Gender Bender

I showed my beloved this picture of a very disturbing looking spider that my son found near the basketball hoop, expecting him to have the same reaction as me. I expected him to be equally disgusted and horrified. It obviously looks full of poison and angry. And what about those large, long limbs and those marks? Also, where is the gigantic web this thing lives in? This ain’t no Charlotte. That much I know. Maybe we’d google it together and find a similar creature on Nat Geo or something. Or at the very least he’d want to “get rid” of it. Here’s the pic…what pops into your head?

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Tell the truth, aren’t you a little itchy looking at it? Here’s what he said,
“that grass isn’t doing so well.”
That grass isn’t doing so well??
Alrighty then.
Goodnight Wilbur.

Manners, Manners

Manners are a big deal in my house. We use please and thank you so often that it sometimes sounds like a verbal tick. I grew up in a very quiet, polite home. My husband grew up in a very loud, polite home. His family wasn’t soft spoken (and isn’t) but they were always quick with a thank you. When we had kids we weren’t exactly sure what the “rules” of our house were going to be. We kinda just made it up as we went along. When we heard other parents talk about the things that their kids were allowed and not allowed to do – sometimes we felt horrible for the kids living through that regime, and sometimes we stole their ideas and rules. But not a lot of them. The only thing I really worried about was stranger danger and not-so-stranger danger. Other than that – we were open to most things. And unlike my parents house, our house is not quiet. We yell. We scream. We laugh. We cry. The full spectrum of the emotional rollercoaster is experienced on most days. We’re human afterall. 

When my daughter was born and I went back to work, we carefully picked a nanny we thought would follow our small list of rules. When we discovered that she was letting a 1 year gnaw on a hot dog while swinging in the park and then washing that down with a milk shake from an illegal visit to Mickey Ds – we were horrified. Just because we weren’t helicopter parents didn’t mean we wanted our kid eating that crap. We lived in NYC for goodness sake – the park was on the Upper East Side. Other nannies were bringing blenders to puree fresh smoothies in the park. If you’re wondering how she got caught, I’ll give you one word. Wrappers. My husband found the paraphernalia in our garbage of all places. Not only was she breaking our sad little list of rules, but she was a moron to boot. Suffice it to say, we gave her the boot. I was young back then and didn’t enjoy a verbal conflict like I do now, and my husband for all his tough guy demeanor can never be mean to anyone he pays for a service. So we let her go without addressing the problem. That’s how we rolled back then.

As she got older and then we had our boy, we held fast to only a few of those early family laws. I don’t want to alarm anyone but we never once bought a lock for our kitchen cabinets and our corners were never padded. Anywhere. My kids were allowed to play on the street. They were, and are, allowed to ride their bikes pretty freely. My daughter has navigated the public transit system alone – something a few of our adult friends don’t do. My son often rides a skateboard or scooter on busy roads. Do we worry about that stuff and pray for their safety? Yes we do. It’s like a full time job. Praying and worrying. But do we say they are “not allowed” to do that? Nope.

You know what they aren’t allowed to do? Speak rudely and not be polite. Manners are numero uno, followed by kindness, and just ahead of humor in terms of importance in our house. We don’t ask for something without a please before or after. When someone hands you something – anything – it should be followed by a thank you. In our house, if you are in the downstairs room all the way to the right and someone in the upstairs room all the way to the left sneezes, make sure they hear you say bless you. In fact you usually know if someone in the house is mad at you because you’ve sneezed and it was followed by silence. The horror!

I don’t go around expecting everyone to follow the same rules as our family, and I have no doubt that even with our politeness rules – my kids, my husband and I are are rude sometimes. Perfection – incase you haven’t read my blog before – isn’t what I’m aiming for in life. I’d like to just get through the day and maybe laugh a bit. Those are my goals. And to eat carbs with reckless abandon. But that’s another story.

And although I’d like to go on a tirade about how rude the world outside is, the truth is that most people are polite. For example, this morning on the train into work, in a very very packed car – a woman walked in with her two small kids and a big bag. Instead of looking down or staring out the window, no less than 4 people stood up to give them seats and offered to help with the bag. One man even offered to give a woman who’d gotten up for the other woman his own seat! I mean, come on! This is politeness gone wild. I would have happily given up my seat but I was stuck like a sardine next to an older Asian woman. It’s a well-known fact to those who ride a commuter rail that older Asian women do not give up seats. No sir. I don’t care if they are from China or India or Nepal. It’s not a racist observation. It’s a Continental truth. And since I will eventually become one of those older Asian women, I can say that. Although you can argue that if you are older, you deserve the seat. You’ve earned the seat. Asian or not. Fair enough.

I was just so happy to see that this group of strangers on the train took care of this woman. These were probably also the same people who would help a tourist in need without rolling their eyes, or wave when you let their car go first at an interection. These were good people. 

When the woman finally sat down and situated the kids, one of them sneezed, and there was a symphony of bless yous in the train car. I wasn’t surprised at all. 

Pity party of 1….

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I feel like this picture. Tilted. Unfocused. Groggy. Head colds and beautiful Sundays do not go well together. 

That is all. 

 

Back to School Blurb

I love Facebook for many many reasons. Birthday love. Vacation pics galore. Inappropriate overshares. I love it all. I especially love the beginning of school. I love all the happy, shiny faces with their new backpacks and lunch boxes heading into the new school year. I only have one picture of me that resembles anything close to a back-to-school shot growing up. I’m not sure where it is. In a grocery bag in a closet somewhere, I think.

That’s not said with any judgement or vilification, my mother or father literally drove me to school from 1st through 12th grade (I don’t think I went to Kindergarten. Is that legal?). Of all the things I never did growing up (like eat mustard, cream cheese or sour cream), I never rode a school bus. I mean I did on school trips and things – but never in the morning or back home. I’m not sure why my parents decided to do this and I’ve never asked why. Although they were over protective about weird things and then completely carefree about other things. Example, I wasn’t allowed to watch most American horror movies because there were bad words and boobs and yet Bollywood with it’s love to violence and rape was a green light in our house. Confusing no?

So I never rode a big yellow bus. But don’t you worry. I learned all the bad words and met all the bad friends anyway. I just did it at the lunch table. Eating my peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwich on my Brick Oven bread. If you were nice to me I’d let you share my snack, oh wait, there was no snack. Just a sandwich and a thermos full of OJ. In high school I started buying my lunch. Actually I bought crackers and milk and pocketed the money for other things. Food wasn’t as important as the new U2 cd coming out. I know better now.

Happy back to school to all you kiddos. Enjoy the gluten-free, organically grown/fed/butchered lunch that probably cost more than my outfit. Hope there’s square pizza and fried tater tots in your future!

Doodle Me Crazy

I have a confession. When I’m on a long telephone conversation, or in a long meeting, or in any place that requires my attention for more than a hot second – I doodle. I’ve done it since I was little. I do it in meetings. I do it at home. I do it anywhere. I do it everywhere. Sometimes if I’m in a meeting with very senior people, I spend parts of that meeting reminding myself not to doodle. Scared yet?

I got into massive trouble in elementary school for it, the teachers said I was “making a mess of my papers”. True that.  By high school my grades were so good, they didn’t care what my notebook looked like. They would have let me doodle on tables. That’s the beauty of Catholic school. A few A’s and you run the joint.

Through the years I’ve come to terms with it. It doesn’t mean I’m not interested or paying attention. It just means that I had a sudden, unstobbale desire to scribble something down. It’s like a tick. On paper.

Yesterday, someone at work called me out on it. “Nice drawing” they smirked. Uh oh. Oh well. I couldn’t hide it forever. The first step is admitting you have a problem right?

So here’s a glimpse of my bad habit. Notice sometimes I go abstract, sometimes I go modern – other times I go graffati. I’m so diversified in my doodle. You can’t take that from me. Send help. Or atleast some clean paper.

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FitBit Fab

I don’t get hooked on much – I especially don’t get hooked on any health fads (except for that 6 month affair I had with Zumba). So who knew I’d love wearing my FitBit? It’s so much fun. I love the way it looks. I love that it keeps me honest. I love the 10,000
step buzz. The buzz is everything. I love seeing other people wearing one. I usually nod to those folks and give them a knowing smile – they usually look away quickly, but it doesn’t matter. We’re in it together.
I haven’t been able to make my 20,000 step badge yet ( that’s when you walk 20,000 steps and the bracelet sends you a badge, complex right?). In the grand tradition of my over share, here’s what my days have been lately. Is it athlete worthy? Nope. Is it better than a vegetable? Hells ya.
Shopping for school supplies day:

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Sunday hike. A short hike I guess:

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Back in it!

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A shameful shameful day. I couldn’t even look at my wrist that day.

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Today is still calculating – I’m at 9,878 at 7:45pm. 10s in the bag.
20,000 is going to happen. Stay tuned!

The Tiger’s Mother

Tomorrow my first born starts her junior year of high school. She’s in her room right now excitedly packing for the morning and humming a happy tune. Ok, not really. But she is getting ready. I cannot believe that at the end of this year she’ll be 1) driving a motor vehicle 2) thinking about which college she wants to go to and 3) be on the edge of 17. Just like the white wing dove.
If you believe in astronomy, and I do, she’s a Scorpio. To a capital T.
I also happen to believe the Chinese calendar, she’s a Tiger in that one. A born leader. Brave and warm-hearted. Sensitive and easily hurt but also fiercely protective of those around them. Yeah, that’s about right. She’s all that. And more. 
But tomorrow she’ll just be my little baby, going off to 11th grade.
I’d like to show you a picture of her leaving the house in the morning, in her uniform, ready to face to world – but I won’t be allowed to take a pic. Tigers and Scorpions aren’t exactly easy to photography. But she can’t stop me from posting these! 
Here’s my world from 1998 to present. In a blink.

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