Friday, December 29, 2006
With the kids off from school, I have to say it's more than a little challenging. It would be so easy to just let them stay home and play with all the toys they just got but somehow I feel like a horrible parent if I don't have something planned every day to at least give them cause to get out of their pajamas.
Yesterday, a friend of mine came over with her two kids and while she and I got to catch up, our kids entertained each other for a few hours. The day before that, I took the girls to one of those indoor playgrounds. And today we are off to the library and then to Grandma's house for a change of scenery.
Somewhere in all of this I have to manage to run an errand or two with sufficient bribery to keep my two five year olds in check. I can see where this gets old very fast!
But I'm actually kind of enjoying it, I have to admit. And my house is certainly cleaner than it's been in a long time. I think we are going on 4 or 5 solid days with no dishes in the sink and no crap on the counter. A fact I felt I needed to point out to my husband who was less than optimistic that the trend would continue into next week when I go back to work. Hmmm. I think I smell a challenge here.
Next week it will be back to the grind with some new changes at work that will hopefully make my job a little more manageable.
But I'm not even thinking about that now (REALLY). I'm off to the library.
Sunday, December 24, 2006
And no sense in really cleaning a bathroom when my two 5 year olds will just destroy it tomorrow. right? (Please say..."right")
Problem is that tomorrow is going to be shot. At 10:30 we have to be at my mother-in-law's church for some Christmasy thing they are putting on (not a pageant...I know what those are... said the Jewish daughter-in-law). Then we are going to another christmasy thing over at Digital Father's church to see his kids in a pageanty thing at 3.
Meanwhile, my mind will be on not the spirit of the season but whether I have all the ingredients for everything I am cooking on Christmas Day. (no offense to Digital Father and his kids who we love!)
Oh, and of course, on what questions the kids will ask related to Christmas. I'm kind of dreading that. I have enough trouble explaining the facets of my own faith to five year olds.
The other day, while waiting for the bus, one of my daughters asked me what it means when someone dies. I felt like deer the headlights because it just came out of nowhere. She is the queen of nonsequiters.
OH, and it was 8:15 in the freakin morning!
So I started with flowers and bugs since I know she's seen dead flowers and bugs...and paused while I hoped and prayed that this was all she needed to feel complete.
No such luck.
HER: "What about people? Why do they die?"
ME: "Well, sometimes people die when they are very very old...and sometimes when they've been very sick. (think think think....how can I explain this to her without scaring her or having her think that everyone is going to die tomorrow?) People's bodies are a little like machines with lots of working parts, and when some of those parts stop working and can't be fixed...then they die."
HER: "And then what happens to them?"
OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD.....WHERE is that BUS??? I was so unprepared for this conversation and it was on a rare morning that my husband didn't come with us to wait for the bus...so I had NO backup.
And did I mention that it was 8:15 in the freakin morning??
ME: "Well, lots of different people believe lots of different things about what happens after you die. And since no one's ever come back to tell me...I'm not really sure, honey. (yes, I realize this was the coward's way out but I was not prepared to debate Heaven with a 5 year old)
HER: "so they go away FOREVER?"
ME: "Yes, but it's ok. You won't have to worry about it for a very long time.... and look, there's your bus!"
HER: "OK, Mommy...BYE"
And yes, I sat in the car for a good three minutes after wondering if this little explanation was going to come back to haunt me later in life when my daughter needs therapy because I didn't provide her with something to believe in.
I can't wait to see what my girls come up with tomorrow!
Friday, December 22, 2006
Nonetheless, I thought this post about and the audacity of perfect strangers and the questions they feel are not too rude to ask was so funny that I nearly did a spit-take.
Please read it here but be forwarned that some of the language may not be appropriate if your boss (or child) happens to be reading over your shoulder.
I've really been thinking about this and the list is pretty lengthy of things I'd like to do to better myself (at least in a 30 day burst) Not that I'm so flawed as to need so much work...well, ok...perhaps I am.
So on the list of things I think I can do for 30 days is:
- Wake up early
- Eat better (as in give up cookies or ice cream or some other item detrimental to my waistline).
- Empty my email inbox (I'm terrible at this now and as a result I constantly get that annoying administrator message at work that says "your mailbox is full").
- And probably a bunch more but these are the ones that make the top of the list.
The problem is that I want to do ALL of these things but I'm smart enough to know that doing them simultaneously is setting myself up for failure.
So which one will I choose? Hmmmm.
I think I'm going to shoot for the exercise thing since I know that this is the thing I need most to incorporate into my life.
Stay tuned. I can't really wrap my brain around this until after Christmas on Monday.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
I went on a little tirade the other day because I wanted to get my girls a new book for the holiday and of course there are about a bazillion Christmas books covering everything from our old friend Santa to Mary in the Manger...and one teeny little shelf of Chanukah books.
And all of them sucked. Either they were picture books with merely pictures of dreidels and menorahs...or they were detailed accounts of the battle of the macabees complete with all this talk of the destruction of the temple. A little too heavy for my five year olds, if you ask me.
Thankfully, someone read my mind and several days later while wandering through the local Barnes and Noble, we stumbled on a book called "Light the Lights! A story about Celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas" by Margaret Moorman If you know anyone who struggles with the challenges of celebrating both holidays, go out right now and buy this book for them. I can guarrantee they will think it is wonderful. There is nothing preachy about it. It simply tells the story of little Emma who's father is Jewish and mother is Christian and how they celebrate the holidays as a family.
It's exactly what I was looking for.
OK. "I’m a smart person, so this is obviously directed at me", I thought.
And boy was it ever.
Read the post at Blogfathers because they did a great job of putting this all in perspective but..He covers everything from How to give up coffee to how to find your life’s purpose. I think the latter is taking things a bit too far but the one that interested me the most was his 30 Days to Success article. The basic premise is you can do anything for 30 days. Want to lose weight? Great, commit to a better diet for 30 days. Want to give up TV ( or watch less)? Great, commit to it for 30 days. I mean who can’t do something for 30 days? It’s not a lifetime commitment. But if it turns into one, then …Great. But if not, at least you have the satisfaction of having accomplished something for 30 days.
Check out his site, and my all means read this guy’s bio because if ever there was someone who was a walking example of someone who turned their life around… it’s him.
I haven’t decided what “resolution” I will test with this little exercise. What can you do for 30 days?
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Yes, Adam Sandler, I did feel like the only kid in town without a Christmas tree.
My act of protest? I married a Christian. So there!
The first Christmas that my husband and I were together, imagine my excitement to finally have a tree. But I quickly learned just how clueless I was to all the pomp and circumstance that goes along with Christmas. Standing in a store with an arm full of 18 different types of ornaments, garlands and bows (oh, my) feeling like “Janey Jew” not having a freakin’ clue what I was doing. Not to mention that neon sign I was sure was blinking over my head that said “JEW”
Bet you Christians out there don’t realize just how clueless we are when it comes to:
- How to Choose a Christmas Tree
- How to hang lights
- How to hang ornaments for a balanced tree
- The difference between indoor lighting and outdoor lighting
- How to take down and store said lights
- How to dispose of a Christmas tree after Christmas is over
And so on
Because all we have to know is:
- One menorah
- Eight candles
- One each night
- Light them from right to left.
Hanukah over? Put menorah back in the box until next year.
Aren’t you jealous now? None of this putting up and taking down business. Out of the box…eight days later…back in the box.
My husband (God bless him) gets very into the season. Last week he rearranged the furniture in the living room in anticipation of where the tree will go. He’s hung the lights and a five foot wreath on the house. (A task which he does when I’m not around because he knows it makes me nuts to think he is up on a ladder or hanging off the roof to do it.) No Jewish husband ever fell off a ladder hanging lights.
For my part as half of our dual faith household, I've had to learn about real trees vs. fake ones, white lights vs. colored lights and tree skirts.
The problem now is that my five year olds are old enough to be aware of the holidays. And Hanukah just doesn’t have the same appeal. We have no cool icons associated any of our holidays. Who can compete with Santa Claus? Something tells me that the Macabees, despite their valiant cause and the whole mystery surrounding the oil…are no substitution for SANTA CLAUS.
We need a guy like that. Do you think I can get Hanukah Harry a good agent?
Monday, November 20, 2006
We feel like we are constantly going grocery shopping. Either him, late at night after the kids are in bed…or me on the weekend dragging two weary 5 year olds behind me. As a rule, I don't mind going grocery shopping, but somehow, by the time I get to the register, I often become a raving lunatic as I've just spent 15 or 20 aisles going…"come on, girls. Walk faster" or "STOP IT" in varying degrees of urgency and volume. So that by the time I actually get out the store, I feel like the world's worst parent and I just want to throw something at someone.
So the last time I was at my local supermarket, I noticed that they were offering a shop at home service where you can order online and then either pick up or have the stuff delivered. The cost is minimal. Ten bucks to order online and an additional 10 if you want them to deliver it. And for me, another "excuse" to be online. (as if I needed one!)
In a nutshell, order online, pick a window of time about 4 hours later to pick it all up, show up at the store and pay for and claim your already bagged groceries.
No wandering the aisles in search of something. No impulse buying. No standing in line behind that person who decides to write a check. Or the one who is arguing with the cashier over the validity of the expired coupon.
Just show up and get your stuff. What could be better than that?
Admittedly, I did forget a few things that I might have remembered if I was walking up and down the aisles. But I certainly found a better use for the time on a Saturday afternoon with my kids.
$10 well spent. Try it if you can.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Obviously I’m a bit of a techno geek.
One of my favorite bloggers, Sarah and the Goon Squad had a link on her site not too long ago for a free sample of something. I forget what. Turned out it was a link to a marketing service where you can sign up to receive free samples of stuff. Now, who doesn’t love free stuff? So of course I signed up.
Today I got a little survey from the same site, asking me how I typically decide what to purchase and if I influence others with those decisions. (Do I ever!) They obviously don’t know who they are talking to. I’ve been known to research things TO DEATH! Cameras, phones, washing machines, you name it. I read the expert reviews, I go to epinions and read the consumer reviews, I ask around. I go to a few stores so I can touch and feel the item in question. And I narrow it down to two or three items… Well, you get the picture. And you can bet that if I have an opinion about something, everyone is going to hear about it.
Anyway, there was a link at the bottom of the survey with a logo for WOMMA, which is the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. Given the nature of the survey I just took, I feel like I am the poster child for WOMMA. But the stuff I found on their site even made me go “WOW, some of this stuff is brilliant.”
Take for instance the whole concept of Second Life. There’s an article on blogworks (a great marketing blog, by the way), that discusses how advertisers are jumping on the bandwagon with this service and creating brand awareness in this simulated world. Brilliant, except for one thing. Are the people addicted to Second Life leaving their house long enough to purchase these items in the real world? If so, then, yes…this is indeed brilliant marketing. Even the CDC is getting in the act with a place in Second Life for flu prevention and treatment info. The CDC!!? Who’s next? AARP?
(On a little side note, I find it a bit preposterous that people are paying a monthly service to create an avatar and a life for that avatar. But that's just me. I just file it under the same category as Dungeons and Dragons and fantasy baseball.)
Never before in the history of advertising has there been so many direct lines and two way communication between marketers, consumers and even politicians. Obviously, if you are reading blogs, this means YOU. Want to have influence? Too late, you already do.
It used to be that if you really loved…or in most cases, really hated a product or service, you could call a random customer service number and complain to a nameless voice or take out your little pen and paper and write a letter of complaint. Now, not only can you email the company directly but you have the power to influence others by posting to a blog, posting a message on a board, commenting on a site or any variety of other ways. And apparently the marketers are listening. And I’m sure tickled that they needn’t bother as much with those expensive focus groups.
Marketers (smart ones, anyway) are scouring blogs, message boards and services like myspace to see what you think. And better yet, adjusting their marketing efforts accordingly.
I feel pretty powerful knowing that. Don’t you?
What will you do with that power? Who will you influence?
(stepping down off of my emarketing soap box now)
Thursday, November 09, 2006
I’ve been at the same company for nearly 7 years. Longer than I’ve been anywhere. The main function of my job is as project manager for my company’s many many web sites. In a nutshell, my problem is this… the “powers that be” really have no clue what it takes to create these masterpieces, and while they sit around with those “big ideas” SOMEONE, has to actually do the work. So I’m consistently short handed.
My direct supervisor got fed up and just took another position in the company. And the guy who she reported to is not only clueless most of the time about what I do but (more importantly), powerless to help me get some additional resources.
So, I sought the counsel of someone who I used to work for, thinking she might be able to offer some guidance. An hour long pep talk came down to these three choices.
- Suck it up and see where the chips fall
- Work to create a solution to make it better
- Get out
And I left her office thinking that nearly every decision we make in life comes down to these three choices. Think about it…. Don’t like your job? See above. In a bad relationship? See above.
As I see it, each has it’s own pros and cons. If I suck it up, then I can look forward to more of the same. Wonder how much I can take before my head explodes. Or my dept head might actually be able to pull a rabbit out of his hat in the new year…. Doubtful
I’ve already tried the “work to make it better” option and it’s gotten me nowhere.
So that leaves me here… hating my job. Reluctant to leave because of some perks and benefits that I’m fond of. But really having no choice. ACK!
Life is too short to hate your job, right? Guess it’s time to dust off my resume.
Anyone want to hire a hard working Internet Marketing Manager?
I’m sure I’ll have more to say on navigating the job market. I suspect it will suck.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Today, I am giddy.
I am not a big sports fan (much to the annoyance of my father and brothers). And I never really GOT the excitement over watching your team win…or the “WE WON” mentality that goes along with being an avid fan.
Today I get it.
Elections, like most Super Bowls, are often kind of dry and very seldom close. Sure there’s the occasional presidential election that goes down to the wire… But most of the time, there are no big surprises, no need for instant replays and not much overtime.
Last night, I stayed up WAY too late watching election results, giddy with excitement that my team was finally edging out ahead. I was not only cheering for my home team but for everyone’s home team. I truly felt like the sports nuts I like to make fun of who can quote the stats of their favorite players. I couldn’t believe I was so engrossed in up to the minute results from states I have never set foot in.
Today, I feel like my vote counted for something.
Go Dems, Go!
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
I have a warm place in my heart for Schoolhouse Rock. If you’re like me...and in your forties.. this is how you learned the parts of speech (are you humming “a noun is a person, place or thing?”), how a bill becomes a law (still humming with me?). And it is of course how I can still recite the Preamble to the Constitution.
Today my daughter was playing a game on the computer that reviewed nouns, verbs and adjectives and it inspired me to sit my five year olds down and make them watch Schoolhouse Rock on DVD. Or maybe I just wanted an excuse to see if I still remembered the words.
I do, and it made me smile. I hope some of it rubs off on my girls.
Want to see how much you remember? Check it out here.
Monday, October 23, 2006
First a brief follow-up to my previous comment about “staying the course” Here’s an interesting clip where the republicans AGAIN claim that it was never a stay the course strategy in Iraq. I especially like how Bartlett throws in a few other “winning” pieces of verbiage like “cut and run” (one of their favorites) and “head in the sand” Nice.
And on a more optimistic note, I’m kind of excited that Barak Obama is considering a run for president in 2008. I think he is a great speaker, has charm and charisma and would likely do a great job. I would vote for him. However, I worry that those people who were so worried about “non issues” last time around like gay marriage…might not be ready for Obama. Some people will never be able to get past the color of his skin. Those same people aren’t ready for Clinton or Feingold either. (for all of the obvious reasons) Who does that leave for the Democrats? Kerry? Gore? Biden? Gore claims he won’t run. Kerry would have to sing a stronger song. And Biden…well, I’m not sure about him yet although he seems like a strong enough candidate.
The thing that bothers me most about the choices is that we all know that the choices many people make before they step into that voting booth are not always based on who would truly do the best job. But who they most identify with.
I would like to see an honest, politically incorrect take on the choices but I don’t know who would be nonpartisan or brave enough to give it.
And what about the republicans? Looks like McCain is the obvious choice and there was a time when I might have thought that as Republicans go, he isn’t a bad choice. But I think he’s being manipulated by his party just to get his name on the ticket.
Step up to the plate, Democrats. Learn a thing or two from the other side about how to get your message across and STAY on that message.
Maybe Barak Obama is the man to do it.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
I’ve realized that I am harder and expect more from certain groups of people. This epiphany came the other day when a Jewish acquaintance of mine told a story about someone else of the same faith who-- by her mere actions was perpetuating every Jewish stereotype you can think of. His point was that it made him angrier than if some rude racist had made the same remarks.
I too am Jewish and when another Jew does something stupid I feel like it makes us all look bad….Like Joe Lieberman.
When our government does stupid things, I’m angry that we ALL look bad to the international community.
But I’m even harder on women… because the stupidity is usually more obvious. I expect other women (especially those I know personally) to be smart about their actions and not perpetuate the myths of things like “women can’t drive” or “women just aren’t any good at math and science”. And I have ZERO tolerance for the “damsel in distress” act. If you don’t know how to do something that is one thing… but the helpless thing has got to go.
One woman I know (albeit not well) will whine about all the things she has to do until other people just do stuff for her so she will shut up. (Despite the fact that she has a maid and a nanny…which is another reason we are not really friends).
Do I hold women to a higher standard than men? (No, I don’t buy the helpless routine with them either.) But I do expect them to act for themselves, think for themselves and seek answers whenever they need to. I hope to pass that along to my daughters.
Sure, life is easier if you never do things for yourself, but then it’s not nearly as rewarding.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Admittedly, I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to gadgets and technology. Not as much as some but certainly more than most women I know and more than my husband. While other women yearn for $700 shoes, I yearn for PDAs, cell phones and iPods. I was giddy when I got my fiber optic internet connection and jumping for joy at my VoIP phone connection. It’s a sickness. I accept that.
So here are the symptoms plaguing me now… I got my first Palm Pilot about 5 years ago and used it religiously for awhile until a new job got me thinking that I needed to go back to a paper organizational system. I see that phase now as just a momentary lapse of reason. I’m back now. No more carrying around that archaic binder with that paper stuff inside. The problem is that now I want a new Palm. Does the one I have work just fine? Yes. Do I really need a new one? No. And yet, I find myself scouring the internet reading reviews, looking for the release dates of new items and looking on Ebay for bargains.
Then there’s the added ache of wanting a new cell phone. My two year contract with Verizon isn’t technically up until next August but they are taunting me with the fact that I am eligible for a new phone NOW. If I get a new phone, it means re-signing a contract with them for two more years which I don’t know that I’m prepared to do. And T-mobile’s phones are so much cooler…. :sigh: if I want to switch to T-mobile, I will have to wait until next August. That’s pure torture.
Perhaps I’ll go buy a pair of shoes instead.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Unlike most others in the media, he isn’t afraid to say what many of us feel. Better still...he does so in a way that makes me want to stand up and applaud. Watch his commentary from last night. Or if you prefer, please at least read the transcript.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
One beautiful morning in September. Five years ago.
It all changed.
How I look at the world. How I look at my leaders. How my heart breaks every time I see my beloved skyline. It pains me more than I thought possible every time I see that spot where the Towers used to stand. I will never get used to seeing that empty space.
And whenever I see a movie about NY with the telltale shot of the World Trade Center as the epitome of NYC. My heart skips a beat and a wave of sadness takes over.
I’m certain that the media will be filled with images from that day and I understand that CNN is going to run their coverage in real time from that day. I don’t want to watch… but something tells me that that I will.
I’ve lived in NY my whole life. I grew up in the suburbs north of the city. I’ve lived there, worked there and always considered it home. I’d been in those twin towers more times than I can count. Took every out of town friend there and was proud to show them off. When I got my first real camera at the age of 16, I went to the observation deck and took an amazing shot of the nearly parallel Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges just as the lights were coming on. Appropriately, that photo hung in my grandparents’ home for years since my grandfather was the one who taught me how to handle a camera.
I watched it all unfold live on TV five years ago. I happened to be home that day and like many others, I was glued to my TV that day and for days after. I wept for every person I knew who lost someone and even for those that I didn’t know. A week or so after the towers fell, I learned of a college friend (who I hadn’t seen in more than 15 years)…who never made it out of the towers that day. And I wept for him, and for his family, and his daughter who would never know first hand what a good man her father had been. But mostly I wept for the waste of it all. People who did nothing that day but go to work…or get on a plane.
Tears aside, I am angry. I’m angry that our government let this happen. I do believe they did. Conspiracy theorist? Perhaps. The most moving film I’ve even seen has been Loose Change. If you haven’t seen it, I urge you to. It will change the way you view the events of that day. I hope it causes you to question what we’ve been led to believe.
Five years and one day ago, I know I didn’t question things the way I do now. I never cared as much about who got elected the way I do now. And I never feared for the future of this country they way I do now.
Tomorrow I will be glued to my TV and my computer again. I will listen to most of the reading of the names and I know my eyes will fill with tears for the families of nearly 3000 people whose lives were changed forever one sunny September morning.
Friday, September 08, 2006
I am by no means a linguist, but certain overused phrases truly annoy me.
Like people who let “irregardless” roll off their tongues REGARDLESS of the fact that it’s a bastardization of proper English. .
Another is “at the end of the day.” And those that use this phrase, use-it-to- DEATH. “at the end of the day, you have to consider blah blah blah.” “what’s important is that at the end of the day blah blah blah.” I don’t now what it is but whenever I hear that phrase used, it just makes my blood boil..and I stop listening.
What made me think of this is a news item I found on Think Progress about the use of “stay the course” Apparently the President, who’s been known to practically tattoo this phrase on his forehead and claim it as his own, has now criticized the media for saying that this is his stance on the war. Excuse me? My first thought was “have any of these people read 1984?” (one of the commenters on the Think Progress piece had the same thought) I won’t even address the issue that the Iraqis did not drive those planes into the WTC, Pentagon and the field in PA on 9/11. I’ll save that for another day. But this is the same guy who claimed he was the “decider not divider” (and other pearls of wisdom) and whenever the Democrats even suggested getting out of Iraq, he just kept repeating “stay the course” over and over again as if it were his personal mantra.
Don’t get me wrong, if they’ve finally gotten it through their thick heads that “staying the course” is not the best strategy, then I’m thrilled. But don’t say you never said it….and that it’s not your “position.”
How do these people look at themselves in the mirror every day??
Irregardless of their intentions, at the end of the day, we still have to stay the course with this administration for another 864 days.
Yes, I am counting.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Today, my twin girls went off to kindergarten. YIKES! When did I become the mother of 2 elementary school kids. Today, obviously...but still.
Five years. The time it takes to be old enough to go to kindergarten...and ironically, the time it took us to have them. It was a long, emotionally taxing (and financially draining) five years...followed by the physically exhausting five years to get to the point this morning of putting them on that bus. I'm aging just thinking about it.
I'm thankful every day for them and for my husband who is a wonderful father! There was a point in my life that I thought I would never be anyone's mother. But thanks to several teams of experts, the support and optimism of my husband and a little bit of luck... I got to send my two beautiful girls to kindergarten today.
I'm very lucky.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
I've noticed a common phenomenon among women my age (myself included) ... I like to call it E2E Syndrome. (Everything to Everyone). Every woman in her 40s I know seems to be suffering from it.
We all work, have families, most with kids, some with husbands...but all sufferers find themselves torn. Torn between where you are and where you aren't. Not enough hours in the day to be wife, mother, daughter, girlfriend, confidante, employee and self. So of course, SELF is what suffers.
One friend asked me the other day if I wanted to get together once a month or so just to DO SOMETHING. I wistfully imagined something that didn't require us to cut anyone's food, take anyone to the bathroom or struggle to fasten anyone's seatbelt but my own.
Another friend commented the other day that she needed some sort of creative outlet but the best she could manage to accomplish was to commit to NOT working on the the commute home and devoting that time to reading a book.
It's not really good enough.
Don't get me wrong, I love my husband, kids, family etc... but I don't think this is exactly what the feminists of my mother's generation had in mind. Choices, yes. But too many choices have left us all with this tremendous sense of guilt and exhaustion.
Want to see the flip side? Today, my mother sent me this article which supposedly came from a 1955 issue of Good Housekeeping. I got a good chuckle out of it. I've since learned that it's a bit of an urban legend but illustrates my point nonetheless. Would any of us really give up the path that's been paved for us. I doubt it.
But I'd still like to pee alone every now and then and have a few minutes once in a while to be nothing to no one.