Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day at work, and two new followers

I'm at work today, which is Memorial Day here in the US, a day to remember our citizens who died defending our country. We have to work every other "minor holiday" and also alternate the "major holidays." It's quiet so far, which is how I like it.

I'm thinking of the gay and lesbian soldiers who died for their country - a country that made their love illegal for many years, and to this day doesn't allow them to serve openly in the armed forces. There was a letter from a gay World War II veteran to the President posted on one of the gay web sites this week. It told of finding love with a fellow soldier in North Africa and their plans to meet again after the war was over. But it didn't work out that way - one of them was killed in combat. I did meet a gay couple that met through the gay underground during WWII. They exchanged letters and met after the war ended and were together for over 50 years. Stories like that aren't told - I never heard them growing up as a closeted teen. But things are changing for the better. Just this week the US Congress took the first steps toward repealing "Don't Ask Don't Tell."

Saturday night we walked over to the home of some friends for dinner. Mark and Nancy and their three boys Luke, Gavin and A.J. had us and another family, Aaron and Lisa and their children Ryan and Julia over for dinner. Our son Leo, Luke, and Ryan are all in the same grade at the Montessori program in the neighborhood public school. Everyone seemed to have a good time. I got to hold 4 month old A.J. and get what David refers to as my "baby fix." He's fine with it as long as I don't want another child. I don't think that he could handle another baby. He's the stay at home but also work from home parent, and it wouldn't be fair to him.

I seem to have two new followers. I have a custom of welcoming new people to the blog and asking if they want to make any comments. Welcome to Churchill 1990, who I can't find much about and doesn't seem to have a blog of his or her own, and to Waiting for John, whose name appears to be Tristram. I read over your last two posts Tristram but I should go back further to understand all that's happening.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Don't Ask Don't Tell, throwing rocks, extra capacity

Yesterday the US House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services committee passed bills to end Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the policy that bars gays and lesbians from serving in the military. The bills haven't passed yet, and the compromises in the bills aren't great, but is an important first step. I have no interest in serving in the military, but I do want gays and lesbians to have that opportunity.

Yesterday David cooked Leo a hamburger and Leo became upset that the bread was too soft. David wasn't happy about Leo's complaint, so they were both somewhat upset. Leo then went outside and got into a shouting match with the boy living across the street. He threatened to throw a rock at the other kid, which David overheard. David came outside and told Leo to put his bike up and come inside. A few minutes later David heard the other kid's father in the garage telling Leo to get David. Leo had thrown a rock and hit the other kid on the ear, drawing blood. David was furious with Leo. Leo's now grounded and knows that he's in a lot of trouble. He can't play outside for now, and there will be more conversations this weekend.

David saw his allergist today and had lung function testing done. His lung capacity is 30% above normal, probably due to either his height (6'4") or his years of rowing. When he sent a text to me to let me know, I responded with "I guess you're good at blowing." He accused me of being a perv. I think that if you've got it you should use it ;-) David will start allergy injections again. He tried it a number of years ago but had too many bad reactions so had to stop.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Leo released his butterflies...into the stomachs of birds

This morning Leo released his ten butterflies. He was going to release them last night but it was raining. So this morning he opened up the butterfly tent/cage in the front yard, and the butterflies just sat there. So he put his hand inside and coaxed one onto his hand, removed his hand, and eventually the butterfly flew away. He was excited, of course. I had to leave for work before all ten were released, but David sent me this text - "The birds have eaten well this morning. Sigh. I suppose it was inevitable." I emailed him and apparently Leo saw some of it and isn't happy with birds now. I plan to talk with him about animals eating other animals to live. We've talked about this before, but he never saw it in person until now.

I hope that this link works - I can't get links that I try to add to work.
Shit, it still didn't work. I'll try again.
It's an article by the brother of a friend of David and me. He's the gay grandson of Oral Roberts, the former televangelist. He talks about his family and growing up gay in that family and situation. It's an interesting article. His brother, our friend, is also gay and they have both been rejected by their parents. Really sad - as a parent I can't imagine rejecting your child for any reason.

Monday, May 24, 2010

we have butterflies, and two medals, and a new bike

I posted earlier about my son Leo getting caterpillars through the mail. Now nine out of ten have hatched from their cocoons and are flying around their pen. He's really excited. David texted that the first ones had hatched on Friday and I called home to talk to Leo, but he was so excited and distracted that the conversation didn't go very well. He's taking good care of them. They have fresh sugar water drops to drink quite often, and he cuts roses from the backyard for them, plus he's cut up an orange for them to suck on. Once the last one had hatched we'll give him a while more to enjoy them then release them. Today he woke up at 3 AM and he says that he couldn't sleep, so he went downstairs to check on the butterflies. He woke David up, so they had a discussion about the butterflies not causing problems or interfering with his sleep.

David went to a regatta at Lake Natoma on the other side of Sacramento and rowed two races, a double and a single. He won both of them! I'm really proud of him because he worked hard in training despite his recent health problems.

Yesterday we went to a local bike store and bought Leo a new, larger bike. He's really excited and has been riding it every chance that he gets.

I also wanted to welcome a new follower, Mark, who lives in D.C. (that's Washington D.C. to non-Californians) He has an interesting blog, but I haven't been able to figure out what the significance of the blue sponge is yet. Care to explain, Mark?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Leo can ride his bike

On May 9th, Mothers' Day here in the US, Leo decided that he wanted to ride his bike without training wheels. David and I thought that he was capable of it last summer, but he is at times a cautious child, so we decided to let him decide when he was ready. An older kid from across the street convinced him to give it a try last summer and took one training wheel off before Leo changed his mind. So he's been riding his bike since then with one training wheel, which was somewhat comical to watch.

Then he decided to take the other training wheel off and give it a try. About a week earlier David had seen his great balance on his scooter, and commented that he should do fine with riding his bike. He smiled when hearing that. I was in the garage when he announced that he was taking his training wheel off. I asked if he wanted to go to the park and try it on the grass but he said no and asked me to watch him. We didn't realize that David was upstairs in the laundry room and heard the conversation and was watching out the window.

He took the training wheel off and rode away, doing fine the very first time. After a few minutes we went inside to surprise David. He told us that he had seen it all from the window. We got the camcorder and recorded his first day of riding his bike. We were outside standing in the rain when David said "Why are we out here in the rain?" I answered "Because this is the one time in our life that our only child learns to ride his bike, and I don't care about the rain."

Leo's been spending as much time as possible on his bike. We plan to get him a larger one soon. Yesterday he went with me when I went jogging, which he has wanted to do for years it seems. We tried it once on his scooter but he couldn't keep up and had trouble going up and down the sidewalk so he gave it up soon after starting. He was so happy to finally be able to come with me yesterday. He told me three or four times how much he was enjoying it. I cut my run short, about 4 1/2 miles, and he had to rest near the end. I wanted to make it shorter but he insisted that he could do the last loop around the neighborhood. It was fun for me too. He makes me a proud and happy Papa (his name for me.)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

151 hours of television a month?!

I read a statistic today that really surprised me. The average American watches 151 hours of television a month. That's nearly the equivalent of a full-time job, or five hours every day. It is apparently also an all-time high for television viewing. I really find that hard to believe. And if the average American watches that much, how much extra does this average person have to watch to make up for my total lack of television viewing?

I don't want to say that television is inherently bad, because it isn't. There is good television out there, but not 151 hours a month of it. All things in moderation is a good motto, but 5 hours a day isn't in moderation, in my opinion. How can people watch that much? I'm not home 5 hours daily between getting home from work and going to bed.

I was also surprised that television viewing is at an all-time high. I would have thought that with the internet that people would be watching less and surfing the web, or emailing, or blogging [;-)] more.

I also don't want to sound like I've never watched television, because much of my childhood was spent in front of the television. My mother always worked, so we stayed with my grandmother before we started school and after school each day, and she always had the television on. I watched so many episodes of Gilligan's Island that I know the plots of every show - not something that I'm proud of, but it's an unfortunate reality. My parents are of the age that they can remember the first time that they saw television, and they think that television is great and always have it on. During my childhood every night everyone would sit in the den and watch television until bedtime. At our last visit back to my parents, I would go the talk to them in the evenings only to find that they would be engrossed in television, so after a while I gave up.

I can remember the exact moment that I realized that television wasn't the great invention that my parents thought that it was. I was about 13, and some show that the family watched each week went into syndication and started being shown in the afternoons. I thought 'Oh, that's how shows end up being shown each afternoon.' Then I had the realization 'Does that mean that Gilligan's Island was once watched by adults?! It wasn't a lame comedy made for kids to watch after school?' My television viewing started to drop from that moment on.

A follow-up from an earlier post. The caterpillars are growing very rapidly. They've probably doubled in size since Monday and are starting to spin silk, but not build chrysalises yet.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

an oral experience

I had an oral experience last week.

So we're... having the oral experience, and after a while I start to think 'This has been going on for a while. How much longer is this going to take?' A little later I get an answer - "I'm about 75% done." I think 'OK, I can handle another 25%." What seems like much more than 25% of the time later comes an update "I'm about 90% finished." I'm thinking '90%? This is taking a long time. My jaw is getting sore.' Later I hear "OK, I'm done with this part. Why don't you take a break and we'll start again in a while." I think 'OK, my jaw could use a rest.' So we take a break for maybe 10 minutes.

Then we start again, in a new way. An object is held up and I'm asked "What do you think?" What does one say to that - it looks fine? So next it's "I'll slide it in and see how it fits. Oh, perfect fit the first time. What do you think?" I kind of nod and grunt. So more poking and prodding, then squirting some blue liquid in there. After 2 1/2 hours we're finally finished. My jaw was aching and the advice I got was "Take an anti-inflammatory such as motrin. It will help with the pain. And take a flower on your way out." OK, I took a flower as my souvenir.

Can you figure out that kind of oral experience this was? Think about it before you read on. I'm curious about how many figure it out.


So that was my visit to my dentist. One of my teeth had a small crack around an old filling, so she drilled it out and made a ceramic filling. She drilled for 45 minutes, thus the 75% then 90% done. She held up the ceramic filling for me to see before she slid it in, then used some blue adhesive to make it stay. She seems to be a fine dentist, but my husband David refers to her as "Chatty Cathy" since she seems to talk much more than any other dentist I've ever had. During the drilling she and her assistant were talking about the last episodes of Glee and American Idol. Not really what I wanted to hear, but I couldn't participate in the conversation.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

the caterpillars have arrived

For Christmas (yes we celebrate it even though I'm not Christian. We celebrate it as a family holiday to get together, without any mention of the religious origin of the holiday) my son Leo received a butterfly kit as a gift from us. It has a net-like enclosure for the mature butterflies, and a postcard to send away for caterpillars when the weather is warmer. We mailed the postcard last week and they arrived yesterday. Leo was so excited when David told him at the end of school that he raced back inside to tell his teacher. (We gave a second kit to his teacher to use in the classroom, and her caterpillars should be arriving soon.) He had David page me at work to call home so that Leo could tell me all about them. The enthusiasm of a six year old is very special. He showed them to me as soon as I got home. The ten caterpillars come in two jars with their food and windows to watch them. He wanted to carry them around with him and have them sleep in his room with them, but we realized that if they are to survive he shouldn't carry them constantly. It will be fun to watch them grow larger, spin their chrysalis, emerge and grow.

I was impressed that Leo learned the word "chrysalis" in kindergarten when the classroom had silkworms. When I was a kid we just called it a cocoon. It's good that he's being taught the correct terms when young.

Leo did something yesterday that I thought would make David furious, but David just shook his head about it. We had our friends Gareth and Analisa and their kids Alec and Kaylin over for dinner on Saturday. David made two new dishes, a baked risotto with spinach and asparagus, and roasted sweet potatoes with pecans and a sweet topping. Leo wanted more, so David went to the store, bought more ingredients and cooked both dishes yesterday just for Leo. Leo looked at them and announced that he wasn't hungry for dinner and didn't eat a bite of either one. All that work and he didn't eat a bite.

I also wanted to introduce a new follower, jennrubenstein. Welcome Jenn. Your profile tells a lot about you, and I encourage people to check it and your blogs out.

Monday, May 3, 2010

always pee before a race

On Saturday I ran the Parkway half marathon, which is run along the American River parkway in Sacramento. The parkway runs for 32 miles along the south side of the American River. Beautiful views, a nice paved course for runners and bikers. But it is not wide enough for a race of nearly 3000 people. Also, the park where it starts is fairly small without nearly enough parking for the four races that were held (half marathons for runners and a separate one for walkers, a 5k, and a kids run.) So I parked in the nearby neighborhood, and some people parked at a local high school and rode buses in.

I underestimated the amount of traffic and the difficulty finding a parking space, so I made it to the park only 10 minutes before the race was to start. I saw the huge lines for the porta potties and realized that there wasn't time for my usual prerace bathroom trip. I thought that I would be OK without one. Then once I squeezed into the crowd at the spot for my expected race pace (better races ask people to line up based on their pace or expected finish time, so that slower runners are toward the back.) Just before race time, the race director announces that the last bus is running late and it will be just a little bit before we start. Well, 20 minutes later we're still packed like sardines and my bladder is really complaining. For some reason the race has a local bagpipe and drum group start the race by marching through the runners while playing. I've always like bagpipe music, but it seemed a little strange. So we finally start to run - well, walk at first because of the crowd.

Within a quarter mile I realize that there is no way that I can run 13.1 miles without emptying my bladder. So I find the first bathroom that I can, get out of the race, stand in line (making a runner stand still while other runners are going my makes us really crabby), and finally go and get back in the race. By then I'm way behind my expected pace and am among slower runners. So I've weaving and dodging around people, trying to speed up. My first mile took over 10 minutes with the bathroom break, so I decide to speed up the next few miles to catch up. That was a mistake! I hadn't really trained well for this race. The weather didn't help - April had more than twice the average monthly rainfall and I missed a few long runs because of it.

By mile 3-4 I was back at my expected pace, but toward the end I was paying for going too fast in miles 2-4. The last two miles of the race were really difficult, but I made it through. My time was about 1 hour 57 minutes, so not my best but not bad for me. I was tired the rest of the day.

I didn't find a nice ass to follow at this race. I don't set out to do this, but if there is a guy with a nice looking ass going about my pace I'll run behind him. It gives me something to look at, and I can kind of zone out and not worry about my pace. This race had lots of nice natural scenery, but not the male anatomy kind.

So the lesson that I should learn from this is leave the house earlier, arrive earlier, and always pee before the race.