Friday, September 30, 2011

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Getting through this week. It was hard and sad and long. I missed my Mom something fierce especially yesterday when I felt particularly downtrodden and at the end of my rope. It was an I want my Mom kinda day. Those kinda days really suck now. Moms just know how to make everything better, or at least mine sure did. So after one more visit to the doctor for my ongoing infection, getting another round of antibiotics, putting what the doctor said about surgeons and infectious disease specialists out of my mind for the time being, and the power going back on so we could open our garage and get in our dry house, I popped some popcorn for a little t.v. tune out for me and Miss Bit only to find that the weather knocked out our satellite. Miss Bit needed me to make everything better the way moms do so I put Spooky Buddies in the dvd player and acted like it was the best movie I had ever seen. Just for the record, it was not. We chomped and chortled and best of all cuddled and that made it all worth it. Then T. Bone came home and the three of us gathered around the table for soup and homework before lounging in the family room chatting and playing games.

My girl has been extra cuddly all week long. It's like she can just feel that I need it. She slept in her Dad's spot the other night since he is away, and snuck in again sometime in the wee hours this morning. When I got up, I saw she had a kitty flanking either side. The three of them looked so peaceful and cozy, and I thought how I always want her to feel so safe and warm.

Dinner with Jess Wednesday night. I made my Mom's classic tuna casserole and her pumpkin squares. I'm lucky to have someone who understands my sorrow and allows me my tears. She knows my happiness and together we laugh too. Friends and family forget or don't want to bring it up or maybe don't know what to say, but friends like Jess just say and do and be thankfully.

Today is the last day of September. I'm eager to wake up to a new month, a fresh start tomorrow.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I've had a couple situations this week that caused me to really question authority and the direction our society is going in.

First off, T. Bone was released from school at 10:20 Monday due to a power outage. I found out that my son was not where I thought he was from a friend who called me at work after being unable to reach me on my cell. She was at work too, but was kind and thoughtful enough as she always is to arrange for T. Bone to get a ride home from another mother to their house. Basically, her 12 year old son was in charge of the 10 year olds. She received an e mail from the school. Apparently, I did as well at 10:41 in my junk mail AFTER the children had been released. I provided my work number on numerous forms I filled out in the registration process, but the school didn't contact me directly. Instead they sent an email blast and called it a day. CYA...I don't think so. What really irked me was this line in the email: The safety of your child is our highest priority and without power, students are unable to use the restroom facilities and we cannot serve lunch. Hmmm?? If their concern is for the safety of our children, then how could they possibly explain releasing them without certainty that they would be supervised? How could they feel comfortable that these 5th through 8th graders would actually go home and if they did that they could get in? So I called the superintendent and spoke with someone in her office because that is who generated the email. She was chawed that I was chawed. She said, "Well, we sent an email." And when I let her know that not everyone is connected to their electronic mail all day every day, she said, "Well, we let kids use their cell phones." When I let her know that not every kid, and certainly not most 10 year olds have a cell phone, she said, "Well, you'll have to talk to the principal." CYA and pass the buck two of my pet peeves.

Then the mother of one of Miss Bit's classmates called me the other night to set up a play date with the girls. She is new to the school and we have not yet met. She called me and yet I got the distinct impression that she wanted me to have her daughter over. When I paused a little long, she chimed in, "Well, I guess we can just do it at our house." She didn't give a time so I had to call her to find out the details. She gave me 3 numbers. I found that a tad obnoxious. I dropped Miss Bit off yesterday morning since they had a late start day, and I was surprised to be greeted by the nanny/housekeeper/chauffeur in a uniform to boot. As a parent, I think she should have informed me that she would not be home, but that so and so would. I wasn't so sure that so and so was even expecting Miss Bit and that was a little uncomfortable. I thought big, fancy house... important 3 phone number career and no manners.

Yesterday I went for a little pampering after my retail therapy. It's one of those salons where you can just walk in so you may or may not have to wait. It was the evening before a holiday and many ladies (I am using this term loosely) were coming in for last minute manicures and pedicures before heading to new year's celebrations. There is a language barrier between many of the technicians and customers, and in fact, the lovely girl who gave me one of the best pedicures I have ever had, barely spoke a word of English. I couldn't believe the way some of these women were talking to these girls, literally snapping their fingers at them, barking orders, just being ugly.

Hmmm? At times, I wonder if there is any hope for the human race. I'd like to know what's happened to personal responsibility, decency and courtesy.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Treading Water

I'm just trying to keep my head above water this week. And smile when my kids say something funny. And answer them when they ask me questions. And make sure their homework is complete, they have clean clothes and full tummies. I'm just taking deep breaths and bracing myself. Getting them to school and sports and play dates on time, and also remembering to pick them up. I'm worn out, weary and water logged, but these two little people that I am responsible for...they are my life preservers. They are literally keeping me afloat especially today.

Yes, my littles and the sign that greeted me first thing this morning. That herald helps buoy me up too and how.

The sun is out for now.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Still Raining

It's still raining and I'm good with that. Truthfully, the grey skies and dank dampness rather fit my somber mood this week. My Mom will be gone three years tomorrow and despite what they say, it really doesn't get any easier. What I can say is that it is different.

As I drove along the lakefront yesterday, I was fixated on the waves that weren't just rolling in as they usually do, but breaking shore dangerously. The typhoon that assaulted Japan is now stilled over the midwest. The wave, it struck me, is really the perfect symbol for my grief. As defined, a wave is a disturbance that travels through space and time accompanied by the transfer of energy. My sorrow is always present even if under the surface, building momentum, ebbing and flowing until it crests again. The sadness I feel from my loss shrinks and swells, but it never seizes. It's true that after three years, I experience fewer tsunamis. There are more ripples than rogue whitecaps day to day, but even slight undulations disrupt, disturb and cause erosion over time. Treading in still water is still tough and tiring.

I have come to accept that the end of September...this week...will always be a time when my grief surges. With two milestones: her last birthday and her heaven day, exactly seven days apart it is near impossible to come up for air. Somehow knowing this and accepting it doesn't leave me any better prepared to weather it.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

two day pass

dinner with the girls was a welcome start to this weekend.
being out and about on a busy friday night made me realize what a homebody i've become, and i vowed right then and there to plan more dates with friends in the future.
when i got home, hubby left to meet some friends in town for a reunion.
the littles were asleep so i called it a night too.
saturday morning was it's usual montage of activity: homework, housework and hanging out.
t. bone edited and published his poem and it's not even due until tuesday.
miss bit finished one junie b. book and started another.
t. bone vacuumed the upper level.
miss bit gathered the laundry from our baskets and brought it down to the laundry room.
it's amazing how motivating it is to earn an allowance.
we've gone back and forth on this, but in the end it is what works for us...for them.
miss bit's friend came to play for all of the afternoon.
the boys went to football and came home with the news of another loss...again so close.
i had plenty of time and ambition in the kitchen.
i roasted a chicken for one soup and then some tomatoes for another.
i made meatballs for grinders at my son's request and mixed up a batch of oatmeal cookies to satisfy my own craving.
my brother and sil stopped by and stayed for dinner.
the meatballs were gone, but there will be more and soon.
sunday we made our fall pilgrimmage back to church.
the pews were so packed we had to sit in the back.
it felt good to be there even if in our absence we've forfeited our regular pew front and center.
shortly after our bagel sandwich brunch, uncle b. bone came to get t. bone for a round of golf.
miss bit went shopping with her allowance and her aunt.
the guys never made it on the course cuz' it started to pour so they played dice and watched sports in the men's room and i'm pretty sure my boy was just as happy.
the girls had much better luck.
miss bit came home with new suede boots, a funky scarf, cool cargo pants and cozy pajamas all from her favorite store.
she spent her allowance on safari and peanuts who are new friends for alice, but at school today with her.
we all enjoyed our favorite wings and bowls of soup with bread while we watched football.
we are retiring for the night happy, full, warm, and ready to be lulled to sleep by the sound of rain on the roof.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Around Here

I was up earlier than I wanted to be after a fitful night of sleep. I'm guessing not the snails, wine or decadent croque madame and bechamel agreed with my tummy nor my dreams. (The four hours of girl talk did). This dawn's dream gave me the shivers ten times worse than the other night's in which my attempts to foil a hungry tiger with my decoy and friend (albeit a nameless, faceless friend) failed and he chomped off my leg (my ailing leg) in one sharp bite instead of taking the bait. This morning's vision was so horrible that I'm choosing not to put it in words, but suffice it to say it had to do with last ditch, extremely experimental chemotherapy and my Mom. Yeah...time to rise and shine alright.

And the sun has indeed come out to play this morning, but the heat is on for the second time this week. Before kids, I used to try and holdout until November to fire up the furnace. Realistically, we would endure the chill until mid-October when we could see our breath inside and hubby could no longer...would no longer...take it. I don't need to point out that it's still September. Nonetheless, it's nice to know that our new furnace is working and ready to warm our house...only not for a few more weeks please. Thank you.

I came down to find Miss Bit standing in the kitchen eyeing up the tortes I brought home from the bistro last night. She told me her Dad told her she couldn't get up until 8:30. I pointed out that it was only 8:15. She was adamant that her clock read 8:30 and I believed her because hubby set it. I know he has something against actual time. His clock is off by like 40 minutes. T. Bone came staggering in seconds later with a bad case of bed head and sleep still in his eyes proclaiming, "Dad told me I HAD to get up at 8:30." The boy set his alarm on a Saturday. For the record, his Dad is still sleeping soundly. I think they were all in deep-dish pizza coma come bedtime anoche because none of this makes any sense to me.

The littles sampled their respective tortes for breakfast...hers chocolate and his fruit...and declared them delicious with a side of cold za. They better be at $6 bucks a pop. Then I tried them too and realized after doing so that I am to fast until 3:00 today when I have to go for some biometric screening for our health insurance. Oh well, I already decided I would have not one, but two coffees WITH cream this morning, and I dare not take my antibiotic on a completely empty stomach. Never mind that I've been to the walk in clinic, the doctor and the hospital in the last two weeks and yet not one heathcare professional has managed to take a vial of my blood. Argh. The timing of said appointment interferes with my presence at T. Bone's football game this afternoon, and so I'm especially unhappy. Tis' the quintessential football Saturday.

And it's the first fall weekend so I won't let it be soured or spoiled by the few things I have to do because I intend to spend most of it doing the things I want to do. And there you have it the way it is around here.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

What a difference a day can make. This morning I woke a half hour before my alarm feeling rested. My leg was so much improved from just the day before that I decided to postpone the doctor's appointment I made late yesterday afternoon when it seemed no progress was being made. The sun is shining and the air is crisp, yet pleasant. It is a good new day.

steel cut oats with a dollop of peanut butter, a splash of almond milk and a perfectly ripe banana.

Modern Family on Wednesday nights.

T. Bone realizing that it may be wise to share some of the burden that is middle school with his older, wiser, been there done that parents. He came home from football practice last night at 7:20, ate dinner and took out the trash by 8:00 and still had to study for 3 tests today, which he claims he "aced." It never occurred to him to carve out a little time each night of the week to lessen the burden. There is a reason they say: live and learn.

Miss Bit made a new friend this week who called to invite her for a playdate next week. She is beyond excited.

Hubby told me that t. bone was talking up dinner the other night during practice. I made pulled pork and homemade applesauce. There would have been enough for the whole team.

retail helps...helped this week.

T. Bone serenading me on his guitar after school today. He played and sang Hey Jude.

Today is the first day of fall. I love autumn for all its abundance and also...acorn squash, auburn and aubergine leaves, allspice, apple crisp, baking breads, battening down the hatches, being present, brisk mornings and nights, chili, color tours, cider - tart and hot, cinnamon, comfort in a crock pot, casseroles, cashmere cardigans, costumes, crafts, cuddles, coziness, Carmel apples, dappled sunshine, daylight saving time, date for anniversary, dens, ease, football - Saturdays and Sundays - festivals, family time, fellowship, flannel and fleece, the fall line-up, flux, fat and furry friends, gourds, ghosts and ghouls and goblins, game nights, hay rides, homecomings, a harvest moon, HOME, Indian corn, Indian summer, It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, Gritch the Witch, jazz on cloudy mornings, jack o' lanterns, leaf littered lawns, mums, mummies, movie nights, Man With A Golden Arm as told by Grandpa, orange and ocher and olive, pumpkins - bars, bread, lattes, seeds and in patches, on porches - plenty, piety, soups, stews, scarecrows, staying warm under afghans or in front of fires, stadium blankets, starry skies, team: sweatshirts, spirit, rivalry - trick or treat, time to reflect, vests, Vince Guaraldi, wool: socks, hats and sweaters, warmth inside and out.

Dinner out tonight with the girls at a yummy bistro. Looking forward to it after a long, hard week, but not sure French food will agree with my tummy on strong antibiotics.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Today my Mom would have turned 63. It was not a good day, but it wasn't bad either. It just was. I got a couple phone calls, a few e mails, a card all from people who remember just like me. I also got a sign. A retro VW bug just like Pumkin2 passed me: bright orange with a black top. Shiny, spotless, sassy, so fun, classic, and cheery just the way our Pumkin always was...just the way my Mom always was. It made me smile and I needed that.

Monday, September 19, 2011

two day pass

the weekend was low key.

it was just me and the littles for the most of it.

t. bone went to the homecoming game with teammates friday night.

the tough football players didn't last until the end because it was rainy and cold and they didn't want to cover up their team jerseys with jackets.

Oh and my boy confessed, "it was kinda boring."

i know what he meant was that it is much more fun to be on the field than in the stands.

miss bit and i stayed warm at the mall where we shopped at her favorite store in the world.

she was out of this world when i said yes to jeggings, a fuzzy, sparkly hoodie and silver shoes with sequins.

what can i say...seeing her happy makes me happier.

i was so that annoying shopper who made the clerk ring up 2 separate orders so i could best use both my coupons yet i still think i paid too much.

ahhhh, the price of fashion.

once home, i talked on the phone for hours with my friend and felt like we were back in high school.

saturday was a beautiful day...the perfect football saturday for cheering on the team.

they lost, but it was close.

the rest of the day was an uneventful mix of chores, cleaning, catching up, chatting, cooking, chilling.

hubby came home in time to perfectly grill our chicken which we enjoyed with naan and a delicious orzo with veggies dish.

sunday he was gone once again.

this time for an advanced motorcycle training class.

poor guy had to ride his bike an hour and a half to class and then home in a deluge not to mention it rained for the 8 hours he was there.

i know autumn doesn't arrive until friday, but yesterday really felt like fall to me.

i think to peanut too, for he stayed curled up in my bed all day long.

t. bone took over the kitchen table with his homework first thing and i didn't even have to remind him.

i burned the bacon and then the pancakes while trying to quiz him for a couple tests this week and realized that multi-tasking should not be attempted until 2 cups of coffee have been consumed.

i did not burn the almond joy scones thankfully.

we three went to buy the boy some back to school clothes.

i think we bought the same things as last year only in the next size up.

i guess it's not just the football gear that makes him look bigger...he is growing.

then he convinced me to take him out for lunch before dropping him at his friend's for the afternoon.

he's a big fan of the bagel breakfast sandwich at a local eatery.

what can i say...seeing him happy makes me happy too.

miss bit wanted nothing to do with all those carbs until we were cooped up in the car with his delicious smelling lunch.

i was back in line getting one for my non-bread eating girl lickedy split and happy to do so.

her friend came to play for the afternoon.

i caught up with my friend, her mom.

the girlies danced in the rain under umbrellas while
the moms sat around the kitchen table and stayed dry.

then i caught up with another friend around her kitchen table when i went to pick up my boy.

my guy was only a little disappointed that i didn't make his requested homemade mac and cheese.

it's on the menu for tonight.

on the agenda this evening...dancing with the stars.

on tap this week...getting through it.

the end of september used to be the beginning of my favorite time of year.

now it's the beginning of another year without my mom.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Moments like this...calm, cozy, content.

T. Bone survived his first motorcycle ride. I am not; however, grateful for how much he enjoyed it.

A new furnace just in time for the first frost.

Tonight T. Bone is going to the homecoming game to cheer on the high school team he aspires to play on one day.

Fake flowers...real people.

Miss Bit's teacher. She's my kinda gal. I like her as much as my girl does. So much so that I already baked her a loaf of zucchini bread.

T. Bone has made the transition to middle school seemingly seamlessly. He is on top of his tasks, working hard, staying organized, and also having some fun.

Our new morning routine. I get a little one on one time with T. Bone while he eats his breakfast. Then Miss Bit gets up and I sit solo with her. The other morning she said, "Sit down Mom. What should we talk about?"

As we sat side by side in my brother's car last weekend, Miss Bit took my hand out of the blue and said, "Awww you really miss your Mom don't you. I'm so sorry you don't have a Mom to take care of you." I wasn't crying when she said that, but I got just a tad verklempt afterwards.

When I told her that watching SpongeBob isn't good for her brain she said, "I hate that show. I'm never watching it again." She had just finished enjoying an episode only moments before.

The Middle. We all laugh.

After I beat my brother and sil in Scrabble last weekend (by 1 point...BUT), I couldn't get my hubby to play me. I think he's scared to lose his title now!!

Tigger only cornered, but did not catch the chippie the other day.

A shopping date after school with my girl. We went to her favorite store and bought most of what she tried on. She truly appreciated it and thanked me many times.

Hubby comes home tomorrow.

Thursday, September 15, 2011



I woke up exactly a half hour before my alarm when I wanted every minute of shut eye possible this morning.

I took a very lukewarm shower causing me to make a mental note to schedule new water heater install yesterday.

I let my son go to school in the same sweatshirt he slept in last night. What? It was chilly and he looked so comfy.

I gave my girl a braid instead of a pony, and let her borrow a pair of my nylon footies so she could wear her sparkle ballet flats and not come home with a blister at the end of the day.

I went in search of my hot rollers for the first time in years and made another mental note to make a hair appointment ASAP!

I put cantaloupe in my smoothie despite the fact that George Stephanopolous was reporting cases of Listeria from said melon on the morning show. I figured we already ate it with dinner last night so too late.

I wore sandals in spite of temperatures in the 40s.

I was glad that the furnace crew was on time and also that hubby was home to inspect the job to be completed today.

I almost felt relieved that Miss Bit decided on the way to school that she really doesn't want to be a Brownie this year since there were like 35 girls in attendance for yesterday's meeting and the gym was complete chaos. The truth is that I'd rather not volunteer in said situation.

I had a nice chat with my Uncle on my way to work and found out that he and my Aunt plan to come for a visit in November.

I had a better day than yesterday because even work is far preferrable to visits to the doctor and than the hospital for an ultrasound of my leg that is not healing.

I enjoyed leftover, so so yummy summer skillet for lunch and lemony green tea for an afternoon pick me up.

I am beyond thankful for friends. One picked T. Bone up for football practice and another kept an eye on Miss Bit whilst I attended middle school orientation since hubby is away.

I met T. Bone's teachers and love them all, but especially the ones he is most fond of. I feel the chi with this school...I cannot believe how seamless and awesome this transition has been to middle school.

I came home to find that T. Bone managed to heat up most of his dinner after practice. Apparently he didn't see the bowl of glazed carrots that were on top of the pasta he happened to hone in on and subsequently inhale.

I didn't read any bedtime stories. Instead I was treated to a performance by the best duo ever. T. Bone played Lady Gaga on his guitar while Miss Bit sang (and pranced around in a pair of my heels in front of the fan). Tigger and Peanut were on back-up.

I almost didn't want to put my littles to bed they were that entertaining (and sweet). When I tucked T. Bone in he said, "I heart you Mom." Awwww!

I am right now covered in cats and finally eating a chicken breast for dinner at 9:00 at night. And I just may be watching the Jersey Shore and losing my appetite, which is not a bad thing since soon it will be breakfast.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

It Is What It Is

I didn't write a 2 day pass post this weekend. It was my choice. This weekend had it's bright spots as they all do, but I had a cloud hanging over my head so try as I might I just couldn't bring myself to ramble on about Planet of the Apes and pizzas with the boys or a pain-free 4 miler with my man. The cloud really had little to do with 9/11, but the date's significance certainly didn't help any sunshine break through either. The truth is...I was grateful for the prevailing mood because there are times a girl just needs to wallow. Let me just say that it's a whole lot easier to wade around in the muck and the mire when the rest of the world is too. The only rogue ray was when I heard PS 22 sing their tribute to NYC. Who would have thought that an insurance commercial of all things could be so terrifically touching?

So back to this cloud cover. I'm not even sure I want to write about it, and yet I have to clear this air somehow. I am in this lonely place where I feel like I have no one to talk to. Well...almost no one. And in a way this has been a blessing because I have sat in silence most of the time trying to come to terms, make sense, find peace.

I've been holed up in my head and searching my heart for answers about just how to reconcile my feelings over the difficult words I had with a family member over the weekend. I say I had words because literally that was the very nature of the one-sided exchange. I communicated my feelings once provoked and he really had nothing to say that was healing or constructive. I don't regret that it happened or what I said or even how I said it. I do regret where that leaves us now, but in reality we've been on this flight path for quite some time and there really was no other possible destination. After I caught my breath and dried my eyes, there was even a little if to say we're finally here. To say that I have been experiencing the yin-yang of emotions would be a gross understatement so I'm no closer to clarity at this point. In fact, my mind is so muddled that I'm not even sure there is such a thing as clarity anymore.

To further muddy the waters, there is another person in my life with whom I probably should have words, or should have had words with a long time ago. It's really too late now for many reasons, but this recent realization has me mourning the loss of the relationship as I once knew it. I am in the process of accepting the way things are, but I'm still not comfortable with it and I'm a terrible actress. It's been exhausting to stifle my emotions, to put on a happy face, to be satisfied with status quo. I'm zapped, but the thing is that I now know I cannot give it anymore of my energy. I am almost to the point of believing and being ok with my Mom's words ringing in my head: It is what it is. No less and no more.

The one thing that is most transparent to me as I'm struggling with these damaged relationships is that I know now more than ever who and what is deserving of my energy. I am once again firm in my beliefs that I cannot change someone else nor hold them responsible for my happiness. I am damn sure that loving relationships should not hurt and that when we don't trust loved ones with our feelings, communication shuts down and this is what we're left with. What I don't know is where we go from here, but I guess I only have to figure out where I am going. I think I can do that.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I Remember...

I write this with a heavy heart laden with the innocence we lost 10 years ago today. I remember exactly where I was when I learned the second jet crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. It was only then I realized that this was an act not an accident.

I had just dropped my son off with his babysitter and I was at my desk preparing for any other day of work. The www was not as wide in my world in 2001. News was mainly delivered via print and television so once the word spread, I visited the conference room to gather around the only television in the office with my co-workers. It was surreal. I was stunned. It was a long day and little was accomplished. Nothing really seemed important in the face of such tragedy. All I could think of was picking up my son and taking him home safely. At 9 months old, he had no idea of the mass murder just committed, but I felt such sadness at what this would mean for the country our children would inherit one day.

The day after, I was home with my son and glued to the t.v. It was a beautiful, bright late summer day, and yet I couldn't bring myself to go outside to enjoy it. Like so many others, I was fixated on the coverage. I spent much of the day sobbing. He studied me a little scared and also unsure of what to make of my sudden outbursts. Then I would smile through my tears and he would giggle and go on. Children are vastly wise beyond their years.

The accounts continued for weeks and months after. So many losses. So many stories and each one seemingly sadder than the next. They are still sad today. I find myself once again crying through my tears this morning as I listen to these brave children of 9/11 as they've come to be called. They are survivors. They are true inspirations. Born on or after that day, but somehow more aware than most of its impact.

And today my 10 year old knows who Bin Laden is. He knows what terrorism means. He understands why September 11th is a solemn day of remembrance. He knows why we have to remove shoes and get body scanned before we board a plane. He understands that there is more good in this world than bad...more love than hate, but that evil exists and persists.

There is a part of me that wishes he didn't have to know these things or maybe even that they weren't true, but he does and they are. And let me not forget that children across the globe wake up every day with more to face and fear, which is why I choose to remember. I remember for the children...yours, mine, ours because really...what is the difference?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

The fact that it is finally Friday. For a short week, it has felt so very long.

Smitten Kitchen's delicious and simple Naked Tomato Sauce, and gardeners I know for sharing their boutiful harvest.

While shopping with the littles recently, I helped an elderly woman who was struggling to unload her cart. As we left the store Miss Bit told me, "Mom, I'm proud of you. That was very kind." That compliment could not have come from a better person as My Bit gets the kindness card every time.

Peanut is on Prozac. After the cat crisis we endured this week, I'll try anything to ease this guy's anxiety.

Tis' the season of crockpot cooking. This week I made the whole pot roast dinner. Pot roast sandwiches the next day just may be yummier than the day after Thanksgiving turkey sandwich.

Packer football. Last night the whole family gathered in the family room to cheer on our beloved team. I am going to try and be more of a fan this year.

T. Bone's first football game is tomorrow. He was so tuckered out from tough practices all week that he asked to go to bed at half time eventhough we would probably have let him stay up a bit later.

I edited over 1000 pictures this week, and am so happy to say that I am finally caught up.

Miss Bit has a date with her Grandma and Grandpa tonight. On the agenda: dinner out, swimming, hot tubbing, playing Monolopy, watching movies and shopping. I hope they are resting up today.

Hubby and I have plans to take T. Bone and a friend to dinner and a movie this evening.

Church on Sunday. I think September 11th will be a good time to return to God's house after an unplanned summer hiatus.

Miss Bit had quite the gift of the gab last night. She talked with her Grandma and Grandpa so long that the battery in their phone died. She even asked to speak with their dog. At one point I heard her ask each of them, "Tell me something funny that happened to you today, or this week, or ever." After her shower, she told me she wanted to call her grandma back because she makes her laugh. Grandma might want to get caller ID.

No more long pick up lines. After school, T. Bone runs up and retrieves his sister saving me stress and all of us time.

Rising earlier in the mornings. That extra 30 minutes makes for a much more relaxed start to my day. I feel more prepared, patient and present.

My leg is finally on the mend after 3 weeks. I even took a 4 mile walk this week. Next week I'm looking forward to taking a few.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

two day pass + 1

this weekend was one of rest, recovery and relaxation while the littles were away.
t. bone for a couple days and nights of fun on the river with friends.
miss bit to grandma and grandpa's for swimming with cousins.
after too much food network on a rainy saturday, hubby and i stole away for an evening out.
sunday we convened for dinner with the family and came home with a car full of kids.
monday was more of the same: cousins, swimming and laying low.
a holiday bbq too...ribs, corn, zuchini fritters and salad with homemade ranch dressing.
it already feels like fall...we're wearing sweatshirts with our shorts and sleeping under all our covers.
we're ready for a short, quick week round here and maybe indian summer too.

Monday, September 5, 2011

On My Mind Monday

“No man is an island,” said John Donne. I feel we are all islands – in a common sea.

Gift From The Sea

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

I find myself thinking of this Donne sentiment often, yet I don't think I wholeheartedly believe it. There have been so many times in my life that I have been detached, remote, isolated or removed. That feeling of being alone and doesn't exactly conjure up images of the island paradise we often dream longingly of. Why is it that when people are asked to list three things they can bring with them if banished to an island existence, other people...loved ones...almost always make the cut? Then I read this recently and the 150 watt lightbulb went on in my head.

We're islands in that we desire to be understood, heard, seen. Often we don't get the validation we seek and need. In togetherness, we can still feel so solitary. I'm confident we have all experienced that uncomfortable sensation of being utterly alone in a crowd...even a crowd of people we know and love.

The common's these life sustaining predilections that drive us...feed us. It is the needs and wants we all yearn to fulfill.
We're so much the same in all of our differences. Is that what makes us recoil, retract, recede when we are on the verge of truly connecting and understanding?
I wonder what we would be capable of if we would just look to the horizon where the sea meets the sky instead of fixating on our own shores.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

First Week

So we're through with the first week if...IF you can call two days a week. I say yes, I can. All systems are not quite a go at Casa Wags, but soon they will be. We only had malts for dinner one night this past week and that was a major improvement. Home cooked, non-processed meals were served the other nights. Never mind that we're not enjoying family dinners regularly. That's sort of impossible when two of our members are at football practice or scrimmages until close to 8:00 every night. By the time the boys get home, we girls are deeply engrossed in quality entertainment. No, not books if you must know. We've got several episodes of Toddlers and Tiaras tivoed and I love the show because it makes me look like a really excellent Mom in my girl's eyes. Miss Bit is ever thankful that I don't force her to wear flippers that fall out, fake eye lashes or fake boobies and butts. Although she did say she'd think about doing so for Halloween this year. That would either be hilarious or disgusting...I haven't decided. Nonetheless, healthy eating, homework and exercise are on the horizon just as soon as I get over this cellulitis I mysteriously contracted and have been treating as a strained hip flexor and idiot ice burn for over two weeks. I finally went to the walk in clinic after my whole right thigh was red/purple, swollen and hot. I think the doctor wanted to give me a psych evaluation for letting it go on so long. I'm on an IV antibiotic regimen for the next few days so hopefully soon I'll start feeling less punky and we can get the real show on the road around here.

T. Bone had a good couple days in his new school. What he talks about most of all is lunch and all the irresistible choices the cafeteria has to offer. The first day he had pizza with a bag of chips, a side of carrots and two milks. Just to set the record straight...he wanted fries, but the kid just before him took the last order, he was told by a lunch aide to choose a veggie and he opted for milk because he was actually listening to me when I told him no soda and not to pay for water since he can fill his bottle for free. And also for the record...he's not a milk fan, but he is a lover of a good deal and they were two for the price of one! I also got out of him the fact that NONE of his friends are in ANY of his classes...oh yeah except for K. who happens to be in every one of his classes. I was a little late picking him up the first day. He was one of a handful of kids hanging outside in front of the school. When I pulled up, he didn't come to the van despite the fact that he looked right at me. I figured he was mad that I made him wait so now he was making me wait. Then he finally climbed in, I apologized and told him there was traffic. He said, "No problem Mom. I made a new friend while I was waiting. He's really nice and cool and he's an 8th grader. I was just saying goodbye to him." He declared himself, "pooped" after his first day since he ran like umpteen yards and did 100 push ups in practice. He was up on time for the second day of school looking like he aged over night. I swear he grew while he slept, and then with his team jersey on in support of the high school football team's game tonight, he looked every bit the middle schooler he is and then some. He's off with some friends to spend the weekend on the river swimming and tubing and being boys. I'd say that's a fine end to a good week.

Miss Bit's first couple days were as good as could be hoped for in her second grade life: chicken nuggets for lunch, monkey bars for recess, lots of giggles with old friends, a few new friends, no homework, a nice, energetic teacher. After a short week, the prospect of a long weekend filled with swimming and a sleepover with her cousin is the cherry on top of the malt she might have for dinner tonight.

There will be time for structure and schedules and less sugar next week. There will be three square ones on the daily menu, time allotted for homework and nightly reading, and new chores assigned. I'm not sure T. Bone or Miss Bit are ready to say...bring it on.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Family vacations.

Webb Lake....sand bars for picnics and playing backgammon, badminton, football and king of the raft...swimming especially by starlight...chill cocktail cruises around the lake...soaking in the hot tub while being misted (by the sky or sneaky hose-bearing kids)...covert navy seals missions off the slow moving serious injuries...T. Bone's tenacity: he tried and tried until he got up on skis and after he finally got the hang of it he popped up out of the water every time and tooled around the lake with a huge grin...Miss Bit's courage: she gave it her all a couple days too, but the skis were too big and heavy for her...Uncle B. Bone for being a patient, encouraging ski instructor even when he was cold and water logged...the thrill of tubing even if it sometimes hurts (ego and exterior) to get thrown off...the way my girl is certainly half fish she so loves the water and all its creatures...Lil Bit caught her first fish and made her Daddy so proud...first with a pole and then with a pail...loons calling...hummingbirds fluttering....bald eagles
soaring...the reunion of Coyote, Backwoods Easy Stan, Bathtub Billy and the induction of Lightning Lil, Carolina Curly and Hummingbird...board games instead of video games or t.v....Monopoly matches (one to be con't), Boggle challenges, a Scrabble game that T. Bone started with a bingo (easiest = 58 points) and won, an after dinner poker tournament, a family game of Apples to Apples before bed beside the fire...Qwirkle contests...king of the court with my matches...time games...wildflower walks with my girl...painting scenery and still life's after son the pool brother schooling my son on p/e ratios and yield curves before he's wiped the sleep from his eyes...planning meals and cooking great food together... a last night leftover Chopped challenge...What About Bob Movie Night so what if all the over 30 viewers crashed before the end...dvds for the long road trip: we wisely saved Jaws for the ride home...warm, sunny, cuddly nights...birch and pines...a screened in porch on which to enjoy morning coffee...peace...solitude...nowhere to be...nothing to do...time to read, relax, rejuvenate.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

First Day

I don't have a picture of T. Bone and Miss Bit together from the first morning of this new school year because my girl was still sound asleep when her brother left for school with his Dad. He woke easily and was full of thanks that I set my alarm even earlier so I could make him his favorite homemade cinnamon rolls...a heartfelt, belly warming, stick to his ribs middle school send-off. After he left, I found her still snug as a sweet little bug in my bed where she finally fell asleep last night after some tossing, turning and tears. At her lowest point she confessed in the dark beside me, "I just don't like to be separated from you when I don't want to be." It made me smile slighty, but, of course, I understood in only the way a mom can and I cuddled with her until we both felt comforted...calmed...carried away. Funny how just the night before she went to bed wishing on a star that she could go to school Wednesday morning. She hit it off big time with her teacher at Tuesday's Meet and Greet, and also discovered she was to be seated beside her BFF. The change of emotions only took me a little by surprise, and I wasn't even a bit phased that she woke up excited for her first day of second grade...another 180. After all, I am a girl too so I get the highs, I know the lows, and I have had the quick changes. All bright smiles she put on the outfit she carefully planned the night before, we changed her earrings and did her hair. She passed on the cinnamon buns opting for her go to...a pancake on a stick instead. She stoically decided I didn't need to walk her onto the playground like so many other parents so we waited our turn in the drop-off line, kissed goodbye a couple times, and then I watched her skip from my sight. No tears...not her's, not mine. Over their favorite homemade cookie bars (I'm feeling just a wee bit guilty that I haven't been cooking much lately and am trying to make up for it), T. Bone and Miss Bit both shared that they had great days. I'm feeling confident that my kiddos are going to have stellar years too. The icing on the cake (or the cinnamon roll) is that I was actually ready and happy to go to work today myself after a long end of summer reprieve. This was not a bad way to start off a new school year. I'm almost ready to say...bring it on.