Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Little Bit Country and a Little Bit Orange

The color orange can make you think of many things. Perhaps you think of fruit, ING Bank, or basketball. Currently during the fall season, you may think of pumpkins or orange leaves. Here in Knoxville the color orange means one thing, FOOTBALL, University of Tennessee football.

We were warned when we moved here to be prepared for UT football. Everyone is a fan, they all wear orange, they all go the games (in the 100,000,00 seat stadium)and if you want to go out to eat, going while a home game is being played is recommended.

For the most part, they were right. You see Tennessee shirts, Tennessee flags (on houses and on cars), T license plate, T magnet stickers, and orange clothes everywhere! We even when out to eat during a game for my daughter's birthday during a home game. The restaurant parking lot was the emptiest we had ever scene it. Unless your a sports bar, you are dead during the game. Even my farmers market is quiet on game day at 9 AM due to early tailgating!

I myself made sure the family had at least some Vol(Tennessee Volunteer) wear. Fridays at school are a big day to wear your orange and show your support. I tend to wear my stuff on Saturdays (game day)at least part of the day. You see probably 1 in 3 people wearing football gear on Saturdays. I am telling you this town is serious about it's football.

I have taken to making sure I know when games are and watching at least part of them. It helps me keep up with conversations the next day (and Facebook Posts). I have to admit, I have been won over. I am liking the Orange. The enthusiasm is catching. I have made a decision that part of what I will take with me from Tennessee is becoming a Volunteer Football fan. I know that even in Chicago I will look for the scores and wear my Vol wear on Saturdays. I think it will be fun to have taken that with me from down south. There is only one problem, no can tell my Aunt Nelda. She is a huge PITT football fan. So shhhhhh, it will be out little secret.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

When I came to Tennessee I had all kinds of expectations about people. One thing that friends and others had told me was how southern women are much more "put together" or "dress nice". I had enough people say this that I actually became curious and even a little concerned.

You see, I am not the most fashionable of people. I dress pretty well, but mostly my attitude is I want comfort that doesn't make me look fat out of my clothes. I was just worried enough about this when we first moved here I actually was watching/noticing people as I shopped or walked in and out of stores. Did everyone look dressier than me? Would I fit in? Of course the true question was, Would I be still make friends or be liked if I was different?

I quickly came to conclusion that Tennessee was just like Delaware. Some people dress well, some people dress REALLY well, some people dress like me, and some people walk around in sweats. PHEW! I felt better. I don't like noticing what people wear anyway, unless it is a cute necklace, or maybe shoes. I love my shoes.

The other thing I noticed about many people here in Tennessee is their comfort with who they are in their own skin. It doesn't matter what they are wearing, if you don't like it, it is your problem, not theirs. They laugh at themselves and others if they think they deserve it. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I do appreciate the REAL I feel. It makes me wonder about the Midwest. What is their REAL like. I guess it doesn't matter, it will surprise me anyway. Sometimes I like surprises, but not as much as I like new shoes.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

My job as Domestic Goddess

I am a Domestic Goddess. I did not research where this term originated, but I believe my first time hearing it was uttered by the comedian Rosanne Barr. There she stood on the stage of her HBO special with her sarcastic attitude talking about being a stay at home mom.

I have been a stay at home mom for many years now. I have been known to put "Domestic Goddess" down as my job on official forms. Not every time, but sometimes. If I am lucky the person who collects the forms chuckles if they notice it.

The reason I am talking about this right now is, I am a dying breed. Not that stay at home moms are dying out. There are many people who want to, and thankfully are able to stay at home. The reason I am getting more lonely is because when kids get to be the age mine are, there are many less stay at home moms out there.

My children are 10 and 12 years old, my choice to be at home is for the most part that, my choice. Children this age are more independent, your family needs more money, and they are in school most of the day, and year. It makes sense that it would be a good time to dust myself off and get back on the work horse. The peers I was with when my children were young are moving on to work and other endeavors. If I am able to stay at home, it is because my spouse/partner makes enough money to enable it and/or I still want to do it.

For many of us it is not the right choice to continue to be at home. We are bored, need the challenge of work, need the social interaction, need the money and/or need more of, of, something. It doesn't matter what. For all of us, that something is different, and the pull of it, is strong or not so strong.

I feel that pull and challenge sometimes. Like so many things in my life, it ebbs and flows. Last year it became so strong and the circumstances so good that I went back to work. It was a wonderful choice. It was the right choice for me at the time. Now I am at home again and I know it is the right choice for me now.

The other thing I know is that the days you are not so busy and the "To Do" list starts with, clean the house. My choice can get murky. A job looks good on those days. Then someone gets sick and I am glad I don't have to scramble to get coverage or stress and just take care of them. You really can't win.

This brings me to my venting part of my story. I do sense that any of us as parents, man or woman, want a job that allows us to be with our kids when they need us. We all want that job that allows us to be creative, supported, do something worthwhile, see all our kids shows/events, AND make tons of money.

My job, right now, is still, the Domestic Goddess. Some days, I feel my pay is lousy for doing laundry, dishes, and dusting. My husband makes plenty of money to support us, some days he feels his pay is lousy for the baloney he puts up with co - workers and NOT being there for a conference or event for his children. No matter what we do, or what choice we make for what is best for us and our family we have bad days. The other thing I have realized as Domestic Goddess in the age of the stay at home dinosaur, is that I still have friends who are at home and those who work. We all still have the Internet and check facebook from home OR the office. Making us all, no matter where we are, still connected.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I miss Patrick Stoner, Who would have guessed?

Hello. My name is Ingrid Ziegler and I am an NPR addict. Ok, so maybe not an addict, but I am definitely an NPR listener. When we moved to Tennessee a friend gave me an NPR map. It is a map of the united states with all the NPR stations on it. It was a small gift and it has been well loved and well used. I have previously noted that I seem drawn to the comfort of NPR voices when I am stressed.

Guess what? I think I have been feeling a bit more stress lately. One of the first things I did when I found out about our relocation was check out NPR stations in Chicago. I already knew "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me - The NPR quiz show" was recorded there. I even told this to the children as a perk. (I have one who wants to meet Mo Rocca and another who wants to meet Paula Poundstone who are frequent panelists) My research revealed a full NPR schedule on a Chicago station. I saw shows from my previous station and others I had heard of but never been able to listen to. I was happy. Here in Tennessee NPR shows are few and in between they play classical music. (I am not a classical music gal)

I continued to poke around on the WBEZ's (Chicago NPR station) website, and then I found it. The magic button that allows you to stream the station. All those shows and voices I need in my time of stress just a mouse click away. In the blink of an eye it was done. This week my little Net Book has been playing WBEZ all day long. Some people like the TV as background noise, but not me. I have been in heaven.

Of course, in my life with the good news there is often some bad news. I excitedly listened to the radio AND...... it's a pledge drive.(or as my daughters call them, a beg-a-thon) The girls used to hate them in Delaware. They would say things like, "Do we HAVE to listen this week?" and "Did you give your money to make it stop?" I wrote down the phone number for WBEZ so I could pledge (I was being greedy and holding out for an attractive incentive) My older daughter saw it and said,"Mom, that's the wrong number." and recited our old NPR station's pledge phone number. I must say, I think I teared up a little with pride at that.

I am sure I will pledge to the my soon to be new NPR home, but just like I miss things from my old house (like my porch), I also miss College Challenge day for pledge drives and I even miss that dog gone WHYY film critic Partick Stoner, pushing and poking everyone to give right up until the end. Who knew?

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Songs in my Head

I understand that the title of this blog may give you concern about my mental health. I apologize for that. I will attest that I am not hearing voices in my head telling me to do horrible things. I struggled with the title. I guess it could also have been, The Soundtrack to my Life.

Music plays an important role in my life. Admittedly, I mostly listen to ZUMBA music, but other songs sneak in and many times I listen to the songs or CD that fit my mood. Recently one song has reemerged onto my playlist. The song is, "The Russian Dance" from the "Nutcracker Suite" I am sure you know the song, it goes faster and faster, and gets louder and louder until it crashes into an end. It is the song that kept creeping into my mind when we last had to move. Events with moving and transition start coming and they don't stop. The tasks get bigger and come at you more quickly, and end with a big crash when you land in your new house and life.

I would like to be able to say that my song choices have been happy as of late. My emotions about our move and the changes coming into our lives move in waves. I am happy then sad. The feelings are more intense then ebb away. The current playlist can move from "Jump" by Van Halen to "This is as bad as it gets" by Christine Lavin. Another amusing ditty is "I Hate Everyone" by Get Set Go. A song about being unhappy but with such an up tempo beat!(Note: My version is from the Grey's Anatomy Soundtrack and is cleaner than ones I found online) I am sure my playlist will keep growing as time goes on. Another song I am glad that I recently added to my collection is "I Can Help" by Billy Swan, because I know no matter what I have lots of people willing to do that for me.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Suburban Universe

I live in the "burbs". For most of my life I have lived in the suburbs in some way or another. I was born in Philadelphia but only lived there until I was 7 years old. I grew up in New Jersey,in what was a suburb of New York City. The town I grew up in, Westfield, was actually a town. I realize that times are very different now but it amazes me how much I did on my own in "town". I could walk places, like school, shops, restaurants, library and even my church. Even if I lived there today I am not sure I would let my kids walk so far on their own anymore, but I remember doing it. I was able to not depend on the car for EVERYTHING.

When I went to college, I lived in a college town. I also did not need a car until I was completing my student teaching. At that time my sister bought me a car, all I had to do was visit her once a month in Philadelphia. (I have a REALLY cool sister) In college I walked to restaurants, grocery stores, classes, work, and to see friends.

Once I graduated and left campus, that was when I got to really experience Suburbia as an adult. Strip malls, driving for everything, and living in a "Development" not a town. In Suburbia you get Malls, chain stores, and big box places to shop at. People will complain and say, every mall looks the same, every strip mall or big box mall has the same things.

At this moment in my life I have found those places comforting. When we moved here, I searched out a Target and other places. More importantly, finding the same places for my kids gave them comfort. I was picking them up and moving them away from everything they know, but hey, they could still have a Claire's and a Justice!

I was on the phone with a friend and we were laughing about this idea. I live in my own little Suburban world. Now I find myself searching online to see if my favorite chain store exist in Chicago. I tell my children, we are losing the Chocolate Factory but we get back a Trader's Joes! These location and stores offer scraps of normalcy and predictability in this time full of transition and change. So raise a glass and toast to Trader Joes, Target and all those other predictable chains. Which reminds me, I want to get online and see if there is a Total Wine in Illinois hmmmmmmmm.

Monday, October 4, 2010

I Want A Pony

This is a blog about guilt. We all have guilt about some things I suppose. I feel guilty about poor decisions I have made or how I may have treated people poorly. At the moment I have guilt about the change coming in my children's lives, again.

I find it challenging and heartbreaking that all the things I made them do here in Tennessee I must make them do all over again in a year. I know it will be fine (or at least I hope it will), I know I did not plan it, I know I love them and they love me and that is the most important thing. I still have guilt.

As a parent I sometimes use guilt to get my children to do something. I know all parents do this at times. I know there is guilt in religion sometimes. There is also a joke in my house that involves my mom. She always wanted to take care of us and be sure we were alright. In the past she would often apologize for things that even she could not control. One day it was raining and as my mom gave my dad the umbrella she said,"I'm sorry." My dad replied, "why?, you did not make the rain." He was teasing her of course. I am like my mother and Jack teases me now when I say stuff like that.

Right now though, I still look at my children and say, "I'm sorry". I think of the movie "Sixteen Candles". The parents forget their daughters 16th birthday and her friend says,"You should tell them. There is some major guilt gifts to come out of it." I think if my kids said, "I want a pony." It would be hard for me to say no.

A friend was texting back and forth with me and suggesting distractions, "how about a puppy?" she said.(like I want to sell a house with a puppy in it) Then she texted me,"oooh I just had the best idea! Why not distract everyone with a baby! you have 9 months......that would be so much fun! now I'm really giggling..." So, a big NO to that one. The pony is looking better and better.

In the end it is not about ponies, dogs, or guilt. It is about change and how we handle it. I guess the best I can do is handle it well and instead of saying I'm sorry to my children, keep saying I love you.