Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Gifts 101

We spent five years purposefully not spoiling our son by buying him copious amounts of toys just because it was Christmas. He usually got four or five gifts which he was perfectly happy with, at least, that is, until he went to visit a cousin whose basement had been transformed into ToysRus. I suppose that could have been the driving force. I remember it like it was yesterday.

The boys ran downstairs to show him what they had gotten. My son entered the basement and stopped abruptly as if he had been hit in the chest, and his wind had been knocked out. His eyes grew larger than I had ever seen, his mouth fell open at the billions of boxes, and bags upon bags that engulfed 3/4 of the room. He said incredulously, "Wow! It's like you got one hundred gifts!" And my nephew, never one to miss an opportunity to let the world know just how blessed he is, replied smugly, "No, it's more like one hundred and one." Later, as we were leaving, my son pulled me aside and said in an almost heartbroken tone, " Mommy, I don't understand. I have been good, why didn't Santa bring me as many gifts?"

Yes, I am sure that was the turning point. We never really discussed it again, my husband and I, but this year something happened. Something was turned off -- like sanity, or maybe I just fell off the wagon (the shopaholic wagon). Or... maybe it was just that I had subconsciously decided to ensure that my son would never feel slighted again. He was just as special as other children. Whatever the reason, I can truly say my husband and I literally lost our minds this year. Every time I went out to shop even if it was for other people, I saw things that he really could use, justified them to myself, and bought them.

There was an arcade style Basketball shooting machine, an Xbox, Four Lego sets, two race car tracks, a marble run, and games, games, and more games.There were movies and remote control things. There were XBox and Wii games. There was a skateboard, and an electric scooter, helmet, and knee pads. There were even many boxes of Discovery educational scientific toys. It was absolutely ridiculous.

Thirty minutes into the unwrapping session, my husband began "psst-ing" me to get my attention. He then nodded towards the XBox and mouthed the words, 'save it for his birthday." I didn't miss a beat. Unbeknownst to him I had already yanked his name off of a couple of things myself while he frantically searched for the gift boxes he swore he had counted.

No, I do not want him to ever be heartbroken or to feel less than anyone else, however, there is a limit. And while I sat there watching him unwrap all those gifts, I  realized that we had gone beyond ours.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Another Eighties Fashion Faux Pas


With Spirit week at school the teachers get into it more than the students, and I am proof positive: It was "Eighties" day. I had my stilettos and short-ish straight skirt with leggings. My long white shirt with the turned up collar and brooch was covered with a man's suit jacket -- sleeves rolled up, of course. My hair rode high in a side ponytail and my lips glowed with too bright lipstick. I was ready! But fate stepped in and saved the day; something made me check my email. Oh my! I found out that I was actually "flash-dancing my way to the Super Bowl." It was not Eighties day, yet -- it was favorite team Jersey day. Phew!

BATMAN, WHERE ARE YOU?


I had him dressed to the nines. You couldn't tell me anything. He had a cool all black Batman costume with a black face mask and attached long black flowing cape. I made him change out of his red turtleneck and into the black one. Lastly, I made him wear the black socks so they wouldn't show above the all black tennis shoes. It looked great in the house....but then I sent him out into the pitch black streetlight-less night to trick-or-treat with a crowd of children and spent the whole evening calling out, "TREY, where are you?" What in the world was I thinking?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Calvary

I slept good last night for the first time in two weeks because I knew the Calvary was on its way. It has been six days since the battle that I won last Sunday. Unfortunately, the stench of death (their stinky odor) is a pheromone, so by Wednesday their dead little bodies were like a mating call to hundreds more. they won that day. I parked on the street and ran sreaming into the house. I hunker
ed in and did not leave til sunrise. That is also when I made up my mind to call out the National Guards. When I walk out on my porch this morning in the dawn of the bright sunlight, it will be with my posse. Orkin will be by my side! May their stench this time be the Siren call of Mermaids, calling any that dare answer to their death!

Message in a Bottle

Help, I am being held captive by a couple hundred checkpoints that are determined to be graded. I was able to sneak on the computer for a second to make this SOS message. I would have loved to have my response come via messge in a bottle (a bordeaux shaped one at that), but all I got was this message in a coffee mug and it said, "Wake up and get back to work!"

Feeling Super!

He picked it again! Batman, hands down. But I must admit, it had nothing to do with who he wanted to be for Halloween, it was all about the costume with the longest cape. He will not be happy til I make him one that drags the floor and trips him up. Anyone know when they stop wanting to wear one? Oh, never mind, I just realized that his Dad's is hanging in the closet, too.

Owww!

‎"Oww Mommy! It hurts so bad! Can you put a bandaid on it." "Oh, baby, do you mean the (tiny little) scratch you got last week?" "Yes mommy, oww!" "Does it hurt here? (I said as I pressed on his shoulder) and here?" "Oww, yes there!" "Okay! Let's look at it in the mirror so you can watch me." "Oww! Okay, but hurry, it hurts!" "HUH? I don't see it." "No, baby, there is no scratch there. See, look, it was the other shoulder that got scratched. Now, does it really still hurt?" Owww! Mommy, yes. can put a bandaid on that shoulder."

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Finger on the Trigger...aka The Reclaimation

I boldly stepped onto the porch in the dawn of the bright sunlight. Finger on the trigger. I stared stared them down. They held their ground. I took a deep breath and slowly pulled the trigger. The first one went down easily. I felt empowered. Faster and faster I went until I built myself into a frenzy. One came at me as if to show proof of his resolve. But swatted him away as if he were a mere fly to me. My skin no longer crawled as I felt vindication creeping in, and I did not stop until my internet sworn by solution of of Dawn Soap and Bleach were emptied. I turned back, stepping over hard crunchy bodies of stink bugs, careful not to crush them as I headed in for a refill.

Monday, September 10, 2012

I'm Baaack!

"I'm baaack!" Oh how cheesy and cliche a statement to use, yet I found nothing more thrilling and appropriate to say to commemorate, nay - announce, my return to the world of blogging. It has been far too long, and I must admit I never realized how much I would miss it.

When I first began writing here, it was for a class project; though, it was truly something I had always wanted to do. It quickly became my evening ritual, something I that I had come to look forward to at the end of the day the way others look forward to a cup of tea and a book. It was my therapy.

No matter what happened during the day, or no matter what was on my mind, I always had a place to vent and someone to listen to -- albeit total strangers across the web. My husband, who I do love dearly, ceased listening  years back. My words to him (seemingly a recent chauvinist convert) have become the mindless ramblings of an oversensitive female unless it is a discussion he started or a discussion about our child and even that is slim pickings on the attention scale.

Though, in some instances, I truly understand. What man wants to constantly talk about these new and intriguing menopause symptoms, antics of my baby boy, or my frustration in the lack of comfortable shoes in the world? And yes, he did listen not only intently but with true critical discourse about similar topics when we were dating.  But truth be told, I don't always care to share anyway. Men always try to solve things even when you all you wanted to do was vent. The last thing I want from him when I am recalling an interesting event or hypothetical situation, is his answer for what I should have done. No! I would rather hold it in until I have time to write on my blog. That way, the responses are genuine because they are from unbiased total strangers who truly care, mostly because they only read the blogs that they themselves can relate to.

Thus, being without a computer for an entire summer was torture. But now I am back! And I just want to say how much I have missed you all... whoever you are!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Technical Difficulties

My computer died recently after a long battle with a serious illness. It should have been a simple fix, but once I figured out the problem, I quickly realized that they purposely buried the five dollar coin cell battery under every important system within its core. But I am not one to be squeamish about home remedies and self help... Even if it is electronics. So I dug out my surgical tools (a miniature set of screwdrivers), cleared the dining room table, and turned on my overhead light. It was going down! Two hours later I had completely disassembled my laptop. I felt like Indiana Jones must have felt after a perilous journey to find a coveted treasure. There lying before me was the most beautiful nickel sized battery I had ever seen. My heart leapt for joy. Within seconds I would be back in the blog business. But alas, I immediately took note of something strange. Just as Indiana Jones' treasure would be booby trapped, so was mine. It was resting in its slot and was being held in place by the thinnest piece of plastic I had ever seen. Really it was just about an 1/8th inch at its widest, and was so thin I could see the battery thru it. All it really did was create a pocket, or sleeve to keep the battery in place, but it looked as if it would snap off if you looked at it. So I took a deep breath and then very carefully and gently pried the battery out. Two hours to dissemble, and a half a second to snap off that which holds the battery in place. As I sit here painstakingly and slowly typing with one finger on my iPad I have no regrets. I would do it again. I am adventurous that way, plus it was a fairly cheap computer that was maxed out on memory, and I refuse to pay someone 2 or 3 hundred dollars to fix it when it cost a little more than that anyway. Hmm. I guess I get to take it about again to pull my hard drive to salvage, hopefully, my data.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Acquie-essence of Love

               Why am I so easy going? I really and truly need a backbone. Yesterday while out watching the shuttle do a flyby of the Washington D.C. area I turned to get my camera and felt… no heard, something snap inside my calf. Ever the dedicated teacher, I continued teaching my next block from my wheelie chair before I was spotted by admin. The next thing I knew I was carted away in a wheelchair to my car with orders to go straight to the doctor.
                I did, and of course they did what they do best. They told me a few possibilities based on my description, wrapped it in an ace bandage and gave me a prescription for 800 mg Motrin.  Treat the symptoms and sent me on my way. He said if it didn’t get better they would take an MRI. Why can’t they do that to begin with to see if there is any damage?  I know, I know, it is too costly. But maybe if they did use it more frequently then based on the basic laws of economics, the price would come down and we could find out right away if there was any major damage.  At any rate the answer was to stay off of my leg and get plenty of rest. Obviously they do not know my husband.
               “It’s 6:45, I guess we need to get him up for school,” was my wake up call.  I, out of habit jumped upright trying to figure out who my husband was talking about. As the fog lifted it hit me, it was my son. I had not set the alarm. But wait a minute, I had taken off per my doctor’s orders, so I should not have had to wake up at all, I told myself. Then I told my husband, “Yes, it was time for him to get up.” I, then, as politely as possible, rolled over, pulled the cover over my head and fell back to sleep. (When he is off, like he is this week, I do not wake him up at all. Life is just not fair.)  Well, they continued in their early morning banter and included me in all of their conversations. I was never so thrilled to hear the BEEP, BEEP, BEEP of the door as they left.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
               Now, unfortunately awake, I lay there playing on my Ipad waiting for his return. Actually I was excited. We had not been alone for a whole day in so long, that leg or no leg, I wanted to take advantage and snuggle. I jumped up, took a shower and put on fresh nice Pajamas and waited for his return, as I dreamed of the type of breakfast he would be bringing me. After all, he had to know I was awake, he woke me up!
              Well, I heard the Beep, Beep, Beep of his return. Dishes began to rattle in the Kitchen. Soon I heard footsteps on the stairs. It had to be cereal because it did not take long. Finally I saw the bowl before I saw him. Then it happened. Much to my dismay he kept right on passed our room and headed to his office. Seconds later, I heard chomping noises; he was eating what should have been MY cereal. Whatever happened to “Honey just come on home and I will care for you?” I was dumbfounded. Then I heard him sneeze. And through gritted teeth I yelled out, “Bless you!” I had to let him know I was truly awake and sure enough he was surprised and immediately joined me in the bedroom. I felt so much better knowing that he thought I was sleep, however, that was short lived.
             “Hey, did you feed Daisy?“ he asked innocently enough. Now mind you because of my leg, I was staying away from the stairs. So I just looked at him with knitted brow and said how I was not doing stairs yet,  I added how I had thought he would be bringing me breakfast instead. He sort of laughed at his own silly expectations and promptly acquiesced leaving his own cereal to sog and went back downstairs to feed us both. Poor Daisy. Now I know why I am her favorite. If I don’t feed her no one would. As for my simple breakfast, I swear I had two cups of cereal and one half cup of milk. Really? 
                I have to give it to him though, he stayed by my side … but complained the whole time about not doing anything. Finally, for the third time, he said, “That’s it! We are going downstairs to pack some boxes.” this time, tired of hearing him complain, I acquiesced.
                The rest of the day went pretty much the same. We packed seven boxes before he eventually asked me to give him a haircut and I acquiesced. Finally, he kept teasing that I didn’t care about him because I did not cook dinner. At first I thought he was joking. Hmm, in the end I still thought he was joking, then it hit me, he was not! Why didn’t he order take-out, and why would he expect me to stand  up and cook when I am supposed to have my leg propped up? I don’t understand. But, I acquiesced.
               Acquiescence is when you give in reluctantly and do something you do not want to do. So why do I live my life in reluctance? I do not know. But what I do know is that I love my husband and I believe the feeling is mutual. So maybe that is why I spend my "doctor’s orders" day off packing moving boxes, cutting hair, and cooking dinner. Besides the reality is that I cannot sit still anyway and would have gotten up eventually, so why complain about it? As frustrating as it can be, I would still be up trying to do all of those things anyway. no matter how ridiculous it seems because anyone who knows me will tell you that my family comes first. No matter how reluctant I am to do it, I will usually acquiesce... and complain (or write) about it later. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Gluten Be Gone!

A couple of posts ago, I complained about my incessant and embarrassing bloating and a dear friend tried to talk me into taking the Gluten Free Challenge by going Gluten free for a week. Now, while I thought it was not  far-fetched concept, this french baguette and olive tapenade loving woman had no desire to give up one of the few passions I still had left in life. But then Spring break happened. I flew and I munched and I blew...up that is. One night my own husband threw his arm around me in the spoon position and awoke thirty minutes later saying that "we" need to get back into the gym, and then nodded back off. I couldn't believe it, he felt it in his sleep! 


So I contacted Dr. Peg and she promptly sent me a "do not touch" list and then volunteered to take me grocery shopping. I don't know if it is because she is an angel, or if misery loves company and she was glad to have a friend suffer with her. At any rate, she was a godsend. She made me realize that there is life after Gluten Free. There are crackers, breads and pastas that are not only allowable, they are supposedly pretty good. That was my biggest fear to say the least. I had visions of me chomping into bread that was hard enough to yank my teeth out. I figured that it would mean I would opt for going bread-less, or maybe even accepting the bloat over the diet. But I bought the bread and bagels and crackers. I began reading my labels. And I prepared to start my challenge.


Well, this was day one of my attempt, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. First of all i started my day with the over-priced little loaf of Gluten Free bread that she claimed was pretty good. And Dr. Peg was right on the money. It was really good -- extremely light and had a crisp crust. By the end of the day i was psyched.  The number one most obvious thing I have noticed at the end of the day is the fact that I have not bloated at all. In fact my weight this morning was 161.2 and I just got off of the scale this evening at 161.8. That in itself is remarkable. I will admit, even though I am not bloated, I am still experiencing a lot of gas. I had one bowl of gluten free Chex in 2% Lactose Free milk and I was still burping with in 15 minutes of finishing it. I will have to keep watching to see what foods elicit this response. That being said, I am ready for day two. Bring it on!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Hard Head (used to) Make a Soft Behind!



My six year old is feeling quite full of himself these days.  I used to smile and say he is filled with such determination; I was sure he would go far in life with that "his way or no way" attitude. Yet, in the back of my mind I know that was just my way of covering up for my true feelings which were that he was quite hard-headed, as my mother used to say -- right before she would add that a hard-head makes a soft behind.

Now, maybe I have been brainwashed, but I have since been taught that we should not undermine a child’s spirit. You do not want to instill negative thoughts. Always speak in the positive. Well, I don’t know about you, but my mother beat the positive out of us and we turned out just fine. In fact, she is 82 years old and I still will not talk back … too much. If I do argue back, this 5’ 2” (used to be 5’4”) women looks at me with so much venom that I feel guilty for the next two months.  She does not have to beat us, we learned our lessons well early on.

So, how do I, an old school-trained mother, raise my son in the ways of the new? Well, I can tell you right now, it is not easy. Take for example today, he asked for a chocolate chip cookie and I said sure. Then my quickly fading memory kicked in and I grabbed the Oreos instead.  Now most children would have said, "Oh well", and would have taken the other cookie. But my head strong – determined to have it his way – child, looked at me with anger in his eyes and had the audacity to face off. He squinted his eyes, folded his arms and spit out, “I said chocolate chip! That’s not chocolate chip. Why didn’t you bring me chocolate chip! Didn’t you hear what I said!”

I have never had so many things go through my head at one time. I envisioned my mother’s old school response and could actually see his head fly back from the power of the closed-fisted bop, slamming the  back of his head into the brick pillar. Then I saw my father grab the entire bike (he was a grabber of things nearby), lift it over his head and hurl it with the power of a Greek god into the small inconsequential child who had not even enough time to close his mouth let alone duck. Lastly I saw me wanting to offend him verbally, to hurt him maybe physically and mentally, and to teach him a lesson,  but unable to let the true wrath leave my tensely pulsating body.

“What did you just say!” was my first mode of attack. Then came the reiteration, “did you just raise your voice at me? Did you just yell at me because I brought the wrong cookie!” And he had the audacity to shake his head yes! I did not know what to do or say. I could feel the heat slowly rising in side and knew that I could not turn to my parents' teachings. If I had said what he said to me, I would not be alive today to write these words.

Where did I go wrong? He is full of determination alright. Determined to have it his way or no way! So I pretended to think I was in control of the situation and yelled for him to get in the back seat. Then I headed off to piano practice knowing that I was concerned that if I were too hard, he would have a bad day at his lesson. Oh if my mother knew that those were my thoughts, she would have my head on a platter and would revoke my mother card. But the longer I sat stewing behind the wheel, the more I determined I became. I would come up with the appropriate response and let him know who was really in charge of this situation. 

Then it hit me, I had long felt that spankings were not always the answer, particularly with a child  who thought they were always right. I needed to rationalize with him and make him understand.  But I had to be creative in my speech because I had to work his emotions. So I pulled to the side and slammed on the brakes. Then in a calm voice, I began by saying how disappointed I was. I talked about all the wonderful things that I do for him, and how I try to give him the world whenever he asks. I laid it on thick. I read that extra book. I let him have cereal for dinner. I feed his dog and change his hamster cage. I understand the importance of buying that perfect Beyblade. I hug him every morning.  I put bandaids on his boo-boos. Yet, the one day I made a mistake, one tiny little mistake of grabbing the wrong cookie, he was so disrespectful and flippant that I was stunned. It really and truly hurt my feelings.  He made me want to cry. (Not really, but it added that perfect edge. 

And then a miraculous thing happened as I sat there looking injured.  In the rear view mirror I could see that my words were truly having an effect. Everyone knows how close boys are to their mothers, so I pulled the mama card and it worked. Wow! My determined, offensive child, was actually now a warm and caring human being who felt horrible for the way he disrespected his mother. Yeah! Sorry Mom, but just like the pen is mightier than the sword, I found that words could be mightier than any belt, .... in this case anyway. And I am quite certain that I will have plenty more opportunities to test this theory against all of the  other options between now and his adulthood... if he makes it that far!

But for now, I love you, too, James

Sunday, March 25, 2012

B-L-O-A-T AND THE BOOBIE-DO!

B-L-O-A-T! It sounds and looks exactly like it feels. Big, nasty and overpowering. I first noticed it a couple years back when I was in my mid thirties... okay maybe more than a couple. Up until then you could not tell me anything. I could eat what I wanted even if it was ladened with salt. And drinking? Well, I not only could drink what I wanted, I drank everything -- and all the time. And, oh was I fly! I was skinny and curvaceous at the same time. There used to be a song out back in the day whose chorus was "The men all paused when I walked into the room." And they really did, however, I should actually say when I "backed" into the room because it was not the front that got their attention. Hmm, how can I put it, there was another fitting song from back in the day called "Baby Got Back."  I was skinny with quite a big bumper, and I had a true coke bottle shape on top of that. So, I wore only nicely fitted (not tight) but clingy clothes to accentuate my blessings. I had nothing to hide. Oh, those were the days.

One day I found myself feeling a little... full. I caught a glimpse of my reflection in a window and had to ask if it was my imagination, or were my pants riding a little high above my insteps? In fact, my pleats had disappeared and my pockets stuck out. That's when I saw it. I had a pouch that made me look three months pregnant.

Immediately I dropped to my knees. No, not to pray that time, but to do do 300 sit-ups. I did not choose that number, either, I just did not stop until I got that high. I was working on pure adrenalin and angst. And I did not stop doing them for about a month. It did seem to help, that is until I got a little too comfortable and forgot. so I slacked off. Oopsy!

Fast forward a few years, and I now look five to six months pregnant, no joke. When I am bloated, I no longer have "back," I have front and back. And the thought of doing sit-ups repulses me. Not that they would help anyway. It gets so bad that once when I went to a night club in this extended state, a guy asked me to dance. When I said no thank you, he asked if it was because I was pregnant? And, I, being more than irritated at that point still tried to be nice while explaining that I was not pregnant. Do you know that SOB argued with me and tried to call me a liar because it was obvious from my belly that I was. Needless to say, I have not been to a nightclub since.

All because of the BLOAT. and these days, I am BLOATED more than I am not. Two weeks before my "special week" and one week after. In short, more than half the month. And the rest of the time... I look three months pregnant again, only this time I am happy with it because the other days are so bad. I actually feel like I can feel it blowing up somethings. It's like that little Ty-D-Bowl man is in my belly with a tire pump. I am waiting for the day he goes too far and it pops.

At any rate, here I sit here lamenting the loss of the good old days. Staring at a ton of clothes in my closet, but knowing that I can only fit a handful of them at a time as I rise up and down the scale. I now shop for empire waists, loose fitting tops, and jackets that may help me hide my belly. And I silently suck it up while admitting to myself that I can do nothing about it. When I am BLOATED, I am a boobie-do! my tummy sticks out further than my boobies do and, unfortunately, I think it is only going to get worse.



Sunday, March 4, 2012

Is There a Doctor in the House?

My husband is sick with a cold. But you would think he is suffering from Typhoid, Mono, and H1N1 Flu all rolled up into one. (No offense honey  if you are reading this) However, I swear men are the biggest babies. My child handles a cold better. I don't know, maybe I am just jealous, because when I am sick, I get one evening to lay around if I am lucky and then it's up the next morning regardless to how I may feel: dog walking, son dressing, breakfast cooking, and house cleaning. Will he sit by my side in the room and watch Lifetime Movies with me? No way! But did he expect me to lay by his side and watch basketball, the news, political debates, and the weather channel all day? Absolutely, and I had better not think about using my computer because that would defeat the purpose. And I could only leave to make breakfast, lunch and dinner.... oh yeah, and bring up medicine. To make matters worse my five year old was busy begging me to sit downstairs and watch him play with his Wii, and he did not understand why he had to lay in the bed with us instead watching "Daddy" tv. Meanwhile, I needed to create lesson plans, work on a project, grocery shop, and shop for my son's birthday party which is less than a week away -- none of which I got to do. 


So how do I handle it? First, I count down to 8:30 when my son goes to bed and then I painstakingly watch the numbers change on the digital clock until the Nyquil kicks in and my husband passes out. That is when I sneak out of the room like a teenager climbing out of the basement window so as not the set the alarm off. I tiptoe down stairs and quietly begin my work at 10:45 P.M. I do all the things I couldn't do earlier like post a blog, read my email, plan a lesson until 1:00 A.M. And tomorrow, while he has the day off and is still resting, I will be leaving work exhausted, but will be rushing off to accomplish some of the other crap I couldn't do on my one day off.


Honestly though, as annoyed as I can get about the whole thing, I must admit that I love the fact that he wants me there by his side. And quite frankly I wouldn't want it any other way. I suppose one way to look at it is that I am actually just frustrated that the weekend is so short, because I need one more day to do all the things I need to do. And, in reality, I don't mind him taking care of my husband when he is sick (I just wish his cold didn't last so long)


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tenure



Year one
I danced a mean tango
With him.
I looked into his Eyes
That would not
Could not
Look back.
I pushed.
He shoved.
I won,
Because he won.
He smiled,
Made friends,
Sang the Faerie song
One Midsummer’s Night Eve
Side by side
With the sighted
While he
Was blind.


 In September
Of year two,
I met his genius
And watched it
Slowly slide
From A
To F,
From sweet
To hard,
Clean
To disheveled.
Flippant… cold.
Dancing eyes turned dark
Empty.
I heard myself ask
for missing work
And cringed.
I knew
I was watching
Him watch
His mother
Slowly Fading,
Body failing
Slowly dying
In May.



Year three
Brought an Angel.
Tall
Graceful.
She spread her wings
And wrapped
Lost souls,
Outcasts,
Cool kids,
In the light of her smile –
A child
Saving children
From others
And themselves.
A child
With an adult illness
Ever smiling
while checking numbers.
Teaching the teacher
Patience, tolerance.
Mission complete,
She died.
An angel on loan
From heaven,
Leaving me to teach.


Tenured.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sole Survivor

The sole of my "Handmade in Italy" leather shoe had begun to peel away like the hull of an overripe, black banana. It would flap back and under my foot when I walked. I was not frustrated though, it was time. I had had them for over eight years, and though I own upwards of eighty pairs of shoes (mostly F.M.P.'s from pre-mommy years), I had begun to wear these exclusively. They were the right height and had the best support for the grueling seven hours I must be on my feet at school. 


What did frustrate me, however, was the cost to repair them. I may not have understood everything the little aproned cobbler with his thick Asian accent said, but I did understand 45 dollars. And though I thought they were worth it, I had to pass. Between the economy, the housing market, and having a kindergartner with a growth spurt every other month, money is not as fluid as it used to be.  So I kindly smiled at the Hakky Shoe Repair man, said thank you for the quote, and embarrassingly removed my flappers from the counter and placed them back into my little bag. 


And, as if to pour salt into the wound, I noticed that immediately to the right of the repairer of worthy, exquisite, beloved leather shoes, was the trafficker of all things synthetic -- Payless. So I did what any teacher desperate for black economical foot coverings would do. I looked over my shoulder, scanned the scene, and quickly... and sheepishly, slipped into the store.


Miraculously, I did find something that would suffice, and I am pleased to add that they were on clearance for $10.00. Being that they were a fake suede as opposed to that shiny plastic leather, I felt confident that no one could figure out my dirty little secret. I must admit, they have changed a lot since my early days of being a college student on a budget who had to shop there. They really did have some cute styles albeit of the foot binding and numbing, suffocating "pleather" type that causes tiny little needles to form in your back. 


Wait a minute, did I just say I had to shop there when I was in college -- talk about coming full circle, or life repeating itself! Here I have arrived so to say, having a career and my own classroom, yet the reality is that I was shopping there because I had to twenty five years later. Ouch! That hurts! 


But then again, I suppose I should comfort myself that on the same day that I spent $10.00 on my shoes, I signed my son up for $133.00 worth of basketball lessons. Which was the day before I had to register for the $120.00 soccer league. While we are at it, this was two weeks after the monthly $130.00 piano lesson deductions. And, it was three days after securing the $350.00 two hour moon bounce party for his birthday (cake, pizza, and decorations not included). 


I must add, we are not rich people by any stretch of the imagination, so it is a wonder I am not strapping cardboard to the soles of my feet with duct tape. 


All in all, after recounting that exhaustive and yet incomplete list, I have realized that I should not be crying over my inability to add another 100 dollar pair of shoes to my dusty collection, I should be grateful that I am blessed to be able to provide my son with these great opportunities that I could not even fathom as a child. I suppose sometimes we have to climb to the tiptop of the biggest tree we can find (the part that would bend under our weight) in order to see the forest. 


That being said, I am now proud to admit that I am saving so that I can build a pack of socks and some underwear into next month's budget and all I can say is, "Who needs Victoria Secret's with those mean models taunting us with those unrealistic, pre-child and childlike bodies, anyway? Walmart and Tar-jay, here I come!"

Sunday, February 19, 2012

What was I saying?

I have lost my memory. Has anyone seen it? Well, I have not actually lost it completely, but I feel my short term memory definitely dangling by a thread. Thank goodness most of my posts are based on my long-term because I would have nothing to write about.


Now, let's get back to this memory issue. I can't quite put my finger on when it first began, but I can say that it started a few years ago when start feeling as though a lot of things were always right there on the tip of my tongue (i.e.: words, names, titles, etc.) Back then I was aware, and it was no big deal because we all have our moments. But those moments began to manifest themselves more frequently. 


First, I could not remember a co-worker's name -- for a minute or so, anyway. Then I began to forget to pay a bill. Well ...ur humph... maybe I wanted to forget so I could go shopping. So I guess that one does not count. Lastly, there's the old walk into a room and forget what you went for, only to walk out again and immediately remember. And I swear it really happened that when I re-entered to get whatever I was going for the first time -- I forgot again. I go in and out of the house so many times in the morning before I leave, that I now wake up 15 minutes earlier just to compensate.


Recently, I have hit an all time low. I have forgotten my students' names. And, that is a little more than annoying. But I am clever, I am a teacher after all. When it happens, I just smile and call them all "Baby." I know we are not supposed to use such terms of endearment, but when you are older, Black, and female, you can get away with it. They pull the race card on hiring, and I pull it with memory loss. Besides,  don't they expect us to talk that way? Example: "Baby (said really slow with an almost southern fake twain), would you go over there and lay that on my desk." Or maybe it's " Baby (said really slow with an almost southern fake twain), let me explain this to you another way." 


Now the most important part is making good eye contact so that they know which "baby" I am referring to. Besides, they seem to like it. I think it makes them feel special. I don't know, maybe they don't get the endearment tags at home, or maybe it's some weird innate "Mammy" thing that makes them feel comforted and special. And don't you be jealous because you can't pull it off


At any rate, those are not really the moments that worry me the most, though, because my own mother used to forget our names. She had three names that had to pick from and would call out any one them in a seemingly random order. If we corrected her, she would snap, " You know who I am talking to!"


Honestly, though, it's the bathroom thing that is scaring me most. Lately, I have noticed students missing in the middle of my class. They were there when I took attendance. I never saw them leave. Yet, in the middle of class I suddenly notice their seats empty. I have stopped freaking out, however, because every time they return, I discover that my initials... in my own handwriting, have mysteriously appeared in their agendas.


Some say I just have a lot on my mind, I say otherwise. I am not divulging my age, so I will talk about an incident I observed with my oldest sister. We were in the Bahamas, on a private van tour of the island. The entire family had gotten out of the van to go and look at the Queen's stairs, with the exception of my elderly mother. 


My sister, who was in the lead, suddenly and unexpectedly began frantically searching on the ground for her wallet. She was in tears with fear of having lost her credit cards and passport. All eight of us  joined, her scouring the grounds from the stairs to the van. We even wondered if she had been pick-pocketed. Once we reached the van, we opened the door to look on the floor. My mom, who had been quietly enjoying the air conditioning, saw the look of fear and anxiety on our faces and immediately said, "What's wrong? You are not looking for her wallet that she asked me to hold, are you?"


So there you have it. My sister asked my mother to hold her purse, and ten minutes later, she had no idea where it was. And why did this happen you ask? She was suffering from the onset of menopause. So, without giving away my age, I ask, why am I blanking out, (or short circuiting as I like to call it)? I don't have the foggiest idea... because I can't remember.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Super Woman, Paper Girl



I heard the loud rumbling of the big blue truck inching its way down the street. The brakes would scream out each time it came to a halt. Finally it stopped noisily in front of our house and was followed moments later by a heavy knocking. The driver had been going door to door in search of little boys who were interested in having a paper route. Just as my mother was about to close the door on him, I yelled out that I wanted to do it. I wanted a paper route.

My mom was hesitant; with my father being bed-ridden, she knew she would have the sole duty of helping me. So she did what any desperate mom would do, she painted as horrible a picture as possible from the grueling seven days a week crack o' dawn wake up calls, to afternoons spent trying to collect monies from delinquent customers. But nothing could deter me. 


Next, she ran it by my dad assuming he would save her by saying absolutely not; however,  she must had forgotten I was a Daddy's Girl. In short order, the paperwork was signed, and I became the proud owner of the Tacoma Ave Plain Dealer paper route.

The first thing I learned about were the contests in which the goal was to get new subscribers. The more you got, the more gifts you'd earn. Now the fact that I was a girlie-girl loving my baby dolls, while the prizes were all hard-core boy toys like basketballs, footballs, and boy scout flashlights was of no consequence to me. I was all caught up in the hype and excitement of the drive. Every yes made me want to ask even more, and it did hurt that my mother made me ring every single doorbell on the street. i guess she got caught up in it too.


Now picture this: a tiny little eight year old girl with pigtails ringing your bell, yelling out  “Paper Girl,” and asking you to subscribe in a high pitched sweet little voice. Needless to say, it did not take long for my numbers to top one hundred. After a few months of success, they even offered me the Hathaway Ave route as well. It was over three blocks away. We took it and my numbers then reached well over two hundred. 

Our day began every morning at 4:00 A.M. We threw on our work clothes and headed downstairs to retrieve the four or five bundles of newspapers that had been tossed on our porch. On Sundays we received were eight to ten stacks because the papers were two inches thick. Next we would unceremoniously drag them into the hallway for better lighting. Then we would roll them up and place rubber bands around them. This had to be done in order to be able to throw them.

After all 220 were wrapped and ready, we filled the A&P grocery store cart that stayed parked just outside the house. It’s funny, I could never remember where we got it from because we pulled our own groceries home in a personal upright folding cart. I suppose we found it in one of the empty lots nearby. Someone else had been brave enough to push it home, but then cast it away to hide their guilt. For us, finding it was like winning the lotto. It was not only big enough to hold all of the papers, but it also could hold more plastic  bags of dirty clothes than our little cart did when we had to go to the Laundromat.

I was always surprised that my mother had quite quite an arm and could really hurl those papers to just the right spot on the porches. I was getting pretty good myself, and could even make the top floor porches of the four unit apartment building. Though, I must admit, I did put a fair amount on lower roofs and in gutters. Which is why occasionally you would see people hanging out of windows or standing on banisters with broomsticks trying to get their papers, they had to -- we never threw another one to replace it.

Now, there were definitely hazards along the way. My mom carried a baseball bat for safety from stray dogs. Ironically, there was a pack of stray dogs that would be waiting outside our house in the morning. But they were not there to hurt us. They would follow us the entire route and then disappear.  It started out as one or two, but grew to about five. My mom eventually began saving scraps to throw to them in the morning. I always felt like they were angels sent to walk with us through the black of the early morning.  


She finally got a chance to use her bat one Sunday morning while I was delivering on one side of the street, and she was on the other. As I neared the apartment complex I saw him midair seconds before he landed and was on me. My delinquent customer, who had tired of my constant knockings on his door, let his German Sheppard loose when I neared his apartment.

My arm went up in a reflexive block. He grabbed it and threw me down. I lay writhing and hollering on the ground as he had moved and grabbed me by my waist. He snarled and snorted through clenched teeth that held tight while shaking me from side to side like a rag doll. 


My six year old niece stood frozen a few feet away screaming and crying out, "Grandma." over and over again. Seconds later my mother came flying over there like super woman swinging her mighty bat.  The dog took one crack upside the head, yelped, and ran. She scooped me up and threw me in the back seat of the car (we finally got one), grabbed my niece, and floored it to the hospital. Laying on the horn the entire way, she ran every red light. My only concern as I lay in a ball on the back seat was that  I wanted her to stop because I was afraid the police would arrest her.

As it turned out, I had been bitten in three places, but none were deadly. They patched me up and sent us on our way. And similar to the dedication of the mailman, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” we added, and “no dogs” as she and I returned later that evening to deliver the rest of our papers.

We did those routes two years in a row from the beginning of spring until the first snow fall each year when my dad made us stop for the winter. It was a lot of work and it was not easy, but yet she never hesitated. And though I made pretty good money (especially in tips), my mother never took a dime. (My sister on the other hand stole a fair amount.) 


And do you know that after having had her as a role model those many years ago, I actually forgot. Instead of being a super woman mom like her, I had the audacity one day to complain about driving my son to baseball practice two or three days a week. I honestly thought about not signing him up because of the amount of time I would have to put in. Meanwhile my mother put in not two or three days, but seven days a week -- at four in the morning, and another two or three days in the afternoon on top of that. Yet, she did so tirelessly and without complaint. I can only hope that from here on out I will become half the selfless mother that she was for me. And I pray that my son one day will look back and say I was truly there for him, too. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Valentine, My Heart!


I remember the day I first saw him. My heart skipped a beat. I know it sounds cliche, but I really did take pause.  I was selling my children’s book at our Christmas bazaar and had been sitting in the corner wedged between shiny jewelry, chiffon scarves, and knock off designer bags.  Behind me were these affectionately grotesque rag dolls that were made to look like the flight attendants. In short order– I was not getting much traffic. Suddenly, he entered the room. An Adonis, his imposing six foot four frame filled the doorway, towering high above the average everybody and looking fine in his polyester blue. He hesitated a moment and glanced around the crowded little room.  "Lord, if only this man would come to my table. Please come, please come, please come!"   He began to weave through the maze of shoppers, slowly zigzagging in my direction."Oh no, he is coming this way!"  I dropped my head and pretended to read, but I could sense his presence coming ever closer…
It has been over ten years …. and he still makes my heart soar. Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Irony and the Scale (aka Things We Love to Hate)

Oh the irony of it all. When we are finally old enough to afford fine dining, we can't afford to eat. How are we supposed to enjoy our midlife years with dignity and pride, when our society has put such a heavy and unnatural emphases on fighting the natural progression of a women's life to spread.....ur humph..her wings! 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Paper Dolls don't last forever!


Though I was four and she, eight, we were always close as small children. We spent hours playing with my baby dolls. She taught me how to do their hair in pretty ponytails. When we weren’t playing with the dolls, she was using me as one. I loved to lie across the bed watching television while she would brush and comb my hair into beautiful styles that my own mother could never do.  My mother never made the rubber bands tight enough and my hair would swell into small puffy humps with short stubby braids dangling off of the end. Her Indian and White heritage had given her “good” hair. But we had our father’s hair and she just didn’t know what to do with it. But my sister did. All of the little girls at school would compliment me on the days that she did it.
                When we weren’t doing hair, we were playing house. My sister would tear thin strips of newspaper into varying lengths and curl the ends by pulling it across a pencil tip. These were our paper dolls. She would create such drama and mayhem that I never saw newsprint; I saw sassy teen age girls with big attitude. Occasionally, my mother would relinquish her Sears catalog, and then we were in heaven. We cut out furniture from the furniture section, children from the kids section, husbands from the men’s section and Mothers from the women section. Initially we cut out tons of clothes for them, but we soon recognized that the same models appeared throughout the catalog.  So we would cut them out in everything from business suits to nightgowns and no longer had to worry about the clothing falling off. Our imaginations were limitless in all that we did. She was truly my best friend in all the world… until she turned 12.
                I was in third grade and she was in the sixth. One fall day, I came home from school, dropped my books, and ran to her room as I always did. Just as I turned the corner -- BAM!  She had heard me coming and quickly jumped up and slammed her bedroom in my face. I could her scream through the door, “Go away, I don’t play with baby dolls!” I began banging on the door as tears slowly ran down my cheeks. My parents tried to get her to open it, but she refused and continued stabbing me in heart with those words, “Go away! Leave me alone! I don’t play with little kids!”
                She eventually opened the door, but the door to our close relationship had closed forever. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

If only for a day!


Oh to be five again... just for a day!
I would become super,
 ... with just a cape
Fly through treacherous sprinkler waterfalls.
Create mud puddles for squishing toes
and drink water from a water hose
I would climb knotty trees
I would slip and slide,
I would cycle away and race back fast ,
so as not to be that rotten egg last.
I would eat cereal for dinner
and snack on mad snacks
I would wrestle and play til all playing was done
and I swear I would not stop til the daylight was gone
And then I would dress in my my Mario Cart  jammies
and I would fall fast asleep on my mothers lap and dream
away of all the fun I had for that day.
If only for one day...
There would be no bills to pay
no place to be
No meals to cook
no house to clean
there would just be me
and my imagination.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

"I Don't Need you!

          A staccato and rhythmic pulse emanates from a sterile and cold metal box, and you immediately fall helplessly in love. It is life springing forth from within you.  A miracle.
          You spend the next seven months in preparation. All of your hard earned cash is used to purchase overpriced baby furniture. And you happily give up your spare room, squishing all of your designer suits and your stiletto collection into one tiny shared space with your husband. Next, you happily transform this space by painting it baby blue, sappy yellow… or puke pink. Though it clashes with the gray walls, glass, and chrome of your avant-garde d├ęcor, you love every inch of it.
            The next transformation is to your body.  First, you swear to the god of fertility that you will have ABSOLUTELY no alcohol for next eight months. (This is to make up for the unfortunate situation whereby you find out you’re pregnant after you have spent the first month and a half in a drunken stupor).  This also means you spend the next eight months praying the child does not suffer brain damage from the very early introductions to grain and grapes.
            The second transformation is to your shape. It is unbelievable how fast your body can grow and your boobs can sag. Forty years of perky gone south in just a few short months. But you don’t mind. You are too busy reading to your belly and showing off your new temporary enhancements sans implants.
            Alas, the day arrives and you are now a parent. You have lost friends (all of your single ones who cannot bear another cute baby story or milestone such as “he pooped in the potty, today”.  Even worse is that you have not bought yourself a pair of shoes in over a year, and he has eight pair by the first five months. But, life is good -– the child has said “Ma-Ma!”
            As time passes, you are surprised to find that monthly daycare matches the mortgage, and now you couldn’t afford to shop if you wanted to, not to mention the kid needs a new wardrobe every five months. You can still fit yours, so it’s no big deal especially since safety pins work wonders on falling hems. Oh and food? So what a can of Similac costs the same as a pedicure? Back in the day we all used to do our own, anyway. FYI, Wet and Wild has some really bright colors for just over a buck. Besides, your baby is reciting “I love you” on a regular basis now and that happily negates any negative thought that may have momentarily surfaced.
            By year three and four, you struggle to keep your marriage alive with a child sleeping between you (though he has his own decked out room that looks like F.A.O. Schwarz on steroids.) The only outings are family outings. The only dates are play-dates. The laundry size had tripled, and you are preparing double meals because the child is finicky. But he constantly reminds you how you are the most beautiful princess in the world. And that is so worth everything (especially since your husband isn’t saying it these days).
            Somewhere between year four and year five, you apply for a chauffer’s license or get a minivan with “soccer mom” plates. The kid’s schedule is so jam packed with piano, T-ball, swimming lessons, karate, play-dates, and birthday parties that you keep a Google calendar just for him. Your evenings begin with walking and feeding his dog, and cooking dinner for him… then your husband. And yes, there are days when you just want to scream, but you don’t because the photos of him in his little uniforms are just so darn cute.
            Finally, the day of reckoning arrives. Your child is going main stream and is entering the real world. It is the first day of kindergarten. All you can think about is whether he will cry, while knowing that that is exactly what you will be doing. You dress him in his cute new little designer outfit, while you put on your seven year old suit with the hem that has being held up with a safety pin. You grab your camera, your husband, and his grandpa and head off to school. The whole way he keeps talking about how he is a big kid now and that he can walk all by himself. You remind him that although he is bigger, you must go with him. He continues his argument. As you reach the school grounds, your baby… your son… the love of your life… suddenly pulls away and runs ahead. He then turns back and shouts, “I DON’T NEED YOU!”
            You are stunned. You have been slapped. And though you know what he really meant, it hurt you to your heart. And, as if it were not enough the first time, he ran further out and yelled it even louder, “I DON’T NEED YOU!”
          A thousand things run through your head as you watch the other children walking proudly by holding their parents’ hands.  Okay, then who is going to feed you, buy your clothes, read to you at night? Fine you don’t need me, I’m out of here. I going to Happy Hour today and let’s see how you get home from day care! Oh, and I not taking you to any more practices. I am spending my money on me – starting with my nails. You don’t need me. Walk your own damn dog!
          Then, at that very moment as you are rushing to try to catch up with him, a miraculous thing happens. The god of redemption steps in and all you can do is smile as you shout back, “YEAH, YOU DO! YOU MISSED THE DOOR!”  

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Got Milk!

We stopped taking her to the emergency a long time ago. She would complain of chest pains and my middle sister would rush her off to the hospital. She would separately call me and my oldest sister to take her, and we would both show up at the same time. The biggest problem was that I had to fly in from out of town. But she did not care. She said that wanted a backup in case one did not show. She called us so much and for so many false alarms, that we stopped coming. So, she began to call the neighbors. Eventually, they figured it out. Next she had to call (and pay) other, not so close, friends and neighbors. You see, my mother is a hypochondriac.

She has been that way for years. I suppose it stemmed from her childhood. She had been a sickly child and was the baby of the family. That combination garnered her so much positive attention that she came to believe that being sick was a good thing. I am not saying that my mother has not had her issues, but more so, she has always had a very low threshold for pain and a very high expectation for sympathy, or empathy, or whatever high she seems to be getting from the attention.

Primarily, the complaint was about these constantly recurring chest pains that seemed to move all around her heart. And, yet, she was always given a clean bill of health. At least that is all that she would relay back to us. Then finally one day she let the cat out of the bag. I asked her why had she had started taking the cheese off of her sandwiches for the last couple of years. Her response floored me. She took another swig of her buttermilk and said, “The doctor told me that I need to stay away from cheese and milk.” I was livid. All these years of running to the hospital she never told us what it was. The pains in her chest were none other than gas bubbles caused by the intolerance to lactose – which, by the way, she was refusing to give up. “Dammit, I got to eat something!” was her only response. So she cut out cheese slices, but nothing else.

Well, it has been over 21 years since the diagnosis and she is now eighty-one.  She really does have a host of ailments. And when asked how she is doing, she will NEVER say fine, but, instead will drop her voice to sound weak and then start in on a litany of complaints. My biggest fear is that we will miss something important because the years and years of being the "Boy Who Cried Wolf” has made us deaf to her pleas. Instead, we let her go on for a moment and then sigh and ask, “What did you eat or drink today?” And her response, “Shit, it ain’t always the milk! I’m just gonna to have to call 911 myself. I need to go to the emergency!”

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My day!

Why is it when you finally get you want, you don't know what to do with it? I had been wanting a Saturday to myself, free of my child, for so long that I cannot remember having it any other way. Either I was alone with him, or the three of us stayed home together. If only there was Saturday daycare for a few hours, I could get my nails done. If only my husband were home to watch him, I could visit some friends or go shopping... for me. So why was it that my husband was not only home, but he volunteered to take our son to a movie with another dad. They were gone all day, Yet, I was not able to think of one single thing that I really wanted to do - so I stayed home.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Oh Brother!

Of course I love him dearly. He is after all my middle child, and though it is by marriage, I love him just the same. However, he is 21 years old and anyone with children know that right around year 15,  a demon takes possession of their bodies and holds them teen-napped until the early to mid-twenties. It is during this period in life that we come to learn and understand the concept of love and loathing at the same time.
Now my baby boy is five. Yes, it is a whopping 16 year spread, and my little boy adores this big brother. He can do no wrong in his eyes, no matter how hard I try to tarnish that image. Why would I, you say? Well, maybe it is because he has flunked out of college three times and feels that 24 hour video gaming is the life-- though that is not something I would tell his baby brother. Then, there is the fact that he has turned what used to be MY basement office … with a fireplace and walk out patio… into a bona fide pigsty of a bedroom and malodorous dog kennel (for the horse-sized dog that he brought home with him from college).  But I would never say that to my five year old either.
And did I mention that the dog is barely trained (translation horse-sized poop), and has not been snipped. He eyes me like a piece of meat. My poor little miniature schnauzer screams and runs every time he makes a break for her. My child thinks it’s humorous – I do not!
Also, son number two (there is actually another one even older) seems to have a neurological disorder affecting his memory. It is the darnedest thing.  He can’t seem to find the kitchen for returns even though he has no problem finding it in the middle of the night when he raids the fridge of all things edible (most recently it was my diet crackers and fat free rubber tasting cheese slices). So I watch as our glass collection, plates, and silver count diminishes over the course of a few days until I am forced against my psychological will to enter the dungeon. It becomes a scavenger hunt, or should I say excavation, as I dig under piles of clothing and beneath furniture to see what treasures I can find. I do not know why, but I always feel like I have hit the Jackpot as I head upstairs with my arms ladened with dirty, crusted plates and glasses.
On Saturdays, I constantly tell my baby boy to be quiet because his brother is still asleep, even though it is three o’clock in the afternoon. Inside my mind, I am silently hoping he will be annoyed that he can’t make noise. However, all that my child does is ask me if his brother is nocturnal. 
Sometimes I tell my little son who is dying to talk to him, to go ahead and say hello at 8:00 AM on a Sunday morning, only to have my child say, “That’s okay mommy, he is still asleep!” I even send him down below on occasion to seek help with his DS. Only to have him boomerang right back up to me with, “He was busy, here, you do it mommy!”
 And when son number two finally emerges from the depths around seven pm foraging for food, my child lights up like Times Square. Imagine my annoyance when he picks him up, calls him buddy a couple of times, Hi-fives him and heads back into the cave. And my child, who has waited for 20 hours for his appearance, the way a fan waits outside a concert venue stage door for their favorite star, is happy and satisfied for those ten minutes of affection.
So why then was I surprised by his unpredictable response yesterday? My son had asked for a bowl of Coco Puffs. I said we are out. He countered with, "No we're not; you just bought it." I smiled and was happy to reply, "Yes we are… your brother ate it all!" My baby boy, who typically loves the ground I walk on, too, refused to admonish his idol. Instead, with venom in his little five year old eyes, he turned to me accusingly and growled, "WHY DIDN'T YOU BUY THE BIG BOX!"

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

BUST!

So much for the bikini. That was the fastest attempt at a routine that I have ever had! Within 13 hours of "Day One" my back went out. I decided then and there that I must shed -- my 30 day shred. I must admit that this is so frustrating. I have finally reached an age when I absolutely need to work out, but every time I get going, something goes out! It is a catch 22 that I only see getting worse. No, I must stop this negative attitude. I will prevail, and I will get my bikini back! For now on to Yoga!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bikini or Bust!

Bikinis, here I come...well, maybe not quite yet. Perhaps I am being a little overly optimistic. It is, after all, just day one of the "30 Day Shred" video. But I have to hold on to the dream. Just because I am over the 40ish hump and have found myself on a steep slide to fifty, does not mean I can't shoot for the same size that I was ten years ago. I say aim high (that's where you will find God so that you can pray for a miracle.) As for my new work out routine, well it only takes twenty minutes a day. I spend more time than that on Facebook. Now if only I can get myself just as motivated to do it. One down...twenty-nine to go!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Blind Faith

Today was a teacher planning day. I was running late… as usual. I had a student coming in at 8:00 am to write a paper which I was dreading. This young man has something going on. Others say he’s lazy, but I say otherwise. I feel as though he is shutting down. I pledged to myself to work on him today. If only I could get him to let me in.

As soon as I arrived I immediately signed onto the computer and was surprised to find a message waiting for me from another student, “Can you drop me bac home” There was no question mark and the “k” was missing. And other than the return email address, it was not signed.

There are days when I wonder if I am in the right place. God would not have made the transition go so smoothly if I weren’t. But that does not mean I like where I was lead. As I sit up until four in the morning grading papers that make me question my effectiveness in class, I yearn for the weekly mini vacations to Los Angeles, Miami, and London. I have replaced my favorite restaurant “Le Bistro Champetre” dans le soixante arrondissement in Paris, with homemade lunch in plastic Chinese food containers. No more tours of German castles and boat rides in Zurich. That all stopped abruptly when I traded my flight attendant uniform for fuzzy warm sweaters and a drafty classroom.

But then there is that email. Why would she show up without any confirmation that I would even be there? And though the students had the day off, she choose to come up to the school and look for extra work from all of her teachers. I have always believed that teaching is not just about the grades, nor the information that we impart. For some students, it is the place they come to get what others receive at home. I may no longer have a window seat on the world, but I have a young lady who trusts me unconditionally to be there for her.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Welcome Aboard!

Welcome to my blog -- Day one. What will you find here? Needless to say, being an older mother of one occasionally precocious little boy, a fair amount of my posts will be about him. Also, being married late in life, I can guarantee that there will be a fair amount of those tales as well. And lastly, there are my step children…whom I love dearly, but are grown and still trying to find theirselves. I will probably have a few comments in that realm as well. And why should you read this? Well, I hope to add humor to your day (and I pray to God, mine) through these antidotes. Yeah…okay, I admit it, it is for pure mental survival on my part, but if you should find some inspiration, enlightenment, or maybe even just a sense of sympathy, then so be it. One thing is for sure, as I am in my mid-forties, and am on the outskirts of menopause…it is bound to be a roller coaster ride. Welcome aboard!