Saturday, September 30, 2006

so ugly.

last week when we the whole family was at the Big Dollar Sale at chapel hill comics, s spent the majority of her time gazing lovingly at the uglydolls. she got one with her birthday money back in june, and was able to purchase a keychain-sized one last week. her problem was that we were at a BOOK store, right? so where were the BOOKS about uglydolls? the lovely vanessa, owner of the shop, had to break the bad news to s that there was NO UGLYDOLL BOOK. a crushing blow. s came up with the solution: make our own uglydoll book!

both the kids got creative and collaborated on "the little uglydoll whippie" book. s art directed while h took dictation and drew the pictures. s went back and colored the whole thing. it has a tenuous plot and is riddled with several genres. i won't give it ALL away, but it does include aliens, girlscouts, cookies, a beanstalk and a pong-gong. the latter is a fictional device conjured by the children.

after the BOOK was accomplished, s decided we needed to get to work on making the ACTUAL uglydoll named whippie. while she was convalescing this week, we chose fabric, decided on a shape, and sewed the doll. altogether it didn't take long, and the thrilled daughter was all the payment i needed. her first order of business was to hightail it BACK to the comic shop and show vanessa what she had accomplished.

so ugly it's almost cute, huh?

Friday, September 29, 2006

how do you tell a happy motorcyclist?

you count the bugs on their teeth! ho ho ho, that's a funny one. but seriously, folks, here's the promised photo of t and i on the bike, on our way to the gym. i not only LOOK like a bobble-headed idiot, i feel like one, too! the biker chick image just doesn't suit me at all. however, when t is going to the gym, and i want to go to the gym, and he really wants to ride his bike, what's the point of going separately in the car (other than being warm)? this way we save gas and all that stuff. i'm getting used to the bugs wetly splattering against my wind-numbed cheeks and the blast of air smacking me when a not-so-aerodynamic semi truck rolls past. really, i am. but if it gets much colder than this (55 F this morning) drastic measures will need to be taken to keep me on the bike.

after the gym, we checked out the chatham mills location where our friend sean will build his dream brewery-- BIG. t is helping design logos, menus, the look of the place, the bottling labels, you name it. the old mill has tons of character, and hopefully that will be well preserved in the restaurant/bar. now if we can all wait for it to open! that's the hard part.

from there onto a mexican food place for lunch and then the pittsboro library book sale... HALF PRICE ON FRIDAY! even cheaper on saturday, but i don't have the time to go tomorrow. when we got there, t came up with the all-too-obvious dilemma... where to put the books? there are no bags on his bike! so we had to be somewhat conservative while perusing the boxloads of true bargains so we could fit all purchases into my backpack. somehow we kept our selections down to 10 books (for only 7 bucks!) and fit them all in. t is going back later to pick up a huge set of shakespeare, in the CAR. i've been to other booksales where there are no real steals, but this one rocks. paperbacks were a quarter, while trades and hardcovers were $1.50. it's like heaven to me.

now we're back in one piece, and should probably actually accomplish something right now. then again, maybe not.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

sick girly

before heading off to kindergarten on monday, s complained of a sore throat. quick mommy assessment of complaint: no fever, child bouncing off walls, long history of crying wolf. the conclusion? give 'er some motrin & throw her on the bus. after school she seemed a bit touchy in walmart, and didn't want to eat the holy grail of all child dinners-- the mcdonalds cheeseburger happy meal. it wasn't until later in the evening when she complained again that i felt her forehead. sure enough, blazing hot.

the guilt began to set in, and i made an appointment for the following morning at the doctor's office. there, they gagged the poor child with cotton swabs (the fancy name for q-tips) and the strep test turned positive-- i think-- before the swabs even made contact with it.

poor baby! evil mommy! i sent her to school with strep!

meanwhile, she's asking to go to the thrift shop and to get chinese food for lunch, so i know she can't be feeling all bad. a toy, a book, some egg-drop soup and a 10 day supply of amoxicillin later, we went back home.

this morning she can't go to school, and that's the most depressing part for her. as a mommy, i'm reveling in feeding her goldfish noodle soup for breakfast, watching "go diego, go" with her snuggled up on the sofa, and bringing her popsicles. i've discovered that taking care of a sick daughter (or son) is probably what i'm best at, and enjoy the most in life. that is, as long as they aren't barfing all over the place.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

go granny go!

my gram was born in 1910. that's right, folks. 1-9-1-0. that means that she has lived through wwI, the roaring twenties, the great depression, wwII, the fifties, the korean war, jfk, the vietnam war, watergate, the eighties, reaganomics, gen-x, and the new millennium. living that long-- in and of itself-- is remarkable, isn't it?

gram married at the spinsterish (at the time) age of 30, and didn't have her first child-- my uncle-- until age 32. that was practically a granny age in 1942! but hey, in my opinion she was too busy having fun to settle down before then. the picture at the right is her with my grandpa in early years. anyhow, she was a highly successful working woman back in the days when most women stayed in the home. "executive assistant" would be the name given to her position today, and she worked in the michigan state capital building in lansing. my grandpa was home for the kids at lunch time and after school.

today she lives on her own at age 96, a few miles away from my folks. she enjoys crossword puzzles, gin and tonic, good food, and staying up late. about 2 years ago, after remarkably recovering from a fractured hip (not many recover, btw) she lost her driving priveledges due to macular degeneration in her eyes. gram refused to surrender her actual license, claiming it was her only valid photo id, and occasionally drove illegally, if only to the nearby grocery store.

amazingly enough, after some treatments for her macular degeneration, her eyesight was within legal driving limits again. last week she had the opportunity to retake her driving test and have driving priveledges reinstated. she had studied, practiced, and set her jaw to be able to drive again legally. the test took place in a very busy part of downtown muskegon, one in which even i might be nervous being tested for my driving. lo and behold, gram passed the driving test, and is now allowed to drive during daylight hours within 10 miles of her home.

now isn't that a success story? i can hardly believe her grit.

p.s. mom, if i've made any mistakes in the retelling, please feel free to correct me in the comments section. love!

gram with s about 4 years ago

Sunday, September 24, 2006

sunday funnies

overheard from the back seat on our way to chapel hill comics this morning for their big dollar sale:

s the 5 year old daughter: "i have this picture in my head? of two bunnies wrestling? and one has swirly eyes."

h the 7 year old son: "swirly eyes eyes eyes eyes eyes eyes eyes eyes (gradually getting softer)."


Friday, September 22, 2006

kindergarten stalker

s is on her 17th (we counted) day of kindergarten already. she is excited to go every day, and is happy and full of news when she gets off the bus. lately, she's taken to wearing her favorite skull-and-crossbones hat to and from school since she's-- of course-- prohibited to wear the hat during school. she makes her little fashion statement while coming and going.

since the first day, she's come home talking about a little boy named samuel-- pronounced sam-well in the spanish way. the first reviews were glowing, but as the days went on, i noticed her talking more irritatedly about him. "he always pats my head," she claimed. when at school on tuesday, i realized what she was talking about. samuel is a sweet, round faced and very talkative little boy, but he's on poor s like second skin. she's a bit shy at school and was quietly tolerating him sitting practically on top of her at every turn-- lunch, centers, music, you name it! i tried to assuage her by telling her that he loves her because she's just so fabulous. she groaned, "no! it's because i hugged him one day!" with a grimace on her face, the little girl regret peeking through.

i told her to go ahead and ask for help from the teachers so she could have a little more breathing room, and some space to make new friends. apparently this helped, and she seemed a little bit perkier about the situation yesterday afternoon. she did say that the worst part about school that day was having to ask the teachers to move her away from samuel.

as any parent does, i worry about my kids being bullied in school, by mean, rough and rude children. it had never occurred to me to worry about them being smothered by an admirer! especially not in kindergarten. luckily i'll be at school every week to help keep an eye on the situation, and maybe the trance-like attraction will pass. have any of you ever had this kind of problem either with yourself or your kids? it's bizarre, but i, being her mother, understand why he finds her so appealing. you want people to like your kids, but maybe not quite so much.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

book meme

thank you, lotus, for the tag! here goes:

1. One book that changed your life?
"the grapes of wrath" by john steinbeck, in that it raised the bar for any book i will ever read for the rest of my life.
2. One book you have read more than once?
the whole "harry potter" series, but "the goblet of fire" is by far my favorite.
3. One book you would want on a desert island?
"where the sidewalk ends" by shel silverstein. i pored over it as a child, and i pore over it still. magic!
4. One book that made you cry?
"the red tent" by anita diamant.
5. One book that made you laugh?
i laughed at those yaya books by rebecca wells like crazy.
6. One book you wish had been written?
two, actually-- owner manuals for my specific children.
7. One book you wish had never been written?
"mein kampf" by adolf hitler
8. One book you are currently reading?
"sixpence house: lost in a town of books" by paul collins, aptly a book about bibliophiles in a town filled with bookstores.
9. One book you have been meaning to read?
anything by toni morrison

anyone who wants to be tagged... YOU'RE IT!

weekend wrap-up, a day late

*blogger was giving me trouble uploading my photos, so only the one made it on. i'll keep trying tomorrow. 9-20-06 update! still no luck.
when both kids went off to school, and i was free 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, i really didn't think i'd know what to do with myself. the exact opposite is coming true, i don't know what NOT to do with myself. it's turned into a case of finishing at least one task a day, and the list is a mile long already! thankfully i've just committed my tuesdays to the kids' school, so i will know just what to do each tuesday. the rest of the days are up for grabs.

saturday was dance day, each kid went to their respective ballet classes, and then took jazz class together. if i can figure out a way to tape & upload h's "goodbye dance" i will, because each week he comes up with some crazy slapstick routine that has all the kids howling. s really only wants to go to the thrift shop while h has his class, but hey, she's a girl after my own heart!!

my burger queen at the carolina theater

after class, t met us and we all got burger king (yay!) and they have AVATAR TOYS. avatar is BIG at our house right now. for the unenlightened, it's a cartoon on nickelodeon. anyhow, we all went up to durham where the carolina theater was showing a special screening of e.t. hosted by dee wallace, the woman who played the mom in that film. it was good to see the movie on the big screen again, although it was the cgi-enhanced 20th anniversary version. that "penis-breath" line always makes the kids cackle, doesn't it? dee wallace did a q & a session afterward, and told of many of her experiences while shooting e.t. very enlightening. did you know that she was not yet a mother when she did that film? she is frighteningly convincing in her portrayal according to me. and i'm an expert in the field of mommy. and GOD is drew barrymore cute in that movie. GEEZ! it kills me!

t stayed in durham for the screening of "cujo" that night, also hosted by ms. wallace while the kids and i went home. the new "lego star wars" video game was the hit of the evening.

sunday morning was lazy over pillsbury grands cinnamon rolls, but we decided to get in gear and head over to the nc state fairgrounds. occasionally there is an antique and collectible toy fair that's all kinds of fun for nostalgia and bargains, then you can mosey over to the ginormous flea market and find even more dirty bargains in the blinding sun. there was a greek festival also, and i was chagrined to see it so packed with humanity. i would have loved authentic greek food for dinner. instead, we went to Perkins Pancake House! where you can get Pancakes All Day Every Day!! but i got a reuben instead.

Friday, September 15, 2006

what a day. and it's only 8:26 AM.

in the darkness of the house at 6:15 this morning, i slipped in a lake of cat pee while spying the pile of cat poop in another corner. while helping my almost 8 year old son get himself dressed before school (pathetic) i accidentally scratched his foot causing him to whine at me. so i chucked the clothes at him and made him do it himself. i snuck into s's room to wake her up and she snapped... "YOU SCARED ME!"

it's quarterly tax due day, i'm stressed and need to go to the gym to pound out my tension but have no time for there is too much to do before the bus comes at 3:10.

i have bedhead and two big zits and need to send my niece her birthday gift that's already late.

can you tell i've got things on my mind?

Monday, September 11, 2006

goodbye, old friend.

dear ipod,

had it really only been two years since we first met? it seems impossible, as we had been nearly inseparable since the day you were given to me as a 31st birthday gift. you'd been with me everywhere, and through almost everything. stuck in a bag, in a pocket, even in a bra, you went with me in the car, to the gym, on a walk, around the house doing chores. together we faced beaches, terrible kids' movies, dog walks, and endless workouts.

it was too good to be true; i should have known that technology lasts only so long. i should have been prepared for this inevitable day. hope springs eternal, and i had no idea that today would be our last. our final day together, and i hardly even got to say goodbye.

i mean, when you first went on the blink a couple of weeks ago i thought it must be a glitch, that you would somehow work through with enough restoring and updating on my part. when that didn't work, i resigned myself to a trip to the "genius bar" at the apple store. teeth gritted, i made our appointment for this morning, still oblivious to the impending event.

at ten sharp, we walked, hand in hand, into the store, ready to face the truth. and the sad truth was that you no longer could play, and therefore could no longer exist. repairs were possible, but iffy, expensive and probably futile in the end. too late to apologize for the places i've shoved you, the times i've dropped you, you were taken from me for a mere 10% off a new ipod. should i have given you a proper burial? should i have erected a shrine to our time together? possibly, but it's too late now.

and i feel as though i left the store without really saying goodbye to you. i can't even look my new ipod in the face for the guilt i feel. i mean, i don't even have a photo of the two of us together! the new black and shiny ipod makes me feel a traitor, a fraud. hopefully i'll get on with my life a little better after today, but it will be a long recovery, and i'll never, ever forget you. my first, my love, my ipod.



Monday, September 04, 2006

happy 40th anniversary, mom and dad!

hi mom! hi dad!

i know, i know, i'm always a day late and a dollar short, but the kids had abducted the computer yesterday (playing toontown) and by the time they were done, i was too lazy. hey, at least the flowers arrived a day early, but only because the florist didn't deliver on sunday.

the point is, i wanted to say happy 40th anniversary to you... yesterday. thank you both for staying together and for showing us kids that marriage is not magically, mystically happy. happiness takes work and grit on the part of both spouses. this is a lesson that will serve all three of us kids throughout our lives.

you've been a great inspiration to me and my family. i'll commemorate your years together with the few historical photos i have in my archives... one from when you were dating (top), one from when you had a young family (what, 1980 or so?), and one from this past summer. i'm only sorry i don't have a wedding photo to pop in here.

i've rambled enough for the morning. still haven't had my coffee.

love, your daughter, melissa

p.s. happy labor day every (american) reader! and don't you canadians have labour day, too? or is that some other time of year?

Friday, September 01, 2006

pretenders to infamy

having all this time to myself has had the expected result of having too much time to think. you never know what topic is going to be the one dwelled upon; items bombard you throughout the day on the computer, tv, newspaper, telephone and portable mp3 player. my neurons are firing in the direction of a recent local event, which brought to mind other pertinent events, and i can't stop the cycle, so here it is! maybe typing a bit of the swirling thoughts will get them out.

two days ago a 19 year old man from hillsborough (about a half an hour north of here) wrote an email to the principal at columbine high school in colorado to inform him that the massacre that took place there would not be forgotten, and that he was personally going to make sure of it. this principal notified the nc authorities, but it was already too late. the kid had blown away his father at home, then went fully armed to orange high school, proceeded to light smokebombs to create confusion, and started firing into a crowd outside the school. amazingly, only one person was grazed by a bullet and another hurt by broken glass before the shooter was detained. this kid wanted to be linked to infamy by pretending to be a killer the likes of the columbine shooters. why?

this brings to mind john mark carr, the guy who confessed to the murder of jonbenet ramsay although it appears as though he had nothing to do with it. he had only been obsessed with the case for the past 10 years.

last year, i did a post on a muslim student who wanted to link himself to the terrorists of 9/11 by driving an suv through a crowd on the campus of the university of north carolina. instead of drawing attention to the plight of muslims worldwide, he only managed to create more fear and distrust of the millions of regular, good, honest hardworking muslims of the world. way to go, dude.

now, for the question of WHY these folks want to link themselves to infamy? copycat criminals are not a new concept, so can we partially blame the 24/7 news media sensationalizing these stories for years on end? should we partially blame the schools for not having tough enough bullying penalties? how about a generation of parents raising their children as entitled brats? or just flat-out mental illness?? maybe all of the above?? what is it?? you know, if the shooters at columbine hadn't killed themselves during the event, they could probably now market themselves as the trademarked "original school shooters" and make a billion off of lucrative book deals.

anybody have any more ideas on why a person would want or need to link themselves to infamy, only to have fifteen minutes of fame (if that)? i'm baffled.