Thursday, January 28, 2010

Conversation 2.0

Why not? With all the Gov 2.0 and Web 2.0 stuff I see at work,.. and now it's oozing over into my personal life with some sort of Mom 2.0 event,...

I've already talked about how I use my phone now to converse with my teenager more than ever before. And I'm not talking via voice - we discuss the meaning of the universe via text messaging. Or whether or not he can have an airsoft war with his friends,.. you know, whatever's more important,..

I've found an even BETTER application for my awesome iPhone - virtual shopping! Yes! With the advent of being able to photomessage people, I no longer have to take my surly 13 year old boy who hates to shop actually with me. As long as I have the kid's measurements and what I think is a whiff of his fashion sense, I can tally ho alone. Music to my ears. I simply take a picture of said article of clothing and sms the kid. Of course, being the teenager he is, I have to:

Call his phone.

No answer.

Send a text message.

No response.

Call the house phone.

8 year old is probably airsoft gunned to answer the phone so the other two don't have to move from their chairs.

"Hello?" says tentative little voice.

"Hey dude! Can I speak to Big J?"


For quite a while.

"Who is this?"

"For God's sake's K, it's your mother. You've lived with me for 8 years, don't you recognize my voice?"


"Can I speak to Big J?"

"Just a sec."

Eternity passes,.. and God takes another Sunday breather,.. and big J gets on the phone.


"Can you go look at your text messages? I just sent you a picture of some shorts and I need to know if you like them or not."

"K." (He's on an alphabet diet ya'll. He has to spend his letters wisely.)

A few moments later - okay, in my terms? About a shirt and a cute little cardigan later,.. he sends back an answer to my sms - which was a picture of GNARLY surfer shorts and '????'.


Gah! "Why not?"

"I don't like them."

Welll, duh, big J, why don't you like them? So I can be like some sort of artficial intelligence creature and maybe learn from my mistakes.

"BTW, U take crappy pictures."

Gee thanks. I'm trying to clothe you and you find fault with my sense of artistry. "Trying not to get arrested,.."

So we sms back and forth for a while and I finally find shorts he likes.

But he was refering to picture #243 and not picture #244 like I thought, so they were the wrong ones anyway and then when I forced him to at least try them on for size he had a middle aged muffin top and the boy is a solid quarterback for his football team, so that was a little weird.

I never said I had the system figured out, just that I was excited about it.

It's funny the Big J is at such a loss for words when you really want it because I can remember another monumentous moment with him when he wasn't. It was the turn of the century (wow - I sound all horse drawn carriagey) and instead of referring to that time in our lives as Y2K like every one else, we referred to it lovingly as 'Why2K?"

Because there wasn't anything that kid didn't want to know. I had to read the kid street signs as we were zooming down the highway. I had to explain everything to the point that when he asked me how an elevator worked I told him it was magic.

Now, 13 years later, history repeats itself with my new 2 year old - Fifi. But she asks 'What's that?' and points to whatever - as we are jogging or driving or whatever. The point is, I don't know what she's pointing at because, like the light from the Sun, by the time it reaches me it's already 3 second old You know what I mean? We've already passed whatever object held her fancy and I have no idea what she's talking about. Just getting ready for those teenage years again, I guess.

The B? She's a wealth of interesting questions. Yesterday she asked me "Why do we have heads?" In my infinite wisdom I told her we had to have a place to put our brains -so - voila! Heads!" (she won't grow up to be a doctor on my account,..)

Then when I announced we were meeting daddy for a lunch date, she looked at me very seriously and asked, "So, why are you coming?"

Gee, I don't know, B, I guess since you aren't tall enough to reach the gas pedals I thought I'd drive you.

Then she told me "I LOVE Lady Gaga!"

And this was all on Monday.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Game Night: Not Rated E for Everyone

Where was I,.. oh yeah, "what I did for Christmas vacation."

So, one of the things that Grandma loves to do (and so do we, but we live with the little monsters, so we know how things will end up) is play games. Not mind games or anything scarey - we're talking Memory, Pictionary, you get the drift. This time around we tried CatchPhrase and Scrabble.

First, I was totally impressed with the eight year old. This is the kid who has been in special programs since he was two years old because his mind works a bit differently than the rest of us. He was great with guessing what words you are trying to yell clues about before the buzzer goes off. GREAT.

I also found out that he knows exactly what he's doing. Yes, when I yelled my clue that "this is how Kyle usually wears his shirts," he instantly said, "inside out!"

So, when the kid gets married with his shirt on backward, pants unzipped (sans underwear, mind you), one sock on and one sock off and shoes on the wrong foot - he will have done it on purpose.

Then, we naively switched to Scrabble. Which went well, until the boys realized you could make all sorts of bathroom words,. .if you had the right bowels. I mean vowels. (snicker).

Later that night, the big J was wrestling with a few last letters and we came up with 'eta' - which I'm sure is some sort of greek word (I was in a sorority, it sounds familiar,..give me another beer and I might remember,...). Hubby came back from whatever errand he was running and exclaimed - 'you mean ATE?' Oh yeah,.. that too. I guess that seals the deal. Kyle isn't the only one whose mind works in mysterious ways.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Help for Haiti

I am riveted to TV, tweets, radio, FB,.. and I know you are too. Don't just be an armchair quarterback. Even the littlest bit helps.

Some links:

CRS. Yes, I'm biased. I can tell you first hand that all but a little of that money goes to the people it's intended for,..(the rest goes for very small salaries, and overhead)

Some of my favorite sites are doing their part - like Cakewrecks. is another favorite NGO of mine - and HQ'd in Portland, user of GIS software, .. what's not to love? Why not shower them with donations,... , HQ'd across the pond is another amazing organization.

There are many. Pick your fav and donate.

Kudos to the geospatial community as they come together to assist the emergency responders, and I know, the rebuilders later, to see the land, the assets, the people, and coordinate efforts to the best of everyones' abilities. Here is a great list of organizations and resources, by no means exhaustive by Vector 1 Media, one of my favorite sites to write for and read since it deals with using GIS for sustainable living - something that is so important. Everyone deserves food, water, shelter and safety. Understanding the earth and our connectedness is so important in ensuring this happens.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Holiday Reloaded

I won't bore you with a "What I did for my Christmas Vacation" blog. I'll just give you the highlights. But before I do, I want to hit a couple of things that are more serious than my normal blog fodder.

First, please keep a relative of mine in your thoughts and prayers. Not everyone likes to be blogged about, so I'll just say this relative had a medical emergency a couple days before Christmas and is still in the hospital. She will be there or a rehabilitation facility indefinitely.
She's a wonderful person and the mother of four. She's served in a war (as if that's harder than being a mother of four). She's always there for you, no matter waht. She's been there for me when I certainly didnt' deserve it. She drove many hours to come take care of me and my family (TWICE!) when I was unable to; she sent care packages when I was pregnant (we'll all agree - that's a lot of care packages!); brought gifts when she visited; provided hand-me downs when they were needed. But most of all, she shares my same sarcastic sense of humo, and also being the mother of a large brood, she understands how it is. I miss her right now, but I know she will pull out of this. Her amazing family, husband and incredible kids are there for her.
My second bit of serious also involved an extended family member. I just want people to remember, if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. And rememer that what you perceive to be reality may indeed not be the same to everyone involved. There are other perspectives. I think we all live our lives trying to help others. That was the impression I was under, anyway.

Okay,let's get on with it:

Finding Kyle in the Space Needle is Like Finding a Needle in a Haystack

I've gone twelve years without losing a kid. Which means I was due, right?
Since we consider ourselves Washington state natives, the fact that we'd never taken our children to the Seattle Space Needle wasn't something we thought about. But then the oldest complained and so we packed ourselves, a grandmother, an aunt and uncle and four cousins into a couple of cars and headed north.

The Needle was excellent fun, except as I get older, I get more paranoid about totally stupid things. Like when the two oldest boys pointed out that Fifi was small enough to fit through the wires on the viewing platform. To which I then envisioned terrible things happening for the rest of our stay and hung closely to the walls of the Needle or just went inside to put myself out of my misery.

This prompted my boy children to ask if I ever relax.

Kid: "Do you worry all the time?"
Me: "Totally."

Kid: "What about when we are riding our scooters?"
Me: "I worry you'll get hit by a truck."

Kid: "Swimming?"
Me: "You'll knock your head on the side and drown."

Kid: "Shopping?"
Me: "Someone will steal you when I'm not looking."

Kid: "Riding in the car?"
Me: "You'll be eating a jolly rancher, choke, and I won't hear you hitting the back of the seat for help because I have the stereo up too loud."

See? ARGH! I drive myself crazy.

So, I was feeling pretty jolly what with the 'frost your own rocket cookies' for the kiddies activity (Space Needle - it's a theme.) and the picture with Santa in his rocket ship (theme, ya'll) We were down in the gift shop trying on hats and silly sunglasses. We were milling outside the the gift shop. We were milling on the way to the parking lot. We were milling in the parking lot. The kids did a massive Chinese fire drill, ending up in cars, and we hit the road.

As we were turning out of the parking lot, hubby (ever the more intelligent of our partnership) turns to me and says, "Kyle is in the other car, right?" To which I say, still feeling that 'I-am-totally-relaxed-and-not-freaking-out-about-anything" holiday glow, "Yep, I think so."

Hubby calls the other car. Kyle is not there. I don't think I waited for the car to stop before I high tailed it back to the big Needle. Then, the awful moment when you have to decide which fork in the road to take - Needle or parking lot, Needle or parking lot, Needle or parking lot - when did we lose the kid? Every orange coat I see I sprint towards, every call of "mom" I turn and stare,...

I turn into the bottom of the Space Needle and have almost made my way around when I spot said lost child leaning against a pole with a small posse of armed security guards. Thank goodness he was smart in his thinking and went DIRECTLY to a security guard to tell them he was lost. As we were leaving there were lots of guards, cashiers, janitors, etc,.. telling us they were so happy he found me, and yes, thinking, "Boy, what a slacker mom."

Don't miss the next installment of 'What I did on my Christmas Holdiday' - Scrabble with Elementary school boys, or, did you know there are 20 different ways to spell poop?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Gee, it's so good to be home,...

Only the second day of school and I'm notified of this happening at my kids' school:

From the RES principle:

"Today at about 12:50PM, a woman from the mobile home park adjacent to Ridgeview spoke to the children and threw gum balls to them over the fence. This was during 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade lunch recess. The woman was dressed in a Santa Bikini and spoke to the students about religion as she danced on the porch. I was alerted by the yard duty adn we immediately moved the students away from the fence. The woman was gone by the time I arrived at the fence,..."

Gawd,.. need I say more?