Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What's In A Name? Everything.

I got a call from the pediatric dentist's office today.

"Hello?  Mrs. SuburbanCorrespondent?  I'm just calling to remind you that you have an appointment for 3 children tomorrow at 12:20 for sealants."  

"Yes!  Got it!  12:20 - we'll be there!  Um, 3 children?"

"Yes, ma'am.  All 3 at 12:20.  We'll see you then!"

"Wait!  3 children, you said?"

"That's right, ma'am."

Darn, this woman won't cut me a break.  She's making me ask.

"Uh, could you tell me which 3 kids that is?"

I'm thinking that the only way the Galbraiths managed was that there weren't sealants way back then...or maybe this is just one more clue that I might have too many offspring...

[Cheaper By The Dozen image: CRTA]  

Monday, March 28, 2011

This Blog Is Cheaper Than The New York Times...

...but way less informative...

I think I already used up my 20 free articles with the NYTimes for the month, and it's not even noon.  Time to fork over some cash, I guess.  I don't mind paying 15 dollars a month for 24/7 quality journalism.  What I DO mind is that the crossword puzzle is not included in the deal.  Thanks a lot, Adolph Ochs Sulzberger - if I develop premature Alzheiimers, it's all your fault.

Just had to get that rant off my chest.

Oh, and all you techno-geeks who are cackling about how easy it is to get through the new paywall at the Times?  It's also pretty darn easy to pocket some gum at 7-11 and walk out without paying.  Just sayin'...

Even so, every time I click on that link, I'm tempted to try it.  What is it about white-collar crime that is so appealing?  Is it because it makes us feel smart?

Get thee behind me, hackers!

[NYT image:]
[Devil image: vat19]

Friday, March 25, 2011

7 Quick Takes: The Jaded Parent Edition

I have to get up at 7 AM both days this weekend to take various children to where they need to go.  I feel cheated.


I would persuade Larry to do the chauffeuring instead, but he's not here.  Not that that bothers me or anything...


I am currently suffering from the worst case of pinkeye I have ever had.  As Rachel said this evening, "You look really freaky."  Thanks, sweetheart.


David made spinach lasagna tonight.  That's right, folks - when he's not fixing our computers, he's cooking vegetarian meals.  I'd like to take credit for this marvelous state of affairs; but, having been at this parenting gig for almost 20 years now, I know better than to be smug.  For all I know, next week Larry and I could be just another pair of clueless parents telling the FBI, "Gee, we had no idea he was hacking into NORAD."


It's hard for me to believe that Larry and I were once innocent enough to think that we had any sort of control over how our kids turned out.  You know, way back when all the kids were little, before we encountered that crapshoot more commonly known as adolescence


Of course, Rachel helped to shake us out of our complacency, too.  And she was only 4 at the time.


Why don't you check out Jen's 7 Quick Takes?  She's not as jaded as I am.  But then, her oldest is only 7.

[Innocence image:]

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

In Over My Head

You know what's sad?  When you're asking your teen tech geek to set up the program that will enable you to monitor his computer use, that's what.

Sad, and futile...

David also showed me how to recover forgotten passwords, while commenting, "Of course, if I wanted to, I could keep mine hidden."  Isn't he nice, pointing out our parental vulnerability?  I'm thinking that statement was a not-so-subtle bid for a larger allowance.  A bit of technological blackmail, as it were...

[Hacker image: BigIceTees]

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Trying To Feel Useful

Support Doctors Without BordersA friend of mine has a Navy Seabee son who just arrived in Okinawa.  He's already suited up and part of the clean-up effort.  Another friend has a Marine aircraft mechanic son on the USS Enterprise somewhere near Libya.  Moi?  I'm spending my days in relative safety, watching videos of Japanese people hiding under desks while their offices shake around them or running for high ground as their cars wash away.  I figure the least I can do is send money.  So I did.  And you can, too.

Doctors Without Borders is in Japan right now, helping people on the ground.  Just click on that picture up there and you can help out too.  They don't allow directed giving however; if you prefer, the American Red Cross lets you designate your donation specifically towards the earthquake/tsunami fund.

And now?  Back to those videos...

Monday, March 14, 2011

All Shook Up

Despite my apparent self-absorbedness (I mean, c'mon, I have a blog), I do attempt to stay somewhat well-informed about the world around me.  I've opined in these pages on health care reform's effect on our chocolate supply, the humor value of election campaigns, Muslim Intolerance Syndrome, and all the latest research on middle-aged health and sanity.  Current events, no matter what their ilk, fascinate me, whether they center on domestic politics, say, or the Arabic world or natural disasters, just for instance.

All of which is to say, I'm feeling just a tad overwhelmed these days.  I've got newshound whiplash, as it were, what with trying to focus on renegade state senators in Wisconsin, revolutionaries in North Africa, and Mother Nature in the Far East.

And let's not forget exploding nuclear reactors, of course...

Makes it sort of hard to focus on planning dinner for the family, you know?  What the heck, kids, who needs a balanced diet if the end of civilization is nigh?  Let's eat ice cream while we prepare to shelter in place from radioactive fallout!

But pay attention - there will be a quiz once everything settles down.  We homeschooling mothers are like that.

[Earthquake images: Kishore]
[Radioactive child image: Edmonton Journal]

Friday, March 11, 2011

7 Quick Takes: Samuel Gompers Edition

People are sick here, languishing on couches, nestled in with boxes of Kleenex.  It rained all day, torrents of rain beating against the windows and creating miniature lakes in the grass all around our townhouse.  The children convinced me to let them watch Mary Poppins, a movie which is way longer than I remember its being.

How long is it?  It's so long that I had to go upstairs in the middle of it and take a nap.  And it was still going when I came back down.


So I'm just waiting for this miserable virus to hit me and resigning myself to the fact that we will be subsisting on ice cream and orange juice for the next week or so.  There are worse fates, right?


This afternoon Anna upped her prepaid cellphone plan to unlimited talk and text.  She's been talking on it nonstop ever since.  Do cellphones catch fire from overuse?  I'm worried about her hair.


 At what point can I safely assume that my almost-11-year-old with the sore throat and stomachache will not throw up this evening?  I'd like to go to bed sometime, but he's sleeping on my couch.  If I had been smart, I would have had him bed down in the bathroom.

I'm never Googling "vomit image" again, by the way.  College students?  Rest assured, if you fall asleep in your own vomit, someone WILL snap a picture of you and put it on the Internet.


I have become completely addicted to Words with Friends - anyone who wishes to play, my username is suburbancorrespondent (no surprise there, eh?).


Be glad that I am too tired right now to pontificate (much) on the importance of collective bargaining.  Suffice it to say that Wisconsin legislators apparently do not know much about labor history in the United States. At least, I hope they don't know much; the alternative would be that they just do not give a darn about nurse/patient ratios, say, or classroom size or safety in the workplace.  Because those are the sort of things that collective bargaining addresses - it's not all about the money.

Gosh, is it better that our legislators be ignorant or evil?  You decide.


And, yes, I am aware that unions have faults and abuses uniquely their own.  But there is no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater, is all.  Sheesh.

So why don't you go on over to Conversion Diary to see the rest of today's 7 Quick Takes?  You can rest assured, Jen will not be haranguing you about the rights of organized labor.

[Mary Poppins image: ZDNet]
[Vomiting pumpkin image: Raving Dave]
[Triangle Shirtwaist Factory cartoon:]

Monday, March 07, 2011

Unkindest Cut Of All

I was feeling rather intrepid last Friday as I headed for my long-awaited hairstyling appointment.  After all,  my previous haircut (wherein I threw off the shackles of the matronly bob) had gone very well; and I knew that all I had to do was walk into the salon, sit in the same stylist's chair, and say, "Do it again!"

"Do it again!"  3 simple words...

Instead I said, "Do you think you could give it that slanted bang all the teen girls have?"  Not that I fancy myself a fashionable young thing; I was just hoping to diminish the overwhelming effect of my somewhat large forehead.  On a bad day, I look like a Benjamin Franklin impersonator.

Somehow, that one little request gummed up the works.  "Slanted bangs," I said.  Somehow, that phrase encouraged my formerly reliable hair stylist to attack my long thick tresses with all the delirious abandon of a whirling dervish.  I had walked into the salon with stylish (if somewhat over-long) hair, hoping for a slight trim and a little pizzazz; I walked out looking remarkably like Carol Brady during her shag-haircut phase.

Like this...only I'm not smiling
Actually, no.  I wish I looked like Carol Brady.  Due, however, to my particular coloring and face shape, I more closely resemble a different icon of 70's TV - Keith Partridge.  The similarity is unmistakable.  All afternoon I said to myself, "I do not look like Keith Partridge," as if the mere act of uttering the words would change physical reality.  But the confused look on Larry's face when he came home told me all I needed to know.

I look like Keith Partridge.

Now if Larry would just stop humming "I Woke Up in Love This Morning"...

[Benjamin Franklin image: Physics World]
[Carol Brady image: Hollywood Dame]
[Keith Partridge image: Chickengoddess]

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Innocents Abroad

"Good news!" said Theo, home on Spring Break.  "I was accepted to State University's Arabic immersion program!"

"Is that one of the ones ROTC pays for?" I asked.

"Yup - I'll be studying Arabic, so they foot the bill."

"That's great! You'll have fun at State University - beats being stuck here for the summer."

"Actually, it's one of the study-abroad programs.  I'm going to Morocco."

"Morocco? As in, next to Algeria, near Tunisia, and a little too close to Libya and Egypt? That Morocco?"

"Uh, yeah, I guess so.  Why?"

And I thought I taught that kid to keep up on current events.  Another homeschooling fail, I suppose...

[Map credit: University of Notre Dame]
[Spring photo:]

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Who Needs Words?

You know what's sad?  I spent 3 years writing my heart out, striving to entertain the  people who would visit my blog each day, which effort resulted in an average daily readership was around 160. 

I know - not very impressive.

So!  Life starts kicking me in the behind, as it were, I slack off posting (mostly because I have largely lost my sense of humor and if anyone can find it, please mail it back to me pronto) and - due to some recent change in the Google Image search algorithm - I STILL average 160 readers.

Pictures of kites, and mice, and chocolate swiss army knives - that's what people are looking for these days, if my sitemeter stats mean anything. To hell with well-crafted posts, I guess...

I am still playing catch-up on my editing work; children formerly known as adorable (and, uh, bloggable) are turning into teenagers left and right around here; my husband requires close monitoring, as he has developed quite the Craigslist habit; and I currently have no appliances to complain about.  Have no fear, however; influenza is at its peak in this area, so I am sure to return soon with memorable posts about vomit and ginger ale

Isn't it nice to know there is still something in this world you can count on?