Plain and simple, a pre-holiday conversation with a longtime friend spelled it out for me:

She: Have you gone back to work yet?

Me: No.

She: Do you have to go back to work yet?

Me: Not really.

She: Then don’t. Stay at home as long as you can. It’s worth it.

This comes from a woman who had her son young. Her son is now preparing to graduate high school and she is gaining back her time to do with what she wishes. But she also stayed home with her son until he hit middle school. While I was commuting and paying daycare tuition by working long hours and pining away for my baby Girl from the West, she was home with baby son. I wouldn’t say I envied her at the time. But now, I see the value in this time.

It took me more than a year to see this value, which I realize comes from those who covet the position. Another friend, when asked what she wanted for Christmas, said she wanted to “stay at home with her baby.”

It really does come from those who aren’t in it. Because being in it isn’t that cushy unless you are UMC or the Hiltons. But it takes realizing that those who aren’t staying home want to stay home that I’d better relish it as long as I can.

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Weather outside is frightful


First big snow of the season and …

The usual do-gooders are out snow blowing their driveways as well as their neighbors.The hardcores are jogging in the street. I even saw a guy on a bike. Impressive.

The usual ne’r do wells are ducking under their hoods to avoid eye contact with the little old ladies’ Caddy stuck in the snowbank.

I watched it all from the window. Had I been outside, I would have offered assistance. Alas, I was soaked from an hour of shoveling, my hat, gloves and coat drip drying in the basement. Otherwise, well, you know …

Instead I stood in my living room watching the Caddy driver’s rear wheels spinning in the quickly forming ice slick from at least 15 minutes of fruitless effort.

I said: Someone needs to do something. Gee, how about that guy sitting in his SUV –RIGHT NEXT TO THE STUCK CAR. It would be nearly impossible to miss this spectacle, unless the guy was blind and deaf, in which case he wouldn’t have a driver’s license. I mean, if this guy really didn’t want to help, why didn’t he just drive away, feigning some urgent errand?I could stand it no more: I urged the husband half of this union to go help the driver who was determined to spin tires to bare pavement and run the gas tank dry.

Interesting how Mr. Blind and Deaf suddenly “noticed” the stuck car as soon as my husband headed to the curb, shovel in hand. He even pushed the shovel a few times to make it look like he was “helping.”Yeah. Right.
Nothing like a good snow day to bring out the best — and worst — in us.


Hey, it’s Ernie and Bert, the lovable duo from Sesame Street. According to this site, it’s really a picture of me with Girl from the West. Can you guess which one I am?

Sometimes the Internet is just too much for me. I grew up in an era of dial phones bolted to the wall, TV sets with knobs you had to get up to turn, and computers were these big, hulking things seen on futuristic shows and often were depicted as evil or having minds of their own to take over the world.

When I graduated high school, there were two places for computers: the math/computer class and the career resource center in the library. These dinosaurs of technology were hard to use; their attached printers were these loud, vibrating objects that spit out stiff sheets of paper with holes in the sides. In short, they were nothing I envisioned myself getting invovled with.

Fast forward 25 years (yeah, do the math, better yet, use your computer) and we have life today, where computers are everywhere. Our entire lives are plugged into the Internet. At the risk of sounding like an old fart, it’s scaring me.

I look at the Internet as something that is so huge and vast and multi-layered that I’ll never live long enough to figure it all out. So I just nibble at bits and pieces of it and remain blissfully ignorant.

Case in point: I came across this Sesame Street quiz recently, took it, and realized I really am an old fart: I’m Bert!

My husband, of course, is Big Bird. Girl from the West is Ernie.

I’ve been pissed off about this Bert characterization for days. Really bitter. And then I realized. That’

Internet, you scare me.

Two candles

So, Girl from the East had her very first birthday party with pals. Seven toddlers, seven adults and two teenagers squeezed into our little bungalow last weekend to eat, drink and play with Little People, ride rocking horses, and pound on keyboards. I won’t say who was doing what, just let it be known that we had a great time.

Last year we had a small gathering for Girl from the East’s first birthday, but that was more of a meet and greet since we’d only been home from China for a few weeks. Baby girl didn’t know what to make of the noise and attention and the finale — fire on a cake.
This year the concept of a birthday is still unclear to her, but fun and food are always a good thing.

We even got her to say that she’s two. She doesn’t say “tooooo” the way we say the number that comes after one; she says it more like “tu,” which is like the second person familiar in Spanish, or something like that. (Too many years ago.)

Since I’m not going to get into the mess of publishing pictures of other people and their children on the Internets or the gawdawful pictures taken of me. (Attention men: do not take pictures of your women over 30 from odd angles that highlight sagging chins, double chins, or use wide-angle lenses that triple the width of thighs.) These are about all I can show. The sushi is made of candy. Beer was not served to the children, just in case anyone is wondering.