Saturday, July 31, 2010

School Supplies: The Updated List

I'm down to this list:

24 pencils
4 packages of looseleaf
6 boxes of tissue
2 spiral bound single subject notebeook
2 boxes of quart size baggies
4 containers of antibacterial surface wipes

and a Star Wars (not Clone Wars) lunchbox.

That, my friends, is do-able in a single mission.  Let's wrap this party up.  Target, here I come.

Friday, July 30, 2010

I have something to share.

Look! I have something to share (and an opinion, too)!  America's Favorite On-Line Personal Trainer says:

Build Your Own Healthy Network


From now on, I want you to surround yourself with supportive family and friends. Take the time to share your goals and aspirations with them, as well as the details about how you're going to lose weight. Give the people who are closest to you the lowdown on the types of foods you're eating and your workout schedule. Tell them how you feel about your efforts and how important it is to you that they understand your changing needs and continue to support you in this new lifestyle.


Now think of people outside your immediate circle of family and friends. People you encounter every day — whether they have a personal relationship with you or not — can help you stay on track. Your doctor can help you maintain your health while you lose weight. Your co-workers can refrain from pushing unhealthy office food. Think of everyone you regularly encounter in a day, from the guy who sells you coffee to your pals online. They are — whether they know it or not — your co-conspirators in creating a healthy new life for yourself.


If you patiently and consistently communicate what others can do to support you, you will build a network of strength that you can lean on when you feel discouraged or in need of reassurance.

It's that great advice.  Seriously.  Great advice.  It's great fitness advice, great life advice.  I love it.  Except for one teensy-itty-tiny little hiccup that happens out here in the real world.  In cybersapce or when you are dispensing advice to the masses, I think lots of sugar-coating gets involved.  'Cause out here in the real world, people are not necessarily happy to be supportive.  The don't want to be a rescourse when you feel discouraged.  They want to see you bruise, or maybe break a bone, when you fall off the wagon.  The want to bake cookies for you and watch as you binge on your entire caloric allotment in a record breaking fifteen minutes.  Then, when you're down, they want to entice you to go shopping or try on your skinny jeans.  Or, even better, an underhanded backslap that says, "You're a loser.  Tee-hee.  And I take pleasure in your failures.  Another cookie?  But look at me . . . "   There's my humble opinion (and I own it . . . I'll post it as such).  Call me a pessimist.  Call me negative.  It's not true.  I'm on top of the world today.  I've had a kick-ass, awesome week full to the brim with fabulous.  I'm a realist.  And that's the truth.

Women are Angels



Women are Angels.
When someone breaks our wings,
we simply continue to fly on a broomstick.
We're flexible like that.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Time To Go Shopping: School Supplies

Here's my list(s):



Little Needs:
$4.40 for Scholastic News, cash or check to payable to Martinez Elementary

$3.25 for student planner, cash or check payable to Martinez Elementary

3 notebooks, spiral, WIDE-RULED

1 composition notebook (top half blank and bottom half wide rule lined)

3 pocket folders

24 #2 YELLOW pencils (please send 2 of these already sharpened)

1 eraser, large, pink

1 package plain pencil top erasers

2 boxes crayons, 24 count (Crayola recommended due to durability)

1 set markers, washable (Crayola recommended due to durability)

4 dry erase markers, low odor

1 pair scissors, pointed tip

1 ruler (standard and metric)

1 school glue, white, large

2 large (size 1.27 oz.) glue sticks (white only please)

1 pencil box (5”x 8” only)

1 set water colors (Prang is recommended)

2 boxes facial tissue, large

Heavy duty zip closure storage bags, girls-quart sized, boys-gallon sized

1 backpack



Middle Needs: $3.25 for student planner, cash or check payable to Martinez Elementary

2 glue sticks, large

2 bottles school glue, white

48 #2 pencils (please sharpen first)

2 erasers, pink

2 red ballpoint pens

2 highlighters

1 set of colored pencils

1 box crayons, 24 count

2 sets of markers, 1 fine point and 1 broad point (Crayola brand is recommended)

2 packages (4 count) dry erase markers, 1 fine point and 1 broad point

1 ruler (standard and metric)

1 pair scissors, 5 inch, pointed, high quality

1 zippered pencil case

4 composition notebooks, wide-lined, single-subject

2 packages loose-leaf paper, wide ruled

5 pocket folders

2 boxes tissue, large

Storage bags, heavy-duty freezer zipper closure, girls – 1 box quart sized, boys – 1 box gallon sized

PLEASE NO BINDERS, TRAPPER KEEPERS OR SCHOOL BOXES. WE JUST DON’T HAVE ROOM FOR THESE IN OUR DESKS.
 
Big Needs:

Grade 5


$3.25 cash or check payable to Martinez Elementary for planners

48 #2 pencils (Do not label.)

Hand held pencil sharpener (No electric ones.)

1 eraser, pink, large

1 pencil case, zippered, not a pencil box, labeled

8 dry erase markers for student use

1 small box of markers

1 24 count box of crayons

1 highlighter – yellow

1 ball point pen

1 box colored pencils, 12 count, labeled with student name

1 clear plastic 12” ruler, flat (standard and metric) labeled with child’s name

1 pair scissors, pointed, labeled with child’s name

2 glue sticks

1 bottle of liquid white glue, name written on label

2 reams of white, loose-leaf, wide-lined (not college) paper

2 spiral single subject notebooks

1 composition book

6 pocket folders, labeled with student’s name

Last names starting with A-M bring 1 box quart size zip closure bags, last names starting with N-Z bring 1 box gallon size zip closure bags

2 boxes facial tissue, large

PLEASE NO TRAPPER KEEPERS, 3 RING BINDERS, OR SCHOOL BOXES. WE JUST DON’T HAVE ROOM FOR THESE IN OUR DESKS.
 
T-minus 21 days till school starts.  I have to get real.  I love school supply shopping, but I haven't been very good about it this year.  We have crayons, as a result of Target's 25 cent sale.  And we have erasers.   And comp books.  We can re-use rulers & scissors.  Costco's next trip will take care of baggies & tissue.  I usually pick up hand sanitizer & clorox wipes, too.   Time to take a REAL inventory.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Homestead Says . . .

Homestead says:

If you are an introvert, social situations leave you exhausted and frazzled.
If you are an extrovert, social situations energize you and make you feel high.

There you go.  I'm an introvert.

There's something to be said for your ROOTS.

Eh? 
There's something to be said for your roots.  My roots.  I'm not sayin' this is the Gospel truth, I'm throwing it out to the Universe for contemplation.

In our society, here's the common cycle:

Eat less . . . Exercise More . . . Do it Forever

However, I do think that for some people, at some times in their lives when you couple "Eat Less" with "Exercise More" instead of the energy boost that is supposed to follow . . along with the loss of weight and post exercise euphoria, something else happens.  An apparent hitch in their weight-loss get along.   Sort of a broken body . . . a screw up or cross wiring of the whole vessel.

Enter traditional medicine where tests are run and blood is taken.  And there is no apparent hitch in your get along.  You can't use your thyroid as a crutch.  You can't blame pregnancy.  You can't hang your muffin top of just plain ole being busy.  Yet something has to give, right.  I mean REALLY. 

Enter Eastern medicine.   I don't know about you  . . but I'm a part Asian mixed breed girl who was born in the USA and raised on cheeseburgers.  My "look" may be part Asian . . but I'm about as culturally retarded as a person can get.  I've been a part of Eastern medicine from time to time in the past.  Acupuncture really helped with migraines in college . . . and seasonal allergies.  It fixed what ailed me.  There's my testimony.  Still, I can't help but think that those traditional "doctors" that look at your tongue, take your pulse and use some sort of superhuman x-ray vision to look at the meridians of energy in your body were on to something.  It's really not any more hokey than a modern day doctor of chiropractic asking you to raise one arm, resist pressure and saying "yep, your spleen is enlarged."  HUH?

Crikey . . . I already forgot the point of this. 

Long dramatic pause while I try to recall why I'm standing in this room with a towel on my head and a bottle of compressed air in my hand.

Oh right, my yin and yang and jacked up.  Not to be confused with my ying-yang, which apparently is fine.  I have a yin and yang imbalance.  And my tongue is freaky.  See, now I'm self-conscious.  Don't ask to see my tongue.  I'll tromp on your toe and run the other way.   I'm out of balance.  Well, I didn't need to see an Eastern traditional doctor to know that.  

Well, more later on how to cure a yin yang imbalance and how to bring your life back into balance, beginning with your body-slash-temple.   

Oh-oh!! And I'd be amiss in my posting if I didn't admit . . . . that "complimentary consultation" was the direct result of a (sing the word with me)  C-O-U-P-O-N!!  (If that flew over your nugget, read last weeks' posts:  http://bonkdown.blogspot.com/2010/07/coupons.html)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Shining Example of why I am Anti-Social . . .

Today.
At the pool.
Leaving the pool.
Me. 
Family shower room.
With four children. 
We are tired.  And hungry.  At least two of us are getting grumpy.  But I can handle it. 
I can do tired.  And grumpy.  I can do emergencies.  Heck, just last week, we got locked into a family shower room and had to wait and sing songs while The Commissioner ran upstairs to shine the Bat Symbol.  Then we had to wait for even longer while Batman got inside the building, because his helicopter couldn't navigate the water slides without blowing kids out of the water with it's spinning blades.    Emergencies are my speciality.  And I can do blood.  Bring it. What I can't do is rude.  I say this to my kids at least once per day, "You're never too tired to have good manners."
At this time of pool-exiting with small children in tow, I think most moms are getting tired. 
And their kids are getting grumpy.

Since we are mixed sex, using the family shower room is a necessity.

Preface:  I'm well organized.  I have a wet bag.  And a dry bag.  And it takes us about 10 minutes to get into and out of the shower, including all things necessary behind closed doors.  I try very hard to be courteous of other families who might be waiting in line with their other mixed-sex families.  There are certainly more mixed-sex families in need of family shower rooms than there are available facilities.   We brush hair and do all of our extras out in the common area so we can rapidly free up the coveted family shower room.

So, today, while we are in the shower.  Five of us.  Naked.  Hustling.  A young boy begins knocking on the door and yelling, "Are you done yet?"    Short silence, then, "Hey, hurry up in there . . . are you done yet?"  His knocking and yelling kicks us up into high gear, as we are thinking surely there is an emergency outside the door.  But even in high gear, his impatient pounding continues.  In my maternal head, I'm thinking, "where is his mother?"   So, when I cracked the door and he AND HIS MOTHER came charging in, I was a bit shocked.  Isn't proper etiquette similar to elevator manners.  You have to let the people coming out get OUT first, otherwise, you jam up the whole thing, and there's nothing worse than a constipated doorway jammed with bodies that can't move forward OR back.  Because we were then stuck inside the family changing room with one rude little piss and his giant mother, I piped up and said, "We're on our way out . .  give me just one minute."  To which she replied, (please exaggerate snotty tone that I work tirelessly to quell in our home):  "Well, duh!!  The door is open."

Sidenote:  Ever had one of those moments where you WANTED to say something, had something wonderful all queued up from the verbal backlash files, and thought, "No, my kids are listening . . . I'll be an example."   MMMMM.  So, what I wanted to say was, "Yes, Hefer-pants, of course the door is open . . . it's because we are trying to walk OUT so that you and your rude little piss can walk in.  Give me a fucking minute and I will be out of our way."  

Well, what really came out was, "There you go . . . it's all yours . . . . "

And the priceless part of it . . . in a stage whisper from those little ears who soak in their surroundings like sponges.  Mimi, "That lady is scary, Momma.  She has nasty tone." 

To come full circle and tie in the title:  This is why I'm anti-social.  I can't stand to be in the presence of that kind of person.  It makes me tired.  And grumpy.   It makes my heart hurt.  And it makes me know that my personality type is right for me.  It's better sometimes to be all alone.  I'd rather be alone than keep company with a woman the likes of which set me off today . . . .

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Yellow Shirt

The yellow shirt had long sleeves, four extra-large pockets trimmed in black thread and snaps up the front. It was faded from years of wear, but still in decent shape. I found it in 1963 when I was home from college on Christmas break, rummaging through bags of clothes Mom intended to give away.


'You're not taking that old thing, are you?' Mom said when she saw me packing the yellow shirt. 'I wore that when I was pregnant with your brother in 1954!'

'It's just the thing to wear over my clothes during art class, Mom. Thanks!' I slipped it into my suitcase before she could object. The yellow shirt be came a part of my college wardrobe. I loved it.

After graduation, I wore the shirt the day I moved into my new apartment and on Saturday mornings when I cleaned. The next year, I married. When I became pregnant, I wore the yellow shirt during big-belly days. I missed Mom and the rest of my family, since we were in Colorado and they were in Illinois . But, that shirt helped. I smiled, remembering that Mother had worn it when she was pregnant, 25 years earlier.

That Christmas, mindful of the warm feelings the shirt had given me, I patched one elbow, wrapped it in holiday paper and sent it to Mom. When Mom wrote to thank me for her 'real' gifts, she said the yellow shirt was lovely. She never mentioned it again.  The next year, my husband, daughter and I stopped at Mom and Dad's to pick up some furniture. Days later, when we uncrated the kitchen table, I noticed something yellow taped to its bottom.. The shirt!

And so the pattern was set.

On our next visit home, I secretly placed the shirt under Mom and Dad's mattress. I don't know how long it took for her to find it, but almost two years passed before I discovered it under the base of our living-room floor lamp. The yellow shirt was just what I needed now while refinishing furniture. The walnut stains added character.

In 1975 my husband and I divorced. With my three children, I prepared to move back to Illinois . As I packed, a deep depression overtook me. I wondered if I could make it on my own. I wondered if I would find a job. I paged through the Bible, looking for comfort. In Ephesians, I read, 'So use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy whenever he attacks, and when it is all over, you will be standing up.'

I tried to picture myself wearing God's armor, but all I saw was the stained yellow shirt.. Slowly, it dawned on me. Wasn't my mother's love a piece of God's armor? My courage was renewed. Unpacking in our new home, I knew I had to get the shirt back to Mother. The next time I visited her, I tucked it in her bottom dresser drawer.

Meanwhile, I found a good job at a radio station. A year later I discovered the yellow shirt hidden in a rag bag in my cleaning closet. Something new had been added. Embroidered in bright green across the breast pocket were the words 'I BELONG TO PAT.'   Not to be outdone, I got out my own embroidery materials and added an apostrophe and seven more letters.

Now the shirt proudly proclaimed, 'I BELONG TO PAT'S MOTHER.' But I didn't stop there.  I zig-zagged all the frayed seams, then had a friend mail the shirt in a fancy box to Mom from Arlington , VA. We enclosed an official looking letter from 'The Institute for the Destitute,' announcing that she was the recipient of an award for good deeds.

I would have given anything to see Mom's face when she opened the box. But, of course, she never mentioned it.

Two years later, in 1978, I remarried. The day of our wedding, Harold and I put our car in a friend's garage to avoid practical jokers.. After the wedding, while my husband drove us to our honeymoon suite, I reached for a pillow in the car to rest my head. It felt lumpy. I unzipped the case and found, wrapped in wedding paper, the yellow shirt. Inside a pocket was a note: 'Read John 14:27-29. I love you both, Mother.'  That night I paged through the Bible in a hotel room and found the verses: 'I am leaving you with a gift: peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't fragile like the peace the world gives.. So don't be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really love me, you will be very happy for me, for now I can go to the Father, who is greater than I am. I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do, you will believe in me.'

The shirt was Mother's final gift. She had known for three months that she had terminal Lou Gehrig's disease. Mother died the following year at age 57.  I was tempted to send the yellow shirt with her to her grave. But I'm glad I didn't, because it is a vivid reminder of the love-filled game she and I played for 16 years. Besides, my older daughter is in college now, majoring in art. And every art student needs a baggy yellow shirt with big pockets.

My Crayon Ephiphany

Yesterday, in the throws of The Begats, I had a crayon ephiphany.  It went like this:



Crayons are ONE of the things that drive me nuts.  I'm talking one-hundred-percent, to the brink of insanity bonkers.  I love NEW crayons.  My kids love new crayons, but when crayons come my way, I always think, "oh, we could use that one".  We have VATS full of crayons.  Literally, the kitchen counter has a full pickle jar full of crayons.  There is a coffee can on top of the shoe rack in the garage that holds broken crayons for recycling or craft projects.  There's a bucket in the basement of crayons.  Random and miscellaneous crayons that emerge from purses, backpacks or from under car seats.  Crayons are everywhere.  It's a good thing they don't poop.  There'd be crayon crap all over my house. 

I've done or attempted no less than a dozen crayon craft projects with my munchkins.  We've de-papered and melted them down to make new, fun shaped crayons.  We've microwaved them, ovened them, melted them in the sun.  We've added a chunk of dryer lint to waxy crayon to make fire-starters.  We've used melty crayon on brown bags and made our own wrapping paper.  We've boxed up crayons and sent them to crayon recycling centers.   Last Christmas, Santa sent Middle a crayon maker.  Really nifty little device expect for this piece of twisted logic:  you take a a broken crayon, melt it together with another broken crayon . . . to make a NEW crayon.  But, guess what?  It's the same size as the damn broken crayon.  The whole point is to make a new crayon long enough to hold comfortably and actually color with . . . . what's the point in going through all that just to make another stubbie crayon?  How did that pass inspection?  Aren't there a team of mothers that stop product production cold and say, "that's stupid!"  The crayon is still stubbie!!  (I've digressed again . . . )

And now, I've had an epiphany of the highest order. 

A new 24-pack of crayons (Crayola, even!) are a quarter this week at Target.  Seriously.  For a quarter, I could buy $5 in NEW crayons with fabulous pointy tips and wholesale PITCH the rest of them.  All of them.  Gonzo.  Bye-bye.  No more pickle jar in the kitchen.  The kiddos can't get to the colors at the bottom anyway.  Just a new set of 24 nestled in the homework drawer where they actually fit.  No more recycling can for stubbies.  No more infuriating craft projects.  No more rescuing crayons from Red Robin or Jason's Deli.  No more.  I'm buying $5 worth of crayons today to take care of school supplies and my needs.  And, let's be real.  I DO have NEEDS.

The Batcave.

In all honesty, it was a walking flashlight tour of a dormant cave system.  Photographic opportunities were limited.  But here's a picture of a picture from our expedition to see The BATCAVE!  Little was so excited.  He peered with his flashlight around ever corner.  He investigated every nook and cranny, and hypothesized where The Batcopter must land, which tunnel led to Batman's Office . . . . and "where is Alfred, Mom?"  It was a good time . . . . and it's definately in my plans to return with Middle.

And on the photographic note, I can't turn this picture since it loaded directly from my phone.  Just consider it a yoga like neck bend to the right.  It works opposite of always resting your cell phone between your left shoulder & ear.  Tee hee hee.

Day at the Museum

Day at the Museum.  Different than Night at the Museum.  With my mom and four of five grandkids.  Little was far too busy helping Uncle T to pose for a picture next to dinosaur legs with "the girls" (said with a slight nasal whine and descending voice . .. as if  "the girls" are just one step above cow turds.  Yea, we'll be working on that this week, after their departure, when less witnesses are living in my home.)

Also, one of the few good pictures of my niece . . . from left to right . . . it's Mimi, My Niece, Big, Middle and Mama.   My Niece is a Arizona-ite but is loving our cool weather this week.  The rain this week has been glorious, but she and her parents are trooping around in Mountain Harware or Columbia fleece jackets the likes of which only come out in sub-zero weather in our home.  She's a full year younger than Middle but in the same grade, actually closer in age to Little.  Note:  the height genes that clearly skipped over me.  Yes, she is just as tall as my almost 11-year old Big.  I do think we breed midgies . . . .

The Begats.

A post about The Begats.  Here's what Begat this post yesterday.

I started in the kitchen.  I was cleaning out science fair projects from the refrigerator.  Creating alot of empty tupperware from leftovers left untouched.  Got about halfway through that when I came across some stuff that should have been living in the pantry.  Jumped to the pantry and started cleaning up in there.  Married a few boxes, tossed a few things, moved some things around.  Crushed down boxes, started a recycle pile.  I unloaded the dishwasher, loaded it again, started it.  Heard the dryer beep upstairs.  Went up to fold laundry, leaving the refrigerator partially complete, the pantry hanging open & a pile of crap in the middle of the kitchen. 

I started folding laundry.  Came across a few things for the Goodwill pile.  Put those aside.  Started haning stuff in our closet.  Decided I should move some things around.  Added to the Goodwill pile.  Wanted to take the pile of clean mittens and winter gear out of our closet and put it back into the bench.  Hauled that down, leaving the laundry undone, the next load un-started & another pile upstairs. 

Back downstairs, I'm lifting the lid to the bench to find an elaborate and extensive collection of Easter gifts, eggs & baskets.  Start cleaning that out.  Don't want to toss the clean mittens and hats in without sucking out the dust rhinos from the bottom.  

In the course of about an hour, I literally destroyed all sense of organization and assembly from four major rooms in our home.  It took another hour to put it all back.  Actually, I'm still not sure I DID get it all put back. 

But that's the begats .  . . the "one-job-leads-to-another" sort of mismatched "do-a-little-of-this-and-follow-it-with-a-little-of-that" method that creates havoc from time to time.  I'm pretty sure it's a certifiable condition . . . .

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Body dysmorphic disorder

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to: navigation, search

Body Dysmorphic Disorder
ICD-10 F45.2
ICD-9 300.7
DiseasesDB 33723
eMedicine med/3124


Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) (previously known as dysmorphophobia[1] is sometimes referred to as body dysmorphia or dysmorphic syndrome[2]) is a (psychological) somatoform disorder in which the affected person is excessively concerned about and preoccupied by a perceived defect in his or her physical features (body image). Depending on the individual case, BDD may either be a somatoform disorder or part of an eating disorder or both: BDD always includes a debilitating or excessive fear of judgment by others, as is seen with social anxiety, social phobia and some OCD problems; or, alternately, it may be a part of eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and compulsive overeating. The term "body dysmorphic disorder" itself describes only those excessive social-acceptance fears that relate to one's personal body image. Depending on the individual, it may or may not also be part of one of these wider or related syndromes.

The sufferer may complain of several specific features or a single feature, or a vague feature or general appearance, causing psychological distress that impairs occupational and/or social functioning, sometimes to the point of severe depression and anxiety, development of other anxiety disorders, social withdrawal or complete social isolation, and more.[3] It is estimated that 1–2% of the world's population meet all the diagnostic criteria for BDD (Psychological Medicine, vol. 36, p. 877).

The exact cause(s) of BDD differ(s) from person to person. However, most clinicians believe it could be a combination of biological, psychological and environmental factors from their past or present. Abuse and neglect can also be contributing factors.[4][5]

Onset of symptoms generally occurs in adolescence or early adulthood, where most personal criticism of one's own appearance usually begins, although cases of BDD onset in children and older adults is not unknown. BDD is often misunderstood to affect mostly women, but research shows that it affects men and women equally.[6]

The disorder is linked to significantly diminished quality of life and can be co-morbid with major depressive disorder and social phobia, also known as chronic social anxiety. With a completed-suicide rate more than double that of major depression (three to four times that of manic depression) and a suicidal ideation rate of around 80%, extreme cases of BDD linked with dissociation can be considered a risk factor for suicide; however, many cases of BDD are treated with medication and counseling.[7] A person with the disorder may be treated with psychotherapy, medication, or both. Research has shown cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to be effective in treating BDD.[8]

BDD is a chronic illness, and symptoms are likely to persist, or worsen, if left untreated.

So there.

Organic.

There.  I said it.  I love organic.  I love organic cotton.  Organic veggies.  Organic milk.  It makes me feel free and healthy and like I'm doing a good thing for the mouths that I am responsible for feeding. 

I like to buy organic.  But sometimes, I don't.  Why?  Because it's frickin' expensive, that's why.

Because I'm a tit-for-tat, even swap kind of a girl, I present this rationale for anyone else out there who is on the fence about the price of buying organic. 

Tit:  Gut the cost of buying organic and rest secure in the knowledge that you really have provided the best nutrition available to your kiddos.  Know that they have great food to energize their bodies and power their brains.

Tat:  Pay multiple co-pays and presciption fees when they are sick from ingesting food full of bovine growth hormones and animal antibiotics.  This week, Jillian (Michaels, that is) says (and the typos are hers):   "15% of anti biotic use in U.S. is used for humans. Remaining antibiotics, routinely given to poultry, beef cattle, & swine in their feed to promote faster growth & routine disease prevention (compensate for heightened risk of infection in raising animals under confined, unhygienic conditions).This currently legal, routine ...& unnecessary use of antibiotics in animal agriculture contributes significantly to the rise in resistant bacterial infections in humans. Numerous health organizations including the American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and Health Care Without Harm have called for an end to this practice.  Across the country the health care community is sharing its voice in support of common sense legislation necessary to protect antibiotic efficacy. Join me in support of PAMTA, the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (S. 619/H.R. 1549) at www.protectantibiotics.org."

There you go:  food for thought.

Coupons.

Coupons.   Is it "Koo-pons" or "Que-pons"?  That's one debate.  The other is:  to do or not to do??

Here's the thing.  I love a sale.  I dig a bargain.  I groove on saving money.  Mmm-hmmm.  That was an ethnic woman's "yes, ma'am" coming your way. 

But . . . many times, I HATE coupons.  I hate filing them.  I hate organizing them.  I hate that un-named feeling when I've been saving one, miss the expiry date and pitch it.  It happened just today.  Hate that feeeling.  I've often wondered if I don't spend MORE in looking for coupon items than I would if I just went on grocery-store-auto-pilot and purchased my household list of necessities.  Do I really need a foil liner for my crock pot?  The elbow grease to clean the pot is free. 

Anyhoo, I stumbled upon this today:

http://finance.yahoo.com/family-home/article/110063/8-reasons-why-you-shouldnt-use-coupons?mod=series-a-article

I've read it again and again.  I like it.  Alot.  It may just give me license to pitch a few more things today.  But I wanted some opinion . . . . do you coupon?  Where?  Only those with no expiration dates (like Bed, Bath & Beyond is my FAVORITE place becasue of their coupon system) . .. or groceries . . or Kohl's.  Rebates?  Do you?  Do you love it or is a thorn in your side (as it is mine!)  Weigh in . . . I'm anxious to hear . . . .

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Dreaded Junk Drawer

Who thought of this, anyway?

Seriously, I both love and hate the junk drawer. Love that it hold household essentials in a central area of the house. Hate that it becomes a trash can and treasure trove for all things questionable. When in doubt, put it in the junk drawer, right?

I tackled the dreaded junk drawer this morning, when all four youngin's were completely absorbed in Saturday morning cartoons. Now completed, I'm not certain what I was dreading. It took all of about 20 minutes, and was mostly a liberating experience that including throwing away a ton of stuff. I LOVE that!


Before:



Ugh. It wouldn't even close. Seriously.














During:



Thank goodness for cartoons. The junk drawer is one of thos things that, when interrupted, can mean more of a mess than you started with.












After:















What? You don't see a differnce? I know, me neither . . . . but it FEELS better!!

Baskets.

Boy, I love a basket. I love the feel of a basket. I love the functionality of a basket. I especially love a basket with handles. Not a single handle, like an Easter basket. I mean HANDLES. Like a laundry basket.

Of all the baskets I love in my house, I love these baskets the best.


They say necessity is the mother of invention. And that's how these baskets came about. There is a process. Look again. Each basket has a tag . . . "T", "K", "R", "S", "mom" and "laundry". The labels change themselves often . . these ones are snow day creations made from the ends of cinnamon roll tubes. Go Pillsbury.


These are affectionately known as "the landing baskets". In the pick up process at our house, stuff goes into these baskets. ("T" equals Mimi, "K" equals Little, "R" equals Middle and "S" equals Big.  So, in birth order .. . Big, Middle, Little & Mimi . . ages 10, 8, 6 and 2.)

Onward. Each basket has a tag. When I come across stuff that belongs to Big, I put it in her landing basket. And so on, and so forth. Sunday nights, each kid is responsible for putting the stuff from their basket away. Or not. If they choose the not, I throw it out. Plain and simple.

These baskets span the width of our landing, and back up to this:



This is our landing and launch pad. Each kid has a hook. On the hook lives one heavy and one light jacket. Above their hook and through the rails, lives THEIR basket. (Yes, I did paint their names directly on the wall next to their hook.) Incidentally, MOTH & I have hooks, too. See on the far left? The stylish patchwork bag permanently hangs in that locale. It houses hats, mittens, headbands & gloves. Shoe basket below is for stray shoes. Big and Mimi share the bench drawer on the left for shoes. Middle and Little share the right.

But, don't think I'm a landing and launch pad nazi . . . the kids are primarily in charge of this area. Night time chores include one kid picking up shoes. I'm happy if they land near the bench. And yes, I absolutely did pick this area up prior to photographing.

What's the point of this post, anyway? Oh, baskets. But more than baskets, a system. As a kid, I can remember the gobs of stray stuff around our house. My mom would pick up, say, once a month and build a thigh high barracade in our doorways. In order to get in, you had to knock down, throw out or put away. As an adult and mommy of twice as many kids as she had, I can't go for that. I choose the inch-by-inch, pick up everyday philosophy. And these baskets, and our launch pad is how we maintain order.

So, think about a system. And while you're thinking about it, think about how you can recruit help for maintenance. Maybe it's weekly. Perhaps daily. But this I know. If you live with other people, it's not JUST your job. Expect help. Demand help. Now, go get yourself a system!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Who Do You Love?

Sing that title . . that's the way it runs in my mind.  From the old song by George Thorogood.  The obvious answers are there.  For me . . . . my husband and kids are at the tippy top of the list.  The dogs come next.  My parents.  My list isn't in order of importance.  It's in geographic proximity to me.  That's why the dogs come before my mom.  Moose is at my feet.  My mom is 10 minutes drive.  That's familial type of love . . . I love these guys so deeply and so much because they are ME.  We're braided and interwoven into this thing that we eat, sleep and breathe.

Then there's other love.

Friend type of love.  Over the course of my near-forty years, I've had lots of friends.  Friends come and friends go.  Of course, you love the ones that stick around.  The ones that you don't see forever and ever, but when reunited, it's as if the universe rewinds to your last reunion.  Those are good ones that you can't help but love . .  the 'never miss a beat kind of friends'.  I'm thinking of Homey.  There's 'helper-friends' that I love.  My carpool buddy Cathy is one of those:  a friend who I help, a friend that helps me. We have a mutually beneficial relationship  . . . I call her an urban legend.  We live two door apart and I haven't seen her but to wave in the street since the end of May.  Still, I love her.  There's a limited few mom friends who "get me", and by that I mean, my parenting style, my quirks and the funky conglomeration of things that make me . . ME.  Those are folks that I really, really appreciate as much as I love.  They are good secret keepers.  There's friends too numerous to count that are 'more than acquaintence friends'.  I learn something from them every interaction and I love hearing about other people's lives.  It's addicting and so very interesting.  I have friends who have taught me about patience, decorating, Jewish holidays and how to apply blush. Having school aged childen has brought friendships into my life that I never imagined.  I have friends that have taught my children, and friends that I hope WILL teach my children.  I've made PTA friends, other mom friends and PTA friends who are friends of other moms, therefore friends of mine.  I blogged not long ago about soccer moms.  Love them too.  Gynmastics moms.  Hmm. Not yet.  Middle has been actively gymnasticizing for over two years.  I just spoke with the first fellow-gymnastics-mom this week -- on Monday the 12th.   I'm slow to warm up sometimes.  And painfully antisocial.  It's me.  It's how I am. 

Then another category . . . those loves that came traipsing through my life at one point or another and left a fingerprint on my soul . . . and there is still some sort of love for them.  Adoration . . the lingery thought of how directly different my life would have been had I chosen THEM, THAT person at a fork in the road.  I didn't have too many old boyfriends (I just read that as though there were nine million, so have to qualify that now.)  I think of one or two on their birthdays . . and pray that they are well and happy.   That type of fork in the road friend isn't limited to opposite sex, either.  I sometimes think about where I would be NOW if my friend-and-business partner and I had not forged a friendship.  There'd be no business.  No home-with-my kids.  I'd be working 12 hour shifts opposite my husband's schedule . . . my back would be in really bad shape from hefting gravid women from gurney to bed. 

Not sure what struck up the nostalgic chord, but it's there.  I'm suddenly into professing my love for those that I do, very much, love.




xoxox

The Candle Challenge

Well, Homestead and I are back at it.   The weekly challenge is on. For those of you just tuning in, it goes like this:  we alternate weeks and alternate picks.  She picks something house-wide to reign in one week.  We both do it.  Post as necessary.  The next week, my pick.  This week, her pick is candles.  Tee-hee.  I did this not that long ago, so it's a slam dunk.   We also play a year long game of progress.  Every week, something goes out or gets done.  It's our way of tackleing those lingering projects that never really get done.  It's fun and motivational . . . feel free to play along and comment, comment, comment.  We like it!


Imagine my surpise. Such pleasant surprise. I dug into the extra stuff in the storage room looking for candles. This, because of Homestead's pick. In the very back, dusty & murky part of my memory, I recall gifting a bunch of candles. I recall finding a few little votives and a pack of citronella tea lights. And I recall re-homing them around Christmas time. So, completed today, with very little commercial interruption, and very much smirky success, is my candle commentary. This is my candle sorting & storing story (how's that for funky alliteration).





Yes, this is it. I have one candle right now. It is a lemon & lavendar Yankee candle. And it is currently in use in the kitchen. All my other candle-slash-candle holder things have been converted to battery operated, timer-type candles that function as nightlights in our house. They are all baby-safe, mostly fire-proof and up on the wall. Our house kind of looks like a medieval castle by night. Here's a sample.

My Kids Bring ALOT of Papers Home . . .

To preface this post, I've had a revelation.  I was a double-blogger for a long time.  As many, man of you know, organizing things is one of my very favorite things to do.  I love, love, love to sort, file, label, pitch, line things up and recycle.  It's one of my many obsessions.  I've been co-authoring an organizational blog for quite a while, and the other author and I have decided to take it down.  Hit delete.  Streamline and simplify our own lives by hitting the "delete this blog" button.  But, there are several posts that I'm bringing over to this blog.  Here's the first of many:

Here's a project that is in constant motion at my house. Kid's school work. And art work. I'd love to have rules about this. If I could make rules, it would go like this:

Rule Number One: If I like it, keep it.

Rule Number Two: If I don't like it, pitch it.

But, when it comes to my kiddos, it's not that simple. Any one of them can bring home the most terrible picture or the most horrendous art project and when their faces beam with the pride of completion, I have to keep it. Not only do I keep the eyesore, I often display it proudly.

However, there comes a time when enough is enough. Something's gotta give and some stuff has got to go. My 'system', and I use that term very, very loosely, is this:

I scan most of their stuff when it comes home. After scanning, I recycle it. When things are too big to scan, I snap a picture of it. Once digital, I just save it in a folder named for the kid and the year. I have a bizarre and probably pathological addiction to their successes and the quirky things that make a memory. I scan samples of their handwriting. I just scanned one of Little's worksheets. In red marker, at the top, his teacher's handwriting is: "too much talking!!"

Here are some samples, for your viewing pleasure and my bragging rights:





Thursday, July 15, 2010

Warning.

Okay, y'all.  I'm in story telling mode.  And take heed mode.  Warning.  Danger.  Red flag mode. 

A woman I know.  A friend.  A very good friend recently had this happen.  It's not fabricated and isn't told several times removed.  This is straight out of the horse's mouth. 

My friend is single . . . divorced.  She's been divorced for many years and has led a happy single life for a long, long time.  Recently, she created a profile on an internet dating website.  She's not a virgin to internet dating.  Over the last decade, she's met several people through social networking sites and has had many, many successful dates and one or two very promising potential relationships.

On one site, she connected with a man who seemed a good prospect.  She says his age was similar to hers and they began corresponding by email and she said, "he just seemed like the kind of guy I'd like to socialize with."  As for career, he said that he owned his own business and did consulting work in international accounting.  Not that far fetched, right?  Sort of vague, but my career choice is a wee-bit vague and it's real.  During the course of communications, he reported that he was traveleing a few times and that he would be un-reachable.  The times of correspondence matched up and no red flags were raised.  On the most recent travel expedition, he told my friend that he would be en route to a country in Africa for work.  Shortly after his alleged arrival in Africa, he corresponded with her via email that something terrible has happened.  He reported that his luggage was lost or stolen during the travel (including, of course, ALL of his cash, credit cards & passport.)  He said that he had been put up in a hotel by the airline.  He reported that he was attempting to get to the American Embassy, but needed money to get there.  (Okay, now that's a red flag, right?)  Anyway, my friend is part internet detective and part really bright mother of adult children and knew to ask:  Well, where are you staying? (To which he gave a legit hotel name in a real town . . . which she googled, and it didn't exist.)  She asked about the company he was working for . .  . (to which he gave a business name, which she googled and it didn't exist).  He then asked for $800 in order to travel from his current location to the American Embassy.  Smart woman that I'm really proud to know pulled up some information on the internet and questioned him about his travel plans.  She figured out how much it would cost to travel this distance and what modes of transportation were available.  She also contacted the American Embassy in this African country. 

The next morning, she called the American Embassy in New York City and told them what was happening to her.  She was immediately connected to the consulate in Africa and shunted to the department that specializes in American scams.

Get this, the consulate representative that she spoke with told her that, in this African country, it is billion dollar per year industry who's sole purpose is to scam money from Americans.  There is a link on the American Embassy's website specifically for American victims of financial scams.  Another sub-link exists for dating and romance scams. 

Anyway, the point of this is to be alert.  Not just if you are using internet dating sites, but alert and on the lookout for incongruent information like this:   What man professing to be a world traveler puts his essential travel documents in baggage?  Isn't rule number one to keep those documents ON YOUR PERSON at all times?

Also, think these things:
* Don't ever, ever send money.
* Google is a gift.  Use it.
* Dig if you need to.  Play detective.
* Follow your gut.
* Ask questions.  Ask lots of questions.

So, super smart friend of mine received a call today from her contact at the Department of Financial Scams.  Turns out this idiot emailed a portion of his passport to my friend.  I guess it was proof of his existence at that point.  My friend was able to turn that in.  They traced the passport.  It was stolen just over three years ago.  Hopefully, they'll be able to apprehend this creep. 

Girlfriends . . .

I love this post from fellow blogger, Frankie, on Girlfriends . . . .

http://lilytalk.blogspot.com/2010/07/girlfriends.html

Amen to the women in your life who judge you . . . for they make you truly appreciate those who don't.   I especially love her quote on how girlfriends give you something that your children and husband can't.  Ain't that the truth.  Great post, Frankie!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Kids Need Activities

Just a quick note on kids and activities, from Little Ole Me:

KIDS NEED ACTIVITIES!!

This summer, we've had a whole lot of down time.  There has been stayin' up late and sleepin' in.  There have been days of nothingness and days with right next to nothing.    I'm here to tell you . . . the troops are getting restless!  Right on time, too, I might add.  Two weeks off of gymnastics and with each passing off day, Middle's face grew longer and longer.  She became more and more moody and short-fused.  But as of this week, she's back in the gym . . and my little lovable happy child is back.  She needs her gym time.   While Big is a bit more even tempered, I see her lazing around, spending a day reading . . . . becoming more and more tired with each passing hour spent on her ass.  Then comes, "what can I eat?"  Alarm bells go off in my head.  She's in Lifeguard Camp this week.  And she's tired in a good way  . . . tired from swimming for three hours a day and rescuing passive drowning dummies from the pool . . . NOT tired from doing nothing.   And there you have my soapbox opinion on kids in activities.  They need them.  Scratch that.  WE (as in MY kids) need them. 
This is the God that I know!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

'The Crazy Lady'

Being a soccer mom has allowed me the opportunity to meet some awesome moms.  Great moms who are juggling multiple kids, several activities and the ho-hums of day-to-day momminess.  It's been a good recipe swap, great for the sake of building a village and often, perfectly timed support for disciplinary moments.   Oh, I forgot to mention the joy of carpool.  How could I forget?!

Socializing with the other soccer moms on Middle's teams is where "The Crazy Lady" was born.  There are four moms that are pretty tight.  Our daughters have been playing on the same developmental team since they were four.  We've had babies and raised elementary school kids.  In many of our collective kids -- there are fourteen, we've seen armpit hair sprout, zits peak up through greasy nose creases & have witnesses the moody-pre-teen rant, which is famous among us.    We've born children, like Mimi, into this group of moms.  We've swapped clothes, high chairs, playpens & therapy.  We share hairdressers, doctors, sale tips and so, so much more.

The Crazy Lady paid a visit to our house today . . . and when she was here, I realized that she's not had a proper blog introduction.  The Crazy Lady is the collective name for the devilish woman that follows us (collectively) around.  Somedays, she follows far behind in the shadows and you wouldn't even know she's around.  On those days, she's silent.  She walks miles behind us at the mall, doesn't make any noise, doesn't slam doors, make demands, raise her voice or make any kind of commotion.  Some days, when momma feels on edge, The Crazy Lady is much closer.  You might feel the whisper of her breath on your neck.  You might feel her morphing your otherwise kind and motherly face into the pictue of impatience.  When nearby, it takes a mighty, mighty mommy to supress her.  These are the days when counting to 10 isn't quite enough time. 

On rare occasions, The Crazy Lady actually takes over the body.  She comes through you like a spirit in a John Edward or Sylvia Brown seminar.  Just the slightest thing can ignite the temper of The Crazy Lady.  When she comes forth, she comes out with vengeance.  It's the same kind of short sighted craze that made me throw a candle at MOTH's head when we were dating.  Once I pitched a plant at my roommate.  I also cleaned the toilet with an old boyfriend's shirt.  As a mom, most of my crazy moments stem from times I wear my "maid" hat  . . . when I spend all day picking up, tidying up, getting ready for something else.  The other share of crazy moments come from being underappreciated and taken for granted. 

Anyway, The Crazy Lady paid a visit today.  Relax.  Nobody was spanked or freaked out.  Now, my kids are pretty well trained.  When I feel that crazy bitch breathing on my neck, I can say, "Ooh, Guys, the Crazy Lady is following pretty closely today."  Magically, their rooms are clean, laundry is put away, baskets emptied.  It's in those moments that I think,  "Hmm.  Maybe having an alter personality and going a little crackers from time to time is good."  MOTH just laughs.   Upon report of today's events, he says that the kids have had too much idle time this summer.  So, as of tonight, chores are back on.  Allowance is back on.  Eveyone is pitching in . . . and maybe we'll get back on track and keep The Crazy Lady from making a second appearance.


Two-face, the female version.  Appropriate, right?  The answer from me is a resounding YES.  This is what I feel like when The Crazy Lady comes!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Date Night

We've never been much for date night.  But we might become fans.  Friday night was date night.  Our anniversary.  We celebrated twelve years.  We went out for dinner.  We shared sushi.  Just like we did twelve years ago.  Salmon and yellowtail and tuna.  And a few shrimp, cause I like 'em.  I wore my favorite new boyfriend jeans.  Like this:


And my orange tank with the embroidered back.  Like this: 


And my brown leather Olukai flip flops.  I put on extra eyeliner and even wore my hair down. THAT'S momentous.  He told me I still look like a college girl.  Now that's what I'm talking about.  A COM-PLI-MENT.  

He wore khaki shorts and a black Harley Davidson shirt.  Extra skulls.  Lots of flames.  He said it was his "old guy trying to look tough" look.  With his sparkly watch.

We talked over dinner.  And did math.  In twelve more years, Big will be graduating from college.  We hope.  Middle will be in college.  We hope.  Little will either be starting college, or finishing high school.  We hope.  Mimi will be in high school.  Yikes.  We silently drank alcohol after that.  We daydreamed and talked about travel.  When, where, how and how much.  We went to a movie.  Knight and Day.  It was fabulous.  We stayed in our chairs for the whole movie.  No potty breaks required.  We ate popcorn. 

The breakdown goes like this:

Dinner:  $40.00
Movie:  $17.50
Movie snacks:  $12.00
Babysitter:  $45.00
Date night with spouse:  PRICELESS

Contemplating Potty Seats and Pubic Hairs

Warning:  The following post is disgusting. 

Potty training Mimi.  She's just about accomplished it this week.  She's good to go on long outings in just her Princess panties.  She gives a good warning and is accurate pretty much all the time.  She means business.  She likes the sticker chart.  She likes panties.  She's a big girl.  And I'm so very proud of her.  The feel and look of that tiny little panty-clad bootie in the first few days sans diapers is like nothing else.  It's squishy and tickley and wonderful!

Now the gross.  Public potties.  Seriously fucking nasty.  Why? 

Why? 

Why is the toilet seat for home use round and continuous, a full circle or oval of butt-loving ecstasy.   But, in public bathrooms, it's a horseshoe shaped thing with a gap in the center?  Why?  And why is there always pee and pubes stuck in that horseshoe?  Who are the women who spontaneously shed pubic hair INTO pee on the inner rim of that horseshoe shaped seat from hell?    And on another note, why are they three inches long??  Is there a maximum length for pubic hairs before they spontaneously shed?

That's gross.  But I have you wondering.  And you never notice toilets like that unless you are: (a) six sheets to the wind and barfing into one; or (b) cleaning one off at high speed because you want to celebrate the successes of a tiny little two year old who has her stuff hiked up and is potty dancing while you wet-wipe perma-pubes stuck in piss off of the horseshoe.  And you DO notice.  And you DO care, when you are about to put your little darlings creamy white thighs up onto the porcelain throne.  The very last thing you want to do is plop her down into someone else's stray piddle and rogue pluckings.   So, go forth.  Take note.  I double dog dare you to share in my contemplating.  Potty seats and pubic hairs.

Through the Woods

Well folks, I think I'm through the woods.  And by woods I mean the revolving door of feelings the last week.  Homestead's un-visit.  The heat of July.  A particularly terrible menses.  This week, I have been resentful and depressed, bloated and bitchy, irrititated, sometimes sorrowful . . . and I'm coming into contemplative mode and beginning to clean up the mess of unfinished projects and the dribble-drabble of squandered time.

Regarding resentful and depressed:  Homey, we were sad together.  You were the one that said resentful.  I teetered more on the depressed side of things.  Let's set our sights on a new goal.  At one point this week, I must have looked particularly miserable.  MOTH said these words, "Buy a ticket.  Go.  Just tell me when and we'll make it happen."

Regarding bloated and bitchy:  Enough said.  Jay-suz H. Christ on a Bun.  I'm positively leveled this week.  How can menopause be any worse than this?  No drugs in the world suffice and I'm praying my head gets screwed on straight enough to recoup in the next few days before this angry circle comes again. 

Regarding irritated:   Yeah, well, see above.  I re-read this weeks' posts to try to level-headedly recap what was bitch central and what was truth.  I'm still peeved about the sand pit.  There wasn't much period talking there.  I stand by my post.  I am sure, however, I inadvertantly probably stepped on the toes of a really hip young mom who happens to be from the fair city I blogged about.  So, for the record, mother of flower child . . . . I apologize.  Don't be offended.  You are a different breed, with your fanny showing low jeans and your super cool stroller, which I do secretly covet. 

Regarding sorrowful:   Probably.  I'm not sure sorrow is the right word, but it's out there for the universe anyway.  I did alot of thinking and reflecting in the last couple of days.  Had some communication with and old friend, Jeffers.  So glad things are on an upswing with his life and family . . . . he's been on my mind every day since we reconnected months ago.  Had more communication with an even older friend (that's you, Jase).  A little brotherly type in all my years of waiting tables.  Come to find out, he's all grown up, married and living in the big city.  Wow.  I guess I thought time would stand still in a way.  We'd always be moody teenagers with cystic acne wishing we could rake the rug, close up early and cruise main.  Hmmm.  Sorrow applies as I've been contemplating friendships -- old and new.  Too much to post and too much raw emotion to wade through right now.  Suffice it to say . . . ah, shucks.  Shit and shoot.

On cleaning up the mess.  My GAWD.  What a tangled mess our lives and houses become when the ball of emotional twine comes unraveled, huh.  Really.  On a day to day basis, my A-game is in the HOUSE.  I bring it full tilt from morning till night.  Every day.  This week, I was off-kilter.  I think I started, and left painfully unfinished, at least fifty projects.  Starting weeding one flower bed.  Got distracted.  Cleaned the playground.  Got distracted.  Got out sidewalk chalk.  Colored.  Didn't clean that up.  Filled water balloons.  Came inside.  Made lunch.  Had to clear a space on the counter because I left the kitchen in a post-breakfast state of disrepair in order to pick weeds in that bed that I didn't finish.  I'm certain I molded (not folded . . . well, folded too, but I am talking about molded) a few loads of laundry this week.  Kept forgetting to start the dryer.  Talked to my brother about his visit.  Forgot that he told me and called him twice.  He must think I've gone crackers.  Went swimming.  Forgot my bottoms.  And sunscreen.  Would have been happy with a short trip to the pool but lost my keys somewhere in the depths of swim bag number two.  All week long, I've been living inside "If you give a mouse a muffin" or "If you give a pig a pancake."  It's the story of my life. 

I'm resolving to start on the right foot again.  Pick up, clean up, get up, suck it up.  I'm starting now.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time, in land not far away there lived a bar maid.  Well, a bar maid who aspired to be a nurse.  Or a writer.  Or maybe both.  In the same kingdom lived a reckless young man who drove fast motorcycles, climbed rocks with no shirt on and drank beer until midnight.

One evening, the bar maid and her girlfriends went out on the town.  They went to crowded pubs, played moonlight basketball on a college campus and dug up flowers from a parkway.  On one particular night, the reckless man and the bar maid accidentally met in a crowded pub.  Well, tried to meet.  The truth is the crowd was so thick that by the time he reached the spot where she was standing, her girlfriends were on to the next event and they drug her by the arm out of the crowded pub and onto the street.  'Twas a true Cinderlla moment.  Had Cinderella the bar maid-slash-nurse have been thinking, she would have slipped out of her strappy Payless sandel to leave him a clue . . . .

Many months later, the aspiring young nurse showed up for a clinical rotation where the assignment was to follow a patient though surgery.  It promised to be terrible.  Nothing but horror stories had come from fellow students and faculty for the months leading up to the event.  There were stories of young nurses passing out cold, vomiting on the doctors' shoes and having to leave the scene.  The young nurse showed up and received her assignment.  With frazzled nerves, she downed a light breakfast and paced about, waiting for the surgery to start.  Other staff members hustled and bustled about.  Dressed in blue from head to toe with puffy hats and masks, it was impossible to tell men from women, students from professionals.   But as the surgery started and everyone in attendance reported their name and credentials . . . .  the student nurse and an operating room guys' eyes met across an operating room, over masks, suction devices and various medical equipment.  The connection and recollection was instantaneous. 

Courtship followed.  It was a short courtship.  It was a whirlwind romance.  The month was October.   He met my mom only weeks into dating.  A road trip south and an introduction to my dad went super smooth.  Over Thanksgiving, I met his parents.  I remember these words, "Hon, this could be a deal breaker."  (Sidenote:  ever had one of those life moments of foreshadowing?  This is the largest of mine.  I should have taken him more seriously).   The meeting was wonderful.  They liked me then.  On December 23, a sparkly diamond ring was on my finger.  Days later, a wedding date was set.  MOTH was my rock.  Homestead was my anchor.  And it's important today, to tell pieces of the story . . . . because today marks twelve years. 

Ah, we were young and beautiful . . . . Happy Anniversary, MOTH :)



Thursday, July 08, 2010

A kindergarten student told his teacher that he'd found a cat, but it was dead.  "How do you know it was dead?" the teacher asked him.  "Because I pissed in its ear and it didn't move," answered the child innocently.  "You did WHAT??!" the teacher exclaimed in surprise.  "You know," explained the boy,  "I leaned over and went 'pssst' and it didn't move."

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Gas, time and money . . . Gone.

I took a trek north today.  North about an hour of drive time, give or take.  With seven kids ages ranging from 2 to 10.  Five girls.  Two boys.  Our mission:  Children's Museum.  Wait.  Pause.  When you hear the worlds 'children's' and 'museum' next to each other, what do you think?  Right.  Interactive stuff is a given.  Stuff to do.  Things to play with.  Stuff to learn about.  Something totally radical that makes you suck in your breath and marvel at your smallness in the world.  Some sort of parenting moment that makes you think, "damn, I probably wouldn't have gone there with my/these/our kids had THAT experience not prodded me forward."  I have great examples, so let me digress.  Dinosaurs.  I'm no palentologist, but I see a spark of interest in two of my children toward dinosaurs.  So, we read about them, we talk about time, ice ages and extinction.  Another example:  Egyptology.  I'm much more of a Civil War kind of girl, but two of my kids like sphynx-us.  Mummies, Ramses, the dead & sarcophogus-es (or is is sarcophogi when plural??) trip their triggers and float their boats.  We have lots of Egypt books.  We've mummy wrapped barbies and decorated boxes to inter them. 

The price of today:

$38 tank of gas
admission:  $8 per person . . . . (7 kids and 2 adults) -- $72.00
lunch:  just under $55

And here is what the Children's Museum had. 






(Large open space that screams NOTHING!!)

I'll be honest.  It wasn't just a empty building with funky paint and colorful tiles.  There was paint.  Bubbles.  Shopping carts.  A mach-vet clinic (read: stethescopes, doctor kits & stuffed animals).

Has anyone seen my house?  I think it might qualify as a Children's Museum.  I could charge admission.  And a parking fee.  I'd be rich.

Okay, let me qualify the large, glaring white space of nothingness above with this:  the bubbles were really cool.  Every kid loves bubbles.  There was a really rad fill-your-bubble-with-smokey-vapor station and a cool bubble booth that you could get into.  HOWEVER.  There were four fill-your-bubble-with-smokey-vapor-hoses and one giant bubble booth.  To accomodate no less than 50 kids in that room.  It was wall to wall mom-size asses shuffling through a mob of people that rivaled a ACDC concert, across a slippery, bubble-juice doused floor.  Can you say, DANGER??

Suffice it to say that I am sorely disappointed in the Children's Museum.  Nothing much to do there, and for a non-local, I felt like I had landed square in the middle of a local play group.  Lots of very cute and trendy looking new moms in their low cut, butt-crack-hanging-out pants pushing fancy $300 strollers while their kids ran ass wild.  Nice segue into my second disappointment.

WATCH YOUR DAMN KIDS.  Please.  Please, watch your own kids.  I believe it is completely 100% socially inappropriate to take small children (and yes, I am talking small . . . under 4) to a place like that and leave them in a room or a venue or a location while you chat, people watch and sip lattes.  In the train room, someone's child beaned Mimi with a train track and proceeded to throw the toys she was playing with on the floor.  I almost got in a fist fight.  In the forest room, some kid shoved Little down the ant hole and elbowed him so hard that he went reeling backward, landing flat on his can in a tree fort. 

There was a giant sand pit set up outside. It was awesome. I love to dig. Kids love to dig. There were shovels and buckets, sand chairs and sifters. There was a very well thought-out clean up station exactly downstream for easy cleanup. Kudos.  It was a sanctuary in the chaos.  For a few minutes.  Here's the thing:  I feel like I need to pen and apology at the same time I voice my opinion.  At the risk of pissing people off (come on, I have . . . four followers . . . . ).  Preface:  Don't take this wrong.  Regardless of whether you are a new mom with butt-crack showing jeans or your situation rivals the Duggers and you've had so many kids that you have to manually stuff your female parts back in after you crap, the point is the same.  If you have little kids, they need supervision.  In the sandpit today, Mimi walked in and came right back out saying, "Mommy, you play with me?  Mommy, play with me?  Mommy, come play?  Mommy, shoes off.  Mommy, come in."  And I was in.  I hiked up my skirt, covered my goods and dug to China.  I made cakes.  I dug roads.  I built a moat.  And before long, a young man named Steven was playing with my moat.  And then Cooper came over to see if I would make him a bridge.  The my own child wanted to connect his 'biggest hole in the world' with another 'biggest hole in the world' and make a land bridge.  Sure.  But then Kaden came over.  Then Olivia.  It's appropriate to ask now:  what IS the going rate for a nanny?  I'll take my payment in crisp, non-sequential 10's and 20's.  Soon, a little rascal called Xavier was marching through everyone's sand space, smashing castles, crushing moats, jumping on bridges.  His mommy watched from the entrance and laughed.  The older brother of those two thought throwing sand might be fun.  Another set of kids came through.   One was a screamer.  And I mean SCREAMER.  Holy shit, crack glass SCREAMER.  (For the record, here's the rule in our house:  Screaming is for emergencies.  If a stranger is trying to put you in their car, by all means, SCREAM your bloody head off.  If you've fallen and broken a leg, bones are sticking out of your skin . . . . howl at the the moon.  But screaming is not for fun.  It's not funny.)  Screamy kid stole the shovel that we've been patiently waiting for thirty minutes and threw handfuls of sand directly into at least half-dozen youngsters' eyes.    His mom sat on the bench along side the sand pit.  She apologized to the other parents for his volume, and to the child kept saying (in the very high pitched voice used for rewarding dogs and children, "I know (squeaky, squeaky) . . you're just so excited." Really?  It that really how it's done now?  Doesn't anyone tell their kids "NO" anymore?   I understand redirection.  I understand parenting by the path of least resistance.  Hell, I JUST posted about that very topic THIS WEEK.  I understand tantrums.  I understand helicopters and drill sargeants.  I do.  But I also completely, whole heartedly believe in direct supervision and firm discipline.

Recap #1:  Don't visit the Children's Museum.
Recap #2:  Watch your kids.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Failed Mission.

It's been on our calendars for, er, um years.  Well, months at least.  July 3rd through 10th.  Visitors from the frozen north.  But on July 1st, it was apparent that our long-planned visit would have to be postponed.  On July 2nd at 7 am, my phone beep-beep-beep-beeped.  When I looked at it and it said, "Homestead Here" . . . . and I thought about the postponed visit, tears came to my eyes. 

I moped around picking weeds for a chunk of the weekend.  I worked in a full bag of clay buster to the beds.  I pulled yarrow with vengeance.  I filled bag after bag.  I worked until my shoulders were sunburned and I feared I'd never stand upright again.  I continued my walking mission, logging between 10,500 and 12,500 steps on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  I did extra abs.  I ate well and stayed on track.  But I continued to mope around.   I bought toilet paper.  And played frisbee with the kiddos.  I played with Mimi.  Alot.  I taught her to say "ba-da-bing . . . ba-da-boom".  It's adorable.   I was ornery and lippy to MOTH.  I sorted toys for Goodwill, packaged too-small-Mimi clothes for hand-me-downs and went through the shoe bin.  Twice.  I update apps, surfed on itunes, synced all the i-devices and organized songs, picutres & files.   I finished reading a book, started another, didn't like it -- aborted that mission and started yet another.

I participated in a touch of retail therapy today before I really realized how overwhelmingly, uncontrollable, irrationally bummed I am.  Damn. Damn. Damn.  Homey says it might still happen.  Might. 

Here's my-slash-our running advertisement:

WANTED:

Wanted: 20,30,40-something moms and mom-types for fun times. some kid play involved. some adult conversation and entire blocks of time NOT spent discussing children. (you remember... things like books, movies, politics, crazy in-laws, silly spouses, favorite underpants, art, fashion, science, what color to paint the bathroom.... whatever.) must not be perfect. must appreciate budgeting, organization, simplicity, the eternal quest to figure out what is for dinner and keeping romance alive. must be funny, smart and sometimes crude. obnoxious laughter in inappropriate settings, spelling out swear words and always having a fingernail file a plus. must be willing to jump on a trampoline, have an occasional drink and be proud about having ice cream for dinner.

Please apply soon. I really miss my friend.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Launch.


The man in the saggy pants and the red hat launched my kids.  I mean LAUNCHED my kids.  Thirty two feet in the air.  Big was observant.  Not afraid, but not in love.  Middle turned back-flips.  Is anyone surprised?  Little was most hilarious.  With an itty tiny body like his, it seemed, from ground level, like he was really soaring.   He giggled the whole time and had the crowd below in sticthes.  MOTH and I had tears in our eyes; we were laughing so hard.  He came off giddy and wide-eyed and wanted to get right back in line and go again.  Such fun!!

Whee-heee-heee!!!


How many times in your life have you said, "I wish I would have thought of that?"  It happens to me all the time.  Jibbits, for example.  If I would have come up with Jibbits, I'd have a beach house in the bahamas and a young man with a chiseled chest would be feeding me grapes and fanning me with a palm frond.  Here's another situation. Why didn't I build a giant slide and chop up carpet remnants?  I could charge kids a buck a slide and make millions in a day, especially at the height of tourist season.  Hmmm.  At any rate . . . . good fun, even though it wasn't my invention.  And check out the stairs!  If you go as many times as we did, it's a good workout, too!!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Sleeping Beauty

Maybe it's parenting by the path of least resistance.  Maybe I'm allowing her to be herself.  But this I know . . . when I say, "everyone get ready for bed" and Mimi comes out looking like this . . . . it's okay.

Here's sleeping beauty wearing her favorite priness nightgown, Belle shoes and one of Middle's old sweatshirts.  She's got her current favorite three stuffies and one baby balanced on top of her tummy.  She's cuddled up with BeeBee, her blankie . . . . has the paci.  What you can't see is the transformers costume gloves she's wearing, or the flashlight clutched in her hand.