Mauna Kea Kisses

My husband, the technosexual man, had Mauna Kea on his short list of must sees.

Okay, first a quick briefing for those of you unfamiliar with Mauna Kea(like I was).

Mauna Kea hosts the world's largest astronomical observatory, with telescopes operated by astronomers from over eleven countries.

Telescopes found at the summit of Mauna Kea are funded by government agencies of various nations.

Mauna Kea is unique as an astronomical observing site because the atmosphere above the mountain is extremely dry -- which is important in measuring infrared and submillimeter radiation from celestial sources - and cloud-free, so that the proportion of clear nights is among the highest in the world. The exceptional stability of the atmosphere above Mauna Kea permits more detailed studies than are possible elsewhere, while its distance from city lights and a strong island-wide lighting ordinance ensure an extremely dark sky, allowing observation of the faintest galaxies that lie at the very edge of the observable Universe. A tropical inversion cloud layer about 600 meters (2,000 ft) thick, well below the summit, isolates the upper atmosphere from the lower moist maritime air and ensures that the summit skies are pure, dry, and free from atmospheric pollutants.

Okay, enough of the sciency schmiency, it was the. coolest. thing. ever. It was odd to be wearing parkas in Hawaii but the freezing nose and fingers worth every minute. The view was the most spectacular thing I have seen, the stars so close it was as if you could pick them out of the sky. The sky was so dark, several moving satellites were visible and the constellations blazed so bright you could easily pick them out. The idea that so many countries work together and share their information and data is hopeful(quick note, Japan is the only country that sells their info rather than share, tsk tsk Japan!). In a word, the trip up Mauna Kea to an elevation of 14,000 feet was breathtaking, and yes in part because at that elevation it is actually difficult to breathe. This guy also took my breath away.

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Greetings From Hawaii

In spite of the very, very relaxed expressions on our faces, we do in fact miss you guys. Izzy, we miss you shouting from your crib because you threw all of your favorite stuffed animals out because you were mad you had to go to bed an now you want us to retrieve them so you can go to sleep. Josh, we miss telling you to pick up your socks and take out the garbage and to get your fingers out of your mouth. Clare, we miss the whining, the head in the clouds huhs? that are exclusively yours.

Okay, we don't really miss that, but we do miss this.

We'll see you in seven more days guys.

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Things I Do When I Should Be Working

Gene and I are getting ready to go on vacation Wednesday and I have been telling him to get a haircut, maybe pestering is more accurate. So I made a little movie to let him know that I realize I can be kind of bossy.

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Well At Least There Were No Issues With Wire Hangers

The Milwaukee Public Museum was always my favorite with its dark and vaguely ominous Streets of Old Milwaukee exhibit and the oddly static but roaring dinos that every city's museum seems to have. With a great downtown and Chicago at our doorstep we did schloads of field trips, the art museum, the Field Museum in Chicago, the symphony, the kids theatre, the kid's science museum. The field trips are some of my fondest school memories.

My mom was a single working parent, and more than a little fly by the seat of her pants. So while most of the kids got kickass paper sack lunches with Capri Suns and multi-layered sandwiches and bags of Doritos, and Little Debbie snack cakes, me? I usually got my mom's leftover t-bone from her client dinner the night before encased in tinfoil shaped like a swan . Really Mom, how is a seven year old supposed to eat steak on the bone in a museum cafeteria with no knife?

Thrown in for good measure was a hard boiled egg with a little plastic baggie filled with salt, and a Tab. Who gives their kids Tab? And salt? No wonder I'm only five foot tall. My kids school hasn't done much so far in the way of field trips and I've been far too lazy a parent to take them anywhere good. Sigh. But at least I make my children proper lunches.

Notice the expression on my face when I realize a 17 year old and 19 year old
are resposible with rearing me. Oh oh!

Though I was grateful when I finally was allowed to buy “hot lunch”, lunches were not the only thing that suffered as a result of having a harried career mom. My mother was only seventeen when she had me, so when I was seven, she was just twenty-four, not exactly the apex of responsibility. Still, she was a creative problem solver.

Many mornings she would sleep through her alarm clock. Rather than bark at me to hurry up she'd say, ok, it's a race, whoever gets dressed first wins! My mom knew only too well my competitive streak and I would yank my pants on in a flurry and string my clear plastic glitter belt through my belt loops missing most of them. No socks, socks took too long to get on, pebbly because they were from like three years ago and way too tight. Brushed teeth? Time waster. I think I may have even inadvertently gone to school with my shirt on inside out more than once. Yet, as a hungry seven year old, my stomach would not let me forget about breakfast. "Breakfast?" She'd say on the days we were minutes away from being both tardy and fired, "not everyone eats breakfast every morning." Seriously Mom, couldn't you have stocked a few lousy Poptarts?

I'm not saying that my mom neglected me, just that she neglected to pick me up from school a few times. There I'd sit on the steps at school, reading my book, waiting for my mom's red Pontiac to pull in the circle drive. Moments like these in part probably explain why I became such an avid reader. As it neared four o'clock, the teachers exited the building, most of them giving me the odd worried look but saying nothing. Occasionally, the young, fresh, helpful new ones would ask, where's your mom honey? "She's on her way," I'd say, knowing even at seven I was going to be able to milk this one awhile.

My mom didn't let me smoke, she just let me pretend to smoke, totally different.

It wasn't always easy being the only child of a single mom trying to make the mortgage and compete in the workforce. As a radio salesperson, she worked long hours and weekends, but the job did have it's perks. Trade was something reps worked out with local businesses, free goods and services for free commercial time. The intent was Joe's restaurant got some commercials and the station reps could take clients to Joe's for lunches on the house. I didn't realize that not everyone's mom could just sign her name to the bill with her business card and leave. These lunches and dinners were meant for clients but especially in the early days of making ends meet, we had many “business” meals together my mother and I. Many of the restaurants were very nice, not exactly normal for a child. It was here that I first developed a taste for very good food. I was hardly sixteen when I was grilling our local butcher on which steaks he was giving me. Don't you have any that are better marbled I'd ask, are these dry aged? Prime?

When I have my finer moments of parenting and fear I've scarred my kids for good, I just look back to my own childhood. Were it not for the missteps, I would not have the sense of humor I do. Most of my favorite funny people have a wry and witty sense of humor breed as an elaborate self-defense mechanism--tragedy begets comedy. Were I to be the perfect mother, I would be denying my children stories to harangue me with later and that in itself is a form of child abuse, no? So in my epic fail moments I sit back and consider that my mistakes will someday be reflected upon by my own kids as they traverse the rocky waters of parenthood.

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Oh Oh, She's Back on Her Soapbox Again

Yes, here it comes, a small but significant rant.

I have a problem, a bone to pick with some of you. I am beyond tired of women saying they are not feminists. "Oh, I'm not one of those(pause) feminists(said in a slight whisper)," they utter, like their name might be added to a black list somewhere.

A woman saying she is not a feminist is like a human saying they are ambivalent about oxygen. When did feminism become the exclusive bastion of man-hating, "men and women are the same," sensible shoe-wearing, eschewers of deodorant?

Can you be a stay at home mom and a feminist?
Uh, are you at home because it works for your family or because you think a woman's place is in the home?

Can you load the dishwasher while your husband/wife/life partner fills your car with gas and still be a feminist?
Division of labor is a fact of life and if it so happens that the "man" likes to do the more traditionally "male" tasks and the "woman" wants to sit on the couch and eat bonbons whilst thumbing through her dog-eared Germaine Greer treatise well fair is fair.

Can you don pigtails, stilettos and layers of thick, pink lip gloss in the bedroom and still be a feminist?
I say, yes we can.

For those of you who say well I'm not a feminist, do you even know what a feminist is?
Feminism is the idea that women should have political, social, legal, sexual, intellectual and economic rights equal to those of men.(look it's in pink, see you can be girly and still be feminist.)

Pray tell, what part of this sounds like a bad idea?

Thanks to feminists we can vote and take part in the political process, we can serve in the political realm. We can own property, we can get educations and further developments in science and medicine. We can pursue scholarly goals and assert our legal rights when there is injustice. We can use our voices to carry the message of women around the world that have no voice. We can drive cars and own homes and build our retirement even if we choose to be single. And at least for now, we can make decisions, even difficult, heart wrenching decisions with regard to our health and reproduction.
So why is feminism a dirty word for so many women?

Do you think people should be paid differently for doing the same job?
Do you think a woman should not be allowed to own property?
Do you think women shouldn't do certain jobs?
Do you think women should not have the same educational opportunities as men?

If you answered no to these questions, then you, my friend are a feminist.

I will leave the reproductive freedom out of this because I think you can be against abortion on principle and still be a feminist in practice. For me, reproductive freedom is an integral part of the equation of equality but let's be frank, no one likes abortion. I respect people for whom this issue is a difficult one fraught with religious doctrine and social ambiguity. I am certainly not "pro-abortion' but I have always considered this the most personal of decisions and not one I would ever like someone to make for me or for me to make for another person. I have to ask, is this issue the major holdback?

And guess what guys, feminism, it's not just for women anymore.

FormerlyFun's Manifesto on Why Feminism is Good for Men

-Your educated woman makes a mighty fine partner in a neighborly game of Trivial Pursuit and a suitable rival in Balderdash.

-That whole reading/writing thing comes in handy when you need someone to program the GPS while you drive.

-Bound feet rather unattractive shoeless.

-More opportunities outside the home equals less neurasthenia.

-She can now work in the higher paying battery department at Johnson Controls.

-Women look hot when they are voting.

-She won't lose her job just because you knock her up.

-If women couldn't go to college we wouldn't have movies like Revenge of the Nerds or Animal House.

-Access to contraception is sexy.

-Repression is a downer.

-More women burning bras = more women braless.

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Goodbye Thirty Five, Hello Thirty Six

Goodbye perfectly smooth feet and snag free manicured fingernails. I have discovered gardening and can't be bothered to remember to put my gloves on or wear shoes. Seeing that I devote nearly 23 hours of everyday to 1 husband , three kids, two cats, a dog, and a small business-- that only leaves me about an hour to devote to my own personal care needs and a girls gotta poop sometime.

Goodbye luxurious silky mane. I won't cut you off anytime soon but gone are the days of regular trims and deep conditioning. The baby is finally past grabbing fistfuls of you and ripping you out so I'm hoping you fill in from time to time but until then, can you recommend a good volumizing shampoo?Goodbye regular reading. We had it so good didn't we? Just you and I, we were inseparable. It seemed like all we ever did was go on long weekends together, exotic vacations or just hole up together and spend the whole weekend in bed. Now I treat you like the old, smelly family pet saying hi once in awhile but rarely getting down for a good snuggle.

Goodbye going braless, you guys are still fighting the good fight but you've let me down a little. The weight of it all has pushed me to join a daily support group.

Goodbye smoking, I gave you up for good a long time ago but don't think that I don't still think of you nearly every day. You were good for a quick diet or after a fight with my mom or a reward/ break on Saturdays cleaning the house. You have been missed but I don't miss the way you made me feel. You treated me bad, come on, you know you did. I broke up with you but I took you back a few times. There were a few late night booty calls after a night out but no more, it hurts a little to say this but I'm really over you.

Goodbye size six and maybe even eight, I hope I see you again soon but this baby thing is really getting in the way. Yes, maybe I should be working out instead of blogging but I don't want to.

Goodbye extra cash, I'd like you to meet the new guy, Three Kids Who Want Bachelor Degree's At Minimum. Yes, I'm not sure I like the new guy either but he's here, handcuffed to my card sliding arm, reminding me every time I get into three digits at Target that I'm a bad mom who didn't really need that new stripey cardigan.

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