Friday, September 29, 2006

Help! This will be good for you!

I'm working on a little something for Career Mom Radio. Will you help me?

Tell me a funny kid story. It could be as simple as a mispronunciation or an epic tale.


Lucy's 2. Her language is absolutely exploding. Here are a few fun words:

Nipple= hippo
Cock= chalk

When Aidan was 2 he woke up one morning and stumbled into the family room all bleary eyed and sleepy. He looked up and saw the new curtains we had hung up after he went to bed the night before. Rubbing the sleep from his eyes he exclaimed "Huuh! (Sharp intake of breath)! Mama! God popped right out of my heart and bought us some curtains." Wha?

So tell me a story- and let me know if I can link to your site to give you credit if I use your story. And let me know if I can use your name. And if you don't have kids tell me about your nephew. Or your sister. Or tell me that story your mom always tells about you.

Make me laugh.

Hey you: don't forget to subscribe today. It's so easy. Need help? Let me know.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Allergic to Air

I remembered something this past week. It is really hard to be good when you hurt. I hurt right now. I have seasonal allergies which require me to take a daily pill from March- December. This is not a terminal affliction. I'll live. As a matter of fact I can usually take my pill as soon as I open my eyes in the morning and I am relatively uneffected for the whole day. I can live with this. However, there are about 10 weeks a year that this is not the way things work. For about 5 weeks in the spring and 5 weeks in the fall I want to saw off my head with a dull butter knife.

During this period of time I double up on my medicine, add a prescription nasal spray, and an occasional supplemental antihistamine. And I still want to cry. Nothing seems to touch the pain in my head, and my upper jaw feels like each tooth has a toothache. Every tooth. The doc doesn't really have any suggestions. I convinced her to put me back on an rx that I tried a few years ago. It was the only thing that managed my symptoms. It was great. Oh, except that I had some troubles and wound up in the ER with symptoms of diverticulitis. But my head felt great. Maybe that won't happen this time.

It's so so fun. I am grouchy and every speck of backround noise makes me want to blow a nutty. It makes it really hard to be a good mom. I have been rather short tempered with the Punks. Today we got home from the library and it was taking forever for Clay (4 and 11/12ths years old) to get out of the car. We had no place to go and other than eat lunch we had nothing to do. I was staring at the mess on the floor of the van and just waiting for my kid to get out of the car. It was taking what felt like a really long time. Ordinarily I'd've just picked up some of the crap on the floor or made a joke or whatever. I did ok on the outside, I wasn't too snarky, but on the inside I was so freakin' irritated. And when the baby went down for a nap, and I really should have spent some 1 on 1 with Clay. I didn't. I sent him away for some quiet time. And while usually that means quiet time for my boy, today it was all about me.

Some days it is just so hard to pull myself up by the boot straps and do right by my kids. After the 1st day or so I got so tired of shushing and explaining that I wasn't feeling well. I'm trying hard now not to do that at all. This really sucks. I can't not be a mom for 10 weeks a year. I can't stand the thought of being a lousy, cranky mom for 10 weeks a year.

How do you handle it when life gets in the way of being who you want to be?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Well, the follow-up on my conversation with the Head Start supervisor is pretty anticlimactic. He listened. He hummed when that was appropriate and tsked when that was appropriate. He tried to make excuses for her (she had just gotten a call from a sales person before me, yada, yada, yada). I said everything I thought. I think I called her a nincompoop. I was not argumentative. I was articulate. I outlined each concern. I was high on my customer service soapbox. I even told him about writing an article about chosing childcare. We talked for a long while and I ended the conversation feeling as though I had said everything that needed to be said.

Here's the thing. With the exception of his initial impulse to defend her (which he seemed to get over when I shot a gazillion holes in his defense), he did and said exactly what the nincompoop should have. He handled me well. He said they had a call into their licenser and were working hard to put dependable processes in place to ensure that nothing like this happened again (Count the freakin' kids). He thanked me for taking the time to call. He thanked me for painting a more detailed picture of what occurred. He was good. I was sure to tell him this.

Child care is hard. The part where you deal with stubborn strong willed kids is sometimes hard. Responding appropriately to each and every interaction can be really hard. Entertaining demanding kids in an "on demand" world is hard. Challenging kids and helping them develop cognitively, socially, emotionally and physically is (you guessed it) hard. It's NOT easy. Tantrums, biting, difficult parents, smelly play dough, and crappy diapers? Oh, and minimum wage? Wicked hard. Counting kids? Well, counting kids isn't website development (I currently find this more challenging than brain surgery.) Counting kids is just easy. Plain and simple.

Would I send my goldfish there? Nope. They have a long way to go. I am still considering a call into the licenser. I have heard from a couple other parents that when they are sharing the playground space with this program the teachers are just sitting on the benches yelling to the kids. Maybe if I do make this last call then I can put this to bed in my head.

Let's practice: 1,2,3,4,5.....

Guest Spot

I'm doing a quick guest spot over at the Health Hacks Podcast (Episode 5). It's a bit about the Punks and a bit about exercise. There's lots of other good info in the show, too. I'm not an urban ranger, but yesterday I put Lucy in her jogger and we went trail walking for over an hour. It was nothing short of delightful. And the "today" bit that Chris talks about? Spot on. I don't have to worry about forever, I just need to do it today.

Don't forget to let Kevin and the gang know what you thought of the show.

OH, the follow-up with the forgotten kid will be up later today. I haven't forgotten!

Monday, September 25, 2006

One Child Left Behind

Today I had the opportunity to witness a child being left behind. I thought we had a plan in place for that. Some act or something.

There were so many things about this experience that made me sick. Here's the story:

I was walking into the park with 2 of the Punks just as a large group of kids (maybe 15) and several (3 maybe 4) caregivers were on their way out. They were lined up two by two, all neat and purty. One of the teachers asked if everyone had their sweatshirts. About 8 or 9 minutes later a dad at the park asked if one of the little girls on the climbing structure was with us. Yeah, they freakin' forgot a kid. They got all of the sweatshirts, but they forgot a 3 year old.

Isn't it standard practice to count the kids from time to time to make sure you're watching them all? Hell, I only have 3 and I do it. So, the dad literally jumped the fence, left his 2 kids in the park and ran across the street and down a bit after the teachers. They were completely out of sight. He came walking back after a few moments with one of the teachers. As they approached the fence the teacher saw fit to sternly speak to the child about how she should have listened. Not a hug, not a reassurance. A lecture. Lovely.

Now I know that teacher must have been completely freaked out. She had to be afraid for her job. But she immediately shifted the blame to the 3 year old. I looked at my kids swinging cluelessly on the swings. I know that accidents happen and mistakes are made. I also know that when you screw something up you can gain a lot of ground by simply 'fessing up and offering a sincere apology. From a business standpoint you can either save an irate customer by handling a mistake well, or you can lose that customer and 20 others because you dropped the ball and boy are they going to share their experience with the world. From a parent's perspective you can take a big giant step towards establishing peace by 'fessing up and apologizing, or teaching your kid to come clean. I know people screw things up. I really needed to know that these folks were going to take responsibility for their great big mistake. I also needed for someone to suggest to that caregiver that a hug may have gone a bit further with that scared kid than a freakin' lecture.

Back at home I called the center. My goal was to simply say, "Hey, I know this happened and it's a really difficult situation, but there is this other little piece, too. The one where the teacher blamed the kid." And I wanted to hear something like, "Yes, very hard. Thanks for taking the time to call and tell me, I'll be sure to talk with dumbass about that." It did not go well. I never even got there. I asked to speak to the center director. Now, when I start a phone call I typically introduce myself and if the other person does not do the same then I politely ask who the hell I am speaking with (but politely). This lovely person wouldn't tell me her name. She simply asked how she could help me. I calmly explained that I was a member of the community and simply would prefer to know the name of the person to whom I was speaking. She still would not tell me. I fairly calmly told her that I would call the main program (this was a branch of a larger Head Start Program) and that the reason I was calling was to discuss the fact that a kid was left at the playground today. At this point I was admittedly snarky. She breathed in sharply and said she was aware of the incident. I hung up. I had to. I had lost all hope that this woman could effectively blow her own nose let alone handle this situation. I hung up.

Why the hell didn't she give me her name? Do we even need to talk about customer service? I could've been a prospective parent. I could've been a licenser for Pete's sake. Had she simply introduced herself, the conversation would have been entirely different. I almost promise it. The reason I was calling was simply to share my concern about the way that the child was greeted after having been abandoned. Now, what reason could she have for protecting her identity like it was the freakin' Hope diamond? For the love of Pete. Is she on America's Most Wanted? Is she being stalked? Is she in the witness protection plan? What was her point?

I called the parent program and shared all of my concerns. All signs point to the fact that the local branch is being led by a complete ninny. I alluded to this fact. Some blah-blah supervisor is supposed to call me back. We'll see.

I find the timing of this incident very interesting as I am in the middle of writing an article on "Chosing the Right Child Care" for Career Mom Radio. For the record, I am not at this time suggesting that you leave your goldfish in the care of the center mentioned above.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Aidan's Podcast

Aidan's very first podcast is up. It's heavy on the recess, but it's good stuff.

He's in 1st grade and he's wicked smaat. He really is.

Give it a little listen...

My Next Event

Maine offers such interesting events.

Who's signing up for this one?

It's a Chili Day

So I looked out the window when I woke up this morning. It is a gloomy, cold, dreary day outside. It was 50 degrees, and very rainy. I smiled, I really smiled. I don't ordinarily love these days, but I was happy for a few reasons:
  1. I want to stay home and make chili.
  2. I want to read books to my kids in a cozy couch corner.
  3. I want to be lazy and snuggly.
  4. I wasn't preparing for the start of my second tri of the season.
  5. I wasn't shivering an the beach of the lake preparing to swim 1/2 mile.
  6. I wasn't regreting my decision one little bit.

I will soon post my chili recipe, because it is delicious and very healthy. I love soup, stew, and all sorts of chili. I love it more when it meshes well with my nutrition goals.

Here's what's weighing on my mind fitness-wise:

How will I get back on the running wagon? When? I tried the dreadmill and had a lousy experience. I can't run in the evening. It's gotta be early morning, doesn't it? Damn. I've been up a little late these days and I need my sleep. Ahh... commit, Megin, commit. Any motivation out there? Lets remember I am not in love with running...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The BIG 10!

WARNING: There is really only 1 person in the world who will want to read this post. I figure with today's subscribers there is a one in six chance that you're him. I'll take that chance.

It is my 10 year wedding anniversary. I was 22 years old when I got engaged and 24 years old when I got married. My whole family thought we were out of our tree. I am the youngest of 7 children and will forever be "the baby." No one thought we were ready. Looking back, we weren't. We were both such freakin' babies. We didn't know nothin' about nothin'. We were broke. We postponed the wedding for a year because we bought a car.

The day we wed was nothing short of magnificent. The weather, the venue, the food, the love (sorry, but you shoulda stopped reading back at the warning). The sky was amazing, the air very warm but with that crisp edge of autumn. It was a perfect start.

It could have gone so wrong. When people get divorced you hear a lot of "we just grew apart." Back in 1996 we had just barely begun. Sad things happened to us. Sadness, extreme sadness, is a huge burden for a young couple. We learned to listen and talk even when we didn't want to. We learned to fight fair at least some of the time. We learned to accept apologies, and occasionally make them. We learned the business of being in love. When we got married we didn't know nothin' about nothin'. It could have gone so wrong. Change the balance a little, hold onto a grudge, shut yourself off and who knows where we would be standing now. We grew a whole heck of a lot. We didn't always grow closer, but we grew together.

It didn't go wrong. Most of our days have gone fantastically right. We have babies. 3 of them. They are strong and they are smart and they are very very funny. After 10 years we know some stuff. We want to know more stuff. We strive to do what we do better today than we did yesterday.

On our wedding day we danced to two songs. The first was the Beatles "I Will." Because we did.
Who knows how long I've loved you
You know I love you still
Will I wait a lonely lifetime
If you want me to--I will.

For if I ever saw you
I didn't catch your name
But it never really mattered
I will always feel the same.

Love you forever and forever
Love you with all my heart
Love you whenever we're together
Love you when we're apart.

And when at last I find you
Your song will fill the air
Sing it loud so I can hear you
Make it easy to be near you
For the things you do endear you to me
You know I will
I will.
We also danced to Aaron Neville's "You Never Can Tell." I am pretty sure that we thought if the grown up's heard the lyrics it would proove something about something.

It was a teenage wedding, and the old folks wished them well
You could see that pierre did truly love the mademoiselle
And now the young monsieur and madame have rung the chapel bell,
"c'est la vie", say the old folks, it go to show you never can tell

They furnished off an apartment with a two room roebuck sale
The coolerator was crammed with tv dinners and ginger ale,
But when pierre found work, the little money comin' worked out well
"c'est la vie", say the old folks, it go to show you never can tell

They had a hi-fi phono, boy, did they let it blast
Seven hundred little records, all rock, and rhythm and jazz
But when the sun went down, the rapid tempo of the music fell
"c'est la vie", say the old folks, it go to show you never can tell

They bought a souped-up jitney, was a cherry red '53,
Drove down to new orleans to celebrate the anniversary
It was there where pierre was married to the lovely mademoiselle
"c'est la vie", say the old folks, it go to show you never can tell

They had a teenage wedding, and the old folks wished them well
You could see that pierre did truly love the mademoiselle
And now the young monsieur and madame have rung the chapel bell,
"c'est la vie", say the old folks, it go to show you never can tell
My dad, who I miss dearly every day, used to say "You never can tell from how you sit, when the man in the balcony's gonna spit." The thing is, we didn't know nothin' about nothin', yet here we sit, 10 years later, and madly in love. Madly. You just never can tell. But you hope. And you pray. And you work. And you yell. And you laugh loudly and often. And you love. You love a lot. Much moreso after 10 years of marriage (wink, wink).

People say their wedding day was the happiest day of their lives. Ours was pretty perfect. But this? This is amazing.

Thanks, Rob. For being on this quest with me. And for making our family better every day.


Saturday, September 16, 2006

It's That Time Again

Guess what's out? You guessed it (you did, didn't you?), Career Mom Radio Episode 4. My lovely daughter will one day despise me for my contribution this week.

Give 'er a listen and take a moment to leave a lil comment. You love them, don't you? Well, so do we! Suggestions, compliments, even criticism if you must! It's all worthy.

Happy, happy weekend, folks!

p.s.: have you subscribed yet? While you're at it, add Career Mom Radio, too. And share some love with the moms you know!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Decision Made

I will not be doing the tri next weekend. I'm good with this choice. I could, but I'm not. My plan instead is to continue riding and running. I'm going to do another 5k on 9/24 and I am really excited because it's a trail run. I'm going to follow it up with a 5k on 10/1, and maybe a few more before the Jingle Bell run in December.

Additionally, I am really sinking into Career Mom Radio. It's good for me to use my sometimes feeble mind and have an end product. I love that it's about being a mom. I believe deeply that this project will help fight off the winter doldrums that I often fall victim to- especially with the exercise.

There you have it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


I am seriously considering bagging the tri on 9/23.

I have compelling reasons. I do!

Reason #1: It's freaking cold. Yesterday it was 40-something degrees at 7:30am. It's an open water swim and I don't have a wet suit and I don't want a wet suit.

Reason #2: Night before the race conditions are not ideal. Sharing a room with my 3 kids and Rob... not so restful.

Reason #3: The start of school threw a wrench into my training. Riding my bike and running once or 1 and a half times a week does not a triathlete make.

What to do, what to do?

Monday, September 11, 2006

PodCamp & Priorities

The virtual world is a-buzz with talk of PodCamp. It seems to me that there were about 250 folks in attendance. People from Massachusetts and people from far, far away.

Here's the thing: Within the communities of the RBF, and the tri-bloggers, and the sisterhood (siblinghood) of the couch to 5 kers or other beginner athletes, there is a sense that when you share an accomplishment people can't wait to hear more. That long before you cross the finish line (first or last) there are folks waiting anxiously for your race report. Friendly commenters who want you to share both where you've been and where you think you might someday go. That community is so nice to feel a part of. I like it.

PodCamp had a lot of similarities. Now, like in any community there were a few folks who left me feeling less than warm and fuzzy. That being said, an overwhelming number of people were so interesting and interested. These folks demonstrate commitment and dedication. By and large, they have day jobs that pay the bills. Many have happy families. They carve the time for what's important to them. I met folks who had big ideas, and little ideas. People who wanted to share what they know, and listen to what I know. People who wanted to pool their talents and ideas and create something new. It was another community that was really nice to feel a part of.

Podcasting is so very new to me. It is so cool to be contributing to Career Mom Radio. (I've a rather intersting contribution to this week's show. Tune in on Friday.) I love the idea of yet another (are you sensing a theme here?) community of people who are joining together to support one another. Again- people who are sharing what they know and interested in learning what others know. What did I leave PodCamp with? As Chris asks, what will the event change in my life? The enthusiam was delightful. People really wore their passion on their sleeves. The experience as a whole left me wanting to create more, more, more. I want to help make CMR grow and help to define it, to help it expand like a freakin' water balloon until it bursts and takes on a whole new existance- and leaves everyone all soakin' wet. I want to focus and craft that contribution. I want my kids to see me creating content, not just absorbing it. I want to continue to help them create their own content. I want to help them to find their own blogging community.

I want to go to Podcamp next year and have more to contribute, and a stronger base to build on.

Here's a challenge... I am adding to the list, not replacing a priority.

Speaking of priorities, I actually carved time to exercise tonight:
8 miles on the bike 14.something mph- lots of hills followed by 1/3 mile run followed by 45 minute brisk walk.

I'm pretending that training isn't really required for my tri in less than 2 weeks. I simply haven't been able to run at zero dark thirty. I've been riding about 1.5 times a week. WTF? I wish I could explain it. I really do.

September 11, 2006

Hug your kids. Tight.
Love your partner.

I feel the weight of today.

Friday, September 08, 2006

If You Can't Trust a Monkey

Here's my tv thing: we watch it. We have DVR so we watch what we want when we want it. And we skip commercials. My boys can each pick one show a day to watch. They don't have free reign, they chose from a list of recorded shows. This week we are heavy on the "Wonder Pets" and PBS's newest addition "Curious George." (I always loved these books. I drew the short stick and missed seeing the movie in the theater with my boys. We have the Jack Johnson soundtrack and I'm looking forward to the video.)

My son's enjoying Curious George right now, and I've heard two beautiful quotes:

"If you can't trust a monkey, who can you trust?"


"How many roller skating weiner dogs can there be in the city?"

So, the Wonder Pets was introduced to us by a 37 year old childless friend who stumbled across it one day on Nick jr. Here's what the Nick website says about the show:
The show features photo-puppetry animation--an animation style created specifically for this series--which allows the animators to manipulate photos of real animals. The result is striking, memorable, and truly unique. Each episode is like a mini-opera with dialog often sung to an original score by some of Broadway's top composers. And each episode encourages teamwork, empathy, problem-solving skills, and an appreciation of music and humor.
Linny the guinea pig, Ming-Ming the duckling, and Tuck the turtle don't have super natural powers, but they travel around the world (and into story books and paintings) to save baby animals who are in a pickle. They rely on team work and when the task is done they share a stalk of celery. The music is great (although I admit it sticks with me for hours- days even). "We're not too big and we're not too tough, but when we work together we've got the right stuff. Go Wonder Pets!" My criticism of the show is this: The freakin' duckling speaks babytalk majorly. So. Annoying.

What the heck is the point of this post? There is good stuff on the tube. There is also a lot of crap. Grown up crap and kid crap. Some of the kid's stuff is pretty entertaining- even for adults. Come on, roller skating weiner dogs, folks. If you're thoughtful and careful and help your kids make good choices, and help them limit their screen time (tv and computer), enjoy it. Alot of the shows out there are very creative, pretty to look at, and funny to boot. Toss in some teamwork and you're all set.

Disclaimer: too much tv, like too many deep fried twinkies, is not good for anyone. Duh. Make good choices.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

CMR: Episode 3

Career Mom Radio's 3rd episode is up. This week focuses on starting you own business. There is some great information about how to get started and what questions to ask yourself and others.

Stop by, listen, leave some thoughts... really... this is a great show that's developing here!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Look Who's Heading to Podcamp

podcamp Boston

This podcasting thing is fun!

Monday, September 04, 2006

It Happened!

I had a great run. Now, don't get too excited, I didn't "love" it. But I liked it pretty well. I got up on Saturday morning (we were staying with my sister), what was left of Ernesto had passed through during the night and it left a wet, blustery, cloudy morning in its wake. It wasn't raining, but everything was thoroughly soaked.

My plan was to do my 5/1 intervals. I started off down the first hill (oh, I didn't mention that my sister's 'hood is hilly? Heck, yeah. And I have never run any hills, ever), slow, steady. At the bottom of the hill it started up, and continued up and up and up. So, 5 minutes into it, my watch beeps. I felt fine so I kept on, thinking at the next rep I'd stop. Still fine. The next? Still fine. The wind was so loud.

I followed Chris's advice from the Health Hacks Podcast and played a little bit- road, curb, grass, jump over stick, kick crab apple. My breathing was fine, my legs were fine. I really felt pretty good.

I clocked it later and I wasn't particularly far and certainly not fast... I was actually really slow. 2.66 miles in 34 minutes (13:07/mile). But, people, these were hills, and I. Felt. Fine. I stopped for a total of 2.5 minutes to walk. Fot the 1st time ever, I didn't murmur "this _____in' sucks." Not. Once. This is big.

Let's see what happens tomorrow.

On another "It Happened" note (a much more important note): You know that friend that you never see and rarely talk to? The one that you don't speak to for months, maybe years, but when you do it's OK? It's still good? Call him or her. Struggle through the busy weekends and long distances and hammer out a time to get together. It's worth it. I did that this weekend. It was about the 5th legitimate attempt in the last year. Things come up. Real things. It didn't mean we didn't want to. It's just that life is busy and stuff comes up.The 3 of us traveled a total of 15 hours in the car (in the rain) with a total of 8 kids and a dog. We finally did it. It was lovely but way too short, and it left me wanting more. I am lucky to know these women and I want to dig deeper into the relationships. It is a damn shame that we live so far from each other and have such busy, busy lives.

It's all worth the effort, isn't it? A good run (after 3 steady months) and good friends (after 16 years). What a weekend. Hope yours was just as great.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Career Mom Radio

I am now officially a voice of Career Mom Radio... check out my debut. Send the link to your mom, your kid's mom, your mom-friends, leave a comment, let us know what you think.

Really. Go ahead. Do it.