Sums up our last 2 years… A ROLLER COASTER. Thursday, May 30 2013 


20130530-011523.jpg

“Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass… It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

Advertisements

We ALL Deserve A Break Today Sunday, Sep 25 2011 


Yesterday while walking through the park and around the lake, I had another one of those episodes where somehow just putting in my ear buds and grooving to my raunchy yet oddly motivating booty music seemed to put me in my own little world. It’s really a bizarre character flaw and not nearly as cool as when the Potter kids throw on their invisibility cloak, though it works in a similar fashion. The loud thumping in my ears somehow hinders proper brain function and makes me think I’m invisible to the lowly peons around me. It happens at the gym all the time. Well, not that I’m actually AT the gym all the time. I just mean that when I AM there, it’s likely to happen and thoughts fly out of my mouth aloud. I know this happens because I’ve gotten weird looks from people right after they’ve gotten in my way and I’ve thought to “myself” how annoying they are. Barring the possibility that they are actual mind readers, it’s highly likely that irritated sighs and sounds escape from my mouth. My sister thinks I’m crazy. I think it’s funny. I need the music to keep me going anyway so there isn’t much of a choice and alone with my private thoughts (hell, maybe not so private if my thoughts become vocalized) I sometimes make sense of things in today’s hectic life.

As on any beautiful weekend day, the park was packed. There were hippies playing frisbee, couples sitting in the shade and on park benches, old men sitting along the seawall in their folding chairs with their fishing poles, boats launching, family reunions under the pavilions, and birthday parties. This Saturday night in addition to the flock of seagulls, there was a wedding party and groups of high school kids each with its own set of paparazzi taking pictures in front of the fountain all dolled up in their fancy gowns. So I ran. I ran so far away. I ran all night and day. I couldn’t get away. (Well, maybe I walked, but if I said that then you wouldn’t get the whole Flock of Seagulls song reference would you??) I didn’t want my picture snapped sans makeup in my funky sweat gear and ball cap photobombing all the beautiful people and becoming immortalized in family albums for years to come. I remember thinking when I saw the children’s birthday parties how I often wish my social set here would occasionally take things back to a simpler time when kiddie parties were simply cake and ice cream with pin the tail on the donkey.

Nowadays, things seem to be so much more complicated often resulting in unnecessary stress and expense. There are petting zoos and princess themes with teams of divas that show up at your house like Extreme Home Makeover to transform your daily “drab” inferior interior into a party fit for a queen but most importantly… the other parents. Look, I love those parties and the truth is, many people ENJOY throwing those kinds of parties so I don’t want to sound like one of the bitter people who simply can’t keep up and feels they must. I do think though that for the parents out there who feel discouraged and max out the credit cards trying to be the ultimate hosts and hostesses, maybe they should take a step back and think about what really matters and what it is their own children would really be comfortable with having. True, my own little ones attend these parties and want the equivalent, but perhaps they just haven’t been to enough of the simple ones where all they need is a bathing suit and sprinkler. Here’s what’s gone through MY mind when considering these options when money’s been tight:

  • Maybe my kid will feel like he’s the poor kid on the block – like the one who’s mama actually MAKES him where a homemade superhero costume on Halloween while Flash Gordon over there has real working light up stuff that shoots lasers or something at the big kids who get in his way of the candy. (GREAT! Now I’ve got Halloween anxiety which is quickly approaching after talking about my birthday party anxiety. 😦 )
  • Maybe if I don’t provide enough food for all the little children AND their parents, people will starve and kids will start asking their parents, “Where’s the pizza, Mama?” right in front of me so that I have to run and call Papa John like that was really the plan all along and give him my credit card so nobody passes out or worse… TALKS ABOUT ME!
  • Maybe if I go the cheap route and do it at home none of the kids will come. See, maybe their parents are kinda shy – or even bitchy – and feel uncomfortable having to sit on my couch with a bunch of other parents until all the cake has been eaten and the presents have been opened. That’s just awkward for some people and I TOTALLY get it. Maybe for them, sitting around on the backyard patio with all the properly coiffed mamas feels like high school all over again wondering which lunch table to sit at.
  • Maybe I need to casually walk my kid to and from class every morning and every afternoon instead of carpool line and chit-chat with the parents so that the new ones get to know me and think I’m friendly and won’t avoid the party because they don’t know any of the other parents.
  • Maybe some of these people can’t afford the barrage of parties every weekend and the presents that accompany them. I don’t want to make them feel like they HAVE to go, but I really WANT them to go just so my own kid doesn’t get disappointed that so-and-so from class isn’t there. (Don’t even get me STARTED now on the expense of birthday party presents every weekend when you’re trying to mask the fact that you’re flat broke at this particular stage in your life but are trying to please your own kids by allowing them to attend and the birthday kids by not disappointing them)

I remember last year when a friend of mine went through a similar dilemma. She was on a strict budget with three little ones and was pregnant with her fourth while her husband was serving overseas. These moms get my applause on a daily basis but ESPECIALLY when trying to throw together a birthday party all by themselves. I couldn’t remember all of the details this morning so I asked her about it. She actually had to ask WHICH party “disaster” I was referring to from this year. Was it the one where she stopped to pick up pizza and ice cream making her late for the party and arrived home with the only key to find the guests waiting in the front yard in the middle of January in COLORADO? Or was it the other one that she posted about on Facebook where hardly any kids showed? Damn! I felt bad for her, but I remember TONS of people commenting on her status and fessing up to trying to keep up with other PARENTS when what really mattered was the CHILDREN. She did a great job and her little man was happy which was really all that mattered. This is what she posted when she felt discouraged and all of  the festivities were complete:

Threw the world’s lamest birthday party this afternoon. But the guest of honor was happy so it wasn’t a total flop. My house was a mess. I took a nap instead of making cupcakes. (Luckily there were enough gluten-free ones that my friend brought for her son with Celiac to go around for all the kids.) We sang him happy birthday but there were no candles to blow out. He probably set the world record for speed-opening of gifts – all 6 in under 75(?) seconds. Then he played his new Wii games while ignoring all his guests.

I woke this morning to another old friend’s pictures from her son’s birthday party on Facebook. SHUT UP!!! I had no idea they still have birthday parties at McDonald’s. Are you KIDDING ME?!?! It looked like she had a few close friends for her son’s 5th birthday party and all those sweet little booboos wear wearing party hats and big ‘ol smiles. Not a grimace was to be found (and I DID look for that big purple blob. What IS he anyway??) I had a couple of birthday parties at Mickey D’s myself and lots of my friends did too. I have memories of the that chocolate cake with Ronald on top and the whipped icing with sprinkles. I still remember hand clapping to the all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on a sesame seed bun song. Who did NOT climb to the top of that big hamburger jail that used to be on all of the playgrounds and bounce on those spring-loaded Fry Guy things on Mayor McCheese’s turf? That was before Chuck E Cheese came into the picture and when the only THEME your party had to have was for the plates and napkins. I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite because I LOVE a good theme party, but I’ve caught myself sinking enough money into these themes to where I’d have sworn Hamburglar came along and wiped out my checking account. This year we simply couldn’t swing the super fancy party favors that are a gift themselves to every tiny party goer so I took the kids down to Party City with instructions to get some little things to fill the plastic goody bags. After roaming the aisles and perusing the party picks, we finally found the Cars 2 display and the sales clerk asked me if we needed any help. Leave it to my kid to smile and say, “No thanks! We’re buying a bunch of cheap stuff made in China to put in the goody bags!” CRAP!! I was mortified but crap is what we bought and none of the kids OR parents seemed to mind when we handed them out. In fact, I think I’m super lucky. We got strong armed into having the festivities at the roller rink but I seriously doubt any of those other parents would have said a word if we’d blown up balloons and thrown streamers around at the park. My own anxiety about these kinds of things gets to me, but I’m thinking that I’m not alone. Retro is in, and if any of the other sometimes-anxious-overly-eager-to-please-their-child-and-live-up-to-the-standards-set-by-today’s-world folks wanna give it a try, cop a squat at the local park and don’t feel inferior to the folks with the back-yard carnivals at their McMansions. I promise you’ll see others doing the same, and don’t we ALL deserve a break today?

(For anyone interested: Check out this article from retrojunk.com I found when I started looking for picture. THIS will take you back!!) http://www.retrojunk.com/details_articles/4432/

The Mouths Of Babes Friday, Aug 5 2011 


Mom

What

Guess what!

What

I’ll tell you what! Some people are allergic to things. Did you know that?

Yes

How’d you know that?

I just did

You know what else?

What

I think I’m allergic to lots of things.

No you’re not.

I think I’m allergic to vegetables and pasta and rice and meat and fish and shrimp.

No you’re not.

How do you know that??

Because you’ve eaten those things before.

No I haven’t! I don’t like them.

Well, you did before you can remember and before you decided not to like them. And just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean you’re allergic.

I never ate shrimp!!

Yes you did. I gave you popcorn shrimp from the deli at WalMart to keep you quiet every time I grocery shopped. You just don’t like shrimp OR being quiet anymore.

You GAVE me SHRIMP?!?!!!! I could’ve DIED!!!

But you didn’t.

But I could’ve!

But you DIDN’T!!!

You didn’t know that when you gave it to me though!!!

Well…. But…

I can’t even believe you DID that.

Well, I gave you peanuts too and you liked them and you’re not allergic to them either. HA!

But I’m allergic to peanut butter though.

No you’re NOT!! Just because you somehow love PEANUTS but hate peanut butter & jelly sandwiches does NOT mean you are ALLERGIC to that. You just don’t LIKE it. TOTALLY different.

No it’s not.

Yes it is. I’m not arguing with you.

Mom

What

Guess what

What

I”ll tell you what. I need to find out what I’m allergic to.

Fine. When we go to WalMart, I’ll get some foods that lots of people are allergic to and you can taste each one so we can see what happens. Maybe you’ll find something new to start eating that you like.

Are you KIDDING me?!?! I saw that show where the guy’s tongue got real big because he ate cinnamon.

Then we can put cinnamon on our list.

MOM!!!! NO!!! I mean if I eat something then my tongue could get fat and you’d have to take me to the hospital.

Then how do you want to find all this out?

You said Aunt E had an allergy test. I could do that.

FINE!!! We’ll go there and they can stick a bunch of needles in you to see how you react if that’s what you want.

HUH?!?! Why do they use NEEDLES??

So they can get under the skin and see how your skin reacts. YOU are getting a little under MY skin now.

Huh? I don’t have any NEEDLES!! Who invented needles anyway?

Probably Mr. Needle and named it after himself because he was VEIN. I’m so funny!

Why?

Nevermind.

Mom

What

What does REACT mean?

It means if they poke you and if a bump comes up like a mosquito bite that itches, then BINGO! You get to be allergic to something and I’ll be very happy for you.

I’m not doing that.

Then quit talking about it.

Why?

Because you’re giving me a headache.

Are you allergic to something you think??

NO!!!

Can you be allergic to people?

I’m starting to think so.

Maybe I’m allergic to you even though I like you like when people eat a good dessert that has allergic stuff on it. How far is the hospital?

1 mile. It’s where you were born. I’ll just bring you back.

Nevermind.

(35 minutes later)

MOM!

What

Gueth Wha (Sticking out tongue to show me something)

What

Thumthing’s comin oudda my tongue (shows me the veins beneath his tongue)

You’re fine. Those are veins.

FANGS!!??!?!!!

NO, NOT FANGS!!!! You ARE starting to suck the life out of me though. Your tongue is not swollen. You just ate the same fruit you eat every day of your life. You are NOT allergic to anything INCLUDING me. Those are VEINS. They are all over your body. We all have them. Now, let me write my blog.

Fine. What are you writing about?

You being allergic to things

I’m not allergic to anything. Why do you think I’m allergic to something???

(To be continued…)

Back To The Future – The Triple Challenge Friday, Jul 8 2011 


I signed up for this whole blog thing just three weeks ago and I guess I jumped in with both feet. Now I’m part of a “Post A Day” challenge and receive emails for inspiration. The photo challenge headline was “Old Fashioned” and the post challenge was “Write about your earliest memory.” Since I don’t have a lot of time here, I’m going to try to be creative to combine both while also keeping my Facebook peeps in the loop with what we are up to in Our Town. It’s a triple challenge! So I’m going to take you back to 1955, 1985 and possibly into the future as well at EXACTLY 88 miles per hour because at PRECISELY 10:04pm lighting is going to strike my clock tower with the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity I need to hit the bed and be re-charged for tomorrow. That gives me one hour to compose my tale and meet all three objectives so buckle up and get into my DeLorean because we’re going to go fast…

I took Brother out for some special one-on-one time when Sister started Art Camp this summer. We hit up an old battleship and managed to get a private tour in the middle of one of the hottest days of the year through a steel oven that had no open doors or windows for circulation. It was built sometime near the end of WWII and we were actually informed that it was a destroyer quite aptly named as you should have seen my hair and makeup by the time we left. We got to check out the innards of this hot box on water and got to climb every ladder and go down every “hole with a pole” so the kid was in heaven. I left with one of the images burned into my brain. My kid actually had to ask me what this was and the conversation went something as follows:

The old typewriter from our Battleship Tour

What’s that?!?

Well, Brother, it is a typewriter.

It looks weird. What’s it for?

Communicating with other people. Like… writing letters and then putting a stamp on them and delivering them through the postman.

They didn’t have email, huh? Or computers. Or electricity. Did YOU have to do that to talk to your friends before there were telephones?

Oh, Brother. You’re in for it.

Who invented it?

Um. Well. I dunno. But I’m pretty sure it was another Brother who marketed it and put his name on it: Brother. Ha! See! I do know something kid.

(more…)

Fireworks in “Our Town” Monday, Jul 4 2011 


What did YOU wake up to today? I woke up at 5:45 to the sound of my daughter rummaging through the bathroom. I almost – ALMOST – got out of bed, but the sound of gagging would be required to make my feet hit the floor. Then I remembered! She told me last night she was setting her alarm on her little DS so that she could wake up before Brother and me to SURPRISE us. Maybe that little thing has some value to it after all. (The DS, not the kid. She has immeasurable value.) I’m a totally freakin’ responsible parent so I made sure to set parameters for the surprise: Do NOT scare Brother from his slumber, NO oven/stove & NOTHING electrical. The fire brigade works around the clock, but I did NOT need them to be called for our own set of fireworks here at the castle where I’m celebrating my own newfound independence. “Gotcha,” she said.

So I waited and dozed until Brother slid into bed and snuggled up with me. Shortly before 7am, she entered fully dressed and announced that the surprise was starting. She was ready for us and had in fact changed and slept in her clothes after I tucked her in so that she wouldn’t have to waste any time in the morning with such trivial necessities. I opened my eyes and said, “Good Morning, Lovebug!” to her and her hat. The chipper little doll was wearing a headband with a sign cleverly attached that said, “Happy 4th of July.” Let the fireworks begin. Brother and I walked down the hall and entered the “Fashion Cafe” from dinner 2 nights ago which had now been transformed into some sort of street carnival. Brother’s sleepy eyes lit up and just about exploded when he was told there were PRIZES at stake for the early morning games to come. Whatever. I’ll let you win Dude and maybe they’ll keep you occupied until I’ve had my coffee.

First game: Trivia. A little book was filled with page after page after page of questions so it appeared my sanity was in Jeopardy. She’s so stinkin’ cute though that Brother and I followed the rules and answered the questions.

What are the colors on the American Flag?

What is our official bird?

What is the name of our National Anthem?

What dance does Mickey do on the Disney Movie? And Donald??

The million dollar question was, “What do you call a pig with lipstick?” Answer: An ugly pig.

Please don't send me to jail. I just copied it from Google

And PLEASE don't send the Secret Service after me! Someone much more evil than me made this picture and I found it when I googled Obama Lipstick. I don't want to go to jail. My kids need their mother.

(more…)

Our Town Friday, Jul 1 2011 


I woke up this morning to my very own custom-made publication. No, I have not been published YET, but it seems that my daughter has taken an interest in writing as well. In her version of the local crime blotter, the cub has taken to reporting the words and actions of her brother. I’m thinking this is NOT going to win her a Pulitzer, however a Pull-At-Her (hair) may be in store once little brother can read. The headline read, “Vampire In Town” so I’m not sure if this implied that he bit her or what, but she had been sure to clearly depict the villain in his superhero pajamas. There was a Style section, Sports section, and even an Entertainment section with movies and show times gathered from my little iPhone app. We seem to have created our own little city of sorts and every city needs a Town Crier. We have two, quite possibly three if I finally break by the end of Summer.

What got me going on this was my discovery a couple of days ago. A fight of sorts had broken out in the street, or hall, or whatever you want to call it. Sister was screaming that Brother had locked himself in his room with all of the checkers, and she could hear them clinking together as he counted his stash. That’s what I said – CHECKERS. This should NOT be cause for alarm on a normal day because she is usually TRYING to get him to stay out of her room and in his own. So WHAT was the problem? As best I could tell through the tears and high-pitched siren-like cries, Brother had stolen all of the “checkers” from the Connect Four game and was hoarding them in his room. She then explained to me that this meant she could no longer Do anything, BUY anything, or have FUN of any kind until she recovered her rightful portion of the loot. Slowly I began to understand. It seemed these two had reverted back to caveman days in more ways than one and devised a bartering system for goods and services here in Our Town. How civilized! Unexpected? Yes. Brilliant? Right on! I was so proud! This discovery meant there was hope for law and order in the Wild West after all. When one child wanted to borrow something from another, a price was set. If that price was mutually agreeable, then a deal was sealed, you checked out at the registers where checkers were exchanged and everyone was happy without calling in The Law, ME. “Now I get it! THAT’s what the little price tags posted in the bedrooms meant,” I thought. It was further explained to me that “reds” were worth $100 and “yellows” were a mere $1, and Sister had slowly accumulated ALL of the checkers. This was where I was going to have to mosey in and reclaim my town however.

I interrogated Brother for a few minutes after dismissing the complainant and found he had an understandable reason for stealing the checkers. The poor kid was literally poor. He had spent all of his checkers purchasing goodies from The Sister Store and had priced his own items in Brother’s Market unreasonably high. There was actually little demand for his supply of goods as the only thing he had become willing to sell or part with was broken pieces of toys and pictures of himself. It had become a buyer’s market and Sis wasn’t buying his wares. He also wasn’t willing to sell any of his alloted time on the Wii as he was in desperate pursuit of some special badge or title or trophy or something in his rat race with Mario. I had to feel sorry for the kid, but I couldn’t let The Village People run amuck. The was not the Y-M-C-A and boarders had to obey the law of the land. Once the situation had been explained to Sister, she took pity on the defendant and allowed him into her saloon with no hard time served. (Actually it’s really more of a Salon since she doesn’t serve the hard stuff – only Koolaid- and  Barbie Doll heads and nail polish are scattered about.) (more…)