Monthly Archives: June 2009

Enough Already

When Emma was in Ireland, she made an interesting comment to me on the phone. She said that she couldn’t believe how much was going on in the world, with major situations happening in Iran and North Korea, and scandals in Great Britain (not that scandals in Great Britain really qualify as news anymore.)  And I told her that from where I sat in Chicago, it didn’t really feel like there was more going on in the world than usual.  Rather, it was likely her perspective that was different. In the U.S., it seems that about 80% of our news coverage (maybe more) is on things happening in the U.S., and about 20% of it is about what’s happening in the rest of the world.  In Europe, it feels like those percentages are reversed.  And not only is our news U.S.-focused, it feels like it’s increasingly celebrity-focused. She was used to getting wall-to-wall coverage of Jon & Kate Plus 8, and in Ireland she was getting real news.

Of course, the frenzy got worse last week with the deaths of Farrah Fawcett and especially Michael Jackson. We now have wall-to-wall coverage of Michael’s funeral arrangements, the paternity of his children, his doctor, multiple autopsies, and the list goes on and on. I’m guilty – I read some of it. But I’m getting tired of it.  We’re still fighting a war in Iraq, we’re still in a recession, North Korea is still screwing around with missiles, there was a fixed election in Iran, and the list goes on and on.  But that seems to be drowned out by wall-to-wall celebrity news, and “baby falls in a well” stories.

I guess we enjoy reading about the problems of celebrities because it’s nice to know they have the same problems we do. (I’m reminded of the SNL “Cowbell” skit, where Christopher Walken, playing record producer Bruce Dickinson says, “I put my pants on just like the rest of you…one leg at a time.  Except that once my pants are on, I make gold records.” And yes, I had to look at the video again, since I’m a woman and therefore, can’t quote TV or movie dialogue.) Or maybe because focusing on the problems of celebrities takes our minds off our own problems.

But when is enough enough? I find that CNN.com has become the worst of the mainstream media in this regard. I’ve stopped visiting the site. As of now. Ok, maybe I’ll look at it once a day. But I’m switching my home page to the New York Times online. Maybe they still recognize that it’s a great big world out there.

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Top 10 reasons I haven’t been blogging

10. Watching Thriller video over and over and over again, sobbing and eating popcorn.

9. Too busy consoling Patti Blagojevich on getting booted off “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.” (Although, given the name, isn’t getting booted off the whole point?)

8. Hugh Jackman asked me to run away with him and had to go.

7. Was sitting on the veranda with a cool drink and a washcloth on my forehead. (I guess that would require a veranda.)

6. Making many trips to Wal-mart to buy up supply of Norma Kamali dresses.

5. Got lost in Ikea and took 3 days to get out. (All signs were in Swedish.)

4. Running the numbers with Mayor Daley trying to get these Olympic finances sorted out.

3. Trying to get caught up on first two seasons of Mad Men before new season starts August 16.

2. Had to go to Ireland to pick up Emma.

1. Spent the last three days cleaning out the basement, and organizing the house.

The real answer is #1. My wonderful sister and brother-in-law came out to help get the basement organized.  (No, we’re not moving. We had just tired of walking around the junk.)

We did spend 3 hours in Ikea that felt like 3 days. 

Sadly, no Hugh Jackman.

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Turning a corner

Yesterday was our first day at the pool.  (Not sure why the pools in Chicago don’t just open between June 15-Sept. 15, because there’s really no point in opening on Memorial Day. Ever.) 

And I realized that, for the first time in years, I didn’t have to run around trying to find the swim diaper and the rubber pants.  And I didn’t have to set up the stroller. All we had to do was put suits on, lather up with sunscreen (which I of course had to run to CVS to buy, as I hadn’t planned ahead – see my December 1 post about snow boots) and go.

Everyone put on his/her own suit, everyone walked, everyone helped to put on his/her own sunscreen. And everyone found a friend they knew to play with at the pool.

Maybe I should feel sad about this. Maybe if I were 35, I would.  But at 46, I don’t. Not one bit.  I loved it when they were babies. Every minute of it. But now that my babies are growing up…hallelujah.

How soon can I get them to put away their own laundry?

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I love this dress

Usually, when something seems to good to be true it isn’t, but occasionally, it actually is.

I saw an adorable little black Norma Kamali dress in this month’s O Magazine (maybe you saw it – it was the issue with Oprah on the cover. Ha – a little O Magazine humor.)  I investigated, and it said was available at Walmart for $20. At Walmart. For $20. My local Walmart of woe (which has actually been remodeled and it’s pretty nice and it doesn’t have that awful smell anymore, so I guess I have to stop calling it the Walmart of woe) doesn’t carry the Norma Kamali line, so I ordered it from Walmart.com. (If you click that link, it will take you to the dress in black.)

It’s fabulous. The jersey material is nice and heavy. The design is slimming. And I love it.  (It fits pretty true to size  – I’m a size 10 and I ordered a Medium.) At $20, I may just order another one.

I would take a picture of me in it, but Emma took the digital camera to Ireland, so I’m camera-less.

It comes in olive as well (but if there’s one color I can’t wear, it’s olive.  People ask me if I’m feeling alright, because it makes me look queasy.)

Note: Walmart’s Web site is a little confusing, because they show different colors of the same style as completely different items, rather than showing you the color options on one page. I think they need to fix that.

Here’s what the dress looks like on the model in olive (not sure what that bump is on her hip, but I don’t get that bump on my hip when I wear it):

0880638056264_215X215

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The music that was missing

I recently realized that something was missing from my life.

Music.

Not piano music that I play, or church music that I sing. I have plenty of both of those kinds of music.

No, the music that was missing was the music that I like to listen to.  Since I stopped driving to work (almost four years ago), I don’t spend very much time in the car.  So I stopped bothering to put CD’s in the CD player. I just turned on the radio. And since the kids are frequently watching TV when we’re at home (okay, did I just really admit that? What I meant to say was that since the kids are frequently listening to educational CDs on the CD player), I can’t really turn on the CD player as frequently as I’d like to.

But I realized that I was missing my music.

I know, what you’re saying.  “Um, they have these things called iPods now.” And I know that would be the obvious thing to do. But somehow more urgent expenditures keep arising – like a new starter for the car, or a new tire for the car, or a new taillight cover for the car…you get the drift.

So I decided that I’m going to listen to music whenever I’m in the car, even if I only get to hear two songs at a time. And it’s making me really happy. Really. Happy.

Here’s what’s in my CD player right now:

1. Bruce Springsteen…”We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions”.  If I were going to be stranded on a desert island, I would take this CD.

2. Rod Stewart, “As Time Goes By: The Great American Songbook, Volume II”.  It makes me laugh when he sings, “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” with Cher. Great old songs, with Rod Stewart’s distinctive voice.

3. Lucinda Williams…”Little Honey”. Just got this and haven’t listened to the whole thing yet.  If it’s half as good as “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road”, I’ll be happy.

4. Toby Keith…”Unleashed”. I just like the song “Beer For My Horses.”

5. John Rutter…Gloria: The Sacred Music of John Rutter”.  I know, and you thought the Rod Stewart one was dorky.

6. Emmylou Harris…”All I Intended to Be”.  Love Emmylou, but this one is new and I haven’t listened to the whole thing yet.

What’s in your car’s CD player?

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Filed under Gratitude, Things I Recommend (for what it's worth), Uncategorized

Missing Emma

I miss Emma.  Standing-over-the kitchen-sink-weeping miss Emma.  Emma is in Ireland with her dad, her grandma, and her grandma’s brother and sister-in-law. (This is actually a much more fun group than the generational description would suggest.)  They left Friday and will be gone for almost two weeks.  Her dad’s been promising her a trip to Ireland for as long as she can remember, and they are finally there. 

This is giving me a preview of what life will be like in two years, when she goes to college. And I don’t like it one bit. (I do recognize, though, that she’s likely to get really icky between now and that time – part of the separation process – to the point where I may be really happy to see her go.) But right now I don’t like it. Don’t like it at all.

You see, it was only last week that she looked like this:

Mexico 008

(She’s the one on the right.)

And now she looks like this:

Julie and Emma

(She’s the one on the left.)

We are all missing her.  Even David, who usually tells her he doesn’t like her anymore.

Margaret put her head down on her arms and said, “I’m missing Emma.” David said, “I really miss Emma.  I even like it when she tortures me.” (Which is pretty much all the time.)

Safe travels, Emma. Come home soon. And oh, yeah, have the time of  your life.

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The return of odds and ends

It’s been a while since I’ve done an “odds and ends” post. I’ve been too busy I haven’t made time to crawl the Web for useless interesting tidbits. So here we go:

1. Wonderful, wise post from my favorite crabby ad guy, the Ad Contrarian (who listed my blog on his site last week). Having been a client for way more years than I want to admit, I can attest that everything he says in this post is absolutely true (sad but true.)

2. I’ve been thinking a lot about this wise quote I read from Lily Tomlin (whom I’ve never exactly thought of as wise, but I’m changing my thinking on that based on this quote): “Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past.”

It makes me think about how much time I spend regretting/resenting/other words that begin with re- things that I’ve done or others have done to me in the past.  As if all my brooding about it could change it.

3. According to A.C. Nielsen, 80% of people who sign up for Twitter send one Tweet and never send another one.  They’d better figure out a business model and fast if they’re going to be around two years from now, because they’re soon going to run out of new people willing to try it. (And then we’ll be on to the next thing saying, “We owe all of this to the brilliant people who thought up Twitter and never made a dime from it.)

4. Sometimes doing nothing is better than doing the wrong thing (especially when people are running around in a frenzy saying, “We have to do something NOW.” Jonah Goldberg on global warming plans. (Note: I’m not suggesting that global warming isn’t a problem, or that we don’t have to figure out what to do about it. I’m just saying that I don’t think we should do things that cost a bajillion dollars until we have a better sense of what the right thing to do is.)

5. And I had really grown to like Bob Sirott. (If you’re not from Chicago, don’t bother to read this, because it won’t mean anything to you.)

6. Once again, the Onion nails it. Having just been at a Museum on Friday, this made me laugh.

7.I really, really don’t want to think about David Carradine‘s death anymore.  Nope, just don’t want to think about it at all. Can some things just be private, please?

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