Saturday, December 17, 2011

Kitchen Nightmares.

I am supposed to be sleeping between 12 hour midnight shifts.  When our kids were small Bill used to dread my weekends to work, trying to keep a couple rowdy kids corralled so I could snag five hours of sleep before doing it again.  By the third day in a row I was cranky and it seemed like I woke up for anything and everything, the simple reason being that I was missing out on my family's weekend and wanted to be a part of it, tired or not.


Today it's a little different.  I woke up to four 18 year old's in my basement that were so quiet I had no clue they were there. In her room, Casey was singing with her headphones on at a volume I couldn't hear. Bill has done well.  After all these years, the kids respect when I sleep.  A fan in the bedroom and a shot of Sambuca before bed doesn't hurt, either.


Today I woke up in the middle of the day for a wonderful reason.  I woke up because my house smelled amazing. It smelled like spices and garlic and BACON and chicken stock.  It wasn't a dream, and it wasn't a lame Folger's commercial.  It meant Bill was cooking.


When we married, I don't recall a summit meeting about division of chores.  I can't remember laying claim to certain responsibilities. I simply remember that by default, cooking fell to Bill.  He was just plain better at it.  Unlike me, Bill knew his spices, the difference between a sauté pan and a pot, and the proper knife to use.  Bill would never make a spaghetti sauce containing not one but two bulbs of garlic in it. (Clove. Bulb. Apparently there is a difference. But he ate it like a trooper and together we learned that garlic has the ability to ooze from your pores and permeate pretty much everything around you for days and days).  Call it a rookie mistake. Call it a dating tragedy.  Call it one if Bill's favorite "Do you know what she did?" stories.


I clean the house, or at least 90% of it. When I paint rooms, Bill cuts in, which I hate doing.  I enjoy the outdoors, so I mow the lawn by choice.  I am fussy about how things look, and everyone suffers because of it. I maintain the pool, we both do laundry.  There are no "boy jobs" and "girl jobs" around here.  I have been cooking more often, thanks to my friend Laurie's blog and the magical tug of the of Food Network; where I can listen to southern accents all day and the Barefoot Contessa comforts me with her voice.  I do OK.  But the bottom line is Bill is the family cook.


Sometimes I get surly about the house being a mess, the laundry piling up, the grime on the kitchen floor.  Then I hear one of my friends complaining about making dinner and I check myself.  I believe the responsibility of putting a complete dinner on the table seven days a week would throw me into a massive panic attack.  The planning, the timing, the pressure? No thanks, I will tackle the toilet bowl ring every, single, time.


When I am supposed to make dinner, I look in the fridge and I see...nothing.  I shut the fridge. I ponder.  I open it again.  I look a little harder.  I see...nothing.  I proclaim to Bill:  "There's nothing to eat in there".


Bill moves me aside.  Bill opens the fridge.  Bill rummages.  Bill walks across the kitchen with an armload of the nothing I found and in 20 minutes, there is food.  Hot, delicious, healthy food made out of nothing.  It's a festivus miracle, and I cannot duplicate it, no matter how hard I try. He makes it look easy, chopping, dicing, flipping food around in the well oiled pan.  He's like a running back, cutting this way and that, moving fluidly between the fridge, the stove, the table.  It's like watching the ballet of sous chefs, if there was such a thing.


Conversely, my kitchen routine consists of the following:
  • Look at recipe.
  • Begin to assemble ingredients on counter.
  • Walk back to computer to look at recipe.
  • Get out pans that I am allowed to use (the shitty ones I ruined, not the ones Bill uses).
  • Walk back to the computer, cursing my aging brain that can't hold a thought.
  • Move mouth as I read to make words stick better.
  • Start cooking.
  • Drop shit.
  • Stomp back to computer because I forgot.  Again.
  • Splatter stuff on my shirt.
  • Swear.
  • Turn computer toward kitchen.  Realize I am blind.
  • Swear.
  • Swear.
  • Look imploringly at my beloved.
  • Step aside to let Bill salvage my mess.
  • Apologize profusely for my incompetence.
  
Please don't judge.  I work hard to clean up after the Pig People I made.  I make sure the vacuum tracks all go the same way. My lawn rocks.  My countertops sparkle.  But at the end of the day, when I am eating  pea soup with chorizo, (yes, I had to ask him what chorizo was) I am grateful that in addition to a homemade, balanced meal, I also have helped create a balanced marriage.

The other day, I was watching The French Chef.  Even though I am a sub par cook, I like to watch the masters, and Julia Child is my favorite.  At one point, she looked directly into my eyes and spoke to me.  I just know it was me she wanted to get through to, because what she said was this:

      “The best way to execute French cooking is to get good and loaded and whack the hell out of a chicken.  Bon appétit. ”  

I whooped as I headed to the wine rack to make dinner.

Bon appétit, indeed.









  



Monday, December 12, 2011

Pinheads. (The Frontal Lobe Analysis of Pinterest)

In my Thankful post, I gave a hearty shout out to Pinterest, the new darling of the social media.  For those of you unaware, Pinterest describes itself as:  "A virtual pinboard that helps you organize all the beautiful things on the web".  People use pinboards to decorate their homes, plan their wedding and organize their recipes.  In an nutshell, think of it as a scrapbook for your thoughts and inspiration, all in one handy place.  I love it. I ooh, I ahh, I pin my little heart out, often at the neglect of nine million other things I should be doing. While perusing the site one day, (to find out if you could possibly pin for a living so I could quit work) I uncovered the "Etiquette" section.  In the Etiquette section, I am reminded that "Pinterest is a community of people who have personal tastes, and I am requested to be respectful in my comments and suggestions".

 OK, I say.  I can play nice. I'm a nice girl.

But it's a little challenging for me to play nice day in, day out.  I try, but bottom line is I am just not that nice of a girl.

I need some relief from nice, which leads me here, to my safe, comforting, filterless place.  The Lucky Strike area of my head.  I need to unload some baggage, because that "Pinterest community of people" tend to flip my snark switch, like whoa.  Pinheads, I have named them.  And now, because I'm so nice, I will break it all down for you.

Hmmmmm. 

Where to start? Kind of difficult, because it's a somewhat lengthy list of snark we have here.  What category to choose?  I think I will start with "It's All About Me" for 500, Mr. Trebek.

  Oooh!  How about: Your Wedding Day?  And so it begins:


Now seriously.  What man would do this?  And if he did, are you that desperate to be married?  To him? I pray this fiancee will post this on her Facebook page, so his friends intervene before he tumbles farther into girly-dom.  As much as I wish for a bit more romance and emotional pampering in my life, this would freak me out, big time.

Onwards.

SAVE THE DATE!
Translation: Everyone!  There could be nothing more important in your whole world than my wedding day.  Stick a big red circle around it and make sure you take the day off work, get a sitter, kennel the dog, buy a dress, get your hair did and most importantly, write me and the Mr. a big fat check.  Save the date, because from today on, it's all about ME ME ME!
In case you forget, here's a reminder:
Aren't we adorable?  Have a magnet. Of Us.
(Note of irony:  that bottom picture happens to be Bill and I's anniversary. I hope they didn't taint it too badly).

Pinterest also gives you suggestions on Wedding pictures, how to ask a Bridesmaid to stand up for you, (it involves a gift, for God's sake. Doesn't anyone just talk anymore?), how to make a video montage of (what else) you (wonderful you) and oh yeah, the Groom too.  Some days I have to sit on my hands so not to bust out my "this is a wedding, not the second coming of Christ" commentary. 

Still, I play nice.

And then one day, our couple becomes two and a half...


reminding you that you can save not only a date, but a whole month in honor of a baby that may nor may not decide to show up in June, 2012. Lord knows my own children had no sense of due date.  We will cover the prosaic hand heart later, rest assured.

Side note:  Did you know a Sperm Whale is pregnant for 16 months?  Have mercy! Yet you never hear a peep from her.  Likewise, the Sperm Whale will not be found hosting this ridiculous event:



Behold the "Gender Reveal Party".  Something I never knew existed pre-Pinterest.  Something I live in fear of being invited to.  Something I know I will never be invited to again if I do elect to attend one.  Because a girl like me can only shut her yap for so long.  Especially after I had to endure having this genre of pictures shoved in my face for the last ten years:


Wurd.


The countdown commences, the shower comes and goes, the "Name Reveal" (yes, they have those too) happens and one day the text message comes (because nobody ever talks anymore)...

 Baby's Here!

And she is perfect.  The pregnant belly deflated, the gender revealed, the name awarded, the trilogy of hype completed.

Yet you cannot go a single day letting her be her gorgeous, perfect, bald headed self, because you slap one of these on her head at every opportunity:


while you contort her into unorthodox positions:


and put her in a straight jacket flat on her back:
Poor, sweet baby. I feel you. Your head needs to be warm, not decorated.  Your hands need to be by your face so you can mess around and do baby things like suck your fingers.  You need to be held, not obnoxiously propped.  You, little Baby, are deserving of a Pinterest free infancy.

I am still trying to play nice, but I am losing the battle, baby advocate that I am.  
My comment fingers tremble with fervor, yet I press on, only to be rewarded with this nonsense:


Introducing Mommy's new little helper; the Elf on the Shelf.  Creepy, creepy little Elf that "watches you" to be sure you behave, and "reports back to Santa".  He bargains with  Mommy and Daddy, exchanging discipline for bribery. He gets into mischief and shows up in places that little sinister dolls have no business being in.  He's watching you, Little Baby that is now a preschooler.  And when you grow up living in terror of Santa and Christmas (along with a whole lot of other things), you can blame it on your Mommy and her macabre Elf.  

Stupid Elf.  I am so glad he wasn't around when my kids were little, because my Mother surely would have bought into that fiasco.

As I proofread all this, I realize that all of this venting makes me edgy.  I should probably exercise.  Lucky for me, Pinterest is right there, shaming me with pins like this:

  
Well, dammit I am busy. I am busy on Pinterest. Reading about exercise. On my ass.

Maybe I should keep calm?  There is no shortage of Keep Calm and.... pins on Pinterest.  This one is my favorite:


Thank God snark is not limited to just me.

I love Pinterest.  Really, I do.  But speaking of done to death, if I see another version of this, I swear I will vomit.


Heart Hands be gone. The timer is going off.  You are finished.  Please never come back.

Speaking of done; I am.  Almost.  I leave you with the final wonder of Pinterest.  It begs the question: Who the hell decided that these are the rules, and furthermore, who put them in numerical order?


Who is this rule maker?  I demand you step forward.  Because we need to chat.  You do not get to make my rules.  I make my rules, and I opt not to number them, because the rules are subject to change at any time, for any reason, including and certainly not limited to my hormone levels.   


I'm nice.

      









   



Saturday, November 26, 2011

Prime Cuts

Last night was a night I had been looking forward to for a long time.  It was Prime Cuts Saturday night, and I am going to fill you in on one of my most treasured traditions.


Remember when you began to date someone and a moment of truth was when you went through their music collection?  Sometimes you discovered new artists, sometimes you thrilled to see they had the album you had been missing from your own collection, sometimes you made a mental note to keep the Mace in your purse within reach at all times.  And sometimes, if you were lucky, you discovered your perfect musical fit.  The person that would be with you anytime, anywhere with the music of your life playing in the background.


A million years ago when Bill and I began dating, we went through the dance of musical compatibility.  I have written in the past about how significant music is  to me, and to find out Bill had similar taste was icing on the potential relationship cake.  We made whole evenings out of popping a record on my amazing stereo system in my otherwise empty apartment, playing a single song and then telling each other why we considered it a Prime Cut.  We watched the equalizer lights dance and I told him they reminded me of city landscapes at night.  I told him I called them my Dancing Cities. I held my breath, waiting for him to laugh.  He did not, so I fell in love with him a little more for understanding my weirdness.


My album collection, at one time, was fantastic. Then life took over, rent became due, car payments loomed and my record budget took a big hit. Just as I was shaking my head to clear it out a little, CD's were introduced.  Behold the CD; no more shaking hands while putting the needle into the groove of the perfect makeout song. No more worrying about stealing a big album from your boyfriend. No skips, no heavy sigh when getting up off the couch/bed/makeout spot to flip the record. CD's: more bang for your makeout buck.


So we bought CD's.  Many, many, many CD's.  And yes, Bill, I probably did kind of lose that box of them.  If you're reading this, consider it a confession.  All your Columbia House freebies are out there, somewhere. I grovel for you, right here, right now. Madonna's "Burning Up" MTV video in the road grovel. Please absolve me.


Although we bought CD's by the truckload, we could not part with our albums.  We moved our records from one apartment to the next, divided them when we broke up for a year and a half, and finally carted them to their final resting place in the basement of the starter home we were going to stay in for "a while" but still occupy 19 years later. Once again, life got away from us.


Bill is not an easy person to buy gifts for.  His life is fairly simple, he doesn't "need things". I have learned over the years that he has politely thanked me for "things" I bought that he could not have cared less about having. He makes me a nervous gifter. So I felt I was taking a leap of faith when I ordered a Turntable to MP3 player for his birthday last year.  Once opened, he thanked me politely.  I sighed heavily.


Then I fretted, as the box sat unopened for six months.


I felt loser wife-like. I was a failed gifter (again). I told him I could use the $180 for wine or beer if he wanted me to return his gift.


While Bill would have no problem blowing through $180 of libations, he said "no" and that he was waiting for the right night to have Prime Cuts.  Which about made me cry because I forgot we had named it Prime Cuts and I was taken back to the days of cereal and croutons counting as meals, wine coolers, banana clips in my spiral permed hair, and all other things young and perfect.  Prime Cuts.  Not only musical selections, but the times of your life as well.


Last night we had our Prime Cuts evening, and as expected, the crackles and pops of our well used albums were  sublime.  The delight of reading liner notes on the inside sleeves brought tears to my eyes.  Seeing my fantabulous collection of Prince EP's made my heart sing, especially since I can now pop them onto my iPod through the magic of technology.  We laughed at ridiculous albums like "Touch" and "747" and I made fun of Bill for the millionth time for liking Journey.  We played Duran Duran and E.L.O. and Yaz. We sat on the floor, reminiscing about makeout sessions and the beginning of our life together. We had a blast. From the past.


Earlier that week I had been writhing on the couch with a migraine I was convinced was a stroke waiting to ruin my life. I couldn't see, I couldn't walk, and I was having a real hard time making my thoughts come out of my mouth.  I didn't want to scare my kids so I laid there, waiting, willing Bill to come home from work to help me.  I did some bargaining, because it was that scary.  I begged the powers to not take my brain away from me, that even though it often caused me stress and embarrassment, I didn't take it for granted.  It was a lovely brain and I wanted desperately to keep it.  At that moment, Bill walked in, and did what he has been doing for 26 years.  He talked me through, covered me up, held my hand and made me feel safe.  It was a Prime Cut moment.


Today our music comes through various computers, with little stick like speakers replacing the 3 foot tall blocks that doubled as end tables.  My amazing stereo is disassembled in the basement, with most of the parts sold or donated to charity, except for the equalizer.  I can't part with my dancing cities.  I just can't.  Prime Cuts night inspired Bill to clean the furnace room in the basement, storing our albums on shelves so they can be safer. They will be out to play again, soon.


I have lots of Prime Cut moments.  Because I have lots of blessings.  I write them down here in case my brain someday decides it doesn't want to keep them anymore.  I am working on making peace with growing older, and while nights like this make me a little melancholy, I am so happy to have had those blissed out moments to savor.  I have a Prime Cut life.





Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thankful.

At this very moment, I wish I was thankful for the maid that was scurrying about making my house neat and tidy for the upcoming holiday season.  Survey from my peripheral vision assures me; that is not the case.  Last night's nacho remnants are scattered over the bar, strips of Hershey Kiss wrappers are littering the carpet I just had cleaned last week.  150 pretzel/Hershey Kiss/peanut butter M&M treats were assembled at 11pm, because the Room Mommies decided that two days prior to Thanksgiving was the perfect time to have a bake sale for the 5th grade.  Note to ya'll - this is an easy item to make, and your kids can do the majority of the work.


Here's what they look like assembled:



That, my friends, is the closest you will ever get to seeing this blog take a turn toward food prep, so enjoy it.  I now turn over the recipe invention wand to Laurie at Simply Scratch, whose blog is in my feeds and recommended to all of you as a Godsend for Those Who Don't Cook Much.  

This post is about Thankful.  Please redirect yourself and focus on the task at hand, 
Miss Van Dyke. (Spoken in Evil Catholic School Nun Voice from my youth)

Oprah; one of the only celebrities I think is worth her salt, once spoke about keeping a Gratitude Journal.  The idea was simple:  each night, jot down a few things that you are grateful for and reflect on them.  Thank the  person in charge of your life for these things, and try to pay them forward.   

Isn't that nice?  I mean really, really nice?

Yet I could not pull myself together enough to do it.  

Today, however, I am going to play catch up.  In no particular order, I will share with you the things I am thankful for, and we both will reflect on them, and I challenge you to pick something and pay it forward.  I am a huge believer in Karma, so I think you will be very pleased to see good things come back to you when you indulge my request.

Kim's Gratitude Journal - Cliff Note Version

Despite my complaints of old lady hip, broken rib subluxation, migraines and chronic weight battles, I am thankful for my health.  I am not on dialysis, in a wheelchair or on a scooter in Meijer with a basketful of pop and cheetos.  I am strong, stubborn and willing to persevere to get what I want.  I pay it forward by working to help others get healthier, or at the very least give them the pain medicine they are addicted to so they can live to seek narcotics another day without seizing.

I am grateful for my people.  
I have 2 healthy gorgeous children, a husband I adore, friends who surround me with light and laughter, coworkers that alternately torture me and save my ass.  I show my gratitude to them by assembling Pretzel Kisses in the middle of the night, jumping in to help change adult diapers with contents so noxious we need masks (those would be the coworkers, not my family and friends), driving to retrieve lost house keys at 10pm on a Monday, and dropping everything to sit on the porch and just plain listen when someone's heart has been punched.  To prove my point, the Karma thing is in full force when I show "my gratitude" to Bill.  What you give, you get. Snicker.   

Thankful for Nana.
Nana, my little friend, the person that challenges my patience more than anyone else.  I am so lucky to have her.  Her generosity has bailed us out of many jams, her humor has made me laugh when I want to throw things, her mere existence has taught me how to live my life by looking at the big picture.  Her deviled eggs, offers to iron and fold tablecloths,   
and ability to make a perfect pie crust from scratch are just three of a million things I cherish and will take comfort from when she is not with me any more.

Dog.
Even though you are on my shit list of late, with this crazed behavior of peeing on the carpet (thus the carpet cleaners last week), digging up my perennials (no one stocks garden fencing in November) and middle of the night requests to go outside, I love you.  I read this the other day, and chant it in my head when I want to call the Greyhound rescue and invite them to find you a landfill to dig in:
For those of you with crappy eyesight like mine it says: 
dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.

Pinterest.
Seriously. Pinterest. I am so thankful to Moe, for finding me a place to lose myself for a few minutes hours a day.  I find motivation, inspiration, beauty, humor and peace all in one convenient website.  I lack the body composition to wear the things I lust after, I am not one to scrapbook,  have no time (patience) to learn to quilt, little money to decorate the way I wish, but what I do have are my Pinterest Boards.  And they make me happy.  I am paying it forward by telling you to get yourself over to Pinterest.com and sign up.  It's free joy for the taking.

Vision.
I thank my stars above that I can see.  I can see colors, nature, feelings, blight, insecurity and peace.  Because I have vision I can act to make the world a brighter, happier, safer, more comfortable place.  I decided long ago that anything is better than nothing, and encourage you to remember that when you have so little to give that you think it is better to just keep it to yourself.  

Random Items that People Invented 
My lighted makeup mirror, Slacker radio, Funky reading glasses, Biggby Coffee, my new Sherpa blanket from Costco, Keen clogs, Digital cameras, Swimming Pools, and Blue LED Christmas lights (the prettiest ones of all) are on my list. 
Thank you also inventors of Sharpie markers, iPods, Etsy, Fleece socks, Pedicures and Milk chocolate. And wine. And craft beer. And good vodka. Amen.

You.
I am grateful, very very grateful for your comments, support, laughter and acceptance of run on sentences as I pursue something I love: my writing.  Like eight million jillion other people who embrace the written word, I have a dream of writing a column. People who mean the most to me have challenged me to step up, so I have set a goal to send my words off to editors that have the power to break my spirit and tell me I suck.  Because of you, I know that when that happens, I will be just fine.

Happy Thanksgiving, Friends.    

             


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Evolution of a Mom

Have you ever thought about your journey as a parent?  How you got to the place where you are?  How different it is than you imagined when you planted the seed of being a mom into your head?

As I type, Casey is asleep.  Spelling words completed, Halloween finished - Luna Lovegood costume a success, Griffyndor T-Shirt laid out for the next day.  Travis is in the basement, playing X-box,   hooting into his microphone to his friend in Chicago as his Football Team alternately scores and sucks.  At times I want to yank the thing out of the wall.

I just watched the Season 2 finale of Sons of Anarchy, which I would have never known about had I not had a Son of my own.  I realize now there would have been a lot of things I wouldn't have known about had I decided against having children.

When you get right down to it, there was really no decision at all. At least not one that I carried to fruition.  When we planned a pregnancy, I miscarried. Every time I got pregnant and actually made it to delivery, they had decided to have me.  At the most inconvenient times of my life, no less.  Twice.  What is that they say; "Man plans, God laughs"?  Well she had a side splitting time with me, no doubt.  

I suppose if I would have been a little a lot more careful with the alcohol consumption + diaphragm use formula,  my pregnancy convenience factor would have been more favorable.  But it was what it was, and I got my babies.  One that was six weeks old when I started nursing school, and one eight years later that came after I busted my ass to lose 75 pounds and had come to terms with having an only child.  There's Karma, as only I would get it.

These children changed our lives, as all children do.  We embraced the brave new world of 5 minute just do it sex, driving aimlessly around the neighborhood to quiet a screaming baby, catching barf in our bare hands, and the realization that restaurants with 2 year olds are never, ever a good idea.

I slept on the floor next to the crib praying to the Laughing At Me God not to let my girl be brain damaged from seizures.  I held a sobbing Travis in my arms in post op while he declared that   having his adenoids out was "not fun at all and why did everyone lie to me and say this would be fun?"  I held fish burials and cleaned fish tanks that I didn't want and intervened when Travis and his twin buddies tried to dig up the poor dead cat because we buried him with a baseball that they now needed to play with.

I fought the good fight.

Yet, I am not a perfect mommy.  Just ask the Stepford mommies at the elementary school Casey attends.  The ones who pull into "their" parking spot ten minutes early, get out and walk their kids into school with shoes on,  their hair done and make up intact, busting with eagerness to suck up to the teacher.  When I pull up at one minute to the bell, I have yanked a hat on my head and my make up is on, baby. Because it's the stuff I didn't wash off from the night before.  Alice Cooper has nothing on me at 8am on a Tuesday.

I avoid PTA, PTO whatever the hell you call it now like the plague.  I don't head fundraisers and go to mommy coffee clatch.  I don't do Girl Scouts/Brownies/Bluebirds. I am the one telling my kid to return the candle/cookie dough/wrapping paper/cheap ass whatever they are trying to sell that year forms the day after she brings them home.  I get carsick on buses so field trips are not my thing.

Does that make me a bad person?

Nah.  Know why?

I learned.  I learned from the trial child, Travis.  The one I killed myself doing all that crap for.  The one who looked at me blankly when I posed the question:  "Do you remember when I volunteered for that committee in 2nd grade and you had that amazing party and we bought the teacher the best gift ever?"  "Do you remember the reindeer cookies I made and the sweet little Halloween goodie bags we gave to your first grade class"?

Yeah. Not. So. Much.

When I first pondered becoming a mom, when the "you're so pregnant" stick had two lines and I alternated wanting to puke with puking, when the formerly flat stomach began swelling and stretchmarking and filling with feet that kicked my bladder, I had some grand delusions.  My baby would sleep. I would put it in the jogging stroller and off we would go - every day getting our exercise.  I was going to be the room mommy.  The hot mommy.  The cookie baking, car pool driving, organized,  healthy snack mommy.  I was going to work, parent, keep my house clean, keep my husband happy and wear my size 10 jeans to my kid's first birthday party.

Silly, silly, Kim.  Duck as the fist of reality heads right at your face.

Please pause now, and flip your dial over to the Actuality Channel. 

Here is Mom Kim, staying up until 2am to assemble the 4th Grade Arctic Wolf diorama she forgot after she threw the reminder note out in a fit of clutter reduction.  Here she is breathless, running out of the house in a nightshirt because she set the alarm for 8pm instead of 8am.  Watch as Kim parades through the house with a garbage bag full of Legos that she threw out in a fit of rage when one lodged between her 2nd and 3rd toe.  Observe as she "swears she hasn't seen" the too tight Harry Potter T-shirt that gets worse every washing. See her struggle not to cry when she has nothing that fits to wear to the Christmas Concert (or the Graduation, or the Swim Banquet.)  Tune in as she heads to Meijer at 3am to look for Monster High Dolls with the drunks and Middle Eastern population.

Hear Kim scream "WHAT IS IT THAT YOU WANT FROM MEEEEEEE?" to the infant that has been crying for six hours straight.  See her stomp outside in her nightgown and boots at 4am to throw down with the neighbor who is shoveling snow under screaming baby's window.  Observe as she leaves a dog biscuit under the pillow of the boy who tried to trick the tooth fairy by leaving the dog's lost tooth there.  And on, and on, and on.

On paper, I kind of suck at Momming.

But really, what are the moments you remember about your mom?  Is it dioramas or Monster High Dolls that broke 10 minutes after you got them?  Is it what she was wearing when she took you to school, or the fact that you got there safely?  What did you get your 3rd grade teacher for a holiday gift?  Did you think your mom was pretty?  Do you remember when she screamed at you when you had colic?

I think not. And mercifully, beautifully, my kids put a different spin on what makes a good Mom.

My kids go crazy when I announce that it's meatloaf and apple pie night.  My kids wear Chuck Taylors because I do.  They listen to great music because I exposed them to it.  They have a million pictures of the things they have done because I took them and made them albums.  My kids were taught hand made cards are best, so they make cards that alternately make me laugh and cry because they are so hilariously spot on.  I contribute to things at school under the radar because it's inner joy, not recognition, that I crave.  My kids are clean and loved and immunized and don't smell like cigarette smoke.  My house doesn't look like an episode of "Hoarders". Their friends like to come to our home, and they are (almost) always welcome. And while my kids sometimes make me want to tear my hair out, they know I would go to the ends of the Earth for them.

Travis appreciates that I worked two double shifts to buy the Xbox he screams at his friends on.  Casey smiled in the realization that no one in the school had a cooler, more original costume than Luna Lovegood. She is told she is beautiful, strong and sweet because we pray she stays that way. They attend guitar, swimming, baseball, dance and vocal lessons because I took the time to find them and sign them up.  They hug and kiss us and tell us they love us because it was told to them a million times, from the minute they came into the world.  They laugh, because they were raised with humor and taught the value of self deprecation. They are happy, because they appreciate life.

On paper, or maybe to the model mommies, I may suck.  But in the real world I am not so bad, after all.  Because I can take it when God laughs.






Sunday, October 9, 2011

(Your) Precious

The A plus number one thing about ER nurses?  Nothing is off limits.  We put it out there, literally and figuratively.  We hold up droopy testicles, floppy old titties, yucky pannuses and whatever else is in our way to get where we need to be.  And then we talk about it. Oh Sweet Baby Jesus, do we talk.


That told, this entry practically writes itself.


The scene: 4 a.m. in the almost vacated ER.  Only the row of four psychiatric admissions sleeping  off their ativan remain, snoring while their "sitters" do word searches or study their nursing school textbooks (Godspeed, children).  Four nurses, a tech and a doctor pretending not to listen to us are gathered at the nurse's station, drinking our coffee and finally, finally, finally, getting to sit down.


Dawn is the one to fire up the conversation. She begins with, "You guys".  On cue, we all roll our chairs a little closer, knowing that this will be a good one.  Once we are huddled appropriately in a gossip circle she begins: "I handed my patient a specimen cup tonight and asked her to give us a urine sample.  She looked at me like I was on crack and said 'Girl, ya'll think I can fit my big pussy in that little bitty jar?  You crazy.'"  Dawn, having excellent critical thinking skills but lacking a poker face, excused herself to fall apart in the utility room before returning with a much larger "urine hat" to place in the toilet.  After obtaining the sample, Dawn returned to Big Pussy Lady's room to find the urine hat washed, dried and in the patient's belongings bag.  The patient said, "Now that little bathtub can help a girl wash her pussy right".  With that, Dawn returned to the utility room, attempting to prevent her own pee from running down her scrub pants as she laughed.


Big Pussy?  Who the hell says that?  (Tony Soprano excluded).  BIG Pussy.  Even I, adoring of bluntness and having an occasional lack of moral fiber, finds Big Pussy a little bit over the top.


Big Pussy Lady led us into a conversation about vaginas.  Having never attended the Vagina Monologues but having a fair amount of experiences with my own and a couple thousand more vaginas, (work vaginas - not the lesbian fantasy stuff that keeps house in Bill's brain) I think I have a pretty fair grasp of all things Private.  Most of us do, actually, whether you view them on a daily basis or are limited to occasional deviant vagina exposure.  It's a good thing to know your body, respect what it can do, care for it properly and of course let it take you to new heights.


But what do you call it?  I ask you, blog worthy friends, what do you call your vagina?


Herein lies the entertainment section of our story.


Dawn turned, as she often does in times of desperation and cheating on trivia questions, to her iPhone.  I see her typing U-r-b-a-n D-i-c-t-i-o-n-a-r-y as fast as her little fingers can touch screen.  I hear her sigh as she weeds out the obvious.  I grab a pen and paper as she  rattles off the following:


Peach.  Flowerpot.  Pink Cadillac.  Beef Curtains.  Midge.  Apricot Slit.  Promised Land.  Red Gash.  Pink Taco.  Honey Pot.  Cherry Pop.  And finally, Poontang.


"Now,with Poontang here," Dawn announces as we sit with rapt attention, "we are going to get schooled".  The gossip circle tightens a bit more, and she begins:


Did you know that Poontang is a Filipino term for vagina?  Did you also know that Poontang has subspecies?  I bet not.  But here for you, ladies and Joe, I unfold the levels of Poontang. (Unintended pun).


Poontini:  the vagina of a baby.


Poonini:  the vagina of a young girl. 3-19 years old.


Poontang:  the vagina of someone in their prime. Specifically ages 20-35.


Then, the kicker:


Poonono:  An old vagina with a fairly large muff.  Ages 35-110.


Poonono. I am a Poonono.  I am aghast. And then, I erupt.  "THIRTY FIVE TO ONE HUNDRED AND TEN? Thirty five. To. One hundred and ten.  So I am lumped into this broad, large muffed category with Nana, Betty White and Paula Deen?  Blasphemy!  At least you could use the politically correct, Southern charm oozing term "Mysteries", which any elegant woman would be proud to say in public!"  For God's sake, a Poo-NO-NO?


At which the doctor who is pretending not to listen to us appears to have a spasm at his desk.  At which none of us get up to help him.


My monumental offense at the word has inevitably earned me a new nickname.  Mrs. Poonono is typing at you this very instant.


Dawn is dubbed Midge, as it is a term for one with red, um, hair. Dawn being short, Irish and mahogany haired (on top) is a perfect little Midge.


Carolina born Faith is christened Precious, since her Grandma taught her that all things Precious were housed between her legs and she was not to let any boy "get at her Precious".


Which leaves our tech; Joe.


Joe is a boy, and a very cool one at that.  He can girl talk with the best of us.  Joe offers up that his sister was the owner of a "Woo Woo", his wife had "Privates" before he "made them public" and that this whole bottom of the barrel conversation reminded him of when he was a paramedic and ran on a woman whose husband met them at the door to announce that he probably "broke her cummer" after she had a seizure during sex.


Hail Joe, proud new recruit of the Midnight Nurses Vagina Club.  Long may you bikini wax.


So that's the latest entry into the Vagina Diaries.  (Pun totally intended). This story is a blast to share. When I want to make someone laugh (and learn yet another name for vagina) I tell them about Big Pussy Lady.  Props to Big Pussy Lady.  We thank you for blazing the trail of vagina hygeine, for opening our minds to Filipino slang terminology, and for making me laugh far too loudly in the middle of Meijer when I bought this:






Because if you are going to clean Precious, it should be done fast and effortlessly.


Party on, clean vaginas of the world.















Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Yoga Chronicles

It's autumn, which means I am a mentally labile girl.  I jump between my pool closing induced depression (which I still have not completed but will do Sunday), my "They are back to school I have the house to myself" euphoria (limited now thanks to Travis commuting to college from home),  the "It's not so bad I can wear a sweatshirt but still flip flops" self comforting mechanisms, and the "You'll be OK now, there is still alcohol" segue from crisp white wine to full bodied reds.


Oh, and yoga.  Back to yoga.


Yoga is not a summer activity for me.  I am sure that makes the true yoga lovers, (yogis? yougos?) blanch in their Uttanasanas, but I can't stomach the idea of sweating like a pig and face planting on a slick yoga mat in the middle of July. Those yoga people are all about too hot rooms and sweaty bodies, but I am not on that bus. Unless they come up with polar bear yoga in an air conditioned studio, you'll see me in September. I am not one that will wake at dawn and perform Sun Salutations, so yoga remains a cool weather sport for me. 


With the onset of Autumn, Friend Moe and I made a pact to attend at least one yoga class per week.  In the past I have written about my classes with Jeanne the Queen Yoga Mother, who pushes me to embrace my inner goddess.  I love Jeanne but I am a smidge disappointed to tell you that I have not attended a Jeanne led class this fall.  Instead, Friend Moe pulled a bait and switch and we go to Wednesday Vinyasa Yoga with Instructor Lauri. Here is Lauri, with the butt like a perfect peach and the arms like a gunnery sergeant.  Lauri, who tricks you with the peaceful reflection at the start of class, gently moving you into the warming stretches that lubricate your creaky middle aged joints, then, rapid fire BAM BAM BAM is kicking your ass from here to Rhode Island. And beyond.


I grew up an athlete.  Baseball, volleyball, softball, swimming, water skiing, basketball, I played them all.  On the field, court or in the pool I am a hard worker that is somewhat blessed with the ability to grasp a sport and be fairly competent at it.  Until Yoga.   I suck, suck, SUCK at yoga, people.  Compare and contrast my flexibility with that of a river rock, a hippo, or a Catholic School teacher.  Translation: I have no flexibility, which makes yoga really, really difficult.


I try not to look. I try to concentrate on my breathing and be in the moment but I cannot help but gawk at the chosen ones who can twist like pretzels and headstand like statues.  I catch myself thinking that their boyfriends and husbands (and maybe girlfriends too) must be over the moon about their ability to pull their legs around their ears and balance on their coccyx.  I am green with envy, which kind of shoots the whole Namaste theory to hell.  "The spirit in me is insanely jealous of the pretzel gene in you" is a closer version of the Namaste going through my head.


Yet I press on.  I balance on my wobbly legs and try poses that make the old lady hip cry out in protest.  I look like a drunk sorority girl on a Twister mat.  I thrill with every small victory, every touch of my big toe when bending from the waist, every ten seconds that I manage to hold a pose that everyone else is locked into for thirty.  I don't give up.  My hands dodge the sweat droplets that fall on my mat in the fear of slipping and landing on my face in front of the Goddesses. I really try. I work so hard I turn beet red.


Every now and then I catch Moe's eye and we smile.  I am grateful that after all these years she cares enough to push me to try things that I normally would count out because I am still working this weight battle.  Fat girls at yoga? Ridiculous. Or maybe not so much. Who would have thought yoga could change your body?  


Me. Who wakes up feeling like a Mack truck mowed her down, that's who.  The girl in the t-shirt who is not comfortable rocking the tight tank tops, but who usually has the cutest feet in the class. (I really do have adorable toes).  The girl that decided that every class she takes is a step closer to a stronger mind and  healthier body.  The girl that felt happy inside when Awesome Arms Lauri told her "I'm proud of how hard you work in my class".  The girl that is slowly, surely, finding a new sport to add to the "you have no choice you must move your body" list.


Namaste, ya'll.