who's the mommy around here anyway?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Peace to all...

This evening starts the Jewish high holy days. I will be the hostess for the family dinner, and the menu includes the obligatory chicken soup and, at least in my house, matzoh balls. This is my favorite time of year. I love the solemn ritual and sense of renewal that comes with Rosh Hashanah. I wish peace, health, and happiness to all my internet friends.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

How Do I Love Thee

Let me count the ways:

1. He doesn’t lie to me. Ever
2. He doesn’t cheat on me. Ever.
3. He has ADHD, ODD, OCD, but not ED (as he so often proves to me).
4. He holds my hand in public.
5. He hugs me in public.
6. He kisses me in public.
7. He grabs my ass in public.
8. He loves me when I’m bitchy and unlovable.
9. He loves me enough to fight with me.
10. He apologizes when he believes he is wrong.
11. He doesn’t care whether or not I cook.
12. He doesn’t care whether or not I clean.
13. He loved me when I was young and skinny and cute.
14. He loves me now that I'm older and fatter and not as cute.
15. He makes me feel sexy.
16. He supports me in whatever I decide to do.
17. He loves his children and indulges them foolishly.
18. He indulges me foolishly when he can.
19. He still cries when he thinks about his father who died when he was a young child.
20. He never gives up on us, no matter how rough things get.
21. He’s bald.

Talking about my husband, of course. Think I'll print this one up and hand it to him.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Laura Goes to the Doctor

I had to take Laura to see a cardiologist today. Your 15 year old daughter's name and the word cardiologist should never be uttered together in the same sentence, but she's been complaining of chest pain and so we sent a note to school temporarily canceling her gym classes and swim team participation and a doctor's appointment was made.

Laura has complained of occasional short, sharp, random chest pains in the past and our pediatrician, after performing an EKG, assured us it was musculoskeletal, and we all went our merry ways. However, now the pains are occurring every day, more than once a day, and Laura herself is getting nervous. I know she's nervous because she asks me, "... but it's OK, right?" In Laura-speak, this is the equivalent of screaming out loud, "I'M SCARED, HELP ME, HELP ME!!!!" You have to know your child, right? I assured her that it was probably nothing and that we'd take her as soon as possible to have it checked out. I behaved very non-chalantly and as soon as she left the room I went into the bathroom, locked the door, and threw up.

I can pretty much handle anything, blood, guts, bodily functions of all types and sizes, there's no end to the amazing and unusual things I've seen in 28 years as a practicing RN, and after having seen or cleaned, well, many of them and then gone and had my lunch like it was nothing, you'd think I could handle this with some semblance of calm, cool collectedness, but you'd be way wrong! The thought that my baby girl might be ill sends me over the edge, puts me in a tail spin and makes me sick to my stomach.

I adore Lizzie, but there's something more protective about the love I have for my youngest child, even though of my two children, I think Laura is the tougher. One of my favorite authors, Barbara Kingsolver, says this in The Poisonwood Bible, that '....a mother will save her children from the bottom up.' I think she's right. I see my youngest from now until forever as more helpless and more innocent and more needy, though in reality she is strong and smart and capable. I told her just the other day, as we were walking through a parking lot and I reflexively grabbed her by the shirt when a car passed close by, that when I was 96 and she was 60, I was still going to be grabbing her by the shirt when a car passed too close, reminding her to be careful, telling her to zip her coat in the cold. No matter how old and infirm I get, I imagine that the last thing to go won't be my hearing, as I was taught in nursing school, the last thing to go will be my urge to protect my youngest child.

P.S. Laura was given a clean bill of health. On the way out of the doctor's office she told me that I didn't have to be nervous anymore and I replied that it was indeed a relief. I told her the same and in typical teenage fashion she denied any anxiety, it was only parental over-protectiveness that had brought us here, and how glad she was that this silliness was behind her so now she could participate in this afternoon's swim meet. We're all back to normal now.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

You're so Vain

I've been reading a lot of blogs lately, maybe too many. I like to comment on almost all of them and I've only once left a negative comment, and that only after a great deal of thought and only with a lot of heartfelt explanation.

The other day I was reading a blog that was recounting an extremely inane conversation between two women. What bothered me was not the subject matter, but the description the writer used for one of the conversation's participants. She named the participant 'Hi I'm 40 But I'm Wearing $300 Dollar Jeans.' Very descriptive, evocative, maybe, of a certain type of woman, funny maybe, offensive maybe. I took offense. I didn't leave a comment. I brought it here.

I'm not 40. I'm past 40. Way past. I don't wear $300 jeans. I'm more the "$30 on sale at Old Navy" jeans kind of woman. What did the author of the blog in question mean to convey with her label of 'Hi I'm 40 But I'm Wearing $300 Dollar Jeans'. Did she mean to say that women of a certain age have no business wearing a certain kind of clothing, that they have no right to the kind of vanity that would put them in designer jeans? Does she think that the only thing women over 40 have to spend our money on is our grandchildren. Chances are, at the age of 40, $300 jeans woman doesn't yet have any grandchildren (No, I'm not a grandma yet either, my oldest is only 19 and the only child she'd better be thinking of is child psych 101).

At what age does 'mystery blogger who shall not be named' suggest that it's appropriate for a woman to give up her vanity? 28? 35? We already know that she thinks 40 is over the hill! I celebrate 'Hi I'm 40 But I'm Wearing $300 Dollar Jeans.' I hope '$300 jeans' still has a short skirt or two in her closet to go with the spike heels I know she must have been wearing under her denims.

I'm going to overshare here. I threw my 36DD's into their first push up bra at the ripe old age of 51. That's right, 51! and I haven't looked back since. I'd just lost 70 lbs. and nobody was more suprised than me that I was suddenly in possession of a very nicely shaped shape. So I went out and got some new bras, and heavens, some thong undies because I'd heard that pantylines had become completely unacceptable. Now I'm a woman possessed. I possess a new and improved sense of self. If I had $300 to waste, I might spend them on a pair of useless designer jeans, just because I could, though I suspect my heart might stop and the earth swallow me up as I pulled the money out of my designer fake $18 pocketbook, or I might not. Either way, I hold my head high and proud. Others may judge harshly, but that doesn't mean they have the right nor does that mean that their opinions should be given any weight. Mystery blogger sounds fairly young, but she'll find when she's 40 that, surprise, she may still possess vanity. She may find that at the age of 60 she'll still care about how she presents herself to the world and take the time to dress with care. She might want to eat her words.

Me, I'm zipping up my size 6 jeans, hooking on my good push-up, throwing on a tight low-cut shirt and meeting my husband for dinner. I've got my make-up on, and damn, I look hot. I'm vain, I admit it. But that's OK. Mystery blogger can judge me for it if she wants, if it makes her feel better about who and what she is. My vanity is just one small facet of who I am, one very small facet. To all other 40 something and over women out there, it's OK for you too. If you want. You're allowed, entitled even.

I'm reminded of the lyrics to a song by one of my daughter's favorite bands, Fall Out Boy,

"Sugar we're going down swingin'..."

That's how I want to go out, defiant and on my own terms. If it be in designer duds, so much the better, and if anyone feels the need to stand there in prissy judgement, that then is their problem, not mine.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Ode de Dog


Sung to the tune of Bingo

I have a Bernese Mountain Dog
And Calli is her name-O
C-A-L-L-I, C-A-L-L-I, C-A-L-L-I,
and Calli is her name-O

When she walks me down the street
She pulls me off my feet-O
C-A-L-L-I, C-A-L-L-I, C-A-L-L-I,
She pulls me off my feet-O

All the neighbors point and stare
And keep their distance cause they're scared
C-A-L-L-I, C-A-L-L-I, C-A-L-L-I,
They keep their distance cause they're scared

At night she climbs into my bed
And tries to sleep on top of my head
C-A-L-L-I, C-A-L-L-I, C-A-L-L-I,
She tries to sleep on top of my head

A tiny lap dog she tries to be
But at 70 pounds she squishes me
C-A-L-L-I, C-A-L-L-I, C-A-L-L-I,
At 70 pounds she squishes me

Unless you have a pet, it's tough to understand how crazy people can get about their animals, like my neighbor who has a carseat for her toy Coton de Tulear. The dog cruises the neighborhood in the frontseat of the woman's Mercedes, while her husband sits in back. Now, I understand this. The last time my hairy, and eternally shedding dog climbed into my bed and tried to sleep on my head, I shoved her into the middle of the bed, where she flopped on top of my husband. He left and went into another room, and I spent the rest of the night with the dog. Which was OK with me, because the dog doesn't snore, plus she snuggles really well.

Callie doesn't fuss over what you give her to eat. She's been known to consume cement chunks, and spent one whole summer snacking on a dead squirrel that nobody could bring themselves to dispose of. Everytime she passed by the dead squirrel, she'd drag me over to it, delicately retrieve a tiny bone to nibble, and keep on walking. Ewww, but I wasn't about to fight with her about it. I wasn't strong enough to drag her away from it. It's all I can do to keep her from dragging me off my feet when we walk together, something she used to do with regularity, till we spent $500 to have her trained. That's the kind of thing crazy pet owners will do.

There's no particular point to this, except that I love my dog. My mom asked me what it was with me and the animals. I grew up in a house without any pets, but in my own home I have two cats and a dog, at least until we had to have one of the cats put to sleep. I don't really know what to tell my mom, but for me, in order for my house to be a home it needs certain things: it needs a flight of stairs (I always lived in an apartment till I had my own house, so stairs were necessary. Now that I've had them for 20 years, I know better.), children, and animals. The more the better. Bring on the shedding, the noise and the chaos. Bring on the love.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

James Lynch - 2996 Tribute Project Post

As I contributed my name to participate in the 2996 Tribute project, I’m not really sure what I expected, perhaps a welcome screen and some instructions on how to begin, but what I got was a picture of a man who had been lost in the Pentagon on 9/11 and his name. There was no gentle introduction nor were there instructions on how to proceed. I sat in front of my computer screen and looked at a picture of Mr. James Lynch for a short while, waiting for inspiration, and the only thought that came to me was, “He looks so kind.” Thus began my search to find out what I could of James Lynch and I freely admit that I was looking for some kind of hero.

Mr. Lynch was a resident of Manassas, Virginia. He’d been in the Air Force and was proud of his military service and in September of 2001 worked as a civilian employee of the U.S. Navy, his reason for being in the Pentagon on 9/11. One story I read repeatedly on the memorial message boards was about his fondness for Werther’s Original candy. He purchased it in large amounts, not so much for himself, his son said, but for those around him. He’d go around his workplace and give candy to co-workers who needed a little sweetness added to their day. He was known to co-workers as the ‘Candy Man.’ His son commented with fondness that his dad probably could have paid for his college education with what he’d spent on candy!

Mr. Lynch’s sister remembers her brother as a boy with a fondness for electronics and gadgets. She remembers him wiring a record player into the backseat of his car so they could drive around and listen to music, especially Roy Orbison records. She also remembers walking into his wire-filled boyhood bedroom. He’d hooked everything up so that with the flick of just one switch, voila!, everything electronic would turn on. Every kid’s dream, isn’t it? He made that happen. Her last communication with her brother was via computer. She said he’d encouraged everyone in his family to get a computer and keep in touch via email. His final email, she said, consisted of simple hellos and jokes. How could they know it would be his last?

This is pretty much all I could find out about James Lynch. There were comments on a memorial site from co-workers and others who confirmed that he was kind and sweet, a gentle soul. You might say, that’s not a lot, but like most of us, he lived his life out of the spotlight. I began to wonder, how do we claim immortality? Those of us who are great claim it in history books and encyclopedias but those of us who lead smaller lives can only claim immortality in the finite memories of those nearest and dearest to us. If we’re lucky, they last for a generation or two, and then they become as dust and float away as the people who carry memories of us pass on themselves. Here’s the challenge then, to make a life immortal while we can, rather than a death, to celebrate the living human, and not the act of destruction that took him from us.

I didn’t personally know any of the 9/11 victims, but searching for James Lynch has made the 2006 anniversary of September 11th a much more personal time for me than any of the previous anniversaries. Although I started my quest by looking for a hero, what I found was much more. I found an ordinary man, a real man who, in the time he had, did his best in his own small way to make his life, and the lives of those around him just a bit better, kinder, sweeter. I do not claim to know Mr. Lynch, I barely scratched the surface of who he was and I realize this, but I feel that I’ve perhaps done the equivalent of shaking his hand, or accepting a piece of his candy. If I'd known James Lynch I would have searched him out for the candy, yes, but even more for the caring soul that offered it, the gentle smile from kind eyes. James Lynch was, after all, a hero, but a hero of a different kind.

It has been to my enrichment to have been involved in Project 2996. Going forward I realize that my remembrance of 9/11 has been permanently altered to include Mr. Lynch and for this reason I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to participate.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Laura's Pearls of Wisdom

Today was Laura's first day of school. I woke up early wih her, to keep her company as she ate her breakfast. She was antsy, and I asked if she was excited or nervous. Her words said no, but her body language said otherwise. She fidgeted a while longer and then blurted out, “I hate the first day of school. Because now you have to June, and there's just no way out of it.”

Laura, honey, when you get out into the real world there's no such thing as 'waiting' to June. Enjoy it while you can.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Dear Lizzie

Dear Lizzie

I just wanted to let you know how proud I am of you. This has been a difficult summer for you. You spent the summer on your own and away from home. You were fired from your first job, lost your first love and have managed to survive with both your pride and your sense of humor intact. Be proud of yourself, because survival of these trauma is no mean feat.

Good luck in your new job at the pizza place. Don't eat more than you serve. I advise you not to do any bodily harm to ex-boyfriend's ex-girlfriend and am so proud of you when you tell me that just two short years ago you would have hauled her ass out for a good whooping, but now that you've developed a conscience you find that you're unable to carry through with said whooping. You're right, this is, indeed, maturity.

Today you started your second year of college with enthusiasm and requests for increased financial support. No problem. We’re here for you. Dad and Laura and I love you. Money will be forthcoming.


Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Here in my part of NY school starts Sept. 5th. School supply shopping is the one thing I actually complete before the appointed date, because there’s no way I’m going to be caught dead in Staples standing on a check-out line a mile long, after having spent an hour circling the parking lot for the privilege of fighting over the last Hello Kitty notebook. No way!

In Laura's high school, teachers are much less fussy about the kids' supplies, and leave it to the students what they want to use, but this year there are a few things I’m insisting that Laura have, based on knowledge of her work habits. Harry Potter had his Goblet of Fire, but Laura will have her Dreaded 10th Grade Homework Forgetting and Meltdown. The extra supplies I’ve purchased include lots of post-it notes, glue sticks, and a super-duper superior staple gun.

Laura’s homework forgetting can be broken down as follows:

a. She forgets that she has homework in any given subject or subjects.
b. She remembers that she has homework, but forgets the assignments.
c. She remembers that she has homework, remembers the assignments, but forgets the books she needs to complete the assignments.
d. a & b
e. b & c
f. a & c

I intend to help Laura solve the homework dilemma in the following manner. I am listing the pros and cons of each method to show how thoroughly I’ve thought this through.

Post-it notes
Can write assignments on notes and stick to forehead
Not very sticky, liable to fall off forehead before she gets home

Glue stick
Can glue post-its to forehead to make them stick better
Ouch factor and could still fall off greasy teenaged forehead.

Staple gun
Stapled post-its won’t fall off forehead
Plastic surgery

Here’s hoping there’s very little stress in the coming school year. Hoping, and yes, praying. Good luck to us all.