August 30, 2009

The danger of forgetting

Every single time I see more news coverage of Michael Jackson-- his death, life, "legacy"-- it sickens me. Yesterday was his birthday, and millions of people showed up at events all over the world to remember him.

CBS Sunday Morning offered up this opinion piece last month. It is a poignant reminder, and indictment, that haunts me with the reality of how disturbing our national media priorities have become.

Michael Jackson's birthday with 24 hours news coverage? I'm fairly certain there are at least 4,337 families out there that don't give a damn. And neither do I.

August 21, 2009

Friday already?

What a week. In retrospect it's difficult to write about the whammy moment, but now that the shock has worn off it's smaller in my mind. Anna had a big run in with her bestest friend this week. Long story short, Anna ended up getting cracked across the head with a toy broom in the middle of a fairly quiet and unprovoked moment. The sound of the impact, which we heard from the other room, just rings through my mind, along with the image of her sitting there with her hands and face covered in blood.

The cut bled like anything. I discovered that old adage about head wounds bleeding ferociously is actually TRUE, who knew? (not me!) Once I got it all cleared away and most of the bleeding stopped it turned out to be a small but very deep cut, almost a puncture. Anyway, it's the biggest of all awkward, upsetting and unexpected moments we've hit to date with our kids interacting with other kids. Anna's very much afraid of her friend right now. But, with a child's unique ability to compartmentalize, at the same time she remembers the rest of that playdate as AWESOME!

Why the joy and sorrow? She learned to sit on the big potty without her little kid seat after watching, and overly participating in, her friend going potty. (Never though I'd have to say, "Sweetie, we don't help our friends wipe.") She is BEYOND proud and very grateful, always talking about her friend teaching her. In the same conversation, though, as if it's two different people (which it almost feels like it is), she talks about being hit and being scared and not wanting to play with the girl again.

I totally understand and respect her fear (and have to admit to some fear of my own). On the selfish side, though, I'm bummed that there won't be anymore playdates, at least for awhile. The other girl's mom is a good friend and that's when we usually hung out, so it's going to take some juggling to get together from now on. I don't know... awkward and uncomfortable all around, but hopefully a growth experience for us all, too?

Other than that, it's actually been a nice week-- Silvia is has begun the evolution from incontinence to iron-willed control. Ok, maybe not iron-willed, maybe more like industrial-cardboard-willed, but it's something! I experienced one entire day this week, with my kids around every minute, without changing any diapers at all. We were even out and about most of that day and she still had no accidents. It was so freeing I can not even explain it except to say that I now know how birds feel when they drop off a high perch and then their wings catch the wind and they SOAR. A life without diapers... what ever will I do with my time?

I'm taking a break from hardcore writing at the moment, I need to regroup and find something more interesting to dig into (as opposed to preschooler tussles and pee). So that's all I've got for today!

Oh, and a quote...

"We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it."
--Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

August 14, 2009

Wrap it up

All you pregnant ladies, (and you are EVERYWHERE I LOOK) I envy you. There's no great announcement of Baby Fever going on here. I just hate my period, also known in this household as OH MY GOD OUCH AND I CAN'T FIND A SPOON SO I AM GOING TO CRY, and want it to take a loooooong vacation.

I realize creating life is kind of maybe a disproportionate solution to PMS, but there's a little crazy wacked up voice in my head this week whispering that 9 months of discomfort and a following 18 (at least) years of responsibility seems like a small price to pay.

Fortunately, I am used to fucked up voices in my head, so I'm able to kick this one to the curb with all the rest-- it can keep the "run, run, just keep running THEIR LEGS ARE TOO SHORT TO CATCH YOU!" voice company.

Midol is totally cheaper.

Last night I ordered pizza because I couldn't stand up straight from cramps and was so tired I kept falling asleep over the hot stovetop (or I would have if I had been motivated enough to try and turn on the stovetop and cook). I got one small cheese pizza for the girls and one large pizza with stuff for Kurt and me. Then he came home and was all, "What's with all the pizza, I only like cheese pizza, don't you know that? Why waste $10 on a pizza no one wants to eat?"

And I was all, "I know you hate me, stop beating around the bush and KICK ME OUT ALREADY!"

As I've mentioned before, Kurt is a saint. He gave me a Look, patted my hand, rounded the girls up to watch Cinderella in the basement with him and sent me off to bed with a book. Best of all, he said NOTHING about me being a crackhead this morning. Love that guy.

I am all better now.

In that theme, here's our Quote of the Week!!

"Marriage is not merely sharing the fettuccine, but sharing the burden of finding the fettuccine restaurant in the first place." ~Calvin Trillin

August 07, 2009

Food for thought

So this week started out poopy-- literally. Anna finally decided that vegetables were her friends and would make her very tall (and, as such, superior to all). The direct result of this onslaught of green beans, cucumbers and carrots should be fairly simple to deduce. We stayed home Tuesday since proximity to the bathroom became The Goal of the Day.

In general, though, I think this week had more redemption to offer than failure. I cooked dinner again for my father-in-law on Wednesday night and, much to my surprise, it was delicious. Morrocan Fish Tangine. Sounds fancy, but was actually super simple. I prepped the whole mess before anyone showed up, popped it in the oven and, voila, dinner. Add in a nice salad and side of rice (God bless you, Kashi whole grain pilaf!) and we had a whole edible meal. And no rubber chickens in sight!

Confidence restored, I tackled my next challenge--, the website for Hybrid Mom magazine, a small but national publication. I responded to a call for writers in May and, out of a waterfall of writing samples, they offered me a "job" for their team blog. Of course, these blogging whatnots don't pay, but the exposure is awesome and also serves as a major compilation of writing samples that I can flaunt for other jobs.

The other MAJOR payoff for me is the motivation of deadlines. I have to write something, anything, by a certain time each week. While Janalee and Tiffany over at MA! are very forgiving in their "once a week" rule, I still try to stick to that with some regularity. The gig is not so flexible. As part of team blog, we each write a post for one day of the week. So, if I don't write, there's a full day of nothing and, remember that waterfall of applications? I can be replaced.

For the first two posts I refurbished some of my older material as my introduction. But this week was the moment of truth, time for fresh words. I jumped on the bandwagon, settled in, pulled up Word... and stared at my computer for an hour. Demoralized, I got up for a late night cup of coffee-- and right there, found my topic.

And that's how writing works for me. You go with some small thing and try to pull bigger things out of it. Much like magic hats but only with horses and elephants instead of rabbits. (Any topic suggestions from little things in your own world?)

So I did it, it's up, I'm live and now I've found a good groove to carry my through the next moments. My weeks start on Friday night and so far I'm thinking the next one is looking less poopy in general.

Quote of the week:

"In Mexico we have a word for sushi: Bait." --Jose Simon

August 04, 2009

Tasty memories

My grandmother used to get up every morning at about 5:30 and go make a big pot of strong coffee. The kitchen light would glow against the darkness of the rest of the house while she sat at the table, cup in hand. She would smoke one or two cigarettes as she made her way through a few cups of black coffee, all in the still quiet of the pre-dawn morning.

Then came what I've always suspected is the real reason for her early rising-- chocolate marshmallow pinwheel cookies. She'd set one out on a plate, pulled from the strategically hidden package high in the cupboard. Between puffs and sips, she'd eat the cookie up in tiny, delightful bites.

In all other ways, my grandmother was a fairly austere woman. She was slight ("5 foot one and THREE QUARTERS" she always insisted), she did not enjoy shopping or flippant, casual conversation and used a firm hand, especially on our behinds, to keep my brother and me in line. She very rarely went out by herself, preferring to stay home and care for her dogs and garden. Tempered by an overall sense of subdued awe, she inspired our love and, ever so slightly, fear.

With two grown sons living in her home, and two grandchildren on top of that, this morning routine always seemed to me to be a near-sacred reclamation of her own personal space. So for the handful of times I would peek into the hallway and see her there in the kitchen, even at six years old, I understood never to bring it up.

Of course, being a highly intelligent woman with a grandmother's skill for sensing small lurking children, she knew I was there each time. One morning, while I sat peering around the corner into the kitchen, she turned, looked directly at me and said, "Come here, girl."

Oh, the terror.

Heart pounding, I tip-toed down the hallway until the kitchen light fell on my face. She just... stared at me.

Then, without a word or change of expression, she stood up and pulled out another chair.

"Sit down."

You better believe my butt hit the seat almost before my feet took a step. Then a miracle happened. Grandma walked to the cupboard, reached up high and pulled out the package of cookies. She put one on a plate and set it in front of me, then poured me a small glass of milk.

There we sat, bathed in light, eating cookies while the rest of the house, the rest of the world, slept. We didn't talk but when I looked up at her with a crumble of chocolate stuck to my chin, she smiled and patted my hand.

I have many fond memories of that time in my life but that quiet, secret morning is still one of my very favorites. It goes without saying, so are those cookies.