Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I'm Not Here Anymore, Remember?

Yoo hoo! Psst! Yes, you.

I'm over here now. Come on over and join the party!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Bye-Bye, Blogger

Surveying the dining room during lunch, Lyle casually asked, "When are moving from this house, Mommy?" His tone let me know that he assumed moving day must be right around the corner.

Who can blame him? It must seem about time. After all, we've lived here a full year now, so why aren't we packing?

No one is only a therapist at the office, and so I made the boys a transitional photo album before we moved from San Francisco to Chicago. In it are photos of each apartment we lived in along with the addresses (they'll never have a problem finding their early homes), and there are pictures of all of our friends, family there, and each and every favorite place we loved. About halfway through, the focus shifts to Chicago, where I placed photos of the new rental house, the neighborhood, Baxter's school, and the local ice cream shop, in addition to photos of Matt's entire family. We all love this album - I found myself thumbing through it in the living room just this morning - and it was a huge help to the kids during the big transition. It got a lot of love, especially from almost-2-year old Lyle who had no other way of understanding why his world was suddenly upside down.

But those pages of all the places we lived? There are too many. It's kind of scary, how many times we moved with the boys over the past 7 years.

And so it's all about stability for me now. I want as little to change as possible. We considered switching Lyle to a different preschool for next year (one that would mean *not* having to pay for both preschool and a nanny) and in the end I just said "no" to more change. This is strange for me - I love change. I thrive on change. Bring it on!

But please. After the past 7 years? Let the big things just be as stable as possible for a while.

Despite my current resistance to change, I am making one concession - a virtual move. I am leaving Blogger, which has started giving my commenters a hard time and doesn't allow me to do all that I'd like to do with The Wonderwheel. I have secured my very own web site and am using WordPress for my blog.

So, please, come on over to my new-and-improved Wonderwheel home and join in all the fun on my new site. I'll supply the champagne and chocolate as long as you remember to add the new address to your RSS or bookmarks. (Just try to overlook the bare walls and all the boxes stacked in the corners - unpacking takes time.)

Monday, March 31, 2008

Materialistic Monday: Drama Mama's Secrets, Part One

How lucky are you all today? The faaabulous Drama Mama is guest blogging here today to share her beauty secrets! Get your tabbing fingers ready - there's some good stuff here...enjoy!

Materialism is hard work, Wonderfriends, so I’m going to work fast and hard to get you in and out of here on this Monday morning.

The erudite and gregarious Jordan has asked me to guest on this auspicious day, mostly because she isn’t half has materialistic as I am, and partially, maybe, because she’s just tired, lazy, or both and just wants to pass the heavy lifting over to me. Never fear, mon amie, I am willing and able to transition you from the dregs of winter to the dawning of summer in just a few pithy paragraphs. Get your pens ready. And…Go!

First of all, as we move from Winter to Summer, you might notice that you are feeling… squishy, perhaps. Not heavy, but, er, well, not as toned and terrific as you’d like to be as those Land’s End Swimsuit catalogs appear fast and furious in your mailboxes. May I suggest a nice meal replacement that I’ve been doing that is filling and delicious ? (Well, let’s not go crazy here, how about pleasantly palatable?). Fiber 35 is available online, in your local health stores, and what I really like about it is that it does indeed fill one up and keeps things moving, shall we say? A few shakes throughout the day, with a Fiber Smart bar mid-day, and a salad with protein for dinner – an easy and painless way to shape up and clean out. Just in time for Land’s End season. Greet those waves with the semi-self-confidence that you deserve!

Now that your innards are singing, may I bring your attention to your skin? Yes, darling, it is lovely and wrinkle-free, but that long winter has left you –ahem- a little dull and not as baby-fine as you’d like. MAC Moisturelush line is just that – softening and hydrating and really, truly non-greasy. Truly. I would not lie to you. I do the Cremewash with my Clarisonic in the shower (oh, the ecstasy), then the Studio Moisture Fix while I dress and do my hair. By the time I get to my make-up, my face is ready to go. Friends, before I turned 40, I detested the feel of moisturizers. As it became a necessity, I searched vainly for an item that would hydrate me and not make me look like a fry cook in June. The real piece de resistance is the Moisturelush Crème at night – it goes on like a cloud, and is like a mini-facial; once you emerge from your morning shower, the effects of your nightly attempts are butter-smooth and have plumped up even the tiniest of lines – even around the mouth! Couple all of this with your Strivectin, and you are positively entering Dorian Gray territory.

Okay. Pens down. That's enough for today. Process. Rinse. Repeat. We'll see you next week at this time for the rest of Materialistic Monday Terrorist Takeover by Drama Mama. Please do your homework.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Recyclery

As long as we're talking about Mother Earth this weekend, I want to share a wonderful discovery we made yesterday.

Baxter and I were both in the market for new bicycles this spring, and so we went up to Evanston (a very short distance from our far north side neighborhood) to check out The Recyclery's Spring Sale. The Recyclery is a nonprofit used bicycle collective, meaning that they fix up donated bikes and give them to those who need them and occasionally sell them super cheap to the public.

To his utter delight, Baxter found this '80s Schwinn "Predator" (perfect for our Cheetah-obsessed boy) that is just his size. And when you only spend $15 on the bike, it's easier to promise a few add-ons, like a comfier seat and a kickstand.

As for me, I ended up with this silver aluminum frame Magna with all kinds of crazy shock absorbers. Between that and the hella cushy seat, all I could think about while I was riding it was the YouTube "Mom My Ride" video (which you really must see if you haven't). It's a Mom Ride all right, but for $65, bring it on.

Aside from the great deals on some kick-ass bikes, this was a fantastic opportunity to talk about the "reuse" part of what some refer to as the "Unitarian Holy Trinity": reduce, reuse, recycle. Baxter is feeling very proud of his 20-year old secondhand bike. I hope he remembers why when his friends show off brand new shiny models, but I don't think I have anything to worry about.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Earth Hour

We are observing Earth Hour tonight, but adjusted it a bit. We started early - at 6:30 - as starting at 8pm would have had no impact whatsoever on the slumbering darlings we wish to teach about being stewards of the earth.

With no computers to lure an adult away, we spent half an hour together in the sun room, being goofy and chatting happily, engaged in such activities as Watching Lyle Put on a Ballet/Tap Dance Show and – always a crowd pleaser - Creating Harry Potter Characters and Artifacts Out of Silly Putty with Baxter. For the next half hour we took to our respective couches and each of us read to one of the kids.

I was struck by the way that the natural darkening of the night sky through our windows brought on a gradual calm in us all. No sudden, “Okay, it’s bedtime!” call tonight. When it was too dark to read, no one questioned that it was time to head off to sleep. We lit a big candle by which the boys brushed their teeth, and off they went. A very relaxing evening.

We have kept the lights and electronics off well into the official 8-9 pm time period. Feeling a little guilty about going to a fully lit establishment at 8:30, I left the house in search of the Starbucks down the block due to the fact that I am far too behind on work to even think of doing anything else, and Matt’s having some friends over tonight to watch a movie and drink White Russians. And whatever else a bunch of hip dads do. (I’m picturing some of them walking in not knowing about Earth Hour and feeling a bit awkward about the romantic, candlelit atmosphere Matt has prepared for them.)

But do you know what I love about my neighborhood? Even the Starbucks employees are supporting Earth Hour. I’m guessing that there are certain corporate non-negotiables around here, like the background music that is probably required by the higher-ups to set that Saturday night coffee shop vibe. But it’s almost pitch-dark in here, with precious few under-cabinet lights on – just enough for them to make drinks by.

So here I sit in the near dark with my laptop running on battery power, looking out at busy Sheridan Road with so very few windows lit in the big apartment buildings, and I think, we really can do this.

We can, can’t we? If we made this effort more often? On a regular basis? Nightly, even? Each of us. It’s not that hard.

I mean, really: if Starbucks can turn down the lights and still bring in a full house, can't we all do more?