Monday, June 30, 2008

Let's Talk About Sex

When the time came to talk to my daughter about sex, I envisioned a pleasant conversation. One in which I would assume my role as the wise, mature elder, put aside my uneasiness, and offer up valuable information that would help her navigate adulthood by making intelligent, educated choices. One that would start with a small lecture and be followed by a lively Q&A. I've been trying to have this talk with my daughter since she was 8.

She's now almost 12.

We had "the talk" last night.

Sort of.

In a crowded burger joint with her father and brother distracted by sports, we began a discussion... well, not quite a discussion, and not quite we, me. It was more an interrogation... or so you'd think from the look of her non-blinking eyes, clenched jaw and rigid body. It was as if a bare light bulb hung above her head and I was speaking in foreign tongue.

I blame my friend. Earlier that day she visited with her daughter who is also 11. The sex conversation came up and the other girl knew all about how babies are made, the physical logistics of S-E-X, the consequences, distinguishing truth from fiction. If that didn't put me to shame, their younger boy, 8, the same age as my son, knew it all as well.

It's not like I haven't tried to educate my daughter. Ohhh, I've tried. At ages 8, 9, 10, 11 and umpteen fractions of a year in between, I've attempted to do my parental duty. But my daughter is stubborn (don't ask me where she gets that from) and no matter my plan of attack approach, be it conversation or books, she shut me out. Immediately. Swiftly. Ears plugged singing lalalalala, books tossed at my chest, door slammed in my face - shut out.

So, over the years, as her body developed, I'd pitch snippets of information about breasts, body hair, or menstruation whenever I could; as she ate a cookie, brushed her hair, or tucked into bed for the night. I had a maximum of 30 seconds before the gates of cooperation snapped shut but I always managed to stick my foot in the opening for an extra second to offer an invitation to talk to me about anything, anytime.

Last night, feeling like I'd failed my daughter, I seized her the opportunity to give the big spiel. The whole super-size happy meal. Well, not quite. Maybe it was the kids meal. While she sat trapped in her chair, frozen in fear, I came at her full speed with the what, the how, the when. Only, in my nervous exhalation of facts about the penis, the vagina, the sperm and the egg, I forgot to mention dating, romance, relationships, love, and birth control. I was a game show contestant trying to beat the buzzer. My attempt to teach her about self-respect and waiting for the right guy came out, "...and if a guy ever asks you to have sex you say one touches your body unless you want them to...and even if you want them to, well, you need to think...because sometimes it's okay and sometimes it's need to know the difference and sometimes it's hard to should talk to me first...because it's a big decision with big consequences... look what happened to Jamie Lynn Spears..."

Yes, that was me during a huge milestone in our lives, a moment I'd mentally prepared for since before she was born, vomiting it all over in undigested, incoherent chunks.

I blame my mom. She never had the sex talk with me. Had I not read Judy Blume I would have thought I was dying when the red streak showed up in my underwear. When I confessed to my mom she handed me sanitary napkins, said "mazel tov," and mortified me by telling my father. Years later, during dinner at a crowded restaurant (this time it was Chinese - what is it with me and restaurants?) I revealed that I was no longer a virgin. My sisters had been teasing me about being prudish. I'd been having sex since I was 17, for two years already, but no one had ever asked. I'd been waiting for a moment to show everyone I wasn't the young, innocent they thought I was. I thought my mother would be surprised, maybe even hurt that I'd kept it such a secret, but instead it was me who was taken aback when she casually remarked, "Well, I certainly hoped you would have had sex by now," and moved onto another subject.

So, you see, though I love my mother, she wasn't exactly an ideal role model for this sort of thing.

It doesn't matter who I blame, my friend, my mother, the checker at the supermarket, I need to get this right. So in a few days, with some time to think and perhaps a glass of wine to calm my nerves, I hope to sit my daughter down and fill in the blanks. I'd like to share my values and beliefs, teach her about making smart choices, the importance of trusting your instinct, and how to say no (without having to call her mommy).

But before I do, I call out to you, my fellow idiots moms:

What worked for you?

Advice welcome.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Unrequited Love

Candid Carrie gave me link love on Friday with her Friday Foto Finish and I thought I returned the favor in my post, but alas, linky love was not in the mood, so please visit CandidCarrie, her blog is always cool, especially on Friday's.

My apologies, Miss Carrie.

Where the Hell is Matt? (Harding, not Lauer)

Talk about going global! If you haven't seen this on YouTube it's a really cool video. You can see more of his dancing and videos on YouTube and follow his world travels on

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Make Yourself At Home, Peanut

I could get used to this


NOW IS THE TIME! If you are thinking of bringing a dog into your life.

Because of the rise in housing foreclosures, there have been a huge number of dogs dropped off at shelters after closing and abandoned at the side of the road. Many are healthy dogs, beautiful dogs, dogs with owners that just didn't know what do to with them in these desperate times.

Rescue organizations are in dire need of foster families and families to adopt. Many family pets are being kept in the shelter because there's just not enough foster homes in which to place them. We are on our third rescue and all have been great.

Please consider adopting before buying from a store or a breeder. There are so many amazing dogs that need homes. Not only will you save a life, you'll save yourself hundreds or thousands of dollars!


Friday, June 27, 2008

Lucky Dog

Greta and her new baby sister
Welcome to the family, Peanut

This photo is so damn cute, it deserved a post all to itself.
Besides, I want to include it in Candid Carrie's Friday Foto Finish Fiesta.

You can check out her other guests this week and her cool blog here.

Greta and Peanut: The Honeymoon

These are your new digs, Peanut.
Not quite the dusty backyard and chain link fence you're used to but I think you'll like it.

Let me give you a tour.

Wait up!

This is where I chase that nasty squirrel I was telling you about.

Okay, Peanut, you look north, I'll look south.

Don't worry, Greta, together we'll catch that squeaky little chew toy.


Remember, I go first!

I wonder what's on the menu'?
Do I get seconds?

Hmmn, she didn't leave anything for me...we're gonna have to have a little talk.

You didn't mention anything about dessert?
Yesiree, I'm gonna like it here.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Greta and Peanut: The Introduction

Who's that babe?

Heyyy, what's going on here?

I'm not so sure about this...I thought we were going to the park?

Yeah, well I'm not so keen on you either.

What about this guy over here? He looks nice...

Nice, sure. But his gas'll make your eyes tear.

Give me another try, I'm nice, I promise. Look! She wants me. Come on, hmmn? hmmn?

Hey! Cut it out. That tickles. Ok. Ok! I'll give you a try. Just stop it already, will ya?

Dude, let's show 'em what a good team we are... I need my own place. Truth, how's the food?

Paw-lickin' good, my friend, but I call first dibs: food, couch, doggie lovin', everything... you can go first at shower time... and ear cleaning. Man, she likes to clean those ears! Deal?

You drive a hard bargain, my raven-haired, canine. Deal.
I think this is going to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

* Stay tuned for Part Two of the Greta and Peanut Story: The Honeymoon

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

We're Expecting - Again!

Enjoy the couch while you can, sweet Greta, because in a few hours your world is about to be turned upside down...

...make room, your baby sister, Peanut, is coming.

post courtesy of (semi) wordless wednesday

dogs courtesy of fetchingcompanions
(the best lab rescue EVER)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Batter Up!

His face was tight. His teeth clenched. Sitting in the dugout with fifty other boys, he looked angry, unapproachable.

Only I knew the fierce wall was his attempt at holding back a rush of tears. He lowered the bill of his baseball cap veiling his eyes. I remembered the wide smile he gave when we purchased the hat the day before.

His anxiety came on a few minutes before arriving at the field. "Mom, do you think everyone is better than me?" he asked.

"Some people will be better, some worse," I answered. "But you'll all have fun improving. The first day is always the hardest, sweetie. It'll get easier. I promise."

"Mom, I want to leeeeave," he mouthed from deep inside the sea of strangers.

I chirped an encouraging song and turned my back; giving him less opportunity for escape and me a moment to gather courage.

His group was called and they left the dugout for the field in single file. He broke formation and came toward me, head lowered. Heads turned to look as he wordlessly begged me for release.

"You'll be fine," I said as I turned him around and escorted him back to his line.

I lugged around his anguish all morning as I recalled my own feelings of isolation and inadequacy. My childhood anxieties crippled me way into adulthood.

Hours later, I returned to the scene of the crime. I sneaked up on the group hoping to get a true glimpse of my son's mood before my presence changed his colors. He was holding court with five boys, making them laugh, being silly...being him.

I was unaware of how tense I was until I felt my shoulders drop. Minutes later while exiting the park, I asked him how long he stayed upset.

"Just a few minutes after you left."

His batting average is already better than mine.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Memory Interruptus

My son sleeps
My daughter models
her new

she takes her first step
off the dizzying
precipice of
Bat Mitzvah circuit

She shops
in my closet
for shoes
a ballerina girl
in her first tutu





Good night
sweet girl

*photo courtesy of

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Dueling Cell Phones: My Relationship With My Tween In A Nutshell

"Hi, you've reached "M's" cell phone's Friday, June 20... and until... Saturday, June 21 I might not be answering my cell phone...unless you're my mom because then I have to answer it or you'll get really mad at me so... yeah...okay, bye, leave a message, bye."

"Hi, "M", this is your mother calling and you're not answering your phone so... I guess I'm really mad at yeah. Call me back. Bye.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Casa de Cuckoo Part Deux, Trois, Quatre...

I love my family.
I love my family.
I love my family.

You got it?

Cuz now that you know how much I love them, I can say this without guilt...


I'm trapped in my house, one kid still sick, laundry piling, dishes stacking, dog hair shedding, and husband going away for three days on his testosterone-laden, action-filled weekend.

While he's boating on Utah's Jordanelle and hiking the majestic Wasatch mountains, I'll be cruising across smog-laden Los Angeles in my gas guzzling SUV, chauffeuring to karate, a sleepover, and a bat mitzvah.

Oh, yay! I can't wait for the weekend. I'm soooo excited!

I love my family.
I love my family.
I love my family.


**Note: I just downloaded a movie clip for Get Smart on Itunes. It is hysterical! I am DEFINITELY SEEING THIS MOVIE TOMORROW! I don't know how, I don't know when, but I'm going! Things are looking up!

photo courtesy of

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Casa de Cuckoo

Your house would be crazy too if you and both of your kids were trapped at home instead of out in the summer sun blowing goobers into tissues and spray sneezing all over the dog.

Hubby's staying out all hours, washing his hands like Lady MacBeth, and raiding the pharmacies for vitamin C. He's got a manly man weekend planned and nothing, not even his family who needs him, is gonna keep him from that.

Since my daughter has been sick so many times this year, 24 school days to be exact, I've put her on vitamins to boost her immunity. I've tried this before but my girl is no dummy. She takes them for a few days and then stashes the bottle in the back of the cabinet counting on dear ol' mom to forget about them.

And yes...I do.

But not this time. No! This time mom is at the ready. I sweetened her up with some home- brewed iced tea with crushed ice, just the way she likes it, then I placed the teeny, tiny pill right next to her ice cold drink and told her "take the goddamn pill or I will shove it down your throat I will sit by your side offering comfort and support all day if I have to."

My daughter knows how to swallow pills; has for over a year now. She just doesn't LIKE to take them. Well, have you seen the pills I choke on everyday?


"I can't swallow if you're watching me!" my daughter tried playing her old tricks on me.

But I've been fooled before, finding the evidence hours later at the bottom of the fruit bowl, wedged between the place mat and the table, or buried beneath her pillow.

I saw One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest AND Girl Interrupted. I know the tricks; hiding meds under the tongue and then spitting them out or slipping them to the nearest unsuspecting loon. (Hmmn, maybe that's why the dog's coat looks so good.)

My girl is going nowhere until I know that pill is safely down her rabbit hole.
Each day. Every day. Until she goes to college. Or until I forget. Whichever comes first.

Just call me Nurse Ratched.

**Thank you all for your nice comments on the last post. I did check on the nest yesterday, and while I couldn't see inside the street sign, I did hear some baby chirps. I have no idea if it was the same bird but I prefer to think on the bright side.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Just Another Monday Life Lesson

While walking around the corner to pick up my son from a play date, visions of a microwaved dinner and early bedtimes danced in my head. Sneezing and coughing my way through school volunteering and shopping at Trader Joe's tired me out; spreading germs citywide can do that a person. I dreamed of getting the kids to bed so I could lay my own congested head on a pillow sometime before midnight.

But the powers that be had something else in mind for me today. Halfway to my destination, I found my son, his two friends, and their babysitter, hunched over the grass looking at this:

"Mommy, mommy!" my son cried. "It's a bird. A baby bird! It fell out of it's nest. I think it's dying!"

"Help it, Fran. You have to help it!" his friend pranced around helplessly. "Call the animal doctor. Get an ambulance. Hurry!"

"Don't touch it," I screamed as they hovered over the little body. I explained to them that if you touched it the mother might not accept the baby back into the nest. (I learned this sometime, somewhere, but couldn't remember the particulars - better to be safe than sorry.)

"Help it, Fran. Help it," repeated the friend. "Do something, he's DYING!"

The little bird kept reaching it's neck toward the sky and opening wide it's yellow trimmed beak looking for it's mommy, for food. It's body was an bold display of exotic colors - blue, pink, yellow: Beautiful if it weren't so displaced.

I called a friend and had them call a local vet. She called back and asked if the nest was accessible.


Is the mother bird nearby?


We had been standing back, keeping some distance, hoping the mother bird would return and reclaim her offspring. We could hear other birds chirping nearby but saw no mother. My friend told me to stay there in case any predatory cats came by.

We waited a few minutes. Nothing.

I left the boys and the sitter keeping watch and my son and I ran home. I called the California Wildlife Center office (a suggestion to my friend from the vet). They instructed me to build a makeshift nest, place the baby in it (it's apparently ok to touch a baby bird - who knew?) and nail or tape it close to the nest in case the mother returns. He said chances of survival were slim since the featherless bird was so young but without finding the nest, it was the best we hope for.

This is what my son and I put together.

He picked the lambs ears for a soft bed. I don't know if he put the flower there on purpose but, either way, it was a nice touch.

I wrapped packaging tape around the tupperware nest so it would hang securely from a branch of the tree.

When we returned, I picked up the baby bird who continued stretching and gaping hoping it's mother was nearby. I placed it in on the bed of leaves. Within seconds the bird had the flower in it's mouth.

"It's poisonous! That's a poisonous flower!," screamed the friend. "Get it out, get it out! He's going to die."

The flower wasn't poisonous but it could have choked the bird so the sitter pulled on the flower while I held the bird's body for leverage.

It took two grown women and a dozen attempts to pry the flower from this baby's beak. It's frail body belied it's strength.

The sitter noticed pieces of a nest inside the street sign right above where they found the bird so we taped the temporary nest to the pole beneath it.

She and her boys needed to get home. My son left, too. I remained. Keeping watch. Me. The nest. The bird.

A few minutes later a neighbor came out of her house, "What are you doing?" she asked.

"Trying to save a life."

I explained the afternoon drama. She left and came back with a ladder. Within minutes, bird and soft leaf bed in hand, she ascended the ladder and deposited the baby back where it came from. Where we think it came from. There were no signs of life but we hoped for the best. (I'm sparing my kind neighbor photos of her butt on the internet. I feel I owe her that.)

As we took down the ladder we noticed a bird watching from a nearby tree. We hoped it was the baby's mother. We don't know. We left to let nature take it's course.

My son wondered all evening about the bird's fate. I couldn't honestly give him a happy ending but I tried what I thought was the next best thing. He had brought home sweet pea flowers from his school garden. They had wilted in his backpack. He wanted to throw them out rather than give them to me as planned. I secretly put the flowers in some water and called him over when they'd had time to refresh.

"See, sweetie? They're not dead. They just needed a little help."

He fell asleep worrying about the bird. I told him sometimes all we can do is help out the best we know how and let nature do the rest. I assured him that whatever happened, the bird was resting comfortably, thanks to him.

He smiled.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day: Love Works In Mysterious Ways

My hubby did such a nice job this Mother's Day as written in this post, that I thought I'd do the same for him on his special

So to make him feel like an extra special Dad...

I chose today to catch a nasty cold,
I chose today to sleep while he made everyone breakfast,
I chose today to sleep while he fed and walked the dog,
I chose today to sleep while he drove our daughter to her dance recital,
I chose today to sleep while he dealt with our whiny son.

See how that works? I let Dad be an excellent Dad on Father's Day. That's just the kind of loving wife I am.

Sorry, Hubby. Better luck next year.
Happy Father's Day to all.

***Merlotmom has been published! (By someone other than herself.) That's right, I'm a somebody now. Please, please, sit down. No more applause. No, really. Please. Oh, you're so kind. Okay, seriously, please check out this page in today's Opinion section of the Sacramento Bee and please comment. I love company, NICE, POLITE, company.

Woo hoo! That and $4.75 will buy me a gallon of gas...oh wait...that was last week.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Spin The Bottle: Beer or Wine? Take Your Pick

Help!!!! I've been meme'd! Someone call the paramedics!

Okay, I'm not dying but I have been tagged. Tammi at Love the Eclectic Life spun the beer bottle and it landed on me, ms. merlot. Don't much like the combo but stranger romances have survived.

I don't much like memes, either. Don't like chain letters (I break 'em, so don't send 'em), but this one seems harmless and literary, so I'm game.

Here's the task at hand:

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

"Put him on the line," said Brian.
I handed the man the phone. He held it to his ear.

Not very interesting or illustrative of Anne Lamott's charming essays in, Grace Eventually: Thoughts On Faith, but who am I to break the rules.

Now watch me spin the bottle ???

slouching mom
because she'll like a literary meme
baby on bored
because she and I are practically neighbors
vintage thirty
because she makes me laugh
boobs, injuries, and dr. pepper
because her chronicles are incredible
help, i have a teenager
because she is wacky, wild, and entertaining

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Staying Healthy Is Making Me Sick

I've said before, I'm petite.

Friends of my 11 year old daughter stand next to me to make themselves feel grown up - that kind of petite.

And I'm healthy. Barring my parents' generous gifts of high cholesterol and low thyroid, I'm doing ok for a gal in her mid-40's.

I exercise (though my husband would diagree with me), I eat well (wine and dark chocolate are soooo good for you), so why is it that I'm choking these down each and every day?


Because these pills packed with fountains of youth are going to keep me from biting everyone's head off during menopause, from becoming a hunchback post-menopause, from shriveling up like an over-ripe nectarine, and from growing a big, fat front tire where my tight, flat abs used to be.

At least that's what I'm told!

Sure, I might be pretty and I might live longer but what's the point if I never get out of the bathroom?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Girls Will Be Girls: Except When They’re Boys

“Here she is,” announced my doctor as my baby took her first breath. I held her, secretly relieved my first was a girl. I grew up one of three sisters so females were familiar. I did my share of dating, and was married, but I was no expert on the opposite sex. Venus...Mars. Tomato...To-mah-to.

But a girl’s life I did know. The good, the bad, and the vicious. I knew it well and was confident my daughter would benefit from my battle scars hard-earned wisdom.

Are you laughing yet?
Like my daughter would listen to any advice I had to offer.
If you believe that, I've got a gas-guzzling Hummer you might like to buy.

The fantasies of intimate mother/daughter chats about puberty, introducing her to my generation's bible, “Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret, explaining the mystery of mean girls, social cliques, S-E-X ... I get none of that. Any hint that I am about to broach the subject of periods or pubic hair and my daughter is all “Lalalalalalalalala, I can’t heaaaarrrrr you” and out the door faster than I can say "but I'll buy you a video IPod....." And she needs no advice from me on handling cattiness and cliques - she manages them just fine on her own.

When I found out the sex of my second child, I freaked out. The thought of a penis growing inside me was just – ewwww. The things I knew about penises I assure you were not going to come in handy with a baby. I am not into competitive sports, I don’t like playing them or watching them on tv. I don’t have many close male friends, so what, other than being his mommy, was I going to have in common with my boy?

More than I ever thought possible. You see, my son, despite his gregarious and often inappropriate personality, is super sensitive. Those intimate talks I dreamed of having with my daughter, the ones about bodies maturing, where we go when we die, what our souls look like, I have those with my son. He can't get enough. He has all the machismo of a boy: he loves sports, balls, guns (he can turn a benign piece of buttered toast into the meanest rifle) but the slightest drop of blood makes him queasy, diarrhea turns him into Chicken Little, and the slightest affront causes his body to stiffen and his upper lip to quiver.

The dreams of guiding my daughter through teenage angst are coming into play... but with my eight year old son. To make matters more surprising, he plays for the opposing team. He is, I fear, a mean boy. Decades ago, I might have been his victim. I shudder as he recounts how he and his friends ousted some boys from their group because they cry, they cheat at handball, or, they’re just annoying. Hearing him deliver haughty commentary about peers who scored poorly on tests and who wear the wrong kind of undergarments (apparently boxer-briefs are in), I feel as if I'm fraternizing with the enemy. I'm disappointed and scared for him knowing that bad karma will, one day, swing in his direction.

I offer the requisite parental wisdom...

“If you don’t have anything nice to say…”
Treat people the way you want to be treated”

“Keep your hands to yourself”

“Don’t pick your nose in public”

...but my boy has me stumped. I'm convinced he tells me all that he does because he knows his behavior is wrong and wants me to tell him so. But when I oblige, his chest puffs out with testosterone and he becomes steely and impenetrable.

Life throws you curve balls and I’m a lousy catcher. I never expected my boy to behave like this. All these years I've been coaching the wrong player. I love my son. He is smart, charming, funny, and sensitive. He is, as all mother’s say, a good boy. But I’m not in denial. He’s attracted to the movers and shakers, the boys with older siblings who have their fingers on the pulse and command the playground. He’s in awe of the older kids who skateboard in front of the local Starbucks. He emulates their style. He leans toward danger.

When my son was born, everyone said boys are easier. Where are you people? I have a bone to pick with you.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Day After

Yesterday afternoon's baby shower was lovely. The mother-to-be looked radiant. It was everything a baby shower should be (no game were played, yay.) Watching the expectant couple open gift after gift, it was fun to see their faces as they realized the baby was indeed real, coming soon ... and bringing with her a whole lot of baggage.

The visit at the hospital that followed was tough. My emotions got a workout having both events back to back. In the span of a few hours, I was joyful, sad, hopeful, angry, bewildered, curious, and frustrated. My head was reeling.

For my sick friend, there are no easy answers. No wonder drugs. No magic potions. Just, very possibly, a Sophie's choice of who should live and who should die. It doesn't get more difficult than that.

Thanks to all of you for your advice. Your suggestions helped me make the visit less about my apprehension and more about her comfort.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Difficult Day Ahead - Suggestions Welcome

I'm going to a baby shower tomorrow.

I've never been a big fan of girl parties that don't include multiple rounds of mixed cocktails and raucous laughter. At my baby showers, I insisted the hostesses ban games of any sort like those where you guess the baby's name, it's sex, or the size of my bulging abdomen. No, no. Not for me. Having said that, hanging with the girls and getting gifts - lots o' fun.

Since I don't know anyone going tomorrow except for the mom-to-be, I have been apprehensive about the party. But tonight I got an email that changed my outlook toward these proper, girly celebrations. I've been told that my friend, who was in remission from lung cancer, newly married and six months pregnant, has had a recurrence which has spread to other organs as well as her brain.

She is taking visitors tomorrow. The immediacy of the invitation frightens me. I want to be positive but I can't help considering the worst.

So after the baby shower, for which I will show much more respect and gratitude, I will go to the hospital.

It will be an emotional day visiting two pregnant friends. One in a beautiful garden accented with icy pitchers of lemonade and a procession of party dresses the other in a spare hospital room with a lifeless pitcher of tap and a show of hospital scrubs. Though both scenes are filled with the anticipation of life, the two couldn't be more different.

I'm struggling with what I am going to say to my sick friend. It's bad enough that she has cancer but with a baby on the way? I have so many questions, so many concerns, so many fears. What to ask? What not to ask? I'm worried what the look on my face will convey when I walk in the room.

If anyone has any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate them. I want to make her feel loved and cared for. I don't want to try too hard, put my foot in my mouth, and make her feel worse.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Summer. Nice If You Can Get Some

How is it that all of you are done with school or days away?

I read your blogs about lazy afternoons spent in the pool, adventures in Disneyland, car trips with ice cream destinations and I think that should be me!!!! how nice for all of you.

Really. Nice. For. You.

I, we, are still deeply entrenched in the hallowed halls of education. Our feet stuck in the muck of discipline and structure. My son had a test EVERY DAY this week. Math, social studies, science, spelling - you name it, he's had it and with one day's notice! My daughter just finished a major video project that took two weeks and brought her stress level, and ours to new, heart-stopping heights.

Our bodies know it's summertime. The sun doesn't set until 8:30 beckoning us out for evening walks, soccer games, or kickin' it late in front of the tv. Our schedules are sorely out of sync with the lunar cycles and causing equal opportunity P.M.S.

No one can get up in the morning. No one can go to bed at night. My son screams when you ask him to brush his teeth, when you ask him to get dressed, when you ask him to shut the f**k up. My daughter whines and shoots poisoned darts out of her vocal chords.

For the rest of the country, summer has officially begun.
For us, hell.

Really. Nice. For. You. Really.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Wherefore Art Thou Inspiration?

I remember the moment I decided to become a writer.

I was in fifth grade and my teacher, Mr. Gelman, told us to write a story which incorporated all twenty of our weekly spelling words. Across the room, Julie, the mean girl who all year had spelled girl "gril" looked stricken. Her face went pale. Mine flushed with excitement.

At home, I observed my surroundings: the Betty Crocker cake mix box on the counter, the broken color tv that only played in black and white, the musty smell of our unfinished basement. I did nothing extraordinary except to take notice of the ordinary. I used these elements of my life and combined them with the spelling words to write a story about the daughter of Betty Crocker who lived in a house with a broken television set, a musty basement, and two sisters.

I felt joy as the words spilled onto the page and elation as I reviewed the final product. I didn't tell anyone, didn't want to brag, but I knew it was good. I knew.

Mr. Gelman knew it, too. He gave me a gold star and read my story to the class.

That year, I started a novel. Praise from Mr. Gelman inspired me to be a writer. I was good at something I enjoyed. (The holy grail as I would discover in my adult life.) I carried a cream-colored looseleaf binder with me everywhere. Inside was a title page and five chapters, each one labeled and separated neatly by dividers, about a little girl living in the country. (My inspiration was James Herriot's, All Creatures Great and Small.)

My 6th grade teacher was a different sort. In me he saw no spark and cared little about nurturing one. My fire quickly burned out and the cream-colored looseleaf was buried along with my dreams. It later disappeared, carelessly thrown away with other childhood keepsakes.

My passion died out without a fan to it's flame.
It took decades to return.

It eludes me again today. These past few days.
I want it back.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Menage A Trois: Sex and the City, SJP and me

Before Friday's SATC movie release, I refused to read reviews, interviews, blogs, anything that might risk plot spoilage.

I saw the movie Saturday night - now I can't push the characters and their stories out of my mind.

I have my thoughts on the film, faves and flaws, but I'm spilling nothing. For better or for worse, I love these gals and seeing them again felt like a reunion with long lost friends. (I wish I had friends like these when I was single in NYC.) So when I sat down at my computer this morning, ready to catch up on the day's news and write a post, it should be no surprise that upon seeing a link to an interview with SJP, I clicked.

One hour later, I surfaced from my SJP rendezvous, mesmerized and infatuated. Each time I see her interviewed I like her more. Her humility, compassion, intellect - I'm a teenager with a crush - I want to be her!

Did I mention that I had a HUGE crush on Matthew Broderick before SJP met him? I spent an entire lunch hour stalking him as he circled Washington Square Park. Poor thing was still limping from the car accident he had in Ireland. He was gaunt and pale but that didn't stop me! I remember thinking, like any stalker worth her weight in psychosis, that I looked just like his girlfriend, Jennifer Grey, and dreaming that he'd turn around, ask me out for coffee, and dump the stale Dirty Dancing bitch for some fresh meat. (Hey, no one puts baby merlotmom in a corner.)

He did eventually go for the girlfriend switcheroo, but he picked Miss Sarah, not Miss Merlot- so she and I have something in common - which is nice. (Caddyshack reference - anyone? anyone?)

So readers, for today, rather than a pithy post or a profound presentation, you've been to merlotmom's and as the t-shirt says:

... all you got was this lousy link

(scroll down for the video of SJP)

Or maybe you'd rather spend an hour with your kids or something. Pffffft!

If you've seen the movie and want to talk, contact me! I'm dying to spill.

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