Sunday, January 23, 2011


See you in the SuperBowl, suckers!

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Any Given Sunday

Except that its not.

Today (yes, when this posts, it will be today) is a remarkable Sunday.

My Packers have yet one more chance to be in the big dance . . . its NFC playoff time!!!!

I'll be hosting a small crew at the house who are gracious enough to share my Green and Gold enthusiasm. And I know that I can count on the cross-country support of special people like Bam Bam, Grange, and others who may have changed their affinity once they realized the true Packer greatness would hold through the season (like my husband).

I realize this puts me at natural odds with the Poker Princess, Lightning, and Shelly - hopefully it will be a friendly rivalry that will end well when my Packers crush the Bears in their own house. You guys are welcome to cheer the Pack in the Bowl - Drizz has some Packer attire you can borrow.

I'd love to say something pithy . . . but all I got is "GO PACK GO!!!!!"

Respectfully submitted,

The (Cheesehead) Wife

Monday, January 10, 2011

Answered Prayers

It looks as though the football gods heard my prayers with that final interception that stopped the Eagles with 30+ seconds to go. It was an interesting game and a nail biter . . . after a heated start by the Packers, who seemed to play pretty steady over the course of the game, the Eagles game back and gave them a few scares here and there.

The Packers game felt steady, and while I admit to being biased, I feel like Aaron Rodgers and team (Driver is a machine) played like a playoff team. The Eagles were their own worst enemy; they would have spectacular plays (like converting for another first down after starting 1 and 25 due to TWO penalties!), followed by spectacular disappointments, like two missed field goals, a missed two-point conversion, and that last minute interception. After watching Adam Vinatieri make a clutch 50+ yard field goal for the Colts and looking like he could have done it from another 10-15 yards back (which was almost their saving grace), Akers must be holed up in the cave of shame for his two misses, one from easy range.*

The last minute was excruciating, knowing that one well-placed pass from Michael Vick could have ended it all. The interception was my saving grace and our small group of revelers celebrated while the last seconds ran out as Aaron Rodgers took a knee.

While all is well in our household, as well as in Lambeau for another week, I know of one poor lost soul who is probably still licking her wounds. Whatever can I do to make my friend feel better?

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

* Easy if your job is being a kicker for the NFL - I clearly acknowledge I do not have the skills to hardly throw it through the uprights, much less kick it, even if you promised me a new pair of Choos.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Lambeau Prayer **

Aaron Rodgers,
who art in Lambeau,
Hallowed be thine arm.

Thy bowl will come,
it will be won,
in Dallas as it was in Lambeau.

Give us this Sunday
our weekly win
and forgive the less-passers
as you will not let them pass against us.

Lead us not into frustration,
but deliver us from Eagles.

For thine is the MVP,
the best of the NFC,
and...... the glory of the Cheeseheads,
now and forever.

Go get 'em!!


The Wife

** Editors note: Blatantly stolen from my sister

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Last night I came home from work to find my little guy laying on the floor whining. I was in a hurry as I had to drive to Stockton to pick up the hubby, who was carless after dropping off a car for safe-keeping. I was not in the mood for whining (and my eight-year-old has a penchant for whining), and had wanted to walk straight out the door, but my mother instinct kicked in and I stopped to see what was bothering him.

"My tooth hurts," he whined. I tried to look in his mouth, but the lights in the family room were not meant for dentistry. I could see two faint small dark spots on two other teeth (cavities!), but nothing on the tooth he was complaining about. I dragged him in the bathroom where the lights were better.

"Give me your best tiger mouth," and he tried to open wide, but kept trying to stick his finger in there. I pulled it out of his mouth and tried tilting his head at various angles. Finally, I could get a visual on the sharp edges of one of his final molars breaking through the back of his gumline.

"You're getting another one of your big-boy teeth!" I exclaimed, hoping to stir up a little excitement from my sad-sack of a son. He shrugged his shoulders, his mouth still turned down in a sad frown.

I suggested we put some Orajel on it. "Does it sting?" he asked, and I told him it wouldn't sting, but would make his mouth feel a little fat and fuzzy. I dabbed some on a cotton swab, and rubbed it liberally over his incoming molar.

There is a moment, as a mother, when you watch your child's face and realize a very bad reaction is coming. At this point, you can't stop it, and your brain races to think about ways to head off the impending badness. As the Orajel took effect, I could tell that the numbing and the terrible taste that accompanies the local anesthetic were not being as well received as it could be. His face crumpled and the giant tears started rolling out of his eyes as he let out a low, continuous keening sound that could break hearts of stone. Sadly, as an experienced mother, I was torn between feeling terrible and being amused at this ridiculous reaction, a combination I had not quite seen in my 13 years of mothering.

I grabbed a wash cloth, and wet it with cold water, telling him to stick it in his mouth and bite down. It was my two-fold attack: cloth absorbs the Orajel, cold and pressure helps the tooth feel better, much like you do for teething babies. I packed him in the car with his wet wash cloth, and away we went.

When we got to Stockton, and were heading into the restaurant, I asked him how it felt. "Better," he said. I rubbed him on the head and said "I know it hurts when those big teeth come in . . . but that's what happens when you get your man-sized teeth."

"Man-sized?" he asked, cocking one eyebrow under his knit beanie.

"Yep. That tooth is a permanent tooth - it is the same size as it will be when you're all grown up. It's the same size as Daddy's tooth. Man-sized."

I think I caught him swaggering a bit as he strode toward the restaurant saying low under his breath "Man-sized."

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Coping Skills

Each of us handles things in our own way, and that uniqueness probably makes the world a better place. No point in being a bunch of Stepford robots. I feel pretty lucky in that I think I have pretty good coping skills. I don't use drugs or lethal amounts of alcohol to cope; never feel depressed or suicidal; and never seriously harm others in my own frustration. Usually a good cry, a good rant, maybe a margarita to take off the edge, and a good night's sleep is enough to reset my perspective. Now and then I verbally abuse DrChako's financial and/or logistical planning skills (such as remembering to pack pants), which also makes me feel better in a strange way, although usually requires me to perform some level of "make up" activities and/or perform appropriate domestic duties as pennance.

But a couple stories in the last few days have really saddened me, thinking about how some people's lack of coping skills, or choice of coping mechanisms, can be so detrimental to us all.

Oh Captain tweeted a sad story about someone without coping skills. An suicide threat on Facebook was ignored, and a woman overdosed on meds. Sadly, the article diverges into things like trying to blame Facebook for her death. Facebook is a forum, people; not a hospital or police station or some other organization with responsibility for your health and well being. What's sad is that for someone who had over 1,000 Facebook friends (I have a quarter of that, many of whom I'm related to and feel obligated to be friends with me), she didn't have the coping skills or a strong enough real network to deal with whatever life dealt her.

In even sadder news this week, a young man in Omaha went to his school armed, shooting the principal and assistant principal, before leaving the school grounds and killing himself. What makes this story more haunting for me is that one of my staff members has a daughter that attends school there; he didn't attend teleconferences yesterday while he waited for the police to sort things out and send his child home (physically unharmed). While the news reports are fuzzy, apparently the teenager had recently moved to Omaha, his father had recently gotten custody of him, and he had just been expelled for causing significant property damage at the school. After being expelled from school, he posted a Facebook warning and went to the school armed with his father's weapons with the intent of taking lives, including his own. Now an entire community is reeling from his apparent lack of ability to deal with life.

For those of us who have children (and I'm sure it was the same for your parents), we have dreams of our children being the best they can be. But we fall into the trap of thinking about it in terms of social expectations . . . we want them to be doctors and lawyers and accountants and nurses and teachers and journalists and firefighters; we want them to marry well and raise families and contribute to their community; we want them to invent things and change things and do everything we didn't do.

After reading these stories, I think I just want my kids to learn coping skills. I want them to learn how to handle frustration and disappointment and and change and loss in ways that don't involve hurting others, and certainly don't involve taking their own lives. I want them to learn that no matter what happens, the solution isn't in a bottle of pills or the barrel of a gun. I want them to learn that tomorrow, or the next day, or the next month, it will be ok and life can go on, maybe even better than before.

I'm going to give them another hug today, just to make sure they remember there's one place that will always be there, no matter what happens - mom's arms.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Who Needs a Comedian - I Have Kids - Part III

We recently had a parent teacher conference for Son #2. He's a great student, and a model citizen, and she wishes she had a class full of him. Her only recommendation was that he continue to work on his reading and writing. He was good, just not fast, and needed more practice.

I was encouraged that soon after the conference, Son #2 was walking around with a notepad scribbling furiously. Every so often he'd ask us to spell something, but for the most part, he wrote copiously without our help, but never wanting to share much.

The first evidence I found of his budding interest in journalism was his personal daily journal. It consisted of entries such as:
  • I went upstares.
  • I said hi Ryder.
  • Ryder got skard and barked.
  • I laffed.

A few days later I happened to find his "secret journal" laying wide open on the couch. "Brother is stuped. I thenc Dad is stuped. Mom cind of." Clearly this was where his deepest, darkest emotions were captured during his periods of eight-year-old angst. I know I should have put it down, but curiosity (and my general copyrights to all materials created by my offspring and fruit of my loins until they are self supporting) got the better of me and I couldn't resist turning the page. Our next entry was an experiment in scatological and other rhetoric related to bathroom functions, bodily parts used in reproductive and bathroom functions, etc.

  • poophed
  • butthed
  • weener
  • buttfase
  • poopfase
  • farthead

I don't catch him using those words that often in the house; perhaps this was his outlet. And I'm trying to weigh the pros and cons of the whole situation. I mean, I want to encourage the writing habit. I want to give him some independence. He's having to exercise phonics skills, and creative alternative word choices, and journaling . . . that's all good, right? At the same time, as a mother, I would like my son's topics and word choices to expand beyond the horizons of his groin and the bathroom (though being the male of the species, this may be some high expectations for him to meet).

I closed the secret journal back up, and left it lie.

He hasn't been carrying it around much these last couple of weeks, and I thought maybe he'd outgrown the phase. Then last week, while I was in my office cleaning phase, I found a lovely picture of a snow man he'd made in school and brought home right before the holiday break, that said "To mom and dad". I was admiring it proudly when I noticed some pencil scribbles on the bottom, clearly an aftermarket item.

"Poopyhead. Farter. Buttfase."

Tell me it gets better than this?*

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

* In my foolish hope that it will get better, I continue to let him draw and write as he wishes. At our last family dinner at a teppanyaki place, he was finishing the picture of the teppanyaki chef on his kid's menu. His finished picture included the chef saying "Die!" to the food and "He's ded." to a piece of chopped meat. It also included some wavy lines by the chef's butt which my 8-year-old indicated was "the chef farting."

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Another One Bites the Dust

I have never been one to make formal resolutions at New Years. I could blame it on being a sort of procrastinator at heart (though a highly productive one that always meets deadlines, eventually). I could blame it on the fact that being Jewish, we already celebrated the new year a few months ago, and we're in the 3rd month of the year 5771. Mostly its because I don't use dates to spur me to do the things I need to do - I'm a little more outcomes based.

I do, however, use it to look back and say "did I appreciate what I had, when I had it?"

Last night, after we loaded the second of three loads in the dishwasher before going to bed, so that we didn't have to be greeted by piles of nonsense this morning, I reflected on 2010. We had a couple upsets and few major changes, like still adjusting to my new job, Dr Chako getting a new job, losing an uncle to suicide. But as I reflected on 2010, I realized that right at that moment:
  • We had a house full last night - our whole family, an extra kid who's my son's best friend and like a second son, good friends from the Bay Area. Today we were scheduled to meet up with old friends that have since moved away but are back on a visit. Friends and family - check.
  • We had a full out spaghetti dinner, followed by dessert, complete with a variety of wine and spirits (or less spirited drinks), as well as some assorted cheese nosh and such after dinner while we wound down the new year. Dishes from the day totaled 2 1/2 loads. Food and drink - check.
  • We have two paychecks in the bank from two great jobs - even though both are a change from what we had a couple years ago (and for Dr Chako, even less than a year). Not only is the pay beyond just tolerable, we each like our jobs and the opportunities for each of us go well beyond what we're doing now. Employment - check.
  • We're holed up in our rental house in Palo Alto, which isn't shabby by any means. But the best part is there is comfortable space for us all, plus a little extra for two dogs, friends and family when we want, and a few extra amenities to make like a little more pleasant. Plus this year we invested a little extra in real estate in a modest house out in the Central Valley - good for now, good for later. Shelter - check.
  • Last night, we exchanged tweets, text messages, emails and calls with friends from all over the US and beyond. Not only was I surrounded by the love of my family, but the bonds of friendship were strong and long. Love and friendship - check.
  • Last night, when I put everyone to bed, other than one case of some manageable sniffles and one loose tooth, everyone was healthy as a horse. Health - check.
Could I use an extra massage now and then, or squeeze in another couple pair of cute bargain rack shoes? Sure. Does the Doc still want a bigger, better car? If you don't know the answer to that, you certainly don't know us very well. Is there always something we won't have that someone else does? Of course.

But I ended 2010 with everything a girl could need, and all that a girl should want. Which makes 2010 a good year in my book, and gives me a great start to 2011.

Paint the inside of your clouds with whatever silver paint you have in your possession right now, folks, and let the light of a new year reflect off of it for the next 365 days. This girl is going to consider herself off to a good start.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife