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Archive for July, 2008

Head’s UP

I made a decision today. I’ve decided that every single time I read some assinine email forward claiming Barack Obama is the antichrist or a radical muslim extremist bent to destroy our country from within or that his uncle was one or that his cousin twice removed once slept with one or that he has not ONE BUT THREE muslim names…

I’m making a political contribution to his campaign of 25 dollars.

So, for those of you who send me stuff like that, consider this your heads up that by doing so, you are in essence contributing to the BO campaign, so, what I would suggest is this.

Take me off your forward list, unfriend me, or whatever. I won’t get my feelings hurt.

See, here’s my deal. I think this is more positive than me scouring negative youtube videos or transcripts of things John McCain has said and done that show him to be a mean, hateful, bitter old man who calls his own wife a cunt and apparently doesn’t realize that people have ways of going back to see what he said the last time he was asked this question or that.

My philosophy is this. You vote for who you want, I vote for who I want. How about we leave all the negative smear tactics out of it. Because, I guarantee you for every negative thing you send me, I can find something just as nasty about your guy, only I’m not going to waste my time cutting and pasting. I’m making this one blog and being done with it.

I love y’all, but dammit, you make me tired…

and poor

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I will be the first one to say that sometimes I wind up in the kitchen and have no freaking idea why I am there…did I come for a drink of water…for a cup of coffee…a snack…or maybe to look through the mail for a bill that has gone missing. 

Believe me, there are too many times to count when I have come to the kitchen, gotten out a glass, put ice in it, filled it with water, and then walked right back to the office and sat down, continued work…and then heard from the kitchen from one of my smartass kids…

‘Hey Mom, forget anything?”

Furthermore, I have to admit that there are times that one kid or another hasn’t been in the car in the morning during dropoff at school, yet I still wind up in the dropoff line…because that is just my routine.  Those are the times I readily admit I am basically just a rat in a maze a lot of time…I go here and then there and then there and then home.  One morning, Kelly was too quiet in the car and didn’t get out quick enough in the pause, and I went to drive out of the parking lot at the high school with her still in the car.  It’s a bloody wonder I haven’t pulled into the driveway with kids still in the car, for petesake.

That said, would someone please tell me why I remember this shit, in no particular order:

  • when mother and flew over on Panam from Japan, the stewardess gave me a piece of DoubleMint gum to help with my ears popping.
  • the day I started junior high I was wearing windowpane jeans that i bought at the Gap, paired with a gauze-y babydoll top and Earth Shoes.
  • exactly how the Japanese street markets smelled when I was 5 and dad was stationed there.
  • the terror I felt that day i fell asleep on the bus in Japan on my way home from kindergarten and I’d missed my stop and wound up at the bus shed.
  • the fragrance of the Playtex tampons that I bought at the EZ-Mart next door to Larry’s Barbecue…because I had to buy them over there on the sly because my mom only bought me big ol’ Kotex pads because she didn’t want me to use tampons.
  • the exact wedding dress and silverware pattern that I picked for my ‘Home and Family’ notebook my senior year.  I wound up with none of the above.
  • that time that my mom bought some makeup, that I assumed was for me, and when she told me it was for her, I laughed.  That one, I will never forget…or regret.
  • the buttery yellow dress that I bought at the little dress shop across the street for junior high commencement and the wedge heels I bought to go with.
  • my first maternity dress i bought that was buttery yellow and grey striped that i wore so proudly once i was showing the first time.
  • the song that was on the radio the first time that I kissed my first boyfriend, Gordon, my best friend’s cousin…it was Summer Lovin’ from Grease.
  • standing in our little living room listening to my mother and father fight because he wouldn’t let her in because his boyfriend was in there.
  • being told by my dad’s boyfriend, though i didn’t know he was my dad’s boyfriend, to sit on the train tracks that ran by our little cinderblock house.

I guess what I am asking is this…why in the hell do I remember all that shit and can’t remember why I came to the kitchen?  I have always prided myself in my ‘elephant-like’ memory.  Yet, i can’t remember if i want coffee or ice water when I go to the kitchen…

I mean, hell almighty, I remember the exact conversation I had with my friend sue at the lunch table in high school when I frogged her shoulder after she’d been lifting weights in PE class…

yet, somehow, i forget if I want coffee or water when i go to the kitchen, or if i have picked up this one or that one at school..

I’ve been told by friends that they are going through the same thing, but I’d love it if y’all reinforced this particular matter…

It gets a little unnerving.

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the couple de casa is going king size…and not only when it comes down to mrs. de casa…that’s right…we’ve live 10 years with a queen-sized bed of questionable support.  Yeah, we’ve decided that at this point in time of our lives, we deserve a nice big ol’ king-sized bed.

and yes, i have read where a king-sized bed is the final nail in the coffin of intimacy…yet, somehow, knowing my husband, I’m not that worried about that.  Knowing my husband, all I can see  is that he will see this upgrade in bedding as 16 more inches to play with.  Granted, my bedside table is going to have to sit up against the wall, but, hey, i have 8 inches more to sleep on…ON A SERTA PILLOWTOP EURO-SOMETHING MATTRESS.

So…?

I say bring on the extra space and if we meet in the middle, for say…fun time…then all the better for us. 

Bottom line is this…we both came into this marriage 10 years ago with nothing…Well, not NOTHING…I did have one spatula and one cookie sheet and one casserole dish, and one sofa that I paid 100 bucks for, and one borrowed queen-sized bed…and Rob came with the cast-offs from his deal…so, to us, going all balls out and getting outselves a really nice mattress set in honor of our 10th anniversary seems very appropriate. 

Whatever the hell it cost…and for the first time in a bit, we got it to spend, so bring on the king, baby…

we’ll work out the middle action after we get it.

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As opposed to some of you folks who have year-round rules about such things as bedtime and get-up time and things your kids do all day, i can pretty much say that here at the casa, we have none.  we are currently on summer mode here…stay up as late as you want, sleep as late as you want, and play your video games until your brain is just a mass of mush mode. 

I have not made the Boy do math skills or writing skills or writing skills. 

Yet.

What I have started doing is having him actually read print on paper for a bit every day…I still make him brush his teeth and floss and rinse with the magic rinse…I still make him eat on somewhat of a regular basis…breakfast at 12, lunch at 3 and dinner whenever i make it…

and I know that this is probably not the best way to go about it…

But for the life of me, all i can remember about my summers back in day is complete and utter laziness…sleeping late…staying up late…waking up whenever and reading chapters of Alice in Wonderland before I was even out of the bed…and the retro part of me wants my kids to live that sort of summer. 

Our kids now have such busy schedules…well, not the Boy, since he doesn’t do baseball or football or soccer…but, for instance, the Senior, who is about to embark on band camp and color guard camp and this and that…for her, i want her to get to sleep late and stay up late watching things regarding the Jonas Brothers…and i want the Boy to have this summer to rest and get ready for 4th grade…

I am just not one to hyper manage the kids’ time…I sort of like that my job allows me to allow them to have actual down time for the little bit of down time that they have…

whether or not this is the best way to handle it…i’m sure folks will question.  I just remember fondly long, lazy summers where all i had to worry about was what page I left off on and getting to play in the sprinkler when i got hot.

I’d like, in whatever way i can, to replicate that experience for the kids…

Mostly because it seems that during the school year they are so full of stress with the TAKS and the ACT and the SAT and this or that, that i think they sort of deserve some down time…

So, if that makes me a bad parent, then sue me.

No…don’t.

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After the spray cheeez draught of yesterday, where i found myself standing at the pantry, doors thrown open, yelling at Bubba and Sissy…. WHO ATE ALL THE SPRAY CHEEEEZ…today we decided to crank things up a bit here at the Casa, when the Boy decided he would like…

Snowcrab legs for dinner today.

Now, we can’t even remember if this kid has ever HAD crab legs at ALL, much less snowcrab legs, yet Rob went in search for said crab legs and got them, along with a bunch of butterfly shrimp to fry, some tasty Knorr Rice Sides and some beautiful, young and tender gold and white sweet corn.

And that glorious meal is what I had to look forward to after Family Movie today with the kids. Sunday, after church, I’ve decided that over the summer, spending the afternoon in a cool and dark movie theater watching this or that is just the way to spend some family time. Thus far, we have seen Iron Man, the big ol’ Batman movie, and today, Wall-E. At this very second, The Teacher has the Boy and the Senior at X-Files. I think we’re all setting records on ‘movies seen’ in any given month EVER. It’s been fun and man, have I had my fill of movie popcorn, so today we trucked in our own waters and some cheezits, but I did splurge for Icees and some milk duds. Since we don’t really have that many family ‘traditions,’ in our wiggy blended family, this has been a fun one to start.

So, anyway, once home from that, planning started for getting this 5-star dinner thrown together in such a way that all of the food would be somewhat warm without doing anything in the kitchen to make it HOT. Now, let me tell you that this is when having lots of white trash outdoor cooking implements is very helpful. I did the rice side inside, but put the water to boil for the corn and the crab legs outside. We fried the shrimp in the big outdoor wok. And somehow, we got it all done at the same time. Chef Gordon Ramsey would be proud. We were calling to each other HOW LONG TIL THE CRAB?

AND MAN…those crab legs came out perfect. it was so much fun watching the Boy and the Senior and UMHB tear into those things and acquire the skills to get the biggest pieces of meat out intact. of course, in teaching them the techniques, i wound up with a pile of shells by my plate that made it look like I’d chewed through a 12 pounds of crab legs like a damn…well, what eats crab in the ocean? Whatever, does, it looked like I was one of them.

Bottom line? It was a fun and interactive meal that for the most part, we don’t have a whole lot…aside from holidays and special occasions. I think this particular meal will go on the docket for our family special occasions. The beauty of it was that the six of us probably ate to fullness on maybe 25 dollars!?!?!

I think that was just the icing on the cake for the day. And it beat the hell out of spray cheeeez…

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this year I have put in a request for a specific teacher for the boy’s 4th grade year. 

you see, this past year has been sort of a beating for my Boy, because…

he had a ManTeacher.

not only that, but he had a ManTeacherfromHell…a ManTeacher who has been teaching damn near as long as i have been alive.  He had a ManTeacher that was ALL BIZNESS. 

Which, theoretically, isn’t a bad thing, but for the Boy, he likes to have a little personal connection, which he didn’t have at all with Mr. Cook. 

Now, i’m not saying Mr. Cook was a bad teacher…he’s a good educator, but, to me, he was just always so negative.  I’ll never forget sitting in the pickup line and seeing Mr. Cook standing around outside and hoping that i wasn’t the parent he was going to come tell awful stories to about this or that.  I will never forget that poor hairdresser mom, who i saw afternoon after afternoon standing underneath the oak tree, listening to Mr. Cook go on and on about how bad her kid was, all the while, with her kid standing right there with his head hung low listening…

and i’m not even saying that the kid wasn’t a pain in the ass kid…I’m just saying that i felt for that lady.

I just know that from the moment that Mr. Cook came out to MY car to excitedly inform me that Dane had been commended on his reading TAKS test, yet used that happy moment to remind us both that the math TAKS was coming up and that was his weakest point, I just knew that this guy was a negative reinforcer.  He immediately diffused the happiness about the commendment for reading by telling us that he was probably going to suck on the math one.

I will say that Rob loved Mr. Cook.  I think it was the Army mentality thing.  But I never got the positive from Mr. Cook.

In fact, i remember being in the classroom for a Valentine’s party and having Mr. Cook finally make the connection between the Boy and his older sisters, all of whom he knew either from church or having them in his classroom years ago…and him informing me that ‘he just doesn’t have it.’  His followup to that statement was that Dane didn’t really fuss with presentation or handwriting and that he didn’t seem to stress about much.

He did follow up with the fact that he thought he might get it in the future.

Gee, thanks, Mr. Cook.

So, back to the impending math TAKS test.  I was giving myself a fucking ulcer worrying that Dane didn’t know all of his times tables.  And in turn, i was giving Dane a fucking ulcer worrying that he didn’t know all of his times tables.

Mr. Cook never missed an opportunity to tell me that Dane (yeah, I quit calling him the Boy…he has a name and i’m going to use it on this one) was one of the last kids in the class to memorize them all. 

I took every opportunity to remind Mr. Cook that the kid would do it…and that he was the kid he chose to be the keeper of the secret code for the computers so that whenever any one of these other computer illiterate mofos got stuck trying to take their AR tests (accelerated reader tests, for those of you who don’t know)  in the library, he didn’t have to mess with it. 

I don’t for a moment think that Mr. Cook didn’t recognize that he had in his class a child that could SCHOOL HIM on anything computer related…I know that he did…I also know that regardless of the fact, somehow everything negative about my Boy became more important to him than anything positive.

And frankly, as his mom, I just didn’t like that at all.

For the first time in all of my children’s academic history, i heard the words “i hate school.”

To be honest, i didn’t have a fucking clue how to respond to that statement…as i’d never heard it before.

And at that moment, ladies and gentlemen, was the moment that I vowed he would not have another year like this.  I gave it a shot and i showed up for the parties and I politic’ed with Mr. Cook, but still…all i got was negativity. 

Hell, even when the results came back from the dreaded math TAKS test, all Mr. Cook said was that “you’ll know if you failed.”

And to me, that was too much.

And it was at that very moment that i went from the mom who let the cards fall where they may when it came to teacher selection to the mom who stepped up and said ‘uh…let’s go with the teacher who has taught 2 of my older children and unleashed brilliance and creativity and happy memories of fourth grade.’

Yep, I am now on the ‘PREFERRED TEACHER LIST.’

And i am not a bit sorry for it. 

Hell, i think the kid deserves a year of some positive energy, and if you could see Ms. Looper, you would see that positivity just seeps out of this woman. 

and i can’t wait to see what she does with this kid.

p.s. Dane was commended on the math TAKS.

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payback…sort of

way back in the day…back when i was miserable most every day of my life, I used my friends as a sounding board.  they would listen to me kavetch about how miserable i was over and over again and yet, never told me to ‘shit or get off the pot.’  They knew very well the situation and managed to keep their thoughts to themselves, while allowing me to vent.  That said, i sort of ‘owe’ some of my friends a shoulder, given the fact that they were my shoulder for so many years. 

To be honest, I am thankful to be the one who gets to listen to someone else’s problems.  I like being the ‘boring one.’  I like that, regardless of my own circumstances that might require my own therapist, i can be of some help to those who are going through shit i’ve gone through already.  I fancy myself as someone who can read situations and advise…after all, i’ve been there and done that.  And, really, the bottom line is the fact that i like to be the ‘therapist’ instead of the one who needs the ‘therapy.’ 

And, really, when it comes down to it, don’t we all just need someone to listen…someone to empathize with us as we go through our own personal battles? 

I think so…and am so thankful for the friends I have had that saw me through my own struggles…those who listened without being judgemental…those who listened and knew that it could be them, but thank God, it was not. 

Sometimes, I still draw on old friends who will listen to me kavetch about this or that, yet I know they won’t judge or try to tell me how to fix it.  They are dear enough friends that they just listen.

I wish that for all of you.

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