Monday, February 14, 2011

The One About Him

I met him on the Internet. At a time when NO ONE met people on the internet. We found ourselves in one of those topic driven chat rooms that were popular back in the day. He was the "police" and I was the one who had a smart mouth and some pretty quick typing skills. Instant messages were exchanged. It was inevitable.

We struck up one of those on-line friendships. Our lives at the time were tumultuous. Mine by choice, his.... not so much. We corresponded for months via e-mail, and then graduated to phone calls. There didn't seem to be anything that we couldn't talk about. We had completely different life experiences and viewpoints, but it seemed as though every conversation involved someone learning something they didn't know before. 

On paper, we were nothing but a losing bet, total opposites. When he showed up in town nine months later, I'm not sure either of us thought that we would be anything more than friends. Two weeks later, he moved in with me, and we've been together ever since. It's been close to twelve years...

I believe that actions speak louder than words. We have weathered storms together, taken adventures, celebrated, grieved and "lived" every moment together. It's been my honor to stand with him and my gift to have him stand with me. For close to twelve years we have made a conscious choice to show up for one another, and that alone is a gift beyond measure.

Happy Valentine's Day Mr. Man...

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The One About Inciting a Panic

We are sitting here patiently waiting for the snow to begin. The wind has picked up, the sky is gray, and temperature is dropping. It's on it's way, it will be a rough day or so.

We're ready. There's enough food in the fridge, firewood in the house and gas in the snow blower. The vehicles have enough gas should we need them. We've seen the plow trucks dropping salt ahead of the storm that's coming.

I was raised here. I've spent many winters waiting for the storms. Many winters with sub-freezing temperatures and I'm not alone.

The local news, and even the national news creates an absolute furor with their reporting of the impending storm. People dash around, laying in supplies like they will never see the inside of a grocery store again. Creating a whole different set of problems besides some snow. I hate it.

My conversation with Himself this morning covered the necessary stuff. He'll be in a hotel tonight, close to his job (his is a 24/7 kind of thing). I'll be here, working the snow-blower. There is enough food in the house for a week, firewood for at least that long and at least 3 days worth of water. There's fuel for the generator and enough blankets and comforters for a platoon. The only reasons we'd have to bug-out is roof collapse or water main break (and even the water main thing could wait for several days). All in all, it's not that big of an emergency.

You wouldn't know it to listen to the news though. The local and national talking heads are making it sound like the end of the world is arriving any minute. It's not folks.... it's just a little snow...

Monday, January 31, 2011

The One About Mind Control and the Mouse

Well, finally I feel a little bit better. Whatever this season's virus is, it's butt-kicking and evil. I was sick during the holidaze, felt better for our trip, and then came home to gooey, multi-colored, feverish, hacking "ick" that landed me in the doctor's office begging for anything that might make it stop. One Z-pak, some narcotic cough syrup, and an anti-mold pill later and I'm almost back to normal. We shall not discuss my right ear which has not yet cleared from the flight on the 22nd. (I am completely convinced that Edgar Allen Poe was NOT driven mad by Absinthe, he merely had a plugged ear) I've been hearing my heartbeat and my jaw click, and my eyes blinking for close to ten days certainly can drive someone very close to the edge...

But, enough about me...let's talk vacation. Let's talk The Mouse...

We set off for warmer destinations on Disney's Magic. Despite my initial trepidation, I have to say that we truly enjoyed ourselves. The destinations were awesome (although St. Marten is looking a little worse for wear) and the Eggroll truly had a blast. 

Disney does a lot of things right with these cruises. There's plenty for everyone to do. As a family we enjoyed all 3 stage shows, "Tangled" in 3D, character appearances, and dinners together every night. The Eggroll loved the idea of the "Oceaneer's Club" along with Mickey's pool and Himself and I availed ourselves of the wine list. I defy anyone to find a better way to watch the Bears play in the middle of January

There were a few things that got to me after a few days. The Mouse, he is everywhere. The curtains, the blankets, the rugs, the floors. The Mouse decides what you watch on TV (8 out of 12 channel offerings were Disney. We had a tough time getting the score for the Green Bay game). Your food may or may not be in the silhouette of the mouse. It's a bit unnerving after a while. Then there are the people. They are a Stepford Mouse sort of way. I believe in greeting people, if you ask me how I am, I will give you a reply and then I will ask you the same. No matter who I asked or when, the answer was always "Magical". I know we stay in character for the kids, but I've got to say, after a few days?? Totally creepy.

Then there were the lines. Good God, you must line up for absolutely everything! I actually got in line the day we were leaving, just because I had gotten so used to it. I didn't need to be there, I was actually free to continue down the hallway. 
We had some wonderful happen as well. Our cabin attendant was awesome. I love folks who put in that little bit of extra thoughtfulness. We got the usual turndown in the evening and the hilariously funny towel animals, and then one night, the Eggroll got a surprise. We had been to the aquarium on the island and I had gotten a stuffed stingray for her. (to go with her octopus of course) We stored her stuffed animals in the cabinet with the blankets and when we came in that evening, she was all smiles to discover that the "elves" had left her a giant stingray to match the small one.
Such a thoughtful thing to do...

The other bit of wonderful was the way my illness was handled. I have celiac, and while I don't make a big deal out of it, it was lovely to have my meals specially handled without me having to do a thing. Normally I dance around the menu, picking and choosing the things that are a safe bet for me. Evenings rolled around and our server merely told me what he had ordered for me. I had veto power, but I only exercised that once. So nice not to be responsible for myself if only for a little while.

The only complaint that I truly had was that none of the literature made mention of the fact that most of the outlets in the cabin are European. This caused a bit of a kerfluffle when Himself's CPAP machine couldn't be plugged in bedside. We were forced to run an extension cord across the room to another outlet. Not tragic, but certainly not the safest thing if you have a child who gets up in the middle of the night. I didn't think too much about it, but I did write about it on the survey thingie they give you on the last night. Color me surprised when I received a call from Disney several days after I got home. They offered their apologies and then asked me for suggestions. Seriously, just put it in the literature. Most of us who travel have our own converters...

Would I do it again? For a destination, yes. We've already discussed doing the Alaska thing with them just because the weather can be so iffy in Alaska. We'd love for the Eggroll to see Alaska, but we're not so foolish as to think that sitting on the balcony watching otters and whales is going to be enough for her. When it comes to kids, Disney does it right...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The One About Being A Guest
Just a quickie list because I'm swamped. And sick! With my second bout of virus from hell. I'm actually so sick I'm seriously considering calling the doctor. If you know me....that's a really big deal. Anyway, we spent the last week basking in the Carribean sun on the Mouse Boat. It's been a while since I've traveled with a "group" of people, and I'd like to offer a few suggestions for those who....well... don't get out much.
1) Vacation is not synonymous with anarchy. Really, look it up. Check yourself....
2) The people who work on these boats are real people. Treat them accordingly. Please and Thank you will go a long, long way.
3) Other guests on these trips would sincerely appreciate you treating them as real people as well. Say "Excuse me" "please" and "thank you". Teach your children and spouse to do the same.

4) Do not throw yourself bodily in front of anyone or anything other than a bullet...

I have more, but I'm off to hack up a lung..... Bringing sexay back aren't I??

Friday, January 14, 2011

The One About What Happens When I Try To Fix Stuff

I'm one of those people who "fixes" stuff. If I think you're hurt, if I think you're in pain, it turns into my life's mission to fix it. Add that to the fact that I'm a Daddy's girl and it almost explains this:

This is the Sentinel. 27 pounds of Brittany that not only thinks she's a Rottweiler, but has to be maintained on anti-anxiety meds. I got her for my dad after his 13 year-old female passed away. The Sentinel is a beautiful dog, very sweet, very loving and very, very crazy. Since my Dad still has a 13 year old male, it's a very bad match. The breeder said I could bring her back, the Eggroll says that she's her favorite, and Himself and I.... well, we're weak. Oh yeah, and then there's my dad, who didn't get the dog... 

I need to let people fix their own stuff...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The One About Feeling Warm

Because sometimes you need to be reminded...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The One About the Parenting Thing

Just because I'm difficult that way, I'm going to keep the whole Amy Chua, Tiger Moms thing going for one more day. To tell the whole truth, I actually do my writing the day before posting, so this topic is pretty fresh while I'm writing it, it may be redundant to you..

If you haven't already read the WSJ piece, you can read it here:
Go ahead, I'll wait....
There have been a number of pieces written about this. Google the topic and you should receive a plethora of opinions. Some grounded in fact, some in emotion. Almost all of them disagree with the idea that the Chinese or Asian style of parenting is somehow superior to western style. I'm not sure that I agree.

Many will cite the high rate of suicide among Asian Americans (women in particular). While it's certainly not something to ignore, it is quite possible that there are other factors that contribute to that number besides the pressure to excel and conform. WHO statistics still put the US rate of suicide considerably higher than any Asian country and I would think that the pressure to excel and conform is much higher in home countries where an entire family's very survival may depend on the earning capabilities of their children. 

The next thing that comes to my mind are the western "uber" moms along with their partners, the "sports" dads. Aren't they, in essence. doing the same thing? The articles on over scheduling and ten-year pre-school waiting lists, not to mention the numerous incidents of sports related fights and worse among PARENTS would indicate that these parents are viewing sports and education as anything but pressure free... I suppose that they might say that they're creating a "well-rounded" child, but are they??

The next thing that seems to bring about great furor is the name calling thing. This subject is the one that seems to get under people's skin the most. As parents, there are those moments, there are those days, when "my beloved child" is just not the correct description. Heck, we call our daughter TLC (the littlest communist) as a joke, but there are days when it fits her to a tee. I have looked at my child and told her to stop being a "brat". Does anyone out there really think that a four year old kid can differentiate between the verbs "being" and "acting"??? Have I damaged her already?? Puhleeze! If my, or any other child for that matter, is somehow "damaged" by the occasional rantings of a frustrated parent, they've got bigger problems than whatever name they're being called.

My favorite thought on this whole discussion is the education part. Asian children consistently outperform their western counterparts across the board in education. There's a dirty little rumor out there that many universities were, for a time, limiting enrollment of Asian students. Why? Because the Asian students were skewing the curve, making the US students and the schools they attended look less competent, thus, less attractive to alumni and prospective students alike. Unless someone can point me to a genetic difference in Asian students, I almost have to believe that there are distinct cultural and societal differences throughout an Asian childhood. That leaves the door wide open to debate the difference between Asian and Western philosophy in parenting, both at the nuclear and extended level.

Certainly no one has to agree entirely with Ms.Chua's thesis. But one would be a fool not to consider it....