Wednesday Mar 19, 2008

It's a Small World, after all...

Anyone that has been to a Disney theme park has a Small World story. Whether it's about the boats getting stuck and having to listen to the 16 bars of the theme song, to the lights going out, or the costumes being in disarray on the dolls...

Here's Mine:

The Ramsey Clan made our pilgrimage to Disney World 11 Aprils ago when Grace was 6 and Beth was 4. We spent the day in the hot mid April sun...dashing to mainstreet for Mickey's parade, standing in line to meet Cinderella, watching the Lion King, going on Mr. Toad's wild Ride, the Dumbo Ride, Mad Hatter Tea Cups--you name it.

Mr. Hubby and I were purposely avoiding the Small World ride...hoping to avoid having THAT SONG stuck in our heads for 6 months to come...but it was hot, and there was no line, and the cool, slow ride beckoned us to wander in. So we got in the boat --that was only half full--and we went thru the ride. (with our fingers in our ears).

When we walked out, Beth (4 years old) said to Grace (6 years old) "it was okay, but I didn't see any American children."

I was amazed. I couldn't remember any American children either. So much to Mr. Hubby's objections, we got back in line and got into another half full boat. And we looked. Russian children...Chinese children...Peruvian children...Bolivian children...Canadian children...Japanese children...British children...French children...

As we exited the ride, Beth said, "I still didn't see any American Children."

And Grace replied,  "The American Children were in the boats."

We are all seeking community I guess. Sometimes it's under our nose.


Monday Mar 10, 2008

38 minutes

I have always wondered what I would do if I was stuck on an elevator. Would I be one of those cool types that gently reaches for the call button? Would I be the type to make small talk with the others on the car with me? And do people make eye contact when the elevator is stuck or do we stand politely, staring up at the illuminating numbers above the doors?  All these questions were just random acts of imagination for me...until 11:23 pm last night.

I'm staying at a hotel with an open foyer...with glass elevators. So when my car got stuck (between 4th and 5th floor) I was like a go-go dancer, suspended above a busy foyer of people having a reception for SXSW.

And ya know, I was wishing 2 things right then:  0--that the elevator's phone was working (it was not...) and 1--that I had dressed a little more stylishly...because I was stuck and this was really embarrassing.

So, no phone, and my cellphone doesn't have a signal in this elevator. The plot is thickening. And I'm not generally one for thick plots when I'm in the middle of them. Call me a coward.

Funny how the mind starts to work thru the options when you're stuck in an elevator. Hmm.  Look up. No trap door, and you have to be much taller (and crazier) than I am. Look over...yes, the 3 other cars in the bank of elevators are working. Okay.

So I did what I believe any thoughtful, right minded, cool person would do when stuck in a glass elevator...I started waving at people in the glass elevator next to me as it went by.  I wasn't jumping up and down. I wasn't panicing...I wasn't calling out or screaming.  Just waving at folks as the other car went by...

But alas, they were looking politely up at the numbers illuminating above the doors on their car...and didn't notice my friendly gesture...

Now what. So I looked down on the sea of heads in the reception below me. They were chatting animatedly...I began to hope for a boring that would cause someone to look away, and hopefully up at me. But alas, They were all incredibly interested in eachother.

I continued to scan the crowd. Everybody is chatting. Nobody is bored.

Someone finally noticed me...a group pointed up at me. I waved. They waved back. (folks are SO FRIENDLY in AUSTIN!!)

And I kept waving, and they kept waving ... But we didn't seem to be exchanging the true nature of the they are talking about here at SXSW. And so it was time for Charades.

I'm not great at charades. Once at a party I pulled out "Nostradamos" as my clue. I failed miserably. Mostly because the people on my team were blindly drunk. And so were the people below me, otherwise they would have figured out I was stuck 10 minutes ago.

3 words--I signaled.

They nodded and started laughing.
1st word...tugged on my ear (sounds like) and hit my fist into my hand...(Hit...GET!)

GET!  Yes!  touch of the nose.

2nd word...Pointed at myself...and I'm not sure if they got that as Me, but I took it on faith because they nodded and were becoming really animated.


3rd word...and I gave an emphatic signal that an MLB umpire would give when the game winning run is tagged out at Home in the bottom of the 9th...  The Big THUMB over the Shoulder Move with a mean look on my face.

and they yelled!  OUT!

and I clapped! and they clapped and thankfully, they didn't return to their conversation...they got the maintenance guys.

So now I know what I would do when I'm stuck in a glass elevator.

What would you do?


Wednesday Feb 06, 2008

She changed the rules...and "lost"

...or maybe she won. She sure seemed happy...but she lost? 
It's been nearly a year since I was waiting in the SF airport for my return flight home. I sat in the lounge in Terminal C, waiting for the boarding call when the TV in the corner caught my eye.  Game show. Deal or No Deal. Great set.  And the game is easy, pick a briefcase, then bet that the one you chose has the million dollars, or at least more than the other 26 cases being revealed to you during the "rounds". 

So contestants stand trembling watching cases revealing $20,000, $10,000, $75, $50,000 and they get tempted by "offers" from Howie Mandell "I'll give you $50,000 right now for your case."

But as the game continued, this contestant (Julie Lonero with 2 kids in their 20's --boy and girl) got my attention. She picked the cases to be revealed, and saw that the highest Dollar amounts were still "in play" and she'd listen politely to Howie's offer of $125K but then turn to her family and they'd shout  "No way!" "This is fun!"  "C'mon Mom!"  "I don't wanna go home yet!!"  and all kinds of hilarious, Dennis-the-Menace comments.

And she'd  say, "No Howie, we wanna play!"  And as the higher amounts of dollars were revealed--$250,000, $500,000, 750,000 --and the offers from the banker got lower, it happened.

That Woman Cheated.

She said..."bet you I got the $1 briefcase y'all."  and she and her kids all started laughing. Howie was stunned. This  was a wreck! How could he recover? This contestant was LOSING and having fun! He'd lost control of his game show.

She started picking the cases with the higher dollar amounts ...clearing the board. Her family cheering, and of course the banker stopped making offers...but SHE made an offer to the banker--"How many contestants in the history of this game have selected the $1 case?"  Howie's Answer: None. 

And she said--"How much will you give me for my $1 case?"

Howie got it. She was still playing to win...just not a million dollar prize, but the $1 prize...something that has never been done before.

And she continued to choose until there was 1 case left to deal over. When they revealed that case, she'd know what was in her case. She asked Howie again--"How much do you think you could pay  me for my case...since I'll be the FIRST and only winner of $1 in the history of this game!"  She was laughing...and her family was rooting for the $1 case like it was the Million Dollars!

The case revealed was $500 I think--I can't remember...because I was so distracted with her family RUSHING the stage and the crowd going absolutely CRAZY because that woman had the $1 case.

She changed the rules, so she won.


Sunday Dec 09, 2007

Deviant Artist

You think you know your kids...and for the most part you do. You know if they do their homework. You probably know what music they like. You definitely know if they pick up their rooms. You know what veggies they'll eat. You might even know who their friends are, and a few phone numbers. Hopefully you have bookmarked their myspace pages, or their facebook pages.

...but then, at some point, they become people, individuals... not just your "Kids" anymore.

Grace did that this morning


Wednesday Dec 05, 2007

A rose by any other name...

There's a place called Generica...and it's the perfect place.
A consumer Eutopia.

It's a place where all experiences are controlled and perfected. Brought to you by Brand Certainty. Aren't brands great! No surprises! Visit any TGIFriday--The same experience...the same menu no matter where you are. And the brand is not just on the's on the buildings too. You can recognize stores from half a mile away driving 65 MPH on the freeway and just make the exit to go drop in to Circuit City, or Best Buy, or Home Depot. (sigh, relief!)

Starbucks' Coffee--same sign and facade on the outside no matter where you are--in Seattle, in Kansas City, in Tulsa, in Manchester--it's got the same soft jazz playing, the same chi-chi velour couches...the same cookies, the same grande non fat latte.

But, wait... When did we become willing to exchange a unique experience for comfort and certainty? What happened to that? Are we hooked on brands and at the mercy of a conglomerate feeling? We all feel the same, shop the same, eat the same...are we becoming what a brand dictates we should become? 


Friday Oct 26, 2007

Free Taco for Everyone!

The game that has everything (except a time clock) is giving away a FREE TACO for every stolen base during the world series. Since Jacoby Ellsbury (Colorado) stole one in the 4th in last night's game, make your run for the border!

Man, if a free taco isn't enough, how about Curt Schilling, Hideki Okajima and our Wild Thing Jonathan Papelbon !! wow, loud head banging music there!! picking off Holliday on First!

So Good, So Good, So Good.


Tuesday Sep 04, 2007

11 down, 1 to go...

Today is the first day of school in our Lil' town USA. The days are growing shorter. The leaves are thinking about starting to turn. The School Buses are crowding the country roads between the tall corn fields and the apple orchards that are about a week away from harvest.

And by 5:30 this morning the blow dryers were humming, the tunes were cranked. I stumbled half asleep to the kitchen, feeling blindly for the coffee pot. I gulped my coffee, listening to the cacophony of music, blow dryers and teenaged girls chatting eachother up in the bathroom mirror.  

First Day has really changed.

This is Grace's 11th "first day" of school. Beth's 9th. They are both in High School now. Was it that long ago that we were packing their "Hello Kitty" backpacks, and hunting around for the other "cowgirl boot" under the bed? How high can we get that pony tail today? Remember sitting out on the front porch because we were ready 20 minutes early for the school bus? And then, finally, some other kids started to arrive so we could dash out and chat about school and what's going to happen in 1st grade.

And suddenly the bus comes around the corner. And the door opens. And the older kids start to jump on, running down to the back of the bus. The younger ones also jump on enthusiastically, with maybe one or two more timid kids hanging back, happy to wait their turn. I was a little worried that Grace might balk. First Grade. Getting on the bus without Mommy, or Beth, or Daddy.  Surrounded by big kids, and rules and...then Grace turns to me, just before she steps up onto the bus and says, "Don't worry Mommy. I've been waiting for this all my life."


Thursday May 24, 2007

Now THAT's Delicious!

My laptop died. Well, not really dead, but it kinda got wrapped around the boot axle and couldn't find an active partition to boot from. I had been running on Build 38 of OpenSolaris, and attempted to remove it to reconfigure my system and well... call it the tyranny of a dual boot--because neither partition would boot.

So, left to my own devices (and remember, this is the Marketing GRL speaking here...) I pulled out the old system recovery disk from Toshiba, and returned the laptop to it's original factory settings (4 years there were lots of upgrades and security patches to download... Yikes!)

And I knew I'd lost all my bookmarks. Yes, I know it's important to back up your documents (which I did so thanks...) but the bookmark file was really old. And my rss reader had most of the updated ones...but the bookmark file was at least 3 months out of date.

And I was sad.

I checked in on Delicious this morning...and low and behold!  Glorianna!  I had all my faves there. And a few more from friend's tags that I tend to lurk...  

Oh, and speaking of delicious...Software is not the only thing being Open Sourced these days!


Tuesday Apr 03, 2007

Welcome to Fight Club

"Why did you have to smash Angel's face?"
"I wanted to destroy something Beautiful."

That's all I could think of as the story unfolded. One beautiful, upbeat, humorous and talented blogger  destroyed by an angry, caustic, violent person.

The blogsphere is now complete. We exchange happy news, dot our pages with pretty pictures, comment on global warming, potty training, elections...and now we have roving mobs that mug and murder with words. The blogsphere has groups that come together with the expressed intent of being nasty, hurtful, vile.  And some would say--this is a GREAT thing! It's so authentic! Well, so is a bum peeing in a trash can on the corner of 2nd Avenue. Is authentic always good?

Why is violence in the blogsphere acceptable?  Whoever said the blogsphere wasn't REAL LIFE? It's society (virtual or not) are words or actions on a blog any different than saying them out loud to the person's face?

"Oh, I'd say that to her face." 

Okay, I'll take that bet. Say it to her face. Do it. Stare right into that person's eyes and recite the vicious, horrifying words you just blogged with 50 complete strangers standing around.

Do it. $100. In your pocket.

My money is safe. He won't do it. That's why he's in that rage blog.

Admit it.


Thursday Mar 15, 2007

Club Soccer--The Full Contact Team Sport

Beth likes soccer, and she's pretty good. A few years ago she started playing soccer with the boys at recess, and then we noticed that she was scoring 3-5 goals a game in the recreational league.  And she had some friends on a Club soccer team who said, "Hey, c'mon out!"  So she did.  And after 17 years of vigilant resistance, I became an official "soccer mom". 

I think many players have great experiences on Club teams. Good coaching, clean competition on the field and team commaraderie are great for a player. But Club teams are generally every expensive, very demanding, and have heavy time and travel pressures. And they are competitive. Let's just say, when parents are forking over $1,000 /per season plus $200 in uniform costs (hey, they HAVE to have the team sweats so add $85) plus an average of 2 hour travel time 3 times a week for practices, and travel to required tournaments several times a can imagine the expectations on the sidelines.

And then there's always the parents who think they are developing the next Mia Hamm or that their kids will be scouted for a shot at an NCAA women's team scholarship or something. And I'm sorry to say, many Club soccer organizations play on that dream and rake in the bucks.

Each team has 15 players. That's $15,000 PER TEAM per season. The club pays out the coaches, pays field access fees and still I'm sure the club walks away with at least $5,000 per team per season. Most leagues have at least 10 girls teams and 10 boys teams. Now we're at $100,000 per season.   There's Fall season...and Spring Now we're at $200,000 per year Profit.  I'm not saying this to be a bitch, but as context.


So my eyes were open, and my expectations were set. This was a business, and there would be alot of parents on the sidelines thinking they were investing in their players "shot" at NCAA soccer team scholarships.  What surprised the hell out of me is what length these parents would go to...

Monday Mar 12, 2007

Nothing Says I Love You Like a Good Pair of BootLaces

"Wouldn't it be wonderful to get one gift that you didn't have to dust, that had to be used right away, that was practical, fit everyone, was personal and would be remembered for a long time? "

That's what Erma Bombeck asked.   And while her answer was "Gift certificate for a FLU shot", my answer was Bootlaces.

People laugh when I tell them that's what I got for Christmas this year. (man, did you screw up?) After all, I use my boots EVERYDAY in snow, rain, shine, puddles and DURT.  My boots are Weatherbeaters, and they cost $29.99 at K-mart 4 years ago, and they are going to last at least 35 years.  But the Bootlaces will not.

So, when I opened my box, and found not one but TWO pairs of 60" bootlaces, (score!) I was thrilled. I ripped the bailing twine that I had been using for the last year off the boots and put in the new laces...I had a new pair of boots. And I admit, Rick has gotten his fair share of ribbing for giving the love of his life bootlaces for Christmas. But nothing says, I LOVE YOU!  like a pair of good bootlaces. I lace them every day, and I think...gee, He Really Loves Me.

So this weekend, I was out and about with friends at the barn, hiking up the back hill to check fences and getting water at the spring...and then back down again to head to the Farmer's Exchange, then back to clean the stock tanks. I was changing out of my boots before going into the house for a much deserved Cup of coffee with the gals. One of my friends said..."hey, are those boots warm? Your feet look dry too..." (her rimfrost boots were soaked) And hey...aren't those the bootlaces that Rick gave you for Christmas?"

Sure are.

Thursday Mar 01, 2007

It's 12:00, right?

Just back from a lovely 2 week vacation in Rick's homeland--Lima, Peru. Yes, I should have blogged the vacation all along...there WERE internet cafes all over the place in the city suprisingly enough. But somehow, I didn't want the journal to close the book on what was the best vacation I have ever had.

But I will --just quickly--note this item from the Associated Press... anyone who knows a peruvian, or loves a peruvian will get a good laugh. Anyone who IS a peruvian will swear they are the few that always show up on time. I hope some folks showed up today "on time", but given that manana feeling, I bet more people are on the steps with the mayor now than there were at 12:00!


Thursday Jan 18, 2007

Digital Divide 2.0

The Digital Divide...we've all heard about "it". And many are doing something about "it". And "it" tends to refer to groups in society who because they don't have access to the Internet are "left behind".

But the digital divide is not between socio-economic classes's at our Kitchen Table.

How many of our kids blog? How many of our kids read their parent's blogs? How many parents read their kid's blogs? Are our kids members of "online communities" and do their family members know?  Do they Instant Message? How many IDs do they have? If you have kids, ask them tonight at the dinner table. You'll find a digital divide.

At a conference last year, I attended a panel of Teenage bloggers. One girl blogged about fashion...and she has huge readership and probably makes quite a bit on her Google Ads. One girl blogged about family life as a first generation american. Both of these girls have a large readership, comments and a "community". They are influencers.

When asked: Do your parents blog?  They dunno.  When asked: Do your parents read your blog? They hope not.  One answered that her mom has never used a computer before.

These were disturbing answers. Some would say it's just teenagers wanting their independence, their space.

I would say--it's The Digital Divide.

I find parenting in this new world challenging. But when I sit and really think about it, it's no different than parenting in the "real" world.  Myspace is a Public place, just like a shopping mall, a library or a movie theater.

And Parents are freaked out by it. Err...why? Because they don't know about privacy controls, they don't have a feeling for what their kids are doing on Myspace, or who is there "watching". 

Well, it's exactly the same as dropping your kids off at the movie theater or the Mall. Before you allow your kids to do these things in public without adult supervision, you probably have "the talk" like:

  \* If you see someone watching you, tell someone (an adult) immediately.
  \* Don't hang with the noisy kids because they'll get you thrown out.
  \* If you don't like something that's happening, LEAVE. (e.g. call me and I'll come and meet you)

Same thing applies on Myspace. or FaceBook. Or any other online community.

Now, there are some "parents" that give parenting a bad wrap. There are some parents who trample their kids rights (Kids bill of rights is another blog post I guess...) their privacy, (yes, Teenagers are entitled to privacy) and the rights of their kids' friends.  If you would not hesitate to toss your teenager's room looking for "contraband" then you probably would not hesitate to eavesdrop on their telephone calls. And that probably applies to email, AIM and myspace activities, etc. And so the teenagers hide their activities. It's not that we don't TRUST THEM, is that they don't TRUST US.

That's horrible isn't it?

There are so many "parents" doing the wrong thing for the right reasons.

Right thing to do:  "know" what your kids have going on Online. 
Wrong thing to do:  Sacrefice their privacy to ease your fears.
Right thing to do: "know" the difference between trouble and bad behavior.
Wrong thing to do: Assume all bad bahavior is Trouble.
Right thing to do: Make sure your kids know the difference between trouble and bad behavior
Wrong thing to do: Assume that they don't.


Friday Dec 15, 2006

I worked HARD for that F

[Scene opens with LKR shuffling thru Grace's Sophomore English term paper, looking for marks, comparing to the rubric...pacing]

LKR: "Is that grade a 45?" 

Grace: "yes"


Grace: "Yes."

LKR: "out of how many..."

Grace: "100 Mom. 100. "

LKR: "oh"

[Grace, with head in her hands, shocked, confused]

LKR: "The paper is exactly the required length (8 pages, double spaced, no more no less...) with works cited page, and citations. The thesis has the word "Great!" next to it in the teacher's writing...Great thesis...gets a (gulp) 45?"

Grace: "Content grade was 89. Final grade was 45...because of that MLA thing."

LKR: "Oh. That seems a little harsh...I mean, you got a grade that you would have gotten if you'd only turned in the first page."

Grace: "Yeah, I worked hard for that F."

That was in October. Yesterday Grace brought home another paper from the teacher. It was on the evil nature of Medea. MLA format was followed precisely. And we celebrated a 92.


Monday Sep 11, 2006

Phil was a tall guy

That's what I remember about him. He was very VERY tall. Not lanky, or uncoordinated. But Tall.  He always had a look on his face like he was hatching another idea, and he was thoroughly entertained.  

I was talking with Beth, my 13-year-old, about today's anniversary. What has changed for her? Will 9/11 define her generation?  "I hope not, Momma. I want to be defined by something happier."  

Or maybe something better? Like walking on mars. Or inventing another kind of Candy. Or a new vehicle--maybe one like the Jetson's had?  Yes.

Phil--are you working on it?




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