Last week I took Maia to Disney with a friend for “Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.” We of course rode the “It’s a small world” ride, which got me thinking. I love that ride. I’ve been on it so many times that I usually start out having already concluded there’s no way I could enjoy it yet AGAIN. I mean really, how can it possibly compare to the more modern, thrilling rides? But no matter how many times I experience it, it always makes me feel, well, happy. And all week I’ve been thinking I have something to say about that. About how I wish the world were really more like what is reflected in that brief tour, where everyone gets along.

For those who aren’t familiar with the ride (I know not everyone is lucky enough to live in the land of the Mouse House, though if you don’t at least know the song, stop reading now and go crawl back under your rock), it’s a boat ride through several different rooms, each reflecting the countries of a different continent, more or less. It’s actually very educational—I love it that my daughter can immediately recognize many of the countries represented, through the costumes and activities and settings, even though she hasn’t studied that kind of thing in school yet. Near the end there is a large carnival. All the characters from before are represented again, only this time all are dressed in white. You can still recognize what cultures and countries they represent from the style of their costumes, but this time they are a lot more the same than different. It’s one big party and everyone is invited and everyone is happy to be there with their fellow citizens of the world. At the end there are “goodbye” signs in a flood of languages. Adios. Arrivederci. Au Revoir. Sayonara. Shalom. Aloha. Auf Wiedersehen. Goodbye. And many others. To me this all says something about acceptance and tolerance. And through it all, the constant refrain of the song.

It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears
It’s a world of hopes, and a world of fears
There’s so much that we share, that it’s time we’re aware
It’s a small world after all

(Chorus)
It’s a small world after all
It’s a small world after all
It’s a small world after all
It’s a small, small world

There is just one moon, and one golden sun
And a smile means friendship to every one
Though the mountains divide, and the oceans are wide
It’s a small world after all

(Repeat Chorus)

I love the ride, I love the song, I love the message. After all, we do all share the same planet. We are all more alike than different. Every single one of us has hopes and fears and dreams. And we all need friends.

Quite unintentionally, the colors I chose for my new blog design remind me of my alma mater, Tufts University. I remember thinking back then, “Brown and blue? What an ugly combination!” Yet somehow I guess it grew on me, because look where I ended up. Except what I thought was blue here turns out to be, when I compare it to the Tufts website, actually much more purple. Now that I’m looking at it, I am wondering how I ever thought it was blue. It’s clearly purple. Or at least a very purplish tint of blue. Or vice versa. I’m not color blind, honest! Either way it doesn’t matter, because I really like it. But just to settle the matter once and for all, I’m taking a poll. Is it blue or is it purple?

The title of this post, incidentally, is a line from a Tufts song. I don’t remember any of the rest of the song except for the refrain:

“T-U-F-T-S, T-U-F-T-S, Hurrah! Hurrah! for dear old Brown and Blue!”

Getting closer…

Just got to work and found out that I have a publication date for my article. It’s scheduled to run December 12, 2005. I thought that was an important enough development to document. I am getting ever so much closer to my goal of being professionally published!

Now I am going to perform an amazing trick that will astonish and delight you. I predict that on December 12, the topic of my blog post will have something to do with getting published and achieving personal goals. Be sure to stop back by on that date so you can marvel at my uncanny ability to see into the future.

Welcome, welcome!

Welcome, welcome, welcome to my brand-spanking-new home on the web! I am so excited to finally unveil my updated blog with the new name and look. And I’m extremely proud of myself that I even figured out how to import all of my data from the old site, including all of your comments. All I can say is that persistence (and quite a few late nights the past couple of weeks) pays off. Make that quite a few VERY late nights. I love tinkering and figuring out new things, and I’m also a perfectionist. Put those two together and you have one blogger who has been just this side of obsessed with getting my new site up and running. Or if you ask my husband, he might claim that I have far overstepped that line, but don’t listen to him (love you, Kent!). Admire my new blog instead!

I think the new feature I’m most excited about is the ability to create categories for my posts. Yay! I’m working on categorizing all the imported posts. That may take a while longer. I may also continue to fine-tune a few things, so please bear with me during this tweaking phase. If anyone notices anything funky or strange, please let me know.

You may also notice that I have finally gotten around to adding a blogroll. Yay! For those of you who have me on your blogrolls or bookmarked or subscribe to a syndication feed, don’t forget to update that information. Links for syndication feeds are in the side bar near the bottom. I’ll leave the old blog up for a while with a link to this location, but I will not be posting there any longer. THIS is the new cool place to be!

And now it’s time to can the design and technical work, and get back to the business of writing (you know, the whole reason I started blogging in the first place). Thanks again for visiting me in my new space!

Hurricane watching

You people up north get snow days. In Florida, we get hurricane days. As I write this, we are under an inland tropical storm warning. The next county over, where I work, is under an inland hurricane warning. Work and schools are cancelled. Personally I think it’s all a bit alarmist because Wilma is passing far south of here. I doubt we’ll have anything worse than your usual nasty weather day. It’s currently a bit gusty out, but the biggest threat this far north of the strike zone is the potential for tornadoes, not the storm itself. I’m so sure we’ll be fine that yesterday I bought a freezer full of groceries. Now that’s faith. But if we didn’t lose power during three hurricanes last year that more directly impacted this area, including one that took out part of our roof, then I’m just not all that concerned about this one. So I’ll enjoy the unexpected day off and keep the kids occupied with some fun rainy day activities, before it’s back to business as usual tomorrow.

On a more serious note, I’ll be saying prayers for those who are more directly affected by Wilma. She is cutting pretty darn close to the part of the state where I grew up.

I’ve been found out!

How shocking to have your secret project discovered before you are ready to unveil it to the world. That happened to me today. First, some background. As a result of creating my own blog, I’ve of course gotten sucked into the blogosphere. I like to know what everyone else out there is blogging about. One trend I’ve noticed lately is bloggers taking occasional breaks, either because the well has temporarily run dry or other life priorities have intervened. But not me! No way. Sure, I don’t necessarily post every day, but still, I want bigger and better than ever! To that end, big changes are in store for my site. I’m going to rebrand, redesign, and relocate. I’ve already begun the effort, but things are not quite ready for prime time, as they say.

So imagine my surprise to receive a comment on a gibberish test post there from an occasional visitor here. Lumpy, you’ve found me out! I suspect Lumpy discovered through some secret investigative reverse linkology that I’ve linked to his site in the blogroll I’m putting together at my new location. As an aside, if you’ve never visited Lumpy’s blog, I’ll take this opportunity to recommend it as highly entertaining reading. He is chronicling in a most creative and unusual way his (sometimes fictional—no infants were harmed in the writing of his posts) attempts to understand the “Beast” who has taken over his home.

It may take weeks or longer to get my new site set up and fully functional with a design that I like. The new name will remain super top secret until then (Lumpy, you stay quiet). In the meantime I’ll continue to blog here. When I’m ready to point people to the new location, you’ll hear it here first!

(UPDATE: This was one of the last posts written on the old blog. The accidentalthinker.com site is obviously now up and running!)

Traditions

A comment from Jamie Dawn on one of my posts last week got me thinking (whoa, that’s dangerous!) about traditions and how they come about. In my family, we’ve never started traditions on purpose. They just kind of evolve. We do something once just because, then repeat at some later date under similar circumstances, and then suddenly you find yourself as an adult sitting on imaginary spots for no other reason than because somewhere along the way, it morphed into a “tradition.” And even the silliest traditions carry on, because traditions bring memories and warm, fuzzy feelings of continuity and sharing and belonging to something.

A lot of traditions revolve around holidays, and it’s no different for us. One of my traditions for years with my sisters has been going to the movies on Christmas Day. In my family we always had the family gathering and opened the family presents on Christmas Eve, which was a tradition from my own mother’s growing up years. That left Santa for Christmas morning, and by late in the afternoon we were usually ready for some new kind of action. When I reached driving age, we decided rather spontaneously one Christmas to go to the movies, since the movie theater was the only place open. We repeated on one or two subsequent years and then, presto chango, we had ourselves a new tradition. The only difference now is that we alternate between Thanksgiving and Christmas, since we have to rotate holidays between our family and the respective in-laws. Except for the years when we break the tradition altogether because we are getting old and are simply too tired to sit through a feature-length film after the hard work of engorging ourselves on holiday cuisine. Now you might say the new tradition is breaking the movie-going tradition!

What are your traditions?

Maia has the magic touch

My 7-year-old is succeeding where her parents have so far failed. Whether she wanted it or not, I do believe she has permanently acquired the job of potty training her brother. How many times do you think he’s actually used the potty when I’ve been in there with him? A big fat zero. I kid you not. I have literally NEVER seen him release so much as a single drop. He loves to sit there, he just doesn’t DO anything. Kent hasn’t fared much better. Funny, because I seem to remember that as a newborn, Noah no problem christening everything in reach the instant I took his diaper off.

But send Maia in there with him? Holy cow, he’s a pottying machine! I haven’t personally witnessed it, but the evidence is always there. Peer pressure? Sibling worship? Whatever it is, it’s working, and my mother always taught me not to mess with success.

Brace yourselves for this one, because it’s a calamitous event that will bring tears to your eyes and make you cry out in protest at the injustice of it all.

Our cleaning lady quit last week.

Yes, it’s true. The lifestyle of a family with two working parents and two young children leaves little time for housework (though plenty of time for blogging, apparently), so several years ago we broke down and hired someone to clean our house every other week. It was wonderful while it lasted, but now that she has determined we are no longer profitable, we’ve decided not to replace her. It’s an expense that is hard to justify when there are so many better uses for the money.

So if ever you, my kind and loyal readers, have occasion to wonder why I have gone silent for longer than normal, it’s probably because I’ve been too busy scrubbing toilets.

Back-to-back conversations in my house just now that amused me:

*****

Kent: Maia, can you put Noah’s shirt on him?

Maia (with attitude): No, that’s Dad stuff.

Kent: No, that’s sister stuff.

Kent won. Maia put Noah’s shirt on.

*****

Kent: Where is the clicker? Who took the clicker?

Maia (with attitude): Obviously not me. A two-year-old had it.

After the clicker has been successfully found…

Kent: It must have been you. The TV is on the Disney Channel!

Busted!

*****

Meanwhile, I’m sitting here at the computer chuckling to myself and transcribing everything, instead of helping to dress Noah or search for the remote control. I have to take my amusements where I can get them.

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