Friday, December 18, 2009

Evolution for Three Thousand Please

We drove to our favorite tree farm again this year. I'm still vacuuming pine needles and Easter grass from last years holidays! Lola and Gibson were excited, running all over the barn and into the banks of freshly plowed mounds of snow. We picked a tall thin tree for thirty bucks. The kids were given grab bags of candy and small trinkets.

The tree is decked, gifts are wrapped and in cold storage in our attic. Lola and I have been listening to Christmas music since the day after Thanksgiving. She is genetically predisposed to any and all things Christmas. She woke Saturday morning and asked "Can I not have cartoons and listen to Christmas music?" That's my girl!

I've noticed at night, as I tuck her in and help brush her teeth, she's growing so fast. Her looks are changing from chubby checks to refined nose and even more blueberry blue eyes. She's asking deep questions. "What color is Baby Jesus?" I guessed he may have olive toned or darker skin. "What are cavemen? Why do they carry those bones and say Unga Bunga?" I tried to explain about pre-man...."You mean we were born from cavemen?" The whopper was "What is evolution?" She stumps me, she really stumps me.

Monday, November 30, 2009

You'd Look Like Crap Too!

My kids are champion sleepers. They need no rocking, patting, or seeing Mommy jumping through flaming hula hoops before they close their eyes and journey to slumber least that's how it was until MONDAY NIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gibson is now 18 months and mastering the art of communication with words, high pitched squeals, and some sign language. He typically takes two naps during the day, each at about a two hour clip. He's usually ready for bed around 8. When I ask if he's ready for nite nite, he walks to the stairs and points up, then waves at the dog. He has to have his Pup Pup and fleece blue blankie (a gift from his birth mom) and his paci....the Holy Trinity of baby sleep. He sleeps soundly through the night until Sean is showering the next morning. At around 7 or 7:30 Gibby wakes happy and jibber jabbering in his crib.

Then Monday dawned............................

He was overly clingy that day, wanting to be picked up and climbing into my lap at every chance. He would try and push the dog away from me and pull on my legs for attention. It was nice, having him in my lap and content with stories and picture books. His usual bedtime rolled around and he gathered Pup Pup, Blankie, and Paci and waved nite nite to all. I changed his diaper, dressed him in his jammies and gave him a kiss.

Lola was wrapping up her cartoons and coloring in the computer room and Sean and I were rewinding the day with a glass of wine. Not much later Lola was in bed after brushing her teeth and a story. I followed soon after with a book in hand and crawled under my comforters. Sean finished a movie and eventually the house was sharing a unanimous snore.

"AAAAAAHHHHHHH WAAAAHHHHHHHH AAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!" I sat bolt upright in bed then pole vaulted across the hall into Gibby's room. He was screaming wildly and his nose was running. He was having such a fit that he moved his crib several inches down the wall. He had thrown all his stuffed animals onto the floor and lost his paci under his crib. I gave him back his beloved three, rubbed his back and closed the door behind me. He would have no such abandonment tonight! So, from 10 PM to 3 AM I rocked, patted, sat downstairs with him. I changed him again, gave him a sippy cup, again rocked, rolled, rubbed, soothed....Every time he returned to his crib he screamed bloody murder! I then did the unthinkable...I brought him into our bed so I could maybe sleep even for a few minutes.

We hold the belief that the kids should sleep in their own beds. At 2 AM nothing makes sense, so Gibby spent the greater last hours before dawn alternating between sleeping on top of me to scooting down to the end of the bed to squeezing between Sean and I and burrowing under the covers. No one really slept. Tuesday dawned and my parents would be visiting from Pennsylvania in about 8 hours. Somehow Lola slept through the entire night, thank God!

Tuesday was cleaning and pre Thanksgiving groceries. Not much was accomplished with a cranky 18 month old clinging to me. I felt like a mommy Orangutan! Around 4:30 my parents arrived from Pa. By Thursday night we were all fried by lack of sleep. Sometime around 2 AM my mother rocked Gibby to sleep after a two hour marathon. By Friday I knew I had to get serious or at least have all of us get some sleep.

I googled sleep patterns and babies and separation anxiety. My God, what scary information can be found with a few taps on the keyboard! So, I deduced he may be suffering from seperation anxiety. We tried a method recommended for babies who won't sleep on their own. I placed him in his crib in the routine he's accustomed to and shut the door. Of course he screamed! I was waiting for one of my neighbors to call the cops. We let him argue for about five minutes then I entered his room and patted him on the back. He was sooooo happy to see me! He grabbed Pup Pup and Blankie and thrust them at me, expecting to settle into his rocking chair again for the night. I said good night and closed the door. Screams lumbered down the stairs, angry loud why are you abandoning me screams...10 minutes went by and Sean went upstairs to soothe him. Again the door was closed, again those guilt inducing cries. 15 minutes, batter up, my turn. His cries were less demanding but still as heartbreaking. After about an hour, quiet, all was quiet......

It's amazing how smart babies and toddlers are. He may have realized his screams would bring us, but could not keep us in his room all night. I hope he knows we are there for him even at the slightest whimper. I hope he knows we love him and want only slumber wumber sleepy time for him. A well rested Gibson is a happy Gibson. A happy Gibson makes for happy well rested parents!!!!!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wasn't Halloween Just Last Week?

It's that time of year. Lola wants, no needs, no HAS TO HAVE everything she sees on TV. "Mommy, can I have that?" The Christmas commercials are streaming into our living room. Pixos, didn't kids eat those and they caused a catatonic reaction a few years back? Might be an incentive to parents....hmmmmmm...... There are the Disney Barbies, the baby Disney dolls, the Barbie Camper with flushing toilet, the talking doll house with the British accent, The Easy Bake Oven! I had that! I remember the packets of cake mix, you added water and poured it into a little cake pan. You would slide the mix under a super hot light bulb and in a few minutes, a hot little cake! Everything is high tech. Now you can buy a frosting pen to decorate your cake. There's the candy jewelry design machine. You make candy necklaces, bracelets, and rings. Crunch crunch crunch. Let's visit the dentist for the new year!

Dora is grown up, a tween? You plug a USB cable into her butt and you can interact. There is the toddler bike you also plug into your TV. Somehow it teaches your kids counting, the alphabet, an interactive learning world where your little tyke peddles along and learns. I remember playing in the woods with my brother Joe. We built forts. We would run in open fields of Lazy Susans before the neighborhood was built up. We would play cars in the dirt piles at the end of our dead end road. We would collect berries and mash them and make soup in our Mom's old mismatched Tupperware bowls. We would ride our Big Wheels for hours. When it was time for lunch, our mom would lean out the patio door and ring a bell. We would hear it tinkering and abandon our pirates play.

The impending holidays make me homesick, nostalgic for a simpler time. There's that indescribable day, the air is just right, the dusk just settles, and it FEELS like Christmas. It happens to me every year. It a crack, a peek, a small glimpse of magic. It's like a celestial portal that I just happen to be attuned to. The heavens open and feathery drifts of snow gently fall. It's a spark that gets me excited, stirs my kid wanderlust.

I have this urge to shop, wrap, make holiday lists. I'll unbox all my holiday CDs and begin listening to them in the car. I'll dust off my recipe books and muse over cookie recipes, I'll go online and drool over Epicurious and Food Network. I eagerly await the Norelco Shaver commercail with the Santa gliding over the show. I get teary eyed over the Time Life Boxed Collection of holiday classics. Everytime a bell rings, an angels gets his wings. I look forward to the Christmas songs we sing at Mass. Lola and I will make another gingerbread house this year. We'll visit Santa and have holiday photos taken for a Christmas card. I already see Gibson tearing ornaments off the tree.

Thanksgiving is only a few days away. I should verify my turkey order and clean the house. Maybe I'll treat myself today and the kids and I will watch It's A Wonderful Life. The laundry can wait.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fickle Facebook Fascination

It's finally happened.....I've fallen out of love with Facebook!

Of course it was fun at first, the reconnecting of old high school mates, seeing how everyone has gained weight and lost hair, gained children, step children, pets, mortgages, real jobs, real worries.

It was fun to post pictures of my children, my husband, smugly laud the fine attributes of the town we live in. The many highbrow colleges, plentiful arts and roster of hipsters, writers, poets, and rock starts who we rub elbows with.

I log in every few days to reconnect with maybe three or four of my fifty plus "friends." I really don't give a rat's ass about how my high school chum, who isn't anything like the fun girl I remember my senior year, runs 5.9 miles in under three minutes. I'm not fascinated with my friend who now lives in Tokyo who photographs strippers for a living. FACEBOOK UPDATE.....he now has a job as a photographer for The New York Times. I'm bored with school photos of Johnny's first day with his new backpack waiting for the "big boy bus." Thank God no one pokes anyone anymore. That was annoying!

I log into my e mail and most of it is Facebook sludge. I don't post photos of my kids anymore or what we do on the weekends as family. Sean says photos of his kids floating in cyber space is creepy. Sure, my photos are under privacy view for just a few friends. Do we really know who has access to my pictures?

Want to know something else disturbing? If I log onto my Facebook page, there's a certain someone who chats immediately with me. I hear that little "pop" sound and there is this person in the lower right hand corner of my screen wanting a bit of cyber affection. The other day I received a friend request from a high school pal. She was sleeping with my boyfriend and she didn't know I knew. I broke up with that boyfriend. They married several years later. He died of a heart attack in their third year of marriage. I hold no bitterness toward her. She did me a big favor, I just don't want to reconnect with her and share her sadness.

I think today if I have a moment, I'm going to delete most of my "friends." I know there will be sadness, crying, wondering why, why, why? There will be no instant thoughts of what I'm doing right now, what I'm making for dinner, what cute antics the kids are up to. No one will know I'm on my third cup of coffee, that I've submitted several stories for publication, that we're planning a family cruise.

At last it has happened, I have fallen out of love with Facebook.

Her First Library Card

My little girl is growing up......FAST!!!!!!!!! Everyday she is seeking and gaining more independance. We walked to the library the other morning. I thought she should have her own library card. She thought that was the "best idea in the universe!" The librarian filled out some paperwork and then handed her a yellow laminated card with a sketch of the library on the front. Lola was beaming! She loudly proclaimed "now I feel so accomplished!" She told me I could check out any book or DVD I wanted to with her card. Then she said we should go to the grocery store and buy groceries with her new library card. The mind of a four year old, what a glory to behold!

Friday, October 23, 2009

ER Adventures

Lola has come down with a lovely case of the croup! She was barking and coughing. She and I made a visit to the ER Tuesday around 3:30 in the morning. I had been sleeping with her, to keep an eye on her breathing when I noticed she was struggling for air. Sean carried her to the car. She was not happy to say the least. "Why are you guys doing this to me? It's the middle of the night for crying out loud!"

To change the subject and keep her calm I asked her what she thought our neighbor's cat Moe might be up to. Her salty reply "Probably sleeping." There were no other shooting, stab wound or swine flu victims waiting. We were the only ones. Lola settled in to watch a Rosanne rerun as I gave her information to the desk attendant.

We were shown to a room and her temp was taken. 99 degrees as it had been all day. The nurse switched on the Disney Channel and we cozied up together in the bed. "Mom, are there shots here at the dentist?" I told her this was not the dentist, but the hospital where she was born. She wanted to know why we weren't seeing her doctor. Because it's the middle of the night, or morning, or I smell coffee and I need a cup!

As we are waiting for the doctor I realize how tired I am. Adrenaline coursed through my body and now I'm coming down. My knees are knocking and I just might ask for a cup of that coffee. My baby, my sweet, sweet baby. Everything is OK. A case of croup and the doctor gives her an oral steroid to help her breathe. The doctor is yawning. I wonder how his day has been.

"Mom, can we stay here all night? I like this cartoon." She's comfortable and has enjoyed the attention of the nurses. She amazes me, this child. I was impressed with her maturity and curiosity. She viewed this as an adventure. That's what I told her it would be, trying to get her into the car. "We'll have a little middle of the night adventure, just you and me, OK?"

We were home by 4:30. Still dark, no porch lights on, no street lights to signal the beginning of another day. We watched another cartoon on the sofa, in the dark. "Mom, I'm ready for bed, I'm tired." "Guess what little lady, you get to stay home from school for another day." Her smile was so bright it lit the way to her room.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I Think I Vacuumed Up My Marbles

"I think you're losing your marbles sometimes!" Sean said this to me in the most serious tone. We were gassing up the car for a six plus hour drive back to Pennsylvania for a family wedding. Lola was digging into her bag of crayons and coloring books and Gibson was entertaining himself with his Pup Pup Blanket.

"Didn't we talk about this just a few weeks ago?" Sean asked the gas attendant to fill the Volvo with medium grade gas. "Regular is fine." I said. "Michelle, you don't use regular. It even says so in the manual. How long have you been using regular!?" I felt like an idiot. The attendant gave me side glance as he squeegeed the front window.

From the backseat, "Daddy it's OK, Mommy can use the gas she wants and you can use your gas." Lola, always the diplomat. I use regular grade. It's ten cents cheaper. Mia Culpa!

Some days I do think I'm losing my marbles. I've gotten out of a schedule. I have my mom schedule. I do that in my sleep. I miss the good old days of going to work, getting dressed, putting on makeup, thinking about a great outfit to wear with heels, get in your car and drive, paycheck kind of work schedule.

I had an eight o'clock doctor appointment this morning. At least I thought it was this morning. I woke Lola and hurried her into her clothes, brushed her teeth and hair and we were out the door and on our way to school. With five minutes to spare I arrived at the medical building. I gave the receptionist my name and doctor name. He looked perplexed. "You scheduled this when?" Sometime last week for allergy troubles. "Well, it looks like you're early. About a week early. Your appointment is for Monday the 26th." Expletives went off in my head, a real fire cracker Fourth of July kind of pop, explode tirade of curses.

I arrived back home within 20 minutes. Sean was dressed for work and feeding Gibson scrambled eggs. "My appointment is for NEXT Monday." I sat down with a cup of coffee. Poor Lo, I rushed her out of the house frantic so as not to be late for a non existing appointment with a doctor I see maybe twice a year. Sean suggested I keep a daily planner so I don't "lose track of my days." "I don't lose track of my days, I know perfectly well what day it is!" He made it sound as if I spend my days in a TV induced, hazy swell of pajamas and cheap paperbacks, lounging on the sofa, leering at the park maintenance men when they mow the common.

It's Tuesday, or wait Wednesday? I have to take the car in for service. There's a funky smell and I think the air filter needs changed. The furnace guy is coming for yearly maintenance and I need to touch base with our squirrel guy and make sure our attic is pest free. I have to call a party rental place for a helium tank for Lola's Halloween party and make a call to Newman's vet to have his Prozac filled. The kid's rooms need cleaned and sheets off the beds to be laundered. I have clothes to drop off at the Salvation Army Thrift Store. I vacuumed yesterday but it still looks like a bomb went off in the living room.

Daily planner....I don't need no stinking planner!

Old Girl, Old School

I have a cell phone. I have a cell phone I hardly ever use. I have a cell number. I have no idea what it is. It's written down somewhere on some assorted dry cleaning ticket in the bottom of one of my handbags. Whenever I'm filling out paperwork I leave that blank....well....blank.

My husband has a cool phone. Square, sleek, internet access. "Ooooh, I want one!" Most days it's like a cement block around his neck. On the weekends it rings, buzzes, vibrates on the kitchen hutch.

I signed up for internet banking several months ago. I've been a To The Penny checkbook balancer from way back. I like writing in the columns, using decimal points, having everything come out as it should. I've been told this is "old school." Annoyed tellers on the other end of the phone suggest I sign up for online banking and blah blah blah it's so convenient. I'm told I can even pay my bills online, eliminating the need for bothersome envelopes and stamps.

I sign up. I log on. I'm ready to pay my bills through some ethernet cables and tin cans and string and monkeys on either end who will transmit my electronic funds to God knows where. None of my existing accounts show up on screen. I call the bank. For mortgage dial 2. For access to loans and equity lines of credit dial 3. I just keep pushing zero. "Hi, I signed up for on line banking and am having a problem paying some of my bills?" "Well, shouldn't that information already be there?" "Oh, I have to manually type in the payees and their addresses?" Well that's not very convenient!

I'm back to buying stamps at the post office and sitting in front of my computer writing out checks.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Puppy Love

I am a crying, sniveling mess. It's a chilly afternoon and I've spent two precious hours watching the movie Marley And Me. It's rare I watch TV in the afternoon. The blare of the screen and many talking heads is depressing. I might as well stay in my pajamas, cozy up with a nice aerosol can of processed faux cheese and turn on the gas oven. But for some reason I ignored the laundry and unpacking of the suitcase from our weekend in Pennsylvania and turned on the tube for escape.

I had missed about 20 minutes of the movie. Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston as a couple who fall in love, have this whirling dervish of a puppy, and face the challenges of raising children and building their lives together. The glue of the story is Marley. He chews, slobbers, eats everything and anything. Just when they've had enough he does something more destructive thus more endearing to them and the audience. Cue the strings and the audience says "awwwwhhhhhhh."

This is not my type of Hollywood fluff. I'm a movie snob who avoids at all costs most stuff for mainstream movie goers. I forget that movies are entertainment. I need to be less serious about such stuff.

So the couple suffer an early miscarriage then fast forward to a baby, a job promotion, Marley failing obedience school, humping poodles, terrifying babysitters, more kids on the way. There is the realistic arguing tired parents go through. The resentment of "giving up" things in your life. The changes endured, the loss of and wonderful gain, the push and pull of everyday life. Some of the dialogue I could actually identify with.

I knew or half heartily guessed the outcome of the movie. Marley ages and not gracefully. Our knucklehead of a dog is turning the page on this chapter in his life. Newman, Newberman, Nut Less Wonder, Scooby Doo, Captain Grey Beard. He's been in our family since he was a pup. His history, his geneses is stuff of Hollywood.

He was a carny dog. He traveled with a carnival that had made a stop in a small Pennsylvania town where our families still live. Sean's brother agreed to take the puppy after a friend said she had the dog but could not keep him. She knew some of Newman's past. After being rescued from the carnival, some kids kept him in their backyard shed for about three weeks. He was supposed to be a secret from the parents. That secret was bored with being kept in the dark. Sean's brother named him Newman after Mad Magazines Alfred E. Newman. He's a motley mix of Shepherd, Black and Tan Hound, and another large breed whose utterance of their name sends small children running to the house for safety.

Newman's stay with Ryan was a happy one. They would camp outdoors and share Chinese take out together. They were brothers. Ryan met and married. A baby was on the way and Newman had to go. He stayed a bit with Sean and Ryan's mother. He kind of became the relative that was entertaining, always good for a story, and funny when he was drunk (sometimes?) But he wore out his welcome there. Here's a one way ticket to Massachusetts Newman!

Ryan brought him on a sunny autumn weekend. I still remember Ryan sitting on the front porch devastated that he had to give his first love away. Newman sat at our front door for two days, waiting for him to come back. Our cat was not happy to have him in her house. The scratches and nail marks on our freshly refinished floor bears the story of the first few months. I wasn't exactly thrilled to have a large dog with an even larger tail in our home. One sway of that tail and he would clear off our coffee table. That Christmas I had no ornaments survive the lower branches. Oh and he had separation anxiety. We found this out after coming home from Ireland. He ate three sets of antique french doors. Really ate them! He ate basement steps. He ate through a metal fence meant to keep him from harming himself. He ate rugs, window blinds and sashes. Prozac has remedied much of his behavior.

I remember the first week he was in our home. I was lying on the floor in front of the fire. He curled up beside me and laid his head on my stomach. I was part of the pack. When I was pregnant with Lola and on five months of strict bed rest, he was my constant shadow never leaving my side. "Oh you'll have problems with him and a new baby in the house." That's all we heard from those who thought they knew Newman. I brought her hospital cap home and let him sniff before we brought Lola in. He didn't seem impressed. That first week the mailman came to the door and Newman sounded the alarm and ran to the top of the stairs not budging. Lola was asleep upstairs in her crib.

He's dug huge craters in our backyard, destroyed doors, steps, and carpeting, bolts out the backdoor at every chance he gets. He's antagonized the neighborhood dog walker because he knows she doesn't like him. A substitute mail carrier absent mindedly left a warning card with our mail a few years ago. " Alert, aggressive dog at this mailing address." He's heard "stupid dog" more than once from me. He has never bit anyone and plays well with others. Our kids take toys and food out of his mouth without even a snarl. He is the best stupid dog as I scratch between his eyes on that special spot on his nose and rub his silky ears between my thumb and finger. He opens one bleary eye woken by my affection.

He's 13 or 14 now, we never know. For several years in a row we said he was 10. It felt like a fitting age for his behavior. When the day comes we've talked of cremation. Everyone in the family would like a memento of Newman. His back legs are weak and he can't jump into the back of the Volvo. Some nights we hear him coming up the stairs, like a gimpy old man with laboured wheezing. When he makes it to the top he sleeps in Lola's room as tight against her bed as he can. Some nights he doesn't have the strength to make the climb. We know the day is coming and we're not sure what we'll tell Lola. What we tell ourselves? For now we're a family with two great kids and a knucklehead of a dog who we love.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tears And Fears Of A Parent (or should I buy it to shut her up?)

I had two stops to make before I picked Lola up from daycare. Red wine for the beef soup and butternut squash and fresh thyme was also on my list. I had planned on doing both before getting Lo. Time was not on my side. I stopped at the wine store for the red and looking at the clock in the car, decided to head to the grocery store after procuring my precocious blondie.

Lola is spoiled. Hard core spoiled. It's my fault. She's a loving, compassionate, creative, affectionate manipulator who can get her way with a bat of her dark lashes and pursed ruby cherub lips. On a whim I pick up coloring books, stickers, things that give her face that "Oh mommy, I love you!" glow. I grew up not dare whining or pouting at the grocery store surrounded by eye level metal row upon row of the most amazing magical candies. I remember at a party my parents were hosting saying "When I grow up, I'm going to buy my own Cheetos Corn Chips!"

I illegally procured a pack of Life Savers grocery shopping with my mother. I may have been 5. I sat in the back of her Chevy Malibu happily unwrapping the candy. I was promptly marched back to the store and made my heartfelt apology to the store manager.

I buckle Lola into her seat and tell her we have to stop at the store for just a FEW things. She skips alongside the cart as we roll down the isle. "Can I have a Crunch Bar?" NO. "Mommy, please I beg you, have mercy, just a doughnut?" NO! Her voice notches up a few decibels. "Mom, just a Munchkin and I promise I won't ask anymore!" This high stakes bargaining from a 4 year old.

Tears are streaming down her face. She's starting to break out into hives on her cheeks. I tell her through gritted teeth "Mom says no, you can't have a snack every time we go somewhere. I said no and I don't want you to ask me again." Her whiny reply "But Mom, you always buy me something!" Yes, I've stepped in a steamy pile of it this time. "Lola, listen to Mom, If I buy you something special every time we go shopping then it won't seem special anymore."

People are giving me "that look." That look when a kid is being a brat and making a spectacle of her mother. I wore Sean's old sweatshirt and hadn't brushed my hair since 7:30 this morning. I may have looked a bit haggy, adding to my mean mommy mystique. The looks I was getting from the produce boy made me believe I was poking her with a hot stick.

Gibson is now crying because Lola is crying. I take a few deep breaths and grab the Worcestershire sauce and grated Pecornio Romano Cheese. Why do I take her tantrums personally? Why do I engage her in a verbal throw down. Voices of my mother come out of my mouth, all unhinged and booming. I must remain calm. Oh crap, I forgot the beef broth!

We make it to the check out isle. Gibson is pulling quarters and pennies from a donation cup on the counter. "Why can't I get anything?" She spies a Nick Jr magazine. "Can I have this?" No. I feel calm and in control. Her pitiful mewing is bouncing off my cold cold heart. As we walk out we pass the in store bank. I think maybe I'll grab her a lollipop. No, that would defeat my purpose. Not every trip to the store should result in a prize, toy, or candy just because she's gnashing and wailing.

She's still fussing in the backseat but the storm has past and just a few tears remain. I offer her a mini raisin bagel and milk as an after school snack with a side of SpongeBob. Gibson is having strawberries. "Mom I just want a huggie. I'm sorry I was hard at the store." Does she realize she was? Is she just mimicking what I have said to her? Does she understand how much I love her and want to see her as a happy kid, teen, well adjusted adult? I'm getting ahead of myself. She just wants to climb into my lap and have her back scratched and watch her cartoons.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Boo To YOU!

I'm actually hosting a kid's party at my house! We haven't had a birthday party for Lola yet that her friends have attended. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, I can't name a holiday I don't like really. The fall season creates this need in me to cook more, bake more, and just celebrate!

I asked Lola if she wanted to have a Halloween party for some of her friends. "Really, here at my house with friends? Will there be cake?" That's always her barometer of a good time. Cake.

Well, that was settled. A party! I was on a pre party planning high! Then lying in bed that night I realized what I'd done. Oh crap! I'd have to have people over, have food, games, drinks, worry about kids spilling food and drink on my furniture, wondering if there would be enough room for the kids and parents, thinking of making a cake, double crap...I should make a pinata....I have to buy more Halloween decorations, candy, maybe a costume for me?

Lola ran through the litany of what she wanted to be for her party. First she wanted to be a mummy! I was soooo excited! I would make her the coolest mummy costume, wrap gauze and cheese cloth all over her, do some crazy mummy-ish make up on her face. Then she chose a princess. Bummer. I wanted more creativity for her (OK for me.) Then she found a photo of a sexy vampiress with ghoulish cleavage bursting out of her corsetted top. "Mom, this is who I want to be!" following me around the kitchen. I suggested we keep looking at costumes. She has finally settled on being a vampire bat girl. The costume arrived the other day. I hung it on her armoire door. She asked me to take it down last night. It was frightening her when she slept. Jackpot!

While Gibson naps, I've been working on her pinata. My intention was a ghost. The balloon lent itself more to a gruesome gourd, a sinister squash, a peevish pumpkin? A pumpkin it is! I love the feel of the flour paste and smooshing the goop off the newspaper strips. Very therapeutic. The smell reminds me of being a kid. That's probably why I love this holiday so much. You can pretend, dress up, make believe, eat candy, watch scary movies, enjoy the crunch of fall under your feet while admiring the moon, the air has a certain smell too of burning leaves, ghosts, incense, spirits releasing into the air.

I should rent a card table for the kid's crafts and pumpkin painting. Maybe rent extra chairs for musical chairs. I bought a CD of spooky screams, cat howlings, and creaking doors. This will be fun! I need to narrow down my menu. My first thought was quiche and Bloody Marys for the grown ups. Yes, I am having adult beverages. For some reason this seems taboo at kid's parties? Sure cake is great, but libations are a crowd pleaser! Pizza and a spider web cake for the kids...and I'll have a plate of fresh veggies and fruits to balance the corn syrup induced comma the kids will willingly slip into.

I'll wager a bet there will be carrot sticks and strawberries left over. Oh the horror!!!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Squirrels Are Driving Me Batty!

It's late evening and I'm trying not to listen to the desperate squeaks and chirps from the trapped squirrel above me. Two neighborhood cats are sniffing around the house. They too hear the squirrel.

We've been plagued by these pest the past few weeks. They've decided our attic is better habitat to raise their young than say, the trees or woods behind our house. Now there's a family just above Lola's bedroom. I've heard them mid afternoon while putting her laundry away or early morning, if she's had a dream and can't fall back to sleep. I'll lie with her and we listen to them. Their tooing and froing. They've developed a taste for my art books and stacks of old photos. Mama and her babies make such a racket as if they're installing a hot tub on the roof! The other morning I actually thought someone was in my attic moving boxes around. I grabbed a chunk of copper pipe and a tennis racket. What would I do if someone were up there? I hadn't figured it out that far....

I called the squirrel guy again. Honest to God, this man eats, breathes, and sleeps rodent removal. At $485 a pop, he should! He's been bitten many times, fallen off ladders, fallen into lakes, ponds, people's driveways. He deals with the above mentioned as well as raccoon, woodchucks, skunks, all the woodland creature that look so fat and cuddly in children's books sitting together around a campfire sharing Smores, telling ghost stories.

Today he climbed to the third story and set traps outside the corner of the roof. He stuck his hand in a small hole the mama had made. "Yup, they're in there!" He quickly drew back his hand before mama could have a mid morning munch of human. She had shredded some books and photos for her nest. I told Tom I saw the mama push two of the babies out the corner of the roof and watched them plop to the ground below. Tom said this is not typical behavior. His theory: another mama squirrel may have her eye on this cozy corner.

So I'm trying not to listen to the sorrowful, panicked squeaks. I've learned quite a bit about squirrel behavior from Tom. When we first hired him for "removal" last fall, he said there's no such thing as squirrel relocation. If let loose in a nearby field they always find their way back to their nest. Or in our case, back to our attic. I pictured a bunch of little squirrels huddling together behind some speak easy hoping not to be found out, turned in, by say a rat. There would be grainy black and white photos of them surfacing with black bars over their eyes to protect their identity.

Latest count, we've caught two youth and I think it's the mama squirrel who will soon join them. I made a call to Tom's cell and hoping he'll make quick work of it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hey Stop! What's That Sound?

Just back from a walk downtown with Gibby in the stroller. Sad to see so much trash along the way. I found a 1% milk carton cap, a crushed, empty Newport Cigarette pack, an empty Reese's Peanut Butter Cup wrapper, an empty Planters Honey Roasted Cashews wrapper, a Conair Pop Up Brush with mirror SKU tag, a torn pamphlet about class 2 and 6 toxic material(?????,) a Goodies Pizza receipt: someone ordered a small Pepperoni pizza $7.25, a combo sampler $6.50, and cheese fries $4.75 and payed for it with a Visa ending in 4217, and lastly a calling card from Mexico with amazing graphics of a Mariachi band on the front. The only reason I scooped these up is to make a "found art" collage from it.

Today was a gorgeous, sunny, squinty kind of day with lots of people out and about. I noticed a crowd of people in front of the local community college. Some were kids on bikes, others professionals out for smoke breaks. As I got closer I noticed a pair of large white scuffed sneakers and a Styrofoam tray of french fries spilled on the ground. The sneakers were attached to a woman sprawled on the sidewalk. She was half propped up against the building, her graying blond hair caught in the scratchy brick surface. Her glasses were down around her chin. Everyone seemed calm. I asked a kid on a bike if she was OK? "I think she fainted, I don't know man." Another guy pointed up the street to a parked police car. "Hey Andre, there's a cop, I'll tell him." Lots of people were now gathering around. I saw the man cross the street and walk over to the cruiser. I continued up the street and heard an ambulance on its way.

The door opened as I walked past Bart's Cafe. A man was walking side by side with me. I recognized his Ostrich cowboy boots from yesterday. Sean, the kids and I had been at a wine and beer tasting festival the day before. Sean saw someone he knew, introduced us and walked over to speak to them. One of these people was the man with the great boots. I was going to comment on his boots and tell him we'd met yesterday but the tinkling, twinkling sound of chimes stopped me. I wondered where they were coming from. They sounded as if they were following me. It couldn't be a ring tone could it?

I noticed the man had a shirt folded over his other arm. Under the shirt, the mysterious chimes. He cut down the alley between Greenfield's Market before I could say hello or inquire about the chimes.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gwyneth Paltrow Feels Good

Gwyneth Paltrow Feels Good — and So Can You

Posted using ShareThis

First, I love this collage. It's probably digi, computer generated but still really interesting. Second, I really can't stomach (ha, funny, yes!) this woman. She can't (in my humble, biting opinion) act her way out of a torn, wet paper bag. She thinks vacationing and eating her way through Spain with Mario Batali, then purging her exquisite meal in a back alley behind a charming little villa, to be oh so very very Hollywood.

Yeah, I know, lay off the three cups 'O Joe.

Anywhooo....great Esquire article I thought worth sharing. Now I'm going to finish Lola's Happy Meal from three days ago and wash it down with a V8 Champagne spritzer.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

But Why?

Why can't life be a warm slab of brie with balsamic splashed on top. A few wheat crackers on the side and lots, lots, of champagne?

Why can't life be fresh flowers in a crystal vase by the bedside table?

Why can't life be lots of friends, really tried and true friends who you can sit in comfortable silence with?

Why can't life be a good book, not wanting to finish the last few pages because you don't want it to end?

Why can't life be a shopping spree, where everything you find is fabulous, fits, and is on sale?

Why can't everyday be a hand written letter from a long lost love who begs for your forgiveness?

Why can't everyday be a ride in the convertible, top down, Yo La Tengo blaring through the clouds, wind in your hair?

Why can't we know then what we wish we could learn now?

Why should color matter, unless you're admiring a rainbow?

Why can't we use the word "dislike" instead of hate when referring to opinions?

Why can't air, water, grass, the pursuit of happiness be free for all?

Friday, September 11, 2009

I Remember

Today is just another day. Rainy, damp, Gibson is down for his 10am nap. Lola is having a play picnic in the living room with a few of her favorite dolls. Lots of goldfish and chocolate chips on little pink plastic plates atop a blanket on the floor.

9/11. I wasn't thinking about it today. But yes, I remember. I was driving to work. A gorgeous sunny, open sky kind of day. I was listening to the new Bjork CD. I had the sunroof open. I took exit 21. I was meditating, praying, thanking God for this gorgeous day, for the job I was going to, even though I was feeling boredom and suffocation there, just being in the moment, feeling almost chemically high with happiness.

I pulled into the parking lot, the music so loud inside my car. A group of my coworkers was clustered around an other's truck, all the doors open. I thought maybe they'd all forgotten their keys and were waiting to get inside. "No, I didn't hear?" I turned on NPR. Four or five people climbed into my car. The truck beside me was still running, all doors open and the radio still on. It felt like a carnival ride that throws you from side to side. You feel like you're going to vomit, then it comes to a crashing stillness and your insides are still urged to swing to that momentum.

We went inside. Found a radio and continued listening. No one turned on lights or reset the alarm. Two customers wandered in. They hadn't hear either. We told them what we knew. Details were sketchy and the worst was yet to come. They left the store speechless, in slow motion.

None of us knew what to do? This was all so new? Real fear. Attacked on our turf. New York City? I called Sean at work. He didn't seem rattled. I was scared, really scared. He was busy and had to go. I called my mom. I ran to the upstairs showroom with the phone. She was relieved to hear from me. She thought maybe I was in the city for some reason, a buying expedition for the showroom. "No, mom, I'm here at the store. What the hell happened? I'm scared. I'm going to cry."

My sister lives in Jersey. I had a few friends who lived in New York. The office manager had a small portable TV. We watched grainy images of the second tower going down.....Customers were coming into the store to buy furniture. Didn't they realize? It's like shopping on Good Friday at three o'clock. You just shouldn't do it, it's disrespectful.

I don't remember the rest of the day. I just remember being really really afraid. I'd never felt this unstable, this fear of "being attacked." I remember watching CNN for hours, for days. The horrible stories, people jumping out windows, rolling gray dust, debri clouds chasing people down the streets. Ticker tape falling noiselessly down, shards of glass, raining confusion. People running, hiding under parked cars.

A few days later a life support helicopter flew over our house from the hospital a few blocks away. I heard the above noise and literally threw myself down on the living room floor, crawling away from the windows. Panic. Soon, I couldn't watch the news, couldn't rewatch again and again the images.

In early October Sean's mom had come for a visit. We had planned on going to NY for the weekend. These plans and hotel reservations had been made two months before. She wanted to see the site. We did not. I remember an argument in the cab. We felt like dirty little tourists, wanting to see the train wreck. I was embarrassed to be there. The cab could only take us so far to the financial district. We walked the rest of the way. Store fronts were blown out. Pristine folded stacks of Brooks Brothers shirts were still on display tables, covered in deadly gray dust. Glittery shards of glass were still everywhere, a dew kissed reminder, still untouched by cleanup crews. Store fronts were raped, gashed open, everything still in its place. I was amazed no one had stolen these things?

Fences were covered, blotted out with images of lost people. Their photos loomed everywhere. Bios of them were fluttering, smacking against metal making tap tap noises. Why was it so quiet in the busiest of all cities that all I could hear was paper blowing against a metal barricade? I felt I was stepping on people, on bodies.

They had dressed for work that morning, or were running errands, or dropping their kids off at school, or were meeting or awaking from a tryst with their lover. Were kinds words said to each other the night before? Was a memorable meal shared, glasses of wine drunk, tips left at tables? Was someone so desperate, alone in that too large city, thinking of taking their life? Had someone just received news they were pregnant? Excited to share the news? Was someone going bankrupt, filing for Chapter 11 that next day? News of cancer, of an incurable disease? Someone had finished the last sentence to the last chapter of a book, rushing to the publisher? Was someone late for the train, flat tire, out of gas? Had someone cut somebody off in traffic, given them the finger? Stolen a magazine from the corner store, wished they didn't have to get out of bed and go to work?

Wishing somehow today could be different?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Something, Anything

I've had a bit of writer's block lately, and have been away. I've suggested to myself that I should at least write something, anything...I started another blog to release some of my mental asides.

I'm sitting in front of you having a dish of scrambled eggs with an exuberant amount of Swiss cheese melted inside. Yum! Two cups of coffee.

I don't believe in aliens, although there's lots of abduction evidence out "there." Why would God create a being far more intelligent than us? Why would they kidnap us and probe us? Ouch.

Why don't parents serve alcohol at kid's birthday parties? I'm sorry, but a piece of cake just doesn't do it for me.

Now I'm full and wondering why I ate so much for breakfast?

My kitchen has been taken over by pantry moths. Disgusting! I bought traps which seem to work fine. They still are everywhere, on the ceilings, cupboards, now creeping into the living room. I see them hovering against the lit TV at night.

My parents have taken a road trip to Alaska from Pennsylvania. In eleven days they reached Delta Junction Alaska. While on the road, my father turned 70! He called the other night and sounded younger and closer to me, as if he were speaking on the phone from the next room. My mom says the sights are incredible. She has had dreams about me for three nights in a row, she wonders if I'm OK. Yes, just a bit of a funk.

Beatles Mania all over again. Paul did have the most Bambi-esque eyes. John and George were, still are my favorites.

Time drags on and passes so quickly. My days are over before I realize what next to get into. Summer is pretty much kaput, fairs are this weekend. Farmers' Markets, or Farmer's Markets???? A market of farmers or farmers already ending in s, showing their seasonable wares....

Halloween is right around the corner...I don't think of seasons are sharp edged or square, maybe oblong, how they just ooze and meld into each other. I'm going to have a party for some of Lola's friends. Decorations, games, fun stuff for the kids. Yes, I will have adult beverages. Bloody Mary's, Sangria....with mini body part ice cubes! I think I will dress as a gypsy this year.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Sean and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary on August 29th. We met back in college around 1988. We had a handful of disastrous dates. If that is what you could call them. I saw him around campus. Tall, thin, vintage paisley shirts with peg legged pants. He had a peculiar bounce to his step, always walking on his toes. He smoked a pipe and was a hipster before hipsters were cool. He was majoring in Communications, as was I. He had an off beat show on the school airwaves. Friends would read poetry while someone played background bongos. He was well versed in the music underground of CBGBs and all the too cool music that no one heard except to be lucky to catch his show.

A mutual friend, who I was casually dating, introduced us. Our first "date" was sitting in the local cemetery with an acoustic guitar at night. The second, meeting his grandmother, who worked at the library. I was to help him with an overdue paper. We spent the evening combing through Rolling Stone Magazines under dimly lit library lights. Our third date, spending the evening with a friend of his listening to albums. That friend went on to become a mortician. The final date, hanging at a friends house, having beer in the backyard. I sat next to Sean and casually placed my arm inside his. He pulled his arm away.

There is a depth of space and time for which I can't account for. I continued my Communications and Journalism studies and Sean continued to anther college. A few years rolled by and a friend suggested I send a demo tape to a station Sean was programming. By this time I had met someone and had been dating him for a year. He had enlisted in the Navy and had given me an engagement ring on New Year's Eve, before he left. I didn't want the ring, and didn't want to hear my reasons.

I sent a tape to the station, and Sean called. I was nervous. What did he remember of me, what did he think of me? I recall the phone conversation. He was friendly and relaxed. I interviewed for the morning news dj/girl sidekick and was hired. He gave me my first job in radio. It was everything I hoped it would be! WKRP with all the characters! The hours were crippling. Up by 4am to be on the air by 6!

I was in contact with my boyfriend. I told him I had gotten the job and Sean and I were hanging out, seeing each other, strictly platonic. The boyfriend went AWOL and turned up at the radio station in the wee morning hours begging for me to leave with him. It ended quite messy with Military Police and the realization that he was a control addict who, with my enabling was on a downward spiral. I did learn recently he's married with kids and is happy.


Into our first year as a couple, Sean received a job offer in Maryland. We sat in the park as he told me he was going to take it. The park bench was spinning and I felt sweaty. "Come with me, It will be an adventure!" Neither of us had yet uttered the "I love yous." We simply enjoyed being together. A few days later, I was helping mom load the dishwasher. "So, when are you planning on telling me you're leaving?" I dropped a dish, it bounced and smashed into pieces, scattering across the floor. I was raised in a strict Catholic family. Rosary after dinner, extra change in the Lenten bowl, no meat on Fridays during Lent, confession, Sunday school, all by the book.

They were heartbroken and begged me to get my own apartment if I must leave with Sean. I packed my two tone brown and gold Chevy Citation and was ready to go. That next day I was violently ill. A kidney infection. I spent eight days in the hospital while my car sat packed with what I had, waiting for the adventure to begin. Sean had begun his job and sent flowers. As soon as I was discharged and regained strength I moved my things into our first apartment together.

We moved two or three times along the East Coast during those first few years. Both building our careers and our lives together. In the mid 1990's I started asking him about the idea of marriage. I gave him several ultimatums, and then would give several more. This continued for a few more years. We married in August of 1998.

Sean had spent Saturday at the radio station with Lola, finishing some undone business. They walked in the door with big grins on their faces. Sean had freshly steamed lobsters and champagne. "It is our anniversary today!" "No honey, it's not until the end of the month!" I was going to rib him for always getting these important dates wrong! HE WAS RIGHT! HE REMEMBERED OUR ANNIVERSARY!!!! I had completely forgotten!

We have been together for 18 years. We have weathered more than our share of heartache and loss. We have grown together, tested each other, relied on each other, forgiven each other, argued with each other, slept in separate bedrooms when angry, made each other laugh, think, grow, depend on each other. We have two little celestial beings who now make us laugh, grow, and think. Through it all, we have always had an adventure. He is a man of honor and a man of his word. This indeed has been, and is everyday....... an adventure.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Just One More

Lola and I had another small "go around" last night while getting her ready for bed. We read a story in bed, while she brushes her teeth. It was past her bedtime and she wanted anther book to read. "Sweetie, mom just read Bad Cat, it's time to settle down and be quiet. Time for night night." "But mom, I just want one more story I promise, just one story!" I hear Gibson skooching in his crib across the hall. It's humid tonight. We have his bedroom door open so the AC will cool the upstairs.

"No, Lola, let's go to sleep." She starts to whine even louder. She throws her toothbrush on the floor and cranks the tantrum to 11. Now she's trying to wake Gibson up with her meltdown. "Lola Rose (God, I'm using her middle name, I'm turning into my mother!) be quiet. I say what goes. I'm not telling you again. Let's settle down and get some sleep!"

There is some theatrical sniffing and asking for a tissue. "Mom, can I have an ice pop in bed?" No. "Mom, I think I'm hungry, can I have some crackers?" NO. "Mom, why are you the boss?" "That's my job. Your job is to be a kid, have fun, play with your brother, go to school. My job is to keep you safe, feed you, take care of you, make sure you're happy, having fun, and that you get enough sleep so you're not grumpy in the morning." "Mom, I've got a great idea, why don't we have two bosses!"

I should have just read her a 2nd story. It's an hour past her bedtime. "Lola, there is one boss and that is me, actually daddy is the boss too. I have an idea, I will let you be the boss of things that matter to you! You can pick out the clothes you want to wear to school, you can pick out your breakfast, and you can choose one fun thing to do on the weekends!" She loves this idea and is telling me she wants to wear her Who tshirt with a pink sparkle belt to school.

Peace again settles over her butterfly sheets. The fan in her room is gently moving the wind chimes above her bed. "Mom, it's so hard being a kid. Someday I will be the boss." She nudges my arm over her shoulders and shimmies under my chin to lay as close to me as possible. That day will come all too soon.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I'm Praying For Patience

I think I may have won the Worst Mom of the Year Award this morning.

I've read Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. Fascinating book! His premise is we're born with a certain level of intelligence/IQ. This can get people far ahead in life. Goleman believes the human view of IQ is far too narrow and society/parents are overlooking the benefits of empathy, patience and understanding that our kids need to be taught. He argues "emotional" intelligence in not fixed at birth. These facets of self awareness, self discipline and empathy can be nurtured and grown from childhood to adulthood.

Four year olds, at least mine, has a hard time understanding "In just a minute!" "Wait till mommy puts Gibby to bed, and then we'll read under the covers with the flashlight." The most trying for me, when I'm on the phone!!!!! "Honey, you see Mom is on the phone, wait until I'm done and then we'll ride your scooter on the sidewalk." Patience. I'm teaching her if she waits, there is a reward.

Lola usually accompanies me to Mass on Sunday. She enjoys having her time with me and loves the choir. She's now kneeling and moving her mouth to the music. We bring coloring books and stickers to keep her occupied. I now let her go to the "potty" by herself at church. I can see the bathroom door down the hallway from the pew I sit in. She proudly marches back with a big grin on her face and a "thumbs up!" which makes the family behind us snicker.

She wanted to stay home with Daddy this morning, so I thought I'd take Gibson. He's come a few times and is always fidgety toward the middle of mass. It's a distraction to me and those around me. Worse comes to worse there is the infant room with toys in the rear of the church and speakers to hear mass and large windows to see up front.

I dressed Gibson and asked Sean to put the car seat in the convertible. Lola heard my heels clicking in the dining room. "Where are you going Mom?" "Mass honey with Gibson." "But I want to go!" I was running a bit late already. "You said you wanted to stay home with Daddy?" "But I want to go now!" It's 10:13 and Mass begins at 10:30. "No, you wanted to stay home, and I don't have time to get you dressed and brush your teeth! I'll be back soon and I'll make blueberry pancakes."

She's standing in her Tinkerbell underwear, her hair in a bedhead wavey crown cascading down her shoulders. Her lower lip balloons out and the tears begin. "Lo, I'm sorry but Mom's got to go!" She races upstairs and starts pulling clothes out of her armoire. "Lo, NO! I don't have time to get you dressed!" She's screaming/crying now. "Alright come on, get up here, but we have to hurry!" I grab the clothes off the floor and start to dress her. She pulls away and heads for the stairs. "Lo! Where are you going?!" She turnes to me, such hurt and anger in her four year old blueberry blue eyes. "YOU ARE MAD AND I DON'T WANT TO GO WITH YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE MAD!" Her accusatory finger is still pointing at me. The polish I painted on her nails last week is wearing off.

She's in Daddy's lap sobbing, her head buried in his chest. He looks at me with disappointment, not as infinite as Lola's but still a look that says "Way to go." I feel like crap, no I feel like shit. I've wounded my little girl and know I am the worst example of patience. My God, she is only four year old! I drop to my knees and hold out my arms. She comes immediately. "Mommy is so sorry, I didn't mean to make you sad. I'm late for church and that is not your fault, of course I want you to come with us." Sean holds Gibson and Lo and I go back upstairs to get dressed.

We're late but I don't care. I buckle them into their car seats. Gibby is sucking on his paci and reaching for Lola across the seat. We sit in the driveway. "Lola, I am really sorry. I don't have patience. It's not your fault and I'm happy you're coming to church with me! I'm sorry I made you cry. You have better patience than Mommy and you are teaching me to be more patient. It's OK if you're upset with me."

I pull the car in reverse and feel sick to my stomach. I look at her in the mirror, she's putting her orange sunglasses on, the wind is whipping her ponytails around. "Mom, I just want to go where you go, that's all." I reach behind me and tickle her knee. "I love you baby, and I'm sorry."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Need A Good Techy...

I'm crazily trying to figure out why the *!#^ I can't upload photos to this blog! I've done it only once or twice and believe that was a fluke??? I have no problem uplaoding pic to Facebook and several Mail Art sites that I belong to????? Anyone with advice or suggestions, or a baseball bat would be greatly appreciated!

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Movie Doubt. My Review.

Watched the movie Doubt last night. We love, love, LOVE Netflix! Watching movies on line is also a pleasure. We usually watch the documentaries and horror films on line and order dramas and kid's dvd. We usually squeeze in a movie a week, not bad with two children!

I could not wait to see this movie! Philip Seymour Hoffman! Meryl Streep! Priest vs Nun! This movie was like chewing on a piece of gristled meat! You slice in, raise it to your mouth and wait for that moist meaty sensation to kick in......


The movie was based on a play. Can't recall the playwright's name. You've got a Catholic school set in the Bronx mid 60s. You have Sister Aloysius (Streep) who's been at this nun game far too long. She's stern, a stereotypical bride of Christ with a lemon puss and educating by way of fear. An "old school" gal. No gum chewing, no barrettes in the hair, and no transistor radios! And in this corner, Father Flynn (Hoffman) who wants to lead and teach with kindness while yucking it up with his compadres over smokes, booze and back slapping.

A third nun is embroiled in the plot. She's young and wants to love her teaching as much as she loves truth and honesty. She is told, as are all the other nuns to "keep an eye" on Father. Sister Aloysius suspects unwanted attention from Father Flynn towards an African American student, the only black student at the school.

At this point the dialogue is still somewhat decent. You still like Father Flynn and hate Sister Sourpuss. What if she's wrong??? You as the viewer are to have doubts about Father's innocence? Get it, DOUBT. I felt the movie ended hurriedly and the ending such a let down. Big drama scene at the end where Streep delivers the whomping dialogue to sum up the movie....her declaration seems so out of character with who she portrays.... I won't give away too much. I can only say "Father forgive me for I watched an incredibly boring movie all the way to the end!"

Thursday, August 13, 2009

All Work And No Play

Did I tell you I was offered a job! Actually two jobs! I've been a touch "moody" lately and feeling unbalanced. I've worked since I was 16 and often had two jobs through high school and college while nailing down 22 credits per semester. Dean's List every time, no, I'm not bragging....well yes, I am!

Anywho....I was "laid off" about two years ago from a job as Retail Floor Mgr, Buyer, and Designer of a furniture store. I've been in this business for about 15 years and honestly loved it! Prior to that, I was a Fashion Merchandiser for a handful of well known department stores along the East Coast. Prior to that, I was a News Director, and in the humble beginnings of my radio career; the girl sidekick at a rock station, a bit of a morning zoo if you will. Throw in Burger King Drive Thru Cashier in my teens and Makeup Artist for Lancome and that about rounds it out.

There were medical complications with my pregnancy with Lola. For the last five months I was ordered to strict home bed rest. It was an intense time for me, not used to not working, feeling cut off. My new job was to grow this baby and have her arrive when she was supposed to. Everything went well. I stayed home with her for seven months, enjoying NOT working and falling in love with her more and more. The go back to work feeling was tugging at me though and my employer eagerly wanted me back. I was in a position to make demands and I boldly did! I wanted to work only three days a week and asked for an insane amount of money. On the drive home from that meeting, they called me on my cell and asked "Can you start tomorrow?"

I worked that glorious schedule for two more years and then was "laid off." I use the quotes because their way of "terminating" me was less than ethical. I hired a lawyer, and won. This was a huge learning curve for me. I loved this warped little fringe family of mine and was deluded to think I was irreplaceable. I lost friends in this battle. Lines were drawn, sides were taken because they felt threatened (and were!) that they too could loose their jobs if they sided with me. Obviously these were not my friends. When a door closes, a window opens. My vindication paid for about half of Gibson's adoption!

Cosmically amusing how things just work out!!! We adopted this beautiful baby boy, and I had the luxury of being ASAHM (a stay at home mom!) But, alas, the tug of going to work began its pull on me again. We all know the economy is in the crapper. I knew I couldn't land a job that paid me what I was making then. Interviewers would look at my salary and do a double take. I interviewed for a sales/manager position at a little downtown store. I was told I was far too over qualified. The hours weren't conducive to my family's schedule. I was offered the job and declined. I interviewed for a bank teller position. I nailed the interview and was called back. Again the schedule did not work and I wasn't willing to work on Saturdays. The pay didn't come close to covering daycare for Gibson.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm lucky to not have to work! I'm lucky that Lola is in an amazing pre school where she flourishes four days a week. I'm lucky, blessed to be a mom to two whirlwind children. Lucky to have this stay at home time with Gibson. Incredibly blessed that my husband leaves the house every morning to fight the good fight and bring home a paycheck. I have these gaps in my day, when Gibson is sweetly sleeping to write, blog, be creative, clean, organize, and focus on my collage works. When he's awake, we play, go for long walks downtown and through the neighborhood taking advantage of green grass, trees, the buzz of lawnmowers, the chorus of birds. We go to the park and I push him in the baby swings. We go to the local creamery and we share a small vanilla cone. We go to the library, post office, grocery store.

This is a job! I'm still managing and using my creative skills. And, this job has the best perks of all. I can stay in my pajamas all day if I choose. I go to the grocery store without makeup on. If I choose, I can brush my teeth at noon! I can play all day if I want! I always did relish a job well done and feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of my work day! I enjoy having a clean house, having a gourmet meal made, baking something special. There is satisfaction in a neatly folded stack of warm laundry, organized kid's rooms, mowing the lawn so Sean doesn't have to. I'm multi tasking, managing, organizing, creating. I am the CEO and Domestic Goddess of my empire! (and to think those poor souls are still slaving away at that little furniture store!)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cukes, Kale, and The Missing Pup Pup

Our weekends are jam packed with summer fun. Trying to squeeze every ounce of it into our mouths and not let it run down our chins! I've been eating lots of great peaches and sugary corn on the cob. Last weekend we walked to the farmers market with Gibby and Lola. Our first stop on Main Street was Brad's Place, a little dive breakfast joint resplendent with Red Sox mania tacked everywhere! After pancakes and eggs we continued our journey to the market. The sounds of stand up bass and high hat waft down the sidewalk. Lola clambers out of her stroller and is giddy with buzz of market life.

We're on the hunt for spicy mustard greens, kale, and some local goat cheese. I smell crepes bubbling slightly on a grill as local blueberry jam is sacrificed to its innards! The table next to it is selling local honey and shortcakes. There's a glorious display of cukes, tomatoes, and zucchini with the sun shining lovingly upon them. I can't resist and run my hands over their sensuous shapes. We buy a bag of greens, kale, and creamy, buttery organic Dutch Gold Cheese. I ate so many samples I just had to buy some!

Lola made friends with a little boy and they're running around having a game of tag in front of a band playing music. Lots of kids are running around having their own little Woodstock. Shoes are off, blankets are on the ground, kids eating peaches out of the back of a pickup truck. Lola finds a sunflower on the ground and tucks it behind her ear.

It was a great morning. We loaded Gibby and Lo back in their strollers and headed home. THEN IT HAPPENED! "Oh crap! Where is Pup Pup?" Pup Pup is Gibson's favorite lovey that he sleeps with. PP goes wherever Gibby goes. "Are you sure you took him with us?" Sean senses a manic storm coming on, not from Gibby, but from me! Sean's mom bought PP when news of us adopting a baby was to happen. Gibby rubs PP back and forth across his face when he's sleepy. Sean drove back downtown and retraced our steps. Meanwhile I put Gibson down for his nap. He wailed and cried for almost 25 minutes. Sean pulled in the driveway. "Any luck?" "Nothing, I even went inside pup pup."

After about half an hour, Gibby fell asleep. "Come on Lo, let's take a walk and look for Pup Pup." She felt sad for Gibby and suggested we make Missing Pup Pup Posters. I had taken a picture of the kids in the driveway that morning. Lola is dressed in her Hello Kitty t shirt and multi colored polka dot skirt, sun visor on with piggy tails sticking out the sides. She's leaning into Gib's stroller and he's laughing at her. Pup Pup is there in his arms. I scan that photo and the information and we post them on a few telephone poles along Main Street.

It's been four days and no word of Pup Pup. Lola gave Gibby some of her dearest stuffed animals to sleep with. Gibson knows they're not PP. They don't smell like him, bark like him, or snuggle like him. I've ordered another Pup Pup replacement, same make, same color. It should arrive in the mail by this weekend. Hopefully Gibby will see the resemblance and fall in love all over again with Pup Pup Jr. Maybe someone picked up Pup Pup, maybe he's in the arms of a child who really needed him. Only Pup Pup knows.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Splatter Control

Gibson is such a "boy!" That kind of vroom vroom, throwing, smashing, pounding, make lots of noise kind of boy. He's almost 14 months old and not yet walking on his own. (This may be a godsend!) His crawling prowess is unbelievable! He moves at Tasmanian Devil speed, leaving smoking little knee tracks behind him! He happily cruises along the sofa, to the coffee table, to the leather chair, begs to be picked up, then wiggle worms himself back down to the floor.

He's bored with baby food, I don't blame him. Lately he prefers organic yogurt, macaroni, carrots, buttered toast, noodles, and much to Lola's dismay Popsicles. More for him, means less for her! Mealtime has become a raise the spoon, dodge the splatter kind of battle. Unlike Lola, who ate everything in front of her and placidly took her bottle, this little guy is flinging, throwing, and blowing raspberries as I feed him. August is way too hot to wear a head to toe Hazmat suit!

I have found if I give him his own spoon he's content for a bit. If his hands are busy he's more likely to eat what I give him. I think I have his number. He throws his food over the highchair tray and watches for my reaction. If I say "NO!" he laughs and lobs more over the bow. This is a triumph for the family dog Newman. He was wondering when this kid would start treating him like family.

I never had to use outlet safety covers with Lola, she was curious as a baby, but knew what NO meant. Gibby is fearless. "NO" to him means, "Yes, yes, go see what this wonderful new strange thing is!" He will dive off furniture if he has the chance. He will pull on cords, hoping the magical thing attached comes crashing down so he can have a better look. He will leap from our arms to see what toy is on the floor. He will grab hands full of Newman's fur and stuff it in his mouth and clap for himself.

It's fascinating to watch him play. He loves anything on wheels. He'll roll his toy cars along the rug and crawl behind them. Lola had no interest in cars, or things with wheels. One begins to think about gender and how these babies are wired. I don't like to categorize baby behavior by gender, though to me he's showing, at this stage, stereotypical "boy" behavior. Friends of ours have a little boy who enjoys wigs, dressing up, pretty feminine shoes, and theatrical behavior. He is one of the sweetest little guys and he has great, creative parents who allow him this outlet.

I can't help but daydream ahead, and wonder what paths my children will take, what kind of adults they'll turn out to be. For now I'm living in the moment (OK, trying to) and enjoying every bottle throwing, food lobbing, sweet, belly giggle minute.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Got Goat?

Lola had sloppey joes the other day at her school. "Mom, mom we had sloppey joes and carrot sticks and crackers for lunch today!" The parents are given a weekly advanced copy of the menu. Teriyaki chicken, meatballs, tuna noddle cassarole, corn dogs? I wasn't thrilled she'd be eating corndogs.

She wanted sloppey joes for dinner tonight. We have tried as a family to eat together and have failed miserably. Sean is usually home by 7 or 7:30. I've tried having dinner ready when he hits the door, but it felt too rushed with the dog, Lola, Gibby, me, all rushing to greet Daddy. For me, it was hard to instantly switch gears from mom-dom to partner who listens to your day with an undistracted ear and thumbs her nose at the corporate suits who employe my husband. (I, We, are incredibly thankful he has a great job!) So, now Lola has her dinner by 6, then bath, unwind with family, some cartoons and off to bed.

We're back to the dinner table. She loved the sloppy joes which we renamed Sloppy Lo's. "Mom, I love them! I also love tomatoes, broccoli, brownies, and spahgetti. Oh, and milk, I love milk!" She doesn't eat broccoli, or anything green. Color aversion. "Milk comes from cows and goats. You know cheese comes from goats too, goat cheese." She takes a bite of her sandwich. "What do horses give? Do they give milk?" "No, hon they don't give milk." "But they're fast runners in the field aren't they? Can I have a goat or a horse? We could keep him in the garage and I could take it to school!"

Why do I have this suspicion she crafted this whole conversation about cow's milk, just so she could ask for a horse?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The World Is Full Of Strangers

I'm trying to educate Lola about "strangers." What a slippery slope! I had picked her up from daycare and after a drink and yogurt, wanted to play pirate outside. She had drawn an elaborate map in school and wanted to continue her game outside. She's wanting her independence more and more. "Mom, just let me play outside by myself, I promise I'll stay on the sidewalk." "Mom, can I ride my scooter to school, you can stay home with Gibby, I'll be fine!" "Mom, let me use the potty by myself, no one will bother me!"

I told her she could play in the side yard along the driveway, so I could keep an eye on her. Gibby was taking a late nap, and I grabbed a few Gourmet magazines and sat on the side porch. She was pretending the driveway was her ship and she was the captain. She had her foam sword and pirate hat from Halloween a year ago and was screaming "Ahoy, man overboard!"

A young man walked by with a black and white speckled Greyhound and smiled in amusement at Lola's play. "Hey can I pet your dog?" she asked. She ran over so quickly, the force knocking her pirate hat off. "Lola, stop!" She knows the rules about strange dogs, ask the owner if you can pet, then ask where the dog likes to be pet, don't make initial eye contact with the dog, let the dog then be the first to sniff you.....

It's strangers that frighten me more than a rabid, drooling dog. "Mommy, who was he?" "Honey, that's a stranger, remember, someone you don't know..." "But he smiled at me mom?" He's a stranger because I don't know him either. I've seen him walk his dog for several months now, he waves hello as his dog urinates on the telephone pole at the end of my driveway. "It doesn't matter if he smiles, he's still a stranger, and you have to be careful." "But what if I ask him if he's going to be nice to me?" This is where I begin to hear the words tumbling out of my mouth, not making sense. "It's like the witch in Snow White, she tricks her with that apple. She dresses like an old beggar woman and gives her the apple, it's a trick!" "But, mom, he didn't have an apple. He just had his dog and a poop bag."

By then our neighbor Bunny pulled in next door. She waved hello and Lola ran over to see her. She told Bunny she was playing pirate and we saw a stranger walking his dog. Bunny told her to be careful of strangers too. What message am I hoping Lola learns from this? I don't want her to be afraid of the world, the people in it, I only want her safe and sound and to play in her carefree child world for as long as she can.

I asked her later tonight if she understood what I was trying to teach her about strangers. "They are people we don't know, who smile at me, and maybe will try and trick me. But I know to yell and run away. Sometimes mom, you just confuse me."

Monday, July 13, 2009

If I Had A Nickle

Just read the story about the West Virginia woman who again has won the lottery! It's ONLY her ninth time winning and her jackpot totals over $159,000. Her husband has been hit by the lucky stick too. He's won over 16K! Is it luck? I see people buying tickets by the handfuls at the grocery store. How many of them will be winners? How many of them have recently lost a job, received news of cancer, have no insurance, are single parents hoping to add money to a zero balance account, long overdraft and all hope abandoned? How many of them are behind on mortgage, car loans, worrying about how to pay for this winter's rising cost of heating their homes?

Nearly half of American adults spend over 45 BILLION! annually on lottery tickets! We all love the stories of the down and out who win big, with only several quarters and nickles jingling in their pocket! My father always said "There's no such thing as easy money." Remember as a kid you would play the game WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH A MILLION DOLLARS? You would lay in the grass, looking up at the clouds guessing at all the possibilities....I'd buy a donut shop, a toy store, a deluxe bike with sparkle handlebars, all the Snickers in the world and stash them under my bed! Kid's dreams with not a care in the world.

Today it's back to paying the bills, saving for college funds, having enough in the IRA account, the 401K, money markets. I'm teaching Lola the importance of money. She's learning that you can't just have a toy every time you go grocery shopping. I explain to her that a quarter is worth twenty five pennies, two dimes plus a nickle. In her small marker stained hands, a quarter holds lots of power. I see her eyes glaze over at the possibilities. Just for kicks, I'll defy the common sense Gods and buy a scratch-o today! If I win big, I'll be blogging from some sunny, mojito soaked island. Oh, the possibilities.................

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Youth Is Wasted On The Wrong People

Last night was a "date night!" My boyfriend was out of town, so Sean was the next choice! A good babysitter, someone who you can trust with your children, in your home is a rare find. Someone who will sit for free is a BIG bonus! I don't like asking people for favors. I don't want to impose. And it's not the reciprocating that gets in the way. I understand time restraints and peoples' lives and don't want to clog their universal pipeline with my requests. I've learned over the years though it's OK to ask for help and this parent, mom thing is to be shared. (I'm rambling, it's my cross to bear, and yours when you read my blog....)

Anywhooooo.....I've become friends with Faith and her son Jake. Lola adores Jake. They live a mere two minute walk from our house, just across the grassy common. They have their playdates and we've gotten to know each other in that comfortable kind of way. She agreed to watch Lola and Gibby last night for a few hours. Every few minutes Lola would ask "Is Jake here yet? When is he coming to babysit me? What is he doing right now Mama?" It was late afternoon and she was cranky and as usual refusing to take a nap. Her whining was at that all time high where you want to pull a Sylvia Plath in the kitchen...."I need Jakey, Oh Jakey where are you..I need you now!" Serious Romeo and Juliet from a four year old! I barricaded myself in the sunroom with the computer until her storm blew over. Minutes later, all is eerily quiet....? She is sound asleep on the sofa, clutching a pillow, cherub mouth open, snoring it off.

Faith and Jake arrive. Hurray! I give Faith the low down on the zillion remotes and dvd player should the kids want a movie. I had Gibson in bed before they arrived. I show her the snacks in the pantry and give her our cell numbers, pediatrician's number, restaurant phone number, poison control number and the access code to the red phone in the White House. All bases are covered, I'm dolled up and out the door!

It's a gorgeous warm evening as I drive to Northampton. Sean and I walk to Sierra Grill. The owner greets us and treats us to a round of drinks! That's how you run a successful restaurant! On a busy Friday night, we're seated quickly in our favorite plush, dimly lit booth. Over a bottle of Viognier, we trade our stories. The votive flickers over our table like a cleansing stream. This is our time to reconnect. Sean orders steak with red wine reduction, onions and mushrooms. Grilled asparagus and Belgian fries with house made aloi and ketsup. I order scallops with carrot, ginger butter, asparagus and mixed grilled veggies. Delightful, savory, magical. We also had cold marinated mussels. The taste reminded me of our Italian travels.

We are happily full and flushed as we step out into the night air. We are going to catch some live music tonight. This is my high, my overindulgence. I become a giddy school girl standing against the stage. Mission of Burma is playing and we've been looking forward to seeing them. When we first met, we both had their album. Kismet, cosmic. Lots of people were milling about. Hipster kids, old die hards, too cool for school, and then the forty plus group. We had the real passion last night! We rocked it with the best of them! We knew all the lyrics and pulsed our aging bodies to the beat. This forty something group, as sweaty as the three guys on stage! We would readjust our complimentary earplugs and rock the night away, raising our Red Stripe Beer in anthem, the power of rock and roll!

I then knew what Cinderella felt like, the clock ticking, knowing that someone else was in charge of my children. I ask Sean what time it is, the music so loud, my question is lost over the speakers and monitors and lights. I make the universal sign for time...pointing to the imaginary watch on my wrist. 11:30 and Mission Of Burma is just ending their first set. Cinderella has to go...I'll be damned if I leave behind my leopard print stilettos!

Monday, July 6, 2009

I've been wanting to plant my own garden this spring. Never got around to it....there are so many wonderful, fresh, fertile farms in my area of New England. There's a farmer's market every few miles and a Saturday market just a five minute walk from my house.

Growing up in Pennsylvania, my parents cultivated an enormous garden, ripe with twelve rows of corn, potatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, squash, and tomatoes. The kids (Joe, Denise, Jim, and I) would spend early mornings weeding. I hated the spiders, hidden, embedded in the corn stalks just waiting for a finger. I loved the dew strung along the webs like a glass beaded necklace. There were slugs, Japanese beetles, ladybugs, and rabbits who took advantage of twilight to feast on the backyard bounty.

There has never been a taste sensation to rival that of a fresh plucked, warmed by the sun plump tomato, with just a sprinkle of salt. Backyard dinners were complete with sweet corn freshly picked and husked by little hands minutes earlier, green salads loaded with radishes and beets, cabbage and carrot slaw with the kick of vinegar and mayonnaise.

So many of my summer childhood memories are rooted in that family garden. Next spring I hope to grow a garden and hope my children will help me weed and plant, and pick. If the season is good, we'll grow lots of memories too!

Thursday, July 2, 2009


My brother, sister in law and their daughter was visiting for the 4th. The house is quiet and I have lots of cleaning to do. I've been itching to blog while they've been here. I've shown great restraint!

I held my brother captive playing Scrabble and Password while they were here. He's a year and two days older than me. My birthday is June 13th and his is June 11th. My mother is also a Gemini, born June 2nd. I refer to Joe as my "baby brother." He stands an impressive 6' 2" and weighs about 260. Not so tiny! His sense of humor and love of high jinks is as big as his stature. His hazel eyes are now framed by brown, slightly grey at the temples, thick shocks of hair.

As usual, we talk about the days growing up together. Lots of laughing, wheezing, and "Oh my God, I forgot about that time!" His 13 year old daughter loves to hear these stories and see her dad in a more youthful lens.

We grew up in a time when you could ride your Big Wheel down the road for hours until Mom would lean out the patio door and ring the little school bell for lunch. We would spend lost afternoons in our backwoods building tree houses and lifting up rocks hoping to discover salamanders. We would play with Matchbox cars in the sandbox and then catch Monarch butterflies, running thru open fields of Lazy Susan's. We would swing on overgrown vines over the pond. We would ice skate on it in the winter and build bonfires. I remember late summer twilight's rolling down our grassy bank until we were breathless and the grass had turned our clothes and flushed faces greenish black.

My childhood memories hold glimpses of my sister and older brother too. My memories of Joey and I, rag-a-muffins, in our corduroys and western, mother of pearl button down shirts, pursuing box turtles or doe through the woods are still so fresh, so pungent in my mind. Joe taught me how to tie my shoes when I was three. He would share his sandwich with me when I had greedily finished mine first. He taught me the delicate art of twisting the cookie open so filling would be on both halves.

When we both starting dating, we shared our secrets, our crushes, our first "Well did you kiss?" During one of our many teenage summers, mom and dad were camping for a week, we had the house to ourselves. That week, and how we spent it with our friends is still something of a legend that only Joe and I share as our secret. We were fearless, free, excitement around every corner. We were young, scared, shy, eager to explore the world. We had each other. There is no better joy than to relive the past with my little brother. I see Lola and Gibson, several years from now, hand in hand guiding each other through life as only a brother and sister will do.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Summer Serenade

Listening to the rain beat down the hopscotch pavement.

Leaves bouncing for joy, sending drops on their way.

Sun breaks thru hitting roofs and siding.

Chimes serenade the grass below.

Earthy smell, damp and sweet.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Power of Oxi Clean or The Power Of Three

This morning's news Uber Pitchman Billy Mays dead at 50. You've all seen him. Jet black, slicked back hair and matching beard, trademark khakis and denim work shirt; Enthusiastically pitching floor wax, cleaners, gadgets, cookware, and lately life insurance (ironic?)

Remember the adage, celeb deaths come in threes? If it had not been Michael Jackson it would have been someone else to fill our need to make sense of things? To will a prophecy, to control the universal number three? Spooky indeed!

Friday, June 26, 2009

King Of Pop

I was combing thru blogs early yesterday afternoon. I'm fascinated by those in other languages. Some of those blogs provide a translation feed. I prefer to gaze at the photos and guess what they're about.

I came upon one, a lushly drawn ink of Michael Jackson with a crimson soaked heart, broken in two. The image was so beautiful and mysterious with foreign text surrounding the drawing. No translation code was needed. I surfed the Internet and within seconds, learned Michael Jackson had a heart attack. Minutes later, I read he was pronounced dead?

The King of Pop, dead at 50. He was preparing for his big "comeback" July 15th with sold out shows. His presence was undeniable. Whether you loved or hated him, his contribution to Soul, R&B, Pop, dance, celebrity hysteria, pop culture, freakdom, fantasy, opulence, and over the topness is now clearly history. Sadly, he leaves behind three children who will continue to grow up under this cloud of weirdness and speculation.

You have heard of death in threes? It's that uncanny phenomenon that celebrity death come in three. This time around Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and now Michael Jackson. This is a creepy occurrence. I read a great article by Ryan Omega at who has his theory. He says we are so "attuned to death that it naturally happens. Deaths occur in threes, marriages occur in threes, births occur in threes. We almost universally will the number three." If if hadn't been Michael Jackson it would have been someone else to fill that spot. He also explains it this way. " The point of prophecy is that a statement reverberates so strongly within a culture, that society seeks to fulfill it through its perceptions and it becomes an unwitting expectation." Incredibly heady stuff by Ryan Omega!

Today I'm going to add more Michael Jackson to my iPod.

Puppy Dog Tails PART 2

I have come to a decision that I know is just and carefully thought out...We will NOT have Gibby circumcised! I have fretted over this and lost sleep over this....I thought I had done my research thoroughly, but still felt uneasy. Maybe Gibson's temperature the morning of his surgery was a Godsend! I was changing him this morning and looked upon him in his sweet little boy wholeness and a peace came over me.

He came into this world intact, he will remain so. My heartfelt thanks to all who posted on the earlier story. Your comments did have an impact on my decision, as well as me forcing my pediatrician to "honestly" tell me what he thought. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" Sometimes it does take a village to raise a child.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Snails And Puppy Dog Tails

Gibson was to be circumcised this morning, 7:30 sharp! (Ouch!) This procedure was not done as a newborn in the hospital. I wish it had been. I've been going round robin on this subject and not wanting Gibson in any discomfort or see stitches when he's changed. He's discovered his little...and he grabs it and giggles. Because the procedure wasn't done in the hospital in a timely manner, his pediatrician recommended a urologist. She advised us to have it done around age one.

Lola wasn't feeling well on Father's Day and spent the day on the sofa with a temperature. She's back to her snack wanting, cartoon watching, sassy little self again. Whatever virus she had, she wanted to share it with Gibson. Wouldn't you know, on the morning of his surgery he was running a mild temp of 99. I woke him up at 6 this morning and his whole body was overly warm. He laid in his crib and soothed his "pup pup" blanket while I took his temp. Usually he's batting the ear thermometer away or trying to chew on it.

I phoned the urologist and explained his temp and Lo's weekend battle and lose of appetite. I felt uneasy about Gibby having the surgery with a fever, the urologist agreed and it will be re scheduled later this summer. I spent a restless night worrying about the surgery and poor Gibby.

My husband and I have educated ourselves on the procedure and feel the pros far out way the cons. We are not doing this for religious reasons. Studies have shown a lesser chance of some cancers for circumcised males and low urinary tract infections as well. Hygiene is anther factor. Another reason, gender identity. I don't want him to be different than his daddy. As a Latino and African American boy growing up in a white family, he may encounter some "belonging" issues. We will teach him to celebrate his racial differences with pride. We will invest, as a family, in keeping his cultures alive. I just have to worry and fret for the next few months until it's rescheduled, then have him safely back home!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Morning Wanderer

I had my iPod charged and ready to go this morning. Lola is feeling much better! She had a temp of 101 which steadily rose to 104.3 and stayed there all day Sunday, Father's Day. She's back to her cookie wanting, cartoon watching, rambunctious, off to school self again! Thank God!

I haven't been to the gym in about three months and thought I owed it to myself to get sore and sweaty! The Y has an exceptional child watch room so I planned on dropping Gibby off so he could play.

I was driving down my street, windows open to catch some morning air, and I did a double take.....was that a small child walking by the side of the road? Before turning left at the stop sign I looked down the road. Someone was several blocks away heading toward the child. "Stupid parent!" I thought as I began to turn onto High Street. "Why would you let your child run so far ahead of you on a busy street?" I spotted the boy but then didn't see the person I thought might be a parent? I engaged my four ways and pulled over onto High Street.

My heart was racing. I locked my car, Gibby was with me. I called out "Hey little guy where are you?" He was several houses up the street when I spotted him. "Hey sweetie where's your mommy?" I guessed he was about 3 years old wearing only a soggy pair of diapers and a Batman pajama top, no shoes, no socks. I bent down in front of him. My first thought was someone, maybe his parent, would see me and think I was trying to kidnap the little guy!

"Hi sweetie, what's your name? Where do you live?" He didn't respond but pointed down the sidewalk and then pointed across the street. Without thinking I held my arms out to him and he gladly came to me. By this time a man and woman came out of their house to see what was happening. "I found this little boy in front of your house, I've never seen him in the neighborhood before?" They hadn't either. I didn't bring my cell phone and was about to ask if I could use their house phone when I spotted a police cruiser crossing High Street from Maple. I waved my arms to flag him down.

I wasn't sure what to do, leave him with the couple and try and find the cop or use their phone. The cruiser was coming up the street and pulled behind my car. I told the officer I had found him. The officer asked him the same questions I did with no response. "How about a toy buddy, I have a stuffed animal for you." The officer held him in his arms. A boy, teenager in a tye dye shirt came down the sidewalk. The big brother, calling out the little boy's name. In seconds, another car pulled up behind the cruiser. This was the mother. "Dayton, how did you get out?" She guessed he had walked out the back door. The family was moving into a rental and this was their first official day in the house. I hung back a bit to give them privacy with the officer. The mother seemed more embarrassed than alarmed.

He told her I had found her son wandering the sidewalks of an all too busy street. I think she said thanks, doesn't matter, I just happened to be there at the right moment.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Playdates, Pancakes And A Six Pack

Wow we had a big day! Lola is unusually quiet so I check on her. She's sound asleep on the sofa. This is a sight of sheer beauty, and I wipe away a tear. This little bundle of slumber, so peaceful, so serene. This from a kid who, when I say "Honey you look a little sleepy, maybe that's why you're so cranky" loudly declares with a hand on her hip "I don't DO naps!" I turn of the TV. Her latest fascination is Casper The Friendly Ghost. We picked out a few of them from the library. I loved those cartoons as a kid. I relished in the thought that grow ups were afraid of him, yet children loved him.

We've lived in our neighborhood for some time now and I'm just beginning to think some of these people are actually ok. Lo has found some friends to play with and I love the idea. Her friend Jake was to come over this morning for a playdate. Not keen on the idea that every social situation has to have a "name." Can't the kids just PLAY like I did? She was at his house two weekends ago, so I thought It would be a nice gesture to have Jake here, make pancakes, do art projects, etc..and give his mom a bit of a break. She was overjoyed and hurriedly dropped him off so she could run errands. A six pack and a shotgun had me wondering where she was off to, and I would have happily tagged along!

Lo and Jake immediately fell into play mode and I whipped up some pancakes. I was pouring the batter, listening to Louie Armstrong when I heard the front door. Lo's other friends from down the street wanted to know if she could come over and play. Jake gave me a mournful look. He wanted to play with Lola's guitars and color with her. I invited the kids in, asked if It was ok with their dad if they stayed for pancakes. Of course it was ok! Now I've added four more plates to the table and brought out small bowls of M&Ms, sprinkles, decorator icing and orange slices for mouths. We're big on pancake faces at my house. The other kids had never done this at THEIR homes and it totally upped my cool mom factor. (I've noticed the other moms are now wearing makeup and big earrings too!) By now I had turned on an all Jazz station for background music. Their father was still sitting at the table as well. I asked if he's like some pancakes, he declined and starting telling me about his Jewish faith. I was half listening because I could smell smoldering cakes on the stove. I'm not sure if he was seeking recruitment? That's where the conversation was headed...he was complaining about friends who are some sort of radical sect who don't recognize his particular conservative beliefs...again I had to politely excuse myself for orange juice and milk for his kids.

Fast forward and after an hour I tell him it's ok if he has other things to do, I would gladly entertain his kids. Off he goes and the mayhem continues. There are five kids in Lola's room. Legos, Tinker Toys, guitars, bongos, maracas, and stuffed animals are scattered everywhere. Clothes were pulled out of her armoire and her plastic play grocery cart was crammed with shoes. I thought some outside play would be great. Before I could suggest this, a beach ball came sailing over the stairs and broke one of my picture frames.

After a rousing three minute game of badminton the kids suggested we have cookies. Didn't they each eat two large pancakes less than two hours ago? I set out a plate of cookies, turned my back for milk, and the emply plate was spinning on the table! One of the parents phoned "Are they having fun?" "Yeah, we're having a great time, are you ready to have them back home?" "No, not really...." "Uh, ok, how about I send them home in about 20 minutes? Great see you then!" I quickly hung up the phone. "Ok guys your dad wants you back home in 20 minutes." This announcement was followed by "Awwwwwhhhhh, can't we stay more and play with sidewalk chalk?" The phone rang again, it was Jake's mom. "I'm finished with my errands, how goes it?" I told her great, and the house was full of kids. "Shall I bring my knitting?" Jake's mom was at my door in less than 10 minutes. She and I sat on the side porch enjoying coffee and banana bread. The kids were still inside now watching Casper.

After 30 minutes I made sure the kids looked both ways before crossing the street. I told Jakey's mom we had a late afternoon picnic to go to and Lo needed her bath. "Awwwhhhhh, can't I stay longer!" she pleaded. I kinda like this neighborhood thing.