Thursday, December 16, 2010

What I've Been Up To

Christmas is in one week! Why do I feel woefully unprepared for this?

Perhaps it's this new endeavor I've been obsessing over working diligently on. Check it out if you are so inclined. Oh, and feel free to leave a comment!

And if anyone wants to come wrap my presents for me (after I actually buy them), let me know.

Hope you all are doing well!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Future Sellers of America

A few weeks ago we participated in a community yard sale. I'll call it a qualified success -- we brought home fewer items than we came with, and even recouped the cost of the space.

Although I love seeing people cart off our stuff (and relieve us a bit of our surfeit of belongings), I have a hard time actually engaging with browsers. I tend to look away so that I can't see people sweep their gaze over the items and either make their selection or, worse, walk away.

A career in sales does not beckon.

For other family members, however, the yard sale was a prime opportunity to hone huckstering skills. Sean would actually accost people walking by: "Hi! Do you want to buy anything?" he'd ask. He even learned to tailor his pitch to the audience. Observing a mother and child pair, he darted in front of our table to get up close and personal: "Would you like to buy something for your daughter? We have lots of toys!"

It was enough to make me hide under the table. Eventually I had to break it to him that he needed to tone down his hard-sell approach and just leave the potential customers alone.

How is it that someone like me, who won't even ask a store clerk where an item is located unless I can't find it myself after wandering around aimlessly for 30 minutes, can have a child outgoing enough to be a yard sale barker?

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


Last summer I read Juliet Schorr's Born to Buy. I'd expected to be horrified by the pernicious reach of kid-centric marketing, but even my jaded mind was boggled over both the insidious and the blatant ploys that marketers use to influence kids.

Of course, I told myself, I've done a pretty good job at keeping that commercialized claptrap at a healthy distance. My kids are not sheltered from it all by any means, but I kind of prided myself over nixing Nickelodeon and educating them about some of the tactics advertisers use to make their products look attractive. And the brand awareness that Schorr says is now becoming entrenched at younger and younger ages? Not us, no siree!

You can start smirking now at my cluelessness.

While getting dressed last week, Sean came into my room holding a new pair of shorts that he had gotten for his birthday (umm, last year, but, see, they didn't fit then). "Mom!" he said. "Did you know these are TONY HAWK shorts? These are so cool!"

Wait, how does my 8-year-old know who Tony Hawk is? We don't even own a skateboard.

Silly me. Peer influence, of course, that other pernicious force. There's one kid in Sean's class who appears to be the arbiter of second-grade cool, and Sean has been paying close attention.

Doesn't matter that Sean wouldn't be able to pick Tony Hawk out of a two-person line-up. What's important is the name stitched in small letters on the shorts. He may not be a skateboarder, but he can still siphon off some hipness from the logo.

A long time ago on the blog, I wished for a bubble in which to encase my kids. I think I'm gonna need a bigger bubble.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


(Okay, you talked me into it.)

Allie has been attending an afternoon enrichment class three days a week. Since her kindergarten is just half-day, she needed something to fill the long afternoons until her brother comes home.

It's a terrific program. It provides exactly the mix of arts and crafts, science, and social studies that I wanted her exposed to; you know, all the fluffy stuff that is conspicuously lacking in a kindergarten program that nonetheless always finds the time to squeeze in snack during its two and a half hours each morning.

(Not that I'm bitter ... much.)

Anyway, the enrichment class just finished its unit on artists. The kids learned about Picasso, Monet, Seurat, Van Gogh, Da Vinci, and Michaelangelo. They made artwork in the style of each artist -- for Michaelangelo, for example, they lay under their tables and painted on their backs; to learn about pointillism they painted bubble wrap and pressed paper against the plastic to make a print.

As I was relishing in my delight over the enrichment curriculum and Allie's new fund of western art knowledge, a humbling thought occurred to me: My 6-year-old might actually know more about art history than I do.

I suspect that I should get used to this feeling.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

She Surfaces (now with short p.s. added)

So it would appear that if you abandon your blog for a year, you may find that some changes have taken place in your absence. Some weeds may have sprouted up, or vandals may have hurled rocks through your windows.

Or all the comments you had accumulated over the past 5 years may have been vaporized -- POOF. Thanks for nothing, Haloscan.

I'm not sure what prompted me to dust off my Blogger account. I don't have anything particularly exciting to report, no great insights to share. I'm still doing the freelance editing thing, the kids continue to blithely ignore my command that they just stop growing for crying out loud. We've been dealing with the fallout of The Year the Economy Went Kaboom, during which Jeff lost his job. I don't want to complain too much about that, for we are far luckier than so many other people in similar straits. Let's just say that we're both looking forward to a brighter horizon.

So the question now is, should I return for real? I know that a lot of my blogging friends have gone quiet as well. Maybe they're like me, reading but not posting? I guess I'll play it by ear.

Till next time, Namaste! (In honor of the penultimate episode of Lost tonight)

p.s. So the lovely new commenting system requires a login for your name to appear. If you'd rather not login, can you just leave your name with your comment? Because I'm nosy like that.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Attention Span

You might think, given my usual child-centric content, that this post is going to be about how one of my kids can't seem to focus on anything for more than a few minutes before being distracted.

A reasonable assumption, especially because....

Wait, is that a fly buzzing around the kitchen? And wait a sec, I need to check my e-mail.

Umm, where was I?

Oh, yes, posting. About short attention spans. But not a child's -- mine.

I find myself unable, or unwilling, to gather together enough patience to follow through to completion even the simplest of TV shows. Or to read an entire NYT article online. Watch a whole movie in one sitting? Highly unlikely, unless I'm in a theater.

I feel as if I am swallowing bits of information in ever-shrinking chunks, which leaves me with little capacity for a big long luxurious drink.

I blame a few things: Remote controls, for one. Constant interruptions from my kids, for another. The Internet, blog posts, Facebook. My beloved iPod, even, with the alarmingly addictive "next" button that allows me to bypass any song I choose. Thank goodness I don't Twitter, or my attention span would be about the width of a sand flea.

The one saving grace is that I still read books. Some of them quite long! Of course, I usually read them in short snippets, but still.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have about ten other things that simultaneously need what's left of my attention.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Lordy, Lordy, Look Who's...


I know that's not quite how the saying goes, but the number that does rhyme has connotations I'm just not up to embracing right now.

So, it appears that I haven't posted since, umm, February. Which means I've missed the chance for a timely post not only ignoring lamenting celebrating my birthday but also acknowledging my blog's fifth anniversary.

Five years! That's a long dip in the self-absorption pool, huh?

I've thought about shuttering the store several times, but I still like having this space open just in case I need to clear out the clutter in my head.

These days the clutter seems to be all about adjusting to life with a 7-year-old. It's been quite the sea change, this recent shift from Curious George to SpongeBob, from PBS to Nickelodeon, from The Magic Treehouse to Captain Underpants.

It seems I'm constantly battling the influence of Other Kids. I'm subjected to almost-daily pleas for a DS. I'm pressed for a timeline of when, exactly, I'll be buying him a cell phone. And how about watching Batman and Indiana Jones movies?

I hold firm. I say no, not yet, when you're older -- and, sometimes, "never". I'm perfectly okay with being a killjoy.

Thanks to our new DVR, we can zip through the commercials that I find even more objectionable than the shows they bracket. I wish there were a similar button we could press to bypass the influence of Other Kids.

And, while I'm indulging in fantasies, I'd also love to get my hands on an anti-aging potion....