A new view of the solar system

I apologize, I normally avoid brag posts, but I just HAVE to post this.

My Soleil has fallen in love with Zula Patrol. So yesterday, when we came to pick her up from daycare, she proudly announced to us that she had made the solar system. The teacher started laughing and said, "you have GOT to see this!" And so, I proudly present "Soleil’s Solar System" as taken by cell phone before it was devoured by two kids. (that a nilla wafer for the sun, 9 cheeseits and a raisin astroid belt)


Play Ball!

We just secured tickets to 2 RedSox-Yankees games.

Here in the Boston metro area, it is next to impossible to get Red Sox tickets. Here’s what they do:

First, tickets go on sale via the web. This happens on a specific Saturday. People are limited to how many tickets a transaction to prevent scalpers from buying a huge lot. We decided to skip that this year.

Second, you can enter three lotteries. The Yankee lottery, the Green Monster lottery and the Right Field Roof lottery. I usually sign up for all three. If you win the lotteries, you can buy tickets after sitting in a virtual waiting room. I have been stuck in those waiting rooms for over an hour in the past…. This year, I didn’t get any of the lotteries. Bummer

Thirdly, Those people who break the rules of the lotteries get their ticket orders canceled by the Red Sox. They hold a second chance lottery from those who lost the first three. I won that! So Thursday,  atnoon, Jay had three browsers going and I had three browsers going. After 45 minutes, one of my windows was pulled from the waiting room. With my password, I can only buy 4 tickets total. We had previously chosen which games we wanted to go to. I got seats right behind home plate for the Yankees in April and up the first base line in September.

Yes! (pumping fist action)

The Class of 2020:The Class with Vision!

Last night, I had a meeting at our lower elementary school for kindergarten entry. I had been under the impression that this would be a meeting discussing the assessment program (we already have our date scheduled) and what that would involve.

Alas, the first 40 minutes reeked of bullshit.

Perhaps it is just me. I wanted to stand up and say "Is it just me, or is this a bunch of bullshit?" They invited a child psychologist to come and discuss the excitement and fears of kindergarten. He brought up Alfie Kohn’s work, he discussed over scheduling a child, he discussed the need to instill excitement for learning. Yippie kai yeah. I was not impressed. (I actually like Kohn’s work, BTW, it just wasn’t really something I expected here).

At one point, he discussed the recent reports of "over praising your child" and how we should worry about performance praise (ie- praising the child for trying and persistence) vs result praise (ie- good for winning). Sigh…
To me, this stuff is what we do anyway. When things don’t work for the girls, we suggest ways to work at it better. How to improve what they are doing while pointing out what went right and what went wrong.

The kicker was when he said "Kindergarten is the time to create the love of learning and the opportunity to set up the love of school. Once we pass this age, we can never reach these things again!" BULLSHIT. You can always create a love of learning. I am not sure I ever loved school. I was second in my class, I was right up there in the AP classes and I hated the social constructs and the mindless work given by teachers.

I don’t think ANYONE over the age 13 loves school anymore.

Then a parent asked what his feelings on homework were. He spent 5 minutes arguing that the word "work" should not be used with respect to home work. He set the word up as a negative connotation, which to me, defeats the purpose of the word. I love my job. I love my work. Work is not bad. Why teach kids at 5 years old that work is a bad thing? I don’t agree with homework at a young age, and I think it is not really the best way to encourage learning, BUT BUT BUT don’t you dare associate WORK with EVIL and BAD. UGH!

Fortunately, he is not a school administrator. He is just the psycho psychologist. I really like the principal, although I have to say that I find all Jennifers a bit too happy just like I find all Heathers just a little on the insane side.


We went to


this weekend. The girls went to their FIRST real theatre. They loved it, but we ended up breaking Soleil. If you are familiar with this Latino "special" child, you know that there are animals up the wazoo in his show. The play was no different. However, they used puppets for many of the animals. The puppeteers were dressed in green outfits that matched the backdrops including gauze over their faces. I don’t think Luna noticed them. However, Soleil did.
The faceless "things" along with the scene changes got to her. She’s trying to comprehend all of this. Luna saw it as another TV show. Soleil didn’t. So Sunday was a nightmare! Soleil was acting insane, screaming, throwing tantrums, telling her sister to "shut up" (we had a calm discussion about THAT one). I could go on and on, but why?

I have been asking her open ended questions on the whole play. I am watching her body language to see what is bothering her. Clearly, the faceless guys got to her. The waterfall and river bothered her. The anaconda bothered her (even though we have seen real anacondas and they are cool!)

Slowly, I am trying to help her process this huge event that was more about understanding reality and less about Diego.

In other news, Luna is mostly potty trained! Whoohoo! Jay is doing "okay" on the new medication although we have daily discussions about what is progress.

Which came first?

We were driving to our hellhole sucky greasy Favorite family restaurant last night while discussing the birth of a new family member (more on that below). Soleil sudden said "I have a question!" We wait.

"Who birthed the first person if the first person was first?"

Ah- wise question, grasshopper! I discussed the biblical creation theory. Jay mentioned evolution and Soleil said, "no, people are birthed"

So Jay put it this way…."which came first,Soleil, the chicken or the egg?"
Soleil: "The chicken! She laid the egg!"
Jay "Ah, but did that chicken come from an egg?"
Jay"So who laid that egg?"
Soleil: "A chicken!"
(ad nauseum for 5 minutes)
Jay "You see, it is all a circle…the circle of life "(<sarcasm>THANKS Disney</sarcasm>).

But it was a very perceptive question for her to ask….

Freebie was born yesterday. Our cousins did uncountable rounds of IVF for each of their boys. Then about 8.5 months ago, Freebie started. My cousin put it this way, it was the buy 2 IVFs, get one kid free deal. An immaculate conception, shall we say… So, after years of frustration and trying, they now have three children, each 2 years apart. Welcome to the world, Freebie.

Last night, I popped over to J0Ann Fabrics to pick up a rotary cutting guide. Who knew that you could buy these clear plastic guides to help you CUT THE FABRIC STRAIGHT when using a mat and rotary cutter? Apparently not me. However, I was able to cut two rectangles of cloth (one is technically a square, but then I would have to type one square and one rectangle, oh hell, I just typed it anyway) and I overcast them with the Kitty machine before calling it a night. I was able to set up the machine, thread it, get the bobbin in and sew pretty much without looking at the manual! The one thing I learned? You cannot sew while watching an overtime shootout in hockey. You MUST stop the machine and watch the shoot out and THEN start again. Trust me on this….OK?

Responsible at what age?

The town next to ours has decided that this year’s prom go-ers must take district provided transportation to the prom. For an extra $11 added to the tickets, students MUST take a chartered coach to the prom. Anyone refusing to take this will not be allowed to go to the event.

Why? What craziness is involved here? Why alcohol of course! Last year, some students snuck alcohol into the prom. Over the summer, a recent graduate of this high school died in a car accident, coming home from a party where, surprise, alcohol was served. To prevent this, the district decided that all students must forgo the limos and arrive in a bus.

To me, this is bullshit at its highest form. What are we telling these kids? You are 16,17 and 18. Here is the event where you go and show how you can act and be adults in our society. And we are going to babysit you while you go!

There has to be a better way to address the alcohol situation in our society. Why do we treat our children as, well, children until they turn 18 or 21 and then BOOM! let them loose? Why can’t we slowly increase their responsibility?
Both of our girls have already had a taste of alcohol. At 8 days old, at their Brit Bats. On Friday nights, when Jay can drink, we have wine and the girls both get 1tsp.  It is part of the Jewish tradition to celebrate with wine and bread. Our family goal is to teach our girls to respect alcohol. I see no problem with underage drinking IF it is done with the parents, under supervision. We need to teach our children to respect alcohol as a society. Teach them young. Let’s not make it a forbidden fruit.

Unless there is a history of alcoholism in the family, I believe that Americans need to teach our families how to drink alcohol. Like caffeine, it is a drug. But it is a depressant, not a stimulant.  We need to introduce alcohol to our children in small amounts. We need to keep an open discussion from toddler hood to adulthood. When is alcohol appropriate? Is binge drinking ever appropriate? How does alcohol affect you? What to depressants do to your body? Why should you not drive or even attempt to get in a car with someone who has been drinking? Why should you avoid parties with alcohol? What consequences has society set up for underage drinking?

If there is a history of alcoholism, we need to discuss this early with our kids. If there was heart disease or cancer, would you not share this? At the right age, sure! But kids will start drinking early, some as early as middle school, so let’s address these thing early. Alcoholism is a disease. If you have it, your child might. Explain this. Explain how  an addiction can take over one’s life.

As a society, sex and alcohol are glamorous and exciting. As parents, we need to step back from "society" and deal with these issues. Discuss these things with your kids. Not a simple "don’t drink". An honest discussion. Let them ask questions. Let them ask when you started drinking. Let them know the stupid things you have done while drunk. Let them understand the dangers and the pluses.

And most of all, let them know that you are always there to talk to about alcohol, or anything. From an early age. Because these things will hit them sooner than you think. Be aggressive. Be proactive. Talk to your family…

Traveling worries

Ah, Jimmy Buffett and I are still jamming! Gotta love it!

We are getting our travel stuff together for our trip to Hawai’i. Yes, the American Astronomical Society is having their summer meeting in Hawai’i. It is on Oahu, not my favorite island, but hey, it’s HAWAI’I! My parents are coming. This is good. I am helping the director’s office by helping man our booth. That is cool. I will have a few set hours to work and then I can pick what talks I want to see, which posters I wish to see and then I can also spend time with the girls.
Ah… that will be nice.

In some senses, our girls are spoiled. We are so lucky to travel so much. Imagine going to Hawai’i twice before you turn 3. That is Luna.

When I grew up, we went to Disney once. I remember, vaguely, a trip to Chicago. I barely remember it so I often don’t count Illinois as a state I visited although we stayed for 2 weeks.

So far, my girls have been to Buffalo, NYC, Cleveland, Baltimore, Seattle(Soleil only), Florida(Orlando),  The Great Smokeys (NC- Soleil), Atlanta, Hawai’i. There are plenty of places we have been.

We have been on planes with the girls often. We travel often in cars. Wow, we have been everywhere and we are now planning bigger trips, to Sicily for example for Jay to work with some collaborators.

Is this spoiling them? We already talk about how we help others out. We discuss Tzdaka- The sharing of our money with others. We try to explain how lucky we are to get to travel this much. I just hope we can really get them to understand how lucky they really are….

Now, if you are a parent, get yourself over to JenEx’s place and check out this post….

Jimmy and Me!

  • My officemate if off to get married (the poor boy, I don’t think he knows what he is getting into), so I have the office to myself. I loaded "life from Fenway" onto my MP3 player last night. Just me and Jimmy Buffett jamming with the steel drums in my office.


  • I used my kitty machine to make  a cloth napkin. It didn’t completely suck. It pretty much sucked. But I did it! I made something with my sewing machine! Now, let’s see if I can do this with out missing the hem and maybe cutting the fabric in the shape of a square?

  • I was going through a toy store a week ago with Crazy H. We found this amazing playmobil toy.Yes, that is a PORTAPOTTY! For the Playmobil toys! And there is a roll of paper in there too! Dudes, do we really need this level of reality in our toy stuff? sigh…Portapotty_2

And Poof! It’s gone

I wish I understood my depression better. Two days ago, I had a horrible day at work and it was followed by a great evening with the girls. Yesterday, I got a long needed haircut and I was able to work at home. In between work stuff, I got most of the playhouse painted. One more section to go, once we figure out how to take it apart.

But the depression? It seems to have lifted. Just like the n’oreaster that blew threw yesterday, it came in, wiped me out and then left.. The devestation left behind is still visible. I have circles under my eyes and the remnants of bad thoughts are there, but the storm itself is gone…

I even pulled out the Hello Kitty Sewing machine and a) wound a bobbin b) threaded the needle c) set the tension and d) made a terrible sleeping bag for Luna’s stuffed animal.

But I finally did it!

PS- Happy Evacuation Day everyone!