Thursday, July 30, 2009

I need to go on an IKEA run...

It's been awhile since I've been to IKEA, and we are desperate to find new ways to make our junk fit in our house until we can actually put it on the market. This may take awhile as the housing market slowly begins breathing again. Who knew a toddler came with so much stuff? Or a husband for that matter? So, until then, I decided to explore my Swedish Furniture Name, which you can use here at Blogadilla.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I want this to be my birthday cake...

I live in the Baltimore area, so I'm lucky to have Ace of Cakes (AKA: Charm City Cakes) in my backyard and all of the incredibly talented people who work there. We were watching one day when Charlie yelled at the television, "Hey, I know her! We went to college together!"
But this.... this is truly amazing:

HOGWARTS! (A Cake Interpretation)
Ace of Cakes made this for the opening of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. You can see the making of the cake here on the Leaky Cauldron site.

Yes, I'm still a Potterhead. But for very good reason. There are so many ways to interpret these books that the fans continually find new ways to approach these books from different perspectives. One of my favorite Harry Potter scholars (and yes, I do mean scholar) is John Granger, also a University of Chicago alumn. He's written a few books on the literary theory of the Harry Potter series. He's written:

The Deathly Hallows Lectures: The Hogwarts Professor Explains the Final Harry Potter Adventure

How Harry Cast His Spell: The Meaning Behind the Mania for J. K. Rowling's Bestselling Books

and most recently: Harry Potter's Bookshelf: The Great Books behind the Hogwarts Adventures
To get a taste of his style (And how Chaucer and Jane Austen relate to the Potterverse), you can check out the article he wrote for our alumni magazine here.

Then I was at our little work luncheon get together and learned that my older colleagues haven't read the whole series. *Shock* Then I shamefully explained to my boss how all the books come together in Deathly Hallows and why Dumbledore HAD to die in the 6th book. (I mean, how else was Harry going to face Voldemort as a man without anyone protecting him? It's the classic hero's tragedy and tale.) Then there's the representations of Hermione and Ginny as both modern and postmodern feminists. I think I freaked him out a bit.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mindy is getting married soon....

... and my husband is her "Best Man". They've been friends since college and she served as his Best Girl at our wedding, while my friend Dave was my Best Guy. This weekend is the wedding shower, but I wonder if she would even consider doing this.... I mean, Charlie really loves to dance, and this might be the perfect venue to show off his mad skills.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Someday my daughter will be in 7th and 8th grade...

...And I find this absolutely terrifying. Charlie is already excited about getting Sadiebug a backpack for preschool for this fall, and I'm already worried about Middle School. But then I found this quote on Mommy Track'd and it seemed so appropriate:

“The seventh and eighth grades were for me, and for every single good and interesting person I’ve ever known, what the writers of the Bible meant when they used the words hell and the pit. It was Lord of the Flies. Springtime for Hitler, and Germany. So how on earth can I bring a child into the world, knowing that such sorrow lies ahead?” ~ Anne Lamott

We thought Sadie was going to be a boy because there had been a steady stream for 18 generations. Yes, 18 generations. Charlie is one of THOSE families that actually took a boat to Virginia in the 1600's, looked around and said, "Well, this is nice." They have only ventured as far as Maryland, where we live today.

But no, during the ultrasound, the doctor said, "Boys are usually very active like your little one here.... wait... it's girl." Charlie asked her to check several times just to make sure. Yep, it was a girl. That was when I started to panic about 7th grade. Even though she was only 20 weeks old, I was worried about her walking into Middle School and facing 7th grade, (which according to my sources... 5th grade is the new 7th grade, and that just terrifies me even more.)

So, here's hoping preschool goes well. Sadie has already taken to saying, "Oh MY GOD!" all the time. That's my fault.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I have to give my husband kudos...

He thinks I don't appreciate all that he does as the "Primary Caregiver" of our family. Yes, we are a little unusual. I go to work each day and have a long commute from Baltimore to Washington, DC. That means I put a lot of trust into my husband that he take excellent care of our daughter. A lot of women downplay their husband's fathering skills, but Charlie has always been good to our little girl, even when she throws herself on the floor and screams for 30 minutes (like she did Monday night.)

When I meet people and tell them what I do for a living, they always wonder and say outloud, "Who takes care of your daughter?" And people are always surprised when I say, "Her father." That really shouldn't be such a rare thing.

But then I see videos like this one, and I think, "Oh. That's why." (For the record, I was equally mortified by the mother who didn't drop the camera and slap her husband for being an idiot.)

Seriously, some fathers really need to get it together and have some common sense. For the good fathers... we love you. As always, thanks Thingamababy -- another "Primary Caregiver" who has it together.

Updated Note: Apparently YouTube thought this video was as horrifying as I did and removed it. It was basically two men tossing a toddler back and forth. Then they put him down and he runs away (probably terrified and needing therapy for hating his father). Then the father picks up the daughter and holds her up by her legs, and well... you get the idea.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

If your cross a Harry Potter Fan and a Museum Nerd...

... you would get me. I have to wait until Saturday to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, due to babysitting issues. But if you want to get all nerdy before then, check out this online exhibit from the National Library of Medicine -- Harry Potter's World: Renaissance Science, Magic and Medicine. There's even some lesson plans if you are teacher. C'mon.... make learning fun... y'know you want to...

Personally, I think this exhibit is way more interesting than the Harry Potter: The Exhibition at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry (right down the street from my alma mater, University of Chicago). It got a lot of criticism for promoting the movies, not actually being an educational exhibition. Most of the objects are authentic from the movie productions, but when there are cool books like the Science of Harry Potter: How Magic Really Works and Harry Potter and International Relations, it seems a shame to pass up an opportunity to do a really cool show AND still learning something.

I always try to explain that going to the University of Chicago is the closest thing you can get to going to Hogwarts without leaving the country.
This is the cafeteria.

This is near The Pub where you have a pint and study.

And there are Gargoyles everywhere. Even our mascot is a phoenix.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hey, is that Emil?

Every now and then I watch Smithsonian Channel clips to see what would be appropriate for my Smithsonian Student Travel students. Even after over 6 years of working at Smithsonian, I find it amusing when I find someone I know being interviewed or there a photo shoots where I work. This is the Sneak Peak of the Smithsonian Channel's Stories from the Vaults: Season 2. My friend Beth interviewed Tom Cavanagh yesterday for her Around the Mall blog, and when you watch this video you'll see Emil Her Many Horses near the end. He's a curator at the National Museum of the American Indian, and one really cool Lakota.

Don't worry, I'll go back to writing about my odd mothering moments. Sadie is still doing crazy things. The other morning I found her wearing a "Grandpa got me this shirt in Jamaica" with a smiley face with dreds. But that wasn't the t-shirt she was wearing when I put her to bed the night before. Weird.

A few words about Michael Jackson...

I know there has been so much coverage of this topic that it's a bit excessive. But since this is kind of like my own journal, I feel like I have to share my own little Michael Jackson story.

About two years ago, Michael visited the National Museum of the American Indian with his children. It was one of those days at my job where I came to work with one purpose, and ended up witnessing something I never thought I would see. We were supposed to have a meeting about promoting our Smithsonian Memberships, and then I noticed there was way more security than usual in the hallway outside our Resource Center. So I asked our security guard, "Okay, who is the famous person visiting today?" He looked straight ahead and muttered, "Michael Jackson".

Wha? Really? No waaaaaaayyyy....

But then my friend Sharyl walked in front of me with Michael and his children, and showed them our Windows on Collection exhibit. I only saw the back of Michael, who was about 20 feet away from me, as he looked at our beautiful beadwork exhibit. I didn't want to interrupt their museum experience, and over the years I've realized that famous people want to check out our museums just like everyone else. Angelina Jolie came to Air and Space with her kids, First Lady Laura Bush had her birthday party at NMAI, and even Pearl Jam stopped by during the opening of the museum. I even met the Chancellor of Austria once. He emailed his kids from the Resource Center.

Later, Sharyl told me she taught Michael how to dance Yup'ik style, while one of our membership people hoped Michael would donate a lot of money to the museum.

It must not have been easy being Michael Jackson. Everyone wants your money, your time, and your attention. But what I remember most about looking at that family on that day, was his daughter Paris. She was about 9 at the time, had long brown hair, and was wearing a pink shirt, jeans, and sneakers. She looked like a regular kid. She could've gotten lost in the crowd of the thousands of visitors we had every day.

Just a regular kid.
Of course, I immediately emailed and texted everyone I knew. And the response was the same. Yep, he's an oddity.... but he's also an icon.
So here's my favorite Michael Jackson song... this one never gets old for me.