Monday, July 30, 2007

BlogHer in the City

Whoo! In many ways I am still processing my trip to BlogHer 07 in Chicago. There was: lack of sleep, plane delays, zippy shuttles to and from O'Hare, shuttle buses to and from the Chicago City Centre hotel and the Navy Pier (as well as absent shuttles for each). There was also an intense conference about blogging with everything from technical tracks to sessions about "The State of the Momosphere" and finding your passion and the art of storytelling. It was interesting to me to note that one of the sessions that resonated most for me was regarding "Small is Beautiful" - the art and craft of small, personal blogs. moderated by the beautiful artist Jen Lemen. I am wondering where that notion is going to take me and my writing.

There were also many vendors, and much "swag" - I think my suitcase was twice as full when I returned home. On the second day I sat down with a group for lunch with Jillian Michaels of The Biggest Loser fame - a lunch sponsored by AOL Body. There was a cocktail party each evening, the first on the Navy Pier rooftop with music by the fantastic Christine Kane... and the second at the Chicago Children's Museum. Oh, and the closing keynote speaker was none other than Elizabeth Edwards.

And there were many many bloggers. Estimated at 800 or so... I bumped into Valerie from Disorderly Conduct my first evening in Chicago. Roomed with the lovely Shawna... and giggled over pizza from Gino's East with Shawna, Kim and Marilyn the last evening before dragging off to bed as three of us had abominably early flights the next day.

All in all - a whirlwind of a trip for my first time away from Daniel. I missed both Daniel and H terribly... Phone pictures were enough to make me teary-eyed. But wow. What a ride.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Even before he was born, Daniel would get hiccups: a little popping sensation usually near my left hip that never failed to amaze me. I've lost the link, or I would include it here but there was recently a news story about a poor woman who had hiccups for months. Whoo - can you imagine?

I once had hiccups for an entire weekend. Let me tell you, after a few days I was clamoring at my doctor for something to Make it STOP! There are medications to try. The Iowa woman who went for months turned out to have some sort of allergy.

This blog will have a little hiccup soon as I run off to play at Blogher in Chicago. It's a wonderful chance to meet some of these fantastic bloggers I've been reading for awhile and learn tons of new things and just have fun.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


OK, so I know the major topic of conversation these days is Harry Potter. But for me - I am so jazzed to hear that they are making a new Indiana Jones movie! Star Wars had instilled in me a serious crush on Harrison Ford. When Raiders of the Lost Ark came out in 1981 I had somehow managed to hear nothing about the movie. Of course these were the pre-Internet days where I would simply show up at the local movie theater with family and/or friends and say: OK. What are we going to see tonight?

Raiders promptly blew me away. It still holds the record (8) for the number of times I have seen a single movie in the movie theater. Perhaps not surprising given today's ticket prices, but still...

In a previous post I commented on the series of books The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. Given the fantasy movies that have been filmed of late, I had wondered if anyone had considered making movie versions of these. Turns out they are... These books were my Harry Potter as a kid, so I am pretty jazzed about this too. They are making some changes that are stirring up some of the fans: main character Will Stanton is now an American in Europe, as opposed to being a British boy. Perhaps they are trying to distance themselves from Mr. Potter? There are five books total in the series, so I am sure they are hoping for a franchise here. I'll reserve judgement. I'm just excited to see this on screen!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Eating Habits of the North American Toddler

I imagine that I gave my Mother similar palpitations as a child, but what do you feed kids? Previously good things like yogurt have dropped off Daniel's list as well as old favorites like grilled cheese that aren't being enjoyed so much. He does pretty well with fruits: bananas and apples and oranges he will eat pretty much nonstop. Nary a vegetable will get past his lips, however.

We rejoiced when he actually asked for a piece of broccoli from a dish that H had cooked up. He chewed and chewed and we suddenly realized about 20 minutes later that he really hadn't opened his mouth to respond to anything that we had said to him. Sure enough, green mush.

Just in case there is any doubt that this is my kid, he will eat pickles. "Pick-ow! Pick-ow!" He cried. "Har-har," thought I. "You sure aren't going to like this kid," and I cut him off a small piece. Little did I know... And these aren't just any pickles mind you. These are hearty garlic dill sandwich slices. He just puckers up his little mouth and waves his hands for more.

Sigh. Now that my own eating habits are somewhat back on track after the gallbladder incident I'd really like to know what to do with the kid. Any ideas?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Open Season

OK. You know the times they have changed, when the local farm stand not only has a website but emails me when they have started selling their corn. I love, love LOVE fresh corn on the cob. Growing up it used to crack me up to be in restaurants (or even eating over at someones house) and there was this demure little cob to accompany each dinner plate. My Mom, meanwhile was shopping and getting a dozen or fourteen for our family of four. There might be some other items to the meal, but the centerpiece was this huge platter of corn with each of us diving in for three or four apiece. And squabbling over any remainders...

There is a push in the media about getting everyone to return to the "family table." What sort of meals or food items are your favorite memories from childhood? Taco night? Make your own pizza? What mealtime traditions would you like to encourage in your family?

It was a treat because, well, we grew up in the Midwest... but my brother and I used to beg my parents for crab legs on trips to Florida. Something fun about having to work for your dinner. There were Fourth of July bonfires with toasted marshmallows and making s'mores. Or bananaboats - ever tried those? Peel off a strip of banana peel, and cut slightly into the banana. Fill the opening with mini marshmallows and chocolate chips. Wrap the whole thing in tinfoil and rest it in the bonfire coals. After a certain amount of time (usually however long you could wait) open and eat the whole mess with a spoon.

There was fondue too. Not the cheese or chocolate kind, but a vat of hot oil. We each got skewers and cubes of meat, onion, green pepper, etc. You popped them in and cooked to your desired doneness. And this time of year, don't forget the picnics. Hot dogs and hamburgers and if we were at the grandparents in Wisconsin there were beer brats on the grill along with every sort of side dish you can think of. And just to throw an outing into the mix, to this day we have to head for Schulz's in Sheboygan, WI when we visit Mom and Dad. Best steak sandwiches anywhere, with real butter on the hard rolls.

Must run now. I'm hungry... how about you?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Beach Blanket Babes

Well... not really... Sunday: Take one Mommy and one Daddy with ambitions to head for York Beach, Maine. Add one toddler who still needs a nap a day. Mix liberally with the stuff needed for said travels: sand toys, diapers, changes of clothes, towels, chairs, beach umbrella... add in one late start due to said nap, and the requisite stop for seafood to quell the rumbling tummies and what do you get?
A rainstorm on the beach, that's what. We got down to the beach before the deluge, and actually had a pretty good time for the amount of time we could spend down there. Daniel was hysterical as I think he had this astonished look on his face like: "What? You mean I can dig in all this dirt? And splash in all this water?? COOL!" I trailed along as he and H splashed in the tide pools and H carried him out to where the waves were starting to roll in and we took turns snapping pictures. We bailed as the heavens opened up... I think H would have stayed out with the kid, but he knows the "thing" I have about storms. This was followed by much wiggling and fussing about the car as we tried to get Daniel into a fresh diaper that wasn't puffed out like a snowball due to sea/rain water and a relatively dry pair of shorts and shirt.

Throw in a damp car ride home, and you pretty much have yesterday around our house! In keeping with my "Dirt Makes Fat" philosophy I would declare it a pretty fine day. I can't wait to sit on the beach in the sun with my family, however.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

A flirty flirt of the most flirtatious order...

I think my son is developing some crushes. Not on some of the pigtailed little girls we've seen in playgroups, mind you... but the Moms. Multiple times (and at least twice now with one rather nice Mom) he has marched over to them smiling, and practically draping himself over their laps, proudly displaying his latest car or truck and putting his head on their shoulder. If they happen to be standing, he parks himself practically on their feet with arms held high in the air and all but demanding,"Pick me up!" All of them have been terrifically nice about it, but really. It's getting a little embarrassing. I mean they are there with their own kids to wrangle, not having to cart around mine!

In not-so-terrific-toddler-news... I'm sure many of you have heard by now of the Mom and toddler who were kicked off a plane after a flight attendant suggested medicating the boy when he wouldn't quiet down and stop saying, "Bye-bye plane."
Speaking as a Mom who has had to help deal with a crying baby on a two hour flight, stories like these just make me shudder. Children have just as much right to be there as any passenger, and I have certainly heard worse than this on many a flight. There can be such - dare I use the word - discrimination surrounding issues such as this. Breastfeeding is touted as the best thing for your child, but women who choose to breastfeed, and do so in public, are often made to feel embarrassed or even told to go use the public restroom (yuck!). And children on a plane should apparently be seen and not heard. It wasn't even a tantrum! Was it just the luck of the draw that the only reaction my crying child got was sympathetic looks? (OK, perhaps some weren't so sympathetic, but I think they at least recognized that we were trying everything we could...) That and the loan of a portable DVD player and a Baby Einstein DVD from the Dad traveling behind us.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Meme-ing my way to a new profession?

I was tagged today by the lovely Sara at My Happily Ever After with a "career meme." I surprised myself by needing to take some time to ponder my answers. The question is: if you had the opportunity to do a 1-year internship at a company or in a field different from your current company or field or specialty - what would be your top 5 choices? Here goes:

1. Director of the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame. Here I could wildly indulge my love of all things fantastical.

2. Director of the Rodin Museum. I love Rodin's sculpture as well as that of Camille Claudel. I think it started when I saw the wonderful movie on Camille Claudel's life starring Isabelle Adjani. It only continued when I got to visit the museum during my time living in France. Breathtaking pieces... and one can only mourn the work that Camille is reported to have destroyed.

3. Ben & Jerry's ice cream taster. I am borrowing this one from Sara. Especially during this time of year, how can your thoughts not turn to ice cream? I am always tickled by their creative flavors... And that noise you hear is H stomping his feet in the background and screaming BRIGHAMS!

4. Beekeeper with my own line of honey and honey products. This one would probably surprise those who know my "ick" factor for bugs. My Grandpa T was a beekeeper for many years, and we always had gallons of honey around the house... so I have fond associations. We even used small pots of honey as our wedding favors in 2000.

5. Bakery Owner. I lived in a tiny studio apartment in the 20th in Paris, and the ground floor was a bakery. It was heavenly! Most people giggle at the thought of my making actual meals, although there have been some improvements since the birth of Daniel. But I am a baker from way back...

And there you have it! I believe the rule is that I should tag 5 people for continuing this meme... I am going to depart from this and just say that anyone out there reading who feels so inclined - join in! Have fun with it! You may discover some interesting things about yourself!

Monday, July 09, 2007


Like many people, life has increasingly become an exercise in managing the clutter - Especially now that there is "baby clutter" to go with the "mommy and daddy clutter!" Receipts and bills of all kinds, entertainment mags, articles and recipes have morphed their piles to include baby scribbles and parenting mags... among other things. Enter the NeatReceipts Scanalizer... A handy little device that looks like it has a million uses: receipts, recipes, kids artwork... suddenly you can scan and store all these items, and have the ability to use the computer to search for something. This would be quite a boon for someone like me who is known for pulling magazine articles, only to have them swallowed whole by the amorphous mess that has become my bookcase.
Also: H's genealogy project on both the family and the G.A.R. could take an interesting turn if we suddenly had the portable ability to scan both old photos and documents. Much less labor intensive than all the writing in a library that has been going on. The website 5 Minutes for Mom is sponsoring a giveaway of ten NeatReceipts Scanalizers. Check them out!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Pregnant, huh?

The Parent Bloggers Network has posed the question: What's the most annoying preggo or new mom question you've ever been asked -- AND -- what's your best, snarky "wish-you-could-have-said-it" answer. I've been mulling this over the past few days, and - whew - it's a hard one. I've come to the conclusion that I must have had a pretty respectful pregnancy. Not even much of a run-in with those "touchy feely" types who just have to rub a pregnant belly when they spot one.

But... and I think I have a tie...

It used to drive me outta my head when I was in the late stages of pregnancy, and doing my best hippo imitation, and I would run across people who just didn't know what to say. Rather than a question, they were usually declarations in the vein of: Pregnant, huh? Poor thing, carrying that around... Must be almost time? Must be twins in there! And on, and on.... Usually as I puffed my way to the employee cafeteria, or out to my car. These would earn the commenter a small smile, and not much snark as I was usually trying to catch my breath. Honestly... I am not much known for snark, even in my private life. Just not in my nature. But... I used to fantasize a re-enactment of a scene straight out of Seinfeld where Kramer stops to talk to a woman on the street and says: "Oh! Congratulations!"

Woman: "For what?"

Kramer: "You're pregnant."

Woman: "I am not!"

And leaving the culprit to squirm...

In a close tie, I am getting more than irritated with the folks who stop on the street, in the grocery store or in a restaurant or elsewhere to talk to me/comment on Daniel and I come to realize they are using the pronoun "she." A haircut is certainly in the works for the little guy, but we currently have wrestling/screaming matches involving getting in his general vicinity with a toothbrush or cutting his fingernails. Until that calms down somewhat there ain't nobody getting near him with a pair of scissors. And - I confess - I get to enjoy the baby curls awhile longer. But honestly... the kid could be wearing his shirt with the digger emblazoned across the front, his Thomas the Tank Engine sunglasses, dirt encrusted under his fingernails from his own latest digging expedition and screaming at the top of his lungs about climbing up the slide at the playground and I hear how cute "she" is. Thank you, but the next time I will be sorely tempted to drop the kid's diaper and in the words of Austin Powers show off the "twig and berries" just to prove a point.

I am a reader. I always have been, as my overflowing bookshelves can attest. Don't you wish sometimes that you could just hand someone a book and say,"Quit bugging me. Read this." Or in cases like above don't you wish you could have just handed them this? I know I do.

Monday, July 02, 2007


H called yesterday, frantically plugging change into a pay phone. Verizon cut off his international phone. (Uh, thanks guys.) He can't get out until Tuesday (tomorrow). The only other option was a $1,200 flight on Iceland Air which was earlier. (Yeah, right.) These complications are certainly not his fault... but all told I will have been "single parenting" for nearly two weeks.

I have this mental picture of each of us standing on separate continents yelling help.