Wordless Wednesday- St Patrick’s Day Parade

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Back to My Roots

Someday I’ll write about my love of Facebook.  Right now, just know that it’s brought a lot of people back into my life…and I’m glad.

I was at Amelia’s Kindergarten Open House this morning and a little girl with slightly messy hair walked in wearing a flowered dress over flowered pants, a leopard print jacket & sparkly shoes.  All I could think was “Wow, she’s Amelia’s soul-mate.”  I started thinking about how the kids in Amelia’s Kindergarten class could be her life-long best friends.  Then I got a little sad because, if it weren’t for Facebook, I wouldn’t be in touch with ONE of my Kindergarten classmates.  Is that unusual?  I’m not sure.  I do know that it would make a lot more sense if my family had moved away at some point. 

I never moved, but I DID change schools in seventh grade.  It was the right choice, a much bigger school with more resources and more opportunity, but I lost touch with all of the people I’d known in elementary school.  They were the people I’d taken swimming lessons with, spent summer programs with, played softball with.  Why did we lose touch?  Who knows.  Maybe because I was the girl who thought she was too cool because she went to a bigger school.  Maybe we just didn’t know the same people anymore and had nothing to talk about.  Maybe being 12 is just a really awkward time.  Whatever the reason, it’s sad to think about it now.  Add to that going away to college and then moving to Atlanta and there was really never any hope.  Our paths had split.

Fortunately, we DO have things like Facebook so I can have some semblance of a reconnection with the people I used to know.  In a lot of cases, it’s just an accepted friend request.  But every so often I venture to comment on a photo or write on someone’s wall.  If nothing else, we know that the other person is there IF we want to get reacquainted.

So, believe it or not, this is what I was thinking about today when I got an instant message from a guy I knew when I was young.  Pat is the oldest brother of my friend Erica, who was one of my BFFs in late elementary school and early middle school.  I haven’t talked to her in years and years and I’d friended Pat a while back thinking that I could ask him for her contact info (which I never got around to doing).  I’d left a comment on his wall over the weekend and so he’d replied and messaged to say Hi.  We started chit-chatting and I randomly made a comment about the computer lab at Amelia’s future school and how I remember being in Kindergarten and the school having ONE computer that they wheeled around from class to class.  His response was “Yeah, I remember that.”  Well, of course he did…he was THERE…and he was older, so he remembered it even better.  I realized that this was the first time in a long time that I’d referenced something from my early years (to somebody other than my family) and the person I was talking to knew EXACTLY what I was talking about.  My friends from work or college or high school would probably have comparable experiences….but they don’t know exactly what I’m talking about.  They weren’t there.  Even my husband doesn’t have that exact point of reference.  It was a strange realization and it snuck up on me a bit.  Our conversation went on and there were a couple more references dropped….names I hadn’t thought about in years.  It was comforting, like walking into your old school and having it smell exactly the same.  I’m sure that Pat has no idea what a big deal it was to me, but I spent the rest of the day feeling like I’d been given a shot of home.  

It made me excited for Amelia to go to school and make life-long friends.  It made me excited to re-connect with my long-long swimming lessons friends.

And now I have to go e-mail Erica (because I finally got her e-mail address)……

Mystery Illness

Growing up, I never got sick.  I’d get the odd stomach bug or cold, but they were few and far between.   I went to the doctor so infrequently that when I did go, usually for a physical, I’d be weirded out the entire time by the stranger checking me over.  My sister, on the other hand, was the kid that always had strep throat and would occasionally throw in a UTI or some Scarlet Fever to make things interesting.  She knew the doctor, his off days and how his kids were doing in school.  She was the sick kid.  I was the healthy one.

So far, I’ve been lucky enough to have 2 healthy kids.  Amelia has had 2 ear infections and 1 strep throat.  Zaven has, in two years, never gone to the doctor for anything other than a well-baby check.  At times, I think they’re a little bummed that they don’t see more of Doctor Dave.  They’ve certainly had colds and stomach bugs…but nothing that lasted very long or was ever very serious.  And they’ve certainly never had anything that a doctor just flat-out couldn’t identify….

…until now.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, I was vaguely aware that Amelia had crawled into our bed.  I mumbled something that was supposed to sound like “Hey babe.”  In response, I heard a little girl whisper “Mommy, I’m sick.”  I thought that she was just making an excuse to come into our bed and was about to tell her that she didn’t need to make up a story when Jason said “Yeah, she was a little warm last night.”  I felt her back and it was hot.  Not warm…sizzling, burning hot. 

I thought that she might sleep it off and be better when we got up.  Nope.  She refused breakfast and curled up on the couch.  It was Saturday and we had nowhere to be, so I just let her relax.  I finally found a thermometer and her temperature was 101.5.   We stayed pretty mellow for the rest of the day and Amelia seemed to slowly improve.  By mid-afternoon, we were sitting outside painting each others nails.  She wasn’t perfect, but she was on the mend.

Late in the afternoon I started getting ready for dinner out with a friend (no kids, adult conversation, wine.  Woot!).  I wasn’t worried about Amelia because, by this time, she’d gone to do errands with me.  I kissed both kids and went out.

Dinner was phenomenal.

Hours later, as we were waiting for the bill, I looked at my phone….18 missed calls….from Jason….uh-oh.  The cell reception was spotty in this restaurant and for some reason my phone never rang.  I couldn’t quite hear the voicemail and I went outside and called Jason.  When he answered, Jason was steely calm (after 18 calls, it was a bit of a surprise). 

“Hey, I’m sorry for blowing up your phone, but…um…I think Amelia may need to go to the hospital.  She’s really burning up.  It was 103.6 before and now it’s….um….104.3.  And she threw up.”  104.3????  Isn’t 105 when your brain starts boiling?

“Okay…I’ve leaving now.  Are you bringing her to the E.R.?”

“Well, I want you to look at her and see what you think.”   

Doesn’t he know that I was never sick as a child, so I have NO idea about what necessitates a trip to the E.R.?  My only trip to the Emergency Room was when I broke my ankle…and there was no mistaking that…and it wasn’t my choice anyway.  I AM a mom though, so I suppose I DO have superpowers and infinite wisdom.  Okay…fine….

By the time I got home, Amelia’s temperature had dropped to the 103 range.  While I was on the phone with the advice nurse, it was down to 102.  Because the temperature was going in the right direction, the nurse scheduled an appointment for the next morning and gave me a list of things to watch for overnight.

The next morning the doctor at the extented-hours office checked Amelia over.  Moderate fever, good pulse & blood oxygen level, sinuses clear, no ear infection.  When he got to her throat, he thought he had it solved.  “Her tonsils are huge and have puss.  I’ll do a strep culture.  As soon as it comes back, I can write a prescription for antibiotics.”  Great!  Problem solved!

Ten minute later the doctor walked in looked perplexed.  “It’s not Strep.”  He had no idea what it was…maybe a viral infection.  He said that all we could do right now it treat the fever with Tylenol & Motrin and wait for it to take its course.  He told me to call back if she wasn’t better by Wednesday. WEDNESDAY?  THREE DAYS AWAY?  SHE MIGHT HAVE THIS SCARY FEVER FOR THREE MORE DAYS???

On my drive home I realized that this was the first time that I’d ever left a doctor’s office with absolutely no answers.  I don’t take visits to the doctor lightly, so when I go I expect to have some course of action.  This time there was none (beyond Tylenol & Motrin).  I was just supposed to wait it out while my daughter’s temperature was periodically spiking to 104 (a temperature that is scary for ANYONE).  I wanted answers.  I wanted a diagnosis.  I wanted House.

In reality, Amelia was improving by the next day.  With Tylenol, Amelia’s fever never spiked over 101 and by Monday afternoon she was eating, drinking & coloring.  It was just a weird little virus that her body was working hard to fight.  No big deal.  But it made me think…..

….what about those parents who have kids who are REALLY sick with REAL mystery illnesses???  What do they do?  How do they cope?  I can’t even imagine.

I’m sending healthy vibes to all.

Geek Rock

I am not a Geek.  Seriously.  I’m not. 

Sometimes I wish I was.  They’re the ones that know how to get the good pirated movies and computer stuff for free. 

I’ve tried to understand Dungeons & Dragons…a lot.  I still don’t get it.  I’ve tried to see the appeal of a Renaissance Festival.  Beyond the giant turkey legs (which actually do sound pretty cool), I just can’t do it.  I’ve tried so hard to enjoy anything written by J.R.R Tolkien.  Nope…I didn’t even like the movies. 

That all being said, some of my favorite people and some of the most important people in my life are complete geeks…and proud of it.  So, in celebration of somebody who may or may not have grown up across the meadow from near me and  all of the a few people I knew in college, I give you this:

CNN.com has a great list of the Top Ten Geek Anthems of All Time.  No matter who you are, this list will most definitely make you smile.  So go look at the list, listen to the song samples, look for the video on YouTube  & dance around the room (’cause your friends don’t dance and if they don’t dance, they’re no friends of mine….).  

Go ahead, celebrate your past/current/inner/outer/cape-wearing geekdom.  You’re the ones who are ruling the world (….and fixing my computer).  Own it!

And while you’re at it, enjoy my addition.  I know that They Might Be Giants is already on the list, but it doesn’t get better than this….

Live Long and Prosper   (see, it doesn’t even look right when I type it…)

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Does anybody else think that this post makes me sound like the blonde girl on The Big Bang Theory?  Just me?  Okay.

Humanizing My Mom-Idol

I think we all have “Her”….the mom that seems to have it all together, whose kids are always well-behaved and well-adjusted, whose hair always looks great, who always seems to have the time/energy/childcare to have a fabulous girls’ night or date with her husband.  She’s your Mom-Idol.  You sort of want to hate her, but she’s so nice.  She wouldn’t be your Mom-Idol if she was bitchy.

Strictly speaking, it doesn’t need to be a Mom-Idol.  You could have any sort of role model.  I actually have several…a working mom idol, a newswoman idol, a hippy mom idol, a writer mom idol, a writer non-mom idol  (I could go on and on.  I respect and admire a lot of different women for a lot of different reasons).  I actually once had a friend tell me that I was her mom-idol, which was quite an honor (although I felt incredibly self-conscious around her after that).

I have one mom idol, I wish I could call her a friend but she’s more of an aquaintance, who always seems to be living the life I wish I was living.  She has an amazing house (I’m not a stalker), she writes for a living, she goes to fabulous parties and events and posts pictures on Facebook (seriously, I’m not a stalker), she seems to have a huge social circle that frequently plans multi-family trips to the beach or the mountains.  And when I see her out in the world, which I do periodically, she always looks fabulous and put together.  She just always seems so…cool.

I saw this women at Kroger a few weeks ago and we stopped to chat.  As usual, she was cool and breezy and I was trying hard to sound clever and relaxed while I was talking.  It’s not that talking to her makes me nervous, it’s just that I’m regularly a spaz and stumble over my words….especially when I’m trying to sound relaxed.  So we talked about things while I surreptitiously looked over the contents of her basket (wine, fancy cheese, organic produce…figures).  Her kids were fantastically well-behaved while her husband kept passing by saying things like “Honey, I’ll get the olives for the dinner party”.  Meanwhile, I was wondering if I could get home in time to grab a shower before my husband and kids woke up from their afternoon nap or if it was even worth it since we weren’t leaving the house again for the rest of the weekend.  Eventually, we said our good-byes and did that “We totally need to get together” thing that never actually seems to happen.

I went straight to the check-out line.  After waiting for a few minutes, I noticed that Mom-Idol & family were a few people behind me.  I didn’t want to seem too clingy or desperate, so I was trying hard to look engaged while flipping through a magazine.  And that’s when I noticed it….

…..Mom-Idol was losing her cool. 

It wasn’t just a momentary slip.  She was losing her freakin’ mind.  She was bickering with her husband about the kind of olives he’d picked while her son was begging for candy and her daughter was trying to run away.  She was hissing through clenched teeth at one child while giving the eye to the other.  She was completely exasperated while digging through her purse looking for her wallet and repeating “I thought I had a coupon…I don’t want to get it without the coupon.”  She was acting…..human.

Now, I’m under no false impression that this woman is in any way super-human.  I know that we all have our days.  Everybody has problems.  But I sometimes feel like other people just deal with it better.  They don’t let their cracks show.  Maybe their lives are just a little bit easier. 

But maybe they aren’t.  Perhaps her cracks are closer to the surface than I’d thought.  Is it possible that her coolness & self-assurance cover a bit of insecurity?  Maybe she can’t figure out how to control her kids.  Maybe she’s afraid that people won’t think that she’s smart enough or funny enough.  Maybe she’s as nervous talking to me as I am talking to her. 

All I know is that my Mom-Idol is a normal person.  And, for that, I like her even more.

The R-Word

I was at the McDonald’s near my house the other day, the one that always manages to shock me by employing the rudest and most unprofessional staff, and it officially hit a new low.  Jason, Zaven and I were standing at the counter, waiting for our food, and an off-duty employee was bantering with the people working.  Besides making us feel like we were intruding on their party (and slowing down the service of our food) they were just being obnoxious.  This McDonald’s caters mostly to drive-thru customers, so I can see how they might let face to face customer service slide.  But damn…this was ridiculous. 

I was standing there with my 2 year old son, waiting for someone to drop an F-bomb (because it was definitely coming) when one of the girls behind the counter yelled- no, SCREAMED- at the off-duty guy “OH MY GOD, YOU’RE SUCH A RETARD!!!!!!”.  This wasn’t just face to face across the counter, this was across the restaurant…counter to drink dispenser.  I thought ‘Wow…so unprofessional’.  Then the guy yells back “NO!  YOU’RE RETARDED!!!”.  Then they started going back and forth.  Four more times the word “Retard/Retarded” was used.  Classy.

It’s amazing how much a word, when it leaves normal conversation, can stick out when it’s used.  It was uncomfortable to hear.  It offended me.  It offended me more than if they’d said “Shit” or “Bitch”  (you know, words a don’t really like my food preparers to use in front of me).  It reminded me of hearing people of my parents’ generation talk about the N-word being casually used in daily conversation when they were kids.  These people weren’t from racist families or  living in the South, they were just normal suburban kids singing songs and nursery rhymes that they didn’t really think about.  We’re certainly not throwing THAT word around today. 

So why are people still throwing the R-word around?

Ellen at http://lovethatmax.blogspot.com/ had a great post about “One of the Most Awful Words on the Planet” (brought on by a completely ignorant Twitter exchange).  In her post, I learned that today, March 3,  is End the R-word Day.  

Did you know that there was such a day?  Did you know that there was a campaign?  I didn’t.  I knew that it was an awful word.  I knew that it hurt me to hear it.  To many people, this is a personal mission.  They’re standing up for the people they love.  I’m just standing up for people in general.

Don’t use the R-word.  It makes you sound ignorant.

Pass it on. 

24 Hours Later…

Well, I was right.  Amelia was perfectly fine today.  I opened her door and she literally JUMPED out of bed to pick out her black and/or red outfit to celebrate the birthday of Dr Seuss.  Her only complaint was that her nightlight had been shining in her eyes last night and it had really disturbed her sleep (her words).

So, apparently Amelia isn’t the weird freak of her class (for now).  I probably WAS projecting my insecurities onto her.  The fact of the matter is that the parents don’t talk to me…so I figured their kids wouldn’t talk to my kid.  I’ve had 32 years to get used to it and find my own outlet (and know, as Marvinia told me yesterday, “ain’t nothing wrong with being different”).  Amelia still believes that the world is puppies and rainbows. 

Speaking of being different, Happy Birthday Dr Seuss. 

 

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

Dr Seuss, illustrator and author 1904 to 1991