January 25, 2010

Gone, but still here.

My father in law died over the weekend.  The situation is really bad and quite shocking. Additionally, it is always difficult to explain how surreal an overseas death is.  I have a flurry of thoughts on this, none of which I can express.  Sure, it is my blog, but it is not my father. This week is crazy as Manoj prepares for his trip to India and I prepare to be a single parent for awhile.

These are the times when I am so grateful to have small children.  Yesterday, we took the kids to a nearby Bass Pro and watched them revel in the simplicity that is fish swimming in water.  Not only do children provide for much-needed distractions, but they help adults keep things in perspective.  We certainly need that right now.

I will not be posting for awhile, but when I come back I will return to pithy, puerile posting.  This will probably be the last time I mention this because this is not my story to tell..

Please, keep us in your thoughts.

January 21, 2010

In Accordance With GAPP

Please note!  Important!  I like my crow served warm, with a dash of Cholula sauce.

Mostly, I try to parent in accordance with GAPP.  You know, the Generally Accepted Parenting Principles. The ones that dictate you don't let your kid suck on lead pipes (or tail pipes, for that matter.)  The ones that require at least 20 minutes per day of book reading or junior will have a brain equivalent to oatmeal. The ones that require eating vegetables.  The ones that require choices and consequences (not rules and punishments**.) The ones that require your child do a variety of well-rounded activities (music! sports! art!), but not too many activities lest your precious snowflake become overscheduled.  The horrors.  So, like most parents, I attempt to do my best.  I am quite certain I will never figure out this parenting gig while my own children are around, but am quite confident I will get it right for when they have children, so that I can become That Grandmother Who Knoweth All.   Because everyone loves That Grandmother, right?  .

Anyway.  I think I fail spectacularly in the Parenting Activities Standards Board (PASB) 242  - Grooming of of Self-Esteem.  The other day I was talking with Monkey Dearest* about PASB 242:
I think there is WAY too much focus on self-esteem building these days.  For example, moms who let their kids win when they are playing games.  One of my friends actually tells her daughter there are TWO Winners.  Are you fucking kidding?  There can only be ONE winner and I don't let Arun win.  Yeah, it makes him mad.  Whatever, win on your own, dude.  When we play Super Mario Bros on the Wii, sometimes he can't keep up and he starts whining for help - I kill him on purpose so he can just fucking catch up.  Dude, you are messing up OUR game, get with the program, Nancy Boy.

Yeah, mother of the year over here.

 After I sent the email, I thought that perhaps, I was too harsh.  Maybe I should try to nurture my little budding gamer more.  But then I realized that if my little guy ends up with self-esteem issues because I failed to let him succeed at some stupid games, then his problem will not be merely self-esteem.  And no, I don't always kill Arun on purpose.  And sometimes, just sometimes, I will point out the Sparkly Ginormous Coin is there for him to get.  I also noticed that once I quit helping him over a particular hurdle and just let him die, that he actually figured out how to navigate the hurdle himself.  Sure, there was whining, but I was too busy stomping zombie turtles to hear it anyway.

Truthfully, the look on his face when he does win and his little character gets the crown is a great expression. He earned that crown

And he knows it.

* YES, I am a big believer in the fact that folks without children can have valid points about parenting.  After all, everyone was a child at some point - everyone has that perspective.  So yes, I do talk parenting with Monkey.  Also, importantly for me, I like to hear how her parents did things because I like the Sub-Continental Asian Approach to Parenting (SCAAP.)  In my 20+ years of experience with it, there are some valuable lessons to be learned and I want to hear as many examples I can.   Monkey is willing to share and I appreciate it.  In return, I make her listen to my childrens' heavy breathing on the phone, so things are not exactly fair, but she is a patient one, that Monkey.

**In our house, it is a RULE and a PUNISHMENT.  Yesterday, Arun ran into his school parking lot without me - BIG TROUBLE.  I was crystal clear that he was being PUNISHED.  Sadly, my guy is so easy-going that he does not care that his precious items ended up on the fireplace mantle.  Sigh.  How do you punish easy-going kids??

January 20, 2010

A bookworm walks into a zoo......

Sound like the beginning of a really bad joke.  No offense to bookworms.  Or zoos, for that matter.

Lisa asked yesterday in the comments what the zoo is like in the dead of winter.  Personally,  I like going to the zoo throughout the year - to see the changing seasons and to see the animals react in different ways to the temperatures.  Besides, I buy my kids nice winter coats every year and I like to use them.  I am not opposed to bundling all of us up for outside romps.  Although, it was pretty cold yesterday and by the end of the visit, I asked my friend Susan if my nose was still attached to my face because I could no longer feel my nose.

One thing that Susan and I noticed first off during our visit is that the animals were really, really aware that we were THERE.  Many were coming to the window specifically to check us out.  The tigers were so active, we were a little skeeved and became cautious that they might spray us (sadly, an experience I had last year when I was at the Mirage in Vegas.)  Susan and I wondered if the animals become immune/disinterested in people after awhile when there are long parades of gawkers throughout the warmer weather.  Since we were virtually the only people at the zoo that day, we were guessing that the animals were not used to seeing actual, live humans besides the zookeepers.

Truthfully, it was nice to get bundled up, tromp through some slushy snow and simply enjoy fresh, non-recycled air.  Is it the best time of the year to go to the zoo? No.  Not really.  However, we have a membership (read: sunk cost) and heading to the zoo for a few hours makes for a nice outing.   It was also pleasant to have the zoo to ourselves and relax in the quiet.

Today, my brain has been sauteed in a spicy sauce of Mucinex D and therefore, in lieu of a proper segue........

Recently, I joined the Book Lushes online book club (started by the lovely Jonniker!)  Thus far, it is a fun spot to discuss books, reading and the like.  The first selection is The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  Last month, The Tongie Book Club mentioned this book and decided to read it for a future selection - I picked up a copy at Costco for all of 13 bucks and immediately began reading it.  Then, I saw Book Lushes had selected it as a selection as well.  And since I am all about lobbing stones at hapless birdies, I joined up with Book Lushes.  I am not sure how the actual discussion of the book will pan out, but I am enjoying the forum itself.  It is nice to hang out with like-minded gals in a drama-free environment. I highly recommend the forum and be sure to feel me up if you join.

The Help is incredibly engrossing, yet it is not full of shocking revelations.   Like most folks not living in caves or under rocks, I have already read or seen most of what is discussed in this book.  Racism in the 60s is a much-traveled topic, no?  However. The author does an incredible job of weaving a complex story without melodrama.  She has created  fully established characters and the author did an excellent job of not simply strutting out caricatures.  And I love seeing the same story from a variety of viewpoints.

Overall, I have been on a reading rampage this year - I was going to make an official resolution to read 50 books this year, but decided to simply make a resolution to make my reading worthwhile this year.  All too often, I get sucked into a Bad Read and then waste time Plodding through it simply because I like to know the ending.  This year?  I am officially a Skimmer.  If I am not caring for a book, then I will commence with The Skimming to just get it over with.  Sadly, this year it has already applied to The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, A Thousand Acres and The Memory of Running.  The Memory of Running was odd because it sort of had TWO stories.  One of which I ended up skimming and the other I read and LOVED.  Again, odd.

I find it nearly impossible actually Quit a book.  Over the years, I have read some compelling stuff that took me a good 150 pages to get into, so for me, it is incredibly easy to get all Brokeback Mountain over a book.  But I am determined to convert to Skimming.

Are you a Plodder, a Skimmer or a Quitter?  
If you are a Quitter, how do you know when to quit a book?

January 19, 2010

Best Laid Plans

We have had several weeks of bitter cold around here.  While I am all for running around outside in 35+ degrees or so, I have limits.  Also, after waiting the requisite 2 weeks with what I suspected was a raging sinus infection, I went to the doctor on Friday.

The drugs I am taking are ironic.  No, not the Alanis Morrissette Unfortunate, Maybe Sad, Yet Not Truly Ironic Kind of drugs.  No, these drugs are Moronically Ironic.  They are suppressing my appetite, so I should take them with food, but Hey! I am not hungry so I take them on an empty stomach, then I feel sick which does not make me feel like eating much.  Rinse, repeat.   Our local Girl Scout delivered our single box of Thin Mints yesterday and an entire sleeve is laying around on the kitchen counter. I am sure it is in a state of shock since I suspect sleeves of Thin Mints do not see the outside of their boxes for extended periods of time.

Anyway, after these weeks of being a bit housebound, Kansas City is staring down the barrel of an entire week's worth of weather which will break the 40 degree boundary.  In that vein, I have planned a week's worth of outside activities for us.

Yesterday, seemed like a perfect day to head out to the Ernie Miller Nature center.  Team Chaos agreed:

Excitedly, they posed outside of the center, jabbering about the owls! snakes! turtles! and fish! waiting inside. As we approached the door, warning bells flashed in my brain as I saw a special signs posted to the door. Despite my careful perusal of the nature center's website, they were closed for Martin Luther King day.  Bastards.  Why could they have not put that up on their website? Crap.

Many tears flowed.  Big, huge, tears.  They were distraught, heartbroken.  The owls!  The owls!

I managed to get them going on nearby path.

Anjali's attitude never quite righted itself but I was able to distract Arun with animal tracks and bunny scat. He was particularly impressed with the tracks of the rare, elusive arunosaurus rex. A fearsome creature, indeed.

Today, we are headed to the zoo, which I am positive is open.

January 15, 2010

New Cousins for Everybody.

In one fell swoop yesterday on her Facebook wall, my sister announced her pregnancy and an intention to get a new puppy.  I am really excited about this new puppy because now Lucy will have another puppy with whom to play.  Quite simply, the cats are not appreciative of Lucy's futile attempts at friendship.  My brother has a dog,  but seriously, Shakey is such a molester I really would feel bad subjecting our little Queen Elizabeth I to Shakey's humping proclivities.  Wrong, it just feels wrong.

I am going to tell Arun today about his forthcoming new little cousin.  Of course, this is going to hop us right onto the subject train of Human Reproduction.  We have been at the depot for awhile, so I am a little prepared for this.  He knows the difference between mammals, reptiles, birds, dinosaurs, etc - we have been discussing this for a long time now.  He just has not actually asked how all these eggs, babies, etc "get in there" in the first place.

One of the more difficult things I have found in parenting is the "teacher part".  I am not, by nature, a teacher.  And I find myself having to be careful about how I explain things to a 4 year old - sure, I know the adult explanations for how things work, but I do struggle sometimes on how to simplify explanations so that Arun can understand.  Evolution, for example.  We have dipped our toe into that conversation, but I pulled back because I need to do more research to figure out the simplest way for him to understand.

Probably, my biggest worry with the sex talk is other parents.  I am not concerned with telling my son the truth.  However, I am very, very concerned with him getting the story wrong and attempting to tell a classmate.  Or worse, getting the story so very wrong that weird stuff happens and we get child services called on us (one of my greatest fears and paranoias is child services. *shudder*)

And I am very excited about this new niece or nephew.  I know it will be hard, a little, because I had always wanted 3 babies and I am feeling it deeply as Anjali marches on a sure path right past toddlerhood (and right into tweendom, it seem,s on some days.)  I would be lying if I said I am not feeling wistful - there will be no third baby for us. 

So, our crazy, chaotic family is about to ramp it up a notch.  I hope you are ready Rogers Baby #4, because we are not a people who holds back.  Also, I hope you like to be held because there will be no shortage of arms.

Nothing to Add, per se.

I have nothing to add with all of the dialogue going on about Haiti - I have no personal stories, nothing to say that would not come across as pithy.  I did want to include links to a variety of organizations.  If nothing else, it is simply amazing that in this day and age, it is easier than ever before to help folks in need.  Yesterday, at Costco, they told me they are taking donations there and I was able to simply add my donation to my purchase. I am also hoping to make a donation to Doctors without Borders.  I tend to lean towards them first  - my eye doctor is a member and his stories over the years have been very inspirational for me..
Doctors Without Borders,  
American Red Cross,  
Hope For Haiti,  
Compassion International

January 13, 2010


I have been blogging for well over 5 years now and have had only a handful of nasty comments in that time frame.  Lest you think I am breaking my arm patting my back, I know the truth.  I rarely talk about much of anything importance that would raise the ire of someone enough to break out them into a furious sweat.

Some of this is on purpose.  In some cases, I do not want to purposely hurt feelings.  In other cases, I do not see the point of composing careful posts that require my precious time when someone is not going to change his/her viewpoint anyway.  If something seems futile, I really do not care to waste my time or yours.  It is one of the top reasons why I do not rail about the idiocy and hypocrisy of most organized religions here.  Also, stirring up controversy takes time, fanning the flames of war is hard work, people. There is no diamond-encrusted couch here, as Amy always puts it.   Nope.  Just the one coated in yogurt and dog hair.

I have no agenda, no aspirations. 

For every opinion I could offer up here, I guarantee I can inspire a chorus of reactions. . If there is anything that I am proud of in my life, is that I have managed to surround myself - friends AND family - with a diverse crowd from many walks of life.

I always say I am my own Audience of One.  Oh sure, I do appreciate that I have strong-armed a few friends and family members into reading my babblings.  But I am not blind to the fact that this blog is primarily comprised of pure drivel.  The meaningless minutiae of  my life comprised of feelings about my family, my children and my situation.

However, I own these feelings and they are mine alone.

So, no.  I am not sad that I lost a reader yesterday.  After all, my own mother has cautioned me against censoring my posts as to not hurt her feelings.  Why would I begin censoring myself for someone who could not even bring themselves to peek out from under a cloak of anonymity?


January 12, 2010


All of my posts regarding our online business in the procurement of gift cards have the title of #ShillSnapgifts, is our unique site that offers gift cards to nearly 600 locally-owned businesses countrywide.  In addition, we offer gift cards for over 100 national brands.   If you love me, you will use it yourself for all of your gift card needs.  Go ahead.  Do it for the children.

This WAHM has been whammed.

I have had several folks ask me about the whole WAHM thing.  I have mixed emotions, which is why I have not written about it, but anyone who talks to me off-blog has heard much about this subject. *waves furiously at her sister Jill*  On the one hand, I am glad that I can contribute to this - I am perfectly suited for what I am currently working on and have created some efficient processes that have been key to our initital success. 


I only want to stay home with my kids right now and in the first place, I did not need this extra validation that so-called "working" provides.  Truthfully,  I felt perfectly validated being "just a stay at home mom."  I don't particularly enjoy being torn between finishing work things up and having to tell a certain little 2.5 year old pixie that she will have to wait until later to tell me ALL about the "species of dinosaur bones that lives in the DIRT.  IN THE DIRT, MAMA!"  Or when a certain 4 year old desperately needs to know RIGHT NOW what in the hell a compognathus eats for his dinner and I have to wave him off for a bit. Or during any of the other instances where they are being utterly adorable and patient with the fact that I am hanging out in my office our dining room for hours on end.

Does it hurt them that they are not getting my full attention?  No.  Not really.  Believe it or not, they have a father.  Shocking, yet true.  I am not the Virgin Mary.  However, it hurts me, when I have to say "Not right now."

They are little, but not for long.  This fall, Arun begins pre-K which is Beginning of the End of their time with me.  They will be in school full-time before I know it and I will have so much time for myself, my head will spin.  As much as I would prefer to be back in our normal routine, I know in my heart that this is permanent and that the old routine will never come to pass again.  So, now that the December Holiday Rush is over, I am creating a new routine for us.  And it will be okay, I am sure.

What this working thing has done for me is that I was forced to prioritize and recognize what was truly important to my personal well-being. 
Knitting?  Went by the wayside. 
Television? My viewing is WAY down, which is probably not a bad thing.
Writing this blog?   Sure, if I could fit it in. 
Reading blogs?  I did keep up on all of my real and imaginary friendships. 

Oddly enough, Facebook/Twitter became a little more important - I have found Facebook an exceedingly convenient way to keep up with my family and friends and I appreciate it more than ever now.  I am still not overly impressed with Twitter, realistically it is just a massive, public message board comprised of 140 character soundbytes that lack all of the nuances of conversation.  However, I do use it as a convenient way to feed my Facebook status.  For me, Facebook is where the real conversation threads can take place since it handles conversations much, much better than Twitter could ever dream.

But the most important of all to my mental health was exercise and reading books - I found myself getting very organized so that I could schedule those sorts of things into my day. I read more books and exercised more often in December than in November simply because I needed to stay sane and those two activities ground me.

The WAHM thing is probably here to stay.  I am not necessarily happy about that, but I am grateful that Manoj and I can work our schedules and alternate childcare so that the kids don't have to be stuck in daycare. And yes, I am more than a little proud of my contributions to this new venture.  I would be a lying McLiar who lies if I lied otherwise.

In other news, I have been feeling extremely apologetic about posting Snapgifts content here.  However, I am going to have to get over that and soon.  This is our business, our future and we are on the cusp of truly exciting ventures with this.  I will try to make the content readable, something interesting to peruse other than statements like "snapgifts! snapgifts! git yer gift cardz heeeeeere!"  Know what I mean? 

Of course you do.

Snapgifts is currently in the following major metropolitan areas:
Kansas City gift cards
Boston gift cards
Chicago gift cards
San Francisco gift cards
LA gift cards
New York gift cards
More gift card locations?
All gift card locations can be found here!

January 8, 2010

I just like to over-react, over-reacting is my favorite!

Mammogram this morning?  Turned up nothing.  Nothing! As it turned out, some tissue was overlapping and a few spot compressions sorted them out and separated them.  

What was really awesome is that I finished up a recent re-reading of A Wrinkle in Time while I was waiting for the results.  There, I sat with one boob hanging out, blubbering like a baby because Meg Murry totally ROCKS and that book still strikes such an emotional core with me even after all of these years of cynical  adulthood. 

I am quite sure the technician was impressed with the waterworks.

Anyway,  now I can go back to worrying about meaningless drivel.  Another favorite past time of mine.

January 7, 2010

Group Hug.

Everyone talks about the evils of social media. Well, the other day I used it for good.

I had my baseline mammogram on 12/29 and did not think much of it. It's a baseline, right?  Oh sure, I am in a higher risk category for breast cancer, what with 2 generations backing me up (mother, great-grandmother.)  But still. I have to be positive with these things.

I would have had my baseline beginning at age 35, but by the age of 34, I was pregnant, then breastfeeding, then both.  I then spent a little over 4 years being pregnant, breastfeeding or both.  But yes, when Anjali weaned in January 2009, I was anxious to get on the Mammogram Train.

The mammogram was no big deal.  Seriously, folks.  If you are putting this off because you heard it was painful, let me assure you that while it was uncomfortable and certainly not fun, it was not painful. Furthermore, Olathe Medical Center has this amazing system and I was in and out and back in my car in less that 45 minutes.  I hauled a big ass book in there for nothing because I had no time to read. None.

Anyway.  Mammogram.  Done.  But then?  On Tuesday, I was working at my usual spot in our dining room and was on the phone.  I missed a call from my doctor, but happened to pick up a call from the Medical Center about scheduling a follow-up.  Unfortunately, the guy was just the dude who schedules and had no information otherwise.  Bah.  The doctor was not much more help other than "It's a spot that looks sick and we just need to get a closer look."

Realistically and statistically, it is nothing.  Nothing. And I know folks get skewered all the time for TMI Tweets.  But I was working and I needed a pat on the head. Sue me.  I had little time to sit and make phone call after phone call to my girlfriends and  I really, really needed to hear some commiserating tales of Been There, Done That.  So, I Tweeted. And within 30 minutes, I had several Pats on the Head and many, many Been There Done Thats.  Which is what I needed.

So, the next time someone rails about the evils of social media, remind them about the "social" part.

Truly, I do not want this to end on a dour note, so I am throwing out some snaps to lighten the mood.  I promise things are not Dim and Grim around here!

Part Husky

This dog sneaks out every chance she gets.  After every trip outside, she comes in COVERED in snow.  

Moose Princess

Her favorite pajamas and her favorite tiara.

No holster?  No problem!

Dude.  Timeouts are such a SNORE.

I put her in timeout and came back down to find her asleep.  Everybody wins!!!

More SNOW.
Yes, not only do we have more snow, but we now have brutal temperatures.  Literally, it is warmer in Antarctica.  Today's high? 6 degrees. Yes, an entire 6 degrees.  Still, it is warmer than tomorrow's project high of 2 degrees. 

The Gnome Did Not Stand a Chance.

Poor bastard.

January 4, 2010

Ringing in the New Year

House training our dog was a snap.  However, house training us was an entirely different matter.  Meaning, Manoj and I had no fucking clue what to do when it came to communicating to Lucy what her part in this little Waltz of Bodily Wastes was to be .  To her credit, once Manoj and I realized what we needed to be doing, Lucy jumped on board.  Willingly.

Early on, we hung a bell on the door knob.  When we would let her out, we would ring the bell.  And then, eventually, she got the idea. Awesome, right?

Oh, who the fuck am I kidding.  I did all the training in regard the bell.  Manoj thought the bell was stoopid and simply did not believe the dog would learn how to ring a bell.  Really?

Really.  That little bitch of a dog loves, LOVES her bell.  And no thanks to my sweet husband, but Lucy loves that bell with a vengence.

Now?  She cannot be stopped.  She rings the bell, does her thing, then comes and scratches at the door.

Lucy: It seems I need to pee. *RING* RING*
Lucy: Um, am bored now, folks.  Need back inside. *SCRATCH*SCRATCH* 

Lucy: Hey wait a goddamned second, is that a mouse?? *RING* RING*
Lucy: Nope, just a leaf. *SCRATCH*SCRATCH*

Lucy: Oops, forgot to poop.  *RING* RING*
Lucy: All done, Bitches.  It's cold our here.  *SCRATCH*SCRATCH*

Lucy: Let it SNOW!!  SNOW!! SNOW, I love SNOW. *RING* RING*
Lucy: Okay, am cold now.  Back inside. *SCRATCH*SCRATCH
Lucy: Seriously, Bitches, I am DONE.  It is cold out here.  BARK!!BARK!!

Lucy: Oops, forgot to poop. *RING* RING*

And on and on and on.  The part that will drive me to pull my hair out one by one is this:  Manoj is usually working right by the back door.  I can be deep down in the bowels of our basement and still hear the the bell ringing.  Take one guess as to who cannot hear it?

One guess.  No cheating.