Monday, April 30, 2007
I think the first thing I said when Greg brought up racing was something supportive like "And I think I will start shooting up heroin". Yes, his hobby was legal, but risky. And as the funny fates would have it, I have always been afraid of car crashes - phobic of driving at times, justifying my fear with crazy stats. But I grew up rural and learned how to drive and deal with white knuckles.
Let's just say that racing scares me. Greg's hobby gives me hives.
But I am not his mother, so he races.
Yesterday we went on a drive up around Mt. St. Helens with Greg's car club. (Car scouts? Car team? Car comrades? I don't know what to call them.) I wish I could have snapped a good picture of Ms. Helens all dressed in snow. She was lovely. We were smack dab on her, and whenever I got a decent view, we would zip around the corner and she'd be gone.
I didn't know I could play cat and mouse with an active volcano.
The kids were so tranquil and calm; this after a tumultuous trip home from church. Twenty five minutes after the last amen, and my kids were driving each other nuts in the way siblings do. I had serious doubts about climbing into another car, for FUN. But they were game. And sweet.
We stopped and um, hung out and visited with strangers along the way. It seemed a little funny to me, this caravan way of driving, but no one else seemed to be complaining so I kicked back, stuck my hair in my hat and enjoyed the ride.
Technorati tags: subaru autocross Mt. St. Helens
Friday, April 27, 2007
Shhh, I don't want to get caught ratting my kid out here, but he caught the tooth fairy red-handed last night. He told me in confidence. She has blue wings, with a tooth tattoo.
We can't let that get out.
There were just a few kids left in his class with all their 'baby' teeth intact. This was a heavy burden - a burden he freed himself from with a mighty yank and a twist.
It made his mama proud.
So welcome to land of adult teeth, son.
Now, go brush 'em.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Zack has intuited that there is something magical about the middle finger. We have explained that while saying 'heck' and 'dang' may not embraced by all, gesturing with Mr. Middle could land him in Mr. H's office. I must have done a bang-up job, because mid-snuggle Zack cried out that he touched Lexi's finger, front and center. Like it was a private place. Like they were both dirty and guilty with their nasty, nasty hand brushing.
Once I explained that the mere touching of tallman was not in fact principal-visiting behavior, he calmed down and Lexi whispered in my ear that she knew what it meant. Always curious, I asked her to tell me more.
She whispered, salaciously, "F-U-L-C-H-E-N. It's very bad."
I looked at the clock. It wasn't even 7 am and here I was, defending digits and dispelling made-up curse words.
This is what I get for taking my 'kids to work with me' today. I am never bored.
Technorati tags: take your child to work day the F* word motherhood curse words
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
Technorati tags: The Thinking Blogger Award
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Perhaps it was because Lexi lied about her homework last night. Perhaps it was because Zack continued to talk loud, even after I reminded him I had yet another migraine. Maybe it was the migraine. Maybe Greg has been traveling too much.
I'm sure it was all of those things. But I have managed to smile, quite sweetly, during rougher times, so go figure.
I had to get a filling fixed this afternoon. I drove my poopy-pants down there, scowling. The hygienist was cheerful (she did know about the stones in my pocket) and she got straight to work. I sat in my sexy dentist glasses, growing numb, sitting still.
It didn't take long for me to tell myself to knock it off. Because really. This mood, it serves no purpose. It is dumb. By the time there was four hands digging around in my one mouth, the absurdity took over, and I started to laugh. And drool.
I am still a little stressed out and tired, but nothing a good glass of wine or bath can't fix. Or in a pinch, a filling.
I never said I was sound.
Technorati tags: bad mood dental work motherhood
Monday, April 23, 2007
That is when I started going to church again. I had my reservations about giving my children an imperfect tradition, but I had more concerns about raising them unchurched; that they would grow up with nothing to hold on to, nothing to give meaning to their lives or hope after the grave.
Or, as small children, they'd miss out on lessons in loving thy neighbor. That sort of thing.
Zack memorized the fruit of the Spirit yesterday in perfect Zack style - he numbered the virtues, like a shopping list, things to remember.
When we were leaving the parking lot after church, he commended me for being kind when I let some kids pass in front of my car. (As opposed to running them down like I normally do.)
"I think that is #4."
When his special burger, just with Mom, was taking 'too long', he softly remarked that patience was actually the fourth fruit. He closed his eyes, sighed and tried self-control as well.
It was a quiet moment, with no fanfare. No angels sang and the skies certainly did not part (we were in Oregon after all) but it was clear my commitment to church, even when I am exhausted or frankly uninspired, has begun to shape my kids in tangible ways. Good ways. Certainly not to my credit, and beyond what I could have hoped for when I started attending Imago two years ago.
And I thanked God for not forgetting me, even when I ran away.
Technorati tags: Imago Dei Community Church faith fruit of the Spirit
Friday, April 20, 2007
All kidding aside, it has been my fear of having to fit some cookie-cutter model of what a good mom, a good PTA leader, a good christian should be that has kept me away from stepping up and speaking out - from being the leader I could be. I imagine other moms feel the same way sometimes.
And that my friends, is not a good thing.
Much to My Sjogren has been updated.
Technorati tags: PTA perfect mom mom hair leadership
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Then we got creative. We played slayer - a cross between Jedis and Mommy's trash TV watching ways.
Here's how it works:
1. Someone gets to play Slayer. In this case, that would be me because I am the girl. The watcher rules are very clear on the gender of the slayer. If Lexi is around she can play Faith to my Buffy (minus the evil stage), but I will not go quietly into the night as some lousy vamp.
2. Identify vampires. At the end of season 7, Spike provides us with a rough sketch, to help us root out evil, or at least Angel. (They have a troubled past.)
Don't know Spike? Look here he is, in posable doll form. (No, that is not Billy Idol. Legend has it that he took his look from William the Bloody. Aka Spike. Am I going too fast here? Am I high on sudafed?)
3. Chase potential vampires around, tickling and dusting them. With a unseen stake, of course. Until the little vamp giggles or coughs up a lung.
4. Provide a means for tortured vampires to regain their souls, or as Zack says, "Become good again."
(I tried to find a Angelus picture for you, but I get the feeling David Boreanaz just wants to look pretty, not undead.)
5. Wash your hands and return to the 'real world'. Whatever that is.
6. Hide your head in shame and threaten the first person that calls you 'Andrew' upon reading this post.
Technorati tags: buffyverse coping strategies vampires
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
-Ursula K. Le Guin
Last week a boy with a learner's permit trotted through a mobile home park with a rifle in hand and an axe to grind and opened fire on his alternative high school - just minutes from where we used to live. It hardly made the news; he was unsuccessful. He had been 'inspired' by a documentary about Columbine. The principal once called Thurston High his home.
This is where I would like to hit pause; to go on to something witty and bright, but I've avoided this post for a day now and I know I won't feel like writing much else until it is out of my system. When I heard about the shooting in Gresham, Oregon, it hurt my heart. I was reading Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult and feeling raw. If you are new to this bestselling author, please be advised that she can break your heart. On the surface, Nineteen Minutes is about a school shooting and its aftermath. But it is so much more. It is also about bullying and being different, about raising a child and raising a monster. The writing is sentimental at times, but powerful. The fictional shooter, Peter Houghton, has been haunting me all week. I have woke up in the night, troubled. I don't think I will forget this character any time soon.
I hate to comment on the Virginia Tech massacre - I don't want to cheapen its horror by my thoughts thousands of miles away. What do I know? I can't pretend to.
The national media attention is necessary and expected, but feels canned. Within hours, before parents could be notified and love ones could start grieving - before they identified the shooter's remains - there were fancy graphics and catch phrases. Since 2001, it seems like we like to give our nightmares an angle, broadcasting news like a movie trailer. We announce breaking stories, handing out rankings couched with words like 'the worst...' - like it's some sick award to win. I am not so sure this respects our dead, and perhaps it raises the bar for the next would-be killer, hungry for fame.
He sent a manifesto, mid-massacre. He wants us to remember him. I just don't know if we should, not like this.
I don't know that we can afford to point to his favorite song or to the crappy plays he wrote, like there's some big clue waiting for us. There will always be darkness with us. It leaves me sad, frustrated, impotent.
But I think we move forward, a little kinder, a little gentler.
We have to hope.
FYI: Night (O the Joys) does this subject justice.
Technorati tags: Virginia Tech massacre Jodi Picoult Nineteen minutes media coverage Springwater Trail high school shooting
Monday, April 16, 2007
I had other reasons to chicken out. Greg was out of town and I would need to drag the kids along or find a last minute sitter. I pondered this excuse and decided that if I can sit through two hours of soccer practice a week, they can repay me the favor (because kids love to think of others first, surely) and let me see my author. And I bribed them with a visit to the coffee shop where I would feed them sugar, to ensure their peaceful state of calm.
Lexi lost herself in the stacks, reading while clutching a baby doll she has suddenly rediscovered. Zack settled in next to me and drew my portrait. His attention to detail was stunning.
Yes, dear. I see you have captured the lines in my neck.
Yes, those are called wrinkles.
It was a long 20 minutes waiting, discussing in detail all my flaws in a public setting, but what's a little humiliation among mothers?
Ariel was glowing, very pregnant. She was funny and sincere. I tried to tell her that when I got my book signed, but I stammered instead, which is my way.
I drove home, intoxicated. I have been kicking around the idea that I want to be a writer since I was 8. I have spent years waiting for permission, for a sign, for the right time. What nonsense. All this drama and very little to show for it. I feel a little regret for being none too bright all these years, but better late than never I guess.
Check out: How to Become a Famous Writer Before You're Dead. You won't be sorry.
Technorati tags: ariel gore writing powell's books portland oregon new books
Thursday, April 12, 2007
(That's a lie. I did eat some. Stephanie made me. Ok, she didn't make me. She lovingly shared her stash.)
My vise-cut jeans are a fail-stop, a reminder: pig out now and I will swell up real big like. The next thing I know, Johnny Depp will be sicking legions of Oompa Loompas on me, rolling me off to the mysterious juicing room. It's not pretty. Not at all.
I am sure there are more loving ways to cope with meds that pack on the pounds - wear big, baggy sweats or granny pants. But I am all out of love here. It's hard to be nice while chewing on carrot sticks.
Technorati tags: Willy Wonka Johnny Depp Weight gain predisone tight jeans
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Before I could even pick out the bread, the poor sandwich artist was in a funk. It was his birthday and he was feeling sorry for himself. Granted, I wouldn't want to spend my birthday at Subway, but I have heaved books around and taken finals on my glory day so I wasn't bound to start crying for him.
Then he started his treatise on the fall of marriage (he is lonely, no?) - that marriage is outdated and basically worthless. I could feel my left ring finger burning with evidence to the contrary, but I could see that sandwich man, pausing while he spoke, would not appreciate my tale of marital bliss. It would slow him down. Did I mention I was hungry?
Yet on he continued. He made it sound like my husband was probably carrying on with his other lady friend as I stood defending the sanctity of the institution. We hadn't even discussed the definition of 'everything on it' yet and he was starting to get under my skin. Fine. You don't want to believe someone who grew up with Brady Bunch digs marriage, more power to you. I get it. But denouncing all marriages as shams, worthless and a waste of time, while holding my 'veggie on oat bread with everything, except mayo' hostage is where I draw the polite line.
"It's funny you should mention all this today. It's my parents' anniversary - they've been married 38 years. They are out of town CELEBRATING."
I must have said it with authority because he finally stopped talking and got on with making my dinner. Or maybe it was the rabid drool on my chin. Suddenly he wanted me to go away so he could spend his last birthday hurrah harrassing fresh blood.
I often think it is pretty amazing that my parents met when they were 16, got married young, had babies and stuck together. To find the right person and to be the right person is difficult - marriage isn't for wimps.
And if being raised by parents that love each other, still, now, has shaped my rosy ways, so be it. Sure beats clobbering strangers over the head with cynicism any day.
Technorati tags: marriage high school sweethearts parents' anniversary Subway sandwiches
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
"You never answer your phone."
"You screen your calls, don't you?"
"I called you. You haven't called back yet." (Usually on my answering machine.)
When I try to explain my aversion to the phone, generally, that dates back to my teen years, I am misunderstood. No believes me when I say that I didn't spend the late 80s caressing a receiver. It sounds wrong. And this suspicious claim makes my phone-loving friends (you know who you are) question this personality quirk. I am gabby. I must be lying. I just must not like talking to them. See the dilemma? No winning here.
Sometimes I make friends with like-minded phone-phobes, or at least people that oblige my emailing ways. Is it weird that I email friends in town, within walking distance? Shouldn't I just pick up the you-know-what? Maybe. I pretty much save such moments for the people that will hunt me down if I refuse to pick up when they give me a jingle. Nothing like answering the phone to be yelled at. Doesn't help my affliction.
Now I give you Lexi - the reason I am making the sweeping WE are not phone-folks. Lexi never runs for the phone; she hardly knows how to answer it properly let alone how to call friends. I am looking into calling lessons with a master dialer, maybe at the middle school, because I am afraid that like it or not, one must know how to use the darn thing.
She asked me recently when she could get a cell phone. I had to laugh. A cell phone. For a 3rd grader that stumbles through leaving messages for people.
I think she'll launch a blog of own first. They are free, afterall.
Try not to sing the song. I dare ya. I can't type 867 without trailing straight into 5.
Technorati tags: 867-5309 phone aversion email vs. phonephone phobia
Monday, April 09, 2007
I still do. But shortly after becoming a Mama, I found that Alexis wasn't impressed by my mad sense of humor or my test scores. Nope. No more glowing job reviews. She was colicky and despite all my very best efforts, for a couple of long months, she cried every day from about 2 pm until 7. Like clockwork. It was my first lesson in motherhood - I don't control anything. I never had. It was a rude awakening.
The pediatrician said it would come to pass, and sure enough, one day she stopped her afternoon shrieking and life was better.
In the years since, I have worked hard to be a competent mother. I blow it sometimes; sometimes I rock. I guess that will have to be enough.
Ms. Alice Bradley, of Finslippy and Wonderland, was featured as a Alpha Mom on GMA this morning. I haven't read her response to her big TV debut, but I thought she done good. Real good. I wasn't totally in love with the feeling I got from the segment - I have never once got the impression that Ms. Finslippy thought she was superior or trying to put undue pressure on other moms in her columns. Quite the contrary. She, in real, blog life comes across as humble and kind. (Yes, I know I act like I know her personally. Shut up. I like her.) She may be an Alpha Mom but I will gladly follow her class act.
Technorati tags: finslippy motherhood GMA Alpha Mom
Friday, April 06, 2007
Greg just finished quarter-end, and come to think of it, year-end at work (sales-speak for HIGH STRESS and sometimes LONG HOURS). He was able to get one day off during the kids' spring break - and I prayed for decent weather so we could head to the beach.
And God doth provideth...or something like that.
It was amazing. Ahh...
(More pictures at Flickr.)
Thursday, April 05, 2007
One Saturday night, years ago, my friend Michelle and I were closing down the bar. Literally, like we did every weekend. She was a mother to three charming girls. Girls that didn't believe in Jesus, but certainly had high expectations of the Big Bunny Himself.
We were turning out the lights and locking up when Michelle realized that Easter was the next day. It was now Easter morning.
We raced to the only market open and dug through the leftover jellybeans and misshapen bunnies until we had enough supplies to outfit an army of Girl Scouts. And then we headed to a dingy bar, the only place in town still open, attached to a Chinese restaurant. It was a dive, but the bartender was a kind, older woman that ran a tight ship, so it would have to do. While the drunk got hosed and the lonely kept their own company, we created three baskets Hallmark would be proud of.
Easter was saved.
Whenever I get the kids' baskets out, you know, *wink* to assist Mr. E. Rabbit, *unwink* , I think of the all-nighter Peepfest.
We Moms somehow manage to pull something out of our hats. Even if there are stale peanuts involved.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
All that comes to mind is the affirmation of the day, "I love spring break. I love spring break." Followed by: "Quality time with my kids = a youthful glow and longevity."
You're not buying it either, I can tell.
But after one Girl Scout meeting, two soccer practices and 3 million denied requests to play Jedi Star Wars, just a little longer, I think I am ready to tuck these four weary limbs in bed and call it a night.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
D spends most his days alone, wandering around the neighborhood, hanging out pretty much with who will have him. He is now in second grade, young and vulnerable, with no discernible supervision or rules. He rings the doorbell morning, noon and night.
Once he showed up here with a 3 or 4 year-old in tote and a puppy, in the pouring rain. He was locked out. I still don't know who the tiny tyke was, but the next day, I went to the school and spoke to the school counselor. Her expression betrayed the truth - my instincts were right. He is a boy living a rough life.
He is a foster child. His parents are in and out of jail. He has diabetes, yet is often hungry, missing meals. I give him cheese, hope for the best.
He came to Zack's party, and didn't want to leave. It was the first time a family member came to my door and met me. He hung his Star Wars medal on his wall. He didn't explain to his family that I gave it to him for being a faithful friend.
As I worry, sometimes I resent. I resent the constant interruption. I resent feeling powerless over his situation. I resent the way he doesn't respect my rules, the way he strikes out at my kids when I say he must go home. I resent that he won't go home, not really, but will roam about. I resent my bitter feelings. What kind of mother harbors hardness towards a kid? What kind of Christian?
His sad eyes devour me; he is so lonely. My throat hurts when I think about him.
Summer will be here soon. I pray for patience and wisdom.
Ding dong. Ding dong. Ding dong.