Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Truth Swims Out There

My husband rarely watches television.

So one night last week I was a little surprised to find him engrossed in a tv show. I was vaguely awake on the couch when I realized D was in the room, too, paying close attention to the screen.

“The USOs were about half a mile long, my compass was going CRAZY,” the military looking guy was saying.

“A USO??” I asked D. I used to have an unhealthy fixation with acronyms, so I had to work this out. “An Unidentified…Submerged Object??”

D didn’t know, and anyway he was busy listening to the gentlemen on screen were engaged in a very dramatic discussion about this mysterious (apparently government secret plottish type) object. I was right: it was an Unidentified Submerged Object.

In retrospect, hysterical laughter might NOT have been the appropriate response to the story unfolding onscreen. Maybe my stress last week WAS a tad high. But really, a USO? A giant thing cruising the oceans secretly at the behest of Shady Government Forces? It just amused me. A lot.

I’m as Mulder & Scully as the next gal. In some cases, I do think “The Truth is Out There”. But this…giant silver hot dog of the sea…I’m still chuckling about it.

The only thing that came across sillier than the premise was the cheerful paranoia of the “researchers” on screen. (“I want to just walk right up to the gate (of the military complex) and say, Show us the UFO!” the guy in the camo gear proclaimed…which got me laughing again…as did the guys getting nervous about the creepy military helicopters flying over. Over the military base. Yeah, creepy.).

D was not as amused as I was. The more amused I got, the less amused he became. Bwahahaha…

Then I started thinking about other shows that could be made around this same idea…

The UTO…”I had no CLUE what the thing was, but it looked pretty juicy, and I just couldn’t help myself; I had to take a BIG bite. WOW! That Unidentified Tasty Object rocked my taste buds!”

Or the UNO… “I swear, that thing had been there on the hammock for HOURS. There was some snoring, and the occasional grunt…I knew then that there was an Unidentified Napping Object in my yard…and I bet I know who’s behind this!”

Or one we often have in our house, the UGO…”it was nasty. Just nasty. Kind of sticky, and a funny color, and it smelled a little weird. No one will admit to spilling anything, nobody knows WHERE it came from…but this Unidentified Gross Object definitely needs to be dealt with”.

Any other unidentified objects in your world?

Looking at my own to-do list, and the state of my floors—way too many UGOs there!-- I better get this UPO (Unidentified Procrastinating Object) off the computer and back to work!

But keep your eyeballs peeled…you never KNOW what may be out there…

Monday, March 8, 2010

Printer Error Connection Disabled...of course.

The Lost Speech, aka The Document that Wouldn’t Print

I am determined to keep putting SOMETHING on this page at least 2x a week…so here is the rough draft of how I meant to introduce the fundraiser our family runs for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. While this blog is in many ways an attempt to reclaim a part of my life that existed before 2004, events since then just have a way of sneaking in everywhere.


Scientifically, it means neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that occurs in 1 in 3,000 births. A disorder that sounds scary. A disorder that IS scary…and hard to spell. A disorder that can cause tumors to grow anywhere in the nervous system. Scientifically, NF is a puzzle, a genetic enigma that varies from case to case, a gene gone awry on chromosome 17. To researchers and doctors NF is a tantalizing and troublesome problem that intrigues and confounds.

For the Children’s Tumor Foundation, NF is a mission. More accurately, solving the NF puzzle and imagining the possibilities of that solution drive the work of the foundation. The Children’s Tumor Foundation provides a positive answer to NF. Our favorite part of CTF is NF Endurance…Dave will talk about that later… The NF Endurance arm of CTF gives a tangible way for extreme athletes or runners, or active people or…well, anyone who has sneakers or …a pulse…or with a flair for wearing neon yellow… to push themselves beyond their physical limits to raise funds for CTF’s mission.

Personally, NF isn’t a puzzle, or a possibility. It’s my family. My spouse. My daughters. NF is deeply personal for me, and obviously our whole family. I take NF personally, I despise the assault it has waged on my children. When I dreamed of being a mom, I had never heard of NF. I never dreamed of spending any time with my children in a pediatric oncology unit. Never . I resent how NF has glomped my expectations. Some days for me NF means NOT FAIR, or Numbing Fear, or any number of weird acronmymic translations. NF has an unwelcome say in my future, my family’s future, my children’s future.

Now you know why I’M scary…

But NF doesn’t define us…we may bend sometimes before the ravages of this disorder, but we will not break.

We depend on nights like this where we stand together in hope and defiance—even if that defiance is shaped like a spritz cookie. I think HOPE is just that: an act of defiance in the face of yikes too ginormous to face. Nights like this transform NF for us. Tonight, NF means new friends…we are so honored to have some of our NF heroes from other states here tonight. NF means NOT FINISHED…until we have treatments that work, we won’t stop eating cookies…and You KNOW I mean that…NF means Never Fear…never fear the unpredictability, the unknown, the negative possibilities that are only a doctor’s visit away for NF families.

So tonight, we are grateful for this unexpected consequence of NF, the good that comes out of something so bad. We are grateful for all of you. Thank you for joining us in facing this disorder and fighting for a cure.

peace out--
to learn more about NF, check out
for our NF story, visit
for lots of great cookie recipes, visit your local library.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Next on Storm Stories...

February in Jersey is grim.

When I mentioned this the other day, my spouse helpfully pointed out that it is March—which I know, but still: February in Jersey is grim. Gray. Gloomy. Depressing. It bears repeating.

But this February was different: we had snow!

We missed the epic snow of south Jersey and the mid-Atlantic, but we had two ginormous wallops of snow, enough to have a six foot snowman still standing guard by my back door.

I have mixed feelings about meteorology. I find the study of weather intriguing; my “Clouds” project in 6th grade was thorough and beautifully illustrated with a rainbow for good measure. But here in Jersey, I have to take meteorology with a grain of road salt. Here, we have a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing. We get breathless predictions of Snowicanes and Snowtastrophes and Snowpocalypses. The evening news sports live team coverage from all corners of the state broadcast by reporters who look like they are dressing for the Iditarod or a South Pole expedition.

Granted, even my 7 year old wanted to make sure the winter coat I got on clearance for her for next year has the ski goggles wipe, the cell phone pocket, and the Ipod pouch. She has none of these three things, she doesn’t ski, and the highest mountain in Jersey is about ¼ mile above sea level. Maybe my Rosebud has a future as a weatherwoman, she could carry the Prepared for Every Contingency Wardrobe thing into a career.

But, um, this is JERSEY, not Saskatchewan. We do get the occasional big storm, but really, once the plows and salt trucks are out, it’s not a big deal. Unless the Weather Channel sends Jim Cantore to Jersey, I don’t even bother to look for the snow shovels. So I should know better when the menacing music and “Snowzilla 2010!!” screams across my tv screen, right?

Right. I should. But…

…I think somewhere, deep down, I am still 12 years old (very deep, I know). Secretly, I think snow days are awesome, heaven on earth, a break, a woohoo of being trapped away from our responsibilities. Snow days are gorgeous… when Mother Nature wins, we should all enjoy her victory!

Or maybe because I was a teacher, the anticipation of a snow day is part of who I am. In all my years as stay-at-home mom, it’s not like a snow day took me away from responsibility—my work was at home! But still, 8 inches of snow is freeing even as it binds us to our homes. We drink hot chocolate and watch Full House reruns and bring out the yardstick to see how things are piling up. We track snow all over the house, find mittens we haven’t used in months—the waterproof kind, not the stylin’ kind. We watch the exuberantly suffering meteorologists on tv and enjoy the respite from carpool-mania that is our average weekday reality.

So I take it personally when the gleefully dire predictions of our weather people don’t pan out. I feel like I’ve been set up, robbed, all my delicious anticipation of NOT getting reluctant kids out the door to school morphs into disappointment. NOTHING is worse than thinking you’re getting a snow day and then having to schlep out in a soggy chill for school or work. Nothing. Extend this over a month, throw in some gray skies and damp chill, and you have Jersey in February.

Thus I am grateful for the 2 Snowdangos we had this winter (and the remnants of snow that gave us a white Christmas). Two Real snow days, so bad that even my spouse couldn’t hitch up the dogsled and go to work (he is very determined). I am grateful. And maybe, just maybe the snow will stick around until we have actual warmth, a few crocuses peeking through. I hear it’s supposed to be 52 degrees on Sunday. Maybe we can skip the Jersey gloom that mostly got snowed over this February and jump right into spring.

I’d like to see the meteorologists invent a word for that! : )