Friday, August 29, 2008

Let' Them Eat Cake, But Only Really Good Cake

I admit it. I love cake and I have a sweet tooth. Probably why I found Gaffigan's comedy routine on cake so funny (see yesterday's blog: Let Them Eat Cake). But, I must admit, as I get older and as the pounds get harder and harder to take off, I have higher standards about what I will overindulge in.

NWTC is my new mantra on a lot of frankly substandard food. Not Worth The Calories. If I try something new and decide it isn't truly delicious. I declare it NWTC and drop the fork. I also remove it from my presence or remove myself from its presence.

So, you would think I would be skinny. But, sadly (or really thankfully, per my sweet tooth) there is still a lot of truly good food outthere, and I know how to find it. Or make it. It doesn't help that I also like to cook and make a good portion of it! Lately, though, I have tried to raise my standards with even the things that I cook. This of course creates a dilemma between the frugal, common sense side of me that says "you put all of that time, energy and expensive organic ingredients in that, eat up!" What to do? Why push the stuff on my husband of course.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Let Them Eat Cake!

Here is a hilarious skit one of my favorite things, cake. Eat up!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"Is This The Hysterectomy Hotel?"

I survived yesterday's hysteroscopy and D & C just fine. I thought I was pretty out of it when I woke up. Apparently that was the second time I woke up. According to one of the nurses, the first time I came to I asked her "is this the hysterectomy hotel?"

Wow, who knew that I could crack jokes even when drugged? But why was I asking about a hysterectomy? I was only in there to get a polyp removed. Must have been some kind of a Freudian slip ("don't need that equipment anymore, so just take it all away while you're in there?"). Who knows?

Actually, the experience was as pleasant as possible. Everyone there was really nice. I especially liked Nurse Mary with whom I bantered. I scared her half to death when I changed quickly and sat back down in the chair in the next room while she was checking the results of my (mandatory) pregnancy test. After I scared her by sneaking back in the room she told me that the pregnancy test was negative, but by rights she should have told me it was positive to get even. Mary is my kind of gal.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

No Food or Water part 2

I just returned from dropping my son off to his golf tournament. As I was driving I looked on with jealousy at all the people sipping coffee and eating muffins, bagels, etc. as they drove along. I don't even drink coffee and I don't eat in the car, but I would today if I could, simply because I was told I couldn't.

Yup, it is 8:42 am and I think this day is going to go slow. Slow as molasses, something else I can't eat. Everything is reminding me of food. While driving back I was listening to NPR and they were talking about unrest in Kashmir. Images flashed through my mind, not of violence and people fighting, but of Kashmiri chicken and that really good pilau those folks can make.

It is going to be a long day.

No Food or Water

I don't know why I am sitting here writing this when I could be living up the last 1 hour and 21 minutes of time in which I can go hogwild with imbibing tea, coffee or ginger ale, with nothing added (particularly the milk I always add to my tea). That's right, I have to have a procedure this afternoon. A hysteroscopy. Sounds kind of like hysterical, but I am thinking it won't be.

I can deal with the whole no food thing until 4 o'clock today. But no liquids, not even water after 9 am? Well that is just down right cruel. If you aren't getting an image of me leaning over my sink and gulping down a tall glass of water at 8:59 am, you should. I am not complaining (too much) about getting the draw of an afternoon appointment. I suppose on the one hand, it means I might start losing those 12 extra pounds I seem to have gained (undoubtedly from someone else in the universe who had just lost 12 pounds, that is how these things work actually).

So, I will slog through this half of a never-ending, desert like, dry mouth day with my usual "I'm not bothered" attitude. Off to have my plain tea and water. Don't be jealous.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Go To Your Room!

Yesterday I spent a good portion of the day cleaning out Thing 2's room. Thing 1 is quite self motivated and very neat. I just had to convince her to get rid off too much clutter in her room. Thing 2's room was an altogether different story.

First, there wasn't the same level of cooperation. Thing 2 grudgingly tore himself away from his "Battle for Middle Earth" computer game (in truth, he would prefer to live in Middle Earth) and plopped himself down on his reading chair, announcing "I don't need any of it, I don't care, just throw it out!" Clearly, he wanted to do whatever it took to get back to Middle Earth.

So, I had to stand there, somewhat like a QVC Salesperson, saying, "how about this (book, bionicle, marble, piece of string tied around a branch), do you still want it?" Usually he would say "no, just throw it out" without glancing up. Sometimes though, if it was something he had clearly forgotten he even owned, like a bag of small plastic toy pieces with which he used to play a game back in England, he would say "give that to me now." A good thing?

Well, yes and no. Sure he was now playing with the item that had been buried in the abyss of his room. However, he was also OOC, out of commission, for helping clean up himself. So I had to keep getting him to focus on the task at hand, which for me was cleaning his room and for him was getting back to Middle Earth.

"Come on," I would blurt out "if you ever want to get back to Middle Earth you are going to have to pay attention! Now do you want to keep these Doctor Who cards which you made my drive around half of England to find as each store ran out, thanks to you and your little eight year old friends?" The answer was of course no. I should have wanted him to keep the darn cards because of what he had put me through to get them. But the truth is, in the end, I am a realist. I knew he hadn't looked at them once since we moved in over a year ago. I also knew he had no friends here that related to them. So I was completely fine with him wanting to throw them out.

However, then came not the Battle for Middle Earth, but the Battle for Middle Ground-with my husband. Hubby decided to come in during the delicate negotiation process, reach in to the garbage bag, fish around and announce "Doctor Who cards? What? You can't throw those out!" To which came my reply of "Yes he can and he just did. Now leave it and let us get on with it."

He thought I was busy, but in fact I did notice that he had left with the Dr. Who cards in hand. So, later I had to find where he had squirreled them away and throw them away, again.

Actually, there were several things that we found in Thing 2's room which rightfully belonged to the Hubster, though he had purchased them under the guises of presents for Thing 2. These included: A book entitled "107 Youth Soccer Drills", and another book entitled "Discovering The Golden Compass, A Guide To Philp Pullman's Dark Materials." Did he not remember that the only way Thing 2 "read" the first two books in the series was when I read them to him? If that book was meant for anyone, I guess I would be the most appropriate member of the household, certainly not Thing 2.

Of course, in cleaning any 10 year old boys room you are bound to find one or two disgusting thing. In this, Thing 2 did not fail. I encountered several stale packages of partly eaten lifesavers. These registered a 2 on the gross scale. What came out as an instant 10 however, was the peeled, petrified remains of a clementine, found in two halves, on different parts of his bookshelf. What? How? Never mind that this clearly broke the rule of no taking food upstairs. I am guessing this must have been some night where I said they each had to eat a clementine and I had dutifully even peeled it for them. He probably snuck it up to his room and decided his shelf would make a great hiding place.

I am seriously thinking of sending the kids to their room more often. It is amazing what they can find there. Not just disgusting things that need to be taken away before the Board of Health is summoned, but toys and games and books and artwork they forgot they even owned. The silence around the rest of the house would be a perk I wouldn't mind either. "Go to your room" it is going to be my new mantra.

Friday, August 22, 2008

You Say Tomato and I Say Don't Wait-O

Okay, so now the Chip-punks in my yard are really ticking me off. It is bad enough that they have built an impressive underground network of tunnels that would frankly make Osama Bin Laden jealous. Now they have decided to sample our just ripened tomatoes.

That is right sample. If they ate the whole darn tomato, I think I would be less angry. Instead, they leave the tomatoes, with one bite taken out of them, hanging on the vine, as a gruesome reminder that we should have picked them last night even though they were a shade under truly ripe.

What were these chip-punks thinking. Did they try a bite and decide, yup, those human creatures were right, probably another day or so and these would be much more tasty? Or perhaps they are on some kind of diet and one bite is their restricted portion?

Was this the work of one chip-punk? or two? If two, why couldn't they share one tomato? If it was one, why treat our garden like a buffet? There is no carving station, no omelettes made to order...

Whether it was one chip-punk or more, I am on to them. I am going to pick my stuff before they are perfectly ripe. No waiting, I don't like chip-punk seconds.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I think A T & T stands for alternating Tuesdays and Thursdays

As I mentioned previously, some sort of vacuum has sucked me onto the couch every evening that the Olympics have been going on. While I try to do little domestic things like folding clothes, drying dishes, etc. on the long commercial breaks, I must admit that I am guilty of seeing a few of the commercials.

While I find some of those commercials funny (like the little creature that sings "sorry that you lost your files, here' s some fruit to make you smile ooo ha") I find the A T & T commercials very ironic.

If you have seen these commercials, the constant theme is if you don't have A T & T, you will miss that crucial call because of your carrier's spotty coverage. The irony is that I have A T & T and I missed several crucial calls, including the one about my son breaking his arm at school. Thanks to A T & T, I didn't get the calls until the 9th call somehow pushed the other 8 through, by which point Thing 2, my then nine year old son, was in the ambulance with his new teacher en route from his new school to the hospital. I felt really bad about not getting the phone call. When he told me that he thought he was having a heart attack when they put him in the ambulance, I could feel the dull head of the corkscrew enter my heart.

An isolated incident? I wish. I am forever getting voice mails that somehow finally get pushed through the cyberspace void and end up on my phone a week later! Of course, it doesn't happen all the time and there is no rhyme or reason to when it does. So, I tried going into the A T & T store to complain about it, but couldn't prove it at the time, as I had already checked and deleted messages. Everytime it happens, I am busy with work, kids, life, travel, etc. and can't run down to the store to show them.

I am counting down the days until my three year contract expires. In the meantime, I have decided that instead of Atlantic Telephone and Telegraph, A T & T actually stands for Alternative Tuesdays and Thursdays as my voice mails tend to come through about that frequently. So, if you leave me a message on my cellphone, just give me a while, like a week or two to respond.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Thankful Cars Don't Come With Secret Microphones

My daughter, on the verge of becoming a teenager tends to complain. A lot. In fact, often it seems she only sees the negative in everything, especially as to how everything seems to impact her. Being the ever intolerant mother of the constant whining, I set up a rule. It was simple. She was only allowed to complain about three things in a day.

Either she or my son decided that she who invents the rules should also have to live with them. While I don't complain a lot generally, I do suffer from an abundance of "color commentary" when I drive with respect to the driving skills, or lack there of, of other drivers who I encounter on the road. The children, or as I like to refer to them, Thing 1 and Thing 2, quickly decided that the rule of three was good also for me. They decided that I could only make three negative comments a day about other drivers. What was the penalty? Why they claimed I would have to pay fifty cents for every additional offence.

While I haven't forked over any coinage thus far, they have started the count towards three many a time in the car. I am actually generally better about the comments I make when I know someone else is in the car.

This was not always the case. When my daughter was about 18 months old we were driving around and someone cut right in front of me, causing me to stop short. Two miracles occured then. One was that I was able to stop in time. The more impressive one was that I remembered Thing 1 was in the car and didn't utter the name which had come to mind with respect to the other driver. However, out of the backseat I heard the word "STUPID!" spoken forcefully by my daughter. Now where ever did she learn that?

As I mentioned, I do make an effort to withhold some commentary when others are in the car. When no one is in the car though, well, let's just say I am quite often politically incorrect. It got me thinking that if anyone ever secretly miked my car, I would be seriously embarassed by the stuff that comes out of my mouth. For instance, while driving home today, a woman in front of me inexplicably slammed on her breaks, coming to a nearly full stop. No reason, no impediments, nothing. She got the choice response of "thanks for stopping at nothing you jack#%*, I really enjoyed that episode of heart palpitations as I came within inches of your car." Don't worry, I don't actually say these things to the people involved. I am far too scared about road rage for that. Instead I have my own personal little venting session safely within the confines of my locked, windows rolled up, car.

Will I ever stop the car commentary? Not unless I am broadcast on some version of candid camera, perhaps "reality radio" or "mike time with mom." Then I would have to pay up, and more than fifty cents.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Losing It!

I wish this were a piece about my losing weight. Sadly though, it isn't. It is about me losing my mind. Days like today, I do start to question my memory retention skills.

I was out running around all over town, doing errands. I decided to stop in at Whole Foods and to get some milk and while there I figured I could get that environmentally "safe" bleach I had considered buying recently. I had changed the sheets on our bed today and decided they looked rather dingy.

So imagine my surprise when I threw in the sheets with the detergent and the new "safe" bleach, then put the bleach down right next to the same exact container of "safe" bleach. That's right folks, apparently last week, ORD, or Other Rational Donna had bought the "safe" bleach. Too bad she didn't tell me, Dementia Donna.

What is really sad about this whole thing is that I still don't actually remember buying the first container. I remember looking at these bleaches in Whole Foods last week, but I thought I remembered deciding to hold off and go with the vinegar and lemon juice remedies I had read about it in my "green" books. In fact, I remember being more drawn to a different brand of "safe" bleach than the one that I ended up buying, twice.

This latest move (or should I say moves) ranks up there with the time I rented the same movie twice, not realizing that I had already seen it. Then of course, there was the time that I bought my hubby wine glasses to replace the ones he had broken only to realize that he had already bought replacements and apparently shown them to me (or rather to ORD).

I am only 41 years old, so I clearly need to work on this memory thing. ORD or I will have to start doing crosswords and word searches. It's either that or lost words and car key searches.

Monday, August 18, 2008

No Spring Chicken, Just a Chicken

By now you have realized that all of my blogs tend to be about the Olympics of late. Get used to it. Watching the Olympics and blogging about them is the only thing I seem to do outside of work and boring domestic things (which I force myself to do over those long commercial breaks).

The other night, I was excited to see a 38 year old win Gold in the Women's Marathon. Yes! Power to us creaky ones is what I say. I read today too about Dara Torres commenting at one sound test the four word sound bite that she thinks sums up her media interest: "Dara Torres, swimmer, old. "

She is right about that. We in the over forty crowd are interested in her because she is 41. We think she gives us all hope, and on the darker side, less excuses. I guess she and the 38 year old marathoner and the 33 year old silver medalist in women's gymnastics on the vault have made great strides, but have also made our lives harder.

We can no longer institute the old "I am over 40 years old, I can't run around (or insert sport here) like those younger folks do. We can no longer announce, "I know my limits, I am not young anymore" as an excuse to sit out the physical activity in question.

Maybe someone (over forty!) can come up with some sort of genetic test that sets us apart from those great ladies, but I have a feeling there isn't one. I think that what they have proved is that with determination, hard work and no insurmountable injuries, as Dara Torres said "there is no age limit on your dreams."

So ladies, no more excuses, let's go.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Dara Torres is My Age, But She Looks Older, Doesn't She?

The family has been camping in the family room every night watching the Olympics. Yes, even me who normally watches no TV, and I mean none, not even the news or weather. I get the news by reading the paper and the weather on the 'net.

We have become Olympicky-with really high standards. We want gold medals and world records from our American teams. We got into it a bit late in the game. We didn't see any of the opening ceremonies. We missed the first day or so of competition as well. So we missed Dara Torres' first gold medal.

So tonight we got our first glimpses of Dara Torres who I have read is 41 years old, just like me. I decided right away that she has an awesome looking body, especially for a 41 year old. But I have to admit. I found myself thinking her face looked old for 41.

As she came on the screen I pointed out to the kids that she was my age. To be exactly precise about it, I actually said "she is my age...but she looks older...doesn't she? Say yes."

So I now imagine what Torres could say to her kids about me: "She's my age, but how many times do you think I could lap her before that lardass touches the wall?"

That kind of puts my shallow (pun intended) question in perspective.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"Pray for China?"

This morning in my usual semicomatose state, I drove to the gym. As I passed through the town center, I noticed a lone man standing with a sign. I craned my neck to see what his sign said as I raced to the gym. I figured it would have something to do with McCain or Obama, or maybe Iraq, or possibly even the controversy over replacing some very new town parking meters because a portion of the population in town is too stupid to figure out how to use them (or more likely too much in a hurry to use up their quarter's worth of time to completely read the instructions).

Instead, what I discovered was that the sign said "Pray for China." Huh? Pray for what exactly? I mean we are in the midst of the Olympics here, so are we meant to pray for more gold medals? A gold medal sweep in diving? That they will see the light and 'fess up about the fact that their gymnasts are actually 12 and 13 years old?

Or maybe we are meant to pray for the people of China? For the human rights abuses they are subject to? A friend at the gym pointed out that maybe we are supposed to pray for the Tibetans really, because of how China is treating them. But if so, wouldn't the man be better served to have a sign saying "Pray for the People of Tibet?"

Maybe he was really working for the nearby mall during the recession. What he meant was pray for china as in porcelain, like Royal Doulton, Wedgewood, etc. He was standing on the route one might take to the mall, or there is a nice jewelry store a few blocks away that carries all that kind of "china."

Someone else at the gym suggested that I should have rolled down my window and asked him precisely why we should pray for China, but I was in too much of a hurry. I was praying for a good parking space at the gym, make no mistake about that.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Don't Be Alarmed Or Anything...

I find there are two types of alarm clock users in this world. Those of us who shut the darn thing off and get up when it first rings,
and those who do not.
Unfortunately for me, my husband falls in the second camp.
As far as I am concerned, if you are sleeping alone, and out of earshot of others, you can ignore your alarm clock, hit the snooze a million times, hurl it across the room or whatever, as long as you don't wake anyone else up in the process. If on the other hand, someone is asleep in the same room, shut it off immediately and don't even think of using that snooze button.

Hubby needs what I would kindly call a course in alarm clock etiquette.
This morning, I had to hear his alarm clock go off no less than three times. While it bothered me and woke me up, it had no effect on him. He only shut it off those three times after I elbowed him (yes, three times). Worse yet is his infamous blackberry alarm. The entire household, except for him, gets "entertained" on a daily basis, by his blackberry alarm going off down in the kitchen, across from and one floor below where he silently slumbers. What point does that alarm have other than to annoy the rest of us who do actually get up to get on with our days?

I am currently reading a great British book called What Was Lost (by Catherine O'Flynn) which is a real sarcastic look at our consumer society. A high point of the book for me is where one of the characters, Lisa, is looking for a new alarm clock. She has to keep upgrading to more and more obnoxious sounding alarms because her brain becomes numb to the sounds of the last one after a while. Maybe that's hubby's problem. Sounds like maybe some retail therapy will fix the problem.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Let's Hope the Swimsuit Catches On!

Well, here is a photo of Michael Phelps in the US swimteam official Olympic bathing suit. The ladies' one is remarkably similar in style. I myself am hoping this style catches on. Not for speed or anything as efficiency minded as that, but for that fact that it will cover up a lot of cottage cheese thighs, mine included.

Sure, skeptics will tell me that I should go all out and go for the burqini, shown to the right, but I am not into total skin coverage, just the flabby bits. For those of you not familiar with the burqini, it is like the officially sanctioned bathing suit for obedient muslim women. As I mentioned, all I am after is covering up the old bum and thigh area, not a total cover up, and what is up with the goofy hat?
Somehow I don't see Phelps or Torres in that, even if it did turn out to be aquadynamic, or whatever the term would be. Well, maybe I could see them wearing the hats if Nike paid loads of money to sponsor it.
If you look at the burqini hat closely, it starts looking a bit deja vu. Really, all you need is the little propeller thing on top and you could have yourself a nice little beanie hat. I suppose with a big propeller thing on top, you could be a lot cooler though. Plus, you could make everyone on the beach work their abdominals, when they bust their guts laughing at how silly you look.
Ah well, until they mainstream the racer suit and it catches on with us non-racing types, I guess I will stick to my tankini with the skirt on the bottom, the closest thing I am willing to wear in the great American cover up.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Pill-grimage

Now that I have taken myself off of birth control pills, they are one less thing I need to worry about taking. As it turns out, it is one less hassle for my husband too.

That is because there was that one time when we were traveling in France when we moved from Normandy to Versailles, from hotel to hotel, when I rummaged through my toiletries kit and couldn't find my birth control pills. Of course, being the calm, cool collected person that I am, I went into a full on panic. What would I do if I didn't have them? This was just the beginning of a ten week vacation? I remember the changes I went through when I went off them in law school. They weren't pretty, and certainly not what you want happening on your vacation.

So, I back tracked in my mind to figure out how I could have left them in the other hotel. I remembered leaving the whole toiletries bag on this dinky little bedside table. The table was so dinky, that at one point the whole (of course open) bag fell over. I thought I had gotten everything that fell out, but now I was convinced that the pills had somehow slipped under the corner of the giant bedspread unbeknownst to me.

What to do? Well, first I got on the phone and of course only got French speaking people back at the old hotel. Pas de probleme, je parle francais. So, I launched into my only adequate french and kept repeating the phrase "boite des medicaments" which I was sure meant box of medicine. Finally, I got some cleaning lady on the phone that said, yes, she had found a "boite des medicaments" in one of the rooms. Parfait, I would send my husband on the over two hours journey back to get them.

Yes, that is right, hubby, worth his weight in gold, or contraceptive pills, went off at 9 pm that night, for the long drive back to the first hotel, without any knowledge of how to speak french, and prepared to straddle the front seat at several points to pay the tolls in our English drive car, at the French toll booths (obviously on the passengers side). The curious thing about that piece of it was that I had just commented earlier in the day as we were driving that it would be very hard for a driver to drive an English drive car all alone and pay the tolls. How perceptive of me.

So, of course in the middle of the night, I get the call. No one at the desk knows anything about the "boite des medicaments" and the cleaning crew doesn't come on until 7 am. So, they gave him a free or really cheap room for the night.

The next morning two very important things happened, and one logical thing did not.
1. The "boite des medicaments" turned out to be a box of gauze pads,
2. I found my pills buried in the bowels of my toiletries bag in a section I swear I never use, and 'fessed up,
3. My husband did not kill me when he drove back the over two hours to Versailles.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

ISP-Intermittent Service Provider?

ISP is supposed to stand for internet service provider, but today I decided it could just as well stand for intermittent service provider in my ISP's case. Sure, well, maybe they will blame it on the weather, we did have a flashflood/long thunderstorm, but this is 2008, and we bloggers have gotten used to being able to get on whenever we feel like it.

So, I am back on and a bit more appreciative of the connection, but no less annoyed at having to find something else to do when I wanted to post my blog, and also with the burden of having to remember that I did not yet post my blog and that I would have to later. This over forty brain needs lots of written and/or verbal reminders to do things (preferably both!). This is especially true when I am off my usual schedule of posting first thing in the am. It is kind of like taking pills first thing in the morning. If you forget, you aren't likely to remember, until the next morning when in a foggy haze, you mutter to yourself, "wait a minute, I think I forgot to take these yesterday..."

By the way, I did take my pills this morning. I don't have a PSP, a pill service provider, unless you count me, so I had no worries about the service being unavailable.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Pelvic Paradise?

Last month, while reading the New York Times I ran across an article entitled "A Spa for Those Women Concerned About 'Pelvic Fitness' which appeared on July 3, 2008. Intrigued as to why one would put the word 'spa' and the word 'pelvic' in the same sentence, I read on.

It turns out that an enterprising young doctor, Dr. Romanzi, has decided to open a spa in Manhattan called Phit, which is a medispa "wholly dedicated to strengthening and grooming a woman's genital area." Yikes!

When I think of a day at the spa, that isn't exactly what I have in mind. In fact, the only 'p' word that comes to mind is 'pampering,' not 'pelvic.' Why call it a spa if that is what goes on there? Sure doesn't sound like much fun, to say nothing of relaxing and luxurious.

The spa is called Phit, which is short for pelvic health integrated techniques. I don't know about you, but when I am looking for integration in a spa, I am looking for things like integrating lunch into the price, not pelvic procedures.

If I needed to have a pelvic procedure, I would have it done in a doctor's office, insurance card at the ready. I wouldn't think that candycoating it by playing relaxing spa music and offering herbal teas would make it any less uncomfortable. If, on the other hand, I wanted a spa day, I would want the relaxing atmosphere, the cool new classes, the cushy robe, etc.

The cushy robe is really nice, but if you have to take it off to submit to a pelvic procedure, I think the whole relaxation thing kind of flies out the window. So, you won't see me checking into a spa for pelvic procedures any time soon.

Thankfully, I don't have any pelvic issues at the moment or maybe I just don't have the time to obssess about them as some women apparently do. The new field of genital beautification, yes, that is surgery to improve the looks of your genitals actually has a name-cosmetogynecology. Now, just a kind word from me to those women who think they need such services: hello, just leave the light off and save yourself some bucks and a lot of pain. If your still troubled with the way things look down there, stop looking down!

When I am next lucky enough to enjoy a spa day, you can find me either trying out the cool new classes or better yet, lounging by the pool with a stack of magazines and books, in a cushy robe that I won't surrender until the last possible minute of my stay.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Little White Lies Told to Little People

Yesterday's post, Confessions of a Candyland Cheater, has already gotten several comments on where I also post my blogs. This got me thinking about all the other lies I have told to the little people in my life.

Way back when I was first pregnant with Thing 1, I remember being all idealistic about the whole lying thing. I seriously considered whether I would be an accomplice in the big lies: Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, etc. But like every other parent, I fell in line, not wanting to be accused of denying my kid(s) a proper American upbringing.

When Thing 1, at only 2 1/2 years old, was onto the fact that "Santa" looked a great deal like Uncle Skip, I didn't outright lie, but I didn't clear up the confusion. Instead, I took out other pictures and drawings of Santa Clauses and tried to point out that they all bore an uncanny resemblance to Uncle Skip.

When Thing 1 and Thing 2 asked to stop at MacDonald's one night while we were out. I didn't feel like climbing back on my soap box and lecturing them yet again about the unhealthy food sold there. So instead, I declared that the MacDonald's was closed. To which Thing 1 countered, "Then why are all the lights on and some people in there?" Without hesitation I replied "That is just the cleaning crew honey, they come in when the store closes, and of course, they need the lights on to see what they are doing."

Even with the tooth fairy, I found myself telling little white lies upon little white lies, mostly due to my own or my husband's or both, parental disorganization. Not only did I go along with the rouse of the tooth fairy, but when my daughter didn't find a coin under her pillow (back in our UK days) I would go in her room, coin in hand and sureptitiously drop it on the floor next to the bed as I made a big show of looking under the pillows. I would then step away from the bed, let my eyes fall to the floor and "spot" the coin. I announced excitedly, "there it is, the tooth fairy didn't forget you, it must have fallen out of the bed when you got up to look for it under your pillows!"

Of course, now that they are ten and twelve, they have found out that there is no tooth fairy, no Santa (but there still is an Uncle Skip!) and no Easter Bunny. Though I fretted about lying to my children in the first place back when this whole parenting thing began, their response when they found out the truth, was distinctly underwhelming. There was no accusatory tribunal of "How could you have lied to us?" Instead, they just wanted to know if they would still get the same amount of presents at Christmas time.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Confessions of a Candyland Cheater

The other night my sister called me to tell me they were about to play Candyland for the first time. She was on speakerphone at the time. I told her to take me off speakerphone so that her children, 4 and 6 couldn't hear the special instructions I was about to provide to her.

She complied and I launched into how to survive Candylanditis. My son, Thing 2 went through an extended acute bout of Candylanditis when he was 3 or 4 years old. Every night, just before bed, he guilted his sister, Thing 1 and I into playing the game. Sure, right, Candyland, what a cute little first game, no words, candy, etc. Why not?

I will tell you why not, because just as it is getting past the children's bedtime and you can barely keep your own head up from running around with them all day and maybe working too, and just as you think either Thing 1 or Thing 2 is about to win, they get sent back to the candy swamp, or some other place way down near the start of the whole game. At that point, rather than rationalizing with the kids that it was past their bedtime and perhaps we could continue where we left off tomorrow, and brace myself for the inevitable tears and tantrums, I did what I had to do. I cheated. When they weren't looking, I removed all of the "go back" cards. Thus, ensuring that the game would be swift and uneventful. From then on, this is how I always set up the game.

Looking back on my experience with children, this deviousness, or survivial tactic, depending on how you look at it, was born early in my childminding career. I remember when I used to babysit neighborhood kids in my teens, I particularly preferred sitting for those children who could not yet tell time. It was easy for me to send them to bed early (and even claim I had let them stay up fifteen minutes past their bedtime) because, of course they couldn't yet tell time, and would have no reason to doubt that their sweet, innocent looking babysitter might be pulling a fast one on them.

So, of course, I am paying my dues now with Thing 1 and Thing 2 who certainly have their share of ways of pulling fast ones on me. But fair is fair, and what comes around goes around, except in Candyland, where one will only go around once if I have anything to do with it.

Friday, August 1, 2008

How Much Is That Doggy In the Window?

It has been almost six months since my dog died and the kids are starting to pester me for a dog, a West Highland Terrier to be precise. Honestly, I am missing having a dog around as well, though I miss Kramer in particular.

Why a Westie? Because my friends Mary Jane and Rick have an adorable Westie named Sophie and we stayed with them for six days on our recent visit to the UK. One of Sophie's cutest characteristics is that she charges the TV and barks at most animals, but especially dogs on the screen. The kids think that is hysterical. They also think it is so cool that they can pick up Sophie due to her size and disposition. Kramer was way too big and too cranky for that. My daughter, Thing 1, particularly enjoyed having someone else to talk down to and boss around.

So what do I think? I think having a smaller dog has its advantages in terms of the dogs portability, which in Kramer's last years was definitely a problem. But I am used to a big dog. I thought I wanted a big dog because I want a walking companion on long walks and hikes, but as Mary Jane points out, Sophie goes on 61/2 mile walks with us often.

I guess the other advantage of a smaller dog is that they will live longer, in general, than big dogs. Having just gone through the heartbreak of losing Kramer, I can see the advantages in that.

I do also like the fact that a big dog is more threatening to strangers visiting the house. But, I suppose that a smaller dog can inflict a good dose of damage if necessary. Also, sometimes it is enough to have a barking dog of any size to deter a burglar or similar miscreant.

One thing I am sure of though, it is that our next dog will be a rescue dog. Kramer came from the Humane Society and we feel strongly that there are too many dogs without a loving home to justify getting a pure bred puppy (to say nothing of the cost).

I have set a rough date of after my sister's chemotherapy treatments end in early September to start the dog search, but I suppose it is best to start registering with some of these pet rescues now as from what my friend tells me, it is a ridiculously rigorous process. He told me he needed to provide references from his last vet and groomer! I guess those who want to be first time dog owners need not apply!

Something tells me that I will be posting some blogs about the whole process in the near future. I guess things have changed since 141/2 years ago when we went to the Humane Society on our lunch hour and took this strange dog home to our house, only to head back out to work (and later came home to discover he had peed on the guest room bed!).