Sunday, February 28, 2010

Love those kids (no matter what!)

Last week I was reading an article about a new drug that was having some quantifiable success in treating those afflicted with milder forms of Aspergers Syndrome. This is the disorder where the suffers have problems picking up subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) social clues from people with whom they share a planet and cannot make eye contact without some personal discomfort. I know a few of these folks myself. They're called Investment Bankers (badda bum bum bum - cymbal crash).

But seriously, there are some out there for whom this is a very real issue. And those with real issues are generally on the hunt for solutions to those issues. People trying for solutions will oftentimes try a whole myriad of things that others might find surprising. Speaking for myself and others in my MS Club - we have seen so many interesting things. The therapeutic bee-sting therapy immediately leaps to the forefront. You gotta wonder a) who thought that bee stings might be helpful and b) who'd you convince to try it out the first time? But it merely illustrates that people try lots of amazingly bizarre stuff to get some relief.

In this particular case, it was an example of some doctors identifying a drug used for something else to see if it would work on Aspergers. A team of researchers amassed a group of willing Aspergers patients to see what would happen when they put the two together. And lucky for those patients, this trial did not entail a small room with bunches of angry yellow-jackets and a great deal of exposed skin. Nope this test only required them use a little nasal spray.

Turns out that in the end there was some scientific evidence that this stuff actually made some measurable differences. The patients were more socially interactive after inhaling the concoction for a period of time. This is nice for the Aspergers gang.

Yet, the article that went on to extol the virtues and future possibilities for this drug mentioned briefly that this prodigious potion was originally developed to increase maternal instincts in mothers suffering from postpartum depression. Who knew this was going on? Who knew that there was a bunch of money being spent on a nasal spray that would make you be a more loving mother? Who knew that this particular affliction was actually getting some serious funding (probably from some nearly bankrupt federal or state coffers)? Now here's some money being spent wisely.

Forget the funding for all the other stuff that goes on. Save the whales, save those trees, elementary school education, California State's crumbling university system. Whatever. Here's something all of us mothers could use. This has REAL practical everyday uses. The application to the real Aspergers Syndrome appears to just be lucky coincidence.

Sure, postpartum depression is a terrible thing. And, it's nice that there's someone trying to help. But really? The real audience here, nay, the perfect and heretofore previously unaddressed marketing segment is just your regular everyday mom. No kidding. This is HUGE.

No longer will you need to actually control yourself when you are around your screaming, whining getting-under-your-last-nerve kids. It'd be like having your own personal little morphine pump in a handy-dandy asthma inhaler. Kids are on the verge of getting the proverbial diamond-backhand? Take a deep whiff and suddenly they're fricken wonderful again in your rose colored world. Boys bickering endlessly? Simply suck down a puff and damn! Aren't they just the cutest little nose miners you ever did see? Love 'em, love 'em. love 'em.

Nanny 911 is soon to be outta business. What need is there for a time-out system when your kids can't do anything that would make you want to use it? Future applications could simply be an implant that would release this stuff in a time-elapsed formula. You'd be happy all the damn time. So what if the cat is spinning from the ceiling fan and puking all over the dining room?

Like I said - huge. Ginormous. Sign. me. up!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Right and Wrong

There was a sad story in the Chronicle yesterday about a young man who was tragically hit by a car in downtown SF. The guy was safely in the cross walk when he was struck. In California, the crosswalk is a well documented no-hit zone - once a pedestrian's foot hits the pavement inside one those nattily white striped zones, they are supposed to be safe.

The reporter stated it was simply a case of him "being in the wrong place at the wrong time." Unfortunately, this isn't right. In fact, this might be considered as a reporter using the wrong phrase at the right time.

The pedestrian wasn't in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was in the RIGHT place at the WRONG time. To illustrate this, allow me to use you, a sidewalk, a busy street and the above pictured bus in a couple of examples.

Example #1: Right place/Wrong time

You are walking down the sidewalk. The bus jumps the curb from the busy street and flattens you like a pancake. Sadly, you were in the RIGHT place (the sidewalk) at the WRONG time (Buses are not supposed to be driving on the sidewalk). Sure, you're dead, but you really didn't do anything wrong.

Example #2: Wrong place/Wrong time

You are walking down the middle of the busy street. A bus zooms around the corner and BLAM! In this example you are in the WRONG place (what were you thinking walking down the middle of a busy street?) at the WRONG time. One might argue that the bus was actually "right" as he is supposed to be in the busy street, but since you will soon be pushing up daisies, the outcome was clearly wrong.

Example #3: Right Place/Right time

You are walking down the sidewalk. A bus pulls up beside you on the busy street, the driver throws open the door and hands you a big bag o' money. He smiles, tips his hat and drives away. This is absolutely considered as being in the RIGHT place at the RIGHT time.

Example #4: Wrong Place / Right Time

You are again walking down the middle of the busy street. A bus zooms around the corner, misses you by a fraction of an inch. You lean down, placing hands-to-knees to regain your breath after the too-close-call and find yourself standing right on top of a $100 bill. You pick it up, hop back up on the sidewalk, thank the Powers-That-Be, and recognize that you were in the WRONG place at the RIGHT time.

So, next time you find yourself haphazardly flinging out "wrong place / wrong time" - - take just a moment and think. Is it really an example of Wrong/Wrong? Chances are, it's not. But, if you don't want to take the time to figure it all out, you could always just modify the phrase by adding the word "irregardless." As in, "Irregardless, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time." In this manner, your listener won't care about who was wrong and what was right. Your listener will only be wondering which higher institute of learning actually handed you a diploma. Problem solved.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ponies and Soldiers

Inquiring minds have been asking - what's the deal with the remodeling project? You remember, we bought mid-century house that needs lots of work?

To date, we have hired architects, engineers of many flavors and soils guys and lots of other folks who are experts in their fields. We came up with a very cool plan. In December we got some very preliminary bids on our very cool plan. We clutched our chests and made the international choking sign. I think that George the Elder was rendered speechless for several hours. Holy moneybags batman!! We revised our very cool plan. We derived a modified very cool plan. Now is simply a cool plan. Phase II will eventually make it a VERY cool plan. We will focus on Phase I for now. Very cool things will come to those who wait.

Bids for Phase I were sent out in early February. We are having a few GCs bid. They, in turn are bringing all their subs over to check out the place. All have been here once. Many have been here more than that. The first guy who came said he was bringing over a "few" of his subs. I opened my front door to let the dog out about 10 minutes before the earmarked appointment time. There was a raukus little sub convention going on right there on my street. About 25 construction specialists were mulling about waiting for the GC to show up and usher them all in.

Each of them introduced themselves. Electrician. Cement Pourer. Door Guy. Floor Guy. Steel guy. Heating guy. I promptly forgot each of their names as soon as they uttered them. Except for one guy named Cheng. He looked exactly like Jerry Lewis in "Hardly Working." (Only this guy was a plumber and kept saying "I prumber, I prumber" over and over again. ) I had an audio flashback of those years in Japan.

Several GCs also means that there are lots of "great ideas" about how to do things differently than our architect and many minions of engineers had intended. Everybody has an opinion. Or two or three or heck-why-don't-you-just-do-it-my-way. It's a fricking roller coaster of "What about this way? What about this way?" In nearly all cases so far we have reverted back to the way it is on the cool plan. I appreciate their enthusiasm and their desire to come up with ways to do it better (and more importantly, cheaper), but I'm learning that just cause the GC says he can go out and hire day workers from a random corner of Divisidero Ave. to physically stand there and bodily hold up the house for two weeks while they pour concrete around their feet for FAR less money than hammering in a whole row of steel soldier beams - well I just don't get that excited any more. (And no, not a single one recommended using real humans - but you get the drift...)

Bids are due March 1st. Assuming that these secondary bids for the still cool, but not totally cool renovations do not once again cause heart palpitations and the need to seriously consider that the boys' college funds might be better spent on wood paneling (cause it is now DAMN apparent that prumbers and erecticians make some pretty fine jake when they're good at their jobs e.g. college = overrated) - well, we're hoping to move on out sometime in early April and let the guys with the backhoes and the butt cracks do their jobs.

In the meanwhile, I continue to learn new and useful construction terms while the subs mull purposefully around my house taking notes and talking out loud. I don't know that I will ever need to regurgitate what a pony wall or a solider beam is to a layman - but when I talk to my GC in the future, at least I won't have to keep saying, "you know, those big steel thingys sticking up all along the sides of the house." It helps not to sound like a complete nincompoop in front of these guys. I think they can smell stupidity and then they raise their bids 10%. As for me, I will learn these terms and will sprinkle them liberally in my conversations with them. I'm willing to do anything to avoid that 10%. It just buys me more cool.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Olympics 2010

Like a few other peeps around the world, I have been spending my evenings watching the Olympic coverage. I am not a tried and true sports fanatic. I watch some things during the year - the Superbowl, the world series, an occasional Steelers game to remind myself of my origins. But there's something about the Olympics that I love.

I will admit that some of that has to do with getting an opportunity to watch people do amazing things. And, often those unbelievable things are also incredibly dangerous. And fast. And slippery. Every now and again, those things end up in fantastic speeding crashes. The kinds of crashes were all of us simultaneously scream "OHHHH!" right when it happens. The kinds of crashes that you can tell are going to leave a mark even before you see them in slo-mo and watch their heads scraping and bouncing along the ice, or snow, or whatever. Anyone out of the room at the time knows to come running back in in time for the instant replay. Oddly, we continue to forget that we can actually rewind it ourselves thanks to the technology called - well, I don't know what's it's called. Maybe that's why I can't remember to rewind.

And before you get your panties in a twist and bring up the fact that on day one of those spectacular crashes ended not so swell for the young Georgian - and how I am not being very sympathetic. Tough story for the young buck. I really do feel sorry for his family and his country. But dangerous sports have the tendency to be - well, dangerous. And we watch them with captivation because they are perilous - - and we wonder - how do they screw up the courage to hurl themselves down a track or a slope or a rink knowing that the outcome could be so awful. And we wait. Not to see death, but to see if they will make it. But we still wait for them not to. It's what we do.

Yesterday night we watched a couple o' things that did indeed include some crashing. Men's 2 man bobsled, women's giant super G slalom downhill (or some combination that means gates, speed, ice and bent ski poles) and the fast track skating. Beyond the fabulous athleticism speckled with ass-over-tea-kettle out of control falling, bob sleds upsi-daisy with helmets grinding down the course, and skaters spilling unceremoniously into great bumpers I had a couple of other astute observations. Of course I did.

  • I think Apollo Ono is a nice looking young guy. I am confused however, as to why there is a crotch camera on him while he sits prior to entering the ice for races. Those guys have Herculean thighs and colossal asses. Do we really need a close-up of either of these complete with the worn off spandex in the thigh area? I. don't. think. so. I don't care how many medals he's won if that means I get to spend the time before the race contemplating the size of Ono's full package as it relates to the size of his titanic upper legs.
  • Steve Holcomb - the driver of the US bobsled team - obviously was not consulted about the team uniform. There was something disturbing about seeing a 5'10" 213 pound guy in a front zip full spandex number with capri length pants. It was spellbinding. Spellbinding in the way that you wonder how sausage is jammed in to it's casing and what happens when the ends over flow. The capri pants were a curious choice. Teenie little ankles and feet only further accentuating the bulbous planetoid above it. The best thing was getting to watch him run and then pop agilely in to the cockpit. An athlete tucked inside that 213 pounds. Very sumo like.
  • The Canadian spandex "costume" fail. It dawned on me that the uniform designer has some unresolved issues with the original version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Sure, they're in red. Sure they're taller than your average Ooompa Loompa. And yet, check out the similarities. They're just ooompa loompas in higher tech fabric. How embarrassing for them.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lanz and London Fog

Interesting article in the NY Times parenting blog today. Alarmingly, it seems that some mothers actually drive their children to school while wearing their pajamas. Gasp! And, it seems that there are some that take exception to this choice of ensemble. Especially, according to the article, the Brits.


I NEVER, NEVER wear my pajamas while driving my children to school. I NEVER, NEVER do this when it's my turn to pick up the 3 neighborhood kids on my way there. (Authors Note: "NEVER NEVER" may be defined as occasionally for the purposes of this sentence. Occasionally, could be further clarified to on most days. "On most days" should just be interpreted to nearly every day that I actually drive).

In my defense, I do not wear bright pink negligees when I am driving. That's a pity since I imagine that George the Elder would consider that a capital idea. But, then he'd be wanting to hang around the house waiting for me to come back home in my hot little number just to see me take off my trench coat. He's a man that way. Best we just let him leave for work like he usually does.

Truth is, my Mom was known to throw her London Fog over a decent Lanz flannel to make the journey. I suspect her Mom did the same thing. I suspect that some of your own moms did too. When you have the choice between getting all gussied up (aka dressed) OR spending the moments between arising and leaving by chasing your kids around the house, yelling at them to get their crap in their backpacks, making sandwiches, serving breakfast and threatening bodily harm if they don't brush. their. teeth. NOW!! Well, the choice is simple. Hence the jammies and the baseball cap. If I took the time to get dressed, I would miss out on the chances I have to gently instruct (bellow at) my children in the right way to do things like picking up all their riffraff that they leave lying around waiting for the day-fairy (me) to put away while they are at school ostensibly learning something more important like math. Hmmmph.

I guess if I had to get out of the car and hold their chubby little hands all the way in to the classroom, I might rethink my clothing strategy. But since my consummate role is to herd them in to the car on time (while listening to them bicker about who's got to be there early so they can hang out on the green top with their friends before school starts and DAMN why won't my little brother brush his hair NOW?), drive the 12 minutes to school (while listening to one or the other whine about the fact that they have Spanish or Science or Whatever today), pull up in front of the school, listen to doors slam and then drive (speed) away - I'm think I'm appropriately dressed for the job.

Monday, February 15, 2010


I'm thinking there's something to this old ad. I like to complain about the extra few that I carry around in my newish 50th decade. But, I only like to complain. I don't like to do anything about it. I want to be able to continue my current moderately sedate lifestyle. I want to be able to put anything I want in to my pie hole. This is not a generally a sound strategy that provides any kind of results. But - THIS. Now THIS may be an answer to everything.

Okay, so the ad is from the 1800's and since we haven't seen these babies on the shelf lately, I'm guessing that it didn't have much staying power as a diet supplement back in the day. Still, consider the current uses for the meager maggot. Those little squirmers have made quite a comeback in the dead and diseased flesh eating medical genre. Even Gwyneth P has been seen with cupping marks on her back in the recent past. Who's to say that Tapeworms aren't just poised on the brink as the next best thing?

These little gems are packed in a jar by "The Friends for a Fair Form." They're easy to swallow. There are no ill effects. Plus you get free shipping. It's all that and MORE! Now tell me that wouldn't be a swell centerpiece of a new weight loss regime?

Course, we got some work to do to overcome the downside of these hard working flatworms. We gotta genetically mutate them to ensure that they stay small and hungry. There's an inherent problem to the possibility that, even in their sanitized form, they can grow to 30 feet. Slim is nice, but when one of those guys pokes his head out of your butt at 10 meters long - well, it simply isn't attractive. Second, we need to alter their basic DNA to contain some form of Gas-X. Turns out that flatulence is a BIG problem. Skinny is pretty. Farting constantly could be a social hindrance.

We will have a major stumbling block with the potential for the whole "death" thing - - but on the upside, rumor has it that worms being the ultimate cause for keeling over are are very, very uncommon. But we would already have a captive market in the, "Die young and leave a beautiful corpse" flag waivers. For others that might be straddling the fence - we only need to modify the tag line to say something like, "You Might Die - but DAMN you'll be Slender!!"

Finally, according to the ad, if you ingest those charming sanitized voracious slimers:
  • No Diet
  • No Baths
  • No Exercise
No diet = O.K.! No Exercise = Down with That! No Baths???? That part'd have to go. Skinny=Good. Smelly=Smelly. I don't care what kind of worms you've got in your body.

Friday, February 12, 2010

It's all about me

It's valentines day. Since George the Elder and I have been celebrating V-day for a few years it's not all hearts and candy and roses around here. That's o.k. Too much pressure on one day to up the ante on the whole "romance" thing. We're pretty "romanceful" on a regular basis, so it's just a really nice opportunity to go and look at bunches of cards trying to find the perfect one. George the Elder is generally much better at this than I am. He has a real knack for finding that needle in a haystack. He did good again this year. Plus he made me a feta omelet for breakfast - so all's right with the world.

I'm trying to get the boys to head over to the zoo today. It's a glorious day here. Sun is shining, cherry trees are in bloom and I managed to spend 5 hours weeding yesterday so I deserve it. With the boys being a little older, they aren't quite as thrilled when the word "zoo" is uttered. We were regular visitors at the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo, we managed to hit the Frankfurt Zoo on a regular basis too. SF Zoo. Not so much. They've only been once, and I'm thinking that this will be the last. Really, what self-respecting 13 year old boy wants to hang out at the zoo with his lame parents watching the baby gorilla? Alas.

Watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics on Fridays night. My observations:
  • For once, the West Coast is on the right time zone to watch the opening ceremonies at a reasonable hour. Still, NBS makes us wait until 8:30 to start. Just like the East Coast. So unfair. We always have to watch football games starting at noon.
  • If you say the ceremony is going to start at 7:30 - have it start at 7:30. Please, please, please don't make us sit around listening to bad interviewers for the first hour +. That wasn't polite.
  • Nice job with tribute to Canada and US relations. Disappointed that they didn't mention that Canada is the largest consumer of donuts in the world though. Guess they missed that little nugget.
  • I want a pair of the mittens that the Canadian team is wearing. Love those little maple leafs in the palms. And they're red.
  • Technologically the show was dreamy. Still, it was brutally long in spots. Could the amazing guy running/flying through the wheat fields have done that for about 5 minutes less than he did? Didn't he get tired? I know I got tired of watching him. Could the snow boarders and skiers called it a day and headed for a hot toddy about 5 minutes earlier? The whole up and down, up and down thing got boring. Very boring.
  • Note to event planners: If you are going to have a Prime Minister give a prolonged, long-winded speech with the exuberance of a sloth on downers - please consider doing that earlier in the show. How that man managed to be an elected official baffled me. Obviously the ability to enthrall and arouse the passions of his constituents is not a requirement in Canadian politics. A consummate yawn-fest. And at midnight to boot.
  • The following people are now out of work: 1. the man who installed and tested the wind blower thingy that was supposed to keep both the Canadian and Olympic flags fluttering proudly in the indoor stadium. The Canadian flag ended up nicely wrapped around the pole like wet laundry blown off the line that ends up hopelessly twisted around the neighbors tether ball pole. 2. The person who designed the malfunctioning pseudo icicle part of the flame lighting cauldron. Damn he must have been sweating that one out. Running around below the stage screaming, "Ascend you piece of icicle crap!!! Ascend!!" 3. The person who wrote the score for the music that was to have briefly preceded the flames ascent up the pseudo icicle funnels. I am sure that in a short burst the melody sounded good. However - given the malfunction and the time elapsed before the decision was made to move forward with only 3 icicle tunnels - repeating it over and over again gave it a porn film score feel. Not that I would know what the score of a porn film sounds like. Maybe it felt that way since we had to watch Wayne G. sweat through those uncomfortable drawn-out moments.
  • Last, a note to KD... Dear KD, Please fire your stylist immediately. I realize that he has been out of work since his last employer, Marlon Brando, passed away. I'm all for giving someone a second chance - but damn - that was one bad suit. Also, Glamor do's and don'ts clearly states that when you choose to wear a three piece white suit (even an ill fitting one) that shoes are required. Yours truly, me.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Remember your first "like?" Remember your first "love?" Chances are high that you do. I remember having lots of crushes before someone felt a first "like" about me in return. I remember notes being passed in the hallways - "Do you think Teddy likes me? I like him." "Do you like me? Check YES or NO!" Not near the stuff of Lord Byron - but then again I suspect that before he was a Lord of anything he was a middle schooler named George who scratched out something akin to these on some random piece of scroll when he was 13 trying to woo one of his distant cousins.

George the Younger has also found himself his first "like." He's told me that they verbally admitted their mutual liking-ness to each other. I don't know if there were preceding notes involved. The budding romance was probably conceived during any number of texts. Texts are the new "notes" of 2010. I haven't seen the actual texts. Something tells me that the verbiage was suspiciously unchanged from that of generations past, but in shorter form. I'm thinking the whole exchange used three letters and some random punctuation.

So George the Younger's first memorable Valentines Day approaches. He has requested a trip to the mall to get his "Like" a gift. I am proud to say that he asked for my help. He's setting the budget. He wants to get her a bracelet. I gently explained that I didn't think $5 wasn't going to be enough. He's contemplating his options and his cash situation. He also needs to get a card. Cards are important.

I remember my first Valentine's card. I got it in 7th grade too. I have it in a scrapbook somewhere. It was sign G.L. He left it in the air vents of my locker in the hallway of Greensburgh Salem Junior High School. That romance didn't go anywhere, but still - these are the things that girls keep. I guess I need to let him know that she may keep this card. For a long time. I need to remind him that even though it's 2010 - and most communication is done via text - that this card is going to be important. I need to tell him that cause I'm the mom and the one responsible for making sure that he grows in to a good man. I guess G.R.'s mom did the same thing.

Oh, and in case you were wondering. Lord Byron's first name really was George. Go figure.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Super Ads?

Were you, like me, entirely underwhelmed by yesterdays Super Bowl ads?

I'm a lukewarm football fan. I watch cause the boys watch. Left to my own devices, I probably wouldn't watch it or follow it or care a hoot about it. The existence of one teenage boy (aka The Younger) spurs me on to keep third eye on what's going on. Gives us something to talk about. Something that he's interested in and will string together any number of words (including adjectives AND adverbs) to discuss. It's worth knowing a little something about.

But, the Super Bowl is horse of a different color. It's an event I can get behind. It's football wrapped up in stuff I like. A good rendition of the National Anthem, some really good advertisements, and the ability to eat copious amounts of junk food (just cause you can!). In years past, I would have also mentioned the half-time show, but yesterday's Who songfest was forever sullied in my mind thanks to some intimate close ups with Pete's exposed grandpa belly while he was rockin out on his axe. Axe and Grandpa belly do not belong in the same sentence, let alone on National TV. Wrong. So many kinds of wrong. I just want the visions to stop. Strum - jiggle. Strum - jiggle.

But back to the ads. What a lame-o grouping this year. There were only a couple that elicited a hardy har har har. Most were expensive yawn fests. But, here's one you didn't see. And THIS. Now THIS is a rooty-toot-tootin laugh a minute....


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Way to Go Idaho

Let's say there you are living in Idaho. Your on-line shopping business is fraught with legal woes. You've defaulted on your mortgage. You don't seem to get that traffic laws or car registration requirements apply to you. You also consider yourself something of a do-gooder. In fact, you think you're some kind of missionary.

So, you get this idea that wouldn't it be great to head over to Haiti and save some kids. You inquire meagerly about what the laws are. You then decide that those don't apply to you. Cause after all, you're a do-gooder. You're on the right side of doing what's right. Laws? Schmaws. You're gonna do some GOOD.

You convince a few other do-gooders to fly over there and help you be humanitarian. You rent a bus. You head out to a village where parents are more than willing to hand their kids over to you on promises of a good education, shelter and food. Of course they give them to you. They do it willingly. Their situation is dire. Food, education, shelter and clothing look pretty damn good when you don't have it. This makes you firm in your belief that you are doing the right thing. You are, after all, a do-gooder.

But alas, you get snagged at the border and those pesky laws that you didn't think applied to you come down like a ton of bricks. What? You're doing the "right thing!" You're saving helpless children! You're saving the world! You believe in God. Surely, that makes up for this whole stealing of children thing you've got going? You're mad. You're righteous. You're a missionary for heavens sake.

Tell you what. It's you that have thrown a big fat wrench in to really doing any good in Haiti. Sure, you wanted to do it fast. But instead your actions will delay the positive action of helping orphans and children while actually following the laws - by months. By years possibly. Look at Vietnam. Look at Cambodia. Both countries who had thriving adoption processes in place. Processes that were doing-the-right-thing. Until somebody from no-wheresville-Idaho decides that those little things like taking children from their families (no matter whether they give them up willingly or not) and moving them to another country, simply don't apply to them.

You're a putz. Keeping families together in this time of crisis is the only right thing. Get them food, get them shelter, get their country moving towards supporting itself again. Helping to work within the system to help children who are truly orphaned find other family members to care for them - and then provide them support - is the right thing. Placing orphans that don't have any where else to go find loving and supportive homes outside of Haiti is also a right thing. But do it the right way. You just don't put them on a bus and decide that this is good or right or humanitarian.

You and your buddies are not do-gooders. Instead, you just managed to do a whole lotta bad.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Eye to Eye

In breaking news, George the Younger was declared "officially" taller than me last night.

And while, at 5'2" tall the achievement for most would not be cause for celebration - it appears that if you are a teenage boy and you finally get taller than your Mom - well, this is hecka great.

I remember when Shannon also finally got taller than me, but I think that this happened at a later date. Since she topped out at about 5'4" (if I'm not mistaken), it is good news for the Younger. He has great aspirations to be one of the tallest Vietnamese people in history.

George the Younger's got a thing in his mind that he's going to be 6' tall. A pipe dream at best. I've visited the glass tomb of Uncle Ho Chi Minh and even though he was lying down - I think if we stood him upright he would be about the same size as your every day kitchen broom. Lofty stature is not one of the stronger gene traits for the Vietnamese crowd. Still, if the growth charts are accurate predictors, he should stretch up to about 5'9". Not too shabby for a little SE Asian guy.

Henry (aka the Khmer Prince) on the other hand, remains stunted in somewhere on the growth charts around the 25th percentile. He's disappointed that he will not be as tall as his brother. He derives some comfort knowing that he has a really good probability of eventually being taller than me. The conclusion I have derived is that is isn't the extent of your elevation - it's only important how that height relates to that of your Mom.

Lucky for both of them that they were adopted by a fairly diminutive white lady. What a disappointment it would have been for both had I been 5'10". I'm glad I could help with that.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Darth and Banks

Well, I almost made it blogging every day - but yesterday was an "epic fail." Best laid plans and all that. Yesterday turned in to one of those - crap-I-have-a-lot-of-totally-unrelated-things-to-do-today days. It was iced with a large serving of "crap-those-totally-unrelated-things-take-oodles-longer-than-planned."

The Henster is now cast free. I hauled him over to USCF thinking that getting a cast sawed off would take about an hour. Wrongo. I didn't know that getting cast sawed off had to be preceded by getting full blown x-rays on different floor of hospital, waiting for said xrays to be read by prominent ortho-lady, and having said ortho-lady make a determination as to whether or not cast should be sawed.

I also didn't plan on cast-sawing-off-guy to be sick on cast sawing off day. We waited about 40 minutes for them to find someone to do the sawing deed. Since UCSF is a teaching hospital, I was hoping to see some young intern or resident or medical student be forced to come and perform the procedure. You know, like in Grey's Anatomy where the resident who has done something bad, as in sleep with one of the night nurses and then is caught by the chief resident, and as punishment is forced to do the crap job of cast removal to reveal the stinky unbathed limb as opposed to performing life-saving neuro surgery. But, alas, they finally got some "real" doctor to come up and do it. The whole time he is holding this buzzing hand saw within inches of Henry's flesh, he was complaining about how this was NOT what he went to medical school to do. Blat. Blat. Blat. Charming guy. HE must have been the one caught stealing mood enhancers from the hospital stash the day before to warrant getting the shoulder tap to unleash the leg.

In the end, leg was freed, it looks like it's been exhumed from the crypt (skinny, and covered in patchy dead skin flakes), and he was put in to this rather large black plastic/Velcro boot contraption for the next three weeks. (Hence the Darth photo - it's very darth-esque). In the end, elapsed time 3.5 hours.

Left the Henster at school, went to the grocery, did some work for Camtom, went to pick up the boys, listened to them kvetch for about five minutes about having to go to frickin Kumon before I took them out of their misery and told them that they just needed to go in to Kumon and get the work for the rest of the week saving them their own personal hell that has become 2 hours twice at week at that place. Then came time for banking.

As luck would have it, one of the Cambodia Tomorrow fellow board members was in town yesterday from Seattle. We needed to open a new bank account. Our old bank must be using the word "incompetent" as one of their key performance drivers . That relationship needed to end. So, E and I headed down to my local branch of the newly chosen bank to open up our new account.

New Accounts guy was very nice. New Accounts guy was VERY young. New Accounts guy was also very slow. We started opening the account at 5:00. At 6:15 we were still in the branch now facing a teller that had to keep her window open until we could make our deposit (who on the outside remained very gracious, but on the inside likely had her nose out of joint). As E and I sat there, there were long breaks between us interacting with New Accounts guy. He was busy doing things on his computer to open the account. I think we was surfing the web and looking at you-tube videos. Maybe he was checking his facebook? All we know is that when he finally printed out the papers for us to sign, the tiny sections of the documents that were modified to contain our personal Cambodia Tomorrow Account Information were - well, it looked like he just typed our names in, put the address and our tax ID number. I am now certain he was checking his live news feed on FB. He probably changed his status to read "Looking like I'm doing something important....NOT!!!!"

But, now we have a new bank account with all the fun things that having a new bank account entail. Debit cards, on-line banking, the ability to wire on line, all kinds of security questions for on-line banking and all the rest. Very cool! E and I practically skipped back to my house imagining how much easier our lives will be with out having to deal with the organization of ineptitude that was our prior bank. Go us.

But, again, to get back to the original subject. We were thinking 30-45 minutes to open a new account. Total elapsed time: 1.5 hours.

In the end, I blew my own goal of blogging every day. Please excuse me now while I go to beat myself silly. I will do that right after I vacuum Henry's bed out that is filled with enough dead skin to clone about a billion of him if I had the technology (or the will).

Monday, February 1, 2010

Jumping for....

This morning the boys' school participated in an attempt to break the Guinness World Book of records for the greatest number of people jumping rope simultaneously. The whole student body of the San Francisco School participated from the first through the 8th grade. Rumor has it that this same thing was going on in a bunch of schools and work places all over California at exactly 9:00 in the morning on February 1st. The total count I heard bantered about this morning was 183,000 jumpers. That's a boat load of jumpers!

One of our PE teachers, Gilbert, got the school involved in this endeavor. He also got this cool shirt:

The kids have been "training" for the 10 minute sustained jumping since November. Henry was the most excited of my two guys - and then when he broke his leg he thought his chance to participate was over. Not so fast... Gilbert called the organizers and as it turned out Henry was allowed to "jump" by just stepping over a jump rope back and forth, back and forth! Go Gilbert.

The middle schoolers entered the green top with less enthusiasm than the elementary kids, but as we all know - middle schoolers still have a whole lotta "kid" in them and once the call to jump was sounded - smiles, smiles and more smiles.

The Fire Chief was there to verify the jumping. A reporter and photographer from the SF Chronical were there to document and interview. Of course, they zeroed in on Henry who kinda stuck out a little with the big cast and all. We'll see if he makes print!
But here's a photo of a bunch of them after the jumping was finished. My guys are in the photo somewhere. I just don't know where.

Here's to breaking the record. Congratulations California!