Archives for January 2011

Tangled

As a mother, there are some experiences that just aren’t cool. Children have habit of saying the worst things at the most inappropriate of times. For example, when sitting in a dark and quiet movie theater watching Tangled, don’t announce to the masses that the villainess’ rant “sounds just like you mommy!” Really? Let’s rewind the day, honey.

I believe that upon awakening, you dined on a breakfast of French toast with strawberries and crème fraiche. Yes, that’s right. I whipped up a batch of crème fraiche for the ungrateful little b…. ummm, girl.

If I recall correctly, we then played “Beauty Salon” in my bathroom. It wasn’t especially fun or easy to paint each of your teeny, tiny fingernails and toes that appalling shade of green, but I did it anyway. Because I love you. I let you slap the hideous black nail polish over the entire end of each of my fingers. Exactly when, by the way, did skin and knuckles become part of a manicure? Perhaps you picked black because you find that color fitting for a crazy, selfish villainess like me?

We then retired to your bedroom where I was forced to sit through a painfully long and indecisive viewing of each of your tacky princess gowns. Let me tell you something, sister…a few of them are looking a little rough around the edges. You’d put Cinderella to shame in some of those rags you call gowns. Alas, we settled on the (busted) pink one. You know, the one with all the holes? You looked simply stunning.

We bid the rest of the family a fond farewell and lunched at that establishment of fine cuisine known as “Bumblebees”. For those of you who aren’t as smart and beautiful as the Princess, that’s Applebee’s-but don’t try to correct her or all hell will break loose. (Not really, but a theme seems to have developed here.)

Of course, we ordered your favorite, chicken nuggets and French fries. Far be it from me to criticize your developing palate, but really…aren’t you getting at all tired of processed chicken parts? I’m sorry the French fries were covered with bwack fings (black things). That’s called pepper and no, I don’t know why they put bwack fings on the fwies at Bumblebees.

I hope you understand that your loud comparison of me to the evil woman in Tangled was both humiliating and, well…funny. I have no idea why you got embarrassed and bent out of shape when the entire upper portion of the theater laughed for a painfully long amount of time in the wake of your declaration. Once the theater patrons stopped laughing at us, I was cool. The amused looks and statements of “ha ha, that was the funniest thing I ever heard,” from the audience when the lights came up was awesome. Truly awesome.

Mostly, it was just a good day with my funny little four year old girl.

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Pay It Forward

Last week was a tough one for me. I battled with my old enemy, depression and struggled to pull myself out of its grasp. The holidays do that to some people, no? The downward spiral of feeling blue, self-hate and helplessness is tough to escape. More than anything, it’s frustrating as hell to get caught up in it and have no real defense except to ride it out and pray for that Zoloft to kick in to overdrive.

In the middle of Blues Fest, I locked myself in the master bedroom and read blogs. All. Day. Long. I escaped in the words and photography of others and caught up on my blog’s e-mail. I discovered some incredible new blogs…well, new to me. Dare I say, perhaps my bout with the blues was meant to happen? It forced me to sit down and pay some serious attention to my writing and “the blog”. Admittedly, my attention was elsewhere throughout December, so it was game on.

In the midst of my self-imposed bedroom seclusion, I was thrilled to find that a new friend, who happens to write a fantastic blog, had bestowed the Stylish Blogger Award upon me! It may seem small to you, but in the depths of my battle last week, my spirits were lifted. Thank you, Melody-Mae for your kind gift. I apologize for taking so long to pay it forward.

In order to accept my award, I am bound by the following rules…

  • Thank and link back to the person who awarded you.
  • Share 7 things about yourself.
  • Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers.
  • Contact these bloggers and let them know you awarded them. 

Here are my 7:

  1. I’m a yeller. Shameful, but true…I yell. A lot. I’m hoping this is the side-effect of parenting three small children. I pray that my decibel level will return to a socially acceptable volume as the children grow older.
  2. I can’t relax in my house unless the room I’m in is neat and free of clutter. This may or may not be a side-effect of my brain’s faulty serotonin absorption, but who cares. At least my house is (mostly) clean.
  3. When I go shopping, I pick up items, carry them around and pretend I’m going to buy the whole pile. Then I drop them off at various points around the store and leave. Sorry retail workers…but I have three kids and can’t afford the pile anymore.
  4. I’m jealous of my husband’s ability to run, like 30 miles a week. Where does he get the drive?
  5. I sometimes miss the days when my husband and I ran together…before three children.
  6. I love. Absolutely LOVE to cook. I wanted to go to the Culinary Institute.
  7. I’m famous for planning elaborate, detail-oriented functions…then not going. I’m a wallflower and slightly anxious in social situations, but my attention to detail is legendary.

Now, for the 15 nominated bloggers.

  1. Of Woods and Words. She’s a fantastic writer. I check in almost every day to see what is happening in the wilds of Wisconsin.
  2. Another Cookie, Please! A friend and amazing writer who writes about life while caring for her mother, who was stricken by Alzheimer’s disease.
  3. Mumsyhood. What can I say? Kitten takes the most incredible photographs of her beautiful daughter and shares the joys of new-Mumsyhood. She takes me back and helps me remember the wonder of my new babies. She always visits and leaves a comment for my blog. She’s been a HUGE source of encouragement. Thanks, Kitten!
  4. Freckles and Fudge. Vic’s photography is incredible and makes me long for the sun. She leaves thoughtful comments on No. 7. Her blog makes me smile and provides me with my fix for a beach day…even in the dead of winter in Maine. I can smell, hear and taste the beach when I log onto her blog. (Except for today when I logged on and saw stunning pictures of french fries and fish and chips. I’ve battled food cravings all day!)
  5. Inspire. Create. Bake. Need I say more? I salivate from the moment I log on and log off craving all of her recipes. Not to mention the stellar photography.
  6. For the Love of Blogs. A no brainer. This incredible community of bloggers is supportive and responsive. Through them, I have met so many wonderful new and talented people.
  7. Write Now, Write Later. Donna inspires me with her words and she’s a great source of information for fellow writers. She’s one talented and hard working lady. Plus, she asked me to guest post on her blog! Look for my post on Friday.
  8. Scenic Glory. Every single image is incredible. In fact, her blog is a visual feast. The graphics, the fonts…I love it so. Her posts are pretty awesome too! You should go check out her “What Would” Project.
  9. Crazy Days with IzzyB. Because she’s my friend. She makes me laugh. She bakes the most INCREDIBLE cookies. EVER. And I adore her Izzy who is possibly one of the sweetest little girls I have ever met. 
  10. The Coexist Cafe. She visits No. 7 often and always leaves the best comments. I lurk at The Coexist Cafe and steal the delicious vegetarian recipes. I read her very engaging posts and I am reminded of Dave and I before the three kiddos hopped on board. Her description of herself is as follows: “I am a writer, paralegal, eclectic Pagan, and vegetarian foodie and connoisseur.” Hmmm..sounds very familiar. 😉
And that, my friends is about all I’ve got in me today. These are the 10 that I visit and love. I suppose that stopping at 10 means I am breaking the rules of the award, but so be it. I just like that I get to share some of my favorites with you.

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Crash Boom Bang!

“Mommy, how do you spell Poop?” Gwen asked with a giggle.

“P.O.O.P,” I answered just before I realized the minivan was sliding forward on the driveway. Suddenly, we were caught in a slow motion plummet and heading straight for the garage. Brake pumping was not an option.

CRASH

“Oh, shit!” flew out of my mouth before I could catch it and replace it with the G-rated version. Gwen and Kate sat in wide-eyed, stunned silence then burst into a fresh round of giggles. Kate wiggled with delight in her car seat and clapped while shrieking, “YAY!”

“MOMMY!” Gwen exclaimed, “You crashed into the house! That’s so crazy!” Except it sounded more like this: MOMMY! You cwathed into the houthe! Thath tho CUH-RAAAAAAZY!

I backed up and winced when I saw the damage.

So there you have it. I successfully completed the stereotypical housewife act of driving the family car smack into the garage.

At times like this, I long for magical housewife powers. You know, like Samantha Stephens. If only a simple wiggle of my pert little nose could conjure a (free and talented) repairman. It would be even better if I could twitch my nose and go back in time. Just one minute. That would be just long enough to stop spelling P.O.O.P. and realize that the driveway was covered in a thin coating of black ice. In my defense, the garage is at a bit of an odd angle in relation to the driveway.

Sadly, as far as my life goes, I’m a bit more like Jeannie. Random weird occurrences and havoc tend to follow in my wake. Far too often, my husband is left shaking his head a la Major Nelson. Still, if I had just an iota of her powers, I might be able to stop wreaking havoc and causing bedlam long enough to repair the damage. I would cross my arms, give a quick nod of my head and *POOF* garage fixed..*POOF* new bumper…*POOF POOF* salt on the driveway to avoid future garage/car destruction. At the very least, I could hide in the bottle until Major Nelson, er…Dave, calmed down.

When Dave and I first moved to Boston almost 10 years ago, we were astounded by the sheer number of people in the area who crashed their vehicles into buildings. You name it, they hit it. Walmart, senior housing, someone’s house in the dead of night, Dunkin Donuts… I’m not talking once it a while either. This seemed to happen with great regularity in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Boy, did we ever laugh! In fact, it became a long-running joke. With great superiority, we pointed and chuckled about those crazy ‘Masshole’ drivers.

Today, I became the punch line and it ain’t so funny.

P.O.O.P. That spells poop, Gwen!

A Bit of Fiction (loosely based on reality)

August 1978

The front wheel of my bicycle cut a smooth line through the sandy gravel driveway. As I rode, a dusty brown cloud followed closely. I pedaled quickly, trying to escape the thin film of dirt that threatened to land on my sweat coated skin, but the soft sand slowed my progress. My moist hands gripped the handle bars, attempting to gain control until the wheels finally sunk into the deep sand on the side of the driveway. As I righted myself, the loud, drawn out buzz of the cicadas caught my attention. “Hot bugs”, I muttered to myself. My right foot hit the ground and kicked gravel into my sandal. “Dammit!” I leaned down trying to dig the stones out from under my toes without getting off the bike. From behind, I could hear my cousin Mary’s bicycle approaching. “Aunt Joan is dead again”, she said as she maneuvered her bike to a shaky halt. I stopped struggling with my sandal long enough to look around the yard. The cicadas let out another high pitched buzz as I tried to locate Aunt Joan’s body.

This was the summer that I turned 9 years old. It was also the year that my eyes opened to the shortcomings of adults and humankind in general. I had begun to discover the walls they built around themselves in attempt to disguise weakness, ignorance, regret and shame. For the first time, I had begun to notice how they talked about one another in hushed tones or made secret eye-contact behind the back the family’s current outcast. Those secret glances contained volumes of information about who was in (but most likely out) of the family’s good graces.

My eyes stung as I struggled to focus in the heat and dust that had finally caught up to Mary and me. I scanned the yard toward the end of the driveway when a slight movement drew my eyes to the ruins of the old barn. The barn had leaned dangerously to the left, threatening to fall for as long as I can recall. Truthfully, it had always been a bit of a mild embarrassment to me when company came. Whether real or imagined, it seemed to me that visitors would scan the old farmhouse and barns, eyes resting just a bit longer on those areas that were “going to be taken care of next summer.” As one summer turned into six, frequent visitors seemed to exit their cars anticipating that the barns were still crumbling and that the tar paper hanging on the back of the house had not been covered with clapboards yet. In my own mind, my suspicions had been confirmed when my grandfather eventually decided to topple the barn with a chain and my father’s truck. I think mostly, it was Papa’s way of telling Daddy to get up off his ass and do something around the farm. Daddy either didn’t get the point or didn’t care. Either way, we all seemed to silently recognize that the ruins would be there far longer than Papa would be with us.

Now, Aunt Joan’s limp body was perched against one of the toppled beams that formerly held the two story barn in place. I forgot about the stones in my sandal as I dropped my bike in the grass. Instead, I was focused on Aunt Joan whose arm had been impaled by one of the beam’s 100 year old nails. I approached slowly, moving with caution when suddenly her head lolled to the right and landed with a distinct thump on the thick, hand-hewn wood of the beam. Startled, I drew in a sharp breath of air and jumped backwards. My fingers were tingling and my heart began to pound with fear and the rush of adrenaline that accompanied the shock of seeing a corpse move. Quickly, I came to the realization that Aunt Joan wasn’t dead, but just had too much Johnny Walker again.

I stood frozen for a moment, trying to decide what to do next. If I went to Joan, I’d have to talk to her, and when she was in this state, conversation was next to impossible. If I went to get Mom, then all hell would break loose and poor Aunt Joan would be put out again. If Mary hadn’t been there, I might have just turned and walked away, leaving Joan to sleep it off and deal with that nail in her arm when she woke up. Pretending she didn’t exist and looking the other way when she was drunk seemed to be the way most of the family dealt with her. Frankly, it was the easy way out yet, somehow my 8 year old mind couldn’t ignore the woman laying in the grass with a rusty nail poking into her arm. Joan, who we all wanted to love, but seemed to keep us all at arm’s length, taunting us with fleeting moments of lucid attention and love, Joan, who could make you feel like the most important person in the world with a simple secret glance. She was mine. The one person who seemed to understand that I was different from the rest. The only problem was that over the past year or so, Aunt Joan spent most of her time with a bottle.




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Welcome, 2011

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“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” -T.S. Eliot
Happy New Year!!