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Archive for July, 2007

The Ladies

Lady A and Lady V were — coincidentally — born on the same day, an hour and a half apart. These Birthday Sisters have known each other since they were 8.5 months old and have been fast friends ever since. They don’t see much of each other anymore…since leaving the child care center where they met they go to schools about an hour apart (such is the geography of the VA/MD/DC metro area). Still, they pick up where they left off as if no time at all has passed between visits.

Mommy K and I have been meaning to get them together for awhile now…”awhile” being about a year…but this takes an advanced degree in logistics plus $30 gas money. Finally the stars aligned today and not only are The Ladies together again — it’s for a 2 NIGHT SLEEPOVER (see above re: logistics..I’m a Cool Mom but not that Cool without external impetus.) And any parent knows, sleepovers — let alone double sleepovers — are The Coolest Thing Ever to 3rd Graders.

Whereas The Coolest Thing Ever to me was seeing a look of pure, ecstatic joy on two little faces when they saw each other tonight. Seriously, I cannot remember the last time I was as happy as they looked – and I’m a pretty happy person.

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Last night I came across an old baby picture of mine. I am wearing a diaper, laying down on a god-awful 1970s white faux-fur rug (someone clearly saw Porn Star in my future, I’m sure), wearing a face known in my family as “The Funge.” Don’t ask – I can’t explain it. Anyway, the resemblance between me at 2 and Muppet is striking. I showed the picture to Beans, asking “who do you think this is?” Ever the narcissist, she said “ME!!” And the following conversation ensued…

“Actually, it’s mommy.”
“REALLY? You used to be a baby!”
“Well, everybody started out as a baby.”
“Not everybody…”
“Yes, everybody.”
“NO!! No, not the first people ever – they couldn’t have been babies.”

<this is getting interesting…I am about to see unfold before my eyes some serious critical thinking for a 7 year old>

“Why not?”
“MOM. If the first people ever were babies, where did they come from?”
“Good point. They didn’t just appear out of nowhere.”
“So where DID the first people come from?”
“Do you know what evolution means?”
“Erm…..when animals die and there are no more of them?”
“No, that’s extinction. Evolution is how, over millions and millions of years, a species develops into a whole brand new species. People didn’t start out as people – we started out as apes and over millions of years, some of the apes changed and developed into human beings. ”
“Oh!! OH OH OH!!! I KNOW THAT!! I saw a show on DiscoveryKids and I learned that a long time ago, some flying dinosaurs like Pterodactyls are ancestors to birds. And somewhere, they found a dinosaur bone that had two feathers on it!”

Damn, I have one smart cookie for a kid.

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I had my choice of two topics to write about today – the fact that July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month or a pamphlet someone handed me yesterday on the corner of 7th and H about Jews for Jesus. I decided I haven’t had enough to drink tonight to do J-f-J justice, so Getting Saved will have to wait until tomorrow.

Tonight DH and I saw a TV commercial for National Cell Phone Courtesy month. We sat there, open-mouthed, waiting for the punch line. There’d be one, right? RIGHT? Ahh – whew. The commercial was on Comedy Central. Thank FSM – it was a joke!

But then… the very small, distant part of my brain that still functions at 10pm piped up: “Hey! Americans are just that stupid that it might not be a joke.” So I threw myself at the feet of the All-Powerful, Ever-Mighty God of Knowledge — Google — to see what I could see.

Shut Up! Really? National Cell Phone Courtesy Month?? Has it really come to this – are we so lacking in manners, so unaware, that we’ve let someone create and profit from an awareness campaign about Techno-Rudeness 101? Only in America, folks.

According to Jacqueline Whitmore, who is apparently one of the nation’s foremost experts on etiquette and protocol, wireless phone users can take these steps to avoid offending others:

1. Be all there. When you’re in a meeting, performance, courtroom or other busy area, let calls go to voicemail to avoid a disruption. In some instances, turning your phone off may be the best solution.

  • Really? Pay full attention to what you are doing? Who knew.

2. Keep it private. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid discussing private or confidential information in public. You never know who may be in hearing range.

  • I know some colleagues of mine that would do well to learn this lesson, cell phones or not. At 25, Blondie, you’re a bit old to scream I HATE YOU at your mother on the phone while at work.

3. Keep your cool. Don’t display anger during a public call. Conversations that are likely to be emotional should be held where they will not embarrass or intrude on others.

  • Again, this is news?

4. Learn to vibe. Use your wireless phone’s silent or vibration settings in public places such as business meetings, religious services, schools, restaurants, theaters or sporting events so that you do not disrupt your surroundings.

  • I admit I was stupidly excited when a few weeks ago, my brother showed me the “shortcut” way to silence my phone. I’m all about “one touch of a button.” He also taught me to lock my phone so my 18-month old nephew could play with it without dialing Singapore in the process.

5. Avoid “cell yell.” Remember to use your regular conversational tone when speaking on your wireless phone. People tend to speak more loudly than normal and often don’t recognize how distracting they can be to others.

  • Hey dad, this means you. And it applies to all phones, not just cell phones.

6. Follow the rules. Some places, such as hospitals or airplanes, restrict or prohibit the use of mobile phones, so adhere to posted signs and instructions. Some jurisdictions may also restrict mobile phone use in public places.

  • Yo – Super-Important Guy in 7A…this means you. We don’t care that you’re performing bladder surgery over the phone. The airplane door has been secured. What part of “at this time you must turn off and stow all electronic devices” did you not understand?

7. Excuse yourself. If you are expecting a call that can’t be postponed, alert your companions ahead of time and excuse yourself when the call comes in; the people you are with should take precedence over calls you want to make or receive.

  • See numbers 1 and 3.

8. Send a message. Use Text Messaging to send and receive messages without saying a single word.

  • Note to self – explain text messaging to my mom. After she called me twice while I was in a Very Important Meeting (and yes, I had Learned To Vibe by this time) I surreptitiously text her with “in a mtg. call u in 15.” So she does what any self-respecting mother would do…SHE CALLED ME to ask me what was more important than talking to my mother.

9. Watch and listen discreetly. New multimedia applications such as streaming video and music are great ways to stay informed and access the latest entertainment. However, adjust the volume based on your surroundings in much the same way that you would adjust your ringer volume. Earphones are a great way to avoid distracting others in public areas.

  • I’ve got news for you, sweetpea – earphones don’t do shit if you have your volume cranked high enough to break the sound barrier. Keep your Ghostface Killah away from my U2.

10. Alert silently. When using your phone’s walkie-talkie feature, send the person you’re trying to reach a Call Alert before starting to speak. If you’re around other people, turn off your phone’s external speaker and use the vibration setting to minimize any disturbance and to respect your contact’s privacy.

  • This is my personal fave. Those “breaker 1-9, breaker 1-9” squawky thingies spook me every time.

And you wonder how we got into the Iraq mess?

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Pay It Forward

Wrekehavoc’s 4 year old friend Mason continues his year-long battle with brain cancer. After some recent not-so-great news, he is now undergoing experimental treatments. Realizing the financial and emotional stress on Mason’s family, some terrific friends from Mason’s school have formed the Celebration of Life Fund. Monies donated will allow Mason’s mom and dad to spend more time with Mason and not worry about bills so much at this time. It isn’t tax-deductible, so think of a time a stranger graced you with a random act of kindness and pay it forward.

If you can, please donate – no matter how small. Here’s how.

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Bye, Boomer

BoomerBoomer 1

Boomer was my all-time favorite dog, ever. He wasn’t mine but my whole street loved him as if he belonged to all of us. Thanks, B&A, for sharing him with us all of these years. We’ll really miss him.

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Meme Restaurants

I am so past hip that I had to look up the definition of Meme… Her Wreke-ness tagged me with this Meme.

Top 5 Restaurants… I’m going to try and stick to places close to my backyard — Annapolis — because as far as “DC Metro Area” goes, Maryland gets the shaft and as far as Maryland goes, Annapolis is the outer reaches of civilization. People come here to sail, gawk at the plebes, lobby at the Statehouse, and eat crabs but few realize what a fun, funky, vibrant little downtown Annapolis has if you just wander off the well-worn tourist path. Road not taken and all that…

Here are the rules:

  • link to the person who tagged you.
  • include the state and country you live in.
  • list top five favorite local restaurants.
  • tag five other people and let them know they’ve been tagged.

1. Lemongrass Annapolis, MD I work in Chinatown in DC and was irritated to no end that until 2 years ago, there was no decent Thai restaurant there (the crappy place that closed 5-6 years ago on the corner of H and 4th didn’t even qualify as edible. Now we have Kanlaya, which is fine in a pinch.) Crystal Thai is a serious schlep for me so thank FSM I found Lemongrass. Curries, Pad Thai, crab fried rice, lettuce cups, papaya salad, lemongrass soup… it’s all delish. Nice atmosphere, kid friendly. Ample parking in the garage just behind the restaurant. Small place so expect waits at popular times.

2. Sputnik Cafe Crownsville, MD. Funky, casual-but-upscale Asian fusion with a twist. A really eclectic decor and amazing food. Probably kid-ok, but it’s so relaxing and off-beat we go there to escape our ankle-biters, not entertain them. I think it’s one of the best restaurants in Annapolis. After seeing Ratatouille with the kids on July 4 (awesome kid’s movie… go see it) DH was in the mood for great food – he said “let’s go to Sputnik!” The link will take you to a badly written though positive restaurant review – the restaurant website seems to be down.

3. Cafe Bretton Severna Park, MD. Best. Food. Ever. A fabulous, romantic “occasion” French restaurant. Excellent food, terrific service. Many of the herbs and vegetables are grown on-site in the gardens. The early bird special is a total steal (about $25 for 3 courses) – otherwise it’s a bit spendy but well worth it. Not for the kiddos.

4. The Mexican Cafe Annapolis, MD. Way off the beaten path all the way down Forest Drive near Quiet Waters park. A total local hangout known for fresh salsa and the best ‘rita’s in Annapolis. “Real” Mexican food – very tasty, but not for the faint of heart. Crowded on weekends and after the Wednesday night races. But there’s nothing like sitting outside on a beautiful day at The Cafe!

5. Mike’s Crab House Riva, MD. It’s Annapolis – there had to be at least one crab place! Mike’s rocks – it’s locals-only, none of that touristy Buddy’s Crabs and Ribs crap. Pretty good crab cakes (though you can’e beat Harris’ on Kent Island for crab cakes) and usually well-steamed decent selection of crab sizes. On the water, picnic tables, etc. Forget whatever you’ve heard about overrated Jimmy Cantler’s and go here instead.

And here’s a freebie for you – Chowhound is a great source for local restaurant info, recommendations, questions…wherever “local” is for you!

I have no one to tag – unless Sue will let me tag her. How sad is that?!

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We Trashed That Place!!

So yesterday, Muppet went back to her old child care center just for the day. For 7 years, I was a spoiled brat with respect to child care — I had my children in an absolutely wonderful child care center in my office building. Any working mom worth her salt can tell you what a blessing that is – more time with your kids, easy to nurse them when they are young, drop in and read a story, etc. When Mupps turned 2 last year, we (sadly) said goodbye to this lovely nirvana and put her in a school much closer to home for a variety of logistical reasons. Though her new school is just dandy, I’m still nostalgic about the old place. So when I realized on Tuesday July 3 that the new school was closed on Thursday July 6, I — after a brief freak-out session — called her old school to see if they could take Mupps as a “drop-in” for the day. Being a holiday week, no problem!

Muppet was understandably skeptical of this new-old-school. She doesn’t remember any of it, including the teachers who have loved both my kids for years. OK, skeptical is putting it mildly…she was a sobbing, whimpering, preschooler who was superglued to my legs. No amount of cajoling would make her unstick herself. So imagine my absolute delight and surprise when up runs Jools! Jools — or Hellboy, as his mom is wont to call him — is the son of my dear friends Jim and Sher. We don’t see them nearly enough so Jools was at first a bit unsure about the woman who swooped him up in a big hug.

“Are you Zara’s mom?” he asked.
“No, sweetie, I’m Katie’s mom! Remember you played at our house for your mom’s birthday?”
<nothing>
“We had a chocolate cake?”
<still nothing…clearly I was going to have to pull out the big guns>
“Jools, remember the purple paint in the basement?”

<Blindingly clear recognition spreads across Little Man’s face>

“YEAH, WE TRASHED THAT PLACE!!”

That they did…

And from that moment on, Mupps had a Friend in the new-old-school. Jools got a book and took Mupps by the hand, led her over to the reading corner and sweet as pie, they read a story. As Sher later said, I guess purple paint can bond you like nothing else can.

“Katie, do you want me to read with you?”
“No, mom, bye-bye — see you at lunch!”

Thanks, Jools, for making Katie’s day! Next time, the mohawk’s on me!

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Kid(s) Rock

Late this afternoon I had some snuggle time with Beans – she had a headache and was lounging about in her bed. As we were reading a chapter in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix ( she’s gotta catch up – Harry Potter 5 will be in theaters July 11 and Harry Potter 7 will be released in hardcover July 21 — but I digress…) she caught sight of the purple rubber bracelet around her ankle. We got them at the True Colors concert on Fathers’ Day and she’s wanted to wear it ever since (she’s a kid with a sense of balance – it complements the red one on her other ankle from Bethany Beach in May.) I noticed her looking at it and I asked if she remembered what it was for.

“Yes, Matthew Shepard…Mamma, what happened to him? I forget.”
“He died, honey.”
“How, Mamma?”
“He was killed, Beans.”
“Why, Mamma?”
“Some men hated him because he was different from them.”
“How was he different?”
“It’s hard to explain, Beans.”
“Try.”
“Well…he was a boy who liked other boys. Most boys like girls.”
“You mean like Mr. Dave and Mr. Ray?”
“Yeah, honey. Like that.”
“So? That doesn’t matter.”
“I don’t think it matters either, but some people think it matters a lot.”
“Well, Mamma, those people are wrong. All that matters is that you are a good person.”

Rock on, sister. The world should be run by 7 year olds.

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BoBo the Sperm Girl?

I was traveling in Seattle and LA all week with some cow-orkers. The days are long and intense but they usually end with beer and I was with cool people so…

Thursday night we got on the topic of nationality-specific sperm banks (don’t ask – apparently there’s a branch of a Scandinavian sperm bank operating in NYC because the demand for Blond/blue-eyed babies is so high) — we wondered how they enforce such policies. The conversation further degenerates…Do you have to prove your nationality? What if you *are* that nationality but don’t look like the stereotype? What if you emigrated to said country from somewhere completely opposite looks-wise — like from China to Sweden?

Now – keeping in mind the aforementioned beer…I chimed in with “HEY – what if *I* forged a Danish passport and went to the Scandinavian sperm Bank in NYC – they’d HAVE to take me even though I am short and Italian, otherwise it would be discrimination.

So my friends look at me and say:

“I’m betting you’re not donating at a sperm bank no matter what nationality they require. But otherwise, good plan.”

Good thing I know these people fairly well by now, as I think this may be why ABL told me years ago “let people get to know you a little bit before you let them see that you’re a complete spaz.”

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