Archive for March, 2007

March 26, 2007

Making breakfast Sunday morning with the kitchen TV mindlessly on.  The kids were waiting for fresh pancakes when one of those natural male enhancement commercials comes on, all about “Bob” and how he has a great job, wonderful family, and all the ladies love him.  Reagan’s friend looked up at me and said “Wow, that Bob has a great life.”


March 26, 2007

Just when I was about to ship them off to live with Howard K. Stern, my kids surprised me and got along… for almost a whole weekend.  They played volleyball together, cleaned the dining room together, ate a family meal together.  It was delightful. 

On the other hand, I had a terrible night of sleep.  Taylor sleep walked into our room.  The dog, oddly nocturnal, ran from one end of the house to the other (click, clicking toenails on the wood laminate) culminating in jumping up on our bed with a turkey carcass in his mouth.  Nevertheless, it was better than either time that Taylor, feeling nauseous, walked into our room and upchucked on my feet.

Food (?)

March 23, 2007

My kids are having friends over this weekend.  This always poses a bit of a food quandry for me. My kids’ friends seem only to like food that comes from a box: chicken nuggets, fish sticks, frozen pizza, oreos.  I might decide to make chicken with noodles (homemade) and I hear a chorus of “ugh… what’s that?”.  Yep, they are picky and a bit rude, too!  Disheartening after having cooked and cooled a whole chicken, picked the meat off the bones, mixed flour, water, salt, and eggs, to make the noodles, stood over a hot pot of boiling water to cook them, and made the gravy. (After this long process one boy said “it’s okay, but my mom makes this kind that comes in a blue can, and it’s way better”) 

They remind of the cashiers at walmart, asking “what is this?” for each produce item they ring up. 

It makes me think “what the hell?”  Does no one cook anymore?

This sums up my March:

March 22, 2007

No luck with my NCAA bracket picks, darn, because the kids’ braces are expensive!

I hope this is a question all parents have pondered.

March 21, 2007

At work, the phone rings.

Reagan:  “Mom!  Taylor just changed the TV channel and he called me stupid”

Me:  “Reagan, put your brother on the phone”

Taylor comes to the phone.

Me: “Tay.  Watch TV in another room… wait, are you chores done?  Is your homework done?  Apologize to your sister,” etc…..

Taylor:  “She changed the channel first and she called me a jerk.”

Reagan grabs the phone. 

Reagan:  “Mom, is that all you’re going to do to him?  He called me stupid; he changed the channel!”

Repeat, at least once per day. 

Am I raising assholes?  Or even worse, dumbass assholes? 

(BTW: Our house has 3 TV’s and a rule against name calling… and one new rule, only call mommy at work if there is visibly gushing/spurting blood or fire)

Memphis, TN travel advice

March 19, 2007

Hi. We are thinking of going to Memphis, TN for a couple of days during Easter break.  Any advice on hotels, travelling, and worthwhile or overrated tourist attractions? Thanks, Jennifer

March 19, 2007

She has brown eyes, scraggly hair.  She’s ten going on thirty and wants, desperately, to be liked. She knocks on our door and asks “Is Reagan home?”  If Rea is not, she steps into the kitchen and offers to wash the dishes, to help me with dinner.  We chat.  One time she tells me “I know what ‘scarred for life means;’ It means when something happens to you so bad that you can never get over it.” 

Later she says “One time when I was eight a man came to our house. He was a foreigner; he needed directions to Peoria.  He climbed in bed with me and we watched Sponge Bob, Square Pants.” 

It makes me thankful that my children’s definition of “scarred for life” is having their parents chaperone their dance; not getting to go to the movies; being ignored by a classmate.

It’s steamboat classic time

March 16, 2007

For several years I ran (very, very slowly) the steamboat classic.  A few years ago I signed up the kids to run with me.  We trained for it on the nearby rock island trail and they were both doing fine.  However, the day of the race my daughter decided she “didn’t want to do it.”  I thought it was just morning grumpiness and that she would really enjoy it.  I was wrong.

The race started.  The colorfully dressed crowd surged ahead; we lagged behind. The more we got behind, the slower my daughter moved.  Pretty soon it was Taylor, Reagan and I, along with one other, generously sized lady, blocks behind the crowd. Reagan stopped walking and just stood in the middle of the street, the slowly cruising police car at a halt behind her.  I decided we would walk ahead (keeping her in sight), hoping to make her feel silly in her stubborness.  Didn’t work.  Instead she stood there yelling “My mom is mean!!!!” “I hate my mom!!!!”  ETC…  It was quite a sight.  Eventually she did walk again, but with slumped shoulders and frequent mutterings about the evil creature that is her mother. She came in 2nd to last due to the generosity of the other, kind-hearted slow poke.

It’s steamboat classic time.  The Illinois Valley Striders runs a great program called “building steam” that helps people train for the race.  I have done it 4-5 times and it’s wonderful.  They group everyone according to ability and everyone from great runners to walkers will find an appropriate group.

List living vs. sunshine and sunny spirits

March 15, 2007

In February my life fell into “List living mode,” in which life becomes about completing one thing so I can move onto the next, very important task. 

Thaw out meat.  Peel potatoes. Put laundry in the washer.  Fold laundry in the dryer.  Quiz daughter, prepositions (that list becomes a meaningless tongue twister quite rapidly… “concerning, down, during,”) Cut up fruit for dinner.  Pee. Wash hands. Check on dinner.  Check laundry.  Check daughter, rinse, repeat, reuse, recycle….

 It’s not the monotony of the list.  On normal days I take joy in a lovely, perfectly peeled potato. Joy, in my daughter “teaching” me about prepositions and coming up with wacky prepositional phrases.  But when life just becomes about completing one task so as to move to the next, with no joy, it’s tedious. 

Luckily the sunshine woke me up.  The brightness of the rays, the briskness of the wind, the sound of birds chirping brought out a deep sense of satisfaction and joy. 

I hope everyone else is feeling the same way.

March 15, 2007

 I have been thinking a lot lately about the nature of work and the roles within our family. 

My husband works a lot.  His job is stressful, time consuming and emotionally unrewarding.  He rarely takes time off and has few workplace benefits, other than making a decent wage (commisioned based). 

My job is full-time, extremely low stress and has a very liberal amount of leave.  I consciously chose such a career.  I wanted a job that would work well with being a mother. The downside of this is that my job doesn’t pay very well and my skills and education aren’t being fully utilized. 

Is it right to underutilize one’s abilities?  Is it fair to one’s family, to society? Is it vital to “be all that you can be?”