Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Adventures in Kid Party Planning

It's nearing the end of July, so of course Little Bro and Big Bro are hard at work planning their birthdays (which are at the end of October and the end of November, respectively). CLEARLY, neither apple fell far from the tree. The gonna-be-six-year-old initially requested a Karate Kid theme - "No, wait, Super Mario Brothers! No, wait!" - but then I reminded him of certain treasures stowed away in the No Man's Land that is our carriage house (fingers crossed, in an orange-and-black Rubbermaid tote - I really do try to color coordinate, but I also have a bad habit of shoving the remnants of the holiday I am packing down into the tote that I am unpacking, and Parnell has a bad habit of stowing them away without my knowledge, so next thing you know all of the chocolate and peanut butter are mixed, there are grinning goblins where the turkeys ought to be, the turkeys are hanging out in red-and-green totes meant for Santas, and so on). Said treasures were purchased on deep discount last November 1, and all are from Target's "Haunted Heraldry" collection. I figured that we are nearing a time where cutesy Halloween will elicit eye rolls, but a "haunted castle" theme might pass muster. (Think purple and red banner motifs, castle-textured surfaces, and skulls wearing crowns - but DON'T think Ed Hardy-ish skulls wearing Ed Hardy-ish crowns. If I wanted to throw my kids a d-bag themed party, I would totally take it in a "Jersey Shore" direction.)

So I snapped up a bunch of Haunted Heraldry stuff and made a mental note to suggest it to Parker as a possible birthday theme. (And, hey, I actually remembered the note, woo hoo!) On the one hand, I don't want to saddle him with a series of Halloween-themed shindigs simply because he was born just shy of the 31st, but on the other hand, could you possibly end up with a COOLER birthday holiday? I mean, come on. So I suggested a Harry Potter "Haunted Hogwarts" party - but PJ, being Wii-obsessed and having just finished his first stint at LEGO Camp, took it in a slightly different direction. So now I find myself tasked with planning a "LEGO-Harry-Potter-for-Wii-Haunted-Hogwarts" party. For those scoring at home, this will be my second or third LEGO venture, depending on if you count Connor's "LEGO-Star-Wars-for-Wii-AND-LEGO-Rock-Band-for-Wii" party as one or two themes.

Given the depth of my "LEGO-Whatever-for-Wii" experience, I think that I am up for the challenge. Initial idea board is below:

PJ requested that I order the invites shown (from Acorn Design Studio on Etsy), and that's fine with me - I have moved out of my "handmade-and-ridiculously-elaborate" invitation phase. Don't know where the petit four-ish cakes originated, but I'm thinking that they could be simplified with the addition of M&Ms on the tops. LEGO Head Marshmallow Pops from are AAAAAAAAAAAAAWESOME, and they look really easy. Pinata is from Birthday Express, and I think I may make party crackers to match using paper cones and clipped crepe paper. (My party cracker experience exceeds my "LEGO-Whatever-for-Wii" experience, encompassing chili peppers, bananas and Kryptonite rods. Why not add wizard hats to the list?)

Needless to say, Big Bro immediately started whining - he discovered LEGO first, also Wii, he's better at both, the new Harry Potter movie is coming out just before or after his actual birthday, etc., etc. I told him that I would be overjoyed to throw TWO thematically similar parties back to back, because nothing makes Mom happier than an opportunity to amortize random party supplies over multiple events. I probably shouldn't have been so enthusiastic, as he immediately said, "Yeah, never mind. I don't like the Harry Potter game that much. I'd rather plan MY party around MY favorite Wii game."

Oh. Dear. "Shaun-White-Snowboarding-World-Stage-for Wii" it is. The cake we've figured out - it's gotta be a halfpipe. Inspiration piece from ABC Cake Shop is below:

Mine will look NOTHING like this, of course, but whatever mess of a cake I do make definitely will involve a dusting of powdered sugar over white icing. Ingenious! Likely to cover up a multitude of cake-baking sins, of which, no doubt, I'll be making many.

Initially I was thinking snowboard-shaped party crackers, but if they are brown, you might mistake one for a certain herbal-filled - um, package - that one might hold in a particular sort of clip, if one were so inclined. And given that we are talking about snowboarders - yeah, that might be hitting too close to home. (I have a feeling that they didn't name it a "halfpipe" for nothing.) So, since I will be perfecting the cone-shaped party cracker for PJ's party, current plan is to make cones with green fringe, spray them with white flocking or some other substance resembling snow, and then make the table a snowboard run using white batting for the snow, with pine tree party crackers lining the course.

Wait - does that mean that I'm having an 11 year-old birthday party at my house? Drat. I swore no more "up 'til midnight" Wii parties. Oh, well. At least I will be expanding my party cracker repertoire. Ooh - I can make a Wii remote-shaped pinata! A gift box, some white crepe, DONE.

Yeah . . . I need to find a hobby. And I need to go to bed.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Stuff My Kid Says - An Occasional Series

I am in the process of painting a hallway, and on a whim I painted the wall at the end of the hall (situated just outside of Connor’s room) with magnetic paint prior to topping it with two coats of my go-to Benjamin Moore “Mink.” (Remember the old Coke ad? “I’d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect har-mo-ny”? Well, here’s how I sing it: “I’d like to paint the world deep brown, the color of Her-shey’s.”) The magnetic paint totally worked as advertised, and as soon as the trimwork dries, and I score another couple of packages of my favorite magnets (stainless steel, shaped like pushpins, and very strong), I plan to start tacking up the kid art. Like any good museum curator, I intend to assemble a strong permanent collection while featuring a rotating calendar of “special exhibitions” (Halloween art in October, etc.). So I’m going through the kids’ files and sorting stuff into piles.

Interspersed with the art projects I found several other items of interest, all penned (penciled, actually) by one Mr. Connor:

A note to his parents: Most likely, this was taped to our bedroom door or to the master bathroom mirror. Connor really likes to leave notes. At his peak, he left us notes maybe four or five times per week. It is an effective form of communication, as the child’s internal clock tends to go off around 5 am. His parents’ internal clocks – not so much.

This particular note reads as follows:

Parker does not feel well.

P.S. He does not want to go to school.

P.P.S. He is eating cheese for breakfast.

This is representative of most of Connor’s missives. Aren’t we just so lucky?

A sheet of paper with the computer-generated words, “My punishment is not negotiable, especially when I am whining”: Below this, Connor has copied the phrase in his handwriting, 9 ½ times. This has the hallmarks of Dad all over it – both in terms of the form of punishment and the fact that, apparently, there was very little follow-through, since the phrase is written 9 ½ times.

A piece of paper titled “Inventory – Magic Supplies”: Yeah, if the engineering thing doesn’t work out for him, Connor has magic as a fallback. And, in the interim, he’s available for parties. Seriously – he has said on several occasions that “kids’ party magician” is on his short list of acceptable part-time jobs.

Samples of items from the list:

1 rising wand
1 stiff rope
1 light-up wand
2 light-up thums [sic]
2 wizard hats
1 wizard cape
4 red balls – 1 box

A school assignment dated September 3, 2008, titled “Healthy Food”: Evidently, the students in Connor’s third-grade class were asked to describe a balanced meal that they would be willing to eat. Connor wrote:

5 white meat [chicken] tenders
1 glass of milk
1 glass of water
2 ½ cups of corn
1 apple
1 cookie

His teacher responded: “Wonderful meal. You must love corn.”

(For the record: He does. 2 ½ cups of corn at one sitting is not outside of the realm of possibility.)

A reading comprehension assignment about Herbert Hoover: I believe that this one dates to third grade as well. Topping the page is a “news story” about a December 24, 1930 fire at the White House, reading in relevant part:

The White House is the home of the President of the United States. President Hoover and his wife were having a party. It was Christmas Eve.

The children at the party were having a good time. They were eating cake. Mr. Hoover came by and talked to them.

All at once, a guard came along and whispered in Mr. Hoover’s ear. They both left the room.

Soon the children heard fire engines. Were they surprised! The White House was on fire.

Before long, the fire was out. The President, Mrs. Hoover, and the children were never in danger.

Following the comprehension piece – a series of “who/what/when/where/why” questions, beginning with “Who lives in the White House?”

Connor’s answer:

The president, Herbert Hoover, his wife, and possibly their children. *

* I could not tell if the kids were the president’s.

So, smart money is still on “future engineer,” followed by “working magician,” followed by “third generation attorney” . . . .

Another Manic (Momma) Monday

For the record: I don't hate Mondays, but I kinda, sorta hate Sunday nights. Sunday nights have always tended to depress - the knowledge that the weekend is drawing to a close, the work week is starting, etc. - but, because our house gets cleaned on Monday morning, Sunday nights at Casa McGlinchey feature equal parts depression and full-on panic. No, I do not clean for my maid . . . that's for rookies. I do, however, make a concerted effort to manage the clutter so that she has a reasonable shot at actually finding surfaces to clean. With three boys underfoot (yes, I am counting my spouse), managing clutter is close to a full-time job, and I am developing an increasingly bad attitude about that fact. So, inevitably, I find myself dragging my feet throughout the day, and before you know it it's LATE on Sunday evening (bordering on Monday morning), and I'm just getting started.

This week, I was bound and determined to tackle the bedroom closet - specifically, the "Island of Misfit Toys and Other Stuff" that, for the last four or five weeks, has been located smack-dab in the middle of said closet, blocking access to lots of useful stuff like clothes that fit, shoes that are seasonally appropriate, and so on and so forth. Because of my Sunday night foot-dragging tendencies, I end up with various receptacles loaded with toys/other kid items/DVD cases minus their DVD's/random pieces of hardware/etc., which get shoved into the closet before Rose arrives. Every week, I tell myself that on Monday night, buoyed by the fumes of a freshly cleaned house, I will tackle the mound of homeless items as soon as I get home. And, every week, I get home and think, "Really? I'm going to waste the good vibes of a freshly cleaned house by doing chores? Nah, that's for Tuesday." Yeah, you know how it goes after that. So, this Sunday night, I tackled the junk pile with a vengeance - and I actually started to make a dent in it. In record time, too. It was looking like I'd actually be in bed, wound down and ready for sleep, before midnight.

Then my energy started to flag, and I decided to call it a day, or night - only to discover the spill on the master bed that had soaked through to the mattress pad. So, just shy of midnight, all of the bed linens got loaded into the washer. Yes, we could have put other sheets on the bed and done without a mattress pad for one night - but that seemed like such wasted energy. Why put sheets on the bed one night, only to have to strip the bed to install the mattress pad the following night? So, Spouse and I decided that we would continue working on our respective projects (me in the closet, he in the home office-slash-Man Cave - God love him, he is actually in the process of going through files and scanning things into pdf in preparation for reorganization/painting-and-other-redecorating to come).

I had been in the closet for fifteen minutes when the brick monster ran past me.

For those of you who don't speak fluent "Carole," "brick monster" is my mother's term for the little lizards that, when hanging out on the surface of your house, are translucent, allowing the color of your brick - and their internal organs - to show through.

Now I have nothing against lizards - actually, I'm quite fond of them - but this one scared the bejeepers out of me. He darted towards the juncture of Spouse's clothes tower and the beginning of my side of the closet, crossing directly in front of my field of vision, and I jumped up and back simultaneously, straining various forty year-old joints in the process. I hollered for Spouse (yes, the kids were asleep - they are very sound sleepers; not sure if they became that way because their mother is prone to hollering during bedtime hours, or if I feel comfortable hollering because I know that they are both dead to the world; I believe that it's genetic and Y chromosome-linked, see below). Spouse came running, expecting to find a cockroach or collapsed closet rack. "Um, sorry, brick monster." "But you like brick monsters." "Yes, but when they dart past me indoors, they tend to provoke an involuntary reaction." We resigned ourselves to the fact that Brick Monster would die in the recesses of the closet, if Max didn't get him first. Our youngest Maine Coon REEEEEEEEALLY likes lizards. He has five or six rubber ones in rotation, and he spends hours carrying them around, tossing them in the air and chirping to them in that very distinct Maine Coon way. Imagine how exciting it would be to our house-bound little boy if one of the lizards actually wriggled on its own and fought back!

But, until Brick Monster met his untimely demise, it was necessary for me to keep working in the closet. Since, you know, I didn't have a bed in which to sleep - gotta use that "upright and awake time" wisely, right? So I asked Spouse to stay in the closet with me, as Brick Monster backup. Yes, I'm a total girl. We had been in there for less than a minute when I mentioned, "Oh, by the way - there's an IKEA juice cup in the debris pile [a clean one - we're messy, people, but we're not total Philistines - one of the boys used it for water and then threw the cup in the closet, because, based on empirical evidence, that is what boys do with stuff that they no longer need]. If you happen to see Mr. Brick Monster and can convince him to take a pitstop in the juice cup, that would be ideal." I crouch down to see if I can't locate the cup, and I find it - with Brick Monster inside.

[Whispering] "Um, honey? The lizard is already in the cup. [Gesturing towards cup with my foot] Do you need something to put over the top of the cup in order to get it outside?"

"Yeah, it's called my hand."

Two minutes after the Brick Monster Episode began, it was over. Spouse deposited very grateful reptile on the front porch. I resumed the closet project. Two very piqued Maine Coons spent ten minutes poking under the bath rug, occasionally shooting dirty looks my way - evidently, Brick Monster introduced himself to the cats prior to his mad dash into the closet (no doubt explaining the mad dash?).

A little before 2 am, the bed was remade, I had whipped the closet into reasonable shape . . . and we were both wired. Hey - season premier of "Mad Men" on the DVR! So, sleep for me came around 3:45 . . .

. . . and ended a little after 6 when Spouse's cell phone went off. Fun facts about Spouse: (1) he likes to play chicken with our bank; and (2) had he been alive and in Hawaii at the time, he could have slept through the attack on Pearl Harbor, no question . . . in his bunk on the Nevada.

I used to do the online banking for the family, but since Spouse is self-employed, I started to feel increasingly like his pimp. "B****, where's my money? Tell your johns - I mean, clients - that this Dillards bill ain't gonna pay itself." So, when the firm switched to every-two-week-pay periods (rocking my neatly ordered world, where these bills were paid between the 1st and the 14th and those bills were paid on the 15th or after), we decided to use the opportunity to make a switch. Spouse took over bill-paying, marital harmony was restored, and I never looked back. Well, I look back a little. And, in looking, I take note that spouse is a little over-aggressive about attacking credit card debt (when I put something on a store card, which is not often, it's usually with the intent of spreading out the acquisition cost of that something - but Spouse just pays it, all at once; yup, he's a guy). I also take note of the fact that he likes to play chicken with our bank. When I was in charge, I always kept a generous cushion of funds in our checking account. Spouse prefers to keep as much money as possible in savings, and as little as possible in checking, and - whereas I used to "pay" him twice a month by moving a fixed portion of his earnings into checking - he likes to keep his earnings in savings until it's absolutely necessary to move some over . . . and then, as soon as I get paid, he moves them back. He argues that there's no reason to keep a meaningful cushion, since the accounts are linked and bear full overdraft protection, plus we get more interest off of savings. But I know the real reason for his behavior - he likes to play chicken with our bank.

The problem is, until a few weeks ago, when he played chicken with the bank, the bank (or, rather, the bank's RoboVoice) had an annoying tendency to call me and tell me that my Spouse was playing chicken with the bank. Marital harmony was disturbed. After some intense negotiations, a compromise was reached: we agreed on a cushion amount, and the RoboVoice alert telling him that he was approaching the cushion would come to his phone only.

Marital harmony was again restored . . . until he started bringing his cell to the bedroom with him, and forgetting to turn the ringer off. His argument for having his phone nearby - the alarm feature. Which, apparently, is far superior to his traditional alarm clock. Which he ignores. Just like he ignores the cell alarm. He ignores ALL alarms, and all similar loud, shrill, wake-you-up-from-a-dead-sleep noises (when our burglar alarm malfunctioned and started SCREAMING at us in the middle of the night, he slept through it, I had to literally kick him awake . . . and he still rolled over and went back to sleep).

So, therein lies the rub.

At 6-ish this morning, less than three hours after I went to bed, his 'Droid starts going off. I have not familiarized myself with the 'Droid's various noises, so I don't know if it's an alarm or an early AM phone call, but either way it should be attended to. Particularly because it just interrupted my sleep.

Did it interrupt his sleep? No way, Jose.

The third time I shoved him, he got up - and identified the call as one from the bank, advising him that, in light of multiple utility payments scheduled to draft in bulk the day before I get paid (yeah, he totally does that on purpose, too), now might be a good time to do a financial Cupid shuffle.

And I go off. Really, I'm mad at the bank - is it necessary for RoboVoice to call at o-dark-thirty? But I'm also mad that he forgot to turn off the ringer. Equally maddening: the fact that the phone serves no purpose in our room, since it completely fails to attract his attention; the fact that it MAJORLY attracts mine; and the fact that, when I ask him "what the hell?" Mr. Sound Sleeper does not have the courtesy to wake up and fight with me. He snuggles back into his pillow.

I weigh my options: retrieve the phone and throw it against the wall? Or throw it at him?

Then he decides that he's not comfortable enough in his little bed cocoon, rolls over and attempts to HUG ON ME.

Yeah, that wasn't happening. So now I'm wide awake and trying to decide whether to just get up or attempt to go back to sleep. And then Connor comes in. It is Connor's job to take the dogs out to do their morning business, and, to his credit, he always calls for them in a whisper. Only the dogs don't particularly recognize Connor's authority over him. Apparently, they discarded the memo about chore allocation. So the poor child whispers and whispers: "Ruby. Ace. RUBY. ACE." No cooperation whatsoever from the canines.

I offer an assist: "Ruby, Ace, go with Connor."

They comply; Connor mutters an apology for waking me. Oh, child, you don't know the half of it.

I decide to tough it out. I finally go to sleep. I dream that I am in the shower, and in my dream Spouse advises me that the house is on fire, and I respond, "Whatever. I'm surrounded by water. This is the best place for me right now."

I wake up when my alarm goes off, and I proceed with my day. I am surprisingly productive for a walking zombie. And then four o' clock rolls around, and this time it's my desk phone ringing:

Spouse [who drew the short stick and was supposed to retrieve 10 year-old from LEGO Camp at TCU]: "I stepped outside the door to dislodge a catalog from the mail slot, Parker followed, and somehow he locked the door behind him. The back door is locked, too. My keys to the house and to my car are inside. You need to come let us in. But first you need to pick up Connor."


En route to TCU, I realize that I am not 100% certain as to what building the child is in, and I only have a very sketchy notion of where I can legally park. I make it to that part of campus, mercifully there is a sign posted on the front door of the appropriate building, but I see nothing to indicate the location of the "four parking places assigned for parent pick-up" that Spouse mentioned. (The theoretical parking places were parallel spots anyway, so, in my world, they were very theoretical parking spaces. Not much of a parallel parker.) I circle the block, weighing my options, and attempt to radio for help.

I get Spouse's voice mail. "I'm sorry, but I'm unable to take your call right now."

My message to him: "Really? You're unable to take my call? Because I would think that, right now, seeing as how you are locked out of our house and your car, and your oldest son is marooned as a result, my call just might be very important to you. Oh, and WHERE AM I SUPPOSED TO PARK?"

I figure out parking. I go upstairs. I apologize to LEGO Camp Counselor, who advises me that Spouse "called David's mother and let her know that you were having to sub at the last minute, so David's mother filled us in when she got here."

RIIIIIIIIIIGHT. And did it occur to anyone else in my family that David's mother, a lovely and accommodating woman, who HAD TO PARK ANYWAY, could have been imposed upon to retrieve both children and throw mine off at the curb? Allowing me to proceed directly to Casa McGlinchey?

Very long story short, the round trip from my office and back took an hour. I got to the house and discovered that Spouse and Small Fry had decided to make lemonade out of lemons and use their lock-out time to clean out the backseat of Spouse's car, which had fortunately but uncharacteristically been left unlocked. Result: several bushels of Transformers, Yu-Gi-Oh cards, miscellaneous sporting equipment and what appeared to be a full load of the kids' laundry were headed into my just-cleaned house.

Clearly, Misfit Closet Island was never intended to be uninhabited. And, yes, I do love the men in my life like crazy - but that's probably just the sleep deprivation talking.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


The boys' new backpacks just arrived from LL Bean. See the monograms? You have to squint to see them - they are not as big or as bold as I would have liked, but, oh well.

While Mom was online, she bought a back-to-school bag for herself. Her bag also features initials subtly displayed within a circle:

Yeah, yeah, they aren't my initials . . . and I'm not going back to school. Listen, people - getting two kids ready for school is hard work. I deserve to be compensated, right? RIGHT?

It's Almost Fall, Y'all - Okay, Not Really

. . . but I AM thinking about October. As a collector of vintage Halloween kitsch and folk art, All Hallows Eve is never completely off of my brain (I find some great pieces during the "off season"), and currently I am planning October parties! In addition to our annual kid-friendly Halloween shindig, I am hosting Keno that month, and I have found the perfect signature cocktail. (FOR KENO - no need to contact Child Protective Services! Wow, you people are warped. And that's why I like you.)

(Posted 10/30/09 on the "Cocktail Blog" on


1 1/2 ozs. kettle corn-infused Bombay Sapphire gin
1/2 oz. Moscato (sweet dessert) wine
3/4 oz. homemade citrus peel grenadine syrup
3 candy corns (for garnish)

To make kettle corn-infused gin, add 1 cup kettle corn to 750 ml bottle of gin and allow to infuse in airtight container for 24 hours. Fine-strain kettle corn and re-bottle.

To make grenadine syrup, add granulated sugar to POM pomegranate juice using a 1 cup-to-1 cup ratio and cook on stove top until sugar is dissolved. Once sugar is dissolved, add the skins of 1 orange and 1 lemon for each cup of pomegranate juice and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove skins and chill syrup.

To make martini, add gin, Moscato and syrup to cocktail shaker with ice and shake very well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with candy corn.

Recipe created by Jonathan Pogash of Cocktail Guru for Bombay Sapphire Gin. Photo courtesy of Bombay as well . . . .

That Thing You Do (With Tomatoes)

It's been awhile since I put any recipes on here. This one was requested by a couple of folks after I served it last week. An easy and really good appetizer (or could serve as a side salad), filled with the flavors of summer . . . .

(From the July 2010 issue of Southern Living)


Whisk together 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar, 1 garlic clove, minced, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Stir in 1 large peeled and diced fresh peach and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil. Spoon over sliced heirloom tomatoes (about 2 lbs); top with 3 ozs. crumbled goat cheese and 1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper to taste.

Yield: 6 servings.

I omitted the garlic clove, left the peel on the peach and cut the tomatoes into chunks rather than slices (since I served this as an appetizer, I was going for precut forkfuls). I used a honey goat cheese from Central Market that added a little sweetness to counteract the vinegar bite. Super yummy stuff!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Speaking of Numbnuts

(DISCLAIMER: My father is a cancer survivor. My mother is a two-time cancer survivor. My grandfather, two uncles and an aunt have dealt with cancer. I have nothing but love and respect for people who are fighting, or who have fought cancer.

However . . . having been through multiple cancer "events" I also have developed a rather irreverent sense of humor about it. Not that I wasn't irreverent before.)

I'm watching the Tour de France with my husband, because he inexplicably sets the television in our bedroom to tune into Versus every morning during the Tour de France, and he brooks no arguments about changing the channel. This is inexplicable behavior because, while my husband owns a bike, I have never actually seen him ride it.

The commentator (the British one - not the hick who pronounces "France" like "Lance") mentions that the riders have been "in the saddle" for five hours, riding up a steep incline, and it hits me: is it possible that one of Lance Armstrong's testicles WILLED itself to get a dread disease because it was tired of all of the abuse and saw no other exit strategy?

SUPPLEMENTAL DISCLAIMER: People, I ain't got nothin' but love and respect for Lance in particular, and cancer survivors in general. And I'm fairly sure that Lance himself would appreciate the joke, given that he checks into hotels as "Juan Pelota" (AKA "One Ball") and opened a coffee house in Austin under the same name . . . .

Things that Bug: Intersection Cameras

So, I got my first "red light running violation" (yeah, I said first - I'm nothing if not realistic) . . . . I have been on record since day one that those intersection cameras are evil. Fully agreed that wrecks at intersections should be avoided, but - being fully aware that numbnuts exist - I factor the probability that someone will run a red light into my intersection-crossing behavior and proceed into intersections reasonably cautiously and with full awareness of my surroundings. At least, that was before intersection cameras. Post-cameras, I see that the light is about to change and SLAM on those brakes . . . drastically INCREASING the chances that I will get into an intersection accident, because one of these days a numbnut is going to run up my tailpipe. So, intersection cameras: protection for the imprudent, burden to the prudent. (But isn't that true of a lot of things? Ah, but that's for another, much longer post.)

How did I get my ticket, you ask? I made a right turn. A LEGAL RIGHT TURN. So, fully acknowledged that I was in the intersection when the light turned red, and I remember the day that it happened - that ridiculously bright and LOUD strobe thingy went off in my face, and I recall thinking, "You'd better not give me a ticket for making a damned legal right turn." So when my husband called me (gloating, because he's the traffic offender in our household) and asked, "Did you happen to be driving the car on such-a-such a date at so-and-so a time?" I responded, loudly, "THEY BETTER NOT HAVE GIVEN ME A TICKET FOR MAKING A DAMNED LEGAL RIGHT TURN!"

But they did. And I considered fighting it. But then I watched the video and took note of the rolling stop that proceeded my entrance into the intersection. (In my defense, there was a big honkin' truck to my left, pulled up way too far, and in order to see what traffic, if any, was coming from my left I had to pull up beyond the white line. Technically, I should have stopped before the line, then pulled up and stopped again, but really, who does that?) I still considered fighting it, because the citation clearly says, "red light running violation," and, again, there was nothing wrong with me being in the intersection when the light turned red. Technically, it was what I did BEFORE proceeding into the intersection that was objectionable. Had the citation said "rolling stop violation," well, then, sure . . . . Yeah, too much brain damage. I paid the ticket.

But now I am boycotting the intersection of the I-30 access road and Ashland. Since my little experience with Big Brother Cam, I have been paying more attention, and I have been asking around, and it seems like a lot of folks have gotten bogus tickets (far more bogus than mine). Others report driving down that stretch of freeway and almost running off of the road when the flash goes off in their peripheral vision, because the light is that freakin' bright. Not worth the hassle. Exiting at Montgomery from now on. Hey, maybe that was the plan all along: how best to eliminate wrecks at an intersection? DISCOURAGE EVERYONE FROM EVER DRIVING THROUGH THAT INTERSECTION. Brilliant. All objections withdrawn. Or, you know, not.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I'm That Type of Mom

I’m the type of mom who:

1. Thinks to bring cupcakes to preschool on son’s last day.
2. Thinks about cupcakes at the eleventh hour, meaning custom-themed cupcakes are not an option.
3. When faced with the existing “week of July 4th” cupcake selections, totally tosses these suckers into the grocery cart:

Stated reason for my selection? These (believe it or not) had the least colored icing out of all of the options in the bakery case. Real reasons?

1. Nothing says liberation from (private school tuition) tyranny like the French flag.
2. I am a sucker for a good Cake Wreck. Or, in this case, 24 single-serving Cake Wrecks. Although perhaps I’m not giving the bakers at my beloved Montgomery Plaza Super Target sufficient credit – maybe they decided to get a jump on Bastille Day while they had the piping bags already loaded with red and blue frosting.

In any event, we said au revoir to Baylor All Saints on the last day of June, after a total of eight years there, counting the tenure of both kids. Our legacy lives on, though (and message to the powers that be at Baylor All Saints Hospital – if you ever follow through on your threats to get out of the school administration biz, which – EDITORIAL COMMENT – would be a BIG mistake, HUGE, and cause you to lose your competitive recruiting edge vis-à-vis Harris Methodist . . . I’m just sayin’ – you had better give us the option to retrieve our donor star from the Wall of Fame):

Contrary to my predictions, my car did not automatically steer itself to the hospital district on the morning of July 1st. Helping us to make a clean break: within a couple of days of Parker’s departure, demolition crews had torn down the exit ramp that took us to school every weekday morning. Making the “automatic steering” thing a bit more difficult, indeed. So, thanks, architects of the 121 expansion project, for prodding us to move on with our lives. And goodbye and good luck in elementary school, Lily, Anneliese and Vanessa:

Vanessa, we will always remember you for flexing your biceps at Donuts with Dad and asking Parker’s dad and grandfather to “check out these guns.” Then, when Parnell squeezed one, you said, “Hey! Didn’t your daddy tell you not to play with guns?”

Goodbye, Julia, whose name was a mystery to us for the first two weeks after you joined the class, due to PJ’s mangled pronunciation – “We have a new girl, and her name is JEE-OO-WIA”:

And goodbye to you, too, Todd, and to your ever-present freckles and borderline ornery grin:

Yes, we dressed Parker in a field day shirt from his future elementary school – part of the transitional process. We also equipped him with a small digital camera so that he could document his last day:

Some examples of his work:

Big brother went with us to pick up little brother for the last time. Being Connor, he immediately pointed out what had been relocated within the classroom since his own departure (with a degree of accuracy that was somewhat eerie). He also made note of the fact that the furniture didn’t exactly fit him anymore:

Moving on to kindergarten (and fifth grade – our first and last year to be on the same campus at the same time). And points to anyone who got the LL Cool J reference in the title of this post!