Friday, April 30, 2010

The Bend and Snap

Right?  Legally Blonde. 

I can't bend.  Still.  Never before, in the history of my life, have I WANTED to bend so badly.  I want to reach those shoes with something other than my "reacher-gopher".  I want to pull weeds, polish my toes and pick my heels.  I want to pick up legos, put away crayons, straighten the rug & see what's trapped under the couch.

The last two days the words "bend and snap" have been circling in my mind like the fin of a shark around a stranded sailor.  (whine, whine . . . )   I WANT to Bend and Snap!!

Words of Wisdom . . .

"It's about the journey and understanding oneself and trying to undo the chains of the past. This is all part of our journey, which also includes much joy, pride, and good fortune. While it can be extremely painful and sad, it has tremendous meaning. I believe these difficult times are... part of growth and healing ... psychic chemo! And helping others do this work is part of my purpose. I see you doing this, too, in your own special way.


The traumas of the the parents that don't get owned and worked out by them get unconsciously passed on to the children. But as children, we often don't know exactly what we're feeling or why we feel the way we do, because we're unconsciously experiencing our parents' unconscious traumas as well as our own (which we all have)! So, we have to work it out by just trusting that what we feel has basis in our psychic reality, even if not in our literal reality."

These are words quoted from Jillian Michaels, Mother & they are too good not to put here. The quote stemmed from a conversation about work done on old Indian reservation in Arizona. But, what an "ah-hah", light bulb, insighful summary about the internal work that needs to be done and the way our children and our children's children pay for our unresolved issues.  Makes me want to make a fat deposit in the "future therapy" savings fund, huh?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Language

I'm feeling moved to write about the beauty of language.  Not sure why.  Just am.  I had lunch today with an old friend.  And a new friend.  And they both were shocked to find out that I am looking forward to going back to work.  More work.  Different work.  I'm good with my job, but my quest to find a job that lights my fire continues.   I dabbled for a while in freelance writing, but peetered out at the notion of research.  I don't wanna do research.  I want to write from the heart.  I want to pen original words that drip with meaning . . . here's a favorite . . .

Steady as a preacher
Free as a weed
Couldn't wait to get goin'
But wasn't quite ready to leave
 
And more . . . .

Wake me up inside
call my name and save me from the dark
bid my blood to run
before I come undone
save me from the nothing I’ve become

And more . . . this is a personal favorite:

I run from hate
I run from prejudice
I run from pessimists
But I run too late
I run my life
Or is it running me
Run from my past
I run too fast
Or too slow it seems

Ah, heavy sigh . . . . I want to be writing.  Instead, I'm off to work on payroll . . . crunch some numbers and quit before my bleary eyes make mistakes . . . .

Monday, April 26, 2010

Overbooked Children

This morning I'm contemplating the notion of overbooked children. 

When I was the momma of really young children . . . like toddler types, I always swore I would not overbook my kids and would not spend the majority of my time taxiing them from event to event.   But guess what . . . being busy and taxiing is somewhat inevitable.   Some events are necessities, therefore NOT, in my book, considered 'activities'.   Little, for example, MUST learn to be water safe this summer -- therefore swimming lessons are not an elective activity -- they are a necessity.    Not only necessity for life, but for sanity, especially in the summer.   If I keep my kids home ALL summer with nothing to do but play in the backyard & go to the gym/pool with me, they will draw blood in the first week, and will pick open sores into each other's flesh by the end of the second week.

My kids do school:  That's their job.
Then, I try my very best to limit and and all extra to TWO.

Middle plays soccer in spring and fall, and does gymnastics year round.  Big does seasonal and short season sports like volleyball & basketball, which, at this age are only 6 week stretches.   Little is dying to go back to Tae Kwon Do, but I'm waiting until summer, because he's playing soccer right now.  Mimi is dying to start "my nastics now."

This morning, I'm sitting with blank calendars for June, July and August -- our summer on paper.  And I'm trying to meet early registration deadlines to save cash for summer camps, as they apply, and lessons, so we don't lose a spot.   I'm drawing lines between gymnastics (which, as of June will by sever hours a week, and damn near a part-time job) and swim lessons, junior swim team, volleyball camp and karate.  I have great news!  It all works!!  I only have ONE (seriously, that's nuthin') scheduling conflict on Thursday nights!  And the best news of all is:   There is one stretch of time when everyone has something to do AT THE SAME PLACE!!!  Which means, I get to be at the gym (or at the adult pool, or in the hottub, or sauna, or a yoga class).  Can you see my smily face coming through the computer?

Anyway . . . maybe this morning I'm just justifying the crazy world that we call ours.  Maybe we are overbooked, and I'm too busy watching traffic signs as I taxi to notice.  Or maybe, we like it.  Maybe doing extracurricular activities is a huge bonus for our family because it eliminates the dull-drums, creates a place to be, necessitates a person to be accountable TO.  Either way, the summer plan works!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Family Snapshot

Every now and then, I feel compelled to take a snapshot of our family.  More frequently than with a holiday letter, because things change so quickly here.  Here's part of the snapshot that I awoke with . . . .

MOTH is busy.  He's gone all the time for work, mostly.  He's training a new fella.  Work is from 6:15 in the morning until dinner time, if I'm lucky.  This week, he was home one morning until 8:30 and took the kids to school.  He was home one afternoon before 6.  That's a pretty average week.  He's got a cold or sinus infection again.  Upper respiratory illness hits him like a ton of bricks.  A little snot in the nose settles deep in the chest overnight and he's a wheezing mess by noon the next day.  I'm lysol-ing everything in efforts to keep the kids healthy.  Ick.  He watching Big's volleyball practice this week & came home with glowing reports of her skill.  He danced in the kitchen with Middle when the "move up" slip came home.  He's reading with Little and around Mimi, we call him the Baby Whisperer.  On a personal note:  I'm not sure if he just has luck at putting the sweet little girl to bed or he simply bores her into slumber.

Big is busy.  Volleyball.  She loves it.  She's opting out of softball this year.  I'm surprised, but supportive.  She's tearing up 4th grade.  I issued a reading challenge this quarter . .  . to exceed her goal of 33 points and test on enough books to earn 100 points.  She's in the 60's.  She's prepping a project on her Colorado character:  Chipeta.  I'm helping her turn a tired old yellow bedsheet into an indian dressing garment.  She's hand stitching decorations on it and tea dying it.  In science, she's studying electricity.  She earned an A for lighting her 'house', a shoebox, with energy from vegetables and earned high  marks for concealing her circuit wires within a wall she created with the lid.  She's a veritable fountain on electrical trivia.  She explained lightening to MOTH yesterday and talked about net charge in the atmosphere.  Is this MY daughter?  She's, er, um, blossoming into a lovely young lady . . . she's bright and polite . . . one of my favorite combinations!

Middle is busy.  Gym Star and soccer defender extraordinaire.  She's tearing up 2nd grade, but eager to finish the year.  Social pressure has her under its thumb, and she's looking forward to a break from the monotony of playground drama.  She's doing a report on an African animal, which is to be assigned this week.  They are drawing out of a hat, but I hear her mention zebras in her prayers . . . so I think she has her mind set on the stripey horse.  She finished school testing this week and her reading scores were off the charts.  Teacher says she broke the class record for high score, and is reading at about a 5th grade level, if the chart went that high.   She's been identified as Gifted in two areas and will start GT services before the year ends.  She's a kitchen whiz and can make a couple of things on her own in the kitchen.  At this very moment, she's prepping 'ultimate pancakes' and waiting for me to turn on the griddle so she can get cookin'.

Little is busy.  He's playing his first season of soccer on a boys team called the Thunderbolts.  He likes it, even the cold weather.  He calls himself a 'defenser' even though they have no idea of positioning just yet.  MOTH and I find it adorable to watch him.  He has every intention of touching the ball, but can't seem to figure out how to get there through all the other boys surrounding it . . . so he sort of skips along beside it.  So cute!  He's about two-hair-lengths away from being an independent reader . . . has glommed onto Magic Treehouse Books and is building a large vocabulary and an extensive memory for words in print.  Thank goodness.  I'm so glad to have another reader!!   He loves video games.  Have I mentioned that I HATE video games.  I feel like brain cells run out of my ears and I get more stupid just holding the controller.  Oh, but this isn't about me.  He LOVES video games.  It's the button I push to get great behavior out him.  It makes me sigh . . . heavily, but it's working right now.  He'll do backflips for video game time (or peppermint patties.)

Mimi is not that busy.  But she tags along with everyone else, which makes her busy.  She adores Middle right now.  She picks her clothes out, brushes her hair and helps her get ready for school.  At homework time, she accompanies Middle up to my closet, her chosen homework hideout, where they lay across from each other on their bellies.  Middle does homework while Mimi colors and feeds Middle popcorn.   Language is coming along.  Words are beginning to form sentences.  "Me-me 'nastics now" is very clear (translation:  I want to go to gymnastics now).   She parrots just about anything back . . . words to country songs, general conversation and sounds from favorite books.  It's hilarious to hear her sing.  Now I know that baby number 4 doesn't really do nursery rhymes.  She does Pretty Vegas, Zac Brown's "Toes" and a variety of other kid favorites. Thanks to Big, Footloose is at the top of her repertoire right now.  Mimi loves the computer and playing Dinosaur Train on pbskids.com.  She cracks up when I say "what?" like Mrs. Pteranadon.  She's a good eater, but has a sweet tooth and frequently says, "my can-EEE now".  "Now" hangs on the back of alot of her communication.  She's actually very patient, but "now" just comes out with everything.  She's on the verge of potty training.  She cares in the morning, but loses it by noon.  Quite frankly, I'm fine with that.  I prefer to potty train in the summer.   Hoofing it at high speed across soccer fields to use a nasty public outhouse is at the very bottom of my desires, and makes me gag and heave.  There's not enough hand sanitizer in the world to potty train during sibling's soccer season.  I would have to dip her lower body in lysol to keep the cooties away!!   Medical minds that we are, MOTH has taught her to call her diaper-covered parts her "woo-woo".   It's hilarious in a 4th child-kind-of-way.

Snapshot complete.  I'm off to start out Saturday with ultimate pancakes by Middle and hot chocolate by Big.  Writing & breakfast . . . . the perfect start to a very blustery and downright frigid spring morning!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Gym Sta-ahh-zzz

Well, really it's just GymStars, but when I say it, I can't help but put a little flavor into it and add some retired cheerleader sparkle fingers.  So, for me, it's "gym-sta--ah-zzz".  It's also fun to tip your head sideways and make a funny schrunchy face.

Middle came out of gymnastics last night with a giant grin on her eight-year old face.  She hopped into the car with a slip of white paper and said, "I got it, I got it . . . . It's the move-up slip."

And there you have it . . . . another step up the gymnastics ladder.  Summer schedule starts the last week of May.  She'll be frequenting the gym for seven hours a week as a level three Gym Sta-ahh!!!

Mmmmm.

There's only a few things that elicit a deep moan out of me.  Minds out of the gutter, please. 

One is fresh chocolate chip cookies.
One is gardening.
One is a good pillow for a tired head at the end of a productive day.
One is waking up snuggled warmly between two tiny bodies.

This morning, I woke up with Mimi on my left.  The sounds of her soft breathing and the smell of her cleanly Dreft-ed jammies filled my senses to the brim.  She was positioned just right, in the crook of my arm, so I could feel her heartbeat.

Snuggled in tight on the right was Little.  He's a good cuddler, that little guy.  When he snuggles in, he holds on tight and doesn't move an inch.  He had a death grip on me but was still positioned just right.  He'll be a good cuddler for some lucky lady some day.  I hope he lands the kind of dame that adores being held because I am certain he will deliver.   He sleeps with his lips parted and his eyes half-rolled back in his head, so he kinda LOOKS possessed, but he sounds just right.  With three missing front teeth, I can hear the air suck into his mouth and feel it fill his little body.  Thankfully, he has decent morning breath!

I laid between them for a long time this morning trying to freeze that moment in time.  I can remember the days that I never woke up without Big in my bed.  Big is the reason we got a bigger bed!  And already those days are gone.  I can also remember Middle's midnight wanderings.  She hardly ever made it to midnight before she was wandering into our room to potty and play musical beds.  I'm actually really glad that Little and Mimi are still small enough to grant me the gift of waking up "right".  This morning, I laid there until Little started sleep talking about Ben 10 and produced a hippo sized yawn, followed quickly by "can I watch cartoons?"  (Yeah for no school today!!)  After he was gone, I kept still for Mimi, who rooted around searching for Bee, her blankie, but snuggled back down with the soft tags touching her cheeks.  Long minutes later, she finally stirred.  She woke up happy and talkative.  "Good nap," she said, followed by "joo-kee, beez", which translates to "I'm really thirsty -- May I have an apple juice please?"

Morning.  Ahh.  It's snowing here today.  Big, fat, heavy, fluffy spring snowflakes.  The trees are heavy from the overnight storm.   It feels like a good day . . . . maybe a good day for chocolate chip cookies . . . a double-moan day!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A full frontal, "I'm not boob-phoebic" hug

I read my friend Frankie's post today.  http://lilytalk.blogspot.com/  It's called, "Okay, Let's Be Honest."

I'm not even sure I read the whole thing. I mostly skimmed the last part, but it moved me enough to call her, say "Don't move . . I'm coming down" and Mimi and I walked in her door only a few minutes later. Crazy bitch that she is, she tried to pick up her son and hide behind a trendy cute hat to avoid me. But I said, "Put down the baby." And I laid a full frontal "I'm not boob-phoebic" bear hug on her.

I'm not sure my visit helped anything . . . but I know this:

Being a stay at home (or work from home) mom is the very hardest job I have ever had.  And she's right.  It sometimes does make you feel tired, unsexy, ugly, fat, homely, sometimes underchallenged and pent-up.   Mmm-hmm.  Absolutely.   It's like the military, deployment, hazard duty -- but with no pay and no thanks.   It can be infuriating.  There's no sense of completion or done-ness because there is always a dishwasher to load (or unload), laundry to do, stuff to pick up, a meal to prepare, or an errand to run.  I know it's okay to miss work and crave a break -- only to get a tiny window of time alone, and think about nothing but your snot-nose, whiny, but ever so adorable offspring. 

We've all had a mommy meltdown.  Anyone who denies it is lying through their teeth.   The trick, I think, lies in surrendering to your role.  Not to your kids.  To your role.

Some stay at home or work from home momma do cope with things better and/or differently.   Frankie has a pretty strong social network of moms whose kids are all about the same age.  But even with that . . . the reality is that YOU are the only one who knows YOUR home.  You're the only one that butts heads with your toddler, picks up the pieces at the end of the day, picks the battles to fight & wishes like hell that you had a husband at home for a tiny sliver of relief.  I happen to identify with Frankie's spousal situation pretty intimately -- having a spousal unit in that same field, gone all the time and on-call every minute he was home.  Planning is impossible and can be summed up like this, "sure, plan it . . but have a back up plan."  I can remember so, so, so many nights when I sat in bed with 3 kids that never slept and rocked them and cried with them, because it was all I had left.  And I can remember thinking, "I really didn't want to be a single mom!!"  This season shall pass . . . . it's not over or easier . . just different!

Anyway, Frankie . . and any other momma out there who identifies with that post . . . . hang in there!  There's a light at the end of the tunnel.  You are taking part in the oldest, best and very most important profession in the WHOLE world.  The fabulous little citizens you'll turn out will someday dazzle you with their brillliance and bring tears of pride to your eyes.  It's only survival mode for a little while!

Mothering School Aged Children

I'm having a few disjointed revelations lately. Say, in the last two weeks. There's a theme emerging: my evolving role as a momma.

It's hard to think about years past without tender and emotional thoughts about cuddling an infant, being their life vessel, their bessie, their one-and-only. Those were such hard years! And years I look back upon with wonder & appreciation & hope that those decisions were good ones.

Mothering a school aged child isn't without its challenges. I wasn't naive enough to think it was . . . but I'm appreciating it much more of late.

Little has a friend (loose term) that is sticking his tongue out and chiding him. Hard to teach the "be a better man" to such a little man.

Middle has been having trouble with a little girl at school for a chunk of this year. I'll call the little girl "A". "A" is causing quite a spiral of drama in the classroom. The day after my surgery, Middle came home crying because "A's" older sister cornered Middle after school and gave her a verbal lashing. She was afraid to be alone on school grounds, terrified of the girl & wanted Big to be with her at all times. This, of course, brought out Mama Grizzly. I called school, talked with her teacher, began the political chain of escalation. By the time Middle was home from gymnastics, I had spoken to "A's" mother. Middle's eyes were the size of saucers as she could NOT believe I had the gumption to phone "A's" mother. But I did. It's a good example of how I deal with conflict. Talk it out. Get it in the open. Most recent conflict in my life has made me a tad gunshy, so I was fully expecting "A's" mom to turn her cheek at me and/or hang up the phone. But she didn't. She was very willing to chat with me and compare reports. She was apologetic for the actions of A's big sister. Imagine my surprise. And shock . . . when she told me that it was her understanding that Middle has been bullying "A". I almost fell out of my chair. But as details unfolded and we continued to chat, it became aparent that "A" is not an accurate story re-teller.

A's mom thought it would be helpful if the involved girls and their momma's had lunch together. I attended. Middle held it together until the very end of the lunch, but they began crying and simply could not get it back together. I signed her out early. We took a walk, played a board game & ate ice cream.

And even as that luncheon was 6 days ago, I'm only beginning to be able to actually put into words how I'm HONESTLY feeling about it. Middle is doing well. "A" has accused her of some pretty rotten things. She knows them to be untrue. Still, she feels damned by her accusations and colored with guilt by her association. Middle feels like she hasn't gotten a chance to speak the truth. She feels like she needs to start from scratch and clear her name. Middle is in pain over the whole thing. She's counting the days until the end of school and praying that "A" chooses to move into a neighboring school that is closer to their new home.

I feel terrible for Middle. I'm feeling protective of her. I'm eager to defend her, but tempering my actions with the opportunity for teachable moments. I'm aching for her inside, but also so proud of the way she's handling herself. Her trouble at school has brought us together in a different kind of way. I feel like she's peering into my soul sometimes and understanding ME in an unexplainable way.

I've always thought that all things happen for a reason. Maybe that's as complicated as it needs to be.

HAVING MOM OVER FOR DINNER

You don't even have to be a mother to enjoy this one.

Brian invited his mother over for dinner. During the course of the meal, Brian's mother couldn't help but notice how beautiful Brian's roommate, Jennifer, was. Brian's Mom had long been suspicious of the platonic relationship between Brian and Jennifer and this had only made her more curious.

Over the course of the evening, while watching the two interact,
she started to wonder if there was more between Brian and Jennifer than met the eye.

Reading his mom's thoughts, Brian volunteered,
'I know what you must be thinking, but I assure you Jennifer and I are just roommates.'

About a week later, Jennifer came to Brian saying,
'Ever since your mother came to dinner, I've been unable to find the beautiful silver gravy ladle. You don't suppose she took it, do you?'

Brian said, 'Well, I doubt it, but I'll send her an e-mail just to be sure.' So he sat down and wrote:

__________________________________________________________

Dear Mom,

I'm not saying that you 'did' take the gravy ladle from the house,
I'm not saying that you 'did not' take the gravy ladle.
But the fact remains that one has been missing ever since you were here for dinner.

Love, Brian
__________________________________________________________

Several days later, Brian received an email back from his mother that read:
____________________________________________________

Dear Son,

I'm not saying that you 'do' sleep with Jennifer,
I'm not saying that you 'do not' sleep with Jennifer.
But the fact remains that if Jennifer is sleeping in her own bed,
she would have found the gravy ladle by now.

Love, Mom
~~~~~
LESSON OF THE DAY:

NEVER LIE TO YOUR MOTHER.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A WOMAN'S WEEK AT THE GYM

Thanks, CB! I've seen it before, too . . . but it always cracks me up!


Dear Diary,
For my birthday this year, my daughter (the dear) purchased a week of personal training at the local health club for me.

Although I am still in great shape since being a high school football cheerleader 43 years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try.

I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer named Belinda, who identified herself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swim wear.

My daughter seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started! The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress.

________________________________
MONDAY:
Started my day at 6:00 a.m. Tough to get out of bed, but found it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Belinda waiting for me. She is something of a Greek goddess - with blond hair, dancing eyes and a dazzling white smile. Woo Hoo!!

Belinda gave me a tour and showed me the machines. I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which she conducted her aerobics class after my workout today. Very inspiring!

Belinda was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time she was around. This is going to be a FANTASTIC week-!!

________________________________
TUESDAY:
I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door. Belinda made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air then she put weights on it! My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I made the full mile. Belinda's rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel GREAT-!! It's a whole new life for me.

_______________________________
WEDNESDAY:
The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was OK as long as I didn't try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot.

Belinda was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered other club members. Her voice is a little too perky for that early in the morning and when she scolds, she gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying.

My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Belinda put me on the stair monster. Why the hell would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators? Belinda told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life. She said some other shit too.

_______________________________
THURSDAY:
Belinda was waiting for me with her vampire-like teeth exposed as her thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl. I couldn't help being a half an hour late - it took me that long to tie my shoes.

Belinda took me to work out with dumbbells. When she was not looking, I ran and hid in the restroom. She sent another skinny bitch to find me.

Then, as punishment, she put me on the rowing machine -- which I sank.
_______________________________
FRIDAY:
I hate that bitch Belinda more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world. Stupid, skinny, anemic, anorexic little cheerleader. If there was a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would beat her with it.

Belinda wanted me to work on my triceps. I don't have any triceps! And if you don't want dents in the floor, don't hand me the damn barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich.

The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher. Why couldn't it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director?

________________________________
SATURDAY:
Belinda left a message on my answering machine in her grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up today. Just hearing her voice made me want to smash the machine with my planner; however, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel

________________________________
SUNDAY:
I'm having the Church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank GOD that this week is over. I will also pray that next year my daughter (the little shit) will choose a gift for me that is fun -- like a root canal or a hysterectomy. I still say if God had wanted me to bend over, he would have sprinkled the floor with diamonds!!!

Numbers

I'm thinking in terms of numbers today. My internal calculator is just spewing miles of tape, and I feel like sharing:

1 - the number of donuts that the school music teacher fed to my eldest without permission to pump her full of sugar; also the number of F's received as daily grades (Little!!)
2 - the number of dogs we have
3 - the number of days until Swiss Miss and her children visit
4 - the number of children that live in my home
5 - the number of books we checked out of the library yesterday
6 - the average number of piles of dog crap I pick up daily
7 - the number of members on the board of education for our home school district; also the number of days left that Big has to attend orchestra
8 - the number of legs on the dogs, and feet (and hands) on my kids
9- the number of times I have cursed while trying to update my Quickbooks file
10 - the number of dollars on gift cards from Easter
12 - the total number of shoes left lying around at the end of each day
15 - the minimum number of people I most likely pissed off with my last letter to the board of education
20 - the percentage of additional savings available at Old Navy, Stuff n' Stuff time
21 - the number of school days left in this school year
22 - the number of times I have cursed my cell phone today
25 - the average number of sheets in a post it note pad
39 - the average cost of nursing continuing education credits, per state
40 - the weight of the bag of dog food (no, I didn't lift it); also the number of fingers on the children
46 - the cost of the swimsuit top that I purchased
60 - the amount of PTA money I spent on Secretary's Day gifts
74 - the cost of of the swimsuit top that I really wanted, but couldn't afford
86 - the number of things on the 86-list in the kitchen
87 - the number of times I cringed watching Kate dance on Monday night
93 - the number of minutes that Mimi slept yesterday
112 - the number of dollars I spent at Target this morning
118 - the number of emails I've received yesterday and today
140 - my target weight
500 - the number of times Middle and Little have fought this week
600 - the amount of money we underpaid and owed with 2008 IRS audit - damn
612 - my credit card bill this month
800 - the square footage of patio addition that is now officially done
865 - the number of miles between my house and Homestead's
1,000 - the miles of red tape and political bullshit I would like to put through the paper shredder
1527 - the cost of surgery
2000 - the approximate amount of square feet Homestead is adding to her house
a million - the number of tears I'm crying over my friend, JBG's, split; also the number of dollars I would like to have in the bank
a gazillion - the amount of love in my heart for my tiny people

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Some people never change.

Back to back facebook posts. Well, it's okay.

I'm chatting with a fella that I used to know well. I knew him well many, many years ago. And over the last, oh, twenty years, we've been in touch, but not close. And he's illustrating to me that some people really never do change. It's true. I'm not knocking it. Just sayin'. Just food for thought. And, by the way, he's been reading this very blog and self-admits, "I haven't changed a bit."

When we were the closest of buds, he was the lucky guy. If there was a nice crisp twenty on the floor, he'd find it. He always booked discount tickets & could afford the best of luxuries. Once I remember he told me he actually FOUND a rolex. There was always cash in the pocket and a green light to fly. Around the world travel, sharp duds, nice accessories, a trophy wife. Now there's a cute little family, too. So here is the kicker.

It's all a sham.

His life is (according to him) a whole, intricate web of tightly woven lies. I've been writing lately about image. The masque we (I was talking about me-slash-fellow-mothers-slash-women) wear to keep up appearances. Imagine my shock to learn that it's not just us chicks. It's our dude friends, too. He's concerned with image and has an elaborate plan for presenting a put together father and successful breadwinner facade. I feel compelled to add: "Dude, I think you are super strong and brave for just admitting." Most of the modern world lives in complete denial running a rat race of evolving debt, bad relationships and bullshit. I imagine it would be somewhat liberating to just say, "I screwed up. . . . I'm in deep and hate where I am."

Thanks to YOU, you know who you are, for letting me use you as the subject of a blog post. It's made me wonder. Have I changed?

I can't decide. In some ways . . . Yes. I'm more of a ferocious mother bear when my kiddos are concerned that I ever imagined I would be. I'm more protective of them that I had the foresight to admit. I'm probaby a better wife than I thought I could be. I'm much more lippy and free with my opinions that I ever thought was safe or healthy. I'm more business minded than I ever dreamt possible. I do believe that was born of necessity. I'm still a people person at heart. But in other ways . . . No. I'm still painfully honest and my worst enemy and critic. I still have an idea of how things should go, and I've probably gotten, especially when challenged, a bit more tenacious. I'm sometimes arguementative, but generally respectful. I'm a saver. And a spender. I still love random acts of kindness & believe in walking the walk & talking the talk.

This whole topic is completely open ended. Thinking about it is cluttering up my brain -- which is why it is now purged and OUT. Now I can do laundry & remember to pull the jammies that are too small, make a shopping list that is actually correct and try to get the right soccer gear in the right bags.

Still, I am curious to know . . . . do you think you're one that hasn't changed a bit? Or has your life been made-over by the choices & paths you've chosen?

Sexy.

Ah, gotta love Facebook. It's such a blast from the past! Friend suggestions pop up and you wonder, "will she even remember me??" or "do I want to talk to HIM?" Lately, I've accepted several new friends from those with the most generic names. Apparently, I knew lots of Jones, Smith and Anderson surnames. I knew a fair number of folks who are Michael, Ann, Jane or Steve.

Anyway, last night I received a message through facebook from a blast from the past high school bad boy. Short and sweet message that just said, "hey, sexy, how are you doing?"

Really? I actually laughed out loud. Sexy. Ya right.

But, here's a toast today to memories. Memories of sweet, tight sexy bodies with curvy booties, taught tummies and perky racks. And, a second toast (maybe a shot?) to realities: we're middle aged. We have giggly parts and saggy parts and our successes ride on the shoulders of tiny people who don't even know the value of their freight. We've had heart attacks, surgeries and divorces. And we're smarter now. Let's toast to that!

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Dropsies

I have the worst case of The Dropsies I have ever experienced. It's becoming sort of a giant karmic "screw you". Today, my drop count was in double digits before I had been awake for an hour. It's happening everywhere! I put on chapstick, and drop the lid. Pick up my purse, and the kleenex falls out. Get the juice out for Mimi, and the lid hits the deck. Make a sandwich for lunches & the knife falls on the floor.

It's like there are magnets in the floorboards.

Or is it a subliminal case of the sweet ironies and poetic justices? When I was pregnant, the day I couldn't see my feet anymore was the day I was overcome with the urge to pick my toenails and paint them. Put me on a diet and tell me I can't have chocolate and I'm sure to crave it. Tell me no sex . . . surely I'll want some. Tell me I can't bend over, and sure enough, everything is just beyond my reach. My feet have never seemed so far away! I went for a walk today, and in the course of the jaunt, not one, but BOTH of my double-knotted shoes came undone.

Damn.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Boogers.

I would like to know why kids eat their boogers.

I'm not brazen enough to think my kids DON'T eat their boogers. I know, in fact, that they do. In spurts. We are in a booger-eating phase right now. It seems like an entire conversation can't be had in our house without parental interjection of "ack, don't eat . . . THAT . . Boog . . uggh!!" Sometimes it's enough to stop the act, other times, the words exactly coincide with insertion of said boogie into oral orifice.

So curious I was today about boogers, noses and the act of self-recycled booger care, I consulted my friends at www.ask.com. "Why do kids eat their boogers". Interesting. My results page flickered up. The first ten hit topics were about kid cuisine, easy meals and kid friendly suppers. One even mentioned a casserole. Serioulsy? A boogie casserole?

I learned some interesting things. According to www.ask.com, kids eat their boogers because they can. Or they taste good. Or the child doesn't know what else to do with it. Or because such boogie-disposal has been modeled for them by a parent or older sibling. There's no age limit on the 'dysfunctional' act of booger eating. From what I read, it's a pattern that emerges as a young child. Similar to overeating, learning to exercise, or a mom plopping her purse by the front door when she comes home. It's a HABIT. Interesting tidbit of information that was, because I've been listing to John Morgan . . . who preaches about patterns and breaking them to alter a given behavior. It makes sense.

I'm off track.

Booger eating has it's own name. Mucophagy. Right from latin roots. As in muco = mucus (read: boogers) and phagy = the act of eating something. Another blog worthy morsel of mucousy information: the average person eats about a quart of mucus per day. Sure, the majority of that is snot, slime, phlegm in the form that is naturally produced & secreted in the mouth & esophogus. It's not a quart of rock-solid, diamond-mined hard ones from a half hour pick session . . . but still. We're all booger eaters if you look at it just right.

For shits and giggles today, I asked this question to the partaking members of the booger buffet today. "Why do you eat your boogers?" Here are their answers . . . . (in no particular order, and no, don't ask me to reveal their identities).

"They're good. They taste salty."
"I didn't have a tissue and you'd be mad if I wiped in on my pants or the wall."
"Did I eat that?? I didn't even know."

Tasty little morsels. Boogers really are salt and water and some various crud that we breathe in. Paint if you are spraying without a mask. Pollen if you are working outside. Dust in gale force spring weather. Here's a kicker that's just TOO good to paraphrase: "Believe it or not, there are people who actually believes that "mucophagy" is healthy because expose your body to germs and make you produce antibodies that will fight for you in your inmune system." (Astaroth, Q&A post via www.ask.com). I have to derrive that the author isn't of the medical field. Immune is mis-spelled. Probably not a grammar goddess either since the tenses are jacked . . . are people, as in plural, who actually believes . . . anyway -- I'm off track again. Take what you will, I suppose. Maybe that's just the earth-first, go-green, I pink-puffy-heart recycling answer YOU needed to watch your little one indulge on a picker parfait.

Me? I think I'll try to keep a kleenex handy. (They're right . . . I would be mad if they wiped a slick and juicy green caterpillar on the wall!)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Babysitting -- Amended.

Okay, folks. I'm 6 days post op. That's good enough. I'm grumpy today. I'm tired of continuous supervision. I'm tired of being babysat. I'm tired of being told what NOT to do. I'm tired of being told what I can't do.

I'm a big girl. I can do it. So, for the record. I know I can't bend over. I'm haven't tried. I know I can't lift shit. I haven't tried. And everytime someone says, "you can't do that," I feel like I might snap their little pin head off. I know, I know, I know. I know I need to be careful. I know it's a long recovery. I know. But, PLEASE . . .

And yes, I'm amending my previous post because it was bitchy and rude. But, remember, I'm being the real me. Sometimes I'm bitchy and rude. I went to my post op appointment today (completely supervised, no, I did not drive). My wound is in good shape. There's no sign of infection. The swelling and the purplish-yellowish-semi-green shade . . . that's all normal and will go away in the next couple of weeks (like I was bikini ready, anyway!)

So . . . post now amended . . . thank you for concern and incessant reminders to take it easy. I know. I get it. I promise, I'm being compliant with recovery care. Now, pretty please . . . back off gently (better than shut up, right?)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Narcotic Stupor

True, I've lost some large chunks of time in the last few days to narcotic induced stupor. But, Monday morning. Ah!! I love Monday morning.

I'm weaning off narcotics, have said "the hell with the bandage" (my skin is sloughing off in chunks & there is nowhere else to re-affix new tape) and plowed through the morning routine sans MOTH's help.

I walked 1.04 miles this morning. With my mom's help, I started a load of laundry. I ate strawberries and hard boiled eggs. I bought a rug. And took advantage of discount swimwear AND free shipping at Land's End. (Promo code DIVEIN and pin number 6292). I sent email to work folks and took a good look at what needs coordinating for this week. Next, I'll shower. And nap with Mimi.

Even through the time warp of drugs, I know these things.

Little, "Mom, look at my machine gun, look at my machine gun. It's a four-in-one lego weapon bonus pack. Ok, look when you are awake."

Big, "Don't take this wrong, Mom, but I'm loving the dinner gig. Your friends rock. When can you have surgery again?"

Middle, "We never have dessert. Everyone's bringing us dessert!"

Mimi . . . so patient has already changed her words from a pleading 'Up, up', to "Sit down now, Mommy."

Monday morning. Hope reigns eternal. Whew, and yahoo!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Let me tell ya 'bout back pain

I would rather squat in a rice paddy and birth children - triplets - naturally -- than have back pain. I would rather chew threw the cord, deliver my own placenta, suckle an infant as I trudge my tired post partum body uphill, in the rain, on a slipperly muddy incline than have back pain.

I've been breaking blogger unwritten rules lately. I've been very honest, sort of "lettin' it all hang out" (as it were). I've been peeling back the masque of who we-slash-I pretend to be and letting some honesty out in print. I've been honest about painful people in my life, about frustrations and breaking points. I've been equally celebratory of fabulous children, the antics of dogs and daily stories of heroism from our homefront.

Today, I'm breaking another rule. Blogger unwritten rules sort of say (by my loose interpretation) that you don't generally blog about yourself. Things come from MY point of view, but are not generally about me. Today, though, I feel like talking about back pain.

Back pain is terrible. My voyage with pain in the lower back began in high school gymnast. Yes, many, many years ago. But it was never unbearable. Just there as part of my life. It continued into college. As a co-ed cheerleader, I can remember only one time in my career where pain kept me off of the sidelines. Pregancy number one illicited some serious sciatica. Somewhere between pregnancy number two, nursing school, taking care of young children and pushing a gravid woman up an incline to the operating room, things changed. I can't pinpoint exactly in my life where my spine went wonky. There wasn't a car acccident. I didn't fall off a horse. I wasn't riding a bull. It just happened. The discomfort became more severe and more plaguing. The worst of it happened in an exacerbation when baby number 3, Little, that is, was about 18 months old. It was summer. And I was crawling to the bathroom, praying for relief & unable to stand. I couldn't get in the car to drive, couldn't pick anything up. I felt crippled. I saw a chiropractor. I had lumbar decompression. I saw a family doctor, who told me to stretch. Gee, thanks. I powered through it with perserverence and pain management. I made it through Mimi's pregnancy with minimal drama, although an exacerbation is always in the back of my mind. I changed my life to cope with pain. Up until back pain took me in it's grip, I was a morning person: up with the sun, walking in the cool morning mist, taking deep breaths of clear mountain air as the birds sang from rooftops. Back pain took that morning clarity from me. I'm not sure how many months (or maybe years) it has been that morning movement has been restricted. I was required to medicate in the morning. Simple morning activities were simply out of the question. Loading the dishwasher, bending over to grasp a load of laundry & get it started. Gardening. Taking the trash out, feeding the dogs. All of it just happened with a certain amount of spinal immobility. I look like a robot . . . movements tight and vertical. No bending. No twisting.

Just over a year ago, the breaking point came. Here's how it happened. I took a breath and realized that I had been holding my breath. I exhaled and realized in a single, solitary moment that I had been holding my breath. Breathing in short shallow puffs. Because it hurt. My whole torso was rigid from holding my breath.

I got a doctor. A real doctor. A spine doctor. Who did tests. Real tests. He diagnosed me with 'severe degenerative disc disease' in at least two lumbar disc spaces. He was able to see a ruptured disc and another that was herniated. He validated what I was feeling and told me that, yep, something was really wrong. The world stood still for a few minutes when he told me that if he has seen my MRI without me in his office, he would have guessed my films belonged to an 85 year old woman. I saw a pain specialist for the whole next year. He gave me epidural injections, just like those for labor, without the "you can't walk" factor. I got them every three months. They hurt. Alot. The first two worked. Really well. The third one . . not so well. The fourth: not at all. And by that time, the side effects were taking a toll and I was paying a big price for management that wasn't working well. So, I went back to the real doctor for a new plan. He repeated tests and ten days after, I found myself checking myself into to the pre-op area, donning a gown, getting an IV and signing a consent.

And now, here I am. I'm two days post op. I have pain. I still have pain. But it's a different kind of pain. I'm so hopeful that it's the beginning of the healing kind of pain. My back hurts. It has an incision (not nearly big enough!). My leg still hurts. I'm told that might last for several more months. Since that nerve has been smashed for 5 years, it won't just re-inflate over night. Think of the big dent left in carpet when you move your couch. The carpet doesn't just puff up and stand right overnight.

It's 8:57 am right now. But, despite my new kind of pain . . . I'm going to walk out the the mailbox. Here I go. In the morning. Walking. I hope there are birds singing from the rooftops.
Thank GOD for the pharmaceutical miracle of narcotic pain relief. May blessings abound for the men who discovered curative and medicinal treatments and for those scientists brave enough to think outside the box and be creators of healing.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Universe Only Has A Set Amount of Drama

Homestead has a new theory. She thinks the universe only has a certain amount of drama. And since Drama wasn't at MY house this hippity hopping holiday, it paid her a visit.

We spoke yesterday & told stories. We had a bonafide pissing contest (as it were). Drama visiting them in the Gulch. I type that with a little bit of a selfish smirk . . . at least it wasn't me!!

Of note today, is a huge KUDO and back-patting, ass-slapping HOO-RAH for her hubby . . . who was such a MAN . . . such a bull-riding, nut-slingin', beard-growin', ass-kickin' father figure. He's the picture of manliness. Scratchin' and sippin' a cold one while he speaks his mind, writes his emotions, shares his thoughts & demands EXCELLENCE from the people around him . . . in the name of raising his children.

Can I get an AMEN?? Raise your hands up to this fella. I'll tip my juice box and slug one back in the name of "The Long Looker" (yes, Homey's hubby & I have a very, very unique relationship . .. )

About 24 hours from now . ..

About 24 hours from now, I will be:

* in a hospital gown (read: mostly naked . . . the true fear is revealed!)
* groggy and highly doped up
* hopefully, leaving the operating room and on my way to recovery after a very, very, monumentally successful surgery

Hopefully, I will NOT be:

* vomiting
* in pain
* dead
* paralyzed

I'm not even making this up.

A real, live, honest to goodness status update. Not mine. I'm not even making this up. I'm the QUEEN of Balderdash & I'm not sure I could come up with such Christian porn: (Special note: This is a direct quote, so I didn't fix her typos . . . no matter how much that KILLS me!!)

"what a day!!!!! Lord I need some sweet sleep!! allow ur tender loving care hold me close 2 U corressing my soul so that the angles of protection just allow me to have sweet dreams! awh I can feel it now!!"

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Hip Hop Hooray

Best Easter ever. Seriously, THE best Easter on record in our home. I think eleven, maybe twelve years. Food was last minute, fabulous and on budget. My feet don't hurt from standing in the kitchen all day. My back doesn't hurt from cooking and cleaning in preparation. (Maybe I'm paying a little price from kickball, see below, but that's pain worth having!!) My heart doesn't hurt from, well, tension and stressful company.

Mimi ate her body weight in jelly beans by 10 this morning.
Little spent all morning putting lego ships together.
Middle made a spider web net out of prewrap that stretched all the way across the living room.
Big took a fabulous Easter bath with tons of bubbles and 100 plastic eggs.

We played 7 innings of kickball, jumped on the trampoline, played on the swings and blew bubbles with the wind. We came in with rosy cheeks, light hearts and the scent of spring in our hair and clothes. We busted through night-time chores in time to read together, timed the sugar crash PERFECTLY with bedtime (seasoned parents, we are!) and . . . whew . . . . we . . . are . . . winding . . . down!

Happy Easter, everyone. May blessings abound!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Yesterday . . .

The first day of April rocks!! Here is what happened at our house (the short form, anyway):

1. Big and Middle swapped Little and Mimi's underwear. Little was SUCH a good sport when he was getting ready for school and could only find size 2T Wonder Pets panties!
2. Little took all of Middle's leotards and hid them. She was a good sport, too.
3. Little snuck a love letter, penned by Middle into Big's folder. Oh, she turned pink when she read it.
4. I told MOTH my name wasn't on Little birth certificate.
5. I told my neighbor that surgery had been cancelled by the hospital because I am pregnant . . . "yea, the urine sample from Monday . . ". She's not speaking to me yet. Tee Hee Hee.
6. A couple of weeks ago, Little found a scrap of yellow, curled newspaper in the back yard. It was really a chunk of schrapnel from my lasagna gardening adventure last summer, but Big and Middle convinced him it was a piece of the Declaration of Independence. He spent an hour or so digging for more that day, and when he tuckered out, I told him that I sent a piece of it in for review, microscope exam & carbon dating. Yesterday, I posed as a caller from the Smithsonian to congratulate him on his discovery. Tee Hee Hee.
7. Best of all . . . I planted a very detailed letter in the mail. To Big. It was an acceptance letter to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardy, taken largely from Book 1. It was totally realistic, from the the scrolly scripty font, to the supplies list and the burned edges. I put a few beak marks in the sides to mimic the owl post. She fell for it -- hook, line & sinker.

It was fabulous. A jokingly great day!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Beware youngin's. 'Tis the First Day of April, a day that I ADORE. I'm coming to get you. Mmmmwwawaaaaahhhhhh!!