Friday, August 19, 2011

Back to School

I want to start by saying how proud I am of my little boy. He is doing extremely well in speech therapy and at his daycare/preschool. Every day when we ask where he is going, he exictedly says "tool." Ehhh...close enough. He is even counting, learning colors, and saying "please." All this from a boy who barely said two words a few months ago! If he gets through his next urology appointment ok, we will really be thrilled :-)

So, the kids in my home town went back to school this week. I enjoyed seeing all the photos on facebook and reading all the blogs. Seeing kids growing up is really bittersweet. On the other time for mom! It was especially cute to see photos of little Amelia, as her dad was in my kindergarten class. How time flies....

It seems like just yesterday I was picking a new outfuit and eating french toast on my first day of school. Oh wait...I went to school until I was 28. That wasn't so long ago -- haha.

On Sunday night, I also got another crack at a tradition my big brother started when I was little. For those of you not in the know, my siblings are 9, 10, and 12 years older. Being the oldest, my brother thought it was funny to come in the night before the first day and sing "turn out the lights....the party's over now" to us. He continued to do this as he went to college, then as we all went through college and grad school. So, of course, I now do it for my young nieces and nephews. It's always really fun to hear their groans and/or excitement. This year, they are starting in grades 3, 7, 8, and 10. It won't be long before Sully goes to big "tool" and I will laugh, cry or a little of both.

Good luck on a great year to all the kids, moms, and teachers out there!

Friday, August 12, 2011


I've had a pretty darn challenging week, but I don't want to talk about that here. I am really trying to stay positive in this space. I do want to bring attention to something that I've noticed lately that I want to offer as a PSA. So here goes...

Nobody loves cheapies and freebies more than this girl. If you know me at all, you have likely asked where I got what I was wearing and heard one of two responses -- thrift store or free box. I don't like to pay a ton of money for things. I do, however, value certain things. Like good service and buying local. I am willing to pay a little extra if I believe in my purchase. Yes, you read that correctly. Since I have worked in the museum field for about 15 years now, I really value the preservation of historic sites and good quality experiences. Most people in museums work for little or no pay. Museums and arts venues/programs are often the first things to get cut from budgets. And while I understand such things from a political and economic POV, I still don't like to see cultural resources neglected. Quite simply, we can't get things back once they are destroyed. Also, everyone enjoy these forms of "edutainment" (for lack of a better term) but people often aren't as quick to support them.

So, where am I going with this? Oh yeah. If you like the free music in the park, or the free museum admission, please "put your money where your mouth is." BTW, museums like the Smithsonian are NOT free. You pay dearly with your tax dollars. Nobody wants to pay more taxes, but how do you think those places run? Also, everyone wants to have free admission to places. Trust me, most museum people I know are pretty populist and would like nothing more than open the doors. The reality is, however, that we're already working with a slim budget and we have to eat, too. So, it's wonderful to take advantage of coupons or special discounted admission days. But, why not buy a membership or a something from the gift shop?

So, there you have it. The queen of bargains is telling you to go spend extra money on valuable cultural resources. Besides, when you consider the prices of movie tickets, pedicures, etc., maintaining these precious gems in our society is a real bargain. So, next time you pass the donation box at a "free" site why not pay to help keep it free, to keep the doors open, and maybe even to keep the place standing? Your arts, historical and cultural sites depend on and APPRECIATE your support.

Now, go out and enjoy your weekend. And if you choose to visit one of these great places on a weekend or holiday, please be pleasant to the staff who are giving up their holiday to accommodate visitors.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Blogs, blogs and more blogs

With all the crappiness going on in my life for the past few years, I'm amazed I've been able to laugh a bunch of it off and keep my head held high. It is helpful when you have an adorable little munchkin to make you smile. Reading blogs and now starting this one has been helpful. I was reluctant to do either at first, because I really didn't want to get sucked into "mommy blogging." Besides, the selection of blogs is pretty darn overwhelming! My problem with typical mommy bloggers is that they come across as whiney. I do not want to hear about how gosh darn awful it is to stay home with your kids. I loved being home for the way-too-short time I was with my boy, but it just wasn't in the cards for us. And if it's such a bad situation, why not quit like you would any bad job? It's certainly not for the pay or perks. So, I've limited myself to people I actually know and/or people who feature their life as a mom, with it's ups and downs, but more as a joy and challenge. I have even turned away from blogs that others have told me are "hysterical" because, simply put, they are not. I tend to be more amused by wit and subtle "British-style" humor. In-your-face attempts at humor, like recent sitcoms and SNL, simply do not bowl me over. They simply come across as trying too hard. That's why I prefer and have chosen to be a "mom who blogs" instead.

Today I read a blog that I recently started following that had something good to say. Referencing the book _Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action_, she talked about how too often we focus on the “what” we want to achieve without figuring out “why” first. But if you first have the “why” firmly in place it will guide all the decisions you make and allow you to stay on your true path. Sounds simplistic but it really is true. I have been feeling this way a lot lately, trying to make the big decision about where I want to go from here. Do I want to stay in my field, even if it means moving someplace that is not my choice? Or do I move to where I want to be and do something totally different? I need to start focusing on the WHY!! Maybe that will lead me to where I want and need to be. I also used to do something that I borrowed from a former co-worker that has been sorely missed in my life. Every day she simply made a list. Two lists actually. One was easy -- "To Do." The other, not so much. "Ta Da." Yes, a daily reminder of something good for the day. Why is it so much easier to identify things that need to be done and much more difficult to scrounge up at least one good thing about the day? So, I have made it a goal to revive these daily lists.

Back to the topic of blogs... (BTW, I think the article I read about motherhood ADHD is accurate!) I have also been really enlightened and snapped into realizing how lucky I am by reading some blogs. Really, even with some health concerns, I have a beautful healthy child. I have been moved to tears by stories of heartache over sick and deceased children. My mom was widowed (with three kids) at 21 and always remained close to her late husband's family. She always said it must be the hardest thing in the world to lose a child. After reading so many stories, I must agree. So, I have become increasingly grateful for a little boy that came into the world on his own terms and has forced me to embrace his stubbornness.

Before I go off to make a list for today, I have to share one thing. I completely forgot about one of the things that drives me mad in my pet peeve list. If I want to make a cup of tea, I boil just enough water. For some reason my husband and mom (who are terribly alike and dirve each other and me crazy because of it) will boil a whole kettle of water. It is irritating because, of course, it only means you must wait even longer for the dang water to boil. Aaaaand -- there's always an and if I get really gripy -- I have to pour out a whole stinkin' pot of water the next time I use the kettle. I don't know why I find that simple action so frustrating. I just do ok? Why? Because I'm the mommy. Just not a "mommy blogger!"

Monday, August 8, 2011

Life and Death

I attended a lecture this morning about gravestones. It was a strange day to do so, as I have recently been inundated by thoughts of death. There is the "body count," the nickname I have given to the Baltimore newscast, and various other brutal killings on the national news. Seeing photos of the Navy SEALS that perished....heroes who died valiantly defending our freedom...left me with a sadness, but at least with the consolation that they died proud. I also learned of the death of one of my classmates over the weekend. I didn't know him well, but I do remember him as a cool guy. A guy whose life should not have ended in a bar fight. There was also the terrible news that another classmate of mine took his own life recently, leaving behind a beautiful family. Oh, and how I can I forget the abundance of posts on the memorial facebook page from my high school. Just sad.

Then there's life. My life has been pretty topsy turvy lately. I still feel like I am doing my best to get going and stay going. Looking for stability, which has eluded me the past few years. Wondering if I have made the right decisions. Trying not to have regrets. Trying to be thankful for the good things. I have a lot going on right now. Work, toddler, a trip out West, and (of course) trying to figure it out what to do next.

I am struggling with whether it is a good idea to go out West. The reality is, though, that I need it. I need some mountain air. I need some clarity. I'll regret it if I don't. Ugh. Why is life so hard? Can't complain, though. It's better than death.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Is the Universe a Little Off?

So, this past week has been some kind of crazy. My mom is visiting, which has thrown our schedule just a litle bit off. Aside from that, it has jst seemed like everything is a bit weird. Like our car deciding to die over the weekend, L replacing the part, it not working, then we thought it was working, but then it died. On the way to work. In the middle of the road on a day when it seemed like the traffic report took up more of the news than Casey Anthony's whereabouts, the blasted heat and the debt crisis put together. We did manage to get it outta the way (thanks to some nice MPs -- it was near a Naval Academy gate) and is now being fixed. Things have also been weird at work. Some really fun stuff, some really frustrating stuff, but just some weird. Like nobody coming in during the day and then a rush at closing time. Like I said, just a little off-kilter.

Needless to say, with all this weirdness, I haven't had much time to check in here. So, it will be my goal for the next few weeks. We will soon head out on our annual trek out West, so that should give me something to look forward to...or stress about...or both. We shall see.

Take care and stay cool, everyone!