Wednesday, February 28, 2007

My Swanky New Digs

So after several weeks of being stuck on this, the talented and spectacular, IzzyMom has helped me to get my new web banner up on my site! After designing the banner, I was like, “OK, now what do I do?” Because I have no formal training in writing code, I was literally at a dead end. So again my thanks to Izzy for helping this HTML dummy!

I realized from my last post, that I failed to state that I am actually very happy with myself and where I am in life (even though I am an admitted HTML dummy). Going through some of my posts, it sounds like I have little self-worth, but I actually do. And so even though your self-esteem can be dwarfed in the presence of Aunt Sue, my mother and I laugh about it. I know it’s no reflection on who I am and how successful of a person I am, I just enjoy getting a chuckle out of it all and can’t help but wonder if Angie herself knows that her mother is telling everyone her salary. And let me tell you, we are all not without flaws, because as gorgeous and rich as Angie is, she cheated on her drop-dead gorgeous husband several years ago not only once but twice, and has since re-married to a guy that I think has the personality of a doorknob. So no book can be judged by their cover, right? Aunt Sue was very quiet on the subject of Angie during those years….

And tomorrow is the Blog Exchange! I missed last month’s exchange and happy to make a return. My partner is Sassy, so make sure you visit me over there tomorrow.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Have-Nots

After this post, remind me how much I have to be thankful for, because after you’ve spent time with my Aunt Sue you will wonder if everybody in the world outside of her kids is living at poverty level. I say this because at almost every family occasion, she finds a way to weave her children’s annual compensation into the conversation. And apparently now, the anticipated boob job on her 17 year old granddaughter.

I decided to take a road trip to the Baby Shower that I had a week’s notice on, and take Andrew with me. CJ and Dave spent a Dad’s day together, and it also gave CJ the chance to build his next humungous track in the middle of our living room, which, under normal circumstances gets trashed by Andrew and throws CJ into a meltdown. So having the house to himself, he was in track-building Heaven.

So while at the Shower, as the guests were mingling, the conversation began with what Sydney was going to receive on her 18th birthday. Commenting that she has nothing up top now, “she will have something by her 18th birthday, because that’s her birthday gift!” OK, I could name about a thousand other things I would want other than a boob job. But then again, I’m a C cup, so I’ve never complained in that department. But really, a boob job for an 18 year old? C’mon!

Then the conversation moved from the boob job to how her recent vacation to Mexico was a gift from Angie (her daughter and mother of said boob job recipient). And that Angie wants to put her 3,500 square foot house on the market March 1st because it just isn’t big enough and really wants a 5 bedroom house that’s bigger. Well she can afford it because she makes $150,000 a year and her husband Jon makes $280,000 a year, so hell, what’s stopping them at a 5 bedroom house, right?!? I mean people of these means should be forbidden to have to live in such tight quarters don’t you think? They have 3 children and a cat for pete’s sake…. (Insert eye rolling here). Personally, there’s nothing I hate worse than a line of McMansions dotting the landscape of what once was beautiful farmland. But that’s just me. Worried about over consumption. Silly me.

And have you visited Todd’s house in North Carolina yet?? It’s a half million bucks, people! And it’s in the same neighborhood as all of the professional baseball players, too! (Insert gag reflex here).

Did she ask me about my job? Yes. Here’s how the conversation went…

Sue: “Katie, how do you like your job?”

And just when you think you have something important to share….

Me: “I love my job! I just got back from doing a lot of traveling, but things are getting back to normal now.”

She tops it with something like this…

Sue: “Well Angie’s company is sending her to Europe in the Spring…”

Of course, there’s always the other cousins of mine in Southeast Ohio who make us all look good. Specifically, the ones who go to the hospital for domestic violence, have an ex-husband break into their home with a loaded rifle, have a husband go to jail for assault, a cousin who ended up in jail for murder, or another one who consecutively gets pregnant out of wedlock with different men. Oh, how I have a clan of a family! Anybody else have some unique family members?

Friday, February 23, 2007

Something To Watch Over Me

Despite the fact that I attended Catholic school for 12 years, I am not a religious zealot. Having to recite the Stations of the Cross each Easter season did not convert me to a life of Christian living. I’m not a bad person, but I don’t attend Church every Sunday and question the logistics behind organized religion. But before you label me as the devil incarnate, I do still have faith and personally believe in God or what can be described as perhaps a greater spiritual existence beyond our physical world as we know it. And I actually believe in the suggestive power of humans to alter the course of events, such as through praying, meditation or by the power of will. I think the spiritual world is all around us, and maybe less literally placed in “Heaven”. I think they are all around us because sometimes things happen to you that make you believe we all have a guardian angel walking among us to help us alter those course of events. Or for the non-believers, you could call what I have an extreme case of mother’s intuition. As will be illustrated by the following story.

CJ, Andrew and I were all in their bedroom a few weekends ago, going through a big box of pictures. Andrew was playing with a toy that looped the same song over and over, with buttons and lights, teaching all about the continents of the world. It was an unusually calm moment, and we all became lost in our own project. CJ and I were lost in our trip down memory lane, unearthing a lot of pictures of him when he was a baby:

Sifting through the pictures, out of nowhere I experienced a sense of urgency and my blood rushed through to the tips of my fingers. Something out of thin air directed my attention to the other side of the room. The globe that Andrew had been playing with was still looping the same song and phrase, “You’re a world traveler…”. But Andrew wasn’t there.

Dropping the pictures from my hand, I leaped up from my crossed-leg position on the floor and ran out of the room, with a cloud of pictures in my wake. When I got to the hallway, he was sitting there like a kitten on the ledge of a skyscraper. If I made him laugh, he might fall over, if I made him cry, he might fall over, I run too fast, he might move away and fall down the stairs. Repressing my emotion to yelp, I walked evenly and quickly toward him, scooped him up from the top step he was sitting on, and promptly held him close to my heart, wanting to never let go.

As my knees gave out from under me, we took a seat on the carpeted floor, and with my heart still racing and my voice cracking, I couldn’t help but think of all the terrible things that could have happened if I hadn’t picked him up at that very instant. His legs were dangling over the edge of the top step of our stairs, and he was an instant away from tumbling down. And tumbling down to what? Sure death? A broken neck? Who knows. Maybe he wouldn’t have been hurt at all, although I doubt that very much. CJ was also scared at this point, so I thought it best to calm down and put a smile on things, to lighten up the tense moment a little. Of course, this entire scene lasted about 15 seconds, although it felt like an eternity.

And why don’t we have a gate at the top of the stairs? Frankly, because Andrew has not been that mobile, and when we are upstairs with the kids they are usually playing in their room or we are keeping a close watch. I got so mad at myself for slipping in my motherly duties for that moment, that moment that was surely saved by a guardian angel. How did I lose the eyes in the back of my hand for the moment that he scooted (he doesn’t crawl, but scoots around on his tush) out of the room?

Having another child has completely changed life in so many ways. Just when you think you’ve got everything covered, something else shakes your world. The fact they are 4 years apart, the attention they need is so different, and there’s the constant juggling act of taking care of their needs simultaneously that gets me so tried sometimes. It surely felt like a defeat for me when I took my eyes away from him that afternoon, but I couldn’t help but think there had been a larger force at work here, too. I’m not saying I “saw the light”, actually I felt reassured to know that we were being protected. And thankful that something had whispered over my shoulder that day. But what that something is, I don’t know.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Lost 3x09: Stranger In A Strange Land


So how about last night’s –yawn- excuse me, -yawn- episode of Lost?

Sorry I’m so tired today. I had to stay up so late last night to watch that boring episode of Lost last night. This devotee of Lost was quite disappointed by last night’s deep insight into Jack’s tattoo. And I needed to know this because? Like I already didn’t know he acts like an outsider? Like a stranger? That’s so season one. Bai Ling with a bad haircut didn’t need to waste her time with a guest appearance on the show for me to find that out. There are like, a gazillion other answers I need to know, other than the translation of Jack’s tattoo that he received in Thailand. Were they ever going to fill us in on why and when he was in Thailand? Again, frustrating show. Felt like a filler show to me, and hardly fulfilled the answers that were promised in the previews.

About the only parts of last night’s show I enjoyed were Sawyer’s one-liners. Particularly when he compared Karl to Bobby Brady. Nothing like a pop culture reference to a kid who names constellations. The disparity between human experiences and generational gaps was quite amusing. Kind of made me think of

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The War in Iraq as per "Today 101"

At the risk of sounding snobbish, it seems as though there is a population of people out there who need to get clarity on the situation in Iraq from Meredith Veira on the Today Show. In addition to the deeply insightful report on us drunk mothers that I know everyone has been buzzing about lately, it seems as though people are posting questions on her blog at iVillage (why I hate iVillage can be a topic for another day…) about things they want to know more about. From the Today Show. Today Show = Educational News Source? OK, whatever.

So today, they started a segment called “Today 101” and a person posted a question wanting to know more information about the background with the war in the middle east, specifically the civil war between the Sunnis and the Shiites. Now call me crazy, but to me, the Today Show is like more of a glossed-over version of what’s happening in the world with Ann Curry’s “top news stories” delivered with the authority and tone of a preschool teacher.

To answer the question posed by the blogger on iVillage, they turned to Richard Engel, their resident correspondent in Iraq. In the 7th century, when the country’s leader, Muhammed, the father to only one daughter, died, he apparently did not indicate who should succeed him in running the country. (Because, God forbid, why should he had ever considered the daughter, right? The whole mess that follows would have been avoided in the first place.) Like a rich man leaving no will, a fight ensued within the country when the husband of Fatima (the daughter), decided he was going to run the country and of course, there were those that deflected, hence the formation of the Sunnis and the Shiites. And currently, there are now more Shiites than Sunnis in the country, and I think we all know how well they are getting along. Even George Bush didn’t know this little tidbit of history when he declared war on Iraq. I’m not kidding. Great leader, eh?

So that’s my stripped down, Today-show-like education on the Sunnis and the Shiites. Now let me tell you a story I heard first hand from a co-worker about the Sunnis and Shiites. A colleague of mine was born and raised in Baghdad, whose parents now live in Jordan. She has a friend who recently visited Iraq with his wife and 2 small children to see relatives. While in Iraq, the family was abducted. Supposedly the man’s blood line is Sunni and the wife is Shiite. They let the wife and the kids go, but then killed the man. His wife had to identify his body at the morgue 5 days after they had been released. I can’t even relate to the horror of something like that.

Can our military really stop something like that? It’s a mafia-style civil war. I was feeling rather fired up about this today after seeing their fluffy news segment this morning. So this is today’s politics from the Pillow. I hope I’ve gotten across where I stand on this issue. If not, I invite the debate.

Now, back to the regularly scheduled programming….

I received a baby shower invitation in the mail over the weekend. OK, maybe that doesn’t sound like such a big deal. But did I mention it’s for a baby shower that is taking place THIS weekend. Is it just me, or is that a little late notice? I feel like sending this as my RSVP:

Monday, February 19, 2007

What I Did On My Blogcation

If we are going to be friends, let's get one thing straight: I am not an overachiever.

I have been drowning in work and business travel lately, and coupling that with wanting to steal time with my kids on the weekends that I have actually been home, I have not been blogging. I have not had one iota of a moment to get on the computer to share something fun, witty or even boring about my life lately or catch up on any of my favorite blogging buddies lives'. I am not going to get on the computer at midnight to blog. I like sleep way too much. And I like to sip my wine at night after the kids are in bed and put my feet up and watch something terribly mindless and completely amusing rather than go down to my cold basement and blog (I do not have a laptop with a wireless router...yet). So forgive me online buddies, but frankly, you haven't missed much. Here are some of the highlights of the things I have been doing on my vacation from blogging:

Work, work, work: I’ve traveled to Cincinnati, Houston, Chicago and Rye Brook, NY in the past month and have done more work than I probably ever had in my whole career. During this time, it has been a challenging transition between work and home life, and the only job I’ve ever had where it was a necessity to blend work and life in order to succeed at both. Since becoming a mom, I have usually had a lifestyle that is very compartmentalized between my work, my kids, my marriage and my hobbies. As my career has transgressed into my current role, it’s more appropriate for me the blend all the components of my life, and that’s been a challenge for my brain which sees things differently.

Went to a play about a dog: I took the kids to a really cute play a couple weekends ago. To my pleasant surprise the baby sat through about 2/3 of the play mesmerized by the people on stage. And then for the rest, he started to get restless and goofy, but never cried. We had a great time. We then went to an ice cream factory and got sugared up. It was a great day with the kids.

Got snowed in: I’m sure I’m not the only one that was affected by the weather, but it really sucked when I got stranded in Rye Brook, NY last Wednesday night, delaying yet another day for me to get home with my family. It was the last place we needed to travel for work, and we all had flights out on Wednesday night, but they were promptly cancelled in the morning. We all went that night and had a great time since there wasn’t anything else we could do, but it still sucked because then I had to wake up before dawn with a hangover and deal with the bedlam at Newark Airport. As someone who was born and raised in New Jersey, I’m no stranger to Newark Airport, but I did not miss it.

Taught my son Money Management 101: Last weekend we went to a pizza party to celebrate my niece's last basketball game of the season. She's a senior and not playing in college so it was like her swan song. Unfortunately they got clobbered - something like 56 to 10, but either way, she's an excellent player, a wonderful girl, and has a lot to look forward to, sothat's a personal victory, I think as it is. Anyway, at the restaurant, they had an arcade. A pretty lame arcade, but anything with lights and music is a carnival for my son, CJ, who brought with him a bagful of quarters from his piggy bank. Yes from his own piggy bank. Much to the shock of other parents who attended the pizza party, in unison they cried, "Awwww!", when they found out he was blowing his own money at the arcade. I defended my principle by stating that I found nothing wrong with teaching him the concept of spending and saving money, even though he is only 5. As a parent, aren't we supposed to be raising our kids to be responsible adults? My parents, and my husband's parents, did not teach us anything about money management, and therefore, due to our lack of these important skills, had to file bankruptcy several years ago. That being said, if there is one thing I want to teach my kids, it's managing money. Hey, last time I looked, I didn't have hardly enough money for retirement, so I need someone to pay my grocery bill!

And finally, one thing I did not do is, shave my head. My Lord, will someone help that girl?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

"Lost" 3x07: Not In Portland

Spoiler Warning: If you haven’t seen last night’s episode, don’t read.
Well, it’s that time of year again. After 12 weeks of waiting, Lost has made its triumphant return. Hence, the continuation of my Thursday Lost wrap-ups. There’s a much better writer named
Hannah Tucker who does this every Thursday, so check it out if you want excellent and humorous commentary. For those of you not reading my blog last November, I’m a huge fan of the show, and like to post my commentary for no other reason than thinking this is the best show ever made. And if that’s any indication of how exciting my night life is, then you can already guess what a wild and crazy life I live.

As for my interpretation of the show, I loved Juliet’s backstory last night. Great job on the stylists on the show because with the frizzy hair and lack of heavy makeup, she was portrayed as being much more vulnerable than she is on the island. We now know that she’s been trapped on the island for more than 3 years, and in those 3 years she’s gone from a nervous nelly to a take-no-prisoners leader. I like both the old and the new Juliet, and I think she’s an awesome actress. But in true Lost fashion, while her backstory offered many answers to who she is, there are still the lingering questions. Why can’t she get off the island if she came there voluntarily? And what is the “history” between her and Ben? He bears a creepy resemblance to her ex-husband, and I can’t imagine what an attractive and smart medical research scientist sees in either of those bald shrimpos.

As for the Kate-Sawyer-Jack triangle, it was valiant of Jack to offer himself up to let Kate and Sawyer go. Since, unfortunately, it seemed to score no points with Juliet or Ben for saving his life, as they are returning him to his prison. Juliet spelled out Jack’s fate in no uncertain terms before he could even take off his scrubs. Looks like Ben is rubbing off on her. But didn’t Ben promise to get Jack off the island? My bet is Jack will still be staring at the 4 walls rather than hopping on a boat to civilization where the Red Sox won the world series.

As for the escapees, the ever-resourceful Alex (who has to be the French woman’s daughter, right?) has a boat to get Kate, Sawyer, and the wounded boyfriend off the island. And off they rowed back to the “mainland”, poised for next week’s episode to return to some of the original characters. It was certainly an enjoyable hour, and a nice return to the rhythm of past episodes, but it seemed to only scratch the surface. It’s the first of 16 straight episodes, so it was probably on purpose. That’s why I don’t have a career as a tv writer. I’m still wondering what happened to Michael and Walt. Last season, they drove off in a boat, and then in the re-cap show they made absolutely no mention of either of them. Have they written them off the show? For those wanting more info, check out
Lost Hatch and Lost Spoilers. As if I need more blogs to read, right?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Six Things About Me: The Sequel

The ever-resourceful and practical Alex from Formula Fed and Flexible Parenting, tagged me to reveal 6 Things You Don’t Know About Me. As most of you already know, I did a list not too long ago, and seemed to shock the hell out of everyone with the things I listed. Well, here’s a little more truth and maybe a little less shock:

1. I tried my first cigarette when I was 12. And before I sound like a delinquent, I didn’t start to smoke regularly until I was about 17 (look at me trying to justify that!). And then I finally quit when I was 29. It was the hardest thing I ever did. To me, quitting nicotine was harder to do than giving birth. I would gladly squeeze out another child from my uterus than get addicted to nicotine again and have to go through withdrawals.

2. I pick my fingernails and the skin around them. I hate long nails, so I always have stubby fingernails. Sorry guys, I know it doesn’t sound very attractive, and I look insanely nervous. But I’m really not. It’s just a bad habit that’s hard to break. Perhaps it's because I don't smoke anymore. See #1.

3. I’ve seen the movie, “Superman” (with Christopher Reeve in 1978) no less than 20 times. If you haven’t already noticed, I have an addictive personality.

4. I was Senior Class President. I took this as a personal high for me back then, because I beat out the cutest guy in the class who was my main contender.

5. Jim Morrison is my favorite rock star. I don’t know why this guy does it for me, but he would be my ultimate one night stand. He is soooo cool.

6. My first car was a manual 1964 VW bug. Royal blue with rainbow racing stripes and a sunroof. People from my old neighborhood to this day still identify me with that car.

So there you have it. Maybe a little less shocking than my last list, but how much detail can I really get into about myself on a blog? Like everyone else in the world, I have more than just one side. I’ve done some crazy things in my life, some regrettable and some not, but overall I’m a good person who cares about the world, a loyal friend, a good mother, a hard-working employee, I’ve been told I’m funny and smart, and I used to hate my name when I was a kid. But now I love it: Kate. It’s who I am. It’s who I will always be.

I now tag L.A. Daddy for some enlightenment from the male gender.

Monday, February 05, 2007

101 Things To Do With A Dixie Cup

I’ve been on the road a lot lately for work over the past three weeks, which accounts for my lack of blogging lately. It’s been nice to hear from some of you that you miss me. Trust me – I miss you, too. Like nictone used to be my addiction, blogging is my next best thing to a big glass of wine, and living without it lately has given me withdrawals. My mind has felt like mush lately, and by typing these sentences right now I feel like I just received a shot of B-12. So hooray for blogging! The best non-toxic habit I’ve acquired that’s good for my health!

However, mostly due to my travels, the level of anxiety has increased in my household. Like the threat level issued by Homeland Security, we’re at an “Orange”. Sickness has been going back and forth between my kids for about 4 weeks. With my weekday absences, the cold weather, and the sick kids, nobody has been doing much of anything outside of the four walls lately, and I sense that all this is getting on my husband’s last nerve. The second week of January I left for Cincinnati, then the third week I was in Houston, and then last week I was in Chicago. I have a week off of traveling, but then turn around for NY next week for the final installment of 4 programs that I am working on. We knew I would be working this crazy schedule before I even agreed to take the job back in September, and this is a fantastic career opportunity for me, but we’re all just getting a little tired. Patience is growing thin, moods are sullen, babies are missing their mama, mama is missing the kids, and there’s a general feeling of needing normalcy to return. But the light at the end of the tunnel is near.

Here in the Midwest, we are getting pummeled with single digit temperatures. As I mentioned above, the kids have been sick, and the baby is feeling the worst right now. We were at the doctor on Saturday and he has ear infections in both ears (2nd time in one month!), and also has a cold. To top it off he is cutting 2 teeth on top, so he’s overall miserable. So since we were pretty much prisoners of the house this weekend, it was up to me to provide the entertainment. To my surprise, a $2.50 box of bathroom cups gave us hours of enjoyment:

1. We constructed a cardboard bowling alley and used the cups as “pins”.
2. We decorated some cups with stickers and construction paper and with some leftover elastic string, made them into hats
3. We made pyramids and crashed cars and trains into them
4. We played “telephone”
5. We played “store” and “purchased” them along with a bunch of other toys
6. The baby is learning to drink out of them

And who says you have to pay a fortune on toys?