Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Where Were You When....?

I watched the movie "World Trade Center" today. I remember when the movie came out, I couldn't watch it because it seemed to be "too soon," and I wsan't sure I could handle the intensity.

Well, the intensity was still there, but the edge was off enough for me to get something out of the movie. It was sad of course, yet the movie strove to focus on the positive aspects resulting from the tragic situation. I am glad I watched the movie, all in all.

It got me thinking. 9/11 was one of the defining events of my lifetime. I remember down to tiny details that September morning. Plato had just turned 6 weeks old. He was colicky and slept very little. I was incredibly sleep deprived, and had sent JeepMan off to work that morning planning to try to squeeze in a little more sleep before Plato started screaming. As usual, it wasn't to be, and I got up, changed his diaper, got him a bottle, and sat down in the recliner just before 9 am to feed him. I turned on the television and started flipping channels. It wasn't long before I came across a news channel with that eternal image: Tower 1, rising up against the clear blue sky, black smoke billowing from the upper floors and the occasional lick of orange flame appearing momentarily. I squinted my bleary eyes as my brain tried to process what I was seeing. I flipped to another news station, then another, and another, unable to process what I was seeing. Soon I watched the second plane hit Tower 2, and at that point the phone rang: JeepMan asking if I was up and if I could believe what was happening. Reality struck at that moment: I couldn't deny what was going on if another living person was sharing my bafflement.

I picked up Plato, cuddled him close, and paced the floor. Soon thePentagon was hit, then Tower 2 collapsed, then the plane crashed in Pennsylvania, then Tower 1. I couldn't stand it anymore. I turned the television off and danced around the living room holding Plato tight and singing him songs from the "O Brother Where Art Thou?" soundtrack: "I'll Fly Away," "You Are My Sunshine," "Didn't Leave Nobody But The Baby," "Down To The River To Pray," "Keep On The Sunny Side," "Angel Band," "I Am Weary (Let Me Rest);" for months I listened to these songs over and over again. I still listen to them frequently; sounds from another era, heart-wrenching, bittersweet, optimistic, and spiritual...they can still remind me that despite great tragedy, we move on.

Remembering 9/11 sparked other memories:

The Challenger crash: I watched it in 6th grade, and despite the tragedy, I don't recall being terribly moved. A combination of my youth and the fact that I was watching TV, I suppose. The enormity of it didn't hit me until I started hearing the backstories of the astronauts.

OJ Simpson - the Chase: Out on a date with Hubby at a seedy little bar. Buzzing nicely, wondering what the heck all the cops were doing chasing down a white Bronco that was only going about 20 mph.

OJ Simpson - the Verdict: This was a scary one. I was doing a psych nursing rotation for school. My assigned ward was the schizophrenia ward and they were doing medical trials which involved taking patients off their meds for weeks (med-washing), then getting brain scans and re-working their medication regimen. So I was sitting in the commons of a locked psych wards with about 15 non-medicated schizophrenic patients when I heard those dreaded words, "Not Guilty."

Princess Diana's death: working nights at my first ICU job. Not a very busy night, and we took turns checking the patients while the rest of the staff sat in an empty patient room watching the scene unfold.

There are probably other defining moments, but these are the ones that come to mind.

Do you remember where you were?

(pssst...if you're trying to calculate my age, I'll make it easy for you: I'm 35)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

To Whom It May Concern:

I'm not dead.

I swear.

Just incredibly busy. I'll be back next week, I hope...maybe earlier. Thanks for caring!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bad Google Reader, Bad!!

****EDIT: Since posting this I'm wondering if, in fact, you CAN publish comments from the Google Reader page? Maybe I'm having one of my "blonde moments;" ask anyone who knows me, I have them frequently.****

I must submit a sincere apology to all those whose blogs I regularly round.

You see, since I met this new friend, G.R., my instant-gratification needs have been well met. Too well met.

G.R. puts all your blogs at my fingertips, with just a few clicks! I read your stories, see your pictures...all with a visit to just one website. I'm like a leadfoot on the Audobon in a Ferrari; like a fat girl at an all-you-can-eat blog buffet. Faster, faster, more, More!

Unfortunately I can't figure out how to comment using my "connection." I don't think it's possible, is it?

Pssst....come closer. I think G.R. is just using me. He doesn't have my best interests at heart. I've had an epiphany. Blogging is about three things: writing, reading, and interacting. I'm lacking the third in this trinity. I'm two-thirds of a whole as a blogger.

So I'm kicking G.R. to the curb. I'm going to pretend he doesn't exist!

Good bye and Good Riddance. Step to the Left, G.R. I'm going back to blogging Old School.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Welcome Back, Mr. Fraser

I saw Journey to the Center of the Earth last weekend.

The movie was what I expected....

...y'all KNOW I didn't go for the story, right?

Mr. Cutiepants Brendan Fraser starred, playing his usual hunky/quirky role. That was all I really went to see. JeepMan was quite content with watching his lovely costar, Anita Briem.

After the show his only complaint was his usual: "It would have been better if I'd gotten to see her nipples. How can she have a white T-shirt on and be all wet and I don't get to see any nipples?" I kept my sentiments to myself....

I got to see nipples.

Brendan Fraser's nipples.

Oh, they were covered with a wet t-shirt, but I ain't complaining.

And it only gets better. Next month, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.

Yeah, that's right. Come to Mama, Brendan...

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Bye-Bye, Fourth of July

We had a great family weekend in Hannibal, MO. I got to come home a day early from Nebraska, which rocked. Unfortunately I spent most of my company "day off" doing catch-up computer work; specifically expense reports. I HATE expense reports. But, hey, that's part of the price I pay for "going corporate." I'm supposed to do them every week. I was 5 weeks behind on the computer part, and 10 weeks behind on the receipt packets I am supposed to send it. Yikes!! Good thing I'm kickin' ass and takin' names in Nebraska. I've covered more cases there in the last 2 weeks than I have in the last 2 months in my home territory. A move seems likely in our future...time will tell.

So Friday am we took off for Hannibal bright and early. Well, as early as you can get with a wife who cherishes sleep above even food, and two kids who don't comprehend the meaning of "hurry up, already!" We made it out of town with everyone in a good mood (even JeepMan, which is a banner day indeed - he doesn't chill out until we GET to our destination!), and no tears from either child. I DID have to stop for a really big coffee on the way, but all told it went pretty smoothly. We got to Hannibal around 1pm for lunch and ate outside picnic-style...ok it was Sonic, but still...! We had a mini-blowout from JM as he believes I have lost yet ANOTHER power cord, this one for the GPS. While I can see where he's coming from - I HAVE lost a few items since I've been traveling - I swear I never laid eyes on this particular cord. I have never, and would never need it!! When it all blew over it was like it never happened. This is typical of us. We don't ever meet in the middle; we both stick to our guns and just get over it. The cord will turn up, right where he stashed it to keep me from losing it in the first place, I'm sure!

We checked-in at our hotel, then drove down to the former quarry that is the off-road park. 4x4s only, no ATVs. It's the only way to go!! Lulu started whining as soon as we drove in. She's really a little chicken...I can't blame her though, I remember feeling the same. We showed her around to prepare her for the all-day offroad excursion we had planned for the next day. She seemed uneasy but placated as we left the park, and all worries were swiftly forgotten as we pulled up to the mini-golf/bumper-boat/winery place. Ah, something for everyone. We golfed, checked out the candy store, sampled some wine, and left a few hours later in good moods all around. Things got even better when we checked out a BBQ shack that I had spotted hidden in a hollow near our hotel - the food was fantastic (and we are BBQ snobs as we smoke our own meat!), the ambience perfect, and the prices reasonable. We even had leftovers for our sack lunch the next day.

We met up with the Jeep Club later (Midwest JeepThing) and all went out to watch the fireworks. They were beautiful, shot off a cliff called "Lovers' Leap" right over the Mississippi river, and we got to watch from lawnchairs parked on sun-warmed blacktop, not a bug in sight. Idyllic, I say.

The next day we got up bright and early again (what is it with the early-rising theme and vacations?), and headed out to Hannibal Rocks. Lulu did surprisingly well, though she required much verbal reassurance (nursing term) and literal hand-holding. She finally became content to hold Plato's hand and the "Oh, Crap!" handle, but sometimes would stick her little foot up toward me and squeal, "I need you to hold my leg, too, Mommy!" She was awfully cute.

We went back to the hotel and I took the kids swimming while JM went back to Hannibal Rocks to hang out with the club and have a hog-roast and movie. We ordered pizza and watched a Harry Potter movie. Once the tummies were carb-loaded, it was all over. Both kids konked out hard-core. Being the super-mom I am, I had the foresight to put them in their pjs and pullups before we ate...ha ha ha!

Lulu did roll out of bed last night, and now has an impressive shiner blooming on her left eyelid. We told her she looks tough. She seems to like that. She told me her "boyfriend," Cooper, will think she looks cool, and that he'll be impressed that she went "off-woading."

Made it back fine today, another early morning, sheesh! The kids and JM went to a cow birthday party (don't ask!) and I scurried to the airport, only to find my flight has been delayed and I will now not get into Nebraska until 11pm, IF my connecting flight is on time. Sigh. Bye-bye, holiday weekend. Hello airport delays and lost luggage. Uck.

Lulu did come up with a good one on the way out of Hannibal. I had stopped at Sonic for coffee, and got the kids some breakfast, including tater-tots. Lulu says, "Mommy?"

I glance in the rearview mirror to see a chubby little hand holding up a tater-tot. "What is it, honey?"

"How do dey make tater-totters?"

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Little Known Facts on KangaWoos

We were driving to the airport today to retrieve my delayed luggage (3rd time in 3 flights - grr), and the kids were looking at the scenery and conversing amongst themselves. I happend to catch a snippet of what they were talking about:

Lulu: Look, Pwato...dere's a kangawoo!!

Plato: (Sighs) Lulu...that is NOT a kangaroo.

Lulu: Yes it IS. Wite over dere!

Plato: I know where you're looking. There's NO kangaroo over there.

Lulu: Uh - HUUUUH..... I see one...

Plato: Lulu, you CAN'T see a kangaroo 'cause there's no Kangaroos in Collegeville.

Lulu: (sassily) Oh, yeah? Where dey fwom den?

Plato: (eyeroll) They're from TEXAS, Lulu.

(Lulu is silent as she thinks about this.)

(Plato is silent as well for a few moments. He's obviously second-guessing himself on the Texan Kangaroo thing.)


Plato: Or maybe they're from Asia. They're just not from around here, I know THAT.

Lulu: (sing-song) Asia, Asia, Asia, Asia.......

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Come Again?

Here's a recent Plato-ism that I'd forgotten to publish:

To fully enjoy this story you must understand that I'm blown away by the public education that Plato is receiving. We chose the location of our home based heavily on the reviews of the local schools (there are about 10), and we chose a district that was consistently in the top 3. Are we glad we did!

The curriculum that Plato had in first grade was phenomenal. It's amazing how times have changed. I remember being bored out of my mind in first grade. I didn't like my teacher, and she treated me like, well, a first-grader. How dare she?! I didn't have homework until the fourth grade, at least not regularly. Plato has homework about 3 days a week, mostly math. Pardon me, "New Math." This is pretty advanced stuff for first graders if I do say so myself. Graphing, statistics, addition, subtraction, beginning multiplication/division, geometry, and even pre-algebra...I've seen examples of all this year. It made me nervous, actually. And I worried about the homework load. Still does, to be candid.

But it's amazing how much my little sponge of an almost-seven-year-old absorbed.

A few weeks back, Plato and Lulu went to church with my folks while JeepMan and I slept in. If you've been with me for a while you may recall my ambivalence on Catholicism and organized religion in general. That's not the point here, though.

The kids came home with candy bars, courtesy of the weekly post-mass fundraising efforts. They were quite excited.

I asked the kids if they got the big chocolate bars or the little ones.

"BIG, mommy!" Lulu squealed. "Weely, WEELY big!!... Can I hab it for bret-fust?"

No dear, you may not.

Plato was more contemplative. "Mom, they're not exactly big...they're kind of medium."

(The child is a fanatic about perfect descriptors. Where could he have possibly gotten that hang-up?) I asked if it was the big flat rectangle kind:

"Well, not exactly."

I couldn't picture any other kind. I said as much.

"I don't know mom. It's kind of a ... well...uhmmm... a trapezoidal prism."


Then he showed it to me:

Well, so it is, Plato.

So. It. Is.


Just for grins, I took this quiz:

You're Catch-22!

by Joseph Heller

Incredibly witty and funny, you have a taste for irony in all that you
see. It seems that life has put you in perpetually untenable situations, and your sense
of humor is all that gets you through them. These experiences have also made you an
ardent pacifist, though you present your message with tongue sewn into cheek. You
could coin a phrase that replaces the word "paradox" for millions of people.

Take the Book Quiz
at the
Blue Pyramid.

Too true. And weird.

Crap, now I have another book to add to my "Must Read" list.