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Showing posts from August, 2008

Portraits of Patience and Persistence as Young Girls

Recent work from my little artiste, Patience.
Persistence is showing her approaching four.

She sneaked into my office and got a pen, which she used on paper she also sneaked from my office and that happened to be an important part of a document.

"Oh no!" I said, upon discovering this, "Oh Persistence, what did you do. You went in my office---a no-no---and got my pen and paper---a no-no---and messed up my important work. I am so sad, so disappointed." I took back the pen and paper and walked to the office to return it. I stood and stared at the wall, frustrated and disappointed: why was this child so persistent, why did she not learn, what technique would work, how could I teach her to stay out of my things, oh what to do about this curiosity and getting into things---why wouldn't redirection work? I begged for patience and strength and guidance, and wished this didn't get to me. I was feeling poignantly the stress of a long summer, which felt more like a strin…

A lesson from 1985: Raising "good" girls the "good" way (Hump Day Hmm for August 20, 2008)

Last week, I wrote about 1984 meeting up with 2008 and noticing it simply looked like a slightly more weatherworn version of itself. I'm put in mind of what my teen self might think of my nearly middle-aged self. Shudder.

Then some people said they hoped that 1984 (or whatever year) could be a topic for writing because what they had to say exceeded a comment. (So I am looking forward to some posts here!)

So here we are, the topic is:
. . . several people asked that the topic be related to my last post, about 1984. It doesn't have to be political, it doesn't have to be 1984 (keeping in mind that not everyone was born or much aware at that point). But choose a time that was an awakening for you, select a year or an event that year, that you invested in, although you might now have been quite old enough to understand it fully, and that affected you down the line. Or write about 1984, the election or your life then.Obviously I've already written about 1984.

So let me hit anoth…

The Revelation: You Don't Get to Say or How Elizabeth Edwards Inspired Me, Again

copyright 2008 Julie Pippert
Last fall, on the campaign trail with her husband John---then still in the race, pre-scandal, post-what she knew---Elizabeth Edwards was criticized for her choice to take the children and go on the road with her husband. After two harsh and critical articles about her decision, Edwards wrote,
"I want to be entirely clear. You don't get to say I am a terrible mother because you think you wouldn't make my choices in my situation. You don't get to say that my children don't want to be with us when you don't know them and when, parenthetically, you know that happy children can be periodically disagreeable. You don't get to judge me because you think you know exactly what you would do if you had my disease. I want to be really clear: you don't know. And if the sun always shines on you -- and I pray it does -- you will never know."Back then, I was very inspired by her gracious yet firm rejection of the criticism. I wrote about…

How 2008 isn't that far from 1984, politically

In 1984 I was a teen, but not old enough to vote yet. That didn't keep me and my peers from being interested in the election that year.

For those of you who don't recall (or weren't born yet) in 1984 Democrats Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro challenged Republican incumbents President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George Bush. It was unprecedented: a ticket with a woman. The nation was sort of flummoxed, and everyone was talking about it, a lot.

That was the year then Colorado Senator Gary Hart, former Vice President Walter Mondale and Illinois minister Jesse Jackson all ran for Democratic nominee. Hart lost after Mondale mockery of his new ideas, and Jackson lost because...well, we can all speculate why. History will probably attribute it to his bigoted remarks, largely about Jewish people. History is rarely completely wrong, but it also doesn't always tell the whole story.

Once Mondale secured the nomination, he selected Ferraro as his running mate, and the Woman…

My Grandma went to Alaska and all I got was this stinkin' poop

My mother- and father-in-law just got back from a trip to Alaska. This past Saturday they regaled us with stories and descriptions from their trip. My mother-in-law might have said other things, but what I heard most was: it was cold.

I love cold. I love it.

My mother-in-law said that Alaska weather reminded her of the time she made that mistake and came to visit us in Boston in late March. I love Boston in late March. It's usually brisk. That year was no exception, with some snowfall lingering still. We decided to tromp around Cambridge---Harvard Square---because my favorite book store was there. My mother-in-law had slacks, a sweatshirt, and a windbreaker, with low-heeled loafers. She was frozen. Near to death. I, on the other hand, was doing a fair impression of Julie Andrews singing and dancing my merry way across the slush in about the same amount of clothing, minus the flats. I had on hiking boots.

"You and winter," said my mother-in-law, segueing back from the Massac…

Until it comes back to you

When the phone rang, I was a little annoyed. I'd finally gotten the kids settled into a task for longer than two minutes, with no fighting, and was actually making progress on my project.

"Hello," I said, a little more brusquely than I should have. It's not the caller's fault that I'm stretched too thin in too many directions from too much multi-tasking. "Hello," I said again, this time more kindly.

"Hi Julie," the voice of a lady I know said brightly, "How are you?"

"Fine, fine, and you?" I said, biting back 'busy' as an answer.

"So how are the kids?" she asked, omitting an answer.

"The kids? They're fine. A little rambunctious, you know. It's time for school to start."

"Oh," she said, "Oh. Right, they're fine, that's good news."

"Why do you ask?"

"Well, you know, they were over here playing the other day, and my kids are sick now. I just wanted to …

Tropical Storm Edouard: the updates (and photos)

(I'm also Tweeting at jpippert on Twitter http://twitter.com/jpippert)

8:15 a.m. about two hours after the first notable rain bands hit:

Note the big, brown patch courtesy of the drought. See why we are so happy to get rain, finally? You can't see the rain in the photo or how the trees are starting to blow, but you can see the accumulating water on the patio. All furniture and toys (anything loose) is put in the garage and the swingset is secured. That was before we knew it would be more like "summer breeze" than "evil gusts."

That back corner is the pond (behind the bushes, by the picnic table). It was getting so low (the water) that we worried for the fish. But, you can't put tap water in there or it might kill the fish because the chlorine level is so high. Contemplate that one for a moment.

So far, big excitement is a branch (small) on the lawn.

10:15 Update TS Edouard---the storm hits

Sheets of rain, solid wind, nothing worrisome, but at least something …

Hump Day Hmm on Saturday and giving new meaning the phrase "crapped on my day"

On Tuesday I drove out of town to visit family. The kids have been guilting me mightily about working, so I endeavor to make sure each day contains something fun for them, and that each week contains a day for them.

As we drove down a major Houston highway, I noticed that despite the clear blue sky, it seemed to be raining, starting with a light drizzle and slowly but surely escalating to a view obscuring downpour. Believe it or not, this isn't unusual here, especially this time of year. What was unusual was the color of the rain: brown, like mud.

It took about ten seconds but my brain quickly processed that this wasn't a rain storm, nor was it coming from the sky.

It was brown muck coming from the improperly covered 18-wheeler ahead of me on the highway. Suddenly, the loose canvas covering the top of the truck flipped up, completely open in the back now, and suddenly, an enormous load of brown muck coated my car. I couldn't see anything through the front windshield. I went i…