Monthly Archives: March 2010

Vanity thy Name is…..your child?

Here in the US we have the option of getting vanity plates – license plates for our cars with our own custom word or saying on it. The number of characters you can use, and cost, varies from state to state. I actually enjoy deciphering vanity plates when I’m out driving and really appreciate when someone shows a sense of humor. There is one car I see often which has “TI 3VOM” on it. When you see it in your rear view mirror it makes more sense…..

Back when I was young(er) and childless with nobody to take care of but myself and plenty of money to burn (oh, the memories) I had a second car, just for fun. It was a cute little red Mazda Miata. It was almost 10 years old when I bought it – I didn’t have that much money to burn! But I did decide to get a vanity plate for it. I made a huge list of possibles and took it with me to the DMV where they could check on availability. I was thrilled when my first choice, HAKUNA, was available. Don’t get it? Hakuna Matata, it means no worries! (Hakuna Matata, Hakuna Miata – get it now?) Anyway, it was fun for me and occasionally I would get comments on it. Of course when I sold the car the plate expired. Ironically, or coincidentally, both HAKUNA and MATATA are on huge trucks that live on the street next to me. I guess they must be big fans of “The Lion King”.  For the record, if I had a Miata today I would go with my second choice of plates, “SPF 0”.

More often than I would expect, I see plates with the name of the car on it. A BMW will have a plate saying “BMW”.  A Corvette will say “MY VETT”. I don’t get this. The model of the car is usually on there from the manufacturer – why would you pay extra for a license plate to say the same thing? It’s like they wanted to be creative with a personalized plate and then froze when it came to an actual idea. If you are a person who has done this, could you explain why? I’m not trying to offend, just to understand the appeal.

An even more disturbing trend I’ve noticed during drop-off and pick-up at Belle’s school is the ever increasing use of a child’s name as the license plate. At first it was just one car. Over the last two years I’ve noticed more and more parents who have put the name of their child on their license plate. Why?? This seems crazy to me. Why would you advertise your child’s name on your car? It’s like the lack of creativity of your car’s name plus lack of privacy boundaries by exposing something supremely personal.

I don’t know – am I the crazy one? Does anyone else think this is odd, or am I on the nutty side? Would you have your child’s name be your license plate? Why or why not? Go ahead, I can take it!

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Sleeping Rivalry

Picture if you will this scene:

It is about 4 am. An exhausted mom slumbers in her bed. Surrounding her are the family’s two dogs, cuddled as close as can be on either side, and also sleeping peacefully.

Enter one very frightened six year old who bursts into the room!

I’m not sure if she scared the dogs, or if the dogs scared her, but Belle was screaming and the dogs were barking and the sleeping mom (that was me for a time) was awoken with a start.

Belle had had a bad dream and wanted to sleep with me. I sleepily agreed, and we all, people and dogs, settled down to go back to sleep. We all got up normally (me a tad less energetically than usual). Belle was her usual on-fire self and there seemed to be no lingering affects from her dream.

Until her sister got up.

The first thing Belle said to Krystal was “I slept with Mom last night.”

Krystal called her on her motives immediately, “Are you saying that to try to make me jealous? Because it’s not going to work!”

Why oh why is everything a competition with these two?

This Day in History

Today is March 11th.

My grandmother died on this day in 1997. She was either 83 or 88. I think. Which would make her 96 or 101 today, I guess. Or somewhere in between.

It’s also the birthday of a former boyfriend, who was much older than I. He’s either turning 59 or 60 today. Sixty! I hope it’s 59 – I’m not sure I’m ready to have a former boyfriend in his sixties. Not that it matters since I haven’t been in touch with him in years. But now that I think harder, I’m pretty sure it’s his sixtieth birthday. Egads!

Another key date in my personal family history is May 23rd. We’ll see if I remember to post about it then.

The best, most understanding mother ever (that’s me)

The other day it was Krystal’s “Sharing Day” at school, and she wanted to take something of mine. She walked around my bedroom holding up things we had picked up on our vacation last week asking “Can I bring this?” and “How about this?” Finally I said yes to a tall-ish, thin ceramic glass, kind of like a tall shot glass that a friend had given us. It seemed small enough to fit in her backpack and yet because of the picture on it would allow her to talk about our trip.

When I picked her up at her after school program that afternoon she had a funny look on her face. I asked if she had something to tell me and she said yes, but she didn’t want to tell me till we got to the car.

We got to the car and she got all flustered because the note she had JUST had in her hand was suddenly missing. This note was obviously extremely important to her. She got a little crazy tearing the car apart looking for it, when I pointed out that it was under her book bag she had placed on her seat. Then she said it had to go with a package so she rummaged around in her bag till she found it.

She handed me the note first. I opened up the folded paper and read:
To: The best understanding mother ever  I <heart> you

And then inside it read:
Dear Mom
I’m very very 1000x sorry that I broke something speicle to you. Hope you understand. Hope you still love.
Krystal

Of course I knew what had happened, and I said “Oh” almost involuntarily. She handed me the package, which was the tall shot glass, in pieces, wrapped in brown school paper towel in a zipock bag, and then she burst into tears.

I consoled her immediately telling her it was OK, that it was not a big deal. And really, it wasn’t. The glass had a joke story behind it between my friend and me, but honestly it was just going to collect dust wherever it landed, and I knew my friend had picked it up on the clearance rack for a dollar. This was not a big loss.

But really, I like being known as the best, most understanding mother ever.

How much trash?

We are fortunate (?) to live in a town with weekly trash pickup. Each house is provided one of those big wheeled trash bins that we put out on the curb once a week and the big trash truck comes and the automated arms lifts it up and dumps it into the trash area of the truck and it motors away to wherever trash goes once we leave it out there and forget about it.

Today is our trash day. The house across the street from us has a very similar family living in it: single mom with two kids. Every week they have trash bags literally overflowing the town provided bin. In contrast, there are some weeks I almost feel like not putting our trash out to be picked up because there is so little in there. (But I always do because I worry about the smell.)

I don’t know why we generate so much less trash than our neighbors (for the record, the neighbor kids are 10 and 13, not diaper-wearing kids in case you might have thought that). I don’t do anything special to keep our waste low. We do participate in the town recycling program, but that only gets picked up every other week and the volume is relatively small. I could easily put our recyclables in with our regular trash and not increase the amount by very much.

How much trash do you generate? Is it more or less than families of a similar size? Have you done anything to reduce your waste output? Aside from recycling, what can you do to generate less waste?

Books: a non-weighty subject

Ever since Amazon came out with the Kindle, I’ve been lusting for it.

For anyone who doesn’t know, it’s an e-reader, allowing you to purchase and download books (wirelessly!) to be read anytime, anywhere. It can hold up to about 1000 books, which makes it an ultra compact way to store your library, and super convenient if you travel and like to take along a book or ten.

It’s kind of pricey though. It’s dropped considerably since I started watching it, but it’s still an awful lot of money. As a big user of my local library (where the books are free!), I have had a hard time justifying the cost to myself. After all, it’s not just the cost of the Kindle itself, but then the cost to purchase all the books I want to read on it. So I’ve held off. But still I lust.

But you know what? I bought myself an iPhone in December. Which I adore, by the way. And as much as I do adore it, that’s not specifically what I want to tell you about. There is a free Kindle app for the iPhone/iPod Touch. I downloaded it, and then downloaded a few free books to try it out. It seemed OK, but the free books weren’t really anything I was all that excited about reading. A friend passed along his copy of Stephen King’s new tome, “Under the Dome”, which I’ve been reading, but let me tell you, with my limited time for reading it is taking me a good bit of time to work through all 1074 pages. We were going away on vacation last week and I really wanted to bring along a book, but not one that’s 4 inches thick and weighs a few pounds. So I decided to buy the Kindle version of Mr. King’s latest.

Let me tell you – I absolutely loved reading it on the iPhone! I thought it would bother  me to “turn the page” so often on the small iPhone screen, but it did not. I loved that I could bring along a huge book without the bulk and weight, and it remembers where you are when you leave the application to do something else. No bookmark to get lost or played with by little fingers!

I’m still lusting for that Kindle, but in the meantime, my free iPhone app is filling the bill quite nicely.