My friend Betty & Boo’s Mom does Wordless Wednesday posts fairly regulary, and when I saw this I decided I had to steal the idea for once.
A quick piece of advice: if you’re pre-disposed to worrying about someone coming in your house and trying to kill your family around New Years don’t read this entire book in one day. Especially if you have to wake up early the next morning to go to work, and the power goes out at 4 am and wakes you up when things start beeping and re-starting. And you lie there and wonder what those noises were, try to remember if you have an alarm system, and you’re prone to walk around to make sure you can hear everyone breathing in their beds.
A very good book, I would recommend it (if I didn’t already spoil it for you). But I reminded myself about halfway through, that the reason I’ve always been unable to get through Black and Blue, is that I am too scared of what is going to happen. So the jacket description of a “shocking act of violence” might have been a clue.
I’ve seen two documents this week that prove The Bug is ready to venture into the world. She might as well go to work, start earning her keep around here.
First, I found this in her school folder. I vaguely know about Junior Achievement. I sat with a fundraiser from that organization a few weeks ago and pretended that I knew exactly what it was. But what are they teaching my first grader, that makes her “work ready?” Hope she can make enough to cover her daycare and her Squinky habit. And evidently, she can even start her own business. Hmmm… maybe I should call Junior Achievement and see if they have adult classes.
But this is what I’m really proud of. I had to work the other night, so J. was in charge of bedtime. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but I believe he told The Bug that she couldn’t use the lotion/bath gel she received for her birthday because it’s made in China. So he explained about poison in chinese products. He also tried to explain what human rights are, and that some people are treated unfairly in certain parts of the world.
*Note: this is tough stuff to talk to kids about, especially (I think) when the kids are so smart. She remembers everything. There’s a balance between being honest and giving too much information. We’ve wondered what to say to her about Tucson, about September 11 (on the anniversaries, obviously), and about other bad situations and things that have happened to people in our own little personal bubble of life.
When I woke her up in the AM, she was still concerned about China, their poisonous toys and their unfair treatment of some people. So she wrote a letter to President Obama to ask him to do something about it. She believes he can fix just about anything. I wish that were true.
Yes, since I don’t have any fancy photoshop software (or skills), I covered her name with a napkin for my anonymous blog. And I guess he also explained intellectual property and copyright infringement.
So maybe she’ll soon be making a great career out of being a self-employed lobbyist. A mama can dream!
I guess now that city’s name enters our vocabulary the way “Colombine” did, or “Virginia Tech.” I typed the word “Tucson” last night in an email to my board member/friend in Arizona. I couldn’t get her and her husband, who is the Chair of the AZ Democratic Party, and their nine year old child out of my mind. I realized that this place, where I’ve never been and probably had never typed before (I wasn’t sure if it was spelled “sc” or “cs,” actually), is now a place that I’ll remember forever and think of often.
This would be a horrible situation, no matter who the victims were. But of course, when it has some sort of personal connection, it hits a little harder. I don’t know Rep. Giffords or any of the Tucson victims. I’m sure my friends in Arizona, and others I know who work in/around Congress know her. But I think about all the personal friends I do have who are, or work for, congressional representatives and other elected officials. I’ve staffed plenty of events like the one Rep. Giffords’ office was holding on Saturday. I’ve stood next to elected and public officials in dozens, if not hundreds, of events with no security, no control over who walks up to us.
When I started working in politics, especially on statewide campaigns, my mother’s biggest worry seemed to be that I would be in a small plane crash. Virginia is a big state; politicians fly from one end of it to the other all the time on the campaign trail. Several have been killed in crashes, some during their campaigns for office. As a statewide campaign scheduler, I argued on a midnight conference call against putting all three statewide candidates on a plane together.
But I don’t think that my mom ever worried about me being shot by a crazy person who didn’t agree with my boss. I guess it was a different time; people weren’t as angry as they seem to be now within the political debate. In general, mass shootings were not the periodic response to mental illness and perceived slights, that they have become.
Having said all that, I’m not ready to simplify this into an attack on Republicans’ gun analogies in campaigns. They’re not blameless, but I don’t think it’s that simple. One person I know in politics wrote a piece that sums up where I am on it now. I’m sure as more information comes out about the Tucson shooter, my opinions will evolve. But for now I’ll echo Mo’s feelings. It’s personal. Killing kids, staffers, humans… is personal.
I had dinner last night with two former co-workers. We all worked for the same organization a few years ago, and we all ended up hating it. We now all have different jobs, and have some pretty strong feelings about those as well. Both of these ladies have “grand plans” about they’re going to do next. They involve writing books, going to graduate school, working on farms, hiking the Appalachin Trail, getting pregnant. I should mention that both of these women are in their mid 20’s.
It was nice to catch up with some fellow commiserators, but I have to admit I was a little discouraged that I don’t have a “grand plan” of my own. I guess it’s a bit easier for them to change their lives in an instant, because they don’t have mortgages, kids, etc. to take care of. But I would like to come up with the realistic equivalent of my “grand plan.” I’m feeling really antsy and like something major needs to change.
I’m not unhappy, I’m not planning on leaving my life as we know it behind. But I love change, and I really want to experience a big one right about now.
And I assure you… the change I want DOES NOT involve hiking the Appalachin Trail, getting pregnant or working on a farm.
I should write about the wonderful holiday we had, or the way this blog will change this year. Or my resolutions. But I’m still on vacation (for a few more hours), I have no idea if/how it will change or if it will even exist. And I don’t like resolutions. And I’d rather read my book, Cutting for Stone. Because I want to read more in 2011. But it’s not a resolution.
Happy New Year!
Ah, the holidays… Peace, love and joy quickly give way to stress, depression and drama. Or at least that’s the way it seems. I’ve seen a million articles/blog posts/TV spots with titles like, “How to avoid stress during the holidays.” So I’m assuming there’s a lot of stress out there to be avoided. I will admit that I’m not a very “stressed” person, at least I don’t show it outwardly (except when I whine on my blog, but I don’t run around frazzled or anything).
I love Christmas. Especially with kids – I love the lights, wrapping their presents, the whole “feeling” of the season. But I have never allowed myself to set any crazy expectations. I don’t buy presents for a million people, I don’t go crazy decorating every room in the house and I don’t feel like I have to bake a million perfectly personalized gingerbread cookies. *Sidebar: I told J. this AM that I was excited about our new fridge because I could keep cookie dough in it. His response: “But your cookies are so bad.” This may be one reason why expectations are low. **Yes, he bought me a refrigarator for Xmas. For the basement. Love.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot this year about holiday traditions. Some of our traditions are changing, because my dad will not be here. This makes me sad, especially because Christmas was definitely a time that I always associated with him.
But I’m also looking towards new traditions. Or things we do once that fail miserably and don’t become traditions at all. We will bake cookies. We will have the girls open one present (matching pajamas, of course) on Christmas Eve. We will host an open house type party in the afternoon/evening of Christmas Day for anyone who is in town and available. These have become our family traditions. We also might go to the VA Museum of Fine Arts, because they are open 365 days/year (the idea of having the entire museum to ourselves for a couple of hours is very appealing to me)! We may cook or order some “non-christmas like” food to eat that day. We may drive around on Christmas Eve on the Tacky Lights Tour. I don’t know exactly what we’re going to do. And I kind of like it.