Archives for June 2009

Where I Have An Opinion About Michael Jackson (But Just a Tiny One)

Unless you live under a rock, you know Michael Jackson died this week. As many of you, I watched it unfold on Twitter – “MJ went to the hospital”, “MJ suffered cardiac arrest”, “MJ is dead”, “Is he dead?”, “Can anyone confirm he’s dead?”, “Can anyone BESIDES TMZ confirm it?”.

And, you know… I didn’t really have a feeling about it.

Once the death was confirmed, I didn’t have a feeling about it. People are sad for sure, but I’ve been meh about it all. It’s not that I don’t understand what it’s like to mourn the passage of a music icon (and in the height of grunge I was so saddened by Kurt Cobain’s suicide that I should be embarassed that I lacked any reaction at all to Michael Jackson, but I’m just gonna say: I was a teenager and teenagers are stupid).

The thing I did have a feeling about was the media feeding frenzy and how horrible it would be if a member in your family was in the hospital and millions of people felt they had a right to know how your family member was before you did – that in some way they were seeking ownership of your family member at a time that was particularly brutal to you. I understand the curiosity involving people in the public eye – and know that Michael Jackson kind of was a hat full of crazy at times – or at least that is the perception he gave the public in recent years.

But, crazy people are still people too. And that’s still someone’s son. Brother. Father. Friend.

I read People magazine. I watch trash on television. I consume pop culture by the handfuls in various ways – and I love it – but for the first time, I was bothered by how some people react.

So, that’s my opinion on it. It’s sad that the maker of a lot of great music will no longer be making great music. But that great music is still there and people are still listening to it (and if you don’t believe me, check out the Top 100 songs downloaded on iTunes – when I checked Friday, 45 of the top 100 were Michael Jackson or Jackson 5 songs. Dang).

Thursday Ten: I Don’t Really Like Tom Petty Edition

1. So, last week my guitar teacher started teaching me “I Won’t Back Down” and “Learning to Fly” by Tom Petty. This week, we finally got to the chorus of “I Won’t Back Down” and I was sure the teacher had switched songs and was playing “Free Fallin'” – so much so that I was mentally singing the “Free Fallin’ ” lyrics in place. Nope. Turns out they are just really similar-ish. To show me, she started teaching me “Free Fallin'”. Yes, I’m now learning a THIRD Tom Petty song and what I am learning most of all is that Tom Petty? He doesn’t really do it for me.

2. It’s about 91 degrees today. It’s too hot. It’s too humid. AND I HATE IT.

3. I got four postcards in the mail today – that was completely awesome. Made me smile. Nice to get fun mail every now and then. I’ve been sending out postcards like crazy lately because it’s fun to send mail — but it’s also fun to get it. Thanks peeps who made me smile today.

4. I’m getting used to my new camera. I love the shots I’m getting outdoors and when no flash is necessary. But once that flash comes into play – there’s just too much brightness. There’s probably a trick to it – one that doesn’t involve grumbling and stomping around – but I’m still stuck on grumbling and stomping, so… That’s what we’ll go with for now.

5. I have been sitting here typing and broiling. I just got up to go double check if the AC was on. Apparently it was set at 85 degrees. Hm. What’s the point in that? I’ve just bumped it waaaaaaaaaaaay down, so here’s hoping I quit sweating soon.

6. I saw “The Proposal” last weekend. It was pretty much what one would expect – but when they were in “Alaska”, I kept thinking to myself – wow, that is just beautiful… the water, the houses and stuff on the water? Just completely lovely. Well, it wasn’t shot in Alaska at all. Apparently, I don’t really want to go to Alaska. I want to go to Rhode Island. And Massachusetts.

7. New music this week… “Penintentiary” by Citizen Cope, a bunch of Damien Rice (Or was that last week?), and “We’re At the Top of the World”, an older song from The Juliana Theory.

8. Did you know that I’ve been reading “The Count of Monte Cristo” for MONTHS and I’m still only on page 34? Bah.

9. Warm weather makes me feel like hobo-roadkill (can I trademark that phrase, please?). I don’t put on makeup, because it’ll all melt off anyway. I don’t do my hair because the humidity is just going to make me look like I electrocuted myself. It’s ponytails and moisturizer and that’s about it. Even though I’m not a primp-y kind of person in ideal weather, it kind of stinks to always feel sloppy.

10. I bit all my fingernails off today, and I’m not a nail biter. I arrived at guitar lesson early and realized how long my nails had gotten and knew they’d be in my way. Grossly enough, I bit them all off because I didn’t have a file in my bag.  Now I have got to go find a file and clean these puppies up. And get a mani. Soon.

Maid of Honor? Um, More Like… MADE OF AWESOME

My baby sister is getting married this fall. She’s ten years younger than me, so yeah, I can get away with that whole “baby” thing. She met a really awesome guy and I’m so thrilled for her. I was thrilled when she asked me to be a bridesmaid (though I did have a sense of the, “OMG. I am the world’s OLDEST BRIDESMAID.”

I was cool with being a bridesmaid, though. Because of our age gap, my sister and I have only become close in recent years because she was only eight when I left home for college — so I missed a lot of her growing up years. Now, as adults we are friends as well – but I completely understood that she had friends she was perhaps tighter with, that would make a better choice for the role of MOH.


She and the MOH had a falling out of sorts, so hey! Guess who got promoted?

The promotion comes complete with the task of throwing a bridal shower and bachelorette fiesta and the bridal shower planning has been consuming my week. Partly because if I’m being totally honest: I do not like bridal showers. I don’t like sitting around drinking over-sweetened punch with far-flung extended family members that were probably only invited for the gift. I hate shower games (though, WATCH OUT, because I can and DO kick some MAJOR BOOTY on shower games. Especially the word scramble – I can’t help it – I just have mad letter scrambling skills. I guess?). I hate bad cake.

And now I’m hosting one of these things?

I’m reading too much into it – but I am on a mission to throw the anti-bridal shower. I want hers to be… FUN. And the cake? It must be good. I don’t care HOW many slices of cake I have to sample to find a yummy shower cake, I will find yummy cake.

It’s amazing how consuming it can be.

On top of this? I’m helping her move this weekend. I’m racking up some major awesome sister points this summer.

Catch a Froggy By The Toe


This has been the first weekend of summer, definitely. Temperatures in the 80s, humidity to turn my hair into a chaotic pile of mess, and the girls clamoring to get outside in the sprinkler. Last night, we finally dragged out the Whale Pool.

The Whale Pool is one of those giant inflatable swimming pools, kind of shaped like a whale, requiring an air compressor to fill it up so as to not cause hyperventilation. As the pool was filling up, The Princess and Pumpkin romped through the yard and then squealed suddenly.

Why? Because they saw a frog. I made them leave it alone so I could grab my camera (what?), and then The Princess inched closer to it. It jumped when she glot closer and she shrieked and flinched backwards. Pumpkin got close, gave it a little poke with her finger and laughed when it bounced away. Eventually Hubby caught it in a little bucket and put it in their wading pool. The girls ooh’d and aah’d over the frog for awhile until The Princess decided she was about ready to let it go. She went to scoop it back in the bucket… and screamed again. She dropped the bucket AND the frog back in the pool and backed away.

“Pumpkin,” I called. “Why don’t you let the frog go?”

My three year old swiftly scooped him up in the bucket and in one move, let the frog out on the grass to hop off to its salvation. Whatever that might be for frogs. Pleased as can be with herself, Pumpkin’s face was lit with a huge smile.

My children never fail to surprise me. Did I think Pumpkin was going to be this champion frog-scooper-amphibian-catching whiz kid? Nope. Did I think The Princess, lover-of-all-things-Bindi-The-Jungle-Girl would be so easily squicked out by a frog? Nuh uh.

I love these moments of seeing their differences.

Put A Candle In The Window

Last night, shortly after I tucked in the little people for bed the sky started darkening with angry clouds and the distinct sound of rumbling thunder began to fill the air. Soon, the storm was on – flashes of lightening and crashes of thunder. And then the power flashed off and then on.

Then off again.

And minutes later? It was still off.


I found my way into the kitchen, lit several candles and then took a small candle with me to the mudroom where I found…


Glow sticks.

I had bought a ton of them one time because Target had them in their “Dollar Spot” area – and I figured they would amuse the children, but for a power outage, these things are just right. I didn’t want to leave candles in the girls’ rooms – both use night lights, and I wanted them to be able to find their way should they wake up in the middle of the night. I snapped two glow sticks, hung them on their doors and then tossed one on the hallway floor between their rooms and the bathroom.

Woke up this morning with no power yet, and an estimated restoration time of 4:30 – Oy. Fortunately, the power company had given themselves plenty of padding on that time, and we were back on by lunch. In fact, the power came on just as we were getting ready to go to Target… for more glowsticks.

Thursday Ten: I Win The F Chord

1. For guitar lesson today, the F chord that has been kicking my bootay for the past several weeks (or, month?) finally came together. More than once. WHOOHOO!

2. In other guitar news, I’m stillllll working on “I’m Yours”, and today picked up two new ones. My guitar teacher is on a Tom Petty kick in her life, so “Learning to Fly” and “Won’t Back Down”. No complicated strumming patterns for Mr. Petty, and for that I am grateful.

3. Week two of the Mother’s Helper, and though my kids love her, I am having to relearn to relinquish control of my house for a day each week so that I don’t go crazy knowing that my sink is piled high with dishes and there is a streak of nail polish on my kitchen floor. {Ommmmm}

4. New music this week – I went on a Damien Rice spree yesterday. “Volcano” is the one I am really loving right now. I also have a few others on my list to listen to after my guitar lesson – we may have spent a bit too long yammering about music instead of actually playing.

5. Do you ever have a day when you turn on your iPod, throw it on Shuffle and every tune that comes on is just exactly the right music for the moment? I have been working on a project all day and have rolled from 80s novelty rap (Young MC, anyone?) to Thievery Corporation’s “Lebanese Blonde” at this very moment. Life is good when the music is right.

6. I am still trying to get used to the new Canon, but I have to say… I just don’t love it. The flash blows pictures out something crazy. I really need to RTFM (Read the…manual!), because I’m hoping there’s a way to tinker with that so I can get the quality of photo I want.

7. The pilot who died mid-flight? How scary is that? Y’all know I am a TERRIBLE air passenger and that ranks up there among the top 200 things I fear about air travel. Yikes.

8. Know what sounds good right now? Brownie sundaes. YUM.

9. I should probably acknowledge that yes, the Red Wings lost the Stanley Cup in a game that I found to be totally miserable. Ugh. It hurt to watch. Bleeeeeeeh.

10. The Princess has taken to answering the phone, a fact that I should accept as she’s getting older – but refuse to because she is apparently unable to take a telephone message. Drives me a little batty when three hours after the fact she’ll say, “Mom, someone from…. someplace called.”

Take A Picture, It Will Last Longer

Along with my computer collapsing at the sound of my claim to be wired, my digital camera crapped out on me a few months ago – with the lens cover whosy-whatsit refusing to open entirely and shut more than halfway. I called the peeps at Canon and they said, “The cost to fix it is (some absurd dollar amount not too far off from the cost of a new camera).” I said, Guess I’ll go camera shopping.

But before I could get that far, my best friend said I could borrow her backup camera and then promptly drove out to my neck of the woods to drop off her lovely Sony camera. And for the past month or so, I’ve been cranking away with that – and it’s a very lovely camera. However, it is time for Sony to go home to its momma, so I had to get my act together and get a camera of my own.

This morning I started looking to see what was out there, and found a deal on a pretty neat Nikon. Granted, even though I wanted a fancy-schmancy SLR, I just can’t justify it. I am loving the 365 project and really am working on trying to find my perspective and all that behind the camera, more than a couple hundred bucks would not have been a really wise choice at this point. The Nikon had a couple features I was pretty interested in – one of them being the rapid shooting feature – which I thought would be cool given that my kids tend to move around a lot and then I end up missing possibly cool shots because I didn’t move fast enough.

But the thing about the Nikon was that even though I loved the heft of the camera (it’s nearly a pound, I think), and the way it felt in my hand, I didn’t love the way the first few shots came out. They were kind of… not crisp. I did a bit of a google search and found that that was not an uncommon complaint about the camera.

Alrighty, then. Back to square one.

Returned the camera and did some iPhone Google searches for reviews at the store. Ended up with a Canon, not too altogether different than what I had before.

What do I think of it? It’s too soon to tell, actually. Weight-wise? I really don’t love the way it feels in my hand. I’ve been spoiled by the Sony, I think. The picture quality… well… it’s too soon to tell, as well (I’ve only taken a few sample shots in bad lighting – I think the flash is gonna bug me).


But I think I’ll keep it for now and see how it goes.

I Feed My Kids the Apple Kool-Aid

My first MP3 player was a funky little Sony thing. It was a cute plastic blue thing that held maybe four songs (I’m exaggerating…slightly), and was a pain in the butt because there weren’t really any accessories to make a little round MP3 player handy for working out. It was replaced a month or so later with a first gen iPod Shuffle. A cute little MP3, no doubt, clipped on to my workout clothes – so definitely convenient, but 1 gb? That’s really not that much.

Eventually, I replaced it with a cool Nano – which I loved.  When I purchased my Nano, I got a silver 8 gb thing. Again, not sure what I was thinking. I have a lot of CDs, but I was selectively ripping stuff to iTunes, so I thought, “Oh sure. Eight gigs is fine.”

Until… I tried to load some television shows on my iPod so I could have some entertainment to watch while I was in Chicago for the Avon Walk. At that point, I still was suffering the illusion of thinking I was going to camp at the Wellness Village after 26.2 miles of walking (to the Twitter peep who talked me out of that stupid idea? I thank you – one thousand times, I thank you). I downloaded a few shows, went to put them on my iPod and then…

No GO.

It was full.

I started creating playlists and trying to figure out how I could manage to have both the shows I wanted with me, and the music I liked “the best” with me.

And then? I figured FORGET IT. Moseyed on to the Apple store, picked up a lovely Classic iPod (which is cumbersome, but… I doubt I’ll run out of space anytime soon). This triggered The Princess saying, “Mom? You have A LOT of iPods. Can’t I have one?

Yesterday, we hooked her up with my old Shuffle. Ripped a ton of kiddy music to it (High School Musical, Hannah Montana, Taylor Swift), and she has been rocking out with her headphones on ever since. I have lectured her on volume control. I have lectured her on wearing it while riding her bike. I have lectured her on pretty much everything (I’m the mother, that’s what I do).  And last night, when asked what her  favorite part of her day was – a day full of ice cream, birthday cake and swimming in a pool, her favorite part was, “Getting my iPod.”

Have we created a monster? Uh, most likely. This morning, as I was cleaning with my headphones in, The Princess looked at my iPod and her eyes got really big and she said, “Now THAT, THAT is what I want.”

Guess she better start saving her allowance.

This Mom’s Wired. Sortof. Kind of. Til She Dared Say So.

A few months ago, I started kicking around the idea of finding a new blog home. I loved my little piece of the internet where I’ve been writing for several years, but also kind of wanted to find a place of my own. The hardest part was trying to figure out what the name of said home was going to be – I kicked around domain names for awhile. A friend of mine came up with “This Mom’s Wired” – kind of a play on my coffee addiction and my love for gadgets (almost always, I have no fewer than two, and usually more like 4, doodads with me). I fell in love with the name and bought it.

And then…

Do you know what happens when you dare claim to be “wired”? Oh yes, the cosmos conspire against you to prove all the ways in which you are technologically inept. Your computer will crash. For a month. Then you get locked down by some Windows updates (Vista? You’ve been very naughty). If you’re extra lucky, you’ll struggle with the most mundane aspects of getting the new website up and running (remember my lovely geniuses I mentioned yesterday? LOVE. THEM.).

So, wired? Maybe not. Except the coffee part – which definitely always holds true.

Thursday Ten: Digging My New Home Edition

1. Hey – did you notice? The Mom Chronicles HAS MOVED. I am loving my new home, new look, and new name. It’s been a long time coming and would not be possible without the wicked creatives of Linda of Short Pump Preppy and Daisy’s awesome behind-the-curtains-like-the-great-and-powerful-Oz magic. Seriously – LOVE THEM. And welcome. Wipe your feet at the door, take off your shoes and check out these comfy chairs and hang out awhile.

2. I’m finally recovering a bit from the walk. Monday, I got hit hard with exhaustion – and I was pretty upset. I said to myself, “I did a really cool thing, and I just want to cry. Why?”  It was kindly pointed out to me that maybe I oughta be chugging some agua. Oh, yeah. THAT. Some water, some Gatorade helped tremendously. My feet still hurt though.

3.  I swore I’d take the week off from walking after walking FORTY MILES. I didn’t. I walked two miles yesterday. In flip flops. With my blistered big toes wrapped in a ton of gauze looking like Fred Flintstone toes. It didn’t hurt. Until I stopped.

4. I’ve had a few weeks off from guitar, so it was good to get back today. Still working on Jason Mraz (I’m Yours) and Counting Crows (Mr. Jones). The F chord is giving me drama – really, any barre chords are a pain in my booty – so we transposed it into the key of G. Wasn’t any easier, so I’ll just have to keep working.

5. Today is the first day with the Mother’s Helper back for the summer so I can get some work done during the day. She and the kids have pulled all the cushions off the couch and Pumpkin is jumping from the couch to the cushions. She’s getting some SERIOUS air. They’ve also painted, made really tiny cakes with the Easy Bake Oven (I hate that thing), and possibly gotten some Mario Kart going. They adore her and are having a blast.

6. How did I not buy any new music this week? Oh! That always makes me sad. What is your favorite song these days?

7. Game 7 of the RedWings-Penguins game is tomorrow. I would love to be at that game, but no go. BUT, I will be glued to the television, so there’s that.

8. So You Think You Can Dance – they kicked it off last night with the actual dancing and I have to say, I’m really peeved that someone set something to that obnoxious Lady Gaga song. I get that they were probably going for something current in music, but it wasn’t really relevant, and I hate that song.

9. The Princess has decided she loves the phone. Remember: she just turned 7. I have spent a lot of time lately looking for where she’s left the phone. The downside to having a kid who is a bit ahead of things – she’s ahead on pretty much all counts. Even the stinkin’ phone.

10. My dress for my sister’s wedding arrived. AND IT DOESN’T FIT. I went into the bridal shop and they’ll exchange it for the next size up. They admit that their sample sizes are not true to size because they are handled so much – and that’s why they take measurements of people too. Um, y’all didn’t measure me. The original dress was an empire waisted dealy – and so it was only snug at the empire waist/band part. This new one is going to have to be shortened, taken in in multiple places and I’m pretty annoyed about it. Their error is going to end up costing me a bit in alterations costs and inconvenience. Grumble, grumble.