Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The flap of a butterfly's wing

Has everyone pondered the idea that the simple flap of a butterfly's wing can have great consequences? The premise is that the flap creates a breeze, which starts a domino effect of ever larger events finally resulting in a hurricane or some such. So. Jacob got up this morning and went to the bathroom. He missed the actual hole in the toilet. The urine hit the raised lid and ricocheted to the right, dowsing the floor and Claire's potty. About 2 minutes later, Claire and I entered the bathroom to brush her teeth. I got her started brushing then started mopping up the mess. Boy and Baby (ever present dolls) were unable to sit in their usual location on the potty. After some discussion and a tantrum, they were stashed in the storage drawer of the step stool. Due to the mopping, I only got one pigtail in Claire's hair before she was finished brushing. Thus, we arrived at the breakfast table late, half-kempt, and crabby. We left the house completely kempt but late and crabby. Claire was still crabby by the time we arrived at daycare, which means I did not get a goodbye kiss. I was distracted and even crabbier by the time I arrived at work, leading me to make a mistake in the backup routine. I had to call a counterpart in a different office to explain the problem, causing a disruption in his morning routine. I'm fairly certain that he will in turn cause an even bigger disruption and on and on until finally something horrible happens. Keep your eye on the news is all I'm saying. Jake splashed urine all over the bathroom and that could eventually cause a war in Iran.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

35 minutes

In 35 minutes I can:

  • Make spaghetti
  • Bake 12 pumpkin muffins
  • Steam 2 crowns of broccoli
  • Unload and load the dishwasher
  • Wipe off all the counters and the table
  • Clean up a pile of wooden blocks
  • Comfort a screaming child
  • Rescue the markers and crayons
  • Make a cocktail
  • Sing 12 verses of Wheels on the Bus
In 35 minutes Claire can:
  • Dump a box of wooden blocks twice
  • Dump a box of plastic interlocking blocks
  • Dump a box of rubber bugs
  • Find a pattern card for the above rubber bugs and squeal with glee for 2 straight minutes without taking a breath
  • Decide to color the pattern card, opening the art drawer into her face
  • Squeal with terror for 2 straight minutes without taking a breath
  • Tell me off for removing the crayons and markers from her possession when she resumed her attempt to color on the bug pattern card.
  • Find a sheet of stickers in an undisclosed location (I suspect that she hides things on her person) and dole them out to all of her beloveds, including me and a stuffed frog.
  • Dump out all of the play-doh toys.
  • Open 3 canisters of play-doh.
  • Find a laundry basket and sit in it while singing Wheels on the Bus
  • Find an empty box and ride it like a horse.
  • Sneak a slice of banana bread off the counter and stuff the entire thing into her mouth while giggle maniacally. "Tee hee heee mmf mmf mmf."
She wins.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Looking through mommy glasses

I don't think that being a mother has entirely changed my view of the world, but I do find that it has given me one more perspective. I've got my rose colored glasses, my faith glasses, my feminist glasses, and now I've got mommy glasses too. I find that certain types of stories bring out the mommy glasses and paste them to my face, more or less. Stories about people in pain smack my mommy glasses onto my face so hard that I reel from the impact. I have, I think we all have, been hearing a lot about a couple of very unhappy women the past week or two. When I saw the vulnerable head of Britney Spears in a photograph, I wanted to tuck her onto my lap, rock her back and forth a little and tell her that everything would be all right. It's the mommy glasses. They make me want to cuddle and coo and fix every ouchie with a magical kiss. And inevitably, I turn my eyes toward my own children. I don't ever want my children to feel that vulnerable. I don't ever want my daughter to feel that she needs to be beautiful to be loved. I don't ever want my son to feel that he is alone in this world. I want them to be tough enough to endure. I want them to be able to look into the gaping maw of unhappiness and say, "No thanks. I think I'll find a different path." I want them to feel connected to the world, so that when they feel lonely it will be a passing thing, a mere glimpse. I think that sometimes I need to pry the mommy glasses off my face when I'm looking at my own kids. When they cry, I need to tuck them onto my lap, rock them back and forth a little, and then help them to figure out how to fix their own ouchies. The very thought breaks my heart - but better mine than theirs. What do you think? How can we prepare our kids for the reality that life isn't always happy? How can we teach them to take care of themselves? How can we give them the possibility of happiness?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

13 things to do with bored small children so that you can actually scrape them off of yourself for 13 minutes

I went to grab the code and discovered that the Thursday 13 has retired. It figures - just when I catch wind of something, it's over. I don't care. I like the idea and I'm keeping it. You know the lady in your office who is still wearing the same clothes she wore when she was in high school because she likes them and feels comfortable in them and isn't going to let some silly thing like fashion or current times or novelty get in the way of her comfort? That's me and the Thursday 13, baby. The movement may be over but the idea lives forever. Or at least until next week.

  1. Give them cans of food from your pantry. Cut some rectangles from paper and write numbers on them for play money. Tell the children to make a pretend store.
  2. Give them a stack of disposable bowls or cups. They'll do the rest.
  3. Give them a flashlight and show them how to turn it on and off.
  4. Make a fort out of some chairs and a blanket or two.
  5. Make a balloon hat for each child. This will spark a furor of imaginative play.
  6. Let them play in your sock drawer. All the better if the socks are balled up.
  7. Make a stunt ramp out of blocks and a book. Pile up the hotwheels next to it.
  8. Show them how to slide in their socks on the hardwood or linoleum floor. Warn them graphically of impending brain injury if they ever attempt that stunt on the ceramic tile in the kitchen.
  9. Strip them and put them in the tub. Water is optional. You get to sit on the toilet and read or do sudoku.
  10. Give them feather dusters and let them clean. Make sure they clean the dining room chairs - all those nooks and crannies keep them busy.
  11. Tape butcher paper to the wall and let them make a mural.
  12. Dig through your old tapes and put on some music they've never heard before.
  13. Open your tupperware cabinet and challenge them to make a tower taller than themselves.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Beginning...

It's Ash Wednesday! Time to put my nose to the grindstone. Today, I'm giving up cursing. Those who know me will probably start laughing right about now. But I'm doing it! It's going to be hard. I'm also going to pray the rosary once per week. I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to trudge over to the church on Wednesday nights when the old ladies pray, or whether I'm going to steal time at home. I'd probably better make it to the church because we all know that stealing time at home rarely works. Anyway, a recipe for today from CRS:

Rice Casserole (serves 6)

  • 1 cup rice
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 8 oz grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup cilantro or green pepper, finely chopped

In a large saucepan, sauté the garlic in the oil for one minute. Set the pan aside. In a small pot, combine cilantro or green pepper and vegetable broth. Heat mixture until it begins to boil. Add the broth mixture and rice to the large saucepan containing the garlic. Cover the pan and cook at low heat (the broth should continue boiling) until all the broth has evaporated and the rice is cooked.

Grease an 8" x 8" baking dish, and spread the rice in the pan. Spread the sour cream on top of the rice, and sprinkle the grated cheese over it evenly. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Serve hot.

This is what we're having for dinner tonight. And I admit that I immediately started fixing it up in my mind. "Oh, I could add some shredded carrots and use queso manchego instead of mozzarella, and maybe..." STOP. The point is to eat simply. So I'm making the recipe as is. Well, I'm using a yellow pepper because green gives Nick heartburn. But that's it! The point is simplicity and I'm trying to embrace it.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Slow down, you move too fast

I took yesterday off and spent it slowing down. That wasn't exactly my intention, but sometimes God has a way of poking me in the eye. The only real answer is to say "Ouch!" then "Thanks!" The kids and I headed off to a local children's museum. Yes, that's right. I said a local children's museum, meaning that there are several. We are fortunate! We headed off for our favorite one in the morning and got there right as it opened. We immediately headed to the Lewis and Clark exhibit (Everything in St. Louis has a Lewis and Clark exhibit, don't you know. We invented Lewis and Clark exhibits. They might have traveled the country, but they started here and we claim them as our native sons.) This particular exhibit has a mock-up campsite. It's very cool and very educational. Of course, I wasn't actually able to learn anything. Claire immediately set up shop at the campfire and cooked me a few meals. Jacob ran around and looked at everything in 20 seconds, then waited impatiently to go on the Lewis and Clark adventure obstacle course. Unfortunately, children under five aren't allowed to participate in the adventure obstacle course so we had to save it for another day. I was irritated because I wanted to play the compass game that was set up to teach visitors about the journey. Full of imaginary roast beast and plums, we headed to the play pizzeria. I pretended to eat a lot of plastic pizza. A LOT of plastic pizza. I was on my third pizza with everything, trying to talk Claire into fishing in the play pond, when the girl scouts walked into the joint. It was Scout Day at the museum. Each exhibit had special scout signs outlining learning goals for the exhibit and each leader had a piece of paper that must have mimicked the signs. This particular leader stormed into the room. "Celeste! Ask for a pizza! Emily! Give her a pizza! Diana! Say please and thank you! Audrey! Man the register!" The girls swarmed behind the counter. Poor Claire was trapped in the corner and Jacob was sitting behind the register with his mouth open. The scouts spent all of three furious minutes in the pizzeria before they swarmed across the hall to the library. After they left, I took a look at the sign while I munched on my pizza. "Take turns serving and ordering. Discuss polite and impolite restaurant behavior. Pay for the pizza and practice making change." While I was reading, another troop came in. This time, the girls came in one or two at a time and had to wait for the entire group to converge. The leaders sat down at a table and started banging on it. "Bring me water! Bring me pizza!" They were really hamming it up and having a good time. Then they asked the girls about proper restaurant behavior. It was interesting to watch them and the girls were clearly having a terrific time. Claire served me another three pizzas. Then we moved onto the Victorian kitchen where I ate some fruit and bacon. I gained 30 imaginary pounds. I left after two hours and around fifteen meals with two happy and exhausted children. I was starving.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Correction and Apology

A few days ago, I called Amanda Marcotte Ann. I apologize for my error. Heather pointed it out to me. Now I would like to take this opportunity to point out that Heather has not posted anything on her blog for days and days, leaving me bored and listless. Go pester her until she writes something!

Challenge: Rice or Water

Lent starts Wednesday, for those of us who observe it. Lent is traditionally a time of penance, fasting, and alms-giving for Catholics. The fasting part is always a problem for me. Woe is the person who crosses me on a fast day when I'm crabby and irritable. I know that fasting is supposed to bring clarity in many religious traditions, but I've never had that experience. Last night, while I was complaining about eating chicken again, I found the rice bowl packet in my son's school folder. I moaned and groaned about high quality, easily available food while millions of people in the world have poor quality food that is not readily available to them. Shame on me. Needless to say, my family will be participating in Operation Rice Bowl this season. I would like to challenge everyone who reads this blog to do the same. You don't have to be Catholic and the contents of your rice bowl don't necessarily need to go to Catholic Relief Services. Just eat a simple, inexpensive meal once or twice a week and deposit the money that you've saved on that meal in a cardboard rice container. On Easter (or Passover, or the spring solstice, or just the first day that you see buds on your trees), give that money to a hunger relief organization. I will post a cheap recipe every week (provided by CRS) if you need an idea of what to make. And while we're on the topic of hunger, let's talk about water too. More than one billion people in the world do not have a safe supply of drinking water. WaterPartners International is an organization that focuses on sustainable water projects in developing countries. My friends Jolyn and Matt introduced this charity to me a few years ago, and I admire its mission. If you aren't up for the rice bowl challenge, please consider a donation for clean, potable water.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

13 things I've learned this week

It's the rare meme I actually like, but this is one of them. I saw it on Lisa's blog.

Thirteen Things I've learned this week.
1. A two year old can open and ingest a shocking amount of candy in 10 minutes. 2. A potato cube on the floor of the oven makes the entire kitchen smell very bad. 3. A lime wedge in the garbage disposal makes the entire kitchen smell very good. 4. Do the math twice, just in case. 5. The manual is sometimes wrong. 6. When you clean up pee with a towel, put the towel in the laundry and not on the bathroom floor. Otherwise, your husband might just think it's clean and hang it back up for further use. 7. Follow up - don't trust that someone did what they were supposed to do. (Seems like I should have learned that already.) 8. Some people enjoy making lemons out of lemonade. Don't get in the way of their unhappiness. 9. Being coy about a slur can lead to confusion. Just come right out and say the dirty word. 10. Overwriting the file resets the object security. Like duh. 11. A billet-doux is a love letter. 12. Setting a deadline gets my rear in gear. (Again, something I've learned before.) 13. I haven't learned as much this week as I thought. Links to other Thursday Thirteens! 1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here! The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I love him.

   i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite a new thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which i will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like,, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh . . . . And eyes big Love-crumbs,

and possibly i like the thrill

of under me you quite so new
That's by ee cummings and it is one of my favorite poems. I have trouble sometimes talking about the good of my husband. It is so much easier to vent about the stolen Time magazine, the video game habit, all those things that chip away at a marriage. Verbalizing the good is more difficult - it takes poetry. Prose dries out the love and turns it to something less. I am no poet. After a few rough months, Nick and I are good again. I remember that I like the hows of him, both in body and mind. I am rediscovering how it feels to be One in a marriage - muscles better, nerves more, me more, him more. It's a miraculous thing, to be so loved by a person that you can be completely yourself without guard or protection. It's a miraculous thing to so love another person that he needs no guard or protection. So there it is. I do not know exactly why I love Nick, but I do. I could list all the wonderful things about him, but those things are not why I love him. I just like the thrill of him (not quite) so new.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Are your hearts hardened?

Ann Marcotte resigned from John Edwards' campaign. She made some remarks that are extremely offensive to Catholics, and perhaps to other Christians as well. I've been following this story in the blogosphere for the past couple of days. As usual, people are divided into two camps. There are the Christianists who take Marcotte's statements as proof that the left is corrupt beyond salvation. Then there are the strident feminists who react to the Christianist attacks as an attempt to put women back under the veil. They are both missing the point. Marcotte's statements were absolutely offensive and based on an incomplete understanding of the Church. She called Pope Benedict XVI "Pope Ratz". That is patently offensive and frankly, reveals much more about Ms. Marcotte than about the Church that she so callously reviles. I have to wonder about the wisdom of a politician who would hire a blogger who is blatantly disrespectful of an entire faith - a faith that encompasses approximately 1/6th of the world's population. What is to be gained by that manner of profanity except offense? Perhaps instead of attacking the Christianist camp, the feminists ought to be looking at a way to "speak their truth quietly and clearly", so that others might actually hear the message. Why waste all this time and effort defending disrespect? As for the Christianists, they are painting with too broad a brush (again). One woman, or even a handful of women, does not speak for all women any more than the Christianists speak for all Christians. The actions of one angry woman do not discount valid liberal ideals - ideals that have benefited all Americans. By using Ms. Marcotte to viciously attack the left, the Christianists are giving one woman's words too much weight. They are making her more important than she really is. She's one woman, hired to blog for one campaign. Why waste all this time and effort attacking words that do not really offer much of a threat? Today's gospel reading (which I did not hear in church - I wouldn't want to be dishonestly pious here) is about Jesus getting frustrated with his disciples. They were missing the point again. He asked them, "Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?" I think it's an appropriate gospel for today. Correction: It's Amanda Marcotte. My apologies.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Tada! And thank you.

Well lookie there. I have customized my layout so that my blog reflects the real me instead of the prefab version of blogger closest to me. And true to life, it's not exactly as I had envisioned it. Well, when I look in the mirror, I'm never exactly as I envision myself either. So I'll be calling it good enough for now. Thank you to

Shocked & Dismayed

Yesterday, Jacob told me that he didn't think a woman could or would ever be President of the United States. He said, "Men usually lead armies, you know." As a feminist and a pacifist, I am appalled. I see a lot of discussions in the very near future with my budding chauvinist warmonger.

Friday, February 9, 2007

What I Hold Tightly

Sarah made a comment on the last post, "Hold tight to this Christy, ... these are the things worth remembering." She's right, of course. And one day, I will be sad because Jake no longer sticks his head up the back of my shirt. That day is not today. What is today, what is almost every day, is bedtime. Sometime around seven, Claire gives me a look. It's quick. I could miss it if I weren't paying close attention to her. She stops where she stands, says nothing, and looks at me for a beat. Her eyes turn down at the corners and the shadow underneath her eyes deepens to a purple-gray (which, incidentally, is the color you get when you put yellow, blue, red, and green food coloring into a glass of milk). I say, "Let's go change your diaper." She takes off for the bedroom as if she's been waiting all night for that very invitation. There are a lot of little routines that happen next. Binkie selection, the opening of the diaper, a kiss on the belly, turning off the light, heating the bottle, etc. It's a well-choreographed pas de deux, but the exact choreography matters little to me. If I err, Claire sets me straight again. Then we head to the big chair. I sit down while Claire sits on my lap and drinks her bottle. Her head goes in the crook of my left arm and my right arm rests on her lap. This is what I hold tightly - the weight and warmth of a girl on my lap. I hold her there for as long as I can, until she's relieved when I finally suggest (finally! It's usually ten minutes.) that it's time for bed. Once Claire is securely tucked into her bed, it's Jacob's turn. He fights it. He always has too much to do and never enough time to do it. "But Mom! I didn't get to play with my CARS! I didn't get to play a game! I didn't get to watch a show! Just ten more minutes, please!" I eventually manage to cajole or coerce him into the chair with me and a few books. Lately, he's been reading to me. I prefer that. It gives me time to covertly study his features. This is what I hold tightly - the sound of a boy's voice, the way his hair grows all crazy on his sideburn and neck, the shrug of a small shoulder when he doesn't recognize a word. I rarely help him on the first shrug. I wait until he turns his green eyes toward me, until he raises his eyebrows in exasperation. There are the days when I am too tired, too stressed, too busy for bedtime and Nick handles it. I am Jacob's mother after all. I didn't get to do the dishes. I didn't get to mop the floor. I didn't get to read my magazine. I need ten more minutes, please! Most of the time, though, I hold very tightly to bedtime.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Respect the Flannel, Children!

Every evening when I get home from work, I immediately change into my comfy clothes. My comfy clothes have not changed since circa 1992. I wear a t-shirt, sweats or scrubs, and a much beloved flannel shirt. The flannel is a men's XX. It has to be that big because it needs to hang down over my backside. My tush requires an extra layer of warmth. I need to interrupt myself here and stress that I'm a very handsy type of mother. I cannot keep my hands off my children and I don't even want to try. I tousle, tickle, pat, pet, kiss, hug, and rub any part of any child that passes within reach. My children sometimes circle widely around me in order to avoid the inevitable mauling. So it's not like they're starved for the human touch. So why, I wonder, do one or both children hang on the flannel shirttail every single night when I make dinner? Claire hangs on to the very edge and rides her socks across the kitchen tile like some sort of carnival ride. Jake slides his head up between the flannel and my t-shirt. He just walks around under my shirt. It makes me crazy. Tonight, I'm tying the flannel around my waist to prevent hangers-on. I will just have to deal with a cold tush.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Silver and Gold

I was a Girl Scout for two years. I hated almost every minute of it, although I wanted very much to enjoy it. I liked the idea of being part of a group. It was such an attractive notion - a ready-made group of friends banding together to learn new things! I was so disappointed when it turned out to be the same girls acting the same way they always did. I remember one outing in particular. We'd gone on one of those woodsy circuit training trails where you hike a bit, then walk on a balance beam made from a fallen tree, hike a bit more, then swing on a trapeze fashioned to look like a vine, and so on. It was excruciating for my bookish, clumsy self. Afterward, we were lounging around in a little meadow when one of us (Hope? How can I remember that it was Hope after all these years?) found a fairy ring of mushrooms. We marked the occasion by singing Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold. Not long after that, I quit the group. Since we were military kids, we scattered. I have no idea where those girls are now. I went on to make and leave new friends. My high school friends have scattered. My college friends have scattered. And each time, I just let them go because there were always new people and new adventures. Who needs to hold onto friendships when there are so many interesting people in the world? On Sunday, I had a reunion of sorts with friends that I have let go. I was surprised by how good it felt to see them again. They grinned at me, embraced me, and let it be known that I was sorely missed. They recounted the last time they had seen me 5, 6, 7 years ago. I rediscovered Brian's kooky sense of humor, Jennifer's easy-going acceptance, Shean's covert wit. Part of that is because I'm Nick's wife, I suspect. Nick is loyal and social and all the things I am not. That part is smaller than I previously believed, however. These people know me and like me no matter how rarely I see them. And then I have my newest friends, friends who know me and like me. Friends who encourage me and pester me if I leave them alone for too long. Friends who point out the obvious with humor and patience. I require a lot of humor and patience, I suspect. I am finally beginning to realize that if ever I am lonely, it is because I choose to be. There are many, many people who have space for me in their lives.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Top 5 Reasons to NOT Choose a Catholic School

It's Catholic Schools Week! I have been fielding some questions from other parents (sometimes offering unsolicited advice *gasp*) and here's where I stand:

  1. Don't send your child to Catholic school if you have fundamental problems with Catholicism. Your children will have religion classes and those classes will have a decidedly Catholic slant. Plus, religion will be a topic of discussion at other times throughout the day and week.
  2. Don't send your child to Catholic school if you want a perfect little pre-Vatican II traditional Catholic kid. This isn't 1942 and most teachers are not nuns.
  3. Don't send your child to Catholic school if you want to write a check and be done with it. Most good schools require heavy parental involvement.
  4. Don't send your child to Catholic school because the public school sucks. Catholic schools are not an escape mechanism - they are an alternate choice.
  5. Don't send your child to Catholic school if diversity is your #1 concern. The kids there will be mostly Catholic and will reflect the makeup of your neighborhood/parish.
Do send your child to Catholic school if you want them to see values in action, learn about their faith, be encouraged to live their faith everyday, be supported by an entire community of believers, and have a solid academic start in life. I love my son's school and I'm glad we chose it. It's a place where he is beginning to understand how to be a moral person, and a place where he is loved and cherished even when he makes a mistake. It is a place where he learns that he is part of a larger community, that he has responsibilities to that community, and that the community has responsibilities to him. It is a place where he learns fundamental rules about respecting the children of God - including himself. I don't think that Catholic schools are the right choice for every family. If you are considering it, visit the school, talk to the faculty and staff, and pray about it. And wherever your children are schooled, I hope that they are valued as all children should be.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Floating? More like floundering.

I had a crisis of personality when I was around 20. I know - crisis at 20 - the very thought is ridiculous. But it was what it was and it's had a lasting impact on my life. Until that point, I knew exactly who I was and exactly what I wanted out of my life. Then one morning, I woke up and realized that I was wrong. Tres cliche, isn't it? Since then, I have been drifting professionally. I have taken any path that seemed interesting and for the most part, it has been rewarding to float along. I have discovered a lot of jobs that I never knew existed. I have uncovered aptitudes that were well hidden. As the inimitable John Denver sang, "It's really fine to have the chance to hang around." Now, I find that I have floated my way into unpleasant waters. It's too cold and the fish are scarce. I need to start swimming. The problem is that I seem to have forgotten how. I'm floating here in the middle of this godforsaken lake and I have less than no idea of how to swim for shore. I don't like where I am. But I don't know where I want to go, and even if I did, I don't know how to get there from here. Besides, no matter how unpleasant, this place is at least familiar. What if I end up somewhere worse? What if I end up somewhere exactly the same? What if there really isn't anything better for me? I think maybe I would like to teach. That was the plan for a long time. I'd float around until my children were older, then head back to school and eventually teach college-level linguistics or literature. And that still sounds like a happy idea, except for the waiting. I think maybe I would like to teach younger people. Can I do that? Can I teach children? Do I have that in me? Or would I end up screaming obscenities at the children when they can't read? I think maybe I would like to write. But write what? And for whom? And I'm afraid that would be a hefty paycut. I cannot step backwards financially. I think maybe I would like to be an entrepeneur. I would like to create something lovely and sell it for outrageous sums of money. But that's a big risk and I am not a risk-taker. So I guess for now, I just keep floating until I'm unhappy enough to actually take a risk. How long will that be, I wonder?