Monday, December 20, 2010

If you could do it again. . .

You ever wonder what you would do if you could live your life all over again, knowing what you know now?? If you had complete knowledge of how life works and unlimited resources with which to achieve your goals? Would you be something completely different, or would you choose the same life path?

Now don't get me wrong. I am pretty satisfied with my life right at this exact moment in time. There are things I want still, but on the whole I am pretty cool with my life. I adore substitute teaching. I love the fact that it is teaching in it's purest form without the worry and hassle of grading papers and dealing with parents and the long list of stresses that regular classroom teachers deal with each day. I am especially proud of the fact that teachers will call me on their cell phones and chase me down the hallway asking if I am available. I have worked hard to cultivate a reputation as someone who can just be thrown into a classroom cold, handed a curriculum book, and handle any class with professionalism and grace. (wow, way to toot my own horn there. lol That came out surprisingly vain for a sec there, sorry) VERY long story short: I feel like I was really meant to do this all along. And I especially love being in a new classroom every day, having new adventures with new children I may have not met before.

But what if I was able to be someone different. Maybe just for a little while. If you had asked me this question last year, my answer would have been this: I would become a meteorologist. Maybe on The Weather Channel. This is in no small part due to my raging love for both Jim Cantore and the entire Weather Channel itself. (Don't believe me. This: and this: might convince you. Both written with love by me!)

But today I have a very different idea of what I would do. This idea was perhaps born from being trapped in the house since September without a car of my own, or maybe from currently reading "Eat, Pray, Love" or I suppose from multiple viewings of "Mamma Mia", but I think in my alternate life I would like to be a travel writer. I would travel the world having adventures and then writing about them. Given that the temperature outside hasn't risen above 40 degree in almost a month, I would probably start by traveling to somewhere warm, and then go from there. Doesn't that sound like a very exciting life to lead? Travelling to distant and exotic places, meeting new and different people, and then being paid to write about it? I suspect I would probably take to such a lifestyle very nicely if my reasons for loving substitute teaching are any indication. I appear to have a itch for adventure, no matter how small.

For the past two years, my in-laws have taken us on vacation in leu of Christmas gifts. We have been on a caribbean cruise and traveled to the Yucatan Peninsula. Both times I had a marvelous time soaking in the local atmosphere, speaking in my pathetic Spanish to natives, and revelling in the opportunity to experience life through a different set of parameters. I would love to travel beyond the Western Hemisphere and perhaps visit Wales, France, Spain, Greece, and India. (I am sooo loving this book: Eat, Pray, Love. Totally read it if you ever get the chance.) If I could visit all of these places, and get paid to do it, it seems like the perfect deal. The best of all possible situations to live in.

But as I think about it, I am not sure such a lifestyle, as exciting as it may be, would be conducive to raising two little children. And I love having my children. So maybe, despite my yearning for foreign adventure, I am living exactly the life I am supposed to be. Maybe I will get a chance to visit all the places I want to in my life, I think the slow, plodding path to them is my path after all. That way, I get to take my adorable babies with me.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Handmade Christmas: special or not?

I know, I know, I have been seriously neglecting my blog. I started substitute teaching this year, and I am being called day and night for work. I am purposely taking the rest of this week off to recover from Strep, so I finally have the time and energy to even think thoughts to put down, much less actually type them into some kind of coherant, readable format.

The subject on everyone's mind right now on the Delmarva is the weather. It is freakin' cold. As fascinating as that subject is right now, today I am going to push it off until tomorrow and tackle another topic weighing on my mind today: Christmas. Specifically handmade christmas presents.

If you have met me in person, then this subject shouldn't surprise you at all. In fact, your first thought probably is, "OH God, she is going to wax rhapsodic about the gosh darn craft studio again. Jeez, get a new topic!" Well, if that is your Christmas wish this year, consider me Santa Claus, because I actually want to talk about the practicality of handmade christmas gifts.

I just finished making a fabulous (I think) mosaiced Christmas present for my mother in law, and I am starting a (hopefully) beautiful garden stone for a very special person and family who has helped us a lot this year. As I was busy planning exactly what this stone would look like, my mom texted me to suggest that I make mosaiced Christmas trivets for everyone this year. (just in case you aren't familiar with the word, trivets are those ceramic tile thingies that you put hot dishes on) I also have some jewelry planned for a couple of people too.

I guess my question is: How do you feel about handmade Christmas gifts? Would you be happy to recieve one? Do you think the people in your life would be happy to recieve one? I sometimes never know. I would like to think that they convey thought and a desire to make someone happy by giving a piece of yourself, but I wonder sometimes if they have the capacity to seem cheap. Living in an area where everyone seems to shop at either Kmart or Michael Kors, (and believe me, there is nowhere in between the two in this area) I wonder how it comes across sometimes. Everyone loves getting handmade gifts from children, but what about other adults? What are your thoughts?

And just because I can't resist, if you want to handmake anything this season, please consider doing it at the Wye River Craft Studio in Grasonville, MD. There, I'm done. I'll shut up now.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Explain this show to me please. . .

Okay, will someone please explain "Army Wives" to me??

Not the actual concept, that I get. I live and work with enough of Army/Navy/Air Force wives here already and I get why the show is incredibly popular in this area. You literally cannot chuck a rock in this area without hitting some employee of "the fort".

What I don't get is the show itself. Maybe I need to watch more episodes to fully understand it. Maybe I will never get this show because I am not a military employee or spouse. My best friend, who is a former army wife, introduced me to this show off of her tivo a couple of weeks ago. I got to watch two episodes with her, including the incredibly dramatic season finale, (You know, the one where the presumed dead army something or other make a surprise appearance at his daughter's high school graduation), and it has been bothering me ever since. Not constantly, like I lie awake in bed pondering this, but every once in a while when I have nothing else to do I think about it.

And what I think about it how I just didn't get it. From what I saw, most scenes in this show seem to consist of different characters crying while Catherine Bell looks on with that incredibly selfless understanding look on her face.

Now I have cried in front of my kids and husband at different points in my life, but I think only once have I cried in front of a friend (and you know who you are, it was at at the playground and your house if that give you a clue). And if any of my friends ever shot me that look that C-Bell ever exhibited, I would probably smack them across the face to snap them out of it. I know it is supposed to be a look of caring and concern, but to me it just looks condescending and a tad bit self righteous.

But maybe that is just me. If you are a fan of this show and get a great deal of enjoyment out of it, could you please explain it to me? I want to hear your opinion.

And for the record, do you know why there isn't a show about the "other employees of the fort"? Because it would just be a bunch of women complaining about how their husbands are never home. And who the heck wants to watch that?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Random Thoughts about Math

I had a very odd thought today. It was a totally off the wall thought that I want to share here in case someone out there knows what the heck I am talking about. This odd thought concerned math. You know, Math. The school subject that a lot of us absolutely hated and couldn't wait to be rid of. (except we know now as adults that we are never actually rid of it, it follows us forever)

In an effort to get my mind off of all of the stress in my life, I sat down this morning to read the new Elin Hilderbrand novel, "The Island". In the book, there is a small part where one character was talking about how her son was at one point failing Trigonometry. She sent her husband to deal with the child's teacher at the parent/teacher conference, and he dealt with it by having a year long affair with said teacher. In recounting the story, she remarked that the worst part was that her son never actually learned any math that year. The teacher was passing him solely based on the affair with his father.

Now, as a former educator, there is so much I could say about that whole situation. SO MUCH. I could really go to town on this subject, but I'm not going to today. My mind went a totally different direction on this subject. I started thinking about higher math in general. Now, I never took Trig or Calculus. I just barely passed Algebra and I believe I passed Statistics, but I can't be absolutely sure. I liked to tell people that I just couldn't do it because it was too hard, and I just wasn't a math person. And this may well have been a little true. I was always artistic and very right brained, but mostly I realize now I just didn't want to concentrate and do the work required for these subjects. There were just too many things I would rather have been doing. There were dances to go to, boys to meet, the mall to hang out it, my ballet recitals to practice for, and art to create. There didn't seem to be a single moment allotted in my day to devote to learning higher math concepts.

Well, good Lord! Here was my thought for today: If I knew then what I know, I would probably be a math whiz. A mathmetician probably. With all the obligations in my life now as an adult and a parent, I would love it, LOVE IT, if someone told me that all I really needed to do for the next hour was sit down and learn math. Not referee fights between my children, worry about what to cook for dinner, or whether the bills are paid, just sit down and learn math. I almost think I would possibly find it relaxing.

But I guess that is the story of all our lives. If only we knew then what we know now. Oh, the things I would do if only I had that information back then.

What do you think you would do/be now if you knew then all that you know now???

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Oh My God!!! Save me from myself!!

I am so in trouble right now.

Two weekends ago the kids and I spent the afternoon at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michael's MD for the Chesapeake Bay Folk Festival. We heard great music, saw terrific vendors, ate great food (crabcakes to die for!!!!) and met a fabulous local author. Her name was Rena Cherry Brown and she has written a riveting children's book called "Where do I Belong?" She was nice enough to read her book to my kids and I took beautiful pictures of the moment.

I had planned on writing all about our experiences when I got home. But then I got busy visiting other local events, and figured I would file all of these stories away until I could sit down and really do them literary justice.

And that would finally be today, except something happened between then and now to totally destroy my concentration. To give you a reference point, it has taken me about 45 minutes just to type the previous two paragraphs. (sad, I know)

Are you familiar with the Chesapeake Bay mosquito? I have found that there are two types of mosquitoes here on the coast. The first type lives here all year round. They are annoying, but not completely debilitating. They bite you, you itch a little bit, and in a day or so you are fine. The species that I came in contact with at my mother-in-law's house two days ago is a much more vindictive, evil variety of pest. They are very small and jet black. I don't know if they affect everyone like they do myself, but when they bite me, I can actually feel poison shooting into my body. Two days later, I am now scratching my appendages with hairbrushes. I am unable to concentrate on anything for very long other than the maddening itches that don't seem to find any relief. Calamine Lotion, doesn't do a thing for me. Benadryl, forget about it. I have even tried holistic remedies that do nothing but keep me busy during the application process, then let me down completely afterwards as I proceed to scratch them off.

So, with apologies to Ms. Cherry Brown, I must end this post today so I can wallow in my agony. I promise to truly write a post that will do her beautiful book justice as soon as I recover the use of my brain cells. Until then, please check out her website at and check out her book "Where do I belong?" You'll be glad you did.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Chesapeake Summer Storm Story

So, our story begins today with me deciding to take my very good friend Emily up on her offer to watch her kids for her. I desperately need a job, and she desperately needed someone she can trust to take care of her 4 year old, Jack, and 7 week old, baby Thomas. It seemed very fortunate for me that she would offer this as I just could really use some pocket money right about now.

She and her husband dropped off their children to my house at about 3:15. Her older son, Jack is right around my son's age, so I figured that they would play together nicely. My 6 year old loves babies, so I figured she could help me take care of baby Thomas.

Well, if only wishing made it so. Turns out that my daughter is playing with the older son, and my 3 year old is trying to take care of the baby with me. The first situation is working out very nicely. The two kids are keeping each other occupied and having a great time. The second situation is less than ideal. My 3 year old was bouncing on the sofa while I was trying to feed Thomas his bottle, and it was just not a pretty situation.

My solution to the problem was to take Thomas up to the master bedroom to feed him and relegate the rest of the kids to the basement to play.

I wish my story could end there, but I would be leaving out the massive biblical thunderstorm that hit next. Not a metaphorical thunderstorm (sh*tstorm?) but an actual thunderstorm with incredibly fast winds, continuous cloud to ground lightning, and torrential rains. I could hear it coming before it hit, but I never believed that it could have been as bad as it was.

The clouds were pitch black, and a second or two later the rains started. These were no gentle summer rains, but a waterfall of rain that dumped about an inch of water on the ground in roughly 10 minutes. As the rain started, I next heard the siren from the firehouse go off. A quick look out the window showed gale force winds whipping my outdoor toys and patio furniture around like the unfortunate cow in the movie "Twister". Oh shoot! My first time watching my friend's infant son, and we get hit by a tornado!!! Convinced that an actual twister was descending down upon us, I picked us baby Thomas and hightailed it down two flights of steps to join the rest of the children in the basement.

Some important information you need to know at this point is this: I am deathly afraid of thunderstorms. I am terrified of high winds, having had my parent's house hit by a large oak tree while on spring break from college. I am absolutely petrified of lightning. My biggest fear is not that it will kill me, but that it will hit me and NOT kill me. So, my biggest challenge at this point was to take care of the baby, my friend's 4 year old,and my own two children without letting on how much I was freaking out. I put the baby in the pack-n-play in the office, since it was the only room without windows, and sat down on the basement couch to watch Scooby-Doo with the rest of the kids. It was really hard, some of the flashes of lightning were REALLY close, but I think I held it together okay.

Long story short: we were fine. There was no twister, at least not that I can see. The rain stopped about 20 minutes later and eventually the sun came out. The children were fine, and their mother came back to pick them up around dinner time. There was a little flooding in the basement, but I was able to clean it up with a bath towel. I went out back and collected my things that had blown around the yard, enjoying the now cooler temperatures and lower humidity.

How do you deal with storms? Do your children deal with storms well, or are they afraid? Don't forget to stop by my online community (located just to the right of here) and weigh in on this issue.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Clicking with cliques. Hard, isn't it?

It is amazing how your life can change in only 24 hours. One moment you can be chilling in Mexico on winter vacation, and the next moment your husband can be detained at Immigration for an outstanding traffic warrant. And your whole life changes. One day you can have electricity, and the next day two checks can beat a deposit to the bank, and then "not so much". And your whole life changes. And one day you can have a certain attitude about life and friends, and then the next day have a whole different perspective on the process of making friends. Maybe your whole life doesn't change, but there is definitely a subtle shift in your attitude that can affect certain parts.

Yesterday I had every intention of writing a blog about the difficulties of making friends when you move to a brand new place at the advanced age of 35. I went over the various challenges that make it very hard to break into established cliques. There are the people who just don't like new people, the people with too many friends already who don't have time for new people, and the people for whom you just don't personally click with. I was going to show how there are strategies and techniques for overcoming these obstacles and developing a new social circle of you own. I had the blog already written and ready for editing and publishing. All I needed to do was click on the button that read "Publish Post" and I was all done.

But something stopped me.

I paused on the button and decided to save it until tomorrow. Tomorrow felt like a better day to post it. I felt like after a good night's sleep it would be a better time to post it. Thank God I stopped when I did. I went to sleep last night, and something strange happened when I awoke this morning: I no longer gave a crap.

Let me back up a little. Alli has been going to Art Camp all week at the Kent Island Federation of Arts. She is learning each morning this week how to draw realistic faces and portraits. There are about 8 or 10 kids in her camp. If she had done this a year ago, I would have used this opportunity to introduce myself to all the parents of all the kids enrolled. I would have started conversations with them about the weather, Route 50 traffic, area pools, and anything else I could think of. I would have complimented their clothes, cars, and generally made a pest of myself in an effort to establish my social circle.

But something weird happened over the past year. I made friends. True friends. Not many, but what they lack in numbers, they more then make up for in enthusiasm and humor. I now have a small number of people I can go to for entertainment and companionship. In the process, I think I have become one of those people listed in the top of this post: Someone who just doesn't have the time or energy for new people. Today, anyway.

There was a whole group of parents talking outside KIFA today waiting for their kids. I guess I could have joined the group and introduced myself, but frankly I was tired and hungry and just wanted to get my kid and get home. I had turned down two invitations for playdates already and I needed my daughter to clean her room today. I had absolutely no desire to meet anyone and talk about anything.

I now understand why when I first moved here it was so hard to meet people. Everyone else WASN'T new to the area, and they had their own lives they were leading already. And now I am at that same point. Which isn't to say that if I meet someone tomorrow who has just moved here I won't try to befriend them. It just ain't happening today. I've got too much to do.

So, if you have uprooted your entire life recently and are having a hard time making new friends, don't take it personally. I have a new understanding of people today, and sometimes we just aren't in the mood. But hang in there, because 24 hours can change a person's perspective on almost anything.

By the way, I will soon be posting pictures of the beautiful creations my daughter has created this week, so keep checking back. See ya!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Various housekeeping updates

Part of the problem of having a busy summer is that you suddenly become so busy living your life that you miss prime opportunities to write about your life.

Case in point: Joining the local pool. After giving the matter a great deal of thought, we decided to join the local pool. Upon investigation, we discovered that it was cheaper to join the athletic club next to the pool, which enjoys pool privileges, than to just join the pool itself. So we joined the athletic club. Since we joined the club, we now feel that we need to use it, so I have been going there every other morning to work out before going in the pool with the children. I have not worked out in any way, shape, or form since I was about 14 or 15 years old and joined the old Four Seasons Sports Complex with my parents. (just a quick aside, I never went back as an adult due to embarrassment over the obvious, raging, hormonal teenage crush I had on my racquet ball instructor, just saying...) So, needless to say, I am a bit out of shape.

So, instead of coming home to write about our marvellous adventures at the pool, like how my previously water-phobic son now refuses to get out of the baby pool, I come home and pretty much die on the couch.

So, I apologize for not keeping anyone updated. Just today, I have finally been able to type on a keyboard without moaning in pain, so I think progress has been made. Also, about half of the equipment that I use is out of commission today because they are replacing the pads. So, I really didn't do a full workout anyway.

I love my gym, though. While riding the stationary bikes and the treadmills, I have a perfect view of beach traffic going over the bridge. I can watch sail boats cruise through the narrows. This morning, I saw many sail boats and a few people trying to fish. It was so tranquil and relaxing that I lost all track of time on the treadmill. When I finally looked down, my easy 20 minute cardio workout had morphed into 40 minutes. Whoops!

Word to the wise: try to never do that. I stepped off of the treadmill and had a total out of body experience due to my weakened overworked muscles. I have vague memories of walking to the stationary bike to cool down, but for the life of me, I don't remember feeling my feet actually touching the ground. Perhaps that explains the strange looks old people were giving me.

Then, on the drive home, I almost had an accident on RT. 18 while swerving to avoid a turtle crossing the road. Gosh, I really love this town!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thanks so much

Thank you to everyone who voted in the Pepsi Refresh Everything contest for the Kent Island Discovery Zone. We won!!!! WE WON!!!

So, this means my friend Kim will receive grant money to reopen the Island Secret Garden as the Kent Island Discovery Zone this year. It's going to be a long arduous process, and Kim is going to have to document her progress every step of the way to the good folks at Pepsi. I have no doubt that she will prevail. So for a little while we are just going to soak in it:


I imagine Kim has been sleeping since Monday night at midnight. I happen to know for a fact that she has been up pretty much 24 hours a day for the entire month of May trying to make this a reality. She checked on her progress every hour on the hour for 31 days. Kim, I hope you are taking the week off and enjoying a nice long rest.

So, I am now off duty as far as online cheerleading goes. I can hang up my virtual pompoms and kick off my keds in triumph. Uncrimp my hair and discard the team colored cyber-scrunchi. Tomorrow I will be back with a doozy of a story, one that could only happen in a small seaside town without a bowling alley.

So stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

vote for the children of all the Chicken-necker moms

Exciting news out here on the shore! In the Pepsi Refresh contest, the Kent Island Discovery Zone has finally reached #10. As I explained in an earlier post, the top ten winners win $25,000 to further their cause.

I wish I could say that we could all relax, but we can't. The contest runs until May 31st, so other organizations have 5 days to try to kick us out of the top ten so they will have a shot at winning money too. I wish everyone could win. I have read through the other entries, and they all sound like worthy causes. Unfortunately, winning this contest may be the only chance we have to rebuild the indoor playground/children's center that was destroyed by that act of God otherwise known as Winter 2010.

Now I really have no idea how many readers I really have. I have a read count, but for all I know it could really be the three lonely followers I have just reading over and over. But on the off chance that I have more readers than that, please take this opportunity to vote for our center to receive the funds we need to reopen for the children of the Upper Eastern Shore. Get all of your friends and relatives to vote also. Details can be found at the bottom of this blog, so scroll down and check it out.

The sooner we get through this and win, the sooner I can get back to writing about parenting in a tourist town. Summer is coming, and with that the promise of adventures (and misadventures). And if you are a regular reader, please become a follower so I know you are out there. Much love to you all, and help us out and VOTE!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Deja-vu, all over again, and again, and again!


That's all I can say at this point. Wow!

It has been way too long since I have been on here. I almost couldn't remember my password, it has been so long.

Things have been really busy. Sometimes I feel like that proverbial chicken with her head cut off, or at least running to keep her head from being cut off. (That's a really gross saying, now that I think about it. But all the really busy descriptors seem to be) I found an extra curricular activity for my daughter that requires the appropriate shoes (soccer) and I found, and then lost, and then almost found a job again before I even started going back to work.

Did that sound confusing? I wish I could say that the news was better, but I can't. My fabulous tutoring job for the fall, the one that fit perfectly with my life, is in serious jeopardy. I was supposed to teach a class of homeschooled eastern shore middle and high schoolers about American History. The hours fit perfectly with the very popular preschool that I already enrolled my son in, and it was going to be my entry into secondary education (which is where I really want my career to start to move towards). Sadly, the school did not enroll enough students to justify my position.

I wish I could say that this is the first time this has happened to me, but it isn't. The private school where I taught second and third grade had a similar situation about 5 years ago. I got to wait all summer for word on whether my class would even exist for the fall. The first year they didn't enroll enough children and I had to go work at a job that I absolutely hated. The second year luck worked in my favor and I was able to teach my class again.

So, here it is, 5 years later, and it's deja-vu all over again. Everything old is new again, and I get to wait all summer to see if the fates will work in my favor. The tutorial said they would keep registration open all summer in the hopes of still having my class. All I can do now is pray, and have a lot of faith that things will work out in the end.

So, if you know of any high school home schoolers in the Queen Anne's County area who are dying to take an American History class with a FABULOUS teacher, please send them to Bridges Christian Tutorial in Centreville, MD.

If you don't, I am probably going to have to work at the mall. Yikes!

Oh, and don't forget to see the bottom of this post to vote for the Kent Island Discovery Zone to receive money from Pepsi to reopen it's doors. Help my friend re-open our beloved center, and give local kiddos a safe place to play!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Save our Indoor Playground!

I don't usually do this, but we on the Upper Eastern Shore are sort of desperate. We have lost something that we held near and dear to our hearts, and are finding it hard to live without. Those of you with small children will certainly feel our pain.

I don't know if you heard at all, but the east coast of this country has had a pretty hard time of it this winter. We suffered snowstorm after snowstorm. Two of them were blizzard condition storms and occurred about 4 days apart. The Federal Government was forced to shut down for 4 days, and many houses, buildings, and structures were damaged beyond repair. Many businesses needed to close their doors forever. There is an outlet mall in Queenstown that lost half it's stores and may never be restored to capacity. On the other side of the Kent Narrows Bridge was a little place known as the Island Secret Garden.

The Island Secret Garden was a fabulous indoor playground. It had tons of toys and climbing structures for children to play on and with. It had a comfortable parent area with couches and rocking chairs for quiet parent time while the children played. It offered enrichment programs for preschool children in science, reading, math, and gymnastics. But most of all, it provided a place for children to go when the weather was bad.

The ISG was forced to lose it's space in the old outlet mall in Kent Narrows after massive amounts of snow collapsed the roof. Without help, we will probably never get our beloved indoor playground back again. If my story has moved you at all, or if you are just looking for something to, please see the very bottom of this post. There is a link to click on to vote for our beloved indoor play area, now renamed the Kent Island Discovery Zone, to recieve a generous gift from Pepsi to get it's doors open again. Please help us! It is a very worthy cause, and costs you nothing but the two seconds you use to click a link!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Would That Really be the Worst Thing in the World?

?I had a strange conversation with my 6 year old daughter today. I can't for the life of me decide if I am okay with how this conversation ended. It was just weird, especially when you consider that I NEVER had anything like this discussion with my own mother, ever.

I know my daughter has lofty plans. Last year, whenever you would ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up, her answer was always,"I want to be everything". More power to ya, babe. I have always told her that she can be anything she wants, so I really liked her attitude about it.

This year, she is adamant about wanting to be a veternarian when she grows up. For 6 months now, that answer hasn't wavered. She loves animals and she wants to help them and take care of them as her career. I think she would be a fabulous vet, and I will do anything I can to encourage this lofty goal.

Today she told me that she is never getting married or having children. This kind of struck me as odd, since she has also told me before that she someday wants to be a mom. I am now wondering what changed her mind. I asked her why she doesn't want to get married someday, and she replied, "because I want to be a veternarian instead." So,now I am wondering if I have something to do with this attitude change. Does she look at me and think that you can't have children or a husband and have a career? I always thought I was being self-sacrificing and noble by staying home to take care of her and her brother full time, but instead did I give her a skewed view of how life works? And, even worse, is she sensing and responding to the deep dissatisfaction I felt with my life? Has my frustration and sadness about not having a car for almost 18 months taught her that to be a wife and mother is to be trapped? Is she trying to avoid becoming me?

Then, I figure that she is only 6 years old, and her opinions and attitudes will change many many times in the coming years, and she will probably change her mind many times about how she sees her life turning out. After I go back to work, she will be seeing a very different version of me, and her opinions will probably change accordingly.

But then, I wonder, do I even want her attitudes to change? Am I really believing that marriage and children is the only path to happiness. Would my beautiful intelligent daughter be just as happy as a single career girl. I know for a fact that my heart would break if she grew up believing that only through a guys love and acceptance would she have validation, but here I am worrying that she might miss out on that very experience. What the heck is wrong with me???

Daughters are hard. Especially in this ever changing and complicated world. I wish I knew exactly the right thing to say in every situation, but I really don't. So, I am letting her have her opinions. If she has decided right now that she never wants to get married, then I am totally on board with that. Whatever makes her happy.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Okay, that was sort of embarrassing. . .

Last post I talked about my efforts to use 411 to find a phone number so that I could possibly pursue a business opportunity. I finally did find the number in the actual paper phone book, only to be thwarted by a busy signal. I proclaimed that I was not to be deterred. . .

I was deterred!

I, in fact, did completely misunderstand what the woman in question was talking with me about on the side of route 50. If I had ridden home with her in her truck, I would have found out that she was just making polite conversation with me while waiting for my friend to gas up the car. I called her today and had one of the most uncomfortable conversations of my life. She never planned on asking me to do anything, and the whole conversation came off like I was trying to ask her for a favor. Which I certainly was not. Luckily I have a small child, so I am never lacking for a good reason to make a quick exit from a phone conversation.

Now that I am off the phone and can put a little distance from my embarrassment, I find that something else is bothering me about the whole affair. I had always believed that things happen for a reason. People come into our lives for a reason also. The guy that I was briefly engaged to almost 10 years ago came into my life so that my brother could meet his sister and get married. And so on. I supposed that we ran out of gas the other day so I could renew my aquaintence with this woman and could be given this imaginary opportunity. Now I suppose that we just ran out of gas for no reason. And my friend is the last person to ever run out of gas on the highway, so I really figured that there was a greater force at work in my life. But maybe there really are just accidents. Maybe not everything has a reason and a purpose.

Something to ponder for the moment. . .

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dial 1 for Absurdity!

I was just last night presented with a possible business opportunity that I may not be able to pass up. I have been thinking about it all night since I had the initial conversation on the side of Route 50 on Kent Island. (I would tell you why I was standing on the side of the highway, but I don't want to embarress the person who's truck accidentally ran out of gas. And no, it wasn't me) The woman who came to bring us a couple gallons of gas and rescue us from having to walk home started a converation with me that sounded a lot like she was pondering a business arrangement with me. I don't want to say too much right now, in case I misunderstood her, but it was very interesting and right in my wheelhouse.

Sadly, I didn't do the smart thing and ask to ride home with her and continue the conversation. I also didn't get her email address or phone number. All I got was her husbands name and her address.

I had planned on trying to get in touch with her early next week, but my curiousity and impatience got the absolute best of me and I decided to call her today and try to set up a lunch where we could talk. Getting up to get the phone book seemed like too much trouble, so I picked up the phone and dialed 411. I connected to Vonage 411 and the computer voice directed me to "press 1 for English". Well, I pressed 1, and the system HUNG UP ON ME! Not to be deterred, I tried again. This time, when I pressed 1 for English, I could hear the system click me over to another line and start ringing. I counted the rings, and 17 rings went by with no one picking up. WHAT IS THIS COUNTRY COMING TO??? Seriously? Vonage cannot find English speaking telephone operators on a Sunday?? Thank God I wasn't trying to dial 911 or anything. I would probably be dead by now!!!

Do you know what I ended up doing? I got up and found the trusty old phone book. Already written in English and guarrenteed never to give me attitude about it!! I quickly found the woman's number and dialed it.

Busy Signal!

No matter, I will not be deterred!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Money for nothing, and bills to pay!

Hey, did you know that there is a health care crisis going on currently in this country? Did you know that Democrats and Republicans are at each other's throats over a health care bill that one side says will save us all and the other side says will be the destruction of life on earth?

Up until now, I have been reluctant to wade into the fray. I can really see both sides of the issue, and I don't really know which side to come down on at this point. I am not really going to discuss the finer points of the bill, just one issue that was made clear to me last night. That would be a continuation of the governments (R and D) habit of punishing you for not being able to afford things. And when I say punish you, I mean force you to pay out even more money that you can't afford because you didn't do the thing you couldn't afford in the first place.

Did that sound confusing? It sort of is confusing. It is an absurb concept that I am shocked people are actually willing to put up with. I briefly mentioned it before in an earlier blog. If you have a car, and you suddenly become unable to afford your car insurance, the state fines you even more money, then they take away your tags making it impossible to go to you job to make the money to pay the fines. It is a vicious,vicious circle. And it doesn't stop there. What happens if you accidentally write a check that you can't really afford? The bank punishes you by charging you an overdraft fee. Because if you couldn't afford the check in the first place, taking more of your money is certainly going to help, right? If you use your debit card, it is even worse. Then the bank covers the transaction, and then charges you a fee anyway. Either way, being broke just does not fly in this country.

Now we come to my only problem so far in the health care debate. I understand that in this bill, the government will penalize you monetarily for not having health insurance. So if you don't use the gov't plan, and you don't have insurance through your job, then you are mounted with fines. To me, this is worse than the car insurance fines. If you don't want to pay for car insurance, you have a choice to not own a car. You can take taxis, you can take the bus. This country was built on freedom, and freedom is about having choices. This situation seems to have no choices. The government is telling you that you have no choices. If you want to be alive in this country, you must have health insurance, and if you don't, the government will punish you. Does this sound like a choice to you?

Sorry to deviate into a politic heavy post, but I just needed to get this off my mind. It was bothering me all night, and I needed to get it out. I promise, next week I will pick up with parenting on the Eastern Shore, and my quest to find an athletic activity that will not damage my daughters feet. Until then, just try to stay healthy. That might be the best bet of all at this point! : )

Sunday, March 21, 2010

One Morning at the Podiatrist

About two weeks ago, at my daughter’s 6 year check up, we were told that Alli needed to see a podiatrist. Apparently when she stands up, her feet spread out and become flat and her pediatrician was concerned about it enough to refer us to a specialist.

Now, Alli has always had small issues with her feet. When I was pregnant with her, I remember an ultrasound picture where all you could see was her foot. That’s all there was to the picture, it was the blackness of the amniotic fluid and one big foot in the middle of the screen. When she was a baby, I had to cut the feet off of all of her sleepers, because her feet were too big to fit into them. I remember looking at the bottoms of a pair of newborn pajamas and thinking, “Really? Are you kidding me?”

About three months ago, she started complaining about ballet class. She said she didn’t want to go, that her feet felt too tired to do ballet. Alli has taken ballet since she was 4. She has been in two ballet recitals and loved every minute of them. For her to say she doesn’t want to go to ballet is a huge deal. I tried bribing her to go, I even told her that if she doesn’t go that she cannot be in the recital (which is true, as it turns out), and she still held her ground and insisted that she was finished with ballet for good.

Cut to today. We walked into the Podiatrists office, gave the nurse our name, and sat down to wait. Do you know how to tell if you are in an eastern shore doctor’s office? Go to the supply of magazines they keep for the waiting patients. If you see any copies of Field and Stream, or the special double issue of Deer and Deer Hunter Magazine, then you are definitely on the right side of the bay. Plus, when they ask for your co-pay and you hand them a credit card, they proceed to run the card through one of those slidie things that I haven’t seen since 1987 when I worked at The Gap.

So, do you know who most often visits the podiatrist? Apparently it is the elderly and diabetics, which makes sense when you think about it. The body parts first and most profoundly affected by both diabetes and old age are the feet. We sat down in the chairs and there was an elderly man sitting in a wheelchair about 5 seats to our left. He obviously had been dropped off by a local nursing home or hospice care situation. He was the sort of old man who is slumped over in his wheelchair, drooling and randomly spitting out incoherent sounds. Well, he was freaking my daughter out. She was staring really hard at her Scooby Doo Magazine while occasionally stealing peeks out of the corners of her eyes. At one point, after a particularly loud outburst, she tugged on my sleeve and pleaded, “Can we please go see the Doctor NOW, mom?” I felt sort of bad for her, and was about to suggest that we switch to the other side of the waiting room, when I suddenly focused on the poor man’s face. He was staring at Alli, and for a brief moment looked sort of happy. I decided that she could endure a little more discomfort in a doctor’s waiting room if it was the right thing to do.

The appointment was very illuminating. It turns out that Alli has very loose ligaments. The Podiatrist described feet as being like one of those rafts from Gilligan’s Island. You know, like the ones that are made of logs and held together with vines? When the vines are tight, the raft stays together and floats, and when the vines are loose, the logs spread out when stepped on. Luckily, she won’t need special shoes, but just special inserts in the shoes she already has. I apparently also need to buy her shoes with unyielding soles and heels on them. Like athletic shoes and those Stride Rite Mary Jane School Shoes.

All in all, it could have been worse. The best thing I was hoping for was to be told that she was absolutely perfect and fine. The worst case scenario was for her to have to wear special shoes or some other type of apparatus. This was sort of in the middle. There was a problem, but it had a simple and easy solution. Whew! Glad that over! Now, we just need to get her ears checked out next month. That might be a whole new adventure

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Clampetts go to Tullum

Sunday February 14, we packed up our clothes, kids, and last remaining brain cells and left for the Dreams Tullum resort. As you know from my last blog, I started with the end of the story because stress and trauma make things especially fresh in your mind. Frankly, after the whole airplane incident, I was having trouble remembering the previous 7 days of vacation. Thankfully, now the fog has lifted, and I am able to make a proper start at the beginning of the story.

Our group of merry little travellers all managed to arrive at BWI at the exact same time, despite the fact that we arrived in two cars from opposite ends of the state. I am not sure how we did that, but at this point I am willing to concede that we might just be that good. We showed our passports, took off our shoes for the obligatory security scan and managed to all make it onto an airplane with a minimum of drama. Yay, we were on our way to sun and fun!

When we arrived at the resort, after 4 hours on an airplane, 1 hour going through customs, and 90 minutes in a bus riding down the Yucatan, we were hot, sweaty, and ready to get to the pool and beach. It was then that I discovered the first blunder of the trip. I must have packed my bags in the dark while smoking crack or something because I discovered that I had only brought one bathing suit with me. Really? I am going to the tropics and I only bring one swimsuit? And one pair of pants? And one dress? And one pair of pajamas? (don't worry, I had some shorts, shirts, and underwear, but still . . .)

The room we reserved was gorgeous, although it begged the question: Is there a such thing as too much marble? The walls were marble, the floors were marble, the bathroom was a large marble room. It made sense at first, I have been in too many beach hotels where the carpet has gotten so nasty that you feet turn black the first time you walk on them. But the next morning, after the AC had been running all night, getting out of a nice warm bed to put your feet on ice cold marble was making us long for a little nasty carpeting.

I really don't know why we are allowed to leave the country. We really are the Clampetts sometimes. Here is a partial list of questions asked by various members of our party. They are in no particular order and may or may not have been preceded by vast amounts of Tequila is various forms.

1.On this customs form, is “surname” Spanish for last name?
2.What will we do if there is an earthquake and we get hit by a salami? (I am guessing that was supposed to be Tsunami. . . but in the case of an actual salami I guess we will eat it with mustard?)
3.(asked of an actual Mexican resident) Are you sleepy? Are you going to take a nap-o?
4.Maybe next year we should go to the Caribbean instead. (Um, look to the right)

To our credit, my sister in law and I managed to redeem ourselves from the last time we traveled, by NOT GETTING DRUNK, not that my father-in-law, brother-in-law or husband could possibly resist making “drunk on Lemon Drop Martini” jokes for the whole entire week. Luckily, we have a sense of humor about ourselves, our tolerance for hard liquor while on vacation, and our ability to speak when on such liquids.

All in all, it was a great trip. The kids had fun, we had fun. It was almost a pity we had to return to the cold snowy shores of the Chesapeake Bay. We did have one disapointing moment towards the end. We decided the last night to really dress up for dinner, have our pictures taken, and get a really nice meal. We gussied ourselves up and walked to the Italian restaurant in the resort (that very clearly stated that no reservations were necessary) and were told that there was an hour wait for a table. Well, okay, we can certainly go get our pictures taken on the beach while we wait, just give us one of those little pager things and we will be on our way.

Cut to 1 hour and 30 minutes later. The pager still hadn't gone off. Matt walked up to the host and inquired about when our table would be ready. He replied, (and try to say this in your head in a thick Spanish accent) “I am sorry, it is going to be another hour or two until we have a table for you.”

Really?? Three hours for Italian food? With four kids under 10??? My father in law proceeded to toss the pager back at the man and we walked over to the Chinese restaurant. There was at least an hour wait there too. Then we walked over to the Seaside Grill. That was closed for a wedding.

Would you like to know how this ends? It ends with us, dressed to the nines, seated at the BUFFET! Surrounded by families, the kids club eating dinner, and people wearing various forms of swimwear. Not quite the fine dining experience we wanted, but at least we were eating.

It bears saying again, though, that we had a super time. So super, in fact, that we have decided to return to Mexico next year for vacation. As long as the resort doesn't get hit by a salami!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

To be mormon, just for a moment. . .

Sometimes I wish I could be split into two people. One of me could stay here and take care of the house and the children, and the other me could go take care of me. I would get so much done. I could get a job and not have to look for day care. Of course it would have to be a pretty high paying job, since there would be two of me to feed instead of just one, but I am sure the extra food would be cheaper than child care. Maybe the second me could be the one that sticks to a diet.

I am sitting here in my living room currently. I was supposed to be somewhere about 39 minutes ago. I was actually supposed to be at two different somewheres 39 minutes ago, but the one place was a funeral so I am not quite counting it in this situation. The other place I was supposed to be was my weekly craft group. I am in the middle of decorating a wooden lazy susan with an enormous mosiac'd lighthouse decorating the top. I have the design all planned out, the lighthouse looks just like the one that my husband and I climbed on our honeymoon. I am using black tiles for the night sky, with tiny little mirrored tiles for stars. Yellow tiles will represent the sweeping beam of light coming from the windows of the lighthouse, and I have used deep ocean blue tiles for the. . .well. . .the deep ocean blue ocean in fact. It is going to be gorgeous and I can't wait to finish it.

Yet, here I sit. My husband supposedly left work now 43 minutes ago, right when I was supposed to arrive there. The kids have been bathed, and are sitting in front of an episode of Go, Diego, Go! and I am very patiently waiting. If I had two of me, one of me could be sitting here watching the kids and the other of me could be finishing my project.

Have you ever seen the show "Big Love" on HBO. I used to think that it was so unfair that the wives on the show had to share Bill. Now, I think I really could use a sister-wife. (ironically enough, Matt has said before that he is all for the idea of a sister-wife, as long as she is hot. Isn't that just a GUY thing to say?)

I am sure he will be home soon. Until then, I will be sitting here enjoying the first moment of peace and quiet that I have had all day. And I am equally sure, now that I have said it outloud, the peace and quiet will soon end and I will be once again back to my job as house referee. Until then. . .

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Scary Thing Happened on the Way Home

Our little family just returned two days ago from our annual vacation to Mexico. The timing couldn't have been better, as we have been pounded with bitter cold temperatures and massive amounts of snow since December 2009. It's been snowng and cold since LAST FREAKIN' YEAR!!! Can you believe it? It sounds even worse when you put it like that.

Later this week I will entertain you with hilarious stories from a trip I have named "The Clampetts go to Tullum", but for today I am going to take a lesson from Quentin Tarantino and start from the end of the story. The airplane ride home.

It started out as a normal everyday flight back to the U.S. We arrived at the Cancun airport a few hours before our flight was due to take off. Check in was the usual nightmare, with multiple forms to fill out regarding our legal status and intentions to not try to smuggle fruit out of the country. The usual. We proceeded to the security check in point and passed our carry on luggage through the evil x ray machine. Everything seemed fine until my carry on bag was stopped through the machine. I looked over the conveyor belt to see a little Mexican man frowning at the computer screen in front of him with very furrowed brows. A quick look down the belt showed that it was my bag he was frowning at. Now, at that point I honestly couldn't tell you what was packed in that bag. I knew I had nothing dangerous, I mean come on, I am a harmless 37 year old housewife, but I also didn't know if there was shampoo or something in there either. Another security officer picked up my bag, placed it in front of me, and proceeded to go through it. Would you like to know the dangerous weapon they found? It was my son's toy airplane. Apparently you cannot take an airplane on an airplane. We all got a good laugh over it, and we were able to proceed to our gate. After a quick lunch we boarded our plane and figured we were finished with vacation drama. Boy were we wrong!

I guess we were probably over Virgina when it happened. At this point it was about 6:30 pm and we had been on the plane for about 3 and 1/2 hours. We figured we would be landing soon, so we were a little shocked when the plane made a sudden turn. And another turn. And yet another turn. It didn't take long to figure out that we had just flown in a circle. That was a little alarming, to say the least. The next thing we knew, the captain came on the speaker to tell us that BWI Airport was currently closed because an unidentified person had run onto a runway. My sister-in-law's jaw dropped. Heck, my jaw dropped about 3 feet. As did my stomach. Then the captain explained that we only had about 20 minutes of fuel left and we may have to divert to Richmond International. RICHMOND??? VIRGINIA??? What the heck am I going to do in RICHMOND??? I, of course, being prone to sudden bouts of drama, was getting visions of terrorist plots and planes crash landing, and the pilot episode of Lost. My sister-in-law, Nichole, and I grabbed each other's arms and just sat there in shock trying to stay calm for the children. I was ready to cry, but I couldn't because my daughter was sitting right next to me, obliviously playing her DS. After 5 of the longest minutes of my life, the captain came back on the tell us it was a false alarm and we would be landing shortly. The entire airplane cheered and we fastened out seat belts for landing.

So that was it, we are officially back safe from Mexico. Part one of the story will be coming soon once I fully recover from leaving paradise to almost crash land in the freakin' snow. (yeah, I told you I was dramatic) Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Blizzard #2 update

I am reporting here from day 1 of blizzard #2 here in the Northeast.

I can remember as a child reading the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My favorite book of the series was always "Little House in the Big Woods", the first book that dealt with Laura's early childhood in Wisconsin. I enjoyed the descriptions of the woods, the animals they encountered, and their efforts to live off of the land.

As an adult I discovered the series again. I read through all the books and discovered that I enjoyed "The Long Winter" much more. I found it to be very well written and I appreciated the drama that accompianied the family's efforts to survive a winter in which blizzards were the norm rather than the exception. I felt their pain as they struggled to stay warm and celebrated with them when the first warm breezes of spring appeared, meaning that the supply train would soon be running again. I even started a small investigation of my own, to see if the dates and locations for the book coincided with a phenomenon I had read about called the "Little Ice Age". (They do match up, by the way)

Well, I now feel like I am living that book. Last week's snowstorm was severe, but beautiful in it's own way. The lonely desolation of the snow covered landscape seemed to inspire memories of Robert Frost poems that I studied in school. This week's snowstorm, which is piling multiple feet of snow on top of the previous multiple feet of snow, is just plain frightening. I am desperately trying to clear a path to the heat pump just like Charles Ingalls tried to clear a path to the cows. The intention is no less urgent. Just as they rationed food to try to keep enough to survive while waiting for the supply train, I am rationing milk products while waiting for the snow to stop enough to make a 7-11 run.

At the same time, though, I realize how lucky we are to be living through this in 2010. I can talk to my friends through the internet. I can get entertainment through the radio and television. I am praying currently that the power doesn't go out, as we are really a generation that does not know how to entertain ourselves. In Laura Ingall's time, there was no television, cable, Wii, or computers. They didn't need all the distractions, they were busy surviving. Baking their own bread, milking their own rapidly freezing cows, and twisting straw into something they could burn for heat.

So who is to say that they weren't better off in some ways. I guess if you aren't used to having instant entertainment piped into your house, you don't really need it. Maybe we should take a cue from Ingalls family and just enjoy this rare opportunity in this time and age to just be together as a family, and thank God that we still have power and food.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Nothing going on, I'm just Lost!

It has snowed again. More snow is headed here tonight. The reports are varied for our area. Some forecasters are saying a dusting. Some are saying we should get 1 to 3 inches. My husband called from work today to tell me he heard 6 inches overnight. I doubt anyone will know for sure until after it has already happened. But, in the meantime, a situation has developed at my house.

The situation is: Nothing.

Nothing is new. I have not gone anywhere interesting in the past week. Nothing interesting has happened in my life. My daughter goes to school and comes home. We can't go outside, so we just sit inside and do inside things. We have made so many art projects I don't think our rugs will ever recover. We have read every book we own. And we watch tv. We watch a lot of tv. Too much tv. I can now sing the theme song to Spongebob Squarepants from memory, and do often.

My husband and I have also discovered a show. We have started watching Lost. This always happens to me. I will get on the bandwagon and start watching a hit tv show that is gripping the nation, but I will usually start watching well after the rest of the country has discovered it. I don't think I started watching Friends until season 3 or 4. I didn't get into Weeds until about halfway through season 2. This is a personal record for me, getting into a show as it is starting it's last season. Season 6.

What the heck is wrong with me? Why on earth didn't I discover it before? It is a cultural phenomenon. Such is the power of this show, it has the ability to affect when the PRESIDENT gives his STATE OF THE UNION speech. Now that is power. Fifty years from now, will the high school history books devote a paragraph in the Obama chapter to how he rescheduled the speech as so not to conflict with America finding out whether the hydrogen bomb detonated, effectively wiping out 6 seasons of drama on a mysterious South Pacific Island. I guess we will find out.

Anyway, since through the magic of NetFlix we are only just finishing season 1, I don't think we are going to catch up in time to watch tonight's season premiere. I am tempted to watch it anyway, as I have read ahead and know basically what is going on, although I have no idea who any of the new characters are.

Anything, I guess, to keep me busy while it snows. I really can't wait until spring.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I'm back!!!

I know I just posted yesterday, but something really important happened today that I must talk about. At about 8:07 this morning, the worst thing that could ever happen to me, happened!

The peninsula lost internet!!!!!

Not just my house, not just my neighborhood, but apparently the whole Delmarva Peninsula, or at the very least the upper eastern shore, lost their ability to access the internet.

I don't know if this has anything to do with the storm of the century we just experienced for the past 18 hours, but since my phone line runs through my internet line, I was completely cut off from the modern world.

I spent the first couple of hours in a state of panic. I couldn't check my email, I couldn't update websites, I didn't know if my new boss was trying to get a hold of me with computer questions, and I could not speak to another living soul. Except of course for my 2 year old son.

After a morning spent trying desperately to fix the phone connection, only to be repeatedly told by a computer voice on the phone that I really didn't know what the heck I was doing, I decided that we must not have paid the Vonage bill.

That knowledge led to a moment or two of peace for me. Since I do not have a car and I didn't have telephone service or internet service, there wasn't a heck of a lot I could do to change my current situation. So I hunkered down and decided to make the best of it.

By lunchtime, my son and I had discovered new routines to our day. We went outside and "puddle-stomped." We discovered new books that we had never read before. We played dress up and had a short little parade. Since my computer still did everything else, I worked on my book for a while. I did laundry and washed bedsheets. I actually got a lot done today.

Right after I got my darling daughter off of the bus at 4:00pm, the phone finally rang. My husband and my best friend were desperately trying to call me all day to make sure we weren't flooding. (We didn't, yay!) They also explained to me that the entire area had lost internet. I have never been so glad to hear a phone ring in my life. I grabbed the ringing phone and clung to it like a life ring in a raging ocean storm. I was saved, I could speak to another adult, it was glorious! And if I had telephone service again, that means I could access the internet again. I quickly logged on and discovered I had 33 emails that I needed to read.

Guess what? Thirty-two of them were spam. Apparently I missed nothing at all today. Huh! Oh, well, I am off the read a book. Catch ya later!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bella Swan: not so bad after all!

Beware! If you are into the Twilight series and have not finished Breaking Dawn, do not read this. I have some heavy duty spoilers. Read on at your own Risk.

I had previously written an article on another website about how the Twilight series was seriously starting to bother me. Here is the link to it.

The general thesis to my article was about how Bella Swan had changed during the course of the series from a strong independent girl who made the ultimate self-sacrifice in choosing to live with the dad she barely knew so her mother would be happy into a weepy insecure wretch who could not live without a guy. I considered her to be a poor role model for my daughter and just an annoying wimp.

Now that I have finished the series, I have totally changed my opinion. As I was loading the dishwasher for the third time today, I started to ponder the world that the vampire version of Bella lives at the end of the third book. She doesn't have to sleep, so she doesn't get too tired to deal with her husband or kid. She is never too tired from raising Renesmee to deal with whatever Edward has in mind for her after their daughter goes to bed. They don't eat, so she doesn't have to slave over a hot stove all day only to hear that Edward just isn't hungry at dinnertime. And if she doesn't have to cook, she therefore does not have to wash dishes and silverware, and pans with melted cheese stuck to them. She has superhuman strength, so she can clean up any mess and drag a two ton shop vac up a couple of flights of stairs without breaking a sweat. In short, she gets to be married, have a child, and not have to deal with any of the annoyances that we as mothers deal with every day for what feels like the rest of our natural lives. And she gets to live like this forever.

They say that as women we have to do it all. Bella actually gets to do it all, simply because she doesn't have to do it all. She has less on her plate from the get go. And she gets to be young and beautiful through it all.

So,I have changed my mind completely. Not only is Bella not the worst role model I have ever seen, she might be smarter than all of us put together.

So, if you see any vampires in your travels, maybe you could send one or two my way.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I Have A Job!

Well, operation "working Toward Independence" is off to a roaring start. I went on an interview last week for a job that I really wanted, and I just found out today that I got it. A nice woman named Rebecca called me to offer me a job. It is a part time job, but the pay is enough that we might be able to afford a car and to send my 3 year old son to preschool.

Oh, wait. I have a three year old son. That's right, I need to find somewhere for him to go while I am working two days a week. I immediately checked out area preschools and found a slight problem. All the preschools I found have two day a week programs, but they only last 2 hours a day. I need somewhere for Trevor to go for three hours a day. Unfortunately it looks like I might have to go the daycare route. (shudders in horror)

This job also only pays quarterly. The job starts in August and my first paycheck wouldn't be until October. This writing thing better start to pay off soon so I can buy a car. It is the definition of irony: I need a job to buy a car, and I need a car to get a job. Or maybe not irony, maybe more like a catch-22. or something equally scary.

I will figure this out. This is a job that I desperately want to do, and do well. It is in a field that I have been dying to break into, and this position might mean a whole new career path for me.

But I have time to figure all of this out. Until then: I HAVE A JOB!!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My one year plan

I have a plan. I am calling it the 'Working Toward Independence' plan. If I can make my plan work, then by this time next year I will be a whole new woman.

Let me start from the beginning. When my second child was born, I knew that I wouldn't be able to afford daycare for a toddler and an infant on a private school teacher's salary. I decided to stay home and raise the children while my husband became the sole breadwinner of the family. I thought it would be great, and to a point it has been. I have had time to volunteer at my daughter's school and chaperone field trips. I am able to keep my children home from school when they are sick without going twenty rounds with an angry boss threatening my job if I don't come in. In that respect, it has been a dream.

On the downside, we were no longer able to afford two cars. We became a one car family. And I cannot do it anymore. I have been late for doctor's appointments more times than I can count. I have had to rely on my best friend for rides to places. I cannot participate in any playdates with my mommy friends unless someone is willing to pick me up. (and you would think that they would be happy to, but apparently not) To say it has been challenging is an understatement. And the state of Maryland makes it almost impossible to actually own a car. There is insurance, tags, insurance, tags, and so on. And if your insurance lapses for any reason, then the state fines you and revokes your tags. So, in a nutshell, if you can't afford to pay your insurance, the state punishes you by making you pay more money. And removing your means for getting to your job to make more money. And I can't afford to buy and maintain a car unless I get a job, but I can't really get a job without a car. What the heck is that all about? Talk about a catch-22. A catch-22 seemingly devised to keep me at home in my kitchen.

And the lack of money has been a challenge too. There are so many thing I would like my children to do, which they cannot do because we don't have the money. Or a way to get there.

The final straw came this week. I actually got mad at my best friend and deleted her from my facebook account because I was so jealous that she gets to get out and see people anytime she wants. Luckily, she understood that my particular psychosis had nothing actually to do with her and more to do with my hatred for staring at the walls, and forgave me. Although she hasn't refriended me online yet. But I am sure she still loves me. I hope.

But I have a plan. I have a job interview on Friday with a tutoring company. I hope I get the job. Hopefully I will be able then to make payments on a small car and get my self out of this house occasionally. Have fun. Make some friends and actually see them from time to time. Wish me luck! God helps those who help themselves, and I am doing my best to do so.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Good bye, Dear Crib

This week marks a milestone in our little family. My youngest child is getting ready to transition from the crib to a big boy bed. The bed arrives tomorrow, the mattresses arrive on Friday. We have sheets, pillow, blankets, everything we need.

This particular crib we have been using has had quite a journey in life. We purchased this crib over 6 years ago in anticipation of our first child's birth. We didn't actually use it until Allison was 4 months old, and it has been in near constant use since then. She slept in it until she was almost 3, and then we moved her into a big girl bed just in time for her brother to arrive. About a month went by when it wasn't being used in between children.

Allison's baby brother is now approaching his third birthday. He is growing too tall for the crib, even at the lowest mattress setting. He is showing an incredible interest in the rest of our beds. He makes up beds on the floor for his stuffed animals. He turns pillowcases into sleeping bags and pretends to sleep on the floor. His every move seems to say to us,like a well fed, sleepy Oliver Twist, "Please guys, I want a bed."

So, we have gotten him a bed. He may be ready, but I am not sure I am. The crib has a certain security to me. I can put him in it at night and know that when I wake up in the morning, he will still be where I left him. I am not ready for 'free range' baby yet. When his sister first left the crib, I used to wake up in the middle of the night to find her climbing into bed with me. I am dreading the return of those days.

Plus, the crib is almost like a member of the family now. It has lived with us and cared for our children at night for almost half a decade. I thought about giving it to another family, but a bolt is starting to fall out of one side. So, to the dump it goes.

Wish me luck. Wish Trevor luck. He should be a free-range chicken by Friday night. And I should, once again, be a tired, sleep deprived mommy by Saturday morning. Oh the joys of childhood.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A conversation at Girl Scouts

I was at my daughter's Girl Scout Meeting last night getting my cookie selling information,and some parents and I had an interesting conversation. We started talking about our children's behavior, then we spoke about our jobs, and somehow the conversation turned to standards of cleanliness in homes.

I got a little frightened by the turn of events happening in front of me, as I have always believed that I am a terrible housekeeper. My house isn't dirty or in violation of any health codes or anything, but with a 3 year old, a 6 year old, and a slob of a husband with ADD, the clutter can start to pile up faster than I can deal with it. As much as I fight it, the tradition around our house continues to be a sort of Hansel and Gretel re-enactment. My husband and daughter will arrive home leaving a trail of clothing, hats, coats, socks, and shoes leading from the front door to whatever room they decide to reside in. And like the nasty mean birds in the story, I will go behind them picking up the bread crumb trail and dealing with it. Now that I think about it, those birds were really misunderstood. They were just trying to keep their home neat, now that I think about it.

Anyway, the conversation at Girl Scouts turned to cleaning. You know how when you go to other people's houses for a visit, the house is so clean and neat that you have problems believing that isn't how they live all the time? Then you develop a little low-level depression because you know you could never aspire to the same standards no matter how hard you try. And these people usually have children. And you truly believe these are the neatest children in the world. (My friend Karen is the worst with this. Since her husband moves around a lot, she keeps her house staged for show all the time. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. Love you Karen!)

Well, the truth is out. This is an impossible standard that most people cannot maintain on a daily basis. That is why cleaning services were invented. One parent told me that he went over someone's house, and they had to wash dishes right there in front of him so they could serve him food. Now I will admit, there are dishes in my sink right now. My dishwasher holds quite a bit of dishes, but it isn't a bottomless pit of room or anything. But can't we pretty much agree that having available dishes is a standard we can all strive to?

So that is my first New Year's Resolution this year. There are depths to which we should probably never fall, so I resolve to make sure I have available seating and available dishes and glasses at all times. This might be the first resolution I maintain all year long.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

What I don't want out of 2010

Happy New Year, Everyone! Hope your holiday was happy! Instead of making a list of New Years resolutions for myself, I have decided to make a list of resolutions for the new year. In other words, these are the things that bugged me in 2009, that 2010 must improve on to not irritate me. I came up with this list last night and I am sure many of you will agree with me that some things need to not continue into the next year.

1. Pressing 1 for English and getting someone who speaks English with an non-understandable accent. I pressed 1 for English. How is that so hard to understand?

2. People who verbally say "OMG" or "WTF". I'm sorry, would you rather be texting me instead?

Which brings me to. . .

3. Little kids who text. Who are you texting, anyway? Your broker?

4. People who cut me off mid-sentence to text someone else. texting annoys me, can you tell. Probably because I can't afford to do it anyway.

And now for the non-texting resolutions for 2010:

5. People who try to find love on television. VH1 and E!: this is for you!

6. When my favorite shows change their formats and end up ruining themselves. I am calling this the "new coke" strategy. Why fix what isn't broken. A perfect example is American Idol. After all this time they changed to a four judge panel, and they were too busy being impressed that they could all talk on tv that we never really got to see anyone sing.

7. Ugg boots and bare legs. I own a pair, and my personal opinion is if it is cold enough to wear them, it's probably time to throw on a pair of tights.

And now to end with a personal resolution of my own.

8. I resolve to try to ignore the 7 issues addressed above, since I will probably confront all of them again in 2010. And I will eat more vegetables.

Have a Happy New Year!