Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Apathy's Overrated

Oracle implied that I get too riled up about things. Things that don't have any direct affect on my life.

At 41, I don't see myself changin'. Not sure I could if I wanted to.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Taking on Ms. Erica Jong

This is a rated R post friends.

Not the usual fodder for themommymemoir but I just couldn't resist responding to Erica Jong's ridiculously insulting and crude comments regarding blogging and bloggers.

While sitting in the doctor's office today I flipped through a magazine and came across this,

"Blogging is vanity. Like loving the smell of your own farts. Like not only tasting your menstrual blood, but making bloody thumbprints (sic) and buying gold-leafed frames in which to display them. But the truth is, not everything you think is worth publishing. Not everyone's opinion matters. How to distinguish a "pundit" from a gasbag? Impossible! On television, they yell and posture. On blogs, they are equally puffed up with self-importance...

First reaction: eeewwwww. Second reaction: she is still alive? Third reaction: my, my...isn't she a bitter little senior citizen?? I bet she labored long and hard over that ever so gracious hyperbole, all in an effort to make sure that we, the literary peasantry, clearly understand just how erudite and elevated she is. Because after all, she is Erica Jong. She alone is responsible for the renaissance of female sexuality. I mean really--life as we know it would be so empty if we weren't privy to her lovely, enriching prose. I would feel personally cheated had I never heard that oh so bandied phrase, "the zipless f***".

Needless to say, the blogging community had lots of fun responses for Ms. Jong. This mommy laughed at many of them but they are far too lurid and unseemly for themommymemoir. Suffice it to say, they spoke in a particular brand of vernacular that Ms. Jong surely understands. As a champion of sexual expression, she must appreciate the zest with which various bloggers told her she could go f*** herself. (Temper, temper bloggers.)

Instead of hurling insults, let's just chat about her emission of noxious fumes. Her wildly popular Fear of Flying, once considered a manifesto for female, sexual liberation, has failed to stand the test of time. Peruse a few pages and you will quickly glean that her soft porn approach to sexual enlightenment is laughable. I believe the term that best fits here is passe'. And so not applicable to the lives of most women of my generation. The mere thought that the author of the above posted quote has anything at all to say about human sexuality is actually rather frightening. It's got to be tough when at her pinnacle, in the 70s, Erica Jong was the it-girl of the paper back novel crowd. Now she's just cranky and irrelevant.

Listen Ms. Jong...Just in case you're vain enough to google yourself and you just happen to come across this post...I blog because I want my children to know their mother as a distinct person who had all kinds of thoughts an opinions about a myriad of subjects. Sure, they will see that for themselves simply by living with me. But a lot of the day-to-day I won't remember in years to come. So here it is. Now, if a few other folks want to read it along the way--great. I don't pretend to be a pundit, an expert, or any other such thing. Sometimes I read what I wrote and think, "Wow..that sounds like crap. But it's all I could muster that particular day." So be it. That in and of itself might be kind of telling in years to come.

Mostly, it's just for my kids. And something tells me they will think these fumes smell pretty damned good. In the meantime darlin'...just go run your own race. You've got some serious catching up to do.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Mommy Recommends...DWR

...otherwise known as Downey Wrinkle Releaser.

At the risk of sounding like I'm straight out of Stepford, let me tell you--this stuff works. Oracle and I are in full agreement. She even talked me into buying it by the case (online) because it isn't always on the shelf for some reason. And I go into a laundry induced panic if I've run out. Jim even tried DWR and he was impressed. Since he's a laundry connoisseur--that's saying something.

I rarely, if ever, use an iron. And I'm not A-R enough to always pull clothes from the dryer once they are done. Just spray, pull taught, and throw the shirt on a hanger. Good to go. It's not razor sharp but it's surely not wrinkled. Sometime good enough is, well, good enough.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Three "Ds"

Dressing. Dieting. Decorating.

Life in the burbs for the mommy. In addition to the full-time, finely crafted development of my budding citizens, I had better find a way to carve out time for the above mentioned vocations/ pastimes/obsessions. 'Cause otherwise...well...it's a problem. I can't really put my finger on why it's a problem. But trust me, it just is.

Shortly after sun rise, all of the testosterone vanishes in this town and we women mobilize. It's an all girls' school for grown-ups, minus the nuns to keep things in check.

Those of us who don't actually receive a paycheck for our work have all kinds of expectations placed upon us. Many are stated; most are not. We know we have to raise our kids well. Got it. Apparently, however, I must have missed the memo that tells us SAHMs that we better not just throw on any old thing . If you're wearing sweats, they had better be coordinated and fashionable. You know...of the "Juicy" variety (gag). And if you're overweight, it is first assumed that you are the nanny, not the mom. After all, a good mom would not let herself "go" like that. And when you have that playdate, your house should be immaculate and tastefully decorated. All in effort to win approval of the equally beleaguered yet peppy mom who will stay for all of 9.8 seconds as she whisks off to yet another playdate, another soccer game, another dance practice. Ad infinitum.

OK...maybe you've just caught me on a bad day and maybe I'm projecting. Totally and completely possible. And I love my little town. Heaven help anyone who dare criticize it. It's just that I've always claimed that we women are way hard on each other. And I happen to live in a town where most of the women are around during the day. I would hazzard to guess that I have it better than some other SAHMs. God help me if we still lived in that other western suburb (starts with an H, ends with an E and has I-N-S-D-A-L in the middle). In that case, my three Ds would become four--desperation would be added to the list.

Oops I have to go. Pick out the perfect outfit, get on the treadmill, and reevaluate my throw pillow choices.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Can I Have a Do-Over?

Circa 1977. I clearly remember the playground game of Skill with a nifty little escape hatch called a do-over. This is not to be confused with a "liner" or a "skimmer". No. A do-over is as the name implies; you just get another chance to get that huge rubber ball over the line and into your opponent's square. The criteria for a do-over were arbitrary and wholly dependent upon your mood, your opponent's mood, the number of children waiting in line to replace you, the amount of conviction displayed when requesting a need for a "do-over" and most importantly, the amount of time left before recess was over. If a mere three minutes of freedom remained before the inescapable shuffle back to the academic salt mines, you were a gonner. No do-over. The game, as far as you were concerned, was over. Even so, you knew the next recess would surely bring a re-match and if you palsied out in pursuit of that enormous, bouncing ball, you just might get your do-over. And there was comfort in knowing that.

As a young adult, I must have firmly believed that the do-over was a viable life strategy. I don't know if I really thought it about that way at the time. But my actions surely conveyed a sensibility that anything could be undone and if need be, made right. I had pluck, you know, resilience. If I only knew at 18 that some actions and words are irrevocable. No do-overs. Just recovery from the fallout. And wounds that heal--but not totally.

I want Ethan and McKenna to know that you just have to try to do it right the first time, especially when it comes to treating people well, not flaking out when others need you, reminding those close to you that they're important and loved. Not taking them for granted. And when it comes to achievement--striking while the proverbial iron is hot. Because life changes, demands emerge and shift. Some things just require that yes, you gotta do it now. Tomorrow is not promised. At twenty, you think you have all the time in the world. Plenty of room for flub-ups and oversights. To be sure, you have some room. But not nearly as much as you think.

If the power of the do-over was truly mine, I would have stayed in the living room with my grandmother that night in January and found something to chat about instead of gluing myself to MTV. I would have broken up with my very first boyfriend in a far kinder and gentler way. I would have listened more to my grandfather's wisdom. I would have put far more focus on academic and career achievement early on in my adulthood. I would have believed in myself more and relied less on others to make me feel worthy. And I would have discovered the power of prayer and the amazing Grace of God far earlier than I did.

Don't get me wrong. A lot turned out really well for me. I am blessed in a hundred different ways. Just now and again, I think about what I could have done better, about actions that can't be undone despite much amends making. I hope that my dear children can learn from me in this regard.

Truth be told, most of the time you just don't get that do-over.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Ethan's Chronology of Life

Ethan bestowed his wisdom tonight...

You're born, you're a baby, a kid, you go to college, you get married to a VERY pretty girl, you get a job as a hamburger cook, you have kids if you feel like it, and then you die.

When I told him that his time line doesn't put me in a very good spot he said, "You can probably get out of dying right now since you decided to have kids when you were so old. God will probably throw you a bone. But you better get crackin' because you never know if He'll change His mind".

You got me there Ethan. You got me there.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I Wish I Had Written It...

"...I like flaws and feel more comfortable around people who have them. I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions."

-Augusten Burroughs, Magical Thinking

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Mimi Turns the Big 5!

These are the days
These are days you’ll remember
Never before and never since, I promise
Will the whole world be warm as this
And as you feel it,
You’ll know it’s true
That you are blessed and lucky
It’s true that you
Are touched by something
That will grow and bloom in you

These are days that you’ll remember
When May is rushing over you
With desire to be part of the miracles
You see in every hour
You’ll know it’s true
That you are blessed and lucky
It’s true that you are touched
By something that will grow and bloom in you

These are days
These are the days you might fill
With laughter until you break
These days you might feel
A shaft of light
Make its way across your face
And when you do
Then you’ll know how it was meant to be
See the signs and know their meaning
It's true
Then you’ll know how it was meant to be
Hear the signs and know they’re speaking
To you, to you

(These Are The Days--10,000 Maniacs)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Big Sigh of Relief...Mimi

A girl's gotta look her best! What a little doll.

There was some remote concern about relapse but those fears have been put to rest. Thank God. Here's what her mommy has to say about the recent, jubilant revelation:

Hi Everyone,

I am extremely happy to report that Mimi's repeat lumbar puncture revealed normal spinal fluid and no "suspicious" cells nor any blasts. Everything looked normal and I can breathe again. Thank God and thank you all for all the prayers and support. I am certain that this is what has helped Mimi do so well.

Of course, Mimi was clueless that anything was going on. I was able to maintain fairly well until today, when I knew I would get the results. I was very worried and nervous. Of course, they were running late at the clinic, so that made things that much worse. Finally when both the nurse practitioner and the doctor walked in, I was about to lose it, but they both said it was good. I almost started crying. The stress. Anyway, who knows what that funky cell was they saw on the last LP, but everything is fine now. Mimi looks great and feels great and we should be done with treatment in February. Yippee.
Again, thanks for all the support.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

My Friend Kenya

Have you ever known someone who is so unique, so utterly their own person, that you know any time spent with him or her will forever have an impact? This is exactly how I feel about Kenya.

We met several years ago in the workplace. I liked him right from the start but I knew he was going to do things his own way, in his own time, on his own terms. That approach doesn't always gel in a corporate environment and as I suspected, he encountered his share of head bumping and growing pains. Luckily for all of us, we didn't work for IBM and we weren't in the ARMY. At least in those days, the networking giant for whom we worked gave folks-with-potential a little breathing room to blossom. And did he ever.

Kenya is a consummate speaker and an engaging presenter. He is a committed and tenacious problem solver. Success will never elude him. And Kenya is kind with the one of the happiest laughs I have ever heard. Perhaps the most lasting image I have is Kenya working at his desk, in front of a computer, donning a cowboy hat while singing along with a Country song. If you didn't see the top of his hat over the cube wall you certainly could hear him! He was, without fail, the only Black man I had ever known who not only liked country music but freely admitted it! That alone places him in the annuls of the mommy memoir.

I just received the most uplifting e-mail from him today. I am so happy to hear that he's is getting married! So, congratulations to Kenya. God bless him on this most worthy and worthwhile calling. The challenge and the rewards are like no other.

Kenya and his lovely wife-to-be.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Mommy Recommends...Stuck On You

Now that I have a few (and I mean a FEW) of you checking in from time to time, I thought I would occasionally do a post on products I think are really great. Take it for what it's worth friends.

If you've got kids, you know that they have a lot of stuff. And they lose stuff--all of the time. In an effort to minimize this, I started labeling just about everything. The problem: my homemade, computer labels didn't have staying power.

I just love Stuck On You labels. My favorites: Iron-on clothing labels (a pre-school must), plastic backpack tags, and vinyl name labels--great for school supplies, toys, whatever. Thoughtful, unique gift for other moms/children. Check 'em out at Stuck On You.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Guess Who's Getting Married????!!

This was just snapped while Sex and the City (the feature film) was filming in NYC on Friday. Guess we have to wait until May '08 for the movie....This is a must-see for Mommy!

Yes, I love the show and no I am not contradicting past statements about our over sexed air waves. This is an adult show and is promoted as such. My children have no access to it nor should they. I may not agree with many of the themes but I think what pulls me in is the message that despite all of these women's missteps and misadventures, love really does matter and will always win out over casual encounters. Even randy Samantha accepts this by the end of the series. I love the fact that the show's star is not classically beautiful. And yet she is attractive because she knows how to accentuate her positives, so to speak. And there isn't one woman who can't relate to Carrie's insecurities. Or Charlotte's. Or Miranda's.

I think the title Sex and The City was an initial hook and homage to the book but it in no way defines the essence of this show--which is really about hope, family (albeit non-traditional), and yes, true love.

Friday, October 05, 2007

When Mommy Was a Kid...Movies I Loved

When I was 12, I was absolutely certain that he was the most beautiful male on the planet. Turns out he had a beautiful, kind heart to match. Hope you're safe in Heaven Chris.

Ethan loves it too. I wanted to go to that chocolate factory soooo badly when I was 6.

I told you I loved these apes. I guess the spelling of her name is Dr. Z-I-R-A.

When I watch this as an adult it depresses me to no end. Still, it was great then and even better now. As a kid, I missed all of the subtext--which made the movie madcap and kind of funny. If I had realized everything that was really going on, I would not have liked it all.

The ultimate taboo movie for a Catholic grade school girl in the 1970s. And rightly so. Still, John Travolta was a fabulous mess in this movie wasn't he?

The book haunted me as a girl. Not because of the blood and supernatural references. Actually,I was really sad that young girls could treat each other so badly. In years to come, I witnessed a few Carrie-esque moments. More than a couple of the girls at Mitty High School from 1980 to 1984 were really, well...mean. I hope they developed "sensitivity chips" in years to come because they sure were missing them as teenage girls.

Star Wars...the love affair continues...

Can you believe that the girl is Paris Hiton's aunt (Kim Richards)?

Every girl wanted to be Brooke Shields. And for good reason. She was stunning. As an actress...not so good. But we didn't care about that silly detail.

I thought Quinn Cummings was the best name ever when I was 11.

I didn't get caught up in the hype but the movie still gives me chills.

The problem here is that the theme of the movie is that if you're innocent and pure, you're not gonna get the guy. In the end, Sandy had to slut it up to reel her man in. Not a good message. And not at all true either. Still, it's a classic that I adored when I was 11ish.

I cried my eyes out over this saccharine, schmaltzy, over acted piece of dribble. But because it was a memorable cry indeed, I included Love Story in my list. When you watch it as an adult, it's actually laughable. "Love means never having to say you're sorry". Who wrote that? Love actually means that you have to say you're sorry all of the time.

I remember seeing this with my Dad.

Because of this film, I still scan the night sky and think that we very well may not be alone.

Life is a Caboret-o-chum...so come to the Caboret!

More Brooke Shields. Whatever.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

When Mommy Was A Kid...TV I Loved

When I was 8, Mary Tyler Moore was everything I thought a woman should be. At 41, I still kinda think that.

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was on weeknights at 11pm. Way too late for a fifth grader but you guessed it--I was up. Way before it's time. I could see this making it on HBO now. Check out Mary Kay Place! What an underrated actress. She's great on "Big Love" as Nicky's mom.

More my mom's era than mine but I loved Mickey Mouse club reruns. Annette and Darlene were my favorites.

Loved Flipper.

What normal kid was up watching Tom Snyder? On occasion, I was. I just loved him for some reason.

The worst of the 70s--really.

My grandma would laugh, laugh, laugh at Geraldine. Who couldn't?

I adored Family Affair. Poor Buffy.

The first time I ever heard the word "gay" as a reference to something other than being happy. Family was a little sappy but still pretty good. I don't know if it can stand the passage of time though. I haven't seen it since I was 11 or 12.

Loved the reruns on channel 2 after school.

Saturday night, channel two, hosted by some guy who's name escapes me. Popcorn. Grandma's house.

Barnaby Jones. I was a weird kid--clearly.

Scooby Dooby do, where are you? We got some work to do now.

All in the Family. Perfection.
Not a single show has rivaled it--before or after.
Not a single one.

This reminds me of living alone with my mother in an apartment in Los Gatos.

What a guy. I loved his house.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

When Mommy Was A Kid...Toys I Loved

Doesn't every little girl go through the horse stage? My friend Katy was way into the horse adventure world. She might even still have her collection.

My Dad got me this and I loved it. It was huge.

Kids still like these. Ethan and McKenna have their own versions.

Dr. Zera from Planet of the Apes. I was obsessed with all of the Planet of the Apes movies. I was pretty sure I could become Dr. Zera.

Fortune Telling Magic Eight Ball

Klackers? Huh? For some reason, getting two plastic balls to bang against each other was big fun.

Chrisie...her hair "grew" by pulling it and then you could magically crank her mane back into her head.And we thought this was fun because?????

It seemed cool at the time.

I LOVED my Mickey Mouse transistor radio!

Every single girl I knew had one of these.

Mine looked exactly like this. Third degree burns on your finger tips were a rite of passage for a girl growing up in the 1970s. Light bulb heat source. Who thought of that?

Malibu suntan Barbie

and her camper

Boring is underrated.

Ethan told me last night that he felt sorry for me because I "had to grow up with such crummy toys". He may have a point. But I thought they were pretty great at the time.