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big empty
Nov 20th, 2011 by wrekehavoc

wow. inboxes can get pretty full.

i don’t often open my gmail account. everything gets forwarded to various places and all is well. but tonight, morbid curiosity had me fire up the old gmail to see what was happening… and what was happening was over 40,000 emails, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g. well, not really kissing but merely clogging up my li’l corner of cyberspace.

::insert guilt here::

so i started thinking of the major offenders, to which i have subscribed and never cleared out… places like groupon, for example.  search, delete, search, delete, etc. it gets pretty boringly addictive. can i make it below 39,ooo? can i make it below 38,000?

after about 30 minutes, i am only just about 35,000. how the hell did i get this many emails?

i live in fear for when i finally confront my facebook emails. that may require an intervention.

so see you when i come up for air. maybe when i hit 30,000.

the museum
Nov 19th, 2011 by wrekehavoc

and it’s all right, we never met a person we didn’t like in the museum.  we never see ’em…

today, we had a delightful visit from my BIL, our two nieces, and my MIL. we went downtown for lunch and then hit the spy museum which, for those of you out-of-towners, is a lot of fun. i loved the aston-martin that was kitted out like a bond car, with guns in the front, a wheel cutter thingy, and the works. (wish i had one some days when i am driving the beltway.) there were all kinds of exhibits. i liked the 1960s camera that copied documents when you rolled it over them.  and i was fascinated reading about  the east german woman who bravely spoke against the repressive government, only to get jailed, with a husband who stood by her until the wall came down. then, she ran for parliament, passed a law so that all former east germans could read the files gathered on them by the stasi, read her own file only to discover that the informant who squealed on her was… her husband. (they ended up divorced. i’m sure you’re surprised.)

somehow, though, in this world of buildings dedicated to the knowledge of particular subject areas, we have gone down a road where it’s not simply enough to look at the items and possibly read a bit about them on the walls. now, museums have to be entertaining. they have exhibits where you do things on a computers, or you make things, or you are actively participating in a show. i find it a little disheartening that kids now seem to have little attention span for actually looking at the actual items in the museum but rather race toward the stuff they can do. it’s like they start out with these please touch museums in young childhood and expect all museums from here on out to be places where it’s about their fun and activity.

sigh.

i think i’ll keep trying with my kids anyway. i’ll just have to make sure to go alone to the things i really want to see in the meantime.

don’t call me baby
Nov 17th, 2011 by wrekehavoc

what’s in a name?

today, i was having a lovely time on the phone with someone from my credit card company, a company that shall remain nameless, but a company with which i have been doing business certainly for over a decade. the customer service agent had all my information in front of her, and in her pleasant, not-quite-robotic voice, she chatted me up to personally upsell me some service or another. and then, she did it.

she called me shirley.

i kept the name i was born with; but if you think calling me by my husband’s last name irks me, you should just imagine how irritated i am to have my first name mangled.

and it isn’t like i’m really particular about my nicknames, either. Middlebro still calls me boo, which my friend jen-jen is almost too happy to tell people is short for sherry-berry-boo (and yes, she did that once in the middle of the most crowded corridor in high school, much to my total embarrassment.) my family calls me sher; some friends call me by my last name; and of course, my husband has a variety of nicknames for me, all of which i will spare you.  (you’re welcome.)

does your name ever get mangled? i’d love to hear variations on the theme in the comments section. i need a giggle.

ripples
Nov 13th, 2011 by wrekehavoc

ripples never come back.

last night, we tried a new chi chi pizza place.  BC, approaching 13, is pretty open to trying any new place, although this being a pizza place, there’s not any problem with her discovering and trying something new, in this case, a pannini sandwich. jools, firmly planted as an 8 year old dude who doesn’t eat fruit so don’t even try, okay?, was content to share a white pizza with me so long as they took off anything remotely green (basil, which he usually likes, spinach, which he also likes, so why are we removing green things again?) my half was supposed to included additional broccoli and mushrooms, but his side was to remain pristine.  and of course, BS ordered a calzone with something porcine that the rest of us, red sea pedestrians, could not and would not eat.

this restaurant cleverly had some board and card games for families to play while they await their food (which, i would add, is sufficient time to finish two games of uno. at least.) as we sat around, playing cards and arguing over the rules, i managed to glance over at a family a table over from us. their oldest, a girl, looked no more than about four. their younger child, in a high chair, could not have been much over two. their kids stil in pre-game-playing mode, they looked over at us, slightly wistfully, as if they wished they were playing a card game as we were.

i smiled back at them. it will happen soon enough.

we were that family once.

nothing
Nov 11th, 2011 by wrekehavoc

i have nothing to say but it’s ok.

i have to post every day for NaBloPoMo. but today, i have no time. so all i will say to you is: HAPPY NIGEL TUFNEL DAY!

(and more importantly, to you Vets out there, thanks!)

tragedy
Nov 10th, 2011 by wrekehavoc

it really is.

i spent the day hearing people talking about what happened at penn state.  and ultimately, it will take a court of law to determined what truly happened at penn state. but if the reports are true, then some horrible child abuse happened there, and many people looked the other way.

what’s surprising to me, though, is how many people felt sympathy for winningest coach Joe Paterno.  sure, he spoke a lot about honor. but when he had the opportunity to do the honorable thing and save some children from the clutches of a pedophile, he did the minimum. and apparently, if reports are true, he may have been evasive and downplayed what happened.  he’s not alone in this, of course, but he is a person who has built a career on all sorts of platitudes to live by.

Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger but it won’t taste good. – Joe Paterno

and now, students at penn state are outraged. are they outraged because of what happened to innocent children? are they outraged by an administration that looked the other way, probably thanks to a combo of cronyism and intent to keep the house of cards standing solidly? are they even outraged by the fact that they’ve been sold down the river by the university they profess to love?

no.

they are tipping a news van and protesting because they want Joe Paterno back.

they are concerned because this university that they bought into is not providing them with the JoPa experience. not because it has permitted crimes to persist; no, because of their own selfishness. we bought this myth, damn it, and we want it to persist. we’re paying for a football school; and we want it now.

they are penn state. hopefully, they are not the only ones who are penn state.

drive
Nov 9th, 2011 by wrekehavoc

it’s official: i have become a suburban cliché.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQN7A6Vl1H4&ob=av2e

yesterday, the kids were off from school because it’s election day and apparently, the schools haven’t figured out how to run polls and a school day simultaneously.  (okay, so i kid. a little.) but considering that they will be off again friday for veterans day, i wish they had decided instead to take thursday off and make it a big old weekend where we could actually go somewhere. but no, instead, we have tuesday and friday off, and our half-day wednesday is now a full-day of school for one day only, thus insuring chaos with the boy’s ability to complete his homework, which comes before everything else (including hebrew school, which happens about 45 minutes after he will get home from school.)

but i’m not bitter.

so anyway, back to yesterday. my relaxing day home with the kids, the day after my intensely delightful IVIg session where i was poked 13 times. the one where i returned to a house on the verge of chaos and a body full of type two reaction to the Ig. the girl had wanted to sleep over a friend’s house, but with all her plans for tuesday brewing, i could not add yet another thing to the plate. and even though i may sound like a spoilsport, i really didn’t think a sleepover with several other girls on a monday night could end well. so she stayed home, not complaining about her mean-ass mom. (the girl is very smart.)

i woke up with my IVIg headache, the one that lasts until it decides it’s time to take up residence in someone else’s head. it’s a dull sort of headache, not like a migraine. but it’s there, and it’s heavy, and it feels like someone placed some very large bees in your head. you can function, but the pain in your head makes you a bit grumpy. the three of us got it together and dropped the girl at play practice at 9:30. the boy and i then were off to target, where i hoped to do some minimal food shopping while getting the boy to write down his holiday gift list while walking through the toy aisle. throw in a return plus a few other things needed that would be unavailable in a grocery and voila! tar-jzhee is the place.

two hours later, after meeting one of jools’ friends there and arranging a playdate for 2:30, we put away groceries; i fed the boy; and then i told him he should go play outside. mommy still had a deadline for work. so i worked, met my deadline, and then took the boy over to his playdate. then, at 3, i had to pick the girl up. the girl had gone from play practice to a friend’s house, where she and her friend were completing their science experiment for the school science fair.  after dropping the boy off, i sneaked off to… vote. and then, off to BC’s friend’s house. woe is me; while i was out driving the boy, i missed the call that said that BC’s friend’s mom could drop her home.

so i found myself on the friend’s porch at 2: 50something, and no one is answering the friend’s door. of course, the minivan is in the driveway and is open, so someone must be home. but the sound of droning leafblowers (far less pleasant than the hissing of summer lawns, i assure you) is making those bees in my head angrier and angrier, push harder and harder.  i pound on the door, figuring that the doorbell must be broken and hoping that someone can hear me over the lawn men. eventually, BC’s friend comes to the door, smiling. and i hear BC’s voice trailing from their kitchen mooo-ooom, didn’t you get my message? J’s mom is going to take me hoooome.

uh, nope.

so after they clean up their experiment, i drive her home to get a quick change, as she’s off to girl scouts at 3:30. i run her over there and run home, thinking a glass of water or a coffee or SOMETHING might pacify those damn bees. and after realizing it’s just a little after 4, i remember that my eye medicine has been languishing at Walgreen’s since Friday. i decide to run to the giant to get cornbread mix (to go with the chili i snuck into the slow cooker at about 2), do the drive-thru pharmacy thang, and then rush over to jools’ playdate’s home, where he should be picked up between 4:30 and 5. good, i think, i will get there about 4:45 and life will be awesome.

only too bad for me. my doctor has changed the prescription, which doesn’t make my life happier in insurance land. i am sitting in the drive-thru line for literally 20 minutes. tick tock tick tock. a car that is behind me in line gives up and drives away. (i can’t move aside or else i would. i have been that car.) finally, it is 4:56, and i pray that BS will pick up the phone. he does. and he races over to pick up the boy.

my prescription straightened out, i race over to the boy’s playdate’s house to apologize for my lateness. when someone tells me pickup is between 4:30 and 5, i aim for the middle time. i am not a mom who leaves her kid til the last second. and now, i have that rep.

but, no time to stop. i must pick the girl up from girl scouts at 5:30. i stop at home for another drink of water, another chance that the bees might be appeased. but they keep buzzing. and i go.

i bake cornbread, i make dinner, we eat. i do dishes, i finish the laundry i had started, and i am done. i take a few motrin, and the bees go away.

until this morning. the girl has called from school. she has forgotten her lunch.

i’m back in the driver’s seat.

jumping someone else’s train
Nov 6th, 2011 by wrekehavoc

it is especially relevant (and especially a no-no) if you’re running for president.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jTcTIc25Ck

there has been much ado lately about allegations that presidential candidate herman cain has sexually harrassed some women in the workplace. some can’t talk about it legally; others don’t want to get identified publicly, which i think is understandable. i hope the national restaurant association chooses not to out any of the women from the settlements.

what is one of the more curious elements about this whole situation is how the race card is now being played. all the while, cain has been saying that race has nothing to do with his candidacy. he has said that african americans have been brainwashed to vote the democratic ticket and that he essentially thinks that race has no part in all of this.  and now, he, along with a lot of conservative commentators, are running around, screaming that the harrassment issues that plague him are all racially-motivated.

dude, you can’t have it both ways.

anyway, so why is sexual harrassment a problem for a presidential candidate? didn’t president clinton have his issues with women, some might ask.  of course, clinton’s relationships, while possibly unsavory, were between consensual adults as far as we are aware. (a lot of these cheaters were/are in consensual relationships. john edwards, newt gingrich, and so many, many more.) but cain? we don’t know what he did, and apparently, whatever he allegedly did was not consensual.

and you know what that means you’re doing:

i get a sense from the world around me that people don’t seem to get sexual harrassment anymore; and many seem to think it’s a tempest in a teapot. i won’t get into a major feminist rant about it, but suffice to say it’s more than just unpleasantness.

sexual harassment
n
the persistent unwelcome directing of sexual remarks and looks,and unnecessary physical contact at a person, usually a woman,esp in the workplace

and by the way, it is a no-no under the civil rights act (1964) as employment discrimination.

i have heard many people say that women just can’t take a joke anymore. or a compliment. or a comment, period.  but in the workplace, you really don’t have the right to go there — with anyone. and if your mama and daddy taught you well, you should know by now that you can go far by keeping your opinion of how someone looks to yourself.   so many people don’t get how even a glance can make someone uncomfortable. but these sorts of behaviors, particularly from superiors, can be absolutely terrifying.

i know.

when i was younger, i worked in a place where there was a man about 25 years my senior (at least.) i have often hoped that he didn’t mean anything by his actions and that he thought he was being kind. but whenever he saw me, he would put his arm around me. he was a bit unctuous. it made me very uncomfortable; but as i was pretty young (and he was much higher up than i was on the food chain), i wouldn’t say anything. i couldn’t. but it would freeze me to the core every time he did that, and when i saw him in the hallway, i would turn and go the opposite way, hoping he wouldn’t see me. i didn’t say anything to anyone until years later, when i was having lunch with my mentor (who also, by the way, is male and about 15 years older than i am. he worked in the same place as us and has always been very respectfully protective of me and of my colleagues who all worked for him when we all started out.) when i told him what had happened years prior, he was furious: why didn’t i say something to him? why didn’t i say something to anyone?

i think there are a lot of people like me who are terrified to say anything. we can’t afford to lose our jobs. we don’t dare speak up because so many people don’t believe you when you share stuff like this. you are told you are too sensitive and that you need to lighten up. so anyone who has had the courage to come forward is someone i will definitely hear out.

cain’s camp is saying that this has all come to the fore thanks to rick perry’s campaign. frankly, i don’t care how it came up; it is real and it is something to consider. i don’t care whether a politician can’t keep it in his pants — unless he is coercing someone else to engage in his salacious behavior. then, i definitely take notice.

and i hope american voters will, too.

hungry like the wolf
Nov 4th, 2011 by wrekehavoc

…and apparently raised by one, too.

there was an absurd story in the Post the other day about a woman who was arrested at a Safeway for shoplifting. to be more precise, she is a pregnant woman with a toddler who bought two sandwiches and started eating one while she shopped. she allegedly saved the wrapper, but she ended up walking out without paying for the sandwich. not only did she end up arrested, but they took her toddler overnight.  Safeway ultimately apologized to the woman and decided not to prosecute.

i’m sure the whole taking the toddler overnight part of this story is beyond overkill. and of course, arresting a pregnant woman gets a lot of people feeling sympathetic — oh, you get so hungry sometimes when you’re pregnant. oh, sometimes, you just get a little fuzzy when you’re pregnant.

really? i’ve had two kids, and while there were plenty of times i was starving or even slightly hormonal (okay, i was more than slightly hormonally delusional when i suggested to BS that we name BC this), i always had the presence of mind to behave like a mannered, decent human being. (at least, as decent and as mannerly as i am capable of being.) i didn’t start eating in stores prior to paying for my food because i was so ravenous, which is what the Post parenting blogger gave as an excuse. i didn’t blame things on my condition other than the physicalities that were obviously due to being huge — and even then, that’s part of the bargain you make when you decide to have a baby.  i walked around with feet that ultimately stretched a half size larger; a belly that probably has never been the same, and some little person kicking the crap out of my innards. it isn’t comfortable, and at times, i was a surly madame because of it; but it doesn’t give me license to do stuff i know i ought not to. should we lock up the preggers ladies until they are 6 weeks post-partum and come back to their senses?

which brings me to my next point/pet peeve: people who eat and/or give their kids food prior to paying for it in stores.

so boohoo: poor hungry pregnant woman ate her sandwich in the store. if she was that bloody hungry, she should have bought the food, taken it outside (it’s freaking Honolulu, not Maine) where there’s always a bench, and eaten it. then, tackle shopping with your blood sugar feeling much happier, lady. i’m tired of people teaching their kids that it’s okay to take something off a store’s shelf and eat it while you haven’t yet paid for it. here’s the thing you need to remind yourself: it doesn’t belong to you until you’ve paid for it. i’m sure there are plenty of times where the people forget to pay for their food. and whether it is done intentionally or not, it costs the store money, a cost which is passed on to the rest of us.

and i’m not paying so that your toddler can chomp on a granola bar because you don’t know how to deal with a toddler (or however many you have) in a supermarket.  there are some parenting challenges you really need to work on. if it’s too difficult to take them, then use grocery delivery. otherwise, you need to put on your big girl and big boy panties and take some responsibility for teaching your kids the proper way to behave in public.

here’s an idea: if you’re taking young kids to the supermarket, make sure they’ve had a snack before you go. or, if you really think they need to eat in the shopping cart seat, bring a snack in a container that makes it obvious that it came from home. and for the love of Dog, please make it something that won’t slime up the grocery cart. i’m tired of grabbing a cart only to get a handful of mashed bananas and kid snot and who knows what else.

and if you, the adult, can’t delay your gratification and feel the strong urge to eat while you shop, then you need to grow the fuck up. now.

oh, and one more thing: if that’s the latter happens to be the case, please don’t breed anymore. you’re making the wolves lo0k like really excellent parents.

sunshine
Nov 3rd, 2011 by wrekehavoc

yes. it floweth out your child’s backside. yours, too.

as parents, we all think the world of our children. why wouldn’t we? they are all amazing creatures, each one a special flower annointing the earth with a special glow.

of course, your child is more special than the rest.

your child is a kind and gentle person, ever-so-talented academically, ever-so-agile in sports, ever so social and perfect.

and that is why you cannot believe that your child said anything threatening to my child. you cannot fathom that your child called my child stupid, he called him dumb, he told him he ought to kill himself.

and that is also why it isn’t surprising that you invited a few boys over for a playdate while they all stood in a group with my son… only too bad for mine — he was the only one not invited by you, all in front of the others. i was standing there; i heard it all.  or how about the time you cancelled my son’s long-awaited playdate at your house so that another friend of his could come over instead? of course, my son wanted to know why you did this. you can’t imagine how fun it can be to have to come up with a more palatable reason why an adult would be mean to a kid.

this, of course, isn’t one particular person; this is just a composite of some of the bullshit my child has had to experience in the past 6 months.

now see i am the biggest fan of each of my children. that much is true. but i also don’t believe that the sun shines out of their backsides. i’m well aware that my son, for example, occasionally engages in behavior that isn’t stellar. and when i know about it, i call him on it. it’s simply not acceptable behavior.

but not every parent participates in his child’s upbringing as i do, apparently. because there are plenty of parents who are not willing to believe that some pretty harsh things come out of their kids’ mouths.  they cannot conceive of their child engaging in hurtful behavior. shoot, so many of them cannot see how they participate in this behavior, so how can you expect them to see it in their child’s?

i’m tired of lazy parents who live in denial about their kids.


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