A "good enough" mom muses about alpha moms, adoption, computers, the State Of The World, Internet quirkiness, and the Kosmik All
Hardy pioneer stock
While Unka Bill was visiting, he and OmegaGranny went through some of the Stuff in Granny's house. The Omegas are inveterate packrats. It could be genetic, it could be a nurture thing. Either way, it's unnerving to realize that you have, in your attic, boxes that were packed by you when you left college the first time, which you haven't peered into since, but have dutifully lugged around the country on various moves (not that OmegaMom speaks from experience here, oh, no). OmegaGramps and Granny, when they moved from Really Big Midwest City to Teeny Tiny Southwest Town, had so much stuff that the easiest, and cheapest, way for them to transport the majority of it was to rent a piggyback car on the freight train. This comes mostly from OmegaGramps' side of the family. Be that as it may, Unka Bill and OmegaGranny were going through Stuff, and they found OmegaGreatGreatGreatGrandpa's diary. These days, a diary is an outpouring of emotion. We've got the Internets for our historical data--want to know what the weather was like on a particular day in a particular place? Check out NOAA's website. The cost of goods sold in a particular place at a particular time? I'm sure there's a website where you can locate that info, too. So we don't need to record the particulars of our lives, and have the luxury of delving into our emotions, instead. For certain people in the past, though, the diary was a good way to keep track of finances, weather patterns, your inventory. But even through that dry litany of facts, one can gain a good idea of what the life was like. OmegaGGGG and his spouse set out from the East Coast to Iowa to homestead. (Correct me if I'm getting the facts wrong here, OmegaGranny!) They walked. On foot. They would stop at a place and work as hired hands for a while, getting paid in cattle. Most likely, in one cattle. Then they would move on, livestock in tow. By the time they arrived in Iowa, they had a fairly good herd of cattle for their homestead. Now, just imagine that. Walking a thousand miles. Working your asses off. Keeping track of every penny you spend. Collecting cattle, one at a time, for a dream, a place to call your own. All laconically entered into a shabby diary, in entries such as, "Mon. Sept. 7. Left Mrs. Clay's. Weather: Sunny, chilly. 1 cow." It was a vastly different world.
posted by Kate @ 2/27/2006 11:00:00 PM   2 comments

A horse is a horse, of course, of course

The Omegas have spent the weekend re-doing the OmegaDotter's bedroom. Above, you will see a few items from her horsie collection on her new shelves (ignore the odd bowing effect; it is an artifact of the camera). There are, I am afraid to mention, more horses scattered around the house in unfindable spots. The room is not done by any means. However, there is now a captain's bed in there, the desk has been exhumed from The Heap, the old furniture "loaned" us by OmegaDad's mom has been moved onto the porch (with hopes that OmegaDad will finally get up the gumption to ask his mom if we can get rid of it, rather than waiting another futile 7 years before she visits to take it back with her). Now comes Decor. First off, I plan to use these stencils to paint a border in bright colors. Then we'll hang this on the wall:

Oh Joy House Flag from Back In the Saddle Horse Gifts

And put this on the floor:

Guardian Angels rug from Back In the Saddle Horse Gifts

posted by Kate @ 2/26/2006 07:04:00 PM   3 comments

Par-tay!
OmegaDotter was invited to her first birthday party. OmegaMom has been intimidated by the idea of kids' birthday parties. She reads magazines, is the problem, magazines filled with themes and party favors and games, all designed for Alpha Moms, not shiftless mommy-pretenders like OmegaMom. It's kind of like Martha Stewart for moms. So OmegaMom chickened out this year when it came time for OmegaDotter's birthday, and we did what we've been doing for three years now: a cake, party hats, presents for the dotter, and two attendees, OmegaMom and OmegaDad. So this a.m., OmegaMom and OmegaDotter hit Target for a giftie for X., the birthday boy. OmegaDotter sees a set of HotWheelsTM and proclaims that this is what we should get. OmegaMom sees a box filled with goo and bouncing things that is an activity for parent and kid, and, in a fit of madness (o mothers out there, please forgive me!) purchases it as well. (Well, heck, it seemed really interesting!) Then OmegaMom scouts out the address, locates it, and realizes there's 45 minutes until the party, and OmegaDotter is close to naptime. An effort is made to drive around and hypnotize dotter into napiness, but OmegaDotter, bouncing with excitement about the party, makes it an exercise in futility. OmegaMom has visions of dotter going ballistic at the party. Eeek. We arrive at the scene to find OmegaDotter's One And Only True Love, C., walking with his mom to the house. All is well, thinks OmegaMom. And then the truth arrives: X.'s dad is a single parent. X.'s dad hasn't read all those stupid magazines. X.'s dad shoos the kiddos upstairs to play, unloads chips and hotdogs and hamburger patties, and fires up the grill. What?!?! No "theme"?? No party favors? No games? No! What a relief! It was just kids playing and having a grand old time with X.'s toys, then eating hotdogs, burgers, and chips, and then having a cake. What kind of a Martha-Stewart-esque scene was this??? OmegaMom watched the frenzy of kids crowding around X. when time came to open presents, and winced at each "Ooooh!" and "Ahhhh!" and "AWEsome!", thinking of OmegaDotter's HotWheelsTM (which she was very excited about) with dismay. Guess what the first toy to be broken out of the package and played with was? The HotWheelsTM. Hot damn. It was fun. OmegaMom's feelings of inadequacy have been assuaged. Fifth birthday, here we come.
posted by Kate @ 2/25/2006 05:11:00 PM   2 comments

Push me, poll you
(With a tip of the hat to Hugh Lofting's "Dr. Doolittle", which, alas, OmegaMom is sure would be horrifyingly racist in a re-read.) I got push-polled this evening. I hate push polls, no matter what political party or special interest group is sponsoring them. There's the nice young man, with the eager voice, asking me a question that begins with, "Would you agree that today's movie ratings have gotten more lenient..." and then continues on...and on...and on...for a full paragraph. There were so many clauses in the question that by the time he finished, I couldn't remember exactly what the question was. I remembered enough of the framing of the question to answer that I had "no opinion", because I didn't want to be boxed into supporting something that I really don't support. The poll was for The Dove Foundation, which I had never heard of before the phone call. When he first said who he was polling for, I had gotten it mixed up with The Dove Self-Esteem Fund/Campaign For Real Beauty, which I had heard of, and whose ads resonate with me. (Yes, OmegaMom was once an adolescent girl. It seems so long ago and far away. But memories of the constant angst, the feelings of ugliness, frumpiness, unpopularity, etc. linger on. The Dove Self-Esteem Fund ads key in to issues related to the issues behind Queen Bees and Wannabes, by Rosalind Wiseman, or Ophelia Speaks, by Sara Shandler. I look at my daughter, and think how quickly time is passing and how fast she is growing, and worry about how adolescence will deal with her--or she with adolescence.) Here are The Dove Foundation's survey results so far. Their aims are: "Locate good, morally sound feature films and videos"; "Select certain high quality PG, PG-13 and R-rated films, and recommend their release in Family-Edited versions"; and "Rally enough consumer support to encourage filmmakers to produce more wholesome Family-Scripted movies". Their featured video of the week this week is "Left Behind: World At War". The featured game of the week is "The Bible Game". One can definitely see where they're coming from. The questions were framed in such a way that I felt guilty for pausing, for wanting to have clear questions without loaded semantics behind them. They say on their FAQ page that "Many surveys in the past have been conducted by the entertainment industry itself, which produces skewed results." So they're countering with a survey that is worded in such a way that it, too, will produce skewed results. Push and pull, push and poll. Bah. I don't trust the movie industry's surveys, but I equally don't trust this one.
posted by Kate @ 2/24/2006 08:36:00 PM   2 comments

The big battle begins
South Dakota Senate passes abortion bill that makes it a felony to provide an abortion to any woman except to save her life. It's posed as direct challenge Roe v. Wade, now that Alito and Roberts are on board the Supreme Court. The thinking, obviously, is that the balance has tipped. Let's all get ready to adopt all those babies in South Dakota born to women not willing or ready or able to care for them. Not that I want to think of OmegaDotter as a sexual being. But, y'know, when she becomes sexually active, I want her to have a choice as to whether to bear a child or not. Her. Not some some anonymous, faceless legislator who has never been scared and worried that her entire life is going to change because she went off to a party and some asshole popped a pill in her drink while she wasn't looking.
posted by Kate @ 2/22/2006 10:12:00 PM   4 comments

To sleep--perchance to dream
OmegaMom has a very odd response to some drugs. Her system is highly sensitive to doses, which she discovered as a young lass, out on her own, with mononucleosis, strep throat, and tonsillitis all at once. The nice doc at the local emergency room prescribed a codeine related concoction to soothe the sore throat and allow her to at least drink things. The pills were the size of horse pills, and the prescription said to take two every four hours. OmegaMom, being a dutiful little patient, did so. By the end of 24 hours, she was hallucinating giant white rats climbing the walls of her apartment. It was very interesting. Then there was the time she took some so-called "non-drowsy" cold medicine, and was knocked out for 24 hours. So on the whole, OmegaMom is cautious with drugs, and you would think, with the previous experience with "non-drowsy" meds, she would stick with the ones she knows work properly for her. Alas, no. Today, OmegaMom was suffering from sinus stuff. This evening, OmegaMom was supposed to march into her fuddy-duddy class and be alert and chipper and explain to non-programmers just how to wangle with Active Server Pages and databases and stuff like that. OmegaMom, in a stroke of pre-emptive genius, marched over to the first-aid kit on the wall in the admin area, and grabbed a packet of so-called "non-drowsy" cold/sinus medication. Haha. This was at 10 a.m. By 11:30 a.m., OmegaMom would stare at her computer screen and the words would dance before her eyes. She'd read and re-read whatever she was trying to work on, and it simply wouldn't sink in. The eyelids kept fluttering down, down, down. She managed to put together a typo-filled email to the contacts for her class, informed her boss that she was totally non compos mentis and had to go home, got into the Little Green Car, and was a menace on the highway on her way home, barely keeping her eyes open. (N.B.: Ask boss to ask her, the next time she says "The cold medicine is knocking me out", if she needs a drive home.) The so-called "non-drowsy" medicine knocked her out for eight hours straight. So much for "non-drowsy".
posted by Kate @ 2/22/2006 09:49:00 PM   2 comments

Thoughts on "The Baby Trade"
In a previous post, I linked to an article entitled "The Baby Trade", by Debora L. Spar, Spangler Family Professor and senior associate dean at Harvard Business School. She looks at the adoption biz from the viewpoint of an economics professor, discussing whether the "market forces" applied to adoption are valuable or not, and comparing adoption--in monetary terms--to the products of assisted conception (IUI, IVF, donor egg, donor sperm, and surrogacy). I have a few problems with her point of view. First, while I realize that her profession is to look at things from an economic standpoint, the entire article seemed very distant to me. Perhaps this is because I am accustomed to the more passionate debate one finds on lists and boards, but still, the dry dissection of the marketplace as applied to adoption palled quickly. Secondly, as Mary Anne Cohen so cogently discusses on The Daily Bastardette, Ms. Spar's contention that adoption--the official handing over of care of an existing child--should be equated with reproductive technologies is a specious argument. Ms. Cohen argues that "adoption is not a 'reproductive' right", that there is a distinct difference between the act of reproducing (however it is done) and the end result of that reproduction (to wit, a child). Reproductive technologies are dealing with the possibility of a child. The decision to abort or to carry the child is always separate from the decision to raise that child versus relinquishing the child for adoption. This is one reason why so many states have specific periods after the birth wherein a potential birthmother--the mother of the child--cannot sign any papers relinquishing that child. No matter how engaging the kicks, no matter how disengaged the mother tries to be, there is no way she can determine, realistically, whether to relinquish or not until she has seen, felt, experienced that child as a separate human being. Thirdly, she seems to regard the focus of the entire issue--the adoptee him or herself--as irrelevant. She manages to write two sentences about how adoptees may feel about adoption, casually dismissing the thought that there are adoptees out there who are disturbed by the business end of the transaction. Well, lady, have I got a surprise for you: the adult adoptees I have talked to are pretty evenly divided between those who aren't bothered by the thought of handing over money and getting a baby as a result, and those who are severely bothered by it. Fourthly, she falsely presents the question of the morality of the marketplace as applied to adoption as dichotomy of adoptive agencies and adoptive parents versus "the others". She doesn't harbor the thought--for a moment--that maybe, just maybe, there are adoptive parents and people at agencies who also think about and worry about the morality of dollars versus babies. At the end, she says, "It is hard to blame the market for causing these women's (from third-world or poverty-stricken countries) undeniable pain or to believe that halting cross-border adoption would do anything to alleviate their situation." And then she claims that the benefits that the western dollars flowing into these other countries provides the benefits that would alleviate the situation. I'm sorry. I have a major problem with that. There is plenty of evidence that the mere existence of international adoption as a "trade" produces a layer of baby brokers who entice rural women and poverty-stricken women to part with their babies for what--to them--is a princely sum, in the process garnering big bucks for themselves and others, because they are filling the pipeline for international adopters. No matter how ethical the process begins, this third layer creeps in. It has happened in South America. It has happened in Mexico. It has happened in Cambodia. In Romania. And even, it seems, in China (though the Chinese government promptly slapped the muzzle on any further news of the baby trafficking case in Hunan). There are those who might argue that it is the mothers' (and fathers') right to sell their children, that, if it helps them support their families, their other children, then it is justified. But, in the end, the problem is that the one person whose life is most affected--the adoptee--has no say in any of this. My libertarian tendencies stop right there: your rights end where that child's rights begin. I am far from anti-adoption. I believe it has its place in the world--for thousands of years in the past, through today, and into the foreseeable future. There will always be women who, for whatever reason, cannot raise the children they bear. But please, please, let's not objectify the adoption process to the point where one can blithely claim that the monetary benefit to the country as a whole outweighs the problems that it can cause to individual families and children.
posted by Kate @ 2/21/2006 08:00:00 PM   2 comments

Cogitus interruptus
So there I was, just sitting down and formulating my thoughts about my previous post...not an easy task to sort out what, exactly, the author of the article was trying to say, and then come up with my thoughts prompted by it... When OmegaDad comes into the office and begins on his thoughts about a totally different issue. As a result, I am suffering from cogitus interruptus. It's kind of like when you know you're about to sneeze--the tickle is growing, reaching the "aah...ahhhh...--" point, and somehow your body manages to swallow the sneeze, and you're left feeling unfulfilled, because you really just wanted to get that damned sneeze out. OmegaDad has gone back to school. He decided, since I am an employee of Mountain University and have awesome educational bennies, to plunge into a second Master's program. But this time, rather than soil science and agriculture, he is swimming in "sustainable societies", philosophy, and various aspects of social science. He often says to me, "Physics was easy! This stuff is hard!" As a person who skated through classes on philosophy and social science by reading the Cliff Notes and B.S.ing my way through class discussions, I have to agree with him. He's actually reading these books--and he often erupts into discussions of the ideas, relating them to his knowledge of science and agriculture. This latest discussion comes from a book that he says is written in "protest voice" (a la "passive voice" and "active voice"). As a science type, he finds passages that wave their hands at studies showing that 30% of students in 12 schools in a city in China are obese frustrating. His gripe: One study. Only 12 schools. In a country that has a larger population than most other countries combined. Is it statistically significant? (The author was trying to impress with statistics showing an increase of obesity in non-U.S. countries being beseiged by Amurrican Big Foodservice Business.) But what really gravels him about this example is that there is no indication of what the figures were before. To him, you can't really draw any conclusions, because you don't have any data being presented. He bopped online to try to locate the studies themselves, but was only able to find references, over and over again, rather than the studies. So what he's left with is a feeling that the author is using scare tactics--trying to rouse the rabble with lots of figures that, when looked at critically, are chimeras. Show him the data, he proclaims! Then he allows as how "protest voice" is a useful adjunct to our society, because it does force people like him into thinking about it, and trying to locate the data... In the meantime, I'm left with a sneeze that has been stopped dead in its tracks. More on the sneeze tomorrow.
posted by Kate @ 2/20/2006 10:54:00 PM   2 comments

How much is that baby in the window?
The Baby Trade, from the Boston Globe Magazine. Interesting read (requires free registration). I think she leaves some things out on the bad side of the question of market forces playing a role in international adoptions.
posted by Kate @ 2/19/2006 01:03:00 PM   2 comments

Our house
When the Omegas moved to Small University Town, eight years ago, they looked at houses in what they thought was their affordability range (the bankers said we could look higher--hah!). They finally found a house they liked in Hippy Dippy Forest Enclave, settled in, explored the area. They watched as housing prices started going up. They wondered--at that time--just how families who didn't have two professional incomes could afford to buy anything. Each year, the prices kept going up. Each year, more and more folks from other states, fleeing the outrageous housing costs there, would move in. These folks, flush with cash from the sale of their outrageously expensive "average" homes, would gasp in delight at the kind of home they could buy here, free and clear (just like OmegaMom drooled over housing prices in Small Town, Alaska). They didn't really care that much what the asking price was; bidding wars would break out, and houses would sell for more than the asking price. And prices kept going up. OmegaMom works in the department of Mountain University that provides the basic services that MU needs to keep going--grounds, maintenance, custodial, planning and development, stuff like that. The department does everything from taking out the garbage to building brand-new, LEED-certified, swanky new academic buildings. This department has the majority of the lowest-paid employees of MU. There are workers here who have to think long and hard if they can afford to plunk down a couple of dollars for a lunch out. They budget. They scrimp and save. Still, the majority of them simply cannot afford to purchase a home here. Some rent. Some co-house. Some live as far away as 40, 50 miles, just so they can afford to purchase some property. MU has a problem attracting new employees from elsewhere. It's gorgeous here. The community is lively. There's skiing, hiking, entertainment, beautiful scenery. People come here and fall in love with the area. But the potential out-of-town employee, being a smart cookie, looks into the cost of living here, and inevitably hits the housing cost...and professors and IT professionals and business managers and what-have-you weigh the pluses against the housing costs and regretfully bow out. As an example, OmegaMom poked around the city website and some realty listings. The city website's "community profile" says that the median family income is $52,050. It shows that 20% of the working folks here work in so-called "service jobs"--like the folks in OmegaMom's department. A further 27% work in "office or sales" positions. Right there you have the lowest paying categories: service and office/sales. (Interestingly enough, the community profile does not include anything about housing.) Then OmegaMom went off to this handy-dandy little "How much can you afford to buy" calculator. The calculator says a hypothetical family with an itty bitty hypothetical debt burden of $150 per month, an estimated monthly tax/insurance burden of $116 (pretty sure that's low), and that median income of $52,050 can borrow $183,197, and can "afford" to purchase a $243,000 house. If that down payment were reduced to $30,000, the house this fictitious family could buy would be $213,000. OmegaMom bopped onto Realtor.com and did a search. The lowest price she could find for a single-family house here was $249,000. The next one in the listing was $269,000. It just goes up from there. She found 10 mobile homes that this family could afford with the small down payment, 17 if they could wangle the big down payment. It's a wonder Small University Town doesn't implode.
posted by Kate @ 2/18/2006 11:24:00 AM   3 comments

No limbo, and other stuff
Ah, well. Alaska would have been fun, I'm sure, but OmegaDad got the very nicest f-you-very-much letter in the mail today. So I don't have to spend the next six weeks frantically getting the house into shape, selling it, sorting, packing, cleaning, moving, etc. The Omegas would have been able to purchase A Very Nice House free and clear, as prices are so much higher here than there. And I will admit that I had been daydreaming about some of those houses. Sort of, "Ooooh! That's the house I'd make this one look like if we had about $60,000 extra to throw around!"
We have somehow gotten on the mailing list for a children's clothing catalog that makes OmegaMom's latent girly-girl come screaming to the surface, from a place called "The Wooden Soldier". All sorts of frilly, foofy girls' dresses that are classic and beautiful and not cheesy or overdone. (But, alas, expensive.) They don't have a website. Kozmik All above! I didn't know there were still businesses out there that haven't invested in a website! So you can't just bop online to check out these kewl clothes. If you're interested, though, you can give them a call at 1-800-375-6003. Trust me. If this catalog can make OmegaMom drool--OmegaMom, who thinks $100 dresses for kids that outgrow them within five months is a total waste of money--you'll probably drool, too.
I have enabled full RSS feeds just for my buddy Miss Cellania, who has been the victim of a very odd glitch that won't let her load Blogger/Blogspot sites at all. If anyone has any good advice for her, pop on over to her website and send her an email. (She has tried a wide variety of browsers, asked tech support from Blogger and from her ISP, and more.) Some folks (Kent Newsome and others) think that an RSS feed should be full by default, for the ease of the reader. I have to admit that partial feeds are neat for me, the blogger, because then you have to click on the lede to read the whole shebang, and I get all sorts of groovy info from Sitemeter. As a selfish budding blogger, I want to stoke those hits!
I'm still mulling some posts on:
  • Adoption ethics
  • What it does to the local service industry workers when housing prices skyrocket
  • A rant about OmegaDad and bottled water
  • An update on how my New Years' Resolution has gone (hint: Not Well At All)
  • Ruminating about How Good We Have It in first-world countries
posted by Kate @ 2/17/2006 06:00:00 PM   1 comments

So, if I followed the herd, how can I be...
HASH(0x8d2fdf4)
What is your sexual appeal? brought to you by Quizilla
Everybody else is doing this quiz. So I did it. And it tells me I'm "Independent". Hmmm.
posted by Kate @ 2/16/2006 04:23:00 PM   3 comments

Time out!
(Or, "The Omegas are parenting wusses".) Johnny is a self-proclaimed parenting hard-ass. The lucky Johnny and Sharon have a lovely two-year-old who goes to bed at 7 p.m. Sigh. Can OmegaMom admit that she's jealous? OmegaDotter (admittedly two years older) has a bedtime routine that starts any time between 7:45 and 8:45, and ends between 8:45 and 9:45. She gets a bath every other day or so, then "eleven minutes" with OmegaDad (a very elastic period of time, because OmegaMom uses it to chill in the office, read email, blogs, lists, boards, etc.), then gets one or two stories read to her by OmegaMom, then has to have OmegaMom with her while she goes to sleep, which can take anywhere from one minute to...let's say, "a long, long time". God forbid we change the routine. All hell breaks loose. Then there is the "time-out" thing. We tried time-outs with OmegaDotter when she was a young'un. Note the "tried". One could call OmegaDotter "spirited", I'm thinking. Or perhaps it's a matter of attachment issues. Time-outs are a waste of time in this house. She gets absolutely hysterical, and a two-minute time-out turns into a one-hour ordeal for the whole family, which ends with OmegaDotter hiccuping in OmegaMom's arms, very damp from tears and exhausted. Of course, the OmegaParents are exhausted, too, by this time. "Alone" is a very, very scary thing for her. Disapproval is, too. So we have had to find ways and means to convey disciplinary ideas to her. This is not to say she's a Wild Thang. "Time-ins" (where one holds child in arms fairly securely, facing outward, and "discuss" the behavior in question) work--we get hysterics, but they're much shorter. And OmegaMom is, of course, a Mean Mommy, who has drilled the Fear of Leaving The Store into OmegaDotter to the point where a simple, "Do we have to go sit in the car until you can behave?" has mutated to A Look when mom and dotter are out shopping together. (This required application of only a few carrying-the-tantrumming-dotter-out-of-the-store scenes.) Unfortunately, OmegaDad is a ball of mush when it comes to the dotter--usually--so a group outing can be more problematic. We'd much rather have a happy, healthy girl than deal with the hysterics that go with time-outs, or the hysterics (hours-long, making-herself-sick type hysterics) that emerged about six months after bringing dotter home when we would put her to bed in her crib by herself. But I will admit there are times when it would be nice to have a dotter that goes into time-outs with only a small amount of fuss, who goes to bed by herself at a set time, and who stays in that bed all night long without climbing in with mom and dad and subjecting mommy to the Foot Thing.
posted by Kate @ 2/15/2006 11:04:00 PM   6 comments

Houston, we have a problem...
OmegaDotter, the four-year-old teenager, has a beau. Actually, she has had this beau for about two years now, but it's getting serious. She announced to OmegaMom recently, "I'm going to marry C. Then he's going to buy me some bras and dresses and shoes!" Ooookay. OmegaMom can understand the dresses and shoes part. But bras?! Methinks its a little early to be thinking about bras and lingerie and stuff like that. Just in case the reader wonders if this is a one-sided romance, OmegaMom chatted with C.'s mom recently, and got the word that C. informed her of the same thing during a visit to the Post Office, wherein C. asked if he could buy some stamps because he was going to marry OmegaDotter and he needed to get her some stamps to do so. Well. The course of true love doesn't necessarily run smooth. Yesterday, when picking OmegaDotter up, OmegaMom was cornered by Miss Beth, the preschool/daycare administrator. Miss Beth gave OmegaMom the hairy eyeball. "OmegaDotter has a kissing problem." OmegaMom blinked at Miss Beth. The sordid story emerged. OmegaDotter had been kissing C. one day, then was caught kissing P. the next. In the bathroom. Away from adult eyes. Oh, the shame! The dotter is already sneaking around and kissing boys in the bathroom! And two-timing poor C.! Miss Beth promptly began assuring OmegaMom that it's not a big deal. In general. Kids being kids, "exploring their sexuality". (OmegaMom staggered against the wall, closed her eyes, and winced at hearing that word applied to OmegaDotter. "Sexuality" and OmegaDotter do not go hand in hand. Please. Not until she's, say, 34.) But still. "Please, OmegaMom, just have a little talk with OmegaDotter about how kisses are for mommy and daddy and grannies." Oy! And I thought math homework was hard!
posted by Kate @ 2/15/2006 10:28:00 AM   4 comments

A little Valentine's Day story
Once upon a time, OmegaMom was a lonely single college girl (at the grand old age of 34). She went to a far, far away place on a whim, a lark, as an engineering intern. She met a guy, very cute and interesting. They fell in love. Then they both had to go back home. :( They cried. They spent a lot of time on the phone, long distance. (They also spent a lot of money; 7-hour phone long-distance phone calls are eeeevil, man!) She asked him to ask her to marry him during a phone call that started out with him asking, "Have you ever wondered how they make potato chips??" What can I say? It wasn't some weird anti-feminist thing--it was more like, "So when are you going to ask me??" They made plans. He found a little house for them to rent in the town where he was going to graduate school. They planned for him to come visit her (in the beee-yoo-tiful San Francisco Bay Area), help her pack, and move her cross-country (to boooring Lubbock) right around Christmastime. She told him she had never had a Christmas tree of her very own since she lived on her own. He said, "Hmmm." When he arrived at her little cottage that late December, he had a box. In the box was a miniature Christmas tree. He pulled out the tree. Then he pulled out an assortment of miniature ornaments. He decorated the tree. He pulled out a tiny string of lights and draped it around the tree. He put an itty-bitty tree-skirt at the bottom. She was laughing and crying at the same time. And then he took her hands, looked into her eyes, and said, "Every Christmas tree needs at least one present at the base." And he pulled out a little box wrapped with a little bow, placed it beneath her tree, and told her to open it. In it was an engagement ring, with a little diamond, the most he could afford as a lowly graduate research assistant at Texas Tech. It was one of OmegaMom's very best Christmases, ever.
posted by Kate @ 2/14/2006 12:02:00 PM   3 comments

A daydream
Mrs. Figby recently wrote about missing the city, and how she wished she could find a way to live part-time there, while still enjoying the rural life on her island. This reminds OmegaMom of an old daydream she had, when OmegaDotter was newly home, and OmegaMom was wandering around in a haze of sleep deprivation and slightly stunned new-mommyhood. At the time, OmegaMom's place of work had experienced something of a baby boom; it seemed that every time one turned around in the IT department, yet another woman was pregnant. So, when the Omegas returned home with an almost-one-year-old, OmegaMom "joined the pack", as it were. There were hordes of sleep-deprived mommies roaming the hallways, describing to each other new ways that their (very longed-for) darlings were finding to wear them out. OmegaMom began daydreaming of the Society of Geeky Gals, as we described ourselves, finding a nice spot of acreage (say, 20 acres or 40 acres)--like this: (It would have to be within easy driving distance of the Geeky Gals, which, OmegaMom can assure you, this little plot isn't.) Then we'd buy it. Then we'd put up a cute little one-bedroom log home on it--like this: Sierra Log Homes Then...ah, then. The thought was that there would be seven of us in on this dealie. We'd furnish the little log cabin in fairly neutral furniture, with one set of good, sturdy kitchen pots and pans and equipment, plus a good wine cellar and a damned fine entertainment system. Then each of us would have our own cubbie in the cabin that had our own special hand-picked accessories: bedclothes in the colors we liked, throw pillows in our own style, bath linens and shower curtains, and some pieces of artwork. Then, every two weeks, each of us would get two days, BY OURSELVES (ahhh, blessed peace and quiet!) in this cabin. With our own stuff. With our own music. Our own food--whether it be Marie Callendar's frozen dinners and Leggos, or homemade Indian curry for dinner and omelets for breakfast. Ahhhh. What a daydream it was! Alas, reality kicked in almost immediately. OmegaMom got laid off in the Great Layoffs of ought-oh-two (which affected OmegaMom in ought-oh-three, sort of a delayed reaction that had to do with a contract). One of the moms immediately got pregnant again, and now had two sleep-deprivation machines going at once. Another mom moved. But now and then, that daydream seeps back into OmegaMom's consciousness, and she wists after it. (On one of my many boards, a similar idea has surfaced, but this time it's a commune--one of OmegaMom's deepest wishes and desires, at the time, was for peace and quiet and alone time. Though there are times when OmegaMom longs for a wife, which a commune might be handy for.)
posted by Kate @ 2/13/2006 09:27:00 PM   0 comments

The pinks and the primaries
When you go into a store such as Target or Walmart or Sears, it's immediately obvious which aisle is the "girls' toys" aisle and which one is the "boys' toys aisle". The "girls' toys" aisle is pink and purple. With a smidgen of white or cream mixed in. The "boys' toys" aisle is RED and BLUE and GREEN. When we were waiting for OmegaDotter, OmegaMom swore up and down and left and sideways that she did not want pink stuff. When a baby shower was conjured up by buddies at work, and OmegaMom was asked what she wanted for her daughter, she sternly said, "NO pink, please!" Amazingly enough, many people listened, and OmegaDotter was the recipient of many cute orange, green, red, and blue outfits. Amongst the pinks and lavenders. It's not that OmegaMom actively dislikes pink as a concept. It's a fine color, in moderation. The problem was that OmegaMom's vague feelings of feminism and desire not to categorize the dotter from the start were prompted by visits to Target, where it was very obvious our society wants to shoehorn little girls into boxes where they are supposed to like frills, soft colors, and Barbie dolls. I am here to tell you fighting against society's pressures is a losing battle. OmegaDotter is four. What is her favorite color? Pink. Followed by? Purple. You can't buy clothes for little girls that aren't in the approved color palette. It drives OmegaMom nuts. (But not nuts enough to drive her to learn to use a sewing machine.) One of my daydreams is to start a children's clothing company that offers a few basic patterns in various palettes. To soothe those who feel that little girls should wear pinks and purples, there would be the "pastel palette". To offer hope to moms like me, there would be the "bright palette". There would be onsies, tops and plain non-frilly dresses, overalls, sweats--all available in each of the colors. To make things a bit more interesting, this company would offer a standard assortment of appliques (ducks, frogs, horsies, balloons, hearts, snowflakes, Christmas trees, menorahs, etc.), also available in palettes, which would be selected by the buyer at the time they ordered the clothes. Alas, I never did anything about it. The closest thing I found was a place called Basic Brilliance, which sells a very limited selection of clothing in sturdy cotton, but, unfortunately, the "brilliance" is not related to the colors available. OmegaDotter is not wedded to the pinks and purples; at one point, dealing with the morning drama of selecting clothes, OmegaMom blew a fuse, went off to Walmart (the Evil Empire), and purchased five pairs of blue jeans and five red long-sleeved tops, and announced to the dotter that this was what she would be wearing to school. So the dotter wears red and bluejeans, and likes it okay (it definitely makes schoolday mornings much smoother!)...but when given her druthers, she picks out the pinks and purples yet again.
posted by Kate @ 2/12/2006 09:13:00 AM   8 comments

Bad mommy
So the Omegas had sent in their registration for the FCC Chinese New Year celebration down in Big City. We were all revved up...drive down to OmegaGranny's house, spend the night, then all of us load up in the Little Green Car and drive down to Big City for the festivities. Alas, OmegaMom came down with this bug, and by Friday afternoon was still feeling like a limp noodle. No fun, thought she, at a shingdig. So she gave OmegaDad the hairy eyeball, said, "You are taking OmegaDotter down to Grandma Julie's, and the three of you are going to Chinese New Year." Surely, being with daddy and the-most-wonderful-person-in-the-world OmegaGranny would keep OmegaDotter happy and ready to rumble. Ever agreeable, he said yes. He broke down the kiddy tent (which had taken up residence in the living room), rolled up the kiddy sleeping bag, packed up the kiddy flashlight and beener (with attached compass), loaded the dotter into the car, and drove off. They made it down to the next street before OmegaDotter remembered, in a panic, that she had left her beloved stuffed horsie at home. They came back, grabbed the horsie, and exited. OmegaMom moped around the house. It was dark. It was cold (oops, reset that thermostat). It was quiet. Strange, that. Very, very strange. Then the phone rang; dad and dotter had made it down the hill. OmegaMom moped around the house some more. Then the phone rang. A sad and weepy dotter was on the other end of the line. "Mommy?" came the little voice. OmegaMom had to verbally snuggle the little one. Dad got on the line: dotter was very upset at not having mommy around. It occurred to OmegaMom that she had not been away from dotter--and vice versa--for more than nine months. Oops. OmegaMom snuggled into bed with a book and the itty-bitty book light, hoping all was well now. An hour later, the phone rang again. It was OmegaGranny. "I have a very weepy little girl here to talk to you." Oh, man. Mommy guilt. So OmegaMom sits here today, still limp and noodly, hoping that all went well after the last phone call, and that OmegaDad and OmegaGranny and OmegaDotter are all having a grand old time at the festival, watching the lion dance (very good last year!), eating good food, and getting kultur.
posted by Kate @ 2/11/2006 11:26:00 AM   3 comments

More cowbell!
Oh, dear. The Turin Winter Olympics officially opened today. "The program opened with a tribute to the seven countries abutting the majestic Alps--including Austria, Germany and France. Dancers wearing green sheaths pranced near brightly painted fake cows pulled on rollers. It was a homage to mountain life and livestock, and to cheer both, the stadium audience was supplied with the cow bells." said MSNBC. Earlier in the story: "The crowd jumped to its feet, dancing and shouting and ringing their souvenir cow bells." Surely, OmegaMom being so behind the times as she is, surely she's not the only one whose immediate response was "More Cowbell!". So, alas, glorious spectacle was reduced to sheer hilarity across the U.S. in certain circles.
posted by Kate @ 2/10/2006 02:45:00 PM   1 comments

PoP: 0%
Hunh? Whazzat? ask OmegaMom's readers. WTF is "PoP: 0%"? Maybe I should subtitle this post, "Fire!", in the hopes that it will at least get people humming along with Bruce Springsteen. "PoP" is "probability of precipitation". And that "0%"? It's been hanging around far too long. Living in the dry southwestern woods, one becomes very aware of the coming and going of precipitation. In OmegaMom's area, winter is the precipitation bringer. Tony Hillerman's books deftly portray the Navajo outlook on rains: Summer rains are "male" rains--quick, loud, brash, bringing lots of water that runs off quickly; winter rains are "female" rains--quiet, long, soothing, nourishing. Summer storms gather each day, focus in specific areas--you wake in the morning, and there's a puff, a wisp of a cloud, hanging in the sky over one spot. As the day goes on, you can watch the puff growing, gathering moisture, until the puff becomes a looming thunderhead with a forboding deep gray bottom and lightning zig-zagging from the lower reaches down to the ground and back. And then, kablooey!, all hell breaks loose for about 2 hours--hail, raindrops an inch across, water gathering in the streets and rushing down the culverts. Then, by four in the afternoon, the thunderheads diminish, break apart, and become separate little clouds again, so that, by sunset, you have enough clouds in the sky to grab the setting sun and dazzle with vivid oranges, reds, pinks and purples. Winter storms are different. There's no puff that starts things out--instead, there's a horizon-to-horizon cover of leaden grey, with equally leaden temperatures. You look out over the landscape and see veils of snow leaking downward here and there, and, soon, the snow starts to fall. And it keeps on falling. In a normal year. This year, we have had 1.6 inches of snow since last September. Last year, we had had 101 inches by now. In a normal year, we would have had at least 59 inches of snow. Snow. It lingers. It melts slowly. The water soaks in, slowly. The earth gathers the moisture to its bosom, and in springtime, all that moisture makes the wildflowers riot and the trees spring forth with new needles, all fresh and green and lovely. Unfortunately, our whopping 1.6 inches of snow ain't gonna moisturize nuttin'. And already the fires have begun. Oh, small ones, itty bitty ones. But southern California has already had some big ones down by L.A. (In February?!?! This is not fire season in California. September is. October is. But February?!?!. Shout out to Kate--I was worried there for a while with that Sierra Fire.) There was a fire near OmegaMom's workplace on Wednesday, a teeny-tiny five-acre fire started by an abandoned campfire. They put it out quickly. But we shouldn't be having fires yet--fire season isn't supposed to start here until late April, early May. And every day, OmegaMom looks at the weather forecast, and the dire "PoP: 0%" shows up for another week to come. Not good. Last year was the first in years that OmegaMom didn't go around with a subliminal fear-o'-fire; this year, it seems, the fear-o'-fire is going to be more than subliminal.
posted by Kate @ 2/10/2006 08:46:00 AM   0 comments

Convergence
OmegaMom has arrived as a bloggeur. Yes, she got her first negative comment: "This blog SUCKS!" The wit. The clarity. The call for more in-depth discussion of ideas. Such a well thought-out comment requires an equally well thought-out response, which OmegaMom will crib from Johnny: "Well, well, you're....you're....a POOPY FACE!" So there. But it brings us to the topic at hand: blogging, commentary, and linking etiquette. (If OmegaMom misspells things today, please forgive, she's on day 3 of a Bug which has her running a fever and living on NyQuil.) Kent Newsome recently wrote an entry on the question of being "Old School" (blogs as a "venting into the wind" exercise, sans comments) versus the "New School" (where blogs are seen as a conversation with your readers). Seems that a Big Name Blogger got disgusted with negative commentary on his blog and shut the comments down. Very Mom recently got a whole spate of negative commentary, and writes about how it can make the blogger feel. She shut down commentary for a while, also. And BH happened to chime in on the subject of reading blogs, leaving comments, and "being respectful". All of these happened around the same time. It makes OmegaMom wonder if there's some type of Jungian undermind that the blogoverse is tapped into, so that a topic sort of floats to the surface in multiple people's minds at once, seemingly on its own, but actually tied in, spiderweb-like, to multiple other consciousnesses (?) at once. At the same time, there's the question of linking. OmegaMom thought that the idea of blogs was to collect links that interest you, present them to the world at large, and say, "Hey! Here's something that interests me! It might interest you, too!" So OmegaMom stumbles upon an interesting blog, or a quirky blog, or an article that piques her interest, and dumps it into her blogroll forthwith, neither asking permission nor expecting a reciprocating link. The Big Bloggers, it seems, do expect a reciprocating link. Hmmm. (Please, please, don't link to me, Mr. Newsome! I don't want thousands of hits per day! It's scary and I don't know how you do it!) Some board buddies of OmegaMom's are very cautious, and ask to link to others' blogs. Then there are those who want to be totally anonymous on the blogging sea, and don't want to be linked to. Does OmegaMom have a point to this post? Not really. A foggy brain and shaky fingers add up to blogging bloviation. Feel free to add another "This blog SUCKS!" comment; OmegaMom will merely nod her head in sad agreement today. Anyway, I just found the whole thing interesting, and, as is my wont, I toss it out there into the blogoverse for folks to read and think about.
posted by Kate @ 2/10/2006 07:45:00 AM   6 comments

Tagged again??

Om. Say it with me: "Om."

The restful Lady Om has tagged me.

Four jobs I've had:

  • Data entry clerk for a small county court, entering tickets.
  • Copy editor for a business magazine
  • Business college instructor
  • 2nd tier help desk support

Four movies I could watch over and over:

Four places I've lived:

  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Lubbock, Texas
  • Sun City, Arizona (yes, really. With my grandma. Off and on for a year.)
  • San Leandro, California

Four TV shows I love: (oh boy, this will show how long it's been...)

  • NYPD Blue
  • Law and Order (the original)
  • Star Trek Deep Space Nine - one of the absolute best of the Star Trek ouvre, IMO. But then, I like my SF fraught with politics and shenanigans and somewhat dark.
  • Um. Um. Lemme think about this one.

Four places I've vacationed:

  • San Diego
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Washington, DC
  • Eureka, CA

My four favorite dishes:

  • Gino's East pizza in Chicago
  • A damned fine filet mignon with blue cheese sauce I had at a restaurant that no longer exists, sigh
  • Cooking Light's Tandoori Chicken in a clay bake oven--mmm, mmm
  • Another one from Cooking Light: Balsamic chicken wraps with mango salsa

Four websites I visit daily:

  • MSNBC
  • NOAA's local weather
  • Our local newspaper
  • Bloglines

Four places I'd rather be:

  • Northern New Mexico
  • San Francisco Bay area
  • China (for a visit or a semi-long-term stay)
  • Hawaii - I just want to see what it's like

I'd tag someone, but my brain is all foggy with NyQuil, my head is stuffed and pounding, and I just want to go to bed.

(A word of warning about Blogger.com's "save as draft"; if you don't go in and change the time and date of your post before you publish, it defaults back to when you first started it. OmegaMom started this post Tuesday night, but didn't finish it until Thursday morning...the "I just want to go to bed" relates to Thursday, not Tuesday.)

posted by Kate @ 2/09/2006 08:30:00 AM   0 comments

Semantics, again
What is the difference between the two phrases "her adopted Chinese daughter" and "her daughter, who was adopted from China"? The first, to me, labels my daughter. In English, if the modifier is considered overarchingly important, it is placed before the noun it modifies; if it is seen as incidental, it is placed in a modifying phrase after the noun: "She threw the red ball" (the fact that it is red is the most important thing about the ball in this discussion; it's usually used to separate it from the blue ball and the black ball in the same group) versus "She threw the ball, which is red" (the important thing is that she threw the ball; that it's red is an ancillary description) In other words, if you wrote: "She was at the party with her adopted Chinese daughter", the most important aspect of the daughter is that she is adopted and that she is Chinese. "She was at the party with her daughter, who was adopted from China", the most important fact here is that the girl is her daughter, not that she was adopted from China. I know that to many, this seems like a really little thing, a hair-splitting, a minor distinction. But it is a very unconscious, very deep-seated aspect of the English language, and it bothers me (as a writer) because it is such an unstated and unconscious thing.
posted by Kate @ 2/06/2006 11:52:00 PM   9 comments

A new view of children's literature
"Beatrix Potter's words sometimes do not readily fall into ancient Egyptian."--Words of wisdom from the translators of Beatrix Potter's "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" into Egyptian Heiroglyphics. OmegaDotter is deeply into Peter Rabbit right now. Perhaps, in the hopes of widening her horizons, the Omegas should purchase said book. It would go well with the Encylopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs, a pop-up dinosaur encylopedia, which Mr. OmegaMom could not resist purchasing.
OmegaMom is in limbo until tomorrow evening, or possibly longer. OmegaDad seems remarkably sanguine about something that could alter our lives and prove to be a grand adventure. OmegaMom doesn't like limbo. OmegaMom is reading about Alaska. OmegaMom does not like -50F, even in theory. She has had life experience with -26 to -30F, and that was bad enough. Did you know that diesel fuel and transmission fluid gel at -50F?? OmegaMom is happy that the Big Change the Omegas are contemplating does not require us coping with -50F. But... Alaska... Hmmm.
posted by Kate @ 2/06/2006 02:10:00 PM   0 comments

Dotter stuff
Various parents (not just moms!) have assured me that the 4-year-old snottiness is a phase (BH says they called their daughter the "4-year-old teenager"). Whew. Now if I can just keep my temper! This morning, OmegaDotter's first words to her father were, "I have to be nice today." I think that yesterday made an impression. Dotter has found a Breyer's catalog. Breyer makes model horses. OmegaDotter, in case you haven't heard, is enthralled with horses; she has what OmegaMom's biologist brother would call a "search pattern", and can locate the horsie item in a crowded room within seconds, while her parents are still taking in the ambience of the place. Anyway, she found this catalog. She was perusing it in the other room. OmegaMom was sitting in the office reading about the cartoon Jihad, when she heard: "Oh. My. Gosh." Another second passed, then: "Oh. My. GOSH!!!" (Think of a teen squealing at seeing a rock star idol shopping in the aisle next to her. What did BH say? "A 4-year-old teenager." Oh, yeah.) Then OmegaDotter came running in, with the Breyer catalog behind her back. "Mom! Mom! You have to see this!", and she pulls the catalog out, sloooowly from behind her back, then flourishes it in front of OmegaMom. "Spirit!" And she points to various mustang models in the catalog. And then, of course, she wanted to watch Spirit.
posted by Kate @ 2/05/2006 09:46:00 AM   0 comments

Mothers of four-year-olds...?
Help! OmegaDotter has turned into Demon Spawn. Abruptly. Like over the past two weeks. Oh. My. Gawd. Tell me this phase will pass??? Tell me she will become civilized again? In one fell swoop, I have lost my sense of humor and my patience. I think I'd rather have epic tantrum meltdowns than snotty talk-back and outrageous and gross behavior at mealtimes. Talk OmegaMom down, please!
posted by Kate @ 2/04/2006 08:32:00 PM   4 comments

You can't make things like this up
Thirty-three years ago, some well-meaning folks made a video series called "Who's Afraid of Opera", starring Dame Joan Sutherland and a trio of puppets explaining and acting out scenes from various operas. This series has since made its way into general video sales, and is sold at Amazon.com under "Styles > Children's Music > General" and under "VHS > Genres > Kids & Family > Teaching & School > Teaching Aids". The very few reviews about these videos are glowing. So why on earth is OmegaMom writing about this video series? It seems that some poor hapless first-year music teacher in a small town in Colorado made the dreadful mistake of showing excerpts from Volume I to her second- and third-grade students. Sooooo??? Um. Well. One of the operas featured in Volume I is Gounod's "Faust". It's "not appropriate for a high school student" (emphasis OmegaMom's). "Common sense" should tell you this. It "glorifies Satan in some way". It's a "Satanic video". (Picture OmegaMom rolling her eyes.) "Faust", for those not familiar with the story, is all about a guy selling his soul to Mephistopheles (aka "The Devil"). The whole point of the story is that Faust thinks he's such a smartass hotshot that he can outsmart the Devil, and (gasp!) it doesn't work, he gets taken down to Hell at the end, and it's a tragedy all around. Whadda surprise. Oh, yeah...the snippets of the opera also had someone being killed with a sword and "allusions" to suicide. Lemme tell you, as someone who was hauled off by both OmegaGranny and Aunt Anne to various operas as a yute, if anyone can actually hear and understand the "allusion" to suicide in an opera, they've got an amazing career ahead of them as someone who can translate foreign languages. As for the "someone being killed with a sword" aspect--hello? Has anyone watched any Saturday morning cartoons lately? What about, say, The Incredibles? Or just about anything on TV or in movies these days? Sometimes, OmegaMom just wants to give up. The poor first-year teacher is planning to leave the town. She's not being forced out, she simply has the common sense to realize that a place full of bozos like that ain't gonna make her feel fulfilled in her teaching career. Read more.
posted by Kate @ 2/03/2006 06:53:00 PM   1 comments

Mother daughter
Image hosting by Photobucket So very many women I know seem to have this ongoing push-pull relationship with their mothers. Mothers know exactly what buttons to push (the same way daughters do, very early on, in my experience!). Daughters push back. Small commentary becomes magnified by the ongoing relationship into Big Smackdowns. If you google mothers daughters, you'll get an assortment of articles showing how moms support their daughters...or don't. You'll find questions like My mom doesn't like me...What do I do? on the Today Show. You'll find the intricate dance between the generations chronicled everywhere. OmegaMom seems to have a charmed relationship with OmegaGranny. I love, admire, respect my mom. She's one of my very best friends. I don't ever take a comment such as, "Maybe you should do x..." from my mom in the wrong way, because I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that coming from her, it is an exploration, a question rooted in love for me. A "Why don't you do y?" from her is not seen as a snipe--the way, alas, it can be seen coming from Great-Grandma--but as a honest question. I don't know how we lucked out. Or I do: it's based in the fact that OmegaGranny is just a really all-around special person, intelligent, interesting, forward-looking, willing to try new things, an endless source of second-hand science fiction books (thanks!). The only thing I know of that OmegaGranny has tried that she hasn't learned and become comfortable with is driving. OmegaGranny got a degree in sociology (almost--she never sent in the $$ for the final piece of paper, shame, shame, OmegaGranny!). She interned at one of the big newspapers on the East Coast, and has grand stories of the old city editors, cigars in mouth, shouting out commands and demanding quick work. She got a job as a journalist in a small neighborhood newspaper in Chicago. She moved on to working for a business publisher in Chicago, and moved her way up to Managing Editor of an international restaurant magazine. She traveled to Europe, to China when it first opened up...she brought back Mozart Chocolates and intricately decorated European card decks...she was an inspiration, because she was doing the feminist thang even before it was fashionable. She has supported me through some seriously rough spots, and I have tried to do the same as her new title--"widow"--becomes something less new and spiky-edged. I cherish the times we get together, no matter if we're doing something new and different, or just hanging around, simply because I like her so much. Liking someone in your family is different than loving them; we love them because...well...because we have to. There are sayings about how friends are the family we choose. I'd like to think that OmegaGranny and I would be friends if we met each other, even if we weren't related. It's OmegaGranny's birthday today. She turns 79. Happy Birthday, mamasan. I love you.
posted by Kate @ 2/02/2006 07:51:00 PM   4 comments

Blogging
I do read the comments. Really, truly. I appreciate comments, and mull them over in my head, and, when I've got an immediate response I'll write it. But that over-thinking thang does kick in (Josette understands completely), and mulling takes time, and then life (in the form of, say, teaching English fuddy-duddy candidates about databases, or dotters that suddenly have become tearfully fearful of the dark) sweeps me along its path, and I forget. (Hangs head in shame.) It's like Christmas cards. OmegaMom will not mention how long it's been since she has sent out Christmas cards. This year's plan--originally to get friends' and relatives' addresses into a database, print out labels, get the letter written up and printed in late November, and then have a free-for-all night of card stuffing--fell by the wayside when OmegaMom woke up one Friday morning and realized Christmas was in two days. Eeep. So it slid to New Year's Day cards. Then to "Mid-January" cards. Then to the grand idea to send out Chinese New Year cards. Now I'm thinking of sending out mass Valentine's Day cards, but have little hope of actually accomplishing the task. Procrastination, thy name is OmegaMom. Anyways, back to blogs and comments and stuff like that. Blogging is an odd endeavor. One sits down at the keyboard with An Idea (hopefully). A rant, a screed, something that seems somewhat humorous or topical. On a good day, the words flow, it's fun to look up links to this-n-that to lure your (oodles, of course) of readers onwards into the incredibly fun maze of the internets. But you're writing, and you have no idea whether the people who read think it's worthwhile, or maybe you've hit a dull streak, or you've concentrated too much on topics that are esoteric or limited in scope, and you hit the "Publish Post" button and wonder...Do they like it? Are they interested? Am I boring them? Should I care? Is blogging essentially casting your voice out into the great wide world with nary a ripple, or is it supposed to be a conversation? At times, it does turn into a conversation, spread out across multiple blogs, a looping discussion that starts there, stops here for a tangential response, then moves on to yet another blog, with yet another facet being explored. The Adoption commentary post was of that type, inspired by a post on Karen's blog, which was inspired by a post (and the associated commentary) on Julie's blog. OmegaMom reads a ton o' blogs, mostly parenting and adoption blogs, with an occasional foray into other spheres (A List Apart, for instance, which is devoted solely to website design, or The Assimilated Negro, which is really quite grand). Some of the bloggers she has followed for many months (OmegaMom hangs her head, again, because she was so late to the blogging party and had never visited a blog before 2005), and come to know the personalities behind the blogs, followed their ups and downs, and feels, in a way, that they are friends (though these friends may not even know her!). Other bloggers she has known for quite a while before they took fingers to keyboard in the blogging universe. A very few blogs she discovered by hitting the "Next Blog" button, but most of the ones she's hit that way are just crappy. It's a very interesting world, the blogoverse. The other day, OmegaMom clicked on the Sitemeter link to the stats for A Big Well-Known Blog, and she was absolutely blown away. This dude gets 4500 hits per day. Holy shit. 'Scuse the language, but there's just no other possible response. Holy shit. And then she went on a tangent to BlogAds (from a link on This Woman's Work), and discovered there are blogs out there that get hundreds of thousands of hits per week. Holy shit. The thought of waking up in the morning realizing that tens of thousands of people are hanging on their RSS feed subscriptions for notice of one of your posts makes OmegaMom shiver. Anyway, I do read the comments. And may respond sooner or later. Maybe by Valentine's Day. With that, a few gratuitous shots of the dotter. The Evil Mocha cake, mentioned in Wired:

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OmegaDotter protecting herself from alien thought control:

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The response to a helpful suggestion from OmegaMom or OmegaDad, and obvious signs of adolescent attitude to come:

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posted by Kate @ 2/01/2006 10:33:00 PM   5 comments

About Me
Name: OmegaMom
Home: Southwest
About Me: Middle-aged mom of a 4-year-old adopted from China. Love science, debate, good SF and fantasy, hiking, music of almost every style. Lousy housekeeper. "Good enough" mom.
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