Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Last week, it hit 80+ degrees here in New Hampshire. Last night, however, it hit 20 degrees. I watched the apple farmers wipe tears from their eyes as they talked about how significant this year's losses will be. As if people aren't struggling enough, at every turn there seems to be something else to make swimming upstream even harder. As happy as everyone was last week while the sun was shining, there were people who knew that the other shoe would drop when it went back to normal March temperatures. I feel awful for these people, but I shut the tv off before I hear anything else that breaks my heart.
As I try to change my disposition and turn my focus to my kids, my 4 year old tells me that he no longer likes the Orange Juice with 'a little pulp.' This never was a problem before. I make a mental note of this as I pour him some milk instead.
My three year old looks at the plate of breakfast in front of him and tells me that he doesn't want cream cheese on his bagel this morning, he wants peanut butter instead. Exhale, Mommy, Exhale. They are just little guys being honest. Work with it. As I stand in the kitchen, dealing with this silly scenario, I hear the sound of the garbage truck whirring down the street. Shit! It's Tuesday! I stop what I'm doing, throw on my shoes, and drag the garbage cans down to the road as fast as humanly possible. The trucks pull up and laugh at me as they see I'm hyperventilating in my Yoga pants and ponytail, mascara smudged down my eyes. I give them a pathetic, forced smile along with a thumbs up and a nod of my head and I run back to the house. Back to the breakfast crisis at hand.
A few simple situations seem like a mountain to overcome while I struggle to pull myself together. Middler lets out a huge sneeze, blowing everything built up in his nose all over his face. I reach for a tissue, only to find the box is empty and still on the counter. Maddening. I run to the bathroom to grab tissue - the roll has one square left on it. As I run TO the bathroom, I see that the cat has pooped outside of the box, and smeared poop all through the hallway on the floor. Snot on toddler, poop on floor, empty kleenex box, toilet paper roll needs changed, Youngest doesn't want cream cheese, Middler hates pulp. Tears are welling up in my eyes. Stupid, yes. But true.
30 minutes later, I have things under control. Kids are fed, floor is mopped, toilet paper is refilled, kleenex box folded in recycle bin - feelings of sadness and frustration are still there. You'll always have days like this. It's not a big deal.
No matter how I try to fight these feelings on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis, they are there. Isn't everyone just holding on by their fingernails? We put on a good show, but underneath the hair and makeup, fun clothes and pretty handbags, we're glued together not by superglue, but more like an elementary school type of glue stick. You know, the kind that barely holds stuff together long enough to make it home for parents to ooh and ahh and then falls apart?
So how do I pull it back together? I call a friend or two, ask how their day is going, and listen to their responses. Same type of day, different scenario. Someone was up all night with a fever, another one got bullied at school, someone else is struggling with a diet, toilet training, a sleepless toddler. We manage to throw a few jokes in between, just to show that we're ok and still keeping it together, but are we? First world problems, I get it. Doesn't mean that they don't matter. Life is hard sometimes. That's why I depend on humor so much. I'm not feeling funny today - and that's ok. I know when something is really funny, I'll laugh. In the meantime, I will be content to draw strength and courage from the innocent, hopeful smiles on the faces of my kids. They are all I need on days like this. Well, one more thing that helps. I'm Alright by Jo Dee Messina. Just a gentle reminder that everything is ok..even when it feels like it's not.
Tomorrow will be better...I'm sure of it. I'm not a complainer - I am blessed beyond words - we have health, happiness and home...but today I'm giving myself permission to feel shitty.
Friday, March 23, 2012
To get a better idea of what Dodgeball (Bombardment) was like for a girl like me - watch this little Simpsons clip.
Gym Class. Also called Physical Education. Should be called Dante's 9 Circles of Hell.
I'm going to begin with a typical disclaimer that I like to do, because I really want to make it clear how much damage my little spirit suffered being an overdeveloped 10 year old chubba girl in elementary school. First part of the disclaimer: this is a humor blog, please don't get all up in my grill about how important movement is for kids...blah blah blah. This is about exorcising MY demons, not exercising the world's children. Capish? Second of all, I don't want to know how great YOU were at any of these things. If you really feel like bragging about the fact that you got top numbers in all of your tests and your BMI was effing perfect at 10 years old, then go start your own blog. I ROCKED THE HOUSE IN PE, BUT I SUCK IN LIFE. Truly, however, I tell you all of this from a place of love. If we're good, and you promise you won't judge me (but you certainly have my permission to laugh), then read on. Otherwise, go to another story of mine in peace and good tidings.
Gym class terrorized me. I was a 32D in 5th grade; a joke that Mother Nature played on me for no apparent reason other than to start character building at age 10. As if being a 5th grader with a moustache and hairy legs wasn't enough of a cross to bear, throw in boobs and butt and watch me roll. I hated gym class with a passion. I certainly wasn't the sportsy type - not with my frame anyways. My gym teachers shook their head when they saw me, and I am pretty sure they gave up on me from day one.
I was, of course, picked last for any team sports. And why not? I can understand this. Unless there was a sport that caught a ball with the side of your face, I was useless. Which brings me to my first circle of hell.
Dodgeball - I had to know who the sick bastard was that created this game. I did some research, and this is what I discovered.
So easy, even the damn cavemen could do it.It is estimated that Dodgeball started back in the Caveman Era. Where cavemen, frustrated by the sun in their eyes, hurled rocks at the sun. When they came down, some caveman would be killed while others learned to "dodge" the rocks. This carried over into the Egyptian era to where they pharaoh would hold weekly "Dodgeball tournaments". Slowly but surely it evolved into what dodgeball is today.
The closest I ever came to being as cool as Marcia Brady, was the day I was pummeled in the face by a Dodgeball, making my Greek nose even bigger, and giving the boys one more joke to tease me with. Needless to say, that was the last time anyone wanted me on their team. I had the 'cheese touch,' 'cooties,' and no one wanted to be 'stuck with it.'
Kickball - Is kickball any better? No...it is not. Picture me, up to kick. Everyone is rolling their eyes just hoping it will be a quick and painless out so they can continue the game with real contenders. I step back, take a running start to the ball - but the ball goes through my legs as I try to kick, causing me to trip and fall. I just saunter to the back of the line, shrugging my sloppy shoulders and let someone else take a turn.
Volleyball - What is it with all of these high-speed, intense, ball smashing, cheek pummeling games in this country? Once again, no matter what position they put me in, I was either going to eat an elbow of a real contender plowing into me to save the ball, or I was going to completely miss the ball and hit myself with my arms entwined into the other. I can recall the sheer terror of the ball coming at me full blast and me flailing around trying to hit it off of any limb, any body part, anything. Fail.
The Presidential Fitness Test - Who's idea was this? I think it was Reagan's back in the 80s. I remember thinking ohhh this is important and I better do well or I am going to be in so much trouble with the President! At ten years old, the mere label of Presidential was intimidating. I didn't know what was going to happen with the results. Poor me. I remember trying desperately to push out a few crunches while my PE Teacher held my feet and counted. The only thing I managed to push out was a toot. Humiliating. Do you see why I need therapy? I failed the test miserably. I fell below the recommended level of fitness by no one's surprise. I believe instead of taking an award home, I took a form letter home from the President regarding the importance of Nutrition and Physical Fitness. My mom read the letter as she melted 4 sticks of butter while preparing our big fat Greek dinner.
Rope Climbing - There are few memories that haunt me more than walking into the gymnasium and seeing the bright blue mats underneath the hanging rope of terror. Son-of-a biscuit. They're going to make me climb that effing rope again. Sure enough, everyone, or most everyone made it more than half way up. Almost all of the boys made it to the top to ring the victory bell. No matter what, we had to stay on and try as long as we could, or plunge to our social death on the blue mat of shame. I always told myself this time I was going to do it! Only to find myself holding on for dear life, swinging back and forth like a pendulum and getting rope rash on my sideburns.
Trampoline Day - I know, I know you are shaking your head and yelling - how could she NOT enjoy trampoline day???? I get it. Don't you think I wanted to jump on that thing and giggle like all of the other kids?? Of course I did. But someone in my class decided that for every girl that went up for a turn, the boys would look under the trampoline and measure the distance from the ground to determine what a fat ass said girl really was. Since 90% of the other girls were twigs, they had a ball when it was my turn to go up. My excitement quickly turned to shame as the boys looked under the bouncy contraption from hell at how close I came from hitting the ground and breaking the record of biggest lardo to hit the trampoline. I hate that gym teacher more than you can know for not putting a stop to that.
Gymnastics Day - This is the day that they brought all of the spectacular gymnastics equipment into school. They brought the uneven bars, high balance beams, the pommel horse and lots of colored mats. I didn't take gymnastics, or ballet for that matter. I wasn't really built like Nadia Comaneci so it wasn't worth the money to try and make me fit into a leotard. The only thing she and I had in common was a difficult spelled name and facial hair. When it came time to do anything, my gym teacher put me at the low balance beam. You know, the one that is 2 inches off the ground. She had me walk like a tightrope walker back and forth while others flipped their way around the uneven bars. That was enough to ruin me from ever watching the Winter Olympics again.
|Nothing makes you feel like an Olympic gymnast quite like this low beam. Eyeroll. Thanks for the shot of confidence, teach!|
Scooter and Rope Day - Anyone remember these little torture devices?
Parachute Day - I don't know. I guess I really can't find a beef with Parachute Day. But I'm sure it was traumatizing in some way, shape or form. Perhaps I've put it out of my mind, for now. It'll come back to me eventually.
|source: the chive|
Track & Field Day - Oh ho hooooo, I saved the best for last. Here's the day when I gave up on anything physical ever. They stuck the fork in me, exercise-wise when they sent me over to do shot put and discus with the other big girls. Wow. It was so cruel what they did. I have to say, however, I put my Dolly Parton chest into catapulting that effing solid ball of hate as far as I could, praying I would knock my gym teacher in her stupid head. I missed. But I got 3rd place out of 5 girls. It wasn't last. For once.
That's it for this session of my therapy. I feel better letting some of that pain go. I think I might even go for a run. Or not. Maybe I'll just go grab some nachos and a beer. Regardless. My 32D rack got me a lot farther in life than that gym teacher could ever hope for. So to her I say - take your scooter, and your rope - and ...well...just ...whatever.
~Big words from a Bighearted girl..
Love and Hugs-
Thursday, March 22, 2012
|THANK YOU FOR VOTING ME #6. IN TYPICAL UNDERACHIEVER FASHION, I'D NEVER DREAM TO BE #1 - I WAS JUST HOPING TO BE #6. ;)|
I hate contests.
I never win anything - not a thing - not any-thing.
I buy raffle tickets at every turn to support every cause.
I enter sweepstakes and complete surveys...it's all bullshit.
This is one contest that got to me. Maybe, if I got in the Top 25, it would mean I mattered. It would mean that the hours of writing weren't for nothing. It would mean that I was actually succeeding at what I set out to do: make people laugh, make people feel like they aren't crazy, make this world a little less scary. I think it might be working - but it's a collaborative effort of many great bloggers.
|Ahhh yes - laughter - the great equalizer. It knows no race, color, religion - it brings people together.|
Somehow I got to the top 10. Perhaps my self-esteem is just too warped to understand this madness. It's like Sally Field, as brilliant and as deserving she was of an Academy Award, she was baffled and humbled when she said in her acceptance speech, "you like me...you REALLY like me." I get it. Sometimes you can get smacked right in the face with something wonderful, and you still can't imagine you're worthy of the love and admiration of complete strangers.
I began writing my blog right after I had my third child and my husband went back to work (but never published any of it). I had Facebook, which helped me get through the long days with 2 babies under 2, and one in elementary school, but it still wasn't enough. Besides, all I ever saw on Facebook were perfectly dressed babies, and moms in glamorous poses and perfect cookies and dinners and birthday parties. It was making me think I wasn't good enough. I don't have any family around so the days were long and lonely, I was frustrated and tired, sleep deprived and isolated. I chose to write. I found humor in everything I possibly could, and laughter rescued me from the post-partum depression I was slowly trying to pull myself out of. I don't care who you are, what age you have children, what it took to have children, it is NOT all happy happy joy joy...it is difficult, draining and exhausting (and yes, the greatest gift in the world). PPD, no matter how light or extreme, is an awful joke to pull on women after they've already been through 40 weeks of pregnancy.
In December of this past year, I read Elf on the Shelf by People I Want to Punch in the Throat. I howled. I cackled. I belly laughed. I pulled a muscle in my neck from throwing my head back and laughing so hard. I cried from laughing. (I have to thank one of my sorority sisters, Dawn at Sugarchic cookies (one of the most beautiful people and cookie makers in the US! You've never seen such amazing cookies - and she posts funny stuff about trying to parent AND be a cookie maker - reminding me that no one is perfect!) for posting this brilliantly funny link on Facebook.) I remember the day I read that. It was an AHA! moment. I feel like Punchy (Professor Punch, the Jeneral, Jen, Throat Lady, etc) gave me permission to not be perfect - to get out of the shadows of the Pottery Barn Perfect Posers and the Martha Stewart Posse. It finally hit me that there was NO way I was alone in thinking that this Parenting stuff is hard effing work and it is impossible to pretend like we have it all together. It was all about acting skills - and some people were just better performers than others. I finally gave myself the ok to be imperfect and laugh about it, and finally publish the stories I was writing. I admired the fact that Punchy was not afraid to admit she's less than perfect, and with such humor and brilliance at the same time, and I thought, what a great way to help someone, anyone, like me to feel like they are NOT alone than to make people laugh at my expense. That was one bill I was willing to foot. Making fun of myself and watching others laugh with me, at me, whatever - as long as they laughed, it didn't matter to me. I also felt like, even if someone isn't a mom, or a wife, or a woman - anyone, anyone, could use a little help getting through these days of what I like to refer to as the Even Greater Depression. This world is crazy - times are really tough - and I just wanted to create a place where people could escape reality a little and just laugh.
|The BEST feeling in the world - the uncontrollable belly laugh.|
I look at this honor of making it to the Top 25 and I shake my head in disbelief. I look back on my life and remember that there was a time where my it was dark and sad and hopeless during a painful and loveless marriage and I would pray to God and say, if you get me out of this awful mess, I will live my life without regret, I will live each day to its fullest, I will appreciate everything that comes my way. I finally made a decision to leave and though it was humiliating to admit that I failed at marriage, that I married the wrong person, that I was 'unlovable,' I marched forward, slowly, one step at a time to a better life. This hardship is why I am now able to share my happiness with the rest of the world. Every wrong move, every mistake, every good or bad decision in my life was a brick in the pathway to my beautiful life, and I am grateful. I am now married to the man of my dreams, who from day one put me on a pedestal and has kept me there ever since. To repay that blessing, I have committed to making people laugh, to make someone feel special, to help out a friend in need, to touch the life of a stranger. Each and every one of you reading has made me a happier, richer person, just by welcoming me into your home. I thank you.
|This is me but I am sharing the spotlight with the spectacular Sangria my friend is drinking. Many lemons were harmed during this photo. I feel terrible about that, but not really. Regardless, it is me, saying Cheers to YOU for your kindness.|
Am I a writer? No. I'm just a girl. I'm flawed, I'm a little silly, I'm human...but I'm here, and I am loving this gig. Will I ever get rich off of it - not unless I start getting paid in giggles - and if that's the case - I'm already a millionaire. Thank you.
I would like to congratulate all of the brilliantly funny women who were in this contest with me. It is not easy to put yourself out there, be ridiculed, be criticized, all for the sake of a laugh - but they do it anyways. I am thankful for all of you. (I would love to name all 175 of them personally, but that's just obnoxious, so I'll encourage you to look at these bloggers not just the top 25, but as many as you can because they are all funny in their own way).
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this incredible honor..
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
There is NOTHING worse than that horrible moan coming from the kids' bedrooms in the middle of the night. It never happens at a good time. In our house, it usually happens right when I am entering the most wonderfully peaceful, deep kind of sleep.
Mooooom? Mammmma? Whimpering, crying, moaning usually follow. I shoot out of bed, usually stub my toe or step on a Lego.. Wha - Whaaaaah ok, ok, I'm coming, I'm coming. (Background noise: Hubs snoring...ignore wanting to beat him over head with pillow and focus on sick child assessment).
Clumsily and cloudy, I make my way to the bedroom where the moans are coming from. I find Youngest, burning up and actually asleep, sitting up, with hot cheek on wall. Oh this is pathetic! This poor baby! I am still in a (feels like) drunken slumber stupor as I go to the bathroom to find the nearest Children's
I jog downstairs, eyes still half shut, trip on several things, aside from just the floor in general, and find the Ibuprofen. In the 30 seconds I am downstairs trying to fumble unsuccessfully with the syringe dropper to dispense the correct amount, I hear heavy footsteps running across the 2nd floor. What the hell is going on up there? I haven't even been gone for a minute yet! I run upstairs, smashing my baby toe on the remote control car in the middle of the doorway, screaming obscenities the whole way upstairs. I walk in to Youngest's bedroom only to find Hubs, standing there in his boxers all effed up from confusion with his hand scratching his head. Where were you? I heard noises and came in here to find him asleep and you weren't in here or in our bedroom. What the hell is going on? Who's sick? Why were you downstairs? Sidenote: Midnight and after is not a time to have these types of question/answer periods with your spouse. It is a waste of time, no point is going to be made without pissing one of the two people off. Just assess. Fix. Go back to sleep. Leave the why-didn't-you-wake-me-up and I-was-looking-everywhere-for-you silly questions and statements for the morning to hash out. Hubs' foggy disposition, confusion, and line of questioning is annoying and maddening at the same time- go back to bed, I'll take care of it. He's gone in a flash. He's no dummy.
I try to wake Youngest to give him his medicine and he's sound asleep. This is never fun. I get the squeezie thing in his mouth and manage to keep him awake long enough to swallow it and go back to sleep. By the time I get him tucked in and put the medicine dropper in the bathroom, Hubs is snoring already. I crawl back into bed, listen to him snore loudly while I toss and turn with worry over what illness will go around my family like wildfire this week. I finally nod off to sleep again, only to be jarred out of my semi-coma by another wail.
MOMMMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! I start having heart palpitations - what? what the hell? what ? dammit - I have an uncontrollable fear-and sleep-deprivation-induced case of Tourette's. Again, Hubs sleeps through the cries. I look at him, and as much I love him, I mumble don't worry, I've got this you son of a b! In his defense, however, I feel I must add he works very long hours (yes, I do too), has a much more exhausting job (albeit without having to stop to pour his co-workers juice every 30 minutes), and is the breadwinner (not to be confused with the bread maker - that's me) so he really does need to sleep. Moving on. Who was crying??
|No really, I didn't really need any sleep tonight. Yaaawwwwn. What can I do for you, sir?|
It's Middler. He's thrown up in his bed. Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God. Panic is setting in, as I know there are 3 more of us in the house just waiting to go down like dominoes. I get Middler cleaned up and lay him down on the floor with a clean pillow and blanket while I get all of his bedding in the wash and make another bed in the middle of the night. Ohhh super - I get to wrestle with the fitted sheet while I am half asleep - as if it's not hard enough to do when I'm alert and full of caffeine. I manage to get it all done, my heart is pounding from the aerobic workout I just got, and I'm shaking from nerves. At this point, I've gone from cursing at Hubs, to cursing the little boy at the park who let out an uncovered, renegade wet cough so moist that I had to wipe the viral droplets off of Youngest's face. (Sidenote: Am I the only whacky parent who participates in CSI: Contagion to investigate and find out which little bugger got my kid sick this time? I count back to the where and the when they were coughed on/sneezed on exposed / and try to figure out the possible incubation period of said virus. It's silly, I know - but I have to take my aggression out on some form of thinking and this works for me.
It's now 4:30 am. I am wide awake. I think about all of the things I could be doing right now, and all of the things I will need to do when morning comes. I finally fall into a nice 2 hour sleep, I don't even hear Hubs go to work at the crack of dawn - and can barely move when Eldest's alarm goes off for school. Get up and make some coffee and get through it girl.
Two sick children, one bottle of Ibuprofen, and three sleepless nights later, everyone is back to good. For now anyways.
Until the next midnight medicine run-
Sunday, March 18, 2012
When I first met Hubs, I was so smitten with him that I would've walked barefoot through fire to impress him if I thought it would help. He was such a tall, dark, handsome drink of water full of energy and ideas and I just really wanted to be better and more adventurous than the nervous Nelly, calculated risk taker/high maintenance fluff chick that I was trying to hide from him.
One of the first dates we went on, we went hiking. It was my first time but I pretended I was cool and knew what I was doing. When I showed up with a Grande Latte in one hand, a fun little Coach purse in the other, sporting a cute pair of Nine West heeled boots he was like, ummm, do you have any better shoes than that? I did a double take. Was he asking me if I had better shoes as in sexier, hotter, more stylish? Because how dare he question my fashion this early in! I kind of laughed it off and said this was the only pair I brought. Little did I know, I would be scaling mini mountains in my precious Nine Westies. I insisted he go in front of me because I kept tripping on rocks and I looked like an ass most of the time just walking. I did not want him to see how incredibly stupid and uncool I looked trying to hike up a hill in my heels. Look, I was born in the city - the only hiking I'd ever done was down the driveway to the mailbox. Don't judge me. About half way through the hike, I wanted to start complaining. I had to pee from drinking way too much coffee & I was sweating my flawless makeup job away. The bugs were bothering me, the shoes were killing me, I was scared and I was getting tired of pretending that I loved the outdoors. The things we do for love, I thought. Son-of-a-biscuit. I got myself into this and now I had to deal with it. I had to do whatever I could to combat my fear of the outdoors. He was just way too much of a catch to screw it up.
|It's true: to this day, I still go hiking with the boys and Hubs, but I complain. The whole time. I figure eventually they will tell me I don't have to come anymore. For now, I provide comic relief via whining during the hike itself.|
We had a nice picnic at the top of the ledge and I have to admit, regardless of the countless bugs that got caught in my lipgloss, I was having a great time. The smell of the outdoors was invigorating. Well, it was either the outdoors or the swirling manly smell of pheromones and first weeks of dating that was blindly intoxicating. As I ignored the throbbing of my ankles and the pain shooting through my back, I looked at this handsome outdoorsman and hoped for the best.
A few days later, he asked me if I'd like to go sailing on his boat up in Maine. Ohhh, a sailboat...he's got a sailboat...! I was so giddy, in fact, that I managed to forget my boating history. Sidenote: my family is Greek. My mom was born on a little island of the Mediterranean called Cyprus. It is surrounded by water. Many Greeks are sailors and shippers, shipbuilders, Captains of cruise ships, etc. It is in our blood to love the water, to have our sea legs at birth. But keeping constant with my DNA screw ups, I was born with the seasickness gene. Most Greeks have olive skin - my olive skin was of the green kind. Put me on a ship, boat, canoe, catamaran, and watch me turn into the green goblin - of the worst kind. I'd been on a boat a handful of times in my life, none of them ended well. The craziest thing was that my ultimate dream was to be a cruise director. Thank goodness my life took me on another course or I would've been fired on day one.
|You never saw Julie McCoy throwing up on the side of the boat did you? Some cruise director I would've been.|
Back to the story. YES YES YES! Of course I will go sailing with you! In my mind, I am flashing to Message in a Bottle and thinking of Robin Wright as she has a whirlwind romance with Kevin Costner. My romantic side blinds me of my little problem and I find myself agreeing to the whens and wheres of our next date.
|I have GOT to cut back on my Nicholas Sparks books and movies. They only get me in trouble.|
I carefully pick out the cutest, most spectacular Nautical outfit that is both sexy and appropriate for sailing. My hair and makeup is done with great care - every date is an investment in my future with this spectacular catch. We arrive at the marina and walk down the boat-lined docks for what seemed like forever.
I stop to take a photo. I am optimistic and excited at the adventure ahead. I am overconfident and oblivious...blinded by optimism. This is the first, and only photo I will take on this day.
|Blue skies and the smell of money in the air...mmmm invigorating.|
We finally reach our slip and I realize I am going to have to do some acrobatics to get up on deck. My capris are a little too - a-hem form fitting, yes that's it. Ok, tight, there are you happy, they are too goddamn tight because I buy them that way to discourage overeating. Please don't let me split my pants..I think. I make it up on deck by some miracle and start looking around. I follow him around, trying to make small talk, but things start to get serious. This is some serious effing work this sailboat. He has to maneuver out of the slip without hitting any boats. Things get mighty quiet here and I start to wonder if I'm going to need a drink.
|This outfit is nothing like what I wore that day. I just liked the photo and her hat makes me laugh uncontrollably. She's adorable.|
I'm in the way no matter where I sit. I try to move here and there, front to the back, side to the side. Finally we're sailing. The breeze is causing my hair to whip me in the face, poke me in the eye, and smudge my lipgloss. I can feel my blood pressure rising as my high maintenance tendencies start to kick in. He gets comfy at the helm and we start making some conversation. About a half hour goes by as we make our way out on the beautiful blue Atlantic. I watch him as he maneuvers the ship with confidence and strength and I'm getting all warm and fuzzy just seeing him there. Wait. Warm. Fuzzy. Blurry. Nauseous. Oh God. No. It's happening. It's happening quickly. I'm going down, and things are coming up. Shit Shit Shit! Are you ok, Oh my gosh, are you ok??? Are you seasick?? Hello??? I could hear his voice coming in and out as I held my hair and vomited over the side. Look away! I begged....I'm fine - I'm fine, I'll be fine! I tried to convince myself. I tried to will myself to pull it together, but my legs went out from under me. I now have puke in my hair from the effing wind blowing my once-spectacular hair in my stream of puke. My eyes are watering, my mascara is running. This is a worst-case scenario right here. He took me to the bow, laid me down in the warm sun and put a cold washcloth on my head and blankets on my body. I was shivering cold and sick as a dog. He was seeing me at my worst and there was nothing I could do. I was certain the smell of funk was radiating from my pores and magnified in the sun. I am SO not going to be invited on another date. Nice going dumb ass. Nice going.
We made it back to my place in one piece. I swear the minute my feet touched dry land I was perfectly fine. Talk about a bad joke. All that money on a fabulous outfit and all I have to show for it is this picture.
|This is me. I look like a big effing blob of beauty. Love me now - Love me forever. Luckily, he did.|
All I could think of was this was strike 2. He was probably thinking what kind of idiot wears heels to go hiking, and goes sailing with seasickness tendencies. Later I learned he thought it was all very sweet that I would agree to step outside of my comfort zone to take an interest in what he loves. Awww, it did work! Date 3 was a weekend trip to Boston to go shopping. Smart man. He set me up to really succeed that day.
We went on several more sailing trips but stayed very close to harbor while I wore a Dramamine patch, sucked on Ginger candy, sported seasickness bands on my wrists instead of cutesy jewelry like on the our first date. I focused on the horizon just like they tell you to. I looked ahead at the blue skies with hopes and dreams that life really is good once you find the right companion. To this day, Hubs continues to put the wind in my sails, and I put the wind in his. He knows I'll never be much of a sailor, and he's ok with that. The boat is no longer his. It belongs to a bachelor somewhere on the other side of the world now. Hubs is fine with that, too. He is still at the helm - only this time it's of our family.
Sail on Sailor -
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Every year I host my family's Big Fat Greek Thanksgiving. It is a day to go all out food-wise, much like most of us in the US. I start cooking, baking, and preparing days before Thursday. I knew my little ones would be home from pre-school with me, so I planned ahead. I bought them each a little set of Legos. Usually, they either get a new set for their birthday or a holiday, and since the day before Thanksgiving, when I really needed them to keep busy, was neither of these, they were very excited.
Our kitchen is wide open with a decent sized island in the middle. It was what made me fall in love with this house, because I really do spend a lot of time in the kitchen. The dining room wall was knocked out a few years ago so most of the first floor is all open. We sold our dining room set because it was too fancy shmancy to have with kids around. The wide open dining room/kitchen has turned into a great place for the kids to play while I am cooking. Hubs and I always say that when we grow up, we'll get a dining room again. (More like when our kids grow up, but we can't bear to say it that way).
|They couldn't have picked a better day to do this to me. Thanksgiving Eve...the most complicated day in the kitchen.|
So picture the two little ones, on the floor in the dining room, joyfully playing with Legos. There I am in the kitchen, baking not one but two different things. I had baked cut out cookies (a huge hobby of mine that I enjoy immensely) and while waiting for them to cool before icing them, I was making cornbread. I had mixers, bowls, icing, tools, pans, half of the kitchen all over my counter. It was making my blood pressure soar, but this is the chaos that you take on when volunteering to have Thanksgiving. I hadn't even started the really complicated stuff yet. When my kitchen, and stage of baking was at its most involved point, the boys started arguing over one particular Lego piece. It, apparently, was a hockey puck. Each of them claimed it was theirs for various reasons. Next thing I know, Youngest is crying.
I stop what I am doing, wipe the gook from my hands on my apron and run over to them to see what is going on. I ask Youngest why he is (hysterically now) crying, and he answered that he hid the Lego. In. His. Nose. My first thought was to ask Why would you put it in your nose????!!!!! And through his hysterics I heard, I wanted to hide it in a place he couldn't find it! Wow.
I turn into Freak Mama. I start to panic. He could aspirate this effing Lego and then we're really in trouble. I try to assess his nose, his breathing and I'm like - eff it. We're getting in the car. All of this assessment took approximately 60 seconds. I grab my purse, shut off the oven, and fly out the door. While buckling the kids into their carseats, I am fueled by Youngest's terrorizing screams. I dial my doctor's office which is literally 2 minutes from the house, as I figure it'll be safer and quicker to go there than to the ER, not to mention the fact that the ER will cost an arm and a leg (and quite possibly a nose), so if I can avoid a $200 emergency room bill, I would like to! I quickly rattle off to the receptionist what's going on and she urges me to just bring him in and skip the ER. I feel a sense of relief as I know we just have to hold on a little longer.
I rush them both into the office. They are waiting for us. We get right into the examining room and the doctor has me hold him still as he inserts a long, tweezer-like instrument into his nose. He winces, in a big way, and kicks his leg and I am thinking this is going to be bad. I'm grateful that he didn't kick the doc in the junk since his foot was pretty damn close to that region. The doctor pulls the tweezers out carefully and quickly and Youngest lets out a huge sneeze, shooting the Lego into the doctor's face, nearly shooting his eye out. (You'll shoot your eye out kid..is what immediately comes to mind and I think, No More Effing Legos - 'I don't want anybody shootin'-his-eye-out in the voice of Ralphie's poor mom in A Christmas Story). I am mortified at this point. The doctor rebounds nicely from the snot covered hockey puck-to the eye he just endured.
|I don't want anyone shooting his eye out.|
That was it. All of this took under 90 seconds. The Dr. washed his hands, wished us a Happy Thanksgiving, told Youngest to never put anything in any openings in his body every again, and was on his way. For a brief second, I thought hmm, I wonder if they'll even charge me for this since it was a blink of an eye. Bahahahahahaaaaaa...ohhh that was funny. I gathered my composure and the kids, and headed home to my mess of a kitchen. When we got home, I made them clean up all of the Legos and put them at the kitchen table to draw Thanksgiving pictures for the family until I could finish my baking. Crisis (somewhat) averted.
Not long after, I got the bill. $540. The $200 Emergency Room bill isn't sounding so bad.
Legos - $20
Removal of Lego from Nasal Orifice - $540
Shooting the Dr in the eye with a mucus-covered flying hockey puck - Priceless
|Grateful no one got hit in the junkular region.|
On Thanksgiving, it was very easy for me to say what I was thankful for. A great doctor with a wonderful sense of humor, quick thinking, and a cheery disposition. And thankful for wine. Lots of wine.
Until next time, the sign reads, 113 days without a Lego accident,
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
|Good night you princes of Maine, you kings of New England (from the book The Cider House Rules by John Irving).|
The Help has inspired me to try a new way to say good night to the kids. Not the rushed - get-in-bed so I can run down and have some quiet time kind of good night. Not the FOR THE LAST TIME, YOU DON'T NEED A DRINK OF WATER, NOW GET BACK IN BED kind of tuck in. Not the -THIS IS THE LAST TIME I'M GOING TO SAY GOOD NIGHT kind of tuck in. Nope. This one is different. This one is brilliant. This one is how we all should go to sleep at night. Doing this has brought so much joy to me at the end of a day..it has brought so much happiness to them before they go to sleep after a long day in their tiny world. It brings my husband a smile, it brings us together. It brings me comfort and peace.
I look at each one of them individually and tell them why I am proud of them, why they are special, or give them a compliment. The looks they give me back nearly reduce me to tears of joy, and fills my heart with a sense of accomplishment that is simply indescribable. They've also taken to giving me compliments in return. No matter what kind of shenanigans they pulled during the day, no matter if they listened on the first try or I had to tell them three times to do something, no matter if they had to sit in time out or had the perfect day, this is the great Equalizer. The cherry on the sundae. The perfect tie of the bow. It's a gentle reminder that no matter how good or bad we did the parenting thing today, we did it - and we'll do it again all over tomorrow. I want the last thing these little men to hear is that they are loved for the special creatures that they are.
Tonight, as part of my blog, I recorded on my video cam what they in turn told me.
3 year old: "Mama, you are brave, funny, you make all the stuff good. You are huggy and kissy and are the best player when you play with us. Also mama, you are a good lamp post and I love you."
(I have no idea what being a good lamp post entails...)
4 year old: "It's my turn now, be quiet! (to 3 year old) Mama, you are smart, you stay up later than we do and I don't know why because that's not really fair, you are beautiful and sometimes you give me a time out when I don't listen, but sometimes I don't listen and you DON'T give me a time out. You're nice and you are a good teacher (I sub at his preschool often), and I love when you buy us nice toys. Oh, and mama, I would like you to buy me some more Star Wars Legos, and one more thing you put out the best clothes for us, and I love you). Verbatim.
12 year old: "Mom, you're weird - why are you video taping me right now? Ok, ok, I'll do it. You're weird but you are funny and you are cool and I love you. Can I go back to my Kindle now?"
Sweet dreams, dear friends. Try this with your children. Try it with your spouse. Better yet, look in the mirror and try it with yourself.
Monday, March 12, 2012
The Basics:There are 6 movies. The one that you and I remember from growing up was the very first one called Star Wars: A New Hope. This is considered Episode 4. I know, I know. It's stupid. The following two episodes that you remember from the 70s and 80s are The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi - considered to be Episodes 5 and 6. Here's where it gets tricky. Not long ago, they released the Prequels; Episode 1, The Phantom Menace, Episode 2, Attack of the Clones and Episode 3, Revenge of the Sith.
1. The Phantom Menace
2. Attack of the Clones
3. Revenge of the Sith
4. A New Hope
5. The Empire Strikes Back
6. Return of the Jedi
The following is an excerpt from Wookipedia (giggle) on Star Wars along with plenty of my notes to add a little 'insight.' Only read this is you really want the backstory and the summary of the movies and what the basic sequence of events are (otherwise skip this part!):
The prequel trilogy follows the life of a young slave named Anakin Skywalker who is discovered by the Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn (played by the lovely Liam Neeson), who believes him to be the "Chosen One" foretold by Jedi prophecy to bring balance to the Force. The Jedi Council, led by Yoda (our favorite little green guy), sense that Anakin's future is clouded by fear, but reluctantly allow Qui-Gon's apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) to train Anakin after Qui-Gon is killed by the Sith Lord Darth Maul (the scary guy with the painted red face and ninja moves like Jagger). At the same time, the planet Naboo is under attack, and its ruler, Queen Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman), seeks the assistance of the Jedi to repel the attack. The Sith Lord Darth Sidious secretly planned the attack to give his alter ego, Senator Palpatine (this is the gross, crusty little old man in the black hooded cape), a pretense to overthrow the Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic and take his place.
The remainder of the prequel trilogy chronicles Anakin's gradual fall to the dark side of the Force as he fights in the Clone Wars, which Palpatine secretly engineers in order to destroy the Republic and lure Anakin into his service. Anakin and Padmé fall in love and secretly wed, and eventually Padmé becomes pregnant. Anakin has a prophetic vision of Padmé dying in childbirth, and Palpatine convinces him that the dark side holds the power to save her life; desperate, Anakin submits to the dark side and takes the Sith name Darth Vader. While Palpatine re-organizes the Republic into the tyrannical Galactic Empire—appointing himself Emperor for life—Vader participates in the extermination of the Jedi Order, culminating in a lightsaber battle between himself and Obi-Wan.
Obi-Wan ultimately defeats his former apprentice and friend, severing his limbs and leaving him for dead beside a lava flow. However, Palpatine arrives shortly afterward and saves Vader, putting him into a black, mechanical suit of armor that keeps him alive. At the same time, Padmé dies while giving birth to twins Luke and Leia. The twins are hidden from Vader and are not told who their real parents are. Are you following this? Luke and Leia are brother and sister...just as an FYI...Pops is Darth Vader - who is actually Anakin underneath the Black Suit - and their Mama is dead - Natalie Portman. Are we good?
Tatooine has two suns, as it is in a binary star system. This shot from A New Hope remains one of the most famous scenes of the entire saga. (So if your little one says Good Night, I love you from here to Tatooine and back, take this as a compliment).
The original trilogy begins 19 years later as Vader nears completion of the massive Death Star space station, which will allow the Empire to crush the Rebel Alliance, which has formed to combat Palpatine's tyranny. Vader captures Princess Leia Organa, who has stolen the plans to the Death Star and hidden them in the astromech droid R2-D2. R2-D2, along with his counterpart C-3PO, escapes to the planet Tatooine. There, the droids are purchased by Luke Skywalker and his step-uncle and aunt. While Luke is cleaning R2-D2, he accidentally triggers a message put into the droid by Leia, who asks for assistance from Obi-Wan. Luke later assists the droids in finding the Jedi Knight, who is now passing as an old hermit under the alias Ben Kenobi. When Luke asks about his father, Obi-Wan tells him that Anakin was a great Jedi who was betrayed and murdered by Vader.
Obi-Wan and Luke hire the smuggler Han Solo (dreamy Harrison Ford) and his Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca (played by Rush Limbaugh - kidding! Kidding!) to take them to Alderaan, Leia's home world, which they eventually find has been destroyed by the Death Star. Once onboard the space station, Obi-Wan allows himself to be killed during a lightsaber rematch with Vader; his sacrifice allows the group to escape with the plans that help the rebels destroy the Death Star. Luke himself fires the shot that destroys the deadly space station.
Three years later, Luke travels to find Yoda and start his Jedi training, but is interrupted when Vader lures him into a trap by capturing Han and the others. During a fierce lightsaber duel, Vader reveals that he is Luke's father and attempts to turn him to the dark side. Luke escapes, and, after rescuing Han from the gangster Jabba the Hutt a year later, returns to his training with Yoda, who by this time is on his deathbed. Before he passes away, Yoda confirms that Vader is Luke's father; moments later, Obi-Wan's spirit tells Luke that he must face his father before he can become a Jedi, and that Leia is his twin sister. As the Rebels attack the second Death Star, Luke confronts Vader as Palpatine watches; both Sith Lords intend to turn Luke to the dark side and take him as their apprentice.
During the subsequent lightsaber duel, Luke succumbs to his anger and brutally overpowers Vader, but controls himself at the last minute; realizing that he is about to suffer his father's fate, he spares Vader's life and proudly declares his allegiance to the Jedi. An enraged Palpatine then attempts to kill Luke with Force lightning, a sight that moves Vader to turn on and kill his master, suffering mortal wounds in the process. Redeemed, Anakin Skywalker dies in his son's arms. Luke becomes a full-fledged Jedi, and the Rebels destroy the second Death Star and, with it, the Empire. (This part is sad - I remember my 6 year old watching it for the first time - he sat there and cried and cried wishing Darth Vader could have another chance.)
Anakin Skywalker - ok folks if there's one thing you need to remember it's this guy. He starts off as an adorable child in the prequels - then turns to sexy Anakin (Hayden Christensen) and goes to the dark side eventually being Darth Vader. The kids love this guy - he's good - then he's bad - then he's good...and oh how he loves his mama. Just like them.
Qui Gon Jinn - Liam Neeson - takes young Anakin under his wing. (I'm sorry, I had myself at Liam Neeson..can you say tall drink of water?)
Obi Wan Kenobi - the young version is played by Ewan Macgregor - trains Anakin after Qui Gon dies.
|Qui and Obi - Good guys, easy on the eyes.|
Queen Amidala - Queen of Naboo people - also known as Padme - also known as Luke/Leia's mother. Natalie Portman.
|Don't try this hairstyle at home, girls.|
R2D2 - if you don't know who this is - there is no way I can help you at this point.
Jar Jar Binks - from the Prequels - he is an amphibious creature with a Reggae-Rasta-Raggamuffin style. He's very annoying and clumsy and most big time Star Wars fans would like to remove his existence from the movies. He refers to himself in 3rd person and calls himself Meesa. It's maddening.
Darth Maul - bad ass nightmarish red and black double bladed lightsaber usin' creeper. The only thing you need to remember about this guy, is that if you buy your kids a lightsaber like his, you will have broken things around your house..and it doesn't get put away somewhere nicely - it's too damn big.
|Try to convince the wee ones NOT to get the Darth Maul costume - it's all fun and games until someone breaks shit.|
Count Dooku - is cuckoo for cocoa puffs - no, kidding - ok he's a creeper played by Christopher Lee (you know, Saruman from Lord of the Rings? What does this guy only know bad guy roles?) Anyhow - he was once a Jedi Master but ended up going to the dark side.
Clone Troopers - these armed guards are good guys until episode 3 and they become bad - and then they are called Storm Troopers. They just aren't the sharpest tools in the shed - and the Jedi Mind Trick gets them every time.
Tusken Raiders - Sand people that remain completely covered from head to toe and like to wave their stabbing pokey things over their head all of the time.
|Hasbro makes these Galactic Heroes - they are very toddler/kid friendly, nearly impossible to break and affordable. My kids have played with them for years. Should run about $6.99-$8.99 for a 2 pack at ToysRUs, Target, Walmart, etc.|
General Grievous - Cyborg - warlord - has 4 lightsabers. Bad ass. Bad guy. The kids love him - why? Because he has the most lightsabers of course. The more lightsabers, the better.
Chewbacca - 200 year old wookie from Kasyyk. Well traveled, witty, compassionate - kind of a smart ass too. I once knew a guy in college with almost as much back hair as Chewy. Only a few characters in Star Wars understand when he speaks his native language of Shyriiwook which I think is wookie speak for Jibberish.
Darth Sidius aka Palpatine aka Senator - I don't even know where to begin with this freak. He's the Senator from Naboo but is Darth Sidius in disguise. He has some freaky lightening at his fingertips that apparently causes terrible pain to people - go figure. Wouldn't our Senators like to have that power? I have been notified by a dear reader Katie Davidson that he "was a Senator, then Chancellor and then Emperor. When we are first introduced to him - in Episode 4 he is The Emperor". Katie, thank you for helping me illustrate my point that I don't know where to begin. He's complicated. But I stand humbly corrected, and thank you for your note. :)
Lando Calrissian - Billy Dee Williams back in his sexy days. He's a gambler with a winning smile and is friends with Han Solo. You'll remember him from the Colt 45 commercials from the 70s. If you're really young, you'll know him from the Janitor on General Hospital. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
Jabba the Hut is what I look like one week out of the month. Bloated, grouchy and with a bad disposition. He's a crime lord that eats nine meals a day. Sound familiar?
Ewoks - the furry cute little guys who live on Endor. They help fight the attack on the stormtroopers.
The Cantina - Not unlike many bars around town, this is the hangout for awkward, unattractive, unskilled people and weirdos to go and socialize. The bartender keeps order by threatening to poison anyone who gives him trouble. The band at the cantina is led by Figrin' D'anand & his band. These guys are hilarious - until you go to buy some of the figurines on ebay - then you'll be crying. They go for a lot of money and are very hard to find.
Yoda - I've saved the best for (almost) last. This little guy's species is unknown. He's the leader of all of the Jedis and is so cute that we all want to squeeze him and kiss him...just a little. The kids love him - how can you not?
|Yoda's most famous quote is "Do or do not. There is no try."|
Princess Leia - I saved her for last because of course she's my favorite. She is the one I loved the most growing up. Only Princess Leia could pull off the sidewind-braid-bun, and the slave girl teenyweeny purple sequined bikini. Poor Carrie Fisher said she had to (literally) go to a Fat Farm to lose an insane amount of weight to fit in that bikini in the movie. When I play with my kids, most of the time they let me be Princess Leia and I'm happy to play that role - but on occasion, they make me be Jabba the Hut...that's when I get grouchy.
I will continue to fight evil with my trusty lightsaber, coffee and laptop!