Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Little Bit Embarrassing...

So, do you know what I do for a living? I work for a company that designs realistic wildlife toys. My particular business line? North American animals...our top species include deer, elk, turkeys, cougars, wolves, etc. Which leads me to the embarrassing moment.

As I was leaving my office today and navigating the circular complex, I passed the parking lot of an office building I pass everyday. There, menacingly staring at me from their front lawn patch, was a pair of yellow eyes. At first I thought I was staring at a rabid raccoon.

Shocked and curious, and slightly past the driveway once I really focused on the fact that there was a critter over there, I backed up and turned in only to come eye to eye with....a plastic coyote meant to scare away geese

...and apparently attract me. Nice spotting there, Doctor Doolittle.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Just in Case You're Ever Needing this Info...

This weekend I updated my new computer with my all 14GB of my iPod's music. I had purchased a took called Copy Toy with which to do this and it failed me miserably. Not only did it never work, but when I emailed "support@" to try and get some help, I got nothing...not even an automated response stating that my email was received. Luckily, I had paid through PayPal, so I was able to open a dispute this morning to try and get my $25 back!

I wrote this note to Copy Toy (which you find by going to www.ipod2computer.com or www.copytoy.com). Please boycott them in my honor. Use Copypod, which I have used in the past and works instantly...or enable disk usage on your iPod and just grab the files, FOR FREE, which is what I ended up doing.

I downloaded your iPod copy tool which was supposed to help me copy songs from my iPod to my computer. I contacted your company to ask for help getting their product to work, it:
1) Never would activate using the activation key you gave me
2) Never would work (even on a trial basis) as it would not recognize that my iPod was plugged into my computer
3) Kept telling me I needed a more recent version of the software, which I emailed you about looking for and hunted for on your Website.

I never received any response from your company and due to lack of response and the fact that your product does not work for my iPod Classic, I was forced to find another solution.

Contact me via email with any questions at all.
I'll let you know what happens. Ay yi yi!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Let's Do the Time Warp....

So, I fear I am giving my kids a really warped sense of time. If you're a mom or dad, you will probably know exactly what I am talking about, but if you aren't, you might think that I am twisting their realities into something ugly and tainted...well, here, follow with me on a few examples.

Example #1: Only for a FEW MINUTES
Liam gets in the bathtub, for some reason NOT amused. I don't know why I am surprised, since he is almost always, as of late, not amused to be getting into the tub. It's more like he's not interested in stopping what he's doing to be bothered to get clean. Anyhow, I digress. I promise he only has to stay in for a few minutes to get cleaned off and then he can get out and continue playing with his trains/cars/sister. He finally slides into the bath, succumbing to the bubbly warmth and starts to swim, splash and play. He's happy and contented. The "few minutes" stretch into about 45. It's the quietest Liam-awake time our little household has seen. By the time I get him out, he is one big prune...Time Warp "few minutes"=45 minutes.

Example #2: "We are leaving in FIVE MINUTES!"
In the morning, as I am rushing around in a torrential hurry to get three disorganized people out the door, I am bombarded by little people and their ridiculous demands. (I should mention that while my disorganization is a character trait, theirs is merely a factor of being 4 and 6 years old...so I can't really hold it against them). Eventually, I get them all buttoned up and send them out to play in the car. "Go out there and I will meet you in FIVE MINUTES!" Once they are gone, the hectic air clears and I can all of a sudden focus. No longer surrounded by a miasma of questions, misbehaviors and physical bodies, I am free to concentrate...ahhhhhh...Time Warp five minutes=at least 15 if not more and then late to camp.

Right now, as I blog, they have been outside for 11 minutes of a five minute stretch...I am grateful. I have stolen time from the jaws of motherhood. Damn, I'm good.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

What Makes a Best Friend?

On a more serious note, this is a question I have been pondering for some time. My kids have a book called Mouse and Elephant and it's about a mouse who goes out looking for a friend. He tries, to no avail, to find a friend in many animals of the forest. They all have reasons why they can't be friends with the mouse. Finally, the mouse meets an elephant who asks what being a friend means. The mouse answers and the elephant says, "Sure, that sounds great." That's the Reader's Digest version of a really very sweet book, but it leads into my question...What would you say makes a friend? What would you say makes a best friend?

I've come to the conclusion that the definition of a "best friend" varies wildly from person to person. The congruence seems to come between two friends who call each other friend. In other words, if you ask your friend how they define "best friend" you will find yourself nodding madly in agreement with them. Try it! You'll see!

How I define best friend is this...ENGAGEMENT

TIME: We have to both care to spend time together. I can't be chasing a best friend around begging them to come over or call me back. This is not to say we have to see each other everyday or anything that regimented like that. In fact, some of my best friends I talk to once a year or so by phone. A best friend is always thrilled to hear from you and makes time for you in person or by phone. Time to engage.

FIT: Our personalities have to jibe. Sometimes this means we both have a sense of humor and being together ignites both of our sense of humor. Sometimes, this means we are both interested in deep chats about certain topics. Sometimes, our strategizing around one or the other's problems, leads us to new solutions. Our collective personality seems to be greater than either of ours individually. Interest to engage.

INTERESTS: Of course, we have to be interested in doing the same things or going the same places. If someone is interested in haute culture and spending copious amounts of money and hates nature, for example, we're probably not going to become friends.

Some people I have asked say a best friend has to be there for you...you have to know they will come when you need them. That's probably a given, but it falls lower on my list because of this: loyalty and steadfastness aren't required, they are given and hopefully reciprocated...but given freely nonetheless.

Here is how the mouse and elephant define friendship...oddly, the mouse is named Nicole (don't let that throw you):
"Friend? Friend? What is a friend?"

The elephant asked. "I've never heard of such a thing."

"Well," Nicole replied, thinking hard,

"I think a friend is somebody you can count on. Friends tell each other their feelings. Friends stick together and help each other."

The elephant thought a while and said, "That sounds good. I don't have anyone like that."

Surprised by the elephant's answer, Nicole said, "But I'm not like you at all! I can't balance on a stand, and I'm not very strong. And I'm much smaller than you are. Aren't we too different to be friends?"

The elephant laughed. "You are silly mouse! Do friends have to be the same size or have the same strength? Do they have to be exactly the same? That's not what you told me a friend was all about."

Nicole smiled.

"Climb up my trunk now," the elephant said, "and we will tell each other our feelings and stick together."

Off they went and began to learn to be friends... And each day as they visited and talked, they became better and better friends, even though one of them was very small and the other very big.

Just Because Your Kid Likes Beavers

...Doesn't mean you should accidentally pick up every shirt with said animal on it...

Look closely:

Kiki Does Neck Wallets

I catch a lot of flack for my fashion choices, but none has initiated an open season quite like my adoption of the neck wallet. As indefatigable as this behavior may be to you, my chic reader, I would like a chance to defend my choice. Think of the practicality! I can hold my phone, iPod, money, license and bank card all right under my nose when I travel. This makes me less likely to misplace or forget an important document or to lose things. A big plus in Kiki-land.

Here's me trying on a Kipling neck wallet in the Minneapolis Airport:

I can use the neck wallet while hiking to hold all the aforementioned important stuff. This means if I peter out or get lost, I can call home for a pick-up. Or, if I need to pick up a water, I can. Or, if I get picked up by the police for some walking infraction, I have my "papers" on me...not that all of these things have happened, but hey, a girl's gotta be prepared, right?

And, reassuringly, I am not the only one who apparently buys these things!! (although, part of my lambasting comes from the fact that I didn't buy my neck wallet and instead wear a badge holder from a trade show).

Does it make it any better if the wallet is decorated with flowers?

Or if it's called a security pouch?

IT vs. The Blue Screen

I love this photo. My IT guy and I scrutinize the screen as it performs the, ever frightening, "physical memory dump". It seems I get a smattering of these every time I do a Windows upgrade. The best solution seems to be to restart in safe mode, monkey around with it, and then reboot again...monkeying around being a technical term...

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Doing the Man-Up

We have been talking to Liam about "manning up" or getting up and brushing himself off and moving on. There's no reason to dwell on a little knock down or slip and fall, just get up and man up. That's our belief. It seems to be working and some previously upsetting falls are now opportunities to practice manning up.

The other day, the kids were having a pick-up soccer game in our back yard in the early morning before work. They were happily playing out there for an hour or so. When I came out to get everyone strapped in and loaded into their car seats, Liam looked at me earnestly and said, "Mom! We had a great soccer game! I fell down three times (and held up three spindly little fingers) and I did the man-up!"

Then, this weekend at Sandra's soccer game, Liam was intently watching Sandra in goal. It was a rainy, slippery day in goal and she went down. Liam looked disturbed and said, "Oh no! Sandra fell down! (and then watched her get up) Oh phew, Mommy, she manned up!"

Hee hee...

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Another Reprise: Life Theories

The Gnawing Hole Theory
It's time to pontificate. I have this ridiculous set of theories. Anyone who knows me, knows these theories as I came up with them years ago and I often use old material. But alas, to my secret blog fans, I now write them down. Crafted in an oral tradition...Kristen is a social butterfly. Born in a veritable soup of analogies and attempts to communicate abstract concepts...that Kristen is weird.

The Gnawing Hole Theory of Needs is really about growing up and wanting things and knowing that you need something, but not being able to figure out what that is. Everyone has one at some point in their life. Most of us struggle with them for years. This black hole of insecurity and emptiness is in each of us. For some of us, we fill it with drink or drugs or people or places.

Teens fill it with friends, boyfriends, clothes, and trendy things. Twenty-somethings look for it in love relationships, college grades, sex, career, friends, and material items. Thirty-somethings have a gnawing hole which is growing smaller as they age(thank goodness). We tend to stop stuffing things in there and acknowledge that there is a hole...et VOILA, it gets smaller. It's a beautiful thing to be 35.

Now, I am left thinking...does Elena have a gnawing hole yet? Is it created at birth? At weaning? Later? So many questions and things to observe in this child!

The Buckets Theory of Life Balance
Here's another kooky theory from that nutcase, Kristen. I have to admit to being a bit of a pompous ass. Imagine me thinking I can tell anyone anything about anything. After all, I know nothing myself. Most of my "theories" were just grasps at trying to explain to my therapist what the hell I was thinking. I think in analogies, so there you have it.

This is my Buckets Theory of Life Balance. I came up with it when I started dating my husband and wondered why my work life all of a sudden seemed empty. Why does it seem that when attention is paid to one area of our life, another area suffers a reign of disenchantment?

My answer to myself was this: life is a bunch of buckets. Your buckets can be anything you would like...But mine, mine are large crocks (not crocks of shit mind you, if that's where you think I am going). Teracotta crocks into which you cannot see. In these crocks is enough water to fill one crock fully. Or to fill each crock a bit.

Each crock stands for a different area of life: love, family, children, work, creativity, self, etc. It seems if one crock demands attention, and this can be for good or bad reasons, ALL the water, which symbolizes energy and thought and focus, gets poured into that ONE bucket. The other buckets are left desiccated...empty...abandoned. Oh, but like the arid ground embracing the return of the rainy season, their time will come again. They too have their day of being filled to the brim.

The Hedge Maze Theory of Parenting
Imagine if you will, our lives like a maze - a very complex hedge maze (you know the kind where you might wander around for hours hitting dead end after dead end). Then imagine if you already have mapped a good part of the maze yourself. You know where there are dead ends and false starts. There are certain ways you just know won't work.

Now, imagine seeing someone we love, struggling with a part of the maze that we have often struggled with ourselves. Don't we want to shout at them, "Hey, that's a dead end down there!" or "Turn around, you're heading nowhere?" Of course we do, it is natural. We want them to know what we know and offer them shortcuts through their life. If we could, we might just take a big mower and mow a path right through the center of the maze for them so it will be easy for them to find the other side.

As parents, we have to remember that it is our children's job to learn that maze themselves. We have to keep them safe and clothed, fed and loved, but we cannot make them go or stop at will. In fact, part of that hedge maze for them is learning to escape their parents' grasp. When they are little, they might duck out of sight for just a moment and they might come running back to the beginning to kiss us or tell us about their day. However, as they grow up, they may hide for days in that maze. We have to let them go and trust that, when they come out the other side, they will be smarter and more adept at "life" for it!

A Reprise...To Show You How Odd I Am


The Dwarf-Baby with Flippers vs. Christmas Ornaments Classification System
OK...All you imaginary Kiki and the Lou readers, hold onto your seats. I am about to go kooky-crazy on you! This is an idea I developed quite a few years ago. It's a doozy. See if you can follow.

Once, about three years ago, we met some people. All in the space of one week, we met two groups of new friends. One couple had been friends of my husband's for years, since childhood. They were a very offbeat and funny couple. They had me rolling on the floor with their skewed perceptions of the world. The wife was pregnant at the time and kept telling me she was convinced she was carrying a dwarf baby with flippers. She was neurotic and animated. Passionate and witty. Downright fun!

A few days later, my husband started playing guitar with a band. We went up to, what would henceforth be called Band Camp, on a Tuesday night. The wives of the band members would congregate on the front porch. We had wine and smokes and chatted the chit chat of new friends. We talked about our lives as wives and covered such mundane topics as what we all did for living, what was our favorite food, when were our birthdays...you get the picture.

At one point, the conversation took a turn for the worse. I was stuck listening to a description of every Christmas ornament one of the wives had bought for the other over the years. "Remember, that was the year I bought you the lighthouse one...wait, no, was it the barn that year?" "Oh, that sailboat was so cute. It had a tiny white sail!" A full half an hour of description of ornaments.

A few days later, I was struck by a funny thought. If there were to be a continuum of personalities from the mundane to the offbeat, we had just experienced both ends of that spectrum in one week. We went from one end of the range, Dwarf Baby with Flippers, to the other, Christmas Ornaments. Each was pushed further to its end of the scale by its proximity to the other.

So now, it is part of our family lexicon. If you say someone is Dwarf Baby or Christmas Ornaments, we all nod in agreement. We have had hours of fun sorting all the people we know using this system. We have come to one other conclusion. Dwarf Babies completely understand this system. Sadly, Christmas Ornaments do not. So, if you explain this to someone and they get it, they are a Dwarf Baby. If not, they are an Ornament. So, do you get it?

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Momzilla Strikes Again...

Wanna know what is kind of the most awkward phone call to have to make? It's this. About six months ago, my sister's friend had a baby. She had a baby very close in age to her first baby, so her first baby was still using their first crib. Luckily, (or unluckily as the case may be) Liam had recently vaulted the crib sides and escaped babyhood, leaving us up one crib. We lent the crib, so happy to be able to give away the crib and the new Sealy mattress we had bought to someone who was happy to receive it. It even matched the new baby's room!!!

So, today I get a call from my ex saying that Momzilla has been going on and on about where that crib is that she lent me when I had Liam. Darnit! I told him I gave it away...he told me he would talk to her and smooth it out.

Five minutes later, phone rings. It's P again. "You have to get it back. The crib. As soon as possible."

Oh Momzilla, Momzilla...next time I come over, you better be sleeping in that darn Jenny Lind crib!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Attacked by a Bird...

My sister was going into the water to save an errant soccer ball...she accidentally put her hand about 6 inches from a swallow's nest. This bird was NOT happy...NOT happy at all. Of course, I had to get in on the action and go see if there were any eggs in the nest...this only added insult to injury for the poor swallow, who put on her most imposing wing span and attacked...I haven't laughed this hard in awhile. This was one honked off bird. Really. Pissed. Off.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

In Our New Neighborhood: Putnam Park

Turns out there is a pretty cool park, it's very much like Bunker Hill or Gettysburg. The kids and I had no idea what we were getting into and were quite pleasantly surprised.

The first visit to the park was with the girls I watch on Monday and Wednesday. We stayed, due to the driveway being first, on the non-military side of the park. We just walked around, what appeared to be a normal park. We ended up finding the memorial, statue of General Putnam, and the bullfrog pond (as we call it) at the end of that long hike.

So, then, I was intrigued and brought all the kids back another time...but, again we didn't make it past the bullfrog pond and the memorial (which Elena calls the "Memorial Day").

The last time I took just my kids and we were finally able to really explore the park, read the signs and take it all in...turns out that Putnam Park was the winter encampment of 8000-10,000 revolutionary soldiers. It was called Putnam's Valley Forge. There is not much left...some mounds that were the chimney stacks of all the company housing, some clearings and some graves. The signs are helpful in explaining what archeological digs have uncovered since 1779.

It's funny that a lot of the reconstructed buildings, which were built in 1860, are completed wrong. They have since been proven to have served completely different purposes than originally thought. For example, there is a little cabin at the far end of the site that was labeled as "Officer's Quarters", but later proven to be the fort magazine!

Here's a quote from "Connecticut - Off the Beaten Path" by David and Deborah Ritchie, 1992...today's history lesson:

"When Washington's Northern Army went into winter quarters at the end of November 1778, it was disposed in an arc from New Jersey to Connecticut, so as to ring the British garrison in New York. Three of the army's brigades had their winter encampment at Redding, when they could move east to defend the Hudson Heights or west to defend the Connecticut coast from British raiders. Their commander was Major General Israel ("Old Put") Putnam.

That winter was relatively mild, but the harvest had been poor, and supplies were scarce. The men, many of whom had been through the hell of Valley Forge the previous year, began to mutter about a similar privation winter in Connecticut. Then in December the state experienced one of the worst winter storms in New England history. Two days after it ended, the men of one brigade mutinied and prepared to march on the State Assembly in Hartford to demand overdue supplies and wages. Putnam was able to break up the affair only with the greatest of difficulty. Thus the winter encampment at Redding that came to be known as "Connecticut's Valley Forge."

The original encampment in now the site of Putnam Memorial State Park at the junction of Routes 58 and 107 in West Redding. The twelve-man huts are now just piles of stone where their chimneys stood, and the old magazine is only a stone-lined pit; but the officers' barracks has been rebuilt, and there is a museum on site containing exhibits dealing with the Redding encampment. There's also a great statue by the front gate showing Old Put riding his horse down a flight of stairs to escape capture during a British raid in February of 1779."

Monday, May 03, 2010

The Death of Chickens

So, a rather unfortunate series of events happened today. First, we went to the library to pick out books and picked out not one, not two, but three books with chicken protagonists. We spent the whole ride to my mom's house in Ridgefield talking about the Adventurous Chicken, Louise (who both my children call Muh-weeze for no apparent reason). Anyhow, I digress.

On the way home from school, back to our house, we passed the farm we like to visit. The kids asked if they could go visit the chickies and I said sure. Why not? Not much else planned. Another side note, I have found that if you say "yes" to your kids, enthusiastically and excitedly to their requests a few times a day, the result is MUCH better behavior. Example, Them: "Mommy, can I have a popsicle?" Me: "Sure! Why not? What flavor did you want" Them: stunned and silent and happy for at least two hours.

Anyhow, back to it. We went to the farm. We had visited last week and seen the chicks. Liam absolutely adores hanging in the chicken coop for the young chicks. He picks them up and chases them around. As they get older and more adept at dodging his advances, he does more chasing. Today, I don't think he caught a single one. Last week, however, he caught several. And, as he almost choked the life out them in his little grip, Lenny-style, he noticed a dead chick on the ground. Many, many questions ensued about what happened to the little guy, how did he die? I told him I didn't really know, but it looked as if he was trampled or stepped on. I had to reassure him that the chick was not stepped on by him as it was already dead and squished there when we arrived. He was quite fascinated and had trouble letting the subject go.

I, for one, was glad to see that the carcass had been removed from the coop on this week's visit. Liam, however, immediately noted its absence. "Mommy, where is the dead bird? Where did that dead chick go?" I told him it went to be with God, but he knows better..."Yes, but where did its BODY go?" I told him the farmer probably took it away. He was perplexed and disturbed, but eventually let it go and romped with the baby chicks and visited the rest of the chickens with Elena and me.

At the end of our visit to the farm, we got back into the car. I tried to hurry them along..."Come on now, get into your seats, we have to go home so I can cook dinner. I have a big chicken to put in the oven." As soon as the words had left my mouth I regretted saying them...then Elena said to Liam in an excited voice, "Liam, chicken nuggets for dinner!! WHOO HOO!" That's when it happened. It was almost as if a visible light bulb popped above each child's head. Elena said, "Chicken nuggets! Yay!...Wait...chicken....hmmm...chicken." And then I walked around from securing Liam's seat praying the conversation would be ended by the time I got to the driver's seat. It was not.

Oh shit, it was escalating. Liam was at the helm and he held my heart in his hands. "Mommy," he said almost quivering, "Does the chicken in my nuggets come from the chickens on the farm???" "Is the chicken inside the nuggets from real chickens?"


Next question: "Wait Mom....REAL chickens die so I can eat them?"

"Awwwww Mommy! I don't want chickens to die!"

Laney, God bless her, was in the back seat trying hard to assuage his fears: "No Liam, not THOSE chickens. Not THOSE ones."

Liam: "But how do they die? Who kills the chicken? Does that man? That farmer we met?"

Laney: "No, not THAT farmer! Another person whose job it is to kill chickens."

Oh help.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fabric Store Heaven

Stopped into the fabric store yesterday to poke around in the remnants and fat quarters. Visiting a fabric store, to me, is like visiting a museum. I am surrounded by cacophonous beauty. I have to hold myself back from buying everything I see...because the beauty is not derived from any one fabric, it's the juxtaposition of ALL of them. Consequently, I want to take them ALL home! I have to come up with specific projects to reign in my spending. Just look at yesterday's finds!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Life in Facebook Statuses (Stati??)

Here's what's been happening in the last few weeks in small, bite-sized, candy-coated chunks!

Kristen Sassano Gill And some days I am an inspired mother...and other days I am a cranky old woman who wonders where these urchins came from. My poor children.

Kristen Sassano Gill Liam just found an open can of spray paint at Joann's and sprayed himself in the face...It stings, Mommy...yeah, I bet it does, nimrod!

Kristen Sassano Gill What's your favorite Easter hymn???

Kristen Sassano Gill Did anyone else feel like the entire natural world was celebrating Easter today in all it's glory?

Kristen Sassano Gill For the record, my kids CANNOT have MILK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kristen Sassano Gill Heaven is a good walk at lunchtime

Kristen Sassano Gill Seriously, HOW HOT IS IT OUTSIDE

Kristen Sassano Gill GOODNESS, I KNEW I WAS HOT! ... Record high temperature set at LaGuardia NY... a record high temperature of 91 degrees was set at LaGuardia NY today at 354 PM. This breaks the old record of 86 set in 1991.

Kristen Sassano Gill Happy Thursday! (world's most boring and uninspired status)

Kristen Sassano Gill Wanna watch paint dry? Watch your almost six year old tracking time...minute by minute waiting for it to be time for the library to open.

Kristen Sassano Gill Why does painting always end in everybody and everything being paintED?

Kristen Sassano Gill Store bought pie crust is an invention of the gods....we have had homemade chicken pot pie two nights in a row...easy to make and delicious!!!

Kristen Sassano Gill GLEEEEEE!!!! WHEEEEEEEE!!

Kristen Sassano Gill The more I try to figure Lost out, the more tangled I get...well, not true...figuring out the plot is not hard, I twist my brain in knots when I start thinking "BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN???"

Kristen Sassano Gill Tonight, tapas is on the menu tonight....rice balls, turkey and spinach patties and roasted butternut squash

Kristen Sassano Gill "Did you know that dolphins are gay sharks?"

Kristen Sassano Gill http://mobile.nytimes.com/2010/04/14/dining/14curious.xml

Kristen Sassano Gill L.M.F.A.O. - Hyperbole and a Half: The Alot is Better Than You at Everything hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com

Kristen Sassano Gill Liam's first brain freeze....owwww...."Mommy! Ice cream makes me........HURT!" (while grabbing his forehead and trying to shove his hand down his throat to warm it up)

Kristen Sassano Gill I don't mean to seem like a buzz kill, but I H-A-T-E Wubzy and his band of LOUD friends...

Kristen Sassano Gill Elena Gill: "Dinosaurs aren't real anymore, Liam, they're DISTINCT!"

Kristen Sassano Gill ME: "Life is good...Life is good, Liam" LIAM: "Cause God made it good, Mommy!"

Kristen Sassano Gill Some days are better than others...some days, your son wakes up talking like a prophet and the next day, he disregards every single thing you say until he is kicking your computer and you are holding back from spanking.

Kristen Sassano Gill Why is it that kids don't pick up on PMS? I want you to stop throwing things, climbing on my car, messing up the house, spilling water on yourself, peeing yourself...just for a few days each month...is that too much to ask?

Kristen Sassano Gill Bedtime for the kiddos came in the exact nick of time...I made it by the skin of my teeth...I mean JUST barely.

Kristen Sassano Gill This is EXACTLY what is on my mind right now....

Kristen Sassano Gill We are about to head out...the kids may not survive until we can actually leave the house. "Liam, please get off the table!!!!"

Kristen Sassano Gill Sometimes the sidebar advertisements are scarily on target...That's ALL I NEED to become part of the "Human Tetris Project" (as if Bejeweled hasn't already stolen enough of my life, time and sanity!)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Tale of Childhood in Balloons

First, Liam had a balloon. He got it for Easter. It was a big yellow smiley face and he loved it. It made him have a smiley face, too....

Until, he let it go into space. There was much sobbing...I felt like I was going to cry too...To make matters worse, it wasn't even in space, it was hanging from the high limbs of the elm tree in our driveway. He had much faith in his mommy, "Climb up and get it!!" Um...no...not possible.

"But Liam, it's great, we can admire it always up there and it will make us smile for a long, long time!" Liam squints and continues to cry.

While I am trying to convince Liam that the balloon will be a nice heralding presence in our driveway from now on, the balloon decided to detach from the tree, thumbing its nose a this line of logic. Imagine me with this face

We walked to the market and I let him pick out a giant Thomas balloon almost as big as he was...

It popped within thirty minutes due to death by dragging. The look of indignation on Liam's face was priceless. How DARE you split in two on me! If you only knew the crap I've dealt with with balloons today!

He got a replacement after forcing me into the market to ask for a new one. The new one was small, tied to his hand and his underwear and is still with us...heck, will be with us for the next two months!

Liam has moved on, cares nothing for the balloon now, and it merely floats around our house looking to alight on something that might pop it or dart out the door to make a vertical escape and start the whole process of childhood learning over again. Balloons are silly.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Mystery of Popov

As I go on my walks around the office complex, there are these Popov vodka bottles as pictured. Not sure where they came from, but I have developed some theories...

1) My suspicion is that they are all from the same person, since they are the exact same bottle, size, brand, etc.

2) They are tossed there from one of the people who works in my office complex.

3) I don't think they are from someone in our building due to the fact that they continue towards a dead end, past our entrance.

4) The bottles were not put there from some partying teens. Since when have you known kids to celebrate with a quart sized bottle of Popov vodka?

5) The bottles are jettisoned on a daily or frequent basis. There must be over 100 of the bottles and they are all in various stages of decomposition.

So, here are the stories I tell myself about the mysterious containers.

Story 1: There is an alcoholic man who lives with his wife and family. They all believe he has quit drinking. So, every day he brings a bottle of vodka to work with him, just enough to get him through the day, but keep him sober enough upon his return home. On his way out, he rolls down his window and tosses the evidence onto the roadside.

Story 2: There is a man who works keeping up the grounds around our building. My theory is that he, as part of his routine, sips at the vodka all day long and then pitches the evidence out onto the road. The wind easily takes the light, plastic container, dispersing it along about a mile stretch of the complex.

I have the weirdest of fantasy of one day bringing a giant garbage bag, collecting every bottle and having a count the bottles contest. I want to photograph them and make Dadaist art. I am intrigued. Like all good mysteries, the answer is not readily available and will continue to offer mind food for my walks for a good long time.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hanging on the Line...Waiting to be Beat...

Well, not really...but yesterday was laundry line day. First off, I want to preface this post by saying that although I try to lessen my carbon footprint on this earth, I did not switch to a laundry line to try to save electricity. I switched because, well, our dryer switch shit the bed.

The laundry has been piling up and I was just letting it until the mountain of laundry started scaring me. On Friday, I was at Wal-Mart and I had the hair-brained idea of buying some clothespins and a line. I picked out a cute little retractable 9 ft. line. I installed it yesterday and was surprised to see it held about two sweaters. The kids and I put on our walking shoes and headed off the the True Value. After buying 100 ft. of clothesline, I came back to hang it up.

It all went well. I hung the line, pinned up the first part of the first wet load and watched it flying in the breeze like a triumphant celebration. Soon I was low on clothespins and had to head back to the hardware store for another 50. I finished hanging the load and went to the basement to get the second load...a much heavier (it turns out) dark load.

Just moments later, I was in a tug-o-war with the clothesline which had slipped its knot and was threatening to dirty two loads of laundry. I was freaking out and shouting orders to the children, who at 3 and 5 were frankly more harm than help. Jeans and pjs dangled inches from a pile of dust as tugged and fought with the line, cussing and hemming under my breath. Elena said to me, "Mommy, if this project is going to be so frustrating that you're going to be so mad, maybe we should go inside?" Yikes. At one point, not my finest moment, I had the children holding the line precariously up while I followed the line to its midpoint to untwist it. Poor little dears, arms above heads, were not so pleased with helping Mommy.

Eventually, much yanking and ripping of hand skin later, the line was back up. The children, forgiving my outbursts, ran through the damp clothes, a cliche, reminding me of doing the same many times over as a child.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sunlight Theory of God

This weekend, I had a friend ask me some questions about my faith in God. This was not a contentious discussion, but instead a real honest conversation. The crux of the questioning was, "WHY do you believe in God?" which is one of the hardest questions to answer. I can tell the story of HOW I came to believe in God or WHEN or WHERE...but, WHY? My response, after trying to find stories and logic that would show him why, was to say that I think we are making a head discussion out of something that is really a heart pursuit. I don't ever feel God in my brain...well, I do now, but I certainly didn't feel Him first there. He first held my heart in his hand and healed me with love.

So, as is my way, I tried to think of an analogy to help elucidate this feeling. Here is what I believe. God is like sunlight, bright, warm, enveloping, engendering life and growth. Like the sun, He shines on everything and everybody. With this sunlight, there is no night, only the shadows we create by turning our backs or facing away. He is still there, shining on our backs, reaching for a connection, but we cannot see him. We are turned into our own, self-imposed shadows. We are in the dark and we feel in the dark. When we turn into His light, we are offered all the benefits of his light and love. We grow. We develop. We are able to see. We feel joyous.

Even those of us who spend the good portion of our lives, faces tipped up to God, have times when we turn our backs and live in the shadows. These are times when I try to find my way, on my own, in the dark. Eventually, I turn back into the light and experience the warm, loving touch of my God. I bathe in the sunlight and am warmed all the way through. I bask. I experience the purest joy. I promise I will never turn away again, but I am human and God gave me the freedom to turn away...and sometimes I do.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

SHOT Show #4: And the lights...go down in the city...

OK Vegas, bone to pick with you. How is it that a city based on its lights and its flashing brightness could have so many burned out bulbs? Is this the city's version of SADS? Have tough economic times taken their toll on the letters and words spelled out on the sides of giant buildings and signs? You be the judge!

Even the convention center...expecting 50,000 hunters with automatic guns...

Let's get with it! Get some of those new-fangled fusili-shaped light bulbs that last 20 years...in your case, they will only last 10, but what the hey, it's going to be an improvement.

SHOT Show Post #3: The Naked Gun

At one point during the SHOT Show, I looked over and noticed that our bison looked a little nervous...why was he a little nervous? Can you see between his legs? (NO! That's not why he's nervous, dirty mind!)

Here, I'll focus it for you...

Still can't really see it? Here, let me zoom in...

Yup...just your standard naked sniper, nothing really.

And then, staring down the barrel of the naked gun...not sure you can see that he is pointed RIGHT at our bison, but there he is...

Naked gunman. Definitely NOT what I expected to see at SHOT Show...AT ALL!