Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Confessional Tuesday on Wednesday

I've been neglecting my blog lately.  And for no good reason, other than the busy-ness of the end of a school year.

Which could get me going on an hour-long rant on how public schools are wasting families' time on silly things like three end-of-year pizza parties and field trips to PLACES THAT PARENTS SHOULD BE TAKING THEIR KIDS TO ON SPECIAL OCCASIONS ONLY.  And several half-days in a row.  Why?  WHY?!?!?!?!?

Please, don't get me started.

That's it.

I know.


And kind of B-I-T-C-H-Y.

It's how I roll.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Confessional Tuesday on Wednesday

I hate Modern Family.

There.  I said it.

Phil Dunphy can jump off a bridge for all I care.  And he can take his aggravating family with him.

Real husbands should not be allowed to watch this show, lest they adopt his bumbling ways and try to get away with them.

The worst part about Phil Dunphy is that as I was searching for a picture of him, I accidentally saved it as my desktop background.



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Open Letter to the Dudes at the Club

The story of my life.

My girlfriends and I go away one weekend a year to have fun at the beach.  We lie out in the sun, go out to dinner, drink margaritas, talk about our husbands and kids, and giggle and act silly.  And we go dancing. 

There’s not much more I love than going dancing.  I’m not the best dancer outside my mind, but man – when I’m on the floor, you’ll have a hard time convincing me otherwise.  It’s my favorite aerobic activity besides watching Mad Men.

The only problem is that sometimes the men who dance with us in the club have very bad manners.  I don’t mind a little attention, but it can be a little annoying.  We are all married, have children, and aren’t looking for boyfriends.  We are there to dance.

I acknowledge that a dance club is not the best place for a bunch of married women to hang out if they don’t want to be accosted by men.  Alas, there aren’t many Married Women Only dance clubs, so we make do and go to the most popular place around, which is usually filled with singles either looking for love or one fun night.  Invariably, we are mistaken for single women looking for one fun night by the non-detail-oriented men (Hello, wedding rings!!) who hit on us. 

This following is a letter I’m working on to address some of the problems we face when escaping Mom World for a few hours of thumping music and energizing crowds.  I’m going to post a copy in the men’s bathroom of each dance hall.  Look for it.

Dear Dudes,

First of all, let me say that you are all looking very clean-cut these days and I appreciate the care you all have taken with your appearance the last few years.  There was a time in the not-so-distant past when it looked like soap was in shortage, and I’m glad that time has passed.  I’m also glad to see that plaid has made a comeback – I haven’t seen so much of it since 1995.  Thanks for bringing it back.  However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a few things to be addressed for the future.

First of all, this new getting-to-know-you move of backing up into my groin area with your buttocks, or gyrating your own groin into my buttocks, is unwelcome and confusing, not to mention unsanitary.  We are human beings, not dogs.  If you’d like to dance with me, please ask me with your voice and not your gyrating genitalia, so I can reject you with words instead of an empty beer bottle between your cheeks.  That’s embarrassing for you and me, but mostly embarrassing for you, and funny for me.

This lying about your age nonsense.  I am not a casting director.  You say you’re 30 but you graduated from high school in 1988.  I can already tell that you’re not a genius.  You’re either lousy at math, have the worst memory ever, or you think I’m an idiot.  In any case, your receding gray hairline is calling you out.  Just tell the truth and we can talk about our favorite Depeche Mode song.

When I tell you how old I am, the shocked reaction will only flatter me so far.  After seven or eight minutes of “I can’t BELIEVE you’re that old!!” I get a little testy.  I may be approaching middle age, but we aren’t living in the Middle Ages.  Adults can now live well past their forties.  Get over it.

Do not touch me.  If I wanted to be groped by men, I’d have brought my husband and sewn TV remotes all over my clothing.

I AM NOT GOING HOME WITH YOU.  I made that clear when I told you that clever story about how I was not going home with you.  Stop asking already.

Wearing a fake mustache in the club is hilarious, charming, and a good ice-breaker.  Spilling your entire drink down one half of my body and into my shoe is not any of these things.

If you want to chitchat, a) don’t smack my butt at the end of every sentence, and b) lay off the liquor so you can form actual sentences.  And let me go ahead and add c) don’t get into a bar fight in the middle of our conversation.  I didn’t hear you say what college you went to when that bouncer was shoving me aside to tackle you and your friends.

Stop farting on the dance floor.  I know it’s you, and you are gross.

That highlights most of the problem areas we experience.  I know it’s hard to correct bad habits, but with some work I know you can do it.  If you start now, maybe next time we can all enjoy ourselves a little more. 




Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ways To Ensure You Have a Happy Birthday Remix

[The following is one of my very first blog posts.  I resurrected it in honor of my birthday, which was this weekend.  I thought it was hilarious at the time, and I still do, if I can get through it.  It is very wordy.  My apologies.

In any case, my feelings about celebrating birthdays have not changed much since this was first published.  Steel yourself and enjoy.]

My birthday bugs me. There are people who loooooove their birthday with every fiber of their being, love parties, presents, and being surprised. These people are generally positive people, and when I look at them, I see rainbows and butterflies and smiley faces. I love people like this. I am NOT one of these people. I see the approaching thunderstorm under every silver-lined cloud. I see too many presents at Christmas as a waste of wrapping paper. I see the first day of school not as a new beginning, but as the sad end to waking up late and guilt-free margaritas at noon. And I see birthdays in terms of the likelihood that someone will tell the wait staff at lunch that it is your birthday, and twelve apathetic twenty-somethings will emerge from the kitchen and sing a terrible rendition of a happy birthday song that involves clapping and shouting.

If you’re like me, every passing year is the reminder that your life really hasn’t made much of a dent in the ways things work in the world. Despite the reality that we Americans are blessed beyond anyone else in any nation in the world, we are taught to think that we as individuals are to do Big Things with our Big Talents and make Big Money doing them, and anything less means that we are Big Losers. You might feel that you’re just idling by, maybe working at a dead-end job that doesn’t showcase your abilities or talents, or catering to the needs of spoiled children and family members who suck all your time and energy, thus stripping you of the opportunities to cultivate your creativity, or lazing around and wishing hours away on things that weren’t meant to be. Any of these things result in feeling trapped in the inevitability that we are just one step closer to the end of our lives, the one thing that we foolishly dream we can change without actually having any control over. Cruelly, each year that passes marks us in the form of another wrinkle, another gray hair, another inch of drooping skin.

Maybe you’re thinking, “this definitely does not describe ME or how I view my life or my birthday, I’m a star and I love myself and my place in this world!!!!” My response to you is: Good for you. But this is MY birthday, MY perspective, and MY list. There’s a song about this very moment, and YOU KNOW what it is.

Despite all this gloom and doom, I actually had a very, very good birthday this year. There were no fireworks, no extravagant gifts, and no parties. In general, there was no big fuss. It was just nice. I chalked this nice birthday up to a few effective strategies I used this year, and I’d like to share them with you:

  • If you have children, about a week before your birthday, emphasize through stories and exaggerated emotions how much you love something you like a lot. This year I talked to my children for 7 days before my birthday about how much I love chocolate and how my favorite gift as a child was a bag of chocolate, how my favorite holiday was Easter because of the chocolate we eat, and we had conversations about whole cities and worlds made out of chocolate. Guess what my kids gave me for my birthday this year.
  • If you have a husband, and he wants to get you something for your birthday, you must tell him exactly what you want, because if you don’t, he most likely will take you to a baseball game someone gave him tickets for that day, and try to pass that off as your gift. Provide websites, addresses and phone numbers of stores, or pictures from catalogs. If he must order your gift, tell him the day he must order it so you get it on time. This year my husband gave me luxurious bath products. About a month before my birthday, I forwarded the link containing the items to his work email, telling him that I wanted these items for my birthday, and told him how much it would cost. About a week before my birthday, I asked him if he placed the order. You might think all this work takes the fun out of getting the gift, but you are wrong.
  • If you have friends who like to take you to restaurants and ask the wait staff to serenade you with embarrassing songs or make you wear silly hats or tie balloons to your chair on your birthday, mention as often as possible how much these things throw you into a fit of anxiety every year when your birthday approaches, and tell them how embarrassed you were at the last birthday party you attended where the birthday girl was forced to stand up in front of everyone and wear a coconut bra and dance to Mony Mony while shaking a pair of plastic maracas. Then claim previous plans when they ask you out to dinner.
  • On your birthday which falls on a Tuesday, go out with your family to the fancy Italian restaurant in town where nobody goes on a Tuesday and you and your family are the only people in the restaurant. Then silently high-five yourself as the owner brings you five shots of Sambuca to celebrate your birthday, while your kids eat the third loaf of bread you’ve asked for. Then go home and take a bath using your new luxurious bath products.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Do I Know You?

Some people don’t remember names.  Others can’t recall telephone numbers.  Still others can’t get dates straight.

I can do all of these things.  I have a special talent for phone numbers.  I know every phone number from my childhood, and can recall most of my current friends’ cell and home phone numbers. 

It’s one of those skills for which no one has a use, and that no one cares about.  Hello, cell phones and caller ID.

My problem is that I have poor facial recognition.

Depending on where you fall on the panic spectrum, this may be a non-issue, or it may be a red flag for a frightening future.  Probably Alzheimer’s patients start out this way, or I had a traumatic brain injury or something else terrible that I don’t remember.  I don’t read into it.  It’s more embarrassing than anything else.

During my first year of college, I hung out with a random group of roommates, friends, and friends of friends.  There was a core group of us who went to the same parties and  saw each other between classes.  There was this one guy in the group.  Every time I saw him, I’d ask him his name, stick my hand out, introduce myself, and say, “Nice to meet you.”  I never registered his face.  By the fifth time, he hated me.  This meeting may or may not have ended with him calling me a horrible name that rhymes with signorant snitch.  We were no longer friends after that.

To combat this issue, I just act like I know everybody.  I removed Nice to meet you from my dialogue.  Instead, I say, Hello, how are you? or Good to see you or I compliment a person right away on something to do with their appearance: a piece of jewelry, their mustache, the whiteness of their teeth. 

If you think this last item sounds strange, everyone likes to hear a compliment about the whiteness of their teeth.  Trust me.

Acting as if I’ve known a person forever breaks the ice quickly, leading into conversations about subjects that jog my memories about a person, which helps to avoid offending them if we’ve shared an awesome moment.   However, I do overcompensate in situations when I see someone who I think might look familiar, and feign a deeper relationship than we actually had.

This is how I became best friends with my kids’ school bus driver after I ran into her in the grocery store one day. 

[Just kidding.  That never happened.  It was the lunch lady.] 

And the guy that I waved at persistently and warmly at my son’s band concert the other night?  I hope that he doesn’t remember MY face anytime soon.

I'm sorry.  You all look the same to me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Confessional Tuesday on Wednesday

I love being home.

I find wandering the Earth appealing, and I love to travel, but packing and leaving and being uprooted gives me shivers in a bad way. 

I love my home.

The rooms that I have carefully planned and made comfortable, arranged in a functional and pleasing way, give me joy as I walk through them a hundred times a day.

I love my family.

When they are home, I get a peaceful, easy feeling.

Yeah.  You’ve heard that before.

I love when we’re all home, not necessarily sharing or doing anything together, but just being together in our home – it centers me, makes me feel like I’m in the right place.

Today I realized that being at home with my family is the best feeling I can think of. 

Especially when they’re all sleeping and out of my hair.

I love them, but man, they can be needy.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I Don't Have Time For This

I have been pretty busy the past five days.  They say that the school year is winding down, but we all know that is a big fat lie.  So many field trips, special presentations, assemblies.  I’ve written about this before.  It’s all-consuming.

I’m also going away for a few days.  It’s the worst timing ever, going away in May when you have school-aged kids, but since I have the bad timing skill in the bag, it fits what’s going on here.  

Recently, because I’m going away, and the kids are ramping up to celebrate the glorious fireworks finale of yet another school year, I’m a little busier than usual.  I’ve found myself short on time, like I-don’t-have-a-minute-to-pee short on time.  It got me thinking: what is taking up all my time?  Packing for a weekend trip and signing a couple of permission slips isn’t all that time consuming.  What am I doing all day?

[My husband regularly asks me this question, and I answer it with dagger eyes and cutting sarcasm.  How dare he ask me how I spend my time when most of my time is spent managing our life?  How DARE he come home from work and not notice the miracles that I have done?  HOW DARE HE?!?!?!]

Sorry.  Got off track a little there.

So this is the dilemma that I always have when I’ve got more than the usual trappings of life going on:  as soon as a trip is near, or a big holiday, or a special event, I go bananas doing a ton of stuff to get ready for the big event.  Because me being wild-eyed and certifiable isn’t fun for anyone, I decided to make a list of things I do or have done when I have a lot going on, see what's necessary and what's not, and eliminate tasks as needed to avoid the crazy spiral.  Here we go.

Things I Do When I Have Something Major On the Horizon
  • Roll all of the change in the house to cash in at the bank.
  • Deposit all of the money that the kids have packed in their piggy banks.
  • Return any unfit clothing that I have bought recently.
  • Change everyone’s wardrobe for the season.
  • Take all unneeded or unwanted items to the thrift store.
  • Clean out the refrigerator.
  • Go shopping.  Every day.
  • Do an art project.
  • Start a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle.
  • Do general home maintenance: change air filters, paint trim, change light bulbs.
  • RSVP to any and all invites we have collected, even though the due dates are weeks away.
  • Do all car maintenance: fueling, washing, oil change.
  • File receipts, paid bills, or any other household paperwork that has collected on my desk.
  • Volunteer at school.
  • Bake something for someone.
  • Order stuff on the internet that I won’t be home to receive when it delivers.  Arrange for a neighbor to pick it up.
  • Plant flowers, pull weeds, trim shrubbery, or spread mulch.
  • Write four blog posts in one day.

Jeez.  The non-urgency of this list is embarrassing.  And I’m just getting started.  I’m telling you. Certifiable.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

It's Your Day

Mom.  Mami.  Nan.  Grammy.  Nonee.  Bubbie.  Grandma.  Mommy.  Grandmom.  Granny.  Moms.  G-Ma.  Mummy.  Nana.  Gammy.  Ma.  Gam.  Mama.  Bubba.  Mother.  Great-Grandma.  Oma.  Great-Grandmom.  Mum.  Gram.  Starina.  Mutha.

You know which one you are.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom! It's a good picture of you. 
It's an accurate picture of me.  I've got food in my mouth as usual.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Preventive Maintenance

I got kids, which means I got problems.  Now, I got problems of my own, FO SHO.  But that’s another story.  For reals.

The problems I experience with my kids are not behavioral, or sibling rivalry, or picky eating, or sleep issues, or any of the myriad of problems having children brings a person.

No kids?  Consider this my contribution to your birth control plan.

I’m talking about emotional problems of the kind that which cannot be healed, fixed, or eliminated.  The kind that must be dealt with.  They must be cordoned off from the rest of a generally happy kid’s life, and they must be tended, so as not to be blown out of proportion later on in life, to resurface exponentially worse than when you were a child.  Feel free to flash back to that one night you were four glasses of wine in, crying at your kitchen table to your girlfriends about how your mom never came to any of your basketball games that one year you played in junior high.

Kids get angry.  They get sad.  They cry, lash out, hit, bite, or scream.  Sometimes they do all of these things at the same time. It can be alarming.  My own strategy with dealing with temper tantrums is to steel my own emotions with the cool of a seasoned double agent, trained and hardened in the field.  I show no alarm or concern, and with a steady voice, I say:

“I hear and understand what you are saying.  You are angry because I ate the last of your chocolate bunny from Easter.* I am sorry that I did that.  Is there anything else you’d like to tell me?”

Depending on how they feel, this could go on for hours.

My parents were children when they had me.  They did a great job raising my siblings and I, and I have no complaints with my upbringing at all.  In fact, it’s kind of not fair how good I had it as a kid.  But when I had a tantrum, I was sent to my room, or told to be quiet, or that it was too bad, or on rare occasions, I was spanked or even slapped.  Gasp.  There was none of this “tell me how you feel” nonsense.  It was go to your room you don’t know how easy you have it stop bawling before I give you something real to cry about.  And I did, and I got over it, every time.  I trusted my parents to know what was best for me, and I listened, and we got along just fine.

I have no illusions about how different things are these days from when I was a kid.  The pressures that come from TV, online, school, friends and over-involvement in extracurricular activities is enough to make even the most even-keeled kid start whacking his head against the wall.  But I remember how it felt to be a kid, all happy go lucky and no responsibilities mixed with frustration and angst and fear and uncertainty.  It is tough. 

There is no reason to believe that my kids feel any differently than I did when I was their age.  I see myself in them, relive my own childhood through their eyes.  What I need to be careful about is putting what I know now, that working through your feelings is important, on them.  Asking them to tell me their feelings might be well-advised, but what happens when their feelings are so confusing that they can’t even articulate them?  When they don’t even know how they are feeling?

I’ll tell you what happens.  More frustration, more confusion, more tears.  It happens in my house, more often than any of us like.  We are giving them the opportunity to express themselves, unlike we did as kids, but it results in frustration because they have these feelings without knowing what they are or where they come from, much less what to do with them.  Resolutions are hard to come by when the person in charge is winging it.

So what is a parent to do?  I don’t know.  Something between talking to your kids about their feelings, and telling them to take the tantrum somewhere else.  I can help my kids sort through their feelings, but I have to remember that sometimes kids just need to be told what to do, and being sent to their rooms might be what they need to get over it.  They can deal with their feelings later, when they can better articulate them. 

Like therapy, in which I am considering investing.  Might as well start now.


*True.  I did.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Confessional Tuesday on Wednesday

Today I told my son that he couldn't have any more bacon because he had three strips already.

And then I ate two strips.  And then another.  And another and another.  And maybe two more.

I'm a bacon hog.


Mmmmmm. Bacon.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Because You Have To

Yesterday morning my daughter woke up with a stomachache, and I worried.

I worried about her health, of course – did she finally succumb to the stomach bug that’s been making its way around our community?  Will she make it to the bathroom before she pukes?  Who else is going to get it?  As I practiced my lightning-quick trashcan-wielding reflexes, I lingered on the one worry about our immediate situation that whispered a little louder than the others: is she going to miss something mandatory?

Mandatory.  The word lurks ominously anytime I sign my kids up for a new sport, club, or group.  Always, something is mandatory.  If you don’t come to the mandatory practice, you won’t be able to play.  Never mind that you signed up months ago, that you spent the last ten weeks preparing for this moment – if you miss this one mandatory thing, you are out.  A “good” excuse is the death of a family member, provided a death certificate can be produced; an “excellent” one is that you were in the hospital.  If none of these things apply, just pack your things and go home.  Maybe next year you will learn to take your commitments more seriously.

Now that the end of the school year is upon us, blissful summer and no schedules playfully hide beyond the hurdles we must jump to attain carefree days and nights.  It seems that every day and night brings something important, something Mandatory.  The last month of the school year brings concerts, recitals, assemblies, art shows, field trips, and spring sports practices, matches, and games.  Add that to the avalanche of end-of-year special projects and tests, birthday party invites, and weekend holidays that seem to occur all at the same time, and the likelihood that something Mandatory may be threatened multiplies.

Which brings me to the worry not only that my daughter probably has a 24-hour vomit-and-diarrhea bug, which is bad enough, but that this bug does not fit into the already bursting calendar that consumes a corner of my desk and a larger part of my mind.  Will this illness cause her to miss one of her last dance classes, which are increasingly important as the dance recital looms, or will she miss the mandatory dress rehearsal for her orchestra concert?  Should I send her to school anyway so she won’t miss anything?  There might be something mandatory that I have overlooked.

The whole business gives me a slight panic attack.  I know why kids’ activities are weighted with such urgency – parents aren’t always able to commit because of work or over-scheduling or just plain laziness, so programs are designed like they are priority one.  Because sometimes, when Mom is swamped with work and Dad is away on business, Junior misses baseball practice.  Because when Mommy’s sick and Daddy works nights, Missy has to stay home from dance practice because there’s no one to take her.  We are disconnected.  We don’t trust anyone else with our kids, and we don’t always have family members who we trust to shuttle our kids around when we can’t.  Plus, we sign our kids up for everything, and there aren’t enough hours for them to do it all.  Programs suffer because parents aren’t reliable, so certain aspects of each program become mandatory so parents are held accountable.  It’s like survival of the fittest, kids’ activities style.  The weak, or in other words, those who aren’t able to make every mandatory event, are eliminated.

I don’t know if it will end.  Maybe, when my kids are more independent and can find their own way in the world, the mandatory practices and rehearsals will stop.  Maybe not.  Until then, I will be crossing my fingers that these kids stay healthy and can get through the school year unscathed, that they are able to meet all their commitments despite silly things like uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhea.

Which incidentally, she didn’t have anyway.  It was just a bad case of the Mondays.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Eight Names I Wish I’d Thought Of First

Mos Def:  The baddest name I can think of.  I wish I'd been the first Mos Def.  I would buy packs of those “Hello My Name Is” stickers and wear them everywhere.  It would be awesome.

J. Lo:  Not only is Jennifer Lopez beautiful and talented, but she created a nickname for herself that is both sweet and sassy.  Coming up with it was pure genius; I wish I would have thought of it.  Of course, just any name wouldn't have done so well.  It mos def wouldn’t have worked out nearly as well if her name was Frances Yukon.

Mike D:  I was always a Beastie Boys fan (RIP MCA).  Before I had kids, I thought it would be great to name a son Mike D so that I could teach him to say “Aw yeah, that’s ME” anytime someone called his name.  That would have been the best, but I couldn’t get my husband to approve.  He probably would have if I'd have been the one to think of it first.  That would have been rad.

Superman:  Sometimes, the best names are the simplest.  This says it all: I’m super and I’m a man.  It’s too bad that this name now conjures up unfortunate images of a man in tights, his only weakness being glowing green rocks.  It could have been so much cooler, and dudes with Superman tattoos would be regarded with awe instead of being the butt of everyone’s jokes.

Madison:  I remember when I first heard this name.  It was in the movie Splash, and it was meant to be silly because the mermaid was named after a street in New York City.  I loved it, and then so did everyone else.  Now there are 40 kids in my kids’ school named Madison.  Currently it is a girls’ name, but it can also be a boys’ name, especially if a boy got the name at the beginning of the Madison craze, in which case he probably tells everyone that he was named after James Madison, one of our nation’s founding fathers, who also had a wife with a pretty interesting name.

Cher:  It means “dear” in French.  It’s simple and classy and beautiful.  Not unlike the real Cher, but not really like her, either.  Way to go, Cher.

Sarah Jessica Parker: It is unacceptable to go by your full name unless you live in the South or if you are a celebrity.  I wish I would have come up with this name first, because as everyone knows, if you live outside the southern portion of the US or Hollywood and use all three of your names, you are pompous and elitist, or worse, a hick, especially if Bob or Jo or Ray are involved.  SJP has a beautiful name that is also recognizable by her initials.  Incidentally, being identified by initials is OK if they don’t spell out a word, like ICE or PIG, or indicate a suggestive term, like SM.  My apologies to my daughter.

Yaz: A name from the 80’s.  It was the name of a band which I didn’t listen to a lot but which I never forgot the name.  It’s futuristic and sharp, and could have had wider usage had the band become more popular.  Sadly, now it’s most familiarly the name of an oral contraceptive swamped with lawsuits from users claiming blood clots.  Yaz - no thankz.

What awesome name would you like to claim?


Friday, May 4, 2012

Andrea's Law

I have this thing about bad timing.  If there’s a time that is bad in any situation, then I will be involved in it somehow.  I used to think that everyone else had bad timing, because I often find myself in awkward situations when another person needs my attention.  I have since realized that, like many other events in the universe, it’s not them, it’s me.  A few examples of my bad timing:

  1. Getting a call from my husband when he’s at work or on a business trip at the moment I take out the garbage get the mail go to the bathroom take a shower step out to turn the steaks on the grill cut myself with a knife about to run out the door to the gym grocery store school church mall post office dance studio sports practice or putting the kids to bed or going to bed myself.
  2. Getting a call from my mother at those same times.
  3. Sitting down at the end of a long day to relax only to have the phone ring with a wrong number or telemarketer, the first call I’ve had all day.
  4. Having a laxative kick in while waiting for five grown women to finish up their shopping at a drugstore.
  5. Realizing I forgot my wallet at the end of a huge food shopping trip.
  6. Lifting a too-full glass of water to my lips at the exact moment the doorbell rings, spilling the glass of water into my lap and having to answer the door looking like I just peed my pants.
  7. Dumping a huge bowl of leftover chicken noodle soup into the fridge when rushing to make it to a meeting on time.
  8. Following my husband going 60 in a 45 in a speed trap.
  9. Going to the beach during Shark Week.  Every time.
  10. Having a huge pimple somewhere conspicuous on my body for each and every major event in my life.
  11. Getting sick on my wedding day.  Getting better at the end of the honeymoon.
Do you have bad timing?  Tell me about it.

Well, looky here. 
It's almost time for the other shoe to drop.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Who Are These People?

As our kids grow, I believe more and more that personality is born.

You can’t teach yourself to be an extrovert if you’re not naturally one of those people who walks into a party, says, “Hi Everybodyyyyyyyy!” and has a conversation with every person in the room before the night is over.  You might try to be that person, and you will fail miserably.

Or if you are naturally gregarious, and you force yourself to be buttoned up and quiet, eventually you will explode and annoy everyone around you with your sudden burst of chatter.  Or you will implode and be miserable.

As they get older, I see my husband and I in our children.  They have their own personalities, of course.  The mix of familiar characteristics that they exhibit are at times alarming and endearing, like when my son flies into a rage one minute and realizes his mistake and apologizes the next (me) or when my daughter sees the silver lining in every situation (my husband).

However, each of our children is growing into their own person, and it is interesting to see their personalities develop over time.  I am learning to let them grow and not project my personality onto them.

Our daughter, who’s eight, had to make a PowerPoint presentation at school.  It was to be given the night of Take Your Child To Work Day, that unofficial school-sanctioned day where teachers across the country get a break from educating our cherubs in lieu of parents supervising them for once.  She took her presentation to Dad’s office to practice on his co-workers.

She’d forgotten her notes at school, and refused my help when I offered to help her draw up some new ones.  She simply said she’d remember what to say.

Because I get heart palpitations any time I even think about being noticed in a crowd, let alone being the center of attention in one, it’s an understatement to say that I was nervous for her.  I was so nervous that I may have passed some of it on to my husband, who is normally unruffled in public speaking situations.  I worried that she’d mess up magnificently and it would set her up for future public speaking panic.

The time came, and when the room filled with 35 of my husband’s coworkers and children, she grabbed the microphone and made her presentation on wolves with authority and confidence, the likes of which certainly did not come from me.  Her dad said that she didn’t seem nervous at all, and when I asked her if she worried at all about it, she looked me as I was the stupidest person in the world for even suggesting that being anxious about a speech was possible.

For that, I’m proud.  Proud that she did well, proud that she wasn’t frozen by panic, proud that she has been spared by the social anxiety gene that I present so dominantly.

So far, so good.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Confessional Tuesday on Wednesday

I'm not a joiner.

Tell me something I MUST do or HAVE to see or NEED to try, and I typically run the other way.

I have been burned in the past, and I'm talking about YOU, Blair Witch Project.

Stupid movie.

I've come to accept that I am just a little different than most other people when it comes to jumping on the bandwagon for things that make other people go gaga.

I don't march to a completely solo beat.  I'm tuned in to society the way that one girl who always stood on the perimeter of the gym during school dances was tuned in to the dance: I know what's going on, and I can hang a little, but I'll stand over here and amuse myself if that's okay with you all.

I mean, I'm into some popular shows on TV, and I know some of the songs on the radio, and I know how many kids the most important celebrity couples have, but I haven't exactly been keeping up-to-date on the all-the-rage literature that's hogging my Facebook timeline and the headlines of every TV news mag and women's book club reading list.

I'm just not that into it.  I've got my own reading material to catch up on.  I'm not that excited to read through the Fifty Shades of Bodice Ripping that's got women quoted in magazine articles about needing a pantiliner when reading.

Or maybe that was one of my Facebook friends who said that.

Whatever.  Maybe I'll get to it, the same way it took me until the last Harry Potter was published to read the whole series (what happened there again?  I don't really remember), or how I waited until all the Twilights were out in paperback before I started  reading about Edward and Bella and their unwieldingly-named daughter Renesmeorrenesmenot.

Maybe I won't get to it.  After all, I've just started reading The Hunger Games and life hasn't changed much.

At least, I think it hasn't.  I haven't really been able to put it down.

Popular culture just doesn't excite me that much. 
I prefer reading books you probably have never heard of.