Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's time

I'm ready.  Ready to shake the dust of this year off my heels.  Ready to maybe hopefully definitely make some changes.  I've never really been one to do the whole "New Year's Resolution" thing.  At least not seriously. And that's not what I'm doing now.  But I feel a bit like I'm standing on the edge.  The edge of a line where I look behind me and see...well, mostly good things.  There are a lot of bumps - some were unavoidable, most were human error - I know those will still happen, I'm not naiive.  I also know however, that some things truly need to change if we want to be better.  I was going to write "happier" there - but that's not the right word.  We are mostly happy now. 

When I look forward from the edge on which I stand I see...possibility.  I also see an uphill battle.  It won't be easy to change.  It never is.  But I'm at a point in my life where I feel like I have to do something.  In six months I will be 39.  I've always known it would be a momentous year in my life.  It was the last year of life for my Mom.  She never made it to her fortieth birthday.  It's something of a talisman to me.  As I've gotten closer and closer to that mark I've begun to realize that if I want things to be better I need to make them better.  No one is going to come along and hand me a sack of dreams fulfilled.

Will I fail and fall down and (as Vodka Mom is wont to say) f*ck up every day?  Of course.  No question about that, really.  But I want better.  I'm ready for better.  I'm ready to open my eyes, take a deep breath, and step from the edge.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Take a break

Like many, things are a bit hectic and crazy for me right now.  Trying to get everything accomplished on my long list (that doesn't seem to be getting any shorter, by the way)  is keeping me up at night.  I have been neglecting this blog and feel like I should have half a dozen posts stored up in my brain, but for some reason every time I sit down to try to write something I come up empty. So instead of putting something half assed together (which would be totally something I would do so unlike me), I thought I'd provide a little break from the "stress" everyone talks about.  I've been addicted to the soundtrack to the Blues Brothers for about a year now.  It is my go-to music when I need a lift.  I hope you enjoy the following.  I dare you to listen and not start tapping your feet.  Merry, Merry!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

We're thinking retirement

So here's the thing.  You know how vampires are all wicked popular now, right?  Not popular like in my day, when Anne Rice was the coolest vampire thing going and you had to slog through pages and pages of teeny tiny print describing ancient New Orleans.  Not to knock Anne Rice.  I loved those books.  And dreamed of somehow becoming a vampire before any of this Team Edward-Team Jacob malarky. 

My real point here (which is actually not to sound like a high minded octegenarian), is that I think we may have hit the lottery.  I'm pretty sure the Pixie is on her way to vampirism.  (Is that a word?) My evidence:

Exhibit A:  Girlfriend is a night owl.  We put her to bed at a normal time, usually 7:30 to 8. She will stay in her crib (um, yeah. She's 3.5 and still in her crib. What of it?)  and talk to herself or her animals, "read" books and generally hang out until late.  I'm talking ten o'clock late!  The other night I was reading in the living room and I hear her singing to herself.  I get up and look at the clock, 9:45.  I go closer to listen to what she is singing and really got a laugh.  "Jingle Bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg..."  Hilarious. 
She also hates getting up in the morning.  That might be because she isn't going to bed until I do, but it is not unusual for her to sleep until 10 to 10:30 even!

Exhibit B:  Now I know this picture is kind of grainy because I had to blow it up - but check out these teeth!

I mean seriously!  I think I could rest my case on those babies alone!  (She's either headed to vampirism or beaverism...oh, I'm kidding.)

I will give you that she does reflect in mirrors and she can go out in the sun and all - without sparkling.  But surely vampires have figured out how to get past that problem by now, right?  Maybe if I'd actually read those Twilight books I might have learned that secret. Regardless of all that - don't you think this is a golden opportunity?  I think I should write to Hollywood and send a picture of those teeth along.  We could be set for life!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Land of the Living

omigod, I'm like, finally alive!  The day after I got home from the FL trip - November 18th to be exact - I started getting sick.  I was sick all through that weekend, fever and all. That broke on the following Monday, so I thought I was on the mend. Uh, wrong.  I thought it was some cold/flu type thing and that I just had to man up and get through it.  Finally, after a week and a half of congestion and coughing and miserableness, the Mr. insisted I go to the doctor.  Don't get me wrong, I am not one of those people who steer clear of doctors - I just thought they were going to tell me it was viral and there was nothing to do about it.

So I finally go.  Only to find out I have double ear infections (what am I, six months old?) and a sinus infection.  Nice.  But here we are, five days and a Z-pack later and I finally remember what it feels like to feel good! Hooray for antibiotics and cough medicine with codeine! 

Of course now I have to face the world and do things like laundry and apparently the people who pay me expect me to do some kind of work or something.  Phht. Like I have time for that.  So I'm way late on catching up on things like emails and blogs and starting to panic about Christmas, etc, etc. Good times. 

At least I'm healthy!  And let me tell you, I can really appreciate that now.  So be sure to get your rest out there, and drink plenty of water and shit like that.  Because you don't want to be sick this time of year, it sucks.

Promise to be back to full participation soon, especially since I need confirmation that the Pixie is in fact, a vampire.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's like an epiphany. A sucky one.

As some of you may recall from some writing I did before - and for those of you who were not around then - I will start by saying:  I'm a slob.  Although I absolutely hate that word. It just sounds  Okay, sorry - I'm not making sense. Let's start again.

I have never been neat.  There, that's better.  My room as a kid was always layer upon layer of crap. Clothes, toys, games, Barbie clothes, etc. You get the idea.  As an adult, I am sorry to say, I am not much better.  Slightly, perhaps.  I do have my fits and spurts of cleanliness.  It does get to a point where even I cannot take it.  Today, for example.  I have the day off - childless.  Ah, the freedom to Get Things Done.  I came home from dropping the Pixie at daycare and started right off and cleaned my car.  That was a really good feeling.  Very proof positive of a job well done kind of thing.

Then I decided to tackle the Wonderboy's room.  Here is where the epiphany part comes in.  Oh.My.God. My kid is just like me.  I started in the closet pulling out all the accumulated crap.  Stuff that hasn't seen the light of day in months? Donate pile.  (And one that will be boxed up and in the car before he ever sees it.)  Cheap, horrible McDonald's toys? Garbage.  I cut a swath.  Next to the shelves! Taking everything off so I could dust(!) and put things neatly back.

Okay. Now I'm onto the toy box. *shudder*  On a side note.  Wonderboy is big on Legos. His uncle, my brother, is a Lego genius (seriously, he was once a finalist for one of their jobs at Legoland.) So I was kind of psyched when WB showed an interest in Legos. They're cool and I dig the family history thing.  But holy shit, the Legos!!!  EVERYWHERE.  I had started by using quart containers for them and eventually just dragged out a big bin and started throwing them all in there.

People. I have been at this freaking room for almost three hours.  Then I lift up the bed skirt and find out just exactly how much like me this little punk is.  Here is proof of all the stuff I pulled out from under his bed.  From the last time he "cleaned his room."

I thought that whole thing about "When you grow up, I hope you have a kid just like you!" was for when they were teenagers?  I am f*cking doomed.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

How come no one asks you what you want to be when you grow up when you're a grown up?

I envy those people that knew from the time they went to college - or before - what they wanted to do with their lives as far as a career.  And then went out and made those careers happen.  Me?  I thought for years I wanted to be a teacher. My parents were teachers, aunts, cousins - it was in our blood.  I went to school and majored in education to be a high school English teacher.  Second semester of senior year I was in a classroom.  In a classroom going, "Holy shit, I don't think this is for me."

And so, all these many years later I have a job in an industry that I never expected. It's okay and all. It takes a special kind of crazy to work in any aspect of hospitality.  But the benefits suck. Like big-time.  The hours can also suck.  We work weekends which has luckily been okay so far, less daycare for the Pixie = less money going out in that direction.  However, in two years she is going to be in school like the Wonderboy.  Their lives will be Monday through Friday.  Weekends are for things like sports, playdates, birthday parties. 

What I'm getting at here is that I need to figure out what the hell I'm doing career-wise.  Good time to be thinking about this, right? Economy is totally tanked - let's go find a new job!  The other part of it is, the avenues that I am thinking of pursuing will require me to go back to school.  Which means paying for school. It's such a vicious cycle.  Can't quit work to go to school full-time.  Can barely pay for anything at the moment, so let's add some educational debt into the mix!  Plus, did I mention how much I hate change? A lot.  Frightens me down to my littlest toe. 

But it's time to face facts.  Health insurance is kicking our ass.  Can't get it through either job so we go private and it's a fortune.  My kids are young, we have a good amount of time before they get to college.  I'm not *ahem* that old.  If I'm looking at 25 or more years of work, I'd like it to be doing something I truly enjoy.  I just wish I could figure out what that is.  I have some ideas - full on career change kind of things.  Scary. The thought of starting over - scary.  The thought that I'd still be sitting at the same desk in another twenty years? Even scarier. 

Any advice?

Monday, November 16, 2009

I have not joined a cult

In case you were worried.  Have been in Florida since Thursday night. Some bumps in the yearly sisters trip this year.  All is well and we will be home tomorrow.  I'm sure it will take me awhile to catch up with everyone!

Monday, November 9, 2009

One of the reasons I would miss New England

Autumn.  Or Fall, if you prefer.  I know some people don't like this time of year since it's the beginning of the end as far as seasons go.  (And New England winters are definitely a reason I would not miss New England.) But how could you not be blown away by these colors?

Seriously.  And check out this crazy tree that I am totally fascinated by

Isn't that just amazingly cool?  Happy Fall!  Let's remember to enjoy it before everything becomes covered in ice and snow.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Holly Golightly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?
Paul Varjak:The mean reds, you mean like the blues?
Holly Golightly:
No. The blues are because you're getting fat and maybe it's been raining too long, you're just sad that's all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid and you don't know what you're afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling? 
Paul Varjak: Sure.
Holly Golightly:
Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany's. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that'd make me feel like Tiffany's, then - then I'd buy some furniture and give the cat a name! 

Kind of tough for me to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany's.  But man, I've been fighting the mean reds for a couple of days now.  I wasn't going to write about it.  Considering how I was kind of whiny in my last post. I don't want the few of you who come here to start thinking I'm Debbie Downer all the time.  But part of the reason I started blogging was to get some of the stuff that rolls around my head OUT of my head, so there you have it.  You can veer off now if you'd like, my feelings won't be hurt.  And I'm sure I'll come up with something more uplifting soon, just not today.

It started the other night.  Which was a perfectly normal night, hanging out with the kids and the Mr.  Doing the dishes, watching the general craziness.  Wonderboy brings over the binder that has all the letters my Mom wrote to my Aunt (the one I just mentioned in the Halloween post.)  Anyway, there are some pictures in the back that he was showing me - I don't know why he pulled it off the bookshelf.  The pictures are in the back of the book and I turned and started reading the last letter.  My Mom was writing about my brother and me - ages 15 and 11, respectively.  About my pre-teen drama and my brother learning to drive, about possible trips we were going to take that summer.  And then it hit me.  I flipped the page forward and looked at the date at the top of the page.  Early February, 1983.  She never made it to the end of February.  Never saw me and my brother hit ages 12 and 16.  We never went on those trips.

I don't often get maudlin or depressed (anymore) about  Mom's sudden death.  I try to remember, with my Dad and brother and her sisters, the wonderful person she was.  The creative, funny, smart woman.  But sometimes it just comes out of left field.  The hurt and anger.  The taking your breath away unfairness of it all.  When that hits it's hard not to just curl up in a ball and hide under the covers.  For the past couple of days I have been hiding behind the pages of a trashy novel - uninspired to do much of anything.  But that isn't a way, or a reasonable way with two young kids a job and a husband, to be.

I recently listened to a recording of Joan Didion's book "The Year of Magical Thinking".  I decided to try the book on CD thing and oddly, because I prefer the trashy novels, picked this out.  It is the true story of the impact and aftermath of a sudden death.  In this case, the author's husband.  The subject matter is heavy, yes, but it isn't unbearable and Didion's examinations and thoughts on the aftermath are very interesting. It is a book I would recommend to anyone. 

Maybe reading this so recently is part of what triggered my emotions.  Maybe I was just tired.  Maybe I just missed my Mom.

Since I can't combat the mean reds by a trip to Tiffany's to window shop while eating a danish, I will continue to try to shake them off the best way I know how.  By keeping my brain busy with the day to day stuff, and more importantly, by hugging the Mr, Wonderboy and the Pixie very, very tightly.  And never letting a day go by without telling them how much I love them.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bah Humbug.

When I was a kid I once told my Mom that Halloween was my favorite holiday because it had my two favorite things:  Dressing Up and Candy.  That is pretty much still true today.  I don't go crazy with decorations or dressing up myself - although if invited to a party I would totally want to get a really cool costume.  Which I wouldn't be able to afford.  Anyhoots.  I sort of live vicariously through the kids now.  Carving pumpkins and getting them fun costumes makes me happy.  I'm not creative though - so we do store bought, but they can be fun too!

I can remember my Mom making me costumes as a kid.  The year I really remember though was when I was in 4th grade.  Someone had given my Mother a couple of old prom dresses, very lacy and full.  My friend Jessica and I got all decked out in them and thought we had the best costumes ever.  Years later, after Mom had passed away, my Aunt R collected together a bunch of  letters my Mom had written her over the years. In one she mentioned that Halloween and laughingly wrote how Jessica and I were going as "Ladies of the Night!"  That cracked me up.

But this year, I do not like Halloween.  Because, you see, both my husband and I work on weekends.  And this particular Saturday, we both have to work late.  So all these people who are psyched because it's Saturday and then can have fun parties all day and build up to going out trick-r-treating and yada, yada, yada can go suck it.  My In-Laws are taking our kids trick-r-treating.  (Which I'm extremely grateful for - don't get me wrong.)  But it's not me.  And that sucks.  I'm trying to get myself out of the funk and remember it's only ONE year.  But I'm not there.  And that sucks.  So I'm a bit of a Scrooge today.

Here is a picture of my front steps as I left the house this morning at 9am.

Considering how lame our neighborhood is, most or all of that candy will probably still be there when I finally get home with the kids at 9pm.  Which is the only silver lining I got going right now.  *sigh*

BUT - Halloween is still great, and I do hope all of you get to enjoy the day and night! Be safe and have fun!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I Did It

But I would have totally chickened out if Susan from Trout Towers hadn't yelled at me.  About two weeks ago while I was over reading Brittany, she linked to another blog she is a part of, Aiming Low.  They were having a party. A blogger party. (Sponsored by HP no less.)  And it was in Boston, on the 26th.  I paused.  Boston? I could do Boston.  No plane fare, no hotel bill.  Sure, a bit of a drive - but nothing crazy.  I RSVP'd.  Then I panicked.  I dropped a note to Susan asking her if she wanted to come along.  She said yes!  I relaxed slightly.

Sunday afternoon I emailed Susan basically saying I was completely willing to wimp out on the whole thing.  Because, you see, going to something where I don't know people and have to introduce myself and make small talk?  Pretty much my version of hell.  Luckily, Susan wasn't having it.  She promptly responded saying, "WHAT? YOU ARE GOING!" 

So yesterday after work I found myself driving to Boston for a blog event.  And to my credit I only once thought, "What the hell am I doing?"  I got there fine and eventually found my way up to the ballroom where the event was being held.  I signed in and quickly went to get a drink.  OPEN BAR, people! These girls know how to do things right.  The food was also really good.  I actually introduced myself to a few people - all of whom were very nice.  Then Susan got there and I was really able to relax.

And she totally looks like that woman in her avatar. I'm serious.  Susan's husband Chris and friend Jacob were along for the free food interesting event, so we all hung out and got to know each other better.  Which is kind of funny since really, we know so much about each other's lives already.  There were some great give-aways from HP and Staples.  None of which I won, but Susan got some fly binders from Staples.  We also got to print a bunch of pictures on the variety of HP printers that were stationed around.  So that was fun.

Then Brittany came and sat with us!  (And not to sound to pathetically stalkerish, but that was really cool.)  No, I don't have photographic evidence of this, but you can picture it like this:

We talked blogs for awhile and by then it was 10:30 and the night was wrapping up.  I still can't believe I went.  Completely out of the box for me.  And I'm so glad I went!  Sure it was fun to print pictures using other people's ink and photo paper, but the best part was getting to meet some people that I really admire face to face.  Thanks again, Susan for not letting me chicken out!  (And thanks to Aiming Low for making it happen!)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Conversations with the Wonderboy

This past Saturday I had to stay at work late and our sitter had to work in the evening so she ended up dropping the kids at my work at 5pm for them to hang out until I was finished.  Luckily, not only is this okay with the powers that be, my kids are also pretty used to hanging out there.  They were incredibly good. Especially considering we didn't get out of there until 7pm.  By the time we were rolling out, the evening wedding's cocktail reception was in full swing.  That is not something the kids are used to since when I do have to bring them with me it's usually midweek and daytime.

As we started on the drive home I mentioned to the Wonderboy if he liked getting a chance to see all the people enjoying themselves - since it's usually so quiet when he's been there.  And if I had know where that was going to lead, I probably would have just turned up the radio.

Me:  "So, that was cool, huh? Seeing all those people at the wedding?  Now you know what it's like when it's really busy."
WB:  "Yeah! Why can't you marry your sister again?"
Me: "......Um. It's against the law."
WB: "But why?"
Me:  "......" In my head I am trying to figure out how I can talk about genetics and blood relations and birth defects with a six year old and then - oh, that would mean talking about where babies come from and....
"It's against the law."

WB: "Well, I'm going to marry Elizabeth." (Girl in his grade he has liked for the past two years)
Me:  "You have lots of time to decide who you are going to marry."
WB:  " I HAVE decided already." 
Me:  "Well you can't GET married for a long time."
WB:  "I know that Mama.  Wouldn't it be cool, if you were still working where you work now, I could get married there!"
Me:  "Yeah, honey. That would be neat."  (Please kill me if I am still working there in 20 years!!)
WB:  "I would be really proud, to get married there, where you work."
Me:  "Aw, that's nice hon."
WB:  " And then, I could come back to your office and visit you!"
Me:  ".....Um, I think I would probably be at the wedding, Sweetie.  I probably wouldn't be working..."
WB:  "Oh. Yeah, I guess so."

Love you too, kiddo.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bright lights,

I love grocery stores.  Ever since I was a kid going to the local Almacs with my Mom, I have been drawn to them.  I vividly remember that Almacs too.  The first aisle had all the canned goods on the left.  Slanted shelves so the cans could be loaded from the back and move up when one was taken from the front.  Making that sshhh-klank! sound as they all rolled forward.

I always wanted to go when shopping day rolled around.  Even for the little in-between trips.  I would actually get upset as a kid if one of my parents went without me.  Once I learned to drive - although I didn't do the Big Shop - I could be relied upon for the quick trips.  When I was in college my dorm was two blocks away from a Star Market.  Sometimes I would go and just walk around the aisles.  Not a dime in my pocket, just window shopping at the grocery store.  I would inevitably feel cheered up when I left.

I can't explain the love, exactly.  I mean, I do love food - but it's more than that.  Grocery stores are always bright.  They are orderly and clean.  For the most part, the people are friendly. And you can find some interesting things on those shelves.   There's just something about crossing items off my list as I wander the aisles that satisfies me.  Looking at rows of colored fruit and vegetables appeals to me.  Seeing a good deal on a frequent purchase gives me a little joy bubble.  (Okay, that's kind of embarrassing to admit, but I'm leaving it in here.)

Has some of the happiness effect of grocery stores worn off over the years?  Well, I wouldn't be honest if I didn't make note of the fact that it's not as much fun with one, or two whining kids in tow.  And it was definitely better when it was my parents paying for it all!  But overall, I still love going.  Want me to pick anything up for you?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


You know what's awesome?  Well, I'll tell you.  What is awesome is pulling off an amazingly epic surprise birthday party.  It's especially excellent when the party is for your (and I say this with love) very Type A personality sister who is *ahem* the one who usually calls the shots.

For the past six weeks my younger sister, Step-Mom and myself have been scheming and wheeling and dealing in order to make this happen.  I practically felt like I was planning a wedding!  Not only do you have the usual party plans: tables, chairs, linens, flowers, cake, food - you also have the added pressure of the secrecy of everything. 

Because it had to be great.  This was a milestone birthday for Type A, the big four-oh, so we really wanted to do it in style.  Once the plans were set in motion that both my parents would come up from Florida, they furthered the craziness by flying my two brothers in from across the country.  Oh, yeah.  We figured, even if she did suspect there was some kind of party or event happening - having the far-off brothers appear would never enter her mind.

Turns out the toughest part was getting her OVER to my house where we were all waiting!  I will say one thing - I don't think it's good for my blood pressure to plan too many of these things.  As the time neared, every car that came around the bend of our road was a sign for me to yell, "Quiet! they're coming!"  Only to turn out not to be them.  Like three times.  FINALLY, they arrived. 

And as the surprisee later said, "I almost had a heart attack!"  We got her SO GOOD!  Man, that is satisfying.  Almost worth all the stress before hand.  She freaked and flipped out at seeing everyone and generally felt as special as she should.  Because she deserved every minute of it, being the awesome person that she is.  Type A and all.

It was, in her words, "Off the charts."  And I really couldn't have asked for more then that.  Of course, I think we were all a little sorry the next day when "off the charts" became "epically hung-over". To say I was useless at work is the understatement of the year!  But what the hey, it only happens once.  Boy, did we make the most of it! 

(Which is also part of the reason I haven't been around much this past week, looking forward to catching up with everyone!)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Music...makes the people....come together

You all know your Madonna, right?

The Mr. and I had the good fortune to see U2 recently.  They were on my list of Bands To See In Concert and, although I wish I could have seen them in the Achtung Baby glory years, they still put on an amazing show.  While we were waiting to see them the discussion turned to what other bands are on The List and which ones we've already crossed off. 

The Cure was a big one for me for many years. I finally saw them in college on what was supposed to be there "final tour."  Notice how lots of bands have like, sixteen "final tours"?  Kind of annoying.  Anyway, I was psyched to see them and they put on a great show.  Because they are awesome. Awesome.

One of the others that I was able to cross off my list in 2004 was Madonna. Hey - I am an 80's girl, I love me some Madonna.  It was the Re-Invention World tour. My girlfriend and I had called and got a bunch of tickets because there was a group of us that were going.  There was also a limo company that was trying to get on our Preferred Vendor List where I work and they had agreed to give us a limo - for free - for the drive up to the show. Holla!  So off we went in grand style.  When we got to the show we split up the tickets and went in - we were not seated together.  When the check in lady scans the tix, they won't read so she sends us over to the window.  The lady there proceeds to look at our tickets and tell us, "These are for tomorrow night's show."  D'OH!  Then as we all stood there with our mouths open, she flips through a stack of tickets and says, "here you go, the show's not sold out so I can exchange them."  Okay, we can move again.  We then proceed to like the best freaking seats EVER!  I mean, I could see Madonna's muscle definition. I felt kind of bad after the show though when the other crew described their seats as being, "Three rows from the back wall."  Sorry again about that ladies!

The first concert I went to was the Moody Blues. What?  My parents had like, the entire Moody Blues collection.  Someone at work gave my Dad the tickets and it was after Mom had died so he told my brother and I that we could go. I was stoked!  The Fixx opened for them. They were okay, but man - I loved the Moody Blues. Yes, I'm a geek.  I'm also a good wife.  Because I went to see KISS with the Mr. and that is SO not my cup of tea.  But he came with me to see Alanis Morrisette and Tori Amos (or the Angry Women Tour as he likes to call it), so he gets props for that.

Any concert stories you want to share?  Who is on your must-see list?  Who have you been able to cross off that list?  I'm curious.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Just because you're right, Al Gore, it doesn't mean I have to like it.

Enough with this fooking weird weather already!!!  I give you 2009:  crappy, never-ending winter which led into a rain soaked spring which led into The Summer That Never Happened.  Until it did happen - at the end of August and into September. Dressing the kids is a nightmare.  Shorts and t-shirts or pants and t-shirts?  Shorts and long sleeve shirt? T-shirt and sweatshirt? Sandals? Sneakers? GAH! 

I know I shouldn't be complaining.  At least we did get some nice weather finally.  And who doesn't love 75 degrees and sunny? Even if it is on September 24th.  Thing is, I love the seasons of New England.  Well, I don't love winter other then that first snowfall and during the holidays.  But all in all, the transition into Spring, with all the little green things poking out of the ground makes me so happy.  When the Summer heat rolls in, with it's long days? I'm in love.  The crispness of an Autumn day, kicking through leaves on the sidewalk is perfection.  Being at home with a fire in the fireplace while snow softly falls outside? Is the only time I like Winter.  But three out of four ain't bad!

What I don't like is the weather messing with my head.  Never mind it messing with people's lives.  (See this post from Carolyn...Online who describes it best.)  I admit to being a little freaked out by the changes in Mother Nature's script over the past few years.  It will be interesting to see if we humans can actually make a positive impact on the Earth, as we've kind of been screwing it up for some time now.

All I know is, whatever little tan I had is long faded and I'm ready to cover up my pasty legs with some tights and boots.  I know it's slowly coming - Fall, that is.  It's creeping in around the edges like this:

A random branch of red in a sea of green. I'm ready.  As long as it isn't two weeks of Autumn followed by an early snowstorm that starts a wretched winter.  If that happens all bets are off and we're moving to Florida.

Friday, September 18, 2009

On the Inside

I never saw the movie, "The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", but I find the concept intriguing.  Erasing part of your mind. 

Let's take a journey inside my head.  Hmmm.  This lovely desk holds my education - much of it learned outside of any "hallowed halls of higher learning".   You'll notice the English drawer is a pretty big one - at least compared to the Mathematics folder tucked into the back corner over there.  There's some Science in there, but I'm pretty sure History has been reduced to a few crumpled pages.

These pretty boxes house the memories of my youth.  Some that are wonderful - some not so great.  But all a part of who I am today.  A lot of them have become faded pictures as the years have gone by.  I wish I could remember more.

That giant armoire in the corner is full of totally useless stuff about celebrities and a LOT of song lyrics from the 80's and 90's.  That's a fun place to hang out now and again.

There's a whole room over there dedicated to parenting.  The memories of the kids as babies, seems so long ago!  The funny thing's that they have said - although it's really best for me to write those down as we can already see the memory room gets hazier and hazier with everything I'm trying to cram in there.  So yeah, parenting stuff. School schedules, phone numbers for playdates, that nagging feeling that I've forgotten to do something for someone.

Oh, that's the work wing over there.  Best to stay away from that whole area right now.

What's that?  Well, I try not to go out into that lake too often.  Unfortunately, things have a way of escaping from the depths.  Those are the memories of the past that I should let go of.  The things I can't change now, so really whats the point of dredging them back up again?  Except I can't seem to stop myself.  Replaying and replaying.  Thinking of all the best things to say and do, in hindsight of course.  This is the place I'd erase if I had the power.  Although I wouldn't want to lose the lessons, so not sure how that would work.  Since it's usually the stupid stuff you really learn from, and hell - I already obsess too much about this shit - I don't want to have to go through it again.

Guess I'll have to learn to live with it.  Hopefully I can at least try harder to focus on the present and the future, which I have some control over, as opposed to the past.  Still, I think I'll go hang out in my comfy chair by the big armoire.  I'm feeling the need for some mindless gossip and Duran Duran.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I got yelled at by an old man from Florida

(Which was not my Dad.  Ooooo, SNAP!)  Sorry, Dad - couldn't resist.

And the point was...?  Oh yeah.  So I'm coming home from work the other day and I am at a point in the road where two lanes go down to one.  You know, a merge.  I think most people know that the general "rules of a merge" work out to be that every other car kind of works it's way in until you're all in one happy line.  Well. The guy to the right of me was apparently not familiar with, or just didn't care about, said rules.  He is practically in the back seat of the car ahead of him he is so tight to their bumper.  So when I realize he is not going to let me in, I turn and look out my window to kind of give the, "What the heck?" glance.  My window was halfway down and his was all the way down and he proceeded to yell, "Learn how to drive!"  (He may or may not have sworn at me, I couldn't be sure.)  He pulls up past me and I notice his license plate. Florida.  An old man from Florida with poor merging skills just told ME to learn how to drive.  Nice.

Thing is, I am a pretty damn good driver. (The Mr's eyebrows just may have raised a fraction of an inch.) But it's true.  Yes, I have a bit of a heavy foot at times, I can admit that.  All in all, however, I know the rules of the road and I follow them.  Okay! Yes, I pass on the right occasionally - I'm not claiming to be a perfect driver.  I just don't do all the stupid shit everybody else seems to do.  Now I do live in New England, and we have *ahem* something of a reputation as crappy drivers.  And I'm here to tell you, it's true.  People here do not use their turn signals.  They do not seem to have any idea who goes first when you meet at a four way stop sign.  They pull out halfway into the street in the hopes that someone will stop and let them go. They drive the speed limit in the passing lane. (Hence the need to pass on the right.) Makes me crazy! 

And even though I don't mind driving and often enjoy it (as opposed to being a passenger), I would still be the first one to sign up to have a teleportation device set up in my house.  You know?  To have the power to "I Dream of Genie" my way out of one place and be in another?  I would SO make that my wish if I had the opportunity.  Not to have to deal with the pain in the ass New England, (and/or Florida) drivers, not to sit in traffic for no discernable reason, or worse for the eight miles of construction going on at rush hour.  Not to have to wait for the car to heat up in winter, or cool down in summer.  Just a quick double blink and I'm gone. 

That would be so cool.  I also think it would cut down on my stress levels quite a bit.  Since I might have a wee bit of that road rage thing the people talk about.  Although I wouldn't necessarily label it as "rage," more like a frustrated anger.  Which I realized recently is not such a great thing to have with kids who are old enough to understand everything I am saying.  The other day I'm in the car with Wonderboy and the Pixie sitting at a stop light.  The light changes but the car in front of us doesn't move for a moment.  Then I hear WB from the back seat, "Come ON, lady!  GO!"  Oops. 

So yeah, I'm down for the teleportation, apparate spell or whatever it takes.  Anything to keep my kids from developing a swearing habit - and keeps old men from Florida from swearing at me.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


In the end of July two of my Aunts came to visit.  R lives in Colorado and S lives in New Hampshire and even though we're close to New Hampshire we just don't get to visit very often.  These two women are my Mom's sisters. My Mom was one of those people that made sure everyone was keeping in touch within her family. When she died, we lost some of that.  Not that we don't ever communicate - it's just that we all have our own lives and we're not as good as keeping up with each other.

So I was really thrilled when my Aunt R said she was making a trip East and was going to get S and come and stay with us for a couple of days.  It had been a long time since either one of them had seen the kids, so I was especially psyched for them to get to spend some time with Wonderboy and the Pixie, as well as the Mr. and myself.  These women are so special to me.  Not only because they are both really cool women, but also because of the connection I feel with my Mom when I am with them.  It's been twenty-six years since my Mom died, so my memories of her have dimmed a bit - relying more on pictures and stories.

But when I'm with my Aunts, I can hear her voice in their laughter.  I see the curve of her face in theirs.  I picture her, lounging on our couch after hunting through the shelves of cookbooks as R and S did - reveling in some of the Mr's and some I inherited from my Mom.  I see how she may have been with my own children - listening in that teacher's way to what they are saying and delighting in their words and actions.

It was a laid-back visit of the best kind.  One where we all got to hang out and just be with each other.  I may not always be the best about phone calls or emails, but I think they know how important they are to me.   And that in their way, they bring her back to me again.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

And then this happens

Last week, as I was dropping the Wonderboy off at his summer camp, a thought occurred to me, "Hmm, not a lot of cars here this morning."  Also, "Hmm, where are the signs for Camp?"  So I call the office number and say, "Hi.  Is Camp over?" 
"Uh, yes.  The week ending the 14th was our last week." 

Ah.  You can just mail that Mother of the Year award out now, thankyouverymuch.  Luckily, I had that Thursday off anyway (and then I played hookey on Friday.)  But then we got to this week.

Long story, short - the two days that Wonderboy would have been in camp this past week (Thu and Fri), he was hanging out in my office instead.  Thursday was pretty stressful because our owner was on property for a meeting and even though the company has become way more kid-friendly over the years, as opposed to when I started and it was okay to bring your dog to work - but not your kid, I was still a bit on edge.  Luckily, the Mr. came to pick WB up at 2pm, so I managed to stay mostly sane.  However, I knew that on Friday the Mr. would be working late and the Boy would be with me the Entire Day.  So Thursday night as he was getting ready for bed he and I made a pinky promise that we would both try our very hardest not to get cranky with each other the next day.

And I have to say - we really did try - and we succeeded!  Yes there were a few moments -  when he was yelling to me from the back office that my cell phone was ringing while I was helping some customers - that were a little embarrassing.  But most of the people around when he was laughing out loud at some Looney Tunes cartoons he was watching thought it was pretty funny.  He listened.  The back talk and pouting were limited.  He only said he wanted to go home a couple of times.  Which I can't really blame him for - it's not a big office and we were there a full eight hours.  That's a lot to ask of any kid, nevermind an active six year old!

Not only that, it continued after we left.  We picked up the Pixie and they didn't fight or get on each other's case in the car ride home.  We stopped by my sister's for awhile and they both did some great turn-taking and sharing.  They held up for a late grocery store run for some pre-cooked dinners which they both ate without complaint.  A nice bath for the two of them, easy bedtime for the Pixie and a special treat for the boy and I after she was tucked in: Pre-season football in my bed until Daddy got home.

And as he fell asleep on my shoulder, all I could think of was, This is the best day we've had together in awhile.  We should make pinky promises more often!

Monday, August 24, 2009

"I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?"

Oh, sense of humor...where have you gone?  Okay, not really.  I know my sense of humor is intact.  I can be funny, I crack people up sometimes.  But that kind of funny is not what I am referring to.  What I seem to have lost is my sense of fun

You see, I am not the Fun Parent.  Not only am I not the Fun Parent, I find I am often the Shrill, Snappy Parent.  I'm not sure how I got here.  Yes, I harp on my kids about their manners, but so does the Mr. - we're equal opportunity that way.  Yes, okay - I am the stricter of the two, and I do tend to be the one who will actually stress about their behavior.  I don't necessarily have a problem with that;  it's the fact that I can't seem to just let go when it's a time where those things don't really matter. 

If we're all just hanging out at home, isn't it kind of funny when Wonderboy pretends to fall out of his chair for the twelfth time?   Or when the Mr. puts a napkin on his head and pretends he can't see the kids?  Or when we're having dinner and the Pixie, whose three, laughs so hard she lets out Man Size Burps?  (Actually, that's not a good example because that is ALWAYS hilarious.) 

Now I do have my particular issues with the Mr. and how he gets the kids riled up before putting them to bed.  I'm all for them playing around and tickling and all that - but I do think some hours of the day are better then others for that stuff.  But even when it's the middle of the day I find myself getting grouchy about it instead of jumping into the fray.  When the six year old asks, "Are you cranky?" I think it might be time to take a good hard look at why I've become such a Debbie Downer.  I had to bring my kids to work with me today (which I hugely appreciate being able to do), my boss was getting ready to leave and asked Wonderboy if I was as grouchy at home as I was at work. WTF?  Here I am worrying all day about the kids bothering someone and I get scolded for being grouchy!  And this from a bonafide grouch!  Jeebus.

I don't have an answer to the question right now.  But I'm aware of it and I think that's part of changing the behavior.  Honestly, I know I'm not going to suddenly become one of those crafty/game-playing/super imaginative parents. That's just not me.  However, I think I can start to try to ease up and relax a little bit.  I remember both of my parents as being fun.  Sure, my Dad played the role the Mr. is now - the tickling and wrestling and being silly - but my Mom was fun in her own way.  I think I just need to find my way, and try not to let the rest of daily life make me forget how to make my kids laugh.  Because I do realize how incredibly important that sound is to my own happiness.

(10 coolness points for the first person who comments on where the title quote comes from)

Friday, August 21, 2009

How little?

I was wondering the other day what the ratio of "little things" to "makes you happy" is considered to be normal. You know, on a range of people giving the "thank you wave" when you let them go ahead of you to a stranger saying "bless you" when you sneeze in a public place. Those all seem like pretty solid little things that proportionately give a nice feeling of happiness.

So what does it say about my life exactly that I was ecstatic the other night when I remembered I had purchased medium sized garbage bags for the trash can in the upstairs bathroom? Seriously, I was way too excited.

The Mr. was doing that ritual known as the Trash Round-Up. You know the one. The night before the morning the trash is picked up you go around and empty every trash can in the house. Other people do this too, right? I have memories from my youth as a child of my Dad making this round. Anyhoots, the trash can in our bathroom is not wicker, exactly. More wicker inspired...meaning it's got a lot of little holes in it. So it's really fun when there is no bag in there and perhaps someone (coughMrcough) has tossed a not quite empty Diet Coke can in there. Which then leaves a lovely little puddle, or even better - when I tip the trash up into a larger bag, sends drips flying all over the place. Like I need that extra bit of cleaning.

Wait - where was I? Oh yeah. So he comes in and empties the can, which I had lined with an old plastic shopping bag. That was when I remembered. THE MEDIUM BAGS! They fit this particular trash receptacle perfectly! No mess! Mo drips! The bag reaches all the way to the bottom! As I was waxing on about the joys of my medium bags I realize the Mr. is staring at me with a strange look on his face.

"What? It's the little things that make me happy." I hear myself say. He just shook his head and went to empty the next trash can.