Friday, September 29, 2006

What was I thinking?!?

A petri dish full of eggs with my name on it.
Aren't I already harried?
Don't I already have enough love in my life?
Haven't I spent years cooking and cleaning up after little ones?
And yet, here I go again.
Waiting for signs of life.

If I had any idea how much work it would be to try to raise silkworms I would not have suggested the project . Every few hours I dash over to the petri dish looking for larvae (thank goodness our house is small). Is our place too cold? Did I wait too long to unpack the eggs? Have I already screwed up?

Once they hatch I not only need to clean up their poop every day (thank goodness their poops are small) but I need to cook for them! Yes, cook! I have to measure out the "dry silkworm diet" (which looks eerily like the green powder on Veggie Booty and even smells a bit like it). Then I have to mix the powder with a measured amount of water, stir, heat in microwave, stir again and heat again. Finally, I have to hurriedly cover the hot mixture with a skin of plastic wrap to avoid mold, let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate. Apparently I will be doing this every few days for the next six weeks. Assuming they hatch, that is. And If you think I am exaggerating or perhaps obsessing, read this.

This had better be cool.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Spontaneous post: News you Need

I wasn't planning to post today, but I'm sitting here waiting for the fridge repair man and just came across something I wanted to share.

With the High Holidays here things like tefillah (prayer), tesh-uvah (love, saying sorry), and tzedakah (compassionate action) are on our minds. I just read about a great tzedakah opportunity over at Parent Hacks (by way of the Mother Shock blog). There is a US soldier in Iraq who is looking for donations of stuffed animals--and she will take used ones.

For several years I organized a gently-used toy drive at my boys' preschool and I know that almost no organization will accept used stuffed animals. So what to do with all those lovies that never really got loved and are in great condition? Send them here:
Edmay Mayers USACE - GRS APO AE 09331

Here's a note from Edmay from the Parent Hacks site
"Please, please, please – I know where you can give all the stuffed animals and toys away – I am presently stationed (deployed) in Iraq. The children here love the stuffed toys – I can hardly keep up with the cost of them – I am continuously ordering more and more from Oriental Trading Company and candy for the young ones too. If there is any way at all please have any and all sent to me at the address listed and I will ensure that the children in Iraq receive all that is sent. "

I will go box up some items. And then I'll go clean the kitchen. (DH are your reading?!)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

New post at Austinmama

The days between Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, (last weekend) and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, (next Monday) are introspective ones. There's a lot to contemplate beside the usual carpools, meals, dishes, laundry, homework, etc. Read my latest post at Navigating the On-ramp if you need a little help thinking about Who you Are, What you Do, and Which path to take in the year ahead.

Oh, and by the way, as is the custom this time of year, I am sorry for all the rude and insensitive things I did or said to you. I also apologize for all those times I thought the worst of you. I will try harder this year. Really!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Book Review: Take Ten

Take Ten: Meditations for the Hurried Parent is a charming collection by Utah mother-writer Robin Lynn Pratt. Each of the book's thirteen essays can stand on its own and is brief enough to enjoy over a quick cup of coffee. I read the book in brief bites, tasty morsels really, and found that Pratt's words reflections on mothering and being mothered stayed with me throughout the day.

In the “Quiet and the Chaos” she reflects on the deafening quiet her boys as they grow up and quiet down. Gone are noisy toddlers and active young boys. She writes, "Remembering the days of constant motion may provide a source of warmth" when her nest finally empties. Even as I sweep up the latest round of crumbs, I am prone to fits of nostalgia. This doesn’t make me approach the task any more enthusiastically, but I can feel my future self missing my present self; Pratt captures this feeling well.

I laughed with recognition at “Treasure Boxes” about her six year-old pack rat who retrieves special items- like yogurt lids- from the trash to add to his growing collections. “I briefly considered dumping this stack in the outside garbage. I was sure he wouldn’t even notice. Pretty sure. But then I felt guilty.” Like me, Pratt ultimately cannot deny her son his crap, because years from now these items may truly be a treasure in the form of special childhood memories.

I love a good back-to-work story and Pratt’s did not disappoint. In “The Plan” she recalls crash landing into the world of stay-at-home mothers after a childcare crisis with her boys, then two and four. She recounts her plans to return to work when the youngest is in first grade and, well, you know what they say about the best laid plans. I’d share more of my many favorites, but this is a small collection and I’ don’t want to give it all away. The book’s small size is both a blessing (hooray, I finished a book!) and a curse (I’m done already?).

Pratt wrote these essays when her boys were in elementary school, but they are now well into adolescence. She jokes that one of the wonderful aspects of this new phase is that it provides her with lots of new material. That's good news for us. I'd love to see Pratt add to this brief collection of essays, and I sense that she’s up to the challenge.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Yet another blog!

DH is rolling his eye again. Kim, he's thinking, aren't you supposed to be looking for a job. A paying job?

Yes dear! And my new blog, Navigating the On-ramp, is dedicated to that very topic!

I'm a permanent guest blogger at Austinmama. Check it out here. If you've never been to Austinmama, plan to spend a few minutes poking around this excellent site.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Health insurance woes, a story in three parts

File this under WTF.

Part I
From our new health insurance plan description booklet:
"The [advisory board] does not determine your course of treatment or whether you receive particular health care services. The decision regarding the course of treatment and receipt of particular health care services is a matter entirely between you and your Physician. The [board's] determination of Medically Necessary care is limited to merely whether a proposed admission, continued hospitalization or other health care service is Medically Necessary under this Certificate."

Part II
Further down on the same page:
"The fact that your Physician or another health care Provider may prescribe, order, recommend, or approve a Hospital stay or other health care service or supply does not itself make such a hospitalization, services or supply Medically Necessary. Even if your Physician prescribes, orders, recommends, approves or views hospitalization or other health care services as Medically Necessary, [the insurer] will not pay for the hospitalization, services, or supplies if [the advisory board and insurer] decide they were not Medically necessary.

Part III
To see how this nonsense plays out in a real-life situation, Marrit Ingman shares this tidbit from her blog.

Dear HMO,

Hi. How are you?

You remember that uterine biopsy I had in April, was it? Yeah. I rocked that like a CHAMP. It was sort of unpleasant being scraped with a cannula, but that's what you do when you have irregular uterine bleeding for three continuous months. You say, "Wow. I'm bleeding almost constantly. Think I should ask a doctor about that?" And then you go in because "constant bleeding" is the kind of symptom you think even an HMO could get behind exploring.

The doctor was really interested when I told him I had a family history of breast cancer and my mom was currently being treated at MD Anderson. So he ordered a biopsy. It came back negative, and since we ruled out endometrial cancer as a cause of the bleeding, everyone was happy and we all went our separate ways, me still bleeding but less worried I had six months to live.

Then I got your bill for the biopsy. You won't cover it.

You people suck.

You make your own decisions about what is and is not medically necessary for me. That's my physician's prerogative, not yours. If you have a problem with that fact, I might suggest not participating with my doctor in a service arrangement and accepting my family's astronomical health-care premiums every month. They rival my mortgage. And it sure was cute of you to hike your rates just enough to absorb the "raise" AISD [Austin Independent School District] gave its teachers this year, which actually was a raise for you. You guys sure have American families over a barrel.

I curse you all with bleeding genitals.

Read more of Marrit's commentary at http://www.suite102.com/baldo/.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The trouble with homophones

Ah homophones, those tricky words with different meanings but similar sounds.

I recently watched a documentary about China that told of a long-ago emperor and one of his court eunuchs. This got me thinking about eunuchs. DH is a walking encyclopedia, so I asked him. Here is our conversation in a nutshell:

Me: Do you know anything about eunuchs?

DH: No, but you should ask Jim, he probably knows a lot.

What?! Why would Jim know anything about eunuchs?

Wait, did you say UNIX or Linux?

Eunuchs, the guys without balls; not UNIX the computer operating system.

Oh.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Tired of the same old workout?

My friend Tammy forwarded the link to this funny video with the subject line: choreographed treadmills. Huh? It was a ray of sunshine on an otherwise dreary day. It's been wet and gloomy since the weekend. This morning Splinter asked me when it was finally going to stop raining. I wish I knew.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Your call may be monitored...

We've all heard something like this before: "Your call may be monitored to ensure customer service."

I was on hold with GE the other day because our 3 year old GE fridge is about to conk out for the third time. The people are I dealt with were very nice (maybe it has something to do with the class action lawsuit for which our fridge qualifies?), but all that time on hold got me thinking.

What if when they finally answered the phone, I told them that I was transcribing our conversation for my blog or simply recording the conversation so I wouldn't have to rely on memory and scratchy notes to recreate the conversation for my sugar daddy whose paycheck paid for the defective fridge. Would the person on the other end be on his best behavior or would he resentfully record notes in his computer about what a mean, horrible customer I am?

What if, about 30 seconds, into our conversation I said: please hold while I run to the restroom because I finished a grande 1/2 caf Mocha while I was waiting for you to pick up and now I really have to pee! The estimated wait time is 2 minutes (make it 5 if I need to run down to the basement to get a roll of toilet paper because nobody else in my house is capable of replenishing the supply. Sure, as a woman my overall wiping needs might be greatest, but have you ever seen how many wads of toilet paper a six year-old "needs" to wipe his butt?). I appreciate your patience. I'll be with you momentarily. While you're waiting here's a tape of my six year-old recent violin practice (he's been playing for three whole months now!).

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Have a little CAKE with us

Life just keeps getting sweeter here at Chez Moldofsky. See the new post at Scrambled CAKE for details.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Value-added coffee cups

It's no secret that I'm a fan of Starbucks. As soon I touch my sturdy paper cup with the corragated collar it's as though I've taken my first sip. I wrap my hands around the warm cup and breath in the coffee fumes and feel a wave of relief wash over my body. (Do I sound like an addict? This is why I limit myself to one or two 1/2 decaf mocha's a week. Well, that and the fact that they are expensive.)

I'm not just paying for quality coffee, though. I'm paying for a quality cup- it's made with 10% post-consumer recycled fiber and it's imprinted with a thoughtful quote. I loved this one from last Saturday's morning caffeine jolt:

Success in life is that your kids want to spend time with you once they've grown up.
from Paul Orfalea, Founder of Kinko's and author of Copy This!

Note to DH: Yes, dear, the cup is finally in the garbage.

Back in School!

The boys started school yesterday. The morning drop-off was almost painfully uneventful. (Isn't anybody going to miss me just a little bit?)

I felt like I raced around all day trying to accomplish things I've not had time for in the month since camp ended. But it's nowhere near as bad as the three-hour blocks of time afforded by preschool. Back in those days I felt like I was always trying to beat the clock-run all my errands maybe even exercise and still make it back in time for pick up.

I enjoyed the quiet house during the day, but once they returned to school they were tired and crabby and Smartypants already had homework and both boys had music practice and it was a nightmare. Splinter had soccer practice too, but we bagged that at the last minute due to an overwhelming tantrum. As pleasant as the day was, the evening was equally unpleasant. Ya got your Yin and ya got your Yang. I guess that's life.

Maseratis and Corvettes and Porsches, oh my!

Hey Mr. Smartypants, something tells me we're not in Skokie anymore!

We temporarily abandoned our downmarket life and headed to the more affluent Northbrook for a party honoring our friend Scott Lew. There was a ten year-old boy at the party who told Smartypants that he absolutely had to see the Maserati parked in the driveway. (Click on Scott's link and you'll know it's not his; he gets around in a handicapped accessible van these days.)

Not being a car aficionado, Smartypants tried to act more impressed than he was. "Wow it sure is clean and shiny!" He was a bit taken by the speedometer that goes up to 200 mph, but after our long road trip he's also aware that even on highways the speed limit tops out at about 70 mph, so all in all it was a little confusing to him.

His new friend spouted details about the car and then pointed out the Porsche and Corvette parked across the street and shared some details about those as well. At this point in life my little guy is thankfully more impressed by a really cool paper airplane than a really expensive car.