Friday, October 22, 2010

Holy shit---three is a lot more than two. Who knew?

No drafting. No revising. No time to make this sound nice. It is what it is on a first type:

I always yell at J---- about cursing. But in the end I probably curse as much if not more than he does. Oh the irony of it all. Call me cocky; call me arrogant; call me naive. Call me just about anything right now and I really won't care at all. I won't even fight back. I probably won't even give you a second glance. Or if I do, it will be with a well of tears in my eyes and no strength whatsoever. You'll be looking at an entirely different lady than from just a few weeks back.

A few weeks back I was just a tired lady. I was a lady carrying around about 35 extra pounds and wondering when I'd no longer be pregnant. In fact, the idea of not being pregnant was blissful. In my mind it meant shedding not only the cumbersome belly, but time away from the classroom, and the start of an entirely new chapter in my life. Yet, for all the books I've read, studied, and even taught, I wasn't entirely prepared for where this narrative was actually headed. I guess in retrospect that's pretty cool. It would actually be a bit lame if I could have, in fact, predicted or determined the course of things to come.

So, here I am right now learning to do what many, many women before have me have learned to do. Here we are as a couple again navigating those first few months of newborn land---a land with no determined schedule, no rest for the weary, one that is so isolating at times that the end is far from see-able, or more grammatically correct recognizable/evident/clear/obvious. Arghhh I don't think see-able is a word. Is it? OK---I KNOW it's not a word, I haven't lost my entire mind. But you know what? For today, in my world, it'll just have to do. OK? Throw me a bone. OK? Here my two older guys have been thrown into a world that requires them to be patient, sometimes quiet, wait, and be without mom for a great deal of time (at first). That's a lot to ask of little people. But regardless, I'm asking, pleading, yelling, and unfortunately demanding it of them quite often now.

All of this inevitably brings with it a mountain of guilt, questioning, insecurity, indecision, and of course random tears. All of which are truly frustrating and annoying to a woman who normally runs her life much like the bell schedule at school---up at dawn, out the door on the dot, slave to the clock at work, and the evening rush of pick-ups, dinner time, bath, stories, and then bed. Take all the factors from above (minus work) and throw them up in the air, and let them fall where they may---now start. OK---so that's pretty dramatic, and not quite or even close to how things are running. But that's how I feel a lot of the time.

But as I type this out I realize how petty, self-absorbed, and dramatic I must actually sound. Because in the end, while there is a lot of crying, whining, acting out (even by me---the 37 year old mom!) each day we all fall asleep together under one roof. And I can go late-night (since I'm up) from room to room and see the chests of each my most beloved people rise and fall in complete peace.

With that said, I vow to stop drowning as my sister wisely tells me. To order pizza, let C----- ride his bike around the block with wild abandon, let C---- and K------ watch Nick Jr. until bathtime even if they watched it while I nursed C--- again, kiss J----- before I fall asleep at 8pm, again, and to delegate, ask for help more.

It will all come together. It did the first time. It did again the 2nd time. So, it will this time too. And it's not a measure of me or my family as to how long it takes and what roads we go down to get there. We will all pile in together. And along the way there will be yelling, story-telling, singing, laughing, giggling, fart noises, fast food runs, pee breaks, bitching, accidents, moments of bliss, cursing, smiling, and finally the peaceful sounds of sleeping from my fantastic four. And before we know it we will have figured out how to be a party of five.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

15 Weeks and Counting

As I stand by my door
Between class,
I look at all the kids whizzing by
and I wonder who you'll be.
Will you be
The girl who is always on her own;
or the one with guts enough to wear neon orange?
Or will you wear what everyone else decides is appropriate?
Will you yell at your friends to wait up,
or will you lead the pack?
Or hang out right smack in the middle, quietly?
Will you be the one who curses because it makes you sound tough?
Will you smoke cigarettes and then blame it on your "friend"?
Will you cut class,
Talk back to a teacher,
Or will you be kind
Get your homework done
and raise your hand to offer your thoughts
right or wrong?
Or will you be the boy
who trades the last weeks of summer
for a water bottle, cleats and an angry coach?
Or lace on some running shoes?
Jump high towards a net or with pom poms or
Sway to the beat or stomp your feet?
Or will you want to play guitar
Or get your hands dirty with some paint?
You could do a little bit of it all,
if you wanted.
If you weren't afraid of what others might think.
Will you worry about that?
Doesn't everyone worry about it, though,
Just a bit, even if they claim they don't.
Will you show your teeth when you smile?
Or will your smile look more like a frown?
Will your eyes be shiny and bright?
Will your laugh be loud and uncontrollable?
Or will you stifle your feelings behind a scowl?
Will you lie to your friends, to me, to yourself?
Will you let someone take advantage of you?
Or will you be the bully
and make someone else cry
all in a vain attempt to feel
somehow . . . better?
Might you be a little bit of all?
All the time.
Whatever you become
Know that I will
Sing to you,
Help you,
And sometimes hurt you, even.
But all the while
My heart will break for you
my heart will burst for you.
You, your brother, your sister will be
my life's work


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Why do I care so much?

My children have no fear. OK so that's not entirely true. Actually there is a rather long list of things that frighten them: dogs, monsters, mean guys, bad guys, the boogey man, Mom and Dad fighting, etc. But with the exception of the friendly neighborhood dog all of those "evils" which frighten them have some reasonable basis. I suppose what I mean more than fear is the idea that differences, insecurities, self-esteem, and or ego don't cloud them.

Life has not changed them. Yet. Sigh.

When we hit a playground or public space of any kind (pool, restaurant, grocery store, pathway, retail store, etc.) they are completely undetterd by others. They don't worry about age, race, dress, appearance or even language. Nothing stops them from approaching a person and questioning them or giving a statement of opinion or fact

Why do you have purple hair. I've never seen purple hair before? Mom, can I have purple hair?

Nothing deters them from making an introduction.

Hi my name is Conor. I'm five. Do you want to play hide and seek with me?

Or even sharing random comments with a complete stranger.

I'm hoping to get a transformer at Target with my piggy bank money.

I see their fearlessness and I love it. While, at other times it's completely awkward and unsettling. Yet, invariably upon my return to the car I secretly revel in whatever true statement has been uttered---oftentimes I find that I was thinking much the same thing---but my social sensor stops me from uttering these "truths". Yet my adult-ness often clouds or even ruins these otherwise innocent and wonderful observations---rather than seeing things for simply what they are, they invariably become about me and my failings, misplaced judgment, insecurities, or hang-ups.

Perfect example: Last summer this astute observation was made about a woman in the bathroom at a local pool.

Mom, her breasts are much, much bigger than the ones on your body.

This woman did have enormous breasts, that were rather perky for a woman who appeared to be in her mid-fifties which gave me serious pause. But again, I was thinking the EXACT same thing BUT I did not make this observation known to the world.

And I suspect at age 3 and 5 the observation for my children ended with the recognition of the size difference. And that's it. Not so for me. The trail of thoughts in my head became more jumbled and ridiculous:

Man, those are huge boobs.

Gosh I look like a 12 year old girl.

But they are clearly FAKE.

What's the big deal with her FAKE boobs?

Do I really care if she bought them?

Would I buy boobs?

If I am jealous of her fake boobs, what does that say about me?

God I'm pathetic.

Let's get out of here.

Let's make sure we don't come to this pool tomorrow.

God I'm pathetic.

Man, my boobs are tiny.

All of this in the span of a few moments. When all my children see is the black and white nature of the clear and obvious size difference.I suppose what they are missing is the analysis piece. When exactly do we become bogged down by these ideas? 9, 10, 14, 21, 30?

He just sees what he sees. Period. And they seem much happier for it.

I think my children have done more to help me find peace within myself than years of therapy and prozac. I guess I just need a few more decades of "child therapy." That's probably the best prescription.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Better than Valentine's day

Before the second snowstorm last week we ventured out to get food and new books to make it through. We did a drive by my mom's office when we realized the library hadn't opened just yet. Given that her office is right nearby, we dropped in to blow the 10 mintues and visit rather than wait in the car. Once there I was accosted by my Mom and her many colleagues about making sure the kids were squared away on the ole H1N1 shot. So, I left the kids with her at her cubicle while I filled out paperwork for the last booster---boy do they LOVE my mom's office now, right!!---I warned her but she insisted I get the booster, and given that they were given the first part in October it was well past time. After that we left, got books, made soup, and waited for the snow to start falling.

Later that night Kendall and I had the following conversation:

Mom, I really want a princess dress like yours.

I love dresses Kendall, but I don't have a princess dress.

Yes, you do. And you have very beautiful flowers.

(Me undoubtedly staring blank-faced at Kendall).

In the picture on Grammy's desk.

(And then I remember that my mom has a photograph of me from my wedding on her desk.)

Oh, that's from my wedding to with your Dad. That's the day we became a couple.

(I was a little stymied about how to describe that exactly. I chose not to get into the lack of name change thingie, and the idea of being equals and all that, right now anyhow. So I left it at that and figured the conversation was over---all the while thankful that for once she saw her mom all dressed up.)

Ohhh, so that means Dad is your prince.

(Me----totally in shock. With no words. Even a little teary.)

We'll, yes it does.

Monday, February 15, 2010

From my bookshelf

I'm copying a blog/website that I like to read: She is quite the reader. If only I had as much time to read as she does. Alas---she posted some answers to these questions. And I love lists. So here is my book list:

A book that changed your life: This is a toss up. A few years ago I stumbled upon A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. I’m not sure how I found or even chose this book from the book store. If I recall it was when I was on maternity leave with my first child---who was colicky---and with Jamie traveling frequently it was all I could do to make it through the days. Luckily I figured out how to read while feeding Conor and those moments were both relaxing and needed. Needless to say I think I stumbled upon this book at our local used book store---a short walk from our home at the time. It was such an eye opener for me about how close to poverty and how precarious life is for millions, and millions of people. These are realities that I was not unaware of, but this book really helped me see the world in a different and more detailed way. So too, was the effect of Khaled Hosseini’s Kite Runner. Wow. From the first line, this book sucked me in: "I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid and overcast day in the winter of 1975." I received the book as a holiday gift while staying at my in-laws. I think I finished it within 2 days---and we were heading out on skiing afternoons and excursions and I still found myself reading at every possible free moment. As with A Fine Balance, Hosseini’s book opened me eyes to how dramatically different one’s life would be if by some cosmic turn of fate you were born into a whole new world.

A book you’ve read more than once: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee never gets old for me. I often teach this book---but I still re-read it each time. But each time I find some new and exciting---and I’m always pleased with how satisfying this book is for me. It’s so well-constructed and well-written. It's a wonderful book to teach as well, because there are so many wonderful examples of literary device, argumentative structure, narrative set-up, and just flat out a fantastic narrative! Besides---it's got a fantastic heroine! I only hope my Kendall loves Scout as much as I do.

A book that made you laugh: High Fidelity by Nick Hornby. This past summer I truly enjoyed both Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead and The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (however this also made me cry too) by Junot Diaz. Please, please someone read this last one so we can talk about it. It's a bit risque!

A book that made you cry: A few years ago a colleague recommended The Chosen by Chaim Potok. It was a wonderful story about family and friendships. While it was a tough read for me because it was about a world and upbringing so much different than my own, the themes resonated nonetheless. I also enjoyed and cried at the end of Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. This book was a bit crazy, and at times I wondered about the madness of where the narrative was headed. However the ending was a surprise and the shock! And of course who could forget Charlotte dying at the end Charlotte’s Web? I'm mean as an adult you know her life is going to end, but as a young reader it is a startling and poignant moment.

A book that you wish YOU had written: I just love E.B. White. Whether it’s Charlotte’s Web or Stuart Little, each sentence is a treat on its own. And Cider House Rules by John Irving was a real treat. It is filled with neat characters (some that you love, loathe, and just don’t quite know how to understand). And the story is so thought-provoking. It really addresses the grays that get lost in the partisan discussion that always seems to accompany anything dealing with abortion.

And a book you wish had never been written: This is a really hard one for me. I just don’t finish stuff that I don’t enjoy. There are some selections for my book club at work that I haven’t been so jazzed by, but I don’t know if they’d fall into so extreme that they don’t exist---but I did think the bestseller The Shack was pretty ridiculous. Ridiculous. I still don’t understand what all the appeal was all about.

Books that you’re currently reading: Arghhh. There are always too many books on my bookshelf. My general rule is to commit to the first 50 pages. If at that point I’m not drawn in it goes back to the library. There are way too many books to be read in this world to mess with one that you aren’t enjoying. I figure you can always go back if you’d like. I’m currently involved in Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian. I got Stones into Schools Stones by Greg Mortenson and have just begun to flip through and look at all the pictures first! And I'm re-reading Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe since that is what my students are reading right now.

A book you’ve been meaning to read: Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. I WILL get these read this summer while enjoying my trips to the local farm market!

What are you guys reading?

Monday, February 8, 2010

It took about 25 inches of snow to really slow down. Phew.

I believe that in a strange way Mother Nature was looking out for my family. We are very normal people. I personally revel in this normalcy. I've never quite understood the fascination with wanting to be somebody. Aren't we all, already someone? While I cannot claim to be immune to falling victim to scandalous celebrity gossip or the ridiculous reality show gone wrong, I've never, ever wanted the sort of fame that goes along with all the money and madness. But my supposed ordinary existence, is at times a bit much, and even I want to get away from it; or take a break; or just have a reason to sit back and disappear from all responsibilities.

This past weekend left 25 inches of snow at my doorstep. And well, that gave us plenty of time to ourselves (and of course the great outdoors)!

A bit Friday and most of Saturday was spent shoveling snow. We live in a townhouse community. So, as a result there is very little green space. That means there is little t0 nowhere to put snowfall. And normally this is not a problem. But it kept on coming. And as it did the pile grew higher and higher and higher. The one small garden we have now a mountain. I do not kid. You could launch yourself off this sucker (and with the expected snow fall projected for tomorrow evening---up to 10 more inches--- I will be setting up a course for my children off this mountain and into the street before they plows come through. ) You think I'm kidding. It's at least 15 feet high. I suspect it'll be there until April. I'm guessing tax day!

On these days we had all the time in the world for one another. We played in the snow. We shoveled. We climbed our "mountain". We made our lunch together. We ate leisurely together (again that means---I didn't need worry about what time it was---because we had nowhere to go and a whole lot of nothing to do!---This never happens on a weekend.)! We played games. We watched TV. We read books. We colored. We ate chocolate chip cookies. We did sit-ups out of guilt (OK I'm the only one who did sit-ups out of guilt.).We headed back outside to shovel some more. But in all these ventures we did it together.

And we did it without a time frame in mind. At all.

Normally each morning is a tight balancing act, with each and every minute tightly scripted---when if even a moment or two is out of order or takes a bit longer than normal, the backup ricochets into the remainder of the day.

I know that I am not alone in that I have to be at work at a certain time of day. Most folks arrive or even clock in at a specified or routine time. However, most folks don't have 61 teenagers waiting to get into a classroom and find their seats at promptly 720am. Upon arriving at work my day is planned by the minute. Each class period is divided into sections I hope to accomplish and my notes indicate approximately how long each one should take (but you can see Beavis and Butthead to understand that I am flexible at times)---so even when class begins I'm constantly checking the clock. The bell schedule runs on a precise time-frame and rings announce the dismissal or arrival of the next class. After work it's a race against the clock as well. If I want to exercise I have one hour (220-320) to do so. After which I join the rest of the suburban masses and get onto the roads---oh how I hate my car (If only I lived in a walkable city---I'm sure I'd find reason to be annoyed with that, and I'd still have errands to do, but at least I'd be walking and my ass would look better! ). Often I "treat" myself to the grocery store sans children. Who knew that grocery shopping without children could be so blissful? Then it's to school to pick up the kiddos (thankfully both are at the same spot, at least for the remainder of this school year). I pick up Kendall first: talk with teacher, put on coat, say goodbye. Now for Conor. See earlier sentence---same routine. Then (my favorite) back in the car and this time onto the highway. By now it's usually about 415. And to think we found ourselves on this same highway (albeit going the opposite direction) at 645am. Woo hoo. Even when we get home I'm still a slave to the clock---unpack groceries, unload backpacks, put dishes away (as invariably I have run the dishwasher the night before), start dinner, eat dinner, give baths, set out clothes for the next day, brush teeth, comb hair, read stories, say goodnight.

Woah---it's 8pm, where'd those 3 1/2 hours go. But wait stop whining, stop wasting this precious free time. It's time to party. Or maybe not---I'm pooped at the prospect of doing this all again, and in less than 12 hours. Possibly I'll go buck-wild with another glass of vino----all the while getting the rest of stuff together (pack lunches and determine what I can wear to work that doesn't need ironing). Usually the day ends with the alarm being set and the crossword puzzle on the bureau (on a good day it's about 3/4 done).

So exciting, I know.

Remember, though, I said earlier, I do love my very, normal life. It's the routine nature of it that often gets to me. But I'm such a creature of habit, that the most exciting thing for me might be to meet a dear friend at ChikFila in the middle of the week in lieu of cooking dinner. And let's face it. Parents don't go to ChikFila for the fantastic cuisine---because while they might make a kick-ass Chix nugget, the indoor play facility is the real draw. Why they don't serve draft beer and wine for the adults is beyond me. They'd make a killing.

So, Mother Nature, you threw 25 inches at me this past week. And while I fought loving it for a long, long time, when I finally did submit to the beauty of it all, it really was quite blissful
Because for a few nights I didn't look at the clock once---except of course when I set the oven timer for our freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Snow days

I don't think I ever had the idea that my kids would be mini-Me's. And while they certainly possess traits that I recognize in either myself or Jamie, more often than not they prove themselves to be distinct individuals.

As she was riding down the hill in her sled, Kendall proved to be quite the snow bunny. She lifted her hands in the air, raised her head to the sky and screamed: "Woooo hooooo!" Then I looked to Conor. He was on his back, his eyes were closed, and his mouth was wide open. He looked to be in heaven. It made being out in the cold not so frosty----if only for a moment. And I thought, are these kids really mine? So, I sat my cold body down in the snow and tried to remember when it was that I enjoyed the snow.

Yesterday was cold. I think the high was 17. Now, I'm sure there are folks who deal with that all the time, and they likely think I'm a super wimp. But you know what, I don't live in Chicago, Alaska, or way up in the mountains. There's a simple reason for that---I can't stand being cold. In fact, there's nothing I detest more. That wasn't always the case. I suppose it's an indicator that I'm growing old---that the things I used to handle in stride, I just don't or refuse to deal with any longer.

I recall getting into my gear as a kid---no real gear, that is, and staying out in the cold for hours. And no I don't think this was a figment of my imagination. I am certain we got up on 2 hour school delays and played outside for a bit BEFORE going to school. Maybe we were odd kids, but I don't think so.

On full on snow days we would wear the most ridiculous assortment of clothing. I recall being jealous of my neighbor who had a snow suit. The irony is she never stayed out that long---and I always thought that odd given that she had the super warm snow suit, after all. Instead, I wore at least two pairs of jeans/pants after putting thermal underwear on first. Then we'd push two or three pairs of socks on, and sweatshirts, and t-shirt layers so that our jackets were almost bursting at the seams. Once we were bundled up we'd journey all around the neighborhood looking for sledding opportunities. I remember sledding with my dad on some legendary (in our mind) runs that we set up throughout the front yard. The best year was the one when we had enough snow such that we piled it up across the ditch (to create a bridge of sorts), zoomed across the street and then down the hill on the other side. It was only the next spring that we discovered we'd killed the grass on both our hill and the neighbors.

In those days I was impervious to the cold---not that I didn't get ridiculously cold. I loved coming in and sitting right atop the heating vent, or next to the fire (the two or three times a year we actually had a fire in the fireplace), burning my tongue on the hot chocolate I just couldn't wait to sip. But, being cold never stopped me from venturing outside, again and again. The magic of snow was too much of a draw.

Today as I pushed the kids down the mini hill near our home, I reveled in their delight. They both took "naps" in the snow; they buried themselves the way they would in sand; threw snowballs at one another and me; and of course ate handfuls and handfuls of snow. Even when crashing off the sled, there were just a few moments of "I'm frozen, MOM!"

But after the initial shock or cold wore off it was back to the hill for one more run.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Beavis and Butthead

I love my job.

Yet, whenever I meet folks and they determine I'm a teacher they honestly have no idea what to do with me. Many have no audible response. It's as though they never had teachers or are suddenly weirded-out by the fact that I am a walking, talking human instead of some fembot spewing nonsense up in front of a classroom. Then these awed folks are equally stunned to discover that I don't teach 2nd graders but in fact teach high school. Generally there is an odd gasp-like response. Again, how do they honestly expect for me to respond to such odd behavior. I usually ask if they need another drink or anything and then politely excuse myself. They generally nod, "No, thank you, I'm fine." At that point, I still try and move away.

Maybe people think teens are weird or difficult. At times that may be true. But hell, most adults are weirder and infinitely more difficult. This year, in particular, I'm having a blast (super disclaimer: Note: I have enjoyed each of my years teaching for any number of reasons---minus the first one---that one was more difficult than enjoyable). Things have come together again at school, I'm still teaming with a super pal, and my students are really nice kids. But the thing that is so great about working in a school, is that you never really know how anything is going to play out (This is ALSO what makes teaching such a royal pain-in-the-ass, too.). But it's the interactions with students that are so ridiculously fun.

EXHIBIT A: Trigger words

There are some words that you can never utter in a class of sophomores (I use this grade level as my current example as this has been the bulk of my course load for the last few years---but it remains true with 2nd semester seniors even!). Namely any body part. It's normally the boys who react so wildly to them, however.

I think the sentence that got me going the other day was something like this:

"I want to make sure that you're abreast of the situation with dates and all, so be sure to check the blackboard account over the holiday break."

This is what I said. Let the snickering begin.

Giggle. Chuckle. Gulp. Laugh.


Giggle. Chuckle. Gulp. Laugh.

"REALLY? REALLY? Abreast. Because it's close to breast? What is it with you guys? Have you never heard the term Abreast? That's quite different than A space BREAST."

Laughter across the board.

We get to talking and the class just can't explain why body parts are such a laugh-starter. At which point I write PENIS as large as I can on the whiteboard. Laughter spills out into the hallways.

These are the times I want a principal to come to my room. They always swing by when I'm passing out papers (so it appears that I'm just pushing papers---because at that moment I actually am doing that, alas); or when the kids are taking test (so there's nothing for them to actually see, and they seemed annoyed at me, but I'm thinking this is what we do, TEST!); or when I am collecting that test (see earlier note); or when I'm lecturing and they smile and sit for just a moment (never enough time to get a grasp anything that we are discussing---just once I'd like them to interject and become part of the conversation---it's never happened, EVER.). But I really, really, really want them to come by when I happen to drop a bomb like "abreast" or when I write the word penis on the board in 50 point font. As I write the 50 point font penis on the board I tell my students that I do in fact want a principal to swing by, right now. And I want that principal to be a male principal---to test my theory: that they will ignore the word entirely.

What are they going to say? Anything? REALLY? Or would they try to act as though they didn't see the word PENIS on the board. Which would be better, though? It really is a tough question. Do you call the teacher out and say, "Ummm Ms._____, I see that you've made a chart there about the choosing economic pursuits over mothering in "Mother Courage and Children" and that's cool and all that but, uhmmm what's with the PENIS?" Because they know as well as I do that laughter will ensue, and then what are they going to do? Am I going to calm the class down, only to have them erupt again (Ha!) when I say the word PENIS again when answering the question about said PENIS (I'm not sure why I feel the need to write that in all caps, but I do). Alas, I digress. OR---will they take the super wimpy way out, and act like it's not there at all. These are the scenarios I'm running through with my students, OUT LOUD, mind you---and yes we totally should have been working on the chart about capitalistic pursuits versus the role of a traditional mother, but really this was just much more entertaining. And who would lean their head in the door, but a principal.

It. Was. A. Dream. Come. True.

LAUGHTER. Laughter. And more laughter (myself included).

And much to my dismay, the principal took the super wimpy way out.

"How are you guys doing, Ms. _____?"

"Oh, just fine M.----------"

"Sounds like you guys are having a good time."

"Always. Always. There's nothing more enjoyable than a good discussion at 740 am."

"Well, keep up the good work."

"We sure will."

Now go back up to the picture and look more closely. And you'll see that besides that terribly ugly brown sweater up in the top left corner is the word that got the ball rolling that morning. Much to my dismay it came to my attention that some kid snapped this picture with their ridiculously expensive cell phone and it was up on facebook for all to see. Yikes. So here's my side of story.

And so the picture is really worth a thousand words.

Or in this case, just one: Penis.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I need to keep up with this

So, over the last few weeks there have been countless times when I've known what I wanted to write about:
1. trigger words in my classroom---"trigger" being anything that causes folks to chuckle---for instance, any body part (penis, breast, etc.)---plus i have a picture some kids posted on facebook---yikes
2. running and how hard/enjoyable it can be
3. why my kids always must be in physical proximity to me, always when it's the most inconvenient for me
4. fantastic books
5. how i'm so stretched by the time jamie returns home each week
6. why folks get soooo excited every off-season for the Redskins----when we all know next season will be rough, and mediocre
7. gilbert arenas --- idiot, but not a total loss
8. pat robertson and rush limbaugh --- idiots, heartless, losers
9. folks who believe what pat and rush say makes sense
10. any number of things

Yet, all I can think about is Haiti---and how anything I might write right now seems completely trivial and ridiculous. Even now all I can see in my mind is dust, piles and piles of people, people looking for people, rubble, rubble, and more rubble, pain, tears.
I can't wrap my mind around this current madness. My heart breaks for Haiti.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

coffee---time 3 should work

I am about to make coffee---for the third time this morning. I am one of those freaks who cannot reheat coffee. I just cannot. It's too gross. I suppose some would call me a snob. Yet, there is nothing better than a warm, steaming, fresh cup of coffee. It too must have a small amount of cream---so that it becomes a lovely tan. If there is no cream, milk will not do. That is just as bad as reheating a cup in the microwave---just gross. Milk will not provide the right amount of tan---it just makes it cold, and did I say, GROSS.

How is it that I haven't had one solitary cup of coffee, yet (it's about 1:16pm)? Well, I don't really know. As usual the coffee was the first thing I started this morning. It was particularly cold this morning---which makes having the perfect cup of coffee even more enjoyable . It almost hurt to breathe out this morning. Granted I was outside for just the amount of time it takes to find the newspaper---which had blown or been pushed, or possibly even thrown under the car.

Upon returning to the kitchen Kendall was waiting for me. I could hear the perk, perk, perking of the coffee maker and that made me happy. Kendall kept pestering me to open the donut holes (how is that properly spelled? I'm thinking Doughnut is appropriate--but suppose Donut has become acceptable as the spell-check has not underline me yet, on that one). Yet the box can't be opened just yet, not until her brother arrives----otherwise her grubby, oops dainty, little hands will bust into the packaging and there's no telling how many of these delectable treats will remain for others to share. I tell her to hold on one moment. Why? Because she's got to wait until I have got myself a nice, creamy, tan cup of coffee. Only then is she allowed to bust into the box of donuts. You probably think I'm a real meanie. I'm also guessing that if you do, than you are not likely a parent (or you're just a MUCH better parent than I am). My cup of coffee is my saving grace. It helps me stay calm. It makes me happy, and so then I won't yell at my lovely young lady----who will just as quickly punch me on the arm, or in the face if I don't move fast enough once that box is opened. So sue me, if I'm taking 30 seconds to get myself a cup of coffee before getting her day started. If you are shaking your head in agreement than I LOVE you. Please do also keep the context of this post in mind---I have yet to have a full cup of coffee (and now it's nearing 1:26pm---Yowsers). After finally getting myself a cup of the "tan elixir" I turn to see Kendall actually caressing the box of donuts. I am so thoroughly freaked out by this----I mean I love me some food, but this odd, inappropriately-creepy affection towards a box is too much---that I scream for Conor to come join us and get this breakfast started. They dig in and the crumbs begin to fly. Phew, sugar has averted the first of many possible insurrections slated for this Sunday.

Now to sit with the Sunday paper and drink some coffee---hmm the headlines---Al Queda, Frigid temps, Obama is a softee (from Glenn f---ing Beck, mind you---oh don't forget R.Limbaugh and D.Cheney), Wall Street something or other, a picture of Michelle Obama with a belt on (loves it), story about a 65 year old marrying a 32 old man---loves it---a real-life cougar in our midst, no stories today on my beloved freak couple the Salahi's (I suppose it had to end, huh?). This is all from my first perusal. I love to sit and plan how and what I will read during the afternoon nap time---and it's usually a time frame that allows for a full cup of coffee. Yet Jamie comes to inquire about church---if he remembered, well then I had better get off my rear and give it a shot (that topic is an entire post or two for a later date). So begrudgingly I head off to church---which means the coffee gets dumped. I look forlornly at the remaining pot---oh coffee I hope to return soon. Sigh.

Upon returning from church about 1 hour later, I marvel at the miracle that the automatic timer has not shut off yet. So, technically pouring a cup will not be a re-warm---I don't know what happens in the microwave, but something nasty goes on in there. Maybe it involves chemistry and milk---who knows. It's freaking gross. So I pour, get the cream, turn the cup until it's tan and sit back down again---10:15---let's try for time number 3.

There is some screaming in the other room. I pause and listen---no it's not a cry, one of play---albeit, there is some anger and frustration, but the pitch is not one where a mom needs to intervene, or not yet. I get through my first two articles---the crazy-ass Glenn Beck one (note to self: He's an uneducated FREAKshow), and then about the 65 year dance instructor who married her 32 year old student. Happy, happy, joy, joy. It was a nice follow-up to the Glenn Beck article. The crazy-ness of the two cancelled each other out. So now I can go on to the madness that is Al Queda, weather, and of course the sadness that is the Washington Redskins (oh Jim Zorn, it was nice knowing you---and probably you too Jason C.). Sigh. But, horror of horrors, it's time for lunch out with the kids and hubby, so no more coffee. Oh my GOD, how in the world has this freakin' happened? Throw cup down the drain, turn pot off---it can't cook for another 2 hours and still be good upon my return. It just can't.

So here I sit, typing away---hell I could have brewed and drank the whole pot in the time it's taken me to compose this post. Alas. Right before I head upstairs to put Kendall down I'll start a new pot. And then I can let Conor fry his brain on some mindless computer games while I finish my library book. Let's hope time number three is the charm.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


"It's not messy, Mom," said Conor.

We are sitting at the kitchen table and both Conor and Kendall are involved in a "project". Both kids are busy with some stickers and paper. And he is indeed correct in proclaiming that this activity is not messy. This is likely the only part of the house and in fact the day, that is not messy.

How is that I've had over a week off and my house is an absolute mess? Maybe it's because the holiday began with about 14 inches of snow, followed by some pretty frigid, windy, wintery days. As a result we've spent a great deal of time in our lovely house.

But now there are piles everywhere I look: piles of clothes to be folded; piles of clothes that are folded and need to be put away; piles of mail to go through; piles of Christmas cards to be thrown away (Isn't that what you do with cards? Does anyone really save them? If so, please tell me why.); piles of new toys who need a tidy home; piles of newspapers that need recycling; shoes piled near the garage door; a pile of mittens, gloves, and hats near the coats that aren't exactly piled (but might as well be) but rather hung on the door knob near all the other clothing; piles of random items that have yet to make there way to the various junk drawers or baskets which normally house these oft used items (or maybe not so often used, as they take residence in one of these localities and only resurface occasionally); thankfully there are NO dishes piled in the sink as my OCD tendencies usually lead me to get them rinsed and loaded in the d/w rather quickly; a pile of clothing or upstairs items sitting at the bottom of the staircase to remind me to move them upstairs when I go there; these items will invariably find themselves in a pile somewhere; possibly near the items piled or rather arranged on my side of the vanity in the bathroom; or in the pile of clothes overflowing from the endless pit in the clothes hamper; a book or two added to the stack we've recently borrowed from the library.

Is there a way to clear this clutter from my life? Or is the clutter because of my life?