December 30, 2008

If you have lost it, where do you find it?

Yeah, so Sunday I got the confirmation call that the guy from Petworld in Lawrence came across an avicularia versicolor tarantula (common name: Antilles Pinktoe Tarantula) for me. I gave him the go ahead to purchase it. However, I had really, really lusted for a Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens (common name: Greenbottle Blue Tarantula), so the upshot is this: down the line, I will be getting a third T.

I have not exactly told X. Yesterday, I showed him a picture of an a. versicolor and pointed out how so v. v. pretty it was, no? I am going to Lawrence today, will return with a 1 inch sling (spiderling) and will claim it as an impulse purchase. Let this be our little secret, shall we?

I am really excited about getting a sling. It will be small, but as it will be growing more rapidly, there will be more molts. The downside with a smaller sling is that the risk is higher that it will not survive. For the experience of watching him/her grow, it will be worth it.

The name? As the sling is too small to be sexed, we are not sure if it is a female or male. I chose Sofia's name from the top 10 baby girl names on the SSA website. Since this T is unsexed, I am tempted to go with Olivia for now. If it turns out to be a male, then I can switch to Oliver. Which would be fitting anyway. *cough*mymaidenname*cough*

What do you think? Here are the top 10 Baby Names from 2007:

1 Jacob Emily
2 Michael Isabella
3 Ethan Emma
4 Joshua Ava
5 Daniel Madison
6 Christopher Sophia
7 Anthony Olivia
8 William Abigail
9 Matthew Hannah
10 Andrew Elizabeth

December 26, 2008

Is that my present?

Truly, there was nothing particularly special or spectacular about this Christmas.

Christmas Eve, my dad, step-mom, siblings, nieces, nephews all came to our house. We gorged ourselves on cheese, sweets, quiche, meats, cheap wine and Boulevard Nutcracker Ale. Then, we threw wrapping paper haphazardly around like it grows on trees or something.

Christmas Day, Santa came and dropped off some things. More relatives came and brought more things. Overall, considering the volume of folks who came to our house, the gifts were not too overwhelming since most folks brought ONE toy per child - my mom even brought a combined gift for the kids, thus winning her the honor for Favorite Relative of 2008. Not bad. We stuffed ourselves on the traditional foods of the season. Then, everyone went home.

Truly, I hope that is how all the holidays go for my kids. Family, laughter, gifts, food, lights, and general obnoxiousness mixed with the occasional off-color joke.

It was a nice holiday and I could not ask for anything more. Except, a nap, perhaps.


Mixed Media: WALL-E Meets Thomas

Fine Dining
Madam, would you like some fresh-tapped maple syrup for your waffle this evening? Some newly-churned butter, perhaps?

Snakes and Cheese
He will deign to flash these goofy grins now. Which look so NATURAL. Awesome.


Maybe He's Born With It, Maybe It's Maybelline
Such eyelashage on a BOY? Not FAIR.

Top Chef

Project Runway

The Satisfied Grin of Someone Who Made Out Like a Bandit

Swirls of Hair

December 22, 2008

Where's my present, Mama?

Having a cousin celebrate her 3rd birthday so v. v. close to Christmas would probably confuse you, too. I almost felt sorry for the little guy.

Anyway, on to some randomy goodness.

First, Christine was the first one who recognized Pink Floyd's song title "Is there anybody out there?" Actually, not only did she recognize the title, she went on the quote some of the lyrics. Officially, I believe I have found a new BFF. We can totally hang and braid each others' hair. I do owe props to Rozanne who did recognize it was a Pink Floyd song. But still, no hair braiding for you, Rozanne. Sorry. Maybe a unicorn candle instead?

Second, on Friday, I spent 3 hours putting together the play kitchen and the table/chair set. Holy cow. The kitchen came with a complicated pack of screws containing no less than TEN different sets, plus a variety of nuts. I am almost done with it, I just need to hang the doors and for that, I need help. It was a nice time, actually. I took the portable DVD player and hid in the basement while watching Christmas Vacation and The Christmas Story. Today, I am going to hide in the basement to wrap gifts and spring toys from their blister-pack prisons while watching Love Actually (again, for the millionth time) and perhaps, Elf.

Third, I am feeling significantly less bad about the amount of gifts our kids are getting. The kitchen and table set will be used for years and I am very happy with the quality of both. Also, nearly all the toys the kids are getting actually complement toys they already own. For example, the stocking stuffers for Anjali are little Diego and Dora dolls to use with the Rescue Center that Arun got last Christmas. They love playing with the center together, but there was only one Diego included and they tend to fight over him.

Fourth, I am nearly done Christmas shopping. I need to buy X's stocking stuffers (a hunk of parrano cheese and some sugar-free vanilla syrup for lattes), but other than that? Done.

Fifth, I am nearly done buying food for the two gatherings I am hosting. Christmas Eve will find my dad, step-mom, siblings, etc noshing on a variety of snackage purchased from Costco - cheese, meats, quiche, artichoke/jalapeno dip. Christmas Day will find both of my grandmothers, my mother, great-uncle, cousin, and aunt scarfing down turkey, fresh cranberry sauce and all the other traditional culinary delights of the season.

Sixth, it appears I will meeting some former high school BFFs this following weekend. Thanks to the glory that be Facebook, the four of us have reconnected after nearly 15 years. I see some Spanx and cabbage soup in my future. *gulp*

Seventh, when will I learn to NOT let my children play with my phone? When? Never? I have actually gotten a rainbow screen of death on the damned thing.

Eighth, Merry Christmas!

Text: When the 2008 Peace Accords were ratified by a 2/3 majority, the lone dissenter staged a protest.

December 19, 2008

Is there anybody out there?

Posting on a Friday before a holiday week is like venturing out into a frozen tundra. But, I was in the mood to write, so here I am (Bonus points to who can name the band who sang the song of today's post title.) Anyway, I shall commence randomy bits of bullets, if you do not mind:

  • Dude. I went overboard on Christmas. *Gulp* And then, Anjali Senior's post made me feel so bad. *DoubleGulp* Santa presents this year: toy kitchen, toy snake, table/chair set, stocking stuffers. I did not mean to go overboard, but the table/chair set presented itself at Costco and solves a problem for us: our current cheapie table set is simply too small for Arun and too unstable for Anjali (she is constantly falling out of the chairs.) Gifts from us: a few books, toy cash register, DVDs (Space Chimps, Stars Wars, Dark Crystal.) Although, I have to admit that the Star Wars and Dark Crystal DVDs are really for me. Yes, I have become That Parent and I am duly ashamed. Flog at will, peoples.
  • Am I the only one who is distressed about the cancellation of Dirty, Sexy Money? It was just getting good and the storyline was starting to fall into place. Where am I going to get my weekly fix of Blair Underwood, Peter Krause and Donald Sutherland all in one place?? Where?
  • Speaking of TV, I am so anxious for Season 13 of the Antiques Roadshow! It is finally coming back Jan.5th. I love that show so much that I have even been watching the re-runs.
  • Our little, sweet 17 month old has morphed into a little, sweet, demanding 17 month old. "No! I HAVE it, please! No! Nurse again, please! No! Mine! Open it, please! Please! PLEASE! No! Help, please!" are statements heard on a daily basis and despite the excessive use of the word "please" which really is a synonym for "now" and, believeyoume, there is no polite way about her tone. Nor the stomping of her feet. Or the falling to the ground in slow-motion. The best part is that Arun will try to discipline her and insists "Anjali, you need to go in time-out and get control of your body!"
  • For the past few months, we have been fighting a variety of infections for both kids which have involved 4 different kinds of anti-biotics and such a variety of cremes, lotions, etc that my head spins at the array. I think we in a downhill mode now. I am SO tired of sneaking Arun's medicine in his drinks. It is tiring.
  • Also? Am tired, overall. I have been pregnant, breastfeeding or both continuously since January 2005. I think my body is beginning a protest and I have really been out of sorts for a few months now. Going to the gym helps, but I think that Anjali weaning would help even more. My body is so out of whack and the hormonal ups and downs with breastfeeding are taking its toll on me. I am hopeful she will be ready to wean in January, when she is 18 months - my Cousin the Lactation Consultant recommended just waiting until then. I cannot understand the Duggar family - 18 kids?? I am tired about birthing TWO. I cannot imagine the wear n' tear on that woman's body.
  • Overall, though things are going well. Our babysitter is coming today and I am going to hole myself up in the basement to wrap presents and assemble things.

December 16, 2008

Day 16: Is it Christmas yet?

I like gossip and snark as much as the next person. But when some anonymous chickenshit blogger uses their space to go all Judge Judy and poop hatred merely for the sheer purpose of pooping hatred. Well? That crosses the line for me. People suck, sometimes. Especially when such lilly-livered individuals target a good friend of mine.

So, to escape the hatred, I hung out on my spider messageboard all weekend. And then? Found myself embroiled in a minor controversy as to the number of crickets and method of how I feed my tarantula. Awesome! This coming on the heels of someone on Flickr leaving nasty comments about the size of Sofia's enclosure. So, for the first ever in my history of Flickrage, I had to block someone, then they began emailing asking if they could buy Sofia from me. I guess to save her? For reals?? It is not as if Sofia tries to make a break for it every time I open her cage. Sometimes, I swear she is wagging her spinnerets in glee. Okay, maybe not. But still - I wonder if PETA has glommed onto the 8-legged cause or what.

Okay. *breathes deeply* My happy place? My den of Zen? Is here, so I best be moving on.

On Friday, Chocolate Covered Susan and I went to the Union Station on Friday. The kids rode the historic Holiday Spirit train that used to be the Jones Store in downtown Kansas City. Then, we got to the see the huge model train extravaganza they have going on. It was so awesome that on our way back from Crown Center, we did all the train stuff again. I am even considering one more trip over there before the holidays end and it all goes away. The train ride was $3/person, the model train display was free. The train ride was cute because I thought Anjali was too little for it, but the minute she saw Arun get on board, she began straining against her stroller harness while exclaiming "Please! Please!".
Resistance? It be futile:

Riding the Holiday Spirit at Kansas City's Union Station from Kelli Oliver George on Vimeo.

After the train ride, we headed over to Crown Center. It just so happened that Santa was there and he was looking quite lonely (read: No lines!) so we squeezed in a quick chat with weirdie beardie while there. On cue, Arun asked for a toy snake for himself and a toy kitchen for his sister. Then all the kids played in the Crayola toyland thingie for awhile. It was such a great day - nothing fancy and not even very expensive.

The Most Perfect Picture Ever For a Christmas Card, No?
Too damned bad that I already used a far inferior picture for our card and said cards are already addressed. Officially, I SUCK.


A Kansas City Icon, Made Entirely Out of Legos

The View? Stunning.
My snapshot of it? Not so much.

Oh, Santa Baby

December 12, 2008

Does a watched tarantula still molt?

On Tuesday, I discovered that Sofia was on her back. Squee! This meant that she was going to molt! The poor girl has been looking a little haggard these past few months and she was due for a new wardrobe.

You see, as a spider grows, they become too big for their britches. Literally. Therefore, they grow a new set under the current set. And then? They lay on their back and "push" the old set of threads off. It can take a few days or weeks, for the new skin to completely harden, as well. The entire process is actually very dangerous and is when the T is at its very weakest.

When I saw her on her back, I was concerned because she was near the bowl for the cricket food. I gently pulled the bowl out, but it spooked her and she rolled back and clambered up the side of her enclosure. *sigh* I am not still not sure if she is going to make it - if the new skin underneath hardens, it will stick to the old skin which will kill her. All I can hope for is that the molting process had not actually begun and that she was only in the position for it.

I think what has surprised me most is how stressed I have been about this. I mean, I knew that I liked Sofia and all that, but now I know how much I like her. She is an avicularia avicularia (common name: Common Pink Toe) which is a New World arboreal species that is known to be docile (rarely, rarely bites), but they do tend to be a tad skittish. Sofia? Is so laid back that I swear she is smoking weed when I am not looking. She is the Cheech of the avicularia set. Everyone always thinks their pets are the most special - I am no different, I suppose.

So, there. I admitted it. I like this creepy little monster dwelling on my fireplace and if she dies, I am going to cry.

December 11, 2008

Is he real?

Four years ago, back in my heady, kid-free days of Armchair Parenting, I vehemently insisted that I will do the whole Santa Routine with my own kids. And here we are, it is 2008, and as good as my word, we are doing Santa. Arun is well aware that Santa is going to bring him something - the particulars are still fuzzy to him, but the message is crystal clear: Santa will bring me some good shit.

I like the Santa Routine. It is fun. Santa brings a couple of toys, fills the stockings (with care) and carries on his merry way. We are even going to do the Mall Santa Thing this year, for the first time ever. However, I do not do the whole "if you are bad" theme and overall, have tried to keep it all low-key. So, that is it.


I probably have changed my tune on the "Is He Real?" Dilemma. At this point, I just cannot see myself lying to him. I am not opposed to stretching the truth, but would rather save Bald Faced Lies for more important things such as I Never Drank the Devil's Drink in High School, I Never Had Premarital Sex With Your Father and I Never Ran Up Credit Card Debt. I am still not sure what my answer will be, but I suppose I have a year to figure it out.

And there you have it. Once again, I find myself staring down the barrel of Hypocrisy. Damn. This parenting gig is hard.

December 8, 2008

Day 8: Is it Christmas yet?

Wow. Olivia's hit the nail on the head on my last post where I mentioned my hatred of pink plastic princess Disney crap:
In theory, I have no problem with the Disney princesses. After all, I loved the movies and turned out pretty independent and a supporter of feminism. What I don't like is how ubiquitous the marketing is now. It's not just a cute kids' movie, it's a lifestyle. Even the toys that could be gender-neutral like a science kit get the princess treatment with plenty of pink and sparkly elements.

I haven't even given birth to my daughter yet, and I'm wondering how we'll navigate this huge gender divide in toys.
And that is what irritates me, too. The endless marketing of it. I like pink, Anjali does wear some pink, but I am so over pink.... pink..... Pepto Dismal pink. When I went to Toys R Us to look at toys, my eyes were bleeding from all the damned pink. It's ridiculous. Sure, I saw the Cinderella and Snow White movies when I was a kid, but that was about it, so I do not have any sort of emotional tie-in to all this stuff.

Besides, at least Barbie sometimes holds down a full-time job -I have not seen Sleeping Beauty work a computer, save some Barbie lives, fly to the moon or fight any fires lately, have you?

While I am feeling a bit rantish, let me continue:

1. I am feeling very frustrated - Wallace and Gromit have a new short airing on Christmas Day: A Matter of Loaf or Death. I cannot find it yet, although rumors are that it will air in some parts of the US.

2. Why is that my husband treats me like I am such a mean, mean mom whenever I do things that make my kids cry?? Oh say, things like "giving medicine", "changing diapers", "denial of <insert sugary product of choice>", or the real tear-jerker "wiping noses"? He always gets to be the good guy. I call bullshit.

3. I found Peppermint Kandy Kakes once at Wal-Mart and stupidly bought one (yes, ONE!) package. I cannot find more and I really want to find some for Mojavi.

December 5, 2008

Day 5: Is it Christmas yet?

Oops - should been more clearish on my last post. The Imaginext Adventures Castle and the Tonka Bounce Back Racer are, indeed, available for purchase. If and only if, I am willing to pay 2x or even 3x as much for which the toys originally sold. Originally?? The castle went for about $25 and the car went for about $35. I am seeing folks on eBay paying 3x that amount. The castle on Amazon is going for 4x. Um, no way.

The main reason why I wanted to get the castle was that I had found TWO complete sets of Imaginext Pirate adventures at a garage sale for a mere $7. Anju and Arun have so much fun with it that I thought the castle would be a perfect fit. And the car? I just thought it looked fun. That is all. Arun has requested a $5 wooden snake for his Christmas. He has also requested a play kitchen for Anjali since she foolishly requested water.

This is not about making some perfect Christmas for my kids and I am so disgusted at how the prices on these objects have gotten predatory. I refuse to participate in the madness. If they were objects that Arun had actually requested, I would explain to him the situation and give him a choice: Ask for something else, or wait until the stores are restocked.

Because seriously? Do you remember all the toys you got as a kid? I remember a few - my Mickey Mouse doll that walked when you squeezed his hands, my Donny and Marie dolls wearing their purple spangly outfits and a mini-arcade Pacman game (my sister got the Donkey Kong one - oh my, the fun we had!!!) Furthermore, I never, ever even came close to getting the Barbie Town House that I asked for year after year after year. I managed to still grow up into a sort of respectable adult. I think.

Of course, as a kid I loved the toy aspect to Christmas and I was a greedy little burger. I am not going to pretend otherwise. However, that is not what I carried with me into adulthood. I carried the spirit of all, the mystery and excitement of what might appear under the tree. The getting together with family. The lights. The trees. The music.

I suspect that most of you reading this agree.

Yes, I had a Mickey Mouse doll or two. But still, I hate Disney. The lovely MB pointed me to this wonderful article about "What's wrong with Cinderella?" that sorta puts it all in perspective for me and explains why I will be attempting to protect my own daughter from Disney as best I can. Except Pixar. They are always welcome in our home.

December 4, 2008

Day 4: Is it Christmas yet?

Back in my heady days sans progeny, I purchased the most adorable Advent calendar at Costco. It is a wooden Christmas tree and each day, you pull a new ornament out and hang it on the tree. I am now so thankful for what began as an impulse purchase so many years ago. For it is the only thing keeping me from researching Xanax dosages for adults and toddlers.

Speaking of panic. Um, I obsessed over Arun's two "big" gifts for weeks (an Imaginext castle from us and a Tonka Bounce Back Racer from my grandma.) Weeks! Last night, I went out to order them (after not finding them in a brick n' mortar location) and guess what? Go ahead, guess! Yep - "out of stock".


Thankfully, he insists that Santa is going to bring him a "toy snake" and a "kitchen". Anjali has steadfastly put in a request for "water". I think I can handle those.

December 2, 2008

Is it Christmas yet?

I realize now why Advent calendars were invented. It is merely a convenient way to visually assist a 3 year old through the month of December without having a panic attack that he may have missed the Big Day. I mean, not that my own personal Ankle Biter would pester me endlessly with such silly questions. Not six times on the very first day of December itself. Never. Ever.


Last night, we decorated the tree. I am sure Arun and Anjali will treasure all those precious, sweet, gooeylicious memories of me screeching at them constantly to just not break shit, great balls of fire, don't touch, DON'T TOUCH, what the fuck did I tell you already, put it down! PUT IT DOWN!

But really? I am enjoying the holidays thus far. Thanksgiving was a snap. And my Christmas shopping? Is nearly completed although I have only just began. Awesome. I will do one single foray into the mall and the madness, but I really do not have much shopping planned. Furthermore, I am hoping to do most of my shopping in brick and mortar stores as I am trying to buy as much possible from local vendors this year.

I am definitely in the holiday mood this year and frankly, my family has so much to do with it. Our keeping it simple this year was the best idea ever. I feel now I can focus on the fun stuff - listening to music, driving around to see Christmas lights, going to some Christmas tree festivals and seeing some gingerbread house exhibits. And? I am even contemplating baking some Romanian kiflis. Yes, I have lost my mind, folks.

One of my favorite memories from Christmas are the stockings. Long after we had stopped believing in Santa Claus, my sister and I still looked forward to our stockings. At both our Mom's house and our Dad and Step-Mom's, we always got stockings full of fun little things - candy, lip gloss, sunflower seeds, nail polish, sardines (I LOVE sardines) and all sorts of doo dads. I am SO excited about the stockings for my own little family. Earlier this year, I had commissioned some from Brit through her Etsy store, Thrown and Sewn. I could not be more thrilled with what she just sent. I hope my children treasure their stocking memories as much I treasure mine.

December 1, 2008

Which arm rest is yours when you sit in a movie theater?

I rarely go to the movies - maybe once a year. We have such a nice TV and sound system at home that it is hard for me to use precious time sans the Double As to go sit in a darkened theater. I would rather be doing something, not just sitting there. I can do that at home, while the kids run circles around me. Therefore, it was odd that I managed to squeeze in not one, but two movies over the holiday weekend. I saw Four Christmases (surprisingly, it was utterly delightful! I highly recommend it!) and I saw Twilight (an excellent, A+ movie for a slightly cheesy, B+ book.) Truthfully? I am going to go all cougar-like and try to see Twilight again. Besides, I promised Goofy Girl I would see it with her and this cougar keeps her promises.

Overall, Thanksgiving was really nice, even though X had to run to Philadelphia over the weekend for some family business. He was here for the Big Day of White People Food, so that was what counted. The holidays really make me appreciate my family - there was no stress, everyone brought food to the hall that we rented, and everyone pitched in to clean up. On Friday, X headed to PA and I headed to my dad's for Round 2 of White People Food.

I am going to wrap up with pictures and a special video of my dad. Keep in mind that my dad is the very same guy who proudly wears his "You say redneck like it's a bad thing" t-shirt. This bit of information is crucial for maximum enjoyment of the video to come.

Putting on Her Best Godzilla Moves

My Grandpa is Crazier Than Yours!

My Step-Mom, Entombed for Eternity in the Family Freezer

This is the top of a cake with a picture of my step-mom on it. Over the past year, it has melted and morphed. It is like art, no? My dad thought it would be hilarious to stick it in the freezer. And he would be correct.

My dad, the ultimate tightwad, keeps all this ice in the freezer for his camping trips because you know, "water is free". Therefore, why should he PAY for ice? Watch the video for his explanation. I swear, there should be a special spot of honor for my ever-patient step-mom. God, are you listening?

My Dad, the Redneck. Not that there is anything wrong with that. from Kelli Oliver George on Vimeo.

November 23, 2008

Why do British people never sound British when they sing?

I have always wondered.....

Some bits and pieces o' Random.
Despite my last post that made me sound like I am Scrooge McGrinch over here, that is not the case. This year, my family has gotten all cheapish with the adults and as such, gentle reader, fear not for the children. Besides, as anyone who hangs out with me knows, each Christmas and Birthday, I obsess endlessly over what to buy my kids. Not because they care, mind you, but rather, I want to get them a toy or two that will have ample Entertainment Mileage and that they will play with for a long time. It has absolutely nothing to do with fulfiling some special magical dreamy desire on their part but it has absolutely everything to do with me. It would like to get my money's worth and perhaps, even a moment of peace. To boot, this year has a Special Challenge - the Ultimate Toy that will bring my children together as they peacefully play in harmony as angels sing on high while I drink my wine and watch my stories. Thus far, I have rolled the dice on a play kitchen and I am on the hunt for another thing or two that they might both like. And that will be it, save for a few stocking stuffers.

Speaking of holidays, the Cool Mom Picks Holiday Gift Guide is pretty awesome. I do not normally read this site, but came across the link and thought it was useful. Wow - there are some great thoughtful yet, affordable ideas in there. (Note: They are also holding some sort of contest. Notice how lazy I am that I did not bother with it.)

I HATE naps. There, I said it. Arun is finally over his nap, thank goodness, because it was seriously messing with his nighttime sleep. I wish Anjali would give hers up as well. Neither of my kids are good nappers and it is usually more effort than it is worth to get them down. When or if they ever went down at the same time, I usually spent the entire time biting my nails waiting for one of them to get up. It is not like I ever felt I could that time to start a project, say, fixing our toilet or regrouting our tile. Argh.

I love, LOVE fruit juice, but consider it a waste of calories and money. Worthless. At home, the kids drink water or milk (soy and bovine.) However, after waging a bloody war with Arun in attempting to get him to take the Nastiest Antibiotic Known to Man, I found a juicebox that masks the Nastiness. However, this Friday, Arun will done with the Nastiness as will access to the beloved juicebox. This could get interesting.

November 18, 2008

What did she say, Mama?

Me: Fork. She said "fork", Arun.

Only, except that she did not say "fork" and someone around here needs to clean up her act. And soon.

Oh, and speaking of speaking toddlers, let me say this: the ability of a toddler to speak well does not stave off tantrums. Oh No, It Does Not. I had often heard that one reason toddlers throw tantrums, is that they have difficulty communicating and this leads to frustration and this leads to tantrums. Um, no. What happens when your toddler can speak clearly and decisively is that she proceeds to get super annoyed with you because damn it, woman! Did you not hear her clearly shriek "want" and "puppy" as you dragged her howling through the toy store? Hell's bells, she even jabbed her pointer finger in the direction of said puppy, you moron. Speaking clearly only serves to frustrate her even more because she knows that you know very damned well exactly and precisely what She Wants Right Now.

So, yes. It appears I am going to finally get a normal toddler. One who has no patience and throws tantrums. Even though Arun was a late talker, his temperament was such that he could usually be distracted or comforted before anything escalated into a Category 5 status. Anjali? Is a different sort of beast. I would lying if I did not admit that we are fairly tickled with her attitude, though. I never wanted a shrinking violet for a daughter but then again, you know what they say about being cautious during your wishing process. *gulp*

In other news, I had a weird mental freakout this weekend and am embarrassed that Jodifur got to hear about it. Sorry about that. Yikes.

This economy crunch has not really hit us directly (yet?!?), but I am very worried for some folks that I love dearly. I am also very conscious of what we have and how fortunate we are. I have bagged up two sacks of food to donate to a local food pantry and will drop it off today. I am also pondering what to do for the holidays. I want to do something that will get Arun directly involved, even if it is just picking out something he can give to Toys for Tots. I am also going to make a habit of having some quarters and dollar bills available for him to give to the red kettles we will be encountering.

I do worry about my kids being appreciative of what they have. I do not think it is a bad thing to have material possessions, but I do want them to be respectful of it. By virtue of our backgrounds (middle class ourselves, but having classmates and friends who were very poor) , X and I are distinctly aware of how good we have it.

Fortunately, my family really tones down the holidays - we focus on the lights, the tree, the music, the food and just being together. We have cut out much of the gift-giving and instead, are mostly drawing names now. My gift list for this year is a grand total of 11 people, which does not seem too bad. And that includes Arun's school and such. I am so grateful that we are low-key for the holidays. Sure, gifts are gooeylicious fun (hello!) but my favorite memories are not from the ripping of packages. I do want the same for my own kids.

November 12, 2008

Is the slug sad, Mama?

Dear Arun,
Yes, that slug is most likely really sad that you have been holding it all day in your very salty, sodium-laden guillotine paws. You heartless slayer of slugs.

Love you!

Dear Seldon Edwards,
With the weird, contrived plot twists in your wee tale of time-travel, The Little Book, you are leading me to believe that the main character will turn out to be his own damned grandpa. Literally.


Dear Anjali,
Um, it appears you are talking now. Today, you said "Don't, please." when Arun was tickling you. Then, later you dropped a crayon and said "I drop it." and when you picked it up, you proudly exclaimed "I find it!". And yes, I got teary-eyed because I am a sentimental fool. Quit with the growing up, dammit.


Dear Fellow Bloggers,
I swear I am not doing the NaBloPoMo this year. Pinkie swear. I am not entirely sure why I keep posting everyday.


Dear Sofia,
Can you just molt already? You are looking a bit haggard.

Your faithful invertebrate enthusiast,

November 11, 2008

Are you writing all this down?

That is what my Olathe Grandma asks whenever I relay a Cute Kid story for her. Oh, Innernets, if only she knew. If only she knew. Oh sure, I have tried to explain my blog to her, but I suspect she thinks the Internet is some great vortex of mysterious cables that involves electricity. Which you should know is dangerous . Folks, electricity kills, as she constantly reminds me when she discovers my coffee pot has been left plugged in. I tell her I prefer to live on the edge, but she is not convinced.

Anyway............ Um, sometimes, I feel like a cruise director. Every single day, I hear from Arun "What are we going to do today, Mama?" He will probably ask for detailed itineraries when he learns how to read. Folks, just smack my ass and call me Julie. Furthermore, whenever Arun and I discuss what we are about to do next, he always, always asks if Anjali will also be participating. As if we would just leave her at home to fend for herself. So, overall, the whole Haircut Incident was a little sweet, because he probably thought he was doing her a favor. And knowing her, she probably giggled the entire time. Which only served to encourage him. Rinse, repeat.

I have some video of Anjali telling her version of events. I also tried to get her to show off her fancy-fangled usage of the English language but you know kids, they never show off when the camara is rolling. She can do quadratic equations in her head, but would she defer to do while I am recording? Of course not. Darned kids. I have a blog that needs material, damnit.

Witness for the Prosecution

Witness for the Prosecution from Kelli Oliver George on Vimeo.

November 10, 2008


I swear I am not doing NaBloPoMo. Um, at least I think I am not. Whoa. I believe I have posted every day thus far, but I have no intentions of truckin' on through November. Trust me.

Anyway, Jackie at Nursing Your Kids did a fun meme and I have not done a meme for so long now. It looked delicious enough to feed my hungry ego.

Let me know in the comments if you decide to do this as well.

A is for age: I turned 37 in April. Seriously, at this point, I have to do the math (2008-1971 = 37) My age? Is of so little importance to me. As long as I am alive, not too wrinkly or creaky, and still changing diapers and not wearing them, that is all with which I am mostly concerned. Keep in mind that in 2006 I had ADDED an entire year to my age and was telling my doctor that I was at an ADVANCED MATERNAL AGE during my pregnancy and needed Special Attention because I had lost track of the years. Like, I did not even care (and was stupid with math and all that. WHATEVER.)

B is for burger of choice: Honestly? A McDonald's cheeseburger, no ketchup. Small and simple. Sue me.

C is for the car I drive: I drive a 2005 Acura, which I still worship and tithe to on a monthly basis with no regrets. Furthermore, when the Monthly Tithing Doth Be Done, its perceived value to me will rise even further. I HATE car payments as they cause me physical pain.Italic

D is for your dog’s name: George W. Bush. Oops, you said DOG. Sorry 'bout that.

E is for essential item you use every day: My Treo. It is my phone and my port to checking my email. Enough said.

F is for favorite TV show at the moment: Since Mad Men has ended and the new Antiques Roadshow season has yet to begin, I will have to say 30 Rock instead.

G is for favorite game: Holy Crap. Only ONE game? My mind is flooded with Trivial Pursuit, Wit's End, Canasta, Cribbage, Euchre, Backgammon, Apples to Apples, Spit and Russian Bank. I can hardly think straight. Really, I have to choose just one? ONE? Really?

H is for home state: Kansas. And damned proud of it. And no, Jesus did not ride a dinosaur across the plains, y'all.

I is for instruments you play: Piano, the piccolo, the vibes, the flute. On a lesser scale, the triangle, the bells, the conga.

J is for favorite juice: OMG, limeade. LIMEADE.

K is for whose bum you’d like to kick: My own ass, for a variety of reasons.

L is for last restaurant at which you ate: la Hacienda

M is for your favorite Muppet: Miss Piggy

N is for number of piercings: 4 - all in the ears. DUDE. Did you see the line about my age? Am old. In my day, having TWO piercings in the ear was total Rebel Without a Cause. We risked paralysis with multiple piercings in the ear. Did you not know??

O is for overnight hospital stays: 4 nights total for the birthin' of babies.

P is for people you were with today: Today? X, Arun, Anjali, Chocolate Covered Susan, her two kids, my dad, step-mom, youngest sister and my brother.

Q is for what you do with your quiet time: Read blogs, eat sunflower seeds, read books and enjoy the lovely hum of my refrigerator

R is for biggest regret: Not going to work for Ernst and Young at the first go-around. My career path would have been remarkably different if I had gone to work for them a few years before I eventually did end up working for them.

S is for status: Ready to hit "publish".

T is for time you woke up today:8:45am

U is for what you consider unique about yourself: I think folks would be surprised at all the people I have met from other countries over the years. I went to a university that had an active international community and frankly, I relished and flourished in it. I held a chair in the International Students Association and folks would always say "why do you belong to that group, you're not foreign!?" and I would answer "because it is an INTERNATIONAL group, which includes the United States". I love small talk and I love meeting new folks.

V is for vegetable you love: Roasted cauliflower in garlic and olive oil

W is for worst habit: I nag my husband WAY too much and I am way too picky about inconsequential things.

X is for x-rays you’ve had: Dental x-rays

Y is for yummy food you ate today: Sunflower Seeds, Root Beer Float

Z is for zodiac: Aries

November 9, 2008

Are you going to blog this?

I had a little chat with my sister Jill today.

Here is my version of events an accurate transcript totally appropriate for a deposition and all that other legal shit required for prosecution:

Kelli: I have been finding wee snippets of Anju's hair all over the house. Guess why?
Jill: Why?
Kelli: GUESS.
Jill: Ohhhhh..... Does he have access to scissors?
Kelli: Um, yeah.
Jill: Well, now you know.
Kelli: This was not helped by fact that X was laughing. Laughing! I showed X the hair that I had found and he said "Yeah, Arun's been cutting her hair." Good grief, I was starting to think that Anjali was losing her hair because of a nutritional deficiency.
Jill: Are you going to blog this?
Kelli: Of course.

At first, I just thought it was cat hair, which struck me as odd because the cats shed in the spring, not in the fall. But then. Um. I noticed that the hair was curly. CURLY. And that is when the Lazy Mom Panic set in. The panic where I worry that Maybe, Perhaps, I Do Not Worry Enough. I try not to fret too much about things- for example, what my kids happen to eat. But this? Was beginning to stir me into a frothy mess of Lazy Mom Guilt. Seriously, I was beginning to calculate whether Anjali was getting all of her vitamins, minerals and such. I mean, I was fairly certain that she could not be losing her hair due to stress, as she is definitely living the easy life over here. Dude, all she is missing is a royal court and jeweled tiara. Therefore, I concluded that she was losing her hair because I was STARVING her, poor baby.

And then? I show X the hair and he starts laughing and informs me that Arun has been cutting her hair.

Folks, I did not know whose ass to kick at that point.

Of course, the best part of all of this is that you cannot even tell exactly where Arun had been doing his best Ken Paves since her hair is such a mop of curls and tangles. Overall, the damage was minimal. Even though I was finding hair everywhere.

Anyway, I took the suspect to the basement dungeon and questioned waterboarded him until he confessed. Despite the fact that legal counsel was not present during this confession, I am confident it would still hold up in a court of law. Back me up on this, Innernets.


Interrogation from Kelli George on Vimeo.

November 8, 2008

What took me so long??

I have never uploaded video before. Why? Too damned lazy, that is why. The following snippets are just tests. However, this was fun, so you have been warned.

Anyway.....this morning, Arun thought it would be cool to talk like a robot. In turn, I thought it would be cool to get it on video.

I'm a Robot


Anjali, Again

November 7, 2008

Can I confess?

Okay. Confession Time.

With Christmas looming, the plethora of toy ads coming out has frightened me to the core. Specifically? All of this Pink Plastic Princess Nonsense. Oh sure, when I was a little girl, I was utterly fascinated with royalty - hello! I was an impressionable 10 year old when Charles and Diana were engaged. However, my obsession with princesses was extended to real princesses, not celluloid ones created by the nefarious folks at Disney. As such, I loved reading and learning about history. And I still, to this day, enjoy reading about monarchies around the world. It is a guilty pleasure, to be sure. Although, as an adult some of the fascination results from the disbelief that the sheer chance of DNA usually dictates who gets to be royalty. But still.....

So...... um, no. I am not a tomboy hellbent on pushing my daughter in that direction. Oh yes, I do love me some dolls, play kitchens, doll houses and yes, even Barbie (I still insist that my first college boyfriend did more to ruin my own view of my body than Barbie ever could have.) I cannot wait until Anjali can help pick out her clothes when we shop. I look forward to painting our toenails together. I will gleefully grant permission when she requests to have her ears pierced. I am so excited for that day when she lets me put hair fixin's in her rat's nest without pulling them out.

I do, however, have an irrational fear all of this Pink Plastic Princess Nonsense and wonder how I can keep my baby girl from ever finding about it. I suspect resistance is futile. What is your worst Toy Fear? Am I just crazy here?

Wait. Do not answer that.

November 6, 2008

Can we be friends?

Enough. Enough.

Chickens, calves and pigs can wiggle their asses freely in California (although, gays and lesbians cannot form a legal commitment to a life partner.) But at least Michigan is allowing medical marijuana and stem-cell research (no connection, I believe. ) And thank the Lord, Missouri has made English their official language because hoo boy, I don't speak a lick of Missourian. And although, Arizona also banned gay marriage, they also banned hiring illegal immigrants - equal opportunity, no? And hey, your doctor can now go all Kevorkian on your terminally ill ass if you happen to live in Washington state. And well, hell's bells - if worse does indeed come to worse, you can now play video lottery in Maryland. That is something, no?

And Obama is President-Elect. I sincerely hope he remembers to leave his pitchfork and horns back in Chicago because methinks the DC elite would frown on such attire.

End of story. Can we move on, now??

November 5, 2008

Is it over?

Nope. It is just beginning.

Tonight, I realized for the first time in my life, we will have a President who I actually like and even, admire. A man living the American dream who will be an example for my own little smorgasbord of DNA that is currently running around upstairs. That is a damned good feeling, folks.

Another damned good feeling is the overwhelming sense of relief I now feel. I did not realize how scared I had been for the past 7 years. How the pit of doom in my stomach was dragging me down. BeelzeBush was ignorant, dangerous and had no clue how to deal with the Muslim world. I am so relieved that we will now have someone who respects Muslims and understands them.

I guess that is all I have to say about that. I am proud to be an American and I am relieved that Obama will be leading us.


November 4, 2008

Can I look now?

In an attempt to quell Official Election Jitters, I am going to answer another question:

What is my favorite recipe that has been passed down to me? And, a Bonus Question: How did X and I meet?

My very favorite recipe that has been passed down to me from a family member is my Great Aunt Joan's Cranberry Christmas Salad. It is hard to explain what this salad does for me - it invokes all those sweet holiday memories of Thanksgiving and Christmas. It reminds me of the huge family dinners that my grandma hosted before it became too hard for her to do so. It reminds me of how I thought I was being sneaky because I considered the salad a "dessert", but it was served with the turkey, etc. I would stuff myself so full of the salad, that I did not really care for the pies and cakes after wards. I love the creamy, whipped cream and the tartness of the cranberries. I savor the chewy grapes and I love the bite of the pecan pieces. Yum. I have been making this salad myself for several years and even X gets involved in the action as we always whip the cream by hand. It is best made the night before and it is all we can do to keep from eating half of the whipped cream.

My very favorite recipe that has been passed down to me from a friend is my friend Ferial's mother's Sri Lankan Mushroom Curry recipe. This dish is so savory and satisfying that it makes a perfect vegetarian meal. One of my Bar Buddies in grad school was a vegetarian, so I mixed up many, many batches of this dish when we all headed back to my place after downing a few too many Mind Erasers and were in desperate need of some good food.

So, how did X and I meet? Quite simply, through a friend. My friend Jennifer worked for X's company as a consultant and she introduced us. She had a gathering at her house where we sampled her father's homemade beer. Later, X and his roommate hosted a dinner party that involved much wine and game of Risk. The next day, X asked me to dinner in such a roundabout way, that I had to call my male friend CG to confirm that it even was an actual date. That first date was November 18th, 2000 and we have been together ever since.

November 3, 2008

Why bother? (v.2)

I had a celebratory post planned for this week about how I had officially run out Official Excuses for not going to the gym. I am done business traveling, done gestating, done breastfeeding full-time, and done dealing with separation anxiety from two toddlers. Yes, the plantar fasciitis has been an issue, but I stick to weights and the elliptical machine, so it has not been so bad. I was going to wax poetic on how lovely it is to drop the Double A's off at the nursery, where they are so very excited to just scamper off into the distance. I was going to talk about how sweet it has been to just soak up some tunes on the iPod and have 60 minutes of uninterrupted thinking.


Yes, you must have suspected there would be a "then". No?

I kicked our trash can a good 2 feet across our kitchen. Not on purpose, mind you. Oh no, but rather I did it because I am a klutz. The same bufoon who tripped in the kitchen just yesterday and fell on her knee. Also, I am Lazy Mom who left a rocking chair perched precariously on her couch (so the housecleaners could vacuum) and was watching her youngest progeny begin to pull it off of the couch. In my haste to grab the rocking chair, I totally ran into the trash can.

So. Now, I cannot walk without hobbling, I cannot bend my toe and said toe is turning a rather disturbing purple color. It also feels like the toe is "missing" or "disconnected" - a Phantom Toe, perhaps?? Dr. Google informs that even if the toe is broken, there is not much a Real Live In Person Insurance Accepting kinda doctor could do about it anyway.

I would take a picture for everyone to have fun diagnosing amongst yourselves, but as I have traded in pedicures in lieu of a housecleaning service, you would do well to thank me for sparing you the ugliness that is now officially known as my Left Middle Toe.

November 2, 2008

Why bother?

Truly, there is no sweeter candy than that which has been pilfered from your child's hard-earned stash.

Anyway.....Johnson County, Kansas, the county in which I reside, has had record turnouts for advanced voters, which leads me to believe that November 4th is going to be mayhem. I have a plan - we are walking to the polling place (it is only a half mile down the road) and I will have the brand-new DVD portable player fully charged and stocked (DVD player was purchased for a canceled roadtrip, not for the elections. I swear.)

So, yes - I AM, indeed, voting. Even though my Blue Ballot will likely be lost amongst a sea of Red Ballots and ultimately, will not really matter.

I debated titling this post "What if?" That was my response to X's pointed question of "Why Bother?"

Um. I will not be participating in this year's NaBloPoMo - you crazy kids have fun with that. Two years in a row have burnt me out for this year's. However, I am enacting my own little event called NaBloPoWe and will be posting for the first week of November. I am hoping this will jumpstart me out of the blogstipation from which I have been suffering.

November 1, 2008

Where did October go?

It is a valid question, to be sure.

So, in our garage, is some chocolate hidden in a basket under some tools. X will never be the wiser. I totally ROCK, when it comes to chocolate thievery.

Yesterday, we went trick or treating at X's client. The Double A's quickly caught onto the scam and were quite willing to take candy from strangers. Of course, Anjali did the typical toddler move of placing treats back into buckets in exchange for new, shinier goodies. Also, for someone who only just sprouted molars she showed some major nerve by consistently grabbing for Milk Duds.

By evening, Anjali was pretty pooped, so we only took her to the immediate neighbors. Then, Arun and I headed out by ourselves. He had a blast and was not shy about the whole thing. My two favorites moments from the evening were:

While still at home, I had left the door open as I was rummaging for some tools to fix the decorations outside. I heard someone outside and by the time I got to the front door, Arun was already there placing treats in everyone's bags. He even had to rummage for the treats in the dining room to be able to pass them out. It was funny to see him - he looked so grownup, yet was half the size of the kids at our door.

Later, while trick or treating, he had just left a house to meet me at the sidewalk. I asked him if he had remembered to say thank you. Before I could stop him, he ran back to the house, knocked on the door, waiting patiently for the person to answer, shouted and enthusiastic "Thank you!!", then ran back to me.

My Not So Favorite moment was when I returned to our house by 8pm to discover that my husband had handed out 90 lollipops and over 70 mini-tubs of Playdoh, yet accused me of not having bought enough treats. He had totally ignored my One Treat Per Kid edict. Argh.

Neil Arunstrong and the Wicked Witch of East Olathe

October 31, 2008

Hey, after we bring Democracy to Iraq, you think we could see about getting some of that over here, too??

Ask and you shall receive! Thanks for all the posting ideas. I will get through them, I swear.

First and foremost, I did post over at Brit's crib yesterday about the so-called dangers of Free Range Trick or Treating. Check it out!

Now, for some questions:
Several of you asked about Halloween costumes. I will post snaps later, although there is one on Brit's site. This year, Arun is an astronaut and Anjali is a witch. Originally, Arun wanted to be a rocket which would been a blast (pun intended) to create. Realistically, however, a 3 year old being a rocket would have been a pain. We get a lot of mileage out of our costumes - between Boo at the Zoo, Arun's school functions and Halloween itself. I know some folks are adamant about only wearing costumes on Halloween itself, but Arun's enthusiasm does not seem dampened yet for his costume.

Also, several of you asked about Asshole #1. Um. Hmmm. I am not comfortable laying out all of the sordid story here, but I will tell the short version. We began dating when I was 18 and we dated for over 4 years during which we thought we would get married. The relationship had all the usual markings of first love, youth, immaturity and spats. Lots and lots of spats. It took me a long time to get over that relationship which was not helped by the fact that while dating, the guy insisted Certain Events did not happen and that I was a crazy, jealous lunatic to think so yet when we broke up, I found out that lots and lots of Certain Events did, indeed, happen.

I do not regret the relationship though. Because of the relationship, I was enmeshed in a fun group of diverse cultures - Pakistani, Indian, Afghan, Sri Lankan, Middle Eastern and South American. We were an eclectic bunch and truly, my college years were so much fun because of the folks I got to hang out with (for one, we always had the best dance parties!) Also, because of the relationship, I did go to Pakistan in 1993. Someday, Brash, I promise I will post about it. I will try to do that within the next month or so.

Anyway, that relationship made me who I am today. After my experiences, Central Asia wormed its way into my being, never to leave. It is also why marrying an Indian Catholic was absolutely the very best situation for me and as such, my family did not think twice of it when X and I began dating. I truly feel I have the best of both worlds! I could not have married a more perfect guy for me.

Everyone should be so fortunate to say that, right? Right.

October 29, 2008

Stay with me, will you not?

Updated to Add: I am totally outing and nullifying "jhawks379" from any and all future questions. Folks....... not only was she my very first roommate in college and supposed BFF, she was the nefarious soul who actually introduced me to Asshole #1. She is an "innocent" fraud lurking in our midst. Beware!

Updated to Also Add: I love Jhawks379 more than my luggage. *sniff*

In an attempt to hobble my way through this major blogging funk in which I am still hopelessly mired, I am going to resort to scattered thoughts. Please excuse the mess while my blogging psyche is under reconstruction.....

Space Invader: Tomorrow, I will be guest-posting over at Brit's crib!

Odd Fear: I am terrified of being diagnosed with high blood pressure, but not for reasons you may think. I love, love sunflower seeds, like as in a "must eat a bit of them every day and will actually have my stomach twist in knots if I cannot have them" way. When I went to Pakistan for 6 weeks, I took 6 lbs of seeds with me, but ran out in Week 4. Dude. It was easier giving up cigarettes for that 6 weeks, than it was my seeds for 2 weeks. I have been hooked on seeds since I was 8 years old and it is still my favorite way to read a book - with a bowl of seeds at hand.

My Grandma Rocks: My grandma was warning me about possible riots next week if Obama loses. However, she totally and completely mangled Obama's name. I gently chided her, "Grandma, you need to learn how to pronounce his name as he is going to be our next President." To her credit, she giggled right along with me. I have also ribbed her about not voting so that her vote will not cancel out mine. I love my grandma so much, she is one of the single most important influences on my life. When she is gone, there will be a gaping hole in my life that will not ever quite heal. Ever.

Butting Heads: The past few weeks have been tortutous. Arun has a staph infection which requires the nastiest antibiotic known to man. I feel so bad for this kid having to suck down that bitter syrup. But not so bad that I am not unwilling to sit on his arms and pry his maw open to squirt to the back of his mouth because OMFG if he spits it out one more time I am going to lose my mind so help me GOD. Also, Anajli is cutting molars and has an ear infection, which is like gooeylicious icing on top of my crapcake.

Facing Your Past: Facebook is cracking me up. Seriously. My friends on there are from all over my past and my present. In fact, for a few days, I was convinced my grade school bully was trying to add me as a friend. For what? To apologize? To cyber-bully me? I was relieved to find it was a case of mistaken identity. Also, a warning - Facebook and wine do not mix. I repeat, Facebook and wine do not mix. Folks, I almost Friended an ex-boyfriend, Asshole #1. Why? Why? Because Bacchus is a mean pervert, that is why.

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Here is your chance. Ask a question. Any inquiries that do not involve my social security number, blood type, preferred sexual position, etc. will be answered. Help a blogger out. Please.

October 24, 2008

What do folks in China call their good plates?

Arun is v. v. particular about the temperature of his food. If the food is the tiniest bit hot, nay, warm, then he will refuse to eat it. Serious negotiations then must be commenced in an effort to get him to at least give the food a second chance. I find it slightly ironic that I heat a frozen pizza in the oven, then proceed to stick it back into the freezer to cool it off.

So, last week Arun turned 3. I did not write about it and honestly? Did not feel particularly compelled to scribble some maudlin drivel about it- we were busy with some family things last week and on his actual birthday, went to the zoo. It was a beautiful day and we had a blast. Therefore, writing a blog post fell very low on the To Do list last. I know, I know..... the nerve, of actually doing things rather than writing about them. I will say this - the age of 3 has some unique challenges. Sigh. But. The imagination, the games he makes up, the willingness to help me, the bizarre logic, the "I have a great idea" declarations? Make it all worth it. He is so much fun these days and it makes up for the difficult days when he seems to be under the mistaken impression that he knows more than I do.

In other news, Anjali got another haircut last week. Her hair is such a rat's nest, that for the time being, we are going to continue with regular haircuts until all of her "adult" hair comes in. At best, I am hoping for "mop-headed" in the meantime. Yes, if all her curls end up getting cut off and her hair ends up straight, I will be a little sad. However, having her walk around looking all raggedly would be worse. And here, we truly have a cultural difference between white folk and brown folk. Indians? Not only cut baby hair, they shave it. However, the hair gets all evened out and this why Indian babies/toddlers have such gorgeous hair.

Hmmm, I had wanted write more - there have been some interesting things on Oprah about teaching kids about money -- how to responsible for it and how to appreciate it. I have thoughts on this and want to hear yours as well. I feel a quandary that I suspect many folks are in as well. X and I are extremely appreciate of all that we have. ALL OF IT. We both grew up in very modest households, so we do not take anything we have for granted. How do we ensure our children appreciate what they have? Anyway, I cannot go in more detail right now because as it turns out, life is interfering. I have two kids motioning towards the door and crying "Go! Go!".

Simian Snappage

These Shoes Were Made for Splashing In.

Raggedy Anjali

Mr. Mischief? Indeed.

October 23, 2008

Back already?

Hmmm, posting yesterday inspired me to write some more.

A few weeks ago, I hired a photographer to take some professional quality photos of the kids. Frankly, my past experiences with Target and Portrait Innovations had left me less than impressed, so I decided to turn to an independent photographer.

Honestly? The photo shoot did not go so well. The kids were tired, Anjali was teething (I found out later) and it was quite windy at the site. Anjali spent a good amount of the shoot crying and Arun was quite spastic and running around, which does not lend itself for you know, still photography.

But, Jenn did it. She was so professional, so gentle and so patient. She has a few of the photos on her blog and that is just a small sampling of the beautiful shots she was able to wrangle out of my crabby, hyperactive children. I cannot recommend her enough - she does shoots in the Kansas City and Lawrence areas. Her sitting fees are ridiculously affordable and I am worried she is going to realize that eventually. Take advantage of her service sooner than later, folks. In fact, I was so happy with her services that I am more than willing to pay another sitting fee and try this whole thing again. If she was able to get such gorgeous shots of them while they were cranky, I can only imagine what she will be able to do when they are happy.

October 22, 2008

Is blogging dead?

Dear, dear neighbors,
If you happen to hear me barking at my oldest male child, please do not be alarmed. That is his preferred mode of communication these days as he has decided he would rather be a dog, than a boy. And as such, who am I to deny my precious boy of his heart's desire?


So. According to this article on Wired, Blogging is SO 2004. As the author purports:
Thinking about launching your own blog? Here's some friendly advice: Don't. And if you've already got one, pull the plug.

Writing a weblog today isn't the bright idea it was four years ago. The blogosphere, once a freshwater oasis of folksy self-expression and clever thought, has been flooded by a tsunami of paid bilge. Cut-rate journalists and underground marketing campaigns now drown out the authentic voices of amateur wordsmiths. It's almost impossible to get noticed, except by hecklers. And why bother? The time it takes to craft sharp, witty blog prose is better spent expressing yourself on Flickr, Facebook, or Twitter.

Frankly, I am not convinced and it seems the author was purposely writing an inflammatory article in order to drive traffic. It is fairly obvious to anyone wandering over here that my wee site is just a personal thing for myself and a few friends. I will never reach a massive audience, nor do I have any intentions of doing so. I do see what the author is saying for "professionals" trying to get "the word out" via what basically amounts to an online magazine. It is obvious that particular space is already saturated with established blogs and devoted audiences. However, I think the article underestimates what having a personal blog can do for an individual. I believe that blogging is still an excellent medium for non-professionals to explore their own thoughts and ideas while providing a platform to discuss with friends - both real-life and imaginary.

Ironically, the article came just as I have found myself mired neck deep into a major blogging tar pit. I am finding my usage of Facebook and Twitter has gone up considerably, but have had difficulty crafting anything to put out here. Quite frankly, Facebook and Twitter are a nice spot for me get things out quickly with minimal commitment.

I have tried not to care much that I am in a writing funk and am hoping I get inspired soon to write something. I do miss writing, I miss that creative element of staring at a blank screen and filling it. And that? Is enough to convince me that at least this blog is not dead.

October 17, 2008

Thank you.

I simply cannot think of a snarky, smarmy, odd question for today's title.

Thank you. Thank you.

I received so many kind, thoughtful comments, emails and donations regarding my post about autism and how it has wormed its mysterious way into my family. I never, ever expected to raise $200 towards this walk. Realistically, I had hoped to match my own $50 and that was all. I cannot even begin to describe how proud I was that I raised 4x that amount. No, no....I am not proud of me, but proud of the blogosphere. All of us who are out here lurking and connecting.

A month ago, I was with a group of gals and we were talking about blogs in general. One of the gals emphatically declared that she "could never keep a journal online" and inferred that it would be icky to do so. It is very difficult to explain at times how blogging is simply a different form of social media and networking.

Now? I have a sweet story of how blogging is so much more than an "online journal". It truly is a community.

October 14, 2008

What am I getting at?

I try to keep things fairly light here. I also try to keep things fairly confined to me, myself and I. Oh sure, I unabashedly hawk my children's privacy in the grand tradition of Blog Fodder, but overall, I do try to keep a down low on the Drama.

As such, I have not talked much about my friend J's cancer. Something that is on my mind every single day and often, in my dreams now. Here on this wee site, I leave out most of my fears for her. The horror of what she is facing and how I look at my own children and wonder if she will even live long enough to experience the same milestones as I am with them.

As such, I do not talk much about how terribly I miss my Aunt Peggy and how the little things will rise up and smack me upside the head. Like, this historical election of which I desperately want know what she thinks (I had a dream about that, as well.) Like, how her birthday was this past Saturday. So, no. I do not talk about how I still get weepy over my Aunt Peggy's absence. She was 87 and I know that we were so very lucky to have had her as long as I did.

As such, there are a myriad of other things going on around here that I just do not talk about here.


I also do not talk much about autism here. How it has affected my brother's life and now my younger nephew's life. I do not talk about the frustrations I have felt as I have seen my father, stepmother, sister and brother-in-law all navigate the mystery that is autism. The frustrations they have faced in finding resources - good grief, even in getting a diagnosis. The frustration my sister feels when folks stare at the supposedly "bad mother with the bratty, out-of-control son" because my nephew is totally freaking out because he absolutely, positively terrified to his very core during a thunderstorm. The frustration my brother is feeling as he tries to find his place in this world post-high school graduation. The list of frustrations goes on and on and on.....

I do not talk much about those frustrations because I do not feel that they are my stories to tell. It has absolutely nothing to do with shame or hiding. I love Nolan and Will for who they are and autism is a part of that. To reject the autistic part, would be to reject them.

I am okay with talking about this today because this Saturday, I am taking Anjali and Arun on a walk. Specifically, on a Walk Now For Autism - we are on the Teaminators team. If you would like to donate actual dimes and nickels towards this cause that would be cool - although, in this economy, it would be perfectly understable if you would rather just send thoughts and prayers. Those would be just as much appreciated.

Um. Also. If you would also like to donate some advice as to how I explain to a 3 year old that his much-adored cousin and uncle are different, but are not sick, that would also be cool. I would be grateful. I realized just last night, I need some way to explain to Arun why we are going out to the Kansas Speedway and walking.


October 8, 2008

Is it my birthday yet?

Good gravy, you know your blog has sprouted a few dusty spiderwebs when your own mother tells you to just update the damned thing already.

So. Um. Well. *cough*

So, I made the mistake of telling Arun a few weeks ago that his birthday was coming. In feverish anticipation of party hats, cupcakes and friends coming to his house, he has been asking me nearly every single day if it is his birthday yet. Oops.

So, last night I dreamed that I was interviewed by Barbara Walters and in that interview, I discussed the basic principles of canasta. I covered the basic 4 person game, but also elaborated on the rules surrounding the variation known as "hand and foot". Then, later I went to a garage sale at my grandma's house. What the hell are Barbara Walters and my grandma doing in my dreams? That is just wrong on so many levels. Why cannot I dream of making a human sandwich with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon serving as the slices of bread?

So, I am just about ready to give up on Heroes. Am I the only fool who cannot follow what the hell is going on? How many versions of Peter can we realistically keep track of? Furthermore, when a television program begins to feel like homework and you find yourself procrastinating your viewings of it, then it seems that would be a good time to chuck the whole thing.

So, this is an interesting sort of week. I spent a fair amount of Monday at the hospital - one of my great aunts had quintuple bypass heart surgery and I waited with the rest of the family. She is coming out of it okay. Then, later this week, Mojavi is having her baby, so I will be back at the hospital to see her.

So, I did watch that segment last week on Oprah about the former assistant principal, Brenda Slaby, who left her two year old child in a hot car for 8 hours and of course, the child died. I hesitated to comment on this because I did not want to come across as all Judge Judy about it. But. Some pertinent facts were left out of the Oprah segment. Some very, very disturbing facts. Such as, the fact that Slaby had been warned previously by the director of her oldest child's school about not leaving her younger daughter in the car - there were at least 3 separate occasions that Slaby had done so. Also, video surveillence from the school in which Slaby worked showed Slaby backing up her SUV to the building, unloading some donuts, going back and forth to the vehicle at least half a dozen times, then moving the vehicle to a parking spot. Seriously? And this lady was not charged with negligence or child endangerment?? I am not saying that this woman was evil or a child killer or that she even did it on purpose. But truly, it is heartbreaking that she was not at least charged with negligence. In my extremely "judgemental" opinion, being "overwhelmed" is lousy excuse for forgetting your child. That is ludicrous. Ludicrous. Furthermore, another white, educated mother left her child in the Cincinnati area this year and that child also died. Again, no charges were brought against her. And then, another mother this year was actually charged with child endangerment for leaving her 12 year old daughter alone at home in charge of two younger siblings because the mother was working and could not afford to pay for extra care. Guess what color that mother was? Guess.

And yes, I did just Go There.