Friday, November 30, 2007

Haiku Friday: the end is near

Haiku Friday

Whoohoo I did it!
I wrote ev'ry day this month!
Don't mind me -- I'm pooped.

See you for Fun Monday :-)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The bunny LIVES!!!

Hahah!

I have saved the bunny!

Go see me at Velveteen Mind.





Teehee.

Recap

The dental work went fine.

Well, not really fine, because honestly? It was icky. And took longer than expected.

And it hurt.

But my little girl makes a lovely nurse and made me a killer milkshake (soft, cool foods only).

On the other hand, she made it for me because I spilled the first one all over EVERYWHERE.

So I sat like a duchess all day. I played Scrabble online, I dozed, I answered a zillion text messages from my co-worker who was trying to fill in for me today. (No, they can't leave me alone when I'm off work. I can guarantee there will be at least a dozen emails every time I take a vacation day.)

I feel like I really have accomplished something though. Technically, NaBloPoMo isn't over till Friday, but I already have the skeleton of my Haiku Friday offering ready. So I did it. I really did. By this time tomorrow, I will have posted for 30 straight days.

I just looked back through the month. I spent a lot of time recounting conversations with the Roo-girl, celebrated two birthdays, dreamed a dream, exposed my personal pecadillos and my unfinished business, gave thanks for BFFs and our lot in life, and wrote a bunch of haikus. I introduced my groovy interplanetary look. I even wrote a guest post that may or may not actually see the light of day. (Megan? Seriously, dude, are you out there?)

That was a lot of stuff that fell out through my fingers and into the blogosphere.

It also was tiring.

It kinda reminded me of when the Z-man was in middle school. During his elementary school years, he was a voracious reader. Read everything and anything. Swallowed the Harry Potter series whole. The first day of middle school, he found out he was required to do a certain amount of outside reading and take little tests for points. He never picked up a novel again.

To be "required" (yeah yeah, I know, it's self-imposed; work with me here) to produce every single day is mentally draining, and sometimes I just didn't want to.

But I did.

And, considering what a blog newbie I still am, I feel like I really accomplished something.

Yay me.

So check back tomorrow for Haiku Friday. But just for the record? I'm taking the weekend off!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

NaBloPoMo: Day 28 ... only 2 to go

The finish line is in sight ... and I got nothing.

But this counts as a post, no? I am still writing something on my blog.

This isn't cheating.

No no no.

Also I can offer this gratuitous, interestingly lit photo of my precious child.


So that counts, right?

Plus, I wrote a guest post for Megan at Velveteen Mind as part of this:


But she has had so many amazing guest posters that my little effort hasn't appeared yet. Save me, Megan. Save me!

Truth be told, I'm just stalling here. I have a dentist appointment in an hour and I DON'T WANT TO GO.

I hate the dentist. I have since early childhood when I was routinely traumatized by one of the world's crappiest pediatric dentist. (I'm not alone, either. My BFF went to the same guy and has equal dental anxiety. Trust me, he sucked.)

To this day, I cannot STAND to be in the presence of clocks like this:


because there was one of these nasty things on the wall ... with its creepy eyes moving back and forth, taunting me, watching me. *shudder*

So I'm going ... but not happily. This is not just a cleaning, so the terror level is high. I will take my iPod and plug myself into some soothing music. I am wearing comfy clothes and won't put in my contact lenses. I will come home afterward and put myself to bed. I might even cry a little.

And then I will pull myself together and be a grownup again.

Huh. Guess I had something for today after all.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Girl talk

The Roo-girl's friend A spent the night on Saturday, which meant (obviously) that her mother J and I must meet at Starbucks on Sunday to do the "child handoff."

So there we were: two grown women, a 13-year-old and a 12-year-old.

Her Roo'ness, though older, is shorter and less developed than A, which means that she gets A's very high-quality hand-me-downs and I get J's advice on raising daughters.

So, the topic was ... tampons vs. pads.

A has boobs and has had her period for at least a year. The Roo has only just begun to sprout and has not gotten her period yet. (And would she totally kill me if she knew I was discussing this with the internet??? If you need me, I'll be running for my life.)

And the question of whether girls in this advanced day and age should go straight to tampons when they start menstruating has always puzzled me.

Never one to shy away from a topic, I flat out asked.

J answered my questions. Roo and A rolled their eyes.

What do your friends do, I asked TRG.

"Oh, MOM, I don't even think my friends have gotten their periods yet," she groused.

I shook my head at her.

"No, Roo. All your friends have boobs ..."

The eyes went dark.

"Sore point," she growled.

"Oh, please, Roo, you have boobs," said J, quickly taking on her role as the other mother. "You wear a bra? That means you have boobs."

She stopped and winked at me.

"Besides, only the nipples matter anyway."

The Sunday morning crowd at Starbucks was treated to the return of my eggnog latte, as it spewed out of my nose.

The girls, however, were not amused.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Fun Monday #42: the unfinished edition


Blue Momma is our hostess for this week and here is her challenge:
I want to see your unfinished projects. I have so many that I really need some reassurance that I'm not the only one. Home improvement projects are what I have in mind, but it you don't have any of those show me any kind of project - needlework, cooking, scrapbooking, etc. You can even show me your spouse if they qualify as a work in process.

HAHAHAHAHAHA!

And again, HA, I say.

I am not the unfinisher in my house. I actually have one thing only that is never ever EVER finished, and that is the laundry. Laundry is always a work in progress.





This is not to say that there are no unfinished projects in my house. Oh no no no. I love my husband more than life itself, but even he would be the first to admit that finishing? Not his strong suit.

In our bedroom, there are two sets of bookshelves, built by the very talented Wonderhubby, that flank our gas fireplace.

Here is one:


Here is the other:


Please note the differences:

1) One is painted, the other is not.

2) One is finished, the other still has wood putty patches showing.

3) One has artfully arranged photos, the other still has assorted crap, including a wooden level, on it.

Funny thing is, the Wonderhubby actually mentioned on Saturday that he was thinking about getting the paint to do the other set of shelves. Operative words here: thinking about. Motivating factor: he saw me taking the pictures and he knows what the Fun Monday assignment is.

I have lived with the half-finished shelves for about a year (both were unpainted until a year ago, fyi). I guess I can live a little longer.

Second project: the yard.

I offered photos of our incomplete back yard during a previous Fun Monday.


Originally, the fenced thingy was going to be a dog run for our teeny tiny 9-week-old pups, to keep them safe from owls and coyotes.

Please note that the dogs are now almost 2 and no longer itsy-teeny and in need of that kind of protection.

So, revamp, revise, rethink. Presto. It will be a fenced vegetable garden. Wonderhubby spent much of the blistering hot summer digging out our nasty soil and replacing it with a potting mix and a garden mat. This is a closeup of how it remains today. (Note weeds poking up through the pavers.)


And, of course, with one side of the yard all torn up, this automatically means the other side is, too.


In conclusion, let me add that my darling Wonderhubby is currently surfing the internet looking for tips on installing hardwood floors. He plans to rip out three staircases and a couple of hallways worth of crappy carpet (rendered crappy by two puppies) and replace with bamboo flooring. In fact, he already has ordered the stair nose (doncha love how I can throw around those technical terms like I know what the hell I'm talking about?), which arrives in about 10 days.

Pray for me.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Brotherly (and sisterly) love

We delivered turkey dinners to the homebound on Thursday, and while I took a zillion pictures to document the event this year, the most memorable photos ended up being NOT of the good deed itself, but of three siblings. (And yes, I am unhappy with the Drummer for bailing on this year's delivery expedition.)

Believe it or not, they did NOT consult each other when they all ended up in olive-drab hoodies:


I thought it was even funnier from the back:


You could just feel the love ...


... a moment that was followed immediately by this:


Gotta love 'em. Yep. Just gotta.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Gotta love those school anti-drug/alcohol programs

Scene: the car, in the midst of an indepth discussion of complex carbohydrates and cheesecake made out of black beans and tofu (oh please don't ask, just follow along!)

Z-man: ... Well, he soaked the black beans in rum and then ...

The Roo-girl: Don't you get drunk from that?

ZM: No, you bake the cheesecake.

Evil Mother: When you cook stuff with rum, the alcohol is cooked out of it.

TRG: Ohhh. Cuz I was always afraid to try rum-raisin ice cream because I was afraid I'd get drunk.

ZM and EM: *synchronized eye roll*

Friday, November 23, 2007

Haiku Friday: the domestic son edition

Haiku Friday

Chef Z is ready
With his iron and chef coat:
The perfect T crease



Seriously, there is nothing more amusing on this planet that watching my 18-year-old son pressing his coat. Apparently he does this every day for class. The T crease is required in the back of his chef jacket.


Oh, it is soooo satisfying!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thankfulness

I didn't want to write today. I really really didn't.

Mostly because I was afraid of what would come pouring out through my fingertips.

It's a day to be thankful. And all us NaBloPoMo'ers still have to go post(al), even today.

I feel like a broken record this week, with all my goody-two-shoeness and sweetness and light.

But.

Work is kicking my ass.

Life is kinda kicking my ass, too.

Yes, I know that I had that healing dream only this week.

And in my sentient moments (oooh, 50-cent word for today!), I know that I have it sweet. Great husband, great kids, great friends, a roof over my head (a nice one, too), a job that (mostly) pays the bills.

But late at night, when it's dark and quiet, when everyone else is dreaming of sugarplums ... I think too much.

I think about all the mistakes.

I think about two failed marriages.

I think about the damage that my bad choices did to my children.

I think about bad things.

I think about worse things.

I think about worser things.

I even think about how, when it came time for my 30th high school reunion (woot! I'm old!), I didn't go ... and I cried for hours because my life hadn't turned out ANYTHING like I had expected it to, lo those many years ago.

But I know I have to STOP thinking. Because if I do my calendar math correctly, only three months after that reunion, I met a certain man in a bar.

So today is the day that I officially get my head out of my ass and stop thinking too much.

And start being more grateful instead. And to remember that everywhere I've been has brought me to where I am.

Now, in the dark of night, when I look over at my sleeping husband, I will only think of that country song by Rascal Flatts:

Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were like Northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

'Nuff said, don't you think?

Me and Mine 100 Meme

This is a meme that is going on at BlogHer ... something I aspire to be part of!

1) My name is Janet and I blog at From the Planet of Janet. Here is my About Me page.

2) I would be honored to be interviewed on BlogHer as a family blogger as part of the Me and Mine 100.

3) I have been blogging for four months, but I have been lurking for more than a year and a half.

4) The last requirement of this meme is to pass it on to three other bloggers that I think should be profiled/interviewed, and ask them to do the meme.

So...

a) I nominate Melodyann from Shoo Fly. She views herself as flawed, but I know she has the biggest heart of anyone I know.

b) Cate at Monkeys and Marbles, who never ceases to amaze me.

and c) Frankly, I couldn't decide who to give the coveted third spot to, because there are so many mommy/family bloggers I love. So if you are not Melodyann or Cate, but you read and are read by me, consider yourself tagged (that includes every Jenn, Jenni, Jen and Jennifer I know)!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

And after the turkey, we rest

We have a Thanksgiving tradition in our house.

It started nine years ago when I decided my children took their good fortune for granted.

They, of course, didn't think they had it so good. We had just moved out of the "big" house into a "smaller" house in a "lesser" part of town. Z-man had to change schools (fourth grade). We were pretty much in financial ruin, thanks to he who shall not be named, and every expenditure was subject to discussion and veto.

But although it was definitively lesser circumstances, we were not out on the streets by any stretch. And I felt that a certain group of children needed to be shocked out of their pity party.

So, I searched for a project.

After a false start or two, we settled on something we have now done for eight years.

Every Thanksgiving morning, we get up early and drive over to our local senior center, where we load up the back of the minivan with turkey dinners for homebound seniors and the disabled.

We all go.

Wonderhubby, the Drummer, the Drama King, Z-man and the Roo-girl. (J-Bear spends Thanksgiving with her mother, but always regrets that she misses this.)

We each have our jobs. Wonderhubby drives, I navigate and carry the official paperwork. The turkey, the milk and juice containers, the pie, the bread and butter are each carried lovingly to front doors by the helpful hands of my children.

Our favorite homes are the ones where the recipient invites us in to chat. That happens about half the time, and always makes our day.

Every year, as we travel from house to house -- where the elderly and infirm have to be brought their turkey dinner by strangers -- my children begin to appreciate their family.

This is a tradition that never fails to bring us closer.

That never fails to make me marvel at their caring.

That never fails to make me love my children more.

That never fails to make me grateful.

When you serve up your turkey dinner with your loved ones tomorrow, please remember those who depend on others to bring their holiday feast.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Healing

I dreamed about him last night.

I haven't done that for many years. He's been dead for almost 10.

The gist of the old dream was always the same: He's no longer dead. He is back in my life. In my house. In my face. And I know that he will steal my baby and hide, like he did with his sons with his first wife.

When I dreamed this dream before, I would wake up in a cold sweat, shaking. It would take many, many minutes to come back to the present and remember that he was dead. That I had spoken to doctors. That I had seen the medical records. And the death certificate.

That I was there when he was buried. I wasn't there for me. I went for my 3-year-old daughter. I went in her stead and cried for the little girl whose father was dead. I cried for her. I would never cry for him.

The dream this time was different. I was calm. I dictated the rules. I was not afraid, only matter-of-fact. And irritated. And amazed. Amazed that he had been in hiding for 10 years. That he had tricked us all, including his own sister, at a funeral.

Where had he been? Who knows.

Who cares.

Why was he back? I don't know. But when I woke up, I was calm.

And I reached over to the man who now shares my life and my bed ... and hugged him very, very tight.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Fun Monday #41: the childhood memory edition


Karisma is our hostess for this week and here is her challenge:

"I want you to take a trip down memory lane, and keep right on going, right back to your childhood. And I want to hear "THAT STORY". You remember the one? Yes, you do! The one your parents, siblings, extended family or friends, would never let you forget, live down or get over!"

Oh I really struggled with this one. I have lots of interesting childhood memories, but none of them are the kind that other people torment me about.

Must be because I was so perfect in every way as a child. (Yes, I'm gagging on my spoonful of sugar here.)

So here is a gratuitous and adorable 1-year-old me:


Truth be told, though, I was a geeky child. Glasses at age 8, braces (more than three years' worth) starting at age 9. Yes, I had glasses and braces at the same time -- starting in the fourth grade. Oh, the trauma. There are no pictures of this travesty because:

1) I NEVER took a photo with my glasses on.

2) I NEVER would have smiled with the braces either.

One of the things that makes me laugh hysterically today is that I had these cat-eye glasses in the third grade that, as I grew into adulthood, I remembered as the worst things EVER. They were oval shaped that swept up into little points on the sides, similar to these

but only in the shape, not in the coolio little decorations. They also weren't red. I had a pair in pink and a pair in blue, both with little sparkles inside the plastic. Hideous really.

So, imagine my hysterical laughter (internal, never out loud) when the Roo-girl picked these out on her last eye doctor appointment:


Ah. What goes around comes around.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

It's the weekend

Well, this weekend isn't ANYTHING like I was expecting it to be.

The Wonderhubby came home with creeping stomach crud on Friday night.

Z-man spent all day Friday at his old high school and got "kidnapped" to go to some Friday night comedy thing, coming home at some ungodly hour.

Saturday was an all-day music staff thing that took me away from home from 9 to 5, followed by the Z-man's almost immediate exodus to go hang with friends (and cook them dinner -- oh the injustice).

I promptly slept through the lousy movie we rented last night and left the feeling-better Wonderhubby wondering where his wife went.

I have more chorus crappola from 1 to 5 today. Gah. Timing is everything.

But in the midst of it all, there is the sweetness.

Z-man called me while I was on the way home from chorus last night to tell me he was going to hang with friends ... but that he planned to cook for us the next night (tonight).

While we were having bland, Wonderhubby-safe dinner, Z's ride arrived and he bounded off (with his culinary school knife set THAT HE BROUGHT HOME ON AN AIRPLANE!). But not before he threw his arms around me and gave me a giant bear hug and a kiss ... followed by a similar display of affection for his sister and his stepfather.

Ah, it's good to have him home.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Roo, Roo, Roo your boat ...

Conversation on the way to school:

Carpool Girl: I bet not even Walt Disney knows what Goofy is.

The Roo-Girl: Goofy is a DOG.

TRG: Oh please. Goofy is a ... a ... a ... mutant.

CPG: No, but Pluto is a dog, too, and he walks on four legs and doesn't talk like Goofy does.

CPG: A mutant?

TRG: Yeah, he was created in a lab. He's an experiment gone horribly, horribly wrong.

CPG: Ohhhhhhhh! OK.


Evil mother:
*shakes head sadly*

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Conversation in the car:


Drama King: You have a roll of toilet paper in here?

Wonderhubby: Well, you never know ...

The Roo-girl: Yeah, you never know when you're gonna need to pop a squat.

Evil Mother: *expressions of horror*

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Phone conversation following the teacher/eighth grade football game, where the Roo-girl and her fellow school pep squad members cheered on their fellow students:

Evil mother: So how was the game?

The Roo-girl: It was good.

EM: So the teachers won?

TRG: Yeah, how did you know?

EM: I was just guessing, the teachers being adults and all.

TRG: Wait... (turning to nearby friends) Who won the game?

EM: *Stunned silence*

TRG: Oh (giggle), the students won. Hey, I don't know. I didn't pay attention ...

EM: Weren't you cheering for ... oh never mind.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Haiku Friday: the home from college edition

Haiku Friday

The plane has landed
And there is my boy again.
Mommy feels complete.

Welcome to your new home!

Julie at Another Chance Ranch and Tiggerlane, who really isn't a Neophyte Blogger anymore, are building new homes. And Swampy is our hostess today for the world's most rockin'est housewarming party.

I'm usually gift-impaired, and since I don't really know what the inside of their new homes will look like, I thought I would offer up a gift that goes with everything:

Coffee ...



... and, of course, chocolate!


Enjoy, ladies!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Are you paying attention?

I am a very orderly person.

Not in my house or at my desk at work or in my car. Those are places only the very brave dare to go.

But definitely in my head.

My brain is orderly. My ideas take a logical route from beginning to fruition. I can start -- and finish -- a thought. Most of the time, I can even finish a project!

But I am surrounded by those who can't.

My husband, my oldest son, the Roo-girl and my BFF -- all of them have varying degrees of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

My BFF describes my world like this:

"Your mind is like a flock of geese -- all the thoughts fly in formation."

And hers like this:

"Mine is like a beehive. Everything is buzzing around, and if I think of something, I have to grab that bee because if I don't, it will fly away and be gone."

The other day I saw yet another story about ADD and ADHD on the news. I don't even remember what the gist of the story was, but I know what caught my attention.

The thing that always always, always comes up in a discussion of this topic:

We're overmedicating our kids.

This is a topic that aggravates me in a major league way because it downplays the role that medication can play in creating normalcy for a kid who really is ADHD.

Yeah, yeah, I know. I've heard it all -- about how teachers want malleable, compliant kids in their classrooms and want parents to medicate unnecessarily, blah blah blah.

But the "overmedicating our kids" bandwagon hurts those who really need it.

My personal experience with medication runs the gamut from "ok" to "wow." But would I withhold medication from an ADD child? No more than I would withhold an inhaler from the asthmatic Drama King.

My oldest son, the Drummer, is a fairly mild case. We attempted to medicate him when he was in school, but side effects ultimately were worse than the disease. He is doing well without it now, though sometimes he says he still thinks about trying it again.

The Roo-girl was diagnosed at the end of third grade, a crushingly difficult year that left us both panting with frustration. Enter Adderall, and fourth grade became her best school experience ever -- until sixth grade, when she made straight A's for the entire year. And has made the honor roll for three semesters.

The Wonderhubby is a pretty severe case, but he is a different generation. Back in the olden days in small-town middle America, they didn't know what to do with kids who couldn't sit still.

So in the first grade, they taped him to his desk.

When he told me this story -- which he, frankly, doesn't remember and only knows because he was told later -- I was aghast, appalled, astonished, angry. You name the word starting with "a" and I was that.

His mother went to school to stop this atrocity, and much testing at big universities ensued. But did they give him medication? No. Should they have? He wonders to this day. In fact, wouldn't that have been kinder than the desk incident?

Medication isn't for everyone. It bothered more than helped the Drummer. But the difference in the Roo-girl is quantifiable.

And what kind of parent would I be if I had subscribed to the "anti-medication" theory?

When I look at her accomplishments -- and I remember Wonderhubby's struggles -- I shudder to think.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The zit

Oh the HORROR.

The TRAGEDY.

The INDIGNITY.

Of the "worst zit I've ever had."

Pity the poor Roo-girl. At 13, she is having a zitastrophe.

Right in the middle of her chin.

Editor's note: it's a small whitehead. She has NO idea!

There isn't enough Clearasil on the planet to cover up the agony.

Coverup just makes it look worse.

And the worst part?

It comes on the day that she is wearing her first pair of 7 jeans. (Oh puh-freakin-lease -- they're hand-me-downs from her friend A. Don't you know me better than that by now?)

7 jeans ... and a zit.

Her life is over.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Potty talk, part deux

I have bathroom issues.

Ok, don't run screaming from the room. I do promise not to get TOO much into the realm of TMI. It's not really a scatalogical issue (wow, I do use big words), but more an actual facilities problem.

I love my own bathroom. My own toilet (yes, the one pictured here, not the one I posted once before). I don't even like to use the other bathrooms in my own house. If my husband is in ours, I prefer to wait rather than use the kids' bathroom or the (excuse the expression) powder room, which is just a nice way of saying the downstairs half-bath. My family makes fun of me for this, but oh well.

So you can imagine how I feel about public restrooms. Can I just say one word?

Ew.

I have specific places where I will go, and most places that I won't.

Here are places that get my "business":

Costco: I have no idea why, and it doesn't even matter if it's in a "good" part of town or a "bad" (whatever the hell that means). I just find Costco bathrooms to be generally clean and not squig-worthy.

Starbucks: Pfffft. This also defies explanation. But the Roo-girl and Z-man laughed hysterically when I pointed out every Starbucks I had peed in during three trips along the gazillion-mile pedestrian mall in faraway collegeland. (However, I must point out that there were more than four separate S'bucks along the mall, which I think defies explanation more than my willingness to pee there.)

My local grocery store: Iffy, but in an emergency ... (and there's only one grocery store I'll use out of three close ones).

My office: Yeah, well, we can all breathe a sigh of relief that I don't feel the need to hold it all day.

Places I won't go:

Gas station bathrooms: One word only -- ewwwwwwwwww.

Porta-potties: See above.

Other people's homes: Doesn't make me totally squeamish, but sometimes gives me the ickies. Especially if they have boys. (Oh, please, you know what I mean. And I have three sons of my own -- and a husband -- so don't get all in my face here!)

Just about anywhere else: My family knows that if I say I have to "go," and I'm not in one of my comfort zones, then I really have to GO. Because otherwise my response would be "Don't go there, girlfriend!"

I think the basic problem in all of it is other people's bodily fluids (etc.).

So imagine my ultimate thrill when I went into my personal sanctuary this morning and discovered that my husband, though perfect in many many ways, had decided not to flush sometime overnight.

Although I have not discussed (or disgust) this with him, my guess is that he had two reasons for this lapse of etiquette:

1. He didn't want to wake me at 5 a.m. with the sound of rushing water.

2. He was being a good soldier and saving water by not flushing.

And the reaction of his loving wife to these noble reasons?

1. Uh... He woke me up anyway to kiss me goodbye. (This is a good thing, people! Believe me, I know this!)

2. I FLUSHED THE TOILET BEFORE I WOULD USE IT.

Because ... ew.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Fun Monday #40: the Mother May I edition

Hootin' Anni is our hostess this week and she wanted us to do this (edited for space!):

You're to take 30 GIANT steps away from your computer. 30 GIANT STEPS - IN ANY direction. You may have to make a few turns and pivots so you won't run into any walls or such. After the 30 giant steps, Stop! TAKE A PHOTO AND/OR NOTE WHAT YOU'RE SEEING!! Then, take 15 baby steps back. After the 15 baby steps, Stop! TAKE A PHOTO AND/OR NOTE WHAT YOU'RE SEEING. It's all about your first glance after the giant/baby steps!!!


Ok, here she goes ...

Thirty giant steps from the comfort of my bed and my laptop takes me down two flights of stairs, out my front door and down the seven steps of hell. This is what I see:



We call them the seven steps of hell because they are steep, narrow and freakin' AWFUL to navigate when wet or with your arms full of groceries.

Fifteen baby steps back the other way takes me back UP the seven steps of hell, to my front porch (uh, not really a porch but the only one we have), where I found many more interesting views:

Looking back (and down) from whence I had come:



Looking up (overcast day ... and that "turret" houses the computer that Wonderhubby plays killer free cell on!):



And lastly, to the left, where my roses are having a case of Novemberitis. They were soooo beautiful this summer:



And that's what I got. Mother, may I now go and check out the other Fun Monday particpants. Yes, I may!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The birthday aftermath

Ah, the love. The warmth. The caring.

The desire to KILL YOUR SIBLING.

Yes, that is my life. We had birthday dinner for the Drama King last night. It was everything I could have hoped for.

We had hugs. We had "crappy homemade cards" (compliments of the Roo-girl -- this is a longstanding specialty of hers). We had birthday songs. We had friendly banter. We had bad knock-knock jokes.

Knock knock.

Who's there?

Interrupting cow.

Interru...

Moo.

Followed by:

Knock knock.

Who's there?

Interrupting coefficient of friction.

Interru...

Mu.

Oh yeah, we're an esoteric bunch.

And we had poking. Oh, the poking.

It will never be possible for my children to sit in close quarters without someone putting his/her hands on someone else. And yes, two of the attending children are FULL-GROWN ADULTS, thankyouverymuch.


Please note the fear in her eyes here. She knows what is coming next.

The conversation ranged from deep to inane to "if I blog about this, someone would SURELY call Child Protective Services on me." Suffice it to say, the word "gerbil" came up. I could only shake my head in wonder and secretly kvell that my progeny are so comfortable around me that no topic is off-limits.

The only downside was that we were missing the Z-man, who comes home from faraway college land for a trimester break in a mere four days.

But otherwise, how can you resist a police lineup like this:

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Happy Birthday to the Drama King

I haven't written much about my second oldest child. There are reasons for this, not the least of which is that unsavory, tension-filled moment when I threw him out of my house, into the cold, cruel night at 9 p.m. on Dec. 25, 2005.

Judge me not, however, until you have walked a mile in my flipflops. It was both my finest and worst parenting moment.

Finest, because tough love, while difficult to administer, is frequently the best answer to a bad situation.

Worst, because I threw my son out of my house and changed the locks. I cried for days, fretted for weeks, worried for months. But I held firm.

Almost two years later, he is much better for it. He has been welcomed back into the fold (though not to live in my house), he is respectful, he is loving, he is funny, he is self-sufficient. Many things that he was not before that fateful night.

But this post is not really about that dark period. This is about the day he was born, which was exactly 24 years ago today.

As befits a Drama King such as himself, I labored with him for more than 24 hours. Twenty-six, to be precise, and after all that, I had a C-section anyway.

As I recall, when I pushed, I had several people's hands all in places where their hands ought not to have been, attempting to pull open the edges of my cervix to permit the largest head EVER to enter the world.

True to form, he was NOT comin' out the way he got in.

He weighed 9 pounds, 2 1/2 ounces. A monster for this little 5-foot-2 mama. His head was giNORmous. I don't remember the dimensions, but suffice it to say I had to return all the cute little 3-month-sized t-shirts and outfits, and make sure that everything had side snaps at the shoulder. Wouldn't go over his head, otherwise.

As a child, he had a head full of curls and a mouth full of big words and a brain full of fancy and imagination. He had food allergies and asthma. He never napped as a baby. He stayed up late and slept late, which is nice, unless you have to get him to school. Anything before 8:30 a.m. required an act of God and at least two people to accomplish.

He was my punishment for the infinitely easier child no. 1, who essentially slept away the first year of his life but who developed into demon child as soon as the Drama King was born. Sibling rivalry, anyone?

He was also the one who would snuggle.

The one who I comforted through countless emergency room visits for anaphylaxis and asthma.

The one whose unending brilliance blew me away.

The one who read "Les Miserables" (not the Cliff Notes version, either) FOR FUN.

The one who refused to do homework but got A's on tests anyway.

The one who acts and sings like a dream and would make the best ever Charlie Brown in a stage production of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown."

The one who suffered the most during "those years."

The one who called 911 and ended them.

The one who trusted me with his secret at 16.

The one I thought I was going to lose forever when he was 17.

The one who needed me most.

The one who loved me best.

It has been a rough road we have traveled together. We still tread carefully with each other, but it is a different -- and better -- Drama King who celebrates his birthday today.

Today's Drama King is the one who can't think of a better way to spend his birthday than to have dinner with his siblings and stepfather.

And his mother.

The one who always loves him.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Haiku Friday: the addiction/withdrawal edition

Haiku Friday

Ode to a problem

Each day I still look
In vain on the market shelf,
But alas, it is gone.

Vanilla Zero
was a fleeting tease from Coke.
I'm crabby as hell!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

It's her birthday!!

Well, chickadees ... today is my friend Melodyann's birthday. And for that amazingly important occasion, I am hosting a special event over at her blog today.

Come on by and wish the old fart a happy natal day, wouldja?

(And yes, this TOTALLY counts as my NaBloPoMoFoDeeOhDoh post for today. It took me a looong time to put that sucker together!!!)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

If the mama ain't happy...ain't NOBODY happy

Oh, this is soooo on point in my house.

It's not that I'm so volatile, really. It's just that I have a totally readable face that completely BROADCASTS my emotions. That makes me a terrible poker player.

For those of you on the edge of your seats as to how I handled part two of my catastrophic chorus experience, everything went fine. I fretted about going and putting myself into that soul-sucking vortex again, but my director actually apologized.

Well, that's not strictly accurate. The words "I'm sorry" or any other normal permutation of apology never actually passed through her lips. But she stopped me before I went to my spot on the risers to whisper encouraging words about many things. For her, that was huge. I take my solace where I can get it where she is concerned.

The Wonderhubby is tippy-toeing around me a bit, sending sweet nothings over AT&T's text-messaging system.

My BFF and I have moved on to other excitement: chorus and family gossip and other general friendish stuff.

But the very best ever part of the "aftermath" was what greeted me when I got home at 11:30 last night.

Lying on top of my laptop in my darkened bedroom was this special gift from the Roo-girl:



And once again, there is peace in my world.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Yes, I do know what's important

I got drunk Sunday night.

I'm not particularly proud of myself. Nor was I anything that you could consider sloshed, really.

The backstory on why my day sucked so royally would take multiple posts and is very complicated to explain. It also might sound stupid and insignificant to some.

Suffice it to say that I put myself in a vulnerable position at my chorus where a solo was concerned and found that my success in being named "understudy" actually made me less than if I had not auditioned.

It's not the not singing it that gets me. It's the way I was treated.

Promises were made.

Promises were broken. In a very public way.

My director actually won't even look at me right now. And not because I misbehaved. Au contraire.

It's because she knows what she has done.

And that she hurt me. Badly.

Lucky me, though, because I have a best friend who always takes care of me. After an entire day of being obviously scrutinized by others at the way I was being treated, I couldn't get out of the rehearsal hall fast enough.

In my best friend's car. In my best friend's care.

She drove me to her house, fed me pizza and plied me with more wine than I have drunk in a loooooooooooooong time. And it was the good stuff. No strawberry zinfindel here.

I started this post with the intention of making several points.

I wanted to talk about the thoughtless yet very male comment that my husband made that undid all the good that the wine had done.

And how funny it was that it came on the heels of a conversation we had about ADHD (he is ... very) and how the lack of a verbal gatekeeper got him in trouble in the past.

I wanted to talk about the pity party I am having at the thought of having to go back and do another night of choral scrutiny tonight.

I wanted to talk about how petty I feel for making this into a big deal when there are children starving in Ethopia and any other manner of worldly catastrophes that are more important than my ego.

Instead, though, I just want to talk about how incredible my friend is.

How she carefully -- and with intent -- poured nearly an entire bottle of wine into me while we sat for three hours (yes, really) in her jacuzzi.

How she told the story to her husband, her son and my daughter in such a way that they totally got it and I knew she understood and felt as wronged herself.

How she pieced a fragile me back together and, eventually, had me laughing and cracking jokes and telling stupid stories.

How this morning, when I told her what the Wonderhubby had said to me last night, she added him to her list of people she is mad at so I don't have to be.

How she became the mother bear and set out to protect me at all costs.

How she loves me -- almost as much as I love her.

I am a lucky, lucky woman.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Fun Monday #39: The Holiday Tradition edition *edited*

Deborah of the Humble Housewife is our hostess for this week's Fun Monday. She says this:

With the holidays coming up I thought it would be fun to get an insight into holiday traditions in peoples homes. I want you to share a tradition, event, recipe or quirk that you or your family does or aspires to do during the holidays, whether those holidays be Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, or whatever you celebrate! Given that this is a food blog I am especially interested in recipes, but anything will do! Pictures are a plus! Bonus points for Thanksgiving, as I need all the help I can get with that one - as this year my American mother-in-law, brother's girlfriend and her mother are coming!!!

This one actually made me think pretty darned hard.

Because we're Jewish, our family traditions are a little different than many, I would expect. I do enjoy the spirit of the holiday season and the melodies and the decorations, and I love to share them with others ... we just don't have them in our home.

First and foremost, there are the candles. This is the menorah (called a hanukkiah, actually) that I have used for many years. This is how it will look on the last night of Hanukkah, when all nine candles (for the eight nights plus one helper candle) are lit:



Our second family tradition is going to the movies on Christmas Day. It is a big deal with four of my children (J-bear is with her mom on Christmas, so she doesn't enter into it) and the Wonderhubby to pick out just the right movie to see that day. In past years, we have seen "Kate and Leopold" (uh, don't bother), "The Chronicles of Narnia" and even "Dreamgirls." This year we're thinking more along the lines of this:



or even this:



And thank goodness the Roo-girl is over 13 and much more worldly, so we don't have to do this:


Her brothers (and her mother) thank you!

My last offering for my holiday traditions is one that is mine alone, one I don't share with my family, but one that I look forward to all year long:

A Starbucks eggnog latte

*Please, no comments about the calorie and fat content. I know, I know!*




*edited to add: I altered some of the wording to make it clear that I know we have rockin' traditions, but they are DIFFERENT, not not traditional, which was my original poor word choice.*
 
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