October 16, 2015

Hang Ten

10 years ago today, Manoj and I embarked on a journey that would change the course of our lives forever.

We became parents.

Mostly, when I think back on these past 10 years, I feel extreme gratitude.  At every step of the way in a parenting journey, things can take irretrievable, soul-crushing turns.  Once you become a parent, all bets are off and your heart will never be completely your own again.

We have had 10 years with a fussy baby who grew into a remarkably good-natured, easy-going boy. He is a voracious reader, an avid gamer, a Pokemon obsessive, a budding musician.  He is also pretty stinky and in constant need of a clean pair of socks, a haircut and a shower, OH MY GOD.  However, his grades are perfect, he has loads of friends, teachers always like him and I inevitably leave conferences glowing with pride over this boy.

Our boy.

Happy birthday, Arun.

October 2, 2015

Facebook PSA

Grinter's Sunflower Field, Lawrence KS.

For no reason other than I have missed writing, I have made a commitment to myself to post once a week for the rest of the year.  So, this is me, jumping right in......

I love Facebook. LOVE.  It makes it easy to keep in touch with folks I see in REAL life.  It is also convenient for staying connected with my Imaginary Friends in the Box --  my online friends.  Like many folks, I have a diverse set of FB friends.  I tend to lean Libertarian, but I have friends that swing far Right and far Left.  And never the twain shall meet, right? However, I appreciate having these perspectives (most of the time) even when my blood pressure rises.

I know for other people this is not always the case and I have seen friendships scorched to the ground because of Facebook.  A few times, I have been the one blocking/unfriending.  Other times, I was the one blocked/unfriended.  Eventually, I made peace with the end of those relationships because they were toxic and unhealthy for me in the long run, regardless of Facebook's involvement.  And I moved on.

But something happened a few weeks ago to a friend of mine that made me realize that a lot of folks simply do not understand how Facebook works.  Things could quickly get ugly with tensions already running high on a myriad of topics such as Planned Parenthood, Trump, gun control (or lack thereof), etc.

Here's what happened: a few weeks ago,  Friend A blocked and unfriended Friend B.  Friend A wrote a nasty diatribe claiming that Friend B was posting offensive material.  The problem is, I could clearly see that Friend B had NOT posted anything objectionable and furthermore, Friend B is the least disagreeable person you will ever meet.

In fact, Friend B is the type of person who goes out of her way to NOT be offensive.

I was curious about what the hell could have happened and then I noticed something.  In my timeline, I will often see news article posted that has a friend associated with it.
Something like this:
Joe Black via Huffington Post

That means that Joe actually SHARED the article from the Huffington Post.

I also see other news articles posted that has a friend associated with it containing this verbiage:
Joe Black likes The Kansas City Star

Do you see the difference?  In the first example, Joe clearly shared the specific article with his friends.  However!   In the second example, The Kansas City Star is sharing an article and saying "Hey, Joe likes us!"  but that does NOT mean that Joe liked that specific article.

As we move forward into what will be a contentious election season, we all need to keep in mind that social media has weird algorithms and often, is not as straightforward as one would think.  Also, folks can mistakenly click on things.  Accidents happen!

Listen, I am the first sort of person to jump to conclusions and then angrily tap out responses because Someone On the Internet Is Wrong.

However, this recent experience has made me see that I need to be kinder and give more folks the benefit of the doubt.

Will you join me?

July 9, 2015

10 Things I Love About You

Now that I have children who are online AND can read, they can read my blog.  I love showing them past posts I have written and I am so so grateful that I spent the time and energy maintaining this spot.   The other day, Anjali declared "Well, are you going to write my birthday post this year?  You wrote one when I was 6, but not when I was 7!".

Baby girl, here you go.

10 Things I Love About You

1. I love that you are curious and inquisitive.  
Sometimes, the constant questions wear me down, but I promise I will always try to find the answers. Also, I fully support your relationship with Siri. (And yes, I am still researching how close the Earth can get to the Sun before we all die.)

2. I love that you have become quite the foodie.
It is so much FUN cooking with you and exploring new restaurants with you.   I laughed last night when you pestered me for a full hour as I slow-cooked Jamaican Chicken packing so much heat with adobo chilies that my own tongue was buzzing. And it cracks me up that your favorite BBQ sauce is KC Joe's Night of the Living Dead and your favorite wing sauce is Frank's Buffalo Sauce.  I also love that you like to create things on your own - even when the results are not edible (yes, I complain about the mess, I will try harder not to in the future).

3. I love that you are a good sister.  
Arun is a stinky boy who often pesters you, but you are patient with him and are such a caretaker to him.  He takes you for granted, but he WILL appreciate your picking out his clothes for him when he is high school.  Trust me on this.

4. I love that you are so competitive.
When you became furious that Arun finished The War With Grandpa before you, I felt bad that you were so upset.  However, honestly?  I was also secretly thrilled that you have such a tenacious drive in you.  You always strive to do better and I love that about you.  I was so proud of you when you got behind on reading Lemonade Wars and instead of panicking, you sat down and read straight through until you had caught up on your chapters.

5. I love that you are a good friend and are respectful to people.  
Be it a cashier, a receptionist or server, you are always respectful and even your teachers always comment on this.  Never forget to acknowledge a person who is helping you out -- it will pay off in spades in terms of customer service (and karma!)  You are also so careful with your friends and I hope that continues.  Friendships with girls can be complicated and I appreciate that you are careful with whom you are close.  It took me years to weed out the toxic friends and I learned some hard lessons from my bad choices in friendships.  You will have to learn this on your own as well, but so far?  You are doing well in choosing friends who treat with you respect and are kind to you.  (And who love to dig for bugs and frogs as much as you do. )

6. I love that you are an adventuresome traveler.  
It is so much fun traveling with you and Arun (except for Arun's apparent disdain for Colorado.  Let us never speak of Colorado again.)  Both of you are so adventuresome and curious about other people, cultures and ways of life. And I was SO proud of how patient and well-behaved both of you were last year when we went to Mexico.   I am so excited to go back there this summer and find new spots for us to explore!

7. I love that you talk to me.  
I know this may not always be the case, but I appreciate that for now, you confide in me and that we can talk through things.

8. I love your jokes.
Your jokes crack me up and you have a great delivery (especially the one about the cemetery!) Your great-great-uncles Buddy and Floyd are surely laughing from above every time you tell one!  I hope you never lose your sense of humor because having one, goes a long, long way in life.

 9. I love that you are creative.
I have so much fun seeing your latest Lego or construction paper creation - especially the Lego pieces you create on your own, not just the ones with instructions.  I am not a "builder" myself and it fascinates me to see what you come up with.  I never get tired of seeing what you can cobble together with paper and tape.

 10.  I love the person you are.
As I always say, I always wanted a daughter just like you.

Happy birthday, Peanut Butter Anjali.