Thursday, February 25, 2010

Arson is On Purpose, Right?

Well, folks, it is the remodel project that has turned into a complete rebuild.

Throughout the phases of the project, we discovered many things that we could have discovered in a very bad way. This is includes a firebox that was almost non-existent and could have caused a MAJOR fire. Thank goodness.

This whole project has taken me by surprise. I kind of liked the place the way it was. When we were discussing it last summer, I never thought it would be completely gone by February...but it is.

Speaking of fire, they burned the last bits of it a week ago. Now the process of rebuilding begins.

The old dame, the lodge on the lake is no more.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Post Vacation Traumatic Stress Syndrome

It's Tuesday and I'm still reeling. Every time I travel away from home and return, I realize how complicated and full of "STUFF" my life is. This of course applies both literally and figuratively.

Let's face it, I lead a life full of bake sales, after school activities and parking lot rallies. No one is walking around saying that they wish they were me.

I feel grateful, and for the most part like my life very much. I do get to have lots of fun, but the "STUFF" continues to wash over me like a rogue wave.

Our 9 day trip to Puerto Vallarta was wonderful. It was full of sand, sun and laziness. We all de-stressed in the best way possible. I didn't lift a pinky.

Life's a beach, and then you have to go home. Sigh.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Race To Nowhere: I'm going to get there first!!!

I just saw the movie Race to Nowhere. It bills itself as the "dark side of America's acheivement culture." I, too, believe that we are pushing ourselves far beyond our capabilities and are losing focus on how we really contribute to our society, family and ourselves.

This film takes several case studies and looks at why our kids are so stressed out in a world of so many expectations. If you are not at the top there is only one place to go and that's down.

These are the hoops we've jumped through for private high school admissions this fall:

My son:
visited 8 schools
attended 6 open houses
took the SSAT 2 times
took the ISEE 1 time
had 7 interviews
wrote 4 admissions essays
filled out four applications with essay questions
asked for 16 letters of recommendation
kept his grades sparkling perfect

All of this was on top of our regualar life that is filled with extra curricular activities, family and travel. Nary an eye did he bat. This was normal for all of the students in his class. No one forced him, all of the above was voluntary.

However, when this is considered normal, I have to wonder just what we expect from 13 and 14 years olds. When do the seams start to stretch and rip a little? How do you know when you actually reach any finish lines, if that is indeed your purpose.

Within 3 minutes of watching the film, I felt very grateful for the school that our children already attend. Focus is on the child and perserving childhood. It is a culture of acceptance and tolerance and appreciation for each individual. Of course, this is very expensive.

When I look at the parents in our community, myself sometimes included, it seems like a magical life they lead. They have fancy houses, cars and money to burn. They jet around the world and buy the latest fashions. They sit in the front row at concerts, sports events and theater. Only the best wine, champagne and organic produce graces their tables and tummies.

They all must be really happy, right? Except, I think that I really know very few truly happy people. If his is what we consider as having it all, and if that's all of it, where is the rest of it? More, you ask, what more could one want? That's why it's called having it all.

Spoiled by life, spoiled by circumstance, everybody wants more. There is never enough. It is never done quite right, cooked quite right, fits quite right or looks quite right. There are not a lot of smiling faces. These are grown ups and they are still racing this same race to nowhere.

I, personally, don't want to race to nowhere, but you get caught up in the crowd at the starting line. I'd like to take some time and enjoy where I'm at with the people I'm with. As I learned at the British Museum last month, you just die anyway and you truly can't take it with you. Why would you want to race headlong toward that?

My advice for adults today: Eat dessert. Put cream in your coffee. Tear off a piece of that crusty bread and enjoy it! Turn off you cell phone, enjoy the conversation. Sleep in, say no sometimes, watch tv in bed and eat chips WITH dip. Laugh. Nap. Go shopping. Get a massage.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Accupuncture: My Personal Verdict

It hurts. Even if it helps me, that doesn't override my fear of the pain and the needle. Sorry, folks. Sorry, believers. I just can't go to something to cure myself that makes me anxious...and pay hundreds of dollars for it.

Moreover, I can't make an appointment and stare at the time and date on my calendar and dread it for weeks.

I can't tell between my anxiety and my allergies if I actually ever felt better or not. I wanted to believe, I wanted so badly for it to work. However, the reality is that allergy season ends for me and it hard to tell if the season ended or if the needles poking and pinching really worked.

What do they say? The cure is worse than the disease? Yup. I'm at that personal realization. I might change my mind in September when my allergies are in full bloom, but until then, I'm staying away from voluntary needles.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Medications That I Need

There has been a surge of spam in my mailbox. I am deflecting spam comments left and right like one of the three musketeers. En guard!

I do have to say that spam in French is much more inviting--I'd rather buy French Viagra, if I was going to buy any at all, but, hey, I'm a girl. Lately I've gotten spam in Chinese, German, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, I even got a font that looked like Aliens had sent it.

Some spam is in English and it doesn't even make any sense. I can't tell what the sender is peddling--maybe that's the kind of spam that comes with a bomb or virus or something?

It truly amazes me, and I have to wonder if people study spam and its origins. The whole Internet industry is history in real time making. When I was a kid Atari had me spellbound, I wonder what kind of progress (?) our children will reflect on.

As Ashleigh Brilliant once so brilliantly pointed out, "Life is what goes by while you're watching television." I'm slogging through time and spam and wondering where we are going, but also reflecting on where we've been. Maybe life is what goes by while you are deleting spam about what medications you need?

Send me some clever spam, please.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

To Fiddle On The Roof, Or Not

My kids love the theater. They love the singing, the acting, and the entire experience. We try to go as a family to one show a year--but the ticket prices keep going up and it's becoming akin to taking a vacation.

I looked into tickets for Fiddler in San Francisco. Mediocre seats were going to cost over $500 for our family of 5. I balked. Now, weeks later, the seats are worse and the price remains the same.

I read about Rush tickets. Has anybody done this? Are there any tricks to the trade so that you can take your kids to the theater and not have to sell one of them first to afford the tickets? How much are kids going for these days?

Is it worth it? Does the experience really effect them? I guess that's a personal question. Several friends have stopped "wasting" money on taking their kids to high cost performances.

Anyhoo, that's what's on my mind. It sure would be a nice world if kids could go to a Broadway quality production that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

Monday, February 1, 2010

I Love You, But I Need A Little More Etenshin

Dear Mom,
I Love you but I nead a littill moer etension.
What does a mom do when she finds a note like this on a Monday morning? It was a little white, unsigned card on my desk with no signature. However, just by the spelling, no signature was required.

It had little cut out hearts and sparkly fireworks stickers.