Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Gray Hair Update

I found two in my bangs in the last week. I think the onslaught has begun. This is not going to work for me. Any hair color companies out there want to sponsor a blog?

Monday, April 27, 2009

I Have the Sense of Humor of a Grade-Schooler

For years, this has been my favorite joke:

me: Knock-knock.
you: Who's there?
me: Interrupting cow.
you: Interrup---

Kinda hard to get that across in writing, but trust me. It's funny. I did, however, hear a one today that might just be my new favorite:

A lonely guy goes to a pet shop to get himself a new pet. The pet shop owner says, "Have I got a pet for you! I have this centipede who talks and sings opera. He'll be perfect for you." The guy is dubious, but decides to take a look. Sure enough, the centipede comes out of his little house, carries on an intelligent conversation, and sings a glorious aria. "Sold!" says the guy.

After a few days of scintillating conversation and beautiful singing, the guy decides he has to show off his amazing new pet. He knocks on the roof of the centipede's little house and says, "C'mon, let's go down to the bar. You can meet the fellows and show off your voice. It'll be great!" No response.

The guy tries again. He knocks on the roof, encourages the centipede to come on, already. No response.

He tries a third time, this time getting a little snippy. "What's the matter? Are you shy or something? Come ON!"

Finally, he hears a voice from inside the house."Keep your shirt on! I heard you the first time; I'm putting on my shoes!"

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I'm Just a Girl

I don’t know why, but I always assumed I’d be a mom to boys. Maybe because I have 4 brothers who I’ve generally gotten along with well. Or maybe because I have uncles who were teenagers when I was born, and therefore teased me mercilessly with activities such as “cutdown,” a game where I would run past the couch where they were sitting while they threw pillows at my ankles, Frisbee-style, to see who could get me to wipe out first. This sort of thing tends to toughen you up a bit, and become familiar with the male psyche early on. I’ve always had male friends, even in elementary school. In high school, my mother was completely perplexed by my hanging out with a guy friend, who was not my boyfriend, and never would be (okay, one or two of them turned out to be gay, but still). And I’ve always had guy buddies at work. None of this is to say that I don’t get along with women; I do. My closest friends have always been and still are women. And I’ve never been a tomboy, either, despite looking the part there for a while as a skinny, 6’0” seventh grader. I just “get” guys, in a way that a lot of women don’t. A woman I used to work with told me once that I had a “male sense of humor.” I don’t know exactly what that means, except maybe that I can appreciate a good fart joke more than the average woman (which probably has at least 50% to do with why Bret married me).

Anyway. I didn’t have a preference as to whether we ended up with a girl or a boy, I just figured I would make me a really good mom of a boy. And then Lauren arrived. And I was, of course, delighted. (The first thing I discovered about what’s fun about having a girl is the clothes. Holy moly, do they make some cute clothes for little girls. I have completely transferred my interest in fashion to Lauren’s wardrobe.)

I have known people who were expecting a child and hoping it was a boy – their reasoning being that “boys are easier.” I don’t know exactly what this is supposed to mean, but I think it comes down to periods and hormones and “Oh, God, what if she gets pregnant?” I don’t know why they don’t think that’s a problem if you have a boy. They think girls are moody or mean or prone to drama. Yes, some of them are (or all of us are, some of the time). But so are boys (see above: four brothers). And I think it’s incredibly sexist to assume a girl will be “harder” to raise than a boy. Boy, girl, doesn’t matter; it’s the individual kid’s personality, not the gender, that makes him or her “difficult.”

One thing I’ve discovered about mothering a girl is that the world is more open for girls – what’s available to them in a socially acceptable way is broader than it is for boys. (I’m not saying it’s right that boys are often discouraged from pursing activities or interests that are traditionally those of girls, I’m just saying that’s the way it is.) Girls can play dolls and wear pink one minute and the next be sweaty and grimy on the soccer field. I love being able to expose Lauren to a whole world of possibilities – bugs and hair clippies, being a doctor for Halloween and loving new shoes, playing sports and playing kitchen.

I think I was given a girl, in part, because there’s something I’m supposed to learn about myself along the way. Something that I wouldn’t learn if we had a boy. I don’t know what that is yet, but I’m enjoying the journey so far.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Suggested Sites for Work Slack

All right, I'm totally phoning this in. But here are some sites you might get a kick out of (no, I have not included a link to British singing sensation, Susan Boyle). Sorry if I've already shared these.

Anyone who's ever lived in a dorm or apartment with more than one roommate should like this site. Ah, yes, I remember it well...the snotty Post-Its in the bathroom or on the sink from a disgruntled roomie.

And this site. It's not updated frequently, but I do check it from time to time. There have been some really funny lists on here. This one and this one are a couple of my favorites.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Another post-holiday hangover, including a smidge of resentment. Bret was irritated with me on Sunday because his parents were coming over for dinner, and he wanted to take them upstairs to show them Lauren’s new bed, and my solution was to just close the doors of the upstairs rooms we didn’t want them to see (because they were messy). He didn’t like that idea, so he tidied them up himself, which was just fine with me.

Maybe that should be the end of the story, but these holidays always get me thinking about equality, and how it isn’t so much the day-to-day stuff, where I’m more or less happy with the division of labor, it’s all the special occasions that are so completely out-of-whack imbalanced. For example, for Easter I, and I alone:

Planned the menu for Easter dinner
Ordered the ham
Did all the grocery shopping two days before
Picked up the ham the day before
Bought a new tablecloth (to match the china, of course)
Bought egg-coloring supplies, cooked the eggs and organized a lovely family egg-coloring event
Bought all Lauren’s Easter bunny presents, including 2 books, 3 t-shirts, a bit of candy, stickers and a stuffed bunny (not all bought at the same time or the same place)
Bought, “stuffed” and hid plastic eggs for Lauren
Planned Lauren’s Easter outfit
Washed Lauren’s new Easter tights by hand
Ironed Lauren’s Easter dress
Got Lauren dressed for Easter – twice; once for church and once after nap so the grandparents could see her in her dress – including fighting her both times and constantly following her around to fix the bow on her dress and her hair thingies
Hand washed all the china
Set the table
Hand washed all the globes from 2 chandeliers (man, those things were fuzzy; a testament to my general housekeeping standards)
Cleaned the house – oops, just the downstairs (minus downstairs bathroom; Bret did do that), plus all the clutter from Lauren’s room and some of the clutter from my room
Cooked a ham, 3 side dishes, and a dessert (which we ended up throwing away because it wasn’t cooked in the middle), timing everything so it was all ready at the same time (mostly succeeded at this)
Got everyone’s drinks; refilled drinks and food a couple of times throughout the meal

I will admit that I’m the one who volunteered to host Easter dinner and I honestly didn’t mind doing it. I rarely cook a decent meal so I actually enjoyed doing it. Bret’s parents do a lot for us and I wanted to have them over on a holiday for a nice meal. I will also admit that I would just prefer to do most of these things myself. I know what needs to be done and…it’s just easier to do them myself. What I do resent is being made to feel bad for not having every room in the house clean. Because I was just a LITTLE BIT BUSY DOING OTHER THINGS.

Friday, April 10, 2009

After hours and hours of eBay'ing, I finally scored tickets to the U2 concert in Chicago this fall. I am beyond excited. A little history: I started listening to U2 in 1982, when The Edge not only had hair, but he had BIG hair:

They were not popular back then; I'm not even sure if they were being played on the radio much. But I liked their sound, and I liked their lyrics. Fast-forward to 1987 when I was a freshman in college in Delaware, OH. My boyfriend at the time was an even bigger U2 fan and he got us tickets to see them in concert in Cleveland. This was the Joshua Tree tour. However, I neither had a car on campus, nor was brave enough to get in a car with strangers and drive the 2 hours to Cleveland, so I missed the show. My boyfriend bought me a shirt, which I wore for years, until it started to shred, and then I hung it on my dorm wall the rest of my college days. Man, I wish I'd hung onto that shirt.

Why I've never made it to a concert in the 22 years since then I don't know. I can count on one hand the number of pop music concerts I've been to EVER. I think, in part, it's because Bret got his fill of concert-going in the early to mid 80s -- spending his teenage years seeing Rush, Van Halen, Styx, Scorpions, Boston, and Def Leppard burned him out on the whole experience. Anyway, several months ago when I heard that U2 had a new album coming out and knew there'd be a tour, I decided I was going, no matter what. (Even if you don't love their music, you know they've gotta put on a great show.)

I was on Ticketmaster's site the second the tickets went on sale, but they sold out instantly (I still don't quite understand how that happens). So I checked out some ticket brokers, but their prices were ridiculous, so I started bidding on eBay. I didn't have to have the best seats in the house, but I really didn't want the cheapest ones, either. I'd like to be able to see, not just hear. I finally won an auction. The seats aren't great, but they're not terrible. Aw, who cares? I'm thrilled to be going. Now I just need to find someone to go with me... (another story for another day)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spring Speaking Tour: Part I

The panel presentation at the Resolve conference last weekend went well. I met some really great people, including a couple who have 6 kids (2 bio, 2 from Russia and 2 from China -- yikes!), and another couple with 2 boys from the same birth mother. Such lovely people. I was thinking on the drive home that truly some of the kindest, most thought-filled (people who think things through a lot; not necessarily thoughtful, although usually they are that, too) people I know are adoptive parents. Not saying we're saintly or any of that, just that I think if you go to this much trouble to be a parent, you probably REALLY want to be one, have thought about it and your own life and what it all means a lot. Hell, you have to, if you want to fill out the paperwork in any meaningful way. But I digress. The participants were lovely, too. I so remember being one of them -- tons of questions, not sure if this is your path or not, wondering if you can really give up on "treatment" (as we in the biz call it) and move on to adoption with joy and hopefulness after so much heartbreak. I wanted to gather them all up in my arms and say, "Just do it; you won't regret it one bit."

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday Links

I don't have anything to report today, so I'll just share with you some good stuff off the interwebs:

Pandora. I'm probably way behind here (I usually am when it comes to all things techie and/or hip), but this is a very cool site where you create your own "radio station" by typing in a song or artist/band name and it plays songs similar to the one you typed in, or songs similar to the ones the band you typed in plays. Are you still following me? It's all based on something called the Music Genome Project, which I won't even try to describe here but it's very cool. Anyway, I like it because I listen to the radio via the Internet at work every day and was getting really sick of the repetition, as well as the crappy quality (buffering, always buffering). You can create more than one "station" so you can listen to a different genre, depending on your mood. Right now I'm listening to the station I created by typing in "Duran Duran" (nothing gets me through a Friday afternoon like some 80s pop). I also created two other stations by typing in "Ben Folds" and "New Order". Oh, and there are no commercials and no fees. Kinda cool.

Inappropriate Yoga Guy. I started taking yoga 10 years ago and although I haven't taken many classes in the last couple of years, I do still like to practice at home (not as often as I should). Anyway, if you've ever taken a yoga class, this will crack you up. And if you haven't, you might find it amusing, too. This is a new Web series based on a YouTube video (not as good as these).