Saturday, January 31, 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Inauguration Day 2008

Inauguration Day 2008 has come and gone. The United States has a new president, and the world waits to see what will happen.

But first, we must celebrate, and celebrate we did. As ardent Barack Obama supporters, this was a great day, albeit one that was thousands of miles away with an ocean between us from the center of the action.  Thing One and Thing Two both dressed for the occasion, with Thing One wearing his red-and-blue rugby and Thing Two wearing his red jumper with an American flag on the front. Thing Two planned to explain what it was all about to his Year 1 class, and I will forever remember him running to school, clutching a copy of the New York Times supplement with a picture of Barack Obama on the cover.

The pressure to have something to do was immense, given that nearly everyone I knew asked me what my plans for the day were. Lots of (British) friends also congratulated me, much like they did after Election Day, saying how great it was that the U.S. finally had an inspirational leader.

This was one of the rare times where the time difference actually was in our favour, since most events such as the Super Bowl and the Oscars test our allegiance and interest by making us get up in the middle of the night to watch. The BBC actually had full coverage on BBC One, but we ended up showing our national pride by watching CNN instead. With the swearing in scheduled for 5 p.m. GMT/ noon EST, that meant we'd be able to get home from school, watch the pre-game festivities, and then watch the main event. Since I usually work until 6 p.m. on Tuesday, that meant that I had to rearrange my schedule to do it, but I thought there was no way I wasn't going to watch this with them.

"This is history," I kept telling them. "You will remember this for the rest of your life." 

I thought the best way to imbed the memory would be to make them things that they loved, so I made inauguration cupcakes (with blue icing and red-and-white sprinkles) and we ate ice cream sundaes to celebrate once Obama finished his speech. 

The boys weren't impressed with the lead-up to the main event. "Why is that lady talking so long?" they asked when Dianne Feinstein made her short introduction. "Why is that big man talking?" they asked when Rick Warren gave his invocation. Finally it was time for a nervous Obama to take the oath ( Chief Justice John Roberts gave him the wrong line, making him retake the oath later) and give his speech. By this time the time the speech was over, the boys had well and truly lost interest, with Thing One figuring out how far he could jump, and Thing Two making a spaceship out of the sofa. But I loved every minute of it.

Will they remember this day for the rest of their life? I hope so, but I know I will.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Old friends

In doing some research this morning, I found this great quote from Grant Fairley:

"One of the greatest titles we can have is 'old friend.' We never appreciate how important old friends are until we are older. The problem is we need to start our old friendships when we are young. We then have to nurture and grow those friendships over our middle age when a busy life and changing geographies can cause us to neglect those friends.

Today is the day to invest in those people we hope will call us 'old friend' in the years to come."

Monday, January 12, 2009

Working Moms: What do you do all day?

A version of the "What do you do all day?" for the Working Moms (like MarathonMum) out there.

A man arrived home from work late one night after joining his colleagues for an after-work leaving drink. As he unlocked the door at 10 p.m., he found his children still awake running around the house. The husband didn't even have time to put down his suitcase before he was barraged with questions:

Child No. 1: Dad! We're hungry! What's for dinner?

Child No. 2: Dad! I have to hand in my poster collage on the ancient Olympics tomorrow. I haven't started it. Can you help me?

Child No. 3: Dad! I have P.E. tomorrow. Did you wash my shorts and t-shirt?

The father is perplexed. Why haven't the children been fed? Where is his wife?

Just then, the phone rings. It is his wife's boss. He has questions of his own. "Is she home? Why isn't the presentation done? I gave her a full two hours of notice. I know it takes an average person at least a week to get it done, but your wife is incredibly efficient. Also, has she organized the office gift yet for the co-worker who's leaving tomorrow?"

Having no answers for either his children or his wife's boss, the husband hangs up the phone and goes in search of his wife. He trips over school bags in the hallway, lunch boxes by the stairs, piles of dirty laundry in the kitchen. The kitchen still has dirty dishes from dinner the night before, as well as the breakfast dishes and coffee cups from the morning.

As he continues to stumble around the house, Child No. 3 approches him with a school lettter. "Dad? My class is in charge of the cake stall tomorrow and I need to bring in 40 fairy cakes. Can you help me make them? We need them first thing, and if I don't bring them, our class will lose the cake competition and it will be my fault."

With still no sign of his wife, he heads upstairs. The house is in total chaos. He reaches the bedroom, worried that his wife is gravely ill or unconscious due to a serious blow to the head. He opens the door, but there's still no sign of her. Eventually, he smells the faint wiff of a Jo Malone candle coming from the bathroom.

He opens the door only to find his wife blissfully relaxed in the bathtub reading Grazia magazine.

"What IN THE WORLD are you doing?" the husband thunders.

"I took the day off," the working mother replied.

What do you do all day?

For all the Moms out there. You can see from the post above this one that I've also updated this tale for all of the working Moms out there, too.

A man came home from work and found his three children outside, still in their pyjamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard.

The door of his wife's car was open, as was the front door to the house and there was no sign of the dog. Proceeding into the entry, he found an even bigger mess.

A lamp had been knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against one wall. In the front room the TV was loudly blaring a cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing.

In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, the fridge door was open wide, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door.

He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife.

He was worried she might be ill, or that something serious had happened. He was met with a small trickle of water as it made its way out the bathroom door.

As he peered inside he found wet towels, scummy soap and more toys strewn over the floor.

Miles of toilet paper lay in a heap and toothpaste had been smeared over the mirror and walls.

As he rushed to the bedroom, he found his wife still curled up in the bed in her pyjamas, reading a novel.

She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went. He looked at her bewildered and asked, 'What happened here today?'

She again smiled and answered, 'You know every day when you come home from work and you ask me what in the world I do all day?'

'Yes,' was his incredulous reply.

She answered, 'Well, today I didn't do it.'