Saturday, December 31, 2005

Play nice with the other kids

We did get another crab, in spite of the crankiness of the PetsMart cashier. 

A retail salesperson, cranky after Christmas?  Imagine that!

I dubbed him "King Kong" as he is much larger than the other crab and upon his placement in the cage, he immediately scaled the mesh up the inside of it.  "Look!  He's climbing the Empire State Building!"  I exclaimed, as I pointed it out to the kids.  Sure, I was the only one chuckling, but sometimes, it's okay if only Mommy gets the joke.  It means she's still relatively sane, and normal. 

At least that's what I thought, before I had to ponder my weird habits since I got tagged by the ever-charming Remo.   (BTW, um, dude...that "closet" clean-freak thing?  Not a surprise.)

Here are the rules; the first player of this game starts with the topic. Five weird habits of yourself and people who get tagged need to write an entry about their five weird habits as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next five people to be tagged and link to their web journals. Don’t forget to leave a comment in their blog or journal that says “You are tagged” (assuming they take comments) and tell them to read yours.

Okay, here goes, in no particular order...

1)  I have to go to sleep on my right side, and I have to have my three pillows to do it:  one for my head, one to hug, one between my knees.  If we're staying in a hotel, the first thing I do when we get settled is call down to housekeeping and ask for more pillows.  It doesn't matter what kind of place we're staying in, I always ask.   Just call me Princess.

2)  I have to touch my keys before I lock and shut the door to whatever car I'm driving.  I either pat my pocket (where they usually are) or have to unzip my purse to see them before I will even think about moving away.  

3)  My bra and panties match, no matter what I'm wearing on the outside.  They are usually the same color, but if I can't get the exact color then I will go ahead and long as it's the same color family, black/white being the only exceptions.  (If you'd spent the better part of the last 10-12 years wearing nursing bras and maternity underwear, you'd embrace all of Victoria's Secret once you were free too.)

4)  I flash Mr W some boobage, at least once a day.  This one, he came up with...I'd asked him about my weird habits, and this was the first thing he said.  I told him that I didn't consider it a habit, more like a perk, and he said "habit".  (Well, if he's gonna have an attitude like that, we'll just see if he notices it coming to an abrupt end.)

5)  I have to brush my teeth the second I'm awake in the morning.  No one likes dragon breath staring them in the face whilst making the morning "wake up" rounds.  For that matter, I brush right before bed too (;p  just in case).   Mmmmuaaah!

6)  A bonus, because technically, I didn't come up with #4:  I have to see my garage door close completely, and remember it as I drive away.  If I'm not sure, I will turn around and drive back by my house to doublecheck.  (I once even called my next door neighbor in a panic from across town because I thought I forgot.)

Now, it's your turn to show us your inner wacko!

I tag:  KellyChantal, Denielle, Tina, and Tilly. 

Thursday, December 29, 2005


We have a new addition to the family.

Not a baby, geez, I'm crazy, but I'm not crazy.

Ryan has been asking for a hermit crab, and Santa brought him one for Christmas.

Santa was clever enough to wrap the little habitat and enclose a gift card to PetsMart inside so Ryan could go pick out his own crabby buddy, thus eliminating the need to hide said habitat someplace else, or the prospect of a dead crab Christmas morning.  (there's a joke in there, I know it...)


This evening, Mr W took Ryan to pick out his little friend.  They brought him home, and I heard all about how all the big crabs were dead (see?) and there were "only two baby crabs left." 

I raised an eyebrow at Mr W, who held up only one finger.   Whew. 

You'd think a girl who can stomach spiders and kill scorpions could handle a little hermit crab, but um, no.  It's nothing but love for my boy that is making me even consider this endeavor, and holding this crab is out of the question. 

I thought of melting a little butter to welcome him home, but I didn't want to make Ryan cry, so I tapped Mr Crab into his habitat gently instead and put the lid on asap.  (Those little suckers, I hear they jump and go right for your eyes.)

Ryan named him 'Electric Boy' or something to that effect.  Mr W dubbed him  'Krabby Patty' and I like that better, but according to Ryan, that is his nickname only. 

We had some cake, for Nolan, later, and Jane was over.  I said to her, "It's only a matter of time, you know, before I have twenty of these little critters in the house."  ?? She made some comment to the crab's reproductive abilities, and I said "No, not that...but because I'm gonna hear, 'Mommy, he needs a friend...' and we'll need to get another."

I'm getting Audrey to bed, and she's chatting about the crab.  She is enchanted by him.

"I want one."  Uh-oh.  "Go to sleep, honey."

And then, not 4 hours have passed, when Ryan pipes up.  "You know, Mommy, there were only two crabs left at PetsMart.  There is still another one there, and it needs a home."

This has to be a record of some kind.  I'm clairvoyant.  I should play the lottery tonight, or something.

"Maybe we can go buy the other one tomorrow, and bring him home.  They can live together in this little cage, and be friends."

Here it comes:

"He's very, very lonely, in there, I think."

Well, we can't have that.  No one should be lonely in the cold, hard,  post-Christmas dawns.

I think PetsMart opens at 9.

My roundup

Boy, time flies.  Every night, I'd settle the kids down, and tell myself I'd be able to write.  In five more minutes.  One more thing to do.  Maybe I'll sit down.  zzzzzzz....maybe tomorrow. 

Here I am, quite a few tomorrows later. 

Today, it's Nolan's birthday.   I still am amazed how each Christmas season, I focus on getting to the 25th, then am smacked in the face by his birthday right after.  He's twelve today, one step closer to the magic teendom he is so eager to reach.  I don't have the heart to break it to him that 'magic teendom' is not always quite so magical.  Nope, he can find that one out for himself.  What do parents really know, anyway?

He's a great kid, and I love him with a ferocity that scares me sometimes.  It's almost as much fun watching his emerging growing personality as it was watching him learn to walk.

Apparently, I wasn't on the naughty list, not that I didn't try hard to make the cut.  Mr. W strikes again, and if he keeps this up, I'm afraid to see what I might find under the tree next year.  He got me a digital camera, a really, really nice one.  I'm still figuring out how to use it, but it's fantastic.  Hmm.  Maybe being on the nice list isn't so bad afterall.

The big ape still makes me cry.   We took the kids to see 'King Kong' on Monday night.  Great effects, and entertaining, considering it's hardly a new story.   Audrey squirmed a bit, and I squirmed alot (during the bug scene)...and I got to look over and see my favorite sight, three perfect little profiles, so into the screen they didn't notice me looking.  Audrey went and crawled into Ben's lap at one point, and I got my Mommy-bliss moment, popcorn included.  And yes, I cried when Kong dies.  I always do.  Sucker.

My kids still believe in Santa.  Really.  I am so totally jazzed by that, I can't even tell you.  Nolan has been skeptical as of late, but we did the Norad-Santa-tracker thing on Christmas Eve, and the little bodies couldn't find their way to bed quick enough.  Cool! :D

I'm banning myself from any more Martha-induced insanity.  You heard it here first, I'm gonna just say NO.  (I know one person who won't believe that till he sees it, but really, Remo, I mean it.)  Mr. W, last Christmas, asked me at the last minute to provide a little gift for 13 people.  On the same day.  Like the 23rd, I believe.   So this year, I decided to head him off at the pass, and asked him in October if we were playing that game again this year.  He was noncommittal, but I started thinking...and since Jane makes it look so easy, I decided to do the toffee-almond-roca thing she makes...for fourteen people.  Piece of cake.   Almonds, butter, chocolate bars, walnuts, sugar...ten minutes of stir, stir, stir, and voila! what's so hard about that? Hmm.  Let me tell you:

Batch one:  I can do this.  It's great.  It's easy. 

Batch two:  Not bad.  At this rate, I will be done in no time.  (Which is a good thing as Mr W is wondering when I'll be done.)

Batch three:  Maybe I should put some cookies in these tins too, so I don't have to make so much candy.

A massive cookie effort is undertaken.  But I'm still trying to wrap up the Christmas shopping, and am making a yet another trip to the pediatrician with <insert kid's name>.  So I've gotten some sugar cookies made, okay, some edges a bit too brown; and Mexican wedding cookies made (powdered sugar everywhere) and some seven-layer bars made(hey, these are better than last year--seeing as how I didn't misread the recipe). 

No.  This isn't gonna work.  Let's see how the toffee looks in the tins I bought...okay, not too full, but okay.  I show Mr W.  He tells me to go with it, and not to put cookies in there too. 

I go out on a limb, and fill all the tins...all of them except one

Batch four:  What the hell was I thinking?  ::stir, stir:: 

Next year, it's store bought.  Only my friends will get the homemade goodies, as it should be.  Right now, I don't have the energy to finish that, and lots of cookies looking for a belly to fill, preferably not my own. 

Speaking of bellies, I'm not running.  I am infinitely irritated with myself at the moment.  It's a long story, but it all comes down to time.  No time.  Which is also irritating, because I read an article about a woman with four kids who runs marathons.  She gets up at 4:30 am, you see, to hit the streets while her kids sleep.  So, I guess it's a motivation thing for me.  Get up at 4:30 am, to go out before Mr W goes to work, ,or go out at 8 or 9 pm, once all are settled for the evening and Daddy's home.  Or try to run with the toddler in tow, in her stroller, while she complains about the CD player falling off her ears and I stop every ten feet to help her out.  Yeah,  that's enjoyable.  Looks like I'll be turning to the gym.  Sometime.  Either way, no PF Changs Rock-n-Roll 1/2 Marathon for me this year.   Nothing like setting a goal and then falling flat on my face to make my day. 

My bitterness about that aside, we had a good Christmas.  I finished up the tins tonight, and made little tags for them.  Not because I felt a handmade tag would add to the charm of the gift and container, but because I couldn't find any more gift tags in with our wrapping stuff, and really, I can't stomach another trip to Target right now.  

I hope I spelled all their names right.  ;p   

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Flexibility. Sometimes planned, sometimes forced upon you

Tuesday night:  Get kids to bed...visualizing the morning.  I'm gonna get up at 6.  Get ready.  Get them up and ready.  Drop them off at school, 7:30.  Leave for Mom's right after that.  Drop Audrey off, and get to work by 9.  Stay until just after our Christmas lunch that our supervisor is treating us to and get my "mandatory overtime" in (not that I get paid OT, but it's a solidarity thing--and it keeps the full-timers from pointing their fingers at the part-timers for not having to come in.  Whatever it takes to keep the peace and not draw attention to myself/my schedule.)  Leave at around 1, 1:30.  Fetch the girl and get home by 3:30 at the latest, so the latchkey kids don't have a panic attack.  (And so they only have about an hour alone to destroy each other or the house.)  They're not walking home, but getting a ride from a friend.  (So I don't have a panic attack.)  The perfect plan, I think.  I can do this.  Supermom!  Close my eyes and drift off.

Wednesday morning:  JUMP out of bed at 5 am, when Mr W's alarm goes off.  I'm blindly reaching for my clock when I notice the time.  I'm sure I heard him chuckle, but I collapse back into bed before I can come up with a snappy retort.  Hit snooze button when alarm really goes off, and decide my hair is fine so I can skip the shower and sleep a bit longer.  Mmm. 
'A bit longer' turns into 25 minutes.  Oy! 

Go to get the kids up.  Ben begins his drama...apparently, he feels he is too sick to go to school.  Dude, you've been out a couple of days.  You played all day yesterday. You can go to school.  Tears, pleading..."You wouldn't be doing this if your Dad was here.  Get up.  Get dressed. You're medicated. You're gonna be fine."  "I guess I could try to stick it out at school today, until after your work party." <sniff>  Oh, that little shit.  I almost caved, what with the sudden pang of guilt.  "This is not about my work-lunch-thing.  Knock it off and get ready."  Any hopes of squeezing into the shower, which I'd been entertaining again, poof!  out the window. 

Time: 7:15.

Where's Ryan?

Still sleeping. 

"Get up, here's your clothes..."  I flick on the light.  (Which, I have to admit, is quite bright.)  Audrey wakes up, and like a little teenager, throws her arm over her eyes.  "Turn out the liiiiggght."  I crack up, it's so funny.  Ryan and I imitate her until she reluctantly sits up.  But then she does it again for Nolan when he comes into the room.

Ben is still pouting.  I'm gonna kill him.

Time: 7:30.  So much for Plan A.

Get 'em fed.  Decide to run them to school and come home and get ready myself.  Yup.  I'm still in my pjs, what with Ben and the Princess' dressing needs.

Time: 7:45...

Go to the closet, and grab skirt.  Black tights (Audrey gets a kick out of it when I wear them)...where's my chunky black shoes?  Ah.  Dive into closet.  Here's one...where's the other??

How can I lose a shoe.... in my own closet? 

<Don't answer that.  Don't judge.  Just nod.>

Find substitute black flats, they'll do.

"Yes, Audrey?"

"What are you do-ing?"  "I'm getting dressed."  "Why?"

It's too early for this.

"Go.  Privacy.  I need to hurry."  "Why?" 

Ugh.  Patience, patience...

"Honey, why don't you take the pillows off Mommy's bed and we'll make it when I'm done and you can help."  This bought me a whopping 2 minutes, tops.  (Enough time to wiggle into the tights without commentary on how I was going to get them over my butt.)

Time: 8:20.  Call my Mom to let her know I'm gonna be late.  Seriously contemplate if all this effort just for a couple of hours at the lab is worth it.  Hmm.  Free lunch.  Adults.  After spending a  week here with sick kids, yeah, it's worth it.

Back to the bathroom to put on makeup..almost.   The phone rings.  It's Mr W.  I give him the quick rundown.  He tells me to drive safely. 

Now, back to the bathroom.

"Yes, Audrey?"

"Why you put your face so close to the mirror?"

"I can't see without my glasses, and I need to see what I'm doing so I don't poke myself in the eye."

Rustle, rustle.  She comes back.  "Here Mommy.  Use this."  She hands me a little makeup mirror.  She's so cute about it, I have to smile and thank her....for handing my own mirror back to me.  (It's one that used to live in my purse.)

Hooray!  Finally we can leave. 

"Yes, Audrey?"

"I'm thirsty." 

Time:  8:55-ish.

As we back out, I realize we need gas.  Are you kidding me?

Leave gas station, and finally hit the road.  "Mom.  We're on the way. Be there soon."  Drive thru, get Audrey a drink, and hit the 9:15 or so.

I'm still kinda in rush-rush mode.

Then I figure, it takes 45 minutes to get to Mom's house.  It's not happening to get to work by 9, no way, no how.

I'll probably make it to work by 10:30.

I clocked in at 11.

Flexibility.  I preach it to the kids all the time, because most of their little lives, we've had a baby or toddler in tow.  And babies/toddlers don't care about what your agenda is for the day, they have their own.  Sometimes, the things you want to get done need to shift a bit to accomodate them.  They've learned to be understanding, even if it's an annoyance to have to leave the park, the mall, or the store; and go back later.  They know it's better to avert the crisis then try to deal with a full-blown one in Aisle 5.

It's always humbling to be reminded that you are not really the boss, and your timeline, while well-intended, is almost always gonna be off.   Boy, was I humbled today.

Yes, I know all about laying out everything the night before, and getting all my ducks in a row before I go to bed.

I'm just out of practice.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

One step forward, one step back

I'm not joking when I say that the season has snuck up on me. 

The other night,  I decided that maybe, oh, I don't know, a Christmas tree might be nice.   Last Friday night.  The 16th. 

Better late than never.

I called Jane, because I needed her assistance, mainly her vehicle, as her seats fold down.  My van seats need to be removed to make more space, and that back bench seat is a heavy mofo, I'm telling ya.

Why didn't I ask my husband, or that other strapping old man I call over when I need help?

They were working.  Besides, I was going with tradition here, that of surprising my husband with the tree.  Sure, it's a tradition that hasn't been exercised since Nolan was born, but I thought I'd trot it out for old times' sake.

Back when I was in college, a looong time ago, Mr W used to work for UPS.  Which basically meant I'd not see much of him from November 1st until New Year's.  As a result, I would take my last final, then I'd hit up the Christmas shopping, and sneak in getting a little tree for our apartment.  I never told him when I was gonna get it, I'd just grab some help and go.

I fondly remember, two weeks before Nolan was born, in a hormonal surge of strength (irritation), using a steak knife to saw off a stray limb and force the tree into the %$#@ stand.  Good times....

Anyway.  Back to Friday night.

Jane was game, bless her, and off we went.  It didn't take long, and I picked a winner while she kept Audrey from freezing to death ("I wear dressie.")

She even carried it inside for me, and patiently held it upright while I crawled underneath, battling the %$#@ stand.  It looked great.  Jane rocks! :D

After she left, I decided to turn it a bit, and the tree developed a marked list to the right.  Noooo!  Curses!!!  I called upon my assistants:  Nolan held the tree, Ben held the flashlight (broken lamp, long story, damn dogs), Ryan commented on the tree's position, and I didn't curse while I got back under there and made it work.

It still lists to the right, but it's the thought that counts.

Now, I guess I need to get the things that go underneath it.

Because I'm a little behind in that endeavor too.  I have good reasons, though.

Nolan was out of school two days last week (strep).

Ryan's had a persistent cough (since last Weds) that made it's way to Nolan, and by Sunday night, Ben too.  We made a trip to the doc today.  They all have bronchitis.  Fabulous. 

They are being really good about it, poor kids, but it means I am tethered home for the most part. 

Earlier today, feeling a little frustrated,  I sent a message to Mr W's pager, and this is what it said:

"At this rate, I will be Christmas shopping at WalMart with the zombies in the middle of the night.  I hear Slim Jim makes a nice gift."

I imagine Slim Jim may require a side of Pepcid, but it's the thought that counts.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

If you give me a day off...

If you give Anna the day off, she will try to get a few things done around the house.

It will start in the kitchen, making red chile con carne for the tamale-fest tomorrow.

While that is cooling, she will make some toffee.  And curse ever-so-delicately when it doesn't cooperate and look like it does when Jane makes it.

As she's making the toffee, realize she could start the laundry.

Go into the big boys' room to collect their hamper, and nearly get knocked over by an overwhelming stench.  Where's that cat?  Did something die in here? 

Strip the beds, and start washing bed linens first.

Order wayward children to their room, with a shopping bag apiece, "Don't come out until your bookcases are neat and that means this bag will be full of trash."

Tackle the smaller kids' room.  Always best to do this one alone, to avoid any "but that's miiiiine!" objections. 

Carry two bags of "trash" out before I'm spotted.  Shh. Don't tell. 

Decide it's time to bathe the dogs.

Bathe both of them.  Realize that bathing Max in the tub is akin to washing an RV with a washcloth and a squirt bottle.

Clean the tub.  Might as well clean the bathroom.

Might as well clean the other bathroom.

Make the bed, noting a crushed tortilla chip on the bed (Mr W's side, am tempted to leave it), courtesy of Audrey...order everyone out. 

Wow.  Finally make it into the shower.

Whew.  Walk into the kitchen, feeling good that maybe a nice glass of lemonade and some surfing the web are in order.

Notice time.

It's 4:30.

Forgot about the birthday party at 5:00.  Kids in pjs still (hey, it's Saturday).  No present! 

Scramble the troops and make them get dressed.  Get myself ready, and go to get Audrey.

Who has passed out on the couch.   Wasn't she just having a tantrum two minutes ago?

Drop kids at party, rush to get present, run home, wrap it, leave unhappy girl with her Dad (home from work now), and go to pick up the kids.

Home, dinner, and more *&@!!*&#( chili-making. 

Bribe children with ice cream and make them go to bed.

A glass of lemonade and some web-surfing are in order.

But I'm beat.  I work tomorrow.

A nice trip to my pillow is in order.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Lights and parties

I've been pretty 'bah-humbug' so far this season...but I'm coming around.

It's hard not to be feeling warm and Christmasy when you are putting up lights.  Over the weekend, we finally got around to it.  I made the kids all help, because I know part of the reason we didn't have lights is because Mr W was dreading it.  Which is funny, as he hates getting started, but once he's out there, suddenly he's Clark Griswold...and strings are shorting out, amidst a lot of swearing--it can get ugly.

We were out there, and he'd gone up the ladder a couple of times when I saw a brainstorm cross his face--"Ben, climb on up here."

Normally, I'd be a little freaked out at the prospect of my baby up on a ladder, but we spotted him and guided him through it, so it was fine.  Ben was proud that he strung up the lights on the house, and any time you can have bragging rights over the older brother is a good time. 

In the end, it looks nice and we all love it.

It almost makes me want to stomach the after-Christmas sales, if only to stock up on more lights for next year, maybe an animated figure or two...almost.

That evening, I attended a post-elopement bridal shower for my friend, Jen.  (I know.) 

It was a small party, and I got to meet some ladies that she's mentioned from work, you know, put some names to faces.  One of them asked me, "So, what do you do?"  I was so surprised, that I could be me first, and not rattle off names and ages! 

I resisted the urge to say:

"I am the Mommy.  Keeper of clean laundry.  Cook.  Chauffeur.  Doctor.  Teacher.  Baker.  Personal shopper."  
Instead, I told her about my work.  And she listened, then shook her head and apologized as she asked me to repeat myself, "It's the wine."  She was so cute about it, I didn't feel to badly about going over it again.  Twice. 

Later, I was quite taken aback that my drunken friend took me to task, as she pointed out that to recall any scandalous dealings in regards to me, she has to go "all the way back to our senior year of high school."  Um, okay.  She loves to tell the story of the first time I got drunk, as it involves me peeing my pants, and getting all hyper that I was dropping the f-bomb in front of the boys.  Whoo-hoo, there's a scandal.  It kinda made me feel bad, that I haven't been the wild woman I guess I could be, that she misses, but at the same time, you know, I can't do anything about it.  The choices I've made, I've made, and I stand by them. 

It's not my fault that under all my swaggering talk, I'm just a good girl.

And really, it's exhausting, it's not easy, being the good girl.  I hate it sometimes.  Besides...ah, forget it.

She accepts me, for me, really.  I just think she gets frustrated with me that given the option of a night on the town, or a night at home with the little ones, I'm going to choose <more than likely> the little ones.  She gets the brunt of my complaining when the homelife is swallowing me whole, so I think she feels it's all guts--no glory, and tries to rescue me from it; then gets a little irritated when I resist.  I love her, though, for trying.  (I have been working harder on trying to meet her halfway.)

When I left for the party, Audrey was sleeping.  She woke up shortly after I left, and here's where I get to Mr W's expense.

Little did we know that she sleepwalks.   Oh, I had my suspicions, but wasn't quite sure...  She got up, and started crying for me.  She went down the hall, and Mr W was waiting for her to come back, like she always does.  Suddenly, he hears Nolan yelling "No!  Audrey no!"  and then Nolan comes running down the hall to our room to get him: "Dad, she's trying to pee in the garbage can."  Mr W said to me, "I had to get up and see that.  I didn't believe it, until I heard noises in the kitchen."

(This is where men differ from women.  A Mom, hearing the kid crying upon waking up, would be scooping up said child and doing the comfort thing.  He, being a guy, was waiting for her to come back to him, once she was convinced that I wasn't home...even if she was upset about it.  Then he'd comfort her. lol )

So Mr W gets to the kitchen, and sure enough, there sits my little Princess, with a puddle, a huge puddle, of pee on the floor.  Britches around ankles, soaked, of course.  He said he cleaned her up, cleaned up the mess, and still, she cried for about half an hour.  He thinks Nolan startled her when he yelled, and that is what woke her/upset her more.

Poor thing. 

Yup, Mr W was me all day Saturday.  He took Ben to a birthday party.  He had the kids all day (while I was working), and then again that night.  He survived. 

As I drove up the driveway, admiring our lit front yard, I was wondering what I'd find inside the house.

There were still four of them, all happy to see me.

Mr W was the one in time out.

Now he knows where my peculiar eye-twitch stems from, and why I'm so relieved when he walks in the door.

While SAHM is not a scandalous job, unless you are on Oprah, it is a job.

And sometimes, you just need a break.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

All these little things in life....

.....they all create this's too many things to get done, and I'm running out of days....

Ha, imagine my surprise, singing along the other day to this and having an 'a-ha' moment.  They could be singing about me....

Eh, it'll get done when it gets done.  <shrug>

I'm past stressing about it, I stress every year, and still, the cookies get baked, the tamales get made, the presents get bought and wrapped, everyone has a good time.  No worries.  (Just call me Alfred E.) 

Who needs sleep anyway?

Time for the Six...

Saturday Six - Episode 87

1. You're producing a school program for the holidays and you learn that there will be major objections if you include in your musical selections the traditional Christmas hymns that reference the "true meaning of Christmas." Assuming that there are secular tunes (like "Frosty the Snowman") already included in the program, what do you do with the hymns? Do you allow them to go as is, do you use the melody and rewrite the words, do you include as many pieces of music from other religions as possible, or do you remove all but the secular songs?

You can't make everyone happy all the time.  Someone will object, whether it's because their cocoa is too hot, or because Britney Jr (but she's so talented!) is not singing in the front row.  Embrace diversity--include some from other religions/cultures, and hope that everyone pronounces "Kwanzaa", "Feliz Navidad", and "Hanukkah" with a minimum amount of spray.  Call it "Merry Kwanidadukkah:  The Musical."

2. What percentage of your Christmas shopping is done at this point? When do you expect to have it finished if you haven't already finished?

Hahahahahahaha....ahem.  40%, and I'm being generous.  It'll be done in time, I just have no idea when, and I kinda like doing it late.  

3. What was your favorite board game to play as a kid? Is it still your favorite now?

Loteria.  It's Mexican bingo, with little pictures and Spanish names for them.  There are little stories attached to the pictures, and half the fun of playing was hearing the stories.  We'd use pennies or pinto beans for markers, and my Nana or Tia Elena would call out the names.  Even Mr W, whitebread boy that he is, could follow along.  My favorite?  El Diablito--porque el diablo nunca duerme.  Haven't played in a while...hmm.  Wonder where Nana hid the cards???

4. Take this quiz (if you haven't already!): What famous artist should paint your portrait?

Oh, I love this:

Salvador Dali should paint your portrait. You love to think about the world in a different way then everyone else. You are very ambitious, and you like strange things. You are curious about everything and love to learn.

5. How accurate is this quiz's description of you?

Accurate, although I don't feel very ambitious.  Ambitious is for yuppies and politicians.  I do like strange things (I won't name any names) and love to learn.  And my life can be surreal on an hourly basis sometimes. (Anytime you can be holding a phone conversation, and a toddler clad only in socks will run through the room chasing the cat, during which your teenage love interest in adult form walks in the door and says "Hi, honey, I'm home" is surreal.)

6. If you could go back in time and have one more picture taken with a deceased loved one, who would you select and why?

I'll get back to you on this one.  



December is a weird month. 

I always get this expectant feeling, like something's about to happen, like I forgot some important detail, about now.

It's Nolan's fault.

He is my December baby, and I can't help but feel on the cusp of something big when this time of year rolls around...restlessness, coupled with the holidays; I'm a wreck. 

What did I forget?  Will I be able to pull it off, yet again? What do you mean, you need another gift??  Holy cow, do I smell burned cookies??!!

Big brown eyes follow my every move, and light up as he sidles up next to me, arms out for a hug.  Wait a minute.  Wasn't it just last week that these very arms were barely wrapping around my knees?  And now I have to make sure not to knock my teeth out on his forehead as he embraces me?  

I used to think it would suck to have a December birthday, because you know that once you are of a certain age, you are getting the Christmas/birthday gift combo.  A birthday hard to remember amongst the hustle and bustle.

Yet now I have a different take on it.  Each Christmas is special, as I take in the wonder of my growing eldest son.

Barney has given way to the Cartoon Network, and Oshkosh is b'gosh not in his closet.

No baby powder-talcum-freshness, not with Axe around.

Batman is now a boxer brief.

The baby is now the babysitter.

While he might change, I like to think I remain the same.  Constant and present.

Like Christmas.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

"That's just my Mom"

Monday, I taught Art Masterpiece for Ben's class.  It's quite nice, because he only has twenty kids in his class, and three were out.  We were a cozy little group, and the project wasn't hard, the lecture was easy, and it was fun.

I was talking to the teacher while the kids were doing their thing, and she made me laugh.  I laugh pretty loud sometimes.

I overhear one of the kids say "Who/what was that?"

And I looked up in time to see Ben smile, put his hand on the kid's shoulder, and say, "Oh, it's just my Mom.  She's kinda loud sometimes."  He wasn't embarrassed.  He just accepted it as just being me, beamed in my direction, and went back to his desk.

You know, you expect to love your child unconditionally, without worrying too much about what others might consider faults.

You don't expect that fantastic feeling you get when they reciprocate.  The coolness of it all, that they love you unconditionally as well.

It made my day. 

Almost as much as Audrey made my night tonight.

We were sitting at aikido waiting for the big kids to finish class. 

I had to throw something away, and when I came back to the table, Audrey pipes up:  "Mommy, when you walk, your butt goes back and forth, back and forth." (and she swayed a bit from side to side as she said it) 

In an instant, I mentally checked my gait.  I didn't think I'd been swaying, I wasn't....well, not really...holy crap, do I sway too much when I walk?  What kind of message is that for her to learn?  Oy!

In an instant, I got over it.  It was funny, and we were all laughing, adults included.

I mean, there's not a whole lot I can do about it, is there, short of wearing some harness that inhibits the gait?  Where's the fun in  that? lol

Then, at bedtime, it was Nolan and Ryan's turn.

Nolan gets all "eewww" if Mr W gives me a kiss.  So we tucked him in, and I turned up my face <doing my best to give him a nightmare> and Mr W gave me a very quick kiss. 

Nolan goes, "Geez, Bud, that was pathetic.  You call that a kiss?  I don't think you made contact with her for even a 'one-Mississippi'.  Pa-the-tic."  (okay, so maybe it was, but really, we were in front of the boy, so the soap-opera tonsil hockey would be inappropriate) 

The look on Mr W's face was hilarious.  I know I was amused.  He kissed me again, and Nolan remained unimpressed, so Mr W turned the tables on him: "What makes you an expert??  Do I need to talk to your girlfriend?" 

Nolan gets all embarrassed:  "No.  No, don't ask her.  I have my resources."  <stammer, stammer>

He's growing up, my little boy, and it catches me offguard when he says things like that.  I take pride, somewhat, in his sense of humor.  I like to think that I'm passing something of value on to him.  And when he does say something amusing, it makes me smile...because I am.

When I tucked Ryan in, I leaned over to kiss his cheek and whisper the usual goodnights in his ear.  "Goodnight, my sugar."  "Goodnight, my Mommy."  I snuggle my cheek next to his, and then he puts his hand against my head.  "Um, Mommy?  Could you get off me now?  I need to go to sleep."

Oops. <lol> Too much love.


Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Night out

Okay, so Friday night we went to a Christmas party with the kids.   Parental and all that, even in a dressed-up state.

So there we are, dressed up, for a kids party, and my work party, Saturday night, was a casual, jeans affair. What's up with that?

It was outdoors, um, in an orchard.  We had space heaters around our tables, but I couldn't help but conjure up images of all of us gathered around garbage can fires, warming our hands.  And considering the neighborhood we were in, I wasn't that far off imagining that. 

It didn't matter for long; location nor weather, because we had liquor.  Lots and lots of liquor,and that'll go far in the warmth department, and further in making you forget that perhaps Kevlar under the sweater might have been a good idea.  

Who cares if it was just wine and beer, hey, it's free, and there is no limit.  Just imagine, a bucolic setting, with clear glass Dixie cups filled to the brim each time you went for a refill.  So deceptive, so innocuous, the Dixie cup--you feel like you are just holding a glass of punch.

One coworker, who is a bartender on the side, teased me that four glasses was equivalent to a bottle of wine.  Really?  <giggle> I think I'll have another.

I know I had at least four, but I am certain there may have been as many as six.   When the bartender remembers what you are having, and you don't have to remind her, that can only be a sign that perhaps you have been back maybe one too many times for a refill.  What can I say?  I'm an overachiever. 

As always with these things, there were a couple of glitches...the food--not that great; the bathrooms--unbelievably, there were no lights in them the first time I made the trek.  My friend and I took turns clicking on my cell phone to illuminate the area enough such that we could use it.  I'd have gone in the field, but flashbacks to the first time I ever got  drunk, and did that, prevented me from doing so.  I didn't bring a change of clothes, afterall.

Did I mention the food?

This is important.  I'd not eaten much that day.  Dinner--was bbq.  I'm not against bbq, I like it just fine, but it was so disappointing.  Even dessert was not impressive.  The bottom line, if you haven't made this connection already, is that there was not a lot of food in me, but a lot of drink.

Man, was I ever hammered.

I have to say, I haven't tied one on in well over 10 years.  I've always been pregnant or nursing someone, and Mr W rarely drinks.  I swear, he can nurse one beer over the course of a week.  

I made up for lost time.

I didn't grab any asses (that I know of) and I didn't dance on any tables (I am certain of that) but I was, according to Mr W, quite talkative.   I recall some  blatantly flirtatious behavior that I am sure I will be blushing about at some point.

But I was having fun!  Even if it was frustrating to me, because I kept trying to act normal, instead of just going with it. 

That's ok.  I wasn't acting as normally as I'd imagined.   I mean, who compliments another woman on her hair, as they touch it with their hand at the same time?  Oy.  Sorry, S.  It did look nice.

My big line of the evening was something I told Mr W.  See, I'm sure he was kinda having fun, but not that much fun...  So I wanted to make him laugh:  "Dude, I'm waaay  past "I love you, man" and well on my way to the sorority girls' mating call." <no offense to you delta delta tri gamma pis out there> 


Tilt head from side to side: "I'm soooo dru-uunk!"  He laughed.

All in all, the evening was a good time.  Even when someone decided to have a 'sexy legs' competition, and lined up five of the guys to dance around to the roars of the crowd.   I have to hand it to a couple of them.  It takes a special kind of man to go out there and perform moves better seen around a pole in front of all their coworkers, and slapping your own ass under the influence--well, you know, that's just not something you usually see in the chem prep room. 

Mr W dragged me away at a decent hour.  We had to relieve Jane, who was our babysitter for the evening.  We know that a few hours with our crew is plenty. 

This is where the real fun began.  It took me forever to wash my face.  The kids were thankfully asleep when I got done.  Heeyyy, where's my man?  Oh, honeeeey.... ;p

Things are a little hazier here, but I have to say, my husband is a saint.  I stopped being cooperative at this point, because he wanted me to go to sleep, and well, I had other ideas.  And I spewed forth all kinds of talk to let him know them.

Whoo, boy.  Yeah.  It was bad.

I'm thinking:  Why does he want me to go to bed? It's early!  I'm so awake!  I am fantastic!  I'm a sexy beast!  I'm not sleepy!  No.  I won't put the pjs on...hmphf, fine.  I'll put the pjs on.  <glare, more insanity coming out of my lips>

And my head hit the pillow.

I slept poorly (of course) and when I woke up, I felt a little buzzed still, with a slight headache.

Tylenol is a wonder drug.

Hot water is a godsend.

And caffeine... I was so happy with my cup of espresso-laced hot chocolate,  I probably frightened the coffee guy with my profuse thanks.

No hangover.

I moved on, but not without worrying about Mr W.  I had a feeling I was not going to be in his good graces.

And I'm not.  He says he's not mad at me, but I was definately (and still am, kinda) feeling a chill on Sunday.

So, what did I learn?

A new mantra:  Stay away from the cabernet.

Because that first step, it's a killer.

Bottoms up!

Coming up for air

I'm just coming up for air this evening.  Yeah, there's a pile of laundry to deal with, but I'll get to it.  In a minute.

There's a school project I took on that is pretty time consuming, so somedays are just a blur; before I know it, it's Monday again, and I missed the Six.  That's okay, there's no time limit on this.... 

Saturday Six - Episode 86

1. Is it a "Christmas Tree" or a "Holiday Tree?" 

Oh, for Pete's sake.  It's a CHRISTMAS TREE.  Get over it, and stop trying to ruin everyone's fun.  Changing the names of holidays to make them less offensive is offensive.  "Holiday Tree"?  Please. <eyeroll>

2. When you purchase a DVD, what of the following are you most interested in watching first: the movie itself, the director's commentary, the deleted scenes, the bloopers or the behind-the-scenes documentary, and why?

The movie itself--I bought the movie to WATCH the movie.  I rarely go thru the behind-the-scenes, I mean, really, who has that kind of time?  Deleted, maybe. 

3. What would you most like to accomplish before the year is over?

There are twenty six days left in the year, and you're just getting to this??  Yeah, I have something..and I could tell you, but I'd have to kill you.  :p

4. Take this quiz: After you enter your birthday, you'll be given a lot of facts about your age and astrology: How old are you in dog years?

I'm 5.33.  A younger pup, "still chasing dogs", according to the quiz.  I'm gonna try not to dwell on that too much. 

5. From the same quiz, what does it say your "Life Path Number" is, and do you agree with its description?

I'm a 6.  What did it say?  Oh, yeah: "...the life revolves around the immediate home and family, for this is the most domestic of numbers..."   There's a surprise.   The rest of the description was right on, so I agree. 

6. Do you have a piece of jewelry with your birthstone in it? If so, how often do you wear it?

Yup. Peridot.  I have stud earrings, and I've had them for a while.  I wear them about 2-3 times a week.  Sure, it's kind of a pale, icky, yellow-green, but it grew on me.  Jewels are jewels, lol.

Friday, December 2, 2005

Little loser

Audrey has been really doing well with her potty skills. 

However, she still will have an occasional lapse, where she doesn't leave herself enough time.  Throw in the undies, tights she's wearing with her dress, and her bloomers, and it's a toss-up:  will she make it, or am I doing more laundry?

Today, I was occupied, and she had to go.  "Mommy, I need to go pot-tee." Complete with little shimmy.  "So go," I told her, "you can do it, you know how."

A few minutes later, she comes down the hall.  "I pee on my tights.  I pee on my body. (what she calls bloomers)  I pee on my panties."  "Oh, sweetie.  That's okay, just go change.  Get new ones."

She makes a little face, but turns and walks down the hall.  She's about halfway there, when I hear her utter at herself, kinda under her breath, "I such a loser" in her tiny voice. 

Awww.  My goodness.  I can't let her go, and I feel bad for her.

"Honey, come here."  She comes and I hold her.  "You are not a loser, you are still learning.  It takes time.  It's an accident, and it's okay.  Now go get some dry undies."

I leave out the part about how some grownup boys and girls have trouble making it to the bathroom in time; and about how laughter or coughing can be a woman's worst enemy.  Having her pipe up at preschool about "Mommy said that if you do your 'kay-gells' you won't pee in your panties" probably wouldn't be a good thing.  There will be plenty of time for that kind of talk later.  Afterall, she's only three years old. 

No one is a loser at three years old.

I'll be reminding her of soon as I finish this set.

Ups and downs

There can be lots of ups and downs in my week.

Up:  I got to spend time with the newest niece, now that she's 17 months old, she spent the night last Saturday.  My stepnephew (he's 7) came along too.  It was fun, and they behaved. 

Down:  She proceeded to wake up at 2:15 am, and stay awake until around 4-ish.  And I still had to go to work Sunday.  <yawn>  She was so cute, too, I put her down, thinking she'd go back to sleep; walked out into the hall for a bit...and she whimpered.  Audrey and Ryan were in the same room, and I didn't want her to wake them, so I went in to get her.  She was standing up in the playpen, and when she saw me coming, did a dramatic pratfall and pretended she was sleeping.  How could I ever be upset with that?  So I gathered her up, and we sat in the magic chair, watching some HBO...which was probably not the best thing.  HBO is not necessarily known for their late-night children's programming.   Ooops!  That'll teach me not to put on my glasses...

Up:  Earlier that evening, I was patting myself on the back.  "I can do this,"  I thought.  Extra little ones?  Bring 'em on!

Down:  She climbs on everything.  She nearly choked on a tortilla chip Audrey was "sharing".  And eventually, it was my own little ones who caused me to snap.  All of them talking at once, as I'm trying to feed them, bake cookies, and get Mr W (who, surprisingly, was oblivious to it all, and awaiting his dinner--I still don't know why that happened, but I'll get to it in a minute) a sandwich.  I swear to God, I turned around, paring knife in hand, and said, to Nolan and Ben: "I have a knife, and I will use it.  Get the hell out of the kitchen, right now."  Oh, yeah.  One of my finer moments, as a Mom.....knives and cursing. 

This was followed by a rant I gave Mr W when I went into our bedroom, plate in hand.  "Be advised..." (it's best to use cop talk when I want to really grab his attention) "that someday, I'd like to come home from work, and not punch in for my shift at home.  I'd like to sit on my ass in here and have people bring me food --whatever I request-- and not have to deal with the kids, the dishes, baths and/or any other little emergencies that arise.  I come home, and it's like you're done, it's all-Mom the rest of the day.  Oh, I don't think you know, that the last time I sat on my butt, and you brought me anything I wanted, was after I walked the half marathon, and it's been almost a year???"  (Of course, he's cracking up, at the 'be advised'.  And I'm sputtering, because I can't not laugh when he is.  Son of a bitch, I hate that.  I can't even be mad at him properly--I'm all smoke and mirrors.  If you ever saw/heard him laugh, you'd understand.  It's because of him that I couldn't make it through grace this Thanksgiving, and my Dad referred to me as 'heathen' the rest of the night.  Mr W got the giggles, and so did I, but he shut up, and I couldn't stop giggling.  On the up side again, he did all the laundry when I went to work Sunday, and made dinner Monday night.  Now that's hot.)

Up:  Audrey is going to preschool 4 days a week for the next three weeks.

Down:  She's tired, in the afternoon, in spite of her nap.  She's developed this annoying whine, and makes all kinds of noises when she's crying that I can honestly say are akin to scratching your nails on a chalkboard.  I lose all sense of reason, of patience...yet still try to pull it together, long enough to try to get her to speak, not whine; or send her to her room.  SO TRYING, this new whining thing, that by eight pm, I'm ready to jump and counting the minutes until she's asleep.  Oy. 

Up:  A couple of my coworkers moonlight  as bartenders.  One of them brought me a bottle of tequila last weekend, and it was waiting in my desk.  Whether it was to shut me up, or just out of the goodness of his heart, I don't care, it's a big bottle of free liquor, and there is never anything wrong with that.

Down:  I have yet to take a swig.  The bottle is unopened.  I think I'll remedy that later tomorrow night.  Woohoo, drunken emails and woozy entries.  Let me apologize in advance....

Up:  Mr W has been working.  Alot.  Christmas is coming, so that's great.

Down:  Mr W has been working.  Alot.  It seems like we never see him, and when we do, he's cranky; and that's not so great.

All in all, I haven't really been up to much.  You'd think I'd be able to post something.


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Is this a test?

avlirj  ovvqyjp  ylvitjl igebqm dkbfn eliir

Am I having a flashback, hallucinating genetic codes from GEN330 again?

Is is some kind of bizarro eye test?

No.  It's part of the handy-dandy password protected commenting world of blogspot.  Don't they realize I can barely string together letters that belong, much less these nonsensical strings that would make Dr Seuss scratch his head?   It's Xangalicious.

On to something I understand--the Saturday Six.   It's late, and I need a jumpstart.

I lost a few brain cells at my Tia's house, because instead of food this year, my Tio plyed me with alcohol.  Bubbly wine and a shot of tequila make Anna a fun girl...and the next day, I woke up with The Voice.  Ohhh, goody.  I sounded like Kathleen Turner, and if drinking too much and talking too loud will make me sound like that, then barkeep, pour me another. 

Saturday Six - Episode 85

1. Have you ever had a dream that you felt was a message from some "higher power?" Do you think it's possible to receive such messages through dreams?

I dream all the time, very vividly; yes.  Sometimes dreams have messages, but mainly I think they just work out something that's been bothering you, whether it's stressing you out or just on your mind, when you are conscious.

2. How much does a person's musical preference tell you about them?

Not much.  It's fun, from a nosy point of view, to see what people listen to, but I can't judge anyone on it; not when I'm a musical mutt myself. 

3. What time did you get up Friday morning? Were you part of the shopping madness?

I got up at five on Friday.  The only madness I was involved in was working.  Oh, and a little football in the afternoon, where the Sun Devils managed to send the Wildcats home with their tails between their legs (barely, but a win is a win, and bragging rights are priceless...nah nah nah nah nah).  

4. Take this quiz: What religion do you fit in with?

You fit in with:  Spiritualism
Your ideals are mostly spiritual, but in an individualistic way. While spirituality is very important in your life, organized religion itself may not be for you. It is best for you to seek these things on your own terms.
80% spiritual.  40% reason-oriented.

I think that "mutt" is starting to be a theme here.  Oh, I can hear my Nana lighting a candle and starting to pray Novenas for me right now....

5. Is the answer you received the religion you feel you really do fit in with?

Yes and no.  I think I'm more reason-oriented than 40% and that might get me kicked off the Spiritual team. 

6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #77 from Globetrotter2: Do you have any special nicknames for your significant other when you're annoyed or irritated with them? If so, give us a few of them (NO PROFANITY, please).

Oh, man.  Clean ones only?  No Spanish cussing?  Fine.  You know, I don't have any, but really, just saying someone's name, if you do it right, can convey the amount of annoyance one feels.  I'll go with that.  I'll say his name, using an inflection that makes the kids wince. 

Okay, it's time for me to go.

Not before I leave you with this, which was my true test today.

Ryan got scratched on Saturday night, in the face, by his 7 yr old stepcousin.  No biggie.  Boys will be boys, and it was an accident. 

I cleaned it up, but it remained red/swollen/infected looking even this morning.  Hey, I've read enough about flesh-eating bacteria, I don't mess around with anything that doesn't respond to my medical ministrations.  Only so much Dr Mom can accomplish without help from the pros.

So I called his teacher this morning, leaving a message that I was sending him to school, blah, blah, but making an appt for him so I'd probably come in and get him for it.   His face looked awful, and I was giving her a head's up.

Got the appt, and left another msg so she'd know what time I was coming, and hopefully let Ryan know what was up. 

She calls me, a bit later, and proceeds to lecture me, about "I don't need to know that you are coming for him, you don't need to make me aware of this, just go to the office and they'll call us;  I'll send him up, I don't need to know you are coming, just make sure you sign him out there."

I paused, a bit befuddled for a minute, then I got irritated a second later.  Excuse me, lady, but I have two older kids who have been going to that school for a long time.  I'm hardly new at this.  I do this all the time.  I snapped.  But I was polite about it. 

"I'm aware of this, that you don't need to be told.  However, I always do this with my kids teachers, you know, out of COURTESY." 

That made her pause.  But she continued nonetheless "Ok, just make sure you sign him out then.  And you know, it doesn't even look that bad; it looks like a bad windburn or something like that; and he says it's itching now." 

"I'm taking him in, because it's not getting better."  What? They hand out medical degrees with teaching credentials now?  Besides, she said it herself "a bad windburn"--which is RED, which usually signifies infection.  <Grrrrr>  He was in PE when I picked him up.  The PE teacher says, "Oh, yeah, I'd run one of my own if they had anything that looked like that."  Um-hmm.  Exactly

Doc says it looks like the beginnings of a strep infection.  Oy.  I don't want to think about all the potential places a 7 year old's hands have been; that he would share that kind of fun with a scratch.  Remember that even dirty hands can look clean, lol.   Doc put Ryan on some antibiotics.  Tasty.

I can't wait to share that with Ms. You-know-who.

Politely, of course. 

I may even unclench my teeth.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

So thankful

There are lots of things that I'm thankful for...many of them are tangible, the family and friends I see every day.  Some things are minor, some are major, some are 'a-ha' invasions of my consciousness when I least expect it.

*The padding sounds of little feet coming down the hall, her arms encircling my neck as I pick her up, as she say to me "why are you up?" in the sleepiest, most adorable way imaginable.

*More little, and not-so-little feet, sneaking up behind me to say good morning, hugs all around.  Even from the big kid, who still <sometimes> sits in my lap, on the occasions that it's vacant.

*The funny phone call from my brother, that lets me breathe a small sigh of relief that someone else is there to help me rein my Dad in when he gets all crazed about something minor, like the sports page.  (Is it too early to start drinking?)

*Knowing I'll get to go to my Tia's house, and revel in all the loudness, the shouting that is normal conversation there.  (While trying to avoid any mention of eating, because my Tio will be insulted if you don't taste his turkey; bulging waistband be damned.  Tums, anyone?)

*Songs sung by a three year old who makes up her own words.  Her rendition of "Jingle Bells" in the van last night was so funny I'm lucky Mr W was driving, because I'd have made a wrong turn.  She takes liberties with the alphabet, too, but she's got the melody right, so who cares?

*The unique love of my boys:  it's nice to know there will always be three men in the world who adore me. 

*My friends, new and old, who remind me that once in a while, Mom comes first, and that adult conversation is something to be prized almost as much as "googoo gahgah."  They are the little islands of sanity that I retreat to each day, and occasionally, we limbo--creaking limbs and all.

*Mr W.  Who still, after all this time, well...makes me happy, makes me mad, makes me laugh, and rarely makes me cry.  He takes all my craziness in stride, while still possessing qualities that make my stomach do the flip-flop it did the night we met.  (Okay, maybe there are four men in the world who adore me.  lol)

*My parents. 

My Mom.  Whenever someone compliments me on my kids, I almost want to call her and thank her right on the spot.  Because I learned how to be a Mom from her, and she's the one who taught me that the best gift a parent has to offer is love. 

My Dad, who in spite of his gruff nature and bad temper, is my champion.   He has the most amazing work ethic I've ever seen, and for what?  For all of us.  He spoils us all like mad, and there really isn't a more Kodak moment than when he is sitting at the table, with a grandchild in front of him, sharing his breakfast.  Even my new-Mom fervor of trying only one food at a time was squelched when I saw him very gently feeding Nolan some eggs, so many years ago.

*My Nanas, who are still around, and don't think my kids are disrespectful when they call them "shrimpy Nana" and "two-Nana". 

There are things out in the great big world that I'm thankful for too.  But for me, the most important thing I like to touch on is my family.   I didn't grow up with much, but I always had a circle of people around that loved me, and helped shape who I am today.

And I will always be thankful for that.

Gobble gobble

In the steel gray-blue light of morning, right before the sun comes up, there is just enough light to see.

Enough light to look in on all the sleeping faces of the people that I am most thankful for...covering the stray foot or two that has escaped the blankets.

Enough light to make sure I don't step on the cats as I make a bleary-eyed trek down the hall.

Enough light that I can release the hounds, and they won't be begging to come back in right away.

In the still quiet of the early morning, I ponder all the little things that make me grateful every day, alongside the big ones.  

But what I'm really pondering, dreading, and up in this early morning for right now, is the turkey.

I've often wondered why people get so intimidated by cooking a turkey.  Afterall, it's just like roasting a giant chicken.

Although, wrestling one out of its protective plastic wrapper ranks right up there with trying to open a condom in a hurry.   You really need it out of the protective packaging.  But your hands are slippery, and the once-conveniently wrapped package is just all over the place while you are scrambling to keep it where you need it.

I know lots of people are in urgent cares and ERs today with knife issues, but how many of them are there because the unwieldy bird fell off the counter onto their foot?   (Twenty pounds, falling from a 3 1/2 foot counter;  it doesn't take a math genius to tell you that's gonna hurt.)

I feel bad, for Mr Turkey too.  Maybe because I'm a woman, and know the indignity of having someone up to their elbow inside you, removing precious cargo (a baby, in my case; that package of mysterious innards, in Mr Turkey's case).   At any rate, I am a little sympathetic, for this naked bird sitting in my sink, and almost want to say a few words of comfort to him.  Words of comfort are all I can offer at this point, as dinner and a movie are no longer an option.

Why, why, why can't they put the neck AND the innards in the same cavity?  Is it really necessary to have to invade the poor bird from both ends??  Hasn't he suffered enough for me? 

After nearly severing a finger removing that plastic harness that binds the legs together, I moved on to seasoning.  I think this is also a problem for some folks, because there is no way around it:  this is where you really have to touch it, rub it, and revisit the cavity again; and I think it would be nice to just shove the thing in the oven, and skip the rubbing of the outside with butter, or oil.   Oh, I get over my girly sense of ewww (at this point, I remind myself, you wanted to be a doctor?), and I season it up.  No one likes a bland bird, and nothing will move me to tears more than a failed cooking attempt.

Which is really what this is all about, isn't it?  Your loved ones come together, for a few hours of goodwill that will hopefully carry on throughout the year, or at least until Christmas, and you don't want to let them down by making turkey jerky.  You cook the bird, and are rewarded, thankfully, by its golden goodness; all memory of its sad nakedness forgotten, you inhale that wonderful smell and tell everyone it's almost time to eat. 

Which brings me back to all the things I'm thankful for, that I'm putting in another entry.

No room here, what with that giant chicken taking up all the space. 




Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Midnight quickie

Haaaa, made you look! 

So mature of me.  

We had quite a busy day today.  I was home, all day, for maybe an hour.  Here, there, everywhere--I need a clone.

One of my tasks was taking the boys to get their haircut.  Mr W has been taking care of Ben and Ryan's since they prefer to sport a nearly bald shortness, just like Dad.  But Dad has been really busy lately, and since I was taking Nolan in already, I figured might as well take care of all of them. 

Woohoo, not a wait at all, maybe five minutes.

We'd finished up and were heading out to the van.  As I turned to open the doors, there was a young man standing next to the van parked next to mine.

He graciously said, "Go ahead."  I was pleased about this, because parking lot etiquette, or the lack thereof, makes me crazy.  People don't care that you are strapping kids into carseats, they just want the spot next to you.  No, don't mind me as I bump your butt with my car door.  I hate it, and you'd think other parents would understand, hey, she's got a stroller, but noooo, it's all about 'me first, me first.'

Anyway.  He struck up a little conversation with me, not anything too weird, just along the lines of normal "take your time, don't worry about it" niceties.  Asked if they'd gotten their haircut; lots of "that's cool" and "have a nice day." 

I got into my seat, and he got into his van.  Hmm.  I'd assumed he was driving off or something, but he sat in the passenger side.  I thought he was waiting to go past me into the Subway right in front of me, but no.  He didn't invade my space or anything like that, and I'd gotten everyone into the van fairly quickly, so I was shrugging it off when I hear a chorus of voices:

"Who was that?" "Who was  that stranger?" "Did you know him?"  "Why were you talking to him?"  "Don't you know about 'stranger danger'?"  "Yeah, you tell us not to talk to strangers.."

"Chill, boys.  He was just waiting for us to get into the van.  He was just being courteous so I could get Audrey strapped in."

"Mo-oom.  We don't like it when you do that,"  chimes Ben.

"Yeah, he was a stranger," Ryan weighs in.

Sigh.  Great.  Now I'm feeling nervous.  Lock my doors.

"Mo-om.  He liked you,"  Nolan says..

"Oh, he did not, Nolan."  I suppress a giggle.  "I hardly think a chubby Mom with four kids is parking-lot-pick-up material, mijo."

"Well, then why did he keep talking to you?"

"I don't know."

Meet Nolan, my chaperone.

I still don't think he was doing anything except the idle chatter of someone that's thinking "Hurry up, lady."

But as I drove away, I caught myself turn my head so Nolan couldn't see me smile.