Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Because I don't need words to say how thankful I am for my boys:

ps- but yesterday I was thankful that it wasn't me sitting in the "parent teacher conference" for how LG acts at school. For the moment, he's one of the victims, not the perpetrator...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Random Tuesday Thanks!

I'm all over it today. It's Random Tuesday Thanks, with a Spin. Brought to you by The Un-Mom, and Sprite's Keeper. Damn, now everybody's watching, I'd better make this good, huh?

First, thanks to everybody who commented yesterday. I was waiting to get blasted for the religious lean of the post, but everyone seemed to get the spirit of it. Whew.

Also, thanks to Island Roar and The Crazy Coxes for bestowing upon me wonderful awards. I promise to pass those on next week, when things slow down a bit over here.

Now, to make this random and thankish. A small list of things I'm thankful for- in no particular order:

- I found waffles that will appease LG. In the healthy section of the store (yeah, didn't think to look their earlier- no surprise, huh?)

- The skunk seems to have waddled to fairer territory. Thank god. After I paid a guy $90 to set a trap that caught nothing. Whatever.

-My health. All you hear these days is about the illnesses you could get. Eeek.

-Having a job and being able to pay my bills. Especially this year. I'm thankful to be one of the people putting cans into the donation box, instead of needing things from it.

- Being a US citizen. Because no matter who is in office, we are a free nation. I thought about this the other day as I read a post on a site of a friend who (I assume from a link on her blog) is born again Christian. And I had followed a link from a friend who is Jewish to get to her. In many other countries around the world, this would never happen. Here, we can all blog together and understand that even though we don't come from the same place, we're all heading in a common direction.

-Being able to read and write.

-Having an opportunity every now and then to stop and smell the roses. There was a time when I was so stressed just keeping my act together that I couldn't do this. But not anymore.

-Getting to watch the sunrise while I rock o in the morning. Yeah, it sucks being up at that hour, but the view is spectacular (and the snuggles ain't half bad, either).

-On-line shopping. Because I'm in a much better holiday mood having skipped the mall this year.

-Having "met" some great friends this year through this blog. You guys are a great treat. Thanks for visiting and listening to me babble.

Ok, that's my random list. You will notice some things missing. Because I have a week to fill here, people. With imagination, we'll get there.

Now, go get some water and get on with your day.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Week of Thanks

Sprite's Keeper is hosting "A week of thanks". I think I'll play along.

We'll start off slow. It's Monday, after all.

I learned a lesson in church a few months ago. And it was no small lesson to be learning this late in life. The priest was talking about "how" we pray. Not the logistics of it, necessarily. He wasn't telling us to say the Lord's Prayer first, or to kneel. It was more the spirit of prayer.

He pointed out that some people only pray when then need something. "Please God, help me..." or "Please God, I really need..."

Some people bargain with God. "If you ..., I'll ..."

Some people apologize to God, "Tomorrow I'll do better"

But other than saying grace, rarely do people take the time to thank God. Not only for the big stuff, but all the little stuff we come across in our day.

This really hit home, because he was right. Even though I don't usually ask for things for myself, I do ask for the health and happiness of the people around me. And I don't spend enough time thinking about all the wonderful things I get to be part of each day. Or thanking God for letting me be part of those things.

Even if you don't pray to a higher being, it's not a bad lesson to learn. At the end of the day, instead of thinking of all the things you don't have, or all of the things you want, think of all of the things you already have. Think of all of the little blessings that have been sent your way. Even if all you have to be thankful for is living another day. Many people don't get that.

For my first day of the week of thanks, I'd like to say thanks to Father Tim. For reminding me that everyday is Thanksgiving.

See you all tomorrow on our next installation of gratitude for the Spin Cycle.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Spin Cycle- My Heroes...

This weeks spin is about heroes. Or, as Sprite's Keeper put it "those whose bravery or heroics have influenced" me. If you want a sample of heroes from other bloggers, go see Sprite's Keeper at the link above.

As for me, I shall assume my position upon my soap box (stop cringing, PB, you've heard this all before).

To me, heroes are not people who sign up for traditional heroic jobs. Policemen, firemen, soldiers. Yes, I'm thankful that they do their job, but I'm also thankful that my broker does his job. The point being, it's their job. They signed up for it. The people who consider these people to be heroes simply for their job really kind of tick me off.

For instance, the police and firemen who assisted in the 9/11 attacks. Not my heroes. Going into that building was their job. Do I feel bad for the ones who fell that day? Yes, but no more so than for all the innocent people who went to work that day and died in the wreckage. Maybe more so for the others. Firemen go to work each day knowing they might die. Secretaries and accountants don't. They didn't sign up for that krappe. It just happened to them. So, you'll excuse me if I didn't put a single cent into the "widows and children's" fund for the fallen officers. Those women and kids made millions. It was shameful. Nobody talked about the IT guy who didn't go home that night. What happened to his kids? I saw very few fundraisers for them. Nobody interviewed their wives over the loss. The people who helped the others down the stairs that day? They're my heroes. The three guys who caused a plane to crash in Pennsylvania instead of some large city? They're my heroes.

And the people over in Iraq right now? Keep in mind that they signed up for that a long time ago. And before there was a war they got paid a regular check to show up one weekend a month and two weeks a year to do some training. This is what they got paid all those years for. Am I glad and thankful that they were willing to go? Yes. Are they heroes? No.

But by now you're thinking, "Ok, you ungrateful wench, who are your heroes?". I'll tell you.

My heroes are the people who get up every day and make it happen. People like my friend Janice. Janice has been quite ill since the first day I met her. Almost 8 years ago. She's had more surgeries than I have fingers. She has been told multiple times that she has less than a year to live. But she gets up each day and goes to work. She sends us all funny e-mail. She's a shoulder to cry on if something bad happens, and the first to congratulate when something good happens. You'd never know she's ill. She's my hero.

My friend Mrs. M is my hero. I was friends with her son during high school. For years, she struggled to make ends meet to support two boys on a teacher's salary while her alcoholic husband roamed the country trying to "find" himself. She wore two pairs of stockings, each with one leg cut off, when they got a run- to save money. She went to church each Sunday, and put money in the collection. She baked pies for fund raisers, and volunteered her "free" time organizing her church's "Junk for Jesus" sale. When my Mom was horribly ill, she was there for me. I ate dinner at her house more than my own. She came to my sports games, and in my freshman year of college she came to parents weekend. Because my own parents couldn't. She shared everything she possibly could with those around her. She taught me strength and caring in a way no one else could have. She's my hero.

And there are lots of others. People leading every day lives that smile in the face of adversity. Those are heroes.

And I have other heroes that are more general. Here's a short list:

-The guy in line who's in a hurry but let's the pregnant lady, or the lady with two crying kids go first to help her out.

- The moms and dads who sit on the side line silently saying "You can do it" to their kid, instead of yelling at the coach. The ones who say after their kid loses, "What can you do next time to make it better?", instead of saying, "The ref made bad calls." As Jan from the Sushi bar said, the parents who teach their kids that in real life, not every one gets a medal.

-The teacher who calls me just to say that my kid is doing really well, and she enjoys having him around.

- My friends who say, "Is it a kid friendly place?" when they consider where to go for a group dinner.

"Courage is not limited to the battlefield, or the Indianapolis 500 or bravely catching a thief in your house. The real tests of courage are much quieter. They are the inner tests, like remaining faithful when nobody is looking, like enduring pain when the room is empty, like standing alone when you're misunderstood" Charles Swindoll

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts- Can you smell that smell?

It's Tuesday. Time to put on your random cap and join us in the land of thoughts that can't be organized (it's like a bad hair day for your brain). Read on, then follow the link above to Keely's world.
Those of you who recognize the song in the title bar are my friends. The rest of you, go home. No, no, stay. PB made me feel old for knowing a Lynard Skynard song, though. I'm resentful. We'll get over it, though, and tell you what it means. We have a stripey friend visiting us at the moment. The stinky kind. We think he's under the porch. Mind you, we spent all day Sunday looking for the source of "the smell". From inside it smells kind of like an electrical fire (that burning rubber smell). We were a little worried. When my in-laws showed up to help, though, they immediately knew what it was (stop laughing- yes, we do always call my MIL and FIL when we're in trouble. It's what kids do!) We thought of sending LG out to the porch to toddle around in his not so quiet way and scare the little guy off. Then we realized what would happen if LG caught sight of the new friend. "Kitty!" Yeah, bad idea. Anyone who has suggestion for kindly making the new inhabitant move on, please share.

If you want more news about the waffle shortage, here's the ABC story on it... It's really quite traumatic.

I finally snapped a picture of o smiling. I imagine it must require a lot of facial muscle strength to get those chubby cheeks to move! Yup, he's definitely smuggling marshmallows in his cheeks in this one.

And LG was tapping into his inner redneck this weekend.

Sporting just his onsie and his John Deere hat, he was ready for the Monster Truck rally. I gave up putting his pants and shirt back on after the 3rd try. It's going to be a long winter, I'm afraid.

I keep reading in other people's blogs the "Google" search terms that lead people to their blog. It's kind of scary stuff. But it makes me wonder how people google onto my site. Anyone who can share the secret to finding out your google hits, please share.

PB and I had an interesting debate the other day. It was the evening that Oprah interviewed the woman who had her face mauled by the chimpanzee. PB doesn't think this woman needs a face transplant. If surgery can help her eat and breathe, he thinks a transplant would be cosmetic surgery. I don't agree. I think she needs it to resume a semblance of a normal life. It's like a kidney transplant. You could live on dialysis with bad kidneys for a long time. But with a transplant you resume some semblance of a normal life. Same thing with a new face.

Anyhow, time go get back to the grindstone. Have a good one folks!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Traveling Thursday: Green Lakes State Park

Hmmm, this feels weird. I'm posting on Thursday. But I was over visiting Pseudo, and it's Traveling Thursday over there. As I was looking at some beautiful pictures of Hawaii (are there ugly ones?), a thought occurred to me. When you think of beautiful places, my home state does not come to mind. It is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been and had the privilege to live. However, the beautiful countryside is overshadowed by a culturally diverse, hopping city. Yup, nobody ever thinks of the mountains or the lakes when you say New York. They think of the big apple in the south (and, ironically, not why they call it the big apple...)

Anyway, I want to share my favorite NY State Park with you guys. Just a little sample of the wonders of upstate NY.

I'm not sure what you call this purple stuff, but it is all over the park. It doesn't really have a smell, but in late July it is this beautiful purple.
Like most of the state parks in NY, there are tons of walking paths that bring you out into the woods. Most are just dirt paths through trees. This one has a fence to keep the peoples from slipping down into nothingness to the lake.

Because the lake formed above an underground glacier, the water is this amazing color green. Not brown and muddy, not green with algae. Think Coke bottle green. Almost as though it were the ocean in New England. It's also cold as the Artic, though.

When PB and I were last at Green Lakes we took a short hike after dinner. Above my head I heard a clicking noise, only to look up and see two large owls about 7 feet away. Do you have any idea how big owls are? HUGE! Seriously, the one clicking looked like he was contemplating me for dinner. I would love to say something about how you should visit a state park in NY the next time you're over this way. I'm not naive enough to think people will, though. Because, let's face it, if you come all the way to NY, you're going to the city. For a show, or food. Or just to see the craziness that is NYC. And I don't blame you. Hopefully, though, I've shown you the other side to NY. The side the grows apples, and has some of the best skiing mountains around. The side that makes up 85% of the land of NY and less than half the population. My NY.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Spin Cycle- Free Spin

So, in this weeks spin cycle I have to tell a story. I promised Maureen, and will finally come through for her. When you're through laughing at my family's craziness, go see Sprite's Keeper and find out what other spinners are doing in their free time...
Maureen inspired this memory by talking about a time when she was younger when she used a picture of herself as a child to tell people she had a new younger sibling. It didn't last long, and she had to fess up eventually. If you want to read the actual story, go visit Maureen. She tells it way better...
Onward, though. Marueen made a long story short. I'm going to make a short story long.
I should start by setting the stage a bit. My brother is 4 years older than I am. We grew up in the 70's in a small town in upstate NY. There was nothing progressive about us, or our environment. We went to a small school, with the children from about 6 other towns. My parents had very little contact with my brother's teachers. They went to a parent teacher conference twice a year, and that was about it. My brother walked to the bus stop by himself, and walked home again. No dropping off at the classroom door for our generation. Most communication between the teacher and the parent happened by note, or if the situation warrented by phone call (gasp). I tell you all of this because in today's society, my brother would have never gotten away with this at all.
During one of the first days in kindergarten, my brother F was asked to draw a picture of his family. He drew a Dad, and a Mom, two boys and a baby. Those of you that know me already see the problem. For those who don't: read on. From here on out, the teacher assumed we were a family of five. When asked about his siblings, F told the teacher about his little brother Tom, and his new baby sister, MB (me). The teacher thought nothing of it. And the school year progressed this way. When prompted, F would answer questions about his family in the same way- all 5 of us.
Then came the aforementioned parent teacher conference. You know, the one where the teacher gives the parent all the great artwork the kid has done for the past 3 or so months. Yeah, and my Mom got a picture with 3 kids. One of whom she knew nothing about.
You see, Tom was a complete fabrication. He never existed. My brother had managed to pull the wool over this teachers eyes for months. Think about it, a lot of the 70's kindergarten curriculum was focused on the people in your life, so Tom came up quite a bit. My mom suggested maybe he was an imaginary friend. The teacher insisted, no, F said he was a brother. She knew quite a bit about him. What he liked, where he slept. They talked about it a bit, and after deciding that my brother did not have any psychological issues, decided to do nothing about it. No fuss, no seeing a psychologist. Just let it go (yup, it was the 70's- you were still allowed to just be "a little odd" back then).
I'm not sure if the teacher was disappointed or astounded. She simply corrected my brother the next few times Tom came up, and Tom magically disappeared.
And you'd think that's the end, right? Ahhh, no. That would be far too simple. You see, I had this teacher 4 years later for kindergarten. And one day, as my brother met me at my classroom to walk with me to the bus, the teacher asked him if he ever thought about Tom. He smiled. As we walked away, I asked who Tom was. And he responded that Tom was our brother. He had died when I was little. But he cautioned me not to ask my Mom or Dad about him because it would make them really sad. So, I never did. Every once in a while I thought about how nice it would have been to have another brother. And I did wonder how he died (lest it happen to me...) On occasion my brother would hint that it had something to do with something my Mom did or didn't do, but he would never get specific.
I can't tell you how many years I thought this was true. Then one day I wised up. There were no pictures of Tom, no memories what so ever. Even the most distraught of grieving parents keeps something. A relative or friend slips up. Nothing. I was probably about 8 when I finally asked my Mom. And she laughed so hard I'm pretty sure coffee came out her nose. F had duped someone else. That was the end of Tom, though. The only times he was ever mentioned again was when my Mom wanted to threaten us. She would tell us she'd do to us what she did to Tom.
And now you can sit and ponder how I ended up even remotely normal, coming from this.
Have a good week, all. MB

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts- I'm baaaack...

Yes, people, it is Tuesday. The day when our thoughts turn to all things random. And we visit with the Un-Mom (who unlike your real Mom will not mention the state of your house, or how well your sister is doing). Read on, and then click on the nice picture above to get on with the visit (and bring some coffee and donuts for your visit. I hear she likes that). Oh, yeah. I'm back at work, so I can make the links work again. Woo hoo.
Firstly, is anyone else experiencing the great waffle shortage of 2009? LG is a big waffle fan. Specifically, he likes the mini waffles. But every time I go to the market to buy them, they are out. For weeks now, they have been out. There is a sign on the freezer case saying that the Kellogg's people are having some Eggo issues, but they are working to clear up the problem. Really? A waffle shortage? This is absurd. Fix the problem people. My kid is getting bored of french toast sticks!
Have you ever noticed that the things your kid likes most are the ones that annoy the living hell out of you? For instance, that song that Rosie O'Donell and Elmo sing together? Makes me cringe, but makes LG dance with glee. Grrrr.
Speaking of Elmo, Happy 40th to Sesame Street. Sesame Street was first broadcast the year before my brother was born (sorry Uncle F, didn't mean to give away your age...). Which really makes us first generation viewers. Back in the day when there was no Elmo, and Mr. Hooper still ran the store. Many a good hour was spent learning to count with the Count, and doing "the pigeon". Props to them for making it 40 years on TV. And still one of the most popular shows out there.
What the hell has happened to our national psyche? I can remember not ten years ago, when people realized they were a few pounds overweight, they joined Weight Watchers, cut back on the Twinkies and Yahoo and sighed about it. They realized that the problem was them. We all felt sorry for them, and didn't eat our cookies in front of them.
Now? Not so much. Obesity is an "epidemic" now. Which really makes it sound like a disease. Something you couldn't avoid with a little excersize and fewer McDonald's visits. Don't beat me, I realize for some folks it is caused by a real life medical condition. But let's be honest, those people are few and far between. And stop calling your overweight condition hereditary. Your propensity to gain weight might come from your Mom's side, but your Aunt Sally isn't stuffing cream puffs down your throat. Stop blaming ad campaigns, too. It's not Krispy Kreme's fault that their de-lish donuts have gone from a Friday morning office treat to an everyday habit for you.
I think the heart of it lies in the same place that the debt problem does- our mis-conception that we can and should have it all. All the designer clothes we want. All the cheese burgers we want. We shouldn't need to deny ourselves. Nothing is a "treat" anymore. I didn't grow up this way. Most of us didn't. But I'm a little worried my kids will. In recent months, I have had to resist buying LG everything I saw that I thought he would like. When I do buy something, I've tried to put it away for Christmas or his birthday. It is hard, though. The first step is admitting you have a problem, right?
Ahhh, I told Maureen from Island Roar that I would tell a story today and totally forgot. Uhm, next Tuesday. I promise.
Ok, folks, back to work for me. Have a good week, and we'll see you next Tuesday for more Random.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Spin Cycle- I hate to admitt it...

This weeks spin is supposed to be the hidden thing you don't talk about that you hate about being a parent. But you'll have to go see Sprite's Keeper and the other spinners to hear about it. It would be a really bad thing for me to start down that track right now. Not enough sleep. Too many sticky finger prints all over my house. I'm like the Pandora's box for parenting angst at the moment.

I did take o for his first afternoon of daycare today, though. That being so, right now I'm alone. All alone. I ate lunch. Nobody was on my lap. I drank hot tea without worrying about who it might spill on. The TV has the volume on and the captions off. And about every 3 minutes I remember that he's with someone besides me or PB and I want to go get him. For as much as he's a needy 2 months old, he's also cute and cuddly. And he won't be that way forever. Sniff. I'm a wimp.

LG made my night last night, though. Lately, he's only wanted PB at night. If he wakes up and needs attention, only Papa will do. Which isn't fair because he only cuddles at night. But last night was different. I had a dinner event to go to. So the boys were on their own. PB gave everyone a bath, and went through the whole bedtime routine. Apparently, LG kept saying, "Kiss Mama. Kiss Mama." Awww. PB ended up leaving him in his crib wide awake. Which is where I found him 20 minutes later when I got home. And I got an hour of snuggles that made up for all the ones I've missed recently. Woo hoo.

Oh, but I guess I do have one thing I hate about being a parent. Professional relations who refer to me as "Mom". Yeah. Not so much. Last night was a business event. I didn't have to go, but I did to keep my fingers in the proverbial pie. And almost everyone I saw called me "Mommy". Now, technically I'm not back from leave yet, so this is the first time they've seen me since o was born. I would agree that congratulations are in order. But to call me "Mommy" in front of other professionals? Grrrr.

Ok, enough for today. I have a refrigerator to clean and a car to empty of child shrapnel. And then maybe some shoe shopping, who knows. I say it again, one day a mom who's kids are in school is going to take over the world. Right after she gets a pedicure.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts!

This will be the last RTT during my o leave. This time next week, I'll be back at work. So, enjoy the last of the garbled wreckage that is my "stay at home" mindset. Then go visit the Un-Mom and see how the random falls.
First, Halloween. Oh, it was fun. LG trick or treated for the first time. He went to 5 or 6 houses, and by the last ones he was saying "Trick or Treat" and "Thank You" to the people at the door. He was a little lion:

While this happened, o hung out with me by the nice bonfire our friends made and handed out some candy.

My favorite part of the night was when two high school age boys showed up to trick or treat. It was a little later in the night, but they were both dressed up (one was in a home made "Max" from "Where the Wild Things Are" costume!) and very polite. They were really excited to see o dressed up as a penguin, which kind of surprised me.

It's my last week home with little o. Sigh. We had just hit a rhythm to our days, and now they'll change again. It'll be good to be back at work, though. As you can see from my blog posts, staying at home all day does nothing good for my thinking. Too much daytime TV for me.

PB and LG have started cooking together. When PB asks if LG wants to help, LG will go into the kitchen and drag a chair up to the counter to get ready. Anytime the whisk comes out, he automatically needs to help. And he's pretty good at it!

Last night they made me the turkey burgers from a recent post. Yummy. And look how happy he is to stick his hands in the icky turkey goo!

So, PB and I listen to CD's very differently. I put the CD into the player in the car, and unless I absolutely hate the song, that's it. I listen to all the songs in order. PB, on the other hand, skips over any song he's not interested in. Which means we listen to the same 5 or 6 songs over and over, or we listen to it for five minutes and then the radio goes on. Argh.

Ahhh, o has woken up (might have to do with the fact the PB just woke LG up, and he's screaming at the top of his lungs. Not a morning person, apparently.)

Have a good week folks.