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January 2010 entries

Aidan's Logic

This morning, Gabrielle saw my tattoo on my arm and asked what it was.  She's been told before, but it's been a while since she's seen it.  I told her it was my tattoo, and Aidan turned to Mike and asked to see his tattoo.  Michael told him that he doesn't have one.  Not missing a beat, Aidan declared: "If you don't have a tattoo like Momma's, then you aren't married."

Who knew?  6 years, null and void, 2 illegitimate children.  My life isn't what I thought it was. 

Post-Movie Interview with Aidan and Gabrielle

Me: "Gabrielle, do you think one day your prince will come?"

G: "Nooooo."

M: "What about the house?  Would you want to clean up a dirty cottage in the woods?"

G: "No way!"

M: "Why did you like Snow White?"

G: "Because she was beautiful like a princess.  And she's nice."

M:  "Did you like the prince, too?"

G:  "Yeah."

M:  "Why?"

G: "Because ummm. . . actually, I don't.  I just like princesses."

M:  "Aidan, what about those dwarfs?  Why didn't they clean up after themselves?"

A:  "Because they don't have a dog like Duke to be a vaccuum cleaner like we do."

M: "Did you like Snow White?"

A: "Yeah, because I do like super heroes, but I like princesses, too."

M:  "Wouldn't it be cooler if Snow White were a super hero?"

A:  "No, Momma, it would not.  You're lame."

M:  "Time for bed, bucko."

"Uh-oh! The bad part!"

This is a real-time blog.  Enjoy my stream-of-consciousness ranting. . .

I'm watching "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" with the kids.  When Aidan saw the prince in his tights and high boots, he asked me, "Momma, why is he walking around outside in his socks?"

Now we're at the part where the witch realizes she's been fooled about Snow White being dead . . . the kids cried out, "Uh-oh!  The bad part!" and Aidan advised, "Curl up in a ball!"  and so, they did.  Both Aidan and Gabrielle got on their little hands and knees and hid their heads as the witch concocted her magic spell to trick Snow White.

Of course, I'm sitting here, analyzing the many stereotypes that fill this classic film.  Think of the witch -- an aging woman threatened by a younger woman's beauty.  Gee, we don't see that in the media any more, do we?  I think I saw at least 3 ads in the latest Oprah magazine for "age-defying" creams and serums.  For some reason, we are desperately afraid of aging and looking our age in our society.  Part of that, I suppose, comes from a fear of death and/or the fear of becoming useless/ineffective.  For the Queen's part, she is so driven by jealousy of another woman (another theme in the media; pitting women against each other in superficial competition) that she orders a murder so that she can be "fairest in the land". 

Next we have our victim: pure, sweet, innocent Snow White.  She comes across an empty cottage in shambles and her first instinct is to clean it from top to bottom because she thinks that seven orphans live there.  She, after tsk-tsking the state of the house, wonders why "their mother" doesn't clean up.  Then it occurs to her that they might not have a mother.  And we all know dads don't clean up, right?  After the dwarfs return home, Snow White is so very pleased to stay in the cottage to clean, cook, do laundry, and essentially become the mother/wife for seven grown men who don't regularly wash their hands before eating.  She even tells these bearded men when it's time to go to bed. 

And these silly men...oh my.  Such images of men are just as problematic as the images of women who "love" to clean and serve others.  These men are incapable of the basics of cooking a meal and cleaning up after themselves.  They, for some inexplicable reason, need the presence of a woman to bring out the humanity in them.  And they are entranced as she sings of her aspiration in life: "Some day, my prince will come . . . ."

[Interjection:  The Witch just fell off the cliff after being pursued by the dwarfs.  Gabielle said, "Ha ha, she's dead."]

OK, I am trying not to throw up right now.  The words on the screen just said something along the lines of "Snow White was so beautiful, even in death, that the dwarfs could not find it in their hearts to bury her.  They kept an eternal vigil by her side."  Then the prince comes along after hearing that there is a DEAD WOMAN in a glass coffin and his initial reaction is to KISS HER.  Ummm ... hello?  Can we say creepy necrophiliac?

[Side Note: In one of the fairy tale versions of this story, the prince comes because he wants to take her body to the castle because she is so beautiful -- talk about a trophy wife -- and when they move the casket, the poison apple falls from her lips and she wakes up.  And probably thinks, "What the hell am I doing in a casket and why is this weird guy taking me to the castle?"]

After being "revived by the kiss of true love", Snow White asks no questions, hops on the prince's horse and says, "Goodbye" to the dwarfs.  Cue the music and violins . . . just like real life, right? 

Congrats, Michael!


Michael just received a phone call from Sarteano Chamber Choral Conducting Workshop.  He has been chosen as ONE of TEN full conductors for their summer workshop in Sarteano, Italy.  There are two conductors from the USA, one from India, one from Ireland, one from South Africa, and a few from France and South America.  He is the only one without at PhD in conducting -- he was highly recommended by Dr. Bill Payn, from Bucknell University, and the directors of the workshop, including Simon Carrington, respect Dr. Payn's recommendation.  In addition to the recommendation, they evaluated videos of Michael conducting and determined his ability to hold his own at the workshop.  What an awesome opportunity for him! 

The workshop will consist of master classes and conducting sessions and will culminate in a concert at the Teatro de Sarteano.  Want to read more?

I can even go -- it's at the end of July through the beginning of August.  The only obstacle at this point is figuring out the funding for airfare, the workshop, and hotel.  ha! 


I've not had a lot of time to blog lately, and part of that problem is a technological one: the wireless connection to my laptop at home isn't working.  I've not looked into it too seriously because I've started to enjoy not answering my email when I'm at home.  Occasionally, I go downstairs to use Mike's desktop, but for the most part, I like being at home with my family when I'm there. 

So here are some of my random thoughts for today.

* Personal Pronouns and Electronics:  Think about the personal pronouns we have attached to electronics.  There's the "i-Pod" -- the device is meant to be for the individual, and it often isolates people from others.  It's an individual music system, and for many, games and apps system.  The size of the device makes it nearly impossible to share the experience with others.  And that is part of the appeal:  it's for YOU, it's something you can personalize and claim as your own. 

Then there's the all-famous "YouTube" -- think of how many videos you've seen on there that are essentially self-taped and self-edited.  This differs from the i-Pod because the experience is shared -- posted by YOU, and then viewed by others.  And in return, YOU get to view others' videos.

Finally, we come to well, the "Wii".  Usually a social activity, the Wii community is made of "Mii"s -- characters that you design to look like you or others in your family (or famous people -- Jesus and Obama are among our Miis...).  The Miis come together and interact, albeit in a virtual world. 

I don't think the "They" or "Them-Pod" would ever take off.  I mean, who would want to buy a product that they can't use or be a part of.  And the "It-pod" is probably out, too. 


A Small Request

Aidan had a small request for me this morning.

A: "Momma, do you remember when I was in your belly and you got fat?"

Me: "Yes..."

A:  "And remember when Gabrielle was in your belly and you got fat?"

M: "Yes...."

A: "Well, you need to get another baby in your belly, OK?"

M:  "Really?  Why?"

A:  [as if explaining to a child] "Well, Momma, we only have two kids.  We need some more."

M:  "Would you like a brother or a sister?"

A: "I would like a brother, and Gabrielle would like a sister.  So, you'll need to have 2 babies in your belly." [pause.] "Wow, you'll get really fat with two babies in there."

Happy Nanneranniversary!

A few years ago, when we celebrated our wedding anniversary, Michael and I explained to Aidan (Ellie was just an infant) that the day was a special one because it was the day we got married.  He told us, in his toddlerese, "Happy Nannerannerversary!"

Yesterday was another milestone -- 6 years of marriage for me and Michael.  He gave me the perfect card.  On the front, it says: "A happy marriage is what happens when two people are busy trying to make it through another year of paying their bills, running their errands, doing their chores, keeping sight of their dreams, and somehow, always finding the time to show how much they care."  That is pretty much the Connor household in a nutshell, except there is no explicit mention of raising a 4 year-old and a 3 year-old on the card. 

Inside the card, Michael made a list of all the roles we fill in a given day, and he said, "We are all of those titles all of the time.  Today we celebrate one:  husband and wife.  I could lose all the things of this world, but as long as I have you and our children, I would have a real purpose."

And I agree.  :)

We spent our anniversary in typical Connor style -- we asked our friends Jim and Tammy to babysit the day before and had no real plans for the evening.  We thought we'd go to The Olive Garden, but there was a surprisingly long wait for a Sunday in the middle of a recession.  We thought "how about bowling?" and we were told there was an hour wait; next, we were off to the movies, but nothing was playing for another 45 minutes or so.  We finally ended up eating at The Triangle and calling it a night.  After we picked up the kids, we went home and watched a movie called "The Changeling" -- that needs to be the subject of a totally different blog; it was an amazing movie.

So despite our mis-planned evening, we had a great time, and we're looking forward to many more "nanneranniversaries" together. 


On Tuesday night, the Connor family was piled in the Subaru and on the way to Aunt Michelle and Uncle Adam's house in Bloomsburg.  While driving, we talked about the kids' school day and their friends, etc.  The typical All-American family.  Gabrielle offered this to the conversation:  "You know what Miss Jewel [her preschool teacher] says?"

"What does Miss Jewel say?" I asked.

"Respected to it me."

Whaaat?  My Gabrielle-translator kicked into high gear and proposed this: "Do you mean she says to respect her?"


Never passing up a chance to find out if my children actually understand the "adult" words they use, I asked, "What does 'respect' mean?"

Gabrielle's little brow wrinkled.  "I dunno." 

Hmmm....well, she meant well, I suppose.  :) 

Hmmm....Mr. Spenalzo Lives!

I went to lunch.  I locked my classroom door.  I returned from lunch.  I found Mr. Spenalzo (the star of Arsenic and Old Lace) sitting in my desk.   It must be a real, honest-to-goodness resurrection story, right?  I mean, the stone was in front of the tomb, so to speak . . . how else could he have gotten in??