Monday, July 31, 2006

How was your morning?

Cuz... this is how mine started.

We're not sure exactly who is to blame for this. It was either the dog or the infamous "I-don't-know." But, whoever (whomever?) did it, left it for me to find and clean up, (((sigh))).

Shortly after that was my dental appointment, to which I was late. Blame it on traffic, blame it on the kids' camp director who didn't have her sign-in sheet ready or blame it on the fact that I am never meant to be anywhere on time. There is nothing worse then heading into the dentist, on a Monday, in a bad mood, when your late. Oh, wait! There is one thing. When your hygenist is also in a bad mood, on a Monday and her first appointment has put her behind schedule for the entire day. Yeah, no gentle, "sorry if this hurts a little" service-with-a-smile, "so how's your family (?)" treatment for me today. No, today I got the teeth scraping, let-me-show-you-what-this-sharp-tool-really-can-do, Monday smackdown in the chair treatment. Did you know that the little polish, drill-thing has a turbo speed? Yeah, me neither. Apparently it is only for "special" patients. If that was my first ever dental appointment. I'd never go back. Ever.

Anyway, I did have some other news to share and pictures of the chocolate decadence I had over the weekend to celebrate my 40th birthday. But, I'll save that for my next post. Right now my teeth are throbbing and I can't really think strait...

Happy Monday.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Most Quotable Friday

Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you've got to start young.- Fred Astaire

Mountains cannot be surmounted except by winding paths.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Conceal a flaw, and the world will imagine the worst.
- Marcus Valerius Martial

We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don't like?- Jean Cocteau

Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it.
- Rabindranath Tagore

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The non-weather related post

I never blog about the weather because someone, somewhere always has it worse. I live in California, for cryin' out loud. I can, maybe, get away with complaining to someone who lives in Hawaii. But damn. I just have to say one thing. It is H-O-T. It is F-U-C-K-I-N-G H-O-T!!! And not in the hip, sexy kind of way.

I don't care what anyone's "'s" temperature reading was for where I live over the weekend, because I know what my trusty SUV's temperature gage told me. It was 112. (a hundred-and-fucking-twelve-degrees-farenheit) And? My car does not lie. When it tells me I have low fuel, it's because I need gas. When it tells me the cargo door is open, it's because the back door isn't closed all the way. When it tells me I need to change the engine oil, it's because it has been 3,000 miles since its last pampering at Jiffy Lube. My car and its little "right about everything" messages are annoying, sure, but it never lies. Never. It was 112 people! It. was. Hot.

My dog didn't even want to go outside. I made 6 trips out to the car to bring in the groceries and normally he happily follows me out, does his little thing and follows me back in. Sunday he followed me out for the first two trips, stayed in the shade next to the garage on the third trip and watched me from a safe distance inside the house (ready to pounce and dig in if I tried to take him outside) for the remaining three trips.

Y'all who live through this for weeks-on-end? Every year? Have my deepest, deepest respect.


Monday, July 24, 2006

Men I Love...Who Aren't My Husband

There are a couple of men out there that I just have express my love for. Now, hubby, if you are reading this, I don't mean love in that way (these disclaimers could all but cease if you would just admit that you a) found my blog and b) read it once in awhile. Then I wouldn't have to waste time with all these annoying sidebar explanations) because I don't love anyone else in that way except you. ((Sigh)) Where was I? Oh, other men. Umm, that didn't come out right, did it?

Okay the first man that I want to express my love for (other than hubby, whom I love the most!) is named Felipe. I have seen Felipe around many times. He is a bagger at my local grocery store (I won't say which one just in case hubby takes this the wrong way and goes looking for him). He has never really caught my attention before. That is, until today. Today, this morning actually, he saved my life. Okay, maybe that is a bit melodramatic. More like he saved my ass. Just, so we're clear (hubby in case, today, you choose to read) there was no "touching" of the ass, just the "saving" of it. He saved me over $200 in cash, unlimited amounts of anguish, aggrivation and quite possibly my job. Oh, and a really cute pair of sunglasses and my cell phone too. Yes, after stopping at Albertson's the grocery store this morning to pick up donuts and bagels for the office staff I, in all my radiant brilliance, left my purse in the grocery cart. In the middle of the fucking parking lot. UGGGHHH!!! Not only that, drove all the way to work (20-25 minutes) before I realized I didn't have it. I know, I know, but please don't bask in the glory, that is my stupidity. Anyway, I raced drove back to the store. I went in and someone had found it in the parking lot and turned it in. That someone was Felipe the bagger! He saw it sitting there and selflessly picked it up and, without opening it and going through my stuff, turned it in to his manager! There are still honest people out there. I'm sure after I gushed and swooned over Felipe with my undying love gratitude he probably thought I wanted to marry him. But? I was so ecstatic, I just couldn't help myself. I best go shopping somewhere else this week, however, you know, in case it may be awkward for him to see me again (there was a lot of gushing and I think I picked up a hint of fear in his eyes).

The other man I love, that isn't my husband, is my boss (hubby, if you're still reading... ah, forget it). My manager, actually. He went on vacation last week and won't be back until next week. Nearly two weeks without him. Ordinarily this would be ideal, right? The boss gone for two weeks, who hoo! But, no not in this case. Why? Because he takes all the heat from the big boss. The boss who used to make my life hell and make me pull my hair out in frustration. What with him constantly popping into my office, asking questions and feeding his micro-management addiction. His repetitive requests for spreadsheets and eye-brow raising explanations. Requesting inordinate numbers of phone calls, followed by follow-up phone calls. Asking me to order something (but first getting 10 different price quotes) and then turn around and ask, why did I order that? (um, you told me to?) Confirming that, yes, that was his signature on the purchase order. Asking me to explain why our customer hasn't paid their invoice, didn't I send it to them? (ugh. of course I sent it, that is what you pay me to do...) Asking where different people were (hiding from him, I'm sure). "I don't know why they are not at their desk. Yes, they were here today. Yes I have seen them. No, I don't know where they are now." I could (actually still can) hear when he was coming. You know how houses have their creaks and noises. So does my office suite. I can tell when someone is coming towards my office and can distinguish almost everyone's walk. His is very fast and urgent. Like he is in a hurry. I always have enough time to roll my eyes and grimace before he enters my office, you know, brace myself for the impending craziness. Anyway,When he hired "Scott" all that transferred to him and my love for him was born. I was free! I began to like my job again. However, inevitably, "Scott" takes a vacation every now and then and all the spreadsheet producing, assistant micro-managing, employee locating duties fall back to me. Let me leave you with a visual:
Average visits to my office from big boss per day when "Scott" is not on vacation and in his office: 2
Number of visits, so far, today: 21. (it's not even lunch time) Please pass the Excedrin. **Groan*** here he comes again...22.

I don't care if it is inappropriate, I'm sending him a "welcome back" bouquet.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Most Quotable Friday

The giant oak is an acorn that held its ground.- Anonymous

Think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so too.- Voltaire

There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.- Ben Williams

Half an hour's meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed.- St. Francis de Sales

If you look at zero you see nothing;but look through it and you will see the world.- Robert Kaplan

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Things (a meme, I think)

Thank you Nicole, for tagging me for the "things" meme. Actually, I'm kind of excited because this is my first time being "tagged." So, (in a way) yay.

Things I Want To Do Before I Die:

  • attend my children's high school & college graduations
  • attend my children's weddings
  • visit Europe
  • pay off my house
  • celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary
  • win the lottery
  • see the San Jose Sharks win the Stanley Cup
  • run a marathon

Things I Cannot Do:

  • sing
  • cook
  • dance
  • draw
  • iron (okay, technically I "can" but it takes at least 30 minutes to do one shirt)
  • discipline my youngest child when he gives me the "pitiful" look.
  • believe I got tagged

Things I Can Do:

  • Give hugs
  • Read stories
  • Give kisses
  • Laugh with abandonment
  • Eat
  • See
  • Smell
  • Hear
  • Feel
  • Touch
  • Yell
  • Forgive

Things That Attracted Me To My Husband

  • His wit
  • His charm
  • His looks
  • How he treated me with respect
  • The twinkle in his eye
  • The way he looked at me
  • His character

Things I Say Most Often:

  • We'll see
  • No
  • STOP IT!!!
  • Thank you
  • I love you
  • It is not okay
  • Now!
  • Hurry up
  • We're late
  • I mean it
  • Get in the car
  • Let the dog out
  • Get in the shower
  • Clean up your stuff
  • Stop fighting!
  • I have no problem keeping you here while your brother (cousin, friend, etc.) is off doing x, y, z without you.
  • I don't want to hear it.
  • Don't say you're sorry, show me you're sorry
  • (wow, I didn't know I talked so much)

Books I Love:

  • The Book of Qualities
  • Harry Potter (all)
  • Birthright
  • Witness
  • The Firm
  • Illusions
  • The Little Prince
  • Living, Loving, Learning

Movies I Love:

  • Cousins
  • Tequila Sunrise
  • Sliding Doors
  • Titanic
  • The Notebook
  • Fried Green Tomatoes
  • Shawshenk Redemption
  • Toy Story (hee hee)
  • The Sixth Sense
  • Ghost

At the risk of making blog enemies, I tag Wendy, Jen, Zephra and Valerie. Because I'm sure these busy moms have nothing better to do.

The Road...

to Happiness
to Inner Peace
to Salvation
less traveled
to Satisfaction
to Redemption
to Success
to Delerium
to Contentment
that leads me home
to Self Preservation
to Tranquility
to awareness
to a new beginning
to Freedom
This is my road...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Woody has been not feeling well for two days now. He has a headache and is tired. I just know he is growing again. This must be a whopper growing spurt, even for him. This boy gets serious growing pains. He gets physically sick and the next day all or part of him has grown. Sometimes it is just a shoe size and sometimes it's an inch in height. Think I'm exagerating? Here are two true stories.
1. Last spring (just before turning 10) he goes to soccer practice on a Tuesday, comes home that night feeling nauseous and has a headache. Throws up in the middle of the night. Stays home from school on Wednesday but feels fine by mid-morning. Thursday gets ready to go to soccer again and his shoes (that he wore on Tuesday) don't fit him. He can't get them on.
2. January, this year, age 10 and-a-half. I hadn't measured him in a few months so I took him to the garage where we have their hash marks written on the garage door. I measured him and he had grown about 3/4 of an inch in about a 3 month period. A week later he did the whole headache/nauseous thing and the next day I measured him again (out of curiousity) and he had grown a whole inch. In one week. Somewhere between April and June he grew another inch. I'm going to measure him tomorrow, just to check. I mean two days of this? His whole body could be exploding. **update** yep, he grew half an inch since three weeks ago, and? He has some kind of bug***update*** virus (could me mono) too.

Buzz and I were sitting at the table yesterday. He was telling me about his day and pulls a piece of paper out of his pocket. He says, "Here, mommy. This is my friend's cell phone number, he gave it to me." I asked him how old was his friend, and he told me that he was 7. "Oh, so this is his mom's cell phone number?" No, he said. "His dad's?" I asked. "No, he has his own cell phone and that's the number. Can we call him?" (WTF?)

"Summer of No TV" update:
Top 15 things the kids do/have done instead of watch t.v during the week:

15. Play UNO
14. Play "13" (card game)
13. Play Basketball
12. Play Hockey
11. Read books
10. Write in journals
9. Feigned illness and fatigue to get out of reading books and writing in journals
8. Rode bikes to the park
7. Played tag with the dog
6. Taken reeeeeaaaaallly loooooooong showers
5. Played hide and seek with a stuffed animal (take turns trying to find it)
4. Shopped for shoes on the internet (this is a potential problem I am choosing to ignore, hoping it will go away)
3. Invented and practiced secret/celebration handshakes
2. Acted out skits from their favorite television shows
1. Made fun of my singing. Apparently I was singing out loud to my Mp3 player while cleaning their bathroom and they were in their room screaming at the top of their lungs singing the chorus to the Nine Inch Nails song I was listening to (and laughing hysterically). "E-verrry Daaay Is Exac-tly The Same."
(FYI - yes it is. Yes it is.)

Ouch! - Just paid the PG & E (pacific gas & electric) bill for the first time since #91 moved out. That was the bill he paid in lieu of rent. $238.00! Now that hurts.

I'm on to you Wells Fargo - Just because I decline your, very kind, offer of moving me to paperless statements doesn't mean you need to deny me online access to my account. Oh, I know your little tricks. I fell for it the first time when I clicked the "not at this time" button after logging in to check my balance and you so conveniently told me that my account was temporarily unavailable. But the second time? How come, miraculously, after it was temporarily unavailable when I immediately logged in again it was suddenly available? And then the third and fourth time I declined? Hmmm? Nothing to say? What about the fifth time? Do you think I am going to succumb to your pressure and go paperless just because you bug me with that incessant pop up screen standing between me and my account summary? And the e-mails? I don't want paperless statements. I don't even open the paper ones. It's personal now. I will never agree. I will never push that "sign up now" button. And? You can't make me.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Name Your Personalities

A.K.A. More information about me that you needed to know...

I seriously wish I came up with this idea without any help, but, alas I didn’t. I was reading this post by Crazy Momcat in which she was expressing pros and cons of a decision she was trying to make. In the post she (very hysterically I might add) named some of her other personas and wondered what they might think of her decision. Anyway, I decided to take it one step further and make a whole post about my other personalities. So, thank you Crazy Momcat for the idea and without further ado, please step into my brain and take a seat (please don't feed the personalities while you are here-thank you).

Ethyl – has an innate need to explain and justify everything. She divulges way too much information. She wrote the introduction to this post.

Mean Mommy – She’s a dictator, she’s the queen, she is the one everyone (in the household) bows too. She is not well-liked but she is well-respected. When reasoning, bribery and begging don’t work, she’s the one to call.

Joe - the sports fan. He schedules everything around the San Jose Sharks during hockey season. Game intermissions are for dinner time, shower time and light chores if they allow checking the t.v. every two minutes so as not to miss the face off. He invented the phrase "no interruptions when the game is on." He will fold the laundry during a game, but will stop if the team is losing and go sit in his “lucky spot” on the couch. He filled out all the brackets for the 2006 World Cup, just for fun. He also spent way to much money on Stanley Cup playoff tickets and blogged about how great the games were. He is resting until September when pre-season starts and is also waiting for the 49ers and Raiders to be good again.

Annie- the organizer. She plans, she writes lists, she makes schedules, she schedules time to write lists, she cleans out closets, organizes the garage and keeps the family budget. She makes medical appointments, rsvp’s to party invitations, does all the Christmas shopping, birthday shopping, school shopping. She knows when it’s garbage day and when the mortgage is due. The other personalities are all out to get her. She knows this. She treads carefully and isn’t over demanding. Don’t change plans on her at the last minute, though, cuz she'll totally freak out.

Dr. Laura – not to be confused with the radio host. She is the in-house shrink who thinks she knows everything. She likes to sneak out and give advice to other people. If you have ever gotten an “advice” comment from me before on your blog, she most likely wrote it. She doesn’t do much in the way of helping around here, though. Why fix us when she can fix others?

Patty – the procrastinator. She undermines all organizational effort by Annie. She is weak to temptation and thinks Ben and Jerry only exist for her. She is very good at making lists of what she should be doing, just before doing the exact opposite. Her goal is to become a professional “extreme couch potato” and be sponsored by Frito Lay and Diet Coke. The kids love her because she is the one who takes them to McDonalds or orders pizza instead of cooking them dinner. She has also been known to forget about signing field trip permission slips, that it was our turn to bring snacks for the soccer team or to put the "tooth fairy" money under the pillow. She thinks things will work themselves out eventually if she ignores them long enough.

Mother Earth – She’s all “peace & love,” and wonders why we can’t all get a long. Life is beautiful to her. Her kids are perfect, her husband is perfect and her dog is perfect. They are all loving examples to the world of what life can be if we just relaxed and let things be as nature intended. She is usually only allowed out during solitude, moments of reflection or on long solitary bike rides in the hills (where the air is thin and has less oxygen). She is often jolted by reality and goes into hiding.

Maeve – the martyr. She does everything around the house with little or no recognition. She offers to do things even if she doesn’t have the time or the energy, just because she assumes knows no one else will. She suffers alone with her martyrdom. Her menstrual cramps are worse than anyone else, her headaches are worse than anyone else and her problems are worse than everyone as well. Her children are ill-behaved, her husband doesn’t pay attention to her and her parents never understood her. Nothing could ever get done without her. She is the poster-child for “woe is me.”

Stan – the clown. He tries to make everyone laugh and sees humor in everything. He has a big heart and always means well. Sometimes the other personalities use him to serve their own purposes.

Gwen – the worrier. She worries about every decision, every action and every opinion that others have of her. She worries about her appearance, misspelling words and what the neighbors think. She is both weak and strong. She worries that her voice is never heard but also that it is.

Cassandra – the dreamer. She has a rich fantasy life. She dreams of long, white beaches and of dipping her toes in warm, blue tropical waters. She dreams of owning a big house in the hills, with perfect landscaping, gardens and endless rooms that clean themselves. She dreams of running marathons, sleeping all day and having absolutely no responsibilities. She has a perfect body, perfect smile and has the right answer to every question. Her current fantasy is to run off with hubby and spend a lazy weekend wine tasting and sleeping in a quaint Bed & Breakfast.

Garth -the warrior. He is great in a crisis because he keeps a really level head. He is, however, prone to wallowing in denial after the crisis has passed. He has a hard time letting go and not being needed.

There are few others that don't have names. For example I have both a pessimistic and an optimistic personality, but they pretty much cancel each other out. I also have an addictive personality still loose in there somewhere. She apparently came with the genes and refuses to leave. She's not as prevalant as she once was, but I'm sure she'll always be around, just in case. So, I guess that pretty much does it. You can exit out of my brain the same way you came in. Please don't try and entice any of the personalities to come with you. Somehow we all co-exist and make it work. I hope you enjoyed your visit!

Oh, and? BTW, We I have not been clinically diagnosed, yet. We I know what you were thinking. We're all I'm going out for an adult beverage now if you would like to join us me. Cheers!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Most Quotable Friday

Our only security is our ability to change.
- John Lilly

Those who do not know how to weep with their whole heart don’t know how to laugh either.
- Golda Meir

Never think that God's delays are God's denials. Hold on; hold fast; hold out. Patience is genius.
- Comte de Buffon

The odds of hitting a target go up dramatically when you aim at it.
- Mal Pancoast

Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.
-Margery Williams, "The Velveteen Rabbit"

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The 10 11 Things I Hate

I’m bitchy, I’m cranky and I couldn’t think of anything nice to say. Please share in the misery and read my list. Not a meme. More like a mini bitch-fest.

#11 The irony that what tastes so good is usually so bad...

#10 Anxiety – I know it will pass, but sometimes things seem insurmountable

#9 Identity Theft –been there, done that, not fun

#8 Telemarketing- not so bad after the national “do not call” list, but still worth a mention

#7 The Flu- umm, yeah.

#6 Ear wax – EEEEEWWWWW!!! And? Ear wax with sand. Don’t even go there.

#5 Confrontation – makes me nauseous. Unless it involves one of my kids, then I’ll go loco on your ass you-know-what.

#4 Litter- just pick it up, or throw it away in the first place! It isn’t hard.

#3 Pretentiousness – get over yourself already.

#2 Lies and the lying liars who tell them. – this isn’t political. I’m talking about people (in general), who just, well, lie. Ugh, just stop.

#1 Entitlement Driving- those drivers that, for whatever reason, feel they are entitled to get there before you. They don’t feel they need to wait for others if they can pass everyone and cut in when it suits them.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Summer Day

The boys, one of their friends and I went to the beach last Saturday. Woody had gotten a skim board for his birthday
that he wanted to try out, so we packed the cooler, boards, wetsuits and towels in the car and headed over for the day. The weather was perfect which was a little surprising because the beach we go to is a little south of Santa Cruz and is always, 90% of the time, foggy and 10-20 degrees cooler than Santa Cruz and a whopping 30-40 degrees cooler than San Jose. The trade-off is that is less crowded and the water is cleaner and no sea-weed.

The last time we came here we weren't so lucky with the weather. That day the fog refused to burn off and we spent most of the time bundled together sitting on our blanket wrapped in towels to keep warm. It was very cool, however, because that day there were dolphins swimming close to shore. Right in the waves, actually, where we would have been...had it not been to cold. I saw one at first, but didn't see it again for a long time and convinced myself it was a bird or something else. But after a while we saw another, then two or three at a time. They must have found a motherload of anchovies that they were generously sharing with some birds who were diving nearby for their afternoon meal. At one point I counted eight dolphins swimming by!

We didn't see the dolphins on this day, but we did have a visit from a seal that came and beached itself about 30 yards from where we were sitting. I thought I saw it stick its head up in the water when we first got there but didn't see it again until it just rolled itself up to the sand.

A rush of people went over to check it out. No one knew what to do. We weren't sure if it was sick, dying or just came to sun itself. I think it was sick because he was lethargic, his eyes were bloodshot and his fins had a grayish color that didn't match the rest of his body. After a half-hour,or so, a lifeguard rolled up in his lifeguard jeep to keep an eye on him. Every once and a while he would move his head or flippers which was a relief because I was hoping he hadn't come there to die.

He stayed on the sand for nearly two hours (can you see him in this photo?). Then? He got himself up and went back in the water! We were all in the water when he did. I looked over to see if he was still there and if the lifeguard and called anyone else to come help him...but he was gone and the lifeguard was getting ready to drive off! One of the boys said he saw the seal in the water on the other side of us, which meant he swam right by us! Around 4:00 the fog started to roll in and the temperature cooled quite considerably. By 5:00 we were ready to head home... where it was still in the nineties until well into the evening.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Who Knew The Kids Giving Up TV Would Be So Hard... On Me?

...And not in the way you might think.

So, I had this brilliant idea at the beginning of summer to cut down on out the kids tv watching and video game playing. It sounds great doesn't it? Yep, I thought so too. Reading! Yes, there will be reading this summer. After all, my soon-to-be-third-grader will be required 30 minutes of reading per night in third grade as opposed to 15 minutes in second grade. I will train him now. And math! Yes, there will be lots of math review for the soon-to-be-sixth-grader whose 5th grade math scores left a lot to be desired. And writing! There will be daily journal writing for all! It will be fantastic. They will go back to school with fully stimulated little brains.

So, I got the necessary materials for my "summer of no t.v." We already had plenty of reading material. Woody has three C.S. Lewis books that he got for Christmas. Buzz has several Junie B. Jones and Magic Treehouse books that he inherited from Woody. I bought some math workbooks and a journal for each boy. Then, I made the schedule and laid the ground rules:
rule 1: NO television or Game Cube during the week.
rule 1a: (because we need to clarify these things) the week is defined as Monday thru Friday
rule 2: you will read a minimum x amount of minutes each day.
rule 2a: unlike mommy's phone plan, your minutes don't carry over
rule 3 you will do "x" amount of pages in your workbook per day
rule 4 you will write "x" amount of journal pages per day.
rule 4a: single spaced, normal sized writing.

Things were a little rough at first. For example, the first week Buzz went to a soccer camp from 9 to 12 instead of the all day camp with his brother. Hubby took half-days all week so he could be available to pick him up Thanks Hubby! (who doesn't read this blog!). Hubby would feed him lunch and then have him do his reading, writing and workbook. And? When I got home from work, he had nothing to do ((((sigh)))), because he had already finished his stuff! On top of that, twice I came home and found Woody asleep in his bed...where he had been "reading." I also caught Buzz sitting in front of the t.v. a few times, because "he forgot."
Some tweaking of the rules were in order:
rule 5: Start work after mommy gets home.
rule 6: No reading on your bed.
rule 7: Re-read and adhere to rule #1 (and 1a).

The second week went much better. Books were being read and alternate t.v watching activities were being thought of each day.
Anyway, I had a point... oh, the T.V. It used to be that if I told the kids to do something (pick up their clothes, take out the trash, take a shower, etc. I always had the power of turning off the TV if they weren't listening (or worse, hearing but choosing to ignore). And the threat to turn off the video game? Even more powerful, because, OMG, never (ever, under no circumstance)! Yeah, big cardinal sin. We go to mommy hell for that. But? They both know I'll do it if provoked. It was an ace up my sleeve, so to speak.

However, after two weeks of the "summer of no t.v.," they have adjusted. But I, on the other hand, have lost my edge. Why? Because suddenly I am without the almighty power of taking the t.v.. away if they are misbehaving or not listening. The rule was I tell them once (for example), "go pick up your clothes from the bathroom." If get no response, I would turn off the t.v. It was like a non-verbal cue for them. T.v. off? "Oh, time to get up and do what mommy says."
Now? Where is their cue? Why did I think "summer of no t.v." also meant summer of suddenly listening to mommy the first time she says to do something? Is it me or does it seem wrong to grab a book out of your child's hand when you want something done? Saying "Stop reading right now young man and clean your room," has no oomph, you know?
Yesterday, I wanted them to start taking their showers, but they were in the middle of an UNO game. After the third time telling one of them to get in the shower and the other to pick up his stuff in the garage, I actually (out of habit) took three steps toward the t.v (fully intending to turn the power off).... that wasn't on.
Yep, they're fine. Me? I'm still adjusting. Seems the t.v. is more of a crutch for me than I thought, and not in the way that I thought!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Most Quotable Friday

Autobiography in 5 Short Chapters
By Portia Nelson

Chapter 1.
I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost.... I am helpless. It isn't my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2.
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don't see it. I fall in again. I can't believe I am in the same place. But, It isn't my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3.
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in. It's a habit. My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

Chapter 4.
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

Chapter 5.
I walk down another street.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

To Mock Or Not To Mock?

What to do, what to do...
note: I held off for nearly a week before publishing this post. When I first wrote it I was pretty pissed off. Then being pissed turned in to disgust. Disgust turned scorn and scorn turned into, well it just kept going from one pissed off emotion to another and at no time did it quell into anything else more calm. I thought, should I really be publicly mocking someone else's blog? Am I so much above it all that I think I have the right to make fun of someone else's writing? The answers, of course, are no and no. But? It really isn't the blog itself or even the writing that got under my skin. It was the mindset of the person(s) doing the writing that set me off. If you don't want to partake in "the mocking of others" have been properly warned. Please don't read any further!
I stumbled across this certain "moms' (as in plural)" blog a week ago. I'll keep the name private (for now anyway). I saw the name of it while reading comments from another mom blog (which is wonderful, one of my favorites and definitely not mock-worthy). The name of the blog caught my eye because the moms were from the area where I live. I thought, "how cool! my sisters who represent!" I couldn't wait to click over!
I followed the link, and get this, bookmarked the sight before I even read it! I just knew people! I knew I was going to love this blog. I excitedly began to skim through the posts. In the side bar I counted 11 contributing mom bloggers. I wondered, to myself, if I knew anyone on the list! Wouldn't that be weird? The first entry was about a family vacation to Egypt. It sounded pretty interesting, but also intimidating becaue I've never experienced such an upscale vacation as Egypt and I didn't think my family's Disney vacation was quite up to par with this woman and her family. But? I plodded on. My sisters, my local blogging community. Bring it on!
The next post was centered around the story of a nanny leaving an 18-month boy alone on the playground while she took the older child to the bathroom. I thought, well that's a slam-dunk, of course the nanny was neglectful. You can't leave a fucking 18-month old, alone in the park for any period of time, not to mention the time it must have taken to tend to another child in the bathroom... out of fucking site! So I anxiously read on, sure that the author was going to agree with me and anticipating how snarky her critique would be of the nanny's neglectful behavior. Here is what I got instead. Her writing (in red) is cut and pasted directly from the blog post, any emphasis (bold) is mine. My comments are in black:
I am troubled by a recent discussion on my mothers’ club email list about what to do if you see a caregiver neglecting a child. The thread started when a mom noticed an 18-month boy left alone at a local park. Some time later, the nanny appeared out of the rest room with a second child, who might have been her daughter. When the mom mentioned that she should not leave the boy alone, the nanny snapped at her. Damn! Can't wait so see how she reams the nanny!
Now I’ve tried multiple variations of childcare over the last eight years – nannies, au pairs, teenagers, even friends of nannies in an emergency – and I’ve left them alone with my kids while I was out having a career. Hmm, that seems a little cavalier, but still having an open mind... I’m glad to know that other moms are keeping an eye out. Yeah, me too, that mom who confronted the nanny rocked! Yet I’m concerned that we’re racing to judgment in situations where we don’t know the whole story. What? well, maybe she's got a point, hope she backs it up though. For instance, in the nanny-in-the-bathroom situation, I can think of a story (as in not based on any facts) where the little girl was standing at the bench doing the “potty wiggle” and crying because she had to go, and she had only just started wearing big girl panties. When the nanny tried to drag both children into the rest room, the little boy started throwing one of those 18-month-old tantrums, yelling “No!” and running away. Maybe in desperation she decided to take the girl to the restroom and say a little prayer that the boy would be OK at a nice safe park in our upscale suburb – I think that’s what I would have done. WHAT. THE. HOLY. FUCK? I must have read that wrong. Let me re-read that last part...nope, safe park, upscale suburb. I think that's what I would have done? OMG. Because child molesters only hang out and accidents only happen at non-upscale parks? And maybe the nanny’s boyfriend (and father of the little girl?) had gotten caught without a green card and was getting deported, and she hadn’t slept much last night, and maybe her English wasn’t great and she interpreted the mom’s words as another rich spoiled gringa condescending to her and that’s why she snapped… Jaw dropped, mouth open. can't. find. the. words. That is the most racist fucking thing I've ever heard, and she's trying to be sympathetic toward the nanny! In sticking up for the nanny, who by the way? left an 18-month old alone in the park, she assumes the nanny is a) an unwed mother b) who doesn't speak good English and (c) whose boyfriend is in this country illegally. Why would you assume that? why would you think that? and, why would that (as racist as it is in the first place) serve as any kind of excuse for her behavior? Please, my dear blogging mother, do not ever rush to my defense. Ever.

Continued below...

To Mock Or Not To Mock? continued...

That was truly bizarre. Surely the other bloggers on this site cannot be this, this, um, stupid? narrow minded? sheltered? racist? elitist? If only I was wrong... If only I was wrong. I should have stopped myself there, deleted the page from my bookmarks and gone on with my normal blog reading, unscathed. But, like passing by a horrific car wreck on the freeway, I just had to keep looking. This is from the very next post (posted by a different person):

I have been one of those privileged stay at home moms with a full time nanny that so many moms love to hate (yeah, like if you're a bitch about it. Not for the fact that you have a nanny)...I have relied on my nanny for four years. I never had any reason to doubt her, as she helped me to care for my four children. After what happened this weekend, I question my parenting, and the role of nannies in general. My life is upside down... Hmm, I wonder what happened to have her doubt her nanny of four years? I went away as I often have (how often?) for a long weekend to NYC with my husband (keep in mind they are from California). My nanny was watching my children, and had planned to take them on a weekend trip with her family. I am not an easy going Mom. I left my travel folder, spreadsheets of camp information, and repeated my concerns about her planned weekend getaway. Oh, groan. Are you serious? I was reassured by nanny dearest, and even mocked for how often I asked her where they would stay, who would be there, etc. etc. etc. I left for NYC. So, she's establishing the extent of her parental concern and precautionary efforts for the weekend trips that she often takes, without her children, cross country. On Friday, I called to check on my kids. To my surprise they were heading off to a hotel with nanny dearest in Bodega Bay. I asked why, insisted that I was not comfortable with the plan, and instructed her to call me when they checked in to the supposed hotel room. Not comfortable? Bitch The woman takes your kids on an unscheduled trip and you're uncomfortable? Friday night passes. No call. I call. No response. I have nightmares all night. You can't reach your kids and you can still sleep? Saturday. No calls. I am a wreck. You are a wreck? Why aren't you a wreck on a plane? Where are my kids? Exactly! What has happened to them? There you go. You could not convince me they weren't dead in a ditch somewhere if it were me in that situation. Bitch Woman, get on a plane. I imagine the worst, and can not get into contact with the nanny. Yeah, we've been over that. Get on a plane. We finally receive a quick call Saturday night from my eldest. We are at a noisy dinner in the city, so my husband took the call. What? I thought we were bonding here. You went out to dinner? Not knowing where your kids were? And you didn't talk to them because, excuse fucking me, it was too noisy at the restaurant? I was relieved for the moment. God I wish I was there to kick your ass! Now it is Sunday. I once again try to contact the kids. Guess what? No response. I panic again, but hear nothing. Yeah, not feeling sorry for you any more. My husband tells me to calm down. Don't care much for asshole husband at the moment either. My mothering instinct once again tells me something is not right. Your what? No, mothering instinct is what the rest of us have. What you have is a having-kids-is-really-hampering-on-my-good-times instinct. I hope you don't get a migraine from all the "worrying." Monday morning (you are still not home to see your kids off to camp?) I get a call from my 8 year old about camp. He hangs up quick, not his normal chatty self. I call back and insist on talking to my 11 year old. He says. "something bad happened, but [nanny] says that I can not tell you." OMG, my stomach drops. (OMG, your mothering instincts again?) I tell him to go to a private place and tell me. They slept in the mini van roadside -- there was no hotel. She drove up with my kids, her granddaughter and ended up sleeping in the car. (Are you mad because of the dangers of sleeping roadside in a mini van or mad because it wasn't a 5 star hotel? I really can't tell at this point.) That was just that start to a weekend of bad, irresponsible decisions made by my nanny(and you... and asshole husband...); the worst being that she told my kids to lie to me. Ugh. It gets worse...but sparing you further details (oh, thanks for that, don't know how much more I could take), I'm sure that you can see my dilemma. Yes, you pay someone to be your kids' mom and then get mad when she fucks up. My husband and I spoke with nanny dearest last night (asshole husband? oh brother). She insists the kids were always safe and had fun. (It does sound kind of fun, but okay I agree, not her decision to make) That's hardly the point, even if it was an absurd proposition. I think she was an idiot and did things that I would never fathom doing. Friends and family say fire her. My brain agrees, but my heart can't seem to do it. Beckett, my four year old loves her. I am so conflicted. Yes, sadly, you would be. I have also come to the realization of how much I have let her do and of what a major role she has played in our family. I have also been missing out on a great many things. Hmmm... Granted, the laundry and cleaning is not a big loss. It is spending time with my kids that I have been paying someone else to do. Didn't I just say that? I have been paying another woman to bond with my kids, share in their special moments. How many simple pleasures have I missed? I'm sure a lot (No, laundry is not a simple pleasure.) This has been a wake up call. Really? No matter how great we think our nannies are, they are not us. They may not share the same values and morals. (hee, hee. no comment) This became apparent to me this weekend, after four years of blind trust. She does not understand my anger. I feel betrayed and let down (how must your dear little ones feel?). (Not to mention scared of managing my life on my own -- four kids in four schools next year requires a nanny or at least a driver.) OMG, what will you ever do? Bitch Lady, please get off you ass and deal with your kids, drive them to school, do something! This is painful and confusing for me on so many levels. Nanny dearest has filled the void that my mothers death left. Nanny dearest helps me to make decisions about my kids (WTF?), my home, my life. She sounds like she has more power than you. Does she make decisions for asshole husband too? Has nanny dearest been this deceitful for four years? I am sick to my stomach. What do I tell the kids? How about, "Mommy will be here to spend time with you!" How do I explain this one? Nanny thought I should raise my own kids, and I agreed! I have just had her take the week off, unpaid (Oh, that will teach her!) until we decide what to do. Sometimes decisions are really tough; this one sure is to me. It is hard to accept the significant role another woman has played in the life of your kids. She has been here every day for four years. What do I say when she no longer walks through our door? I might have some good advice for you... but at this point I am just, speechless.

Continued below...

To Mock Or Not To Mock - continued

And? The comments! Are you ready for the down-low (low down?) on those? I'll post some highlights (in green). I swear to G-d, I am not making these up...

"thank you for your honesty... this is the best post i've seen on [abc blog] yet."

"Just remember not to over romanticize all of those 'missed moments'... "

"I am certain that this was a horribly upsetting weekend, discovery and decision to make.... I really feel for you... deeply. Please let me know if you simply need someone to go for a walk, have a glass of wine.. or just sit on the couch with you. "

"do remember, however justified, your kids will be losing a third parent. It is a huge loss, the biggest loss they will have had to handle in life up to this point, and you can expect them to go through some real grieving."

There was one rational was my favorite: (no, it wasn't from me)

"umm... you want to spend time with your kids, so why don't you? fire the nanny and spend time with them! You said that you're a stay at home mom, what are you really that busy doing that you can't spend time with them if you have a nanny who watches them and cleans for you? Why not hire a maid to do the cleaning, and you do the minding? four kids in four schools does not require a nanny or a driver, many families have the same situation yet somehow manage to survive. you could drive them in the morning - pile them all in the car and then drop them off in the order that their schools start. Or, amazingly enough, you could do what most people do and have them ride the school bus. "

OMG! Then? All these other commenters rush to her defense. It was hysterical:

"I just wanted to respond to [Commenter]'s last comment. Here in northern california, and more specifically Palo Alto, we do NOT have school busses. Additionally, almost each school starts at the same exact time. That means four kids, four drop-offs, same time = impossible...I know I am rambling, but I was slightly annoyed when I saw the comment above. [blogger] shared her experience and her now quandry. That was it....."

(me again) Do you not understand what a privelege it is to live in this area. It is not hard. OMG, no school busses? How do you survive? All the schools do not start at the same time, for exactly this reason. Do you want to complain about the weather too? OMG it was in the 90's last week. I almost melted. Sheesh.

"A few comments. First off, [Commenter], the silicon valley is a hard place to live (waaaah, waaaah, cry, cry, tear, tear...). I know that [Blogger]'s local public school is full, and that a second daughter got into a second (public) school only by winning a lottery. IMHO someone could make a lot of money starting a driver service! (And [Blogger] is a very good mom.)"

There was also a comment that recommended some reading on how to relate and communicate with people from lower class/foreign backgrounds. That was the one that did it for me. I wanted to throw something.

I guess what really got to me after reading these blogs (and comments) was how embarrassed and out of place I felt. These attitudes, where do they come from? I don't harbor resentment for anyone with a nanny. But these attitudes are off to me. And? Why all of the sudden is it a crisis to have 4 kids in 4 different schools. Hello? Here are a few solutions off the top of my head.
1. Carpool
2. Drop the older kids at their schools early, then take the younger ones.
3. Carpool
4. Have hubby help
5. Carpool
6. Hire a car service
7. Carpool

Whatever. I'm done. I won't even talk about the post where the "mom" sends her 4 year-old to a day camp run by the Parks & Recreation Department (as in not a licensed daycare). She doesn't take her there herself, but instead sends her with another mom (who also has a 4 year-old) who drops them off, leaves, comes back later and is all up in arms about the way the "teenage counselors" (as in not licensed daycare providers) treated the two four year-olds who apparently didn't warm up to the group and the activities and basically sat under a tree for the entire 3 hours.

I'm guessing (hoping) I won't be asked to contribute to their blog. Anyone want to start a mocking blog?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Boys will be boys...

cuz if you have girls, this stuff wouldn't happen.

You know that feeling when you're alone doing someting productive (watching t.v.) and all of the sudden your "mom senses" go off and you stop what you're doing (mute the t.v.) and listen to what your kids are doing? And then you hear that inevitable sound that sends all your "mom alarm bells" ringing? You know the one... muffled giggles (they are up to something) that escalates into (ugh!) laughter (they're getting along and they're up to something) and you realize you'll have to stop what you were doing (wait for a commercial) and go investigate what monsterous things are being done out of your sight.

Well, this is the latest version of what I found when I answered the alarm bell...Picture the scene: the two boys are in the back yard, one with roller blades, both with hockey sticks, playing what seems like a simple, innocent little pick up game of one on one. First of all? Nothing is simple or innocent when it comes to these two playing any game together. Second of all, I just know something is going on, because I feel it down to my bones.

So, I stand by the sliding door and watch them unobserved. I watch them play and they are both, well, there's no easy way to say this, smiling. They are really making me work at this, people. So, I go outside. They both stop, look at eachother, look at me and say in unison (in unison, people!) "Hi Mommy!" And? They were both (you guessed it) smiling! Ugh, happy kids getting along are the worst! They lull you into complacency until you leave them alone just long enough for one of them to end up in the emergency room. Well not today people, not on my watch.

Not detecting anything immediately sinsiter with their activity, I resolve to turn around, go back in the house and plot my next move. However, just as I turn around I spot one of my wine glasses sitting on the outside window sill. WTF?

Me: "Why is this glass out here?"

Woody: "It's the Stanley Cup."

Hmm. That could explain the giggles. They were playing for the Stanley Cup. Then I noticed two unopened soda cans sitting on the kitchen counter.

Me: "Why are these sodas sitting here?"

Buzz: "That's the champagne."

Oh. Of course. For the winner of the Stanley Cup to drink champagne out of the Stanley Cup trophy. Alright, I won't ruin their fun by telling them they can't play for the Stanley Cup. I went back to my room to pick up where I left off in my productivity (turned the sound on the t.v. back up).

A little while later (after my show was over) I came out to get dinner ready. The "Stanley Cup" was now on the kitchen table filled with soda. Woody called Buzz over, "Hey, it's ready. Come drink out of the Stanley Cup!" Buzz came over and held it up and looked at it like he was trying to read something...

Buzz: "Hey! You spelled it wrong!"

Woody: "No I didn't."

Me: "Spelled what wrong? OMG! You wrote on the wine glass? With what!!!?

Them: "It's the. Stanley. Cup. Mommy!"

Woody: "I engraved his name on it, just like the real Stanley Cup!"


Woody: "With a marker."

Me: "What kind of marker?

Woody: "Don't worry, it comes off... watch (he demonstrates by rubbing some off).

Me: "How did you know it would come off?"

Woody: "I tested it first."

Me: "You tested it with WHAT?

Woody: "I wrote on it and then made sure it rubbed off before I wrote the rest."

Me: "So, you wrote on the glass, with a marker, not sure if it would come off or not. Got lucky that it did. Then proceeded to write your brother's name on it?"

Woody: "Well, he won the Stanley Cup!"

Buzz: "Yeah, I won Mommy!"