31 December 2008

Right Here. Right Now.



Here you go Heathen

This is what vacation looks like. What? Is that a bit of a smile on my face???

It'll be interesting to see this a year from now...

23 December 2008

OK. I'm Over Myself

Yesterday was a tough one. I overreacted and feel like such an ass for getting so upset about something as stupid as a snow day.

'Tis the season, no?

A friend did come to my rescue for a few hours yesterday and I couldn't be more grateful. I got done what needed to be done at work and (thank God for remote access!!) didn't have to take a vacation day after all.

I have a post-it on my desk. It's been there for years now. I can't remember where it came from, but it's a simple reminder:


Breathe sister, breathe. Make way for grace and forgiveness and don't forget to breathe....




I am, once again, counting my blessings and trying to remember to breathe.

22 December 2008

Bullshit

Yep. That's me. So effing bullshit I can hardly see.

We got over 20" of snow yesterday and last night. It's absolutely gorgeous outside. It's a beautiful, sunny, sparkly day and I couldn't ask for a more wonderful prelude to Christmas.

But I'm so freaking pissed right now my head may explode. (Look out!!) It stopped snowing early this morning. It's not like there's still a winter storm happening out there. It's clear, sunny and beautiful.

We woke early and shoveled. That's what you do when it snows, right? When you have obligations you adjust your schedule to make sure you get to where you need to be on time, right?

Apparently not.

We got word that our daycare would be opening late. That's acceptable. The plow guy can only be in so many places at once. There's a lot of snow out there. But when I called at 9:45 to make sure we were on schedule, we found out that no one had been there yet and it didn't look like they'd get there at all today. WTF????

SO here I am. Stuck.

I need to be at work. I have no alternative when it comes to child care. I know it was my decision to move far from my family. But it's not like they'd be able to help me out anyway. They have lives too. And I don't have the luxury of friends who can bail me out in a situation like this. And I'm pissed. I'm pissed that I have to take more vacation time from work that isn't vacation time. I'm pissed that I still have to pay my daycare provider - even though she doesn't pay her staff if they can't make it to work. I'm pissed that my mother isn't here to hold my hand and tell me how to make shit like this work. She did it. BY HERSELF. At least I have Daddy-O - who will also have to take more vacation time that isn't vacation time.

Waaah, waaah, waaaah. Poor me.

There are some things that are just not fair and I'm having a hard time working through this one.

18 December 2008

Merry Merry

video

This is helping too... Little by little, I'm getting there.

17 December 2008

Mmm, mmm, good!

Bii has been on a clean your plate kick for a few days now. I'm really not sure why. Growth spurt, perhaps? Anyway, he's very proud of himself and always makes it known that he has eaten every last bite on his plate.

Last night as I was clearing other dishes to the sink, he emerged behind me - empty plate in hand.

"Brrrrrrrrrrrp!"

Now, bear in mind that burps are a common occurrence in our house but this one shook the roof!

"Wow Bii. That was something! What do you say?"

"I say, Mama, that was an expression of YUM!"

The kid floors me.

16 December 2008

15 December 2008

Merry Christmas




Well, we survived the ice storm with minimal damage - deck railing, soggy basement, a few more gray hairs... and a shiny new generator. I'm still counting our blessings.

08 December 2008

Gotta Change Things Up

We have to figure something out. This is getting O.L.D.

The boys look SO forward to family days (weekends). We do too. With one exception:

Bii and O wake up too bloody early.

I don't know how to adjust their internal clocks so they'll sleep later. Both of them woke before 5:30 on Saturday AND Sunday.

Then, this morning? I had to haul their lazy asses out of bed at 7:00!!!

What I would give to sleep until 7:00!!

I have tried everything I can think of: Put them to bed later. Put them to bed earlier. Teach them that they can't come out of their room before the clock says 6:XX. Turn on their music. Bribe them. If they wake up, there's no playing quietly in their room (note to self: look in to installing doors upstairs). If they're up, they're up and so is Mama or Daddy-O.

I'm tired. Anyone have any suggestions?

05 December 2008

Clepto

(stolen from sheshe)

One Word: Ohm

Where is your cell phone? In my Pocketbook? Purse? Handbag? (Man, I really dislike those words...)

Where is your significant other? Home.

Your hair color? Mousey Brown - with streaks of gray that actually look like blond highlights in the right light.

Your mother? Sadly, deceased

Your father? Happily, not

Your favorite thing? My children and my husband

Your dream last night? Extremely involved, slightly scary, but I can't remember a thing now...

Your goal? Patience. Grace.

The room you’re in? My office.

Your hobby? Trying to find one. I need a diversion.

Your fear? Letting life slip by - not giving my children everything they deserve

Where do you want to be in six years? On the right road to a comfortable retirement

Where were you last night? Home.

What you’re not? Patient

One of your wish-list items? To be in better control of my emotions

Where you grew up? The Adirondacks - New York

The last thing you did? Put more memory in a computer

What are you wearing? Blue jeans and an old maternity sweatshirt. (sad, sad, sad)

Your TV? Um... Which one? We have too many

Your pet? Riley the Golden Retreiver and Dewey the Cockateil

Your computer? Dell Vostro 1700 laptop

Your mood? Lately: Constant PMS

Missing someone? My mother, my sister, myself...

Your car? 2004 Kia Sorento

Something you’re not wearing? A bra

Favorite store? Target

Your summer? Hopefully to KVNY and Minaki, Ontario

Love someone? With all my heart

Your favorite color? Varying shades of blue

When is the last time you laughed? Wow. I need to work on this. I can't remember the last time I truly laughed. K2: I need a Ghh moment.

Last time you cried? This morning

Tagged: You and you and you.

Traditions

My grandmother bought a house on Nantucket before it was cool and expensive. Summer was amazing out there - especially as children with nothing better to do - but the best time to go was Thanksgiving. The weather was usually still mild and the throngs of tourists had long since gone. It was something I looked forward to for most of the year. Sometimes I would fly out - it's a hop, skip and a jump from Boston - but other times I'd take the ferry and soak in the salt air.

When Gaga passed away, we had to sell the house. It was a very, very sad day. Thankfully, the neighbors bought the property and for a few years would rent it to my father for the Thanksgiving holiday. Even though the house was no longer "ours", it remained exactly the same - furnishings and all. It was good to have the family all together at Gaga's.

Of all the usual Thanksgiving traditions - Turkey and all the fixings, Graber Olives, Cribbage tournaments and endless walks on the beach - we usually had a full on lobster feed. When Gaga was still with us, we'd get 3 Lb'ers and split the pieces between us while my grandmother feasted on the bodies alone, quite contented. It was always a happy time.

It's been several years since we've been to Nantucket. It's been harder for us all to get together for the holidays. But my father has a new home this year and new traditions have begun. We were all together this year and it was something quite wonderful. I look forward to making new memories again - as long as some tradtitions never change.

04 December 2008

The Secret Swing


We went to Grammy and Grandpa's new house for Thanksgiving. It's an old, incredibly beautiful home surrounded by trees on a rolling hill. It's still so new to G & G that they didn't know about the swing at the top of the hill. It took all of 6 seconds for the boys and their cousins to find it.


Aside from being away from their normal surroundings - which is always fun - and being with family, this was certainly what they were most thankful for this Thanksgiving.











03 December 2008

02 December 2008

Thanksgiving Redux

The thing that sucks about going away for Thanksgiving?

No leftovers.

Big suck-a-roonie. I miss me some leftovers.

So, thanks to the Post Holiday Wicked Good Sale, I got a 14 pound bird for mere pennies.

We'll be creating our own leftovers this weekend.

14 pound bird + two adults + two kiddos under 5 = Boat load of leftovers!!

Yippee!!!

24 November 2008

Early New Year's Resolution

I had to do it now. It was too important to wait.

I've stopped yelling.

I hate myself when I yell at my kids. They're just being kids after all. It's their job to push all my buttons and drive me insane. It's their duty to try to kill us as soon as they can. If we're not around they can eat Skittles for breakfast.

Oh. Wait. That's what they had this morning. Hmmm. Whoops.

Anyway, I've found myself yelling a lot lately. I don't really know what it is. I'm just a lot less patient these days. Stress? Economics? Holidays looming just over the horizon? It's a combination of things for sure and it's ugly. It's obviously effecting me and more so the boys. Poor Bii has taken to curling up in a ball - usually crawling under the table or behind a chair when I raise my voice. O just starts crying immediately and dives in to me seaking comfort. It's not fair to them. They really are just kids being kids.

So, I have changed my evil ways and now refuse to get pissy when they don't do as I have asked. I vow to take deep breaths and count silently to 10. I will actually LOWER my voice when I want them to listen. I will practice patience and understanding. I will put myself in their little shoes and try to remember how hard it is to be small.

There is no reason to yell if they refuse to brush their teeth. If they fight over a toy, they'll learn that they have to work it out for themselves. I happen to like the way Green beans squeek in my teeth, but it doesn't me everyone else should. Pots and pans were meant to be used as drums. The news can wait. It's all gloom and doom anyway.

I've been focusing on this for the better part of a week now and I'm amazed at how much more calm I am. Getting out of the house this morning was a bit of a challenge - it always is on Mondays - but I kept calm and actually laughed at the comedy that it really was.

Thanksgiving at Grampa's could prove to be a challenge. But one I'm ready to take on.

I just hope this is a resolution that lasts.

18 November 2008

Everyone Loves a Parade

Veteran's Day Parade


I may be a week late, but it was just too cute not to post.

17 November 2008

Harvest Time

Sprouts!!

Mama loves her some fresh sprouts!
You can't make us eat them!!

14 November 2008

Cupcakes for Dinner!

Mama, what’s for dinner?

Cupcakes!

Huh?!? We get cupcakes for dinner??!?? We get cupcakes for dinner!!!!


Cupcakes for Dinner

1 lb Ground Beef
½ cup Seasoned Bread Crumbs
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack
3 Tbsp Ketchup
1 Egg
½ Tsp Celery Salt
Pepper

3 Cups Mashed Potatoes
Food Coloring

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Line 12 small (or 6 large) muffin tin cups with foil bake cups.
In a large bowl, mix together all of the meat loaf ingredients until well combined. Divide the mixture evenly among the lined cups (the liners should be about three quarters full). Place the filled muffin tins on cookie sheets and bake the cupcakes for about 15 minutes or until cooked through.
If you want to make more than one color of frosting, divide the mashed potatoes among small bowls and stir a few drops of food coloring into each batch. Mix together until it's as smooth as you like. (We like our frosting a bit lumpy!) Spread a generous dollop on each cupcake and serve!




13 November 2008

How to Build me up and Tear Me Down in 30 seconds Flat

I've never looked my age, but really? I don't look anywhere close to 21. So imagine my surprised 45 year old ass when I was asked for my ID by the young grocery store clerk.

Check-Out Dude: Um, can I see some ID please?

Mama Goose: Of course you may!!

After a brief pause, obviously doing mental math...

Check-Out Dude: Wow! You're almost as old as my Mom!!

sigh

10 November 2008

Thanks for the Day Off...



Tomorrow is Veteran's Day. To many, it's just another day off. For me? It's more. I've already got a lump in my throat. Tomorrow there will be parades and graveside ceremonies; Flags and Potluck dinners; Tears and hearty handshakes; A Haunting Taps played by a lone trumpet. I am truly awed by these events. I get chills as the marching band goes by followed by the wheel chair brigade of amputees. Though I am conflicted by war, I am humbled by the choice of these heroes to have put their lives on the line to defend our freedom. My freedom; My children’s freedom.

Who, in their right mind, would walk in to this knowingly? I don't know anyone who agress with this current war, however they still enlist. How, as a parent, can anyone allow their child to go off to war? I cannot imagine how my sister-in-law sleeps at night knowing her only son is in Iraq right now.

I will never understand, and I selfishly pray that my boys won't choose the military route, but I know someone's child must - or where would we be? I will forever hold these brave men and women with the utmost esteem. They have my undying gratitude for what they have given me and my family.

I salute you. Today, tomorrow and every day.

07 November 2008

Goodbye Diana (Could you send my love to Ma?)

This week the mother of a dear old friend of mine passed away after nearly 5 years of fighting leukemia.

She is at a place I remember all too well. The beginning of a journey no one wants to take. The beginning of the road of discovering who you are, alone – without your mother. Perhaps losing a parent is when we truly grow up. Or, really, when we’re forced to grow up.

Some days I still can’t figure out how I’m going to get through it all without her. The fact that I can’t pick up the phone to share an observation, a joy, a sorrow, a dilemma, a milestone… it makes me feel… – Shit! I don’t know what it makes me feel like. I can’t find the right word. But, dammit, she’d be able to help me define this feeling! She’d help me talk it out and pull myself through. So, FUCK! Even more than 3 ½ years later I’m still floundering. Maybe not all the time, but, just… dammit. Just when I think I’ve got my shit together I feel myself falling off the edge again. Some days I shatter and can’t put the pieces back together, I can’t pull myself back and my throat tightens and… I find myself in a knot again. Poor, poor me. Like I’m the only one who ever lost their mother. This just sucks.


I wish Jenny didn’t have to start her journey now. Ever. Maybe she’ll get through it better than I have done so far… Maybe I can learn a lesson or two...

05 November 2008

Ignorance? Apathy? (I don't know what to call it...)

Let me start off by saying that today is such a momentous day. I'm so pleased with how the election turned out. Relieved really.

I had a horrifying moment yesterday that I'm still grappling with.

While waiting for a meeting to begin someone commented on the I Voted Today sticker on my lapel. She told me she had to wait until after work to go; that she had to run home, get her baby and race to the polls before they closed. She was so excited she could hardly concentrate.

When our colleague, a 27 year old manager was asked if she had voted yet she replied:

"Are you kidding? I'm not voting! It's too inconvenient to vote! I have to drive there, park my car in the garage, walk to City Hall and stand in line?!? I can't believe I can't vote on-line!! I'm not voting until they make it EASY for me to vote!"

I had to walk away.

Seriously, I don't think any other state has made it easier to vote than Maine. They all but do it for you. I chose not to submit an absentee ballot because I love the feeling of going to the polling station, pulling the curtain closed behind me and filling in the ovals next to my candidate's name. There's something so amazing about being a part of this process.

I am thrilled beyond words that I had the opportunity - no, privilege - of being a part of history yesterday. But I just can't get past this ignorant woman's view. I'm nearly certain I've lost all respect for her. I can barely look her in the eye today...

03 November 2008

Vive La Thumb!

Artist: Matt Mawson

Bii and O had a daycare Halloween party on Friday. All the kids dressed up (Yes, I'm a lame ass mother and have no pictures...shoot me.) They played games, had a parade and ate an early dinner in preparation of canvasing the neighborhoods for free candy. Each child was given a bag of small plastic crap and candy when it was time to go.

Bii was delighted (understatement of the century) when he discovered the very cool glow in the dark Dracula teeth in his bag. He reluctantly handed them to me, dripping in spit, as we went door to door. It's tough to say Trick or Treat with plastic in your mouth.

When we got back home seemingly several hours later we wound down, brushed up and headed to bed. Bii remembered the teeth and begged me to let him have them in his bed. I caved, praying he wouldn't swallow them. He giggled with glee when he saw the green of the "Glow 'em Up" teeth. He thanked me and then rolled over, and put his thumb in his mouth.

From the darkness as I made my way to the door I heard, "Um. Mama? This is no good. These hurt my thumb".

I was hoping this might be an "IN" for the end of the thumb-sucking era but alas, he handed the slimy teeth back to me. The love affair was over.

28 October 2008

A New Favorite

This speaks to me...



Amelia Curran

27 October 2008

Come Back Snuggle Bear!!

I am so, so, so tired of politcal advertising that I actually miss the little fucker.



Oh wait. It's not really that bad. I can handle a few more days.
Must.Be.Strong.

22 October 2008

I Ain't Got Much

After all the excitement over the last week or so, and now the subsequent relief of knowing my child is heathly - my brain is mush. I have nothing of interest to say - not that I really ever do anyway. But now? I'm just empty. I guess I need some time to recharge and refocus.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
One thing:

I get an email every day from veryshortlist.com
If you haven't heard of it, I highly recommend it. I have been turned on to some amazing books, music, movies and websites that I don't know I ever would have found otherwise. Today's VSL was for a website called englishrussia.com - Very cool. I hope you'll check it out and find some interesting things as I have.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Sorry. That's all I got.

20 October 2008

It's The Same in Any Language

отрицательно, negatief, 消极, négatif, 消極, negativ, αρνητικός, negatiivinen, שלילי, negativo,否定的, negatibong, 부정, negatīvs, नकारात्मक , негативний, negative.
No matter how you say it, Finn does NOT have CF.
My heart says hallelujah.

17 October 2008

Soap Opera Wisdom

Pain is like a dog.
It's got to be let out - taken for a walk.
Else, one day you come home and your couch has been eaten.

Heard on Days of Our Lives

15 October 2008

14 October 2008

Where We've Been

I have several blogs that I read every day. Most, like me, tend to post during the week so a weekend without a post is common. What scares me though, is when a blog goes quiet with no prior warning of a vacation or some other planned absence. I worry about you gals even though I don't "know" you.

Well, my blog hasn't been updated in a week and I'm here to apologize to any of you who might have been concerned. We're OK. Or at least we're getting there.

Finn developed a cough last Tuesday, but it really wasn't concerning. Wednesday he had his cast removed in the morning and then I dropped him at daycare for the remainder of the day. By the time I picked the boys up, however, he had taken a down turn and looked miserable. Just before dinner his coughing got so bad that he threw up. That continued through the night.

We kept him home on Thursday and he was obviously not well. By afternoon I noticed he was breathing oddly and we decided to call the doctor. At 6:00 pm we brought him to the Emergent Care facility and after lots of pokes and prodding and a chest X-ray we were transferred (much to his delight) by ambulance to the hospital where we were admitted with double pneumonia/viral respiratory crud/asthma.

We spent three nights at the Hotel Barbara Bush otherwise known as the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital (OK, there's one good the Republicans have done in Maine... Really though, she's a lovely woman.) Finn in a wonderfully entertaining mechanical bed, me in a surprisingly comfortable cot next to him. Once we got his breathing under control he adjusted well, only once complaining Mama, I miss my home... Thankfully, the drugs helped him feel better almost immediately and then we just had to wait it out and try to entertain ourselves until he no longer needed help maintaining his O2 levels.

Imagine a four year old hooked up to an oxygen tank, all hopped up on Albuterol and Prednisone riding a tricycle around and around the hospital corridors while his sleep deprived, stressed out Mama chases him trying desperately not to take anyone out with the portable tank - Yeah, good times that.

We were sprung on Saturday and have been settling in to our regular routines while trying to keep Finn from overdoing it. He has a follow up with his pediatrician tomorrow, and here's whats keeping me awake still - he will be tested for Cystic Fibrosis on Friday. It's a long shot that he has it but still...If you're the praying type we could use a couple extra if you could send them our way.

Any how, that's the update and let me tell you, it's good to be home.

06 October 2008

Mousetrap

The shelves in the cubby room are filled with toys, puzzles and games and lots of art supplies. When we arrive at daycare in the morning, the boys will choose something from the shelf and bring it out to the tables. They usually choose a puzzle to start and I always have lots of drawings to bring home at the end of the day.

There are a few “big” toys on the top shelf – one is called “Hullabaloo” and another is “Elefun” or something similar. These are games which require space as there are lots of pieces to spread about and butterflies that fly out of the Elephant’s snout. Thankfully there’s lots of room in the old church basement that is our daycare.

Finn and Owen wanted to play Hullabaloo this morning, but Alice the daycare owner told them it was too “involved” and “needed adult supervision” and to put it back and choose something else.

This isn’t the first time she has not let them play with something. I’ve kind of brushed it off before – painting does require some preparation and planning. I get that. But I don’t understand what is wrong with letting the kids spread out on the floor and play a game together. If you don’t want them to play with something take it off the shelf!

But I didn’t say anything. I never do. It’s easier to just redirect and find something else the boys will enjoy.

I don’t remember my drive to work this morning. I got lost in a space in my head that I hadn’t visited for a long time.

When I was nine I stopped talking. My parents had divorced more than 4 years previous, but apparently when I was nine I finally decided it was a big deal. This was my silent scream for help. The school psychologist analyzed the situation and suggested to my mother that I see a professional to help me through my issues.

The picture I have in my head of Dr. Parmet is of a stodgy old curmudgeon of a man, dressed in tweed and sporting thick dark glasses. He smelled of cigarettes and books. After our initial formal “get to know you” meeting we settled in to a small room lined with shelves full of toys and games - many of which I had never played before. He asked me what I wanted to play. I scanned the shelves and meekly said, “I don’t know”.

He suggested Gin. I don’t know if I already knew how to play or if he taught me, but for an hour every Monday we would sit in that nearly silent room and play Gin.

Weeks went by and though I got very good at Gin I secretly longed to play “Mousetrap” – a game I had never played but had seen on TV. Oh how I wanted to play it. But every time the doctor asked me what I wanted to play I’d say “I don’t care” and we’d play Gin for an hour.

Time went by and I slowly gained enough confidence to tell him I wanted a change. I remember trying to psych myself up and get ready for that day. And finally it arrived.

We went in to the game room and, as usual, sat at the little yellow table.

"How are you today?" Fine.

I don’t remember anything we ever talked about that was of any substance.

"What would you like to play today?" {pause.} {deep breath.} {throat tightening}
Mmmousetrap. I’d like to play Mousetrap today.

Without skipping a beat, the doctor replied, "No, that’s a stupid game. Let’s play Gin".

I don’t know why I didn’t scream and give him the reaction I know he was looking for. I don’t think I’ll ever understand why I didn’t stand up and push the table away like I wanted to and say But you asked me what I wanted to do and I want to play Mousetrap!

No. I quietly accepted his answer and we played Gin.

I don’t think I’ll ever forgive him for not pushing me to speak my mind. I wonder how I would have dealt with certain events in my life if I had gotten mad that day. I had a lot to say, but I was afraid. I still have a lot to say, but it’s easier not to. And really, it just doesn’t matter that much any more.

03 October 2008

The Gift That Keeps on Giving?

The dreaded, and I mean DREADED, Hand-Foot-Mouth-Disease is making it's way through our daycare. It's highly contagious.

O came down with it last weekend and spent most of the week at home. The poor kid has been miserable. He'll wake from a sound sleep howling and point to his mouth saying "Ow, Ow, Ow..." Tears streaming down his porcelain cheeks. Oh my poor sweet love!

I get some pretty serious canker sores from time to time. His pediatrician said Imagine having a mouthful of them... No.Thank.You.

And there's nothing you can do but try to make them as comfortable as possible and wait it out.

Thankfully he's better now.

This morning Finn said his mouth hurt. I took a look but didn't see anything but a little red spot on the roof of his mouth.

I'm praying he's just hungry for some attention too.

02 October 2008

What Color Are Your Eyes?

I fully expected the test to reveal that my eyes should be a different color, but my eyes are blue... Interesting. Thanks to Sunset Zaguán for this afternoon fun.

I wonder how many times this test is correct? Was yours?


Your Eyes Should Be Blue



Your eyes reflect: Innocence and sweetness

People find you to be: Attractive, adorable, and irresistible

Your best trait: You truly love to make other people happy

What's hidden behind your eyes: A calculating mind

01 October 2008

I Hate My Job

Not really. Just today.

Being the IT manager, part of my job is to "tune up" computers. You know, clean out all the Internet cookies and other garbage that clogs up computers these days. Today I cleaned up a PC only to find that this particular user has been surfing porn.

Yep. That's right. Today I learned my friend and colleague is an Ass Man. That's just not something I ever wanted to know. I saw more disgusting stuff on his computer than I thought I'd see in a lifetime. Eeww. Just eeww.

Come on people. Who the hell surfs porn AT WORK?

I feel dirty. And now I have to report him. He'll probably lose his job.

29 September 2008

The Kid's Got Point

Finn has become the household pet master. He feeds Riley every day and fills his water bowl - when he wakes up he jumps right up and says I have a job to do! He also loves feeding our cockateil and holding him and scratching his head. He really has a way with animals.

This weekend Daddy-O mentioned to him what a great job he was doing with the pets and Finn decided we needed some more pets.

What would you get?

A Hyena and a giraffe. Oh! And an elephant!

An elephant? Where would we keep an elephant?

We'd have to build a big barn in the yard to keep him warm.

Yes, but that would take up the whole yard.

That's okay Daddy, then Mama wouldn't have to mow!

The kid certainly has a point...

25 September 2008

Your what?

While waiting in the car for our daycare provider to arrive, we all unstrapped and started bouncing in our seats to the song on the radio. Finn caught a glimpse of himself in the rear-view mirror and stopped cold:

Mama, look!! Can you see my tuchus?

Your what??

Opening his mouth wide again My Tuchus!! See? There's my tuchus!

Um, do you mean your tonsils?

No. Tonsils aren't in your mouth Mama! What's a tonsils Mama?

23 September 2008

Then and Now


Finn



Where does it go?




Owen
No. Seriously. Where does the time go?






19 September 2008

Look What Daddy-O Caught!

Damn, he's cute

Damn, they're cute



Daddy-O has been trying to catch the skunk who decided our back yard is a good place to hang out. It looks as though other creatures think it's cool too! This is the second raccoon that has been relocated this week. Bii, of course, wants to keep them as pets. The skunk too -
...if we ever catch him.

18 September 2008

Simple Pleasures

My boys love coming to my office. They get lots of attention (they're whores like that) and most importantly, if they behave, they get to choose a treat from the receptionist's candy bowl on the way out.

I brought Bii by on the way back from getting his cast last week. He loved showing off his Kelly Green arm to everyone and, despite running around like a mad man, he was a good boy.

As we were getting ready to leave he asked if he could please bring a piece of candy back for all of his friends at daycare. What a thoughtful boy I thought. Of course you can.

Since the bowl was nearly empty I brought him to the supply room. I lifted him up to the enormous trash can size stash of candy that refills the bowl and he gasped.

When he regained control of his vocal chords he whispered Mama all my dreams have come true!

17 September 2008

Wordless Wednesday

" wishing flower"

11 September 2008

The Art of Language

O is getting so much better with his vocabulary. There are a couple of things he says very well and he's even putting some pretty complex sentences together.
(Daddy nigh nigh me = I want Daddy to take me to bed.)

The only sound he hasn't been making is S, but I'm told it's the last to come. The language assessor told me not to worry if we couldn't really understand him all that well, that he'd get better in time. But it's incredibly frustrating for both of us when I can't tell what it is he wants.

The other morning I asked him what he wanted for breakfast.

Cank.

Huh?

Cank!

Toast?

No. Cank.

Yogurt?

Cank!!

Milk?

No Mama! Cank! Cank!

He pointed to the counter but all that was in view was a tomato, potato chips and bread. It appeared that none of these was what he was asking for.

Through very frustrated tears, he grabbed my hand and brought me to the refrigerator, opened the door and got the strawberry jam. Suddenly it made perfect sense; he wanted a Peanut Butter Sandwich!!

Yeah, yeah. I know. It should have been obvious.

Mama loves PB&J for breakfast too.

10 September 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Because, seriously. I am at a loss for words.

09 September 2008

Broken


It was only a matter of time...

05 September 2008

Steinem on Palin

I've never really considered myself a feminist per se, but I do love Gloria. And this is right on the mark:

http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-oe-steinem4-2008sep04,0,1290251.story

I still don't know how my Republican mother managed to raise two Democratic daughters...

04 September 2008

To Whom it May Concern

Dear fat, lazy bitch who has taken up residence in my hind quarters,

Get the fuck out!

Sincerely,
Mama Goose

PS: Pardon my french, but you really have to go now...

03 September 2008

Staycation, All I Ever Wanted



This song has been stuck in my head for the last seven days.

I just had 4 days away from work (plus the long weekend)!! And while it managed to be a very productive vacation (massive house cleaning, general purging, splitting and stacking wood, etc.) we had a real vacation in there too!

The boys had their daycare all day end of summer pool party on Friday. We went to the beach three times! The weather was perfect! Had a bonfire and toasted marshmallows. Road bikes. Fed ducks. Played at several playgrounds. Had friends over for a BBQ. The boys were well behaved and so much fun! We had some very wonderful family time that we'll remember for a long time to come.

But now it's back to work and a week's worth of digging out. September already. sigh

25 August 2008

Best Evah Marinade

Now I ain't no Taste and Tell or Pioneer Woman, and I'm definitely not a Noble Pig and I'd never compare to Smitten Kitchen (to name just a few of my favorite food blogs), but I've got a seriously good marinade that's worth sharing.

I use this with sliced flank steak (when I can get it. I couldn't. so I used a sirloin and it was just as good.) on skewers and it's a guaranteed hit at our Thursday BBQ's.

Cast of Characters:

(and of course, the meat...which I forgot to put in the picture. I told you I'm not a pro here!!)

Coat the meat with the cumin and coriander and salt and pepper - Either in a large zip-lock bag or baking dish. Normally I would slice my steak first, but this time I tried it in one piece. Rub the spices in to the meat and set aside.


Now put the remaining ingredients into a food processor


and pulse until combined.
Pour mixture over meat and let marinate for at least an hour. Grill to perfection (you'll have to ask Daddy-O for details there, I'm notorious for over cooking on the grill.)

This is a simple crowd pleaser and even my kids will eat it! (BONUS!!)

I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 lb. Flank steak
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic (or more if you're like me)
2 Tbsp. tamarind paste
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. brown sugar

19 August 2008

Chivalry?

Am I old fashioned? Am I a sexist? Or am I just too idealistic?

Scene:
  • Busy, crowded call center. Agents in seats or standing; generally blocking the aisles.
  • Me, trying to maneuver my way around them with a too large/too heavy box in my hands.
  • 5, count them FIVE, young male managers standing around with their thumbs up their asses.

Not ONE of these guys could be bothered to help me let alone offer to open a door for me. Not with the first nor the sixth box I needed to load in my car. Now mind you, I'm very capable of lifting heavy objects and it is a necessary part of my job, but really. Show me some love.

18 August 2008

Bargain

I never thought I'd feel like $3.70 was a bargain for a gallon of gas.

I really think that Americans are making a difference in bringing the price of gas down. We're thinking smarter. We're being frugal. We're questioning our consumption. We have made small changes in our household and I hope we're making a difference. I just hope we can keep it up and push the prices back to a more reasonable level.

14 August 2008

My Funny Boy

Bii is so funny. Man, that kid says some hysterical things. But he hates it when I laugh at him. After the "triplets" incident the other day, I was laughing so hard I almost started crying. But when he crossed his arms and growled at me it brought me to an abrupt stop. He didn't realize he was being funny.

I tried to tell him what a wonderful thing it is to make someone laugh. I told him how good it made me feel to laugh. But he doesn't get it. Somehow, even though the kid loves to be the center of attention, he was embarrassed. He doesn't see the difference yet between laughing with and laughing at someone.

Looking inward, I tend to be an attention getter and to try to make people laugh. But I think it's a defense mechanism for me. I'm shy. I'm awkward. I'm not a good conversationalist. I don't think I'm all that interesting. But I hate awkward silence. So when I'm in a social situation I'm usually trying to be (and to a certain degree I think successfully being) funny. But I'm usually so nervous in these situations that I can feel my face flush.

I need to teach Bii to be confident. I need to teach him that it's okay to be funny. That laughter can be so very, very good.

13 August 2008

Triplets

At our daycare, if the children have had a good day at school, they are allowed to choose a piece of candy from a bucket. Generally, it's a piece of gum or a little Dum-Dum Lollipop.

Recently, when Bii and O have chosen the same candy on a couple of occaisions, Bii squeals We're twins!!

One day last week I decided I'd been a good girl and deserved a lollipop too. Both boys also chose lollipops and Bii yelled We're twins!!

I told him we were actually triplets. Twins are two, Triplets are three I don't think he really got it, but he nodded his head and went about his way.

Yesterday all three of us chose a Hershey's Kiss and Bii, testing his newly learned concept, excitedly asked, Mama! Are we the Jonas Brothers?

Potato Chip Economics

I saw a news piece this morning on how the cost of groceries are skyrocketing.

Especially potato chips, of all things.

It seems the wacky summer weather combined with the cost of fuel has created a supply and demand issue which has forced manufacturers to raise their prices and even cut back production. The story interviewed shoppers who were somewhat distraught that they couldn't find their favorite brands of chips.

I found this somewhat disturbing. I mean, POTATO CHIPS? Come on. Now I love a good chip every now and then, but it wouldn't be devistating if I had to change brands or give them up all together. I'm not that loyal. (And I'm only Irish by marriage) When it comes right down to it though, it's these small things, especially in this troubled economy, that keep us comforted. That remind us we'll get through the tough times. That everything will be okay. Or maybe it's just at my house.

It'll be a sad, sad, really sad day when Daddy-O has to give up his hallowed Cumberland Farms potato chips.

08 August 2008

It's Just a Number, Right?

For the first time in my life I am beginning to feel older. Not old, just older.

I'll be 45 next month. Wow. I said it. I don't know why it sounds so frightening to me. I certainly don't look or feel "old". And 45 isn't old! The rational side of my brain reminds me that age is relative to how you feel and act. I don't act "old" - aside from the fact that I can't stay awake past 10 pm any longer.

I remember freaking out about turning 30. I didn't really have anything of significance to show for three decades on this earth and I truly thought I needed to be somewhere "better" by that age. My boss at the time told me that upon turning 30 I would feel like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders - that I would finally become my own person and not have to prove anything to anyone.

Surprisingly he was right. I'm sure it was because he had put the notion in my head, but I let out a very heavy breathe on the morning of my 30th birthday; one I had been holding in a long, long time. And I felt amazingly renewed. I loved my 30's.

These last 15 years have flown by. Much has happened: Jobs have changed. People have come and gone. (some thankfully, others still painfully missed) Most importantly, I met the love of my life and have found my purpose in my two beautiful boys. I am happy where I am in my life, but I just don't like the fact that I don't feel like I'm 19 anymore.

Why is 45 any different than 44? I've got a month to come to terms with this. I better get busy.

07 August 2008

Chili Weather

I love cold weather comfort foods. They usually becomes a staple in our household somewhere around mid October. It's been so cold and wet here lately that I've been making a lot of our fall and winter favorites. Please Summer! Come Back!! I'm not done with you yet!!

I made a big batch of chili on Sunday and we've been eating it every night since. I think I'm going to explode!

Last night Daddy-O says Wow Hon. I think this is the best batch of chili you've made yet. And there's no gas-factor at all!

Lucky for him he's a mouth breather when he sleeps. Too bad for me I'm not!
I wet my pants laughing.

06 August 2008

'Cause It's Wednesday



If you don't know Flight of the Conchords you should really check them out. I needed a good laugh today and this is the one I always go back to.

05 August 2008

Dude! Sweet!

I didn't want to go. I couldn't imagine being trapped for THREE hours on a party boat in the middle of the bay with a bunch of drunken cow-orkers. I'm not big on small talk and really? I don't have much in common with these people except we work for the same company. With my luck I'd find myself stuck listening to the slurry rant of the resident drunk, counting the minutes while longingly looking towards home from the bow of the boat.

But when I really thought about it; My company is very good to me. It's a great place to work. They truly make me feel appreciated and they go out of their way to thank us and show us a nice time. What's three hours? Suck it up girl. Go. And have fun.

So I did. Daddy-O stayed home with the boys while Mama went to "work". (I know, but it's the only way to get out of the house without a major melt-down) It was a gorgeous night; the temperature was perfect and the rain held out until the very end. Casco Bay is the place to be if you're in Maine in the summertime. Add to that, good food, great music and nasty warm boxed wine,(nothing can be perfect, right?) and you've got the makings of a great night out. The only thing missing was Daddy-O.

My drunk magnet worked like a charm on not one, but two occaisions. But my luck turned and won me the top door prize: Two Club tickets and a parking pass to see the New England Patriots' last pre-season game!! Sweet.

I am one of only a handful of people I know who actually likes my job and the people I work for. Sometimes I have to remind myself how lucky I am.

04 August 2008

This Is The End

10 minutes in to nap time, a cute little button nose poked around the corner at the top of the stairs.

Mama? Does "Ayudeme" mean help me in Spinach?

Yes, Goose, "Ayudeme" does mean help me in Spanish.

Oh good....

A few minutes later he called out again.

Mama? I have something else to ask you.

Yes Goose?

How long exactly until nap is over?


We've been incredibly blessed with good nappers. Friends marvel how, even at 4 1/2, Bii loves his snuggly naps.

But I guess the time has come and he's ready to give it up. I guess I'm ready too. We'll be able to do more things together and not be bound by the dreaded schedule. O on the other hand will still be napping for a long time to come. Right? Please?

31 July 2008

Stupidity

On my way to work this morning I was coming to a stop at a light on a residential street. Though I didn't see her at first, I backed up to allow a woman to back out of her driveway and in to the line of traffic. Nice, right?

Wrong.

As she pulled out, she looked me square in the face and gave me the finger.

Now, I don't know about you, but I'm floored by this. I know where you live Beyotch. If I was a spiteful person I might just leave a bag of burning dogshit on your doorstep.

Lucky for her I'm not.

30 July 2008

These Are My Mountains



I haven't been "home" for two years. The last time was for my brother's wedding. The time before that was for my mother's memorial in August of 2005.

The Adirondacks will always be home to me but really without my mother there it will never be the same.

Every time she came home after some time away, she would belt out "These are my mountains!" I sang it too, but it was always her song.

These were her mountains. These are her mountains.

I need to go home.

29 July 2008

I Need a Vacation

I am the Technology Manager for a small Call Center. Computers. Phone system. Network. Etc. I usually love my job but lately I think our offices have been invaded by some alien entity and it is slowly feeding on people’s brains:

• HR Director calls me in a frantic state. My computer is possessed! I’m trying to enter numbers in a spreadsheet and my mouse is jumping all over the screen! The hard drive must be corrupt!!! I turned on her Number Lock button and all is well again.

• Senior Sales Manager tells me the call statistics are WRONG!! Oh my God! How long has this been wrong?!? We’ll have to go back to the beginning of time to correct this! MY pay is based on these numbers!! She claimed she had only taken one call but the report was telling her she had taken two calls. As I was checking the call logs she said Oh. Wait. Ha ha.I did take two calls.

• Training Manager claims her speakers aren’t working and haven’t been for some time! I have to monitor the new hires and I haven’t been able to do my job!! Um…first of all, if I don’t know something is broken I can’t fix it now, can I? And secondly, you actually have to turn the speakers ON for them to work.

• Email from our Recruiter: Sarah thinks that I may have computer problems because she can't send me things and I can't load photos on my PC. Any idea? Oh sorry. I didn’t know our Receptionist was now a Help Desk Tech and more importantly, why the hell do you need pictures or “things” for that matter?

Mind you, there are legitimate issues all the time and if there weren’t issues I wouldn’t have a job. But I’m a party of one and I’m tired. I’m tired of constantly being interrupted from bigger projects and having to drop what I’m doing only to have to point out that the caller is an idiot. (Well, actually I like that part!) I need to take some time off, but I’m afraid of the mess I’ll come back to. I’m sure it’s like that in every industry: You take a week off and pay for it for two {sigh}. But I have to bite the bullet and force myself to use some of the 60+ hours I have accrued before I morph in to an alien and bite someone’s head off for real.

28 July 2008

Sun Kissed




And Oh.So.Sweet. These faces melt my heart.

23 July 2008

Two Roads Diverged in the Wood

I don't have many options when it comes to my daily commute.

I drive because it's convenient, but I also have little other choice. I drop the kids at daycare every morning and then drive to my office which is in the next town. There is no bus route that will get me to work on time and I often have to travel to our two other offices at a moment's notice.

There are two ways I can drive, but I'm having a hard time deciding which is the best way to go - environmentally speaking.

Route #1: 7.5 miles, two quick traffic lights - roughly 10 minutes - mostly a straight shot - pleasant.

Route #2: 4.3 miles, 11 sometimes painful traffic lights - approximatley 15 minutes -sometimes longer depending on the lights. A few F-bombs have been known to be uttered before 8 AM.


Question: Does it make more sense to drive fewer miles but spend more time idling at traffic lights or go a few extra miles and only possibly stop twice? Or is it 6 of one... I know it's not a big difference but I want to do what's best even if it's small.

I've never been good at math.

A Glimpse Forward

I had a small glimpse of the future the other night, and I'm scared.

I've always been a little emotionally sensitive and my feelings are easily bruised. I endured childhood with the help of my mother who always helped pick me up and brush off the debris of an adolescent attack. "Stiff upper lip" she'd say, and I'd try like hell to stop the quiver that inevitably led to hot streaming tears.

My oldest son is much like me though I think he's got a bit tougher skin. I've tried to teach him that when someone does something he doesn't like he should ask them politely to stop and if they don't he should just walk away. And he does. There are times though when the taunting is too much to take and he collapses in to a puddle of tears. Kids can be so mean. And he's only 4.

Bii is taking swimming lessons. He's in a summer program at the Y with only two other kids. One of them is a 6 year old boy and Bii thinks he's pretty cool. They've had some fun together. When we arrived at class this week the boy came up to Bii and started teasing him that he looked like a girl who was in the pool. Come over here little girl... Then he stared calling him his "toy" and tried to wind him up. Come on my little toy, DANCE! Bii didn't like it one bit. The kid's mother was right there and SAID NOTHING to her son to make him stop. I didn't think it was appropriate for me to say anything so I was silent too.

Kids will be kids, I know. But I honestly can't believe that this kid's mother didn't intervene and try to get him to stop taunting my son. Maybe she was embarrassed? Maybe she just didn't care? If the tables had been turned you can bank on it that I would have said something to my son and if he didn't stop we would leave. When you behave poorly, there are consequences.

As the taunting continued, I became more uncomfortable. Bii seemed stiff and uncomfortable too. I gently pulled my son up on my lap and whispered to him that it was okay for him to tell the boy to stop. He turned to me and said,
It's okay Mama. I'm just ignoring him.

And in that moment I knew. He'll be fine in this sometimes cruel world.

It's me I'm worried about.

22 July 2008

Change of Plans

From nearly day one, Bii has been obsessed with all things firefighter. There has been no doubt in his mind that he was going to be a fireman when he grew up.

Yesterday there was an abrupt change of plans...

Mama, I want to be a police when I grow up.

Really Buddy? Why?

Police are the boss of the law and they have handcups!

Ahh, but of course.

19 July 2008

Summer Fun

Story Land was a hoot.




The boys had a great time.



But there's just something terribly disturbing about Humpty Dumpty that's going to take a while to get past...

16 July 2008

It's That (dreaded) Time of Year!

I ate so much zucchini as a child that I still haven't recovered. I only like it now if it's tiny and, oh so tender, sauteed with a little dill and butter. Or in bread. Preferably with chocolate.

I grew up in a tiny town - year round population 400- In the summer that number swelled to nearly 3000. Despite the masses, the town remained a trusted and safe haven. We didn't even have a lock on our house until 1991.

One late summer day my mother arrived at the post office like she did every day. She got out of her car and locked the door and went in to get the mail. When she returned a summer resident ran up to her - clearly shaken.

Susan. Please tell me! Is there something I should know? Is it no longer safe here? Have there been burglaries? Why did you lock your car? I've never seen anyone lock their car here!

My mother calmly reassured her, No, no Louise, it's still as safe here as it ever was. It's just if we don't lock the car at this time of year, it's full of zucchini when we get back.

Our neighbor gave us a monster from his garden yesterday. Looks like I'm making bread this week.

15 July 2008

She's With Me Now

Pop brought me a few random things when they came to visit:

  • A prayer book that belonged to my rather unreligious mother.

  • A hand tatted lace cloth.
  • Files of my educational experiences.

  • My mother's ashes.

    I'll put the book by my bed. Though I'm not very religious either I find it somewhat comforting.

    I wish I could ask Ma about the cloth. It's simple and beautiful, just like she was.

    I'm finding it very interesting to read what my teachers said about me in every class since Nursery School. I can't believe she kept all this. Ok, yes I can. Thank you Ma. I promise to do this for the boys too.

    I put her ashes in the liquor cabinet next to the bourbon she left last time she was here. I think she'd be happy there.

  • I know I'm happy she's here.


    14 July 2008

    I know, I KNOW! Dammit!

    I've been a bit of a slacker lately when it comes to my "diet" and I really need to get back on track. I had (another) over indulgent weekend and it's really become a bad BAD habit. I do SOOOO well all week and then I let my guard down. Last Friday I was up .2 which I wasn't happy with but this morning I was up 3 (Effing) pounds!!

    Granted, we ate like royalty this weekend. Steak and lobster, cheese and crackers, chicken WITH the skin, chocolate mousse and wine, wine and more wine.

    I could have eaten all of these things - just smaller portions. I know I could have and would have been happy, so why didn't I? DAMMIT! I feel like crap. I feel like I gained 40 pounds. My run this morning was laborous. I was starving when I woke up and I wouldn't have been had I stayed on course. I KNOW I can do better.

    And I will, it's just so daunting that I have to retrace these steps. I'm tired of doing that. Anyway, I'm still here; back on track today and I know what needs to be done. Now I just have to figure out how to do it consistantly.

    Dammit.

    10 July 2008

    Biting My Tongue

    Daddy-O hasn't slept well for 5 nights now.

    He thought he was too cool for sunscreen.

    He says: Hon, it must be killing you to not say 'I told you so'.

    Yep. It is.

    No one is too cool for sunscreen.

    09 July 2008

    This Morning

    Through the monitor I heard the desperate, choking sobs of a very sad boy. I ran upstairs to comfort him.

    What is it lovey?

    I had a sad {choke} sad dream {snif}

    What did you dream about?

    I had a nice {gulp} dream first - then it was sad.

    Can you tell me about it?

    I forget. {sob} Did you get poptarts 'esterday?

    Yes lovey.

    Yay. {snort, snuffle, smile}

    08 July 2008

    Ahhhh Summer


    We had the best long weekend with the boys - beach, pool, picnic with friends, bike rides, playground, ice-cream, BBQ, bonfire, marshmellows, fireworks. The weather couldn't have been more beautiful. A lovely three family days. Perfect in every way.


    And now it's over and we're back at work. But the loveliness remains. My heart is full and my spirit renewed.

    07 July 2008

    Surprise Visit

    My stepfather called last night. He'll be arriving with "her" on Friday and would like to have dinner with us. He wants to go out. We only have a few hours together. Instead of trying to impress "her", I'd like for him to spend some time with his grandchildren. Is that so wrong?

    06 July 2008

    I Scream...

    You scream, we all scream for ice cream!!


    02 July 2008

    Curriculum

    I love my daycare, but I've been toying with the idea of sending Bii to a real preschool. He's such a smart kid and I've been afraid that he's getting bored and also needs a bit of reeling in as he's been on a "do what you like" schedule Daycamp. I want him to be challenged and to really be prepared for Kindergarten.

    We've looked at several schools - most of them are designed for children of stay at home parents who have had little social interaction. They're only for a couple of hours a day - usually from 9:30 to 12:00. This doesn't work for working parents. I can't drop him off and pick him up and I can't afford to hire someone to taxi him there either. The other option is a full time preschool and I'm not excited about that either. These schools mimic a real Kindergarten class. It seems to me that he would be bored esentially repeating Kindergarten the following year.

    So I've been torn. I want to give Bii the best chance to excel and to make new friends and be exposed to different people and environments, but none of our options seem like the right fit.

    Imagine my joy when Jane told me that she's going to incorporate a curriculum at Daycamp!! She said she has enough older kids now that she thought it might be more fun for them if they were to follow a lesson plan! Perfect!!!

    She won't start the real plan until fall, but she's started weekly themes to do all summer. Last week was "Animal Week". Both boys had a blast! They brought their stuffed animals for show and tell, went to a petting zoo, did amimal projects and learned all sorts of fun things. ("Mama, did you know elephants have 3 toes?!?") The theme week ended with face painting and tatoos. What fun.



    30 June 2008

    Resentment

    When she died, I knew my step father would be lost. He was. He barely knew how to run the washing machine let alone how to pay the bills. She took care of everything for him and suddenly he was alone. At 66 he had to learn how to cook and clean and all the other things she did.

    Thankfully, my sister lives about 20 minutes away and she took up where Ma left off on a lot of things. He came to dinner. Often. He heartily drank whatever booze was at K's house in an attempt to drown his pain and emptiness. We all did that. My sister nursed him back to stability. She and her husband and children filled that void.

    Beacause I live nearly 6 hours away all I could do was be an ear on the other end of the phone. He'd call me after he got home from K's all spicy and warm from the night's libation. He cried about how he missed my mother. How lost he felt. I cried too. I can't imagine his pain; so different from mine. But equally disabling.

    It didn't take long for his phone to start ringing. He's always been a bit of a flirt - even when Ma was alive. How she tollerated it I'll never know. So now, under veiled excuses of offering sympathy, the divorcees and widows came to call. He bit - hook, line and sinker. He's one of that generation that can't stand to be alone. He went to dinner parties and other social gatherings; trying to find his way alone in this new world. He had his pick of beautiful, charming, interesting and often weathly women.

    He chose to be with someone not even 10 years older than me. Her "issues" run deep. There's the needy son out west somewhere who she's constantly going to bail out of some mess; The Ex who she somehow can't let go. The sketchy skiing trips with the "friend".

    My stepfather really doesn't have much to say about her but when he does he doesn't have much nice to say. "She's troubled" and "She has some things to work out". He spends all his money on her and then whines to me that he's broke. They actually got "engaged" last summer. He bought her a very expensive ring. They have since called it off - broke up and are now back together.

    I still haven't met her.

    And really, I don't want to. The day my sister met her the first thing she said was, "I'm sure you're wondering how old I am". Um. Yeah. No. My Aunt asked me if I was interested in meeting "her". I said no. Not especially. I'm kind of hoping she dries up and goes away. Aunt G, in her wonderfully sarcastic tone agreed and said, "Yes. She seems utterly uninteresting." Indeed.

    Deep down, I want him to be happy. I do. Really. I just hate the fact that this woman is sleeping in my mother's bed and taking advantage of his generosity. It would be one thing if she was "good" for him (will anyone be good enough for him? No one can replace my mother). But I think she's a cancer that's slowly eating him alive. This is not a healthy relationship for him.

    I'm tired of his empty promises to come visit. Every time I talk to him now he says he's planning a trip to see us. It's been 18 months since we've seen eachother. I sent him a picture of the boys for his birthday and he was astounded how big they've gotten. Hmm. Imagine that. These kids. They actually grow!

    Even though he is "only" my step-father, he's been so much more than that in my life. I'm blessed that our relationship has been so strong and close. But now it seems hollow. I miss him.

    28 June 2008

    Grapes

    I don't know what it is about grapes, but I will only eat the ones still on the vine. If they fall off it's sort of like the clam/mussel that doesn't close when you tap on it. Those are the ones you toss before cooking. So somehow the grape must be unhealthy if it isn't strong enough to hold on the vine anymore.

    Yeah, I'm weird like that.

    27 June 2008

    Where do they learn this stuff?

    We had the baseball game on the other night when Finn walked in to the room.

    "Redsox!!"

    "That's right!"

    "The Ankies are the bad guys."

    Ahhh, daycare. A full service institution.

    26 June 2008

    Summer Breeze

    Last night was one of those glorious summer evenings: Hot and humid but with just enough of a breeze to keep you completely comfortable. I sipped a glass of wine on the deck, silently lamenting that June is almost gone - again. It was hard to go inside - especially knowing the next week or more proves to be "unsettled" as they say.

    I love a good summer storm though. I miss watching the incredible weather roll across Lake Champlain from the deck of my apartment on College Street in Burlington. I loved to sit out there and feel the breeze suddenly kick up and grab your attention. Something big was going to happen. Then, almost in slow motion, the clouds would sweep in and hug you with their cool, clammy embrace. Pow! The rain dropped like cement from the sky, powerwashing the heat and humidity away. It was gone as quickly as it came, but left me full of energy.

    Storms here aren't nearly as interesting though occaisionally we're blessed with a stunning rainbow after a gentle rain.

    25 June 2008

    Math Lesson

    Armed with a crisp $5 bill for the very exciting field trip this morning, (the kid barely slept a wink last night!) Finn buckled himself in to his car seat.

    Dad: "I'll trade you a one dollar bill for that five."

    F: "No deal, Dadda. Five is bigger than one."

    Dad: "How about two dollar bills for that five?"

    F: "No Dadda. Five is bigger than two!"

    Dad: "Ok, last offer. I'll give you three two dollar bills for your five."

    He hesitated for half a beat. His face lit up with a giant smile.

    F: "Deal Dadda!! Six is better than five!"

    Maybe we can skip preschool afterall.

    24 June 2008

    Speach

    O loves public safety vehicles. (Don't all little boys?)
    Whenever he sees a police car or ambulance go by he screams "Woooowoooo!"

    Today, when I put on his new shirt he looked down, then back up at me with a huge grin and said, "Fire Fuck!!"

    His speach is coming along nicely.

    19 June 2008

    First You Cry

    I found a card the other day that my mother sent to me in 1998. It was tucked inside a book that hadn't been touched for some time and fell out when I lifted it off the shelf.

    It was a shock at first to see her handwriting. Like this was a note that had just arrived. I loved to get cards and letters from her. It was so exciting to see her handwriting on an envelope in my mailbox. Something good promised to be inside.

    She was incredibly thoughtful. She had an amazing gift to find just the right card for you. Like she had created it herself; like it had been created exclusively for you. She'd send cards just to let you know she was thinking about you. She always made you feel like you were the most important person in the world. So special that I would have to call her to tell her how much she meant to me; how incredibly blessed I was that she was my mother.

    This card, she sent after my then boyfriend of 9 years dumped me. Needless to say I was feeling down. It was sappy and sweet and was perfect:

    "First you cry.
    Second, you...well,
    OK, you cry second too.
    Eventually, you stop crying.
    Time passes.

    Then, one unexpected day, something happens,
    and you find yourself
    with an old, forgotten friend--
    your smile.
    When you catch yourself smiling,
    you stop.
    You feel guilty, maybe.

    Until, finally, laughter.
    It feels as good as it ever did.
    You want to laugh again,
    so you do.

    And you live on.
    No matter what stage you find yourself in today,
    remember that I care."


    She signed it: I got pretty teary when I read this in the store - it makes me think so much of you AND me. Take care of yourself Rabbit - we'll talk soon. xox Mema

    It's still the perfect card. It's like she sent this, so many years ago knowing the sentiment would hold true for so many occaisions and that she'd always be there to tell me how much she cares... I just wish, so very much, that I could call her to tell her I know.

    18 June 2008

    Tis the Season

    Man I love this time of year. It's not too hot and the sun sets so much later. We sit on the back deck with a glass of cold wine and listen to the Little League games in the fields just beyond our yard. We watch the birds feeding and teaching their young to fly until well after 8:00 - when... the mosquitos come out! (BOO mosquitos!!)

    The grill is our main source of cookery these days and the food choices are about to explode. Come on fresh tomatos and peas and beans and lettuce and corn and brussles sprouts and on and on and on!

    There's just nothing better than fresh veggies roasted on the grill. Last night it was asparagus. Even my somewhat veggie-phobic husband snarfed down all he could. Now if only I could convince Finn to eat something green....

    16 June 2008

    Doctor Finn

    Still reeling from an unintentional whack to the bridge of my nose by the O-Bomb, Finn enters the room and sees the tears in my eyes.

    He takes my head in his hands with a gentle touch.

    "What is it Mama?" he says with great concern.

    "Your brother accidentally hit me with his hockey stick and it really hurt." (Thanks Uncle Mike!)

    He pulls my face closer to inspect.

    "I'll make it better Mama!"

    And he plants the biggest juiciest kiss on my sore schnoz - therefore guaranteeing a briuse. So sweet, my boy.

    10 June 2008

    Sabotage

    Why do I do it?

    I lose a few pounds and I get all cocky. Like I deserve something special.

    I made meatballs for the boys last night and when they were finished there were four left.

    I couldn't let them go to waste could I?

    So. I. ate. them.

    And I felt horrible.

    What's different this time though is that I didn't immediately dive in to the ice cream tub that's been calling for me every time I open the freezer. I didn't open the box of cookies or binge on cheese.

    I stopped, realized that all wasn't lost, and moved ahead.

    09 June 2008

    Jill Bolte Taylor: My Stroke of Insight



    I'm not sure how I found this, but this woman's story gives me chills. To be so in control when you're so not in control is - wow. I don't have the words.

    06 June 2008

    Mosaic

    If you have time to spare this is fun!
    (via sheshe)


    The concept:

    1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into flickr Search.
    2. Using only the first page of results, and pick one image.
    3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into Big Huge Labs Mosaic Maker to create a mosaic of the picture answers.

    The questions:

    1. What is your first name?
    2. What is your favorite food? right now?
    3. What high school did you go to?
    4. What is your favorite color?
    5. Who is your celebrity crush?
    6. What is your favourite drink?
    7. What is your dream vacation?
    8. What is your favourite dessert?
    9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
    10. What do you love most in life?
    11. What is one word that describes you?
    12. What is your flickr name?

    Have fun!

    05 June 2008

    Strong and Silent

    Owen is the strong, silent type.

    Well, not exactly. He speaks fluent Vietnamese (or is it Cambodian? The dialects kill me.) But he doesn't say much that we can understand. His pediatrician said he's at about an 18 month level. He's not overly concerned.

    I had him "assessed" last week because he's "supposed" to be speaking more at 2. I'm not sure I'm being fair to judge him like this. I want him to do things at his own pace - not what the book says he should do. But I also don't want him to fall behind if there is a problem. He was early with everything else. He walked at 9 months. He's coordinated. His daycare teacher say's he's "freakishly strong". Other mothers shoot me horrified glances at the park as I sit and watch him climb up the ladder unattended. And then they shriek when he jumps from the three foot high landing to go do it all over again.

    He certainly isn't "delayed" in anything but his speach. The assessor asked me if he spoke 50 words. 50? Are you kidding? Well, last night I started a list (I wish I'd done this with Finn because it's really kind of fun.) and, low and behold, he has nearly 40 words. Not all of them exactly clear, (POK = pocket) but 40 just the same.

    So, he's not as far off the mark as I had feared. The assessor was on the fence, but recommended further testing. I don't think I'm going to pursue this yet. Maybe it's realated to "Second Child Syndrome" where he doesn't get as much attention from us as his brother did. I want to spend more time with him practicing his sounds; encouraging him to speak. He loves for me to sing to him (Finn not so much: "Mama, please stop singing") And he's really discovered his love of books in the last month or so. Perhaps a little more attention will help.

    It certainly can't hurt.

    04 June 2008

    I Did It!!

    I ran 32 miles last month!

    I know, it ain't much to real runners. But I'm not a runner. At least not yet. As I've said before, I'm really good at starting things, just not so good with the follow-through. I really can't believe I'm still doing this.

    14 pounds gone so far. The only bad thing about this: My favorite pants are too big.

    Did you hear that?!?!?! TOO BIG!!!!

    Sorry. I'll shut up now.

    02 June 2008

    The Origins of The Green Rug and Other Unanswerable Questions

    Why didn't I have the forsight to ask her when I had the chance?

    I'm sure it's been around for a long time. Its simple green and gold design is reminiscent of an earlier era. I can't remember where it was before she helped me move it to my bedroom in 1973. It lay on my floor until the summer of my freshman year in college when we rolled it up and packed it in to my car and I drove it to my first apartment. I moved that rug 9 times before I rolled it up in 2001 and stored it in the basement of my current home.

    Last night I rolled it out again in the spare room we have been renovating for a few weeks now. I think she'd be happy to know that it's been given a new home; that everytime I look at it I think of her; that every time I think of her I smile. One day, I will pass this rug on. Hopefully one of my sons will love it as much as I do.

    I just wish I knew it's history. I love having family artifacts: Grandpa McAllen's "Griffin" table. Granny Hun's wine goblets. Gaga's trunk. These things come alive when I think of who touched them and where they have been.

    Thankfully my mother documented quite a few of the things that were passed down. And as much as I do know about these objects, there are so many questions I wish I could ask her now.

    31 May 2008

    What I'm Listening To

    I've been discovering a lot of new music lately. Not necesarrily "new" music, but new to me. I'm really digging http://www.pandora.com/ where you can type in an artist or song you like and it will play songs of a similar style. Here are some of my new favorites:

    Alexi Murdoch
    The Decemberists
    Dolorian
    Midlake

    These are all a little moody (then again, I'm pretty moody) but I'm discovering all sorts of new stuff. I'm looking for some more upbeat stuff for the treadmill now. Any suggestions?