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Archive for August, 2008

And I’ll be the first one to say that I’m not.  This change is going to directly affect the lifestyle here at the Casa.  This change is going to undoubtedly change things in the shed and my shed postings. 

Thing is, I think my body is telling me like this…’hey stupid 44-year-old bitch…this ain’t no frat party and I think it is time for you to reel this bitch in so that maybe you live to 50.’

Change never comes easily and i hope this one doesn’t just completely undo us.  Because when one person makes this kind of change, there is no way around other changes happening.

My hope is that we just move the communion inside and tone it way down…sort of like last night.

I woke up yesterday with one of my ‘episodes,’ only this one was the only one that dang near made me go to see a real life doctor.  However, with cranberry juice, my magic elixir, along with some Tylenol, and i felt better. 

Crisis averted. 

However, if I wake up in the morning feeling like I did on Friday morning.  Game over.  Change started. 

I’ll keep you posted.

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I’m not going to talk about the traffic on my 2-mile commute to two different campuses, although I have more, nay, much more to say about the subject, thanks to the morons I share the road with.

Nope.

And i’m also not going to go on and on about why I’m so happy about how the DNC has gone. 

Nope.

No, tonight I am going to address an issue that has been sort of a thorn in my side for a good while now.  Tonight I am going to talk to you about what I began to see happening pretty prevalently about the time that the Senior was in elementary school. 

My subject of the evening is grandparents who more and more are the ones who are taking on the responsibilities of caring for their grandchildren.  Day after day i see these folks, who really should be at home watching Matlock or Chuck Norris (my mother-in-law’s favorite TV shows) if they so choose, but brave the Texas heat to pick up their grandkids for their kids who can’t, for whatever reason, do so.  I know ,from talking to some of them, that their are some who are actually raising their grandkids due to the fact that mom or dad are deployed or incarcerated or just degenerates who shuck their responsibilities.  Others, I realize, are just trying to help their kids, who, for whatever reason, can’t do the dropoff and pickup thing, due to their jobs, etc. 

I get how the grandparents want to help.  I really, really do.  I know that if my mother was alive, and if she could drive, I know that she would do whatever I needed her to do to help me with my kids.  I applaud that and I hope that I have the opportunity to pick up my grandkids every so often for a special time. 

But my gripe is that so many of the grandparents that i know who do this selfless act, this helping of their own kids to raise their grandchildren, are not nearly appreciated enough…if at all. 

Today, I saw this little grandma, who reminded me so much of my mom when she was robust and short and round, who was hauling this kid, cute kid and all, but certainly big enough to walk…she had shoes on, after all…and this grandma looked like she was about to have a stroke.  Today i saw an old grandpa, who looked like he was old enough to be my grandpa, brave this heat to go stand up there and pick up his grandkids. 

And I always wonder, and often ask them, when I have the opportunity, if their kids appreciate all they do to facilitate the raising of their grandkids.  I ask the question largely because I have not had the luxury of having a grandparent to help raise my children. 

My mother died when my youngest daughter was about 3 and way before there was ever a grandson.  Yet, when she was alive, the most i ever asked of her was an occasional overnight while I tried to sneak in a few moments for myself every once in a while.  Those few times, she was proud to take them for an ice cream or a Subway sandwich, both shops they could walk to.  Often times, i left her a 20 to do so, because I knew that she didn’t have a whole lot of money to do extra stuff after she paid for her medications and rent and the electric bill. 

When i would pick her up and take her to Tom Thumb to get pumpernickel bread and braunschweiger and whatever little things she liked to eat, like pickled herring (ew), I often just picked up the bill.  I tried always to compensate mother for all that she did for me, and what she could do for my girls. 

When mother got too sick to live on her own, we moved her into our house for what would be a long, hard, terrifying year of me being terrified every day that i would wake up and find my mother dead in her bed. 

That year was easily the hardest of my life.  yet, my mom, who couldn’t even get out of her bed, still provided help for me for the little one who was about 2-1/2 at the time.  One of my cherishe photos is one of my little Kelly hanging out with grandma on her bed while i did a few things around the house.

and so i come back to these folks about my age who take advantage of their parents who, since they aren’t doing anything else (enter snide comment there) can do the pickups and dropoffs and swimming lessons and gymnastics lessons, while they mindlessly just go on about their business and collect their paychecks, not being bothered by having to stop and go do the dropoff and pickup and gymnastics and swimming lessons. 

My problem does not lie with the grandparents, though some of their behavior is, of course, enabling.  In their desire to help their kids and grandkids, they have put themselves on the very, very back burner.  They don’t expect anything in return, and that certainly defines these grandparents.  They are selfless and will do anything to help because they love their kids and they love their grandkids. 

and that is lovely.

however, the fact that most of these kids don’t compensate or appreciate their parents for all they do to help raise their kids rubs me all kinds of wrong.

If your mom is taking time out of her day to pick up your kids from school and take them to this and that, throw her a freaking bone.  Gas isn’t free when you are over 50.  She might be in the middle of Murder She Wrote when your little Linzee is due to get out of school.  She may be about to have a nice nap in the recliner, but knows that it is time to pick up Hunter, so that her daughter doesn’t have to take off work for an hour to do it. 

All I am saying to the parents of my generation is this.  Appreciate your dadgum parents who have willingly signed on to help you with your dadgum children.  Don’t take them for granted.  Don’t assume they will alwasy be there. 

Because, speaking from experience, they will not be.  One of these days, they will be gone…and they will be gone, most likely, without you ever telling them how much they helped you in the raising of your children.  and let me tell you, once they are gone, you won’t ever have the chance to tell them how much you appreciated them. 

My message to you folks who have parents who help is this…say thank you.  Better than that, show them how much you appreciate them with some BENJAMINS, for petesake.  Just stop and think for a minute how much money they are saving your ass…and COMPENSATE for petesake. 

And yes, i sit here in my holy thrown, devoid of children who have my grandchildren just yet…but I hope that when i do have them (the hypothetical grandkids) their parents, my children, appreciate me properly.  Chances are, of course, that i will still be a work-at-home Nani (pronounce that Nonny), because i don’t even have a stop date for work til like 2030…so I hope that my kids will appreciate that.  i guess i get the luxury of saying at this point, we’ll see. 

But, whenever I see that little old grandma, who looks like she is ready to stroke out carrying her grandkid to the car after school, I just want to stop her and ask her if she gets any thanks for that. 

I just know too many who don’t…

and it burns me up.

I mean, people of my generation, these people that you knowingly or not knowingly take advantage of, are the folks that raised you.  They did all this shit already.  They are your parents…the ones who took you to YOUR first day of kindergarten and first grade and second grade and third grade and fourth grade. 

And yet, they are doing it for your children all over again. 

And they aren’t asking anything in return.

and this is why all i ask you folks is this.  Be thankful.  Acknowledge the fact that your parents are sacrificing their time and their love and their gas and their afternoons of watching Matlock, to pick up your kids and take them to dance. 

And if you can’t compensate monetarily (like, duh, think about what you aren’t spending on gas money to haul your kids around but grandma is) to help out, holy shit…at least say thank you and say it a  lot, like every freaking day you pick up your kids, knowing that the person who has picked them up from school and taken care of them until you get off work loves them and would never hurt them and you never have to worry about that like you would if they were in a regular daycare.  Doesn’t that deserve a daily thank you?

I think it does.  I mean, for petesake, this isn’t rocket science.  If you have someone who is that self-sacrificing, don’t you take a bit to say thank you…and sometimes say thank you with some DOLLARS.  Gas isn’t free to your parents, kids of my generation. 

And yes, while the company of your children, and their grandchildren, is very gratifying, it doesn’t change the fact that they are sacrificing their time and their gas and their peaceful afternoons sitting in the porch swing instead of sitting in pickup lines and hauling your kids around.

I only wish i had emails to send this to every parent i see whose parent is doing the pickup and dropoff at my Boy’s school…because i guaran-dam-tee you that the folks I see carrying their grandkids out in 100+ degree weather aren’t getting any thank yous. 

and every day it sort of makes me want to vomit, thinking that my generation is so comfortable in our ‘ALL ME” mindset that they don’t even think about it.  They can’t dropoff or pickup…well, of course. old mom and dad aren’t doing anything but maybe watching Murder She Wrote, so why can’t they just do all that for them.

and man, does that just bug the shit out of me.

can you tell?

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Oh my Good Loward!

How awesome was Joe Biden tonight?  Uncle Bill didn’t do so bad his ownself.  I will only say this.  I’m so all in on this that my belly is quite full of the koolaid.  and I will leave it at that.

And from here, I go to this…the second chapter of my rant about how people choose to drop their kids off at school.  I am three days in on this drop kids off at school process.  And I have decided that my least favorite parent award goes to them sumbitches that drop off on THAT side of the street, so that their precious children have to not only cross ROAD traffic, but then also have to cross the parking lot…where all of us who bother to get in the drop-off line PROPERLY are winding our way up to the drop-off spot…when those kids go darting across the drive because they are like in 1st grade and don’t know any better than to just dart across the parking lot.  Those folks are driving me to drink, even though i don’t drink before 7 p.m.  They make me want to get out of the car and holler at them…WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING SENDING YOUR KID ACROSS TRAFFIC AND THEN THE DROP OFF LINE? 

and yes, I go through this every new school year and yes, I have been doing this for fucking ever…so, yeah, I am a pro at the drop-off, which means that I have a really, REALLY low tolerance for folks who just don’t get it. 

after all, i did my first dropoff at Cooke school about 18 years ago…so, I get to bitch a little bit about the newbies who don’t have a clue about how to do it properly.

And yes, I know this is the second post in two days where i go all ballistic about this shit, but seriously? 

Just know that next week, i will be over it and i will be posting about something nice and benign…like how I hate work or how i hate the weather or how my grass is dying.  And speaking of my grass, i got off work today at 6:30 and rather than come sit my fat ass to watch Seinfeld, I opted to mow the front yard.

and yes, mowing the front yard has suddenly become an aerobic activity for this old fat gal. 

hell, someone has to do it before it become a forest on Saturday.

 

and now, folks, i am off to watch the rerun of project runway…or at least the end of it.

I love where i am tonight.  God Bless America.  Goodnight.

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my rant on the freaking traffic on the first days of school and how people are just stupid.

In these last couple of days, I have seen idiocy of monumental proportions.  In these last few days, I have seen moron parents stopping in the turning lane to pick up their kids and then trying to merge back into traffic…like we are all supposed to just let these rule breakers come back into the stream.

As a veteran take the kids to schooler, i say NAY.  good luck with that, because i am not going to let your lazy ass in.  you want to pick up your kid, then get in line with the rest of the masses…YOU ARE NOT SPECIAL AND YOU DON’T GET TO PICK UP YOUR KID IN THE TURNING LANE.

Gah.

and that was just trying to drop off the Senior at her campus.

At the Boy’s campus you have all these yahoos that think they can get out of pulling into the line like the rest of us and thinking they can just cut in.  HELLO.  we are all waiting to pick up our kids.  get in the freaking line. 

Then you have the morons that don’t realize that if you have two lanes pulling out of the parking lot that the left lane goes left and the right lane goes right.  What is rocket science about that.  And how about you, you little punk going to school the first day in your vintage pickup truck and think that you can just run into the turning lane in front of me without nary a turning signal and expect me not to hit your ass? 

And of course, there have been the random turn and go the other way in the middle of traffic people, whom, personally, i sort of hope get t-boned just a little bit.  I mean seriously…what the hell are you thinking?

Then, there are the folks that think that if they swerve off into the turning lane that everyone else is going to stop and let them in.

And don’t even get me started on the people who are doing all this while on cell phones. 

yes, I  have been doing this drop off for the first day of school thing since i was young and hot, but, seriously, I wish these people would look around and see what the hell other people are doing.  is that guy stopping in the turning lane to pick up kids?  NO.  Is that person doing a U-turn in the midst of heavy after-school traffic?  NO.  Is that mom trying to snake into the pickup line while there are 25 people waiting in the line proper…well, yeah.  There is one.  I just hope that we, the studied and experienced parents, cut those folks out so they know that there is no ‘easy button’ to picking up your kid.  You either get in line proper or you get your ass out of the car and go walk and pick up your kid proper. 

I swear, I have come home every morning thus far, and that would be TWO DAYS, where i am just thankful i got back here without being in some random accident…

Bottom line is this.  You newbies who are the first year droppers off at the elementary school and the first year droppers off at the high school…well, just know that you annoy the effing hell out of me.  Just freaking take a look around you, AT ALL THE REST OF US WHO KNOW WHAT WE ARE DOING…and just do that.  Don’t be pulling off the side of the road and making your beloved child CROSS TRAFFIC THAT DOESN’T CARE IF THEY RUN THEM DOWN…stop stopping in the turning lane to pick up your beloved children and expect the rest of us to stop and let you back in the regular lane, where we are all waiting to pull into the parking lot proper to pick up our offspring. 

Cuz all y’all make me wanna cuss.  so stop it.

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Back when I first started to jump on the Barack bandwagon, Rob would watch the videos that I found so inspiring…and he seemed to ‘get’ what I found so inspiring about Barack.  He never, thank God, gave much credence…no, he never gave any credence to all the slander and lies about Barack, yet, there was just a bit of hesitancy when it came down to exactly where he was at.  I never pushed it.  I said what I felt and I didn’t ever get all militant about it. 

I knew that his military background was making him ambivalent about going all out for Barack.  We pretty much parted ways on this campaign about the time I went all in for Barack and his ambivalence kicked in.  And all I asked was that we could quietly go on with this without any snottiness.  And, for the most part, we have been able to do that…largely because I just refuse to engage in the discussion. 

So, tonight when we were watching Michelle Obama speak at the DNC, i was ready for raised eyebrows and snarky comments. 

Instead, what i got back was very positive feedback from him about Michelle in general.  Which I found encouraging.  I mean, seriously, there was nothing in that speech she gave so obviously from her heart that could be picked apart or made partisan.  She did an amazing job of painting a picture of herself and of Barack that made them both very much like the rest of us.  She reminded us, again, those of us who have paid attention anyway, that they are not folks who had silver spoons in their mouths…they are folks that worked hard to get to where they are in life.  While it might be hard not to sort of resent folks who had everything handed to them, especially when we struggle so much to send our own kids to college and to pay the bills and work hard every day, you just cannot resent Michelle and Barack.  They didn’t come to this place easily and they didn’t take the easy route once they could have. 

and beside all the other reasons i love the Obamas, I love them more because of that.  To me, they worked hard and experienced success.  I can’t find it in myself to resent anyone who has worked hard to get where they are. 

And let’s just boil this down to where I live…I have worked very, very, very hard to get to where I am and the people who know me and love me don’t resent the fact that for the first time in my life things are easier for me than they used to be.

But I do have a problem with the McCain’s having 7 houses.  Because I can’t relate to that at all.  We work too hard to keep our one house for me to relate to someone who didn’t even know how many houses he has.  And cranky Uncle John was just on Leno and he seemed just a little bit more friendly than usual, though he did manage to throw in a little bit of that fear factor there towards the end…

Bottom line is this.  I just can’t get behind the man. 

I’m just all in for Barack.  And that is where I am going to stay, regardless of the uncomfortable marital moments that are bound to come.  I am sure we will watch the coverage over the next evenings and I’m sure Rob will mumble a bit and I will sit here and watch the TV.  and in fairness, i will watch the RNC next week and I will not be snarky or snarl or mumble under my breath. 

The thing I realize is this…when people run for president, they make a lot of pronouncements that may or may not ever come to be.  I realize that these deals are just long informercials on what they hope will be.  and I’m fine with that.  I mean, seriously, does anyone think that just because we elect one person or the other that things are going to change the next day?  if you do, I have to ask you if you are new around here. 

No matter what this one or that one says, the bottom line is that it is still a process…and that is how it is.  what these folks stand up and propose are just ideas…they are things that they hope can happen…they are not promises. 

And, as for myself, I choose to hope they can happen, too.  I choose to hope that things can change.  i choose to hope that we can find a way to get out of Iraq and stop sending our little brothers and husbands and wives and sisters over there.  I choose to hope that we can find a way to turn our economy around.  i choose to hope that fear stops being our motivating factor. 

I am just ready for hope.  I think we have gone a long time without hope.  i think we have gone long enough being afraid. 

And i choose to hope that others like me choose to do the same. 

And while I am not nearly as politically astute as my friend Newscoma , who does brilliant and fact-flled posts about politics, i just know that I am going with my gut this time.  And my gut says go with Barack Obama.  

and i’m afraid that is about as political as I’m going to get.

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Yes, the 2008 Olympics is winding down as we speak…and   for the life of me, all i can say is, yay.  I have had as much fun as anyone watching beach volleyball and more beach volleyball and swimming and more swimming and gymnastics and more gymnastics and some more gymnastics, along with some water polo and today, rhythmic gymnastics. 

And while it was fun, I’m ready for my fall shows to start, as in like NOW…especially Pushing Daisies.  That little gem of a show can’t come back fast enough for me.  If you’ve never given it a try, let me encourage you to give it a shot.  It’s such a pretty show to watch and Ned, the pie maker, is just precious. 

Anyway, back to the closing ceremonies…they have been stunning to look at, just as the opening ceremony was, and my hats off to China, if only for that.  I still have so many fundamental problems with China and the way they treat people and the way they treat their natural resources…but it’s the Olympics, so we are supposed to put all that aside, right?  So, all that aside, this Olympics has been spectacular. 

I am very much looking forward to the Winter games, which will be in Vancouver, Canada, if for no other reason, the stunning scenery.  I know from looking at Kristin’s blog that Canada is breathtaking.  Nearly every comment I leave her remarks about how envious that I don’t live in such a gorgeous place.  and I love figure skating, so, yeah, looking forward to winter olympics, I am.

And, finally, in keeping with the ‘all good things come to an end’ theme, tomorrow is our first day of school.  I am down to two who are starting here in town…one 12th grader and one 4th grader. 

Then, of course, The Teacher starts her first day and I must say that her classrooms are so cute and fun.  I am quite sure she is going to have a successful day, even though she had dreams of not being able to control her class and getting fired…i suppose the grownup equivalent of showing up to school your first day in your underroos.  The Longhorn starts Thursday, I think, and UMHB starts Wednesday, although her work-study job starts tomorrow. 

Oh yes, again with the good things coming to an end…tomorrow will mark the first year that i do not walk the Boy in his first day.  We made a deal last year that he would let me walk him in his 3rd grade year as long as I let him go in all big boy like his 4th grade year.  What that does mean for me is that i don’t have to get up early and get all dolled up (HA) to walk him in. 

And oddly, I am happy and sad about that.

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I was going to make a whole new entry about this, but when i tried, i realized that i had poured everything I was feeling into the post i made yesterday in my livejournal.  Yes, I have a couple of these things, and for some reason LJ got this one last night.  I realize now that i should have just put it here. 

I will preface my entry from last night with this story about Blake. 

Blake was never an athlete…he was much more intellectual and more stylish than most of us.  He used hair spray to keep his perfectly coifed hair in place when other boys probably didn’t give a shit about their hair.  He probably taught us more about the Royal family than any history book could. 

I remember having a conversation with him where he said, and I quote this almost verbatim, “I’m going to come back to this town in a stretch limo and i am going to spit on all the people (Drexel, Billy Jack, and all the other jock boys) that treated me like crap.”

Blake went on to work for Kay Bailey Hutchison.  I remember one day driving down Henderson and seeing this blinged out black SUV with government plates and very crispy shirted men driving it and seeing BLAKE behind the wheel.  And i remember being so proud that he was making it come true. 

When we had our 20-year reunion, I was so pleased to see him.  We didn’t have a great chat, but a short one, and I told him i was pleased he was doing so well for himself. 

He went from there to working for Unicef and living in New York Cith.  We started emailing a little bit and we reconnected. 

and then what happened yesterday happened and regardless of what my crusty outside says, it rocked me to the core.  thus, i bring you what happened to me yesterday.

 

 

Today was meet the teacher for the Boy. I went outside my box this year and played the “I want this teacher” card. So, we got Ms. Looper, who also taught my Longhorn when she was in fourth grade. I had to do it. It was a completion of the circle. The Boy is my last fourth grader and I couldn’t rest until Ms. Looper had him. She is the most creative teacher and absolutely loves her students.

While we were in the classroom, you wouldn’t even BELIEVE how many old students came in to give her a hug and tell her how much they still love her. She has a wall of pictures of past students who are grownup now.

After she loved on the Boy, the next thing she asked was where was Reagan?

Well, after the Boy and i did the whole scope out the room and love on Ms. Looper, we came home and i texted the Longhorn, asking her if she would like to go up and say hi. She did…and we did…and I swear, I have never seen anything that made me tear up that much.

When Ms. Looper saw the Longhorn standing once again in her classroom, she let out this cry that went to my very center. Not that I don’t know it already, because this ‘child’ has always impacted every one of her teachers…but to see it…to hear it…to see this teacher who taught my girl when she was in fourth grade and remembered her so much…it just touched me so much, and I just feel so blessed that she will be able to impact my Boy just like she did my Longhorn.

It was a phenomenal high point in my day.

Then I came home and got this IM: Did you get the email about Blake?

I have come to realize that good news rarely follows that sort of IM.

My response: Oh no.

And then the email forward came, telling me that my oldest, dearest friend from school, my brilliant friend Blake has been diagnosed with large cell lymphoma, plus pneumonia, and that he has lost 33 poounds in a month’s time.

Can I say here that lame email forwards aren’t the best way to alert the masses that a dear friend has a life-threatening disease?

My Glen Rose friend, Kathy, quite often delivers news about who has died this week, or who is sick this week…but more often than not, I don’t know the person she speaks of.

Today, i did. And it was one of my oldest and dearest friends, regardless of the fact that we haven’t really been in close touch over the years. However, over the past year we have reconnected a little bit and emailed back and forth.

Bar none, Blake has been the one classmate of mine that I have been the proudest for. He set his sites on what he wanted to do with his life and he did it. He started working in politics and garnered himself a nice job with Unicef, which allowed him to meet so many “Royals,” which is all he ever wanted to do…and he got to do it while he was doing an honorable job for Unicef.

and this news hit me like a ton of bricks.

and i cried and cried, because I knew that I had to tell Johnny, another friend who was so close to Blake, but in recent years had been estranged from him. I just knew that i didn’t want Johnny to find out about Blake’s illness the same way I did…some lame email forward.

So, i choked it up and texted him to call me. And he did…and we had a nice chat and I knew that he didn’t know. When I told him, he cried, and we cried, and then after that he called Blake and they made peace.

If I have never done anything good in my life, I am glad that I helped those two mend some fences…big fences.

and because I am a big puss, I opted to text Blake to tell him I loved him and that we were all behind him.

I just didn’t trust myself to talk on the phone. I can’t even, right now, talk about it out loud without crying…

I figured it would be better for him if I just got to be sort of funny and loving without all the waterworks on the eve of his chemotherapy.

I will suck it up at some point and actually call…and yet, i think how sad it is that something like this is what it takes to get people who have been friends since childhood to reconnect. thanks to this, I have reconnected with my old friend Sherry, who I walked to school with for years because she was on my way…

All that said, I ask you folks who pray to pray for my friend, Blake in New York. I have promised him that all of us maniacal bible belters are behind him and are praying for him.

This man is one of our class who has just so gone out there and done exactly what he wanted to do…there is no way that we can let some freakin’ cancer snuff out that light.

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