Best Toy Store in Town

October 22, 2007

Since I never hear anyone mention it, I feel compelled to send out props to Uncle Larry’s Toy Shop, located in Ivy Square near Foods of All Nations (which should more accurately be called “Overpriced Foods of Some Nations”).

 Why?

1) Hours: Open till 7 p.m. weeknights – so working parents can go there after work!!! yay! I took Jo there Friday night after picking her up from daycare and we had plenty of time to mull and peruse.

2) Customer Service: My daughter was treated like a queen. After graciously helping me get her hands washed, the woman (Owner, I think) set up things for Jo to play with, encouraged her to explore . Then offered a free sticker and free Halloween ring on our way out.

3) Fun merchandise:  Along with the wooden toys typical of local toy stores, Uncle Larry’s offers a wonderful range of other engaging things – books, jewelry, cars, trucks, animals, costumes – fun things for adults, too. Compared with the one on the downtown mall, I felt like the prices were better than the selection more interesting and various.

4) My anti-populist temperment: I know Shenanigans is the most popular one in town – or it seems so – and so of course, I am happy to find one less-recognized to be my favorite. Yes, I have issues (hee).

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Yes, the Chocolate Festival, Not so Delicious

October 22, 2007

I’m guessing the rain the night before caused all of the vendors to crowd under one tent, causing the claustrophobia-inducing thicket through which my family and I slowly swam, looking for free chocolate.

I found only one piece. I ate it. And then we escaped.
Seriously, why have a chocolate festival with no free samples of chocolate? Why were the vendors just random organizations with chocolate to sell as a fundraiser? Cvillain aptly asks the same questions.

A total dud and disappointment.

Also, we could not figure out why there was a young teenage boy singing from a Broadway songbook that I didn’t recognize…? What did that have to do with chocolate – or rather, what did that have to do with anything??? It was quite bizarre…

Next time I hear how great Cville is – Wonder of the World!  – I will hearken back…


A Dog is like a Kid

October 16, 2007

Vet appointments, doctor appointments, problems listening and obeying, chasing cats across the street, eating things off the floor, making loud noises in the middle of the night, catching colds, getting fleas, getting dirty, rolling in mud, running with the pack, hating the hairbrush, hating the bathtub, licking paws, licking fingers, picking noses, picking at a tail –

delighting me, driving me beserk – testing my patience – expanding my soul –

Sometimes, not much difference between the two.


A President Who Mandates Balance: Never Gonna Happen

October 15, 2007

So, this article, “Presidential Candidates Ignore Working Mothers,” says some things I agree with, like “the person who gets my vote will not relegate topics such as family leave, flexible work schedules and affordable childcare to the political back burner called ‘women’s issues.'”

Yes. If there were a candidate who didn’t do that, I would be quite happy.

In fact, I think anyone who stops calling anything having to do with families and children “women’s issues” is going to get a big kiss from me, right off the bat.

But I’m cynical. I don’t think we’re going to get a presidential candidate, female or not, who has the energy – let alone the desire – to help us all get flex time and cheap daycare when there’s issues like Iraq and global warming to be managed.

Yet, the personal is political – and the political is made up of the personal. Everything ties into everything else. Our culture as a whole is schizophrenic with regards to how we think of people in general.

Like, I was waiting for my lunch to heat up in the microwave at work today, and I was stretching around in the ‘kitchen area’ while waiting… and I knew, as I did this, that it was possible that I could get in trouble for not behaving ‘professionally’ in the workplace. Of course, anyone with a little humanity would forgive me a little stretching – and not just because I’m almost six months’ pregnant.

But we don’t think of ourselves as human beings with bodies and emotions that need attention. Our idea of proper adult behavior, both in and sometimes out of the office, are all about slicing off everything but our very censored mental skills. It’s capitalism, and we’re the cogs in the machine.

Yes, some companies are more generous than others. And the two women who caught me stretching by the microwave were kind and not punitive. But at the base of it, our culture sees us first as expendable workers, second as valuable human lives.

And so, issues like work/life balance and childcare aren’t going to matter until it starts to hurt companies in the only part of them that can hurt – the part where the money comes in. And how that’s going to happen… well, it’s not going to be by presidential decree, unfortunately.


Environment Blogging Day

October 15, 2007

blogactionday.jpgI’m writing this post to express solidarity with Blog Action Day.

First off, Yay, Al Gore for the Nobel prize.

Second, I’m trying to figure out a way to be hopeful for my children, despite the fact that global warming is heating up and humanity is going to hell in a melting handbasket.

Third, despite my commitment to being as sustainable as possible, I still get pissed off when people protesting the Meadowcreek Parkway arrogantly and ignorantly submit the alternative that everyone should walk or bike. FROM FLUVANNA COUNTY, doodleheads? Most working families can’t afford your overpriced digs near the downtown mall, dufus, so they live in one of the surrounding counties and work in town, which means they have to get to and from work, a commute that takes maybe half an hour or more, and on top of that they have to take their kids to childcare or school, and guess what? You just can’t do that by walking, on a bike, or even using a bus. Sorry. It’s not that easy. If it were that easy we’d be doing it already! We don’t hate the environment. We can’t afford to love it. [Major grumbling noises.] And extra roads would keep us moving instead of sitting in traffic, which, last I heard, was better for the environment anyway. ARGHHH.

I am admittedly a super-liberal – but I can’t stand rich liberals who see nothing but their own organically sandal-clad toes wiggling in front of their snobby noses. So there.


Working Moms Coffee Hour

October 12, 2007

Interested in meeting other working moms? We’ll be at Cville Coffee (with or without kids; with or without spouses) from about 10:30-12…

Hope to see you there!


It Becomes About Class

October 12, 2007

A friend of mine recently watched the HBO special Little Rock Central: 50 Years Later, about a school famous for resisting desegregation back in the late 50s. Apparently, the first look at the school seems to point to progress in terms of integration and academic success – but a closer scan shows that the honors classes are filled with a majority of white kids, and within the classrooms, the white kids sit together and the black kids sit together – so things are better, but things are worse, perhaps, because now the issues are so deep under the surface that even when the kids were questioned about what was wrong with the way they were sitting, they didn’t know what was being talked about. They didn’t even see it.

So my friend and I were talking about culture and class, and how they are integral pieces to school success – but she also mentioned something interesting: the PTA meetings at this school are held during the day. Between 9 and 5. It’s all white parents. Mothers.

This infuriated me. I don’t know about you, but that seems like a really obvious and fixable error on the part of that school. Parent involvement, and the atmosphere in your home in terms of what’s expected and understood about education and success – that is so crucial to doing well in school. Even if you’re poor, even if you’re in a racial minority – if your parents/family prioritizes your learning, it’s going to be a huge boost to you. If right off the bat working parents are basically informed, due to the timing of PTA meetings, that they are not welcome or expected to be part of their kids’ education – well, what message trickles down to the kids?

I hope there’s none of that going on in this area. If you know of any parent-related things going on during normal working hours only, events/meeting/activities that would be helpful for any parent, I would love to know about them. I don’t want working parents to be excluded from opportunities to be involved with their children, simply because the rest of the community doesn’t find it convenient to schedule things in the evenings or weekends. That’s elitist crap. 

[Yes, I’m aware that by posting online I’m excluding people who aren’t internet- savvy – a type of discrimination? Any ideas on how to reach out to working moms / parents beyond the online world welcome.]