Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Two Year Blogoversary

Yesterday marked my second anniversary of blogger-dom. Yay for me. (Enthusiastically pats self on the back).

I guess this is the part where I'm supposed to talk about why I blog.

Answer: because I live in Podunkville, land of nobody like me; land of Am I Taking Crazy Pills For Thinking All Of This Is Off?**

And because I'm an introvert who masquerades as an extrovert, sometimes convincingly, sometimes not so much - to the point DH occasionally says "Quit faking, you don't like that person and that's fine."

I need to blog, and I really, really enjoy my online community outlet. Thanks for sticking with me.

** By way of example, at a friend's house last night, one of DH's coworkers started teasing the hosts' 5-year-old son for sitting in his sister's pink Pottery Barn chair with her name embroidered on it, instead of the dark blue chair with his name on it. WTF? The coworker took a picture of the kid sitting in the pink chair and said he was going to send it to everyone at the kid's school. No really, WTF??? And that, my friends, is what Podunkville people are like.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hummus Lurve

I am a hummus snob.

The best hummus I have ever had was back in 1995 at a restaurant called The Olive Mountain, in Evanston, Illinois. I hope to return someday. It was totally amazing.

Ever since then, I have tried to find a decent substitute. I've even tried making my own. Utter Fail.

I've lived in 5 different U.S. states and in one foreign country, and let me tell you, I have tried every hummus available in every supermarket available. They're mostly gross, they're not creamy enough, and they have no acidity. Restaurant hummus is usually much, much better (duh) but seeing as I live in Podunkville, I never have access to restaurant hummus.

So let's just say that out of necessity, I'm something of a self-styled expert in Store-Bought Hummus.

I recently tried Sabra brand hummus, and their Roasted Garlic variety totally rocked. (The other Sabra varieties were just ok for me, but were still miles above most other store brands.) Sabra Roasted Garlic Hummus is not quite Olive Mountain level goodness, but it is creamy and delicious, and my kids absolutely love it to pieces, and I have to fight them for the last scoops. Try it!

Sabra should totally pay me for recommending them, but that's not how I roll.

What are you snacking on?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

In Which I Told - The Follow Up Post

I finally managed to get in touch with the parents of the 3-year-old who I found being left alone for half an hour on Friday morning at a local play gym.

It took all weekend, and all of yesterday, and many rounds of phone tag and messages, but I finally got one of the child's parents on the phone. Even though I know them personally, this took some doing. I had to actively push past my own desire not to keep picking up the phone, again, and again. But I'm glad I did.

I found the father to be completely unreachable, and the mother to be unreachable at first, and then a bit of a denier.

After I left a voice message saying "I need to speak with you because I witnessed your daughter in a dangerous situation on Friday" - in no uncertain terms on their landline, the mother finally sent me a text yesterday evening saying "It's hard to talk when I have all my kids, could you just text me about it or send me an email?" I called her back again and she picked up and I said "I wouldn't insist that we talk on the phone about it if it weren't serious - it will only take a minute."

Then I told her about the little girl being left alone for 30 minutes.

She said "My nanny would never leave her alone at the gym intentionally."

To which I said, "Be that as it may, that is what I witnessed, and I suggest you speak to so-and-so at the gym about it."

She said she would. She also mentioned that the kid was supposed to be in a class that morning, and wasn't sure what was going on. Ugh.

I wanted to tell her about the part where I heard the sitter say she's probably going to quit, but I felt there was a vibe of too much denial and probably shock for me to mention it.

I'm blogging about this to process it all, really. I'm just really shocked at how many walls these parents have up to prevent them from having any dialogue about their kids. I'm sure they don't see it that way though. Maybe it is unintentional.

Am I weird for thinking this whole thing just seems off?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Phone Call I'm Not Looking Forward To

Yesterday, I witnessed a friend's babysitter, Ms. H, do something that crossed a major boundary for me.

Unfortunately, a little over a year ago, I'd heard the same sitter had (allegedly) behaved inappropriately in the exact same venue, and I even blogged about it. So now I feel I really do need to pick up the phone and say something to the parents. Here's what I saw that upset me yesterday.

I took my kids to the local indoor play gym. We were the first ones there that morning. Or so we thought. As we walked in, I was surprised to see my friend's 3-year-old daughter playing all alone in the huge gym, which is filled with gymnastics equipment such as rope swings, huge trampolines, parallel bars, pommel horses, and balance beams. As my mother would say: "innumerable, creative ways to fall and get paralyzed if not used properly" - or, more probably, to just have a ton of fun on.

Nobody was looking after the little 3-year-old in this huge place. At first I figured her babysitter was in the bathroom for a minute (still, kind of questionable judgment there - why not take the kid potty with you if there's no one there to ask to please watch her for a second). Then the little girl started climbing a storage unit in an area that's off limits to kids, so I went over to her and asked her to come with me, and I took all three kids to the front desk, and reported to the receptionist that this little girl here was just playing completely unsupervised and went into a dangerous, off-limits area - and where's her babysitter?

Receptionist calls a young female employee from the back, and she agrees to look after the little girl for awhile until someone shows up for the kid. I check the bathroom with my own kids, nope, no babysitter there.

A half an hour later, the babysitter finally shows up, holding a disposable cup of coffee. Wow.

I'm flabbergasted. There are drive thru coffee places every 10 feet in Podunkville. This is the Pacific Northwest. There are several coffee places with nice play areas for the kids to roam. Nobody ever needs to drop a kid off somewhere in order to get themselves a decent cup of coffee.

Half an hour later, loads more people have showed up, and the little girl falls off the uneven bars, landing flat on the ground. She has really hurt herself and starts crying, literally right at the feet of me and another friend. We look around and at that moment, and unlike the rest of the adults present, the sitter is on the other side of the room, sitting down, texting, having no idea what's going on with the little girl. She finally sees us consoling the little girl and comes over, grabs her hand and says "You're strong, stop crying." I wouldn't call it a harsh tone of voice, but I wouldn't call it one with much empathy either. The little girl seems fine the rest of the time.

As we're leaving, and the kids are all waiting their turn for their hand stamps, the sitter gets into a VERY LOUD conversation with the receptionist. She's a loud talker I guess. And I can't help but overhear it, which sucks, because she said some incredibly mean things about the child's parents, like "they chose to have 4 kids,"..."they've been relaxing in Hawaii all week"... "it wouldn't be so bad if the stupid dogs would stop barfing everywhere".. and "I'm probably going to quit soon, after the baby comes (the sitter is pregnant)."

Awkward. And sad.

Sad that she agreed to watch 4 kids and 2 dogs by herself for a week while in the first trimester of pregnancy - clearly, this experience went beyond her personal limits. So I can see why she wasn't in the best of moods that day. But still. Shitty judgment.

And now I have a phone call I have to make. I can't not say something after all of that. I'm thinking of writing myself a script for this phone call. What to say? What to leave out? I dunno.

DH thinks I should tell the parents only the parts about how I witnessed her leaving the kid unsupervised for half an hour while getting a coffee, plus the very public, very disloyal shit talking about the parents that I overheard.

Your thoughts?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Everyone's Talking About Sheryl Sandberg

Unless you've been living in a hole (which I sometimes do), you've probably noticed that everyone, everywhere (I exaggerate only slightly) has been talking about Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO lately.

I've noticed a couple of trends in the recent internet discussions about her.

There's this odd debate about the role of "luck" in her story. "She just got lucky." As if "luck" and "hard work" are mutually exclusive. As if building a relationship with a key mentor or leaving one job for a better one is just about "luck" and has nothing at all to do with "hard work." What's up with the either/or thinking? Why can't it be BOTH "luck" AND "hard work"?

There's also the sad/endless media-created "Mommy Wars" (gah!) debate Sandberg's story brings up: WOHM, SAHM, blah blah snore, you already know my take on this = who gives a shit about the label? (All I care about are the non-existent "Daddy Wars.") People are INDIVIDUALS with UNIQUE PREFERENCES. As in, there are people like to wear capri pants sometimes, or shell out $75 for the unflattering canvas footwear du jour that's all the rage. I happen to think they're fugly, but at least I know my way isn't necessarily "right." To each their own. Every family has unique needs and challenges. I'm not going to compare my own needs and my sorely limited set of work/life balance resources to those of a billionaire married to a multi-millionaire endowed with multiple live-in nannies and kids who probably slept through the night at birth. But good for them. I'm awesome in my own way. So are they.

Where was I?

Oh yes. There's also the debate about the Horatio Alger fantasy the Sandberg story conjures. It's great that someone from a relatively disadvantaged group (women) "Made It," and has succeeded (in terms of pecuniary gain and revered social status) beyond most capitalist dreams. "One of them did it, so why can't they all?"... "They just need to work harder... stop lacking ambition" ... "Be born to better parents."

I think this blogger gets it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Otomi Wall Mural

I'm loving this Otomi textiles-inspired wall mural in turquoise, blogged about HERE. If a little magical elf came and did this to my kid's room, I'd have to marry it. The elf, not the room.