Sunday, January 25, 2009

Where's The Humor?

Missing the funny posts? Me too. January's been insane. Bert's been gone for over half of the month and at the end of the day as a solo parent all I want to do is sleep. Hence, little time for blogging. On the nights he has been here, I've had something going on that's kept me out late. Sounds fun I know, but those events have included: CPR training, First Aid training, babysitting, picking up friends from the airport, and meeting with a group to finish a sewing project. Funny, the way that last sentence starts out, I sound like a teenager, then it takes a sudden shift and ends with me sounding like an old lady. For the record, I do not fit into either demographic. So, again the point here is I've had little time at home in the evenings to blog. Hence, my dearth of funny posts. If it's humor you're after (specifically something funny that I've written), may I recommend the following:

This fall hundreds of entries (so I'm told) were submitted and only the finest chosen for publication. I'm happy to have made the cut (I don't have much going on for me right now, so allow be to be proud of this one accomplishment. But since it's merely a self-published book, it's not even that much of an accomplishment. Anyone can self-publish. It's not like I've just been spotted by some famous publishing house and am on the road to stardom).
My copy just arrived in the mail and I must say that it lives up to its title. Something Cleverish, indeed. There are lots of funny vignettes inside and I'm sure you'll laugh. Even if you don't, your money won't have been wasted. I'm not out shamelessly peddling my wares. Let it be known that I don't receive any commission, cash, points, widgets, or any other item for selling this book. All of the proceeds go to the NieNie Recovery Fund.
Haven't heard of NieNie? Don't worry, I hadn't either until my friend Mrs. Furious introduced me to her story (long story short version: young mother of 4 suffered major burns over 80% of her body when she and her husband were in a private plane crash in August. Both have survived and are undergoing a major recovery effort, complete with major medical fees, hence the fundraising book).
Looking for a way to entertain yourself and help someone in need? Kill two birds with one stone (but not the pretty bird on the cover of the book), by buying Something Cleverish here.

Don't worry, folks. I'll be back with my A game before too long. This week's looking crazy too, but in the meantime you can enjoy reading my funny, original, never-been-posted story in Something Cleverish.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Oh Happy Day!

I couldn't sleep last night, I was so excited. I was like a kid on Christmas Eve and, unlike the year I found out that Santa wasn't real, there were no disappointments when I woke up this morning. I've been wearing a smile all day long and I don't intend to stop any time soon. I'm giddy with excitement and pride, and so full of positive emotions right now. I'll try my best to write my thoughts, but I fear they won't be too articulate for I don't even know where to begin.

We started the day out by making Obama cupcakes so we'd be ready for our inauguration party. Look out Martha Stewart, you've got a some competition from a political nerd.Duet took an early nap, so she was in her crib for the oath and inaugural address. Perfect. Amazingly, Una watched the entire thing with me. Being able to eat cupcakes and ice cream in front of the TV, definitely helped to keep her happy.
What a powerful event. The excitement from the crowd as conveyed through the television was electric. I wish I'd been there, but my schedule wouldn't allow it.

Something amazing and historical happened today. We, for the first time have an African American president. Without downplaying how significant that fact is, I feel that Barack Obama is so much more than just that. I truly feel that he is a good man and a wise leader. I haven't felt that way about any president or candidate before. And I must admit, it feels incredible to have a leader in whom I have confidence, respect, and admiration. Call me idealistic, but there's something different about this man. He is outstanding and capable and I'm full of hope that he can bring our country together and get us on the right path again.

Earlier this week I was in a meeting about teacher training. One of the speakers stated that exceptional teachers do two things: teach their students who they are, and give them hope. I thought Obama's inaugural address did just that. He reminded us that we are a nation of diverse individuals founded upon the ommon principles of "honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism." He spoke of our current difficult times as well as some difficult moments in our history and then offered hope by reminding us that we are strong and have overcome so much and declaring that we can do it again.

He called upon us to be hard working and responsible and pledged that he will be the same. His history has already shown that he has been. He is effectively leading by example. Although there were somber moments in his speech, there was not a sense of despair, but one of hope. We are Americans and we can get through this. He'll lead us through. I've never felt prouder of my country or more patriotic than I felt today. I shed a few tears of joy throughout the proceedings.

Now it's nearly midnight and I've been watching inaugural news for the better part of the day. It's time I moved on to tomorrow. The beauty is, when I wake up he'll still be our president. I'll probably still pinch myself just to make sure I'm not dreaming.

By the way, did you see their first dance at the Neighborhood Ball where they were serenaded by Beyonce? Even through the fuzzy reception I get on my TV, I could see and sense the emotion. And I got teary eyed, again.

Monday, January 19, 2009

At Your Service

I originally was going to title this post "Mary Poppins and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day(s)," but I'm trying to focus on the positive. Let's just say that in the last 4 days, everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong. Some highlights (just to name a few):
1. On Friday afternoon, waiting with my children for 2 hours at the pharmacy while my insurance company tried to fix a clerical error they made a few months ago that does not allow us to get prescriptions filled. Due to the long holiday weekend, the issue is still unresolved and we're still waiting to get Una's prescription. Luckily we're no longer forced to wait at the pharmacy. Even more luckily, it's not some urgent medication, like insulin, that she needs.
2. Making not one, but two trips to the car repair place to fix a problem that wasn't fixed properly the first time. Since Bert's not around this required the use of two different friends who helped me transport the cars (thank you D and K).
3. Hitting black ice on the freeway and spinning completely out of control into another lane entirely. Both the car and I emerged unscathed (but just barely). I narrowly missed getting hit by a large 4 wheel drive truck and a semi. Luckily I was alone and did not have my kids in the back seat. I can only imagine how traumatizing that would be for them.
And people, those are just a few of the highlights. It's been a constant stream of misfortune here at the Poppins household since Thursday afternoon. But as I said, I'm keeping this positive, so back to the "At Your Service" Post.
Today is national service day. I hope this isn't the first time you're hearing about it. Since Bert's out of town and I've got sole custody of the kids until he gets back later this week (much later, unfortunately), I haven't been able to go anywhere to do a service project out in the community. I have yet to find a terrific community service project to do with two kids in tow. Some places require that children be at least 16 years of age and other places wouldn't really be a suitable environment for Una and Duet. I did notice that a lot of organizations in my area are holding food and clothing drives for the needy, so I decided to participate that way. Una helped me choose some clothing and canned goods to donate and off we went. No, we weren't out there mingling with others in our community, but considering the two limitations I have, I think we've done pretty well for ourselves.
Join in the fun. The day's not over yet. Happy serving!

Friday, January 16, 2009

We're Good People

So, I've been quite taken with this US Airways jet landing in the Hudson river story. Perhaps you've heard about it. So scary (especially as I think about Bert getting ready for two flights this week). Yet so miraculous. The hero of the day is the airline Cap'n. Out of respect, I should probably write "Captain," but out of respect for the cereal I know and love, I'm calling him Cap'n. Plus, the Cap'n and I have something in common so I feel that I can be a little more familiar with him. You see, I just found out that the Cap'n and I hail from the same hometown. I'm not saying that makes me a hero (although I did just get certified in CPR and First Aid, so you never know), but I'm pleased to be presented with more proof that great people come from my hometown. Mary Poppins, the Cap'n, Christy Turlington (don't pretend you don't know who that famous model is); it's an impressive group. So thanks, Cap'n for all your fine work and for making the people of Danville proud.

By the way, Wed night I managed to be in bed before 10:30pm and had a great night's sleep, thanks in part to Bert who woke up with little Duet (wh,o as you may recall, likes to wake up before the break of day). Trust me, I needed the clarity of mind that comes with a good night's sleep for on Thurs I encountered a lot of minor emergencies (such as a subbing job, a last-minute trip to the garage to get our car fixed that resulted in getting home well past our kids' bedtime). With all of the unplanned activity, I ended up staying up later than I'd hoped since I had a lot to catch up on. My bedtime was more like 11:00pm. Tonight I should manage to meet my goal.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Pardon Me, I Seem To Have Lost My Motivation. Have You Seen It?

So it's pretty obvious that I've been neglecting certain things as of late. Like writing about my progress. I can explain. There hasn't been any progress to write about.
I was doing quite well staying on top of most things up until the Christmas season was in full swing and then I had to make some concessions. That's normal. That's part of life. Right?
Well, the trouble is I didn't bounce back after the holidays were over. I'm not exactly sure why. Yeah, I've been busy. But I was busy before too, and that didn't stop me from keeping up with my goals.
It's OK though. I'm ready to start anew now. And I'm not going to beat myself up over my lack of motivation the last few weeks.
It's midweek now, Wednesday to be exact, and I think I would profit from some consistent sleep. I'm hereby imposing a bedtime upon myself. 10:30, to be exact. Lights out, under the covers, no excuses.
The theory is, if I'm getting ample quality sleep, I'll have the energy I need to accomplish all of my other goals (like posting daily, for example. It's such a fun creative outlet for me, I really miss it when I let it slide).
So, I'm raising my nightcap (Mary Poppins-style--tonight it's a cup of herbal tea) to all of you. Here's to a restorative night's sleep. The first of hopefully many. And here's to the energy that will magically manifest itself tomorrow. I can hardly wait.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Chew on This

Tonight I underwent some special training with a Little Anne doll so that I could become CPR certified. Now I can start a BSC with all of my BFFs and start advertising my qualifications and babysitting services on fliers distributed throughout the neighborhood (help me out here, folks. Tell me I wasn't the only one who read the Babysitters' Club series and dreamed of having my own such club). I haven't done any CPR training since I was a teenager. And as a throwback to my teenage years I guess, I was chewing gum tonight (not something I usually do these days). This proved to be a bit of a problem when I was practicing mouth to mouth on my friend Little Anne. Note to reader, it's not easy to give breaths while chewing gum simultaneously. Unfortunately I didn't think about this until I was mid-breath and the instructor was hovering over me, noticing that Little Anne's chest wasn't rising, and encouraging me to try again. I choked under pressure and swallowed the gum. That seemed to do the trick. Like a pre-teen girl develops seemingly overnight the summer between her 7th and 8th grade year (or in my case; the 11th and 12th grade year), Little Anne's chest started to swell. So did my pride. I'm kind of a CPR pro now, and I've got a signed card in my wallet to prove it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Christmas in January

As I've said before, I'm not big on dates. Now, don't interpret this to mean that I don't care if you forget my birthday. I do care. A lot. I love birthdays and firmly believe that they should be celebrated on the actual day of your birth. But when it comes to more minor holidays, I'm fine with celebrating whenever the mood strikes, or (more accurately) whenever the price is right. That's why our home is currently adorned with a lovely live poinsettia plant and a gingerbread house, 2 traditionally Christmas-related items that were conspicuously absent from our home during the entire month of December. When visiting a botanical garden (the indoor portion--I don't live in the tropics where January is ripe with flora) on Friday we were given a poinsettia upon exiting. For free. The best part is, we didn't even have to pay to get into the garden. So we commemorated our splendid free outing that afternoon with a free plant. I don't care that the rest of the christian world is tossing out their poinsettias now that Christmas is over. I'm proudly displaying my new plant.
Whilst (don't you sometimes wish you were British so that you could get away with writing uniquely British words and phrases? Since Mary Poppins is British, I'll take that liberty on this blog every now and then) grocery shopping at Trader Joe's on Saturday, I noticed they had gingerbread house kits on sale for $2.99. You couldn't make one from scratch for that amount. I know I've sworn off unnecessary nonconsumable purchases, even if they are a great deal, but I couldn't resist this one, for a few reasons:
a. it's really consumable. No, I'm not going to eat it, but in theory one could. If there were some kind of natural disaster in my area and we couldn't get out of our home to get food, this gingerbread house could sustain life.
b. it provided a great excuse for us to use up some leftover Halloween candy. Yes, you read that right. We still have Halloween candy lying around.
c. it entertained us all for a good hour or so. So when you break it down, $2.99/hour for entertainment for 4 people is not bad at all.
d. over the Christmas holiday, Una saw several gingerbread houses at homes we visited and was quite taken by them.
Monday was the day we worked on it and in the last 24 hours, only 2 pieces of candy have been picked off (for the record, not by me). Not bad, if I do say so myself.
Gingerbread houses in January? Why not? Una doesn't care when we did it, only that we got to do it. Let me tell you, I'm sure glad we performed that winter time ritual for $2.99 instead of $14.99.
Likewise, I'm thrilled that we waited until January to get a free poinsettia instead of paying for one just a few weeks earlier.
Suddenly I'm wishing that like David Sedaris's family, I were Greek Orthodox, so that I could celebrate several religious holidays a week or so after the rest of the world, thereby benefiting from the tremendous markdowns that occur the day after every major holiday.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I Woke Up, I Was So Glad

The title for this post is a line from Best In Show. A terrific flick. But Waiting For Guffman is the best of the Christopher Guest shows.
This morning when I woke up I had 2 things to be glad about:
1. Duet actually slept in until 7:00am. It's been months since she's slept in this late.
2. As soon as we came downstairs this morning, Duet requested that we watch ABBA. As in the ABBA music videos we own and love. I was so proud.
There's something I've noticed about the second kid. At least our second kid. She's not as sheltered as her older sister was/is. You may remember that I'm not a big fan of TV. We only have an antenna and an old school TV set. Once the digital revolution hits in Feb, I'm not sure we'll be able to get any sort of signal at all, even with our nifty converter box. I'm not shedding any tears over the prospect of no TV. That suits me just fine, since it's simply not a big part of our lives.
Una, as the oldest child, didn't watch any DVDs until she was well over 2. She still has yet to see a full length movie--including the Disney animated movies. In fact, her real name is the same as a character in one of the famous Disney movies (no, it's not Ariel), and quite often people will ask her about the show and she has no idea what they're talking about.
Duet's a different story. Since Una was in a big Dora the Explorer phase for a couple of years, Duet was introduced to our TV set much earlier than Una was. And we've got a potential addict on our hands, folks. Every morning without fail the first thing Duet says when we come down the stairs is "Boots show" (as in Dora and Boots, her monkey amigo). As Una is outgrowing Dora and her bilingual crew, Duet is swiftly taking her place as the biggest Dora fan in the house. I don't like her watching a show every day so I usually try to engage her in another activity. Some mornings she throws a fit if she doesn't get her Boots show right away and, like the good parent that I am, I give in to her fit because hey, it's usually 6am and I don't want her waking the rest of the house.
This morning when "ABBA" emerged from her lips, you know I walked straight over the the TV and inserted the ABBA DVD. There was no need for a diversion. Why wouldn't I want her dancing and singing along to our favorite tunes?
Although she parted ways with Dora this morning, Dora's espanol influence still has a stronghold on our Duet. Duet's favorite ABBA song is of course, "Chiquitita," or "Tita" in her words. That is not to be confused with "Tito," her name for Tico the squirrel, also of Dora fame. I, however, wish that when saying "Tito" she was actually referring to Tito Jackson, from the Jackson 5. Maybe I'll have to get her interested in them. It's time to start teaching her her letters after all, and that ABC song just might do the trick.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Riddle

What do the following things have in common?

April 9, 2008
April 10, 2009
a school abacus
a centenarian
a football field
one meter
Benjamin Franklin's bill
Mary Poppins's blog posts

The number 100

April 9, 2008 (100th day of the year)
April 10, 2009 (100th day of the year)
a school abacus (100 beads)
a centenarian (100 years)
a football field (100 yards)
one meter (100 centimeters)
Benjamin Franklin's bill (100 dollar bill)
Mary Poppins's blog posts (this is my 100th post)