Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tis the season of lying... I mean that in a good way!

‘A crazy time of year’, is what people are saying.  Yes, I do agree.  There is more on our plates right now as the Christmas season is upon us.  Not only the basics but the buying of presents, 

the decorating, 

the baking, 

the cooking, 

the perpetration of a lie.  

Oh yes, tis the season of lying.  We even created a brand new lie called 'Elf on the Shelf.'  Or as I like to think of it, ‘just one more thing I have to remember to do before I fall into bed at night.’  

When I do forget, which happens at least once a week, I then have to field the barrage of questions, first thing in the morning. 

“Why didn’t Chris move, Mommy?” (Chris Miss is our elf’s name.)  

“Does that mean that Santa does not know about the bad stuff we did yesterday?”  

“Will Chris tell him tonight, about yesterday or will he just forget about it?”  

The list of questions goes on and on and on, and usually before I've had my cup of coffee.  
So I start off every day of the Christmas season with a lie to my children.  My 8 year old knows, I think,  but he still wants to believe.  He keeps asking us if Santa is real, if there are really elves, if we have ever seen the real Santa, oh, and the other day he asked how old Santa is.  So we make up stories and try to sound convincing. 

All the while I feel like he is looking at me and thinking, 'what a bunch of bull.'  He is a pretty savvy kid, and I think he just likes to see me and my husband squirm.  It’s his own little form of entertainment.  This is the first year I feel bad about lying to him.  

On the other hand we have a 3 year old who is just starting to get the whole Santa thing.  He is so excited and full of wonder that the lie seems, well, good.  He has no questions about Santa or how he gets in, or how the reindeer fly.  He just knows because we told him.  

At that age all you need is those you love and trust - who shape your world and whom you idolize - lovingly look at you and tell you that on Christmas eve, a fat, white, hairy, man in a red suit, will break into our house and leave toys if you are good.  The 3 year old just hears “toys” and believes.  
When I was growing up and I started the serious questions about Santa, my dad let me in on a secret.  He sat me down and told me that he had some information that not everyone talked about, and he felt I was old enough to know.  

First off, he told me Santa was not that jolly, he was too busy to be jolly.  Nor was his hair and beard all white.  It 
was graying and closely cropped to his face, not all long, because it would just get in his way.  He was not overly fat, either, because he was extremely active.  He did not wear a red suit, but normal clothes that kept him warm in the night air. He was rather short, had an olive complexion and a large nose. (Ironically, that pretty much describes my dad...hmmmmm) He did not live at the North Pole, but he had a home there.  He had homes all over the world and lived wherever he wanted.  He was the most kind and giving man on the face of the earth. Oh, and he was Jewish.  

Yes, my father told me that Santa was Jewish, just like Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.  He said that Santa liked the image of the jolly fat white haired man because he could get around much easier and live amongst everyone without being noticed.  He also told me that there were no elves but he had many helpers who were just regular people that he employed but they all signed a confidentiality clause and were sworn to secrecy.  

For some reason, all that made complete sense to me.  The only problem I had was trying to convince my friends of this.  They did not believe me.  

It was my father’s way of letting me in on a secret.  The secret that not everything you are told is always the truth, even if many, many people tell the same thing.  

I have not told my 8 year the Jewish Santa story yet, but I think it might be time. He may need to feel like he is “in on it” just to believe for a little longer.  
Lying to our children may just be keeping them young and wondering for a bit longer.  Lying about Santa is now a tradition passed down from generation to generation.  Some people are against it and I can kind of see why.  We do spend our time teaching our children that lying is wrong. I mean, how ironic is it that on the day we celebrate the birth of - who we believe to be - the Son of God, we are breaking a commandment of God’s?  How can we justify it?  I don’t know. 

But I do know I love the wonder in my little ones' eyes as we set up the tree.  

I love the hope and pure excitement that the season brings to them.  

I love how they painstakingly write their Christmas list to Santa and refuse to sit on his lap in the mall.  

I love how happy they are on Christmas morning when they realize that Santa showed up the night before.  

As a general rule lying is wrong, but for those of you who have children and continue to perpetrate this particular lie,  let me say Mazel Tov!  

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gimme a Break

I am not good at getting the little stuff done.  It is a process throughout the day, that leads up to total mind numbness.  I start off good and with good intentions.  My plans are always: clean the house, put stuff away when I am done with it, leave the TV off and play more with my son, get off this godforsaken computer, do more laundry, clean out the family's clothes that no longer fit, and will never fit anyone in the house so I can donate them, make healthy meals, exercise, walk the dog more than once a day, organize, etc. This is all on top of the normal list of get the kids up and ready, go food shopping, pay bills, basic hygiene, etc. My mind starts off fresh and in complete gratitude for what I have and what I am to accomplish each day.  Then it starts.  The whining, complaining and frustration, oh and this is all coming from me.  I lay there in bed and after I think about all that I want to accomplish I instantly start sabotaging my list. I am queen of procrastination.  If there is a deadline, I will get it done right under the wire.  If it is an “open-ended” goal, just assume I will never get it done.  
I started this new workout program.  It is very basic and very attainable.  You just work out once a day and drink a shake once a day.  You are accountable (through facebook) to a group of friends who are doing the same thing.  I always like working out and always, always feel better after I do.  I also enjoy the shake.  It is very good.  But even with the ease and accessibility of this program, most days I am working out and downing a shake at 11pm!  WHY?  Who can tell me why I make the things that can be an enjoyable part of my day into a deadline stressor?  
Being a mom, I go through most days, especially since my kids are young, trying to plan out the next time I will get a break, either to sleep or just sit and stare into space. I spend a lot of time thinking, ‘Should I start that now, because if I do, I will never get it done and the kid’s movie is keeping them quiet right now? Maybe I should just take the opportunity to sit here and stare into space?’  Yes I have done that.  The moment only lasts minutes, but sometimes as many as 15 minutes and I then get snapped out of it by something or someone yelling for me. It is almost an obsession, of looking for opportunities to steal a break.  It is something I have become good at.  I am not proud of this.  I feel like a “break” junky.  If I don’t get a daily break, I get more and more agitated.   The days progress with me getting done about one tenth of my original list. The things I do get done every day seem to be the same, my boys are fed, the kitchen gets cleaned, I play with my 3yr old and read with my 8 yr old, every day.  These are the constants that seem to get done. There are even times that the other things get done!
Some days are better than others but they all seem to end the same way.  With me getting the kids to bed and then I don’t want to DO anything, I don’t want to THINK about anything or TALK about anything. All I want to do is get lost something like “True Blood,” “The Tudors,”  a good book, or on facebook. Anywhere as long as it does not involve, laundry, cleaning, kids, cooking, folding, straightening or fixing.  The end of the day is my “super break” if you will.  It is an extended length of time to just be. There are times I am so tired that I should just go to sleep, but I stay awake just to have that time to myself.  
I know most of you are reading this thinking, ‘how sad.’  There are so many that seem to have it together, with extremely productive days and they get it all done with a smile.  I am not one of those people.  I don’t think it is what I was made to be.  Don’t get me wrong, I get a lot done, my boys want for nothing, including my time and attention.  My husband is my true partner and best friend.  I can cook like a mo’ fo’ and if you are in a crisis situation, I am your woman to take control and fix everything for you.  As a matter of fact I am good a taking control of most things and had to learn to hold back on that a bit.  So what if I am undisciplined in the minutia?  My house is a mess because my kids, dog, cat and a lot of other people's kids have fun in it.   The clothes are clean, just not put away.  I think we (meaning I) have to stop beating ourselves up for who we are not and start celebrating who we are.  Right?  or is that just a cop out?  My brain hurts, I need a break!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Child Sexual Abuse and the Sandusky Case

It’s an epidemic.  It is a cultural disease that needs to be eradicated.  I am so disgusted and appalled.  I am not only talking of child sexual abuse, but of the rampant coverup and protection of the perpetrators. 
Gerald Sandusky, a former Penn State football coach is currently indicted on 40 counts of sex crimes against young boys, following a three-year investigation.  It is all the news anyone is talking about.  I read the Grand Jury report. You can read it here:  It is disturbing to say the least.  Some parts I had to quickly skim over,  just to avoid vomiting.  I read it just to see if there were really people who could have known about what happened to these boys and stood by and did nothing.  There were so many people that could have stepped up for these children, that it is unfathomable to me.  
The question I have and many have been asking is; how can a grown man witness a 10 year old boy being raped by another grown man and simply walk away?  It would have taken such little effort, at the least, to pick up the phone and dial 9-1-1.  What stopped him from doing this?  I think that most of us would have done that and more.  I could not imagine seeing a child being brutalized and not do everything in my power to physically protect that child.  The perpetrator was in the most vulnerable position a person can be in.  He was naked.  So you knock him out, and if you can’t do that,  just take his clothes.  Then get the child away from him and wait for the police and ambulance.
This 10 year old little boy, only known as “Victim 2” in the Grand Jury report, has not been seen or heard from since.  No one knows who he is. He did not come forward.  This information about him was obtained while doing the investigation on the 7 other victims.  No one knows who this child was, because no one helped him.  No one cared, no one stopped his abuser and no one ever found out if he was alright.   If he is still alive he is a 19 year old now.   For some reason I can not stop thinking about this anonymous boy.
The man who witnessed this crime was Mike McQueary.  Instead of stopping the rape of this little boy Mr. McQueary left the locker room “distraught”  and called his father.  Upon getting the call, his father told him to come home!  Then they both decided to call Joe Paterno the next day!  WHAT?  Why would they call Joe Paterno?  Where is the rational?  OK so they did not handle this properly, certainly Mr. Paterno would call the police.  No, he called his boss, the Athletic Director. Well there has to be some protocol that he knows about that would tell HIM to call the police. No, they just tried to make it go away, by doing nothing.  I just can’t seem to get it.  These are good men with families, known for their upstanding character and not one of them did the right thing.  They all failed that 10 year old boy.  They then subsequently failed every other child who was raped and/or molested by Sandusky after that incident.  
It makes no sense to me that the reputation of a School or a football program is so sensitive that they could not have exposed Sandusky at the first inkling.   Wouldn’t you want to expel someone like this and have them removed completely from your organization... immediately?  Wouldn’t that hold up your reputation and support your motto, Success with Honor?   Not for nothin’ but Mike McQueary is still at Penn State, he is the the football team’s receivers coach.  
The epidemic of child molestation and rape is rampant.  I am not being melodramatic here.  The current statistics are that one in three girls and one in seven boys will be sexually abused.  ( Think about that.  Go to your child’s classroom of 25 children and realize that  about 6 of them are being or will soon be sexually abused.  Then walk down the hall to the next classroom and do the same thing, then walk down to the next classroom.  The magnitude is staggering. It also must be known that for every brave soul who comes forward and reports being sexually abused there are at least 3 that remain silent.  
All of this was brought to light, for me, with the Catholic Church scandal.  I did not want to believe it, nor did I want to even acknowledge the accusations.  But I did wind up reading both Grand Jury reports that were done on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.   Again the most disturbing aspect of these very similar cases, of men in power abusing young children, is those that let it happen.  The men who witnessed questionable behavior, who were presented with corroborating facts of sexual abuse, who were told by the perpetrators that it would never happen again, chose to do nothing.  How?  Why?  What is holding them back? What are they afraid of?  
I tend to lean toward the theory that our society does not value the lives of women and children.  There are some men who do not view them as a complete person.  So their suffering and needs are beneath the needs of the male perpetrator.  Then I think that some men may still believe that they should not be a snitch.  Some may fear or have some displaced loyalty to those in power, especially those above them.  
I don’t know. I don’t have the answers. I am just a mom, who had to have another talk with her children about being safe, good touch/bad touch and trusting their instincts. Telling them that ‘if something does not seem right, scream, yell and get away from the person who makes you feel uncomfortable. EVEN if you know them and they pretend to be your friend.  Then come and tell me or dad.’   It is scary and sad that there is a prevalence of sexual abuse by men in power.  It just make me question, where will the next scandal come from and how can we stop it?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Feast of All (those crazy) Souls

It is all Souls Day as I write this and I am feeling pensive and a bit solemn.  I look at my children and I see how fast time is going by. I look at my parents and feel the same way.  I look at myself and although I have physically changed, I feel like I have always felt.  The passage of time plays tricks on you.  The passage of people does the same. 
My grandfather, who passed last year, is still as present in my life has he was when he was alive.  I see him in my youngest son.  I have a vivid memory of my grandfather holding my youngest son when he was about 9 months old.  He said “You make sure he knows who his Poppie-Pop was, I want him to know me.”  I really think that my Pop, has made himself known not only to my son, but through my son.   My son will say something, make an expression or show a mannerism that IS my grandfather.  I know many will think this is nuts.  So be it.  
I also have had an ongoing relationship with my great-grandmother who passed in 2001.  She was 96.  We were close when she was alive and I feel her presence at times still. But not as much as I did years ago and when I was pregnant with my first born.  When I was pregnant I would actually smell her face powder, or her apartment and I was instantly comforted. I now have dreams where I talk to her and give her hugs and know that is really her.   A little crazy, maybe, but I don’t have a problem with it.
I do a lot of research on our family tree.  I get on and am lost for hours in my detective hunt of who is who, where they lived and what they did.  These were all my people who have gone before me and paved the way for the life I lead now.  I have discovered ship manifests of countless relatives that came here in search of..... who knows?  I would like to think it was a better life.  One relative came with her baby girl a year after her husband had established a residence and a job; coming here to start a life. They partially raised 4 children until she died in childbirth with the 5th, who also passed.  Was her life better or worse here?  Who is to know, but I am sure many in her village thought she was crazy for leaving. 
Another relative lied to her family telling them she was coming here to bring her brother back.  She had no intention of doing so.  Instead she came here following the love for her soon to be husband.  She left her family and the country she knew for a possibility.  This same woman was also a healer in her South Philadelphia neighborhood known for  “laying of hands.”  She wanted to pass this on to her daughter (my grandmother) but my grandmother thought she was nuts.  I sometimes think I might have been a good healer.  
They all came here almost penniless, they worked, raised their families, persevered and passed it all on to the next generation.  Some did this better than others.  I still feel some of them around me and mine.  It gives me hope and incentive to live up to their ideals and expectations.  So tonight I will toast my ancestors, and pray for their guidance.  You may think I am nuts.  It must run in the family.  

Friday, October 21, 2011

What I did today!

Here is a stream of consciousness, non-punctuated, rambling list of my day, yesterday.  I laughed when I re-read it and hope you will too.  If you are wondering what I am doing today, please read the blog again.  If you wonder what I am doing tomorrow, please read the blog again.
What did I do today?  Watercolored, wiped the same nose about 100 times, wiped the attached butt about 40 times, watched approximately 15 mins of each of the following: Whinnie the Pooh, Tangled, Garbage trucks, Thomas and Whinnie the Pooh and Tangled again.  Made breakfast, fed breakfast, partially cleaned up breakfast, made lunch, fed lunch, partially cleaned up lunch.  Gave medicine, tried to give a nap, gave up and turned Thomas back on. Re-washed a load of laundry that was left in the washer from last night, checked facebook, checked e-mail, checked my calendar, canceled appts and tasks that were overlapping, tried to reschedule said tasks, played trains, lincoln logs, tried to clean up play room while my 3 yr. old sat on my back like a cowboy, laughing and saying giddy-up mommy!  let the dog out, let the dog in, repeating this process about 15 times throughout the day, broke up cat and dog fights, stared at two baskets of laundry that have needed to be folded for 3 days, asked my 3 yr. old to pick up his blocks that he put in the living room so the dog won’t eat them, while he half heartedly picked up a few blocks I asked him to get the red one that went under the couch, he handed me the blue one, I then stopped cleaning up the blocks and started playing a color game with my son, fearing he is color blind, or maybe I just don’t spend enough time teaching colors, then put that in my mental file for a later google, laughed at his explanation as to why red is blue and blue is yellow, called my grandmother, made to feel guilty by said grandmother, called my mother, made to feel inadequate by said mother (no fault of her’s it is all in my crazy head)  called my mother-in-law and well, just hung up confused, thought about how disorganized I am, wondered where that comes from, realized that it was time to get my 8 yr. old from the bus, took the dog for a walk, borrowed peas from a nice neighbor so I could make tuna casserole, made tuna casserole for the hub and I and made turkey burgers and sweet potato fries for the kids, all the while breaking up arguments between aforementioned kids, broke up fights between the dog and cat, fed dog and cat while simultaneously continuing to clean up breakfast and lunch, ate dinner with the boys, talked to hub on the phone who said he would be home late.... again, tried to convince my boys that sweet potato fries were just as good as regular fries, 8 yr. old was still hungry so I made him some left over mac and cheese, cleared the table and started homework with my 8 yr. old while my 3 yr. old ran around the living room with the dog, both riling up each other to the point were I KNEW someone will get hurt, tied to keep the 8 yr. old on track with his homework, while he whined and complained, got the kids jammies on hub came home and all hell breaks loose as the dog, cat, and boys ran to him like he was the second coming of Christ, he was equally as excited to see them and they proceeded to wrestle and jump around like lunatics as each was vying for daddy’s attention and getting jealous of any attention paid to the other,  hub then carried both up the stairs, got their teeth brushed and put them into bed, I then went up and finished the process by reading books with each while the hub almost falls into bed himself, I kiss all three of them and came back downstairs to the dinner mess, the living room and play room looked like a bomb went off, started cleaning up, as I answer a few calls from upstairs, (no not a call from God but from my little gods, demanding my homage and obedience if I want them to sleep), put the food away, took the dog out, wrote this blog, now I am off to bed it is 10:45pm and the house will have to stay this way...... DAMN IT, I left that load of laundry in the washer AGAIN and I never googled color blindness!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Back to the Catholic Guilt.

He said he wants his First Holy Communion!  What? I am struggling with our decision to.... I don’t even know!  I am not even sure what the decision was.  We are not going to church anymore, and I did not sign up my son for CCD this year.  If you need more of a backstory, go to my very first post on this blog. (  I still consider myself Catholic, only because that was how I was brought up and it still remains within me somewhere.  But I felt like a hypocrite going to church and not really believing in the Church anymore.  I want to instill a strong faith in our sons, but really have a tough time with some of the teachings of my childhood church.  And not just the remote controversial teachings, but the fundamental teachings of Transubstantiation, Reconciliation, and the church hierarchy. Not to mention the Church’s views on married priests, female priests, and homosexuality. Not to further mention it’s horrible handling of abusive priests and political moves it is making against legislation that will help victims of childhood sexual abuse.  
Please understand, I don’t in any way think that those that attend Catholic church and are devout to it’s teachings are bad, misguided or even wrong.  I commend them for finding that which has eluded me.  I am happy that they feel at peace and in harmony within the Church.  I wish that for everyone.  Personally, I don’t want to be a hypocrite and go to church out of some fear that if I don’t, I will go to hell.  That if I don’t attend church and be an active member of the church community I am bad person.  Honestly, I just want to live my life and be good to others and raise my boys to be loving and caring adults.  
So back to my dilemma, my son wanting his First Holy Communion.  I asked him why and he said so that he can get the bread when we go to church.  I told him that we really don’t go to church and he said “but for when we do, I want to be able to go up and get the bread!”  Then I started thinking, why can’t he just go up and get the bread.  No one will stop him.   Instantly I thought, ‘But that is against the rules of our Church. It is sacrilegious, and I don’t want to be disrespectful to those that keep the Church’s teachings.’  Then think through the fact that my husband and I both got our First Holy Communions and it was a wonderful right of passage; a beautiful ceremony that brought us more fully into the fold of the Church.  But do I want my children in the fold of this Church?  It does not seem like the same Church I grew up with.   
My first and foremost thought is the health and happiness of my children, physically, mentally and spiritually.  How am I to know what their spiritual needs are?  I am not completely sure what mine are. There are certain things that I feel in my gut and know to be right.  I believe Jesus wants us to show love, tolerance and inclusion.  I think He was trying to tell us that we must find God within ourselves and those around us. By loving others we will find peace and happiness.  It seems that at the base some Catholic organizations, this is true.  I look at the wonderful work that Catholic Charities does for the poor, (without trying to convert.)  I look to Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity and the Human Rights work the Franciscans do.  But when I see that Monsignor Lynn, who was arrested for protecting sexually abusive priests then suspended from ministry was APPLAUDED at an invitation-only dinner for Archbishop Chaput, who pointed out how difficult the ordeal has been on Msgr. Lynn.  My blood boils.  ( Msgr Lynn was arrested for shuffling pedophile priests and teachers around (Not alleged pedophiles but convicted abusers) and for covering it up. He was applauded!  Why is he not hanging his head in shame, even if he did not do what he was arrested for doing?  Wouldn’t you feel awful that your direct reports were abusing children on the job and you did not know about it? Wouldn’t you be doing all you can to help the victims and their families?  Not sitting at some exclusive dinner accepting applause!  
I have had this conversation with friends who feel the same way and are sending their children to Catholic school or to CCD, because they still believe in the sacraments.  I completely respect that.  I just don’t know what to do about my son now wanting his First Holy Communion.  My husband and I have not had a chance to revisit this subject since my son just asked this yesterday.  I am confused and conflicted. I had a long conversation with my son about Jesus and God and how we can commune with them anytime, not just at church.  I talked to him about how much he is loved not only by us but by God.  I explained how special and unique he is and to honor that by being a kind and loving person.  He had some insightful things to say like how all our ancestors were the stars in the sky and they were angels looking down on us.  He also told me that when you go to Heaven you can be whatever age you want at anytime explaining that Poppy-Pop (his great-grandfather who passed away last year at the age of 92,) can be 16 or 8 or 49 depending on his mood.  He also asked, why we don’t go to church anymore.  I was honest with him and told him that I did not have a really great reason.  I told him that it was stressful to go to church and we did not seem to like it too much anymore.  But just because we did not go, did not mean that church was not good.  It just meant that it is not what we are doing it right now.  It is all so confusing and frustrating.  I guess the question still remains - will I let him get his First Holy Communion and how do I get him into CCD now that the year has already started? More importantly do I want to?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cord of Money

Ah, my husband.  He is a wonderful man and great father.  I enjoy his company and he makes me laugh daily.  With that being said, at times, he can be an enigma.  Many of my fellow wives out there may be able to relate.  Whether your particular husband has an obsession with fantasy football/baseball, or likes to play with his adult toys like video games or four wheelers, or if he is a fanatic about his yard, in any case, it can be confusing and overwhelming to the wife.  
My husband has a few idiosyncrasies, but one that seems to be a little different is his obsession with building fires.  No he is not a crazy pyromaniac.  He simply likes to build controlled fires either in our fire pit or in an old Weber grill.  The other day he frantically runs to me and asks for $150.00.  Like a child who just heard the bell of the ice cream truck, holding out his hand as if I had $150.00 in my pocket.  He “needed” this for “a great deal.”  
I am in charge of the bills and finances.  I make his paycheck stretch to within an inch of its life every two weeks.  Normally I would be bringing home extra money this time of year by watching other peoples’ kids.  Unfortunately there are no kids to watch (besides my own) this year. So things are pretty tight and I really have to rein in all spending.  I knew that when he asked me to take out $150.00 we only had about $200.00 in the checking account and that had to last us for another 5 days.  So my initial reaction to his request was “no!”  What did we need for $150.00?   He proceeds to tell me that he was talking to this guy who he saw on Rt 202, who had a cord of wood that he would drop at our house for only $150.  First off, who just finds a guy on Rt 202 on his way home from work, second, we don’t have the extra money to spend on all that wood, third, who needs all that wood?  Ok that is a very good deal for a cord of Ash, however, it is a LOT of wood.  We don’t have a real fireplace, nor do we have a wood burning stove (well we do, but it does not work and is sitting in my husband’s shed for a future “project” so that he can heat his shed and go out there and play in the winter.  Can you hear me rolling my eyes?)  
We don’t NEED wood to keep our family warm, we have propane heat that we spend a lot of money on.  This wood is specifically for him to play with in the back yard.  Yes, I admit, I do enjoy sitting out by the fire on a cool fall night with a beer and good conversation.  BUT I NEVER GET TO DO THAT!!!! I am too busy yelling at our boys not to run near the fire pit, not to throw anything into the fire, watching out for the large culmination of neighbor’s children who come over at the sight of the flames, bringing said children in to go to the bathroom, get a bandaid, check what time it is, etc.  Then it is finally time for my youngest to go to bed. At which time I have to take care of the entire bedtime routine by myself, because someone needs to be out by the fire.  By that time, I am beat and not going to leave my child in the house by himself so I can go and sit by the fire.  I then have to contend with getting my older one to go to bed and his pleas for being able to stay out by the fire with daddy and as his whining as he gets more tired.  See what I am saying?  
Meanwhile my hubby is sitting in his adirondack chair, sipping his Octoberfest and smiling and relaxing.  Not like he does not deserve it. It is not something he gets to do, hardly ever. It is actually a wonderful sight to see.  He works really really hard all week and lately his work has been less than fulfilling.  He is a stand up guy and does not compromise himself. He does not get enough appreciation for that.   He is an amazing provider and my best friend.  He very rarely lets himself just relax, and sit.   So if he wants to burn a cord of wood and enjoy some evenings in the back yard, $150.00 is really not that bad a deal.  Besides it makes up for the boots I just bought myself! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A quick rant

I have not blogged in quite some time and I have to get back into it.  I enjoy it and it makes me feel better.  It is much cheaper than therapy!  It is like working out.  I always feel better when I am doing it and afterwards, but it is getting started that is the problem.    Speaking of therapy I really need some. I have been in such a funk/depression/anger management problem for the past week or so.  If you are a fellow woman reading this, you may understand the monthly monster that kicks your ass and every one within a 5 mile radius who deals with you.  I am not sure if that is what is going on.  All I know is I feel like shit.  I am tired all the time, all I want to do is eat, everything that anyone says or does pisses me off, even myself.  I am pissing me off.  I have everything I could ever want; a happy marriage, healthy, happy kids, a new puppy, a wonderful home and great friends and family.  What the f**k do I have to be upset about?  Why can’t I get off my ass and snap the f**k out of it?  
I have been to therapy, I know the coping skills.  I have dealt with my issues, set the boundaries, healed the inner child, etc. etc. etc.   Why then do I have no motivation?  I need to get stuff done and always feel as though I don’t know where to begin, so I just don’t.  If I don’t think it can get done right, or if I am not forced to do it, I just don’t do it.  If I don’t have a particular spot to put something it will sit there until I can find the perfect spot, instead of just putting it away.  I don’t know, then sometimes I find myself shoving things away anywhere they will fit, just so I don’t have to look at it.   Whatever, I am so over myself.  I have anything and everything I have ever wanted and what am I doing?  Whaa whaa waa, like a little spoiled brat.     
OK I feel better already.  Thanks for reading that rant.  I needed it.  Sometimes I just need to slap myself across the face and snap myself out of it.  I have better blogs coming.  Over the past few months I have started some really good ones.  I will finish them soon.  Thanks for being patient.  Blog to you all soon!

Monday, July 25, 2011

I eat too much

I am overweight.  Here it is.  I am 135 lbs.  That may not seem like a lot, and it is not, but I am only 5’ tall.  Ok I am just barely 5’ tall and that 135 swells up to 137 on some days. I was not always overweight.  As a matter of fact I was pretty damn tiny most of my life. I started doing gymnastics at the age of 5 and was competing by the age of 7.  I was a competitive gymnast for 11 years.  I should have gone on to compete in college, but that is another story.  I always ate what I wanted when I wanted.  I even continued to eat like that long after I was no longer an athlete.  It did not really catch up to me until my mid to late 20s.  
Since I was an athlete I had about 2% body fat. (I know this because they checked our body fat and weight monthly at one of the gyms I competed for.)  Therefore, I really could stand to have gained a few pounds. When I was 18 I weighed about 90 lbs.  Over the next 10 years I went up to about 117-120 lbs, which was comfortable.  It took another 10 years for me to get to where I am today. So if I continue on this path by the age of 48 I will be about 157 lbs. That is not good, especially since the older you get the harder it is for your body to deal with poor health.  And that is what this is, poor health. 
When I do exercise for more than a week, I instantly start to feel better.  Even if the scale only moves by a pound or two, things start fitting better, my mind is clearer and I am generally happier.  But here is the real problem.  I EAT TOO MUCH!  
Perfect example, just yesterday, I was really trying to eat healthy all day.  Raw fruits and veggies, limiting the carbs, yada, yada, yada, yada.  Then, everyone was in bed.  I was finally alone and had nothing to do but kibitz on facebook, check e-mail and research the latest potty training techniques for my 3 yr. old.  I logged off about 11:15 pm and take my laptop back to the kitchen to plug it into the charger for the evening.  Before I know it I have polished off 3 bowls of Cherrios, 4 slices of deli cheese and 2 cheese sticks while watching “Watch What Happens, Live with Andy Cohen.”  
The entire time I am eating I am thinking “What are you doing, you are NOT hungry!  STEP AWAY FROM THE CHEESE!  You will never lose any weight this way. What are you hiding from with this food...... OH Shut the F--- up! Who the F--- cares, what am I, in a fashion show? Who gives a shit how I look?  This cheese is not gonna make one bit of difference in my waistline at this point.”  This dialogue happens a lot. More often than I care to admit and can’t believe I am putting this out there like I am.  But I have an eating problem. I eat when I am sad, angry, frustrated and stressed.  I also eat when I am happy, bored, socializing, procrastinating, or don’t want to do laundry.  I eat to make myself feel good. ‘How’s that workin’ out for ya?  Shut your stupid mouth Dr. Phil!!’ (I also have an ongoing dialogue with stupid Dr. Phil in my head.  Sorry you had to see that.)   
I really like food.  Carbohydrates are my drug of choice.  If I could, I would eat an entire loaf of crusty Italian bread, with my large bowl of linguine, topped with gravy (that is tomato sauce for all you ‘medigans) and Locatelli cheese.  My stomach is growling as I am typing.  It is pitiful.  I also like cheese.  I also have a problem with eating cereal, bagels, soft pretzels and pizza.  I do love to cook, probably because it gives me an excuse to eat.  If I am doing all that work I might as well enjoy the fruits of my labor, right?  So what is the solution?  I know what the solution is, START EATING RIGHT!  I know how to do that. I am educated enough to know what to incorporate into my diet to help me get the proper nutrients.  I know I should not eat when I am not hungry, or eat late at night, or overindulge.  I need to drink more water and limit my carbs. I have read all the books about only eating at the table with no TV or distractions, putting the fork down between each bite, drinking 2 glasses of water with your meal etc.   I know all these things but it has not gotten me to DO them.  
The only time I ever succeeded in watching what I ate, was when I had gall stones and had to wait a month to get them out.  For that month I could not consume ANY fat what so ever.  NONE, if I did not want to have another gall bladder attack.  The fear of that pain coming back, was the only thing that kept me from eating what I wanted. I dropped 15 lbs. The only other time I lost weight was when I was physically sick with the worst stomach bug I had ever had, and when I suffered from panic attacks for over a week.  Either time I could not keep anything in me.  I also gave up iced tea (which I drank a LOT of) when I got kidney stones.  I have not touched a glass since I was diagnosed 3 years ago.  Again, to avoid pain, I changed my diet.  So what does this tell me?  The only will power I have is the will power to avoid pain?  I guess, but what about exercising? I like it, once I get started, but there is always something that stops me from going and I fall right back into my comfy cozy rut.  I wonder what stops me from exercising?.... hmmmm..... Oh, I know...  ME!!!
So there are people starving all over the nation (and the world) and I am bitching because I eat too much!  It’s inexcusable. I am sick of hearing myself talk about it. So any psycho-analysts out there?  Wanna diagnose me then tell me the magic words that will make me change my diet, appreciate my food and make me take care of my body?  Anyone.... Anyone....  Bueller....Bueller.....Bueller

Saturday, July 9, 2011

My Bad Ass Kids

They are rude, disruptive, selfish, inconsiderate and think of no one but themselves.  They are unappreciative.  They don’t care if you are tired and want to sleep.  They don’t care if you are sick and need to rest.  They don’t care if you are hungry and need to eat.  It is all about them and what they want and when they want it.  It is exhausting, its the part of parenting that I really hate. My children, the loves of my life, who make me happy beyond words can really be a pain in the ass.  
What is it about 6:20am that is so friggin appealing to my 7 yr. old?  Why in the name of all that is holy, does he insist on waking up at this time.  Not only waking up but waking up anyone who is in the house.  I guess I wouldn’t be all that infuriated if we were home by ourselves, and it was only affecting me.  However we are on vacation, staying with my parents in the house that they very graciously rented.  We are staying here for free.  We are in paradise, enjoying the wonder and beauty of Hawaii and these little brats go on like nothing has changed.   There should be no whining or complaining.  I know, what am I doing?  Complaining, and these are my kids whom I created. But this is my blog.  
Can no consideration be paid to ANY one?  I must be doing something wrong.  They are so rude and unappreciative that this must be my punishment for not effectively teaching my children properly.  When the 7 yr. old is throwing a fit because things are not going exactly as he wants them to, I tell him he has to start being thankful and appreciative.  The answer he gives me... “for what?”  FOR WHAT!?  For the fact that I am not beating you right now, for your every breath of which I have afforded you, for this beautiful vacation, for not belittling you, for allowing you to voice your opinion, for letting you enjoy a structured and balanced life!   OH I could go on, but it does no good.  He really doesn’t understand.  When he is calm and I talk to him about the feelings of others, and how he can treat others like he wants to be treated, he seems to get it.  But when he is tired, hungry, tired and hungry, frustrated or not feeling well, there is no getting through.  But there I go, making excuses.  Tired, hungry, he has to learn to deal with life in these situations, doesn’t he?  My 3 yr. old is almost as bad, but he is only 3.  Again, is that an excuse? See I get tired just thinking about it. 
Here is an example.  Not even a great example.  Just the straw that broke the camel’s back.  We are at a museum today, and they gave out free coloring books.  Somehow the 3 yr. old’s coloring book was left at the museum.  I noticed it an hour later when we were already on to another adventure.  I said nothing and hoped that he would not notice.  As we are getting into the car the 7 year old inquires as to where the 3 yr. old’s book is.  I try to quiet him, but he continues even louder so that the 3 yr. old gets wind of it.  Now we are having a meltdown.  I try to temper my anger, by reminding myself that he was just looking out for his little brother and may not have understood that I wanted him to keep his mouth shut.  After everyone is settled and it is forgotten about the 7 yr. old, goes on to tell us that he wanted to know about his little brother’s book because he did not want to share his.  OMFG  It was forgotten about.  Now the 3 yr. old is reminded of the fact not only does he not have his own book, but that his selfish older brother doesn’t want to share his!  Another meltdown ensues.  Here is where I really want to impose a good old 1970s style whoop ass.  A pull the car over, yank em out of the back seat, take off the belt and beat some ass.  OK, I recovered, no need to call Child Protective Services,  this did not happen.  Instead, I turn around give “the look” and definitively yell “That. Is. Enough.”  Honestly, I don’t even know what that means, but it seems to work more than not, so I use it when I can.  
So those are my bad ass kids.  I really love them and I am forever trying to set a structure and boundaries.  I want to raise happy AND respectful children.  Really, I do.   It is difficult at times.  Just when I have had enough, I then listen in on them as they share the bedroom on our vacation.  The little one says “I scared”  the big one says, “will it make you feel better if I sleep next to you?”  Little one says “Yes, Thank You.”  It is quiet for a minute and the little one says “You are my best buddy, I love you”  the big one says “ I love you too.”  ((sigh)) I have wonderful and amazing children.  All is right with the world. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

To my Brother and his new Wife

I have been to many weddings in my life.  The first one I remember was my Uncle Bill’s.  I was about 4 or 5 years old and I wore a brown velvet dress.  I remember being very excited and dancing, trying to be the center of attention; my pop-pop egging me on.  The next one was around the same time.  My cousin, who was a year older, was supposed to be the flower girl.  She was too scared and they asked me to step in.  I walked up the isle with pride, ordering the ring bearer to slow down throughout the procession. 

I write all this, from Hawaii, where my younger brother lives.  We just attended his wedding to his beautiful bride and I couldn’t be happier for them.  Hawaii, is one of the most magical places in the world.  Certainly the most magical place I have ever been to.  Marriage requires a little bit of magic along with the love and the work. I have been to so many weddings throughout my life. All were joyous and fun occasions in their own right.  Some of the marriages lasted some did not.  But the actual weddings are all so full of promise and an innocent naivetĂ© of what it takes for a marriage to work.  

When my husband and I got married 10 years ago, we had already lived together for about 3 years.  We had already worked out some of the minor kinks that most newlyweds go through in the first years of marriage.  You know, do we wait to pay bills until the last minute or pay ahead of time, do we sleep on the left or the right side of the bed and do these positions remain or can they be switched, who cooks/cleans up meals, how do we divi up household chores, what religion if any are we, do we practice our religion, how much alone time do each of us need.  Each marriage works these things out in their own way (or they don’t.)  

The thing that changes after the wedding vows are spoken and we have recovered from our wedding hangover is something more ethereal.  You realize you are a part of something larger, something your own but part of a multicultural, multinational, institution.  What makes your union so special to last the test of time?  The answer is and isn’t: Love.  Love has to be the base, the cornerstone and the core.  The rest is a lot of hard work, mostly on yourself.  You have to start figuring out who you are and why you are the way you are, in relation to your spouse. You have to be patient with your spouse while they figure this out for themselves.  You then have to form who the two of you are now, together. Learning what it means to be a spouse, give and take, push and pull, yin and yang.... all these cliche’s are out there.  The bottom line is you have to give each other and yourself a break.  It is not going to be all seamless and effortless.  That is not how lasting relationships work.  Be patient and sincerely care for the other like you want to be cared for.  Some days it comes back 10 fold some days not at all and that is ok.  As long as there is reciprocation at some point. The only thing that is effortless and continual is your love for one another.  My little brother and his new bride are just beginning this journey.  Although it is work and there is effort involved, it is the most rewarding and fun work you will ever do. Each marriage is as unique as the people in them and it can be the one thing in your life that is truly your own.  So, to my brother and his new wife, Mazel tov, Mabuhay, Salute, Sláinte, Jambo, Okole maluna! 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Thrifty Rubicon

Where to begin? I am writing this post in paradise. I couldn’t be luckier and I am thankful beyond words for the fact that I am on vacation with my family in Hawaii.  My brother lives here and is getting married. My very generous parents have provided us a place to stay with them.  The only things we had to pay for were the flights, rental car and we will try to buy all the groceries, although my parents will protest.  Even with all the help it is a lot of money just to fly here from the east coast.  That being said, I need to file a complaint about “Thrifty” Rental car company.  They take full advantage of overtired and overworked husbands who need ego boosts.  
The planning process for this trip started almost a year ago, with a budget and penny pinching. Since I don’t get paid for any job that I do, and my husband is the sole provider of money in our household, I feel responsible for making sure that every cent counts and gets stretched as far as possible.  In February I started scouring the internet for flights rental cars and a short hotel stay between the two 6 hour flights needed to get us to Hawaii.  I had a vision of spending the least amount of money while still maintaining our sanity.  Mission Accomplished!  I got amazing prices on direct flights.  The hotel not only included free breakfast, but FREE dinner!  I had more of a difficult time finding a car rental for 18 days that did not send us into a downward spiral into debt.  But finally after many late night internet searches and a couple of phone calls, I got it.  A full size vehicle, WITH tax for 18 days for a grand total of.....wait for it..... $537!  Now that is still a LOT of money, but I defy any of you to find a cheaper price.  Go head, I dare ya!   
Things were going smoothly.  My husband was duly impressed with our flights and accommodations. My masterly organized, systematic packing system allowed us to check only 4 duffle bags for a family of four.   Then we get to Hawaii.  It is paradise, such a feeling of calm comes over you when you step off the plane.   Next, “Thrifty”  Car Rental. I put the title in quotes only because it truly is thrifty only if you have a mind to make it so.  There was a very long line as everyone who was on incoming flights to Honolulu, must have bargained a similar deal to mine.  Since the deal that I penned on-line listed my husband as the primary driver, I situate myself, the kids and our bags in a secure location and arm my husband with the paperwork.  This is my fatal flaw.  I send my wonderful, tired husband into the long line of the car rental dealership.  Now all he had to do was hand them the paperwork, get our full sized vehicle and get us in the car.  I wait with the kids patiently.  They are bored but still excited from the flight.  They keep asking “Mommy do you think we will get a truck/a convertible/ a motorcycle with a side car?”  I tell them “No honey, things like that cost extra.  We are just getting a regular car.”  While we were waiting, and my husband was in line, I was watching all the cars that were being pulled around for the customers.  I saw quite a few Jeep Rubicon’s.  This is one of the hubby’s dream cars.  Something he dreams of driving with a mountain bike, fishing rod and kayak in the back, four wheeling to a remote destination where he is the most interesting man in the universe.  
My dear husband comes out of the office raising his hands in the air with the rock horns You know, index finger and pinky in the air with the middle and ring fingers being held down with the thumb only one word is spoken “RUUUBICOOONNNN!”  At first I thought ‘Wow he negotiated an upgrade on my deal. NICE!’  Then he says “So, how much were we supposed to spend on the rental?”  WHAT???  Did he just say this to me?  I look at him dismayed, and bewildered.  I mean I gave him all the paperwork.  All he had to do was hand it over, sign the paper and be on his merry way!  He is an engineer for chrissakes.  He negotiates multi million dollar deals for his company.  All he had to do was hand over a paper.  Then I ask to see the paperwork.  He looks at me and says “Oh, she took it all.  We will get it back when she brings around the RUBICON”  He is positively giddy.  He tells me he thinks it was only $18 a day more?  MORE!!! Are you kidding me?  When he finally starts to realize that I am having a small conniption, he starts to look concerned.  Then I get the “What?”  Ladies who have husbands, you all know what this “what?” is.   It is the loaded question that says, ‘what did I do wrong now, and how can I make it look like you are overreacting or that it was ultimately your fault?’
We finally get the Rubicon that has 35000 miles on it. It is, let’s say, well used.  I am now given the task of securing the car seat in this metal contraption.  The base of the car seat hardly fits on the back seat of the car.  For all of you who have installed car seats, you know how difficult and frustrating it is.  For those of you who have not had this pleasure imagine trying to tighten a belt on pants that are 3 sizes too big, while not bunching up the material, or having the belt touch your skin.  Oh, and this belt and pants have to save your child’s life if there is an accident.  Once the seat is secure and I am done teaching my children new ‘bad’ words, we are off.  Oh wait, we have to pull over so my husband can learn all the features of his new ride and try to figure out how to adjust his side mirrors for 20 minutes.  (By the way, they are manual, you have to physically move them.)  The ride is not in any way comfortable. It is bouncy, rugged, and for people 20 years younger than us.  I see him try to hide his disappointment when he realizes this along with the fact that he has no arm rest.  This may not sound like a big deal but to ‘rugged man,’ it is. 
This is when I open the glove box and see the damage that was done to our credit card.  Honestly, I am not kidding when I say that it is more than double what I budgeted.  DOUBLE that which I negotiated originally.  I offer him one question, “this is a lot of money, really a lot of money, what were you thinking?”  He tells me that they said it was only $300 more for the upgrade (they never mention the extra $250 in taxes)  and they told him he had a really nice Hawaiian shirt on, for a mainlander.  Really?  That is all it took?  Some fast numbers and a stroke of the ego?  I try to remember that I love my husband and that he deserves to get a Jeep Rubicon, if he wants a stinkin’ Jeep Rubicon.  When I look over at him with fire in my eyes and I see his joy/frustration/fear at my reaction, I decide that I have to let this go.  He instantly says, “So I guess you are going to blog about this?”  Yes dear husband, yes I am. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

An Ode to Dads - from Momma

One thing that mothers get is a lot of recognition just for being mothers.  On this Father’s Day, I need to recognize the fathers.  Being a father today is not the same as it once was.  There is more nurturing, involvement and expressions of love than there ever was expected in the past.  Fathers today are more partners in parenting than they ever where before.  My husband is just as responsible as I am to make sure that our child is potty trained, has a good sleep schedule and has proper nutrition.   We combine forces to maintain a united front against whining, fighting, messy rooms, bad hygiene and the like.  
There are times he is seen as the fun loving, rough and tumble, “good guy.”  This is something we, as mothers have to allow and even encourage.  “Father-child interaction promotes a child’s physical well being, perceptual ability and competency for relating with others. These children also demonstrate greater ability to take initiative and evidence self-control.” - (  There are certain things that dads just do right.  The rough-housing, horse play that makes us mom’s cringe is so important in our children’s development.  “When fathers play with their toddlers, they are not just entertaining them. They are providing a safe, yet challenging arena for toddlers to learn how to interact with the world and with others. Through rough-and-tumble play, fathers create obstacles for their children and demand respect for limits and boundaries. At the same time, they challenge their children and encourage them to explore their own strength, their ability to do new things, and their impact on the world around them. Toddlers who must work out for themselves how to achieve goals-such as retrieving a ball that is just out of reach in their father's hand or wrestling their father to the ground-are practicing important problem-solving skills. In fact, when fathers are good at playing with their young children, these children score higher on tests of thinking and problem-solving skills.” -   
Fathers provide the love, stability and laughter that every family needs.  I am very lucky to have a husband who does all this and more.  He is the perfect role-model to our boys.  He provides goofy-ness and laughter with security and love like no other.  My own father provided me with the confidence and self-assurance that allowed me to become the woman I am.  He also showed me humor and kindness.  He is a constant example I look to.  Without his  presence, guidance and love, I would not be who I am today.  
So to all you fathers out there, Happy Father’s Day.  Thank you for being Dad!  

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Penis Envy?

I  have 2 sons and a husband and they all have a penis.  I know this not only because it is common sense but because, they are always, referencing, grabbing, holding, pinching, scratching or observing it.  It seems as though it is an unconscious obsession that starts at the age of 3, sometimes earlier.  I remember when my older son was 3 or 4 He would get a bath and examine, pull and stretch his “pieces” within an inch of its life.  He would ask “Mama, do you have a “pieces?””  I would respond, “I don’t have a penis only boys and men have a penis.”  He would then go through a list of people and ask if they had a penis.  I would answer accordingly.  Then he asked, “Do boy choo-choos have a penis?”  When I would say I did not know, looking at me in horror he would say,  “But Mama, they HAVE to!”  It’s this concern and information gathering that always astounded me.  
Now my younger son, is also concerned and questioning.  He looks at it and laughs.  He stretches it up and asks it if it has any pee pees in it.  While we were in the pediatrician’s office for his yearly check, she was examining him and gave him a little flash light to play with. When he was completely naked, he instantly placed the flashlight between his legs and exclaimed “ Doctor, this is my penis! Right there, there it is!”  
I deal with this on a daily basis, so when a congressman, football player, preacher, or musician decide to tweet, e-mail or text a picture of their penis, I am not surprised.  As a matter of fact I am not even phased.  It is a little known fact that the penis is not that big of a deal to us women.  Don’t get me wrong.  There is a time and place where it is a very big deal.  But it is not in a tweet.  The comedian Kristin Schall on the Daily Show, said it best, ( when she said “Men have to realize, their penis has FAR more power over them then it does over us.”  I have to say, not having one sometimes makes me wonder what its all about.  It’s a pretty ridiculous piece of flesh hanging there. I mean, our female parts, while being somewhat obvious really don’t hold that much self interest.  My only concern is that everything is covered.  With all the maintenance that goes into our parts, you would think that we would be taking pictures and putting up billboards.  But that is reserved for the very special bodies, not the every day ones.  
If I was a man with an average body and a penis that somewhat resembled every one else’s, I couldn’t imagine that a picture of my penis would do anything for anyone.    The penis texters are usually pretty powerful, high profile guys.  Not all are stupid, but all really think that someone is interested. Being that delusional is just sad, isn’t it? It turns out that the only ones interested are themselves.  Then, that interest sparks the downfall of their personal relationships.  It is pathetic in a way.  
As for my own sons, I won’t stifle their natural and cute fascination with their body (not that I could)!  But I hope I am able to teach my boys that they are special and wonderful. That they should respect their bodies and the bodies of others.  And that tweeting pictures of their body parts can only lead to trouble.