Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I remember when I was about 6 or 7, I dressed up as Wacky Witch for Halloween. No one remembers her, I'm guessing - she was a comic book witch - maybe even on TV on Saturday mornings. She wore orange clothes and had a green face, and I think she was friendly. This was back in the days of wearing those plastic masks and carrying plastic pumpkins. Mine was really small but my older brother's was huge. So my dad's coat pockets were full of candy as I tried to keep up with my brother - who was dressed as a devil. Another one of those dime-store costumes with a red plastic mask.

Our own house was the last stop. We would ring the doorbell and shout Trick or Treat - my mom would look surprised that it was us. When we came inside, we dumped our candy into giant bowls. My dad came through and took a piece from each of us. Then we would swap out the candy we didn't like with whatever my mom was handing out. We'd trade a bit, and we'd plan on carrying our lunch for the next few days so that we could pack candy for dessert.

I'm not sure Halloween is all that different these days for my own children. The decorations are more extravagant, but most of it is the same: carving jack o'lanterns, creating costumes, getting candy. And on a school night, no less.

It's always been one of my favorite times of the year. I can respect people who don't celebrate it - it's their choice, naturally. But I don't get it. Sure, Halloween has ancient Pagan ties. But so do other holidays - Christmas, Easter. Plus, my guess is that those who are anti-Pagan have no clue what Pagans really believe.

But part of me can't believe you would want to pass up this night of fun.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 28, 2007


The surface of my desk is now nearly clean.

Though I must stress nearly. And I should probably point out that the floor of my office is now covered with nearly a dozen piles of paper, all of which require filing.

Thus I've come to a conclusion: I hate housework.

This isn't exactly news to me. I've already hired out the yardwork, hired out the heavy cleaning. Monica will be here tomorrow to take of the floors, the dusting, the bathrooms.

But I need to figure out a way to get the rest of it done. I am, as always, drowning in paper. I have a small planning desk in the kitchen, which holds mail, notes from school, coupons, brochures, and items of that ilk. My upstairs office (alternately known as the guest room, as it holds the futon; the workout room, as without a basement, the elliptical must live here; and the library, as it has two walls of bookcases) has the filed-away paperwork (of which there is plenty) and my myriad notes and interviews and files for projects on which I am working - of which there are also plenty.

Lucky for me, I have no shortage of ideas. Unluckily, I am a paper person. Meaning I cannot merely put these into electronic files - I like the use of actual paper and pen. Which means all this paper takes up a lot of space. And while I like to think I am organized, sadly, the reverse is more likely true: I cannot keep things tidy. I mean, they're tidy enough - trust me, as I've seen what a truly untidy office looks like. There is no pathway to the door lines with piles. But my desk is never clear of paper. At present there are no fewer than five post-its, a pile of CDs, a pile of computer CDs, pens, a pile of really relevant papers, a pile of school notes, and qutie a large pile of notes that holds log-in/password info for all those online sign-ins that I cannot remember without help.

This is a vast improvement from earlier today.

There are a couple of closets I need to get on. We've only lived here 20 months, and I've cleaned these closets before. How often must I do this task?

I'm thinking that what would really help is daily help, someone to come in, put things away (in a logical place, such as where I would have put it had I actually gotten around to it), unload and load the dishwasher, fold and put away laundry, and do a general once-over. Leaving me time to read and envelop myself in the creative process.

Wish me luck - I'm adding this to my Christmas list.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thursday so soon?

Time alone with my computer has been fleeting, so say the least. Kids, work (and work time on the computer does not count as quality time, just for clarification), fruitless volunteer efforts, house stuff ... you get the idea. It's generally referred to as life.


I had to punish a child last night; while the girls may disagree, it is not a task I relish. But sometimes, as was the case last night, it was necessary. Maybe someday she'll thank me; I doubt it's tomorrow.

I am thinking ahead to spring break, where our travels should take us. The girls want Hawaii, but I'm not sure that will happen - going to Hawaii is akin to taking the entire family to Europe. We've considered Big Bend National Park, a cruise, or an island. Sylvia wants to go to Colorado to see my brother and his girlfriend. But we've been to Colorado fairly recently ... and more importantly, Barb won't be there, as she'll be visiting her mother. So many places to go ... we're still thinking. We are going to San Antonio over Thanksgiving. It's one of those Texas must-see destinations. Thus we must see it.

The recycling initiative? Failed. The HOA board wants more evidence that residents want it. More than a 90 percent approval rate, I guess. Disappointing, to say the least. But we shall persevere - maybe next year will be the year?

Hope the rest of my day is not as dull as what I have just written ... maybe I'll spend some time searching for my muse, who appears to be hiding.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fall at last

The temperature dropped today. At 8 a.m. it was mid-70s; by 11, it was 57 degrees.

It was also rainy and windy - winds were gusting today up to 28 mph.

It was intense, grey and threatening. Yesterday the sun was shining and the air was muggy. What a difference a day makes.

I listen to the news all morning (though it's pledge week this week - bleah) so I knew the forecast; I knew to send my girls to school in jeans with sweatshirts. But I saw kids at the bus stop and other people today who clearly had no idea. It's tough when it changes so quickly with so little warning. Though I am stunned by how many people - not just here, but other places I've lived - do not read the paper, don't pay attention. How do they know what's going on?

I have stew in the crock pot, so it's like an actual fall evening here. Made myself some warm cider this afternoon. But I'm not expecting miracles - the weather will be warm again in the next few days. I'll just enjoy it while it lasts.

We've been successful with the recycling petitions - of those asked, more than 90 percent have said yes, they support adding curbside recycling, even for a fee. We've had a few no's, some from people who aren't interested, some who are ambivalent, and some from people who would do it but don't want to pay. But it shocks me when people are against it - who is against recycling? What kind of person opposes it? It is baffling.

The big presentation to the HOA is tomorrow. I have my outfit chosen - first things first - so I'm set. Oh - and I do know what I plan to say in the five-minute presentation. Wish us luck!

A Night at the Opera

Music. Drama. Passion. Fancy dress and prom dresses. Add every connected gay man in Houston, and you have opening night at the Houston Grand Opera.

You can also add me, as I was lucky enough to be in attendance, courtesy of my friend Nancy, who had press tickets. She often needs a date, since her husband travels, and I was fortunate to be No. 1 on her list.

The entire evening was wonderful, from the pre-Opera talk - which I never think to attend, as it starts at 6.15 p.m., which requires leaving the house at 5, but was well worth it - to the actual performance (Verdi's Masked Ball). Plus we enjoyed all the sidelines of a night out - getting dressed up, a glass of champagne before the show, dessert at the intermission.

And the best part? I didn't have to drive! Well, not that I ever do, as Gary does the driving when he's with me. But still ... with a friend, it's always a possibility.

As it was opening night, it was black tie for much of the crowd; the patrons had a ball of some sort, complete with masks, beforehand (alas, our tickets must have been lost in the mail) ... So half the fun was picking out the prom dresses (there were several), opera suits (worn by those over 70), and the trophy wives - several of those, too.

What to wear is such a crap shoot these days - there is no consistency. Nancy and I wore the basic black skirt combo - a perfect choice, by the way - just ask us. But there was an extreme variety, from those in sundresses and flip flops to the afore-mentioned opera suit and gowns that looked like poor relations of Academy Awards gowns. Nancy said on Sunday afternoon, you're likely to see people in Birkenstocks.

Not that it really matters - I was there for the performance, which was, as always, fantastique! One of the advantages of the big city is the arts, so it was fun to take advantage. I can't quite swing a season ticket - they have 8 or 10 operas a year, so it's nearly an opera a month, which is tricky to coordinate with three children at home. But this one was perfect - Gary was still out of town, the girls were un-busy, and I was definitely in the mood for some Verdi.

Bella Noche.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Where did the week go?

The humidity has broken. It's about time - the heat here is killing me. As I've mentioned before - so pardon the repeat - I am missing fall. Turning leaves, cooler temperatures, apple cider, bonfires. I feel a strong need to reclaim that part of fall.

It will happen eventually. But not soon enough for me.

It's been a busy week. Gary has been gone, which means I'm the only parent. Lucky for me, our girls are pretty even-tempered and we have not had any major meltdowns. And in some ways, I don't mind it when Gary's gone - no elaborate cooking, my time is my own. But I miss him, too, and I know the girls do.

Tuesday I had lunch with Maddie; Thursday was Alison's turn (I took Sylvia lunch last week). They both invited me to stay. And let me tell you, high school and middle school cafeterias are not for the weak at heart. They are loud. Crowded. And full of food that is anything but appetizing. Alison's friends were eating school lunch: Pizza, tater tots, and rolls. ??? To be fair, they purchase these items a la carte. And I saw other kids with salads (the salad line was shorter, one of her friends said). But mostly, I was turned off. But not by seeing Alison - it was fun to visit her in the middle of the day.

Stupid work stuff this week. A friend mentioned that she knows a career counselor - sort of like therapy without having to discuss your dreams and your parents. I should get her number and decide what I want to do when I grow up. If I grow up.

At present I am importing CDs into iTunes. Gary told me he had put in about everything he wanted from our music collection ... which I mistakenly took to mean was everything I like, too. But a quick glance at all the CDs he did not include was shocking - no Nick Lowe? Dwight Yoakum? Paul Simon? REM? Tom Petty? Beatles? Van Morrison? Are you as outraged as I am? And that's not even the full list. I may have to file for divorce. I mean, really - this is almost unforgivable.

He'll be home in just a few minutes ... perhaps he can redeem himself with gifts from Germany. One Ritter Sport ought to do it. For the uninitiated, they are chocolate bars. The best. Let's hope I'm eating one later tonight ...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Crisis of holidays

When I was a girl, everyone celebrated Halloween.

We all donned masks and costumes, gathered our plastic pumpkins, and went trick-or-treating. We had parties in school - complete with costumes - and we sang pumpkin carols (courtesy of Hallmark and Charles Schulz) in music class. My mother hung pasteboard pumpkin cut-outs in our living room windows, and we carved our jack-o-lanterns. Dishes of candy corn sat on the table in the living room, and we ate mini candy bars for days afterwards.

It's always been one of my favorite holidays. One year, we had a party in our garage, complete with apple bobbing and a fortune teller. Every year I pull out my well-worn copy of Harvest of Holidays and read my girls The Blue-Nosed Witch, a story they love.

It's just fun.

Thesse days, the girls don't celebrate at school. The celebration has been pulled because - and I"m just assuming, but I'm sure this is accurate - some people do not celebrate this holiday, and the schools don't want to offend famlies or exclude children who don't celebrate this day.

Political correctness run amok? Perhaps. But it's a decision I can live with, even support.

In the doctor's office the other day, I overhead several of the nurses and lab techs in the hallway, bemoaning the fact the our school district no longer calls the December break "Christmas break." They no longer have a Christmas pageant or have Easter vacation. Oh, they said, if they had kids in the district, they just wouldn't tolerate this.

But what about parents and children who don't celebrate Christmas? Or Easter? Why should they have to take part, however tacitly, in holidays that are not part of their religion or their tradition? Why do Christians get to assume everyone is the same?

We are a country of varying beliefs, a melting pot of nationalities and traditions. If schools celebrate any religion above another, or lead prayers, then it implies that this is the ONLY religion, thus excluding children with other beliefs. In the United States, this goes against the Constitution.

Come December, we will put up a Christmas tree - or four. We will sing carols and give gifts. And we will go to church on Christmas Eve. But we will go to our church and hear the Christmas message the way we believe it. In the weeks before Christmas, we will celebrate the winter solstice, and we will light the menorah for Hanukkah. This coincides with our beliefs, and I appreciate the freedom we have to worship the way we choose. If this means sacrificing a school Halloween party in order to respect others, it's a compromise I can live with.

By taking these celebrations out of the public schools, we don't lose anything, really. We have our pumpkins out and orange lights on the porch. My children will trick-or-treat, as will their friends - our neighborhood takes its Halloweening very seriously. But I have to respect those who do not care to participate - it's their right.

I like a good, scary Halloween as much as the next gal, but I am terrified by taking away or belitting someone else's rights. I'll settle for the minor scare of the Boo! from hoardes of trick-or-treaters at my door. I think it's a fair trade.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday: The week begins

When we get some rain, we get a lot of rain.

This is how the rain operates here in Houston. We have either a dearth of rain or an excess - nothing here in moderation. So I was happy to cancel the eye doctor appointment this afternoon and just curl up with the girls. Glad I did, as there were flash floods all over and the freeways were a mess. It poured for the better part of three hours; last I checked, it was still coming down.

The vast amounts of concrete here contribute to the tendency for floods here. Chalk up yet another of Houston's charms.

Gary left on a business trip today. On the bright side, we are accumulating miles in anticipation of spring break, and flights to Europe help. (Plus he needs to maintain his Platinum status with Continental. Though we've noticed, here in Houston, EVERYBODY has platinum or gold status. And what is having special status when everyone has it? It doesn't really feel exclusive ... fortunately, at other airports we do ...) I noticed on the credit card bill today that Macy's gives double miles, as does CVS. I'll stop paying cash there, I guess.

On the down side, however, I am a single parent for the week. But it's kind of fun in a way - the girls and I get to hang out, eat what we like for dinner without someone putting the pressure on us to cook "real" meals and eat at the table - we sort of like to eat in front of the television, watch DWTS.

Let's just hope the girls behave all week. We're off to a good start - Maddie helped Sylvia with her math flash cards while I loaded the dishwasher and put the laundry in.

I sent in an invoice for a bunch of articles I wrote - it's sort of a big one. I know, I know, not that fascinating. But I have to find my joy where I can.

Trash goes out tonight. Which I must do, as the only adult around. I hope the rain has stopped.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Is this stuff for real?

I missed the mail today. I have had thank you notes from the girls' birthdays - all of which occurred more than a month ago, oops - on my desk for weeks. All I need to do is put stamps on the envelopes and put them in the out-going mail.

Apparently this is too much for me. Maybe I can ask the housekeeper to do it for me; it's the only way I can get anything done is by outsourcing.

That Ann Coulter is back in the news. I hesitate to mention this, lest it give her more notoriety. But really. Does she really mean anything she says, or is she just trying to stir up controversy? This week she's on a roll: First, she has suggested that we (the United States) would be better off if women did not vote. Yes, you read that correctly. Apparently, according to Ms. Coulter, women voters are to blame for electing Democrats. If women didn't vote, then we would no longer be in danger of having Democratic presidents.

I won't even dignify her comment with a response. But her next one is a real doozy: According to Coulter, life in America would be much simpler if we were all Christian. When she dreams of a happy America, she thinks back to the Republican convention. She sees people who are all alike, and it makes her happy. Besides, she says, Jews are halfway to being Christian anyway; they just need to be "perfected."

There is no way I'm making this up - I am not that creative. I just keep wondering what her motivation is. Publicity? Attention? Provoking others? Hearing the sound of her own voice?

This week has been exhausting. Kids, work, blah, blah. I finally - finally! - have some of my life under control. Let's see if I can corral the rest this weekend.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

MId-week musings

I am drowning, drowning in a sea of uncompleted work. Laundry, bills, paperwork, filing, Halloween decorations that need to be pulled out, crap to put away, blogs to read ... you get the idea.

But really, is anyone's life different? Is there ever a day that is totally down? Nothing needing to be done? I'm not busier than anyone else - I just bitch about it more ;)

Yesterday I had a boatload of running around to do. Pick up one daughter, pick up another, run to Target, get dinner, run the youngest to Brownies, go to recycling meeting, blah, blah. Eldest daughter threw a monkey wrench in the plans when a) she asked me to give her friend a ride home (not around the corner, way out of my way) and b) her play practice ran late. I waited for nearly 20 minutes, finally left and came home. Did not make it to Target. Grrr. No sooner was I home than the phone rang: I'm ready! But by this time I really didn't have time to run her friend home. Long story short, I did (what would you say to a kid standing there without a ride?) but I was pissed. But I did get Sylvia to Brownies on time, so really, it wasn't the end of the world.

But close.

However, two bright spots on my day. One, the recycling meeting went well - 20 people on a weeknight? That is impressive - especially when you figure how many people sent regrets. Wow. We are charging forward on getting curbside recycling. It will cost - gasp - more than $2 per household/month. The horror.

Oh - and the survey they did last year? 2600+ houses in this subdivision - 150 surveys were returned. That is statistically insignificant if you ask me. And it failed by one or two votes. Stupid. My entire neighborhood is stupid. Any neighborhood that sends you a letter because they can see a glimpse of our trash cans is stupid.

And bright spot No. 2: I found a Web site that posts the music from my favorite high school band for free. Fools Face, they were called, and they were great - in that early 1980s, power pop kind of way. Everyone in the Missouri-Kansas-Illinois-Arkansas area would agree. Trust me. They were edgy, with tight harmonies and a fast beat. They made us feel smart and edgy, with their pseudo-intellectual lyrics that dealt with social commentary, from space colonization to handgun control to let's party.

They were the coolest. I'm not even sure all my college friends ever got the chance to see them - they played Columbia, MO, bunches - inside one of their albums is a band party photo, and my husband tells me it is the men's john in the Blue Note, which is only THE coolest club in Missouri (trust me, anybody who was/is anybody on the college/alternative music scene in the 80s played there). But the Fools left to hit the big time in California in late 1984. It sort of didn't happen, though apparently one of them became a decent producer out in LA. They play a reunion show every now and again back in my hometown of Springfield.

So, I downloaded not only their albums, but their singles and a couple of live shows - which reminds me of why they were so much fun live. With an eclectic mix of 50s and 60s covers following their set of originals, they seemed to play all night.

Once again, I am transported back to the 80s. I don't need to stay long, but it's always fun to visit.

Tomorrow I am home. Yay! Let's see if I can get anything accomplished ... I remain eternally optimistic.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Checking off the list

The leaves are changing color, and the season is changing.

But not here in Houston. And for the first time, I am really missing fall.

I didn't think I would; I thought I'd be OK with summer all the time, no cold weather. But I'm not. I miss the cooler temps, the switch to sweaters, the smell of the cold mornings. Here it is still 90 and humid. I'm sick of all my shorts and sandals, and I'm tired of the hot air hitting me in the face.

I want to wear sweaters, sit at a football game and sip hot chocolate. I want to curl up in front of the fire, put on mittens, and enjoy cozy winter afternoons.


I've done a bunch of little things today. After a weekend - OK, the last entire week - of not doing anything significant, I am playing catch up.

So I called the eye doctor about contacts; turns out they did call ... or so the chart says. But I'm not the first one to say I never got a phone call and have the chart indicate otherwise. Called the pest control guy; called the AT&T support line. Went grocery shopping.

I'm hopping.

Tonight is the big meeting for those of us in the neighborhood who are interested to meet and try to figure out how to get our HOA to institute curbside recycling. For whatever reason, it was put to a vote of the residents (a survey was sent out, and they calculated the results that were returned - needless to say, the return rate was low, yet it only failed by a few votes). But nothing else is decided this way - the board votes. So why was recycling put to a community-wide vote? We don't get to vote on other issues or the way the board spends money. My guess is that board members do not want to go on record as opposing this.

Drives me flipping nuts. So we'll see what we can change. If anything.

This is my life, such as it is. Jealous?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Feeling so '80s

It's like a sudden craving. Every once in a while, I just feel the need. And I can be instantly transported back to college. Or high school. And for three minutes, it is so much fun.

To be 18 again ... if only for a short time. But it's good to come back.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Go Mizzou!

Big night here - we're off to Buffalo Wild Wings with our neighbors - fellow Mizzou alums - to watch Nebraska and Missouri. Fun stuff ...

Friday, October 05, 2007

Obnoxious parents, to the nth degree

First-time parents are something else.

And I don't mean that in a good way.

We met some of Gary's colleauges for dinner last night. There are visitors in from Germany, so one of his subordinates decided to have the group over for dinner. It was a very small part of the group, but that's another story. The couple who hosted is a young couple. They have one daughter, who is about 18 months old..

The entire evening, for them - our hosts - was about this kid.

They talked about her incessantly.

They had her dance for us.

And held her up to kiss us.

They showed off her toys.

They talked about their nanny situation.

They literally shoved her into the arms of unsuspecting adults to be held and cuddled.

It was all somewhat nauseating.

Don't get me wrong - I am fond of children. I have three of my own whom I love dearly. But I try not to assume that the rest of the world is as enamored of my offspring as I am. I understand that other people have their own children, whom they can shower with love and affection. It's not all about my kids, all the time.

These two clearly do not get it. We had no sooner walked in the door when the dad was trying to get this little girl to kiss Gary. Later, on the way home, we concurred that this is a bit odd, not to mention unhealthy - really, what do they know about us? I think it's OK, even advisable, to teach children some boundaries.

And the general rule is, you don't ask others if they want to hold the baby; you wait until they express an interest. You don't want to force babies on people, or set yourself up for awkward refusals. But before I could respond, he dropped the kid in my lap. She, the wife, commented, but he ignored her, saying, It's OK - she knows how to handle kids.

Um, yes I do. But I get enough handling of my own children, thank you.

Poor Sebastian, one of the guys from Germany. He doesn't even have kids and was probably screaming to himself. The last conversation at the table had deteriorated to a lengthy discussion of how they put the kid to bed, how much milk she drinks in the bottle, how many stories they read and songs they sing, and how it has changed over the last couple of months. I was squeezing Gary's hand under the table, trying to keep from crying out in pain. It was all so self-absorbed.

And as we were leaving (having taken advantage of the first break in the conversation to plead our goodbyes) the dad says, Just so you won't worry, we don't usually keep her up this late.

Gee - thanks for the reassurance. Now I won't have to lie awake tonight worrying. About your child.

(As if I don't have enough concerns with my own three.)

I have nothing against children at dinner parties. But I think there should be a balance - somewhere between children should be seen and not heard and making a toddler the focal point of the evening.

And these two need to learn that the sun and moon do not revolve around their child; we all think our children are special.

When we came home, we went upstairs and kissed our three wonderful daughters, all of whom were asleep by this time. And I racked my brains, hoping upon hope that we were never such obnoxious parents as those two.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

On technology, migraines and recycling

In the old days, I would have passed the time in the waiting room of the orthodontist with a book. Which I have on hand. But being a modern mom (not to mention a fun mom, a cool mom), I have other options: I can blog.

It's been a rough start to the week. Migraine started Sunday evening, which has rendered me virtually useless. But the world waits for no one, so onward I trudge. I got my prescription, so let's hope things clear up soon. I got some work done yesterday, but more awaits. Plus the kids. I've resigned the kids and husband to canned soup again tonight - not a problem for me, as I have no appetite. Maybe I have some good bread in the freezer; I can slice up some strawberries and we'll call it healthy eating.

My crazy subdivision is up in arms, once again, over - of all things - curbside recycling. In short, we don't have it; part of the neighborhood wants it, and an equally vocal group is against it. Frankly, I am stunned - we had curbside recycling in Peoria, IL, back in the early 90s, and you could hardly call Peoria a progressive kind of town. Here, the city of Houston has it, but since we live in unincorporated Harris County, our neighborhood would have to contract for it. But it would have to be the entire neighborhood - companies will not contract with individual houses. The reasons given, among others, are that people do not want their homeowners association fees to go up. Well, newsflash: They're going up anyway, probably a good 10 percent. Cost of recycling? About $3 a month.

And the nasty messages fly on the Yahoo group. You would not believe how vitriolic the discussion has gotten - a while ago I was interested in working for this cause, but when I saw how heated the discussion had gotten, and the name-calling that went on, I backed off - I am just not up for that right now. But others have started, and emotions are running high. Reasons to be against it? Our fees will go up. We don't want people spending our money for us. Those who want to recycle are free to do so (sure - by driving 15 miles or more down to Katy). Why should we all have to?

I do hope it passes - and yes, because it is a convenience, but also because it is the right thing to do. We collect cans, and there are drop-offs for paper/cardboard at the school. But it kills me to throw away glass - all of which is 100 percent recyclable - and plastics. And I would argue that I pay for a workout room, pool and tennis courts that I never use - it's OK, because they make the neighborhood a better place.

The neighborhood was polled last year; residents were asked to respond by post. About half the neighborhood sent in their ballots, and the measure barely lost. Those who worked for recycling wanted to poll the neighborhood with a face-to-face canvas, in order to get a more accurate count, but were told No.

Who would have thought that recycling would get people in such a snit? The board has said it will not revisit this issue again, but there are enough people who care and are being vocal that I think that may change. Though it may be tough - the board meets on weekdays (without pay, as they like to point out ... cry me a river - they all do it by choice, and we have more candidates than board seats open every year), which is not so convenient for those with other jobs. It seems like there is enough momentum to finally get this through; new residents seem to be stunned that we don't participate. Frankly, if I had known, I might not have moved here.

Yet another reason I am a suburban misfit. I knew when we moved here it wasn't forever; some days, frankly, that thought brings me great solace.