Monday, March 31, 2008

Communication Communication Communication

We learn from a very young age that we start learning about communication. From our parents bribing up with various enticing things to get us to talk when we are babies, to the various enticements to STOP talking when we are little kids, then again with the bribes when they want to know where we were on Friday night when you are a teenager. Some how communication is supposed to get easier when you are an adult, because at this point, through all the dangling carrots, theoretically we should have learned something right?

Still my husband and I struggle, as we do with the kids, as they do with us, as we all do with our families and so on and so on right into the frustration station. (wasn't that one of those 70's learning songs on sesame street along with conjunction junction?lol)

My husband has a habit of carrying on delightful conversations in his head, and then only saying the last few words out loud...clearly unaware that he hasn't clued me in to what "we" are talking about. This can cause major conflagrations such as....

Me: "Does my butt look big in these Jeans"

Jamie: "...Enormous and we are going to have to figure it out"

(which was the end of the sentence, "Our debt is getting enormous and we are going to have to figure it out")

This could lead to husbands being impaled with various shoes and hangers as they come flying out of the closet at a high velocity.

I am not at all innocent, as I think that I "communicate" SO much that Jamie has started to tune me out and only hears about half of what I say. I think that Jamie hears me as much as Pepermint Patty heard her teacher "Wah Wah wah wah wah wah" The effect of not being heard very often has led to me forgetting that I am using my "outside voice."

This can be a problem...you know when I say things like "why don't you just move back to the cave you crawled out of" in a voice not quiet enough that the person infront of me who is currently being rude to the cashier at the gas station doesn't hear me.... Then in embarasment I have to look down as though it wasn't me that really said it...even though everyone knows I did... This was a scary moment for me...

I think I should have just said "was that my outside voice?" and made everyone laugh. Although, maybe the pirate, or what ever he was in his leather chaps, wasn't really in the mood for laughter. I only say this because of the inappropriate digit that was shown to me on his way out of the store.

The cashier on the other hand seemed to think that my communication skills were very good, and had a nice smile for me when I paid for my gum.

SO I guess communication is something we still work on even into our 30's. Or maybe it was my patience gene with tourists starting to wear out!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

My Husband Knows Me



I thought I would post today to make up for my missed day earlier this week...Not that anyone missed me!


OK so, My husband loves me right? Jamie came home the other night "I brought you home some specialty wine that was made just for you!"


Being a slight wino, I was very interested....This is what he brought me...I don't know whether to be insulted, or just happy that he knows me so well.


Have a good weekend.

Friday, March 28, 2008

You have to be FREAKING kidding me

I promised that I wouldn't complain anymore...I don't care, I am plain and simply pissed off at mother nature in the most raw sense of pissed offness. I got up this morning to go to an Agriculture conference, thinking of planting things, and nice pretty flowers and good tasting vegetables...I look out my window, and..yup...you guessed it...ANOTHER FREAKING 3 INCHES OF SNOW and it is just NOT OK!

That is just all I can say today.

I am sorry...well not really...just pissed

Thursday, March 27, 2008

That Anger Gene Strikes again

So, a few weeks ago Caroline my middle child, my exuberant, beats to her own drum, definite sense of what she wants, stubborn, but wonderful, little girl came home from school really upset. I do the appropriate parent thing and cajole, beg and slyly ask questions to drag it out of her.

She starts to cry over some girl being a wench to her. (Now mind you this girl has tortured my kid since day one, so my first response was to go pull out all that girls hair, because you know, that would be the mature reaction to someone hurting my child's feelings.)

Then it comes out.

Caroline socked her one right in the face on the play ground. I am pretty sure that it was open handed, but I was still waiting for the phone to ring and the principal telling me that Caroline had been expelled and was going to be charged with assault and battery, these days you never know.

So, like a good mom, I start going through the reasons why it is never OK to put your hands on someone else. The whole "you could have hurt her" thing, and Caroline looks up at me with those big brown eyes, totally over flowing with tears. (she has mastered the fill your eyes up just enough that they look like they are going to drip over, but they don't quite...it kills me.) and she says..."I really tried mom, I just couldn't help it."

Super Mom comes out with the appropriate response: "You can always help it, it is very important for you to learn self control." (mind you the whole time I am thinking about just the other day slamming the door to the basement so hard that our can holder ripped off the door and the cans went tumbling down the stairs at Old Man Lowery...but this was not the time to be reminding her of that!)

"But I promise, I was just standing there listening to her yell at me, I could feel my body shaking and all of the sudden my angry hand just reached out and smacked her before I could stop it."

It was very hard not to laugh because haven't we all had "Angry Hands?" I was really trying not to smile, and remain the steadfast parent of reason. But secretly I was thinking of all the times my angry hands, feet, words have had their way too. (And to be honest, also secretly thinking of this girl who has been so awful to Caroline all year, and my angry hand started twitching too.)

No phone call, luckily I think that their principal is too self involved to actually know that there are students milling around the building. I am fairly convinced he is going to come to work one day and say,"damn, where did all these kids come from, have they Always been here?" and then, I am pretty sure, one of the teachers is likely to get an angry hand too.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Getting Crankier by the year

It seems to me that somewhere in our human programming is a self destructing gene called patience...as you get older it slowly deteriorates until at some designated time, it self destructs, leaving us just a tad bit, well, nasty with others.


I have always seen it. In my grandmother, who gripping her steering wheel for dear life yells at those "teenagers who speed so fast, where are they going in such a hurry." Now mind you, "those teenagers," I am pretty sure were a woman in her 60's, but when you are 92 whose counting? And the "speeding so fast," was probably about 40 in a 35 MPH zone. In fact, the 60 year old was probably loosing her mind behind the white knuckled 15 mph lady driving in front of her, because at 60 I am pretty sure the patient gene has already self destructed.


I have seen it in my dad, but that has almost always been with cars or computers. If something doesn't work, bang, bang, bang it again...isn't that how that saying goes? Oh, well that is how it goes in our family. Square pegs CAN fit in round holes, if you have the right tools...like a saw and a sledge hammer.


I have had heard it many times over, "damn kids," "Damn old people," "Damn dumb asses... what have you. In fact my husband and I used to watch that 70's show, and I used to secretly laugh because Red reminded me so much of family members...which will remain nameless for fear of of the anger gene coming my direction.

This all occurred to me today as I was riding in the car with my kids listening to Hannah Montana and me saying "all these songs are starting to sound the same..." Before I could reach out and pull them back in, those words my mother used to say to me, were out there. Floating around the car like some demented smiley face laughing at me. Reminding that every year my boobs get lower so does my threshold for noise!

It isn't just me though, I have been telling my husband that all the kids are going to be scared of him when he is older. They are going to call him "Old Man Lowery" as in "Don't go down to Old Man Lowery's house, he'll shoot you with his BB gun if you get in his yard." I can picture him coming down the driveway with his cane, yelling at the whipper snappers, and popping their football and throwing it back at them. "this is what you get for playing so close to my yard!"


I should say that this image has gotten so vivid in all of my families' heads now, that when he is getting crabby we all call him Old Man Lowery. Which thus far usually cures him for the time being. But secretly, I think he enjoys this image, and behind closed doors he is polishing up his BB's waiting for the day he can get away with it. Instead of getting arrested for being a horrible man, the police would just laugh and call him an eccentric old man.


I am sad to say that I think that mine is starting to deconstruct too. The young girl with blond hair whipping out the window of her "ShitVette," pedal to the metal and still only going 30 mph, music blaring, has been replaced by an over tired, short "I don't' want to have to fool with it" haired, yelling at the kids to turn down their headphones or they will loose their hearing, mom, whose music has gone from the Violent Femmes and Butt hole Surfers, to something lighter, like NPR...(I am however proud to say that Yanni or Zamphir, the master of the pan Flute has yet to float throughout the airwaves in my car. But I will say when I start jamming to Cher I am going to commit myself.)

So I guess it happens to the best of us. I just hope that I can hold on a little longer...I mean I do still love Green Day...just at the appropriate volume!

Monday, March 24, 2008

I think that I may be sending my self into a deep depression on purpose. I am not sure why I feel the need to do this, since this winter in Maine could achieve this quite sufficiently on its own.

In the past couple weeks I have finished both the Kite Runner, and A Thousand Splendid Suns, as well as watched God Grew Tired of Us, and Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion. Which was sort of like standing there and asking someone to punch me in the stomach repeatedly.

As some of you may have read in my profile, guilt is one of my hobbies...I don't know if it is a hobby per-say, it certainly comes to me through the veins. I choose to think of my Italian heritage as supplying most of it, and being a mother finishing off my ample supply. This is neither here nor there, except to say that a person who possesses my high threshold of unidentified guilt along with my incredibly wimpy limitations for seeing pain in the world, coupled with my need to control the Universe, should really not try to endure such books and movies, and much less all at the same time. As anxiety and depression run in my family, I think I am tempting fate a bit here!


But I did it, so now, as these things typically do, I am feeling all hot and bothered to go and save Sudan, or free Tibet, or befriend a woman in a burkah who needs some saving. Which clearly, at some point I will have to admit, I cannot do because somewhere along the line I got fired as General Manager of the Universe.

We are so blessed to have been born here. And while I still shush my mother if she mentions Alkeida** in a conversation for fear that W will send in the troops after hearing it on my tapped phones...I really don't live in a whole lot of fear. A little fear of taking Henry to swimming lessons now. (Yes, I do understand how menial my life is becoming!)


So I sit on my couch in a lake of tears and admiration for all the real people and characters of these movies and books, yelling a the books and TV, because somewhere in my screwed up psyche, I think they really can hear me. Feeling guilty about having taken longer than I should have for lunch to finish my book, Because surely I should have been doing something more useful with my time, like, I don't know, writing to my senator, collecting signatures, setting up peace rallies, building an arc...something...

But in the end, I will put it all on my to-do list...after I tackle the mounds of laundry that are scheduling their own coup d'etat and will march down the stairs and smother me in their smelliness at any moment. See? This is why all the guilt...

**Just to note, I do know that it is Al Qaeda, but I was trying to stick with the theme of W...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Technological idiot me.

Being the technological genius that I am it took me a whole freaking weekend, therapy, and help from my sister and brother-in-law to figure out how in the world to get that video on line, because it was saved as some other jacked up file. SO I actually typed that message last Thursday and here it is Easter and I am only posting it today. so oh well, pretend it is Thursday...and hey have a good Easter.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

What am I raising?

In this time of insecurity. This time of not knowing what the future holds for all of us, or our children, I am watching my kids flinging their arms over their heads like bad 80's dancers, music blaring, and I start to wonder, what am I raising?

Sitting around the table tonight for my first family dinner of the week, after a long week of sick kids, maneuvering schedules, hand-offs in the library parking lot, fixing dinner and running to choir practice, and all the other things that call us from our tables at night, I looked at my family and smiled. There is a saying between my sister and I:

"You know life is good when you can dance in the kitchen."

So here is my addition to today. In the midst of chaos, insecurities, sickness, and hanging on by a thread...it is still good enough to dance in the kitchen.

Alas, I am not sure that the messages my children will carry on from our music are OK, since, they are head banging to "Everybody Must Get Stoned." I won't even go into all the explanations I have come up with for that song, All the double etendres I have sought out, all the various justifications...but in the end does it really matter???? We are still dancing in the kitchen. For the record, I do recognize that my kids...well, lets just say, will not soon be on MTV, or dancing with the stars...although I am thankful for that. There is only so much of Mario Lopez one can take with out multiple trips to the gagatorium!

So here is my contribution for the day! and folks, the answer is blowing in the wind!

video
video

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I finished "Every Mother is a Daughter"

I am not trying to copy Leila* here (no worries Leila, I couldn't hold a candle!) but I figured instead of spending all my time being sarcastic, I will add a little something about things I have read etc... You know, so you all think I have some semblance of intelligence!

I finished listening to Every Mother is a Daughter , (yes, I do listen to books around the house or in my car...it is NOT a cop out...it is a busy moms way of staying involved in literature...so says I! But in my defense, I still read some too, it just takes a long time.)

I would love to have something sarcastic to say about this book, but I don't. Being 35 and lucky enough to have a 92 year old grandmother to take care of, also being lucky enough to have a mom, (who would kick my butt if I said how old she is on here,) and the great fortune of having two lovely daughters, I devoured this book whole heartedly. Not always identifying with one character over another, but with little bits of both of them as they wove their way through writing this book.

It lead me to wonder about what my mother would write about me, of who I am. Or what we would have to write about if we were to write a book together. It made me look at my daughter and realize that she is going to grow up and at some point have to take care of me, and what would she say about that? What would be her memories of my strengths and weaknesses be? What observations would she make about my life, that I would have never seen as having impact?

Perri Klass, and Sheila Solomon Klass, the mother and daughter that wrote this book are both, obviously, writers, and both have lived extraordinary lives, of travel, adventure, and humor. Lives truly rich in academia, which led me to realize the opulence of my own childhood. Not in monetary wealth, but a life that was steeped in educational pursuits, travel and the desire of my parents to open my eyes and take in the world around me and all that it has to offer.

So no snark here today, if you are a mom, or a daughter, it is worth a read. Take a minute like I did, to laugh at the idiosyncrasies of people, the dysfunction of all our families, and swell with the emotion of it all. In the end, those links and bonds that we build with our families and pass on to the following generations, are our mark on this world. They are our legacy, and they are precious.


* Leila is a friend I work with at the library, who is Uber smart, (to use one of her words,) reads like, 400 books a day, and then writes an incredible blog about them. In comparison on the book front, I am the kid in the back row stretching my bubble gum out to see how far it will go and getting it stuck all over my fingers... But she never makes me feel that way, so I love her anyway!]

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

should I worry?








Today alas, my 2 of my offspring are sick. One sounded like a dog barking this morning and the other, a fever for no apparent reason. Lovely. So today I am "Mommy Play with me" Barbie. Which is OK, because I had a big box! No kid can resist a big box.
We built an apartment for them in my living room. This was really fun for them until I got a little too "into" them being on their own. I got blank looks with a twinge of fright when I kept talking about coming to visit.
" look we can put a window box on your apartment and I will bring you flowers when I come visit"
Clearly I was picturing them on their own, and they were just having fun with a box. Oh well, I am fairly sure they will recover. Marshall my 9 year old going on 21 year old, will probably try to move in tonight when she gets home. We will get up tomorrow morning and there will be a skull and crossbones on the door, saying Enter at Your Own Risk. Since when did 9 year old kids get Angst????
Anyway, for lack of anything better, I posted pictures of the aftermath of Henry and Caroline’s “fun” play. I am not sure whether to be concerned about:

1: The brazen violence depicted by the many creatures eating each other, and the troubling scene of a farmer being on the wrong side of his monkey wrench.

Or

2. The fact that my kids don’t understand history and had a dinosaur eating a horse, and didn't know that clearly farmers weren’t around during the era of the Giant Tools….




Monday, March 17, 2008

The GOOD Sister

OK, so I am only writing this to let you all know what a super awesome, wicked cool sister I am. (are you sensing the foreshadowing???)

My sister just moved into this really old house in town. And her husband is out of town for like, I don’t know, the rest of the month or so. So being the really nice sister that I am, I went to visit her one night after a meeting that I had in town. (OK so, so far I am sounding p-r-e-t-t-y spectacular aren’t I?)

So we are sitting all nice and stuff in her really cool new room, on her really cool new couch, in her really OLD house…and I find it incredibly appropriate to bring up Ghosts. You know, because when you are alone, with your kid, in a new house, that is old, this is the type of supportive conversation you would expect from your sister…RIGHT????

I then proceed to tell her my horrific story of taking care of a haunted house when I was in Blacksburg, in college. (And let me tell you…I am NOT LYING. It was so haunted I promise. Even Jamie, my then boyfriend, now husband said it was. Umm not that he EVER went there and stayed with me or anything because that would have been wrong.)

So I am not seeing anything wrong with this conversation, late at night, in the dark room, in the old house. My sister starts telling me a story of another guy in town who had ghosts in their house and he had to stand at the bottom of the stairs and yell up them that it was his house now and to get the hell out. This made me laugh, but I guess desperate times call for desperate measures.

I leave there that night not thinking twice as I go home to my little house with my husband home and my well adjusted cats who don’t smell death like dogs do. (Did I mention my sister has two dogs? Oh, well she does)

The next day my sister calls and is all like “Thanks a lot,” I am pretty sure that she wasn’t really thanking me per say, but condemning me to a life of haunting's, since she couldn’t sleep, her daughter is now saying there is a man named Scott in her computer, and her dogs are scared to go in certain rooms. So all I can say is, I promise that I will go to your house Steph, and yell into the computer “Scott, leave my sister the hell alone, it is her house now” and hopefully that will solve the problem! And somehow I am going to have to make my Karma right after uleashing the undead in my sisters house.

Happy Happy Joy Joy



I got a new chair, it just makes me happy....it looks like bubbles...in a glass...of champagne or something!


and even more "wicked" cool about it? I found the fabric at Mardens a few months ago and bought it for the previously viewed pillow on my couch....ahhhh destiny and furniture make me smile.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

No more snow complaints






Please don't be concerned, I have no intention of posting on the weekends, but I have to tell you, I have been humbled!

I have been complaining about all of our snow...our "record breaking" snow, well, my neighbor just sent me these pictures from Quebec..(they have family there) and they just had another blizzard this weekend...take a look.

Yup, that is people up at their roof tops shoveling. And yes, that is a pathway to a front door and a garage. So folks, I will never again complain about snow for fear that the snow Gods of Quebec will turn their vengeance on my in sunny, tropical, Southern Maine! Ok so I probably will complain again, who am I trying to fool? But thanks to Carolyn for sharing...and giving my frustration a perspective.

I know my in-laws from the south, who are coming to visit next week, will be relieved this isn't us!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

SERIOUSLY???????


It is March 15th right?????????

another 3-5 inches today.....

Friday, March 14, 2008

Examples of my wicked awesome parenting skills!




Little man into the creams and Mascaras while I was....umm

...parenting!

Confessions of a NOT so Wicked Awesome Parent

I have a rant today, I am no perfect mom. My title "Wicked awesome parent," well, that was just to bug my husband (he hates any usage of the word wicked) not a proclamation of my incredible parenting skills. I am getting a little tired of the mom madness around where I live ...

I confess, my kids don’t brush their teeth every night, and sometimes I don’t even remind them. My daughter gets a “floor bed” when we don't get her sheets on fast enough, and she thinks this is normal.

My kids sometimes eat fast food, and even worse…I think they like it better than my cooking. I bribe my kids with food, money, power, anything I can, just to survive one more day.

I do NOT feed my kids organic food and even worse….I sometimes shop at WALMART. Worse still, there have been times that I have gone in there with my sweatpants, unwashed, unkempt hair, and bribed my 2 year old with a doughnut on the way in to ensure his cooperation on our mission.

On any given day you can walk in to my house and be confronted with a militia of dust bunnies and unidentified meat product smeared under the kids chairs.

My kids have heard Eminem and Pink as much as Raffi and Barney. I yell at my kids, I don’t always give them choices, and my “nice” voice doesn’t have nearly as much practice as my “I am aggravated as shit and really tired so don't push it" voice.

I make them do chores, I make them go out side and get fresh air against their will, I let them watch too much TV, and I am pretty sure that I have permanently damaged their egos and psyche at some point in my life and am positive I will be called on it at some point in time.

So Power to the mom who doesn't wipe down the entire shopping cart, and every door knob with Antibacterial before their kid touches it, who has that extra glass of wine at night before she goes to bed, whose khakis and sweater sets have taken a back seat to stained jeans and t-shirts! We will all survive this I promise, now I have to go because I am pretty sure that CDS just pulled into my driveway...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

And she thinks I am crazy

My sister sent this to me the other day...I thought I was going to pee in my pants...
I still might just thinking about it.



Maybe we need to have game shows like this? No, because watching half drugged celebrities try and loose their last 18 pounds on celebrity fit club is so much more fulfilling. (Not that I have ever watched that....Ok, I was sick, very, very sick, and it was that, or the Senate.) DON'T JUDGE ME...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My Eyes are Burning!!

3/12/08
MY EYES, MY EYES,…I CAN FEEL THE BURNING, I CAN'T SEE.

What is wrong you say? My eyes are developing scar tissue as I type since this morning my sister and I were summoned to help my grandmother take a bandage off her head….after her shower…which she insisted that we sit in on to make sure that she did it right…. Yes this was our thought too…after 92 years of showering…is there a worry you would get it wrong? But this is the way it is with my sweet grandmother…which she really is…most of the time. But she worries about everything, and with this, just another worry session that she would do something wrong in the shower and would somehow…I don’t know, I guess explode or something.

So there we were, my sister and I sitting dutifully with our two year olds, trying to keep them from beating each other over the head with rare, antiques in her living room…which by the way, my grandmother always protests “There is nothing they can hurt here” to which my sister and I always politely respond: (while removing the 400$ crystal candy dish top from the sticky fingers that are holding it in throw position) …”Um, yeah, its been a while since mom was 2 huh?!?” (This is my mothers mother.)

We hear our summons, my grandmother, frantically yelling for us to check and see if she has wet down the bandage on top of her head enough to get it off.

Us: “Do you want a towel to cover up?”
Her: “No, I am 92 what do I have to worry about”
Us: Um we are more worried about this lovely memory burned into our brain than yours, since you are likely to forget it in the next ten minutes! (We really didn’t say this, My sister and I are actually good granddaughters, but we did look at each other and instantly understood that is what we were thinking.)

We dutifully got to work at un-sticking her bandage from her hair on the top of her head while skillfully avoiding eye contact with our grandmothers naked body dripping in the shower…which come on folks, I am not being mean here, but lets face it…gravity is not always kind to us as we age…and there were parts that were down to other parts that just…well, It was just NOT ok. (I know that I am securing my place in hell for this story. But I promise we are good grand daughters.)

Us: “we are trying not to hurt you, are you sure you don’t want a towel, aren’t you cold?”
Her: “No I am fine, can you see the scar?”

Us: “Yeah it isn’t too bad” By which we mean “OMG I have to get the heck out of here before I barf in the tub and add more bad memories to this entire affair”

My grandmother had a small cancerous growth on the top of her head, which from what it looks like, they scooped out with an ice cream scooper and then plopped a bandage on top and left it to us to look at and take care of. I know that this isn’t fair because the Dr was wonderful and really did do a good job, but looking at this hole in her head, sort of made me realize why I never went to medical school…well that and the fact that beer was a better friend to me in college then my books were…but that is neither here nor there.

But set your minds at ease, all was ok, the bandage was removed, the body got covered in a robe eventually, AND we managed to keep my son, who at this point has a fairly un-healthy (or healthy according to my husband) obsession with “Boobahs,” out of the bathroom while we worked on my grandmother in the shower. I really was concerned about this, especially after his experience with the man boobs in his Swimming lesson, that he wouldn’t stop talking about, and clearly was traumatized by. And while the scar tissue on my eyes will not last as long as the memory of my grandmothers “boobahs” in the shower, the end result was her feeling secure and taken care of…and in the end that is what is important…right?....RIGHT?????