a tisket, a tasket akismet=spam basket
Mar 14th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

woohoo. just officially hit my 1000th piece of spam caught by the mighty Akismet. Akismet rocks, my friends. mightily. and no, i don’t work for them. i’m just really impressed with the product 🙂

don't know much about history
Mar 14th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

i have been quietly but officially branded as The Idiot Parent™ by BC.

i was trying to do six things at one time yesterday as i tried to help her with her math homework from afar. long story short, girlfriend (AKA einstein junior) suggested a way to solve a word problem, and i told her it was incorrect. fast forward to later in the evening, when she was finishing her work with BS. BS told her that her solution was actually correct, and i was wrong.

from here on in, BC only wants to do math homework with BS.

i should be happy about this: one less task (check.) truly, i do have the mathematical ability of a raccoon. my scholastic math experiences didn’t help matters. but over the years, i have built up my confidence, at least to the point that i think i’ve mastered things like long division. (do they teach that anymore?) but where i memorized my multiplication tables to multiplication rock as a child, BC is learning more about thinking about numbers in a way that i never did as a memorizing fiend.

i just don’t want to set a terrible example for her. while i find math about as interesting as watching grass grow, i know i have to put on a big show about how cool math is. (anyone have ideas as to how i do this convincingly, let me know.) and yes, i know math is important in the world; no preaching required. i just never found it interesting the way i found reading interesting.

and, in a related vein, girlfriend wept last night. she has to give a report on the sun. she worked on said poster and picked out five interesting facts about the sun all by herself. however, she is afraid the boys in her class will rip her apart. her sun facts apparently aren’t terribly impressive to anyone but herself. after giving her a mini-lecture about how she shouldn’t care what the boys think (boy, do i see this as something that will come up again and again in the future), and that she should only care about what she herself thinks about her work and what her teacher thinks about her work, i started to have a mini-reverie.

and i got pissed.

in this family, i make my kids do their own projects. (i passed third grade. i don’t need to pass it again.) i was surprised when i went to her parent/teacher conference last week and saw some of the other solar system posters, which clearly had serious adult contributions. what the hell? i want my kid to learn all by herself, and here she has to compete with projects completed by forty-plus-year-olds? i sure hope teachers see through this sort of thing, as it is unfair to compare her work, which clearly looks like the work of a third grader, with the work of a grownup.

what do parents think when they do their kids’ projects? do they think they are helping them? will they be walking into chemistry class later on in high school to help their child complete an experiment? joining them on job interviews? i don’t get it. and i hope my kid doesn’t get penalized down the road because she did her own work. why the hell do they need to start the competitiveness crap this early?

in short, grownups need to grow up.

can't buy me love
Mar 12th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

eliot spitzer’s recent alleged dalliance with high-priced prostitutes is just one more disappointment in the world of male leaders, but not a surprise. whether you’re bill clinton with an intern in the oval office, wilbur mills with a stripper in the tidal basin, newt gingrich divorcing his wife by her hospital bedside, or even jim bakker with a church secretary G-d-knows-where, men in power have an abysmal history of being infantile idiots who think they can’t get caught with their hands in the cookie jar, democrats and republicans alike. i even remember rumors of george bush senior having a certain special someone; somehow, that didn’t get much press, though. (wonder why?) it isn’t just politicians, as i pointed out above; it’s just that we hear mostly about the politicians when they’re in trouble. the opposing party of the problem child makes good and well sure of that.

i often joke that living in washington, dc, is like living in the land of former high school student council presidents. smart, nerdy and shrewd, they couldn’t land the cheerleaders in high school. so they come here, and they land usually-smart girls who appreciate a smart guy. only, too bad for the women, since the guys, finally landing a date (or a lay), see that there are other mountains to conquer (so to speak.) they can’t help themselves: they feel like they finally are getting their day in the sun.

unfortunately, they look for this day in the sun after they’ve put a ring on someone else’s finger. cos they’re all about doing the right thing. or having the right image, anyway.

so why would someone with a reputation for corruption-fighting go and throw it all away? what does $5,500 an hour buy?  it buys cachet: the i got ice cream, you can’t have it effect (mature language for those listening at work).  the same guy who didn’t have a date for the prom, the same guy who didn’t get laid until he was in his 20s, the same guy who probably got beat up one too many times for being a dweeb — now he can have things those morons back home can’t have.

unfortunately, spitzer went beyond the immoral — he went illegal. frankly, i don’t care what politicians do in their personal lives, as long as they don’t break the law.  but he did.

i wonder sometimes whether women in power do these similar things. are they tempered by their experiences so that they don’t want to be bothered with extracurricular activities? are they too intelligent or moral for that? or are they smart enough not to get caught with their trousers down?

i know i ought not be surprised by this latest info. but i am still very, very disappointed. calling spitzers literary agent — time for spitzer’s political memoirs: smart men, stupid choices.

let's go crazy!
Mar 11th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

…because it is absolutely critical to buy your kid $250 converse sneakers.

guilty pleasure monday: the music from Hair
Mar 10th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

yesterday, it was my birthday. i hung one more year on the line. i should be depressed; my life’s a mess. but i’m having a good time. – Paul Simon

okay, not too depressed, especially since it’s:

guilty pleasure monday!

anybody still with me out there?

cool. since i’m reflecting on my younger years, i thought i’d drop this heavy trip on you, you dig? groovy.

when i was a little kid, i used to listen to hair incessantly. and yes, i danced around the living room and the basement, just like this little kid is doing. i wanted to let my sun shine in, i wanted to let my freak flag fly, i wanted to understand what the hell these people were doing and whether their parents knew. (i was 4 when this came out, people. remember, i was a rather messed-up precocious child.)

a long time ago, i ranted about how much i hated the movie version of hair and how my parents let me run around the house singing a song with nasty, awful words i’ve declined to put in the blog because: a) i get enough weird search referrals, and b) if i did, one day, my kids — probably hellboy — will do a search to find all the naughty words on earth — and he’ll find them here in his mama’s blog? and need lots of therapy? thank you, no.

i don’t need to rewrite the tale; all i can say is that if someone threatened to barrage me with showtunes while i drove cross-country, i’d probably be ok with that if the show was hair.

(it’s my birthday. or at least it was. so indulge me, please.)

older woman
Mar 9th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

the only reasons i didn’t smack the person who sent this to me are:

1) she’s in austin– my arms are too short;

2) can’t be mad at someone who remembers the bugaloos; and,

3) as she, my oldest friend in the whole world — since age 3 — is older than i am.

happy birthday to me
Mar 9th, 2008 by wrekehavoc


March 9, 2008 — Your way with words will make it easy for you to get what you desire over the coming year but, having got it, you may then decide it was not what you wanted after all. Never mind. Life is not about finding one sure thing and staying with it forever. Each day should bring new challenges and delights.

(from the NY Post, so it MUST be true.)


the israelites
Mar 7th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

this morning, BC and i were working on her hebrew homework. i’m stepping up my efforts a bit in israelite land, as i learned last week that BC has been actually memorizing everything rather than reading it. there’s a certain amount of intelligence in having a photographic memory, as she apparently does; but there’s also value in actually learning how to read it properly.

bizarrely enough, i did the exact thing when i was her age. i was terrified of my 3rd grade hebrew teacher, an excruciatingly thin orthodox lady with a scary flippy pageboy wig and a habit of sitting on the desk before us, chewing on her nails. i don’t really know why she scared me so much, but i spent the better part of that year either hiding out in the shul bathroom or feigning stomachaches and staying home to watch the channel 7 4:30 movie.

so when i actually “returned” to hebrew school full time, i had to catch up. i had learned a bit in 2nd grade, with the happy adventures of koopi kof (koopi the monkey) and the idiot children uri and riva, so i at least had a base. but i had to catch up. fortunately, i can memorize anything if you put it to music. (i memorized chemistry formulae in high school later, having put them to a billy joel tune. ah yes, i can sing it now: mole over liter is molarity; mole over kg is molality; p1v1=p2v2…yeah, i slayed in 10th grade.) once i started singing prayers, i knew it would all click.

it all worked fine until the cantor caught up to me when i started bat mitzvah lessons at 12. i couldn’t write my full hebrew name. he made me write it 100 times: sharon chava bat menashe v’etta riva. (i don’t actually have a hebrew keyboard, and most of the people who read this don’t read hebrew, anyway. so you’ll just have to imagine it 😉

yep. the jig was up.

but the beauty is that the cantor also understood that if he made a tape of my haftorah, i would not only sing along with it, but i would read it. and read it i did. (it was a weird story, too, one about which i always felt conflicted. at the time, i went along with the whole remembrance theme, but i was always a little disturbed by that story and remain so to this day.)

but i digress. per usual.

so while i am not too worried about BC learning hebrew in the long run, i feel like it’s my job to help her along here. i never force her to love going to hebrew school (though she is very fond of her teachers and especially of the principal, for whom she made a get well card this morning on her own volition); but i always tell her my rule: you have to understand your culture before you have any right to reject it.

(read: if i had to suffer through attend hebrew school, so should she. nyah nyah nyah. but seriously…)

i honestly don’t care if, one day after her bat mitzvah, she decides to become a zen buddhist. or an atheist. or whatever she wishes. but as long as she at least has the beginnings of understanding about her religion and a portion of her culture (she doesn’t just come from me, you know), i will feel a bit more satisfied. of course, i would love her to find some part of judaism to embrace, but once she is of an age where she can decide for herself, i don’t feel like i will be in a position to make her do it my way.

and i won’t.

life and how to live it
Mar 6th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

today, BC and i watched a Diagnosis X where a healthy young long island guy suddenly experiences gastrointestinal issues and paralysis. finally, a doctor realizes he has guillan-barre which is an autoimmune illness not entirely unlike the ITP i had two years ago. his immunoglobulins were shot, like mine, so they start him on the magical IVIG, and he starts to improve and live a better life, although it takes him a year or two to re-learn how to walk. which he does. thank G-d.

of course, once i saw that the dude had an autoimmune problem, i started to get a little nervous. when they started him on immunotherapy, i started to tear up.  sometimes, TV hits a little too close to home, and i feel so terrible watching people go through things like this. i remember all too well how scary it is when you’re body is going through a revolt and you feel helpless to stop it.

it’s like the flashback that never really leaves you.

enter BC, just as they’re hanging the guy’s IV bag. she sees me all teary.

BC: mama, you really shouldn’t watch these shows with me if they make you so sad.

me: honey, i’m ok. (sniff sniff) i just get a little sad watching someone go through that. you know, people die from this sort of thing. and he’s getting treated with the same stuff i get. i just hope he gets better. 

BC: is this like what you have?

me: well, sorta. its a different problem, but it’s autoimmune, and its one of those things that just sneaks up on you and makes you sick and you never knew what happened.

BC: (with insistence) but you’re not going to die. 

me: no, honey. i’m not.

cartoon network is looking better and better to me these days.

sad day
Mar 4th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

it could always be waaay worse, i know; but today is just sort of a sad day while we await some sort of monsoon here in the People’s Republic. i usually hang with my little hellboy on tuesdays, but due to some pediatric scheduling joys, i need to take BC to the doctor’s today for her well-child checkup. her birthday is in december; but between the wait, the apparent need to schedule the checkup after the previous year’s checkup; and some sloth on my part; she’s not getting her checkup until today.

(i suspect we’ll loop back to december appointments by the time she is 18. thank you, blue cross.)

taking them both to the doctor’s simultaneously is a disaster. last week, we did it when jools had a doctor’s appointment right after BC was done with school for the day. another child in his class had impetigo, and it started around her mouth. the teachers, wanting to prevent a wild outbreak (today, impetigo. tomorrow, SARS.), sent him home as a precaution, as the dude has dry cracked lips. guess what? the pediatrician agreed with my assessment. as i had a doctor’s appt that day (which resulted in my whisking myself downtown to his school, then whisking back to mclean (motto: mclean; maclean; mcClean. who the hell knows how to spell our name?)), the dude ended up joining me at my doctor’s office. my doctor took one look at jools and said: this child has dry, cracked lips.

but at the pediatrician’s office, the mecca from which we receive all notes permitting our school entrance (and which i actually like, by the way), we waited for a little over an hour before we saw the doctor. in that time, my kids:

  • pulled the exam table paper out a little too much (and nearly pushed each other off the table, which, i suppose isn’t a bad thing. i mean, hell, we’re in a doctor’s office — what better place to get a concussion!);
  • tried to take the antimicrobial hand crap and practically bathe in it;
  • played 52 pick-up with the books and magazines beneath the exam table;
  • rolled each other around in the doctor’s chair like monstertrucks;
  • and generally annoyed the living shit out of me.

okay, okay. they’re just typical kids. and i was a typical mom with a typical i just drove through rush hour traffic for a 5:00 appointment, and now i get to drive through rush hour traffic at 6 to get home headache. but i just couldn’t bear a repeat today.

so the dude abides his time at preschool today. he’s probably cursing me and being traumatized to the extent that he will need therapy later because his mom didn’t apparently love him enough to keep him home today.

so of course, i feel guilt. i miss that little guy. just add it to the list of reasons why i suck as a mom.

and, to top it all off, sunday is my birthday. and i’ll even lose an hour of my fucking birthday, thanks to daylight savings. it’s all a conspiracy, i tell you.

i want my damn hour back, thank you very much.

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