Saturday, June 30, 2007


I get that it plays music and accesses the internet and has a groovy little touch-screen that's oh-so-COOL!, but people. Really. It's a PHONE.

Have you looked on ebay this morning? You should. iPhones are listed at well over $1,000. Course, you get free shipping. Whoopeee. For that price, as DH is always saying, you should get a Hatian to come clean your house and be at your beck and call. (Nothing against Hatians. No hate mail, please.)

Give it a year. Six companies will copy the blasted thing and you'll pick 'em up in every phone store and Wal Mart for $50.

People wonder why they can't afford, like, food and stuff. It's because you're ponying up the bling for phones and electronic games and vacations you can't afford and a lifestyle your paycheck won't allow!! They're EXTRAS, my friends, not necessities!!

Seriously. My head spins.

A G for a cell phone. Dear Lord.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thursday 13

13 Nice Things That Happened This Week

  1. I got farther into Eat, Pray, Love. It may be in my top five books of all time. It's a book I'm savoring...reading a few pages at a time, reflecting, thinking. Such a fantastic match for my little life revolution I've got going on here.
  2. One of my college girlfriends called to tell me that her C-section date has been my birthday! Hee hee!
  3. I bought two new pairs of Bermuda shorts from JC on sale ($9.99 a pair for Dockers, ladies!!) and they fit!! My fellow big-legged girls out there know how hard it is to find longer shorts that don't pinch and pull and get all baggy around the waist to fit the thighs (I hate that word, thighs. Urgh). But these fit! I may just buy another pair for next year!
  4. One of my son's friend's mom invited all of us to their house to swim in thier pool, and we had such a nice afternoon. She's a really nice girl and the kids played together beautifully. We all had a wonderful time.
  5. My mom offered to take my kids today for as long as I want. Yeeeeeeeee ha!
  6. I went to dinner with a dear friend and spent three hours and change just talking. About everything. And nothing. It was a really nice, relaxing night. And yesterday, she brought me a little gift with the nicest note, really for no reason at all. Warmed my heart and reinforced my conviction that I'm doing the right thing lately. Made my day, truly.
  7. We also ate crap for dinner, drank beer, and had ice cream after. You see why the shorts don't generally fit...but man, it was fun!
  8. I found out that a fellow blogger had a really nice compliment bestowed on her thanks to a hobby she enjoys. She thinks it might be queer, but I think it's awesome. Share with everyone--you know who you are!
  9. DH's uncle's major back surgery yesterday seems to have gone well.
  10. I finished an article that was giving me fits. Very few articles give me fits when it comes to the actual writing, but this one was a bear. Gone. Done.
  11. DS and I read the 68-page book for his little book club (more on that another's very cute) and really enjoyed it. Sitting on the couch, snuggling, learning about baseball, sounding out words. Life is good.
  12. We found most of the pink frilly stuff we need for DD's upcoming birthday party--it's a princess tea party. Lord deliver me. I just need teacups and we're set.
  13. I'm feeling so much more positive and so much more happy and very content and upbeat these days. Things that used to bug me really just aren't. This is a very good thing. :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Twisted Grey Matter

All the headlines about that wrestler who killed his family and himself are now calling it "'Roid Rage." And every time I read that, I instantly wonder why hemorrhoids would cause rage.

Deep thought for today...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

If I Only Had a Brain

The first emergency of the day happened at 9 a.m., when my daughter put on her Crocs to go outside and play.

"MOOOOOOOMMMEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" Yet another rendition of the shriek herd 'round the world. I took off for the kitchen expecting blood, or at least a large insect somewhere in the room.

"My jibbitz!!! It's GONE!"

You know Jibbitz--those little charms kids wear on their Crocs. Seems my beloved princess is the only one in the world who can spontaneously lose one.

We searched the house. We scoured the back yard. No Jibbitz. It was a cute one too--a yellow sunflower. And it was already hotter than Hades and we were all a bit antsy, so I threw everybody into the car for a jaunt to Hallmark, the Jibbitz capital of the free world.

They pondered the bins, my little Crocs-wearing beasties. Another shriek, this one in delight, when the girl found another yellow sunflower. And then she found Cinderella, and the boy found Superman. And I'll admit, I found a chocolate lab who looks darn cute on my own rubber clogs.

So we dumped them on the counter and paid. $11.77. For the four little charms.

I started wishing I'd invented charms to fill the holes in plastic shoes. I mean, the lady with the Jibbitz patent is raking in the bucks right now. Planned properly, I bet that money could last her the rest of her life. Ditto for that freaky blonde perky chick who made the first Baby Einstein videos and then sold out to Disney. And whomever invented those Bumbo baby seats that sit tiny infants upright, eerie as that is.

I also wish I'd invented holey rubber clogs, come to think of it. And wooden trains with creepy faces and human names, and little tiny dolls with snap-on clothes and shoes that are nothing more than vacuum cleaner fodder. If I'd only thought of marketing superheroes whose only discernable difference from one another is the color of their shirts, or princesses who are essentially helpless without their men but who look darn sparkly in their ball gowns and smile like there's no tomorrow. I'd be a very wealthy woman.

Dang, I wish I was smart...

Monday, June 25, 2007


We took the boat out Sunday. I loathe taking the boat out. It's a 14-foot boat. Beautiful, don't get me wrong. Handmade by a family company in Rhode Island with mahogany seats and trim. Gorgeous. Art, really. But too small for a day on the Chesapeake. You get the snot knocked out of you.

Which is exactly what happened to me.

So I'm getting the snot knocked out of me and consoling my children, who are also being tossed around, and trying to not kill my husband, who calls this fun, when we pass an old Radar tower. And at the top of the tower is a huge nest, and in the nest is a wild bald eagle. The real deal. Perched, majestically, atop the tower, surveying his domain, looking just as regal as an American eagle should look.

There aren't words, really. I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a bird person. They hang around my yard, they crap on my car, and they steal from my blueberry bush. Birds are for dinner, as far as I'm concerned. But this eagle, up there, wild and free and gorgeous...he was stunning.

My son thought so too. We've spent several hours online watching videos of eagles and learning about them, and he had to call Grandpa--the family resident bird expert--for a lesson on the creatures and to share his experience with someone who wasn't there but would appreciate it.

It's going to be a long time before I get on the boat again. I need a sturdy sports bra and a back brace, and several alcoholic beverages first. But if we go again, I hope we look up and see that eagle watching us. For reasons I can't pinpoint, it made my day.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Finding Me

DH was away most of this week on business. And while we miss him when he's gone, the kids and I (OK, mostly me) take the opportunity to live a little lazier. We watch movies after dinner. I don't feel like the place needs to be in order by 6 p.m. And I get the remote all to myself.

I've told you guys that I'm making some changes in my life. I'm kicking out toxicity--food, relationships, habits. Part of that has meant pulling back from some relationships that make me work too hard and bring me stress and grief. Significantly pulling back.

It's been going well, truthfully. I've reached out to some new acquaintances with positive results and my stress level is down from not worrying so much about the other folks. I'm not snapping at my kids as much and we have all this time that wasn't there before.

But after the kids went to bed last night, the silence around here was deafening. And I started falling back into old habits--wondering why so-and-so doesn't seem to give a crap that I've fallen off the earth, pondering why thus-and-such didn't call or email me to see how I was doing even though she knew I was sick the other week...that sort of thing. "What's so wrong with me?" kind of stuff.

So I poured myself a glass of red wine, popped in "Love, Actually," and just felt sad for awhile. Shed a few tears, moped around, pouted, and let myself feel it all.

And today, I feel so much better. What a catharsis. I'm looking forward to getting to know some new people and I'm thrilled to have reconnected with an old friend I hadn't really seen much in awhile. I've made some great plans with my kids for the next few weeks--plans that I would have invited the other group to join me on last year, but that we're gladly exploring on our own this summer--and I'm reading a fantastic book about finding oneself and deciding what's important in one's own life. For the first time in a long, long time, I'm meeting myself and valuing myself and putting me first for awhile.

It's going to be a great journey. :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


This story made me feel ill.

When are we going to start watching? When are we going to start really screening people before we let them work around kids? When are we going to start caring enough to walk our *own* kids to school, to watch our *own* kids over the summer (assuming we're not all working parents) instead of sending them to camps and programs with complete and total strangers, to keep our eyes and ears totally open?

When is it finally going to be enough?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


It's birthday party day!

Of course, it's the hottest day of the year. *sigh* 95 and really soupy-sticky-muggy. For our backyard party. For which I've hired a friend of mine who owns a kids' fitness company to come put our little Power Rangers through their paces.

Of course.

I'm not worried about the kids. I called all the parents yesterday and told them to send our little Rangers in their swimsuits, and I'm putting out our way-cool 15-foot sprinkler down the side of the yard. They'll stay wet and cool. But my friend? And me? Sweltering. I have no issues going through the sprinkler with the kids. My friend, though, has a real class to teach at a school half an hour after she's here.

If you ever stumble on this, my friend, I'm so sorry. I owe you.

I need to get moving...frost the cake, put up the SunSetter, set some fans out, spray the yard for mosquitoes, decorate the lawn, get the snacks made, go get ice...the list goes on. Cross your fingers that nobody gets heatstroke...

Monday, June 18, 2007

Catching Up

Wow. Since Thursday? Sorry, gang. We headed up to the lake Friday at lunchtime and got so much done and had such a good time that we didn't get home until later last night. It was a good, good weekend. We painted, we boated, we mini-golfed, we cleaned, we hung out, and we ate too much. Hooray!

So I've come to a decision. I'm done being a doormat. See, all this time, I thought I was being nice to some people. But the truth is, they're just not very nice back. Not trying to be cryptic, but it's not worth getting into. The end result is this: I'm through with the favors and the little cards and gifts and the invitations and the organizing and all of it. I'm done going out of my way to be friends with this group--clearly, my friendship isn't needed or wanted, for whatever reason. I'm going to focus my energies elsewhere and I'm going to go on and move on and find better things and people ahead. Finis.

My little guy turned six on Friday. Hard to believe!! We gave him a very basic digital camera and he took some darned nice shots over the weekend! His party is tomorrow, assuming no rain, and he's really excited. Happy birthday, little man. I love you more than the stars.

Happy Monday, my online friends. May it be the start of a great week!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Open Letter to the AMA

Dear Doctors:

Much is said about the statistics that mothers, especially young ones, don't take care of their own health the way they do their families'. They don't go to the doctor like they should. They don't go for recommended tests. They skip annual checkups and dental cleanings, and they never return for follow-up appointments when recommended.

Everybody says it's because they're busy and they get into a habit of putting everyone else before themselves. And yes, that's part of it. But there's another whole dimension.

I went to the OB's office for my annual last week--about four months overdue. I arrived 10 minutes before my appointment time, as requested, signed in at the desk, presented my insurance card, driver's license, and copayment, and had a seat.

And sat...and sat...and sat. For the better part of an hour. With absolutely no communication from anyone to let me know that the doctor was running late.

The same thing happened at the dentist's office the other day. An hour and a half, I waited. Nobody ever told me it would be awhile. No one ever said, "Geez, you want to go get a cup of coffee or something?" Nothing. "He'll be with you in a few minutes," the receptionist said. "A few" is, apparently, subjective.

Now, here's the thing. My OB appointment was scheduled for one of the three hours my daughter was in preschool. I scheduled the appointment for 10 a.m. She leaves school at noon. Which means I had to be in my car by 11:40 at the latest to pick her up. So when the doctor finally poked his head in the room at 11:10 to say he'd only be 10 more minutes, I had to tell him: "Doc, I need to leave. I have to pick up my daughter at school."

My appointment was rushed. No question about it. And that's not decent healthcare.

It took me 10 minutes to get to the doctor's office from my house. Had someone called me half an hour before my appointment time to tell me he was running so late, I would have gladly rescheduled. Had someone told me when I arrived that it would be an hour before I was seen, I could have called a neighbor to pick up my daughter. As it went, I had to get the doctor to fly through my appointment. I didn't get to ask questions I wanted to ask.

In layman's terms, it was a Big Fat Waste of Time...time I treasure and don't have much of.

For the dentist's appointment, my children were at friends' houses after school. I should have wrapped up at the office at 12:30; instead, I left there at 2. Did my kids overstay their welcome? Probably. But I couldn't call to say I'd be late, numbed up and mouth filled with equipment.

To put it simply, it's rude and inconsiderate on your part to leave us hanging in the waiting room (and we won't even get into the fact that if we're late, you can and do refuse to see us at all). For moms like me, it makes appointments almost impossible--if it's a question of not being able to pick my kids up on time, I just won't go to the doctor. Simple decision.

It's fixable. Communicate with your front desk people and have them communicate with your patients. We can handle the waiting if you're honest and upfront, and let us handle it, instead of making us just sit there, wondering how much longer. It's very simple for a receptionist to say, "I'm sorry Mrs. F., but the doctor is running about an hour late. If there's something you need to do for the next 45 minutes or so, you have that much time."

The consideration road runs both ways. And it's simple and easy and basic.

So that's your answer, at least from my perspective. You want me to come in for medical care? Don't make it impossible.

Much love,

A Mom

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

What's In My Thinking Cap

Finished up the root canal today. The second half was only two hours but hurts way more than the first half did. And I got the bill--holy schnikies, doc! I suspect the reimbursement from our so-called dental plan will be less than acceptable. And between that, our power bill mysteriously doubling from last month, and a bunch of plane tickets we ended up needing to charge's going to be ugly around here when the credit card bill hits. Who wants to host me for a few days while DH adjusts?

It's storming like a muthah as I type this. We need the rain. Desperately. I could do without the thunder and wind, though. It's a bit like Armageddon outside.

Dear CNN: Really and truly and honestly, we're all over Britney. It's been done, re-done, and overdone. She's not worthy of your third-down headline. Leave it to the tabloids. There's a war going on, for God's sake.

Between the dog food and now the lead paint in Thomas trains, I'm seriously considering proposing a moratorium on Chinese imports. For the love of all that's holy, people, what are you thinking??!!

DS had his first dental appointment yesterday. Among other things, the hygienist put a fluoride treatment on his teeth. Only she told him it was a "special vitamin." So when we got home, he proceeded to tell DH, in no uncertain terms, that he didn't need to brush his teeth anymore. He just needed to take a pill. You can't fault his logic...and he was sorely disappointed to find that not only does he indeed have to brush his teeth with toothpaste, he now has to have a fluoride gel applied to his teeth every night (soft enamel, apparently). Poor kid.

Thanks very much to the Silk Soymilk people. The commercial with the daddy cow trying soy milk in his cereal is very cute, don't get me wrong. But my kids are now saying, "What the..." whenever they're presented with something new or confusing. And we all know what "What the..." ends with in real life. Charming to hear my little kids saying it all the time. Very nice. NOT making me want to buy soy milk, that's for sure.

Marion Barry got away with it again. The Teflon Mayor...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


I've never understood the hoo-ha about Trader Joe's. I mean, yes, the whole Hawaiian shirt thing is cute and yes, the advertising fliers are amusing, but I never got the appeal of the store. We have two of 'em, and they're both small, crowded, deadly slow to check out of, and not very well stocked--the fresh produce bordered on disgusting and you can't get white bread there (DH refuses to eat any other kind). No tomato paste either, and who doesn't use tomato paste from time to time?

But in the past several weeks, I've been learning more about food. I've been reading about things like additives and organics and whole grains, and why healthy things are healthy and why some foods just shouldn't be consumed by anyone (sausage, anyone?). Spurred on by Hungry-Girl, I bought a copy of this book and dug in.


I haven't gone off the deep end with it. I still enjoy dessert and I still drink Coke Zero--some things are worth it. But I have become completely grossed out by things like preservatives and added hormones and antibiotics, and I've become more interested in eating fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Healthy stuff.

A few visits to the grocery store taught me that I just can't afford to eat this way. Organic milk is bordering on $8 a gallon at the Giant near me. Organic chicken is twice the price of Purdue; ditto for kosher. And if I can find things like coffee creamer and cereal bars without preservatives and chemicals, they're just not in the budget.

So I made another visit to Trader Joe's. And I've got to say, the long lines still cheese me off and I still think the produce is gross, but they have an amazing selection of healthy food that's still affordable.

Hormone and antibiotic-free milk at TJ's is the same exact price as standard milk at the Giant. Organic chicken breasts were $.05 more per pound than I was paying for chemical-laden bird boobs. I found healthy and yummy cereals and granola bars and snacky stuff and pasta sauces and all kinds of things, and my grocery bill actually went down.

They have this stuff--Blueberry Musli. It's fat-free, chemical-free, and the perfect add-in to make me eat yogurt, which I generally can't stand. Mix some of this in with a cup of vanilla yogurt, though, and YUM-O.

Anyway, that's my journey. We're now doing 75 percent of our grocery shopping at TJ's, and supplementing with farmer's market produce and Wonder Bread from Giant (*sigh*). I know I can't be the only one around who's struggled with health vs budget, so I thought I'd pass this along. Good stuff, my friends. Good stuff.

Saturday, June 9, 2007


Alien got me...

The challenge is to use ONE WORD for each answer (no explanations).

Yourself: Tired

Your Partner: Stressed

Your Hair: Choppy

Your Mother: Here

Your Father: Not

Your Favorite Item: Laptop

Your Dream Last Night: Forgotten

Your Favorite Drink: Blue Moon

Your Dream Car: Convertable

Your Dream Home: Victorian

The Room You Are In: Office

Your Fear: Elevators

Where You Want To Be In Ten Years: Home

Who You Hung Out With Last Night: DH

You're Not: Organized

One of Your Wish List Items: Ring

The Last Thing You Did: TV

You Are Wearing: Clothes

Your Favorite Weather: Sunny

Your Favorite Book: Dog-eared

Last Thing You Ate: Brownie

Your Life: Funny

Your Mood: Good

Your Best Friend: Sick

What Are You Thinking About Right Now: Sleeping

Your Car: Odyssey

What Are You Doing At The Moment: Laundry

Relationship Status: Stable

What Is On Your TV: Food

What Is The Weather Like: Gorgeous

When Is The Last Time You Laughed: Earlier

Friday, June 8, 2007

That was Fast!

As of 10:30 this morning, I have a first-grader.

Didn't we just start kindergarten? Wasn't I just whining about leaving him at the school for the first time in his little uniform, all by his little self in those hallways swirling with kids and teachers and people I didn't know? At least then, I took comfort in the fact that my baby was a baby at school too, and that everybody would give him a little extra room, being just a kindergartener and all.

And here we are, finished. He's reading--whole books. Last night, he picked up my old copy of Stuart Little and went to town on chapter 1. He's doing math. He's counting money and telling time and singing the Star Spangled Banner and reciting the Joyful Mysteries and doing about a billion other things that big kids do. My baby!

This morning, he put on his little uniform like every other day, complained about breakfast like every other day, and raced through the school doors as has become habit since September. His sister and I went and got gas for the car and then hit the grocery store for a few things. I picked up a celebratory balloon for him and got $20 back in cash so we could order pizza for lunch.

Two hours later, I parked in the carpool line and started reading my magazine. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw them...all the kindergarteners in a neat line behind their teacher (who I adore, by the way), coming out of church and meandering to the parking lot, right to the first white line. Just like they're supposed to.

I was OK.

I got out of the car, walked down the little hill, and got almost to the first white line to claim him. And then his teacher looked at me, shook her head, and started to cry. Nineteen years, she's taught this school's kindy class, and she still cries on the last day.

I held it together. Said our good-byes and have-a-nice-summers, herded the kids up the hill into the car, and opened his folder. Inside was the nicest note in the world written on his report card, all about what a great job he did this year and how much his teachers enjoyed having him. And there was a green feather taped to a little note, congratulating him on passing through to first grade and encouraging him to grow wings and fly, and always make magic. And a photograph of him on the first day of kindy.


I'm going to miss kindergarten. I'm sure first grade will be wonderful, but it's straight downhill from sullen preteens and even more sullen teenagers and years when it won't punch me in the gut when the last day of school comes. My baby's not really a baby anymore.

He did a great job. I'm so proud of him.

First grade. Whoda thunk it was coming this fast?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


It's an abcessed tooth. Infected. Dead. Very very swollen and ugly. I'm on three antibiotics and have a slew of painkillers at my disposal (yeeeeeeah...partah in da hooouuuuuuuse!) and go back to the lovely endontist tomorrow for part 1 of a 2-part root canal.




You're Shittin Me!

Those of you who followed me from my old blog might remember that this has been the year of healthy-ness in my world. The year I cut out a lot of crap food and started eating better--and learning about food to begin with. The year I paid attention to exercise. The year I've been making a real effort to get healthy and get my family healthier.

In January, I found out I had outrageously high blood pressure.

In March, I had a kidney stone.

And this morning, I woke up with what appears to be my first dental abcess. The left side of my face looks like I've had a baseball surgically implanted between my cheek and gum.

So I'm off to the dentist. And folks, I hate going to the dentist. I hate it so much I avoided it completely for 12 years--last fall's cleaning was my first visit since I was a teenager. I'd rather do just about anything in the world before going to the dentist and letting someone prod around in my mouth with sharp pointy things.

But I'm off. To the dentist. To see if we can fix my face.

Son of a ...

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

While I Was Gone...

I learned that if you notice your towels still smell kind of funky after being washed and your clothes aren't quite as clean as they maybe should be, and you have an HE washer, you should pull out the detergent drawer and clean both it and its slot in the washer.

Because chances are, everything's all gooped up with clumps of nasty old detergent. And when you finally go to run the washer and it's all gooped up, you'll end up with two inches of water in your basement and towels that are still nasty, and it'll take the better part of the afternoon to clean up the water, dry everything out, clean out the washer, and start all over again.

That's what I learned.