Archive | May 2012

Kids, Kids, Kids

At my company we have a social network.  It’s kind of useful. At times definitely amusing.  Like the time we all made up stories about velociraptors and Chuck Norris.  (Sometimes in accounting you have to make your day a little more interesting.)  For the most part, the site is used for professional reasons.  No, really it is. 

Today I  saw a poll come in requesting information for popular pastimes among the K-3rd grade set.  That was from the educational part of the company.  Of course I scrambled for my keyboard.  In about 30 seconds so had another 3 mothers apparently.  That got me to thinking, why is it so interesting to talk about our kids?  I could tell stories about them for hours, and I am sure anyone else who has a child, or a pet for that matter, probably could too.  My mother spends at least 10 minutes out of a phone conversation discussing her cats.  Which is fine by me, I love listening! 

Motherhood is amazing.  (I am sure fatherhood is as well, but, not being a man, I can’t compare.)  It can turn a young woman without a maternal bone in her body into a gushing, babytalking mom with a perpetual worry line.  And that can be me.  I long to talk to the other mothers I work with, hear all about their kids and compare funny stories or vent about pre-teen attitudes.  I used to have a coworker who sat at the desk next to me, thankfully she had three young grandchildren of similar ages to my kids, and we would go on for hours.  I’m sure everyone in the vicinity was bored to tears. 

It’s a phenomenon similar to what seems to happen when groups of men get together.  They don’t even know each other and yet they become life long buddies in a matter of minutes over the ball game  (doesn’t matter, pick any sport)  Moms can pick each other out, and not just because of the dark circles under their eyes.  We finally have a common ground and it feels good.  Maybe that’s why it’s so enjoyable to swap stories. 

Sometimes it’s not really much of a story, just a funny saying, like when my daughter said she wanted to tell Jesus he had nice hair.  Or when she told my oldest and I that her boyfriend was Abraham Lincoln.  (She isn’t going to live that one down any time soon.)

What funny stories about your little rug rats keep you smiling throughout the day?  Do family members scramble to get out of your way when you enter a room in fear of your anecdotes?  I’m sure mine do!

My new shoes

This post is dedicated to all of us out in cyberland who have a shoe addiction.  It doesn’t have to mean that we have a room lined with rows of shoes.  It just means we have a love of them.  It’s a head turning, heart racing kind of love which catches us off guard when we pass a store, or even sneaks up on us as we wander through Target looking for the storage containers.  I am guilty of the shoe addiction.  My mother as well, although she has become quite adept at restraining herself and buying only what she will actually wear.  It can be a hereditary addiction, but have no fear, it’s harmless when nurtured in the right way.   

The other day ‘it’ hit me at the store while I was not even thinking about shoes.  Oh alright, I was thinking about shoes.  My closet would put the respectable shoe addict in a downward spiral. It’s filled with old scuffy black boots, even the brown ones are three years old and I have been known to color the toe with brown marker.  My flip-flops are the newest addition.  All my heels are, well out of date.  I do have a few cute high-heeled sandals at least.  So yes, I was thinking about shoes.  That’s when I saw them, black and shiny and very high-heeled.  I had to have them of course.  Even though they are much higher and dressier than my usual style.  So now I have another addition to my closet.  A nice stylish addition. 

Since I follow the rule of ‘one in and one out’,  I will let go of the boots that have almost deteriorated with age.  In fact I think I may just go for the gold and get rid of all those scuffy boots  Looks like more shopping is in my future!

Changing Gears

For the past months, I have been patiently and minutely rereading, rewriting, and revising the novel I have been working on for … about 5 years.  It’s getting there slowly.  It’s difficult to do when the only time I have is lunch hour at work and the occasional free block of time at home, and that’s rare.  Usually at night my brain just protests any demand I make on it.  I am happy with the story though, in general, and can’t wait to see what my ‘editor’ (ahem, Dad) thinks of the newest revisions.  Its historical.  Sort of fits in with my love of history.  However, there is a certain satisfaction in not having to research things so much because they happened a hundred years ago.  Even in fiction, I want it to be sort of realistic.  I have other ideas that float around in my head waiting their turn, not all steeped in the past.  Those bits of paper and backs of envelopes that have  ideas I have scrawled in a brief enlightened moment.  One idea that I have played around with takes place in the actual present day.  I have mulled it over for a few years.  It’s sort of inspired by a song that I love.  I have made a few attempts at the story and have gotten a little closer.  Today though, I started an outline.  Well as outline-y as I get, and that’s not much.  I think I just need a change of scene once in a while, so while I am continuing on with my revisions of the still unnamed historical drama, I’ll dip into the present day once in a while and get going on this project.  Maybe in about 20 years It will be done.

When Viruses go Viral

As I sit at my desk and realize that I have used the entire tissue box, I start to ponder the wide variety of viruses that are floating around in the office.  I know I’m not the only one, I can hear coughing and sneezing from distant regions of the department mingling with the occasional nose blow, like a symphony of germs.  I have actually almost managed to convince myself that it’s just bad allergies.  Almost.  The urge to bury myself in bed is too strong for allergies.  It’s one of those colds where every bone, joint and muscle just aches and groans in weary tones when I try to move.  Also the lovely sinus pressure that threatens to make my cheek bones implode just doesn’t want to go away.  Luckily it’s usually only a two-day thing for me.  Although this the third day with no relief. 

I am having visions of going home, making some chicken broth and tea and laying on the couch.  It’s a really nice vision.  That’s my ‘go-to’ remedy for a cold.  Chicken broth and tea. Since most cold medicines give me adverse reactions, it’s usually Advil and Vicks that go along with the chicken broth. 

My boss swears by tea as his universal remedy.  He hates tea normally (I can’t imagine hating tea) but when sick he resignedly fills his cup over and over.  Another friend goes straight for Theraflu and ignores the germs.  Once a coworker told me that when he started wearing shoes in the shower, he rarely ever got sick again.

What are your tried and true cold remedies? 

Do you reach for the comfort foods of your childhood?

Space Invaders! No…the OTHER kind

It happens gradually.  So slowly that you don’t realize it before it’s too late.  One day you are sitting on your couch, in a nice bright clean living room, and the next moment, it seems, you are surrounded by tiny beads, thousands of crayons, and lots of shoes.  What happened, you wail?  No one answers though.  It’s those small offshoots of your genetic make up. 

It’s really hard to keep your own space separate from that of your kids.  It starts off OK, at the beginning of the week, especially if you are blessed with any time to yourself.  By mid week, the shoes have somehow cloned themselves, and are slowly making a tactical advance down the hall.  Do they have special forces training?  I think so at times.  Trying to beat back the onslaught of arts and crafts, books and dolls is virtually impossible at times.   It makes things even harder when you spy a page from a parenting or design magazine where all of the children’s toys are neatly stowed in bins or colored shelves (remember that’s not real life).  Take heart though, it will get better. 

This is what I was thinking to myself as I surveyed my livingroom over the course of the week.  Monday and Tuesday it didn’t look so bad.  By Thursday there were stray socks, (oh don’t get me going on socks!) several pens that the cat had stolen and a few barbies artistically arranged on the floor by my 6-year old.  Now it’s friday and although I have visions of my house now being filled to the top with multiplying toys, I think I can manage them.  And it has gotten better, despite the sock issue.  As the munchkins in my house grow, the toys become smaller, except for the crafts.  Soon they will all be tiny electronic devices and books.  (I really don’t mind the books since I am somewhat of a hoarder of books as well.)

Now if only I can get to my first born’s room……. That’s a saga all of its own.

My mom

I am sure that there will be about a billion and two posts about moms and Mother’s Day this weekend, so I know I am not unique, but, being new to the blog scene, I think it’s a really great opportunity to share some of my best memories of my mom.  These are some of the things she has done to make her, well, herself.  Actually there are so many things Icould write about, but these are just a few that really kind of give me a warm glow, and make me realize how much she did for me, and never asked for anything in return. 

When I was a kid, I was in a pretty bad car accident and spent a lot of time in the hospital and then recuperating at home.  When I first came home, I guess I was around 5.  For a while I had trouble walking and used to stay on the living room couch.  I don’t really remember that much about the time.  It was a long time ago, after all.  However, I do remember with great fondness that she would make me sandwiches for lunch and always cut up some carrot sticks or pickles and lay them on top of the sandwich.  Sometimes she cut the sandwich into small squares or triangles to make it interesting.  It really showed how much she strove to make my day fun and happy, even though I am sure that she was stressed and worried about my health, and about her own personal life and that of my father.

Another memory I have which is really a good one, is that when I was in junior high school and high school, we would take a ‘mental health day’ as she called it.  Once a year, towards the end of course, she would call me out sick from school and take me to the beach, or exploring somewhere fun.  It would be just the two of us.  Since I had no siblings, this probably was not as hugely momentous as if I was in a family of five, but again it helped us to keep our bond, which has never broken, despite the inevitable teenage bickering and the hectic lives that we now lead.

The last one I am going to share is just a very simple one, but I think about it often, especially when sick.  I was in my twenties and I had the good fortune to be living fairly close to my parents, about 15 minutes.  In fact I have not lived that close since.  I had a cold, or maybe sinus infection, and was feeling pretty lousy.  My mom stopped at the local diner on her way home, which made incredible matzoh ball soup, and picked me up a container and brought it to my apartment, not far but not really on her way home.  I have always maintained that chicken broth makes me feel better, and its the one main thing I do for a cold.  I know that just the act of my mother bringing a carton of soup to me was what really made me recover.  She took care of me, and that was what really mattered. 

People always say that you really don’t begin to grasp what a mother does until you have children of your own.  I think in part it’s true.  But if you love someone so much that you’re willing to do almost anything to help them and protect them, than you get the idea, even if you have no children.   Now that I have two of my own, both of whom are always moving in opposite directions, I really appreciate how much my mother gave to me and helped prepare me to be an independent woman.   I only hope that when my daughters are my age they will be able to look back on their childhood with such fond memories.  No flowers, candy, or even  reciprocating saw (which my mom got one year) can ever say how much is in my heart when I think of my mom.  Happy Mother’s day to all of us moms.  Especially mine. I love you, mom.

Gardening…. an outsider’s perspective

I am not a gardener.  My thumb is not green.  It’s sort of beige with some green streaks.  That doesn’t mean I don’t like flowers and plants.  I do.  I like looking at them, and maybe taking a pretty snapdragon or petunia from one small pot and putting it into a nicer pot.  Maybe that even includes wrestling with a knee-high plastic picket fence.  That’s about the extent of my efforts.  I love the daffodils and iris because they come up every year and don’t need a lot of work.  But right now, as the days grow warmer, I definitely have the urge to muck about a little in the soil and make things pretty.  I am what I call a total novice.  However, my mother has not only a green thumb, but I think by now it’s her whole arm, both arms actually.  She is the one who makes my garden pretty for the most part.  Not that I have much.  My front looks nice and neat, but my backyard looks only slightly better than a vacant lot.  (Below is a close approximation).  I may exaggerate a little, but not much.

I do the ‘bedding out’ and she does the other stuff.  She knows all the names of plants, she knows the types of ticks, and she even can tell you variety of peppers and its country of origin.  She is a gardening guru.  The kids love to go visit her because her yard is about ten times the size of ours, and not only is her grass mown (because she actually has a mower with a motor), but she has a huge garden of vegetables and many others of flowers.  It really resembles a park more than a back yard.   But then she’s almost a professional.  Actually she is, except for the paycheck part.

After taking the kids down to the annual plant sale that her group (Master Gardeners) holds in early May, I can see how she got to be such a bright green shade.  These  volunteers spent hours on a chilly rainy saturday to sell the plants and flowers that they had carefully cultivated in the county greenhouses.  Not only that but they run tick checks, help lines and community gardens which provide food for the local shelters.  In my own little front yard, where the homeowners association takes care of the lawn and I only have my tiny plot of snapdragons, peonies and a yellow flower whose name eludes me, I feel pretty good.  Standing at the plant sale with one eye on my rambunctious kids and another on my industrious mother providing advice and expertise to others, I really felt like I had a brown thumb.  That’s ok though, I don’t mind my thumb, and I am really proud of my garden genius of a mom.  As long as she doesn’t make me name the varieties of tomatoes she has, I am good.