For years, I thought the Rose Parade was for me….

Today is my birthday.  For the month of January, I am not only 37 years old, I am also 444 months old – a prime number and a palindrome!!!!

*sound of crickets chirping*

Well, it amuses me greatly.  Others have been underwhelmed.  And have suggested that I be a little less giddy with the math.

For years, I thought that the Rose Parade was put on in celebration of my birthday, since mine was the closest to January 1st.  But then I met Jolene Morgan in the 3rd grade, whose birthday was January 2nd.  And so young, a dream was crushed.

*sound of crickets chirping*

Well, it crushed my poor little heart, okay? *looks sheepish*  So anyway, over the years, I came to know the blessing and the curse of a January 3rd birthday.


  • Will almost always be either during a school vacation or (if working) near a holiday weekend.
  • Can take advantage of all those cool New Years’ Sales.
  • Can substitute the “Nine Ladies Dancing” verse on the Twelve Nights of Christmas with “Happy Birthday to Me”….. *sound of crickets chirping*
  • You know how old you are in any given year without having to do the math (“Hey, how old was I in 1995? Oh, yeah, I was 13….”)


  • Get gypped on birthday presents.
  • Have a low birthday party attendance turnout.
  • Get lots of Christmas tablecloths, candles, snowmen, etc.
  • Tend to blow the New Years’ Resolutions really early.

This year, I plan to be smart – I’m not making my New Year’s Resolution until after my birthday.  Then maybe I’ll have a fighting chance of actually keeping it this year, I grin.

SunTzu, I’m not….

It’s January 2nd, 2009, and much like all of 2008, my single most-used word is “No.”

“No, you can’t eat all the cookies.”

“No, you can’t watch TV now.  I don’t care if LazyTown promotes healthy physical activities and stimulates creativity – and frankly, I think it’s a little creepy that you’re quoting Noggin – if you want to promote healthy physical activities, go play ball.”

“No, you can’t bounce the ball in the house.  Or bounce yourself off the walls.  Or bounce the moose off of the fireplace.  NO BOUNCING!”

“No, you can’t go on the computer now and point out all of the Lego toys that you still don’t have.”


“No, you can’t call Santa and ask him to send you presents early.  Because Santa only comes on Christmas.  He doesn’t deliver in January.  He doesn’t deliver in February either.  Or March.  Or – look, do you want to be on the Naughty list? Santa is taking a well deserved break until December 25th (and probably drinking heavily-or maybe that’s just me.).”

How “A Christmas Carol” became Parenting Mistake #435:

Winter Break, Day 1:

Kenneth has spent the day doing his best Tigger impersonation, complete with bouncing against walls, rhyming onomatopoeia-style, and pretending that I’m Pooh.  For the record, I’ve been knocked down once, and bounced against at least two dozen times.

My son is soexcitedthatit’sChristmas that at this rate, it will take two of him to contain his glee by Thursday.  

And there are many reasons for his glee:

  • He gets to watch TV. On WEEKDAYS.  For fifteen consecutive days.  During the school year, the TV goes dark from Monday through Friday after school.  And during that time, Kenneth’s only allowed to watch the Disney Channel, Noggin, PBS, or HGTV.  My sister and I had to go through the same torture from 1st through 12th grade, and by golly, it’s good enough for my son as well. 
  • He gets PRESENTS. From a LOT of PEOPLE.  Although his birthday is in late November, it just doesn’t compare to Santa Claus or elves.
  • He doesn’t have to do homework.  The child is in first grade.  His homework is COLORING. I had to bite my lip when he giddily announced that he didn’t have any more hard work until next year.  But that’s okay.  I’ve been doling out the new card games over the last few days, games with sneaky geography lessons and math in them.  And now the kid knows that New Hampshire is in New England and West Virginia is in the East. 
  •  He gets to play with the electric train.  Actually,  I don’t know who’s more excited about that one – my son or my father.  Until the train room is built, the only time that Dad’s extensive collection of model trains in the house is allowed in the house is during Christmas.   So the weekend after Christmas, Dad lugs out the artificial tree, the twenty million boxes of decorations, and then skips out of the garage with his most favorite train sets.  The train track is lovingly set down around the Christmas tree (one circle, that’s all he gets after the Living Room debacle of 2005).  Right now, it’s Thomas the Tank Engine (complete with creepy moving eyes), but at any given moment, you could see a different train.  Dad’s sneaky that way, I grin.  And I’m a little worried about how many trains have been stashed away in the garage.
  • He gets carte blanche on baking requests.  I go a little berserk on baking over the holidays, and at some point, the kitchen gets turned into a short-order grill.  “You want chocolate chip cookies? Sure, no problem – HEY, FLIP SOME MORE BROWN BOMBERS!”  *coughs*  So anyway, Kenneth has had lemon bars, lemon bread, pumpkin bread, chocolate chip cookies and brownies.
  • He gets read to.  A lot.  This year, in addition to “Mooseltoe“, “Santa Mouse, Where Are You?“, and the other assortment of Christmas books, I decided to branch out and read Kenneth “A Christmas Carol”. 

How reading “A Christmas Carol” became Parenting Mistake #435:  

Unless you want to turn a 20-minute reading time into a 2 hour long Q&A, DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS BOOK UNTIL YOUR CHILD IS 10.  Or a very precocious 9. 
I should have known after reading “Jacob Marley was dead”, that this would not be an easy read for a 6-year-old.  Don’t get me wrong, Kenneth loves the story, it’s just…I’ve had to explain why Scrooge is mean to his employee, and Misers 101, and what the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present are trying to teach Scrooge, and you know what?  6-year olds don’t really get the nuances of metaphors. 

We’re on the Ghost of Christmas Present now, and unfortunately, Kenneth won’t let me skip ahead to “God bless us, everyone”.

Next year, I’m hiding “The Old Curiosity Shop“.

The Moderate Mom, take 1

Hello!  I’ve made the leap over from MySpace blogging to internet blogging.  

And my journey to the Dark Side is now complete.  Or more optimistically, I’m taking a Quantum Leap.  Man, I miss that show.

“And so Dr. Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home.” – excerpt from Quantum Leap opening credits.

My 2008’s been good – how ’bout yours? 

2008 has been the year of sign-ups and break-ups – all of the digital variety.

I’ve signed up with:

I’ve broken up with MySpace – it wasn’t you, baby, it was me, I swear.

I’ve acquired a/an:

  • iPod (whose library I’ve accidentally erased twice.  Seriously, it takes 20 hours to laboriously fill the thing, and 1 button erases it?  Who the hell thought of that????), 
  • EnV (as much as I’d like an iPhone, I tend to drop/lose/soak my phones on a bi-monthly basis),  
  • new laptop (courtesy of Kate, who pillow-thumped my last laptop into resembling the victim of a bear mauling), and
  • carpal-thumb syndrome from texting so much on my EnV phone this year.

I’ve lost:

  • my temper more times than I can count,
  • my phone (see above,  I grin), and
  • most of my paper minutae, hence the shifting to online disclosures. 

Yes, Virginia, there is a persistent voice nagging at me that I’ve now pretty much set myself up as chum for online advertisers, spamming and identity theft.  But I’ve pretty much managed to stomp it into oblivion. 

Have I done anything low-tech this year?  In a word, COOKING.  And lots of it, as my waistline will mournfully attest.  One of the few paper products that managed to survive the Great Purging Episode of ’08 were my Gourmet and Bon Appetit magazines.  Over the past few months, I’ve been poring through said magazines as well as my cookbooks in an effort to break out of the “pesto pasta” rut. 

I mock Rachael Ray sometimes, but her “30 minute cookbooks” are actually pretty cool.  They LIE about only taking 30 minutes (plan on 45-60 minutes, though, and you’re golden), but they’re healthy, easy, and can adapt to serving from 2-6 people in a pinch.  Some of my favorite recipes have been: Bistro Burgers with Carmelized Shallots, Sage and Balsamic Pork Chops with Pumpkin Polenta, and Cider Vinegar Chicken with Smashed Potatoes.

See?  Pretty moderate stuff.  Wait ’til I get cranked up about bad grammar, politics or Yo Gabba Gabba.