Happy New Year!

I was going to write a real post tonight, but the Potato fell asleep on my arm at around 10 p.m.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Hope 2010 is a better one for us all.

December 31, 2009. family life. 3 comments.

let it snow

Yes, we’re caught in the blizzard of 2009. Happily, landisdad had shopped last week for all the ingredients I needed to make 7 different kinds of cookies this weekend. Our snowed-in-ness meant that I had the time to make all 7 batches, and our house smells great. The downside is that I am nowhere near ready for Christmas, and did not get to shop for things that I needed this weekend to shop for. I think that means I’m going to be forced to visit stores this week, which will truly suck, I imagine.

I love living in a small town, and it’s never more true than during a big snow. For one, while we couldn’t get out to the mall, we did manage to walk into town yesterday to pick up our Christmas tree. The kids got hot chocolate at the coffee shop, and landisdad and I carried our tree home the 3 blocks from the garden center to our house. Our tree was covered with natural snow and it was beautiful.

Another thing I love is how the neighborhood comes together to dig everyone out, especially when there is a really big snow like this one. About five or six years ago, we bought a communal snow blower for our block. We don’t live in an area where there is enough snow for anyone to justfiy a snow blower (at least in my opinion), but it’s nice to have one that we all share. There are a couple of guys on our block who really get into it, and they will generally do all the sidewalks, and cut up into the driveways of the older couples who can’t shovel due to health concerns. We share our driveway with our next door neighbors, who are a couple in their fifties. The husband of that couple has had a couple of heart attacks, and isn’t allowed to shovel, so a couple of the younger guys on the street will generally pitch in to help us dig out our driveway, which is long and narrow.

It sometimes befuddles some of the men in our neighborhood that I shovel snow (although I don’t do as much as landisdad does). But we’ve been here for ten years–they’ve mostly gotten used to my odd, gender-bending ways. Though earlier today, I think I blew the mind of one of our male neighbors when I told him that landisdad had walked into town to pick up a chicken, while I dug our cars out.

The kids both ended up having playdates, as well as playing with each other in the snow. I’m ashamed to say that both of their friends came fitted out in complete snow attire, including boots—I haven’t gotten it together enough this year to buy snow boots for the kids. I used my own mom’s trick of wrapping their feet in plastic bags inside their boots, so that they wouldn’t get instantly wet and freeze. Both of them found it about as embarrassing as I used to when I was in elementary school—so the family cycle continues.

Tonight one of my brothers is hosting dinner for us and the other brother & his wife, who had a birthday on Friday. We’re only a couple of blocks away, so we can just walk over. I haven’t gotten her a birthday present yet, so I guess we’ll be going with an IOU, but it will be good to spend this time together, since we won’t all be together on Christmas. I’m feeling very glass-is-half-fullish about this whole thing. Despite the fact that I’m falling farther behind in preparations for Christmas, I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress in fighting a sort of Scroogey feeling I was having earlier in the week.

After all, the real point of this season is not just to give gifts—it’s to have some goodwill toward all. I think that my neighbors and family, and two feet of snow, have conspired to give me that goodwill.


December 20, 2009. family life. 4 comments.

things to make you go awwwww

On our walk to school this morning, the Potato found a pebble. He put it in his pocket, to add to his rock collection.

Just now, he asked me if he could wrap it in wrapping paper so he can give it to Mr. Bear for Christmas. Then, he had to figure out where to hide it in his room, so Mr. Bear can’t find it while he’s at school. My heart grew about three sizes.

Has there ever been a cuter boy?

December 16, 2009. the cutest kids ever!. 2 comments.

somebody call Mark Burnett, stat!

I’ve been reading Roy Blount Jr.’s Long Time Leaving: Dispatches from Up South for the past couple of days. If you haven’t read Blount, I strongly suggest it—he has a sharp wit, combined with the ability to tell a long, rambling and sometimes wacky story to a satisfying conclusion.

I was lying in bed this morning reading it, when the Bee climbed in next to me for some cuddles. She asked me what I was reading, and I explained that it was a collection of essays and then went back to my reading. After about a minute, she said, “that is so true!”

Blount starts an essay about the Atlanta Olympics with the sentiment: “Religious argument ought to be an Olympic event, at least the way it’s practiced in the Five Points area of Atlanta.”

She was reading over my shoulder (note to self: must pick morning reading material with care), and read that sentence, and then composed a twenty-minute riff about how a game show (Arguing with the Stars, I think she called it) where every week, groups of believers in various faiths would have to get together and argue with each other and with atheists about their beliefs in answer to questions posed to them by some kind of celebrity. The questions would range from things like, “what happens after you die?” to “what kind of diet restrictions do you have?”. The celebrities would change from week to week.

I was laughing the whole time, imagining the possibilities of celebrity/faith combinations. Hasids and Fergie from the Black-Eyed Peas! Sunnis and Kim Kardashian! Buddhists and Donald Trump!

Oh, the sacrilege of it all…

December 13, 2009. books, family life. 3 comments.

20 minutes per week

…is about the limit on my blogging time for the month of December. It’s no wonder that I’ve become so much more active as a micro-blogger—I seriously can’t remember the last time I had an hour that contained the two elements most crucial to blogging (at least for me)—time to myself and the energy to think up something to blog about.

Needless to say, I won’t be spinning off any profundities here today.

My focus is so scattered these days, it’s a miracle that I remember how to get dressed in the morning. I fear that I’ve become one of those people who can’t keep her own schedule in her head–which is why I wake up every morning thanking my lucky stars for various Apple products, including iCal, Contacts & my iPhone–without those three things (and the various accounts that go with them), it would get ugly in a hurry around here.

Maybe I need to start scheduling time too blog?

Mostly, the pressure that I’m feeling is around Christmas/Hannukah and work. The endless requests by the kids to add “just one more thing” to their Christmas lists is feeling more and more hellish, largely because I’ve mostly finished shopping for them, and having them add more stuff is just pointless—but on the other hand, if they know that the presents are in the house already, they won’t rest until they’ve rooted them all out.

And why, oh why, couldn’t the damn Senate have done health care reform over the summer like they were supposed to? Couldn’t they predict that the decision to leave the debate till the last minutes of 2009 would cause agony for mom political organizers everywhere? or is that why they did it?

December 6, 2009. family life. Leave a comment.

gimme the note

Over the next two weeks, I’m going to be gone from home a lot—which is especially hard, since all the holiday-related school things are going on. For example, I’m going to miss the Bee’s winter concert this week, as I will be giving a speech on health care reform that I committed to months ago, before the concert was scheduled. Fortunately, my mom is still here so she’ll be able to come in my stead.

Back when I first started my current job, I used to write my kids a note every time I went on the road. As time has gone on, I’ve let that habit slide (even as I’ve traveled more).

Over the weekend, the Potato asked me to start writing notes again, for the time when I’ll be away. When he got home from school he gave me a note that he had written for me at after-school. It included a picture of me reading the note. Here’s the text:


From (the Potato)

Open this way —————–>

Have a good and great trip!

Sinse your going on a big trip this is the #1 note I am writing. You shud read this note evry morning because this is the best one so far. Sind (signed) 11/30/09


Needless to say, it warmed my heart. Plus, I couldn’t believe he spelled ‘because’ right.


December 1, 2009. family life. 4 comments.