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After a week in Florida with my dad for his back surgery (went well) and an unexpected 4-day business trip (for which I left for straight from Florida) this is my first night/day back home…

Thursday 3/24 7:15pm: “MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY YOU’RE HOME!!!!!”
Thursday 3/24 7:58pm: “Mom, we have cultural day at school tomorrow. We need to wear costumes from another country.”
Friday 3/25 6:48am: “You —  wear a lei; you’re Polynesian. You — carry this purse Wiz got you on her cruise. It’s from Panama. Put the bird whistle I got you from Peru in it. You’re South American”
Friday 7:03am: “Mommy, I broke the lei by accident.”
Friday 7:04am: <ties lei> “Here – it’s a shorter lei. It’s fine, you’re a shorter kid.”
Friday 7:05am: “Mommy, I want to wear my USA flag bandana AND carry the purse.”
Friday 7:05am: “Good job. Wear it. Now you’re NAFTA.
Friday 7:08am: “Hon, I have to go to work but there’s a bird in the house. Here’s a net; try and catch it ok?”
Friday 7:12am: Bird appears to be some sort of woodpecker.
Friday 7:47am: Catch and release.
Friday 8:00am: <wonders> Who decides, really, that you can’t respectably drink before noon…? It’s April – in college that used to mean Greek Week. And Sunrise ‘tails… Hmmm…
Friday 8:02am: God invented Coffee and Bailey’s for a reason…

Excellent parenting — one bottle at a time.

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Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

Please please please please can I have Harry Potter 4? I’m his biggest fan. I know what his name is! It’s Daniel. Like my dad. If no one sees you my little cousin Jake will cry, because everybody likes Santa. Everyone would have a sad Christmas. Some people are already decorated, like a lot of people. Like all the people in the world. Everybody already has their Christmas trees. No one will set a fire in the fireplace on Christmas because if you come down then you’d get your bottom burnt.

Can you deliver every present to every child every Christmas? What do you elves look like? Do your reindeer need coats? How many? Can you send me a picture of them?

Do you deliver presents to animals if they’ve been good? Do you drop fish upon the lakes so bigger fish can eat them? How pretty is the moon when you fly by it? Would you send me a picture? Can you eat it? Is it really cheese or is it just moon with a lot of water in it? I would like to know.

Thank you Santa. I was just wondering those questions.

Love, Katie

ps:  Just in case you were wondering, my family members are Jackie, Daniel, ANYA.

I’m Still Laughing

I went to my fair share of keggers in college (ok, more than my fair share) and the people who threw the parties sometimes did some fairly stupid things…such as videotaping their hazing rituals and leaving the tapes in the fraternity’s party room after they left for the summer…the campus cleaning crew found them and the fraternity was kicked off campus.   Another fraternity hired a stripper for their graduating seniors, paid them with a House check…which bounced. She complained (or filed suit, I can’t remember which) and the fraternity got kicked off campus.

But this is my favorite yet… as my friend Deb said, can you say Darwin Awards?  I’m thinking the parents of these three college students aren’t getting their money’s worth…

Note to my kids — when you go to college, if you throw or attend a college beer-blast, make sure you’re not within earshot of the town police station, please.

Got Friends, Part II

The recent Facebook post reminded me of another Facebook phenomenon…mutual friends. Facebook tells you when you have a friend in common with another friend. I’m friends with Wreke, Silver Wendy (so named by Anya) is friends with Wreke; Wendy and I have a mutual friend. So do Wreke and I.

Most of the time, I know how the Mutual Friend came to be. Wreke met Silver Wendy through me, for example. But there have been a few times when different parts of my life have bumped into each other without me realizing it — when I have Mutual Friends and don’t know it, or discover it accidentally and can’t figure out why two people from different parts oof my life know each other.

The first time it happened, Carmen (a cow-orker) asked me about Kelly (the wife of a guy I went to school with.) Turns out they are friends in their own right — I think they met because both are active in their national sorority. There there’s Terry, (a cow-orker) and Alison (we sang in the sang a cappella group) — turns out they sang together at Cornell.

A variation on the theme is even weirder…when two people I know from totally different parts of my life are not friends with each other, but have a friend (not me) in common. I don’t think there is an official Facebook term for this – I’m going to call it Friend Connection. I think FC is harder to discover. With plain-vanilla mututal friends, Facebook points it out to you. Alison knew Terry was my friend because when Alison and I became friend, Facebook told her “hey, you and Jackie have a friend in common.”  With FC, you sort of discover it by accident.

My most recent FCs… Deb (friend from high school) and Josh (friend from college) have a Mutual Friend named Cap’n Jon Connors. I only figured this out when Cap’n Jon “liked” one of Josh’s post, and, thinking that Jon Connors was actually someone I knew, clicked through to his profile. There I saw he was friends with my old high school pal Deb. I wonder why they know the same person.

Another one:  Kristin, the kid I babysat for since she was born, had a baby recently. One of the people who congratulated her has such an unusual last name, I just knew she had to be related to a girl I sang with in college. Sure enough, my college acquaintence and Kristin’s friend are sisters.

I guess there are more links to Kevin Bacon than we realize.

Elf-tastic

Yes, it’s that time of year again… makes me laugh every time.

 

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Got Friends?

I have 300 friends, or so Facebook tells me.  THREE HUNDRED??  I don’t think I can name 300 friends, let alone “friends” Facebook says I have. Let’s set aside larger questions of what is a friend, and when does someone become a friend vs. an acquaintance. Also a topic for another day —  whether someone who was a friend many years ago once again a friend today because, through the magic of Facebook,  I am constantly aware of the mundane details of their lives…they are a Yankees fan instead of a Mets fan, their kid was a robot for Halloween, they are sitting in traffic on 95…

I can’t remember when I caved and joined The Great Timesuck — it may have been around reunion time a couple of years ago when the curiosity about the kid who sat next to me in Mrs. Passor’s 5th grade class got the best of me. It gave me something fun to do on the train, too. I  friended everyone I used to know,  just to see what they were up to now. I accepted Friend Requests from everyone whose name I recognized…and some I didn’t. In at least 2 cases I had to message another FB friend or my brother (who refuses to get on FB because “if I wanted to be in touch with these people, I would be…”) to figure out who has contacted me.

Fulfilling voyeurish tendencies quickly lost its charm and, like many FBers, the “I wonder what happened to so-and-so” folks comprise a pretty large portion of the 300 “friends” I rarely interact with anymore. Unfriending them seems mean and unnecessary so there they sit. I don’t know why I care, as I am well aware I have been unfriended by several people I quite like and I don’t care (Joanna, Penny, Melissa, I’m talking to you…) so I don’t know why I think other people would care. Bygones.

Beyond scoping out what happened to the Head Cheerleader, Facebook has had some unexpected benefits.

I have a large, extended family. Raised Italian Catholic, it’s a requirement. Also typical for Italians, half of my family is not speaking to the other half at any given time. This means that I have a lot of cousins I have either never met, or haven’t seen in 20 years. I actually had to have one of my cousins raw me a family tree to help me figure out which kds and spouses went with which member of my dysfunctional family. But, Lo… through the magic of Facebook I chat with them far more than I otherwise would. Sometimes this means weekly instead of biennially; sometimes it means weekly instead of “ever”; sometimes it just means the potential for contact is increased.  My cousin Anna, who I more or less grew up knowing decently well, checks in every so often and we’ve reached out and touched someone fairly frequently. I’ve even seen her a bunch of times.  My cousin Jessica — I actually haven’t seen or talked to her since she was about 4 (she’s maybe 23 now) but we touch base and trade a few words at least weekly. Kinda cool, I think, and it has made me seriously consider making a trip to her hometown to see a lot of her aunts and uncles. My cousins Jeremy and Jenna…I don’t ever remember meeting them…but it’s nice to know they are there. 🙂

Reconnecting with friends I used to be pretty close to but since drifted away from. Jeanne, one of my best friends in high school, for example. We were close for years, we argued over something stupid, feelings were hurt, we drifted apart.  Bang, 20 years and one 20-year HS reunion later and I can’t tell you how delighted I am that we have reconnected. She is also conveniently married to another old friend I am delighted to get reacquainted with as an adult, and they are now one of my must-do visits when I go back to my hometown. A college pal, Ali. Three years younger than me, we didn’t overlap a lot in college and in all honesty she started out as one of those “oh wow,I used to know you…wonder what she’s been up to the last 18 years.” But guess what — if we go 3 days without touching base even  if just briefly, it’s a long time. And I am reconsidering Colorado as a potential location for work travel so that I can see her in person again. Claire in Australia, my uncle in Louisiana, and Megan in Pennsylvania — same deal…people I don’t see nearly enough, but have more of a connection to now.

Yes, it’s a time suck and yes, there are far too many stupid annoying applications and dumb pointless games…but overall, I’m hooked.

 

That I can still buy Christmas presents for my kids right in front of their faces and they don’t notice…or realize. I’m not sure which.

That the 10 year old was excited to find and hide the stupid Tinkerbell movie from the 5 year old. And that she is still innocent enough to not understand why she can’t hide it under her coat in the middle of BJs.

That I can still carry the 5 year old into the house when she falls asleep in the car.

That they still think it’s fun to hang out with mom and dad.

That they think it’s fun and not sad that I play PS3 with them.

That the 5 year old doesn’t yet remember which finger “is the bad finger.”

That given the choice of TV shows to watch, they will pick something on Animal Planet, The Food Network, or Discovery Channel.

That they still believe in Santa.

That the 10 year old thinks Monty Python and the Holy Grail is the best movie ever made.

The girls put on a 60-minute variety show for us tonight. They sang, danced, and made up skits. During that hour, inbetween laughing at their antics, I was struck by how much their own people they are, and how proud of them I am for it.  At 5 and 10, my daughters have already learned what it took me well into adulthood to learn — be yourself, love yourself, express yourself, and who cares what anyone else thinks.

My 10 year old LOVES her glasses. And she should –  they look way cool on her. When I was her age, I *hated* my glasses and couldn’t wait to get rid of them. She is so full of personality and not at all afraid to let it show. When I was her age, I wanted nothing more than to be invisible behind my book. She does not apologize for who she is; I didn’t know who I was until I was 30. This amazing small person, who looks so much like me it takes my breath away, can entertain herself for hours by building fairy houses, drawing, reading, building forts, cooking, or writing stories. She is happy to be with people, or to just be. She finds contententment within herself, and does what she wants, when she wants to.

My 5 year old is at a crossroads between baby and big girl, and depending on her mood she can be either. Her favorite place is sprawled in my lap, thumb stuck between her rosebud lips. She’s a mama’s girl like I never was. She is totally fearless, living like there is no tomorrow. This little girl is larger than life. She surrounds a room with herself, willing you to see her. She is both a pleaser and an adventurer. She can charm the socks off you before you know what hit you. She possesses an independence  that, if she can hold onto it, will take her far.

My daughters are all these things that I was not when I was their age. I fought hard for these things as an adult; they efforlessly draw on a deep, seemingly unending sense of self. They will grow up to be what they want to be, not what I want them to be. They are this way because I remind myself each day to let them be who they are instead of my idea of who they should be.

And that is the greatest gift I can give them.

It is a well-established fact among my family and friends that I am a total dork. My kids know it, my husband knows it, my parents are *proud* of it (I think they believed that dorks don’t do drugs or get pregnant in high school). One of my friends and cow-orkers once counseled, “you really should let people get to know you a little bit before you show them what a spaz you are.” Not only am I a dork, I’m a musical, theatrical dork — and have been since I was 8. If there was a chorus, a choir, a church folk group, community chorus, or a cappella choir, I was in it. The group in my office that sings spoofed songs at holiday parties and summer picnics? Yep. Every musical and drama from 7-12 grades? Dork, Represent! These days, I sing at weddings, funerals, and karaoke bars (and office parties — see above). I sing in the shower and in my car. Yes, I’m the girl sitting next to you in traffic belting out Total Eclipse of the Heart into my water bottle-microphone.

So it should come as no surprise that I fell in love with Glee! from the moment it aired. It’s High School Musical for adults. It’s living vicariously through TV to become, for an hour a week, the thing I wanted most as a kid yet lacked the self-confidence and drive (and probably the talent) to achieve — a musical theater star. It’s the biggest feel-good thing going on TV. It makes me Smiley McSmilerson on Wednesdays. [I’m in withdrawal, though, since it’s been pre-empted for the World Series. I was raised to believe the Yankees suck ass in general, but when they interfere with the only show I bother to watch on TV they move from blechy to downright sucktastic.] But I digress…

If you don’t believe me, check out the football team doing the Single Ladies dance and tell me you don’t Love. This. Show.

Love that song. Except when it’s my theme song of the day… as it was yesterday.

Adamant about eating breakfast with the girls…who cares that I will get to work at 9:45am… it’s worth it…

Just before I leave I get sucked into a debate about what to do about insulating the unfinished space in Muppet’s room…knock through the wall and expand her room, knock through part of the wall and make built-in cubbies, knock through the wall in a way that allows for a hide-a-bed… ok, we will talk about this when I get home…now I am really late…

Pull out of garage while Husband is pulling out of his side of the garage (in MY car — long story) and, in an attempt to close the garage door on my side, mix up the buttons and close HIS door…unfortunately, while he is backing the car out… Buh-bye, radio antenna… can’t wait to see how much that will cost to fix.

oops.

Drive away totally distracted…and get pulled over in a speed trap exactly 1.5 miles from my house. Thank you, Officer, for having a heart and a) not laughing at me when I told you about the garage door debacle and b) not even giving me a warning.

All’s well that ends well?

Sigh.