Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Why I Like Control

Last year for a brief period of time (apparently at least a day) I decided to just "let things happen".  It was school picture day last year and it was the only free dress day that the girls have all year.  The night before picture day these words came out of my mouth, "You girls can pick what you want to wear."  They looked at me in shock then ran to their rooms lest their real mother come back and inhabit her body.

When I picked them up from school they informed me that they were allowed to take sibling pictures.  I said, "You mean you had your picture taken TOGETHER?"  It was the first year I had two children in school together.  I had never heard of this.  I was not prepared.  And I had given up control to a four year old and a nine year old.

While I did not order the sibling photo from the school photographer, I did violate copyright by snapping this photo just before I turned in the proofs as a reminder to myself what happens when I give up control.

This year, I decided not to leave things to chance.  My coffee, I will leave up to chance.  This is serious business.  This year's attire...

For all those people who just think things just have a way of working out, there is usually a very busy mom working things out in the background.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Profiling at Starbucks

Yes, I frequent Starbucks.  No, I haven't found a little independent shop to support with my mighty dollar.  Besides, it's on my way...everywhere...  And I feel some amount of guilt about contributing to the corporate monster.  But Starbucks employees are so happy.  They seem to have the best job in the whole world when you walk in. So I continue to give my dollar to the corporate giant.  But this story isn't about that.  It is about how I am a freak. 

If you do not know me very well, you might have surmised from my stories that I am a bit of a control freak.  I leave very little to chance in my life.  I do not gamble.  I do not wait and see how things turn out in most cases...I make my own outcomes, so to speak.  So it is very surprising that a few years ago without really meaning to, I began to play a game of Starbucks roulette.  It all started one day when I was in a particularly indecisive mood. (Gasp!)  I was in line at my local Starbucks then suddenly they moved on and the very happy, perky person was asking me what she could make for me today.  I didn't know.  I absolutely had not had enough time to come to a decision.  So without thinking I said, "Whatever the person in front of me ordered is fine."

And so it started.  Most of the time, for the last 3 years, when I go to Starbucks I order what the person in front of me orders.  This has forced me, over the years, to try many, many drinks that I would never have tried.  I have had a lot of success and quite a few failures.  I discovered I can't stand soy milk.  NOT a fan of Chai!  Bleh!  And these people who order extra hot, holy cow!  They must have already burned off their taste buds in a nuclear accident, geez!  There are days, every now and again when I have a craving for something in particular, or when I walk in and there is no one in line.  Then I am on my own.  But most days there is a line.

This leads me to what I think can be classified as profiling.  As I get in line behind someone, I will size the person up and down, scrutinize them very carefully, if you will.  I will look at them to try to determine if they look lactose intolerant.  What kind of phone do they carry.  Are they a busy mom or pharmaceutical rep?  I am a Starbucks profiler.  If I determine that they look like a bad orderer, I will say to the person in line behind me, "You go ahead, I am having trouble deciding what I want."  Which, of course, is true.  Then I will try and size them up.  Do they look like they take care of themselves?  I really need to order non-fat today.  I hope this girl straight from exercise class isn't binging after spin but is still health conscience after yoga.

As you can see the thought process is quite extensive.  And if you will remember, this whole process started because I didn't want to THINK.  Ordering what the person in front of you ordered, took the thinking out of the equation.  It was easy, just walk in and say "ditto".  Now, look at me!  I am now over-thinking the person, scanning the crowd for a better orderer.  Oh, wait, look at her!  She looks like she knows how to order, no really you go ahead, I just need to take this call...I am just going to slip in here at the back of the line.  I just lost 6 minutes by ducking to the back of the line but I dodged the "soy bullet" big time...whew.  Okay, we are just about up, it's almost our turn, here she goes, wait for it, don't lean in too close, she will think you are weird...

And so the internal dialogue goes until I hear "I will have a grande, non-fat, triple splenda, extra foam, vanilla latte."

Jackpot!  I smile to myself.  And when it is my turn to belly up to the barista I say, "I'll have what she's having."

I love this game...

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Before School Science Lesson

This morning on the way to school Lucy asked, "Mommy, why do we need trees?"

Well Lucy, we need trees to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen.  We exhale carbon dioxide and the trees take in that carbon dioxide along with sunlight and H2O and they release oxygen into the air so we can breathe.  We also need trees for shade.  They provide important habitat for birds and other animals who use the trees as their homes.  Once upon a time, humans cut down too many trees because we wanted the land or the wood to build things or to make paper, but we discovered that we altered the lives of animals and whole ecosystems by cutting down too many trees.

There are so many things that put carbon dioxide out into the air, like cars and coal plants, and cows.  This carbon dioxide is causing the planet to warm up just a little and changing the weather patterns.  We need all the trees to scrub the air clean and convert as much CO2 as possible into O2.

In her announcers voice Emma then said "And that concludes our before-school science lesson of the day.  Mom, when I ride the bus next year to middle school, how will I get the 10 minute science lesson of the day?"

Good question.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Listen to me throw Lucy under the Bus on National Public Radio

I was interviewed for a radio program out of LA called To the Point.  It is a long show (51 minutes, I believe).  Oklahoma has publicly funded pre-K.  They wanted the opinion of a mother from a red state who had a child go through pre-K last year.

In the first part of the interview I kind of spoke honestly (disparagingly) about Lucy.  If you have followed this blog for any length of time, you know Lucy was a pill up until she started school.
Universal Pre-School Education: Poverty and Politics - To the Point on KCRW 89.9 FM | Internet Public Radio Station Streaming Live Independent Music & NPR News Online from Los Angeles, CA

They posted my name on their website with my twitter handle.  I am waiting for the tweets to start!

It was so scary to be on live radio!

Ignore all the "um's"

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Snow Day

We woke up to snow coming down in Tulsa.  This happens so infrequently here that it causes quite a lot of excitement.

The snow was a dry snow that didn't form snowballs well (or snowmen), but that didn't stop the girls from throwing snow at each other.  It was mostly an ineffective dusting but good fun, nonetheless.

They made snow angels in the neighbors yard.

I love this picture of Lucy running.  Mike took almost the exact same picture of my niece running when she was about the same age.  She is a blur because she was constantly moving...just like Lucy.

I love it that she will wear this hat now.  I made it for her two winters ago and she wouldn't even try it on after I finished it.  Now, she loves it and won't take it off.

I was standing with my back to the girls, but facing the glass door.  They tried to sneak up on me to hit me with snow.  I snapped this picture of them right as they thought I could not see them, further perpetuating the idea that I have eyes in the back of my head.

No school tomorrow due to the minor dusting of snow we got here...