Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
I recently started training for a 5K. If you know me at all, you are probably surprised by the idea, and possibly a little derisive. I tend to be slovenly and indolent. I'm self-indulgent. I eat too much and I drink too much. In general, this is not a problem to me. These are all things I like about myself.
Furthermore, some of my friends are avid runners, and they always have the most gruesome stories of toenails falling off and bleeding nipples. Honestly, I can't imagine why anyone would want to run unless they were being chased. Even then, it would have to be chased by someone abnormally large and carrying a weapon of some sort (as opposed to, say, being pursued by a small child).
But you know how it goes. I'm not getting any younger, and the days of being able to have ice cream for dinner before an extended night of bar-hopping without physical repercussions are long gone. So, wish me luck!
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Last weekend was all about food. It was too hot to cook in the kitchen, so I got creative with my grill and microwave, and brought the crock pots, rice cooker, and bread machine upstairs to the bedroom that has the strongest air conditioner. Not everything turned out great, but as I said to Don, what it lacked in quality it made up for in quantity.
The things that did turn out great, though, were handled by E. (That's her at the apex of the Charlie's Angels triangle, along with me and Abigail, all of us geeking out tipsily with our iphones.) She guided me through making an amazing leg of lamb, and her husband Jay grilled it and some asparagus, bless him. Then E wilted some green leafy vegetable I got at the farmer's market, maybe a lettuce, maybe kale of some sort. I wish I knew what it was, because with a bunch of garlic and a little olive oil it was quite lovely.
Saturday I went to PX for Nylonthread's birthday and had the most fabulous drink. The Smoker's Delight was Basil Hayden bourbon, honey, a little lemon, and a couple drops of a highly distilled tobacco tea. As soon as the weather cools down enough for me to use my stove again to boil tobacco leaves for an extended period of time, I'm going to try to make it. Crazy good.
I also made the 5-minute microwave chocolate cake with the kids this weekend. It turned out rubbery, possibly because I microwaved it too long, but the taste was pretty good and the kids had a blast making it.
4 Tablespoons cake flour [I used whole wheat]
4 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons cocoa
3 Tablespoons milk
3 Tablespoons oil
Mix ingredients together in a bowl. Microwave for 3 minutes. Turn the cake out onto a plate. ... Yep, that's it, though it is greatly improved with powdered sugar or frosting.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Posted by Kelly O at 3:31 PM
Friday, July 18, 2008
This Boohbah toy is going out for a curbside charity donation pickup tomorrow. Don't worry, I cleaned off the head trauma evidence before putting it in the pile. As best I could, anyway.
I don't know why I find this so amusing, I really don't.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Wrekehavoc is having the tough talks with her preteen daughter about body image, cheerleaders, and competition. I do not envy her and dread the day when I'm the mom in that scenario.
I said this in a comment on her blog, but I want to be sure to remember it for future reference:
One of the most comforting things my mother ever said to me (because these are conversations mothers and daughters have had since the beginning of time, eh?) was that those girls who are concerned primarily with hair ribbons and cheerleading will go on to lead very, very dull lives, and probably never leave the hometowns that have been so comfortable to them. They will do all their dating in high school with boring high school boys and probably be married shortly after graduating. The smart ones, the outsiders, the dorks (and you know I’m talking about myself here — TOTAL dork) will travel and write and create and form friendships and experience love and a life that is richly varied and beautiful.
Totally sappy, but on the whole totally true.
I wonder if that will reassure my kids, the idea that comfort is the enemy of progress. That's Marxism, right? Yeah, I get all my best parenting tips from the commies.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
One of the high points of the 4th of July weekend was the amazing food we got to experience, starting with the crabfest my friend E hosted on Friday. It was crazy good, and both kids gamely tasted some of the meat. Only Liam — who has an adventurous palette like I do, while Thea is more like Todd — enjoyed it. He loved everything about the entire crab experience, from poking the crabs to make sure they were still alive and watching them go into the pot of boiling water, to smashing their carcasses with a mallet to release the tender flesh.
Wow, I'm really far from my vegetarian roots with this.
Anyway, for the next two days, he brought up how much he loved crabs several times. They were indeed particularly good and plentiful. I think the next time we have them, he will be sorely disappointed.
On Sunday I took the kids over to the O family BFF's place for lunch so Todd could study. Monkeyrotica, who may be the best cook I personally know, made a beautiful jambalaya. I gave Liam a taste, thinking it would be too spicy for him. Instead, he gulped down some water and chirped "More!" When we left, he raved about the "jamba-blah-blah" the whole way home.
I joke that I had to breed my own dining companion, but I kind of mean that sincerely.
Monday, July 07, 2008
I have to admit, I'm pretty heavily tied into the Google brands. My blog is on the Google-run Blogger, I read all my feeds in Google Reader, and my primary email is Gmail. There's also Gtalk, the Google search engine, and Picassa, all of which I use almost exclusively. So the article "On Day Care, Google Makes a Rare Fumble" from Saturday's New York Times, which I found through Heather's shared feeds in Google Reader, really saddens me.
Here's an excerpt (bolded parts by me, for those of us who skim). I'd love to know what you think:
Two months ago, Google held a series of secret focus groups with employees who have children in Google’s day care facilities. The purpose was to gauge their reaction to the company’s plan to raise the amount it charged for in-house day care by 75 percent.
Parents who had been paying $1,425 a month for infant care would see their costs rise to nearly $2,500 — well above the market rate. For parents with toddlers and preschoolers, who were charged less, the price increases were equally eye-popping. Under the new plan, parents with two kids in Google day care would most likely see their annual day care bill grow to more than $57,000 from around $33,000.
At the first of the three focus groups, parents wept openly. As word leaked out about the company’s plan, the Google parents began to fight back. They came up with ideas to save money, used the company’s T.G.I.F. sessions — a weekly meeting for anyone who wanted to ask questions of Google’s top executives — to plead their case, and conducted surveys showing that most parents with children in Google day care would have to leave Google’s facilities and find less expensive child care.
Do you think you know how this story ends? You’re probably guessing that because it involves “do no evil” Google, Fortune magazine’s “Best Company to Work For” the past two years, this is a heart-warming tale of a good company reversing a dumb decision.
If only. Although Google is rolling back its price increase slightly and is phasing in the higher price over five quarters, the outline of the original decision remains largely unchanged. At a T.G.I.F. in June, the Google co-founder Sergey Brin said he had no sympathy for the parents, and that he was tired of “Googlers” who felt entitled to perks like “bottled water and M&Ms,” according to several people in the meeting.
Of course, those of us with kids know that on-site daycare is not equivalent to bottled water and M&Ms. It can be the reason you take or leave a job, and those of us who work on Teh Internets are able to be highly mobile. Anyway, the article goes on to describe the daycare, which does indeed sound amazing in a bloated, over-done way. But who doesn't want the very best for their kids?
But here’s the real problem: providing day care isn’t an economics experiment, nor should it be just another Google perk, alongside organic food and free M&Ms. Day care matters to people’s lives in a way that few other perks do. There are many people in this country — including, I’ll bet, many Googlers — who believe that employer-provided day care, at affordable prices, ought to be like health insurance, a benefit that every company provides as a matter of course. Yet as the technology blog Valleywag noted recently, Google doesn’t even advertise day care as a benefit for its employees anymore. That’s the real shame.
Google may be providing the greatest day care ever, but so what? It doesn’t matter how good the day care is if only its wealthiest employees can afford to use it. If Google had really wanted to do something path-breaking about its day care crisis, it would have spent less time creating elitist day care centers and more time figuring out how to “scale” day care for everybody no matter what their salaries.
Instead, Google has shown that it thinks about day care the same way every other company does — as a luxury, not a benefit. Judging by what’s transpired, that’s what Google is fast becoming: just another company.
Friday, July 04, 2008
Thea has learned the pledge of allegiance in school:
I pledge allegiance
to the flag
of the united steaks of the merica.
And to the mepublic
for which it stands,
(Please ignore how messy the counter top is in the background. It collects all manner of flora and fauna during the week.)
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Thea drew this whale at daycare yesterday, and after dinner she and Liam taped it on the wall of my bedroom, right next to my bed. I love it, and I love the amount of tape they used. This is an adorable age.
Since Todd started school and I started a new job with a micro-commute, the nighttime routine has improved immeasurably. We pick the kids up about 45 minutes earlier, and dinner or at least snacks — Thea is into carrots right now, Liam loves avocado — are on the table waiting for them when they get home. No more frantically running around to make sure food goes in the cry-holes 10 minutes after walking in the door, no more kids coming home screaming because they're tired and hungry and it's too hot or too cold or [insert kid's name here] won't stop bothering [insert sibling name here]. I have a certain amount of time to exercise at the gym after work and no rush-hour traffic, so I'm more mellow. Todd is doing something he's actively interested in, on his own terms, so he's happier. We're even able to get the kids in bed earlier, giving us a little adult time in the evenings.
So, even though I miss my old job (I wouldn't be me without a certain amount of dissatisfaction and ennui), all in all things are going pretty well.