Monthly Archives: April 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Some days, it just isn’t there….


For more Wordless Wednesday participants, click here.

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More stuff I can’t make up…

This gets a big ol’ WTF. I hate hearing about inmate lawsuits, but this one is truly special.

Or this one. Guess where the “Free Tibet” flags are made? Irony can be so ironic.

The mind truly boggles.

Monday Mission: Open House

Blog ready for immediate reading. Recently upgraded template and format. Random, not too serious topics, are available for all readers. The Haiku Friday is a reader’s delight! The Virtual Book Club is quite unique, a definite must see. Too many individual features to list here, you must see to appreciate it!

Open House is 24/7. Stop by today!

This post was part of the Monday Mission. Today’s mission: write your post in the form of a real estate ad. For more, check out Painted Maypole.

Friday Haiku 4/25/08

Haiku Friday

Bored in the kitchen.
Always making the same meals.
I’m in such a rut.

Made Pad Thai Thursday.
I think it turned out ok.
Just a little bland.

Can Transplanting Me
Send me a good recipe?
That would be so cool.

Hey City Girl and
Country Girl
! How about you two?
I know, check the site.

Hello there, Food Snob!
Do you have anything new?
Pecan Slaw is next.

So what about you?
What is it you like to cook?
I need ideas.

Post them in comments
I will make them if I can.
Show results on blog.

Hungry for more? Then check out A Mommy Story and Playgroups are no Place for Children!

Just Say No!

I did it! I said no! Aren’t you all proud of me?

Here’s what happened:

On Monday, I got an email from the wedding party that I was going to play in on Saturday. This was supposed to be a simple wedding, not a lot of frou frou. All I was going to play was the processional and recessional. Not a problem. Well, apparently, she met up with an organist who gave her all kinds of dangerous ideas and the scope of this increased dramatically. I was now to play about 15-20 minutes of preludes, music during communion, and something I had never heard of, and would have no time to rehearse with the organist, for the recessional.

I said no. I was very polite about the whole thing, but I still said no. I used contacts I have to find her someone who could do something like that at the last minute, so it’s not like I left her in a lurch or anything. It’s all good. But I didn’t feel the need to try and grant her last minute wishes or anything like that. It wasn’t what I had agreed to do, so I felt ok in backing out. A few weeks ago I would have tried to scramble something together at the last minute and probably fallen on my face as a result. But ever since this post, I’ve been trying to be more careful about this sort of thing.

It’s nice to see the list of Things To Do grow shorter. Very relaxing.

Would I Lie to You?

This Hump Day Hmm…talk about truth, honesty and lying—yourself, your kids, from a personal or parenting point of view, how you deal with it and how important it is, as well as loopholes or any other aspect you want to cover. For more takes on this topic, visit Julie at Using My Words

Raising kids is hard. Raising good, honest kids is even harder. Little kids tend to look at things in such absolute terms. So when you tell them that lying is wrong, they will accept that at face value.

And then you lie in front of them.

“Mommy, why did you tell that guy on the phone that Daddy wasn’t here?”

“Well, sweetie, it was a telemarketer, and Daddy is not only busy but just doesn’t care about that product, so I saved your Daddy from having to talk to him.”

“But Mommy! That’s…..LYING!”

And so begins the slow slide into ambiguity.

We all accept the social lie. We’ve all done it. Don’t deny it. You know, when you get the gift you don’t want and you just smile graciously and accept it and then post about it on your blog and get caught…oh wait, that last part is just me. We even encourage our kids to do that with Aunt Martha (and I don’t have an Aunt Martha I’m just using this as an example) when she gives them a package of Underoos for Easter or some other totally absurd gift. I learned a great way out of this one during baby showers: say “Wow! What a gift! I’ve never seen anything like it before. Where did you get this?” and then you know where to return it. 🙂 But I digress…

There’s nothing wrong with the social lie, right? Or is there?

Let’s think about this for a moment. Why do we even tell the social lie? Usually to protect someone’s feelings (Does this dress make my butt look big?), get out of something slightly unpleasant (I’m sorry, I can’t make lunch today, something came up.), or to make something go a little more smoothly (Oh, that’s already taken care of. I sent that this morning).

What happens when the social lie goes global?

Protecting someone’s feelings: “Those guys weren’t really Saudis.”

Getting out of something unpleasant: “We can fix the deficit without a massive increase in taxes.”

Making something go more smoothly: “We’ll find evidence of WMD.”

Maybe those seem like extreme examples, but it really is a slippery slope. And why is it a slippery slope? Because, in the immortal words of Jack Nicholson’s character in A Few Good Men, we can’t handle the truth.

Do you really want to know that your butt looks big in that dress? Or that your friend just doesn’t want to have lunch with you that day after all? We use the lying as a pretense of sparing people’s feelings. So is it any wonder that the Powers That Be might think the same way? That we don’t really want to know why they are doing certain things, even if those things have a huge effect on our lives? But it is such a catch-22. If you were to say that someone’s butt looked big in that dress, you might find yourself with alternate sleeping arrangements that evening. Would you really elect someone who tells you that they will have to raise taxes in order to reduce the deficit?

So where does that leave us? Lying is wrong. I totally agree with that. But we’ll always do it and we’ll always accept it. Why? Because we really can’t handle the truth. And until that changes, we can’t expect people to act any differently.

The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love

I am, of course, talking about parenting.

My oldest child is now ten (and a half!), and methinks that the real work is set to begin. We made it through tantrums (mostly), potty training, the first day of school, sharing (again, mostly), and all of those things that the younger kids do. Now it’s time for the nitty gritty. Now it’s time to make sure this child turns into the man I know he can be.

It’s been a rough couple of weeks here. All of the adults in his life have simultaneously agreed to consistently demand the highest quality of work he is capable of. No more coddling. And he is, understandably, quite taken aback by this. In school, I am starting to see more pride in his work, and I think that by the end of the year and going into fifth grade next year, we’ll have most of that ironed out.

The area that I think the first major struggle will occur will be over soccer.

My son has played soccer every season and gone to soccer camp every year since he was four years old. That’s a lot of Saturdays spent at the pitch. We never minded because he was not only one of the better players of his age group, but also so much fun to watch. He played with such intensity and passion that I really looked forward to the games.

Notice the use of the past tense.

For the past couple of seasons, he has been on a team that, frankly, was not a good fit for him. Even though he went to school with most of these kids, they weren’t friends and he was a bit of an outsider. Add to that the fact that he carried the team a lot by being an outstanding goalie, would it surprise you to learn that this season he burnt out? Which is ironic, because the rest of his team is finally playing up to their potential.

As the season has progressed, it’s been more and more difficult for him to get to practice and mentally show up for games. It all came to a head on Saturday when is performance was, frankly, embarrassing. The other parents have started asking me what is going on with him. That this wasn’t the same kid they’ve seen over the past three seasons. The one who would play hurt. The one who dove for every ball, no matter what. The one who played so hard that other teams had to foul him. That kid was gone.

We had a chat with him after that game and he finally admitted to the burn out. He told us he was under a lot of stress at school (he does have a major project due this week and is also stage manager of the school play in addition to the increased standards) and just wasn’t sure if he wanted to play soccer anymore. He’s missed a lot of social stuff this season because of soccer and he felt left out. Besides, he said, that’s all he’s ever played. Maybe he should try something else.

Wow. There’s a paradigm shift for ya.

A few things complicating this are one: there is still a reasonable amount of the season left, and two: select club try outs are in three weeks. At his age and skill level, taking some time off from soccer probably means taking a whole YEAR off of soccer, so these are waters we need to tread carefully. We told him that under no circumstances was he quitting the team. He would finish out the season, play his absolute best (albeit not in goal), and not disappoint his teammates or himself. But he would skip the select try outs this year and play another sport in the Fall, take his chances on a spot opening up in December, and if that didn’t work, trying out in 2009.

Guess what happened at Monday practice?

The kid was back. Everyone noticed. His teammates, the other parents, and especially the coaches. With the stress of the possible try out gone, he was playing like himself again. He even told me after practice that he wants to go out for select.

And now we get to what will be the first major struggle. I am inclined to stick to the original decision of not trying out. Why?

First of all, he’s right: he’s never played anything else before. He should try some other things. It will be good for him. And if he decides that he wants to return to soccer (which is highly likely), then he’ll return with renewed passion and a new perspective on things. Second, select soccer is a commitment, in many ways. It usually involves some travel. It involves a lot of practice time. It involves money. It can become all consuming. As long as my child is having fun and playing well, then it is all worth it. But with the attitude and stuff we’ve seen lately, I am not willing to do all of that. One practice does not a turnaround make. He’s going to have to work really hard to convince me that trying out is a good idea. I think that not allowing him to try out will be a wake up call to him that he needs to work harder and have a better attitude about things, and not just soccer. That if he wants to do the cool things in life, then he’s going to have to work for them.

I know that sports aren’t the end all and be all of the world, and if he decides not to play a sport after all then things will be okay. If he decides in this interim that he has a passion for robotics, I will be just as supportive of that as I was of the soccer, so long as he continues to give it his best efforts. My concern is the message I am sending here. The message I am trying to send is that if you do your best work always, the opportunities you have will be greater. I just hope that is the message he receives.