I’m An Unconscious Plagiarizer

31 12 2010

I published a post about two hours ago and my brain felt agitated.  Like I had a small sore on my gum so my tongue just had to keep pushing, pushing, pushing at it.  What was that tickle in the back of my brain?

Holy… I might have just plagiarized someone.  Read a blog, read a blog, read a blog….  C’mon THINK.  I read something, she used the word awesome, she made fun of herself for using it… Oh No, I just did the same thing with the word stellar.

I didn’t mean to.  Stellar popped into my brain.  Then a voice making fun of me popped into my brain.  (That is often how it works in there – I know, there is medication I should be taking.)  I found it funny.  I wrote it down.  I edited multiple times.  I published it.  I went for a walk.  A third voice in my brain broke through… I think it was being held down and gagged by the other two voices for the past couple of hours.

The third voice said, “Hey, don’t be a plagiarizer or you won’t have any cyber-friends.”

If you had asked me an hour ago how much time I had spent reading blogs in the past few days I would have said… “Me, I have been way to busy for that.  Maybe a few minutes.”

However, I just had to quickly scan through all the blog posts I read in the last few days and I have to say… it was way more than a few minutes worth.

But, I found it.  The person I UNCONSCIOUSLY copied off of.  (No, not in high school – I never cheated in high school, Sister Agnes Joesph, I swear.)

A huge apology to Tonggu Momma. I did not mean to steal your… well, what did I steal?  your self-deprecating humor?  I guess the voices in my head want to be like the voices in your head.  I apologize for them, for all of them.


Best Children’s Book Ever

31 12 2010

There are two things you need to know about me to understand this post.

The first is what a typical visit to our library looks like.  Our library is stellar. And I haven’t used that word since the 90’s so you know I must really mean it.  It is super kid-friendly including having a play kitchen, doll house and barn, puppet theater, etc…  With all these interesting toys and activities, what is Little Dude’s favorite thing to do at the library?  He runs through the board book section to the back door, pushes the handicapped access button and exits the building.

Despite this bad behavior and the embarrassment it causes me as I go sprinting past the other parents with well-behaved children, we still go at least once a week.

My kids’ modus operandi at the library is “divide and conquer.”  If Little Dude wants to play with the kitchen, PJ wants to be across the room at the puzzle desk.  If PJ wants to play with the puppets, Little Dude wants to drink from the water fountain.  Everything I do at the library is filled with a sense of urgency and the need for another set of eyes or a nanny.  So, the way we choose books is:  1)  Because one of the kids has pulled the book off a shelf and placed it in the stroller without me noticing, 2)  I can see the book has people of color in it so I throw it in the stroller or, 3)  It is an author we know we like (I am sure you all know Tafuri and also Henkes – two of our favorites).

I will at some point fill an entire post with bad books I have chosen at the library.  Recently, we picked one with a theme about the first days of school integration (remember that I don’t read the title, I just look at the cover art).  The book was aimed at toddlers and included the things that people shouted at small children back in the glory days of race relations. Hmmmm…

But sometimes we get really, really lucky.  And that leads me to the second thing you might want to know about me…  I am not a fan of subtlety.

I know there are learning theories explaining that people retain information and skills better if they actually figure them out themselves.  Working for information helps you to better understand and remember it.  I, however, come from a public relations background.  Speech writing 101 – tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them.  Also, I managed a lot of young, emotional staff members for many years.  Management 101 – tell them the rules, write down the rules, make them sign a sheet of paper with the rules on it, fire their asses when they break the rules watch them succeed as they follow the rules.  No room for misunderstanding or interpretation.

Knowing these two things about me you can imagine how lucky I feel that I found…



Yes, I am using all caps in an effort to shout at you.

Get this book.  Buy this book.  Read this book.

As I have mentioned in the past, Little Dude is not into reading, yet.  He will rarely sit through a book.  He immediately LOVED this book.  He picks it out time and time again.  He sits through the whole thing.  He especially loves the page with photos of kids hugging.  It makes him hug himself, or me, or his sister, or his dad.  (He tends to punctuate his hugs with a growling noise these days… stellar.)

And the best part is when we get to the last page.  We all put our hands on it.  You will want to do this with your kids.  It will make your heart happy.

In closing I would just like to say, that I told you I was going to tell you about a book (Shades of People).  I told you about a book (Shades of People).  And you might want to remember, Shades of People.

Staging the photo for a blog post - Little Dude refuses to use his hand. Aren't his toes covered in a grey sock (at the top of the photo) the cutest? I think if we gave PJ much more time we might all be seeing her flip us the bird.

Because I am never satisfied with a picture until either one of my kids or my husband is crying or yelling at me.

Wordless Wednesday

29 12 2010

The Whole World In My Hands – Fun Size

28 12 2010

A collection of things I thought about this week, brought to you in “fun size” packages (because my thoughts are not profound enough for full size or king size posts).

PJisms – Jeopardy Style

#1  Answer:  Opie Murder

#1  Question:  What is a hot breakfast cereal and currently her favorite meal?


#2  Answer:  Opieada

#2  Question:  Where was Little Dude born?


#3  Answer:  Zeddie Bones

#3  Question:  What did SAG want for lunch the other day, so we needed to remember to buy them at the grocery store?


(#1 Oatmeal, #2 Ethiopia, #3 Veggie Dogs – we have a cat named Zed so you can imagine how confused I was by this one.)


The Dog Whisperer

All day long, our dog follows me around from room to room frequently falling asleep under random pieces of furniture.  During nap time he helps me put both kids to bed.  This means he often gets locked in a bedroom where a toddler is sleeping.  When he wakes up and wants to come out he goes to the door and barks, one time, really, really quietly so that the sleeping toddler is not disturbed.  How cool is that?  He is the dog whisperer.


The Whole World In My Hands

When I first started dating SAG back in the dark ages mid-80’s he only shopped at upscale, specialty stores.  He had never been inside a TJMaxx.  Thank goodness I was able to show him the error of his ways.

After more than 20 years of training, the guy is now a superior bargain shopper.  And that is why I do not have to feel guilty at all about my new-to-me, supposedly-blemished-but-we-can’t-find-it, $50 iphone.

I am slightly intimidated by the thing, but I love maps.  So today I was messing with the maps application.  My fingers allowed me to fly around the world and zero in on Ethiopia.  I was able to locate both the Addis Ababa hotel I stayed in and our agency’s care center right next door – both clearly labeled – on MY phone.  So cool.

Where’s Frosty’s Face?

27 12 2010

This was the first Christmas in many, many years that we had NO plans.  It was just us and the kids.  This was my choice, sort of.

In the past we have traveled from the west coast to the mid-west usually every-other-year.  On alternating years we would celebrate the holiday with friends in Oregon.

Right up until a few weeks ago we were assuming we would go to my parents for Christmas.  It is a 13-hour drive, much of which is up the east side of Lake Michigan (think “Lake Effect” snow by the foot). But it was just what we both planned to do.  After all, what is Christmas without family and friends and a crowded dinner table, right?

We went to my sister’s for T-day (my Mom and Dad were there as well).  Then my Mom came back to Missouri with us for the following week.  Then she drove back with the kids and I to Chicago where I proceeded to stay for the next week to take care of my sister’s boys.  By then it was December 11th, and I made the executive decision that we would be staying home for the foreseeable future.  Home, where routine reigns and toddlers sleep in the appropriate beds at the appropriate times.

With no friends (or family) in town it was hard to anticipate how things would play out.  Would we both end up depressed because, really, who spends the holidays alone?  Turns out WE are a family, duh, seems like I might realise this by now.  And if alone means two adults, two toddlers, one parrot, one dog and three cats, well alone is quite a crowd and certainly does not equal lonely.

Of course it helped that Mother Nature tried to make it a special weekend as well.  Thursday night brought four inches of snow to our part of the country.  We went to bed with green grass and brown trees and woke up in a world of white.  That much snow makes you slow down, whether you want to or not.

SAG needed to get some work done Friday so I took the kids out of the house and we ran errands most of the morning.  Then I put all their new snow clothes on and we headed outside.  Poor Little Dude couldn’t really keep his balance with all the ridiculous layers, but as always he was a gamer.  He would just tip over, get stuck, we would pick him up and he would keep trying.

In the late afternoon it was time for SAG to assume Daddy duty as I had promised to cook our Christmas Eve meal (like a white elephant Christmas gift – you just don’t know what you are going to get.)  He bundled the kids back up and headed outside.  Little Dude decided fairly quickly that he had had enough and decided to join me inside.  It is just fine with me if Mr. Independence wants to spend a little time acting like a Mama’s boy, I will lap up every second of it.

Little Dude was following me around “helping” with laundry and food prep.  Our Christmas tree lights were reflected in the dining room window.  Beyond the lights I could hear and see PJ and SAG sledding on the small hill in our side yard.  It was enough like a 1950’s holiday special to make you tear up (or puke if holiday hokiness isn’t your thing.)

I popped Little Dude in the Pack-N-Play trying to avoid any emergency room visits, and tried to focus on my Creole Stew (sounds better than it tasted – although that might not be the case with a different chef at the stove.)  I noticed it was getting dark.  Then I noticed it was dark.  Then I noticed again how dark it had been and for how long.  I couldn’t imagine what SAG and PJ were doing.  Once I logically eliminated the possibility of them both being simultaneously run over by a car,right outside our door, in complete silence, I got back to cooking.  I am the type of cook who needs to concentrate if there is any hope at all.

Eventually I heard rustling followed by PJ’s voice outside the kitchen door.  I opened the door to hear her ask, “Where’s Frosty’s Face, Mommy?”

They had made a snowman and needed a face.  Fortunately the stuffed peppers SAG was making for Christmas dinner called for real carrots, so we had some on hand.  I decided peanut butter filled pretzels would make the right size eyes.  Then I went in search of a hat.

Frosty may be stuck in Missouri just like the rest of our family, but clearly he is a University of Oregon fan.  Go Ducks.

So Be Good For Goodness Sake

24 12 2010

I have five posts half written.  But it seems to me that they are all more naughty than nice.  (And can I just say that I hate the fact that the word naughty has been so co-opted by the porn industry that you can’t even say it without it sounding dirty.)  They are not dirty, just snarky, or a bit too sad for today.

So I decided to post pictures of our Hallway-Cat-Pee-Solstice-Tree decorated.  And no my husband did NOT help me get the decorations out of the attic.  Although he offered (right after reading this post.)

We bought new lights (the kids broke the other two strands I had out).  And while shopping for lights I decided to have a theme tree.  The theme – unbreakable.  So we bought a lot a few boxes of new, unbreakable ornaments.  I only bought in red and silver – so there is also a color theme.  The ornaments went a long way, possibly because we really only had to decorate two sides of the tree.

The tree is NOT big, nor is the hallway.  It is amazing how shooting with a telephoto lens in a small house can make things look much bigger than they are.

Wordless Wednesday

22 12 2010