Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Robin Roberts Brave Fight

Excellence in media and journalism should be recognized in a world that values entertainment as news. I was startled to learn that Robin Roberts was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and will have surgery this week. Our collective prayers and wishes should go to her and her family as they embark upon this time. She found it early and the prognosis is said to be good. Television is such a double edged sword, we let things, topics, people into our homes ...and more and more of us are simply turning it off. Robin is a good reason to turn it on in the a.m., and her wit about everyday situations can put a smile on your face. I think her rising star was solidified with her heartfelt coverage of Hurricane Katrina, but she brings awareness to another great cause today.

Check your girls! Get them looked at, I admit that I have not had my baseline mammogram and this has reminded me - unfortunately, to once again get back to the health and wellness that is so important for us as women. Our prayers go out to this public persona at a very personal and private time. For the rest of you, let's take a page from her book....are you taking care of yourself ladies? What are you doing to make sure that you are doing the best with what God gave ya. Much love Robin Roberts! We are praying for you.

Monday, July 30, 2007

21 Days of Camp Underachiever

I have started to chronicle my split personality about Summer as I battle the work at home, stay at home, perfectionist mommy tendencies that gave way to the laid back camp experience. So, for esteem building purposes, I will attempt to document all the cool mommy stuff that happened during the last 3 weeks of Summer....

Day 21

We went to the Butterfly Exhibit at the Indianapolis Zoo and my kids totally freaked out. Collectively, Ms. Gifted, Nerd Boy, Fearless, and said father - acted as if it were an exhibit of roaches. So, when the huge moth creature landed on my husbands pants and he was less than thrilled, I solidified a personal commitment - no more butterflies for these people who are related to me. Next time I'll take a journal, coffee and go by myself. Not a great way to start the 21 day countdown. ....and yes, my children grew butterflies from larvae 2 years ago, know they don't bite and still acted ridiculous.

I tried to salvage my bad attitude by grilling out on our new grill for the first time. We were blessed by a neighbor with a new propane grill and it is such a nice patio gadget. In all of my angst I owe God a great big thank you, because it comes on the heels of our new backyard play set too! (They are all new to us!)

Day 20

Take me out to the ball game! Thanks to the Summer Reading Program, we enjoyed a wonderful night out at the Indianapolis Indians game and had a blast. Great weather, terrific seats, relatively new experience, nice folks seated all around us, library give a ways for the kidlets and braniac girl (who protested so much I almost made this a selective attendance event) admitted - it surely was a lot of fun.

I think I'll write the Marion County Library and say thanks because they surely made ending July better with a spectacular night out for our family of 6! (5 Actually & the wonderful addition of Auntie Angie who coordinated this whole shabang!)

Stay Tuned for Day 19, they are moving along so quickly. We started painting this weekend and I'll count at least one day for Do It Yourself Home improvement benefits.

Dust Up - Hillary & Barack

I didn't watch the entire debate based on you tube questions, but universally everything I have heard has been uninteresting. To that end, media needed something to talk about and a walla "Barack and Hillary have a dust up."

So imagine my irritation when I heard supposedly conservative talk radio debate Barack becoming Hillary's VP. I'm sorry but that is just plain mess. If there is going to be business as usual I don't think it will come at Barack making that type of silly mistake. If we aren't voting for her already then pairing her w/Barack doesn't make her more palatable. Actually, it makes me think that we should keep all of our options open.

Should we not like what one party has to offer, no problem - the lines are so blurred you can find lack of morals, lack of focus, lack of real life experience, lack of understanding the issues facing real families - on any side of the aisle.

Has anyone figured that the easiest response to this stupidity is....make another contribution to Obama 08.

Camp Underachiever

I had started to beat myself up about all the things I should have (shoulda) accomplished this Summer with the kids, as I looked at the calendar. In just a few short weeks the kids will be back at school and I was contemplating that I might have failed as a mother - not enough camps, lessons, new experiences, skills developed, I was heading for a spiral. Our budget does not permit us to do all the things I would really like to do, but there is also a piece of me that just didn't think the kids should be scheduled to the high heavens. What should a mom do...Blog!

I'm over it, or I'm getting over it. We went to the library, the zoo, the Children's Museum, the water park, and free movies every Tuesday or Wednesday. We saw cousins, grandparents and great grandma too. We played in the backyard, we slept in late and we stayed up very late too. We had playdates, week long tennis and ballet appetizers, and 2 promotions in Tae Kwon Do. (Yeah for the yellow & yellow stripe belts!)

I guess I say all of that to say I'm getting over it. 10 months out of the year we are overachievers. We try to do our best to manage schedules, lessons, life and all that comes in between. However, subtraction at the checkout counter, water in the yard, painted rooms in our house, Starbucks trips for a treat and I think we're calling it a Summer. Surely I would be happy to blog that we mastered a new language, but we didn't.

We just spent the Summer - good & bad, fun and mundane, wet & dry, cheap and over budget, together. My camp didn't have a t-shirt or a slogan, but it might read, "Mom's Camp...A treasured ritual of family time." I guess my children and I are all going to have be comfortable with that. Somehow, with ice cream cone 2,304 and an overload of outside play time, I think they'll all be fine with that.

Camp Underachiever - Enrolling for Summer 2008.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Child's Play

The joy of the Summer Season is being able to play. Remember running through the sprinkler as a child - how cool it was to get soaked less than 20 feet from your own house. Well, you may think of water, playscapes, sand castles and the park during Summer - don't forget make believe play as part of your necessary skills. Today, I would have been more prepared for a water gun fight or carnival ride than the land of "let's pretend."

The banker, the barber, and the daddy stand before you. I know looks can be deceiving - but I'm telling the truth. Honest.

Some time ago when princess was starting pre-kindergarten I confided in my aunt, who happens to be a principal, that my daughter would only talk about lunch and recess when I asked about school. I had never had her at any day care or program - so I was overly anxious about her new experience. My aunt said, "play school - she'll tell you everything." Two weeks later I knew the order of the day, the teacher that cooked breakfast, who finished their paper first, habits that my daughter observed from the adults around her - and it all came about with a few American Girl dolls, pretend play and my role as the student - not the mommy.

Based on this experience, I should have been better prepared than I was when my world came to life in living color right before my eyes. My children begged me to play blocks and legos - and after requesting immunizations, sending emails, cleaning and doing laundry, updating my calendar - all those mommy things - I joined the pretend land.

I suggested, "let's build a hotel." Within minutes my children had constructed a life that was pretty amazing, and thought provoking to say the least. I got to see a miniature version of a world that I would like to adjust in the eyes of my children, although I see that they have taken in some life details never intended for their consumption.

1. Everybody wanted to own a business. I appreciated this and should have expected as much given our entrepreneurial efforts. However, much of our pretend world involved the cost of life - I heard a chorus of "how much does a hair cut cost, what does it cost for a family to go to the movies, what should I charge for a car repair..." and somehow I wasn't in Kansas. I wanted to enjoy my world, but in my "escape" society, money was a present reality all of the time. Good home training maybe, but it sounded like every heightened comment about the cost of life was connected the reality of our somewhat stressful relocation. Ouch.

2. Every time daddy came home from work he was apologetic for "being late again." I said (to my 5 year old son), "hunnie it is okay..." and he replied, " I really should have called you, I know that I shouldn't have worked late." When I told him it was all good - he insisted on a list of why he was late, including "my gas tank was O and I was almost out of gas." (This ouch was from repeated experiences of driving somewhere when a chorus starts - the gas tank says no miles left.) I so don't want to teach this to my kidlets, but with gas over $3, we have often fussed, complained and talked about the close situations when we drove home on fumes. Prior to this season in life, this was not the norm, but lately - the reality was played out by a 5 year old.

3. My youngest son took us on several errands - and went to church, too. I could quickly tell his life view was through the places we went - with extreme joy at our weekly movie theater escape. Even with the pressure of the other people in his world he was the most positive and good natured - and frankly, the most resilient. Whenever someone introduced trauma to his world - he spoke very clearly about let's go play together...and picked up his entire make believe family and went somewhere fun. (The movies, the water park, the hotel, and church!!!!!)

4. The 7 year old banker irritated me most. "We need to talk to you at the bank" she insisted. I first was very polite and happy to go make deposits until she suggested, "we'd like to talk to you about your move - you've had more expenses than normal." I told princess, "we work hard and its all handled - in fact, let's go to church and celebrate our blessings." She replied, "that's fine - but we need to deal with all of these things at the bank." No matter what I tried - she insisted we had to work out some time to talk over these obligations. I'd be wrong if I cussed here, so I'll say - ouch, again. I can only imagine my 5,687 conversations with my husband had filtered to a mean banker who just wanted to talk about this one more time. I made a cup of coffee at this point in the game - real world coffee.

5. The carefree world I imagined was not so care free. I was hit with questions of fees, obligations, fair business exchange and bartering. When all was said and done I was downright tired. I won't talk about their specialized skills and talents - I figure they have just heard way too much adult talk as of late, and it is showing up in the land of make believe. I have taken it as a cautionary tale of what happens when adult stress and anxiety spills into everyday life.

I looked out into the backyard and the suits have all gone to play. It was a welcome relief. I don't know what they are saying out there but I have a renewed sense of conviction that you have to be careful that real life doesn't become child's play too soon.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Wealth in Higher Ed

Walter Kimborough shares his views about philanthropy in higher education in a thought provoking article, The Perpetuation of Privilege. I read with great interest the debate about a $400 million pledge by Columbia University alumnus John W. Kluge. At the heart of the conversation was the key question, what is philanthropy anyway - and does a gift to a wealthy institution really serve the potential of education regardless of wealth or family income.

While I applaud such a tremendous gift as a life long student of philanthropy, I understand Kimborough's feedback about true ways to impact the education of those who aspire to academic excellence. Columbia University's enrollment does not serve as a poster child for an institution seeking to broaden its base of underprivileged students. Likewise, it is his money.

I look forward to the day when I can blog about my own decision to make a gift of historic significance to an institution which will be both strategic, intentional, and more likely than not - a surprise to my undergraduate stomping ground. (When they don't receive it.) I'll pick someplace that not only recruits, but works to retain the quality students that make up their breeding ground for academic and often more lasting, life lessons.

Scooter Libby Scoots Out

President Bush proves his lack of morality and values in a stunt reserved for the privileged few. This is the political equivalent of thumbing your nose at the American people.

The Republican Party has had a problem for quite a season, with President Bush being their most visible representation of the morals and values that they have used to secure their supreme stance for many years. Today's decision by the President to commute Libby's sentence speaks volumes about an administration that speaks a completely different language than they are prepared to follow. This is pathetic. Further, I hope the legacy of this administration and history books for generations to come tell the true story of a corrupt America gone really wrong. If this doesn't make everyone vote, nothing will.

This is what presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, had to say:

“This decision to commute the sentence of a man who compromised our national security cements the legacy of an Administration characterized by a politics of cynicism and division, one that has consistently placed itself and its ideology above the law. This is exactly the kind of politics we must change so we can begin restoring the American people’s faith in a government that puts the country’s progress ahead of the bitter partisanship of recent years.”