Twin 5 Year Olds’ Excellent Adventure

I asked my twin sons what they want for their birthday next week because all the well-meaning family and friends are asking. 

Let’s skip the part where you ask me how I couldn’t know already, I get a guilt trip, I start eating peanutbutter & chocolate chips and just cut to the chase:  The List.

I’m not making this up. I couldn’t make this up.  I wish I could keep a tape recorder next to them at all times — it’s like a comedy routine.  And so, The List:

Twin A:

  1. Barbies
  2. Writing pad
  3. Coloring things, painting stuff
  4. Car race track
  5. Pollys
  6. G-Force cup or animal cup

Twin B:

  1. Fake giant ice cream truck for our kitchen with real ice cream, Batman ice cream, Spiderman ice cream, Superman ice cream, Dora ice cream, and iCarly ice cream.
  2. Giant swimming pool for the backyard.
  3. A puncher arm you put on your arm and you can swing it out and punch people.
  4. (Something about a giraffe — I was laughing too hard and missed this)
  5. Batman Legos
  6. Legos
  7. Star Wars: Clone Wars — which he insisted was Crown Wars
  8. Nerf swords
  9. Frisbee

Yes, they’re fraternal twins.  How could you tell?

September 25, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

A Coward Goes to BlogHer

Long ago, what seems like eons ago, I registered for BlogHer. Too late to get a full conference pass, I had to settle for a Saturday only pass.  I remember swearing violently at my computer screen in a way that would convince you I actually had thought much about going before the 10 minutes I took to fill out the form.

I believe there was actual spittle involved in this episode.

So, when that weekend rolled around, I sheepishly admit I didn’t want to go.  Yes, I know this is sacrelig in the women’s blogging community and there will probably be some hater comments (Ha! as if anyone reads this!) but it’s true.  Why? My reasons read like a tag cloud: Dallas…Thursday… Friday… kids… PT… nanny….blah blah… avacado…

Biggest one: Cowardice. 

One of my Twitter friends who I’ve never met (but who seems cool enough, or at least not a crazy stalking murderer posing as a Twitter friend) compared my Saturday arrival to transferring to a new high school senior year.

CRAP!  Hadn’t even thought of that, but yes, arriving ALONE at BlogHer on Saturday might feel like that.  Though, if I worked this right, I could leave with awesome blonde, curly hair and super-tight leather black pants with to-die-for heels and maybe official Pink Lady status and  John Travolta as my boyfriend. 

Anyhoo, long story short (too late), I motivated and went.  To what might be a 30-something’s version of a slumber party, complete with Mary Kay ladies, food binges, laughter and even some crying.

The crying, well most of it was from the babies there, but I’m told a few women cried when they met Tim Gunn.  (I’m sorry, but I had to look up who Tim Gunn was on my blackberry when people were getting excited to see him.)

Was it worth it?  Maybe. I’m on the fence. I think I’d need to go for a full BlogHer to get the real feel for it.  Saturday-only definitely felt haphazard.

How’s that for a conference summary?!

Key takeaways: 

  • Most women blogging — seriously or for fun — are nice, smiley and interested in learning.
  • Keynote panels still don’t do it for me.
  • Food blogging is huge. I don’t care much about what I eat on any given day. Therein lies the gap.
  • If you want to be a humor columnist, start a blog and say you’re one. (Seriously, this was one piece of advice I heard.)  Ummm, ok.
  • The cookie bar at BlogHer gets an F (NO CHOCOLATE CHIP! I’M PRETTY SURE THAT’S A CRIME.)

So, if you feel like it, I’m open to reasons to try again next year on a full conference pass. Let’s hear ’em!

August 11, 2009. Tags: , . Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Excuse me!

So, if you were sitting on an airplane next to a person who was audibly passing gas repeatedly without once flinching, saying excuse me or acknowledging it in even a minimal way, what would you do?

If you are me, the answer would be nothing. At least, that’s what I did last week. Nothing. (Btw, the term “doing nothing” seems an oxymoron, yes?)

No, I’m not making it up. On a flight from Dallas to Chicago last week, I sat next to a more than middle-aged woman who farted at least 15 times from the time we boarded to when we landed without even one tiny whispered, “Excuse me.”

I’m not sure why the ongoing non-acknowledgement became almost more upsetting to me than the actual gas and resulting smell. But it did. I mean, c’mon. I know there are people who feel this is totally normal and acceptable in public, though I’m not one. And I know there are people with legitimate medical issues that make their flatulance more prolific.

But, I’m a human being and yes, I’ve been awake since 5 a.m. and NO I DIDN’T PRAY TO THE DON’T-LET-ME-SIT-NEXT-TO-THE-GAS-LADY GOD TODAY.  WOULD A LITTLE EXCUSE ME OR EVEN A SHEEPISH SMILE KILL YOU?

Sigh. Truth is stranger than fiction.

March 9, 2009. Tags: , . Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Second time around

I’ve been thinking about second chances lately. It’s been something I’ve been mulling since the summer, and while I’ve known I wanted to write about the subject, I wasn’t quite sure what to say.

With the new year, the timing seemed right to try to put my thoughts into words.

Giving someone a second chance can be extending an olive branch after you’ve been hurt or wronged. On the flip side, if you believe the adage, “Fool me once, shame on you; Fool me twice, shame on me,” second chances may seem foolish.

How do you know when a second chance will make a difference? How can you measure the risk — to yourself, your family, your job, your whatever — when you give one? 

How many times have you wished you’d get one?

Why, you ask, have I been fixated on this? (Ok, maybe you didn’t, but this is my blog so keep on walkin’ if it’s a problem).

Some of it is obvious… new year, new resolutions to make and try to keep. But it was really a sad story with my brother’s dog that started this train of thought for me.

This cute dog, a shelter dog with an unknown past and a leg that had to be amputated, truly had been given a second chance on life when my brother’s family adopted him. My brother is a sweet, amazing person and he can see the good in nearly everyone and everything.

But, something inside this poor animal was just broken and un-save-able.  A couple minor incidents and one big one later, it was clear a second chance in a love-filled home was not going to save the dog.

I started thinking about what would have happened if this dog were a person. This dog fiercely loved and protected my two-year old niece. There was goodness in him. Probably more good than bad.  But something about the latter wouldn’t let the dog be free. Would a person like this dog have been given a second chance at all after being cast aside?  Would he get a third after a violent, unprovoked incident? 

I’ve probably had a 50-50 track record on giving people second chances. Not sure I could point to rhyme or reason when I give them either.  But, if something inside me were broken, and I needed one, I sure hope I’d get one. Maybe I’ll have to work on consistency here in 2009.

What about you? Do you allow do-overs? Have you gotten one that’s changed your life?

January 6, 2009. Uncategorized. 2 comments.

An Open Letter to my Mom on the Eve of my Dad’s Wedding

Dear Mom:

It’s almost four years since you died. Sometimes it feels like a lifetime ago and sometimes it feels like yesterday.  Mostly, it feels long, long ago as it’s hard to remember what life felt like when you were here.

Time has marched on just as everyone predicted. I don’t know if your absence has gotten easier to bear, but I’ve certainly become more used to it. It’s corny but true; you are still very much alive, carried in the hearts of many of us still here. You are very loved, appreciated, emulated and admired. 

So let me get to the point of why I’m writing. I wanted to fill you in on big news, if Dad hasn’t already.

Dad is getting married this weekend.  Surprisingly (to everyone else, I think) I’m truly happy and excited for him and for his fiancée.  He is marrying a really great woman who was widowed at a young age. She has terrific kids and really has become part of the family.  I am so impressed with how she has respected Dad’s large extended family and embraced it. I’m sure it can be intimidating and overwhelming, but she’s never tried to separate him from those he loves. I respect that and think it reflects her own confidence in who she is and their relationship. That is huge. She’s not exactly like you (though she looks like she could be your sister or mine) but I kind of like that. It’s like Dad isn’t trying to re-create his life with you, which would make me uncomfortable. For, how could he ever? I like that it’s a new chapter for him, for our family and one that’s about them and not about you or his life before.

It wasn’t Plan A, but it’s a pretty ideal Plan B. And it’s filled with love.

I think you are on the same page. I am once again grateful for the time we had together to prepare for your death, as awful as it seemed at the time. I hope you take comfort in knowing even though you’re not here, you make me a better person each day. 

I’m happy that Dad isn’t alone, and I know you would be too. I’m happy he’s so happy again. I’m happy he has someone to do all those things with that you both probably talked about doing together once the kids were older and he was slowing down at work. I wish it were with you, but I’m not angry he gets to do it with someone else and I hope no one begrudges him that. I’m happy he has someone to love him as a partner and not just as a child or grandchild would. I’m happy that this very nice woman seems to appreciate him, and I’m glad for her that she will have someone as amazing as Dad with whom to share her life. I’m happy that she’s become my friend and that it’s easy and not stressful for us to spend time together. I’m very happy that her kids, who aren’t that much older than mine and were all but babies when they lost their dad, will have a father figure in their life who is a good role model, a great man and a wonderful dad.  They deserve that.

Overall I’m very happy for them, and for Dad.

I won’t lie and say I’m not also sad.

I’m sad you’re not here. I’m sad that you can’t be the one to do all those things you both probably talked about doing together one day, when there would be time and money. I’m sad you didn’t get time to reap the joys of being a grandmother, and I’m sad you had such a small window of time to be friends with your daughter. You deserved that – you, the woman whose own mother teased her, calling her Pollyanna for being so sweet, good and truthful.  I’m sad I don’t have a mom to call for advice or shop with or gossip to or complain about our jobs, husbands and kids. I’m sad you had more years with the push-and-pull of mothering and not more years of the reward of friendship with your children and the grandchild adoration. I’m sad that my kids will never know you nor get that special grandmother time with you or have you at school events, holiday celebrations or milestone moments. I’m sad they won’t get postcards from you on vacation and sleepovers at your house on school breaks. I’m sad that you will not be here to teach them proper etiquette and good manners and how to keep their stomachs in and their shoulders back for good posture, as I know from my own experience how unlikely it is they’ll listen to those lessons from their mom or dad.

I’m sad you won’t have that chance to utter, “I didn’t wish it on you,” as you laugh, watching them as teenagers treat me the way I know I treated you.  I’m sad they won’t have you to call from college when they’re mad at me. I’m sad you won’t be there to speak your mind about the people they’ll date or to beam with pride when they get married or start their first jobs or have children.

Basically, I am so sorry for you that you’re gone. I don’t know they’ll ever understand what they lost.

Maybe another time I’ll share a letter with you about what they’re like today. I wrote quite a bit about them to put in here for you. But this was supposed to be about sharing this weekend’s news with you and letting you know I’m okay. Everyone keeps asking, so you were probably wondering too.

I love you, I love Dad and I love my family. Old and new.

Love, Me

December 5, 2008. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. 2 comments.

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