how to explain what sanitary napkins are to a 7 year old boy. He asked today at the store. Yeah, told him I'd tell him when he's 15. Tom said 30, but when is a guy ever ready to hear that kind of stuff?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What on earth did this kid do to p&*s off Pluto?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


As I get older I am learning that there's some sort of weird balance in the universe. When you toss something out there it has a ripple effect, and it often comes back to you. So, I'm tossing out my goals in an effort to open it all up and see what comes back to me. Also, if you see me about this time next year you can ask me how I'm doing with these goals...

1. Run five miles by next September (2008)
2. Monthly dates with Tom
3. Spend at least one hour each week in each kid's class
4. Exercise three times per week

And Tom's addition to the list:
5. Shake it like a Polaroid picture

Yeah, like that's going to happen.

Monday, September 17, 2007

It Must Be True Love...

I was in Scottsdale, AZ this weekend for what ended up being a very cool, completely exhausting leadership retreat. I arrived home on Sunday at about 8:30pm to a slightly excited husband (No, not that kind of excited). Before we even dragged the overweight luggage out of the car, he took me and showed me exactly what he'd been up to all weekend. I knew that he and the boys had really cleaned up the toy room - but I had no idea what they actually did. They not only straightened up, but they got rid of BAGS of toys and threw away LOADS of Happy Meal type toys. He said that the boys were even getting rid of stuff that they play with sometimes because they discovered loads of other toys that they completely forgot they even had. So, for them it wasn't work - it was Christmas.

But before Tom showed me the basement, he took me by the hand into my office - well, what used to be my office and was now someone else's clean space. I was shocked to say the least. Not only did he declutter and put stuff away, but he went to IKEA and bought another deep shelf for me to hold my ever growing album collection. He also stowed all of my products back into the closet where they are supposed to live, hung my DREAM sign over my door, and hung our wedding spurs up where I can see them. The best part is - he gets me completely. He knows that I'd freak out if I couldn't find my stuff, but that I would totally appreciate a cleaned up office. He sorted things into folder and tubs and out other things away so that while it was all organized, I could still see things. I can actually see my floor, and because there was room down there for the first time ever, he laid out my pink flower rug that makes me smile. He really really gets me.

He also hung up the hooks for the kids' school stuff. Max has always just thrown his backpack on the floor when he comes hoe from school. But since there was just one backpack, I didn't mind it if it sat near or on top of my gym bag. But, the little guys came home with totes from their school last week, so we had quite a pile going there. We decided to hang up the bags on some hooks, and while I suggested it before I left I had no idea that he was right on it like he was. So, he and the boys were certainly busy this weekend - I should go away more often. My office would stay cleaner if nothing to keep it this way for more than a day or two.

My Flowers

I love these particular flowers. They are bright, certainly don't occur naturally in nature, and cheap enough that I can buy them as often as I want and not feel guilty! I was sad the first time I went to the store and they DIDN'T have these flowers - but I broke down and bought some other colors. Anyway, I'll share these as they bring me great delight and maybe they can fill your day with smiles too.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

We survived!

Well, sort of. The first day of school for Ian and Sam went really well. Tom dropped them off in the mayhem that was drop off time, and I picked them up in what apparently was a similar situation to the morning, but like good little parents we all lined up. The boys seemed to enjoy their time at school and are willing, if not looking forward, to going back tomorrow. Not sure if they know that they'll go every day for the rest of the school year yet, but they'll figure that part out soon enough. So, loaded up with their cool self decorated totes, they headed off to school.

At school they played in the sand, rode trikes, played with Play Doh, and made art. At some point along they way there was mention of a snack, but it wasn't clear that this was an important part to them - the playground was much cooler. Ian even discussed the fact that at High School you don't have a sand box. I pointed out that he might not have a sand box in middle or even elementary school, but he reassured me that it was just high school.

So, I picked them up from school, we grabbed a bite and hit the doctor's office for a check up (for me - they are good until February). When we arrived home I turned around and saw something that I haven't seen in months - possibly even a year. Sam was asleep in his seat. But he wasn't just asleep, he was completely camped. One of his eyes was partially open and his mouth was definitely open. Ian is usually the one who crashes in the car, but he took a cat nap earlier and I guess that the day just caught up with Sam. Poor little guy - he got all of ten minutes of sleep in the car. He wasn't too happy with me when I woke him up to get out of the car.

And then the mayhem started. Not only were they tired, but all three boys were done behaving for the day. I guess that after three hours, seven for Max, that there's no good behavior left in the tank. So they proceeded to run all over their slightly frazzled mother, and no matter what I did they weren't having anything to do with behaving. So, as soon as Tom came home he fed them (he did because I guess I was done behaving for the day too) and sent them straight to bed. It was barely 7pm, but they were pretty much asleep right when their heads hit the bed. One of them peeped a bit alter, but they were all down for the count. So much for the 8pm bedtime - we're back to 7:30, and possibly earlier if the little guys go nuclear again tomorrow.

But, tomorrow I'll be sleeping myself as I hit the airways heading to Arizona. I'm off to a leadership training / getaway weekend for IRW. I am so freaking excited about this! Not only do I need the time away, but it will be great seeing all of those folks again and getting together to play. So poor Tom will be the Lone Ranger here for a few days. It will be bachelor central - boys weekend for sure. Last time I left the boys said to me that since I was gone they could burp and fart all they wanted. I didn't want to point out that they get to do that anyway, even if I'm here as long as they are polite after. Oh well, guys weekend - so be it.

So, if you call my house and no one answers, one of two things is going on. The first being that the entire house is asleep - simply exhausted. The second is that the boys have taken over and can't reach the phone. If that's the case it means that they have hog tied their Dad and he's shoved in a closet somewhere. Probably won't happen but as they get older you never know...

See you in a few unless I can post from the hotel!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lookie What We Did Today!

We met our preschool teachers! (Can you tell I'm a bit excited about this?) Tom mentioned as we were getting ready to leave that the boys were a bit apprehensive as they weren't really clear what the whole preschool thing was, but we were off anyway.

About a week ago Sam announced that he wasn't going to preschool at all. He just didn't want to and while I wasn't panicked, I was sorely disappointed tha the wasn't as excited as I was about this whole thing. He changed his mind once Max started filling him in on all of the cool stuff that you do at preschool - arts and crafts, recess, meeting new friends, and he went on and on. After this both Sam and Ian were quite excited about it - even telling the lady checking us in at the gym that they were starting preschool. I breathed a little sigh of relief.
So off we went today to the preschool for the orientation. It was more like a "here's your room, your teachers, some of the cool stuff in the class, and your cubby" kind of orientation. Yes, they even have their own cubbies with their names right on them. Pretty cool if you are four...or 35 for that matter. They got school bags that they brought home and decorated today to take stuff back and forth to school. Sam walked right in like he owned the place (after not really wanting to step through the front door and being coaxed in by the teacher) and Ian really didn't want to play with anything until Tom coaxed him into it. The guys are in two separate classrooms - they will cause less trouble that way. ;)

Anyway, I am so freaking excited about this I can hardly contain myself! Don't get me wrong, I love my kids, but man oh man. It's been SEVEN YEARS at home with kiddos all the time. I am going to have almost three hours four days a week at home to do whatever I want (probably sleep some and maybe even *gasp* scrapbook some). This will let me catch up on stuff that has been sitting and waiting. And hopefully this will allow me to go to bed earlier - no more staying up late at might working on random stuff.

If I'm this excited now, can you imagine what it will be like next year when they go to full day kindergarden?

So tomorrow we'll have actual first day of school pictures, but for now here are a few snaps of orientation.


Still can't quite bring myself to write anything much about the 9/11 tragedy. Not sure if it is too scary or if those feeling are all still too fresh, but for now I'll just say thanks.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Staying Up WAAAY Too Late

So football season is upon us and I am staying up way too late...again. I blame the change in time zone for this. Certainly I'll take no personal responsibility as my attempt to avoid responsibility at all costs includes the whole going to bed in a timely manner thing. In Texas we were in the Central Time Zone. So, no matter where the football games were, they came on at a reasonable hour - not too early, not too late. I always sweated the West Coast starts but they really didn't keep me up that late.

Now that we are in Virginia, we are in the Eastern Time Zone. The problem arises when the second Monday Night Football game comes on, and it's 10 pm locally. I've watched the first game, and while I am getting my fix, I'm not honestly sure that I can turn the TV off by myself. That second game, the one that starts when I should really be going to bed, has sucked me in. Now I say to myself "Well, at least I'd be up anyway watching the late news (which comes on at 11 pm here as opposed to 10pm in Texas) and so I can certainly watch a bit more of the game." Yeah, right. I'm not heading to bed any time soon.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Thanks Oxy Clean Man!

Well, let me back up a bit. First off, I believe it was Clorox Oxi Magic, and second, it didn't start off so pleasantly.

At about 6:30 this morning (yes, AM) Sam popped his little head in and said "Mommy, Max has a nosebleed." Great. Just what I wanted to hear first thing in the morning. There are two things that are terribly wrong with this picture as well - the first being that I thought I had actually trained these kiddos to walk around the other side of the bed and wake up their DADDY in the mornings if they needed anything. The second was that blood makes me uncomfortable. Actually, to be honest here, blood makes me throw up. As recently as Max's head wound I tossed my cookies when he started gushing. Apparently being completely asleep combats that feeling totally. Didn't even feel a wee bit nauseous. So I dragged myself out of bed after realizing what Sam was saying and switched into Mom mode.

Well, the nice thing here (not sure if this is nice or not but it worked for me this morning!) is that Max has had a nosebleed recently enough that he was calm and had already done what he needed to do to stop the bleeding - so he was just covered with blood and not hysterical when I walked in. Yuk, but calm child. Ian was quite upset and while Sam told me that Ian didn't like nosebleeds, I realized that Max had dropped some blood on Ian's stuffed tabby cat - lately who is named Pikachu. Yes, of the Pokemon fame. Moving on, I did just about as much as I could do without invoking my magical powers of levitation (Max is on the top of some bunk beds and I couldn't move the mattress - not quite strong enough yet) so I woke Tom up to finish up the job. Tall, strong, and mostly asleep husband stripped the bed sheets (cleaned up the kid covered in blood because he apparently rolled around in it some before he realized what was going on) and I took the pile of yuk down to the washer (along with the tabby named Pikachu) and got them going.

Tom toddled off to bed, Pikachu is in the dryer now as the blood came right out - this is where the Oxi Magic comes in - and I'm sitting here slightly grossed out and unable to get back to sleep. Guess when your kid gets bonked on the nose at soccer practice he develops a blood clot and 12 hours later passes that clot. Yuk again, but I need to write that down in my notes on life so I won't forget. I did at least tell him to dress in dark clothes as the last time he had a nosebleed he started up again a bit later. Gross. Yuk. Ahhh...boys...I should own stock in Clorox.

Friday, September 07, 2007

And let the pain begin.

This post has nothing to do with childbirth or football, two subjects that I am familiar with, and can both be quite painful. This has to do with vision - not overarching "what am I doing with my life" vision, but vision - the kind that requires glasses for me and the rest of my family. The pain comes in small steps at first - one eye exam and one pair of glasses. Then it turns into sports goggles and later on contacts, and who knows, maybe surgery at some point in the future.

So we took our first steps toward better vision on Thursday. I took the little guys to the eye doctor for the very first time. They had toys in the waiting room, so they didn't "explore" the hundreds of pairs of glasses they had near the waiting are. Good first step. The boys got to ride up and down in a cool chair before the nice man measured something about their vision - and both got to see the other's GIANT eyeball on the screen. Now if that isn't cool I'm not sure what is.

Then we went back to the toys and played some more, this time only mildly irritating a couple that was waiting to have their ride in the cool up and down chair. You see, we didn't choose the quiet toys or books, we chose the Jack in the Box, the old fashioned kind, and played it over and over and over and over again. (I know - my kids were deprived of this Oh So Annoying toy as little guys.) Yeah, good waiting area, and still no broken glasses.

So it was finally our turn and we went into the room where the doctor did the eye exam. She was a pro. She has four kids of her own and knew exactly how to get and keep their attention. Sam went first and then Ian followed. Both did a great job and again got to ride in a cool chair. She had them look at a 3-D fly, which really fascinated Sam, and read lots of numbers and letters, and even some shapes. She looked at their eyes through the microscope (and showed each of them the other's eye) and they thought the entire thing was, well, ho hum. Problem is, going to the eye doctor just isn't so exciting.

The exciting part for me though, is the complete lack of pain. Neither child needs glasses, and we didn't pay a penny for the visit. So, while Tom and I are pretty much both blind as bats, so far so good on the little guys.

Max heads out there in two weeks, but I'm not holding my breath. A few weeks ago he said "Hey Mom, I can't really see out of my right eye." Geez kid. This is the stuff that you are supposed to tell you mother well before school starts...sign...and so he pain begins...

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Don't usually post in the AM (brain still not quite awake and it's noon!), but this is certainly a worthy AM post. I am sad to say that Luciano Pavarotti has died. He was a magical showman that made opera accessible to this middle school choir girl and many others (including the Sesame Street audience). I saw him in San Antonio when I was in middle school, and was simply blown away. No, I didn't pursue a career in Opera (and my DH would thank me now for this) but I have always enjoyed his music and he certainly left a lasting impression on me. So it is indeed a sad day.

Prolific Tenor Pavarotti Dies

by Joal RyanWed, 5 Sep 2007 09:53:15 PM PDT
Copied From E News

Opera was not the 20th century's surest route to superstardom. But it was if you sang like Luciano Pavarotti.
Pavarotti, the literally and figuratively larger-than-life tenor whose recordings sold more than 100 million albums, and whose voice boomed everywhere from the Metropolitan Opera to Johnny Carson's Tonight Show, died at 5 a.m. Thursday morning, local time, at his home in Modena, Italy, after a yearlong battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 71.
Dubbed the King of High C's, for the showiest chandelier-shaking note in his repertoire, Pavarotti was hospitalized last month. Earlier Wednesday, it was reported that his condition had taken a turn for the worse.
The singer underwent cancer surgery last year. It was the latest in a series of health setbacks that plagued the enduring performer in recent years.
"The Maestro fought a long, tough battle against the pancreatic cancer which eventually took his life. In fitting with the approach that characterised his life and work, he remained positive until finally succumbing to the last stages of his illness," Pavarotti's manager, Terri Robson, said in a statement to the Associated Press.
Even during his most recent hospitalization, Pavarotti's wife insisted he would sing again. It was a message Pavarotti himself likely approved.
"I think the important thing is to sing very well until you sing, and have the fresh voice like my father did," Pavarotti told the BBC in 2005. "My father was a great tenor. Beautiful voice. And he was fresh until two weeks before he died at the age of 90."
Pavarotti's father, Fernando, was a member of the local choir in Modena, Italy, where the future opera star was born on Oct. 12, 1935. Pavarotti would follow in his father's footsteps—and then forge a whole new path.
The turning point for Pavarotti came when he was 25—and had a day job.
"Let's say, [in] the beginning, I am an elementary school teacher," Pavarotti told the BBC. "And on 21 April, 1961, I became a tenor."
That's when Pavarotti, fresh from winning a key competition, made his professional debut on the Italian stage in a production of La Bohème.
From there, Pavarotti embarked on a career that made him the world's most famous opera singer, able to command the attention of 500,000 in New York's Central Park, as he did in 1993, or recruit stars such as James Brown, Sting and Bono for his annual Pavarotti & Friends benefit concert.
"He knows the public loves him for himself, not only for his voice. If he lost his voice tomorrow, they would still love him," the late Terry McEwen, a record executive and opera director, said of Pavarotti to Time in 1979. "He could go on performing, he could be a different kind of star."
A different kind of star is exactly what Pavarotti was. He was overweight, lived in a tux and sang in tongues foreign to most casual Saturday Night Live viewers, and still his fame transcended the opera house, making him right at home before, yes, most casual SNL viewers. (He dueted with Vanessa Williams in a 1998 episode of the sketch-comedy show.)
Pavarotti won five Grammys; earned a night at the Kennedy Center Honors alongside the likes of Jack Nicholson, Julie Andrews and Quincy Jones; starred in his own Hollywood movie, the 1982 romantic-comedy Yes, Giorgio, a flop; and fronted who knows how many local PBS pledge drives, thanks to his popular concert videos with Plácido Domingo and José Carreras, known jointly as the Three Tenors.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Grade 2, Day 1

As the day is almost over I think it's safe to post now that the first day of school went off basically without a hitch. I was a bit concerned when Tom tried to drop Max off at his bus stop school (Max takes a bus from our local school to the magnet school that he attends - a whopping 5 miles from here) and not only was the bus really really late, but it was also full, and they were stuffing kiddos in there in order to get them to school. The man with ID tags from Max's school was grabbing kids and tossing them on the bus, all the while reassuring the parents that he was indeed from the school and the other bus wasn't coming, so the kiddos needed to board this bus and find a seat on top of some other little person.
So, Max got to school unscathed, had a pretty normal day, and came home with absolutely no info about his day. All in all a pretty typical school day. Hopefully the bus thing will get straightened out - we've had a bad run with bus routes thus far here in VA. At our old house we had the route that regularly didn't pick up the kids from school until close to 4 pm (they got out at 3:20). And here at the new place it seems better, but who knows what this year has in store.
Hopefully tomorrow will be as uneventful, but Max will share more about his day. But I'm not holding my breath - he is a 7 year old boy...

Monday, September 03, 2007


Well, off to placate myself with creme puffs. Thanks Kim for introducing me to these - they are the best ever. Maybe FSU will get yelled at enough, or embarrassed by the score, or beaten by their coach, or threatened with retirement, or whatever works...and will come out actually playing football.

Then again this won't be the worst loss of the week - Michigan took care of that for us. Come on guys...

Edited to Add: Man, that didn't go down as badly as I was expecting, and surely the Seminoles could have pulled it out at the end as they did show up for the second half. Geez man - typical FSU game. They begin by making you want more (LOTS more) then they start giving you little tidbits of their greatness (or mediocrity in this case) and they lift you up thinking there might be a chance, then BOOM! They drop you and you smack back down to earth and the reality that they just can't pull it off. Oh well, there's always next week...and the University of Texas...Hook 'Em!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Our Spider

My boys have a long history with Spiders and such in our homes. They seem to become attached to them for some reason (this is where I avert my eyes and try to distract you), and name them. Generally they are referred to as our house spider. but we did have a run of three spiders at the old place that the boys named George, George II and George III.

Anyway, we have a grand specimen here now out back. He's been hanging out on our umbrella on the deck - for about two weeks as far as we can tell. And the amazing part is - they boys have left the web alone. I ran right through it the other day not thinking, but the spider is still out there now - rebuilt parts f the web that I destroyed (and in the process made the entire spider community mad). This little spider built what in human terms is a mansion. This web is beautiful and seems to be pretty strong - he even caught something large in it.

So please say hello to the latest in our Spider Hall of Fame - Outside Spider, and check out his beautiful web!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Lovely Day

Today was a lovely day. It started at Home Depot and is ending in front of the TV watching college football. Couldn't ask for more. What I've realized over the past few months is that I really enjoy spending time with my family. I mean I really enjoy them. Tom has mentioned this a few times, so I've continued to drag them out of the house on Saturdays, and this is how we spend time together. You see, before I started doing this we'd all do our own things on Saturdays - int eh same house, but our separately. Now, we do basically whatever I want (As it generally is according tom Tom, and he's not far off there...) and we all really enjoy our days.

Take today for example. We headed off to Home Depot so the kids could make these cool football peg board things. They got to hammer and nail and glue (and I hammered a nail that I now need to go get repaired), and had a good old time. Then, we ran a few errands - not so fun on their part, but we did get lunch in there as well as a few Star Wars Stamps. The boys needed new shoes (I even got a pair of cool sneakers!), I needed to mail some letters, and we needed to pick up the cool new pictures that I put in the first floor bathroom. They aren't exactly framed, but more like shellacked onto some fiberboard - they are now sweat proof. I found these prints here and loved them for the bathroom but wasn't quite sure how to get them in there without ruining them when I took my excessively long showers. So, they are now safe and secure hanging up in the bathroom!

Anyway, in the midst of running around I decided that we needed some ice cream. I plugged those exact words into my phone and up popped Dairy Queen, Cold Stone Creamery, and Dippin Dots. Let's see...easy choice there. Sam wanted marshmallows - didn't really care what kind of ice cream, but it MUST have marshmallows. Ian got vanilla with sprinkles - two of his favorite things, and Max got chocolate with gummy bears. Little kids heaven. But honestly, it was my kind of snacks too - I got some bright blue Cotton Candy ice cream in a waffle cone bowl. Man, I though the sugar rush was going to take me out for good, but it was worth it! Tom enjoyed mint ice cream with chocolate chips - the little ones! Guess he wanted to step out of his "vanilla box!"

So, after some errands, some hanging out, and some ice cream, we headed home. It was another great Saturday, and another day spent enjoying family.