Saturday, April 29, 2006

Making Mom Cry On Her Birthday

Dear Mom,
You are the best mom a daughter could ask for. I don't know what will happen without you or what I will do without you. Your smile shines like a hundred suns brightening up the day. I love you. Your heart is as big as your mind and your mind is as big as your heart.
Love, Allison

Friday, April 28, 2006

34 Wishes...

Because it's more fun sharing, and I don't plan on blowing out any candles today! I am not sure if I will come up with 34, but here we go! In no particular order except for the randomness of my own mind:

I Wish~

1. To have someone else get the kids ready for school.
2. To be as excited about my birthday as my children are about it.
3. To be kissed 34* times. :-) *Bonus: in 34 places...
4. To be serenaded by a friend.
5. To look back fondly over the past year at how I've grown.
6. To look back fondly over the past year at how I've not grown.
7. To look ahead and get excited over the possibility.
8. Peace in the Middle East.
9. For George Bush and his ilk to live as Buddhists for 24 hours.
10. For everyone to use the possible "gas rebate" for a more worthy cause.
11. A Pedicure.
12. A backrub.
13. My clean laundry pile to miraculously disappear from the foot of my bed.
14. Birthday sex. (Duh!)
15. No borders.
16. To read more.
17. To meditate more.
18. To take that step.
19. To see how far I can take this podcasting thing.
20. well as continue to help this one flourish.
21. To help form a stronger third political party in the United States.
22. For everyone to do their part to slow down global warming.
23. Yes people, it does exist.
24. Just ask this guy.
25. For someone to know that Truth Seekers is still a safe place for him.
26. ...and that his absence is felt.
27. Birthday sex.
28. To shake Amy Goodman's hand.
29. To get to Ontario in September.
30. To get my nephews here at Christmas.
31. Yes, my California nephew too!
32. As well as all attached parents.
33. #12
34. #14

OK, I was hurting for ideas at the end. Well then, Happy Birthday to me! I guess I'd better get to bed so I'm not a total grump on this day!

Some Perspective for Today..

Today's Outlook: It's a relatively easy day with no major planetary aspects, but we can all benefit from the peace and quiet of today's Taurus Moon. Sometimes we are kept so busy by the planets that we can't even hear our own inner voice. Now, however, we can pick up subtle messages from within that we have been too distracted to hear. We truly want to get back to basics, concerning ourselves with simple acts and simple pleasures. Use the energy of the day wisely in practical and sensible ways.

TAURUS (Apr 20 - May 20): You might be overly concerned with how you look today. Taking time to wear something that makes you feel good can help get the day off to a proper start, but remember, it's not just about physical appearances. Your beauty needs to extend beneath the skin, so get in touch with your inner self. If you can clearly express your heart, you just might get what you need.

And My Moon:
SCORPIO (Oct 23 - Nov 22): Although you like it when life is complex, now you are searching for the simplest pleasures. There's nothing complicated about wanting to be close to the person you love or appreciating a satisfying meal, a hot bath and restful sleep. If it were really that straightforward for you, all would be so easy. Today the little things can be just enough.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Best Mom's Day Plea I've Seen Yet!

Mom's the word
The woman shelved her movie-star dreams to change your putrid diapers. This Mother's Day, send her a sonnet.

By Garrison Keillor

Apr. 26, 2006 | I'd like a word with you about your mother, and I want you to read this column all the way to the end, otherwise I will slap you so hard your head will spin.

I realize that Mother's Day is a fake holiday perpetuated by the greeting card industry and the florists, but it's here to stay, so make the best of it. The president is a fake, too, but we still pay our taxes. And it's time you did something nice for your mother.

I bring this up well in advance of Mother's Day so you can plan a little bit and not roll out of the sack on SUNDAY, MAY 14, and fritter away the morning and then dash over to Mom's and on the way pick up a cheap box of chocolate-covered cherries at the gas station, or a gallon of windshield cleaner, or whatever you were planning to give her.

Cheap chocolates are not appropriate for your mother, nor is a bouquet of daisies marked down 50 percent at the convenience store. What you owe your mother is a sonnet. A 14-line poem, in iambic pentameter, rhymed, just like Shakespeare's "When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state." Look it up. You can do it, if you try.

Your mother loves you, she has loved you from Day 1, she loves you on your good days and your bad. She was on her way to Broadway and Hollywood was taking a look at her when your father got her in a family way and she put glamour and fame behind her and had you instead. Think about it. All that pain, and then out you came, not the high point of her day, believe me.

She changed your poopy diaper when the stench was such as to make strong men dizzy. And when you hopped up and ran off, leaving a brown trail behind you, she mopped that up, too. At a certain age, you put everything into your mouth -- dirt, coins, small toys, cufflinks -- and when she stuck a finger down your throat, you refused to vomit. Nothing would come up. All she could do was pour Listerine in you and hope for the best. But if she tried to coax you to eat green leafy material, then you would throw up quarts of stuff. And she'd clean it up and take you in her arms and comfort you although your breath was rancid.

You were not a bright child. I realize that you think you were in the accelerated group, and that was your mother's doing. Her great accomplishment was to protect you from the knowledge of your own ordinariness. The rest of us knew. You didn't. Nor did you realize the extent of your bed-wetting. Three a.m., you sat in a stupor, while Mom changed your urine-soaked sheets, tucked you in and sang you to sleep with "If Ever I Would Leave You" from "Camelot."

She loved you through the dark valley of your adolescence, when you were as charming as barbed wire. You surrounded yourself with sullen friends who struck your mother as incipient criminals. Her beloved child, her darling, her shining star, running with teenage jihadists, but she bit her tongue and served them pizza and sloppy Joes, ignoring the explosives taped to their chests.

When you were 17, when other adults found you unbearable and even your own aunts and uncles looked at you and saw the decline of American civilization and the coming of a dark age of arrogant narcissism unprecedented in world history, your mother still loved you with all her heart. She loves you still today, despite all the wrong choices you've made. Don't get me started. Go write your mother a sonnet.

It costs you nothing except some time and effort. Do not buy her chocolate. She doesn't care for it. She only pretended to, for your sake. Do not take her out to dinner. She has eaten plenty of dinners with you and one more isn't going to be that thrilling. She might prefer to snuggle up in a chair all by herself and watch "Singin' in the Rain" and have a stiff drink. (You do know your mother drinks, don't you? Ever wonder why?)

Get out a sheet of paper and a pencil. Here's an idea for a first line: "When I was disgraceful and a complete outcast." You take it from there.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

(Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" can be heard Saturday nights on public radio stations across the country.)

© 2006 by Garrison Keillor. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services Inc.

Bill Maher on Birthday Greetings

New Rule:
Sending someone a birthday e-card doesn't count. If you can't
get your s*** together enough to go to Sav-On and pick out an actual
physical birthday card, don't bother. I'm not expecting Hallmark. I know
you don't care enough to send the "very best," but just don't send the
very worst. Or else, when you die, I'll be forced to deliver an e-eulogy.

Feeling Lyrical..

"Through The Dark"
KT Tunstall

As I walk away
I look over my shoulder
To see what I'm leaving behind

Pieces of puzzles
Wishes on eyelashes fade

How do I show all the love
Inside my heart

Well this is all new
And I'm feeling my way through the dark

And I used to talk
With honest conviction
Of how I predicted my world
I'm gonna leave it to to star gazers
Tell me what your telescope says

Oh what is in store for me now?
It's coming apart

I know that it's true
'cause I'm feeling my way through the dark

Try to find a light on somewhere
Try to find a light on somewhere
I'm finding I'm falling in love with the dark, oh yeah

Oh what do I know I don't care
Where I start

For my troubles are few
As I'm feeling my way through the dark
Through the dark

I'm feeling my way through the dark

Sunday, April 23, 2006


I think awhile of Love, and while I think,
Love is to me a world,
Sole meat and sweetest drink,
And close connecting link
Tween heaven and earth.

I only know it is, not how or why,
My greatest happiness;
However hard I try,
Not if I were to die,
Can I explain.

I fain would ask my friend how it can be,
But when the time arrives,
Then Love is more lovely
Than anything to me,
And so I'm dumb.

For if the truth were known, Love cannot speak,
But only thinks and does;
Though surely out 'twill leak
Without the help of Greek,
Or any tongue.

A man may love the truth and practise it,
Beauty he may admire,
And goodness not omit,
As much as may befit
To reverence.

But only when these three together meet,
As they always incline,
And make one soul the seat,
And favorite retreat,
Of loveliness;

When under kindred shape, like loves and hates
And a kindred nature,
Proclaim us to be mates,
Exposed to equal fates

And each may other help, and service do,
Drawing Love's bands more tight,
Service he ne'er shall rue
While one and one make two,
And two are one;

In such case only doth man fully prove
Fully as man can do,
What power there is in Love
His inmost soul to move

Two sturdy oaks I mean, which side by side,
Withstand the winter's storm,
And spite of wind and tide,
Grow up the meadow's pride,
For both are strong

Above they barely touch, but undermined
Down to their deepest source,
Admiring you shall find
Their roots are intertwined

~Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Breaking in a new van- literally

So there she is... well minus the roof rack. I call her my "government issue" vehicle, solely because it's black. After replacing a water pump on the old Bush-bashing mobile, and being told that more repairs on the old girl are in the near future, we decided we had to let her go, rather than continuing to spend more than what she was worth. Just after the 150k mark too- not bad for a '96 Honda. She was good to us, and it sounds silly but she will be missed. My first mini-van! BTW, for anyone who is going to sell a car in the future, I have one word: Craigslist. I put an ad up Monday evening, and 4 hours later she was sold. Amazing, and we didn't take too much less than what we asked! (and no we were not sneaky, the new owner knows exactly what could be in store for him.)

Now those who know my husband, should not be surprised that we got a new vehicle so quickly. The second he knew we would have to retire her, so went the process of finding out what our options were. I tried to gently coax him into waiting until after our Disneyland trip (more on that later), but after seeing him come home from work one night with papers over an inch thick of his research, I submitted and just went with it.

Of course I'm not complaining- it's a sweet ride. Driving to LA was the maiden voyage of the Starship Cutler, and I must say again it's a sweet ride. Got a little new-car-itis at all the cracker crumbs in the back, but still it was all good.

Disney was good, got the same deal as last year. The kids were not initially excited, but that surely changed when we got there! Day one: hot as f**k. 10 degrees warmer than what they said on the weather. So we all fried, and completely wiped ourselves out. Day 2: continuous rain (RAIN-rain, not light drizzle.) all day. I tell you, that didn't deter us or the rest of California- it was packed! A sea of plastic ponchos! Even *I*, who loves loves LOVES the rain, was pretty much done two hours after we got there. And who got the colds? Bret and I. LOL! Uncle Rob also met us for the rain day, the girls just loved having him there! Day 3: perfect. We stayed late for the fireworks and proceeded to freak out Samantha. It's quite a show! Drive home was most certainly quiet and uneventful as everyone was wiped out.

So, yesterday. I go off to meet a new friend I made on Ryze for lunch, in Downtown Tempe. Mistake #1. DT Tempe at lunch time. After driving around the closed parking garage for 1/2 an hour, and seeing all the other cars doing the same thing, I went a 1/4 mile down to an alternate garage (which you have to pay for), and park. I was late, and VERY frustrated (I like to think I'm a "don't sweat the small stuff" person, but really I'm not.). Since I'd never met my lunch date before, I figured she would think I'm a total flake and had stood her up. I pulled into the first space I saw and....

BUMP! Right into the column on the right side of the space. I just sat there for a moment, not believing that just happened. Mistake #2: Danielle should never be allowed to park anywhere there is a post, column, or wall next to the space. A little over a year ago I did the SAME FLIPPING thing in my sister's rental van in California when we were there. Only that damage was much worse.... (yes I can almost laugh at the "woman driver" jokes now). They should have my pic on a poster at every parking garage in the country: DO NOT LET THIS WOMAN PARK HER VEHICLE HERE!

Anywho, I go and park somewhere columnless, get out and look at the dent in my front bumper and the scrapes, and start crying hysterically, calling my husband. I think he must have thought I was dying from the message I left (remember I have a cold and have also lost my voice), because when he called back his first question was "are you all right???" Perhaps this was some subconscious ploy to keep him from flipping out over it.

Looking at it today, it's really not that bad. And it certainly could have been much worse. As a friend said to me, "there is a reason they call them accidents." Yah, I guess so.

So, when I left the bank today to deposit the money from selling the old van, the tears that came out were from hysterical laughter at the spot of fluorescent green gum I had stepped in, then put my foot down on the mat as I got in before noticing it.

Off to grab the nail polish remover and the peanut butter...

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Perception is Everything

Ahhh... definitely something to think about.

Is taking care of your kids a chore or a pleasure?

In last week's New York Times Magazine, Ann Hulbert wrote a thought-provoking essay looking at new research on how Americans interpret time. In it there was a hopeful message for the harried working mom who feels as if her day is chopped into a zillion little pieces: You're not as overworked as you think and you're spending just as much time with your kids as stay-at-home moms did in the 1970s.

The big surprise is that working-age Americans have actually gained between four and eight hours of free time since 1965 (men are working less, and women are doing less housework), according to a working paper on leisure by economists Mark Aguiar and Erik Hurst. And University of Maryland sociologist Suzanne M. Bianchi found that the average working mom in the year 2000 recorded 100 hours a week in "primary child-care time" -- the same as her counterparts 30 years ago. Both researchers studied the 2003 American Time Use Survey done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which follows how Americans spend each hour of their day.

The data is somewhat troublesome, however, because it may reflect different interpretations of what counts for childcare versus leisure time. "How we conceive of child-care time is a puzzle with implications for how we experience it -- not least, whether we end up feeling unusually privileged or besieged," writes Hulbert. For example, in what category do you put attending a child's soccer game? The economists may count it as fun time, whereas a parent may regard it as duty. Also, today's parents may exaggerate their time with their kids because there's so much emphasis on one-on-one interaction. Perhaps "what Americans may now enjoy more of shouldn't be called leisure, with its connotations of ease. Instead it's discretionary time," Hulbert writes.

Whatever the case, Hulbert makes the important point that it's all in how we view things. She questions her own spin on her predawn duty of driving her kid to crew practice. "I'm soon home to enjoy the newspaper in the kitchen, listening to music, with nobody else awake bustling or bothering me. What I wouldn't take the time to explain is that although this sounds like a lovely balance of special solicitude and unexpected solitude (a mother's dream), I seem more susceptible to feeling parental stress than newfound leisure," Hulbert writes. Maybe, she hints, there's a better way to conceptualize our overscheduled lives.

It's just something to think about.

-- Sarah Elizabeth Richards