Word of the Day: One of a Kind

My husband, who has been on a sock jihad of sorts in our basement laundry room, has stuffed a large, black trash bag  full of mismatched socks, ranging from plain white sports socks, to black dress socks and thigh-high soccer socks to novelty holiday anklets with black cats and candy canes.  He secured the bag with a twist tie lugged it upstairs into the living room where I was sprawled out on the floor with the newspaper . “I’ve got a great idea for our next dinner party,” he announced as he dropped the bag squarely onto the MetroWest section. “We can invite our friends over to match socks. Every time someone matches a pair, they have to drink a shot.”He looked pleased with himself.  “They can even bring their own bags of single socks  - it will be like speed dating for knee-hi’s.”  

“But it would be a terrible party,” I said. “Everyone would leave completely sober.” Alas, his enthusiasm would not be dampened bya mere shot of reality.

“We could create an art installation!” he continued. “We’ll string a clothesline along the length of the street and all of the neighbors can hang their single socks. It will be a testimony to the isolation of suburbia, a commentary on consumerism and society, a statement underscoring our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint!”  

Or we could just stash the bag in the corner of the basement and  forget about socks and be glad it’s warm enough to wear flip flops.

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Word of the Day: Facebook

 

In the midst of the turmoil that recently rocked Egypt and culminated with the toppling of a corrupt government, a baby was born. As a tribute to the social media that fueled the protests, the parents of the infant girl named her “Facebook.”  It’s a moniker that I believe might be surfing the crest of the newest wave of baby names.  After all, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is worth $12 billion dollars. I would think he might want to send little Facebook a onesie with the company logo or maybe spring for her college tuition (after all, you wouldn’t want to sully the company name by having Facebook unemployed or working as a pole dancer).

Which opens the door to other baby naming possibilities. 

I think Alcoa is a rather pretty name for a girl and its stock is up to twenty one cents a share. Also up to forty-seven cents a share, is Pfizer, a name which really could work for either sex.  Boeing is a nice boy’s name and their stock is up, too, as is Merck, a easy, forthright name for a boy and it beat its earnings estimates during the last quarter. Move over Aiden and Ella, here come Exxon and Verizon! Take a look at the NASDAQ and you’ll see potentially millions and millions of dollars in corporate sponsorships available to enterprising families and their well-named off spring.

Of course, Gwyenth Paltrow did name her child Apple. Does Steve Jobs know?

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Word of the Day: Tiger Mom

Usually, in the woman’s locker room, there is not much conversation. It is a bunch of women mentally comparing their lumps and jiggles with the other naked women’s lumps and jiggles. Occasionally, there is a request to borrow a squirt of conditioner or a comment on the temperature of the water in the pool.

But yesterday, was different. Women were actually talking to eachother.  With wet hair, standing naked, their voices echoed off the tiled walls and carried into the showers. They were talking about Amy Chou’s Book “The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom.” More specifically, they were talking about whether the no-nonsense, no sleep-overs, practice, practice, practice tactics touted by the author were inspired parenting or borderline child abuse.

I don’t know.

I do know, now that my kids are mostly beyond the age of parental influence, that I wish that I had cracked the Tiger Mom whip a little more effectively. Sure, I nagged them to do their homework and they spread their notebooks out on the dining room table and did it. At least they said they did it. But their report cards revealed that they were missing assignments, not always prepared for class and certainly not working up to their potential. This doesn’t happen to children of a Tiger Mom. My kids all took piano lessons and violin, too. But they never practiced. Even when I yelled, my tantrums would result in an angry rendition of Bach’s Minuet in G or a slammed bedroom door and no practice at all. So I let them quit music lessons. Some of us are Tigers, some of us are just moms trying to get our kids to remember to flush the toilet and turn out lights.

Indeed, Amy Chua’s daughters straight A’s and prodigious piano playing might be the result of superior parenting, but I suspect that their achievements are due largely to genetics.  Amy Chua is a Yale law professor with degrees from Harvard University. She’s  no dummy. In fact, she’s a marketing genius.

www.memegenerator.net

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Word of the Day: Leftover Chinese

According to New Tang Dynasty Television, a pot of 2,400 year old soup was found buried among ruins in Xi’an, China.  Big deal.

If these archaeologists are impressed with a measly pot of soup, I can unearth more exciting moldy leftovers in my fridge. They might be older, too. There’s blue cheese that’s supposed to be yellow, a container of organic yogurt that expired in September, wilted kale and a take-out box with petrified Peking ravoli  from the Wok Inn.

If that’s not impressive enough, then I invite the crew from China to excavate  my freezer where, just today,  I discovered a frozen mass, entombed in a zip lock bag. Carbon-dating is on going to determine the contents which may or may not be the carcass from the Thanksgiving turkey. The  2002 Thanksgiving turkey.

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Word of the Day: Stuffed

When it comes to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I am stuck in my ways. No, scrap that. I am a dictator. For  that reason, I have a hard time relinquishing the dinner prep to say…my mother in law or my sister in law or even Rachael Ray.

It’s with trepidation that I travel to my sister in law’s house this year. Or any year.

I love her. She’s a fabulous cook. She makes her family’s stuffing which chock full of celery, savory herbs, butter and bread crumbs. It’s delicious, but it’s not my family’s stuffing. 

She is as passionate about her ancestor’s recipe as I am about mine.

So, after feasting in New York, we will drive back to Boston where I will make  two pans of corn bread, dry it out and crumble it up with sausage, apples, cider and cranberries. Then I will take the 22-pound turkey that is defrosting in the fridge and I will stuff it.

 

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Word of the Day: Heavy Metal

Some kid in Worcester brought a jar of mercury to class to show his teacher. The teacher opened the jar, touched the mercury and a few drops spilled on the floor. Major panic.

Now, children are being evacuated from the school, homes are being tested, backpacks sealed in hazmat bags and a specialized cleaning of the school is in progress.

Whew!

What anyone was doing with a jar of mercury is open for discussion. Maybe the kid’s mom is a dental hygienist. Mine was. She worked every day but sometimes when if I was home sick from school, she would come leave work in her white uniform and shoes and come home at lunchtime to heat me up a can of chicken noodle soup. Sometimes she’s bring me home a little present  – like a sparkly ring that she nabbed from the dentist’s prize drawer or a Highlight’s magazines from the waiting room or sometimes…she brought me home a little jar of mercury.

They used it to mix up silver amalgam filling material. The mercury was magical.  It was beautiful and shiny – surprisingly heavy - and it burst into perfect tiny balls when you squished it with your finger or accidentally dropped it on the kitchen linoleum. I rocked the blob of mercury in my palm, rubbed it between my fingers and kept it next to my box of Kleenex while I lay on the couch and watched “Perry Mason” reruns.

The Massachusetts Department of Health says that mercury exposure poses a serious health risk and that only after extensive testing and thorough cleaning will the kids in Worcester will be allowed back into the school building.

Sure, I think that pulling kids out of school was an overreaction. But just the same, the next time I go to the dentist, I will insist on the white fillings – there’s no mercury and they look nicer.

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Word of the Day: Wish list

Really,  is it too much to ask?

That at the town pool, 19 year-old Swedish au pairs be required to wear armbands that identify them as such. That way I won’t feel like such a schlump when I look at their thighs and think, “I have three kids, she has three kids, why don’t we look the same?”  Maybe instead of armbands, they should be required to wear  baggy, one-piece, turtleneck bathing suits that say “NANNY” in block letters on the back.

Is it too much to ask?

That people who have family money come clean so I don’t beat myself up wondering how come I can’t afford to go on vacation to Borneo and drive a new Volvo when the part-time poet with the glassblower husband  down the street can. I’m thinking maybe lawn signs. “This mortgage-free house courtesy of Mom and Dad.”

Is it too much to ask?

That anyone who says “Oh, you are a stay at home mom? I  could never do that. I’d be so bored,” be punished for their ignorance by having to host a sleepover with six nine year-old boys (including two who have asthma, one who is lactose and gluten intolerant  and one who is “gifted”), take a two year-old, a five year-old  and a six month old grocery shopping and then spend four hours at the mall shopping for prom dresses with a fifteen year-old girl and end the day teaching a sixteen year-old boy to drive  stick shift. Your stick shift.    Boring? Hah.

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Word of the Day: Child Labor

Right now, I am sitting at my computer sipping an ice coffee and contemplating whether I can postpone the minimal work that I have and go for a swim.  Right now, while I am not working, all three of my kids are slaving away in actual paying jobs.  It’s a beautiful thing.

Okay, Lewis is a camp counselor, but Nathan and Perry are wearing shoes and are holed up in air conditioned offices like actual adults. They have bosses and copy machines and meetings. I almost feel sorry for them.

Then I remember all the times that I begged them to take out the trash, to put their dishes in the dishwasher instead of shoving them under their beds, to flush the toilet and suddenly, a summer of actual work seems like poetic justice. Think I’ll go for that swim now.

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Word of the Day: Camp is Priceless

My 16-year old son Lewis is going to be an assistant counselor at a sleep away camp in New Hampshire.  It’s a paid position, one that I feel like we’re owed. After all, Lewis has spent two weeks every summer for the past eight years at this camp and I have spent thousands of dollars to finance it. I’m not even going to factor in the cost of the lost beach towels, the $50 sweatshirts that they sell in the camp shop that come in two weeks too moldy to salvage, the forgotten sleeping bag and the gone-missing digital camera that he begged to take with him last summer.

So, for the camp, the $1,000 bucks that they will shell out for Lewis to sleep in a cabin with 12 nine-year old boys, peel carrots in the mess hall kitchen and teach sailing is a bargain. Counting the overnight duty, I think that for the eight weeks of camp it works out to something like 75¢ an hour. If you subtract the cost of the stuff we had to buy to outfit him for camp – t-shirts, shorts, bathing suit, sneakers, sunscreen, bug spray as well as the new beach towels, sleeping bag and a replacement camera, it maybe that he’s working for free.  But he’s not complaining. Neither am I.

Have a great summer!

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Word of the Day:One Armed Band-did-it.

I dislocated my right elbow last week (casseroles are still being accepted) and have a new appreciation for life with two working arms and ten functioning digits. As a writer, I was worried that my livelihood would be compromised and that typing with one hand would be impossible, but I adjusted fairly quickly (deadlines help – so do painkillers) and now only the shift key remains a tad tricky.

On the home front, my husband is a saint and has picked up the considerable household slack – which includes carrying laundry baskets, emptying garbage cans and slicing bagels for breakfast. But on more personal level, there are things that you just can’t ask someone else (especially a guy) to do for you.

Things like:  Putting on mascara. This morning, I practically blinded myself with the mascara wand. Vanity thy name is Carol. Thank goodness Mabelline tests their products on rabbits.

Also challenging to insurmountable: Cutting my fingernails, combing my hair, putting my hair in a ponytail, buttoning  my jeans, zipping my fly, hooking my bra and shaving my underarms. So if you see a wild-haired, unzipped, braless, furry-pitted, one-armed woman looking for sympathy and a  tuna noodle casserole, it’s me.

At least I am wearing eye make-up.

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Word of the Day: Cul de Sac*

My neighbor’s house is for sale. They have two little kids and said that they are looking for a house with a bigger yard, on a street with less traffic – maybe on a cul de sac.

I nodded as she outlined her new home wish list – but I wanted to tell her that she should take the “For Sale” sign down. I wanted to tell her that yards are highly overrated. Not only are they a pain in the neck to maintain, but kids don’t play in their yards. You have to scream at them to turn off the computer or the TV or the Xbox and go outside. Then, they play basketball in the neighbor’s driveway or ride their  scooters on the sidewalk. Which is another reason not to move.

Cul de sacs don’t have sidewalks. The kids have to play in the street.  Sure, the street doesn’t get any traffic, but no one walks by either. It’s lonely at the end of a cul de sac. And with two-acre zoning, you don’t get to know your neighbors on the intimate level that you do when you can see them eating dinner while you are standing at your kitchen sink. No one on a cul de sac wanders over with a beer while you are working in your miniscule garden or feels compelled to invite you to a barbecue because they know that you’ll  go crazy from the unbelievable aroma of a smoking brisket wafting over the tiny backyards.

* Translation from the French: “Bottom of the sack”

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Word of the Day: Irish Enuf

I am not Irish. But on St. Patrick’s Day, I find myself hankering for corned beef, cabbage and a pint of Guinness stout.

However, the little people that  I dwell among are not leprechauns – they’re picky eaters. So, I will not make corned beef and cabbage or even the  awesome beef stew that my  company raves about but that my kids won’t touch.  Instead, I will rely on food coloring to make the Kraft dinner a bright Kelly green and tint  the milk to match the bonny fields of  Emerald Isle. Festive, fast and delicious.

Now, where’s my Guinness?

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Word of the Day: Vacuum

Daughter: What are you doing?

Me: I CAN’T HEAR YOU. (Flick vacuum off and it whirs to silence)

Daughter: What are you doing?

Me: I am vacuuming

Daughter: Why? Are we having company?

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Word of the Day: Animal Attraction

I never realized that when we adopted a shaggy mongrel puppy or when I caved in and brought home that tiny, little kitten from the shelter that my life would become a Disney movie.

I am Snow White. I am Cinderella. I am Amy Adams in “Enchanted.”  The animals are my friends. The cat follows me into the bathroom and sits in rapt attention while I unfurl the toilet paper and brush my teeth. The dog trails me from room to room – up and down the stairs. He licks the dirty dishes that I load into the dishwasher – a thoughtful, but not very helpful gesture.  He watches me while I fold the laundry and I almost expect woodland creatures to  scamper  through the windows and make the bed or bluebirds to come perch on my shoulder and help me  pick out my outfit for work. Alas, we live in suburbia where the only woodland creatures we have are squirrels. Once, one did get into the house, raced around in a panic and pulled down the drapes in the living room.

Harris caught it in a Hav-a-Hart trap and escorted it to a better neighborhood with nicer window treatments.

Just now, the goldfish practically jumped out of their tank for joy when I came into the room. It’s just like that  song by The Carpenters: “Why do birds suddenly appear…every time you are near?”

Okay, so maybe my life is more Hitchcock than Disney.

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Word of the Day: Grayground

I read in this morning’s Boston Globe that they are building a playground in London just for senior citizens. It will focus on low-impact activities that will help tone under-used muscles and improve flexibility and balance.

This is great – but what we really need is a playground for parents.

And by parents, I mean moms.

I imagine a park with an area for mental gymnastics to tone up the brain cells that have gone to mush from talking to toddlers, plenty of balls to improve crucial juggling skills and, most importantly,  a bar to help us achieve some balance.

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Word of the Day: Prep

File this under Bad Mommy – #12,973

Lewis went to SAT prep yesterday.  It was five hours. On a Sunday. After an hour and a half they took a break.

“Mom,” Lew said. “Kids opened their backpacks and pulled out big roast beef subs and homemade cookies and thermoses of hot chocolate. All I had was Tic Tacs.”

Excuse me for thinking that  fresh breath would be a good idea. I didn’t know that we were supposed to pack snacks.

I also didn’t know that Lewis was supposed to bring a graphing calculator.

So he was the only kid at SAT Prep without a snack or a calculator. Score him in the 99th percentile for maternal neglect.

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Word of the Day: Bailout

My son was up late working on a school project – a poster  about the evils of text messaging and driving. This morning, the project still wasn’t done. There were pieces of construction paper that needed to be glued, photos that had to be printed off the web and scissors that just mysteriously disappeared into the the chaos of  what is our house in the morning.

First of all, let me register my complaint that kids in high school are still asked to do projects that involve colored pencils, construction paper and me running out to Walgreen’s at 10pm  for poster board.  Second, let me say that without those type of projects, I probably wouldn’t have been able to graduate from high school.

Anyhow, I took pity on my son who was assembling his project on the dining room table, before breakfast, in his pajamas.

“Is there anything  I can do to help you?” I asked.

He handed me some construction paper to trim, a few images to glue and in minutes, the project was complete.  I wrapped the poster board in a plastic garbage bag, dug around in my purse for lunch money and  handed him a bagel  as he went out the door.

With the poster – but without his backpack.

Which I delivered to the school at 8:15am.

Note to the School Department: Crazy-looking women carrying backpacks and wearing bedroom slippers should not be able to just walk into the school.

So what do you think?

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Word of the Day: Carpool Tunnel Syndrome

Okay, I am diving into the deep end of the carpool.

Yeah, I agreed to drive the boys to indoor tennis lessons. And today is the first of their hour-long lessons  which are scheduled every Monday at a tony tennis club two towns away (which is just far enough that it doesn’t make sense to go home  in between ).

Yeah, I am the mom with the flexible schedule.  Other people have real jobs in real offices with bosses who  might notice if they  up and leave in the middle of the day,  so I guess it makes  sense that I should be the driver.  But today, Lewis is sick. Cough, cold, low grade fever. He will not be going to tennis.

Deep end of the carpool

So my moral dilemma is…do I still have to drive his friend?

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Word of the Day: Girls Nite Out

How many girls nights out is a mother allowed?  How many times can a  gal duck out of  helping with the homework and dash away leaving  twenty dollars  a flurry of take-out menus in her wake?  Tonight it’s a chick flick that I want to see but that Harris would never see in a theater, rent on Pay-Per-View or spend any portion of his life watching.

Tomorrow night, I am having dinner with two friends from high school.  We only see each other once or twice a year and have planned this night for several weeks. Thursday night I have a meeting and a single friend invited me for dinner on Friday.  I mean, it’s  not like I am going to see the Chippendales.

But still,  I feel a little guilty not being home for three nights this week.  I kind of wish that my husband would have a poker night or a bowling league so it would balance out. Then again, if he did, who would help with homework and order the pizza?

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Word of the Day: Blackberry

When my kids were babies all they wanted was to have my stuff. The stuff I really needed. Like my car keys, my wallet, my cell phone and the television remote. So, instead of relinquishing my photo id, credit cards and cash to a drooling nine month old I made a decoy wallet and filled it with decoy credit cards and play money. I found a remote that no longer worked and put it in my son’s crib hoping it would entertain him for a few pre-dawn minutes. I collected unidentified keys from the junk drawer and put them on a Sesame Street keychain. Instead of donating my old cell phone to charity, I put it in the toy box.  But my kids were never fooled.

They wanted MY STUFF. The real keys, the working credit cards, the actual cell phone, the real remote.

Now, there’s an application that you can download onto your Blackberry that turns it into a kid’s toy. Like they weren’t already fascinated with your stuff.  Cute little animals appear on the screen, numbers cavort, letters dance and an annoying little voice announces every number your child presses. I’m thinking that this is a horrible idea on many levels.  Drool, Zwieback and Blackberries don’t seem like a good combination. Kids and Blackberries don’t either.

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Word of the Day: Gift Guide

Today, my local paper has a special Holiday Gift guide section. In it are ads for local businesses, a couple of coupons for $10 off orders of $50 or more at the Jade Garden and  $5 off at the Pet Shop. There are also articles with helpful ideas for what to give the people on your list.

Now, Christmas is not exactly a gravy train for moms. We get the  macaroni encrusted picture frames, the hand lettered coupons promising the cheerful completion of chores at some future date – if it’s convenient, if there’s nothing better to do, if you don’t loose the coupon. Maybe.

But, now that my kids are a little older, I have been guardedly hoping that this Christmas might be payback time. Payback for the Wii that I stood in line for at dawn, payback for the Barbie Foldin’ Fun House that I arm wrestled for in the Aisle of Toys R Us, payback for all of the years that I stayed up until 3 o’clock in the morning wrapping gifts, filling stockings and disguising my handwriting to look like Santa’s.

So I was eager to see what gift suggestions my local paper had for my kids and husband to buy for me.  I know I’d like some nice leather boots, maybe one of those little Flip video cameras, a small flat screen tv for the kitchen. But no. There in black and white – under  gift ideas for Mom is “A sentimental letter or framed picture of mom and the kids is likely the best gift of all.”

Don’t forget to decorate that frame with elbow macaroni.

Merry Christmas.

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Word of the Day: Enable

My name is Carol and I am an enabler. That’s right. I do things for my kids who are now old enough that they could easily do most everything themselves. I am not proud of my actions including:

  • Driving my son and his friends to the mall– even though there’s a bus that goes from the bottom of our street directly there.
  • Making snacks and delivering them to the television room so my sprog won’t have to interrupt his game of Halo 3.
  • Making paper bag book covers for school books because I can do it faster and better than the anyone else. Okay, I am showing off – but it’s my only skill.
  • Buying the crickets and feeding  the gecko – even though Lewis promised he would take care of it – because if I didn’t,  the gecko would be long dead.
  • Untieing massive knots in shoelaces because I “have fingernails.”
  • Making  special trips to the drug store to buy items that my daughter is too embarrassed to purchase herself (like Jolene cream bleach).
  • Spending precious minutes of my morning searching  for Lewis’s sneakers… until he remembers that he left them at a friend’s house.
  • Dropping off lunch money and homework at school when they’ve been forgotten in the morning fray.

But my worst offense was during my daughter’s first semester at college. She was having a rough transition – complete with the tearful phone calls in the middle of the night.  So when  she called and complained that she wanted to do her laundry, but had no quarters for washers in her dorm I didn’t hesitate. I sent – no, I overnighted – ten dollars worth of quarters to her. The postage was $17.95. There.

The first step to recovery is acknowledging that you need help.

I feel better now. Quarter

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Word of the Day: Duh

Baltimore, November 5, 2009 – A new Harris Poll Quorum survey, conducted for Sylvan Learning, reveals that more than six out of 10 adults do not feel comfortable helping a teenager with “advanced math” homework. 63 percent of adults said they would not feel comfortable helping a middle or high school student with advanced math homework, including topics such as quadratic equations, manipulating algebraic equations and graphing functions. Only 12 percent of survey respondents would feel “very comfortable” helping a teenager with more complicated math homework. More than one in three respondents with children reported feeling “anxious” helping their youngsters with math – at any level.

For this they need a study? math_cliff

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Word of the Day: Girls’ Weekend

I am going away for a long weekend with girlfriends. Hurray! I really need to drink get away.

My husband says, ” You need a vacation…from what?”

And I am reminded of that old joke.

You know, the one about the guy who comes home from work and finds his house in shambles, his kids playing naked  in the yard and his wife in bed reading People Magazine. “What happened here today!?” he asks.

And the wife replies. “You always ask me what I do all day. Well, today I didn’t do it.”

1950-housewife

Before I leave, I have to make a list of the things that are in my brain – things like how to pill the cat and when Lewis needs to be at soccer on Saturday and leave them for my husband.

Here’s my list:

  • Make sure Lewis wakes up on Saturday by 9am!!!!
  • Don’t believe that he is up until you see him eating breakfast (Honey- Nut Cheerios in pantry).
  • Lewis has soccer game on Saturday – 10am – cleats on front porch, shin pads in tv room, socks in laundry. Needs to be at High School at 9:30am. Needs to pay for coach gift. $20.
  • Pack snack (look in pantry for granola bars), water bottle (check dishwasher – I think it’s there) and $ in soccer bag (saw it  under the kitchen table).
  • Lewis has a haircut at Anthony’s at 2pm. He’ll need $15 plus tip.
  • Roofer coming to give estimate at 11am. Ladder in patio.
  • Birthday party 6pm – Lew needs $ for paintball, gift ($20 is the standard gift – he’ll wrap it in duct tape). Can you drive other boys? Call Jacob’s mom to work out logistics. 781-332-8845.
  • Dog gets 1/2 can of food and 1/2 cup dry food plus 1 capsule  of glucousamine sprinkled on top. Rinse and recycle cans.
  • Leash hanging by front door with poop bags. Be sure to walk him as far as  Mimi’s  house. He likes to do his “business” there.” Don’t forget the bags.
  • Fish- sprinkle food twice a day. Make sure filter is working
  • Cat gets small white pill in am, large blue pill in pm. Coat pills in butter, squeeze her cheeks and poke pill into her throat. Feed her 1 cup of dry cat food in am. Make sure that dog doesn’t eat it.
  • Gecko -  Mealworms are in fridge. Feed five  each day. Turn light on in cage on in morning, off in evening. Make sure the water bowl is full.
  • Water window boxes and pots on porch everyday.
  • Lewis will feed animals and water plants for $$$.
  • Have fun!

Love,

Carol

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Word of the Day: Back to School

I love summer – it’s school vacation that I can’t stand. I’ve given up trying to have a television-free summer and asking Lewis to play outside.  Right now, I am simply clinging to my sanity and counting the hours until school starts. Maybe you’re on the brink with me.  SCHOOL

The Top Ten Signs that You are Ready for School to Start

10. The lunch boxes are packed. Salmonella…bah!

9. You want your kids to have the H1N1 vaccine so they won’t ever be absent.

8. You’ve replaced reading aloud from Harry Potter with reading aloud from back-to-school flyers.

7. You don’t care if the school bus driver was on “America’s Most Wanted” as long as he’s on time.

6. You make your kids go to bed when it’s still light outside because “when school starts, you’ll have to get up early.”

5. You’ve gained five pounds since you stopped running after the school bus in June.

4. You’re hoarding shoe boxes for the third-grade diorama project.

3. You agree that ketchup is a vegetable.

2. You’re beginning to think that playground bullies might build character.

1. You have romantic dreams involving the principal.

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Word of the Day: Tweet

twitter_bird_follow_meI have a Twitter account because someone told me that I should. “It really helps with networking,” they said. But really, I don’t have anything to Twit errr…Tweet about.  Twitter is all about keeping your “followers” up-to-the-instant on your every move. But frankly, I don’t move very often. In fact, I have spent most of today sitting in front of the computer drinking coffee that’s been in the pot since breakfast. Although I could probably say that in under 140 characters (Tweets are limited in length), who would care?

So I have begun to write fantasy Twitters.

“Leaving for the Vineyard with Barack and Michelle!” 090702_obama_beach_ap_223

“Lost 10 pounds today. Feel great. Look fab.”

“Book on NY Times Bestseller list. Hurray!”

“Late for date with George Clooney.”

“Rahm called for advice…again.”

“Son hell-bent on finishing his summer reading.”

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Word of the Day: Chill

It’s the 90 degrees out, but my kids are urging me to chill. 

“Chill out,  Mom” my son says when I ask where they are going and what time they’ll be home.  “Chill out, Mom” means:  “I don’t want to tell you where I am going because you might not think that going to “The House of Pain” to watch Eyebrow piercingJake get his eyebrow pierced is a good alternative to reading the books that are on the high school Honors English summer reading list.”

“Chill” can be a adverb or a verb. If Lewis describes an indie (that is kid-speak for “loud”) rock band as “chill,” that is “cool” which is synonomous with “sick.”  “Vampire Weekend is chill.” or “During the summer, I just want to chill and listen to some sick music.”

When kids come home from college for the summer, it’s chill for a few days – maybe even a few weeks. Everyone gets  along. But soon, college students  realize that their parents are not chill at all!  And parents realize that their tuition money is well-spent because now their kids … KNOW EVERYTHING. They know what you should be buying at the supermarket, what you should eat to save the planet and what things you should do, that you are not doing, to end global warming. Here’s a short list amassed from conversations with my own college student. 

I should:

  1. Collect rainwater.
  2. Compost the coffee grounds, eggshells and rotten lettuce in the back of the fridge.
  3. Only buy fair trade, organic coffee.
  4. Stop eating meat.
  5. Eat only locally grown produce.                 compost_cycle
  6. Produce our own produce.
  7. Hang our clothes outside to dry.
  8. Eat a raw food diet.
  9. Stop buying bottled water.
  10. Do yoga.
  11. Drive a hybrid car.
  12. Be more chill.

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Word of the Day: Road Trip

On the back of the Reese’s Puffs (Hershey’s Cocoa and Reese’s Peanut Butter Sweet & Crunchy Corn Puffs) cereal box is a list of 18 things  to do before you are 18. Maybe, because I have already showed a lack of good parental judgment by purchasing Reese’s Puffs for my child’s breakfast,  General Mills assumes that I am a bad parent in other areas as well. But I have a problem with the list.

What about "Make the Honor Roll?" or "Learn to cook?"

What about "Make the Honor Roll?" or "Learn to cook?"

Number 17, (after bungee jumping and passing your driving test) on the list of 18 things to do before you are eighteen years-old is:  “Complete a road trip coast to coast.”

What mother in her right mind (or even a mom with a mind deluded enough to purchase Reese’s Puffs) would let her 17-year old drive from Boston to California?

Not me.

The fuel for a cross country trip?

The fuel for a cross country trip?

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Word of the Day: ‘Hood

I love my neighborhood.  Yesterday, Buddhists from the meditation center at the end of  the street walked by in red robes and blessed my dog with a prayer wheel.

He is blessed

He is blessed

Prayer Wheel

Very similar to the prayer wheel used to bless Chester

But it’s not just the Buddhists who make the street interesting. We’ve also got  a doll maker, a childrens’ entertainer, an inventor and a former prima ballerina. There are teachers  and writers and designers and  architects and some of the best cooks anywhere.

We also have a Harvard MBA who twirls fire.

Here she is performing at a backyard barbecue.

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Word of the Day: Camp

It was the night before Lewis left for two weeks at summer camp. Using the packing list that the camp had provided, he was  checking off items as he stashed them in his big plastic footlocker. He had four bathing suits, twelve pairs of underwear a new package of socks, a rain poncho, a polar fleece and bug spray. Check, check, check. Canoe Camp

“I need a bucket for my cosmetics,” he said.

“What cosmetics?”

“You know, my toothbrush and stuff,” Lewis explained.

“Can’t you just carry your toothbrush to the latrine or whatever it’s called? You have to transport it in a bucket?”

“It’s called The College,” Lew explained.  “And the list says I need a bucket.”

Now, if I had known he needed a bucket, we could have picked one up at Target when we bought the poncho, the bug spray and the new pack of socks.  Instead, I combed through the house looking for something that could hold Lewis’s paltry collection of toiletries.

“How about this?” I held my daughter’s Vera Bradley cosmetic bag.

Lew rolled  his eyes.

I inventoried the Tupperware in the kitchen, scoured the basement, the bedrooms and the bathroom and finally dumped all of my makeup (which includes considerable collection of wrinkle cream)out of the plastic container I use to keep my arsenal from overtaking the bathroom and into a canvas shopping bag.

“Voila! A bucket!” I announced.

“Can you wash it out with really, really  hot water?” Lewis requested.

I ran it through the dishwasher, thus killing  feminine bacteria or girl/mom cooties, and handed the sanitized plastic tub to Lewis.

“Thanks,” he said as he carefully arranged his toothbrush(in a plastic tube), comb, sunscreen, bug spray, travel-size toothpaste and body wash (teenage boys are too macho for soap) in the bucket.

“Can I borrow your digital camera, too?” Lewis asked.

I cringed. I use my camera – not just for this blog, but I have hundreds of images waiting to be downloaded , uploaded and embedded onto my Facebook page, my Twitter account and forwarded to relatives who still haven’t seen my oldest son’s high school graduation pictures from 2004.

“Be careful with it,” I said.  Lewis opened the new package of socks, gently wrapped a pair around the camera and placed it his trunk.

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Word of the Day:Summer Vacation

Today is the first day of summer vacation. Hurray! I envision a two whole months of playing outside, swimming, bike riding, eating peanut butter sandwiches on a blanket in the backyard and lucrative lemonade stands. Of course, that’s for me.
My kid is in the basement playing XBox 360.

This is what happens when you don't play outside

This is what happens when you don't play outside

Okay, it’s  raining. So, I’ll let him grow mushrooms between his toes and burn out his retinas for one day. I’ll start nagging him to go outside tomorrow.

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Word of the Day: Entitled

Today I went to the supermarket. It was raining and the parking lot was packed, except for the three handicapped spaces  and two other spaces right next to the front door.  However, those two other  spaces were reserved with a big red sign for customers with infants.

I deserve to park here

I deserve to park here

Wait a second, I thought. I used to shop at this store all the time when I had infants. I was lousy with infants and there was never reserved parking or shopping carts with built-in baby seats  or candy-free check-out lines.

I felt like I had a right to park there. I felt like I had already paid for the privilege of using that space  fifteen years ago when I would schlep across that parking lot with a screaming baby in the 50-pound Rock ‘n Ride infant seat and a toddler in a backpack. Yeah, I deserve to park in that space.

But I didn’t.

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Word of the Day: Prom-ising

So, GM is bankrupt, the polar caps are melting and there’s nothing good on network television. But, here’s what is better now-a-days…

When you order General Gau’s chicken at a Chinese restaurant, you can get it with brown rice and neutralize your guilt.

Skype.  Amazing. My daughter is in South Africa and I can talk to her for free and we can see each other. It is just like the Jetsons. Jetsons Video Phone

Leg shaving technology has vastly improved since I first dropped a razor blade into my Dad’s razor and sliced my shins open.

You don’t need a date for the prom. Girls can go with a group of friends – guys with their buddies. Somehow everyone seems to have a better good time – without all the pressure of dates.  Great if you have one, who cares if you don’t. Let’s dance.

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Word of the Day: Spring Fever

“I wasn’t born yesterday, ya know. “

That’s what I wanted to say to Lewis when he came downstairs and  said “I don’t feel so goWalden 006od.” He moped around the kitchen table, kinda ate part of a bagel and laid his head on the kitchen table. “Ooooooughh.”

If I had been born yesterday, I might have thought that he was seriously ill. Perhaps with appendicitis or kidney stones. I might have gone to the medicine cabinet to search for the thermometer or a heating pad.

But I was not born yesterday. I know that despite the threat of a global pandemic, Lewis is not suffering from swine flu. Despite record pollen levels, he does not have allergies and despite his groans and apparent lack of appetite, he is not actually  sick. Unless you count Spring Fever as a bona fide illness.

“Do you have a math test today?” I asked. “Do you have gym? Is that History project due, is there a Latin quiz?”Walden 008

“Ughhhh,” groaned Lew and bit into his bagel.

In the past, I have taken pride in the  strict guidelines that I adhere to when allowing my kids to stay home from school. They are:

1. Vomiting – a ticket to TV  land, no questions asked. However I must witness the event – no flushing the toilet behind a closed bathroom door.

2. Fever – a temperature over 99 degrees registered on a real thermometer inserted in child’s mouth(no underarm readings or flimsy strips applied to the forehead)  for three minutes while I stand watch.

Walden 009But today, I simply said  “Okay, stay home.” Lewis went back to bed. Maybe he really needs the rest – after all he’s a growing boy.  It’s hardly seems possible that he’s a teenager. In fact, it seems like he was  born yesterday. Who knows, maybe after he wakes up, I can cure his Spring Fever by making him mow the lawn.

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Word of the Day: Portion Control

I have a friend who is thin. Now I know why. She invited me for lunch at her house today. It was intimate. Just the two of us and about twelve strands of whole wheat linguine. japs-008Honestly, when she dished out the food, I wondered if I had come on the wrong day.  Now, I understand that maintaining a healthy weight is all about portion control. Still, if you are going to invite someone for lunch, for gawdsakes, feed them.  Although, I have to admit that when I left her house, I was feeling a little righteous for not pigging out at  lunch. But I was starving.

So, I came home from lunch and made this:

japs-009

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Word of the Day: Origami

I am worried about America’s youth.

We are hosting two Japanese middle school students. They are 14 year-old boys. In their spare time, they do traditional calligraphy(they mix their own ink!)  and fold amazingly intricate origami.  When my son Lewis has spare time, he plays Halo3.

The Japanese students also play musical instruments, can speak English (kind of) and unfailingly carry their dishes to the sink after every meal. They also always flush the toilet.

Last night, these boys cooked a traditional Japanese meal for my family- udon noodles, scallions, seaweed and some other stuff that I couldn’t identify.  It was delicious. If my son went to Japan, he would cook  Pop Tarts for his  host family. Yeah, I know – they’d probably love them.

Here,  for the benefit of America’s youth, is a tutorial on how to fold an origami crane.

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Word of the Day: Grass

I hate spring. It’s a time of new life. A time when the world awakes from its winter slumber. Flowers bloom, birds sing and the green grass grows all around.  Except on my front yard.

This is my "lawn."

This is my "lawn."

My yard is mostly dirt and some scraggly weeds. My neighbors  all have green, lush grass. Even the neighbor whose lawn abuts mine.  Her grass is healthy and there is a visible line where my property begins and the grass  ends. It’s not like I haven’t tried. I’ve fertilized, limed, added nitrogen and sowed pounds and pounds of grass seed. I’ve watered and I’ve watch the seeds sprout and grow, only to turn brown and die.

I suspect that my lawn is cursed. Perhaps it is situated over ancient Native American burial grounds and the spirits are angry.

So, I hate spring because  when the snow melts  it reveals my utter failure to grow grass.

This year, maybe even on Saturday, I am going to dig up the sparse vegetation that is masquerading as a lawn and replace it with something more sustainable – like high bush blueberries, cement or lawn ornaments.

A colorful alternative to lawn maintenance.

Meanwhile,  I welcome any suggestions from those of you who have conquered your own small corner of this planet.

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Word of the Day: Ro_tic

martin-and-lewis

The original bromantics - Martin & Lewis

With the recent release of the Paul Rudd’s movie “I Love You, Man”, there’s been a lot of talk about friendship between guys…bromance, as it has been dubbed. Oh, fine. First they started sneaking into our hair salons, then they wanted to borrow our moisturizer now, they want friends. Just like us girls.

My husband has been away on a business trip. While he’s gone (see January 9th post), I seize the opportunity to have quality girlfriend time. That means getting together to gab over a glass of wine, walking to Starbucks, watching Desperate Housewives and…did I mention wine?

Last night over simple supper of curried turkey burgers (no bun) on arugala and wine, my friend Beate looked around my kitchen and said “This is so ro-tic.”

“Ro-tic?” I questioned.

“Yeah,” she replied. “Romantic without the man.”

It must have been the burgers talking….

turkey-burgers-001

Curried Turkey Burgers

1lb ground turkey breast (make sure it’s breast)
1/2finely chopped onion
1 peeled and diced Granny Smith apple
3T curry powder (or to taste)
1Tcumin
2 tsp tumeric
salt and pepper to taste
Gently mix apples, onion and spices with turkey. Divide into burgers (I would make two whopping ones). Heat cast iron skillet and coat lightly with canola oil. Cook burgers until they are done (about 3 minutes on each side – depending on thickness). Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt and mango chutney on a bed of fresh baby arugala.


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Word of the Day: Crash

Stock markets crash…

Computers crash…

Cars crash…

It’s amazing what can happen in two seconds.

Lewis and his tennis teammates crash here everyday before their practice. I lay out some snacks, eavesdrop on their teenage boy banter and drive them to practice. Fortunately, I had already dropped them off when I slammed into the back of a Nissan Pathfinder. No major damage to the SUV, major damage to the Hyundai.

http://carolband.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/hyundai-genesis-coupe-6-accident.jpg?w=128

I didn’t have my camera with me, so this is not my car, but it is a Hyundai and well…you get the picture.

How sick is it that one of the first things that crossed my mind was “Gotta take a picture of this for the blog.”?

Extremely sick.

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Word of the Day: Zappos

I love Zappos, the mail-order shoe company. You pick out shoes on-line (searchable by color, heel-height, style….) and they are delivered OVERNIGHT! Amazing.

So effusive were my raves of Zappos, that Lewis decided to order soccer cleats on-line. “The ones I have now are too small,” he said, “and tryouts are this weekend.” Lewis’ cleats were size 8 1/2 – so I ordered the next size up. When they arrived the next afternoon, he pounced on the box, pulled out the cleats and tried to wedge in his feet. No dice. cleats

“But mom, I need them by Sunday!” he wailed. We ordered the next size up and they arrived with the same expedience as the previous pair. And again, they were too small.

They say the third time’s a charm and indeed it was. The third pair of Pumas, delivered to our door a half hour before tryouts, was like the bowl of porridge in Goldilocks and the Three Bears…just right. Of course, he will outgrow them before the season even starts.

barefeet

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Word of the Day: Progress

Someone in my town posts daily diary entries from a housewife

from 1902. Here’s yesterday’s. This is a typical day:

Life in 1904

Life in 1904

Wednesday, March 16, 1902

Some overcast early & late -


Up at 7 fixed the Lamps, dusted rooms,

sorted clothes, made beds & mended

awhile and then dressed & went to Flora’s. Just starting out with baby – (at 9-30) so

we went down to Miss Perry’s & I had my coat fitted. Quite a walk & felt

some faint standing but better when we got out again. Walked up in about 40 mins. Harold behaved beautifully. John Drew so he came for tea and

then I had a hot sponge bath & dressed & saw F. coming so went out & up town. Etta caught up & we saw Bess G. so went over & met her. Decided to

go to Boston with Etta – so went – on the train. Bought just a pair. of thick stockings – and some cheese & crackers at W. K’s as the men were here in eve playing whist. Home before six – Read in eve – paper & “Octopus” & wrote in here. In bed by 9:45.
FLASH to Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sunny, breezy and cool.

Up at 6:30am

Made coffee and drank it.

Spent all morning sitting at my desk trying to download

frustratedwoman

My 2009 life

a photo onto my computer.

No luck.

Progress? I don’t think so.

Time for wineWhist.

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Word of the Day: Resurrection

Cricket Update: I found the bag o’  bugs.  When I went to drive Lewis and his fiends friends to tennis lessons – there it was in the car, on the floor of the passenger’s side. I had only checked the car three times. The crickets were dead and bloated. The boys passed around some Skittles, joked about the dead crickets and tossed the plastic bag of dead insects back and forth.

“Hey! I think one of them is still moving…”

When I got home, I examined the bag of crickets. One was moving. Then, two started to wiggle. In a few minutes, the entire bag of crickets had miraculously come back to life.

gecko

Note, the alive crickets perched on the rock.

I dumped them into the gecko’s cage.

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Word of the Day: Bugged

Do you ever feel like you are losing your mind? Do you ever walk into the kitchen and can’t remember why you are there  or  forget where you parked the car in an 8-story garage? Yesterday, I stopped at Petco to buy crickets for my son’s leopard gecko. The clerk knocked twenty-four, large-size, skittering  crickets into a plastic bag. “You have a Cricket Corral for these?” ” he asked. “Because they can chew through the bag in a few hours.” I paid twelve cents a piece for the insects, gently placed the bag of bugs in my environmentally-friendly canvas tote  and headed home. cricket2

cricket6When I pulled into the driveway, I noticed that my son’s skis, three  paper cups from Starbucks, a banana peel, two pairs of ice skates and some skanky soccer stuff was in the backseat. So, like a pack-mule, I made  several trips from the car to the house. Then I made myself a cup of tea, sat down at the kitchen table to take a stab at the Sunday crossword puzzle and remembered about the crickets.

BUT I COULDN’T FIND THEM.  They were gone. My canvas tote bag was empty.  They weren’t in the car or on the porch or even in the freezer, where I once absentmindedly stashed the mail. The words of the pimply-faced Petco clerk haunt me.

“They can chew through the bag….”  cricket7

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Word of the Day: Junk Mail

I must not have a life because I really look forward to the mail. But, for the past couple of days the contents of my mailbox have been totally disappointing. Not only were there no juicy letters with colorful stamps from faraway countries, but here was nothing. Just junk mail.

Yesterday's mail - all junk.

Yesterday's mail - all junk.

I complained to my mailman, Bob, about the quality of my mail. “I’ m not getting any thing good, Bob.” I said. “Maybe, the government could save money by delivering junk mail to my box only five days a week, instead of Monday through Saturday,” I suggested.

Bob bristled. “There is no such thing as junk mail,” he said.

UPDATE: My neighbor just knocked on the door. A piece of mail addressed to ME was accidentally delivered to her.  It was an actual letter – with colorful stamps and an airmail envelope -from one of the Japanese students who are coming to stay with us in April. I wrote about our last year’s students (see the “Natto” entry) when I first started this blog.  I can’t believe it’s been  a year!

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Word of the Day: 6,823.93

bush-naps1

George W. maintains his mediocre grades at Andover Academy

The stock market is crashing and the numbers are totally depressing. We have less than half the money we had last year. At least we had it on paper.  With private college tuition up around $50K a year, it’s not a good time to have middle-class white kids with mediocre grades. 

Maybe my kids aren’t geniuses because they inherited my inability to do math.  In fact, numbers have always given me a headache. Here’s some that are particularly irksome.

13- how many pounds I have gained  since my last child was born 15 years ago.

2 -  the number of cell phones I have put through the washer.

6- how many times during dinner Lewis asked  if he could get XBox Live.

3- the number of times we overslept this week and I had to drive Lewis to school.

4 - times two oldest have crashed the car. Luckily, no one -except the car and our insurance rates - were hurt.

3- the sizes that my foot has increased since I got married (and had kids).

7,3022 – the number of dinners that I have cooked since my first child was born.

7,276  – the number of meals I have cooked since becoming a mom that have included macaroni and cheese.

1/2 - the number of pages I am able to read of my book group’s selection before I fall asleep.

28- the number of shoes, cleats, iceskates, flip flops that are blocking the front door. There’s something about March – flip flops, snowboots, ice skates, soccer cleats…

32 – how many stairs I have to climb when I run through the house looking for my keys.

0 - the number of pounds I have lost while going up and down the 32 stairs.

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Word of the Day: Fiber

Lewis was sick (see previous post).  It seemed like he needed a little treat, so I asked him if he wanted anything special from the grocery store.

“Get Pop Tarts,” he said. “Brown sugar frosted Pop Tarts,” he specified.

Did I expect him to request broccoli, fish oil and flax seed? No.

So when I saw Brown sugar Pop Tarts made with whole grain, I figured that this was a compromise – frosting for Lewis and a bit of fiber to assuage my mommy guilt about buying junk food. I saw it as a win-win situation. pop-tarts

Lewis was thrilled with the Pop Tarts – until he saw the box. “Whole grain?” he noted with suspicion. “Fiber? Ugh. I don’t want these, I want regular Pop Tarts.”

The worst part was, my husband agreed.

“If you are going  to buy junk food,” he said, “buy the real stuff. Not something that is all hopped  up with whole wheat and fiber.Trying to pass off Pop Tarts as healthy is like making bacon out of tofu,” he proclaimed.” Later that afternoon, Harris went to the store and came back with Strawberry Pop Tarts with absolutely no whole grains. Lewis loved them.

Me? Turns out the Brown Sugar frosted Pop Tarts are only 200 calories  apiece  that’s the same as a plate of steamed broccoli and guess what –  the Pop Tarts have more fiber!  Here’s to my new favorite breakfast.

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Word of the Day: February Vacation

I’ve often wondered why schools have February vacation. I mean wasn’t Christmas break  just a minute ago? I could understand if families needed help  tapping their sugar maple trees or  birthing spring lambs or cutting blocks of ice out of the local ponds maple-sugaring-1940 - but here in suburban Massachusetts, February vacation seems like an evil plot by the Board of Education to test the limits of a mother’s sanity. I mean ten days without school in the middle of February? C’mon.

Fortunately, Lewis was invited to go skiing with his friend’s family this week. “I’m sick,” he says of his prowess on the slopes (see December 5th, 2008 post). Unfortunately,  he  is sick – not slalom champion sick – but sore throat, fever, runny nose sick.  So instead of spending February vacation skiing, he is lying on the couch in the tv room ordering cinammon toast, Oodles of Noodles and Easy Mac. I have to admit, I like a kid who is just a little bit sick. The low-grade fever slows him down just a little and makes him a little bit warmer and more receptive to sitting close to me on the couch and cuddling.

Of course all the closeness has a price and now my throat is suspiciously sore. All that Easy Mac has a price, too. Lewis didn’t have much of an appetite yesterday, so the dog finished the macaroni and cheese that was left on the coffee table and was up all night with diarreah.

Amid all the soggy Kleenex, the half-eaten bowls of neon-orange macaroni and the dog poop, it occured to me that perhaps February vacation was derived to quarantine sick kids and keep them and their germs at home so that they can return to school and stay there… until their mother’s regain their sanity.

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Word of the Day: Octuplets

The octuplets made their television debut this morning and their mom, Nadya Suleman, was ready for her close-up – plump lips, chisled nose and fresh French manicure.

french-maniAnyone who has ever diapered a newborn knows that long nails and poopie diapers go together like….fourteen kids and a media circus. And, while the public wonders how an unemployed, single mom will be able to support fourteen children (who will inevitably have some special needs) Nadya Suleman has faith in the volunteers from her church and in America’s insatiable appetite for reality television — no matter how unreal it seems.

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Word of the Day: Stimulus Package

Does anyone else blush when they hear Obama use the term “Stimulus Package?” stimulus-packagebmp4

It’s not often that you get to feel good about a corporation and today, I have reason to feel good about two large American conglomerates – UPS and Starbucks. I’d like to share my stories with the hope that other companies will want to emulate these two fine examples of customer service.

UPS – “Ask what Brown can do for you” Their slogan is Kennedy-esque although I never thought they really meant it – until today.

My daughter ordered three pairs of shoes from Zappos to be delivered on the day that she was catching a plane to leave on a semester abroad in AFRICA. She had ordered sneakers, slip-ons and really cute sandals that she simply couldn’t survive the semester without. At 4pm, the package hadn’t arrived and although the UPS on-line tracking said that it was on  its way, we she needed to catch a plane. NOW.

So…even though my daughter is a big girl and could have done this  herself, I called UPS and asked where the darn truck was. They called me back, I met the truck on the other side of town, the driver checked my ID and handed off the package of shoes. ups_truck1

Then…UPS called to make sure that everything was okay. They called me.  Disaster averted, shoes packed, daughter en route to South Africa for semester abroad. Whew.

I celebrated on the way home from the airport at Starbucks where the stoner behind the counter barrista took my order for a “tall, non-fat  latte” and offered me free whipped cream on top. “Most people don’t know this,” he said,  “but you can get free whipped cream on every beverage at Starbucks.” If everything was run like Starbucks and UPS, we wouldn’t need a stimulus package. images1

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Word of the Day: Pot Luck

I feel totally lucky to live in a neighbodhood where I like the people who live next door, across the street and down the block. In fact we like eachother so much, that we often get together for impromptu dinners, like the one at my house the other night.

Everyone was drinking wine and mulling around the kitchen. I was rummaging through the fridge to see what I could use to make salad dressing. As I tossed some oil,vinegar and mustard together, my neighbor said, “Hey! Isn’t that my bowl?” 

I don’t actually remember buying the bowl, but it’s been in my kitchen and played a key role in food preparation for  at least two or three years.  I wanted to say “Prove it!” Because I really like that bowl. It’s perfect size and the color goes great with my countertops.

“Maybe, it is yours,”  confessed. “But I left my favorite yellow bowl with the stripes somewhere, so I need this one.” I also need the little ceramic cheese tray that someone left at my Christmas open house, the salad tongs that were orphaned at a block party last  summer and a basket that was abandoned after I broke my elbow and the neighborhood responded with an outpouring of food delivered to our house.  

“I don’t have your yellow bowl,” she said. “But I do think that I have three of your wine glasses,” she  said, “and your fondue forks.”

 “You do?” I tried to remember when  I lent them to her.

“Let’s call it even,” she said. “The dressing needs more salt.”

Love this neighborhood.

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Word of the Day: Soft Scrub

It’s Friday and I am cleaning the house. Not because I am having a fancy dinner party, but because my daughter is coming home from college for the weekend and my oldest son will be here for dinner. Yes. I am cleaning for my kids. The same kids that just two or three years ago I nagged to pick up their socks and put their dirty dishes in the sink.  It’s not like I have to impress them.

I guess I am cleaning to prove to them that the messy house that they grew up in was all

their

fault.

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