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June 2007
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August 2007

BlogOut? BurntHer? Something like that…

You know the whole problem with going to a blogging convention is that by the end of it you don’t even want to hear the word “blog” anymore. Or is that just me? Don’t get me wrong… I met some fantastic people and heard some really inspiring ideas/stories, but after the 50th time saying, “hi, I’m so-and-so, what’s your blog?” and going to session after session of “blog, blog, blog”… yeah, burn-out set in.

The other problem with going to something that is essentially a 700+ large social event is that you have a lot of highs and lows. There are periods of great conversations with cool people, and there are periods where you stand around feeling vaguely awkward and/or bored. Or just too damn tired to think much. I’m not trying to be mean or snarky about the event (which overall was very well-done!), I’m just saying what I bet a lot of other attendees felt, too. By the time I got to the cocktail parties at the end of each day I was at a point where I either wanted to get drunk with a few people or just veg out with a good dinner and some mindless TV.  I was tired of standing around or sitting in uncomfortable chairs and that’s all there was to it.

(Note to Blogher – an hour break (at least) between the last session of the day and the cocktail party would have been really, really nice – if only to drop off the multiple bags of swag.)

On an up note, I did somehow drop three pounds by eating hors de oeuvres, bagels, and free wine all weekend.  Who woulda thought?!

So anyways, if anyone has specific questions about Blogher I’d be happy to answer them. I have a few ideas I brought back I want to discuss… but not right now. Now is the time for lazy naps, cuddling with the kiddo, and catching up with my tried and true favorite bloggers. Oh, and visiting about a gazillion new ones.

Two things at home so far that have renewed my energy?

  1. Chance, after multiple hugs and cuddles, repeatedly putting on my heels and clomping around the house. That’s how much he missed me. (And he can navigate in those shoes better than my mother-in-law.)
  2. While getting him dressed and about to change a very full diaper Chance jumped up, wiggled so that his diaper slipped down like the sodden package it was, then ran around the room laughing at his wobbling, extra-large codpiece.

God, I love this kid.                 - wg


Back Soon

I'm in Chicago now at Blogher.  This week has been tiring.  Not Blogher, per se, just this week, and my blogging (or lack there of) has sucked.  This is really just my excuse a note to tell you all I haven't forgotten you, especially those who have emailed.

Tuesday was the first day I went back into the office.  A funny thing happened... I had an uninterrupted period of time to concentrate on the work in front of me. No phone calls, no diaper changes, no food prep, no stops for juice or DVD changes - a complete span of productive work... and I was utterly exhausted at the end of the day.  And I was pretty much exhausted through Wednesday.  I mean, WTF?  Isn't this supposed to be the upside to going to an office?  Get your work done in a timely manner?   

Then I traveled all Thursday, with the usual delays and hideous seating.  You can see how this lends to me being incoherent and uncreative, right?  (Although, I am almost finished with the last Harry Potter.)

So, be back soon. Hopefully with pictures or an attempt at being witty.  Take care!

         - the weirdgirl


You would never know it but I think I was drinking decaf…

This is gonna be one of those mish-mash posts because I’ve kind of been in a tizzy. Actually, I was really in a tizzy last week, and then it peaked, and now I am in the downward slope of the tizzy. If tizzies have slopes. Which I believe they do. (It’s probably a mark of my (insidious) marketing background that I sometimes picture my various states of being in terms of graphs. Probably not a good thing. But visually easy to read!) Last week was the week Chance started preschool, which was both more and less painful than I thought it would be. I was also coordinating going back into an actual office, regularly, for the first in three years – but only one day a week.  I’m not nuts; I haven’t missed going into an office, I work part time, and if it isn’t absolutely necessary for me to be there why would I go in? Right? Right.  (It’s the end of the world…) And of course, I’m attending Blogher and the combination of the three was really freaking me out. Mainly the going to Blogher/starting preschool thing.  I felt like… it’s bad enough to drop my kid into this new environment where he feels abandoned, and then I’m taking off for the first time away. Double abandonment = double guilt.

But anyways, that was the peak. Now I’m getting excited.  (Like a virgin… sorry, I seem to be having an 80s day.)  Oh, and here is the requisite button.

 

BlogHer '07 I'm
Going

I know most people put these buttons up ages ago but I’ve got a whole lot of blog maintenance to do that I’m behind on and I don’t see why the Blogher button should be any different. I also really need to update my blog links. A few of my favorite bloggers seem to have closed up shop. This saddens me greatly. I’m not going to say who yet, ‘cause I’m still hoping they’ll come back.

Sometimes denial is a happy place.

Oh, an announcement!  (Wow, can you say mood swing?)  I, spurred by the “encouragement” from management to come back into the office, have made a decision! I’m not buying any more business clothes. They’re boring and I don’t like ‘em. Except for the basics, like a great pencil skirt or jacket (hopefully with some nice retro lines), I’m going to take my cheap tops with the cute detailing from Forever 21 and make them work. Maybe work in some nice punk distressed looks with the tailored slacks. Or dress up the jeans all fashionista-like.  Management will just have to roll. I tried. I tried putting together one of the basic shirt and slack combos with sensible shoes that I used to (have to) wear in the office all the time. Just. Couldn’t. Do it. At this point in my life, I am beyond the sensible.

This makes me happy.          - wg

Dsc02348_shoes


Pet My Mangoes

I was planning on writing a thoughtful discussion of perceptions toward advertising in our society… but I was completely derailed when CroutonBoy sent me this (now I can’t get it out of my head):

I think it’s so sweet. Really, just endearing. The wholesome love this family has for each other and Milkior and Boobalar, the openness with which they approach such a natural and beautiful process.  They are a wonderful example of what the world could be if we would just let go of restrictive, old-fashioned ideas. I’m almost certain the girls, having no societal-imposed hang ups over nudity or prudish age appropriateness, will never stop breastfeeding. They’ll grow up strong and smart, without the body-issues and self-consciousness some of us struggle with, and probably will never have any weight problems (because of course when they feel like something sweet they can just chew on ma’s hooters instead of, say, scarfing down cookies (though I don’t think anyone should eliminate all mangoes from their diet – that’s just bad science)).  People the world over will be inspired by these (semi-independent) young women and at long last a movement will take off. The family will tour countries, doing speaking engagements and demonstrations.  Maybe they’ll even start a band, like a modern day Partridge Family in a big happy bus (but perhaps a little more punk – being so DIY), and I bet the La Leche League would be a big sponsor. Their hit singles “Squirt It Sweet” and “Give It To Me, Mama” would take their album platinum.  At the end of the Better Than Mangoes sets mom could step forward and spray the crowd with breastmilk, to wild and enthusiastic screams of approval. Then other women in the audience will feel inspired to lift their shirts, too.  It’ll be just like the free love of the 60s, except it’ll be free titties and drinks for everyone.  (I’m sure none of the women will feel pressured by the movement and that they’ll all want to freely give up their ta-tas to passing strangers, just like I’m sure all those hippie chicks felt good about sleeping around while stoned or intoxicated, not exploited at all.  I mean, in the grand scheme of things what’s a little boob?)  Massive support for breastfeeding will repeal all pesky public nudity or molestation laws.  Better Than Mangoes will be not just a band, but a catchphrase that embodies the essence of a new generation.  Breastfeeding will finally be openly embraced and we will live truly happier, higher-IQ lives.

Yep.

 

All I can say is good thing they didn’t have boys.

     - wg


Summer Smackdown 2007

There has been one of those blogging bru-ha-ha’s over at MetroDad’s place. You know, one of those topics that start off innocent enough and then people start yelling at each other via comments? Next thing you know bloggers will be passionately discussing matters on their own blogs, using the debate as fodder for posts (like me!), calling each other out, starting feuds, the whole shebang (and usually not what the original author intended). Personally, I’ve been enjoying it. This summer has been a little boring… posting has been slow, bloggers have had extended absences… not just me, I mean a lot of folks around the web.

This particular debate has been over ads on blogs - the merits, the reasons, the morality, writing for yourself vs. writing for ads, selling out vs. providing for your family, whatever way you can take offense. But the subject isn’t important... what’s important is that the debate has the potential to revitalize the web! This debate has been mild compared to last year’s “false advertising and weight” issue or the “mommy war” debates but we can change that. I say, let’s work this into a frenzy, people! Let’s give everyone something to blog about. If we work hard I bet we can flame this high enough to spill over to Blogher and then we can all post about the “advert wars” that infiltrated the conference. Rockin’!

In fact, I think we should make every summer the time to start incendiary debates. It’s the perfect lift from the summer blogging blahs.  I know it has been for me. I admit, I’ve been hiding out… between Chance starting preschool, me going back into the office (supposedly – that’s a whole other “flaky boss” post), and trying to ramp up for the trip to Blogher, I’ve been a ball of nerves.  Plus, we all still have the sniffles. BUT MD’s smackdown has got me cheerful again! We should definitely start this as an annual event. Maybe we can even schedule power matches between bloggers for YouTube videos… that would spice things up a bit.

And if this debate runs dry, here’s a few more….

Clogs for toddlers… slutty instruments of consumerism or too cute for words?
Breasts’ priority in today’s society… big bags of milk or funny playthings? (Feminists need not reply).
Having a blog in any shape or form… justify!

Now excuse me, I’m off to research blog ads… I heard you can actually make money from them!

- the weirdgirl


Addendum - So a little bird (Keen) told me that this post comes off as very sarcastic, as if I think the whole debate is stupid.  I don't.  Just for the record, I am actually enjoying the debate and I honestly  do get a kick when people get all passionate about a subject.  And I really do think we should do this every summer.  It's very stimulating.  I am not making fun of debates like these.  (OK, maybe I'm making fun a little, but only when they get really out of control or the subject matter gets downright silly.  Like Walmart.  Walmart seems to be a hot button for rancor among blogs.  Really, I just can't get passionate over a place that sells flip-flops, I'm sorry.)  Since I have had few comments today (but a lot of hits), I must concur that visitors think I'm just being a smartass.  So... in an effort to contribute to the debate... what do you all think about ads on blogs? 


Delurker (and Venting) Day!

I seem to be getting a lot of hits lately but not many comments.  I figure they can't ALL be from the semi-pornographic swimsuit shots.  So I'm asking folks to delurk!  If you've been coming by, give me a shout out and (hopefully) a URL and I'll stop by to see you, too.

And for those who regularly comment (I love you guys) it's VENTING DAY!  Go ahead and get anything you want off your chest.  We all need a moment once in a while to bitch.  I'll start off the festivities  by listing a few of my most favorite-to-hate children cartoons that I am forced to listen to for the love of my child.  OK, some of them I just flat out banned, but the rat bastards still occasionally sneak their way in.  (Nothin' like being house-bound a few days to remind one how irritating these cartoons can be.)

Dora the Explorer - I just don't like you.  (Though I can tolerate you as June in the Little Einsteins.)  And stop shouting!  Makes my ears bleed.

Go Diego Go - So. On. Drugs!  He and his cousin are just too hyper.

The Doodlebops - Banned.  At one point, since Chance likes music so much I decided to give them a try. THANK GOD, he didn't get sucked into them right away because I can't stand these people. (Except for Moe, of course, he's cool.)  Dee Dee Doodle makes me hurl.   

Johnny and the Sprites - Whenever I watch this show I can hear Simon Cowell's critiques of "stage camp" and "godawful cruise show" in my head. 

The Wiggles - Banned.  I can't even begin.  OK, I can... people keep talking about how cute they are... WHAT?! 

Barney - Banned, of course.  It's just idiotic.  And I really object to it on the principles of poetic meter  As in, they don't seem to understand the concept and I don't need them teaching my kid to butcher rhythm.  I mean, when you can't even follow the basic meter of a nursery rhyme that you've co-opted you're pretty fucking lame.  My God! You can't even track with "Mary Had A Little Lamb"?!  What's wrong with you people?  (Yes, I can get worked up about this.  Yes, I am a poetry snob.) 

Teletubbies - Unfortunately, Chance, like a lot of kids, is mesmerized by the Teletubbies.  Aaaaaand I.... occasionally... let him watch it.  Especially when I have a work deadline.  I know, I know!  I don't think it makes me a bad mommy so much, as just a reprehensible human being.  But don't worry, I do hate myself. 

So what's been bugging you?             - wg


Pardon My Anxiety

I always like summer, not least because it is a reprieve from the never-ending round of viruses kids seem to pick up the rest of the year. However, Chance has started “visits” with the preschool he is soon to attend (they recommend a couple of visits to familiarize the kid) and with the last one he picked up a cold. 

And that means, all things being equal, I’ve got the sniffles too. It is beautiful out; the heat wave has lessened but it is still warm, and Chance I sit inside and watch endless cartoons.  Too much time to think, cranky, and huddled under blankets… ah, the memories summer is made of!

It is strange for me to think about school in the middle of summer.  I was never one to do summer classes. Yet every fall I feel a weird pang, as if something is missing, as if I’m supposed to do something - no matter how many years out of school I am, I still feel it. 

As we ramp towards his start date, I have mixed feelings about Chance going to preschool. Ultimately, I think this will be a great experience for him. I just never thought I’d start a kid of mine in preschool at two-years-old. Honestly, I thought (quite disparagingly) that parents who put their kids in preschool super early were just part of those pushy over-achieving, living-through-their-kids’-academics types. But Chance is so much more social than I would have ever predicted. He had major tantrums on the last two visits… as we were leaving because he didn’t want to go home! He wants to be around other kids so bad sometimes he cries as we pass a school playground in the car. It’s not like we never see other kids or have playdates, but it’s clearly not enough. What I can do with our schedule, my work, our family obligations, balanced with his social needs is not enough and I accept that. I can’t give him all that he needs without sacrificing things that we need as a family unit. Preschool, given his temperament, is a great option. 

This school puts a lot of emphasis on social development and life skills, not just academics. Things like learning to serve yourself food, dressing yourself, listening and playing well, are taught along with ABCs and shapes. I feel really good about the environment. And one of my best friends, Chance’s godmother, is a teacher there as well (which lessens A LOT of anxiety for me)! 

But I still have my worries. I worry about leaving him with people he doesn’t know for the first time. Will he cry when I leave him? (Will he not cry?!) Will he throw a big fit, instead, when I pick him up? I worry about the transition, and if this, along with the move, and tentative plans for potty training in the fall, are just too many changes. I wonder how he’ll behave with other people. Will he listen? Will he be the class troublemaker? Although deep down, I know he’ll probably be better with them than he is, at times, with me… less willful, more willing to listen. But… if he doesn’t listen will the school be able to tolerate an independent spirit? (And I by no means, ever want his independent spirit to go away.)  I also feel a little guilty that I don’t feel more guilty about letting the teachers do some of the heavy-duty work (i.e. I know they will pave the way for potty training more than I… they do group potty visits, after all, and there’s nothing like peer pressure). And the big one… what if something goes wrong and I’m not there?! Even though I need, and am looking forward to a little more time to work, I already miss the time I would spend with him. The “big hugs” and snuggles. And I worry about balancing the future demands of UORs (Unnamed Older Relatives) with the time Keen and I want to spend with him. I think the UORs will be expecting the same amount of time that they got with Chance before… between you and me, they’re not going to get it. (Though, one of the upsides to preschool is that it will most likely cut down on the unannounced drop-ins by the UORs – which have gone up in frequency since we bought the new house.)

They say the “transition to preschool” and being away from the parents can take up to two months. Two months! It’s not the same for every kid but that could be two months of crying when you leave, two months of feeling displaced, two months of tantrums at the end of the day. It sounds heart-wrenchingly painful, even though the kids will ultimately love going to school.

But I have to wonder… how long will the transition take for me?

  - the weirdgirl


Watching Chance Eat Lunch

Chance picks up an apple, dances it on the tabletop. Takes bites out of corners, “BOAT! Woah woah woah dr boat, yagada di de dum!”

Picks up chex mix, has two of them sail boat.

“Now dis… rook! Baggeda in ogg and stay goomis right here.”

Boat with chex crew sails around tabletop. Then…

“Bye!” Chomp! (Alas, poor apple, chex, we hardly knew ye.)

Chance picks up a chicken nugget. “Ewelphent! Err-rrrer err-rrerr!” (elephant trumpeting) 

Dances elephant along tabletop.

“Bye!” Chomp.

Another chicken nugget. “Shark! Swim shark, swim swim swim. Backa ti fish here.”

Shark swims along the tabletop for a long time. Chance really likes the shark. Then…

“Bye shark!” Chomp. “Mmmmm.”

 

His English still isn’t very clear but his intent is plain enough. No mercy from the hungry. 

                - wg


All Kinds of Heat

We’ve had a heat wave here the last few days. And so, I haven’t been blogging much. Or reading blogs, or working on the novel, or doing much work work (as in paying) either. Can you believe how hot a laptop can get? It’s been hot here just breathing, let alone having a piece of heat-generating machinery in your lap. (Wait… why did that sound dirty?) I only really notice it in the summer, though I have often wondered if I might not be frying my ovaries. And you guys… geez, you’re not even supposed to be wearing tighty whiteys… what’s that laptop doing to the boys?

Hope you all had a great fourth! We took Chance to his second concert this last Tuesday. This was part of the same festival we hit last year, an outdoor festival with a bunch of bands.  This year They Might Be Giants was playing so I had to go! (Keen is not so much a fan but he humored me. He was a lot more into last year’s lineup with Violent Femmes.)  They’re coming out with a new album (that’s not children’s music! Well, it’s kind of hard to tell the difference but you know what I mean.)  Fountains of Wayne also played. You may remember their one hit wonder, Stacy’s Mom. Yeah, I don’t know anything else they do either, but they were pretty good. We only stayed for a couple hours out of the seven-hour festival but that’s the beauty of hitting a local event that’s cheap and close by… perfect for toddlers!

I think Chance is turning into a little rocker. He kept rushing the stage! It wasn’t super loud but there were adults up there with earplugs and I had nothing for my two-year-old.  (Bad mommy!)  I held him back but I’m pretty sure he would have fought his way to the front lines if I let him. (I’m all for rights of passage but I didn’t want him to get in a brawl for putting an elbow in somebody’s knee.) Then after the music had stopped he kept dragging me up to the stage again, just to watch the roadies move equipment around. Crazy kid. (What do you think? Drum lessons first?)

In lieu of a real video I found this with FOOLY COOLY! (score!) - wg


Problems with Peanut Butter

It’s time to get crafty. There is an issue in our house, and its name is protein. I have a child who doesn’t seem to like peanut butter or cheese. I mean, there are only so many meats and even I get bored with his diet after a while. The two food items that thousands of children the world over love and practically subsist on, my kid won’t eat. Or rather, he won’t try. Especially the peanut butter. 

Cheese he will eat on occasion if it’s prepared in particular ways. Breaded mozzarella sticks, for example.  Mac and cheese. Any other processed food that’s cheese flavored. But straight cheese to munch on? Cubed, sliced, or string? Nope.  This is painful because Keen and I are cheese people. It’s what we do in hot weather when we don’t want to cook; go to the store, pick out cheeses, breads, lunch meat and fruit and chow. There are probably ten types of cheese in our fridge right now. Except Velveeta. Please God, don’t make Chance a Velveeta lover. 

Anyway, it would be really nice to occasionally feed my kid a peanut-butter sandwich in lieu of the parade of chicken, pork, & beef products. Here you go, kid, some alternate protein, portable, yummy, and nutritious. It’s also another great summer fav. He won’t try it! I spread it on bread and he pokes at it. I make little sandwiches in fun shapes and he ignores them. I think it might be the texture or something but I have yet to get him to put any in his mouth. I even told him once it was ice cream. This has been basically going on for a year. Not that I’m hanging over him every day trying to get him to eat it (that’s a recipe for a lifetime peanut hate), but I do bust it out occasionally to see if “he’ll try it today”. He likes Reeses Pieces (because he ain’t crazy) so I know the flavor appeals to him. I just need to force gently encourage him towards eating PB&J sandwiches.

And that’s when it hit me. I’ll get him hooked on peanut butter cookies first! First I’ll give him the cookie. Then I’ll name them as “peanut butter,” and eventually, I’ll sucker him into eating other peanut butter dishes.

Bwa ha ha! Genius! (Well, maybe not so much or I would have thought of it earlier.)  

Today I made the cookies. I offered him some cookie dough first but he wouldn’t go for it. Then, for his afternoon snack, I laid out two big cookies and his milk. Chance perked right up at the word “cookie” but they must not have looked like he thought they should because he gave me the fisheye and bolted. I decided not to push it. Just left them out there. He would get curious and/or hungry eventually (I’m so mean).

Two hours later Chance fluttered back and warily eyed his cookies. He picked one up, waved it through the air, talked to it and then… he licked it! Twenty minutes after that (this wasn’t as fast a process as I thought it would be) he’d gone from licking, waving, and talking to his cookies to actually taking a small bite. In due time, he’d eaten almost all of the cookies. Success!!

Well… until right after dinner a couple more hours later when he found a forlorn, discarded chunk of cookie on the floor, chewed it vigorously and then either spit it out or threw up a little from the sheer volume of food in his stomach. (We weren’t sure which.) Either way, he did one of those smear it all over his face and hair in a panicked attempt to clean off his hands. Spewed masticated peanut-buttery goodness is just not… good.

Maybe he liked it a little too much?

Not exactly success but I’m still going to call it protein progress.

 - the weirdgirl