Monthly Archives: May 2012

Lucky Memorial Day

Usually, I’m never able to celebrate a traditional Memorial Day since my husband and I always go away that weekend for our anniversary. This year, his presence was requested at some terminally boring conference, and since he’s never one to say no to the opportunity to make his resumé look even MORE academic and esoteric, he’s off to someplace I have no desire to go. So instead, I’m on my own trip. Next year, he owes me big time.

Today, I got a very traditional Memorial Day, which seems appropriate, given that Memorials typically are traditional by nature. I got up, walked over to the small-town parade that was happening, let my daughter wave her little flag, watched all the neighbors setting up their camp chairs, and tried to find a shady spot to stand while we waited for the action. The parade was heading our way in minutes. It was all over in about 10 minutes, which is great, because that’s just about all the parade I can handle.

There was the old-dudes-in-uniform portion, the “old cars” portion, the school marching-band portion, the fire trucks portion, the kids clubs, the kids on bikes, and then the people-riding-horses portion to bring up the rear. It was charming. I pondered how old your car has to be to qualify for these types of events. Could you enter a 1986 Civic?

We visited the ancestors on the way to see the relatives (my sister likes to use these terms interchangeably). My mom, sister, daughter, and I planted some flowers in front of the headstones for my grandparents, and two of my aunts whom I never met. Our other ancestors seemed to have been previously-flowered so I just washed their headstones off and watered the plants. My daughter liked running around the cemetery and playing in the dirt, but it was REALLY hot, so we kept our landscaping pretty simple.

We all went to my great-aunt and uncle’s for dinner. They have a very nice pool. We ate potato salad, swam, my sister and I were called each other’s names a few times, my daughter made friends with a three-legged cat that apparently belonged to the neighbors… It was the usual.

That cat was seriously cute. He just hobbled along and was so sweet to my kid. She kissed him on the nose about 7 times. That has to be super lucky, right?

When we got home, she played in her kiddie-pool for awhile, we planted some more flowers, ate ice-cream, and went to bed.

I think our ancestors would be proud.

Awesome things that have transpired since I got to my mom’s

1. I made lemon pull-apart bread without any problems, after midnight, twice. (Yes, going back on my promise to not bake after 1am due to mental fuzziness).

2. Ate some Panda Paws. (If you don’t have Perry’s, I feel sorry for you).

3. Managed to play the 1st Violin part of the Bach Concerto for 2 violins in D in front of a large audience without screwing up.

4. Wegmans!

5. Went out to dinner on the lake with my sister and my daughter and finally found a good playground.

6. Made 500 canapes for a party my mom was throwing for her father-in-law’s birthday. Fancy canapes.

7. Invented an awesome drinking game with my sister: Whenever mom asks a question to no one in particular- take a drink. Whenever no one answers her- take another.

8. Opened tons of lovely packages from Amazon and Zulily that I had been shipping here over the past several months because shipping to Canada is ridiculous and is lamesauce. It’s very delayed-gratification shopping.

9. Danced with my baby to our favorite songs at the aforementioned birthday party. She is an adorable dance partner.

10. Had an Amish person at the grocery checkout insist my daughter looked just like her 3 year old, Denise. I mean, I THOUGHT my daughter looked familiar and just could never put my finger on how. Denise! Ah, I should have known! Mystery solved.

What is the SPF of hummus?

My daughter has been sampling the playgrounds of Western New York. On Sunday, we went out for our “Mother’s Day” brunch with my mom and her request was that we take my daughter to a playground beforehand. So, we went over to the elementary school near where I went to middle school. The first playground we spotted there was WAY too big-kid. As we were leaving, we saw the little-kid playground behind the school and drove back in and around back to get to it.

It was still a little too advanced for my almost 21 month old. Also, there were huge bees everywhere. There was absolutely no shade and the sun was pretty hot. We only stayed for 15 minutes or so, then headed to a different playground to see if it was better. It was only slightly so. It was still hot. There were still bees. My daughter started to get pretty pink even though she had on sunscreen.

What is up with the no-trees around playgrounds? Trees are nice. They provide shade and squirrels.

Squirrels grow on trees, right?

Today, we went to the playground near my mom’s house. It was about to rain the entire time, but at least that meant it was overcast. No bees. I guess bees aren’t attracted to that type of plastic slide. Or maybe it was the slightly squishy ground cover made from chopped up tires, I suspect.

I was putting sunscreen on my kid on our way over and she still had hummus from lunch on her face, so I hope hummus is either good for your skin or provides sun protection, because I didn’t take it off. We were alone at the playground until another woman and a little girl showed up. I thought the woman was her mom. Maybe it was the tank top and the black bra? The cleavage? The short shorts? I’m not sure. But all I know is that “gramas” didn’t look that way in my day. She was apparently the girl’s grandmother. I don’t know if I find this disturbing or comforting.

We left just as it was starting to rain. When the sun came out later, she spent about an hour “gardening” with her grandmother. I don’t know if it was the hummus or the overcast weather earlier, but at least she didn’t get pink today.

It was probably the hummus.

Back in the old neighborhood…

I have been a little pre-occupied lately, so I’m sorry for the lack of posts. There was Mother’s Day in Canada (different from US, mom, yours is still this weekend). I was appreciated with breakfast and gifts and a card drawn with crayons. Then, I began packing for some serious travel. I left on Wednesday morning for the 8 hour train excursion that would bring me back to Western New York, home of my ancestors and the Pink Stripe Cookie.

So, I haven’t been very good at staying on top of my iLife. I’m behind on gmail, hotmail, facebook, pinterest, and all my blog reading. I’m behind on the New York Times! I may never catch up.

But I’m here, all my 90 lbs of luggage is here. I made it to a rehearsal tonight for a recital I’m playing in on Saturday. The toddler is happy to have the run of the house, the run of the sidewalks, the run of the backyard, and a grandmother and an aunt to pay attention to her.

I am still waiting on those Pink Stripe Cookies…

Dear Dads, Let’s Talk About Mother’s Day…

(To be left open on your desktop or boldly printed and left on top of the remote.)

Dear Dads,

Please don’t phone it in on Mother’s Day. I know you think that it’s just one more holiday invented by the “card companies” to reap untold profits, but really, if you don’t buy a card, you are cleverly subverting their plot and can STILL make the mother of your offspring feel appreciated. Make a card. How hard is that?

Furthermore, you know how you feel like you have to give up stuff for your kid(s)? Well I’ll tell you, when you become a mom, one day you wake up and realize that you are doing hundreds of jobs. You are teacher, chef, doctor, nurse, tutor, maid, manager, secretary, accountant, umbrella carrier, and more to these little ones. Moms give up millions of little things regularly because their kid(s) need them to do something, give them something.

So how about you give her one of those little things back? Time to herself, a night to get dressed up and go somewhere without having to worry about childcare, a little splurge present if you can swing it, flowers you know she loves but would never buy for herself, a little precious spa time? And even if these things don’t seem like her, if you know her, you know there’s certainly something she’s been missing. Figure out what it is and provide it. Ask her BFF if necessary. Just don’t flake out and go “I didn’t know what to get you.” I hear way too many sad tales of woe where moms go unappreciated day in and and day out and hope that just MAYBE on Mother’s Day they’ll get a little something special. They get their hopes up and are crushed when nothing appears. It’s inexcusable. Get something. Do something.

And for the love of god, let her sleep in.

That is all.


PS: If you need some examples of what NOT to do, here’s a nice article from the Globe and Mail: “What Not to Get Mom”

Meltdown Response System

This has been a test of the Emergency Toddler Meltdown Response System. If this were a real emergency, you would have been given noise-canceling headphones and an ipod full of big-band classics. In an emergency, please insert ice cream cones into the “sound hole” of offending toddler and extremely upset-looking mom.

That is all.

Congratulations to my Sister!

My little sister is graduating from college today. This event makes me feel two things:

1. I am so old.
2. My sister is really amazing.

In terms of 1, I remember holding this tiny and slightly yellow baby in a hospital rocking chair for the first time. I remember her learning to walk and talk. I have long left behind the mental impression that she is somehow my junior, just a kid. She’s basically been a responsible adult to me for a very long time now, a peer, a grown-up. But while I could still say she was in college, I still had some flexibility as to my own age when I told new acquaintances about her. Society kind of stops thinking of you as “oh those crazy kids” when you’re done with college, so I really have an all-grown-up sister now. Sniff…

As for the second thing, what you need to know is that my sister is a fantastically organized person when she puts her mind and post-its to it. Only a person with her special skills and talents could have gone to college, done all that she did while in college, and graduated with excellent marks and without any bribery, delays, debilitating bodily damage, property damage in excess of $2,500, narcotic addiction, or diplomatic intervention.

All of this, to say, she spent here collegiate years being an athlete (on scholarship, no less) who practiced a pretty dangerous sport, in the freezing cold, at high altitudes, and on an aggressive schedule. Coupled with some time-consuming internships and insanely long-distance drives to and from school, it was a challenge not many could face. On top of this, there were work schedules, a ton of hours at the gym, AND, of course, her homework and classes and exams. All of this, for a girl who prefers to get a solid 15 hrs of sleep at night, wears up to 4 colors of eyeshadow on daily basis, and STILL finds time to go out to the club for the first half hour?? Unbelievable. I’m tired just writing it all down. No one that truly knows her is surprised that she can do all this stuff, but it’s amazing to watch her do it all with her great sense of humor and delightful collection of accessories.

So Congratulations, my darling sister, I’m SO proud of you. Even though you have the spelling skills of a 4th grader, you are the bright and shining future and I’m glad you’ve arrived.

My Favorite Babies Past