Showing posts from April, 2013

Close Call

Thanks for all your kind words yesterday in the comments.  I am hoping that my brother decides to find another caregiver for my elderly father soon (no easy task, I know that); in the meantime, I just had to vent.  Her arrogance just stunned me.  How hard is it to be kind?

And, in good news, I narrowly avoided incurring hundreds of dollars in damages today.  You see, when I park, I normally choose to park far away from other cars.  But today I had Susie in the car, and it was raining; so, against my better judgment, I tried to angle in between a mid-size truck and a mini-Cooper that, unfortunately, began to pull out just as I was pulling in to my space.  Startled, I edged too much to my right and heard the horrific sound of SCRAAAAAAPE as I parked.

I swear, it was deafening.

I had to back up (again, "SCRAAAAAAPE" - ouch), swing to the left, and park before I could jump out and survey the damage, all the while exercising superhuman restraint to hold in a whole slew of swear w…


Well!  I've gone missing (not that anyone necessarily noticed), because I took a quick train ride up to see my dad, who had recently gotten out of the hospital and who has a new caregiver.

She came with a sterling recommendation, my brother says.  She feeds my father super-healthy food and keeps him impeccably clean.  Soon after I arrived, this caregiver (an older Jamaican woman I will hereafter refer to as the Voodoo Priestess) handed him his sunglasses.  Frustrated, my dad tossed them on the floor, where they disappeared under a cabinet.  Before we could stop him, he got down on his hands and knees to look for them; and, of course, he couldn't get back up.  I ran to help him, while the caregiver stayed where she was and scolded him.  "What are you doing down there?  What are you thinking?  Don't do that again!"

Me: "Could give me a hand here?  He's stuck.  I need help lifting him."

VP: "He shouldn't be doing that!  Who does he think he is…

Backwards And In High Heels

Larry and David are out this evening, at the homeschool prom. 

Gosh, that sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, doesn't it?  The homeschool prom, part Geography Bee, part Bible verse recitation contest! 

Larry is one of the chaperones.  David, let it be said, has attended under duress, having no interest whatsoever in an event that does not involve airplanes or computers.  Given that most of his friends will be in attendance, we're pretty sure he'll have a good time, anyway.  And besides, I was just dying to see him in a tie.

Let me say right here, it is way easier to send a boy to the prom than a girl.  During the years Anna attended prom, several weeks would be spent in search of the right dress and shoes.  On the day of the big event, she would depart about 3:00 in the afternoon for a friend's house, where a number of girls were assembling with dresses, shoes, full make-up kits, and hair accessories at the ready.  (And let me praise the saintly nature of the m…

Wheels For Women Approaching 50

You know how, occasionally, you are inconvenienced by having to view a small ad atop one of my posts?  Well, those pesky ads have earned me a brand new bicycle.  I did have a bicycle, already, actually -- one of those skinny-tires, turned-over-handlebars type of conveyance that I used to be able to ride, way back when.  But I'm older now, and I've developed a healthy fear of all these stupid squirrels that dash out in front of me on the bike path; also, I'm terrified of the possibility of falling and breaking every bone in my body and being bedridden for 3 months, as my children grow feral and my house becomes worthy of being condemned.  The upshot of which is that I haven't actually ridden my bicycle in almost 10 years.

A decade.

So, last fall, as I tried to jog after my 3 youngest on their bikes on our way to ChikFilA, it occurred to me that I needed to procure a more middle-age-friendly bicycle.  One that doesn't put me way high up in the air, one without a bar…

A Crotchety Plea For Old-Fashioned Play

Further evidence that the world is going to heck in a handbasket - toddlers addicted to electronic devices.  Do I even need to comment on this?  Do you realize that, when I first started raising my kids over 21 years ago, all I had to worry about was keeping them from watching too much TV?  This was an extraordinarily easy proposition, considering that we couldn't afford cable and that our TV at the time was a 13-inch hand-me-down with a fuzzy screen. 

Now?  I still have young-ish kids, and attempting to keep them mostly screen-free is becoming a somewhat quixotic quest, one that -- at times -- almost makes me weep.  Their friends come over with the Internet in their pockets.  I have to confiscate smartphones and similar devices at the door.  (Yes, I'm THAT mom.)  Of course, at their friends' houses, there are probably different rules.  I have to trust that the parents at least restrict the kids to somewhat harmless content.

But it isn't really the content so much th…

This And That, And Some Excellent Movies

Thanks to everyone who added their ideas to our list of useful seminars for parents of teens in the last post's comments!  Head on over there to enjoy such ideas as Siblings Without Rivalry, Because You're the Common Enemy (Sarah) and The Audacity of Hope: Waking Teens Before Noon (from Not Beehive, who has no blog and the world is surely the poorer for it).  We should definitely make these a reality. 

Alternatively, a friend of mine suggested having a radio show like Car Talk, only the callers would be parents of teens looking for advice.  Oh, my goodness, this would be so awesome and funny.  NPR?  Call me.

The movie nights I enjoy with my friend have led to our discovery of an awesome Danish director named Susanne Bier.  If you enjoy movies with complex, multifaceted characters and don't mind subtitles, you HAVE to check out After the Wedding, Brothers, and In A Better World.  If, on the other hand, you think Airplane was a great movie, just forget it.  (Yes, Larry, I…

Seminars For Parents Of Teens

Patience Crabstick (and how much do I love that blog name?) offered some great suggestions for additional parent education seminars in the comments to my previous post.  Here then is our current list:

 "How To Talk So Your Teen Will Shut Up and Do the Dishes Already"

"What To Expect When You're Expecting Your Teen Home by 11 and It's Past Midnight"

"The Magic Years - They're Long Over, So Stop Scrapbooking and Make Sure To Install a 5-Camera Security System on the Exterior of Your House."

The following are from Patience:

You, Your Teen, and the Police

Are You There, Child? It's Me, Mommy. Answer Your Damn Phone.

The Crimson Tide: When Mothers and Daughters Menstruate at the Same Time and How To Cope

Anyone care to add some more?  Maybe we should convene at least an annual convention for the dissemination of this valuable information.  In a suitably restorative location, of course....

[Tropical beach image: By Guillaume Baviere (Flickr: 201…

Missing My Paycheck

I drive David and his friends to Civil Air Patrol every Tuesday evening, and then I go to a local Starbucks (with a fireplace and lots of seating) to get some work done until it is time to pick them up.  I've been doing this for 4 years now, and we're pretty much settled into this routine.  I am a creature of habit, you know; and I loves my routines.

Only now? I'm unemployed.  I started my editing job just before David joined CAP at age 12, I'm realizing; so now, for the first time, I have no real reason to be sitting here waiting for the kids to finish their activity.  And you know what else?  Surfing the Internet is way more fun when you are avoiding work than when you simply have nothing to do.  It's true. 

I've brought my knitting, of course.  But I'm not sure I can knit for 2 solid hours without anyone to talk to.  That would be sort of crazy-making for me.  Also, shockingly enough, no one pays me to do that.  I definitely need a new job, but I'm …

More Wasted Grant Money

Well!  Here's the latest in our series "Research That Is Not Helpful."  Apparently, someone did a study to determine the usefulness of brassieres.  The conclusion?

According to the results of a 15-year study in France published Wednesday, bras provide no benefits to women and may actually be harmful to breasts over time.
The researchers claim that women who don't wear bras develop more breast tissue that help hold their boobs up.  Of course, I am not too sure they were investigating the right demographic.  Apparently, they only studied women aged 18-35, and the study makes no mention whatsoever of breast size. Here's one 28-year-old woman who participated:

"At first, I was a little reluctant to the idea of running without a bra, but I got started and after five minutes, I had no trouble at all," Vercellotti said, according to the Agence France-Presse.
Of course, you didn't, honey.  Because, first of all, you are 28.  Your boobs are not yet so pendulou…

Let Them Eat Cake

I birthed my fourth teenager yesterday.  It wasn't too arduous; it just involved my sitting down and instructing Brian ALL DAY Tuesday on everything I need to tell him before his brain fogs up and he can no longer hear me.  He was admirably good-natured about it.  Because he wasn't quite a teen yet.

So I spent yesterday leafing through old photo albums and showing the little girls pictures of Brian as a baby - oh, and suppressing twinges of guilt as my youngest kept asking, "Where are the pictures of ME?"  Nowhere, honey, because that's what happens when you are the caboose.  You don't get scrapbooked.

I started this blog when Brian was only 6 or 7 -- that is, when I was still young and optimistic and thought that life after babies would be easy.  I guess I wasn't paying attention to that teen thing or noting just how haggard the faces of older parents looked.  Blissfully ignorant, that was me. And, boy, do I want that naive optimism back.  As it is, eve…

Waist Not

So! This weekend was challenging, to say the least.  After navigating (or avoiding, really) a discussion of the facts of life with Susie, I was hanging out at the tot lot with a neighbor, who was watching her son.  Another kid we didn't know had taken a shine to him and asked her, "Are you his mom?"  She told him yes.  Then he turned to me and...

[I just have to take a breath here]

He turned to me and said, "Are you his grandma?"

Are you his grandma?

I let that bounce around in my psyche the entire day.  Over and over, like a looped tape in my mind, I heard, "Are you his grandma?"  I sulked.  I pouted.  I refused to talk to Larry, because he is 4 years younger than I am and no one mistakes him for a grandpa.  And the next day, because I am obviously a glutton for punishment, I went to the mall and tried on clothes for 3 hours.

Really, Macy's?  A 3-way mirror?  You shouldn't have.  Because all I saw there was Grandma...Grandma...Grandma....

In ot…

In Flagrante Delicto

The 3 youngest kids and I pretended it was spring and took a walk to the bagel shop this morning.  I dressed in my FitFlops, a ski jacket, and a scarf.  I cannot take having my feet squished into shoes ONE MORE DAY.  So we were walking along, with myself looking fairly ridiculous, when Susie decided to strike up a conversation with me.

"I saw 2 squirrels on the deck this morning, wrestling like kittens!" she announced.

"Really?" I said. "Well, that's cute."

"Yes, it was really funny!  And then one of the squirrels?  He climbed up on the other one's back, from behind, like he was playing horsey!"


"Well," I said, "isn't that something!"

But Susie wasn't done.  "Yes! And the other squirrel?  The one underneath?  He started hopping - up and down!  Up and down!  Up and down!"  Here she stopped to giggle.  "He looked so silly!"

Oh, honey, if you think THAT looks silly...

Rip Van Winkle Syndrome Strikes Again

I think I'm the only blogger who doesn't have any thoughts on Roger Ebert's demise.  In fact, I was shocked a few years ago to hear he was still around.  I had thought Siskel and Ebert was strictly an 80's thing.  It's as if I were in a media blackout the entire time I was having babies (13 years, but who's counting?), and I've never quite caught back up.

So now it turns out I missed out on knowing (in the Internet sense) a fascinating blogger and memoir-ist. Apparently, even though I thought that I was managing to keep up with things by reading blogs (would you believe, I didn't know who George Clooney was until Mrs. G named him her Secret Boyfriend over at Derfwad Manor?), I seem to have barely scratched the surface.  Maybe you folks should use the comments this weekend to tell me what you think are the most important 2 or 3 things, cultural zeitgeist-wise, I should know about.  Celebrities, writers, social scientists, trends - anything from the last …

Sumo Diapers Are Not Flattering

Here is the  movie my friend and I watched on our movie night this week:

A movie featuring overweight Israelis and sumo wrestling?  A chick flick?  Yes, it is, because it's really about the issues of self-perception and self-worth...AND it's funny.  Also, I'm pretty sure reading the subtitles burned extra calories.


I have gone on at length in the past about how much I hate April Fool's Day - no need to revisit that here.  I'm more of a self-deprecating humor sort of gal, with occasional forays into making fun of general social trends.  But is it really just my hypersensitive self who thinks that this joke is out of bounds?  As in, sort of mean?

For those of you who, like myself, are too lazy to click, Kiwi Crate posted on its website the purportedly amusing story of the "fun and playful" prank one of their activity designers played on her daughter today.  You see, she handed her little one a foil-covered pan and announced she was giving her an entire pan of brownies.  So the happy child, agog with the anticipation of fudgy chocolate-y goodness, removed the foil and found not baked goods but a pan full of "Brown E's" - the letter E cut out of brown construction paper. 

Gosh, that's just a kneeslapper.  I don't know what's worse - the lame joke or the f…