You want to see a miracle? Be the miracle. ~God in Bruce Almighty
If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other? ~God in Evan Almighty
If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance. ~George Bernard Shaw
No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. ~Albert Einstein
Just follow your heart. That's what I do. ~Napoleon Dynamite
I don't want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me. ~Frank Costello in The Departed
Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer. ~Mark Twain
This is a doughnut stuffed with M&Ms. That way when you're finished with the doughnut you don't have to eat any M&Ms. ~Dr. Rick Marshall in Land of The Lost
I can't control the cards I'm dealt, just how I play the hands. ~Professor Randy Pausch
Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted. ~Professor Randy Pausch
I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. ~Michael Jordan
I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. ~Mohandas Gandhi
To be truly radical is to make hope possible, rather than despair convincing. ~Raymond Williams
If your first grader had spent the better part of her early childhood years under the influence of teenage sisters, you too might find yourself jumping to conclusions during otherwise innocent conversations . . .
Laura: “Mommy, did you know that the word ‘ho’ is in the word Holland?”
Mom: [Cringing] “Oh?”
Laura: “It is. Did you know that?”
Mom: [Cringing and hoping she’s thinking of a garden tool] “Oh. Uh, how do you spell ho?”
Laura: “H – O.”
Mom: “The kind of hoe that you use in the garden is spelled H – O – E.”
Laura: “No, not that kind of ho. This kind of ho is spelled H – O.
Mom: [Strenuously cringing] “What does ho spelled H – O mean?”
Laura: “You know. Ho, ho ho. It’s what Santa says.”
Tom was explaining in simple terms to Laura what would be his new job responsibilities as Chief Patent Counsel. To quantify things for her, Tom told her how many people used to report to him and that he has some 150 people reporting to him now. Laura said, “Wow. Daddy, you’re really moving up the food chain.”
Laura helping Daddy move into his new office yesterday
In Laura’s first-grade class, each child gets a turn to be Chief of the Week. The student brings in a poster filled with photographs, trophies, awards, and perhaps a few favorite things to display throughout the week. At the end of the week, the student does an oral presentation about herself, to which the parents are invited. If you had been there to see it, you’d swear that Laura must have attended Toddler Toastmasters. Her speech was flawlessly delivered to a room full of her peers and invited guests without even a hint of nervousness or stage fright.
Where Tom works, only one employee gets to be Chief Patent Counsel. In just under nine years with the company, Tom was offered, and accepted, the position. This is a huge accomplishment and I am so proud of him, so much so that I’ve been looking at Tom lately with joy in my heart—and a special gleam in my eye. The only way that I can think to explain this invigorated ardor that I’ve been feeling for my husband is this: It is like when a doe is standing around in a forest minding her own business and a fourteen-point stag happens to mosey by. That doe is naturally going to perk up. It’s a Darwinian thing. Females naturally seek to select the strongest of the species. So when a husband accomplishes something of this magnitude, a wife gets to revisit the feelings that made her select him in the first place. When I heard of Tom’s promotion, despite the low-dose birth control pills that I take to manage my perimenopausal symptoms, I swear I felt an ovum slip down one of my Fallopian tubes. Dude is that hot.
So last week, the two chiefs (and a couple of braves) went to the Happiest Place on Earth to celebrate.
Chief of the Week and her friend Sharon at Disneyland:
Although we first moved to San Diego almost ten years ago during a warm and inviting summer season, the holiday decorations going up all over town have reminded me of our first Christmas here. El Niño had been a recent occurrence, so San Diego hillsides were particularly lush and green back then. The skies here were quite blue by comparison to that which we left behind in the City of Angels. They still are, comparatively. And, nearly ten years ago, traffic in San Diego was not what it is here today, and even today it is still 1,000,000 times better when going from one place to another in San Diego than that with which we coped commuting from the west side to any place else in L.A. But we did have to learn to contend with one element in San Diego that didn’t really seem to hit our radar in Beverly Hills: All Creatures Great and Small. I’ve shared the story of the Raccoon Incursion of 2000, and the Bee Ball Formation of 2003, so, in the spirit of the holiday season, I will share the story of the Ant Invasion of 1998, and the Christmas poem I wrote for Tom subsequent to the event.
You may have guessed that when Tom wants something done, he is accomplished, goal-oriented, and, uh, er, um, hmmm, tenacious. In a good way. Really. Well, usually. So when we came to the conclusion that the house we had just moved was actually a life-sized Uncle Milton’s Ant Farm, Tom wasn’t going to stand by and watch the little ebony invaders take over without fighting back. It seemed like every time we’d leave the house, only to return a short time later, we’d find that replacement troops had been sent in for all of the ants that had only just been sprayed or squished before we’d left. Tom stood his ground against the rebel forces from the dark side, but he didn’t care to be in the trenches without a unit to command. And so Tom took it upon himself to draft Kristen and Courtney in the battle to kill the oppressive Iridomyrmex humilis army and turn our home back into a democracy. The children’s conscription into what Tom called “ant patrol” came one day after he'd returned home to find them watching T.V., oblivious to the long, thick line of black ants that had begun marching across the kitchen floor and into the dining room. “Kristen and Courtney,” he barked with authority, “You can’t just sit on your butts watching T.V.” The kids looked up at him glassy eyed. “Every twenty minutes or so, you have to get up and do an ant patrol,” Tom commanded. The kids were able to keep straight faces, I think, because their brains had been numbed by reruns, and maybe because they could read how serious Dad really was. (In Tom’s defense, the territorial battle had become daunting at times.) Tom continued, “And if you see any ants, don’t just kill them. You must extend your thumb, press down on each ant one at a time without smearing it, and then wipe the ant body from your thumb with a napkin. That way there’s no mess.”
Now that the ant invasion is long behind us, we can laugh about it. Well, the kids do. And I hope that Tom can. I’ll know after he reads this. Of course, I started laughing about it a day or so after the last ant had met its maker, and so that same year I wrote this poem for Tom for Christmas:
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, —except for an ant!
Though the stockings were hung by the chimney with care, no one thought a black creature would be found lurking there.
The cuddle kids were nestled all snug in their beds, while Nick at Night reruns filled the space in their heads. But the mere sight of an insect the color of coal, made it clear that these children had neglected their ant patrol.
With Cheri in her flannels and Tom in the buff, we feared that this battle soon would get rough. Using their thumbs the kids smashed them at will, but the ants were winning since we lived on their hill.
Then out on the street there arose such a clatter, Tom sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window like a flash he flew, tore open the shutter – pausing, of course, to admire his view.
The moon on the windows of the tract houses did glow, and Tom thought once again, “I love San Diego.” When what to his wondering eyes should appear, but a Terminix truck filled with poison so dear.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick, we knew in a moment, Tom would stop being a ______. More rapid than eagles, his courses they came, and he whistled and shouted and called them by name:
“Now Chemical! Now Compound! Now, Polluntant and Toxic! On, Cyanide! On, Hemlock! Agent Orange and Arsenic! Spray the backyard! The kitchen! Get inside the wall! Now pass away! Pass away! Pass away all!”
Six months back, when I was a nOObie blogger, I didn’t think about the fact that if you included certain words and phrases in a post, you were sure to get visits from the ilk who’d searched for keywords like “Daddy spank my butt” or “we are swingers” or the ever popular “pole dancing.” Now of course, having spent a little time out in the Blogosphere, I know in advance that weirdos will be stopping by because of some of the keywords that will necessarily pop up in this particular post. So, Dearest Web Weirdos, my apologies for wasting your time, but this mommy blog will give you no satisfaction if you stopped by thinking you’d read about wife swapping, pole dancing, spanking daddies, or other similarly dodgy phrases that happen to appear hereinafter.
Living with two teenagers during her early childhood years most certainly had an effect on Laura’s personality and emergent verbal skills. For example, while other kids might say, “Swiper, no swiping!” or “Time for Tubby Bye Bye,” Laura can match Napoleon Dynamite and Clark W. Griswold quotes with the best of ‘em.
Similarly, Laura’s nascent vocabulary was also influenced by her big sisters. One example that comes to mind took place during her first year of preschool. Laura took great pride in dressing herself. On one occasion, well, maybe more than one occasion, Laura showed up to preschool sans panties. Now Laura’s preschool teacher offered me comfort for my embarrassment by telling me that in all of her years of teaching, it is a more common occurrence than you might imagine for a child to have forgotten to put on his or her underwear, which is one of the reasons the preschool keeps extra pairs on hand. But her teacher also told me that in all of her years of teaching, until Laura came along, she had never before had a child discover that she’d forgotten her panties and then proudly announce, “I’m going commando!”
Then there was the time, when Laura was not quite four years old, that Kristen, Laura and I were in a dressing room at Nordstrom. Kristen was trying on bras and when the saleslady came back into the dressing room with another size, Laura informed her, “My sister is trying on bras because she has bodacious ta tas. I only have ta tas. My ta tas are not bodacious, so I don’t need a bra. I’ll need one when I’m about fourteen. When I’m fourteen my ta tas will be bodacious.” You can imagine the look on the saleslady’s face and what she must have been thinking about me.
Now when Laura and I were at church last week, we ran into Lisa, darling, fun, Lisa, who is a breast-cancer activist, a past 3-Day participant, etc. Lisa was sporting a new visor which was embroidered with a pink breast-cancer ribbon and the words “Save the Ta Tas.” Having had the “benefit” of a teenage vocabulary before she’d hit Kindergarten, and recognizing the pink ribbon, Laura grasped the meaning. (I am not a big fan of bumper stickers, but this one just might find its way onto the back of my car very soon.) About a week later Laura was standing in our kitchen opening the pink lid of a Yoplait® yogurt. Every year, starting in September, Laura and I save pink lids and mail them in because Yoplait® donates ten cents per lid received to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Laura handed her lid to Tom to rinse for her, but forgetting himself for a moment he tossed it into the trash compactor. Laura burst out, “Daddy! Don’t throw away that lid. We’re trying to save the ta tas!” Tom had not seen Lisa’s visor, but it only took him a moment to catch on. With a small shake of his head and a warm smile, Tom pulled the lid from the trash, rinsed it off, and added it to our pile.
You too can help save the ta tas. Join Laura and me. Save your pink Yoplait® lids and mail them to the following address before December 31, 2006:
Save Lids to Save Lives P.O. Box 72716 Rockford, MN 55572-7016