Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Filling the Vacuum

There is a vacuity in my brain as I seem to learn many new things each day.

1. If you eat pomegranate at your desk at work your monitor screen looks as though you put a tiny slit in your throat by the time you have finished and red drops are sprayed everywhere else.

2. If you spill the peppercorns at home the two-year-old insists on helping with the vacuum and this can take a long, long, …very long time.

3. Even though as an adult with adult children you finally get to design an adult Christmas tree with all color-coordinated ornaments a la Martha Stewart, you must remember to purchase some that are unbreakable for little children to hang.

4. Three-month-old babies are perfectly capable of throwing nasty temper tantrums.

5. This generation of working mothers is phenomenal. Breast pump at 5:00 AM, out the door at 5:30 AM to help with Habitat for Humanity for your company, and then into the office at 10:00 AM!

6. This generation of working fathers is phenomenal. Flying in from St. Louis at 6::00 PM and heading directly to the office until midnight and then home and up at 6:00 AM to feed and clothe two little ones and get them off to day care and pre-school!

7. If you do some Christmas ornament shopping before Thanksgiving…World News Tonight will shove a camera in your face with the threat of showing the world how crappy you look when you shop on the weekends. I never saw myself on the TV…thank goodness…but the season is not yet over.

8. And finally, these do taste and look different when made according the recipes on each can.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Pre-Thanksgiving Thursday Thoughts

1) This is my favorite holiday because except for those watching their weight, it is a holiday that is non-exclusive to ones views---especially on politics or religion. Everyone seems to agree that we need to take the time off and be thankful for something. I am truly thankful.

2) I get to hostess the big feed at my house this year and that makes me feel warm and cozy all over. I know there will be years in the future where it will just be hubby and I and other years when cooking will not be possible for any number of reasons. I am truly thankful.

3) No unusual recipes will be tried. We are going traditional all the way (except for one small dish.) I am truly thankful.

a. (H’orderves: toast tips with salmon spread, grilled oysters on the half-shell, carrot sticks and dip.)
b. Roast turkey
c. Cranberry relish (which no one ever eats…but it IS a tradition)
d. Herb/sausage stuffing (wet and dry)
e. Garlic mashed potatoes
f. Sweet potato casserole
g. Green bean onion casserole
h. Spring greens salad
i. Pumpkin pie with whipped cream
j. Key lime pie
k. (I haven’t decided yet whether to have rolls…hate to have too few carbs at a feast such as this.)

4) Daughter is bringing a special Italian Barolo for just her and I to share. I am truly thankful.

5) My son did not respond to my email over a week ago asking if he was coming. So typical of him. I hope he does show up but he is a moody one. I am truly thankful that I at least have him in my life when he deems possible.

6) My favorite dish at Thanksgiving is my homemade stuffing although pumpkin pie with whipped cream runs a close second. Whoa, am I thankful!!

7) The long weekend will mean I have time to convert all those calories to fat and read all my favorite blogs. Am I thankful or what?

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Grass is Always Greener Life Story #12

A common disease among young mother's is brain meltdown. This disease manifests itself in many ways and has several symptoms. Some of the more common aberrations include inability to concentrate for more than 30 seconds on any one thought, using one's nose and sense of smell to determine all future actions from changing clothes to selecting food from the fridge, accepting spitup as an accessory for your wardrobe, and adapting to constant noise as the norm, thereby becoming jittery when there is no noise.

A great strength is the ability of young mother's to adapt to this disease. Your brain is melting and so you accept the fact that while you can still do two and even three things at one time, you often cannot put simple sentences together. While you can repair the most complicated train-track layout and successfully install teeny tiny batteries into even smaller places, you cannot remember where you placed your car keys or why you just ran upstairs leaving both small wonders to their own devices.

Ninety-nine percent of mothers live through the disease which can last for several years even. Society does not talk about the other 1%. Usually you know you are over the disease when you sit looking at your bare toes one day and have the urge to paint them; or you look in the mirror one morning and, in heart-attack horror, think you see your mother; or you walk back into a very quiet house and realize it is quiet because you are the only one there.

Thus, in a moment of idiocy, you feel you must start volunteering or go to work to pay those mounting bills. The house is too quiet and the hushing silence is getting on your nerves. It is too clean and you begin to think you are turning into Heloise.

Doing adult activities with other adults outside of the house begins to look inviting if not downright exotic, especially as it requires new clothes. (You have forgotten the Benjamin Franklin aphorism you learned in school: "
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.")

Mmmm..! Black nylons and a short skirt and cute high heels and a new haircut and you look almost sexy...wait isn't that what exposed you to the former disease in the first place? You push that thought to the back of your mind and put on make-up and nice pearl earrings and feel oh so grownup once again. Your brain even seems to be humming like a fancy sports car motor.

You get into the car with your new leather purse and head out to office that in its wisdom saw your intelligence and creativity and hired you. You pull into rush hour traffic and feel more grown-up than you have felt in years. You look into each car and wonder if the drivers notice how you are now one of them. You are part of that busy bustling machine that makes the world go round. This glow lasts several weeks and maybe even into the months or years if you like the job or volunteer work that you are doing.

Unfortunately, you will catch a new disease down the road. This disease is like a leaky gasket that pulls the energy from every pore of your body. Getting out of bed and into a car to fight the headache of traffic becomes a monotonous chore. That neat gray suit is starting to hang funny, especially across your butt. All of those people at the office that admired your creativity and energy have changed their tune and seem to feel you are way too energetic and too creative and are actually making them look bad. Just because you are young and cute doesn't give you the right to outdo them. They were there for years working their asses off while you sat at home and played with babies. They won't say that, but they do think it. And then the worst happens with this new become one of them! Every idea you get is echoed with "been there, done that.' You find the new young staff so annoying and so cliched and so very naive.

You begin to count the days when you can sit home in a quiet house with the hushing noise and the "Heloise" kitchen and the grandchild baby for playtime.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Memories -- long ago

I am having a number of deja vu moments as a grandmother living with my daughter. I am so happy for this experience, because we forget (I forget) so much of my past life as I plow through my current life of deadlines, dinner and diaper changing.

I had forgotten how rejecting my little girl was of her father in her early months due to my nursing. She wouldn't go to anyone at all because I was the sole source of sustenance. I would thrust her into her daddy's arms and tell him to just cope, because I had to start dinner! I knew she was fed and dry and I wanted some time without someone in my arms, so her crying didn't bother me all that much. But, it totally stressed our Daddy-o. He was that blue-eyed guy that was NOT used to being rejected.

Babies have excellent survival instincts. My daughter is also nursing her little gal and now at three months, Angel is rejecting all of us at most times. She will billow and coo until she realizes that she is not in her mother's arms and then her agony cannot be assuaged. I can calm her intermittently but I think that is because my voice and face remind her a little of mom and that confuses her enough to calm her for a few minutes.

I can already tell her personality is different from her brother's at this early age. She is very much a clinging girl. She likes to bury her face under my arm with her pacifier trying to shut out the world. She will nurse, pull off her mother's breast and then thrust her small face under Mom's arm and hide until she falls asleep. She also uses food to calm her every moment. Definately a 'food soothes' everything kid. She will probably have a weight problem growing up.

It is fun seeing the small parts of Angel that emerge each day. I have no time for myself at the end of the day as the result of living here, but this is a small sacrifice to be part of the lives of these very special people.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Design on a Crime (ouch)

The Scene: A basement family room.
The big screen TV sits firmly in the far corner, and the toddler’s toys are scattered from the side room well into the family room. The fairly new sectional in “Real Simple” gray blue style sits invitingly along part of one wall with a large matching soft cushion ottoman in front for plenty of foot resting.

Both toddler and baby are miraculously calm at the same time.

The Daughter and her Mother tentatively smooth the anticipation of actually participating in a conversation.

Daughter: “Mom look at this ottoman.”
Mother leans forward and sees a series of small brown dots. “What is it?”

Daughter: “Blood. From Dad working in the yard! Look over here on the seat!”

Mother leans to the side and sees a larger smudge that actually looks like blood, and she remembers why years ago she bought chocolate brown sofas for her family room.

Mother: “Oh,dear…Well you could let Xman crawl around when he skins his knees and thereby get a little modern matching pattern going on the fabric.”

Daughter, looking long and hard at mother. “Or I could just slit my wrists and let blood drip everywhere!”

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Thursday Thoughts # 8 – Things I Knew and Others Have Recently Learned

• Little babies in Florida can still get a nasty sunburn when placed in a car seat under an umbrella on a heavily overcast day for several hours. In spite of peeling skin, they still remain cuter than anything you have seen all day.
• Even if flights are delayed, baggage misplaced, and traffic is horrendous due to drenching rain, the metal pole in the garage will not be the item that bends when you hit it with the car while backing out and moaning how late you will be to work.
• Fall rainy days invite that first cozy fireplace fire, but artificial logs do not give off much smoke and you will be well into sootsville and ceiling smoke hanging like a low cloud when you realize that you have closed—not opened—the damper on the fireplace in your newly purchased house. Trying to carry half the artificial log out with a shovel only increases the probability of disaster.
• Soot on the newly painted fireplace mantel doesn’t really look as romantically antique as it should.
• Dumping the smoldering half log on the driveway in the pouring rain means you will have wonderful gray mush that little boys can walk through and eventually bring back into the house.
• Husbands are a little clueless when it comes to putting on Halloween costumes so, do not be surprised if your little guy goes out with his Lightning McQueen costume on backwards!
• Direct TV is a lousy company. Their website says: “We Do the Work, You Watch TV. DIRECTV provides free professional installation free, service and maintenance and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. You can't get that with your cable TV company or other satellite TV companies. The proof is in the pudding!” The proof is they send you not once but twice a defective HD-DVR box. They speedily (3 days delay) send out the third box and they expect you to install it yourself. They also expect you to swallow the loss of hours of programming of your favorite series that still reside on the old box. This is a big deal only because the kids paid so much for the stupid service.
• If you ask grandpas to help with garage clean-up you must realize that it will be natural for bull-in-a-china-shop type of activities to transpire. The garage door opener will cease to work and you must wait for grandma to get home and figure it out.