Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fall TV preview

They're back! The TV shows, I mean. Thank heavens, too. I was really getting to the dregs of my Tivo what with my Real Housewives of New Jersey as the only thing that I could tolerate on there to watch. Hey, it's good. Stop that.

Ahem, so here's what's on my Tivo right now. (And I do say TivoTM there and not that crappy Verizon Fios DVR that makes my 1985 discman seem like an iPod.)

Back in action that I love:
1) 30 Rock
2) Modern Family
3) How I Met Your Mother
4) CougarTown
5) The Office
6) Glee
7) 90210*
8) Parenthood
9) Saturday Night Live**
10) Parks and Recreation
11) Friday Night Lights

*This is a guilty pleasure that I watch about half of each week just to keep up with the girls in the office. They make me!
** I usually only watch the first couple of skits and Weekend Update.

Recorded but relegated to the B list (i.e. if I have time although if they go about three or four episodes without me touching it, I usually stop recording)
1) Desperate Housewives
2) Brothers and Sisters
3) Big Bang Theory
4) Pardon the Interruption

Here are some new shows I've recorded and am trying to get into, but haven't really decided on yet:
1) Lone Star (bummer, it's filmed here in Southlake and apparently just got cancelled).
2) Raising Hope
3) Running Wilde
4) Hawaii Five-O

I haven't had a chance to really watch these yet so they're collecting dust at the moment. I will admit the premiere of Running Wilde left me sort of cold.

My other favorite these days is Season 1 of Friday Night Lights on ABC Family. I have watched the later seasons, but missed this first one. Damn, that's one good show, too. It makes me cry just about every time and makes me wish I was cool enough to be a television writer. Some of those folks put together some amazing stuff.

This picture has nothing to do with the earlier post. I just took it today and it makes me smile.

Monday, September 27, 2010


One of the really great things about being back in Texas is being near my family. I have one of those awesome southern families where we have lots of cousins who aren't even actually related, but are those cool people you see every holiday so you never really realize until you're older that you had a first cousin who was once married to a guy who had an in-law who is your cousin. It's kind of awesome actually.

This weekend, we had family come up for the Texas State Fair. They came to our house Saturday night and then we met for lunch yesterday. The kids who are about a year apart respectively had a grand time. It was really cool. Andy has asked if George can come over for a sleepover tomorrow. Poor kid doesn't realize Austin is three hours away.

As for the fair, I went on Friday with my sister and another friend to experience all sorts of treats, like Texas Caviar (fried black eyed peas) and Chicken Fried Steak on a Stick. Both were good, but not fantastic. What was great though? Fried Chocolate. It was basically a chocolate donut with whipped cream and powered sugar that tasted kind of like a brownie. Good stuff.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fifth's Disease

So Andy has Fifths Disease. It sounds a lot more awful than it is, it's basically just a viral infection that causes his cheeks to get all red with a little spread on his arms and legs. What is notable about it, it's also called "Slapped Cheek" disease. I find that somewhat hilarious as it apparently hearkens back to a time when people would slap the cheeks of five year olds. The other notable thing is that Fifths Disease is harmful to unborn babies, but only when it's contagious which was before he broke out. So all last week he was contagious, which makes me feel terrible since there are several pregnant teachers in the kindergarten wing. Hopefully they've had it before and have immunity (most likely as all these random illnesses are a work hazard, but still). There is no treatment for it, it doesn't hurt and it doesn't itch -- it's just red and icky. It gets better when cool (like in the pool) and worse when hot (like when he's running around outside). Bizarre.

Naturally, the peak of his face AIDS, as Mark would call it, happened yesterday which was picture day. He will be thrilled to see those popping up on Facebook the rest of his life wondering why he had bad acne at five.

Oh, and the other picture? Today is silly mismatched dress day so he's wearing a striped shirt, too small, plaid shorts and green socks. Adorable!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Potty training

Meg has been training herself to use the toilet. I love that I spent years trying to get Andy interested, forcing him into underpants (and forcing myself to clean up and/or throw away disgusting boys underwear) while Meg pretty much decided she was ready and went for it. It's not perfect and it's not done yet, but for the past two weeks, she's been going to school in big girl underwear. Last week, she even came home four days out of five wearing the same shorts/skirts I dropped her off wearing. So how do you like that?

Things are calming down into a workable rhythm. We have a schedule for drop offs and pick ups and the  kids have been settling into more regular sleep patterns. It's not perfect, but it sure beats the summer where I was ready to throw myself out of a window because it was so chaotic.

We're also settling into some nice rich guy problems, like how to make use of this enormous house? It's so much bigger than our old place that I'm struggling with the right way to arrange things. Like the kitchen. It's so big, I am not sure where to put everything so that I don't have take 30 steps just to make toast in the morning. We also have this pool to worry about. Bjorn and Mark have been good about learning how it works, how to keep it clean and the chemicals needed to maintain it. That said, fall is definitely coming and the amount of leaves that fall into the pool and need to get cleaned seems to double each day. I know, nice rich guy problems.

We've still got some decisions to make. The backyard is pretty much off limits to the kids by themselves due to the pool. That means I've got the kids practically under my feet while trying to make dinner. I need to think about some fencing strategy in the backyard or some better way to let them play in the garage unsupervised. I also managed to get rid of all my ride on and other outdoor toys so I need to be on the hunt for some cheap plastic objects, like scooters and/or a sand box. All good stuff for me to hunt for at the thrift store.

I am pleased how well we're getting there though. I still miss our friends and family back home, but it's wonderful getting to see my family (and extended) family more often as well as old friends while trying to mix in new friends. Like I said, boring rich girl problems!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Transitional kindergarten

So there's a big deal down in Texas about holding your kids back a year before starting them in school. There are a couple of reasons for it. Say the school cut-off is August 31 and your child is born August 20, you might decide to hold him back a year so that they're among the older kids and not the youngest. The reasons being that your kid is more mature and ready when they start kindergarten and therefore more ready to learn, be away from home, etc. That also means that they are a year older and possibly more advanced than those younger kids. This would give the kid a leg up when it comes to academics (i.e. more mature kids in theory are more likely to do better in school).

It also means, wait for it, that they are bigger physically. In a place like Texas where sports is perhaps a slightly bigger deal than elsewhere (let's be real, it is a big deal everywhere else, just perhaps a bigger deal here), your kid will get physically bigger sooner, simply because he's 13 and hitting puberty when his classmates who are 12 aren't there yet.

This leads to some other questions though. So if everyone does it, does the advantage go away? I get August birthdays, but what about April birthdays? Or even September birthdays? So now instead of starting kindergarten at 5, they would be starting at 7. Now that's an even weirder disparity of having kids in the same class that are almost two years apart. That doesn't seem right for either set of kids -- the older ones who want to date at age 15 when they're in eighth grade or the younger ones who at 13 in eighth grade, are still playing with their Lego's and video games.

Everyone wants the best of their kids, but it seems that if there is an age for when kids can enter kindergarten, there should also generally be a cut off, too, to prevent 9 year olds from being in the first grade. Of course, some kids genuinely struggle in school and may need an extra year of kindergarten to overcome dyslexia or an autism spectrum, but where do you draw the line?

Both my kids have January birthdays so I never really thought about having to make a choice. They would both be 5 2/3rds when they started kindergarten, hopefully making them neither the oldest or the youngest in the bunch. It will be interesting if I find out their really among the youngest. I don't think it will change my decision to put them in school at that age, but it would be good to know.

What happened to the good old days when folks were thrilled when their kids were old enough to go off to school?

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Andy's been in school three weeks. So far, he's had one evening's worth of homework, bringing in a box of "All About Me" objects for a show and tell type thing. As for me, I've had homework for his class probably every other night. Most recently, I had to produce a collage of photographs to help him come up with ideas when they're writing. Naturally, I have very few printed pictures anymore. Rather, they are all digital (I keep meaning to get prints, but there are so, so many, I really need to spend the time to weed through them and I just haven't done it).

Like a good student, I went to Kodak Gallery on Tuesday and placed my order for two collages. Cost: $6. Two day shipping so I was sure it would arrive in time for school on Monday: $10.99. This morning, I realized the package never came. F*ck. So I contact Kodak, "There's no tracking information in your file. It must have been lost." Great. Can't be customer service like that.

Now, I can't be the parent of the kid not turning in homework! How would that look? So at noon, I frantically went to CVS and wasn't able to just have my Kodak Gallery prints sent there. Which left Costco. Fortunately I had a couple dozen photographs in my online account there so I could quickly order two collages and have them ready in two hours. Phew! I am able to turn in my homework on time.

Andy thinks the idea of homework sounds fun and he can't wait until he gets to have some real homework. Me, well, not to much.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Hurricane Hermine

So, um, it's been raining in Southlake the last 24 hours thanks to the remnants of Hurricane Hermine. The smaller bridge is the view from my driveway. Normally, it's a steep little hill walking down to the bridge that you can see is partially under water. This was after it stopped raining around 12:30 p.m. About an hour before, it was even higher. The other is a view of White's Chapel Bridge that I stole from the City of Southlake's Facebook page. I'd say it's closed for now.

I have been impressed with the emergency response though. They have sirens available that they used in some parts of the city. I even got an auto call from city warning me of street closures around the city. Well done, city of Southlake.

Neighbors are telling me that this is the highest they've ever seen it. I think they meant that as reassurance, but it did not make me feel confident that my pool wouldn't overflow and the creek wouldn't climb up the hills into my bedroom. I'm so glad we arrived in Texas for the hottest summer and rainiest fall after the snowiest winter in Washington. Yay me! (Sure, it's all about global warming, but it's hard not to take it personally).

Thursday, September 02, 2010


Andy's feet have smelled awful lately, partly due to the fact that he left them in brief rainstorm last week and that he generally refuses to wear socks. Thus the combination of rain/mildew and sweat have been pretty ugly. Based on some kind feedback from friends on Facebook, I treated them with Febreeze and have been making an effort to leave them in the garage over night to air out. This leads us to today.

It's Thursday, everyone is cranky and we're pulling into the school at 7:54, just in time before the 7:55 bell rings when Andy announces, "Hey! I don't have any shoes on." D'oh!

My quick thinking made me decide to make him wear Meg's crocs (too small, but functional) into school so he wouldn't be late while I ran home to get him shoes, which I then had to leave for him in the office. I am sure this is the first of many times I will be returning to the office with something left at home -- homework, lunch.