Random Thoughts: Uh-Oh?

Flora is officially a “student of soccer”. “Just like I’m a student at school,” she told me. I’m pretty sure that this term was introduced by one of the many coaches at the U6 (under 6) soccer clinic we attended on Saturday. Although it is possible she came up with it herself. She is smart.

I don’t really know what else she learned on Saturday. She looked like she was doing very well out there, although she has to learn not to touch the ball with her hands.

I spent the hour+ chasing Kate on the sidelines. Er, “playing soccer” with Kate on the sidelines. And, man-o-schevitz, am I out of shape.


Dan, when he saw I had purchased two soccer balls from Dick’s Sporting Goods (one is purple), asked, “Why two?” Because I can’t walk into a store and just buy for one. The crying/whinging would not be worth it.


Kate “helped” me wash dishes the other day. (Score: Mama, 15; Kate, 1 Glass.) I put on Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” to help make it fun.

Kate knows the whole intro. You know, “Whoa-hoa-hoa, caught in a bad romance; whoa-whoa-hoa, caught in a bad romance. Rah-rah, ah-ah-ah, roh-ma roh-mama, ga-ga ooh-la-la, want your bad romance.” Sings it shaking her little hiney, bopping her head.

She is so totally my daughter. (Although she thinks the song is about bad robots.)


I am still trying to figure out what “grudgingly” pooping looks like. I’m sure I’ll get an up-close and personal demostration real soon.


It kills me that I get emails like this: “Kate grudgingly pooped twice on the potty today. We’re trying to make a big deal out of it but I’m not sure that she cares either way.”


Just, please, let this be the beginning of the end of diapers.

I May Have to Cancel My Subscription

Flora has become fascinated by my Rolling Stones magazines. Interestingly, many of the covers lately have been of half-naked men (John Mayer, Li’l Wayne, and Sean White). The others have been a stark YOU IDIOTS in red on a black field; Jimi Hendrix; and Clapton and Beck (Jeff, not Hansen) (thankfully, neither of them shirtless).

She had a few questions, leading them: “Are these people dead?”

Um, no. Well, he is (pointing to Hendrix). He was a great rock’n’roll guitarist. He set the bar for guitar playing, actually.

“Is that why he died?”

Er, no. He died because he took too many illegal drugs.

“What are illegal drugs?”

Drugs you don’t get from your doctor.

“What about these other people?”

He (Mayer) wrote that song you like, “Waiting on the World to Change”. (But he’s a douchebag, so I’m feeling ambivalent about being a fan as of late.)
He (Li’l Wayne) is a rapper, and he’s going to jail for doing something illegal.

“What’s illegal?”

Against the law.

“What’s law?”

Rules the government has.

He (White) is an Olympic-medal snowboarder.

“Cool… What’s Olympic? What’s snowboarding?”

The explanation to this was a bit long, and involved a Curious George book. But she knows what snow-boarding is now. I think she’s still a little iffy on the Olympics. (I’m sorry, we didn’t watch them ’round the clock around here. The hockey gold-medal round was about it.)

I’m really not looking forward to the cover I get with a half-naked woman on it. That’s going to be a tough one. Because I’m pretty sure once I explain who she is (for example, Lady Gaga), I’m going to have to explain why she’s not wearing any clothes.

Music, Please

I have a long week of typing at work — we are paginating the new catalog, and typing paginations to a copy writer is like data entry to whomever does data entry. When I get to rote typing, I need good music. And I am at the point where I need some new stuff for my iPod.

A few guidelines:

1. Should be pretty rocking and/or upbeat.
2. I like a lot of different kinds of music, but here’s what I don’t like: classic rock; classical music (I’m completely uncultured in my husband’s eyes); reggae; jam bands; death metal; heavy metal; soul music.
3. My current top ten artists: Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Wilco, Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Green Day, Pearl Jam, The Raconteurs, Sheryl Crow, M.I.A.

Hit me with your best shot.

Lost: Ab Aeterno

So I was so gobsmacked that my blog had had more than 1500 hits (and more than 60 comments) in 24 hours, I pretty much forgot to post about LOST. (And the numbers on that post keep going up. Wonder if any of them will come back. Thanks, WordPress, for painting a big red bullseye on my blog.)


And yet another amazing, amazing episode. The Story of Richard, wherein we dive further into the mystery of the Island, and of its two longest running residents, Jacob and MIB. (Can’t call him Not Locke in this one, because he didn’t have Locke’s form. for the most part.) (Speaking of forms MiB’s is very pleasing to my eye.)

The religious symbolism and allegory continue to deepen. Richard is reading Luke 4 in his cell when the priest comes in. Dan and I promptly dived for our Bible. Luke 4 is about Christ’s temptation in the desert, and the beginning of his public ministry.

Can I take an aside here to point out the timeliness of this plot line? First: It’s Lent, and Lent is kicked off with Luke 4 (in the Catholic church, anyway). Wherein Jesus goes into the desert to be tempted by the devil. We see temptation all over Lost this season too. Usually in the form of the MiB/Not Locke asking, “What do you want?” or commenting about people he’s lost and crazy moms.

He has a persuasive nature, our MiB. Tell him what you want, the premise being that he can get it for you. Although, we never actually hear him say that. Sayid says that he’ll never see the only thing he’s ever cared for (Nadia); Not Locke says, “What if you could?” He never explicitly tells Sawyer he’s taking people off the Island; MiB just says he’s going.

The other timely issue: the availability of health care. We see Ricardus riding through the pouring rain to the doctor’s house, a half-day’s journey away. Ricardus is treated with scorn, told the doctor’s not going anywhere, and told he doesn’t have enough money for medicine. I wonder how much starker this timeline would have seemed if that law hadn’t passed Sunday night. (Okay, I’m done. Really.)

There is no denying that this episode was steeped in Christian symbolism: baptism, wine, the afterlife. It makes me wonder even more if MiB is Esau to Jacob’s Jacob — maybe not literally (or, as it was put in an e-mail to me yesterday, “Yeah, I’m Jacob… from the Bible!”). Another compelling mythology of the Island can be based in Egyptian lore (shout out to Chris-friend-of-Brandon for the link).

[This post has been interrupted by upkeep on the insanity in the number of comments on my Tuesday post. I finally closed comments. Peeps, I’m not the problem, okay? Go rally and rage elsewhere. Thank you.]

[Additionally, I haven’t gotten a full 8 hours of sleep… since I don’t remember when. Saturday night maybe — more than 5 years ago. So I’m going to wrap this up, and write about my adorable children tomorrow.]

Here is my favorite part of the Richard episode: Jacob kicks the crap out of Ricardus, who has been sent by the MiB to kill Jacob — in exchange for seeing his wife again (there’s that temptation theme). Then Jacob dunks Ricardus/Richard in the ocean (symbolic baptism) and shares wine with him (symbolic Last Supper?). Then Richard says, “Why don’t you help them?” asking about the people that Jacob (cruelly) strands on the Island, again and again.

And Jacob looks like the idea never occurred to him. Like, “Huh. That’s an idea. I could do something more than just test them — maybe give them a guide, a guardian. Wonder if this guy is up for the job.”

Walla — Richard explained.

The breaking of the wine bottle at the very end of the episode seemed pretty ominous to me. MiB doesn’t just want to pop the cork — he wants to break the whole thing. It seems that would have some pretty radical consequences for the rest of us.


Holy cats!

Where did all you people come from? My stats went through the roof, and I have more than 50 comments! That’s crazy — I mean, for some bloggers, even “mommy” bloggers (hate that term) it may be par for the course. But otherwise: insane.

Anyhoo, I haven’t looked at or responded to anything since 9 p.m. last night: LOST, doctor’s appointments, work, etc., etc. I probably won’t respond to each and every comment, either.

Overall, I stand by the three things that lead me to support healthcare reform that I mentioned yesterday. I just think it’s the right, civilized thing for our country to do. I haven’t wavered in that through all my research.

Also: I understand the concerns about costs and federally mandated rules, I do. I just don’t share those concerns — they are not as overarching for me as what I just wrote. That may prove to be short-sighted. Time will tell.

I will emphasize these three points: It is not a government takeover of healthcare. Federal dollars will not be used to pay for abortions (this was important to me, too). And there are many aspects of the bill that go into effect immediately and within the first year.

Now if you will excuse me, I’m going to slog through my comments to see if I need to remove anyone from the pool. Differences of opinion, as long as they are not made in an inappropriate way, will stand.

After all, if we were all the same, life would be boring.

Why I Support Health Care Reform

Again, I’m not much about writing about political issues, but this has been on my mind (and on the news) a lot. I’ve done a lot of homework on this issue; I want to be informed about it. You know, in case I have to defend my position at Easter dinner with the ILs.

1. Extending health care to 32 million Americans without it. This, without a doubt, is the biggest reason I support reform. No one should have to worry about medical care, should have to make a choice between medication and food, should have to debate going to a doctor or an emergency room. And 32 million isn’t even everyone! But it’s way more people than are covered now.

2. The end of denying coverage for a pre-existing condition. The end of canceling coverage if someone gets sick.

3. The options that will be extended to un- and under-insured people. If I lose my job, I will be able to find options that will cover my family. If Dan, as a small business owner, decides to hire someone, he can provide insurance for him/her — with a tax incentive to do so even!

Those are pretty much the big three.

I know it’s a complex issue, and I can appreciate that. My chica Misfit Hausfrau posted a straightforward break-down link on her Facebook page, and I am shamelessly stealing it.

Why do you support or not support reform? I’m willing to talk about this under these conditions: the conversation doesn’t devolve into propaganda, lies, and/or name-calling. Play nice in the comments.

Updated: I am cautiously opening up comments again. Please read carefully through what is there; don’t just react to my title. I closed the comments yesterday because I think everything that needs to be said, on either side, that can still be said without devolving into insults, has been said. I probably won’t be responding to comments, either. I’m unused to this kind of traffic, and it’s been awfully time-consuming to respond to 50, 75 people! I got kids to look after!

If I keep getting comments from people making the same arguments, I’m just going to close comments again. There are people who agree with me and people who don’t. A couple of commenters skate close to the line on what I would call civil debate. Don’t cross it. I’ll toss your comment. This is my personal blog, and I won’t tolerate spewing rudeness. People have differing opinions, and we’re not likely to change each others’ minds. Deal with it.


Kate had a tough weekend.

Kate is trying to figure things out, and testing her boundaries in a big (and rather relentless) way. I mean, it’s pretty bad if she’s hiding under the table at a restaurant and hitting Pap-pap. Otherwise, aggressive behavior and pushing her big sister’s buttons (not to mention her mommy’s) are par for the course.

She decided she wanted to wear big girl underwear, but also decided to poop in it instead of going on the potty.

She said no. A lot.

She had tantrums and melt downs and was generally cranky.

Kate missed my nephews’ birthday party (Saturday) and didn’t get to go to the toy store (Sunday).

On the plus side, she spent a lot of time outside and was too tired to wake up in the middle of the night. She adopted worms and rode her scooter. She got a lot of one-on-one time with daddy (on Saturday) and mommy (on Sunday).

I don’t know if she is old enough to internalize what she missed and try to behave better (yet). She’s only 3. (Only 290 days to go!) I do know that enforcing boundaries is hard work. With Flora, it’s getting her to listen and getting her to finish a task. With Kate, it’s… everything.

We work hard to let her control what she can control. But I think we work harder in making it clear what she cannot control and what our expectations are. When she pushes boundaries and buttons, we try to respond reasonably and consistently. As the cliche goes, we try to pick our battles, and when it’s overwhelming (at least for me), I give myself a time out.

It’s the only way we’re going to survive.


I am doing two fundraising events this year.

The first is the March of Dimes March for Maddie. I’ll have the privilege to walk with the Pittsburgh team that I (and my two girls) walked with last year.

My personal goal is to get $250 to add to the pot. It’s not much, but every little bit counts. You can donate here, at my March of Dimes page.

The second event is a new one for me, Walk Now for Autism Speaks. My husband first did this about two years ago — I don’t think he did it last year. I’m hoping we can do it as a family this year.

If you are interested, I would love to start a Pittsburgh bloggers team. I’d like to call it Pittsburgh Bloggers for A Boy. (I’ll explain later, and frankly, I probably need permission to do that.) With the rates of autism at 1 in every 166 children, it’s likely that you know someone on the spectrum, whether a friend or family member.


In both of these cases — premature infants and autism — my family has not been directly affected. My children, my girls, are healthy and what is called “normal” by society. (Gabriel was not premature, he wasn’t even at risk. He died for unknown and, probably, unknowable reasons.)

But Dan works with families whose lives have been touched by these factors. I have friends with children who are on the spectrum.

I can’t do much. Love, acceptance, support. And show my love, my support, for these families and my friends and their families.

If you want to come out, information about the Pittsburgh team for Maddie is here. (Maddie is Madeline Spohr, who was premature, and who died last year, at 17 months. Her mother writes, movingly, at The Spohrs are Multiplying.)

If you are interested in being on a team for Autism Speaks, let me know in the comments (or shoot me an email at albamaria30 [at] verizon [dot] net. I’ll start a team.

And then I’ll start harassing you all on Twitter and Facebook to donate to these worthy causes. You’ve been warned!