Showing posts from February, 2012

Today, I am glad that...

...I am not attempting to grow up in the current culture. I'm so glad I did not have to deal with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, email, cell phones, and internet shopping when I was a teen and young adult.  I'm grateful that I got to figure out who I was with a buffer between me and the outside world.  I worry about kids today, my own especially, who are growing up without that buffer.  The world is too much with them. I remember way back in 1994, when I got my first email address.  I remember sitting with a co-worker, Jane, who showed me how to use this newfangled technology.  I remember thinking: " OK.  I have this email address.  Who is ever going to send me an email?  This is weird ." I remember when Rick and I made the decision to get our very first cell phones, a big deal for us.  It felt strange to be able to talk to him (since he was the only person I called for a long time) from any place I happened to be.   I remember discovering the internet, clicking

7 Quick Takes: Volume 50

Happy Friday, happy day Thanks for stopping here to play. Read a post, or read a few Won't you leave a comment, too? Visit our host, the lovely Jen , Click on some links, now and again. Here are my 7 Quick Takes. Thus endeth my turn at being Shakes. ~1~ I am totally prepared for Lent this year: I have created detailed, catalogued lists for my family members of all the ways they can be better people. What, isn't that the whole point? OK, OK, so that's not the point. It's a temptation, though, to pick things for my kids to do or to give up. It's pure fantasy to pick things for my husband to do or give up. But really, what I want is to mark the season, give it its due. So I will begin Lent 2012 with a few words from my spiritual mentor: “To keep united to God through the suffering Humanity of His son–that is the aim of Lent. “ — Dorothy Day Suffering is unpleasant business. It's ugly, difficult, hurtful. Usually, we avoid such

Where I Make a Fool of Myself in Front of the Kids

The homework scene at my house is daunting, to say the least: five people, large and small, need to get things done on a schedule, need varying levels of assistance from me, and need multiple swift kicks in the metaphorical pants to make it happen.  It's downright crushing sometimes. Tonight, I was sitting at the table with Kid #1 helping him with scales, while Kid #3 hovered at my shoulder asking me to quiz her on spelling words, while Kids #2, #4, and #5 tried to avoid homework and make noise.  My head was on a swivel, twirling this way and that, trying to respond to everyone, trying to keep everyone on task.  I was a touch overwhelmed.  I think it showed on my face.  I'm pretty sure I had that blank look on face that means my response mechanism is overloaded and my intelligence is compromised. Kid #1 asked me: " Why are you in a crisis? " So I launched into a tirade about how hard it is to be me, to shepherd the five of them through homework time, to keep the

Thank You, Rock-n-Roll!

When my first born son was a wee tot, probably no more than 1, he tried his first tomato.  It was the first time I ever saw him dislike a taste; up to that point, he was a dream eater.  But that tomato caused a facial response worthy of overcooked brussels sprouts and became the first chapter in a long, depressing story called How A Kid Got Picky . At the time, I thought: " OK, he doesn't like tomatoes.  No big ."  But it turns out, it has been a huge road block in his eating life.  Pizza?  Nope: tomato sauce.  Family spaghetti night? Not with my homemade sauce.  Salads?  Well, sort of fine, if you pick out the toms, which of course, he does.  Salsa? No.  Bruschetta?  Uh-uh.  Most soups?  Fail. As he has gotten pickier over the years, his not eating tomatoes has gotten more and more frustrating for me.  Pizza is such kid-standard fare that the issue comes up frequently.  Pizza is the meal of choice at most birthday parties, soccer team parties, class parties, al

Porch Swing Sillies

Little T expresses herself.  Sonoma, February 2012. * * *

Blossoms and Birdies

As previously mentioned , our annual garden tour is coming up.  You know what this means, right? Weeding.  Weeding.  And then some more weeding. So this past Friday, I commenced, and made a fair dent in one area.  On Saturday morning, I put "1 hour of weeding" on my to-do list, and promptly got so busy, it almost didn't happen.  But the hour finally came at 3:15, after transporting Sam to band practice, running various bank/post office/grocery store errands, and selling girl scout cookies at Lucky's for two hours.  I was tired, yo.  Didn't want to weed at all.  But I forced myself to get down on my hands and knees in the dirt and do battle with invasive grasses, oaxalis, and fallen apples.  The last 15 minutes were the hardest, but I kept reminding myself that I am at the beginning of a long road, and if I don't establish a little discipline now, I'll be in a world of hurt later on. So I kept going.  When I finished, I stopped working and started si

The Natives Are Getting Restless

The native plants, that is. It's that time of year again, folks!  The time when Rick starts to obsess over our garden in anticipation of the annual garden tour we participate in.  It's a big deal.  First of all, our own garden is one of the stops on the tour.  Second of all, each year, some of the gardens Rick has designed are also on the tour: for 2012, there are two.  And third of all, the tour coordinator hires me each year to produce the booklet that every registrant receives; I'm on my 8th year of doing this project.  This 80-odd page guide contains descriptions of each garden, maps, lists of designers, lists of native plant nurseries, and various native plant resources.   If you've ever heard me refer to the one big project I work on each year, this is it: This is also the time of year that... ...Rick decides to take on some large scale project in the garden that most people would spend 2 months planning and 5 or 6 months implementing, giving us exactly

Warning: Dr. Suess Ahead

The kids were out with Rick this weekend, and they saw an ad for The Lorax splayed across the broadside of a city bus.  The ensuing conversation: Kid #1: "Dad, can you believe that?  The Lorax is rated PG?" Kid #2:"What?  How can a Dr. Suess movie be NOT GOOD for little kids?" Kids in general:  "WHAT?  THAT'S CRAZY?  Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, what's wrong with The Lorax?  Why? WHY DAD????? Dad: "I don't know." Kid #2: "What is there, Inappropriate Rhyming ?" * * * After all, everyone knows that rhyming, in the wrong hands, can be dangerous.  That's why I don't let my kids read or write poetry until they are old enough to date.  Or at least old enough to clean the kitchen without my having to call them back 5 times to finish the job correctly. Actually, maybe that will help me determine if the kids can go see The Lorax: if you're old enough to empty the kitchen drainer-catchy-thingee, you can see the m

A Real Bargain

My daughter -- seven years old -- asked me if a bargain and a compromise are the same thing. I thought about it for a minute and then said that they aren't exactly the same because you can use the word "bargain" to describe a great deal you got on something you purchased. Then I said that a bargain can be like a compromise, and I gave this example. "Say you wanted 5 cookies, and I wanted a clean kitchen. We could make a deal, a bargain, that I would give you 5 cookies if you cleaned my kitchen." And the future high stakes negotiator popped right back: "No--that's not a bargain. I'd only do it for ten cookies." I think she gets it. * * *

Yay for Pink Eye

A text conversation excerpt. * * * 7:45 am I just had to totally restrain myself from yelling at  Jimmy.  He's a nightmare in the morning in terms  of getting out of the house. Breath mama breathe. You are zen mama.  Nothing can penetrate  the peace and calm that is you. Not even Jimmy getting out of the  house in the morning. 8:46 am It was when he started cleaning dog shit out  of his shoe over the floor that I just about exploded. Ok.  Dog shit can penetrate the  peace.  You get a pass on that one. Thank you. 12:51 pm F***ing pink eye! Ugh. I once had it with all 3 kids at  the same time.  It's such a drag. And gross. I wouldn't have procreated if I'd  known about pink eye. That and pushing kids on swings.   Hate that too. 1:00 pm Pushing the swings makes me nauseous. You mean nauseated.  Otherwise, you  are the cause of the nausea. Whatever. You sound like your spouse. :) When you ge

I Totally Get It

I learned something about myself today, with respect to my three daughters. I can't leave their hair alone. This is most painfully obvious at Mass, where I sit in close proximity to one, two, or all of them. You know those mama monkeys on nature programs who are forever picking stuff out of their babies' fur? Well, today I realized that I understand why they do that. Because they can't stand the thought of someone else seeing that piece of bark or fuzz or whatever in their precious baby's hair. I totally get that. I swear I don't eat whatever I pull out. * * *

7 Quick Takes: Volume 49

It's Friday. I'm frozen. I'm frightful. I'm free. Please visit Jennifer, the host of 7QT, and visit the links to some of today's other Quick Takers. ~1~ Over a year ago, I decided to paint ceramic mugs for my kids as a gift for Christmas, 2010.  That December, I spent many hours painstakingly creating unique designs for each of them.  Christmas morning, they were delighted by the colorful, personalized cups...which were painted with the wrong paint.  In a few days, it was all rubbed off. OK.  Lesson learned.  Get the right paint.  I promised the kids I would re-do them.  I never did. Christmas 2011.  I bought more cups.  I bought some Ceramcoat paint, because I figured, based on the name, that this paint was good for ceramics.  I painted another couple of cups.  I realized quickly this was also the wrong paint.  I gave up in disgust. OK. Lesson learned.  ASK QUESTIONS.  So this time, when I went to Joann Fabrics, I asked someone to direct m

A Morning Bouquet

I took my dog for a walk this morning.  The sky was bright and clear, the air brisk and warm at the same time.  By all accounts, it was a glorious time to be outside with a good and loyal dog.  I gathered a photo bouquet: Sounds lovely, doesn't it? Well, it was.  But it was also a little wonky.  My good and loyal dog is terrible on leash, so who was walking whom was very much a question.  It was more of a frenzied jitterbug than anything else.  My joints hurt by about half way down our block.  She had a fabulous time, investigating, with vigor, every interesting plant, pile, leaf, person, car, canine or random ball we encountered.  I bounced along behind the leash, arm outstretched, teeth rattling around in my head, vowing again to get some obedience lessons scheduled. Ever walk by tree or a pole with a dog?  Why do they always go the opposite way around than we do?  WHY? So yes, I took some pretty pictures on my "relaxing" morning walk.  While negotiating a 75