31 May 2010

Today We Remember

Today, some flags were flown half-mast. Most were not. Some people were sleeping off the weekend food and drink hangovers. Most were continuing the revelry with barbeques and beach trips. And as we celebrated the unofficial start to summer like most other Americans, doing much the same, a small part of my brain kept whispering, "Remember".

While some, as evidenced in the Davis Square Live Journal community, believe that Memorial Day is a day to celebrate war, others, like my family, take the time to remember.

Memorial Day is not a day to celebrate. Nor is it a day to warmonger and it certainly shouldn't be a day to further polarize an already split populace.

It is just a day to remember.

  • Buckley, Eugene        US Navy                       WWII      Died: 2005

  • Coughlin, Richard      US Navy                       Vietnam    Died: 2006

  • Greenwood, Robert  US Army                        Korea      Died: 2003

  • Harrington, Fred       US Army Air Corps        WWII      Died: 2004

  • Hersey, Kenneth       US Navy                        WWII      Died: 2009

  • Jack                         US Army Air Corps        WWII      Died: 2003

  • Mahoney, John         US Air Force                  Vietnam   Died: 2009

  • Nadeau, Ralph          US Marines                    Vietnam   Died: 2008

  • Thoms, Robert          US Army                        Korea     Died: 2008

All of these men touched me in a way that will remain with me, in my heart, for the rest of my life. Were it not for their service, I wouldn't know them. Were it not for their service, they wouldn't have wended their way into my life to leave their lasting marks, their memories, their stories.

Today, I heard them in the surf as I laid on the beach. I saw them in the light of my child's eyes as she laughed and played with friends at a neighbor's cookout. They were all buried with military honors, though too many of them left this world alone, in pain, and in ways we never would have expected.

So take a moment before you go to bed tonight, please. And just...remember. That's really what this weekend is all about.

24 May 2010

Never Trust a Friend

We are fortunate to live in one of the greener urban areas in this nation - and by that, I don't necessarily mean "environmentally correct" (though we are, as a community, that too). Boston and the immediate "suburbs" (hard to tell where the city ends, really) boast parks and green stands both large and small, including riverwalks, bike paths, beaches and wooded areas. These are, for all intents and purposes, Open to the Public, free to use by any and all, free to enjoy.

But naturally, with parks comes maintenance and with maintenance comes cost and with the threat of losing some of this public space due to cost come, as inevitably as the red tides of summer, the Friends.

Most Friends start off as small groups of devoted users of trails, land, parks, beaches. They are as attached to those spaces as barnacles are to the hull of a fishing boat (and eventually, prove much harder to scrape away). Friends might even be considered devotees, if one were inclined to be snarky (which one never is inclined to be, oh no). Friends have time to devote to their friendship. Friends have money to devote to their friendship. Friends are usually well intentioned at the outset (please recall the paving stones along the route to hell), but over time, and with enough money in the coffers, Friends morph into something else...something more sinister...

They are no longer Friends. They are Owners. But make no mistake, you will never meet a president of a group calling itself, "Owners of the...[insert park, beach, trail here]". It just doesn't have the same, upbeat tone to it as "Friends of the..." does it? It's not as welcoming. Of course, they're not actually owners of anything except a stake in the resource in question, owing to the fact that they've thrown so much money at it to remain devoted friends that usually, government entities like DCR throw themselves prostrate as the friends walk by, begging them not to remove their funding.

And so it has been with mild bemusement that I've watched the saga that is The Fells Land Use unfold

21 May 2010

Gosh. I Feel Like a Woman. [snerk]

A wasn't feeling herself last night. We could see that. M told me that she put his hand on her belly while he was reading her good-night stories last night and whispered, "Hold, Daddy." She was tired and warm, two signs of pending illness for sure.

She wasn't up to par this morning either, but when I took her temperature, it was normal. So, we got on with our day. I did let her teachers know that she wasn't altogether well, but with no fever, I couldn't justify taking the day off (especially since I have next to no paid time off to take and a buffet platter of work and meetings and training that's overflowing) and, I thought, M's job won't let him go if I'm around.

And there's the rub. Mechanics, you see, are men. Men don't do women's work. At least, that's the prevailing sentiment that I see over and over again. When M told the last Service Manager they had that he was leaving to stay home with his infant daughter full-time, the man actually accused him of lying to cover up the fact that he must be going to another dealership. And when I was in the field, they were unhappy with him for leaving early by 15 minutes each day to make sure he could get to A before the center closed. Never mind that they knew this would be when they hired him...

In fact, the HR woman at one dealership he interviewed at actually reacted with a, "What do you mean, your wife may deploy? I don't know if we can

18 May 2010

Motherhood and Youth

Sunday morning found us shopping at Target for some necessities (diapers) and a few incidentals as well. A excitedly picked out what I can only describe as the LOUDEST PAIR OF PANTS EVER - leggings with large seahorses printed on, in every color of the rainbow. Of course, we got the matching top which was far more subdued - a turquoise blue with two seahorses, nose to nose. On her, it's adorable. Loud, but appropriate. And I remarked to M later that night, "It must be nice to be 2 and be able to wear something that loud and pull it off."

"Well," he said, "There are more than a few women who..."

I didn't let him finish the thought. "I SAID, and pull it off."

"Ah. Good point."

I was thinking of the article I had read earlier in the day that discussed, rather venomously, youth obsessed mothers, particularly those who share crushes with their tween and teen daughters. My initial reaction was to be mildly revolted by these women

17 May 2010

Level 1 Prohibitory Monsters - Do You or Don't You?

Lately, I've been reading a lot of Terry Pratchett. So much so, in fact, that I'm sort of wondering myself when I'll pick up a different genre again. I suppose it has a lot to do of being immersed so deeply in the rather humorless work of the government grind - I need someplace fun and satirical to escape to when I read. Yet I find that, not only is Terry Pratchett funny, he's also extraordinarily intelligent. So I was rather excited to get my mitts on a copy of The Folklore of Discworld, wherein he and a British folklorist, Jacqueline Simpson, explore the myths of Discworld and Earth (and the remarkable cross between the two worlds). It's both entertaining and educational - and being in the throes now of a time in our daughter's life where there can be no doubt that Magic and Monsters exist, one section gave me a lot of pause to think and wonder.

In several chapters, particularly on races (dwarves and trolls featuring highly here), Elves, and the Nac Mac Feegle, our own ancient myths and legends through the years are dissected - and discussed in terms

14 May 2010

As Green as it Gets...For Us

I've been thinking a lot lately about what I'm calling the Yuppie Greenification of MA Movement. It seems that every time I turn around, another law or regulation has been passed to make the state a greener place. On the one hand, I see nothing wrong with making the world a better place. On the other, I have to wonder why, now that it's such a popular thing to do, the cost of going green has gone so...well...high.

I also wonder how, if environmental education is the latest trend in elemetary cirriculums, I will explain to my sweet little cherub (snerk) exactly why Mommy and Daddy are limited in their ability to jump on board this bandwagon.

In terms of Green Points, I present the following:
  • We only have one car. It's a 2003 Impala, but it's one car. For the family. Now, with M back to work, we all commute together. He drives to his workplace (about 10 minutes from mine), and then I take the helm and drive to A's play-skool and my office. We reverse the trend going home. We don't drive when we can take the T though.
  • We recycle. Two bins a week.
  • I use one green cleaning product for light cleaning only. The others I've tried were ridiculously expensive and performed worse than soap and hot water, so there's still plenty of chemicals in the house - which means I don't think I can claim a full point here.
  • I use a re-usable water bottle for tap water and coffee mug instead of buying them individually.
  • When we buy seasonal fruits and vegetables from our commissary, we automatically get the local deal. Same with milk and eggs. They're not, however, certified organic or free-range. That might equal out to zero points.
OK. So, we're off to a, well, a start. But here's where I get annoyed and wish that the fashionistas would find something else to ruin so that prices come back down.

I recently did a cost analysis on the value of getting rid of the Impala in favor

11 May 2010

No Other Mother's Day Gift Like It

On Friday when I picked A up from play-skool, there was a "gift" on top of her cubby. The kids had planted bean seeds and their teachers had stapled their picture to a popsicle stick, which was then stuck into the soil. It was accompanied by a rather silly ode to mothers, signed with the individual child's handprint in paint.

I remembered making these things when I was little and mocking them when I was large. I never imagined that I would ever be the intended recipient of the same someday, nor had I dreamed that my heart would actually melt when I received it.

Truly though, my real gift from her has been the change to revel in her recent explosion of language and imagination that's happened in the course of the last couple of months.

Her teachers tell me that she excels in both emergent writing and dramatic play (for daycare, this is really more like pre-school given the concepts they're being taught). We see it every day. She's often offered imaginary popcorn by Woozles (see Winnie the Pooh if you're unfamiliar) that seem to follow wherever she's got a craving for popcorn (which she's only ever had once, ages ago). Friday, on the way home, she was being offered imaginary lollipops by the mermaid sitting next to her in the back seat. Last night, she raided a store under the sea on an impromptu oceanic adventure in the bathtub. Naturally, mermaids helped.

She sees monsters in dark parking garages and the woods as we drive by. Some are good, some are bad. The ones currently under bed are her friends. Same for the ones residing in the closet.

I knew life was going to get interesting a few months ago when I had cleaned out her playroom closet and left a shallow, dish shaped basket on the floor while I contemplated it's fate. I walked in one night to check on her and she was sitting in it. She looked up at me and said, "My nest!" Under her bum were 3 bug-mobiles that were vaguely egg shaped. She was "hatching them" and then placing them reverently in a box.

I hadn't realized then how interesting, and funny, it was really going to become.

What better Mother's Day gift than a happy, healthy, giggling, playful, imaginative daughter could there be?

07 May 2010

A New Way to Feel Bad

It's no secret that most working mothers feel some form of guilt over...well...the fact that they work. Of course, so do stay-at-home moms. Some speculate that, as mothers, we're pre-programmed to beat the hell out of ourselves for failing somehow (usually in our own minds).

I've been a little smug on this topic. I never felt it. Nope. Not a lick. Our family is the way it is, I do what I do, it's different from you, you're different from me which, by the way, is the stuff life's made of...soooo...

I pressed on.

Until now. Right now, I'm not sure if I actually feel guilty for wanting what I want or guilty for not actually feeling guilty, but there's certainly some element of "Bad Mommy!" playing out in my head. Why? Well...