Monday, April 28, 2014

Lavender Dish Soap? Really?

You're shopping for groceries after working all day and you're exhausted.  And you decide to splurge and buy lavender dish soap instead of plain old regular dish soap, because it might give you a little bit of a boost.
And then you stop and you think, "Really?  Lavender dish soap is going to give you a bit of a boost?  This is where you're at?"

And you wonder how it is you got here, exactly.  Metaphorically speaking, of course.

The whole episode screams, 'you need to get out more'.  But you knew that already.

And hey, everybody likes the smell of lavender...Right?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Rant - Looking for 'Nut-Free' Symbol Not Always Enough

My son has a tree nut allergy.  Usually, people just look for the 'nut-free' symbol and assume the chocolate is completely nut-free.  And often the 'no peanut' symbol is used to mean both peanut AND tree-nut free.  This year I've noticed that it sometimes just means 'peanut free', and there are actually tree nuts in the product. Unfortunately, you always need to read the label.

See how similar the two symbols look?  But the first one has tree nuts in it, while the second one is both peanut and tree-nut free.  I think it's misleading to use the same symbol to mean different things.  I think the manufacturers should come up with symbols that clearly show which is which.  A few times now, I've had people think something is safe for my son when it actually isn't.  And it would be great if manufacturers could be consistent with the labelling, too.

Easter Scenes

What's not to love about Easter?  Colouring eggs, finding chocolate and treats.  And I decided that Bailey's in my coffee shouldn't be just for Christmas!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

OMG, Funniest Thing Ever! (Maria Semple)


(Originally appeared in the New Yorker.  I read it at the back of Maria's book, Where'd You Go, Bernadette? - GREAT book.)

(This made me laugh so hard I not only cried but I was also literally rolling on the floor.  I'm not kidding.)

'Hi, everyone!
The Mountain Room is gearing up for its Day of the Dead celebration on Friday.  Please send in photos of loved ones for our altar.  All parents are welcome to come by on Wednesday afternoon to help us make candles and decorate skulls.

Hi again,
Because I've gotten some questions about my last email, there is nothing "wrong" with Halloween.  The Day of the Dead is the Mexican version, a time of remembrance.  Many of you chose Little Learners because of our emphasis on global awareness.  Our celebration on Friday is an example of that.  The skulls we're decorating are sugar skulls.  I should have made that more clear.

Some of you have expressed concern about your children celebrating a holiday with the word "dead" in it.  I asked Eleanor's mom, who's a pediatrician, and here's what she said: "Preschoolers tend to see death as temporary and reversible.  Therefore, I see nothing traumatic about the Day of the Dead." I hope this helps.

Dear Parents:
In response to the email we all received from Maddie's parents, in which they shared their decision to raise their daughter dogma-free, yes, there will be an altar, but please be assured that the Day of the Dead is a pagan celebration of life and has nothing to do with God.  Keep those photos coming!

Perhaps "pagan" was a poor word choice.  I feel like we're veering a bit off track, so here's what I'll do.  I'll start setting up our altar now, so that today at pickup you can see for yourselves how colorful and harmless the Day of the Dead truly is.

The photos should be of loved ones who have passed.  Max's grandmother was understandably shaken when she came in and saw a photo of herself on our altar.  But the candles and skulls were cute, right?

Mountain Room Parents:
It's late and I can't possibly respond to each and every email. (Not that it comes up a lot in conversation, but I have children, too.)  As the skulls have clearly become a distraction, I decided to throw them away. They're in the compost.  I'm looking at them now.  You can, too, tomorrow at drop-off.  I just placed a "No Basura" card on the bin to make sure it doesn't get emptied.  Finally, to those parents who are offended by our Day of the Dead celebration, I'd like to point out that there are parents who are offended that you are offended.

Dear Parents:
Thanks to their group email, we now know that the families of Millie and Jaden M. recognize Jesus Christ as their Savior.  There still seems to be some confusion about why, if we want to celebrate life, we're actually celebrating death.  To better explain this "bewildering detour", I've asked Adela, who works in the office and makes waffles for us on Wednesdays, and who was born in Mexico, to write you directly.

Hola a los Padres:
El Dia de los Muertos begins with a parade through the zocalo, where we toss oranges into decorated coffins.  The skeletons drive us in the bus to the cemetery and we molest the spirits from under the ground with candy and traditional Mexican music.  We write poems called calveras, which laugh at the living.  In Mexico, it is a rejoicing time of ofrendas, picnics, and dancing on graves.

I sincerely apologize for Adela's email.  I would have looked it over, but I was at my daughter's piano recital.  (Three kids, in case you're wondering, one who's allergic to everything, even wind.)  For now, let's agree that email has reached its limits.  How about we process our feelings face to face? 9 A.M. tomorrow?

Dear Parents:
Some of you chose to engage in our dialogue.  Some chose to form a human chain.  Others had jobs (!) to go to.  So we're all up to speed, let me recap this morning's discussion.

- Satan isn't driving our bus.  Little Learners does not have a bus.  If we did, I wouldn't still need parent drivers for the field trip to the cider mill.  Anyone? I didn't think so.
-  Ofrenda means "offering".  It's just a thing we put on the altar.  Any random thing.  A bottle of Fanta.  Unopened, not poisoned.  Just a bottle of Fanta.
- We're moving past the word "altar" and calling it what is really is: a Seahawks blanket draped over some cinder blocks.
- Adela will not be preparing food anymore and Waffle Wednesday will be suspended.  (That didn't make us any new friends in the Rainbow and Sunshine Rooms!)
- On Friday morning, I will divide the Mountain Room into three groups: those who wish to celebrate the Day of the Dead; those who wish to celebrate Halloween; and Maddie, who will make nondenominational potato prints in the corner.

Dear Mountain Room Parents:
Today I learned not to have open flames in the same room as a costume parade.  ... I learned that I will be unemployed on Monday...
Happy Halloween!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Breaking News...It's Hard to Believe...We May Not Be Able to Admit It Yet...But Spring is Coming!

I couldn't believe it.  I had to call over my daughter to make sure I wasn't hallucinating.  It was astounding!  It was amazing!  I never thought I'd see the day.  I almost bent over and kissed the tiny little green shoots.

Spring is a possibility.  Winter will not, in fact, last forever.  I know, I know.  Take a moment to let it sink in.

I think we should all vow never to complain about the heat this summer.  Never.  Ever.

I can't remember the last time I will be this happy to see the spring.

And maybe it's too soon...but I have to add one more picture.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Around the Bay 30K!

I did my first Around the Bay 30K!  I am a trail runner, so I don't do road runs very often.  But this race, being so large and well-known, was on my bucket list.  It was quite something to run with thousands of other runners.  I loved watching the column of runners stream over bridges.  It is fun to run on roads with good views, as it's such a unique way to see the city.  Or crazy.  That too!

It was a well-run race, and the long sleeve technical shirt you get is awesome.  Also the hat and medal.  But please - thousands of runners means more port a potties needed.

I enjoyed reading the signs people held up.  Some of my favourites:

Worst. Parade. Ever.
Your Feet Hurt Because You're Kicking Butt!
Go, random stranger, Go!
You've Got Stamina...Call Me!
Can You Run Against Rob Ford?

I was so happy to see the Grim Reaper.  That sounds strange.  But it means, as he says, that The End is Near!  (Great make up, btw.)

I saw two people down on the ground and multiple others stretching out IT bands and sore legs.  I have been there, and it sucks.  I was so happy not to feel any IT band pain the whole race!  Thank you, foam roller.  My hips were sore by the end, but manageable.

I enjoyed the run, finished upright and smiling, and didn't injure myself.  Goal accomplished!