QUOTE OF THE DAY (OR MORE): "No, no. You don't understand. This is an '89 Calico. I'm pretty sure that exceeds the Kelly Blue Book value. The cat's totaled." --A comedian whose name I forget talking about a vet who presents a $3,000 bill for a 12-year-old cat

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Religion at the dinner table

(setting: a family of us 4 Protestants sitting around the dinner table eating my seared tuna steak, which was quite tasty if I do say so myself...For concerned readers, there were also vegetables and a starch.)

characters: the husband, the 13-year-old, the 10-year-old, me, and a Jewish classmate of the 13-year-old

me: "So Lissa and I went dress shopping at Macy's for Sam's barmitzvah Saturday; it was fun."

the husband: [rolling his eyes surreptitiously] "How much did you spend?"

me: "um... [figuring out the mythical 'husband discount' of approximately 50% per item in my head as quickly as possible]... Lissa had a friends and family sale coupon. [I may as well get it all out in the open now...] I also went to Ann Taylor Loft because I had a credit, a gift card, AND a 30% off coupon!"

the husband: "mmm hmmm."

me: "Yeah - I got 4 cute blouses, 2 dresses, and a pair of capris - all for (bleep), isn't that great?"

the husband: [resigned, sighing heavily] "okay. Hey - what does one give to a kid for his bartmitzvah?"

me: "Lissa says she asked around, and about $100 is appropriate."

[Protestant] thirteen-year-old: [snapping to attention immediately, eyes popped open wide...] "$100 bucks from everyone?!! Can I have a barmitzvah?!!"

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Jet lag? What jet lag?

We did it. The husband and I schlepped the 10-year-old and the 13-year-old all over London and Paris and inbetween, literally, and survived, fairly unscathed. I arrived home to find that, when I sat down to work at my laptop, an evil computer virus had taken its toll, thereby preventing my accessing any files or folders. No big deal! oy. So... I can do little work while my computer is with my company IT folks trying to solve the problem... so continued apologies for no blogs. :(

We flew into London last Sunday night into Monday morning, and I showered and went to work (the London Book Fair) after the all-night plane ride. I'm so busy at the Fair that I don't notice jet lag... I just keep plugging along and don't have time to think about it. I left the fair and got back to the hotel room around 4:30 or 5:00 pm London time to find all three boys, the husband and 2 sons, completely sacked out in the hotel room, fast asleep. It took me quite a bit of effort to get them all up to go get some dinner. The 10-year-old was so groggy and disoriented that he thought it was the next morning!

I tell you that story to tell you why I was chuckling when I overheard the 10-year-old talking on the phone to my mom the evening we got home.

"Yeah... it was great. ... [blah blah blah]. No! I didn't get jet lag AT ALL. I was perfectly fine."


more tomorrow (or the next day?) on: the hazards of flight with children, the hazards of sleeping in one hotel room with children, eating with children in restaurants, and more!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Blog break

Next week (well, tomorrow, technically) I'm off to London on business, and schlepping along the 2 boys and the husband as well. After London we're jaunting to Paris for a few days via the Eurostar train...

So... probably no blogs next week, in case you're wondering what happened to me. While idealistically I intend to blog while I'm abroad, realistically I will likely only be collecting blogworthy material.... I will miss my daily chuckles and inspirations reading the posts of all my fellow bloggers!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Not for the faint-hearted (no pun intended)

The boys hopped into the car after school yesterday.

“Hey, guys! How was your day?!” I enthusiastically queried, as usual.

“Fine,” was the collective answer, not so enthusiastically.

“What did you do today!?” I was following a 10-year-old script.

“Nothing,” came the rote response.

I rolled my eyes. “Come on,” I pressed, “tell me the coolest thing you learned today.”

“Well, in history today we learned about human sacrifice in Aztec culture,” the thirteen-year-old chimed.

“Hmmm,” I responded.

“Yeah – they dragged a person up to the top of the pyramid, cut out the heart, and then threw him or her to the bottom of the stairs so everyone else could eat him or her.”

Ooh,” I cringed, “I think I learned about that in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.”

Morbid curiosity got the better of me when we arrived home. I am familiar with primitive human sacrifice, but not intimately (thanks, God), so I googled “Aztec sacrificial rituals” to ascertain how well he was listening in class. Ugh. Unfortunately no ADD today. You think you’re having a bad day? Read on… You will never, ever consider another day “bad.”

According to a
Pacific Lutheran Website:

“The captives were dragged up the Templo Mayor steps and were laid across the sacrificial stone where four priests took hold of the captives’ feet and arms holding him firmly so he couldn't escape. Then a fifth priest with a sharp obsidian blade in hand would slice open the captive's chest and would take out the captive's heart. Some have even witnessed the heart still beating. Then after having ripping out the heart the priest would offer it to the God. The hearts were placed in a vessel called a Choc Mool, much like the one below that was dedicated to Tlaloc, The God of Rain and Fertility (Lopez Lujan 2000).
Then after being placed in the vessel the heart would be burned to hopefully satisfied the gods and the world would continue. When the priests had finished with the victim they would throw them down the temple steps. The temple steps had that steep incline for just this purpose.
Next the Quaquacuiltin would take the deceased back to the captive's calpulli compound where the family would divide the body up and cook it in a stew with chilies.”

Yuck. See? Not a bad day when your coffee spills in your car.

Thinking perhaps that Pacific Lutheran got it wrong or perhaps exaggerated (who isn’t prone to hyperbole every so often?), I kept googling and came across validating information at this
Minnesota State website:

“The most common form of sacrifice was performed outside, on the top of a great pyramid. The victim was spread-eagled on a round stone, with his back arched. His limbs were held, while a priest used an obsidian knife to cut under the rib cage and remove his heart. This method was used when honoring the sun god, Huitzilopochtli. Each god apparently preferred a different form of sacrifice. For the fertility god
Xipe Totec, the person was tied to a post and shot full of arrows. His blood flowing out represented the cool spring rains (Meyer & Sherman:69). The fire god required a newly wed couple. They were thrown into the god's altars and allowed to burn and at the last minute they were taken out and had their hearts removed as a second offering (Hogg :48). The earth mother goddess, Teteoinnan, was extremely important. At harvest time, a female victim was flayed and her skin was carried ceremoniously to one of the temples. Her skin was worn by an officiating priest who then symbolized the goddess herself (Meyer & Sherman:44 Human sacrifices were seen in many different cultures in Latin American, such as Olmecs, Mayans and the Moche.”

Bleah. Not such a bad day when your kid throws a tantrum in the grocery store…

Check out these drawings from a
Missouri State website...

hungry yet?


There really isn’t much to say in summary, for those of you who aren’t in the bathroom hurling, except 1) count your blessings. The human sacrifice victim’s day sucked much worse than your worst day…It’s all relative! and 2) I get tired of people saying how society today has evolved to be much more violent than it used to be…I think, much to the contrary, life is much more civilized these days than it was in earlier civilizations throughout the world. Aztec culture is just one example: “Aztec laws were simple and harsh. Almost every crime, from adultery to stealing, was punished by death and other offenses usually involved severe corporal punishment or mutilation (the penalty for slander, for instance, was the loss of one's lips).” (http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/CIVAMRCA/AZTECS.HTM). We’re all familiar with other societal atrocities: Hammurabi’s code, drawing and quartering as a punishment in earlier Europe, witch hunts and burning at the stake even in America. I don’t think society is more violent than it used to be at all…

The funny thing is (if there is a funny thing) that I heard, on satellite radio channel “80s on 8” this morning, a long-lost 1983 song which made me giggle. I hadn’t heard it in a long time and had forgotten all about its existence: “I eat cannibals.” Remember that song? I eat cannibals. It’s incredible. It brings out the animal.. in me.. I eat cannibals. God is up there chuckling, I just know it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Soccer mom redefined

Recently I joined a women’s indoor soccer league, the kind at which you are not welcome if you are in your 20s or even early 30s, thank goodness. The kind at which, if you are not yet developing those tricep “bat wings," just stay away, thank you. I couldn’t take that kind of pressure…I was deprived as an adolescent and never played girls’ soccer, lacrosse or field hockey because we moved from Philadelphia (where lacrosse and field hockey are played) to Chicago (where they’re not played) when I was 12 years old, at the pinnacle of my adolescent sensitivity and at the height of the chapter in girls’ lives when they are brutally mean to each other. It’s a long story more suited for a therapist than a blog. I’m bitter about it. I ended up continuing gymnastics, which I had been doing since I was 6… In short, I’ve always resented not having participated in soccer, lacrosse and field hockey.

When a friend invited me to join her informal ladies’ soccer league, then, I jumped at the chance to indulge in an activity on which I had missed out (sorry about ending that sentence with a preposition, but go with it…).

I attended my first night in my running shoes, hair pulled back in the familiar ponytail in which it frequently finds itself.

“Are you old enough?” one die-hard gave me an up and down look from a few feet away. I motioned toward the wrinkles around my eyes; “I have a 10-year-old and a 13-year-old,” I whined. I think from afar I’m sometimes woefully mistaken for a younger woman just because of the blonde ponytail. Sometimes when I’m on a run, for example, a car full of teenage boys or a random, young male driver here or there approaching me from behind will beep the horn at me (which scares the bejeebes out of me – don’t DO that to runners, people! I always jump a million feet in the air, and come on! That saps my energy from the run…) and, when I see the age of the beeper, I have to shake my head in sympathy at how pathetically mistaken the horn beeper is – how utterly off his radar was to have beeped at a 38-year-old woman. I often imagine, if he got a good look at me at a red light, he would be like: “oh. oops. my bad.

Anyway, where was I? So unlike me to digress….. Oh yes – my first night at soccer. Fully satisfied that I was, indeed, “old,” my very friendly fellow lady players ushered me onto the indoor Astroturf. Wow. I was really going to play soccer – 26 years late, but still. I was a little nervous.

“Um, you’ll want to get a pair of indoor soccer shoes,” one lady helpfully advised. “Those’ll be tough on your ankles,” she offered, pointing at my running shoes.

Whatever,” I thought. I mean.. these are my running shoes. These things (or the same models thereof) have gotten me through 8 marathons. They’re fine.

The first time I lunged for the ball, very anxious that it had come to me and all eyes were upon me: “can she play?” I’m sure they were wondering. I panicked and did my best to pass it as best as I could to a teammate. Whew. But OW – my ankles were turning every time I attempted to pivot successfully. Hmmm. She was right. Running shoes SUCK for soccer. I had to laugh at myself at how winded I would get for the short chases after the ball. I can run a marathon, for crying out loud, and here I am struggling to catch my breath in a lady’s soccer match. Different aerobic activities have such different effects on our cardiovascular systems, and if we’re not habituated to it, it kicks our asses. (I can only swim a couple of laps in the pool before I’m pretty wiped out…In fact, gardening did me in last Sunday! Lol. All that bending over and chopping down old perennials and cleaning out the leaves from the winter… I had to stop every 20 minutes. The next morning I felt as if a Mack truck had hit me and my back was killing
me… and yet today I ran 8.13 miles at a 7:57 average pace per mile. Lol. )

I persevered and quite enjoyed the game, discovering that these women were in it for enjoyment and exercise (and beer afterwards). This lady’s soccer league, I must say, is the very antithesis of professional male sports. It is all polite, all the time. If two women are both racing toward the ball simultaneously, for example, they will be delicately careful not to run into the other. If it’s a close call and they even brush against each other, they’ll apologize: “oooh. Sorry!” God forbid anyone trip another, and scoring a goal is an occasion for niceties to the goalie as well: “oh! Good try!” If I could count the giggles and the “ooh, sorrys” … well I guess I could. But it struck me as pretty comical, this level of courtesy on the sports field. It’s not without competition; it’s just a really friendly competition. It brings a whole new meaning to the nomenclature “soccer mom.”

The next morning my ankles were sore, and my quadriceps (the front of your upper legs) were REALLY sore – I guess from all that starting and stopping on a dime. I went right out and bought myself a pair of Nike indoor soccer shoes and they are MUCH better.

Oop! So sorry! , gotta go now… excuse me!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Random thoughts

Random thought #1, provoked by my 13-year-old asking me: "Mom, why do you give us chocolate for holidays and then eat it yourself?" It was a pretty good question, I had to admit. It was much better when Santa or the Easter bunny brought the chocolate that I then filched from the boys. I've pondered and pondered, except that I don't really have an answer. I just have a chocolate weakness. My younger son wisely hid his Easter basket from me soon (like 5 minutes) after he had received it. I found it accidentally yesterday while I was emptying the dishwasher (that sounds pretty funny, doesn't it? No, it wasn't in the dishwasher...). I promptly pilfered 6 or 7 mini Nestle Crunch eggs (and ate them, of course) before I yelled to him: "hey! I found your basket! You'd better move it before I eat it all!"

"Okay; I'm coming!" he answered. "Did you eat anything from it?"

"Yes; I had 2 eggs," I compromised.

The 13-year-old didn't have the good, common sense to hide his basket from me, thus prompting the above question. sigh. I love chocolate. My wsil's only fault is that she doesn't care for chocolate... (or maybe that's a different random thought...)

Random Thought #2: I heard "Another Brick in the Wall" by Pink Floyd this morning on my satellite radio channel 80s on 8. I had no idea that song came out in 1980 - I had it placed in the 70s...

Random Thought #3 occurred to me in the waiting room of the dentist's office earlier this week. The boys had their dentist appointments on Easter Monday while there was no school in session. I didn't really realize until we arrived that the 10-year-old looked rather grungy; he was dressed for comfort, in a baggy pair of blue sweatpants with a hole in the knee. As he was getting up to meet the dental hygienist at the waiting room door, I admonished him: "buddy, it would be fabulous if you could dress a little more nicely out in public." Then I slowly looked down at myself: running tights, running top with a sweatshirt over it, ponytail, a hat, no make-up...

Random Thought # 4 hit me as I was parking at the gym last week. Why do people (myself included) attempt to park as close as possible at the gym?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A letter to the egg I just ate...

Dear chocolate-covered peanut butter egg,

How is the weather in my stomach? Enjoy it now, for soon you will be forever stuck on my butt (or thighs, depending on fate), faithfully padding me from all harshly hard surfaces. Why did you call to me so tenaciously from the freezer? You could have enjoyed your freedom in the outside world… Instead you viciously taunted me: “helloooooooo… I’m heeeerrreeee. I’m sooooo delicious. Soooo yummy. You want me, don’t you? You know you do…. You can’t possibly resist me. You’re weak; you always will be. Eat me before the 10-year-old does…don’t let him get me…I would complement the coffee you’re sipping beautifully…come on….”

Stupid egg.

Yours sincerely, guiltily, indulgently, and remorsefully,

The body and spirit of the stomach in which you find yourself.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Don't leave me with the babies!

(LEFT: baby Sophie)
You know that television commercial during which the old couple (parents) comes to visit the young couple with new twin babies? The babies’ grandparents think they’re coming for a nice visit and, as soon as they begin ascending the house’s front door steps, the young couple quickly grabs their suitcases and whisk themselves off to the car and drive away before their parents can stop them? The grandparents yell, desperately, “don’t leave us with the babies!!!”

Have we all seen that commercial?

Well, I think Sophie (my 1 ½-year-old German Shepherd) can identify. I’ve noticed that, when I leave the dog with the two boys, ages 10 and 13, I get a similar reaction from her (the dog). As I’m preparing to go, the dog, ever keenly observant, notices something is up.

Uh-oh. Mom is putting on her shoes. Gasp! She’s just grabbed her purse. The keys are out. OMG… I think she’s going to … LEAVE ME!!!”

She walks around, nervously agitated and clearly anxious, as I’m getting my stuff together to get out the door. She should be fine, because the boys are home; she won’t be alone.

Oh no I think she really IS leaving… and these little boys are here! Argh! I’ll never survive this! It’ll be the end of me!”

I swear as I walk out the door saying “bye-bye, Soph,” she is pleading with me via her K9 puppy-dog eyes: “don’t leave me with the boys!!!”

What happens while I’m gone?

Saturday, April 11, 2009


The husband smushed one of our cars a couple of weeks ago; he got rear-ended on the interstate (he's fine, thanks). The owner of the body shop where it was towed informed us the chances of its being totaled were about 60/40 (60% totalable). The insurance adjuster traveled to have a look at the car at the body shop and didn't even break out a pen. Totaled, she concluded without a blink.

Skip ahead to two days ago, when we brought a new car home. I insisted I wanted a stick-shift; they're more fun to drive and, with the 13-year-old being, well, 13, I advocated that he should learn how to drive a manual transmission (after he obtains a driver's license, of course...). Golly - everyone should know how to drive a stick shift, just in case.

I didn't realize it was a 6-speed until I parked it in the garage for the first time; in all previous parkings the new car had enjoyed a spot on the uphill driveway, parking brake duly applied. The major difference, then, between the driveway and the garage is the presence or absence of a hill.

The 13-year-old and I piled into the new car in the garage, all psyched to attend his orthodontist appointment. Next I needed to back out of the garage. Hmmm. I didn't know how to get the car into reverse. In a 5-speed it's right, right, down; however, right, right down in this car is 6th gear. The little handy diagram on the shift lever pictured the telling "R" symbol as left, left, up.

"Ooookie dokie," I assured the 13-year-old, aka natural-born worrywart. I depressed the clutch and shoved the shift knob left, left, up. The car inched ever so slowly forward; the car was in first gear.

"No problem!" I reassured the 13-year-old, who was growing more anxious. "Let's try that again!" Left, LEFT, up. A few more inches forward (did I mention the garage is not cavernous?)

Being resourceful, I decided to check the owner's manual, a fabulous idea thwarted by the manual's unfortunate location in the husband's car at work 38 miles to the south of us. Digging even deeper into my resources, I phoned said husband with the first-hand knowledge that he had successfully put the car in reverse the previous day. Voice mail.

"Hmmmm," I mumbled, not so reassuringly to the 13-year-old, who was now aging rapidly from stress. I tried left, left, up again, stumped. Reverse still eluded us.

"Want me to get out and tell you how much room you have?" the kind and helpful 13-year-old offered.

"Uh-huh," I accepted, thinking what a brilliant idea it was.

He held his hands less than a foot apart from each other in the air, then plopped into the passenger seat next to me.

"Okay," I decided, "get out and push."

"Lol," he laughed. I mean he literally laughed; he didn't say "L oh L."

"No, seriously," I said.

"I can't push a car," he argued.

"Sure you can!" I encouraged, "you'll be surprised how easy it is!"

Now alarmed on so many levels, the 13-year-old dubiously exited the new vehicle and planted himself at the front of the car. He began to push. Sure enough, the car moved. The 13-year-old was floored. He pushed some more. The car moved some more... and more... until it was safely on the driveway hill and began to roll gently backwards in neutral.

The 13-year-old's eyes popped, having temporarily forgotten that I had use of a brake.

We proceeded to the orthodontist's office, cautious to park on an uphill slant...

Friday, April 10, 2009

funny bunnies

At the risk of being unoriginal today, in honor of Easter I wanted to share one of my favorite images. This never fails to make me chuckle...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Garlic, anyone?

There were two funny signs which struck me in San Francisco recently. This restaurant sign made me chuckle: "The Stinking Rose: A Garlic Restaurant - we season our garlic with food." That is my kinda restaurant! (what healthy hearts!)
I didn't have the guts to photograph the other sign, as it was attached to a "homeless" guy; the homemade carboard sign said: "Why lie? I need a beer."

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Who is this guy and what have you done with my brother?

The big brother who beat the crap outta me as a kid is getting married. Next month. To someone I like. No longer is it up to my mom and me to train him in a futile manner at his 40 years of age. Not our problem anymore. Incredibly, his wife-to-be has already exerted her persuasive charms on him to superlatively fabulous effect; in short, he is… he is… what do you boys call it?... oh yes… he is whipped. Oh, dear readers. If you could only hear my sardonic, deep cackle at this very moment. The savory taste of revenge is delectable indeed. Please enjoy the following excerpts from his life post-falling-in-love:

- We are all sitting around the dining room table: my mother, my brother, my husband, my two boys, and my future sister in law. Admittedly, the 13-year-old son has an issue with chewing with his mouth open. Notwithstanding my incessant nagging on the subject, it is very difficult, indeed, for him to close the yapper while chewing. The uncle (my brother) begins to chime in, as usual: “would you CHEW with your mouth… ouch! That hurt!” My wonderful sister in law (let’s just abbreviate this “wsil,” shall we? In every incidence she is, unvaryingly, the same adjective…) has just unceremoniously pinched him under the table. “Not your problem,” she wisely reminds him. Atta girl.

- My mother and my brother get into what I would term as a “heated argument” during which my recalcitrant brother says some rather unkind words. He storms off to another room and the wsil follows him. The door closes. Five minutes later, the door opens and out comes my brother. He walks up to my mother, addressing her sheepishly: “sorry,” he admits. My jaw drops. Atta girl.

- My brother says not in a million, gadzillion years would he ever go to the required pre-martial counseling sessions with the minister. A few weeks later, after the sessions: “not so bad,” he mumbles.

- My brother wants to go to Vegas for the 3rd time in a year and begins to make plans. “We’ll see” chimes in the wise wsil. You guess the outcome…

- “I do NOT clean toilets…” insists my brother. Do I really need to explain this one further?

I don’t know who this guy is or what she’s done with my brother…

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Queen for a day

Today it’s all about me; you see, it’s my birthday. And I am not a hypocrite. When I blogged a few days ago lamenting that my newly-labeled 13-year-old son wanted no attention on his birthday… and wondered whose kid that was because I wanted attention on my birthday…. I was not being disingenuous.

It’s my birthday!!!
(thank you, thank you, hold your applause).

Here’s a list of the exciting tasks awaiting me while I am Queen for a day:

1- Clean up the cat’s overnight puke. Lovely.

2- Empty the cat’s box (scoop the poop and tinkle…).

3- Take out the garbage (alright, no big deal on that one).

4- Go renew my driver’s license at the Motor Vehicle Administration. Oh BOY!!! I tried to do it yesterday… blew my hair dry and put on makeup for my snazzy new picture and everything… but it was closed! They closed at 4:30, a ½ hour earlier than the rest of the 9-5ers… (and I had showered and done my HAIR and everything!). Truthfully I’ve had the notice of renewal for approximately 6 weeks, but I wanted to look decent in the picture…and I never seem to get the shower in until afternoon (why shower, run, then shower again when I work at home?) I’m the gal, when we have the morning coffees, that shows up in the running clothes with the hair in a ponytail (before the run). Then in the afternoon the boys are home from school and all hell breaks loose, so no time for the MVA… So… I will be venturing to the MVA today… (I’ve showered!). Keep your fingers crossed for no lines. What should I put for my "weight?" (flashback to 10 years ago when I got the license I've now had for ten years… the boys were 3 and 1 and I prayed for long lines since the boys were, blissfully, home with the husband. I was out… alone… with no babies… I just wanted to sit and veg and savor the time alone. Alas, the MVA was oxymoronically efficient. Whaddya wanna bet they’re not today?)

5- Do the long run I didn’t get in on Sunday. I tried ( yes, I'm whining here)… I started… but I got to mile 1 and my body started poking me irritatingly on the shoulder like a little kid who needs attention: “excuse me? Um. What are you doing?” Mile 2 voices: “throw in the towel, honey… this isn’t happening today…” I persevered, thinking I was just warming up (couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the bachelorette party the night before for my future sister-in-law). Around mile 4 I decided to listen to the wise voices and turned it into a recovery run. 6 SLOW miles. But I have to get a 20-miler in for the Jersey marathon training (may 3) so today’s the day…

6- Oh yeah…. That pesky “work” thing. Gotta work.

7- Laundry. I can’t avoid it. It’s literally overflowing from the hampers. I’ve tried to get the family members to cut down on all the laundry by going around naked, but I’ve encountered a lot of resistance. I thought it was a good idea, myself.

That’s all okay, though… because no cooking tonight! Sushi and a glass of wine for the queen!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Decisions, decisions...

My 10-year-old son was getting ready yesterday to go to a birthday party.

Here is, word for word, what he was saying to himself as he was searching his closet after I told him he needed to change into something a bit more presentable:

“Wow… I have a lot of nice collared polo shirts here that I forgot about. I thought I would just wear this one; it’s such a nice shade of blue..and brand new so it’s fresh and crisp and it looks great on me, but there are all these choices…

I feel like a girl – I can’t decide what to wear. What kind of boy can’t decide what to wear? I’m a disgrace to boys everywhere….You’re gonna blog about this, aren’t you, Mom?”

Friday, April 3, 2009

Relay for life

Dear readers.

A fellow blogger will be running the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life on 15 May in honor of his father. See his blog at http://leopardstreetrunner.blogspot.com/. He would appreciate any support.


Corporate Speak

Having a masters degree in English language literature, I must admit that corporate speak, the special indelicate language spoken in the business world, tickles my funny bone.

It’s not just a myth, either, most people in Corporate America really do use these phrases:

- shift the paradigm
- drive the strategy
- think outside the box
- take it off-line
- drill down
- win-win
- corporate competency
- gap analysis
- out of the loop
- tick the box
- dialogue
- granular level
- low-hanging fruit
- disconnect
- impact (used as a verb! Argh!)
- own that decision
- run that up the flagpole

These days there are “Bingo” games you can find on the web with a box for each phrase; when you’re sitting in a meeting you surreptitiously check each box as the phrase is uttered until you have “Bingo.”

I’ll spare you from the boring examples of how these phrases are used in every day corporate life, but just imagine using these in the civilian world…

Sally: “Why don’t we go to Nordstrom’s first so we can tick that box; if we find a few things to try on we can dialogue about what may be the best fit and drill down to the final choices.”

Jeannie: “That sounds like a win-win situation, Sally. I’ll run that up the flagpole with my husband and take it offline.”

Sally: “Okay, Jeannie. So there’s no disconnect, as soon as you own that decision let me know so I can drive the strategy with Stan.”

Jeannie: “I won’t leave you out of the loop, Sally. I’ll let Bob know I’m going for the low hanging fruit today so it won’t impact the budget this month. If he’s thinking outside the box at a granular level he’ll realize that a gap analysis would reveal I’m frightfully low on casual skirts.”

Sally: “Good for you, girlfriend! People skills have always been your core competency. I need to shift the paradigm in my household so that I could drive the same strategy with Stan.”

Jeannie: “See you later, then.”

Sally: “Later, friend.”

Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's all in the genes

One of my best friends has three children. When her daughter, the oldest, was 4, my (very intelligent, really!) friend was simultaneously nursing a 10-month old and pregnant with her third (don’t ask; apparently it’s possible to get pregnant on the last day of one’s period – who knew?)

My friend was with her 4-year-old daughter in the shower, sleepily trying to kill two birds with one stone by getting herself and her daughter clean while the 10-month old slept.

Ever curious and cute, the four-year-old girl gazed up at her pregnant mommy.

“Mommy,” she observed, “your boobs are loooonnngggg.”

My friend chuckled and explained what happens to a woman’s body while she’s nursing (AND pregnant, no less).

The four-year-old took it all in and thought for a moment, quite pensive. She again looked up at her mommy and then down at her own chest, the cogs turning furiously in her four-year-old mind.

She then concluded, quite reasonably: “I must have gotten Daddy’s boobs.”

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Stop the car!

Last week on our adventures in wine country, I asked the gal behind the front desk at the Inn to recommend the most scenic route between Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley.

"Oh... it would be really windy," she lamented.

"Perfect!" I explained.

"Well, uh, that would be Oakville Grade Road, just south of Napa, but it's really curvy and stuff.."

"Exactly what we want," I assured her.

The husband and I then began our adventurous route to Sonoma Valley via the most circuitous route possible. It was just as I had hoped: absolutely beautiful. We drove up, up, up, around hairpin turns, through gorgeous forests, enjoying the unique topography.

At one point, just as we had executed a 90-degree turn at the top of an ascent, I saw two deer grazing on the gorgeous hill to our left, and the sun was catching them at just the right angle to amplify the splendor of the spectacle.

"DEER!!" was all I could muster in my quest to get the husband to stop the car (NOW!!) so I could snap a photo or two.

To humor me, as he typically must, he patiently pulled the car to the side, without a word, while I exited the car as quietly as I could so as not to frighten Bambi. It wasn't quite the right angle (we had come too far), but I still shot some pictures and re-entered the vehicle.

The husband hesitated a moment, contemplating the effect of what he was about to say before he uttered it, looked straight ahead, and said: "you know, hon; we have deer at home, too..."