Archive for April, 2009

Unbelievable

I was going to title this “Cow in Foxx Clothing,” but Peter says that attacking her personally probably isn’t helpful.

Whatever.

It’s my blog.

Representative Virgina Foxx is a horrible, horrible person. And a liar. And most definitely a piece of shit.

I lived in northern Colorado when Matthew Shepard was murdered. He did not die during a robbery. He died in a Ft Collins hospital after being beaten and left tied to a fence on a cold Wyoming winter night. He was killed because he was gay. It was not a hoax.

Earlier this month she used the phrase “tar baby” on the House floor. She’s dispicable. I hope she enjoys the hell she most certainly believes in.

Rep Foxx should be ashamed. I hope the good people on NC vote her out her next term.

The 400 is Coming

As luck would have it (and if I post tomorrow) Friday will be my 400th post.

I could wax nostalgic. Or I can give stuff away!

Let’s do that.

I’m giving away $10 Amazon or Starbucks gift card (winner’s choice) in a drawing on this post. And here you can have my copy of 10-10-10. Just leave a comment in the respective post.

I know, it does sort of sound like I’m bribing you for comments. Hmmm. Oh well, I can live with that.

The Many Faces of Elliot

Culture – UR Doin It Right!

We attended the Colorado Symphony Orchestra’s matinee on Sunday. They performed The Carnival of the Animals and Peter and the Wolf. Before the performance we visited the “petting zoo” where kids could see instruments in their natural habitats. Audrey really liked the violin, she liked it even more when she was able to get noise out of it.

Elliot reports that “listening to the instruments” was his favorite part of the our day out. Audrey says that “listening to the music” was her favorite part. That’s really weird, because yesterday their favorite parts were having soda with lunch and having beignets after the performance.

Audrey looks like Cousin It because it was really, really windy.

Dinner Photo Montage

We had a perfectly lovely evening with friends over for dinner. Below is Elliot’s take on the evening.

Decision Making (And a Give-Away!)

I suffer from analysis paralysis. Or I make rash decisions. I do both. In unequal amounts. And there is no pattern. I also like to remake decisions that cannot be remade, hypothesizing the different outcomes.

Take for example our most recent home purchase.

THREE years ago.

I still talk about the other house as if we have the chance to move in there any day we like. I talk about the neighborhood. What my furniture would be like. What our neighbors would be like. The skylights in the kitchen. I rehash that decision like I have control in the matter. It’s done. It’s been done for YEARS. And yet …

I think it’s because I’m not comfortable with how we came to our decision. Peter points out repeatedly that you make the best decision you can with the information you have and that’s that. Remaking the decision isn’t worth anything because you always have more information now than you did then. He’s right. I know he’s right.

When I was offered Suzy Welch’s 10-10-10 book, I jumped at the chance to gain some control over my decision making. Or at least some insight as to how sane people act.

You might know 10-10-10 from O magazine. And in case you don’t know Suzy Welch, her husband formerly ran a small little enterprise you might have heard of: they bring good things to life. (Aside: you could not attend business school in the 90s without reading a case study about Jack Welch and GE. I read so many I felt like I had worked there for years.)

Once I put Suzy Welch together with Jack Welch I recalled the turmoil that surrounded their getting together. I wondered, as I read, how was she going to handle that part of her life? She was using so many personal stories would she mention it, would she gloss over it? She addressed the matter head-on without delving too deeply – I respect her for that. If she had just glossed over a very sensational part of her life I am not sure I would have been able to continue the book. Without addressing it I think she would have seemed very Pollyanna. Who takes advice from Pollyanna?

Her book arrived at a time I was trying to make a decision about the kids’ preschool situation. Elliot is headed to Kindergarten in the Fall and will attend after school care at his school. Audrey still has another year of preschool before she enters the public school system.  Should I move Audrey to another school for only one year? I decided to apply Suzy’s 10-10-10 technique to my decision. Each 10 represents a time period: the immediate future, the near future and the distant future. It could be 10 minutes, 10 months and 10 years or it could be 1 day, 5 months and 3 years. Each situation will have its own time constraints.

In the immediate future it would be hard to move Audrey to a new school. She’d miss her friends and some of her teachers. She has the routine at that school down.

Jumping forward to  the far distant future, it wouldn’t matter if I had moved her or not. By then she would have experienced so many changes that what happened at 3 1/2 would have been a blip on the screen.

But that middle 10, the next six to ten months … that would be the killer. If I left her at the current preschool she would advance into the classroom that Elliot is now. Into the classroom where I have weekly conversations with the director about my concerns. Into a classroom where I’m not thrilled with the teaching techniques nor the diligence. Into a classroom that I’m not convinced Audrey would thrive in.

It became very clear. And my decision was much more reasonable. It wasn’t a snap judgment based on one bad day at school. And it’s not a decision I will remake and remake, because I know why I made the choice I did.

Audrey will change preschools.

Then another question popped up … should I move them for the summer? I had enough additional incidents that it seemed worth considering. But now it’s not just Audrey. It’s Audrey and Elliot. He’s already changing schools in August. Did I want to move him twice?

I employed 10-10-10 again. But this time I asked Elliot for additional information. Was he interested in changing schools? I gauged his reaction to the idea and we moved forward. The choice was made a lot easier because I had more information and a methods to sort through it. There was a lot of “I feel” and “I think” but not in the crazy ranting sort of way.

We decided to move the kids to the new preschool starting June 1. Elliot will change schools twice in the next four months. He’s completely nonplussed. I’m comfortable with the decision because I looked at it rationally and then I made a choice. I’m sure that without 10-10-10 I would have come to the same decision. I am also sure I have been remaking the decision every week this summer. With 10-10-10 I applied logic to the problem. I’m at peace with the decision because it was thoughtful, not knee-jerk.

That house we didn’t buy? It was cute! It had turn dial light switches a la 1950. And pocket doors. And the tile in the bathrooms was original pink (upstairs bath) and canary yellow (downstairs bath). But the roof was falling in. And the demographics of the neighborhood were older folks how had long ago sent their kids out into the world; our kids wouldn’t have had playmates. From a community perspective, we would have been lonely. This location is a much better choice for our family.

But I would have had lovely retro bathrooms in the other house.

—–

Do you want some insight into how other people make decisions? Leave me a comment before April 30 and you’ll be entered into a drawing to win my copy of 10-10-10.

A Little Maniacal

There’s no point to this picture, except that it’s funny

And this one is just plain sweet

How many more years will they allow me to dress them in coordinating outfits?

KaBOOM!

Last year at Thanksgiving Peter took the kids to visit his parents for two weeks. He and the kids would occasionally head into town to feed Peter’s caffeine needs. Sometimes they’d want to go a park. You’d think that since Peter grew up there he might know where the parks are, but you’d be wrong. Things have changed and it was a long time ago. Also, it’s funny what you don’t pay attention to when you don’t have kids. Apparently playground locations is one of those things.

Peter did try to ask the internets about parks, but he got no love. And at the time there wasn’t a good park site with user generated content.

KaBOOM! to the rescue. With a quick query in the “Find a Playspace” section I found 4 parks that were in the general vicinity of Peter’s dealers Peter’s coffee haunts. But KaBOOM! is so much more than just a place to find a playspace.

KaBOOM! is a national non-profit dedicated to bringing play back into the lives of our children. We passionately believe that play has purpose. We are driven to create a movement in support of this belief. To create this mass action we do three things. We facilitate building innovative, kid-inspired playspaces, using a community-build model which improves the well-being of the children we serve as well as the communities in which they live. We create platforms and opportunities for the collaborative sharing and continual improvement of knowledge and tools needed for anyone to build playgrounds on their own. And we are advocates of the importance for each child to have a safe and engaging place, as well as the time, to play—knowing that this experience makes children happier, fitter, smarter, and more socially adept and creative in the here and now and in the future.

Sure, you can find a park in a town unknown to you or an unknown park in your own town. They’re trying to make a difference in the lives of children everywhere. Read what inspired the founders to act and I dare you not to be moved.

I want you to be moved.

On Friday, May 1 I’ll draw a name from the commentors that leave a link to their own KaBOOM! submissions. Log into KaBOOM!, add your playspaces to their database, leave me a comment linking to your addition(s) and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card (or $10 Starbucks card, your choice). Additionally, KaBOOM! is running a contest to add 100,000 playspaces in 100 days … two-time Dancing with the Stars winner Julianne Hough is donating $1 per addition to the KaBOOM! database. You can win prizes there too!

So, go and document your playspaces! And even though I am not eligible to win my own drawing, I’ll post some of our parks too.

Tax Day Celebration

To celebrate tax day Amy and I decided to check out how the other half lives. We took advantage of spa week at the Ritz-Carlton Spa. I was ready to move in before any of the treatments. Yes, I would have missed my family. But I could have soaked away my sadness in the whirlpool. (I apologize for the quality of the pictures – it’s hard to get good pictures sans flash without a tripod.)

First we sat in here

And then in here

And then here

Where we sat here and drank fruit infused water and ate yogurt covered pretzels

And then a massage, a facial and this on my toes

I looked like this

All shiny and oily because I didn’t scrub enough in their shower with their soap before I wore their robe and dried my hair with their blow dryer.

The extraordinary wealthy might be that way because they don’t have to waste their money on shampoo, conditioner, soap, blow dryers, curling irons, hair brushes, q-tips, mouthwash or tampons (that’s all the stuff we had available to use).

I can’t wait to go again, just 51 more weeks until spa week!

Beyond Trifle

I can’t make very many things, but the things I can make I like to think I make well. I like the idea of having a signature dish. The thing that when someone else is having a potluck they say, “You have to bring your (fill in the blank).”

I make a great green salad. Boring you say? Hardly. Strawberries and mandarin oranges. Or tex-mex themes with green chilis and corn. You get the picture, I spice it up.

For a long time my standby desert was trifle.

Then it became pumpkin cheesecake.

That’s my repertoire.

The end.

Except I don’t want it to be the end. I’d like to be able to make a fantastic side dish. Maybe a killer potato salad. What say you, Internets? What should I learn to make? What never fails you? And will you tell me you recipe?

I’ll offer you a little something up-front, in exchange. If you’re invited to an impromptu BBQ and don’t have anything to bring take one of your bowls to the deli counter at your local grocer. Have them tare the scale with your bowl and then fill it with macaroni salad or beans or whatever. They’ll put plastic wrap on it and hand you the scan tag. You go to the BBQ with something in your own bowl. No one has to know you didn’t make it.

ooh! Maybe a dip?

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