Thursday, February 28, 2008

tee vee.

so we were watching some family t.v. the other night before wingman's bedtime.

family t.v. watching generally isn't something we engage in unless it's sports (and that's the "royal we" for sports as *i* am usually doing something else) or family movie night. occasionally, rick steves' travel shows on PBS.

just regular ol' t.v. is rarely appropriate for the whole family, and even if the show is appropriate (food network, some shows on the learning channel, HGTV) the commercials are NOT. especially so after 6 pm.

so we were watching some inane show on HGTV about what people's houses are worth in different parts of the country and the commercials come on.

the first one starts off innocently enough. a woman, a family, they're all busy and rushing around.

it could be a stouffer's commercial, perhaps they're selling a minivan, maybe it's for chocolate?

turns out it's for birth control. an IUD in fact. and, they don't just tell you about it in long and excruciating detail, they show it to you too!

a hand is bending it and flexing the IUD to show how bendy it is? how comfortable it is? i don't know why they are showing it to us, but they are. and going on and on and on and on about this little flexible bendy comfortable thing.

then wingman, who's no dummy, pipes up all confused

"yeah. but where do you put it?"

too much on a tuesday night.

i gave him the quick and dirty, but that never satisfies the kid.

and frankly, i think it sucks that i not only have to be confronted with such a commercial in general, but especially so during what is typically and has been for generations, "family" viewing t.v. time.

i think it's just plain tacky to have some hand holding and squeezing and bending an IUD. get an examining room why don't you? leave the 7pm viewing hour to the crystal light drink mixes, the hidden valley ranches, and the michelin tire man.

moving right along to the next commercial break. this time for lipstick. it's all moving cameras and lights and strutting on the runway and high fashion. this is stylish lipstick!

so then the duke pipes up

"i don't get why they show a grown woman sucking on a lollipop to sell lipstick? and she's not even sucking on it! it's just hanging in her mouth!"

good. lord.

then this morning the duke is going through the val-pak envelope looking at all the local area coupons that came in the mail. he's saving out all the coupons he thinks we'd use as a family and recycling the rest. if he's not sure of a coupon, he asks aloud.

OMG i'm trying to wake up and the last thing i need to is to be asked a million times in a row if we need windshield repair, hearing aid visits ("maybe you'll need this one day?") or a complete easter dinner from honey baked ham!

so on about the fourth ask my voice more than conveys my irritation with this exercise.

"mama, do you want this introductory offer to the gym?"

"no. no i don't"

he misinterprets my irritation and says all quickly

"oh! not because i think you're fat!"

"i know honey"

"because you're not fat! really!"

sigh. and lookee here. it's not even 10:30 am.

in other news y'all be happy to know that i've finished the hobbit!!! just in time, and with time to spare for today's book club.

for all my fussing, it turns out it was an enjoyable read. i knew it wouldn't be bad, i just need to have something to complain about.

i doubt i'll be reading the lord of the rings trilogy, but, one never knows. perhaps one day i'll find myself imprisoned and have nothing. else. to. read.

the thing is, reading the hobbit just further confirms that however packaged, there are truly no new ideas. virtually everything i have read in that genre seems to have been heavily influenced by if not cleverly copied from the hobbit.

well, they do say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

i suppose that will just have to do.


Monday, February 25, 2008

@#$%!* hobbit!

so due to some screwy mix-up, book club is this week, not last.

having found this out last week just in time, i was able to abandon my worries about the hobbit. for the moment.

then, i got sick on friday and saturday. and having exhausted my supply of library books at that point, i begrudgingly cracked open the hobbit.

oh, and wouldn't you know in this house we have FOUR copies to choose from. so i chose the handsomely illustrated one thinking it would help. it didn't.

the first page was all this and that and runes and symbols and maps and blah blah blah. i was lying in bed in my room when i said aloud

"thorin oakenshield. oh. great. this oughta be good"

when all of a sudden i hear piping up from what i thought was the boybarian's empty room

"WHAT! you're only on the first page?!?"

the duke of fun. leader of this month's book club. chooser of the hobbit. has read the book, but read it again anyway for the club. is finished with the book, has been for a week. is irritated and incredulous.

oops. so i say

"well, now, i read fast. i could probably finish it today if i wanted to. which. i .don't. besides, honey, you have to understand, it's really not my cup of tea"

so he comes into my room, hands on his bony little hips all fired up

"well, why did you even join the book club if you weren't even going to read the book! gah!"

and then he left.

well that's not fair! i AM reading the book! sure, yeah, the book we were supposed to have discussed two days prior so i guess technically i should have already maybe started.

except i found out we had another week! doesn't that count for something!

kids these days, i swear.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

i'm either really smart or really stupid.

ah, parenting. an experience that cannot be matched. an experience that is not for the faint of heart.

so, it's come to pass that i pay the duke of fun 2$ a room to sweep and mop. the deal is, he has to sweep and mop the rooms i choose, when i choose them to be done. like he can't just do the kitchen or another room whenever he wants for a quick 2 bucks.

today, for instance, he is sweeping and mopping the dining room, the kitchen, the living room, and the bathroom.

it's also come to pass that i pay wingman 1.50 a load for folding and putting away a whole load of towels, washcloths, dish towels, and cloth napkins. he even rolls the washcloths just the way i like them.

today, for instance, he is doing two loads and is eager to get his money in hand.

i realize that as a parent, it's perfectly well within my GOD GIVEN AND MORE THAN EARNED RIGHT to force these children to do these tasks.

BUT, they already both have daily chores they must do, without pay, just to contribute to the household.

AND, since i've hurt my back, sweeping and mopping are out for now, and i CANNOT STAND folding and putting away. i can do laundry like a champ and pile it to the ceiling, it's the folding and putting away that gets me.

so, i'm either smart or really stupid for paying to get these chores done each week.

but, i've sure got some clean floors and there's no laundry mountain on my couch.

and i'm sitting here with you, a cup of coffee, and some peace and quiet while the boybarians toil away.


not bad for 11 bucks, huh?

and at count, wingman has 98$ in his bank account if he counts the 3$ he just made. and he's DYING to get to 100$ so he's BEGGING me for another job that might earn him 2 more dollars.

aaanndd i think i just answered my earlier query.

and sillymortalmama says HA!

some days i really do come out right on top.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

one more chance NOT to read the hobbit.

so, i hurt my back.

i bent to pick up a pillow and BOOM! my back just spasmed and went.

it's only been in the past year i have had trouble with my back. it's always been my neck. but since i've been working on my neck and have had little trouble with that this year, my lower back seems to have taken my neck's pain and claimed it as its own.

anyhow, it's been terrible. the lower back is a very inconvenient place to be injured. i can't sit or stand or lie down without being in pain.

walking is an exercise in horribleness for me and hilariousness for those around me. i look exactly like fred sanford, only more stooped over.

we have one recliner that gives me support and comfort. so i've largely been planted to past few days.

the duke says i should get a motorized chair.

"you know, mama, a rascal. like those oldsters drive"

and isn't it funny how when you can't be active, you are physically unable to be active, is when you most want to eat piles of cheese and gallons of wine and buckets of fried food?

darwinism takes a holiday.

anyhow, this week is another busy week. with the added benefit of the duke of fun leading our home school group's first book club.

and what does he choose? the hobbit. i've spent 36 years NOT reading the hobbit and now i have to. and i haven't started yet. i hear it takes forever to read. and since i've got all of two days to read it, i suppose i ought to start it.


wait? WAIT! isn't there a movie?

there's a movie! i'm almost sure of it! of course i'd have to watch it when the duke's not around.

now all i've got to do is rascal my way down to the video store and i'm good.

whew. that was close.


Friday, February 15, 2008

friday still means something somewhere in the world.

this has been a long and busy week.

the duke was sick. the WORST sick person ever! there's nothing worse than someone lying around the house moaning "i NEED sushi!" "can we order mexican food?" "could you make me something to eat? like a burger with french fries? or some indian food?"

he's an insatiable bottomless pit of specific food need when he's sick. i am so glad he's a boy and therefore i will never have to experience him pregnant.

then the duke got better.

then we went on a field trip.

that's about it.

except now it's the weekend. if only friday signaled the beginning of some downtime like it used to.

the lord of the ring returns from his business trip, we've got to count birds for the great backyard bird count and have a birthday party across the pond. then there's family movie night and weekend cleaning.

if only getting sick meant i'd get a break i'd try it.

in the meantime there's a new wine blog up and i've got a few waiting in the wings. if you end up trying any of the bottles, leave a comment with your thoughts. i'd love to know what you think.

enjoy your friday!


Monday, February 11, 2008

the wife is always the last to know.

so the duke of fun and the lord of the ring made it to the caucus on saturday.

wingman and i were going to meet them there, but we got a late start, got lost, and then couldn't find parking. by the time we were circling for the fifth time, the lord of the ring called from inside to say registration had closed.


we went for donuts and paid a visit to the wine shop instead.

so, long story short, the lord of the ring is now an alternate delegate for our precinct.

only, in telling me about the caucus, he didn't mention that little detail.

so later, his mother called and we were chatting about the caucus and she said "so i hear my son is a delegate" or something to that affect.

i couldn't figure out what she was talking about and just figured she had no idea about what went on in a caucus. even though SHE herself had just been to one. (note to self: get mother in law omega-3 oils and some brain exercising puzzles)

so i get off the phone and say

"i don't think your mother understands what a caucus is"

"why do you say that?"

"she was just talking to me about you being a delegate or something like that. i don't know, but i don't think she gets it"

"oh. no, she does. i am a delegate. well, an alternate delegate"

"what?!? what are you talking about?"

"for our precinct there are two delegates. if one of them can't make it, i'm the alternate"

"and you were going to mention this when?"

"i just spaced it. busy day"

"i can't believe you didn't say something earlier. what else are you not telling me?"

"well, i got two pairs of pants hemmed last week"

"what?!? by who? you've never gone to get pants hemmed before!"

"at the dry cleaners in town. it wasn't cheap either"

"it's like i don't know you at all"


Thursday, February 07, 2008

and by pocket flashlight he better mean pocket flashlight.

me: duke! come downstairs and grab this stuff and put it away!!!

me to the lortr: you always think it will be years away that your precious baby starts carrying around an altoids tin

lotr: no doubt, with a knife that from far away looks suspiciously like a lighter

i feel old and jaded.

or maybe i just miss my youth. and the good old days when you didn't have to worry that the altoids tin and lighter might belong to your kid.

though, for the record, i never carried an altoids tin or a lighter.

and for the record, the duke has that altoids tin full of altoids until they are gone. then he's going to use the tin to make a pocket flashlight that he read about.

though i joke about it now, in a few short years little signs and clues would be just that. signs and clues that it isn't time to joke.

and i am under no illusion that any kid is immune to the temptations of the world and the tide of their friends choices.

the trick, at least i think it still is, is to keep an open mind and an open heart and an open ear.

listen first, lecture last.

that's my plan and i'm stickin' to it.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

and by enthusiasm she meant crazy.

so i write my wine blog at night because i have to "review" the wine. and call it what you will, any amount of "reviewing" during the day just becomes the makings of an after school special.

so i was writing my blog last night when the phone rang. i don't like to answer the phone when i'm writing because it is a major distraction and i can only half pay attention and because i'm distracted and inattentive i sound to the caller like i am drunk.

then you add wine blog "reviewing" to that and well, you get the picture.

so i checked the caller id just to see if it was "important" and i noticed the number looked a lot like my sister's husband's number and i thought that odd because he never calls me directly and so i answered it.

i was slightly manic-y answering because i thought something might be wrong with my sister and i was still one half of my brain in my blog and a glass into my "review"

it wasn't my sister's husband.

it was the summer camp the duke goes to. a very perky girl was letting me know they were having their fund drive for donations for kids whose parents can't afford all the cost of camp.

i didn't tell her sure! sign me up for the donations! seriously, that camp ain't cheap!

but i listened to her spiel and then she let me know the duke had been in her unit and what a cool kid he was and all chatted me up so i chatted her back still half in my writing and still one glass into my "reviewing" and the call came to a close with her saying

"okay, we'll send you some paperwork and you can look it over and think about whether you want to donate or not. and um, thank you for your, um, enthusiasm"

and you know right then in the duke's camp file next to "mother's name" she was writing crazy!!

double underlined.

in other news, last night while following the super tuesday results i was watching an interview with huckabee who was doing rather well for himself vote wise.

the interviewer said something along the lines of "what do you attribute to your success to? what do you think mccain's campaign has to do with this?"

huckabee responded with something like

"this has nothing to do with anything other than more people voted for me than voted for the other guy. it's a simple as that and it has nothing to do with any other campaign. i got the most votes, i got the state"

you go there mike! i cannot stand when political pundits get all pundity. so huckabee got more votes than mccain? why does he have to defend that? or explain himself? or comment on the strategy and campaigns of everyone else as it relates to his surprise success?

all right enough of that, i've got a big day and i've got to get crackin'!

and by big day and get crackin' i mean it's time for a cup of coffee and spelling. then grammar. then perhaps another cup of coffee.

why nobody shoves a microphone into my face and grills me on my success i'll never figure out.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

what not taking 11 million bucks gets ya nowadays.

ryuta kawashima, the guy behind the hugely popular "brain age" games for nintendo ds declined to accept his 11 million dollar royalty from the sales of the games. instead he donated his share to construction projects on the campus of the japanese university he works for.

"My hobby is work," he said. "Everyone in my family is mad at me but I tell them that if they want money, go out and earn it."


oh wouldn't i love 11 million dollars!!! BUT, and i am sure about this and not just being a smug ass, i wouldn't want it UNTIL after my boybarians were much older and had started to make their own way in the world.

because there are a LOT of ways to fuck up a kid. but i think a real quick way is for them to get the idea that based on their family finances that perhaps what they do doesn't really matter in the grand scheme because they will eventually have all the money they will ever need no matter what.

it's a generalization, sure. but one i'm fairly comfortable making and sticking to.

(it just means if i ever win the lottery i'm not tellin' a soul!)

he also has four sons who are not allowed video game playing on weekdays and only an hour on the weekends.

bill gates lets his daughter have 45 minutes a day of screen/computer time on weekdays, an hour on the weekends.

bully for them. hey, we have computer and N64 time around here, don't get me wrong. daily except sundays. and you'd think it was a national tradgedy for some people to miss it.

cue dramatic eyeroll.

BUT it is limited for each boy. the duke at 10 gets one hour total. wingman at 7 gets 30 minutes.

there have been exceptions to this here and there. sure. but on a continuous basis, bottom line is the time limits are adhered to. if not, the consequence is that there is no time at all.

and while wingman has minutes to add as he gets older, sadly, the duke has yet to be informed that one hour is the cap for the next few years and beyond.

if you ever feel a distinct and horrific disturbance in the atmosphere in the near future and you can't quite put your finger on it, know that the duke has finally been fully informed of this fact.

i think each parent has the right to handle the whole tv/computer/video screen time deal the way they see fit.

i just like it when the guys responsible for all of this also talk openly about the responsibility they take with screen time and their own kids.

it's admirable, and just perhaps might be enlightening and influential enough to convince parents who haven't already to look into the idea of imposing limits on screen time in their own homes.

all good things in moderation.

except wine. of course.


Monday, February 04, 2008

what 4 bucks gets ya nowadays.

you know you live in a smallish weird kinda place when you go to the local symphony orchestra concert to hear a little beethoven and you are confronted with a sign in the lobby of the high school performing arts building that says

WRESTLING ------->

SYMPHONY <-------

in others news, we had a young friend spend the night on saturday, and as he lives across the pond he needed to be ferried home on sunday. the duke, wingman, and the lord of the ring all went.

while on the ferry, the duke split the 4$ he had with the friend and wingman so that they could all have a turn playing the video game and then spent the last dollar on a vending machine snack he split three ways.

the lord of the ring reported he did this all on his own, without prompting, and was more than happy to do so.

i was so impressed, i told him so and said i would like to give him the 4$ back from my own wallet just for being so generous. i know he's saving (or trying to) for stuff so i just thought it would be a nice gesture.

so i gave him the 4$ and not two hours later he came up and told me he'd like to put the money into our tzedakah box (charity) instead of keeping it.

and these are the simple moments that remind me to let out that breath i always forget i'm holding because he's gonna be just fine.