Friday, July 24, 2009


I'm going to say right off the top that this will be a sarcastic post. I tend to be sarcastic when I write about things that peeve me. This will be one of those posts.

I've been thinking about things that irritate me. It's actually my brother-in-law's fault. He wrote about being annoyed by things on a daily basis on his blog the other day. He said annoy but I prefer irritate. It's semantics, I know, but I'm weird about these things. Anyway, I told him I think it comes with age. The older I get, I find myself getting irritated more often. I do believe I'm on my way to becoming a crotchety old lady. I feel sorry for my husband. But he procrastinates, so I guess we're even.

I could give you a whole list of things that irritate me. But for now we'll concentrate on just one. It's on the top of my list and if you commit this particular sin it might get you a dirty look or a snarky comment depending on just how crotchety I happen to be that day.

I absolutely hate when people state the obvious. It drives me crazy. Now this particular irritation is not a new one. It just irritates me even more now that I'm not thinking about who has a report due tomorrow that they haven't even started or how I'm going to get three kids to three different places all at the same time. I notice that I get irritated more often now that I have time on my hands to actually think about what is going on around me. Here are some examples of stating the obvious. All these have happened to me.

1. Waiting patiently for the elevator to come and take me up. The up arrow is lit up in all it's glory. Someone walks up and pushes it again (it's not coming faster if you do that....) and actually turns around and says to me "Is this elevator going up?" Really!?! Are you sign illiterate? Honestly, do you not know which way the arrow is pointing? Oy!

2. I was invited to a function that I was unsure I would be able to attend. I ended up being able to go and when I arrived the host says to me, "So, you were able to come?" No, I'm a figment of your imagination and I'm actually at the movies right now.

3. This one is my ultimate favorite.....when my son played little league I had a picture of him in his uniform on a button. I wore it proudly on my uniform at work. One day I got on the elevator and this man says to me, "Is that your son?". I proudly say "yes!". To which he replies "Does he play baseball?" I reply, " No he plays soccer but his dad and I hate that game so we made him dress in a baseball uniform for these pictures." I don't think the guy was too happy with me, but really, if you ask a stupid question, sometimes you're going to get a stupid, and snarky, answer.

I have a theory about why this happens. I actually think people are trying to make conversation and just don't know how to go about it. With email and text message, and yes even blogs, we don't converse like we used to and I think it's a lost art. People don't know how to start a conversation so they say the first thing that pops into their head and sometimes it's, well, for lack of a better word, stupid. I just wish people would think before they speak. To borrow the words of Dennis Miller...."That's just my opinion, I could be wrong".

It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Job

Several years ago I wrote a little something about the lessons I've learned while raising my kids. It's very nostalgic to read it now because I feel like that part of my life is over. At the ages my kids are now, the raising is all but done. If they haven't gotten it by now, then I think it's too late. All in all, I think Dan and I did a pretty good job. Our kids are happy, healthy and productive, so what more can you ask for? Grandkids, that's what. But none of them are ready for that, so I will have to wait. Here is what I wrote about my mom lessons with a few little updates added:

When people ask me what my job is, I always respond, "I'm a mom!" To which they reply, "Oh, you're so lucky, you get to stay at home with your kids." The answer to that is, no, I have a place I go to every weekday to earn my living, and some would call that my job. But in reality, the most important thing I do is raise kids. So that's my job. The other is just a place I go so my kids can eat, have health insurance and go to college.

I take my job very seriously. I want to raise responsible citizens of the world. I want my kids to have a conscience and a great work ethic, compassion and understanding of their fellow earthlings. Oh yeah, and it would be nice if they were happy, too. I love my job. It's interesting, challenging and my life long passion. I've been in this job for 24 years with no plans of retiring. I will however take the promotion to grandma when it comes along; although I’m sure that won't be for some time yet. I'm looking forward to it, as with most promotions the job is easier and has more perks. Anyway, I digress. I'm not a psychologist, psychoanalyst or psychotherapist (although, my children often tell me they think I am psycho!) I'm just a mom who has learned a lot in her on-the-job training. Here are some lessons I’ve learned:

Sarah-24 years old. Lessons learned from this child: no matter how old the child is you must always listen to what they have to say. Sometimes they are right. Sometimes your children are smarter than you are and while scary, you must deal with it and never let them know you know this. Pride is a good thing. Your child may have talents you never thought possible, so if they're interested in something, let them try. There is nothing like the relationship a mother has with her first born.

Stephen- 23 years old. Lessons learned from this child: feeling guilty is a normal mothering emotion. It does not, however, mean that you ARE guilty. Getting straight A's in school is not as important as being a happy, well-rounded child (or adult, for that matter). It's ok if your 8yr old really believes he can be Batman when he grows up. Constant cartoon watching will NOT turn your child into an ax murderer. There is nothing like the relationship that a mother has with her son.

Elizabeth- 20 years old. Lessons learned from this child: Whatever you tried with the first two children will not work with the third. Constant activity only makes the mother tired, not the child. If your child is a slob, you may just have to learn to live with it. Some things are not worth fighting over. Imagination is a wonderful thing. If your child makes you laugh every day, you are a very lucky person. There is nothing like the relationship that a mother has with her last born.

Here is my personal training manual for the most important job I've ever had:

1. Read to your kids everyday. Some of the best memories I have with my kids are the times when we read together. They may become life long readers, or not, but what they gain from it is immeasurable.
2. Some things are just not worth fighting over. Who is going to care 10 years from now if the bed is not made today? Learn to pick your battles.
3. Each child is an individual. Treat them as such. What worked with one may not work with all of them. Adjust your parenting accordingly. The kids might think you aren't being fair because everyone is not "treated the same". To bad, life is not fair, and it's better they learn it from you than from their first boss.
4. Do not "fix" things for your children. If you do, then you fail to teach them the essential problem solving skills they will need when they are adults. I've always told my kids that each experience they have is a life lesson and they need to use these life lessons now so as to make the transition to adulthood that much easier.
5. Do not be your child's friend. They have enough friends. They need you to be the parent. It doesn't mean that they can't come to you with their deepest darkest secrets (they won't, but you can hope). It means you're not there to provide them with a good time. You're there to provide them with the skills to get through life. You will have lots of good times along the way and lots of not so good times. That's the breaks of being a parent.
6. Make sure they know your love is unconditional. I have a little saying that I always use on my kids when they are feeling down or put upon or just not having a great day. "No matter what happens, your Mother always loves you." Most of the time they roll their eyes when they hear it because they've heard it so much, but I know it means a lot to them. They have even turned it around and used it on me. That is a great feeling.
7. Parents are not perfect. Sometimes we make a decision that our kids think is wrong. Listen to what they have to say about it. Sometimes they're right. Also, when we act too quickly or harshly, which we do, we need to say we're sorry. We don't accept that behavior from our children, why should they accept it from us? And when you've made a mistake, admit it. I've made a lot of apologies during my tenure as Mom. It's important for kids to know that everyone makes mistakes and that you're a big enough person to admit it.
8. Let your children have opinions. From what their favorite color is when they're two to how they feel about the death penalty when they're a teenager and everything in between. Listen and discuss. You may sway them to your side, or not. But you learn so much about your child when you listen to how they feel and what they think.

9. Make sure they know you value their education. Go to parent teacher conferences even if your kid has straight A's and the teacher says you don't need to. Volunteer at school if possible. Ask your kids what they are learning about.

And last but not least........

10. There are no rules. Sometimes you just have to wing it, use your common sense and hope you get it right.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Tribute to Walter

In my post from earlier today I mentioned Walter Cronkite. Tonight I hear he has passed away. It makes me sad. Almost like losing a member of the family. For every major event of my life, until he retired, Walter was there to explain it all. My earliest memory of him is sitting at my father's feet watching JFK's funeral on TV with Walter giving the commentary. I wasn't quite 5 years old but I remember it vividly. Of course, there was the moon walk which I mentioned in my previous post. He provided the commentary to so many of life's events. Presidential elections, the Iran hostage crisis, plane crashes, moon walks and every day mundane news. We trusted him to give us the information we needed and wanted. There was no one like him then or now. He was truly one of a kind.

Rest in peace.....your voice will be missed.

And that's the way it is. Walter Cronkite

Space....The Final Frontier

As many of you have probably noticed I have a NASA Image of the Day on my side bar. I am fascinated by everything having to do with space. I marvel at the beautiful bodies made up of gases and debris. I am amazed at the complexity and simplicity of it all. I never tire of hearing about the space shuttle missions and it makes me sad that, today, we take it all for granted. To me it is nothing short of miraculous that we can actually explore space and come home safely.

I know the exact moment when this fascination began. It is one of those moments that is burned into my memory. I can smell the smells and feel the air and I can even hear my dad's voice. It is one of the most vivid memories I have.

I was ten years old that summer. I knew there were men in space but I really didn't pay that much attention to what was going on. Until that night. I can smell the popcorn popping and hear my dad calling my brother and I into the family room. I knew it was something special because with our popcorn we got to have a glass of ice cold Pepsi. Pepsi was reserved for special occasions only. I sat on the floor in front of our black and white console TV, watching Walter Cronkite. Another indication something big was about to happen. For those in my generation, nothing important happened in the world without Walter to tell you all about it. At first I was kind of antsy because there were just a bunch of scientists talking on and on and I was getting bored. But then the most amazing thing happened. There, coming into focus on the screen, were pictures from inside the lunar module, sitting on the surface of the moon. Pictures of Neil Armstrong descending the stairs to take that first historic step. In that moment I was hooked. It amazed and astounded me and I wanted to see more. I got the significance of what a huge step that was when I looked at my father's face. There was pride and a sense of awe. He made me realize that this was no ordinary day. This was the day that a man walked on the moon for the first time, and he was an American.

Still today, when I look to the sky and see the moon, I think of that night and I marvel at what was accomplished. I look forward to the day when we go back and what we will find then. I know that there are differing opinions as to whether or not we should spend money on the space program. I believe we should. For the detractors I offer this: Spend one day without your cell phone, computer, i-pod, GPS, digital or satellite TV, state of the art military protection and most of the appliances you have in your home. All of these things have been either invented or improved because of the space program.

Monday, July 20, 2009 is the 40th anniversary of Neil Armstrong's walk on the moon and I am still amazed by it all.

I think we're going to the moon because it's in the nature of the human being to face challenges. It's by the nature of his deep inner soul... we're required to do these things just as salmon swim upstream. Neil Armstrong

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The King of Procrastination

I belong to a special little clan of people. We are Clan GerBear of Phoenix. We have a king. He is king of the land of procrastination. Named king because he has perfected the art of procrastinating. He is so good at it that sometimes, when he procrastinates, he can convince you that he's really busy doing something else. It's a talent unlike any I've seen before. You have to experience it to really appreciate it. Why am I telling you all this? Well, the king has attempted to start another project. We are on our second weekend, and no visible signs of real progress have been made. Let me give you a little backround:

The clan lives in a very nice castle, though the castle is old and in dire need of repairs. Many repairs have been waiting years to be completed. One day we will have a post about how 5 people have lived in a house together for the better part of 24 years and only had one working bathroom for more than half of those years.....but that's for another day. Today we are talking about our dining room. The castle is about 27 years old and it has the horrid '80's popcorn ceilings. The project of scraping the popcorn off the ceiling and retexturing it (not to mention painting the room) has been on the king's list for years. Through his art of procrastination he has used baseball, work, softball, work, yard work, excuses for not doing the project. I really do think he means well.....but the queen is over it. So, the king tells me to empty out the room because he is going to start the project that weekend. I don't do it because I just know something else is going to come up.....and it did. I waited a week and cleaned out the room for the long 4th of July holiday weekend. He promised he would start it then. He didn't. I don't even remember the excuse he used for that one. I tend to tune them out after all these years. Today, I get up, go to my Hallmark sale (which was awesome, by the way) come home and find him reading the paper. He asks me if I would like to go to breakfast. I never turn down a free meal, so off we go. While at breakfast he tells me he is going to start scraping the ceiling when we get home but first we are going to the local home improvement store to look at recessed lighting for the room. Ok, I'm fine with that. We actually end up going to two home improvement centers, buy nothing, and come home. The king promptly lays down on the bed where he is at this very moment taking a kingly nap. No scraping will get done today as he and the Prince will be taking in a royal baseball game this afternoon and they will be leaving in about an hour. Guess you have to rest up for all the energy it takes to sit in the air conditioned confines of Chase Field and root on the Diamondbacks. And to top it off, they are going again tomorrow, so there goes another weekend with no progress on the room. And meanwhile I sit here looking at an empty room with dirty walls and an ugly ceiling. Oh well......I guess there could be worse things. But right now.......I'm not in the mood to know what they are.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Christmas in July

So, most of you who know me know my addiction to Christmas. And it's not even the presents that excite me. I love to decorate for Christmas. It's probably my favorite thing I do all year. First of all, I can't take all the blame for the over decorating as my husband is coming close to the equivalent of Clark Griswold. More lights every year, and most of them have to flash and a few of them play music. It's crazy. So what fun would it be if the outside was all decked out and the inside was just sparse. That would not be fun. So, yes, I go all out. There is not a flat surface in my house, horizontal or vertical, that does not get decorated in some way. It looks like Santa threw up in my house.

For the past several years I have had two trees. This year I will be adding two more. Which brings me to the real reason for this post. This weekend is the Hallmark Ornament Premier Weekend. I couldn't be more excited if it were my birthday or well, Christmas. I will be at my local Hallmark store bright and early on Saturday morning. Waiting impatiently for the doors to open so I can start stocking up on all those lovely little ornaments. I am a member of the Hallmark Ornament Club and there will be special deals and ornaments for club members only. Writing this I really do feel like a nerd, but I don't care. It's really my one vice, so don't spoil my fun. Actually I blame this addiction (and it is and addiction, I may need and intervention!) on my brother-in-law. Years ago, when my children were young he started an ornament series for each one of them. Then, when he decided he wasn't able to continue doing it, I picked up where he left off. When the series were done.....I didn't stop. I just kept starting more series and even starting ones for myself. So now I have so many ornaments that I need 4 trees to be able to display them all. I really think it is a sickness. I think I have Hallmarkitis.

One good thing, my children will have enough ornaments to decorate a tree whenever they have one of their own. I even made sure they had two Baby's First Christmas ornaments so they could have one and I could keep one. Every year when I take out the boxes and unwrap the ornaments (and yes, they are all still in their original boxes) I relive the memories of those years when the kids were little and Christmas still had some magic to it. So I guess this is my way of trying to keep the magic going. That, and I just love them! So there you have dirty little addiction to Hallmark ornaments. I think I better check with my health insurance provider to see if they cover Hallmarkectomies, because I am certain that I will be needing one very soon......

Merry Christmas to Everyone!

Sunday, July 5, 2009


What can I say? Wicked was just, well, wicked! As for the question of whether or not it's as good the second time around....I can say a loud and resounding, YES!! At one point during the show I thought to myself, "I could just sit here and watch this over and over and over again." Yes, I am a nerd.

I guess the one draw back to seeing a Sunday afternoon matinee is that we had understudies for the three main characters. I don't think it took away from the performance in any way, but you could tell they were not the principle players. I cannot pin point why I am so obsessed with this play. It could be the music which is wonderful, the comedy which is brilliant or the story which is woven with so many life lessons. I'm sure it is the combination of all of these. I only know that I could listen to the soundtrack everyday and never get tired of it. I know this because I've done it on many occasions. I think I have almost worn out my CD and I'm surprised my car stereo plays anything else. So, right now, I'm on a Wicked high and I would go see it again tomorrow if I could. If you ever have the chance to see it, I highly recommend that you do. You will not regret it.

I took an extra day off work so no work for me tomorrow, Yay! I think I am going to spend some quality time in the book store and then search for a new purse. Two of my favorite things!

Well, I'm off to bed. I hope you all have a pleasant tomorrow....for all my wonderful friends out there, I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the play.......

"Who can say if I've been changed for the better? I do believe I have been changed for the better. Because I knew you: I have been changed for good"

The neighbor, the holiday and the intertnet

I've been trying to post for a couple of days and everytime I think I'm going to, something conspires against me.

We have been having trouble with our next door neighbor. Too complicated to go into here. Let's just say she is psycho and driving my whole family crazy. We have had visits from two city employees and the police in the last week, and it all started over a flipping trash can. I actually feel sorry for her that she has so little in her life that she has to make such a big deal over something so trivial. I suspect she is just someone who enjoys drama in her life and was lacking some so decided to use us to fill the void. Whatever.....anyway, at times I was just too angry to write. I tried but it all came out a little manic, so I quit. I'm over it now and so on to other things.

I hope every one had a great 4th of July. Mine was just what I wanted it to be.....a lot of nothing. Just relaxing and crocheting while watching a series on the history channel about the Revolution. It doesn't get much better than that for me. Sarah spent her 4th on the National Mall. Andrea had a friend visiting so they went early and took him around to see all the monuments. At one point she sent me a text about some tourists who were swimming and playing around in the water at the WWII monument. She was outraged and just couldn't get over how disrespectful people can be. In that moment she made me a very proud mother. It's little things like these when you realize that, just maybe, you did something right as a parent. Anyway, they spent the day at the Mall and finally settled in to watch fireworks near the Washington Monument. I have to admit, I am a little jealous, but I'm also very happy for her that she got to experience it. Here's a picture she sent me......pretty cool, huh?

Today Dan, Beth and I are going to see Wicked at Gammage. I'm so excited. We saw it three years ago when it was first here and I fell in love with it. I have memorized most of the songs from the soundtrack. I know, I'm a nerd. I'll let you know if it's as good the second time around.

I have been having trouble with my internet connection the last several days. I have a wireless router and for whatever reason it is really acting up. Seems to be working ok right now, so I hope it holds up until I get this posted. Hope everyone has a nice rest of the weekend. Hopefully I will be posting again soon......wish me luck!