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Showing posts from June, 2011

Things I know.

• My daughter can be bribed into learning to swim with a Littlest Pet Shop fox.

• The movie Company Men has superfluous bad words, seeming extra loud when my daughter plays Littlest Pet Shop (fox edition) in the next room.

• It takes eight hours to get a 13 year old boy's room thoroughly cleaned and painted.

• A 13 year old boy's room is disgusting.

• Rather than paint and clean a 13 year old boy's room, my husband will run all the mom errands.

• My back is not as strong as it used to be.

• I am more accountable with To Do lists on paper than android apps.

• Mascarpone gelato is unrivaled.

• Missing dust pans can be found in 13 year old boy's closets.

• I don't care what happens at the end of Company Men.


Wordless Wednesday: Tracks of my tears.

Try not to have a good time ... This is supposed to be educational. - Charles Schulz

You got your stereotypical homeschool mom. History recalls a denim jumper, flybacks and white Keds. Southern homeschoolers don't care for the terminology but we have, indeed, evolved.

Spicier than ever, homeschool moms are copiously diverse: Bull by the horns. Janet Jackson flavored control. Tinsy bit obnoxious but always determined. Always on the scene. Kindly mean.

She will amaze you with her courage and shame you with her strength. She will bore you with her endless chatter about curriculum and tutors and unnecessary peer pressure. She refuses to acknowledge socialization because how do you know what her kids are up to. "What state legislature could care more about mine than me?" She's thrifty and scary.

She will dig until she finds it or do it herself. Channeling Olympian determination, she will become what is required. She knows Merriweather Lewis and photosynthesis and semicolons. Dinosaurs, Da Vinci and what George Washington ate for breakfast. Her head swims…

Cuddling kitty cats.

Batman blankets and butterfly pillows litter the room formerly known as the Learning Lounge. The furniture is couched together to create an environment conducive to tent building. Packing tape was involved. All the while, a whiny, tiny person pouts over the inevitable phone call from the girlfriend. Tent building is a skill acquired over years of indoor "camp outs". It's been awhile.

My high maintenance boy is the life of that party. Let's have a camp out. Let's make a tent. Let's watch a movie. Let's share treats. Bring a flashlight. Let's have a stir of imagination.

Just as everyone is enthusiastically convinced, the fancy flies away. High maintenance boys have contagious, detailed energy but short attention. High maintenance boys can lead but don't care. High maintenance boys have patience for In Particular Moments. High maintenance boys need to be distracted before they can settle in. And they'll be long gone by the time you've caugh…

Confessions from a saccharin user.

It's my own fault for welcoming that Barefoot Pinot Grigio into my bloodstream. Now, I have an alcohol induced migraine. Apparently. I need Imitrex and a large water.

Lovin' Man is convinced all ailments can be cured with water. And air. Feeling droopy? You need water. And some deep breaths. Stuffy nose? Big glass of water, son. Achy muscles? Some breathing exercises oughtta do it. Drink a glass of water, too. (Well, point taken on that last one.)

I prefer pharmaceuticals. I lost my zeal for hippy remedies after watching my high maintenance boy suffer repeatedly with bronchitis and pneumonia.

I just don't have the patience for the bright eye or chamomile to kick in. I'm going with Benadryl and Mucinex. If a kid turns up with an ear infection, I am getting her the quickest relief possible, saving the garlic oil for my next stirfry. And I will surrender just about any principle to overcome a migraine and those pesky post trauma headaches that follow because they are mean …

Jeremiah 29:11

It's 2:15. A.M. I do not sleep. I wonder. Fret. Dig dig dig.

I try podcasts. I can learn that way and, armed with knowledge, my anxiety subsides. Meanwhile, I could just pop in on the Amazon app to see what book I might need. Eventually, I will have 3 or 6 or so on the subject and be fairly qualified to write one myself. All these questions lead to more questions and I cannot differentiate the answers from the anxiousness.

Blurred by a waning memory, I consider the insanity of doing what has already been done over and over. It is safer, perhaps, to stay the current course. There are less Unknowns. Not knowing is the worst. But how can I Know until I Do?

Lovin' Man listens and supports but these are my thoughts to ponder, mine to bear. Eventually, he's going to sleep.

Accompanying my indecision, are doubts, fears and regrets. Can I judge the future by the past? Isn't the obvious glaring for a reason? It's just that the choices are only Lessers of Evils. Some may eve…

Wordless Wednesday: Corinthian for sale.

NTGOAP

• I only intended on taking off a month from school but we've just seen the 6th week pass.

• I always wait until the last week to read my book club book, even if I'm really looking forward to it.

• My DL expired in April.

• I never use coupons.

• Although I got the book shelves squared away and sifted through curriculum, the box for Goodwill sits undelivered.

• I ditched Pilates class all last week for no good reason.

• I sometimes go to sleep with make up on.

• I've indulged in several juvenile, yet somehow satisfying, eye rolls this week.

• I stay up too late.


Deep in the hundred acre wood.

Two weeks pass since his due date. I was miserable in humid Tennessee heat, swollen and sleepless. I could not wait to meet him.

A whimsical nursery mural. Handmade quilt. Perfectly folded (and refolded) onesies resting and waiting for his little baby body. He promised to be the most fine boy in the world.

Our first encounter ends abruptly after a difficult and toxic labor. "I can't hold him. I'm going to be sick." I go unwilling, and somewhat delirious, to rest. Passing the nursery on the way, I see his hair is matted and wet. "He looks funny", was all I could muster. I sleep briefly before throwing myself into the task at hand: Someome's Mother.

It is Day 3 when I truly fall in love. Gram is there and administers his first sponge bath, thick towel spread out on the bed and a warm bowl of water next to Baby Magic. He is cold and scolding. She giggles a little at his tantrum but I cannot bear it and my feelings are hurt. She recognizes a moment when s…

Custom made for a daydreamin' boy.

With Dad, words are not wasted. We use them but I know we are already the Same.

With Dad, it's peaceful and easy because he champions regardless. His advice is sparing and weighty.

With Dad, I know he knows. Funny, his owned anxiety can disperse my own.

The winter dampens the two of us and we fret needlessly, together.

With Dad, there are stories waiting to be told. He's an unassuming rock star with cowboy eyes.

In Dad, I see the essence of my son and a glimpse of tomorrow. He's one to watch, boys.

With Dad, I can't quite understand why considering him stirs me so. Meanwhile...

With Dad, I bloom because he says so.






I'm with you rain or shine.

One season we had a marine biologist on our hands. Mountains were moved round and he found himself on a faux tropical island, complete with reggae and barbecue chicken. The sunscreen was thick and uneven to protect the wildlife. Sharks lived in the water. And rays without stingers. There was a lazy river which was preferable to snorkling, although he tried his hand. Fantastic birds of color resided along the lazy river. And fish. Excited to have his day because you are only Eleven once, he stopped to admire a dolphin. He was given a wet suit. Then the dolphin took him away for a swim and there was joy.

The Brazilians had the best spot under an awning with a clear view for photos and it was hot near the shore. Camera in hand, I blinked back tears under baking central Florida sun as I watched that dolphin kiss my Big Son.

I love to see him smile.






Fantastically Amazing.

"When I hear music, my heart starts pounding and I feel like a spirit is coming inside me. Like music is not just a machine making noise. I feel like it's really talking to me."

~ Lovin' Man's baby girl, 7




A precious gem, that's what you are.

It just couldn't be helped. With reluctance, I accepted my choices were grim. This red azalea bush was not flourishing in my garden and must transplant. Too much sun, perhaps? Brown and leafless. I couldn't bear to see it this way. My best efforts with Miracle Grow and daily water failed to produce a single bloom last season. Facing the finality of the situation, off it went to the side yard where pesky weeds are abundant.

I don't get to enjoy it as much, out of the way like that. Truth be told, it's no better in the shade but this is a time of trial for red azaleas. I always hope.

A seasonal flower pot sits in it's place, atop fresh mulch. I planted some winter pansies a while ago but it's already June and the days are numbered.

It might take a while to figure this out so I bide my time.

I would really love to see zinnias grow there but I just can't find the motivation.


Wordless Wednesday: Summer Ave.

Antiestablishment.

There was a well established hierarchy among the cats when Mr. Sugarman joined us which is why he was rejected by his fellow felines. He didn't fit into their cliques and he was way too frisky for old lady cats. So, dogs it was. The Sugarman marches to his own beat.

The three of them are a companionable lot. Out goes Bella, Freddy, Sug. Dog, dog, cat. In comes Bella, Freddy, Sug. Dog, dog, cat. Why not try a dog bed tonight? Or a snuggle to stay cozy? But it's much easier to trust a fellow dog than a cat, all claws without warning. At least, that seems to be Bella's view. It somehow hurts my feelings when she cannot accept Mr. Sugarman's purring affections. He only wants to love but Bella's instincts are as razor sharp as kitty teeth. Freddy has a shorter memory so he's always mixing it up with a cat.

At two, Mr. Sugarman's still got it and he will use it.


Mr. Sugarman

If they knew all about you, they'd end up loving you too.

Such joy to see my daughter toting a book around with her everywhere she is and, ever more, in relating this to my Big Son. At the age of Beautiful Daughter, he did the same, discovering every book on the shelf one summer. Completely unaware, I recommended a book to him as a boredom cure:
"Did you read this? It's really good." Silly Me thought he was still Nate the Great when he'd become the Indian in the cupboard. Off to the library.

It's not only parental vanity that fuels my delight in my Bookworms. We Three are bound by literary love. This sameness connects when there is a failure to relate in other ways. Big Sons like big stories.

I don't really dig video games or anime but I do enjoy a fantasy novel now and again.


Stretch marks.

I really couldn't afford another kid. Or another or another. No one can. But that's not why God gave These People to me...

As it turns out, the world rotates on an axis and not me. The same applies to my children's siblings.

As it turns out, patience is a virtue.
Given ample opportunity to develop this virtue, I continue to be deficient.

As it turns out, I can handle enormous amounts of stress. My garden benefits.

As it turns out, I can function for days without adequate sleep. Inadequate sleep interferes with virtue development.

As it turns out, I did need a daughter. She solved the puzzle.

As it turns out, tough love has it's place. Launching a man is tough business.

As it turns out, the exhaustion accompanying me through the first 10 years of parenthood has relocated to my brain. If that's not a scientific fact, it should be.

As it turns out, I do like teenagers. They possess a particular charm and casual intensity that is admirable.

As it turns out, my mother w…

Blog goddesses, tell me the secrets of your world.

I have questions and they need answers. I merrily continue blogging because I can't be bothered with technical details but I am curious about a few things. Such as:

1. I don't really understand that pingy thing although I seem to get a good bit of traffic from it. Anybody?

2. How do the twitter links work with regard to blogging? I don't see any traffic from "Twitter" even though I share my link on my Twitter account. Surely somebody is biting every now and again.

3. What's an RSS feed and how does one relate to me?

4. Is monetizing profitable enough to justify the distractions (from an aesthetic point of view)?

5. How might someone, for example, in Singapore or Iran, stumble upon my blog?

6. Does everyone know this stuff or are we all as clueless as me?

These questions and more...







Intruder alert.

I'm wrestling with my hair at the (aptly named) vanity while Lovin' Man relaxes just outside the door. We are having a grand and satisfying grumble over the State Of Things:
"Would you believe he told me..."
"What kind of person would..."
"Not ONE time did they..."
Like that.
Beautiful Daughter is occupied in the kiddie pool next door. Groggy Man Child is recuperating from a tonsillectomy. Everyone is out or indisposed.
A red curtain hangs to afford extra privacy just beyond our bedroom door. Suddenly and without warning, a tiny raven haired creature enters through red curtains. Dark eyes. A familiar shuffle. The small creature is an overwhelming presence. It is nonchalant while we are rendered speechless for the moments it takes to realize we have an intruder in the form of our next door neighbor's bitty daughter. She is determined and unassuming, her likely goal to reach the Barbie house in the adjacent room.
"What are you doing, littl…

Wordless Wednesday: Henry the VI

He resides on a mantle in the Ye Olde English Inn in Hollister, Missouri. Est. 1909. There's a photo on the wall across from Henry of the mayor of Hollister rowing a boat through the lobby.

Hotter than a match head.

Summer is stifling humidity but winter is cold feet.
Summer is mean to the garden and it's always thirsty but Winter is vitamin D deficiencies.
Summer is biting buggies but winter is itchy, dry calves.
Summer is wet swimsuits, wet towels and drips but Winter is lethargic afternoons.
Summer is fleeting but winter is crawling.
Summer is Activity Director but Winter is Homeschool Mom.
Summer is late nights and later mornings but winter is worse.
Summer is one too many doorbell buzzes but winter is too many chores.
Summer is Ice Cream Man but winter is Tax Man.
Summer is breaking and winter is drowning.



Your timing is impeccable.

I might have a crush on Dr. Doofensmirtz. He invents those Inators and has a snazzy pad. He's introspective, creative and has a complicated past. He needs validation. He plots to overtake the tri state area and stuff. And he's not really, truly evil. Which brings me to the Grinch...

Curse you! You don't believe in love!



"Without love, you ain't nothing without love" - Larry Norman

Lolling round in sin is much preferable to behaving oneself. Knowing Jesus, parenthood, societal demands, financial constraints and legal constraints as well as the desire not to shame my family keep me in check. If we did what we really wanted, what would become of us? We can't have an entire world of people Feeling Good and Doin' It. Who would foot the bill?

The best we can hope for is authenticity because, frankly, we are not that good of a people. Removing the rose colored glasses reveals none who measure up to even our own standards. My pride will lie and fail and fall so beware. Somebody's coming for me. And they are gonna be skinnier, stronger, busier, fancier, craftier, wealthier, kinder, gentler, smoother, fresher, crisper, sexier, and better. I'm learning that to lay out my cards at the inception is the safest bet. 
Abundant baggage in tow, I still judge what is not mine to see, hoping, for once, I might not be That Good but surely not That Bad either. If I kee…

Jamie Oliver, you change my life.

At least as far as cooking is concerned. He has a fabulous smart phone app and so far, I've added at least six meals to my repertoire that we love. At least as far as adults plus one adventurous (and high maintenance) boy are concerned.

I'm a bad feminist and it gives me indescribable joy when Lovin' Man praises my cooking. He's impressed by lemon zest and fresh ginger and salad spinners so I'm pretty big time nowadays. Of course, Beautiful Daughter keeps me humble, curling little lips and unfairly execrating Jamie and his kitchen virtues. You can't win them all, Jamie, and she'll learn.

I did. My mother raised me on fine southern cooking with temporary health conscious detours into mandatory wheat germ sprinkles and frozen yogurt pies. As an Aiming To Please Gram, she's done with that nonsense, embracing Salty and Fried Deliciousness for the sake of her men. (She's a really bad feminist.) She claims she taught me to cook under duress but I don'…

Wordless Wednesday: Cutting Budgets

Ever so much more than twenty.

"Of course Peter promised, and then he flew away. He took Mrs. Darling's kiss with him. The kiss that had been for no one else Peter took quite easily. Funny. But she seemed satisfied."- J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan





For years I've hung on to picture books. There were Littles for so long. These books were in perpetual play. Since Beautiful Daughter is going to be 8, I recently attempted to discard most of them.


Nope.


I've too much emotion attached to brown bears and Jesse bears and hungry bears and little bears and pooh bears. Perhaps it should be easier as they've grow older but I am overripe because they don't remember Those Hours reading books. And how could they remember how I perused the book section of the thrift store, choosing carefully just for each one in turn?
To encourage his interest.
To teach him something new.
To delight him with color.
To widen her world, appreciating aesthetics.
Or strengthen a concept.
Or a relationship.
To teach a virtue.


At the…