Sunday, September 30, 2012

Jennifer three thousand

I just have to say that the best thing about being a SAH parent is the fact that the clock doesn't rule my life anymore (next to the fact that I get to be home with and for my children--I swear I mean that!). Not that I was ever to great at listening to the clock when it did rule my life, but I don't have that constant cloud hovering over my head telling me that I am disappointing...everyone and should always be doing something other than what I am actually doing.

Of course, I also love that I don't have to stress out about what to wear. That's not to say that I shouldn't stress out about that--at least occasionally. I mean, for at least two years I didn't even look in a mirror. Seriously. Can you imagine? I guess I had my mind on so many other things and was so worried about  the appearance of everyone else in my family that it just didn't even occur to me to look. That and the fact that I knew I wouldn't like what I saw pretty much sealed it for me.

I decided recently that I would take the time to actually look at myself after my shower--to look at my hair if and when I brush it and to try my best to at least attempt to look like I care about my appearance. I figure if I actually make an effort and tell myself that I care, maybe my body will reward me. It can't hurt, right?

This new...relationship...I have with myself is proving to be time-consuming. I like being able to shower and get ready in ten minutes. I like being low maintenance. What I don't like?  Looking like Molly from Mike and Molly-- but not from her role as Molly--from her role in the movie Bridesmaids--I don't remember her name, but she was HILARIOUS, though hilarity doesn't necessarily go hand in hand with hot. In fact, hilarious and hot tend to operate quite separately. He's a fair God...those who make you chortle or guffaw tend to not be models and those who are Brad Pitt pretty (yes, I know he's a...HE, but tell me he isn't pretty...SEE--you can't!) generally don't have people laughing 'til they pee. Of course, I hoped to be HILARIOUS (let's be honest--that ship has sailed!) AND hot (hot never even stopped on my doorstep), but evidently you can't just will it to happen.

I always wanted to be one of those natural Jennifer Garner and Jennifer Anniston. And Jennifer Lopez. And Jennifer-Love-Hewett (though maybe her...ladies...are less than...natural...) And pretty much every single Jennifer I have ever known (and I grew up in the seventies and eighties, so you know that is like an infinite number of Jennifers). I would name them all, but there isn't enough room or enough time. Plus, I'm pretty sure that would be creepy/stalker...y, so let's just leave it that (in my eyes, at least) those named Jennifer could roll out of bed each day without make-up, unshowered and unbrushed, and throw on grungy clothes and still look great--hot even.

I don't know why I wanted to have that girl next door look (unless the girl next door had a head full of frizzy hair and a proclivity for spilling--well--everything all over--well--everything), but it started in middle school. Although I wasn't even allowed to wear make up, I had some great friends who would help me to make my lashes electric blue or bright teal (gotta love the eighties!) and would help me remove it again before the walk home. Sure, I got caught most of some of occasionally. but it was worth it to have my slightly creepy science teacher sing, "Electric Blue" to me in class!

I had one friend who gave me a hard time every time she saw I was wearing make up and even when I wasn't. It got to the point that I would lie every time she snarkily (it's a thing) asked me if I had makeup on my eyes. I would stare her right in the eyes while fluttering my bright blue eyelashes and say, "NO!" I'm pretty sure I fooled her. (I never claimed to be too bright...) I don't know why it was her business or why I felt the need to lie, but I obviously wasn't too good at it! A victim of the eighties, I also remember using Final Net and Aqua Net like it would save my life (as I single-handedly took out the ozone) and I remember my father saying, "What guy is ever gonna want to run his fingers through that?! His hand'll get stuck--they'll have to amputate!" and although I had some snotty teenagery retort at the time, it really hit home with me. I agreed with him--and no teenager ( not even if her name is Jennifer) wants to agree with her father.

I became kind of  ashamed of using make-up and tried to limit my product usage (though I am a product whore--that is a story for another day!). I would put brown or black mascara and eyeliner on my eyes and pretend like my eyes just looked like that. I'm not sure who I thought I was kidding--"No--I'm not wearing make-up! The smudgy brownish black stuff on my eyes is naturally  a part of my face!" Why I thought it was better to have blotchy facial deformities rather than a little bit of make up on my face, I don't know--maybe because the deformities were natural? I told you--I never claimed to be too bright--to get into the psyche of that girl would be quite an adventure, one I would not want to endure alone!

Of course, if my mother had just named me Jennifer like all of those other mothers did in the seventies, I would be low-maintenance AND hot and wouldn't have had to have a secret relationship with eye make up. Who knows--I may have been HILARIOUS, too. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Would I trade my husband and children for it? Maybe not...

I love television--I really do. More than a normal person should love television. In fact, for the last few years, I have lived for television. I believe that TiVo...DVR...whatever is/was the most important invention of this century. I swear--I really do. At least for my family it is. Well, maybe not even my entire family (so relax Mr. McJudgerson--my children aren't TV-heads...but they definitely could be)--we try not to teach our children our horrible habits, but eventually...there will be five of us!

This obsession with television began in the late nineties, early (thousands?!)--right after I met my husband. As a side note, most  of my bad habits came to me after meeting my husband. Coincidental? I think not. Of course, I (basically) stopped being a booze-hound (kind of) and I stopped bringing strange men home (for the most part), but I also stopped moving (unless it was in the direction of the refrigerator) and spent most of my free time watching shows and eating popcorn. THAT is what we do. It started in 1999 and I can honestly say that doing that is the one thing that has remained consistent in our lives. We used to have movie marathon weekends where we would get a barrel of popcorn (you know it's true--that thing is bigger than Rhode Island) from the movie theater (with layered butter and salt...I just threw up in my mouth a little bit, sorry...) and would rearrange our furniture so that we were DIRECTLY in front of the television and would stay there all weekend. Of course, we would leave for a few hours to sleep, but for the most part we were held hostage by our television and we loved it. In between all of our movies, we would watch our taped shows (THANK YOU inventor of DVR type things!) to clear up more space for new ones.

One show we tried not to ever miss was Alias. That. Show. Is (high-pitched squeal here) AWESOME. Sydney Bristow was my hero--and not just  because she could rock a purple wig (though she really could!). About a year or two ago (maybe even three all gets lost once it hits my brain...) a fb friend posted something about the show Alias. It was when I was just getting the hang of facebook (as if I ever did get the hang of it!) and the whole posting on walls thing was foreign to me. I thought I was posting on his wall when I commented something like, "L-O-V-E Sydney Bristow--she is (high-pitched squeal here) AWESOME and my hero!" Not so embarrassing on his wall since he was actually discussing her. Unfortunately, I posted it as my status. So people who didn't know me or worse, did would read: "Nika Corwin: L-O-V-E Sydney Bristow--she is (high-pitched squeal here) AWESOME and my hero!" Kind of a freak, right?!  At least now you know that I am serious about Alias (if not certifiable)-- if you didn't watch it, I am certain you can get in on Netflix. DO IT. You won't be sorry. Unless you are and in that case please don't tell me!

Another show that was on around that time was called, Eyes. We loved that show. It had the guy from Wings (yes, I mentioned Wings because who DIDN'T love THAT show?!)--the serious brother-guy who is now on Private Practice (ask me how many grams are in a kilometer and I'll tell you, "Orange," but this I know) was in this show and he was (insert high pitched squeal here...all together now...) AWESOME! (well done!) The problem? Eyes  was taken off the air after too few episodes. I don't really want to remember exactly what was happening and what went unresolved in the show or it will upset me again, just know that we were (are) so annoyed that we didn't get the time we wanted needed deserved with Eyes. My husband still mentions it like an old friend who doesn't keep in touch and refuses to get on facebook. So sad. Moment of silence please.

Thank you.

Another show that tore our hearts out (I seriously need professional help. The first step is admitting there is a problem and I l-oooo-v-e hanging out on the first step!) was Studio...54? 64? 60?--the one with Chandler from Friends, not the one with naked people in it. It was about the making of an SNL type of show and it was (I think you know where I am going here...high pitched squeal) AWESOME!  We were so sad to see it go and tried to seek counseling over it. Instead, we found more shows to watch and tried not to get too attached--just in case they left us, too.

Some of our favorites through the years (and by "favorites," I mean those that encompassed our lives in such a way that we actually felt like they were family were, Friends (duh), 24 (Seriously...Jack Bower and Sydney Bristow need to team up...) which I deemed to be the best show of all time that first season. And the next. And most of the ALWAYS had me quite literally (and not in the way that it does not actually mean literally) on the edge of my seat clenching anything that could remotely...clench in my body until that last second ticked away and I had to wait for scenes from the next week's episode.  The same proved true for Lost, though we lost (punny!)some of our recordings when we moved (I'm still not over it--), so I need to rent the final season.

We watch all of the CSIs--most of the time to make fun of the placement of sunglasses on the nose before a corny pun is uttered over a bloody body. Criminal Minds is a good one--though too many episodes have taken place in places where I've lived.  C-R-E-E-P-Y. There are so many really is disturbing how many shows we do and have watched, but it's what we like.

When I was teaching I would often times refer to my shows (House for sad it's gone!) to help validate  whatever we were discussing that day. I had students tell me that English teachers aren't supposed to like television. They claimed that they never had a teacher who promoted television before they met me. I need to clarify...I'm not against reading--in fact, I love to read. I have stayed up way too many nights because I couldn't put a book down until it was finished, but while teaching I didn't have that luxury. I needed to go to bed at a reasonable time and I needed someone to do the thinking for me at the end of the day. Sometimes you just want to be entertained and you don't want to do anything for it.  That's why I love television.

Because of this love (and because of the fact that I lost my funny ), I am going to [try to] devote one day a week to television. I may talk about shows that made me laugh out loud ('cause that is really a thing) (Friends shouldn't even have to be should be understood.) like New Adventures of Old Christine or Everybody Loves Raymond, or those that make me laugh now, like The Middle or Modern Family. I may write about shows that everyone should watch, regardless of sex (no--not whether you are having it...) like Bunheads or Ally McBeal (THAT was a blast from the past, right?!) or shows that very few people discovered like...well, I guess that could be Bunheads again, though there are way too many shows for me to be listing doubles.

I know what you are thinking--this will be the only time I "discuss" television because history states that I do not EVER stick with a plan on here. Well, you got me. That is why I didn't pick a day. Perhaps if I give myself an entire week to make it happen it will...actually happen.

Until then, I have some research to do. I'll start by watching Friends...and maybe grabbing some popcorn...

Thursday, September 27, 2012


I had surgery in May so I stopped exercising. I guess I didn't stop completely. We have a pool and we were in it almost every day this summer and I have a rule (with myself) that I need to be moving constantly while I am in there--leg lifts, running in place, laps, lunges...anything that keeps me moving. The problem is, my body hates me and unless I am in pain or visibly uncomfortable, it rejects any of the benefits of whatever I am doing.

The same thing happened last summer. I was in the pool and moving every day and still gained over ten pounds because I didn't take out extra time to exercise. I joined the Y and lost a little, but when I stopped for surgery, I gained ten more. I told  you. My body hates me. I have to set extra time aside in my day to only focus on exercise for it to count. My body is like a spoiled child--we'll call it Veruca Salt (although it more closely resembles Violet Beauregarde or Augustus Gloop) and if I don't show it extra attention, it shuts down on me. It doesn't matter if I spend each day running and playing or swimming and jumping around with my children--if I haven't inconvenienced or hurt myself in some way, it doesn't count as exercise and I pack on the pounds. Stupid body.

I planned on going back to the Y, but there is a gym in town that offers more classes for a lower price, so I decided to go there instead.  I LOVE my new gym, but there is one catch--all of my...classmates...are senior citizens. Senior citizens who could wipe the floor with my exhausted middle-aged body and would gladly do so if I mess with their...chi.

I started going regularly to my new gym the second week in September. My very first class was Yoga with the body ball. You are going to need a back story here. I may be the most uncoordinated person...well...EVER, so balancing on a body ball should have set off alarms for me, but I forged ahead confidently. You would think that my nine? Ten? years of dancing and my dance classes in college would give me the background necessary to conquer stretching and meditation, but  you would be wrong. In fact, in my twenties I belonged to a gym in downtown Buffalo and "spinning" and step aerobics were introduced for the first time. I was maybe twenty-five and in pretty good shape (though I would NEVER have thought so at the time!), but I'm pretty sure that I took out a line of dancers when I was supposed to be pivoting or stepping or spinning...and that was when I was IN shape--imagine me now!

It's also important to note that I went out ALL the time when I was in my twenties. All. The. Time. In fact, it started to feel like a job (IF ONLY...), I went out so much. And I danced. At least three nights a week you would find me rocking out (or crazily and grotesquely flapping my limbs) for hours until some cranky DJ told me that I didn't have to go home, but I couldn't stay there. I never thought of it as exercise until I went to a wedding recently and felt like my legs may buckle beneath me before the end of the first song. I'm not sure if it was the alcohol or the fact that I went to the gym regularly and went dancing most nights that made me able to endure it then and perhaps my body is rebelling against me now that I don't do all of that. Or any of that! 

Of course, every time I got into a relationship, I would stop going to the gym and stop going out "clubbing," and would spend more time eating out and  leading a sedentary lifestyle. Every time the relationships ended, I would get back to the gym and back to going out and would lose the weight again. I met my husband through a former boyfriend who worked with him (there are sooo many stories from that time that should not be told!)--we'll call him Joe. Joe and I went to see Patch Adams (does anyone even remember that movie? Robin Williams is a doctor with a clown nose...? Anyway...) one evening.  We were walking up the stairs to our seats and I [somehow] tripped over...nothing...and ended up on my butt,  all the while yelling, "OOOOHAYYYYEEEUUGGGH" because I was convinced I was going to spill the popcorn and drink and because I often let out little yells when I fall. Or when I hurt myself. Or when something surprises me. Really I am just a noisy person. Luckily, there were only like three other couples there, though that didn't assuage my embarrassment much.  What's funny is the fact that my husband loves this story. Mostly because because he finds it funny that "Joe" had me carrying everything in the first place--and also the fact that I have a similar fall at least once a week.

In fact, about a year and a half later--a month before our wedding--my husband and I were eating outside at a restaurant in Charlotte when a bee started buzzing around us. Our table was directly in front of the window of the restaurant, so everyone inside could see (and hear) what was happening. I got a little panicky (I do that) about the bee--no, I am not allergic, I just have an unnatural fear of bees. My legs were wrapped around the legs of the plastic chair, so when I tried to get up (after the bee had the audacity to land on me), my feet got tangled up in the chair and..."OOOOHAYYYYEEEUUGGGH!"  I was on the ground with the chair and the table on top of me. I saw everyone in the restaurant leap up to see if I was okay and some cars in the parking lot pulled over to help me. I still have the scar on my forearm where I scraped off a good chunk of my skin and my knee and foot were pretty bloody as well. As for the BEE...well, he stuck around to laugh at my wounds for a minute and then flew off to attack some other innocent bystander. My husband assessed the situation and calmly observed, " least you didn't get stung!"

All of this brings me back to Yoga and the body ball. And the senior citizens. My first day, the teacher greeted me and gave me a ball. I set it up with my mat and left to get a drink which took maybe three minutes. By the time I got back an eighty-eight-year-old bully had taken my ball, was sitting on it, and was looking at me like, "So what are you gonna do about it?" This woman could barely stand upright (that is not an insult--I have my own troubles with standing), but I felt confident that she would cut me before I could say, "Wheel of Fortune" if I even addressed her thievery. I decided to let it go and opted to not make eye contact. Bitches be scary. (That's got to give me some street cred, right?!)

I learned my lesson for the next class and did not leave after I got my ball. You would think that there would be nothing further, but again, you would be wrong. We were practicing different...exercises? in balance before class even officially started. I am pretty sure it was the one where we center our backs on the ball and then lift one leg at a time and then both legs. I'm not really sure if that is what we were supposed to do, but that is what I did--until I didn't any more and the room echoed with my "OOOOHAYYYYEEEUUGGGH" as I tumbled over, taking out the leader of the geriatric Cryps, hitting my head on the PVC pipes that are used to house the body balls (two of which came bouncing down on top of me), and scraping my knee and forearm (strangely enough on the same scars that were from my bee experience) in the process. As everyone rushed to my aid (including my Cryps friend who actually had balancing issues herself--not related to my fall and she was fine), but I was quick to send them away noting that it was more embarrassing than painful. Luckily for me, they all were adamant that everyone falls at least once and I shouldn't worry at all. 

Until I take out the geriatric Tai Chi team...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I lost my funny

I have a problem. I know...I have many problems, but this problem is making the whole blogging thing not work for me. I lost my funny. It's gone. The thing is, if I knew where it went, I could get it back, but even that is too much for my brain to handle.

I miss it. I wrote a few posts last week that I never published because they just weren't that great. I don't know if it is because I was gone for so long that I forgot how to be funny, or if it is because I am running out of material (though the three maniacs do make me laugh every single day several times a day. Unless...egads...perhaps I was never funny in the first place...bite your tongue)!

I am just having trouble translating each event on paper. Too many of the funny things are location jokes--you had to be there to find them funny. Which is a shame because I feel quite certain that you would laugh. Guffaw even at times. I know you think you don't guffaw, but you do. And if you were here for some of the happenings with the maniacs, you would recognize your guffaw. Or chortle. Only, these days, my material is lucky to get a slight giggle and I am pretty sure that even that giggle is meant for something that happened earlier that was much funnier than my writing.

Usually I would sit at the computer and start typing with no idea of where I was headed (which was pretty evident in my writing). Now I'm finding that I may need some direction. Please share any ideas or topics you either want to address or you think will bring me my funny back. Don't be offended if I don't use your topic immediately--the words aren't as plentiful these days, so it may take some time.

If you would practice your guffaw or chortle now, I would really appreciate it. Seriously--now. I know it's not funny, but if you practice doing it every time I write something it will become automatic for you to laugh at it and would take a lot of pressure off of me. Thanks. Hopefully tomorrow the funny will find me, since I'm clearly incapable of finding it.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

This is NOT a date!

Yesterday was not a good day for my son. He just woke up with an attitude and when I told him to go upstairs to find his "nice" self he told me that his "nice self" ran away and would only come back if I got him a 3DS. He will be missed...

So after getting in trouble like forty-seven times, we all went out to wait for the bus. He barely gave me his cheek to kiss and then he was gone. I hoped that after school would prove to be better, but that didn't pan out for me either. At dinner he got in trouble for antagonizing his sisters and not sitting at the table properly. He then got in trouble for tackling his sister and making her cry. Not. A. Good. Day.

When I tried to tuck him in, he refused to look at me. I crawled next to him and tried to put my head under his face--to see his eyes and make him laugh. His response?
"Eeww--I don't know what you think you are doing, but I am not going to kiss  you on the lips. This is NOT a date!"

And to think that at one time he wanted to marry me!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My little rule follower

My Brayden cannot help himself--he is the town crier and it isn't because he wants to be a snitch. He is a cross between Peter Brady (or was it Bobby? It was definitely Bobby) as the crossing guard and Sheldon Cooper as...Sheldon Cooper.

The thing is, my Brayden is a rule follower. Unless they are my rules--then he becomes the negotiator, but that's for a different day. Being a rule follower doesn't make you the most popular friend in any grade, but it is especially frowned upon in the younger grades. Unfortunately, Brayden has done this since he was two. He would toddle around finding injustices and blatant-rule-disregarders (it's a thing) and report to me so that I could take action.
"Grandma is wearing her shoes in the house! Grandma, you aren't supposed to wear shoes in the house!"

"Grandpa didn't finish all of his dinner and he is eating dessert. Grandpa, if you're not hungry for dinner then you're not hungry for dessert!"

Because of his track record, this story did not surprise me:

"Mom--J'ron was mean to me today."

"Really? Why would he be mean to you?"

"I don't know--I told him on the way to school that he needed to put his seat belt on and he said he didn't have to, so I told him that if he didn't I would have to tell the bus driver."


"...he told me it was none of my business and he didn't need a seat belt, but I know that you do need to wear a seat belt to be safe, so I told the bus driver and she told him that if he doesn't wear it from now on he will be in trouble. THEN he was mean to me all day!

"Really? And you can't think of any reason why he might be upset with you?"

"No. And when he got on the bus and in his seat he held up his seat belt and said, 'Are you happy?!' in a really mean voice and then he wouldn't talk to me."

"And you really have no idea why?"


"Maybe you should go in tomorrow and tell him that you didn't mean for him to get in trouble, you were just concerned about his safety."

"Well, I kind of did want him to get in trouble because that seems to be the only way he will learn."

He may not have any friends, but his classmates will be the safest group of children ever--whether they like it or not!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Kids and politics

“Show me a young Conservative and I'll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old Liberal and I'll show you someone with no brains.”

― Winston Churchill

What are your thoughts on Churchill's quote?  I know that I get less Liberal each year and I see it around me as well. My grandfather (remember him?) was a Democrat (if you can believe it!) when my grandmother was alive. At least she was a Democrat and I am pretty sure that he did what she wanted him to do, but that was over a decade ago. He was still a bit cranky then (that's his game), but he didn't spend his days watching Hannity and Beck, so there was room for reasoning then. Having children made a difference because now I want policies that won't enable my children to slack off and be rewarded for mediocrity. I suppose THAT makes me conservative. I also believe that people who truly need help should get it. THAT makes me a Democrat.

My friend, Tom Jones (not the lounge singer, though that would be *insert lilty voice here* awesome!) is a staunch Republican (I think mostly because he likes to fight--no--banter--with others about politics) as were most of our friends in Virginia--and Montana come to think of it--and he always told me that the fact that I'm an Independent means that I'm too weak to make a decision. He was [kind of] joking, so don't get riled up over that. Also, he may be right.

I feel like it is the teacher in me. Teachers are constantly asked to see every part of a situation and English teachers spend their days reading and analyzing behavior. Sometimes it is the behavior of the students and sometimes it is the behavior of the characters in the reading, but looking at all points of view is required to make a final assertion. That is how I treat most things that I do and it is definitely how I approach politics. Of course, if I feel like someone is being bullied, I sometimes get cloudy vision and pull for that person to win--pulling for the underdog--how very Democratic of me, right?

So my friend posted this the other day (about her son who is...six?):

My son wants to earn some money to buy a toy. I gave him a small job to start the process. He said, "This job doesn't feel very lucky." I told him, "You are very lucky if you have a paying job. That's a good thing." He said, "Why can't you just give me the money without the job." I told him he sounded like a democrat. He said, "Don't call me that hateful word!" lol (sorry dem friends. too funny not to share)

Funny, right? It reminded me of a conversation I had with my son when he was four:

"Mommy,  why do you have to pay the doctor EVERY time you go?"

"Well, because when someone does a service of some kind for you and it is their job, then you need to pay them."

"I think that people shouldn't have to pay the doctor--I think the doctor should always make sick people feel better because that's what doctor's do."

"You should run for office."

And this one we had shortly thereafter:

"Mommy, I want to marry YOU."

"Well, that is very nice, but you can't marry me."

"But I want to--why can't I?"

"Because moms can't marry their children. It doesn't end well."

"Who says? I should be able to marry you if I want to marry you."

"Well, I don't want to marry you, so we don't need to fight about it."

"Why don't you want to marry me?

"I'm already married--trust me--it's enough for me."

"Then I want to marry (his friend--we'll call him Eliot) Eliot. Can I marry Eliot?"

" some states."

"What about here [Montana]?"

"Nope. And not in Virginia [where we used to live] either." 

"Why not? I don't want anyone telling me who I can marry!"

"Luckily we don't have to make this decision today then."

Regardless of your political agenda, isn't it funny to look at "hot topics" through a child's eyes? Do you have similar chats with your children? Do you try to avoid politics altogether or are you hoping to raise a little Alex P. Keaton (PLEASE know the reference...!)?  Will you guide your children, but ultimately let them make their political decisions on their own, or will you school them on your politics and let them know that there is no other choice?

My friend (you know--the one whose child I exploited above) is fantastic (AND a Republican--who'da thunk it, right?!) and although her child is headed in what she deems to be the right direction, I know she isn't brainwashing him into taking on her beliefs. I say that because I actually do have friends who are practically brainwashing their children and I'd like to know if this is commonplace and what your thoughts are on it. I'd also like to know if anyone else's children force them into political conversations on a regular basis...because mine does it daily and quite honestly, I don't have it in me anymore!

Maybe Churchill's quote is right--I have complained about losing pieces of my brain each time I delivered a baby (I believe they were holding onto my brain and that is why it hurt so much. Delivering a person is bad enough, but trying to expel part of your own brain--horrible!)...and I did have way too much heart when I was younger. If only I could find a balance. I'll work on that if I ever when I find my brain again.Maybe by then we will have eliminated bipartisanship altogether and we will be working as a country to fix our country. And maybe Tom Jones (yes, the lounge singer) will be my friend.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Mouths of babes...

Addison: "Bwrayden, I can't find my folder [for school]--do you know where it is?"

Brayden: "No."

Addison (getting upset): "But I have to find it! Ryan do YOU know where it is?"

Ryan: "No."

Addison (frantically): "Where IS it?!"

Brayden: "Why are you getting so upset?"

Addison (exasperated): "Because I don't want to end up like YOU two..."

I hope this is even half as funny as it was when it actually happened this morning--I love that the five-year-old already knows she needs to be more together than the rest of us!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The OTHER "C" word

Sadly, everyone reading this (or should I say, "You," since there may only be ONE of you? I will operate under the assumption that at least my closest friends and relatives feel obligated (don't care how you get here) to read and follow my ramblings, so I'll stick with "Everyone...") knows at least one person who has or has been affected by the "C" word. No--not that "C" word--what kind of blog do you think I'm running here? Don't answer.

The "C" word I'm talking about is Cancer and I hate, hate, HATE that I am devoting a whole entry to this because I feel like "C" is one of those terrorists who wants to be famous for destroying lives and it does not deserve anything more from us. I feel like "C" touches more lives each year and it has to stop. Sit back for a second and think about all of the people you know who have/had the "C" word invade their lives. I've mentioned what a small world I think it is (when I do that it is because I want you to click on the words so it will bring you to that post...I looked at yesterday's blog and you can't even tell the link is there.  Anyway...), but the "C" word is making it smaller--and not in a good way at all.

I met up with one of my closest and dearest friends this summer (after not seeing or talking to her for over a decade) and as she was telling me how she beat breast cancer (in the years we lost touch). I felt awful that I wasn't there for her during that time, but she was the amazing and strong woman I know her to be and kicked the "C" word's butt. This is what I hate. Well, cancer is what I hate, but what I really hate is that this is going on in my head:

"You had breast cancer? So did my aunt...maybe you know her? She beat it too!" or worse, "You lost your grandmother/uncle/stepfather to cancer? So did I!" and the worst of all, "Your child has cancer? I have a few other friends who have children with cancer, too!"
Like it is a good thing or something. I am always excited to bring people I like together--I've always been one to try to fix up my friends, but I certainly don't want "C" to be the reason my friends come together. Sadly, it has gotten to that point--not a day goes by that I don't hear about someone finding out that they or someone they know has "C" of one form or another, and it's unnerving.

Let me clarify--the reason why I "fix up" people who are dealing with/have dealt with "C" is so that they can find support. I truly believe that if you take any situation, good or bad, those who are able to communicate and/or/commiserate with others are going to do so much better than those who don't. Plus, when you are in a situation like that it must feel like you are alone in the world and like no one could possibly understand what you are enduring, so what better way to cope than to be able to communicate with someone who actually does know a little bit about what it is like for you?

I have several friends ("several" should not be the word used) who have children--babies--who are fighting one form of cancer or another and I pray for them every day. I don't think I really have any pull up there--but I figure it certainly cannot hurt (I'm not that bad, am I?! Don't answer THAT, either.) I remember when one friend found out that her child has "L_word" and I contacted my other friend who was a pro at that point to see if she could help the first mom in ways that I knew I could not. I think about that--"PRO--" and I get pissed for her. She didn't ask to be a pro. I am pretty sure she is a pro at most things she does--she is that type of person--but I'm pretty sure that her ability to rock this situation is something she would gladly give up. Every time I try to type something encouraging to her (she seriously is one of the strongest and most amazing people I know), I think that if I were her I would think, "Yea--noted, great--thanks. I am so glad that I am in this shitty place where I need to be strong and "YAY ME" I'm doing it--heck--I'm even a "PRO," but it sucks and I don't want to hear how freakin' inspirational I am ANY more...I just want my child to be well and I want to try to get back to just living--without the constant worry, without the constant trips to the ER, without the "C" word taking over my life..."

I think that is what I would think. I don't know and hope I do not ever have to know, but that's the thing--why is it that I have been spared for now? Is it because I am too weak to handle it? Maybe, but that hardly seems fair. Kelly Clarkson made famous the cliche about what isn't killing us is making us stronger, but punishing someone because they are too strong? I can't believe that is the case.

I do worry all the time--I feel like "C" is lurking under my sink (in all of the cleaners that I never rarely sometimes use. I feel like it is in my produce--I can taste it on my apples. I feel like it is in all of our food and it is just waiting for me to let my guard down so that it can be my turn to prove how strong I am. So many mothers--"Momcologists" they call themselves--fight and wrestle with "C" on a daily basis, I feel like it would be arrogant to think that my family will be spared. I know you do what you have to do, but I am no "Momcologist..." I'm not even a "Mommyatrician." I'm barely making it as a mom--without any curve balls.

I've been existential in my thinking lately--wondering why we are on earth anyway and believing that this is only our "trial run--" like maybe this is hell or purgatory or whatever and as long as we don't completely screw it up, the better life is what would be our heaven. I think I just heard a few people click off their computers right there--those who think I am butchering religion and those who think this is too religious-- noted. I guess it's my coping mechanism for loss or the pain I see others enduring. I tell myself that if they have to suffer in this life, then their next life will be so much better than this. It's a theory...

I am always thinking about this topic, but I wanted to write about it after seeing a post that one of my  "Momcologist" friends wrote on facebook,  It read:

6 months left of treatment and I wonder 1) is the cancer gone for good? 2) will there be any lasting side effects? 3) will *child (name has been removed so that he won't be appalled at being connected to a woman with such horrible writing skills) be able to go right into kindergarten after being frozen in time since he was 20 months old? 4) will I be able to start a new career at 40+? 5) how do I/what does it mean to process the last 3.5 years? 6) am I going to have a total breakdown once I let my guard down? Crap. It's surprising how intimidating the next step is. However, I'm getting ahead of myself. 6 months feels like the day after tomorrow, but a lot can happen in the meantime. For now we keep on keepin' on.

The responses?

My hopes for you: 1)YES!, 2) NO, 3) Absolutely because he's creative, smart and resilient, 4)YES - you have done this before and will do it again because you are talented and brilliant, 5) slowly, 6) maybe, but that's ok because it could be a needed release. Sending lots of love and hope for a clear bill of health for "Child" soon! Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks coming soon, right? Treat yourself to one often.

Love and hugs "Momcologist!"

You are a brave mother have faith in the universe -"Child" is one fortunate boy to have your love
Many blessings on your journey...

"Momcologist," I hear you on that one, though the one who keeps me up at night is the one I married. Thinking of you.

 I wish I lived closer to you so I could take you out for a spa day! Lots of hugs and love are being sent to you!

Look at the light of this moment :)

Thoughts and prayers that it all works out for you guys and that "Child"  is cured!!!!

 Keep on keepin' on is all you can do. 6 months! Amazing! I think of and pray for you guys often.

Positive thoughts and prayers for you and the family.... Take it one day at a time

We are all behind you and your family... Each day I find strength from you. You are stronger than you know. The future will be bright!!! 

 "Momcologist," you very well may be the strongest and bravest person I know. Whatever these months bring you, (and with all of the people praying for you, I anticipate the best of news) I know you (AND "Child") will be able to handle it because you are fighters. I imagine when all is said and done you may need (and will have earned) time to break down, but whether you take an hour, a day, a week, or a month, you will bounce back to the strong amazing woman you are. Keep on keepin' on my friend--six months will go by before you know it and I pray that those months will be good to you all! And ANYONE would be lucky to have you in whatever career you choose!

* Why is mine always the longest?! I'm sensing a pattern here...! Sorry--the rest of the comments...

Lady, you hit the nail on the head! This is exactly how I was feeling. You are in my thoughts and prayers ALWAYS!!!! Let that guard down a bit and LIVE!!!! You deserve it!

Yes I can just imagine all those thoughts going through your mind. One day at a time ! Always thinking of you and the family.

1) I sure hope so! 2) I sure hope not 3) The fact that his mother is on his side and gets that it might be a challenge for him is one of the greatest assets he could have if it is 4) You're really over 40??? Seriously??? And you're one of the brightest most accomplished people I know, so I can't imagine you not making it work. 5) In small steps and there may be a lot of them--you've been through SO MUCH! 6) Maybe you won't let your guard down until you're sure there's a safety net under you--and even then you won't need it...but if you do need it, it will be there. You can always call me, for one, and I bet you can call all the other people who posted before me.

* This one [above] was a bit longer. Better...and longer...

Yes, it will be cured and gone. My friend at work has a son exactly the same age as my daughter. The son had leukemia around the same age as Luc and made a full recovery. It took a few years and was obviously stressful but they came through and you will too. And yes you can go back to work at 40+. My partner is trying now at 46 after 7 years at home raising kids and fighting his own tumor. But all is good just keep on moving!

"Momcologist," if you have made it this far with as much grace and strength as you have, I am fully confident that you will continue on.

You're a very strong person - I admire you!

 I have 100% confidence that your adaptability will propel you into whatever life gives you next, am that you will rock it as usual.

"Momcologist!" You and your beautiful family are in my prayers EVERY day.... "Child" is strong and resilient and you are too mama! I know great and amazing things are to come.... xoxo

MOMCOLOGIST'S RESPONSE:  Thank you so much, everyone. When sometimes it seems that things (e.g. civil society) are crumbling down all around, I only need to look to you, the wisest and most compassionate friends a person could have, to restore my faith! Keeping on with deep breaths and the mantra "just be." [Good heavens, I am high on drama today. I will not edit. I will not edit. :)]

 I'm right there with you ! But you're right, keep on keepin' on.

 Keep on keepin, u made it through this - u can handle anything!!

Sometimes you can just take it one day at a time. Enjoy all the special moments........ and endure the hard ones....


 Having gone through the same thing...I have a bit of experience with this. 1) iyou'll never know, but don't worry until you ahve something to worry about? 2) You'll never know, but as with the cancer itself, deal with them if/when they come.3) heck (Censored) yea. "Girl Child" was in pre-k while on treatment. it will be scary as hell though. Just let the teachers know and you'll make it through. 4) why not?? 5) in time. 6) you'll have many. but it's not because your guard is down, it's because life will happen and there's no way to avoid it. Somethings you'll surf though and others you'll get caught in the surf. you'll be fine though. You've gotten this far. [Other commenter] is right. deal with each day as it comes and just know you have support and you're not in this alone.

Thoughts and prayers continue for you and your family "Momcologist."

All our love to the strongest and bravest family.

In the three (four?) years since we reconnected on facebook, this is the closest this mom has come to complaining about her situation. This is the closest she has come to showing her uncertainty about what the future holds and the closest she has come to showing her fear, anger, or helplessness--at least for others to see. As evidenced by the outpouring of comments, she and her family are extremely loved and have so much support. It's disheartening to see just how many others are going through the same thing since "C" touches so many lives, but there is no doubt that these people are loved and supported. The fact that they have touched so many lives shows what amazing people they are. Reading this makes me feel guilty. So. Very. Guilty.

I should appreciate every single second with my children. I should be happy that we fight about wearing a bicycle helmet when others are fighting about where to stick the needles. I should be happy that my children are here and healthy enough to get lectured about the importance of their vegetables when others are too sick from chemotherapy to keep down anything. I should be happy that my daughter is able to move around quickly enough to throw her lunch out in the cafeteria before anyone notices that she didn't eat any of it when some are confined to a hospital bed and haven't run in days...months...years... I should relish in the fact that my youngest is able to yell loudly enough for  people down the street to come running because they think she is being abducted when others are barely able to choke out a whisper.  For these things I am eternally grateful. Now I'd like for my "Momcologist" friends to have the same luxuries.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How DID he get me?

Sunday was "Rally Day" at our church which was very exciting to our children. Any time they can peruse buffet tables and load up their plates, they are happy. They look forward to any meal that is not controlled by either parent and they do surprisingly well for themselves. Except for that middle one--she still tries to leave with a plate FULL of desserts and another filled with chips. I know it's a special day, but really? At least pretend to be slightly healthy.

On this particular day, the middle child (shall we call her Jan? I hate that 90% of you won't get that Brady Bunch reference because...I am so very OLD...)was pretty proud of her burger, salad, potato salad, and broccoli salad selections and agreed to wait to hit the dessert table after she attempted to eat most of her meal. She and the eldest child (Greg? Marcia even though he's a boy? Perhaps I could use their real names like I usually do? Nah--too easy!) plopped their plates on a table where two elderly gentlemen were enjoying their meal. We followed them, but were hesitant because no one wants the people with the three kids to sit with them. NO ONE.

Surprisingly, I was wrong--tthe one gentleman--we'll call him Connor (because that could be his name, though he said he is 86 and Connor seems like a more modern name, doesn't it?) was thrilled to chat with my son and the other gentleman--we'll call him Ken because...well, that is his name) was joined by his wife (we'll call her Cathy (although her name could be Kathy) and both thanked us (I know, right?!) profusely for sitting with them. Evidently, my children are a joy to have around and they could not be more beautiful. Who knew?!

Now I won't bore you with all of the stories that were told that day (too late?!), but these three were quite comical and truly kept us entertained. At one point, Connor said to my son,

" need to learn to cook and clean. Women love a man who can cook. That's why I was never able to get married--I didn't know how to cook so the women didn't want me."

My son, assessing the situation, looked at my husband and then at me.

"Really?!" he asked skeptically.

"REALLY," Connor replied.

" then how did HE get HER?!" he asked while pointing into his father's chest on the left and mine on the right.

How indeed...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

SUCH a disappointment

I am so disappointed in myself. Wow--simply typing that has opened up QUITE a can of worms in my psyche (pshaww--and my husband says that my analogies are lacking! Lacking the recognition they deserve, I say!), when I really wanted to discuss just the one thing.

No...I wasn't referring to the fact that I am ridiculously out of shape, but thanks for bringing me there. I think we discussed that ad nauseum when I went on and on about how hot I used to be and when I talked about looking like "...who did it and ran," not to mention all of the posts about everything from eating healthy to plucking gnarly chin hairs.

My disappointment has nothing to do with my appearance (at least not as far as this conversation is concerned), nor does it have anything to do with my eating regimen. For once my complaints have nothing to do with food. Or lack of food. My disappointment stems from my reaction to all of my children being in school.

I really thought I had a handle on this whole school thing. When my oldest started, I was able to hold back my tears--mostly because I had two more clawing at me from their stroller and I am pretty sure that their older brother tried to drown them in the tub that morning. It's a little easier to choke back the tears when rage consumes your body. Of course, then I had to deal with the overwhelming amount of guilt I had because my day was so much better and brighter after monster-child went to school. I think I'm still harboring a little of that (and it was three? four? years ago!).

When child number two started school, I will never forget walking to the bus and almost completely losing it. With each step I said to myself, "It's not about you, it's about them, it's not about you, it's about them, it's not about you, it's about them, it's not about you, it's about them," but that wasn't working and I was a little too close to a breakdown. I felt the sob at the back of my throat and the tears getting ready to explode from my eyes when another mother said, 'Hey--didn't I see you at the school yesterday?" It is unbelievable how talking to her for a half a second was enough to save me My brain switched gears and the urge to cry did not return. After the bus came I waved and went for a long walk with my youngest. Aaaaannnndddd then came the guilt. AGAIN.

Of course, if I didn't enjoy the time I had with my youngest I would feel guilty about that, so I think we can all agree that I cannot win. Nor can you, I'm sure, because it is mom guilt. Which is [one of many reasons] why when I die I am coming back as the dad. Dad's are [generally speaking] able to stay out of their own heads. It either is or it isn't--there's no thinking about it or analyzing it's so nice. All of those male traits that drive women crazy in dating and marriage really come in handy when raising children. The bastards. this is where I am supposed to quote Yoda, but I really need to get back to my disappointment. (You know there is something wrong with you when you are eager to "...get back to [your] disappointment!")

Child number three--the child God sent to me so that I wouldn't harm the other two--started "KIN-DEE-GAR-TEN" last week and I've been preparing for it all summer. I was so excited that all of my children would be in school. I even wrote pretty-stinkin-good poetry  about it.

Because we are either A. wanted for murder in seven states or 2. in the Witness Protection Program (oops--my cover is blown!), there is a chance we could move soon and a probability that we will move within a year (two?), so we decided that it doesn't make sense to get a job now. Not that they are hiring...evidently it isn't so easy to get a teaching job in NJ...and it has been so long (three? four years?) since my last teaching gig, I'm not sure what my chances would be. I did work for about a month last year at a Homeschool Academy, but the work load to money ratio was not in my favor (as it tends to be when it comes to teaching jobs). Add to that all of my crazy health issues and we decided it wasn't the right time.

Which brings me to this year. And my disappointment. I was most excited about making this the year of "ME." That's right--I couldn't wait to have time to exercise without being interrupted, have time to cook without being interrupted, to write my blog without being TALK ON THE we are just getting crazy!

So my excitement was in full force--especially after spending the last day of summer fighting and yelling and screaming --I could not wait. I even read my poem several times to get myself psyched for the big day. And then my children got on the bus without saying goodbye...without giving hugs...and without looking back.  Hindsight tells me that the oldest was trying to find seat-belts for his sisters, and everyone was frazzled and afraid of missing the bus, but I felt so...awful. I was not excited and I did not have fun. I sulked. And cried. And wallowed in self-pity. And got angry with myself for sulking and crying and wallowing in self-pity.

You see, I have been dealing with some issues lately. For example, we went to a dining establishment--the Log Jammer-- in Lake, George, NY recently--a restaurant my parents took us to when I was young. I was telling my husband and children my story and they were less than thrilled or excited (hopefully you aren't as bored as they were!). We get to our table and my children start jumping and pulling on--my husband. Great, right? It is--I know, but I looked around the restaurant and saw all of the children curled up in their mother's arms and sitting in their mother's laps, but not my kids. They aren't big cuddlers (the first two stopped the second they could walk and the third will do it, but only for minutes (seconds?) at a time or if she is hurt/and/or wants something) anyway, but I remember seeing all of the dads drinking beer, sending texts, having conversations, and I realized that I was the dad in our scene. I could have had a beer. I could have sent a text. I could have had a conversation. Okay...I couldn't really do the beer thing because of my medication, and I couldn't really text because I am the only one in this century who does not have the ability to do that (though I may be the only one in this century who needs it based on the lengthy messages and telephone conversations I've been known to have) and as for the conversation--I was having it, but no one was listening, but the point is, I could have.

I know I should be thrilled and I am. Really. This is what I've tried to work up to all these years--independent children who are able to give me five seconds to my self. Was I jealous? They do tend to idolize their father and lately they go out of their way to tell me how great he is and how much I suck (not in those words, but I know), so I'm sure that has something to do with it, but I don't know if I am necessarily jealous--it just made me sad.  And made me question if I'm "doing it wrong."

When they had the "...take her or leave her..." attitude that first day, I felt like I did at The Log Jammer. And THAT is why I am disappointed in myself. The logical person in me (waaaayyyyyy in there--you've got to want to see it...) knows that it is a good thing that my children are eager to go to school (and they have hugged and kissed me goodbye every day since) and that they can function without me. She knows that kids are fickle and they aren't supposed to be our "friends" anyway. She knows that her children love her. Unfortunately, the batshit-crazy person in me took over years ago and  we pretty much do what she says.

The point of all this is the fact that I am disappointed in myself for being so....weak with all of this. I know I am stronger than that--I believe most of the jokes I make, so feeling all gloomy and getting all weepy when school started really disappointed me. It is not, however, as disappointing as it would be to not have them in school. That would really make me cry.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I MUST be the new Blogger Idol!

Okay, so there are so many things to cover as it has been SOOOOO LOONNNGGG since I've seen you all! I know there was the poem about my elation at the fact that my children will all be in school, but most of what I published this spring/summer (which was really not a whole lot) was a repeat of my last year in blogs. Hopefully some of you newbies got a few laughs at my earlier work. Or at me. I don't care why you laugh, I'm just happy if you're laughing!

So I spent a ridiculous amount of time catching up on blogs and facebook today and right before I was about to close the computer (yes...I have been known to actually close the computer. I have even shut it down occasionally. Let's not talk about sad things now), I saw a post about BloggerIdol. That's right--Blogger Idol. Imagine my giddiness when I saw this. It's like it was speaking to me!

Five hours later, I am excited to say that I "auditioned" for Blogger Idol, but I am going to need your help. I know--this is where I lose some of you (like my HUSBAND)--right when I say I am going to "need help," but I know you can do this for me. Go to the official BloggerIdol site and let them know that I deserve to be in the top twelve. Not only will this help me to promote my blog and get feedback on my writing, I will also be eligible to win actual prizes! It would almost be like I am getting paid to write and THAT is so very exciting to me! Don't even get me started on the amazing bloggers behind BloggerIdol or the talented judges (really not sucking up, but probably wouldn't hurt for me to start...)--check them out and follow their pages--you won't be sorry! (

Wish me luck--after a spring/summer off, I may need it!

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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Really bad poetry

Amanda’s Books and More
It's the weekend before school starts
and all eyes are on me
because (though it's awful), I am brimming with glee!

Thoughts of the future play out in my head--
days at the gym after resting in bed.
Relaxing mornings as all three scurry out--
lunchboxes and bookbags in hand with no pouts.
While I in my jammies give hugs and say "bye!"
They all three wave with love, though all eyes are dry.

Off to my blogging or facebook or tumbler;
spend some time on pinterest and some time on stumbler.
If I want I could watch some trashy TV
or perhaps clean a room--it is all up to me.

No Pampers to change, no fighting to ref,
no yelling to those who pretend they are deaf.
No noses to wipe or band aids to place,
no marks on the wall that I have to erase.
No whiny voices or bad attitudes,
no struggling to get them to not be so rude.

No fighting over spirals or Kraft macaroni.
No fighting that Oscar's the best kind of bologna

No crying or fighting or cleaning up messes.
No trying to get gum out of pretty blonde tresses.
No saying, "No," fifty times, maybe more.
No trying to pee while blockading the door.
No hiding in closets to talk on the phone.
No, "You're the worst mom EVER!" as my constant ring tone.

It's me--only me and though you all may mock---
I am pretty sure that this week
I will have writer's block.