Thursday, May 31, 2007

On Children's Television...

I admit it. I'm a total television addict. In a totally dorky way, though. My favorite channels are the History Channel, Discovery Channel, Food Network, HGTV and DIYNetwork. I only watch a select number of shows on the big networks (House, Bones, Scrubs, My Name is Earl...I can't think of any others. That might be it).

So it seems only natural that my kids would occasionally watch tv. No more than half an hour per day, right? Yeah, sorry, that's not going to happen. First of all, I'm not a morning person, so the hour it takes me to wake up is tv time. And then my almost 2 year old likes to turn the TV on. So I make sure it's tuned to something I don't mind them seeing. Like public television or other programming designed to be educational for toddlers and preschoolers. There's just so much quality television for the under-5 set that I can't see letting them watch shows not intended for little kids (like Spongebob or Rugrats - is that even on anymore?). My only exception is Jimmy Neutron, which is usually clean and promotes child geniuses. Can't argue with that.

Unfortunately for me, I am unable to tune out some of the weirdness of kids shows. Like the Berenstain Bears always makes me question what Mama and Papa were thinking when they named Brother. What if they hadn't had another kid? For that matter, wasn't it rather presumptuous of their parents to name them Mama and Papa as infants?

Oh, there's more coming another day...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Zen of Crafting, following directions and gender

Last night I was working on a purse that I want to give my sister for her birthday when I noticed that I had messed up something that couldn't be hidden. So I moved on to another part that I could work on before fixing that mistake. And messed it up. At that, I put the fabric down, turned off my sewing machine and had an ice cream sandwich. "This purse doesn't want me to work on it right now." How very Zen of you, Tom tells me. Is it? I hadn't realized, but I do it with all my craft projects. If things start to go wrong, something about the project is telling me to take a break. Most likely, my brain is processing the abstract and turning it into instructions on what I need to do to fix whatever I messed up earlier. It's funny - if I can't figure something out, I know that I just need to put it down, do something else and come back to it later. Meanwhile, I've been sort of thinking about it, but not consciously and it all comes out a bit easier. Not always, but usually.

I'm not typically a picture learner. I need to read the words on how to do something. Sometimes, for the very complicated, a picture helps, but I still require words to make me understand. Tom is the opposite, as is our son. We were watching him put a Lego model together and he just looked at the pictures and picked up the right parts. In no time, he'd made the model exactly as it looked on the box. Tom thinks the same way and suggests that it's learned from putting Lego together. I claim that Lego directions are made that way because the people who like to put them together think in pictures.

This is why me and Ikea don't always get along. Their oh-so-detailed images of gender-free figures picking up board A just don't click in my head. So in that case, I have to do it along with the picture and - get this - actually follow directions. So not me. In this, Tom and I are the opposites of our gender stereotypes. I don't even read the directions, or if I do, it's more as a general guideline or to get me started. Tom? He reads every direction before he starts and then rereads them as he goes along. Now, I admit this his way is probably better. He gets all the tools he needs out ahead of time where I have to stop and go find a flat-head screwdriver instead of a Phillips-head. And he has a perfect finished product, where mine has probably been fudged once or twice. But that whole organized, read the directions thing? Let's face it. Boring.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Idoling late...again... this week...

I love the ellipsis, don't I?

So anyway, my family has a weekly dinner. My sister and brother and all the kids and I go to my parents for dinner. It's usually on Tuesday or Thursday (my sister's days off, depending on the week). For the past two weeks it's been Tuesday. So I've had to watch a little bit late.

Some sappy slow song. Beautiful voice. The song is like nails on a chalkboard, but her voice is gorgeous.
She works hard for the money - Maybe not the best choice for her (in light of the other two in this round), but not bad at all.
I Who Have Nothing. Didn't they tell her this was her best performance? I guess that's what everyone picks. Just as powerful and amazing as the first time she sang it.

Roxanne - Doesn't really show off the fact that dude can actually sing. Not a great choice.
This Love - Better, but when Simon says he made this song unique, I can only conclude that Simon doesn't know the song. Because it was good, but it wasn't totally original.
I don't know this - Good, but not knock me down amazing.

Believe or something - stupid Whitney song. I can't stand Whitney Houston. The judges love this, but I just think it's robbed Melinda of all personality.
Nutbush City Limits - Now this is more like it.
I'm a Woman - this was one of my favorite performances of hers. I mean, when I think of Melinda, I think of her singing this song. Great choice.

I can't even rank them anymore. I'll just say that I think the finale is going to have a male and a female in it. Why? Because Jordin and Melinda are just a touch too similar. Oh, who am I kidding. I have no clue. I don't have a feeling about this one at all. I'm thinking, though, that Jordin is in the most danger tonight.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The perils of technology...

Did you ever see that Saturday Night Live skit where they're showing the newest iPod (yes, newer than the one Guy X bought two seconds ago) and it's a little pin point. Then they newest five seconds later and it's invisible? Yeah, that's the current condition of my iPod. Which I prefer to believe over "lost." Mr. Apple, sir, a $200 piece of joy and magic and all that is good should not be so small that it cannot be found amongst a few (dozen) toys. I mean, seriously.

Speaking of Saturday Night Live, as I wrote that I was thinking when the heck was I up late enough to see SNL in the past five years? Must have been something going on that day. Actually, this going to bed before 11 thing started...around July. It's like I turned 30 and everything went to hell. I go to bed - sometimes before 10 (okay, rarely, if ever before 10, but still)! I'm a stay at home mom, I mean, it's not like I have to get up in the morning. What's wrong with me? The kids don't usually get up until 8, so neither do I. I'm sure the medical crap I'm dealing with is just coincidence, but it's still annoying.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

From winter to mother's day...

I don't have much to say lately. I'm sort of coming out of my winter fog finally and actually talking to real people. I have to confess that I've spent much of this past winter battling the winter blues, possibly true depression. I don't know. I've been up and down all my life, so it's not unusual to me to have a six month low period. It's just been a while. I've been shutting myself off from almost everyone. Now I have a lot of communicating to do to get back to normal.

I'm starting to think about getting a job. Maybe a career (the difference being something that pays the bills and something that fills my soul). I just don't really know what it is that I want to do, exactly. I like so many things. I'm pretty good at a lot of things. I'm really good at none of those. Maybe I spread myself too thin to become truly good at any one thing.

Since we were married Tom has told me that I bore easily. He worried that I would get bored of him. I assured him that was not at all true. I could never get bored of him and I don't bore easily at all. Turns out he was half right (and I hate to even think this, but he usually is when it comes to things like that about me). I do bore easily. I hate doing the exact same thing all the time. I have to because my kids really do thrive on routine, but it's just not for me.

Now as for getting bored of him, well, he's a human being and as such changes, sometimes minute to minute. Not so boring. We've been together for ten years. Ten. Years. We've been married for almost nine. Sometimes the passage of time floors me, since it feels like yesterday that we were two newlywed kids against the world two states and six hours away from anyone or anything we'd ever known. It doesn't seem possible that we could be parents of a six year old (and four and two year olds, but the six thing is really hard to grasp).

That always makes me think - do my parents still wonder at how old I (their oldest child) is? On my birthday last year, while I was wondering how the heck I got to be thirty already, were they thinking I can't believe I have a thirty year old child? And did my grandparents think the same thing when their youngest child turned 40 this year? Or their oldest turned 53? When I think of them this way I'm stunned that it took me this long to figure out what now seems so obvious. I understand so much more about my parents and grandparents. I don't know if you can possibly understand how much your parents love you until you have children. I know I didn't.

Monday, May 7, 2007

A very important date in MamaChris history...

Yesterday was the sixth anniversary of the single most significant event in my life. I love my husband, but it is not our wedding anniversary - although that is the second most significant event in my life. I love my daughters, but it is not their birthdays. It is the anniversary of the birth of my son, the sixth anniversary of the day I became something else entirely - a mother. At 2:02 a.m., Sunday, May 6, 2001, I gave birth to a perfect baby boy. And my life changed. Not instantly. I was not one of those who just instantaneously became a mother when their child was born. But I immediately grasped the larger responsibilities of being a mother.

This year the calendar falls the same way it did the year my son was born, the year my son made me a mother one week before Mother's Day. It has me thinking more than usual about everything I was doing that year (working until Thursday despite being in early labor).

Today that boy is absolutely amazing. His very own little person, so small and young and yet so very grown up in so many ways. Frustrating and complex, loving and totally innocent.

To my sweet son, the song I sang to him when he was small enough to hold. How wonderful life is when you're in the world....

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Hello, Bon Jovi (or American Idol a day late)...

I was out last night, so I'm watching last night's American Idol during naps this afteroon (thank you, DVR). So loads of fun this week - two people going home, Jon Bon Jovi. Yeah, that's enough. He just gets better looking with every passing year, doesn't he? I love him and his music, so this should be totally fun.

Phil - Blaze of Glory. Among my favorites. I had the soundtrack to the movie and listened to it all the time on my very first CD player. A slightly twangy opening, but wow. I mean, wow. Good luck following that, kids.

Jordin - Her mom used to play her Bon Jovi when she was little? I'm officially old. Livin on a Prayer. Another good one, but I don't know that it will show off her voice. But does it matter? After the way they screwed with her last week, isn't everyone going to be voting for the poor girl? I think the band, while rockin', is too loud to really hear her sing. But it's not horrible. I think it's going to depend on how the others (like LaKisha, who I can't see singing Bon Jovi) work this out.

LaKisha - speak of the devil. I suspected she'd go slow. I mean, how could she not? I didn't love it, but I don't really love "This Ain't a Love Song" itself.

Blake - You Give Love A Bad Name. OMG. Welcome back, beatbox boy. Love it. LOVE. IT. I've been feeling like he's gotten away from that edge that I liked so much, but this brought back and then some. Awesome.

Chris - Wanted Dead or Alive. I don't know. I thought it was good, but boring. I'd rather hear Jon Bon Jovi singing it. Maybe I just don't like him. Okay, I know I don't like him (really his style of music, since I don't know him personally), but maybe that's coloring my opinion.

Melinda - Here I was worried about the girl and she blows the house away with Have a Nice Day. Nice hair. Now see, this is what makes a true pro - she fits into any genre, like it doesn't matter what she's singing, as long as she's up there doing it.

Let's rank them first:

Now, I don't know if that's how it's going to go down, though. I just can't see Jording leaving tonight. I'd say it's Chris and LaKisha.