Monday, November 30, 2009

25 Days Till Christmas

With all of the craziness in the season, I try really hard to remember what makes Christmas so special to the kids. That way it keeps it special for me, too. So I hope you enjoy my countdown to Christmas.

FACT: Santa does not wrap his presents.

Think of the logistics. He barely has enough time to MAKE them all. Add to that the bureaucracy of getting through trademark and copyright laws. Not to mention fiddling around with the whole space-time continuum. Something has got to give.

Where I come from, that is how you knew the present was from Santa. We came down Christmas morning and saw a new Swatch Watch sitting on the coffee table. Or a Twigbee Bear, with his eyes gleaming from the fireplace hearth. Thanks, Santa.

I didn't realize Scott's family had their own deal with the big man. So while I do miss my family tradition, I appreciate the extra effort the Claus's go to in our particular situation to provide nicely wrapped presents under the tree.

Here's the sad fact. I remember two Santa presents with perfect clarity.

One, the entire family got cross country skis. (Seemed cool until it became apparent that cross country skiing was actually exercise.)

Two, I got a winter coat. Santa must have turned his workshop into a sweatshop that year.

Lesson learned - kids like toys. Don't try to trick them by making something boring come from Santa in the hopes that they will think it is cool. They will hold it against you for the rest of your life.

(Kidding, Mom and Dad.)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

We love you. We're thankful for you. We've been super good and a little good. We really love you a lot.

I would like a Puppy with a bone and Pixels. I also want a baby doll and a Pokemon DS.

Zoe wants 2 dollies and a set of food and a stuffed tea set for me and her.

Merry Christmas,

Scribed by Mommy - Note to Nana's - please don't take this as the official request. This was only her draft.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giving Thanks

It goes without saying, that I'm thankful for my friends and family, but I just said it anyway. I'm thankful we have food and shelter and jobs to keep it that way. Though I'm not too thankful for Scott's job, because it sucks so bad. I'm thankful for my little marine biologist and the devil's spawn.

I'm thankful for reality TV because it makes my life look a lot better. And I'm thankful for works of fiction so I can escape it. I'm thankful to the library for making it free. (Special thanks to Professor B Worm for reviewing"The Hunger Games" - that's the best book I've read in quite a while.)

I'm thankful I no longer have to find every one's e-mail address when I want to write something mildly amusing.

Morgan is thankful for everyone, but most notably Thea (her caregiver) and Santa Claus. She is also thankful for belugas, humpbacks, orcas, dolphins, penguins and sharks - even robot sharks. Obviously, she's thankful for Pixar and Noggin. And a man named Steven Spielberg.

Zoe is most likely thankful for her lung capacity, vocal chords, and motor skills that allow her to stomp on the floor and swing her arms wildly above her head at the same time. I'm also pretty sure she's thankful for Oreos and M&Ms, but who isn't? Add to that list anyone willing to wrestle with her, give her pony rides on their foot, or let her stick rocks in her mouth.

I'm sure Scott's thankful I write this blog instead of vacuuming or remembering to pick up the dry cleaning. But perhaps slightly more thankful he doesn't have to take blood pressure medication anymore and can fit into clothes he wore in high school (though I'm thankful he doesn't choose to do this).

I'm not yet thankful to the Ohio Lottery, but I hope to be someday soon.

I'm thankful to those people who already have their Christmas lights on, because now I have a blog topic for next week.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

With Sympathy

To those in my extended family who suffered a loss today, I wanted to give the words that I've found comforting over the years. I don't know the author's name and I don't know if the poem has a title, but I had copied it down and always look back to it at these times...

Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

Wishing you all peace,
Your Annie

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Nature Lesson by Morgan

Not too sure how much psycho-analysis my 4-year-old has in store for her future, purely on the basis that she liked Jaws so much, we let her watch Jaws II. But it does illustrate her ability to apply the same problem solving to similar situations, which has to be impressive.

"Mommy, do you want to play with me?" asks Morgan.

"Yes, what would you like to play."

"I am playing school, and I am running away. Do you want to run away with me?"

"Definitely. Where should we go?"

"We're going shark hunting." She turns quickly to me with wide eyes, waving her hands, "But don't worry, I'm going to be in a cage so they can't eat me."

"Oh, good."

"And I'm going to put rubber around it and not stick my arms out. And not stick my fingers out."

"That sounds like a good idea. What kind of sharks are we hunting? Not all sharks, I hope."

"No, just big white sharks."

"Great White Sharks?"

"Yes. But just mean ones. Because Bruce is a Great White Shark and he was bad, but then he turned good. And all the sharks from Shark Tale are good. And Bruce's friends are good, because the one is a hammer head, and they aren't bad. Well...they can hit you on the head, but they're not bad."

"So what you're saying is, only sharks like Jaws."

"Yes, but I have a plan to use wires to electrocute them. I will stick the wires in them and they will die. But just the bad ones. Hurry up and get your cong shell, so we can listen for them."

Translator: Cong = Conch (We happen to have decorative conch shells in our living room, although I was surprised she knew their name. Chalk one up for the Wonder Pets.)

Problem: Rogue Shark

Solution: Electrocution.

If you remember, in Jaws II after many people get eaten, Chief taunts Jaws enough to make him charge and throws a huge utility wire that he drug up from the ocean floor in his mouth, causing him to explode. That's entertainment!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cleveland Rocks - or Not

I consider myself a music appreciator. I'm not an expert, and there isn't one band I follow obsessively around (well...there's the whole boy band thing, but that's not about the music, so we'll save that for later discussion). But I do love all types of music.

For instance...

I love listening to Bruce Hornsby play the piano. I highly recommend it. And even better if you get a live version where he floats in some stuff from his days with the Grateful Dead. And I can go to a Dave Matthews concert and not be pissed that he doesn't sound like his radio version, because I know he is an artist that is creating something new every time he plays, not just a really good musician that knows how to read notes on a page.

On the other hand, one of the best times I ever had was when Barry Manilow came to Parent's Weekend and I saw him with my mom and dad, because every song reminded me of being eight years old and dancing in the living room with my little brother to Mom's records.

My iPod is so random, I even have a play list named "Random".
Avril Lavigne and Pat Benetar
The Foo Fighters and The Beatles
Jonas Brothers and Bon Jovi
Rascal Flatts and John Denver

So, people of Cleveland, I ask you....where is your passion? You spent how long and god knows how much money lobbying to get the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? I don't claim to know the politics that goes along with that decision, but somebody somewhere wanted it bad enough.

For the past month or so, HBO has been playing promos about the concert of all time in Madison Square Garden...I didn't pay much attention, thinking it was some sort of Live Aid-type event, but the other day it had my focus and I was surprised to hear it was to celebrate the anniversary of the Hall of Fame.

Really? A concert to celebrate the Hall of Fame located in Cleveland, OH was conducted in New York City? Now, I know that The Q and Browns stadium are no Madison Square Garden, but c'mon? Where are all the people that fought so hard to get the building here? Why aren't they fighting just as hard for the induction ceremonies and concert events? That's where the money is, if that's all you care about.

I mean, I'm sure there were people who thought having a cool museum would attract visitors, but nobody in their right mind should have thought it would make people VACATION here.

If I was from anywhere but here, and my parents said "Okay, kids, load up. We're off to Cleveland." they would have had a mutiny.

So shouldn't there have been some game plan for after construction?

And note to U2: Don't think I don't realize you wouldn't lower yourself to appear here. You and your fancy names and skull caps. I'm on to you.

And note to Madison Square Garden: You suck, and if you are not paying royalties to the city of Cleveland every time you say Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, somebody call my lawyer.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Matter of Debate

(Stolen premise from the television show Community starring my secret crush Joel McHale.)

Zoe: Mischievous Cherub or Devil's Spawn? Debate.

Point: Short, painless labor and delivery.
Counterpoint: Has not stopped moving and making noise ever since.
Disclaimer: I don't consider the act of moving and making noise evil. Only in mass and unrelenting quantities or during diaper changes.

Point: Tenderly cares for all baby dolls in what is no doubt a reflection of her own mother's gentle and patient nature.
Counterpoint: Has been known to throw objects ten times her own weight and knock the glasses off her gentle mother's face.

Point: Shows the dog more attention and affection than possibly any other member of the family, including the allowance of sloppy St. Bernard kisses before bed.
Counterpoint: Has been spotted being dragged across the floor behind him because she won't let go of his tail.
(Also tends to take his dog food and throw it in his water bowl, but it has yet to be determined if she is doing this to be annoying or she thinks she is helping him multi-task.)

Point: Will stop and dance to almost any genre of music with the exception of yodeling.
Counterpoint: Has also perfected the tantrum dance of clenched fists, stomping feet, and chin raised in defiant wailing which can last in excess of ten minutes (a lot longer than it sounds).

Point: Still likes to cuddle while having a bed time bottle (yes, I know she is too old for it)
Counterpoint: Refuses to eat while sitting in the high chair and prefers to walk around approaching other diners like a baby bird with her mouth wide open, hoping we will drop something in.

Conclusion: We'll keep her around. That which doesn't kill us, only makes us stronger.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

All Saints Day

Some of the lessor known Saints:

Saints Mars, Hershey and Nestle - Patron Saints of Trick-or-Treaters, plastic jack-o-lanterns, and Weight Watchers. They make sure you never miss a house giving away the full-sized candy bars. And they lay their vengeance upon homes that only hand out one Dum-Dum sucker.

Saints Sarbanes and Oxley - Patron Saints of Accountants and Internal Control Consultants such as myself. They watch over us and whenever we think we don't have enough mundane work to keep us busy they whisper in the ears of the PCAOB or the SEC and a new auditing standard or accounting principle is born. In other words, why I still have a job and will be working at least 8 more hours today.

Saint Boomerang - Patron Saint of Parents that are sick of watching "educational" cartoons with their kids. Saint Boomerang invented a whole channel to combat "preschool on TV." He refilled our days with The Jetsons and Top Cat and my personal favorite Wacky Races. Shows that don't require us talk back to them in another language or get up and dance unless we feel like it.

Saint Autumn - Patron Saint of leaf blower manufacturers. This Saint has the ability to send gale force winds right after your very last leaf has been blown to the curb, but also is kind enough to give the gift of leaf piles the size of Mount Crumpet for the kids to jump in - even if they end up dragging half of them into the house stuck in their pants.