Thursday, October 12, 2017

Did Something Eat Something Else?*

(*George Carlin)

Some pictures only a blogger would take.  And some situations become less annoying if they could make a good post.

So with that as explanation, here are some pictures of empty food containers as I found them in their natural habitat:





I know this is not unique to our home, but come on!  Why, children, why?

Not pictured, but infinitely more common, are the empty containers that you can't tell are empty until you pick them up.  I am often tricked when making a shopping list into thinking we have yogurt or cream or butter or cereal AND WE DON'T.  We just have strategically placed empty containers for those things as if we are staging a play and just need the appearance of a fully stocked refrigerator or pantry.

This boggles my mind, because leaving an empty plate in the fridge is just lazy.  I get lazy.  But putting an empty container back into the fridge or the pantry takes a modicum of effort.  It would be easier to leave the empty container on the counter!  Still not as good as cleaning it out and putting it in the recycling, but at least if it's out I can tell it's probably done.  What is the point of putting an empty container of milk or orange juice BACK into the fridge?  WHAT IS THAT?!

Not a deep post, I know.  But parenting runs the gamut from the sublime to the ridiculous, and this is freaking ridiculous.  (Now excuse me while I go prod everything in the fridge before running to the store again.)

Friday, October 6, 2017

Mona the Ostrich

Mona is amazing.  And she makes amazing costumes.

I have really enjoyed making costumes for Mona, but a few years ago she decided to have a hand in her costume creation and did the head to her tapajera outfit without my help.  Then the following year she did most of her griffin outfit herself.  Last year she didn't need me at all and did her scorpion costume completely on her own.  (She still wears it and was a hit at Bug Day at the nature center recently.)

This year she outdid herself with an ostrich costume.

She was so excited about her ideas for it that it's already finished well in advance of Halloween.  It was fascinating to watch her work out how it would all go together.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Enough and Done

Yesterday morning I woke up to the news of what is now being called the largest mass shooting in our nation's history.  The story was on the radio as I made breakfast.  It was on my Facebook feed as I checked on it at work.  It was on the radio again as I cooked dinner.  Discussion of it was absent at my evening rehearsal, but then I was confronted with it again from multiple sources when I went back to work to finish a few things before finally returning home to crawl in bed.

I was not surprised this shooting happened.  In all the coverage I heard in and around Las Vegas, nobody sounded surprised.

You know what did surprise me a little?  I had no tears for this event.  None.  I am fatigued.  I was distressed in the abstract.  I was sad for the victims and their families in a general way.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Getting Older

Getting older is weird.  Because I don't feel old, really, I just feel like me.  In my mind my college experience wasn't that long ago, but it really was.  My high school just had a 30 year reunion.  I remember my high school self, so that doesn't seem distant, but the numbers don't lie.

I think about how when I was in elementary school I couldn't understand why people referred to kids in high school as "kids" since they sure looked like adults to me.  Now even college kids seem very young.  And what used to sound "old" doesn't seem all that old now.  When I was a kid, 50 sounded very old.  Today I have trouble seeing 60 as particularly old, but that's getting into retirement age for many so I guess I have to accept that fact.  I think about how my grandfather was 70 when he died, and that seemed okay at the time because he was an old man, but now I find it shocking he died so young.

The really sobering markers of aging aren't the ones I was expecting.  It's the odd bits of change and history that slowly slip by rendering all your memories out of step.  Realizing news events from my childhood that resonated with me are completely unfamiliar to many of the people I talk to on a daily basis is disconcerting.  I have to explain to my kids things like the eruption of Mt St Helens or the Iran hostage crisis or the Challenger explosion.  Those are peripheral tidbits that don't necessarily come up in school.  But they sound as ancient to them as my dad talking about seeing the Beatles at Shea Stadium or people describing when Kennedy was shot did to me.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Happiness may be a choice, but it's not always the right one.

When my husband and I decided to get married I didn't originally picture myself in a big white dress.  I seldom have interest in doing what other people usually do, and I was not one of those people who had her "big day" all mapped out in her mind ahead of time.  The marriage interested me, not the wedding particularly.

As the details of the event came together I learned a lot of valuable lessons.  There are certain rites of passage that remain in the culture for a reason, and how you handle them can tell you a lot about yourself and others.  I assumed from the start I would just buy myself a nice dress I could use again because that kind of sartorial practicality seemed like me.  But it also seemed like friends of mine who had married before me and chosen a big white dress.  One of those friends told me to just try one on, because why not?  When she had, she'd discovered she liked it.

To my utter surprise I liked it too.  Because it's fun and it's a way to set that day apart from any others.  I realized that my wedding day was the only day I could wear such a dress and have it mean something important.  I could certainly wear a wedding dress any other day I wanted, but it would only be an oddity or a costume.  I had one chance to wear such a thing with any meaning to it.  Why would I pass up that chance?

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Stray Thoughts in the Morning


Things are moving a mile a minute anymore, and any one of these thoughts could have been a post in a less hectic time, but in no particular order here are things I've pondered and learned from lately:


It's good to be able to return to a space that doesn't change.  Our cottage is that for us.  My brother was able to come with his family this summer, and he hadn't been there in almost 17 years.  He remarked immediately how amazing it was that it felt the same.  That's been by design--we've changed very little since my grandma died, and the place still feels like her.  She would lament that we've let the garden go, but someday we'll be there long enough to plant begonias by the front porch again, and weed some of the plants along the stairs on the hill.

It's also good that at the cottage the internet is spotty at best.  There is just enough of a signal from the neighbor's house that he said we could use that usually every other day I can upload email while I'm there and at least make sure everything is okay back home.  Otherwise being unplugged is a good thing for everyone.

My dad has been gone for two years now.  It doesn't really get easier.  I just don't burst into tears about it as often.  But damn I miss my dad.

My grandmother would have been 99 this year.  I miss her too.  There is so much I wish I could talk to her about.  It would have been so nice for my kids to have really known her. 

Grandpa, too.  I remember when he died he seemed really old.  But now 70 doesn't seem that old.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

So Close

I took the kids down to Illinois to see the eclipse on Monday.  Ian's off doing Army things so I was on my own with all the driving.  (We left Milwaukee at 5 in the morning and got home at about 9:30 at night.)

We had our NASA approved viewing glasses that we picked up from American Science and Surplus a week ago before they were sold out.  We had a bag of car snacks the kids had picked out at Target the day before (grapes, carrots, granola, pop tarts...) and we filled up our bottles with familiar Milwaukee water.  I had an iPod of podcasts to listen to if radio had nothing to offer.  The kids had some multi-player game that they could coordinate on their little devices.  We had the GPS and the iPass and everyone settled into their respective seats in the minivan as we hit the road while it was still dark.

My kids love a road trip.  They had been looking forward to it for weeks.  They are good travelers and undaunted by long stretches in the car.  They never whine.  They never ask to stop unless they need to use the bathroom, and even then they give as much warning as possible in case it will take time to find an exit.  They don't get carsick.  They can sleep when they need to as we roll along.  They sing sometimes, although they tend to amuse themselves quietly.  When they were younger and their heads didn't pop above the seats it was possible to forget they were even back there.

I had planned to get us to Carbondale, Illinois where big eclipse festivities were going on and where totality viewing would be one of the longest in the country.  I plugged a random restaurant with a Carbondale address into the GPS and gave us a cushion of well over an hour to reach it.

The problem is it doesn't always matter how much you prepare or plan.  Life doesn't work that way.