Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Literary Trauma


My fourth favorite thing about being a parent? Visiting the library. I feel almost criminal lugging a half ton of books out to my car twice a week. Alice and I have established a tradition wherein we immediately camp out on the large "reading rock" behind the library. We sun ourselves like lizards and peruse the latest adventures of Cowgirl Kate and her pony Coco.

However, as in all good things, the library is rife with potential disaster. Did you know that Babar, King of the Elephants had a run-in with cannibals on his honeymoon? Yes indeed, try explaining cannibals to a creature that doesn't understand the concept of death. We are still trying to ease her into the news that the "Chicken" she is eating and the bird she feeds at the petting zoo have a correlation.
P.S. the Cannibals in question appear to be in blackface.
P.P.S. The original Babar story includes a mother being shot to death, a favorite uncle set on fire, a beloved teacher bitten by a cobra, and the angel of death visiting Babar when he sleeps. Thank goodness Alice doesn't know how to read.

I am trying to broaden Alice's understanding of the world as responsibly and gently as I can. I am leaning heavily on the maxim, WWFRD: What would Fred Rogers do? So I have been actively looking for books that tackle weighty issues.

Last week I came upon a book called "My Two Uncles" by Judith Vigna. This seemed like a good starting place. There aren't a lot of LGBT friendly books at our local library so I snapped it up. Of course I read it first and I came to this conclusion, while Judith Vigna is willing to tackle difficult material, she is a stone cold bummer.

Here are some other titles:

I Wish Daddy Didn't Drink So Much
My Big Sister Takes Drugs
Nobody Wants a Nuclear War
Saying Goodbye to Daddy

I'm hardly the only parent to remark on these books. Here is a post from the popular blog:
sweet juniper

I can't count the number of times I have read truncated versions of kid's books, quickly editing out the terrifying bits. Unfortunately kids can remember the exact wording you used last time the story was read and will complain if it changes.
Any suggestions for new books to try would be very much appreciated.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I think I may have inadvertently betrayed my personal trainer.

Her smile becomes brighter and scarier. “I thought we had an appointment on the 30th. I planned on calling you next week to confirm…”

I have disrupted The Plan.

Once officially in my thirties it occurred to me that I had moved up a weight class and wished to downgrade. In my mid-late 20’s I thought, “Well, I’ll just embrace arugula, maybe take up Krav Maga for kicks. The excess fat will take care of itself.”
Post-childbearing I know that this will never ever happen for me. A plan is required and specialists must be brought in at regular intervals.

So I joined a gym and signed up for the *free personal training sessions.

My trainer was a lady. Very nice. She asked me to do 4 days of cardio in the fat burning range and two days of weight training a week. “Oh,” she adds “If you really want to lose weight you should try this **Up-sell service we provide.”
I said, “No thank you. See you in a month”.

Two weeks in and I haven’t lost any weight but my clothes fit better and I look more action figure than sad lump. Happily I was given the chance to abandon my family for the gym very early this evening, when my husband gave the indication that he was up for parenting solo yet another night.

P.S. Tony, it’s been real nice being married to you for nine years.

Around 7:45 I am reaching the end of a long medium intensity session on an elliptical machine. I was trying to figure out how to make the machine engage my posterior to best effect, which sounds filthy but couldn’t be farther in the opposite direction. I suppose I must have been telegraphing my frustration because a man with a “trainer” tag on his t-shirt appeared at my side and asked me if I was angry about something.

What followed was an unsolicited lesson about the benefits of knowing your optimum heart rate range and some useful information about the importance of moving beyond a fat burning heart-rate so you can expend enough calories to lose weight. Mr. Trainer helped me figure out why I wasn’t getting the results I wanted, and he did it for free so I thanked him.

Then he suggested the **Up-sell service and I declined. So he went on to suggest it in greater detail and I declined. Then I got tired of talking and clumsily faux-cross country skiing so I tried to end this conversation. Mr. Trainer suggested to me a free service that he said all new gym folks are supposed to undergo, a fit-test or something. I said fine and he walked me back to the trainer desk…the scene of my betrayal.

Mr. Trainer gets on the computer and asks when I am free. I say, “Generally 8pm, possibly on Friday”. I have a toddler who needs my care during the day and a fledgling business that gets the remnants of my time at night. I am not thrilled about losing more valuable “me” time but the service is free and he says it will make my work more effective.

“Hey…you.” Says a lady voice. I look up and my female trainer is standing next to Mr. Trainer. She is smiling so pointedly that I feel I have been jabbed in the eyes.

What followed was an unfunny tedious version of “Who’s on first” with one trainer trying to schedule me for something and the other one trying to confirm that I was being confirmed for something that was had already been scheduled. It was like reading Saint Thomas Aquinas, but instead of searching for truth through reason he was trying to tone my butt and simultaneously snake another trainer’s commission.

Honestly I believe Mr. Trainer was embarrassed when he found out I already had a trainer and just didn’t know how to extricate himself from the mistake. I feel for him and I can intellectually understand the crazy eyes on my previous trainer, but the end result is this:

I lost about 40 minuets of rare exercise time being harassed about a service I don’t want and have repeatedly refused. Then I was addressed as if I had backed out on a commitment, when in reality I was just humoring a person that approached me with an unsolicited sales request masked as a helpful gesture.

Finally I had enough and told them I had to go get back to my kid.

Going to the gym at 8pm wreaks havoc with my sleep. On the plus side, all the trainers are off duty.

*See Membership contract under the subsection “Obvious Hidden Fees”

**This is a $150+ method of determining your perfect weight burning heart-rate. It requires; the purchase of an oxygen mask gadget, performed (and repurchased) every six months, AND is totally guaranteed to tell you everything you need to know about optimally reducing your own personal lard ass.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

This was Christmas, it was awesome

We were lucky enough to snag two aunts, an uncle, two Grandmothers, and a Grandpa at our house this Christmas.
The adults all got stockings because that's how I roll.


One of my favorite treats came from the amazing Lux Bakery


I don't want to say Alice is spoiled in anyway but she received not one but two ponys.
video
In addition to a babydoll that she can bathe and one she can have when she is old enough not to break it.


We also posed for our first family holiday portrait. It went...as well as could be expected.

Oh 2010, you have gotten crazy on me.

We have had a nutball year thus far. Hence total silence on this blog. It all started a wee bit before the new year with a total kitchen renovation courtesy of my Mom. Back in the Fall of '09 when Mom found a 70% discount on a new dishwasher and in quick succession, a stove and set of cabinets (plus sink!) at considerable discounts.

Mom asked a friend who is a site superintendent to caravan with her to our house so we could gut the kitchen and rebuild it into it's current glory. This is the previous kitchen.

I will take a picture of the results as soon as we finish painting. It might take a while since we are going to be out of town for the next two weekends. 2010, continuing on the non-stop crazy train.

The kitchen required about a thousand visits to IKEA (thanks Mom!). There were two sessions of all night driving for Mom and Dennis. The cabinets refused to fit until a stud was exposed and shaved down. Tony learned to drywall and our neighbor Charles offered the use of his table saw to cut our new countertops (thanks again Mom!) to size. It was a pretty big project for just a few people all taking place the day before Christmas.

Now that it is all done I don't know how I lived without a fully functional kitchen. Especially nice are the new GFCI outlets that prevent me from electrocuting myself and burning down the house. One more time with feeling: Thanks Mom!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bluebird Poster

I was compiling some portfolio pieces today for an illustration bid and I came across this poster I made for a college dormitory.

The seed of this poster idea came from my time as a Camp Fire Girl, where I gained the rank of "Bluebird". I attained this distinction by being over six years old when I joined.

The manual we were given focused on the worth of home and social skills with the "Blue Bird of Happiness" used as a metaphor. The specific content of the manual and the program remains fuzzy in my memory.

Ruminating on this mythical bird, it occurred to me that there should be more than one incarnation of the bluebird. Though happiness is a laudable state, perhaps there should be a bird or two that could reflect the particular states of the freshman college student.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Repeat Performance

Alice is asleep right now so I have a moment to note that yesterday's successful use of the potty was not a fluke! She requested use of the facilities again this morning and went through the whole process without a hitch. I have a book that is called "Potty Train your Child in One Day", but I confess that I never actually read the book.

Maybe Alice read it?
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