Site Meter Elsie's Space: October 2006

Elsie's Space

Location: New England, United States

Not much to tell.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!!


Sunday, October 29, 2006

If a tree falls....

in suburbia, and no one hears it because it's too damn windy, does insurance still cover the damage?

I had to post this...

in honour of MaryB who's busy in Londontown. And because Jack has inspired me to search the archives. And because Peter was there recently visiting my old stomping grounds. And, mainly, because I have a serious case of wanderlust.

Off to visit the Queen. February 1988.

I was with a friend and only 26-years-old at the time. As you can see, we were very busy working. I just might have to get a job.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

"We girls got ripped off..."

So says Katie. Now it was just the other day that she said boys get ripped off. What's made her change her mind?

"Why, what happened?" I ask. She says, "Well, you and I always brush our teeth. You have to force David to brush his. And the dentist asked Dad if he took a dental batical. What's a batical?" I explain that I think the dentist said "sabbatical" and what that meant, and how he was teasing Dad because he hadn't been to the dentist in a while. She goes on, "So, if David hates brushing his teeth and Dad took a dental sabbatical, how come you have to get one of those canal thingies and I have to go to the orthodontist?" "Gee, honey, I don't really know. But it doesn't seem fair, does it?" "See, we girls got ripped off!"

That's how things went at the dentist yesterday. Girls getting ripped off and guys getting off easy. Life.

Two Thousand Six

Last night, at the end of a school event, I was speaking with another mom. She asked, "Have you met Mrs. M's new husband?"

Mrs. M was my daughter's second grade teacher last year. She's a great one -- enthusiastic, kind-hearted, intelligent, and understands how to truly motivate children. She's also young (I'd guess around 26 or 27), petite, blonde, and extremely attractive. I answer, "No, I haven't. Bet he's just as nice as Mrs. M." "Well, yes, (and then under her breath) but he's black." I'm so taken aback by what seems to be a simple statement of fact but, in truth, comes across as a blatantly racist comment. I only have a second to respond (where is that quick wit when I need it?), Clapton's "love don't see no colors in the shadows" blasts into my brain, yet the best I can come up with is "And?" "And nothing. I'm surprised, that's all." "You're surprised?" "Yeah, it's not something I'd ever do?" "And why's that?" "I just couldn't, that's all." "Oh, I'm surprised to hear that." "It's not that I have anything against black people, but I just couldn't marry one." I think, one? One? Again, her tone said everything. Me, "Well, I don't know what to say. Excuse me."

Now, I wanted to let her have it, but under the circumstances I couldn't. So, instead, I chose to walk away. I believe that my tone expressed my bewilderment and dismay. And not just with her but with that attitude in general. I honestly can't believe that, in today's world, anyone still feels that way. I'm stuck in a time warp. 2006 or 1956? I thought I knew. Sigh.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Getting Personal

I've been thinking about this blogging thing. Some of you might know that this blog is number three for me. The other two went to alphabet heaven by way of the delete key, and I'm thinking about sending this one there, too. Here's why.

I feel like a big, fat fraud. I spent the other day looking over my previous posts, something I probably should have done sooner, and all I could think was "this isn't even a glimpse into the real me." I hold a lot back. When I looked at all the posts that I had saved as drafts, I couldn't believe it. There were more drafts than actual posts. Rather than dwell on that, I simply deleted all the drafts. Then I got to thinking some more. Why didn't I put them out there? So now I've been thinking about this for the better part of a week. There are only two conclusions I come to. One, I don't want people, even those I don't really know, to think badly of me (and how stupid is that?). And two, what would my kids think if they somehow stumbled upon this blog?

I think that part of what's got me going is that my son, who just started junior high, has been asking me lots of questions about girls, sex, and drugs. I never considered, twenty years ago, that my behavior would come back to bite me. So, when he asks what I feel are difficult questions, I'm left to either flat out lie to him or to omit the truth. And I'm right back to being a fraud. And I think about "what the neighbors would say" if they knew the truth. Would they even let their kids play with mine? It's like I reinvented myself when I became a mom, and if the truth came out... I shudder to think what the ramifications would be. Now I realize full well that everyone has a past and that our pasts, in part, shape who we are today. I just wish that mine wasn't so "colorful" (that's how I've chosen to think of it over the years). I sure did have what I thought was a lot of fun, but now I regret so much of it. I did things that I hope my kids never even consider doing. I try to reconcile it in my own head, but I worry. There's nothing I can do to change what I've done. I try to set a good example now.

And then there's now. Even now, I feel I can't say most of what I'm thinking. Some of it is just the sheer humiliation factor. For instance, on Liz's blog, there was a discussion about bras. How do I chime in? Do I say, "underwire, what's that for?" Nope. It's what I probably should have said. But instead, I delete the draft of the post I never published where I go on and on about sister asking me if I was wearing a bra or not (not), and that she couldn't believe that at my age and after having two kids that my boobs are still "so perky." If I could get past the fact that the reason they're so perky is because there's really not much to become droopy, perhaps I could have accepted that compliment and had fun with that post. Nope. Not me. I become all self-conscious and uncomfortable. Just like I am right now.

So here I am today, the good wife and mother. And there I was, just yesterday, the slutty young druggie. I'm still waiting for something to catch up with me. Someday, somewhere, I just know that someone's going to point at me and scream, "pants on fire!" Just a big, fat fraud. And always a mom.

Friday, October 20, 2006

On Becoming a Girly Girl

Baptized by Grandpa.

Loving the love story starts young, age 4

Inspired by Jack II.

(Idea stolen from Jack)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Trying to take off the chill...

last night I lit the first fire of the season. Truth be told, I cheated a bit and used one of those logs that you simply set a match to and up it goes. But I thought it was a fine fire anyway. Hershey sure seemed to like it! Or maybe it was that we were in the kitchen cooking, and the Hershman loves the smell of food! Either way, he's fine company while I prepare dinner. Of course, I had to have a cup of hot chocolate (with fluff) to celebrate this wondrous event. I can feel winter closing in.

Monday, October 16, 2006

As a mom...

I'm expected, by the kidlets, to understand life's greatest mysteries. Sometimes though, I simply must say, "I don't know."

Yesterday, Katie asked, "Mom, is there a word, boyey (boy-ee)?" "Gee, I've never heard of it. How would you use it in a sentence?" "I'm a girly girl; David's a boyey boy." "No, that's not a word." "Well, is boyly a word?" "No. That's not a word either." "Why not? There's womanly and manly, but not boyly?" "No. I think you'd have to say boyish." With a big sigh, she goes on, "That's just not right. There's girly, manly, and womanly. Then there's girlish, manish, womanish, and boyish. That's just not fair. The boys get ripped off." "Well, honey, that's just the way it is." No real answer to give her to sort out this mystery. It's just the way it is. So I leave it at that, even though I'm tempted to debunk her "boys get ripped off" theory. I think it best to leave that for the next decade when she might figure that one out for herself.

And now here I am, left with the most mommyly question of all, "how does she think of this stuff?" Ah, one of life's greatest mysteries. I simply don't know.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Flowers in Pot

Inspired by Jack.

Hooray! A Back to Normal Day

Hershey got a haircut. He's back to being the Poodle Boy. Personally, I thought he was looking quite cute with his longer look, but he prefers to look neater. I think he's happy to be able to see once again. I had my hair "styled" (as much as I ever style it), also. I'm just happy that there's no longer a two-inch gray stripe down the center of my head. What a great day all around!!!

"Oh, Mom"

I wasn't hearing those words. I was saying them.

Last night the kids and I took my parents out to dinner. It's something we do regularly, especially when hubby's away from home. We arrived at the appointed hour and were having a nice conversation while sitting around their kitchen table. Kids were getting hungry. Okay, time to go. Then, out of nowhere, I hear, "Is that A ZIT on the end of your nose?" It's Mom (Nana), talking to my eleven-year-old son. He replies, "I don't know, maybe." And all I can say is, "Oh, Mom." Son lets the matter drop. I spy Nana staring at his nose several times during dinner. Son seems oblivious. I want to say something to her, but maybe it's best I learn a lesson from my little guy and simply let the whole thing go.

Dinner is fairly enjoyable. It would have been better had I not been so aggravated with my mother. I've got a thing about my kids and their bodies, or perhaps more accurately, their body images. I suppose a zit here and there is inevitable, but I certainly am never going to point them out. I don't want my son going to school, or even just playing with his friends, worrying about whether or not he has A ZIT on his cute little nose. I'm finally getting over it when... "Did you hear about that plane crash in New York City today?" "Oh, Mom!" Is she for real? What is she thinking? Both kids stare intently at her, for they know nothing about the crash. "Yesssss (as much of a hiss as I can produce without freaking out the kids). I heard about it." "Now isn't that something? You'd think there'd be precautions so something like that...." "Mom, let's talk about this later." Husband is in NYC, and the last thing I need is for Mom to talk about this stuff in front of the kids, particularly my little girl who hates when Daddy is away from home.

I wonder. Is this just old age? Once you've reached 70, are you given a free pass to say anything that comes to mind? Do we lose our ability to censor the things we say (and when we're adults, we must speak carefully around the children)? Or maybe, as an older mother, am I too sensitive to anything that will make my kids fearful or unhappy? Am I overreacting? Am I too protective? Do I shield them from too much of this world?

I don't know. I'm not 70. I'm not a grandma. So, I take another deep breath (a habit with me lately) and remember all the things that make my mom wonderful. She is a woman who inspires many. She's still working. She's (usually) thoughtful, intelligent, and caring. She's active. She loves her family beyond words. But last night, she made me a crazy person. Hey, maybe that's it. I'm crazy. Crazy about my husband. Crazy about my kids. And I don't want anyone messing with them, even her. Oh, Mom.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

"Respect the Differences"

Today's observation: there's he, and then there's she.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Real Life Today

He's a Smart Guy...

that husband of mine. He's a civil and structural engineer, specializing in bridges and tunnels. He's also got advanced degrees in both business and finance. He's made quite a name for himself over the past ten years or so, so it was no surprise when he was asked to work on THE newest building in NY.

I have mixed emotions about the whole thing. He's been traveling a lot for the past two years, mostly to the West Coast, but now he'll be a regular in Manhattan. He left this morning, obviously excited about the new assignment. It will be good for his career, but I wonder what effect it will have on our family. He expects to be in Manhattan for two or three days each week, and he doesn't really have any idea how long that might last. I wasn't sure how to respond when he asked me about it and told me how interested he is in being part of this project, so I did my wifely thing and told him that I'd support him in whatever he wanted to do.

I tend to be a worrier. Now here's something else to worry about. He's working on the building that is to replace the two that were destroyed one sunny September day in 2001. I worry about the conditions there. Has everything really been cleaned? Is it really safe? Will working on this project affect his health? Will he be a target (I know I'll worry more about that as the project comes to completion)? The list goes on and on in my head.

I tend to keep these worries to myself as I don't want him to worry about my worrying, and I definitely do not want my kids to think their dad might be in any kind of danger at all. So here I am, venting to whomever might read this thing today. I know I'm probably being irrational, but given the state of the world....

And with that I wish him well on his new adventure. I know that as far as the building itself goes, this country couldn't be in better hands. I'm proud of him. I'm proud to be his wife. He's one smart guy.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Back to Normal

It's been a long time since I've felt anything close to normal (normal for me, that is), but this past weekend proves that I'm right back on track.

Friday was daughter's second French class (I drove her there). She's loving it. We're treated to an alphabet recitation every day, and now she's learning her colors and the all-important "zute." Is that really a word? I don't remember ever learning that one. She says it means "darn." So now when she drops her pencil -- "zute," makes a mistake on her homework -- "zute," fights with the dog -- "zute." I told her that I'm not sure that I like her using that word, and she told me, "it's better than saying crap, like you do." Well, well. Maybe she has something there.

We had my parents over for dinner on Saturday. No big deal, right? Except that I love having people over and tend to entertain a lot, but not lately. So it was a big deal to me. I actually cooked the entire dinner all by myself! I love to cook, but haven't been able to lately. Again, a big deal to me. Then, the sweetest thing, the kids were thrilled. "This is the best dinner we've had since you got sick." "Mom, you are the best chef (I've been upgraded) in the whole world." "Mom, can you make this again later this week?" Silly to be excited about that, I guess, but it really was a big deal to me.

On Sunday we went to the theater to see Beauty and the Beast. First, I must say that husband and son were not thrilled to realize that we had four, yup count 'em four, tickets. "We have four, not two?" asked husband. "Sorry, honey, but there are four, and I'd really like you to come with us." Big sigh, and then... "Okay, I'm sure it'll be great." As we were leaving home, son's friend called to invite him over, "I guess the answer is 'no,' Mom?" "You guessed right." Too bad. But then an amazing thing happened. I saw both husband and son smiling during the production. After it was over they both said "it wasn't bad." Daughter, on the other hand and as usual, loved the whole thing -- from being seated, "this place is so beautiful, it makes me feel like royalty," to the show itself. I couldn't have said it any better, "Mom, I'd come here over going to the movies any day." She's a chip off this old block.

There were lots of other everyday things that I was able to attend to over the weekend, and it felt great. I feel great. Back to normal, whatever that is.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Coffee Time Today

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Speaking of Tomatoes

My auntie e-mailed this to me this morning with a note saying, "It also goes to show that you can't always tell from the outside who's an angel inside. You're my angel."

Aw, shucks.

On a Lighter Note

Three goofy things that have happened today.

1. While making the bed this morning, I found a squished spider in the sheets, on my side. This is just too disgusting and gives me the heeby jeebies in a bigtime way. I immediately ripped the sheets off the bed and then realized that I can't put fresh sheets on because we've got one of those giant 16" thick deals that's too heavy to lift. So, instead, I took a long shower (got to get those spider guts off) and now have to look at a naked bed until husband returns from work.

2. I opened the pantry door, and a bottle of curry powder fell off a shelf and spilled all over the floor. No bending still, so now I'm left with a curry aroma permeating the entire house. It will have to stay like that until my son gets home from school and can clean up the mess for his poor old mom. Good thing I like curry.

And 3 (my favorite). "Mom, do you know what I like best about my brain? I can think whatever I want and no one else can hear me." I like that, too. I do wonder, what is she thinking?

That's all for today.

It's Everywhere...

the news of more school violence. Each incident is more shocking than the last. As a mom of two kids making their way through the public school system, it is alarming. I try to remember that the chance of something so horrific happening to my children or to any other child is miniscule. Having said that, I'd like to share a message we received on our answering machine last night.

"Good evening. This is the superintendent of schools calling you to reassure you and your family, in light of the recent school national violence, that our school system is well prepared for any contingency that may occur. Each school has an emergency response manual that is reviewed by principals and teachers, on a timely basis. Our schools have conducted emergency drills, lockdowns, evacuations, and sheltering in place. We have full cooperation of the police and fire departments, and our police department has assigned resource police officers in each of our three major school regions. They are available at a moment's notice.
In cooperation with the police, fire and R.I. emergency management agencies, we will be conducting a full-scale emergency drill at the high school on Thursday, October 5, 2006. We will continue to review our policies with the outstanding cooperation of our partners in the police and fire departments, as an effort to continue ensuring the maximum safety of your sons and daughters. I wish you a good evening."
Now, I'd like to point out that the emergency response manual also addresses weather disasters, chemical or biological disasters, and even plane crashes. I suppose it is good to be prepared.

I continue to believe that most people are good and that my children are safe while at school.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Good, The Bad, and The Flabby

The Good: Today, so far. I just came in from a doctor's visit where I was told that I could "begin getting back into my daily routine." I can't tell you how happy that one little comment makes me! And I can drive!

The Bad: "Still no bending, twisting, or lifting. See you in three weeks." Are you kidding me? I haven't bent, twisted, or lifted anything in at least three months. And I am in desperate need of some bending and twisting. Husband says it's better to wait and stay healthy. At this point, I'm not so sure. But I have to go with doctor knows best.

The Flabby: That would be me. I've lost some weight through diet alone, and I sure could use some toning. Alas, not even physical therapy yet. Back to that no bending twisting thing again. Who would have known how much one can desire some exercise?

All in all, I'd have to say that the Good far outweighs everything else. I can't believe how great I feel considering how bad it was. So cheers to my favorite doctor and the miracle of modern medicine. And wishing you all a bendy, twisty day.

I'm Just a Weirdo

Having recently been tagged by Liz to list five weird things about me, I've been thinking a lot about just how weird I am. Aren't we all? I suppose I should speak only for myself, so here goes.

1. I love eating tomatoes: raw (with/without salt or sugar), stewed, roasted, stuffed, in a salad, as a salad, pasta sauce, tomato juice. But, I absolutely cannot stomach tomato soup!

2. I am addicted to ice cream sandwiches. I confess to eating at least four per week. I recently lost over 20 lbs. (yay), trying to stick to natural foods, but I could not, would not give up those sandwiches. Do you think I have a problem?

3. My best friend is a man, not my husband. Personally, I don't think that's weird, but people my age and older usually do, so I decided to throw this one in.

4. I can juggle. I'm not great at it, but good enough to impress friends and children. Now if only I could stay within a ten foot radius of where I begin.

5. I can appreciate most sports. I've even been known to participate in a few. But I hate hate hate hockey. Not too weird, right? Unless you consider that the man I had the longest relationship with, other than husband, on and off for ten years, was a pro hockey player. Hmmm, wonder why that didn't work out.

My weirdo list goes on and on. I decided to stick with the least embarrassing of the bunch. I've got so many doozies, it wasn't easy.

Now, I am supposed to tag five other people. Unfortunately, I don't know five others out here in the blogosphere -- sad but true. Therefore, I've decided to issue an open invitation to everyone reading this. Feel free to list five weird things about yourself on your own blog or, if you wish, here. I hope that you might tell me at least one so I can gain a bit more insight into you, my blogging friends. And maybe it'll help me feel a little less weird.