Sunday, November 30, 2008
third of the tree. It's both charming and a little unnerving to
someone who is a bit OCD about symmetry.
Posted by Kelly O at 7:14 PM
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Every year instead of buying Christmas presents for my loved ones, I make most of the gifts I give, to varying degrees of success. If you are interested in opting out of the commercialism associated with the holidays, pledge to either buy handmade or make your own gifts. While it's true that most people are less than thrilled with hand-made expressions of devotion (including but not limited to the time I gave everyone DVDs of the Star Wars holiday special, which involved buying it off eBay, borrowing a VCR and computer capable of converting it to a digital medium, and copying it for each person, all of which took forever), don't let that stop you. It's significantly better for the environment, and, as I said before, failure is just part of the process. Eventually I hope to make something that my friends will treasure.
Here are some ideas to get us started:
For the kids
- Felt penguin
- Stuffed bear
- Letters on small canvases that spell their name (Nylonthread did this for Thea one year and it turned out beautifully; also check out her etsy shop for some gorgeous jewelry)
- Mix cds (Does anyone else miss the mix tape as much as I do?)
- Bath bombs
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Posted by Kelly O at 8:45 PM
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I read this meme, which I'm stealing, on the lovely and talented Patois's blog. Here are five things I want my kids to know before they grow up:
1. Life is unfair. [I'm totally stealing that from Patois.] Sometimes you don't get what you want, even if you deserve it.
2. Failure is part of the process, not the end result. You can learn so much more when you don't succeed easily.
3. Sometimes people just suck. It's not always personal.
4. You can stick up for yourself without raising your voice. Yelling is rude and disrespectful, and if you're rude, you've lost the argument before it started.
5. You must be able to apologize easily and mean it. And sometimes you just have to forgive people who disappoint you. Most of us are doing the best we can.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I'm concerned that my Thanksgiving turkey may have been ruined.
It's too early to tell, of course. But that was the thought that went through my head last night when I picked up the free-range, organically fed, had-one-bad-day-after-a-good-life turkey that I ordered from the local organic market over a week ago. The turkey was supposed to be fresh, but instead it's frozen rock-solid. So my plan to brine it, like last year, is out of the question, and I'm not a good enough cook to attempt something that isn't dummy-proof.
Which, incidentally, is why I'll have half a dozen different kinds of cheeses and fresh bread. You can't go wrong with a good cheese plate, bread, and lots of wine. Even if everything else is a disaster, we'll still feel like dinner is a success.
Lucky for me, SusieJ has a salt-rub technique that she says works just as well as brining but takes significantly less time. I'll give it a try and let you know!
Monday, November 24, 2008
This morning my daughter watched me get dressed and made random, innocuous comments comparing our bodies. Like, "Mommy has big hands, I have tiny hands; Mommy has long arms, I have short arms," and so on, cataloging some of the ways we were different. When she got to my belly, I decided to practice a little body acceptance. I try not to say anything bad about myself in front of my daughter, because we ladies are inordinately critical of ourselves, aren't we? But I do find it difficult to celebrate my crepe-papery stretch marks.
So she got to my belly, and I said enthusiastically, "I love my belly! It's strong and beautiful. It grew and kept safe two of my favorite people in the world."
Thea: How can it be beautiful? It's just a belly.
Me: I think it's beautiful, anyway. And maybe it's beautiful on the inside? I don't know, you tell me, you were in there. What does it look like on the inside?
Thea [after a pause]: It looks like a church made of rainbows.
... *sniff* I think I have something in my eye.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Christmas. What do you think? Cool, or will it elicit scowls? (If I do
make them, they'll be cuter than this prototype, and not stuffed with
Posted by Kelly O at 4:06 PM
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Todd, my friend Patrick, his wife, and I went to see Roseanne Cash and Mark O'Connor last night at the Library of Congress. They were amazing. I almost don't want to write too much about it, because I don't think I can quite do it justice trying to describe it. It was a lovely, sad, melancholic performance, partly a tribute to Johnny Cash and partly a meditation on loss and desolation. That makes it sound too dark, though. It was more contemplative, I guess.
Anyway, if you get a chance to check out a performance on the tour, you should totally go. I scored front-row center seats, which is amazing. The tickets were free and sold out in about an hour. I have the best luck sometimes.
Posted by Kelly O at 11:35 PM
Friday, November 21, 2008
Posted by Kelly O at 8:07 PM
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I went to a Thanksgiving luncheon at the kids' daycare today. It was lovely, though I feel a little ill from the excessive amount of mac n' cheese and potato chips. The coolest part was the table cloth the kids made. I should totally do that for our Thanksgiving dinner.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The delightful Grandy suggested I do the "7 things about you in high school" meme. Thank blog. I had no idea what I was going to write about today.
I was a pretty typical teen:
1. I went to three different proms. If you know me at all, you probably find this hard to believe. I'm so not that kind of girl. I wore this dress all three times, and all three dates looked basically the same.
2. Also, my hair was funny-looking.
3. I was in the National Honor Society.
4. I hated high school. HATED it. The only thing that made it bearable was my sister and my friends. And Jim Beam.
5. I broke up with more than one guy by just moving away. I wasn't great with confrontation. (I'm much better now, though, mostly because somewhere along the way I learned that there's a whole world between "doormat" and "blow-out fight".)
6. My favorite band to see live was Econochrist. They were amazing. My favorite album was New Order's Power Corruption, and Lies, and for some reason that seems unfathomable now, I loved Tangerine Dream.
7. My favorite book, and still one of the most influential books I've ever read, was Exile and the Kingdom by Albert Camus.
How about you?
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Today is Liam's birthday!
It's official. We have no more babies in the house. Our toddler has turned into a little boy. And an adorable one, at that! He's funny, smart, and the sweetest slice of angel cake imaginable. He and his sister are best friends, and they love to crawl around the floor pretending they're horses, cheetahs, and dogs. They play together constantly, rarely bickering and usually sharing genially.
Liam's favorite foods are macaroni and cheese, scrambled eggs (especially if he can stir them), grape jello, and anything sweet. Otherwise, he's a bit of a gourmand. He likes food that is actively good, not just good enough, which can make dinner a challenge. His favorite show is Thomas, his favorite color is orange, and his favorite animals are bats and elephants.
He is a big boy. He's about 35 pounds and 40 inches tall, and he's very physically active. He loves to jump around, and he rarely gets hurt. Or, I should say, he rarely cries when he gets banged up. He also loves music and dancing. If a show comes on with catchy theme music, he can't help but sit a little straighter, moving his shoulders and bobbing his head.
Happy birthday, Liam
Monday, November 17, 2008
I should have said this yesterday, but we did indeed talk to the kids about why we were protesting, and about why it's important to speak out against injustice. I think it all went over Liam's three-year-old-(tomorrow) head, but Thea seemed to get it. We told them that when people grow up, they fall in love and sometimes decide to become a family and share the rest of their lives together, like Mommy and Daddy did. But some people think not everyone should be able to do that. Some people think that girls can only make boys their family, and boys can only make girls their family, not girls and girls or boys and boys. And we think that's unfair and sad. We think anyone who loves each other should be able to become a family. So we join together with a bunch of other people who think the same thing we do, and we march to show the world that we want change and that we support families.
Here are some photos that Abigail took. Liam, appropriately serious:
This one gives you an idea how big the crowd was:
Lastly, a better photo of my favorite sign. Teh gays, they are a funny people:
Sunday, November 16, 2008
We went to the protest and march against Prop 8 yesterday. Abigail had the brilliant idea to put the kids on our shoulders and give them cameras to document the event. (This photo is by one of my oldest and bestest friends, Nylonthread, who came with her adorable boy.)
I could not be prouder of the photos Thea took. It was the kids' first protest, and my first march on Washington.
All the rest of the photos were taken by Thea. Did I mention how proud of her I was?
We started out at the Capitol for the protest.
My friend Abigail organized a group of us to meet nearby and head to the protest together. Here's Abigail:
And here's a 3-second video of some of the rest of us (because at some point we had Thea's camera on the wrong setting). Hello, Nylonthread and Dash!
Next time we go to a protest like this, I have to remember to make a sign to carry, especially for the kids.
This one was one of my favorites, because it's funny, true, and sad:
After an hour or so of protesting, we were on the move for the march to the White House.
There were tons of people. View to the right:
And here's the view to the left. The girl with pink and orange hair is Abigail's brother's girlfriend. Her hair was a beacon to us all when we got lost in the crowd.
And here's a shot of the clouds. At some point, they turned even more ominous. We got about a third of the way to the White House before the sky opened up and drenched us.
Those of us with kids retreated to the shelter of the Hirshhorn Museum. Although we all, even the kids, wanted to continue, we parents couldn't let our wet children stay out in the elements. Especially since Liam was kind of tired and cranky before we even left for the protest.
(This was one of Thea's first practice shots. Liam is holding his Spongebob Squarepants umbrella, and thank heavens Todd insisted we take it and Thea's umbrella, as well, despite my protests.) Nylonthread and Dash headed for the metro, and the O family started the long trek back to our car. Unfortunately, there was at least one protest between us and our parking spot (though, I feel compelled to point out, NO COUNTER PROTESTS; I love this area), so Todd and the kids spent some time at the National Gallery while I ran back to the car. Good thing I've been running, because it was still pouring.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
1. Some people are really hostile toward social media.
2. And yet the Web 2.0 session is packed. Standing room only.
3. I just had the worst lunch ever. I feel ill.
4. I wonder if there's anywhere around here where I could find a birthday present for Liam.
5. My phone is going to die soon.
6. At least my NaBloPoMo post is done.
7. I hope the protest doesn't get rained out tomorrow.
Posted by Kelly O at 1:57 PM
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Many of us were horrified that Proposition 8 passed in California. Now, instead of feeling hopeless and powerless, we have a chance to join together in protest, all throughout the country. If you're in the D.C. area and are going, let me know! My friend Abigail and I are planning to put the kids on our shoulders, give them cameras, and let them document the occasion, kind of "baby's first protest."
Relatedly, have you seen Keith Olbermann's special comments on Prop 8? It's great, and it also highlights why this matters, whether it relates directly to you or not.
With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate... this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your God and the universal love you believe he represents? Then spread happiness — this tiny, symbolic, semantical grain of happiness — share it with all those who seek it. Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
You are asked now, by your country, and perhaps by your creator, to stand on one side or another. You are asked now to stand, not on a question of politics, not on a question of religion, not on a question of gay or straight. You are asked now to stand, on a question of love. All you need do is stand, and let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate. You don't have to help it, you don't have it applaud it, you don't have to fight for it. Just don't put it out. Just don't extinguish it. Because while it may at first look like that love is between two people you don't know and you don't understand and maybe you don't even want to know... It is, in fact, the ember of your love, for your fellow person.
Just because this is the only world we have. And the other guy counts, too.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
A delightful blog friend tagged me a while back with the one-word meme. The rules are to answer the following questions in one word and then to pass it on to seven others. Fellow NaBloPoMo-ers, here is fodder for another day!
Where is your cell phone? Here
Where is your significant other? School
Your hair color? Natural
Your mother? Maryland
Your father? Hawaii
Your favorite thing? Holidays
Your dream last night? Anxiety
Your dream/goal? Security
The room you’re in? Office
Your hobby? Cupcakes
Your fear? Pain [for my kids; in general, I'm pretty accepting of pain as the natural state of existence]
Where do you want to be in 6 years? Debt-free
Where were you last night? Home
What you’re not? Hateful
One of your wish-list items? Armagnac
Where you grew up? Around
The last thing you did? Eat
What are you wearing? Black
Your TV? Yes?
Your pet? Delightful
Your computer? On
Your mood? Mellow
Missing someone? Yes
Your car? Eldorado
Something you’re not wearing? Lipstick
Favorite store? Fish
Your summer? Stressful
Love someone? Lots
Your favorite color? Rainbow
When is the last time you laughed? Today
Last time you cried? Today
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Five things I'd rather do than grocery shop:
1. Scrub toilets.
2. Do laundry.
3. Referee squabbles between the kids.
4. Clean my fish tank.
5. Last-minute, emergency projects at work.
I loathe grocery shopping.
Posted by Kelly O at 10:36 AM
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday, November 09, 2008
I recently bought two new fishes that are quite pretty and weird-looking. They're jellybean parrot cichlids, and apparently fish enthusiasts find them to be controversial, for good reason.
For one thing, they're not actually a separate species of fish. They're usually hybrids of cichlids that have had physical deformities emphasized through selective breeding. Their mouths are small and perpetually open, which can make feeding them difficult. Their spines are bent and their bodies are bulky and unwieldy, so they tend to be relatively defenseless against more aggressive fish.
Equally cringe-inducing is that their beautiful colors — mine are orange and pink — come from dye injected into them when they're young. Only about 20% of the fish survive the dying, and diseases are passed from fish to fish through communal needles. (That makes them sound like junkies, doesn't it?) The process shortens their lives from a possible 50 years to 10 years, though since I haven't had a fish make it even one year, it's premature for me to worry about that.
I didn't know all this when I bought them, but they are neat-looking fish.
Posted by Kelly O at 10:31 PM
Saturday, November 08, 2008
The adorable Christie tagged me a while ago with the seven-things meme. I've saved answering it until NaBloPoMo, when I knew I'd be desperate for material.
As the highs from Halloween, Dia De Los Muertos, and voting day fade, I turn my attention to another favorite holiday: Thanksgiving! In preparation, here are seven things I'm thankful for:
1. My family. Seriously, sometimes I look at them and I know to my core that I am the luckiest person on the planet. But that's a given, right? Doesn't everyone feel that way?
2. My friends. Last night I went out with a couple friends whom I truly adore, and met three more friends whom I can't wait to see more of. We spent the evening requesting show tunes at a piano bar, drinking tequila, and learning how to curse in sign language. I have a hard time imagining how life gets better than that.
3. Technology. The first thing I do every morning after I wake up is check my email and Twitter updates on my iPhone. This comic from XKCD confuses me. Why would anyone use the infinitely less portable laptop to do that, and this morning routine isn't really weird, is it?
4. Relatedly, my blog friends. After Proposition 8 passed, I was seriously bummed out. It's not overstating to say I was devastated, even. It was shocking to me, and it marred what should have been a night of pure elation. One of the things that really helped was reading posts by my blog and Twitter friends, almost all of whom mentioned being equally dismayed. It gives me hope for the future.
5. Trader Joe's cheap wines. I love wine with dinner, but it can get to be an expensive habit. Trader Joe's wines are a god-send. I try to post here about the wines I like, all in the $5 range, mostly so I'll remember which ones to get. I should make a concerted effort to blog about the ones to avoid, too, since I sometimes buy the same swill multiple times before remembering that I hate it.
On that note, I really liked this Purple Moon Shiraz (2005) The flavor is lush and dry, and it's a total steal at only $4.
6. My dogs. I realize I'm rating them below wine. I don't think I'll change it, either. But I do adore my furry friends. They're great companions, and they've taught the kids a lot about why our fellow creatures deserve kindness and respect. Liam especially loves Hank, our sweet-natured littler and newer guy, and often gives him long, squeeze-y hugs, during which Hank looks forlorn, as if this is the price he must pay for his family. Of course, he's right.
7. Obama. I hesitated about listing our next president. I'm leery of any cult of personality, and I know that eventually I'll be disappointed in some decision or another that he will make. But for right now, for however long it lasts, I feel a hopeful sense that everything is going to be okay, something I haven't felt in almost a decade.
Friday, November 07, 2008
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Ruh roh. This doesn't bode well for posting every day in November. Maybe I need a theme, but I don't know if I have the mental energy to put toward thinking of one. Thank dog for blog quizzes!
Wrekehavoc had this one on her blog ages ago and my accent came out to be Southern, which usually only happens when I'm drunk. This time seems more authentic, or at least sober. Before moving to the DC area for grad school, I lived in Oklahoma, Hawaii, Washington State, Arkansas, and Arizona.
You're not Northern, Southern, or Western, you're just plain American. Your national identity is more important than your local identity, because you don't really have a local identity. You might be from the region in that map, which is defined by this kind of accent, but you could easily not be. Or maybe you just moved around a lot growing up.
|Click Here to Take This Quiz|
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.
Posted by Kelly O at 7:11 AM
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Did you stay up to watch Obama's acceptance speech? It was amazing. If you weren't moved by it, you have a heart of stone and I want no part of you.
Not to be a buzzkill, but the election also meant the passage of some discriminatory propositions:
- CALIFORNIA Prop 8: Anti-gay constitutional revision eliminates the right of same–sex couples to marry (This one is technically too close to call, but at this point it looks unlikely to be defeated.)
- FLORIDA Amendment 2: Anti-gay constitutional amendment writes marriage discrimination into the state constitution
- ARIZONA Prop 102: Anti-gay constitutional amendment writes marriage discrimination into the state constitution
- ARKANSAS Act 1: Anti-gay measure bars unmarried couples from fostering or adopting children (Not just bad for teh gheys; this is bad for straight couples, too. But, let's face it, the people most hurt are children. Way to go, Arkansas.)
Miles to go before we sleep....
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Monday, November 03, 2008
One day to go until the election and I'm as nervous as a cat. I vote in every election, not just the presidential ones, and I try to be zen about it. Things rarely get so bad that they can't be fixed with a new administration. But this year, we have a chance for something amazing, don't we? Even if you're not a supporter of Obama — and if you're not, I'd love to hear a reasonable explanation of why — his presidency would mean a shift away from the religious right, something long overdue for our country.
What does everyone think? Will tomorrow be a champagne day, or a drink-yourself-to-sleep day?
Sunday, November 02, 2008
We met Nylonthread and her kids at the National Museum of the American Indian for the annual Day of the Dead celebration. The best part, aside from hanging out with dear friends, was seeing the jaguar dance, performed by locals Los Tecuanes. They were pretty freaking amazing. We sat near the dance floor, and at first the kids were a little scared by the whips the jaguars were cracking. The noise was loud and unexpected, two things that Thea is not crazy about just as a matter of principle. But she got used to it and really enjoyed herself.
Liam, though, was thrilled by the performance from the start. He high-fived "Death," danced in my lap, and waved to the jaguars, and when the performers whooped and yelled, so did Liam. At the end, when I was telling my brave kids that it was okay to be scared, that I was kind of scared, too, Liam piped up with "I was scared, but that was FUN!"
I tried to find more online about the performers and the jaguar dance, but was only able to find this on the NMAI website:
Los Tecuanes, based in Manassas, Virginia, are from Acatlán de Osorio in the Mexican state of Puebla. They will reenact a Mexican colonial dance drama called La Danza de los Tecuanes (the Dance of the Tigers/Jaguars) that takes place throughout parts of Mexico.
UPDATE: Nylonthread had a better picture of the jaguar:
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Today we decorated plaster skulls for Day of the Dead and talked with the kids about people we love who have passed away. What, you don't do that every year on November 1?
Next year I'm springing for the full-sized skull molds.
Also, it's the first day of NaBloPoMo. Yaaaaay.