Monday, June 30, 2008

One of THOSE days

Ever have one of those days? I'm having one of them right now. It isn't even noon and I am deeply entrenched in ONE OF THOSE DAYS.

I had a great post planned. It is actually done, but it is missing something. There is also a lot of horrid grammar and I can't let it out of the box until I fix it. But this post, being that I am having ONE OF THOSE DAYS, I dont' care what mistakes you find. Mispellings. Punktuation erors. Whatev.

My house is a disaster. I have a ton of irons in the fire . . . a web site I'm supposed to be working on for my sister. Business cards I said I'd design for my other sister (I started this one but can't think of a cool enough business name--she's starting her own bakery business--any ideas, please shoot 'em my way--maybe I'll hold a contest! Hold your thoughts on this one . . . ), books that are so passed due at the library I'll have to take out a loan to pay the fines, stuff I've been meaning to write, things that need to be scrapbooked, a journal that needs to be updated, classes that need to be taken (for a volunteer project I really wanted to do at the time but didn't realize the time and commitment involved and I CAN'T back out . . . ), blogs that I desperately want to visit, some awards that need to be shared (I swear I haven't forgotten and am so, so thankful to each of you that deemed me worthy enough to present me with an award), a flyer for the ice cream block party that needs to be created, programs that need to be learned, and the biggest albatross of all . . . an office that desperately needs to be overhauled. But, you know what I've been doing for the last three hours?

Playing with J. Rolling balls on the floor. Squeezing my huge behind through a tunnel made for toddlers (him laughing his butt off watching me struggle to get to the other side--sorry, no pictures), chasing him from one end of the room to the other (man has he gotten quick with the whole crawling thing), watching him be all daredevil-ish by climbing on the very top of his chair while holding onto the couch--looking at me as if to say, "Look at me, I'm an ER trip waiting to happen!" Laugh. Giggle. Snicker. Laugh.

Having the time of my life while still in my PJs. My Cookie Monster PJs. I kid you not. Don't believe me . . .
*Can you see my double chin or the graham cracker crumbs on my, um, chest, or that J is covered in a mixture of oatmeal and cracker goo? Forgive me for my not-so-fabulous mothering.

My house is a mess. A huge mess. Don't believe me . . .

*Cereal, crackers, you can't see the dishes, but they are there, those dang overdue library books, a soother than needs batteries . . . and don't say your house is worse to make me feel better. I cleaned up a little before I took this shot and then I gave you the most flattering angle.

*J actually has a play room (and his own room) upstairs (a converted bonus room). But, the simple fact is, he owns every square inch of this house. And I SWORE we would never be THOSE people with kid stuff everywhere. Yeah. Whatever . . .


Oh, and that office? Very bad things have happened in that office. My life threw up in that office. Don't believe me . . .


*We don't deserve to have a house. We should just live in a cave. I have no words for this monstrosity. But no that a long, long time ago (like about 10 months and 2o days ago) I used to be a neat freak. I miss her sometimes . . .


I saw a total summer movie (Lindsey, this could be a summer movie due to the animation, but also a winter movie because it is deeper than you'd suspect) yesterday with my friend Carrie (the post I had planned was all about her and DATING!!! Will post tomorrow if the grammar improves). We saw WALL E. Amazing animation. Touching. MAJOR MESSAGE flick. Kids may get a little antsy, but adults will be riveted. Why am I sharing this with you? I'd like to say it is because I wanted to encourage you to see a educational yet heartwarming movie. In reality, it is because I don't want to change out of my PJs or clean the office.


Tried out the new jogging stroller yesterday. Because it has a stationary front wheel (recommended for runners--safety and all), you really have to get used to maneuvering it. Let's just say that the biceps I do have were completely useless. BUT, J certainly loved the ride. Every time I slowed down he CRIED. Great. What have I set myself up for now? Look at me . . . procrastinating again.

Listen. I gotta go. J's devoured his two cookies and 45 pieces of cereal. He needs a nap. I need to get out of my PJs before noon (I doubt it'll happen, but it is certainly worth a try). But, being that the office needs that overhaul I keep mentioning, there is no doubt I'll be back . . . for um, moral support. Yeah, that's it. Moral support.

*BTW, this is the first time I am not going back to reread what I just wrote. Not checking for spelling, grammar, or punctuation. The English teacher has left the building . . . for how.

Friday, June 27, 2008

PhotoStory Friday: What I wish for you

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek


Nearly every morning J and I head out to the park. He usually falls asleep in the car or in the stroller while we walk. It is a quiet and peaceful time . . . a time when I usually do a lot of thinking.

Just this morning I was about to take J out of the car seat and put him in the stroller when I glanced back and saw this . . .



My baby boy. He's going to be a year old in August. August 10th. To say that day was a life changer is an understatement.


I started thinking . . . wondering . . . and making silent wishes. While J lay peacefully in his seat, I started a list (yes, along with my camera, I usually have books and a notepad that accompany me everywhere).


This list is what I wish for him . . . to be . . . to do . . . to have.

* Respect--give it and earn it.
* Love humanity.
* Know that it isn't all about you and that's OK.
* Know what matters and what doesn't.
* Travel, see the world, soak it in (I take great inspiration from their adventures)
* Appreciate cultures, relish in differences, learn of the world around you.
* Believe in who you are, who you can be, and what you can do.
* Be a gracious loser and a humble winner.
* Respect your body (and her body, too). And if you get her pregnant, you are BOTH pregnant. Just so you know . . .
* Don't be too concerned about doing it the RIGHT WAY, be more concerned about doing WHAT IS RIGHT.
* Failure is only your first try.
* Laugh, smile, laugh some more.
* Have fun. Soak in each and every moment. Time is fleeting . . .
* Eat your fruits and veggies.
* Move every day--appreciate what your body can do.
* Hard work is the foundation for good character (if it is worth it, you'll work for it).
* Mistakes are the building blocks of life. Learn, grow, move on.
* Read. A lot.
* Video games are awesome. But outside is an awesome adventure. The air. The sun. The imagination.
* What you do reflects who you are.
* Be kind. Be generous. Be honest. Be real.
* Popularity is an illusion. Don't fall for it.
* Embrace your inner klutz (you are my son after all).
* Share your gifts and thank others for sharing their gifts.
* Teach, be a mentor, give.
* Appreciate our planet.
* Be thankful for all He has given you.
* External beauty is temporary. Internal beauty is eternal.
* Stick to your word.
* Don't be afraid to admit when you are wrong and say you are sorry.
* Know that this is the only life you get--live it.

and finally . . .

* Love with every part of who you are.

*and don't forget, your momma is always right :)

* * *

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Hitting the Road

He's all about wheels . . .

*I'm in the market for a new camera. Any advice for an amateur on a budget who wants to take pictures like a pro?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ice Cream Social

I used to play tag with my neighborhood friends. Along with tag there was Mother May I, Freeze Tag, Hide and Seek, Snake in the Grass (one person would have to crawl around on the grass trying to tag people who would run--you could only use the small patch of land that was in your front yard--I don't know what you were thinking!). A few of my friends and I would gather all our books, label them, set up a table and some improvised shelving and run our own library right out of my front yard. And talent shows . . . we had plenty. My friend Wendy and I were typically the stars. We performed our own version of Flashdance and Fame. We were amazing. Really. We were (And deluded, but we'll save that for another story).

Our neighborhood was in the ghetto less affluent part of town, yet there was always something happening on my block. Yard sales and lemonade stands. Music blaring from teenagers' boom boxes. Mom's walking their babies, stopping at every other house to chat. Neighbors planting, weeding, and watering. Kids racing on everything from their Big Wheels to their ten speeds. When the street lights came on you would observe countless kids hightail it back home. Even with the children safely ensconced in their houses, there was still this buzz that hung in the air. And together with the low hum from the streetlights, it was like music that lasted through the night.

Now. I'm all grown up (relatively speaking) and living in my own neighborhood. It is a beautiful site. No doubt. The gently sloping hills lead from one drive to another. There are trees, looking as old as time, that drape the streets and provide and an endless canopy over each house. Each house is different, unlike my childhood cookie cutter neighborhood. Some are square and traditional while others are oddly angular and whimsical. However, it isn't just the houses that are different.

Outside of an occasional wave or nod, there is very little interaction. I've never been invited to a neighbor's party. I couldn't tell you the names of even a half dozen of our neighbors. We wave politely when we pass one another in our cars or on foot. We give a knowing smile when we see each other at the local stores. But, seldom a word is spoken.

I don't think anyone is being unfriendly or anti-social. I just think that over the last several years there has been very few opportunities for us to interact. I spoke with an elderly neighbor, one that has been around since the building of the first homes in the neighborhood, and he confessed that things had changed. People in our neighborhood used to meet all the time. There were block parties nearly every month during the summer. There were card games, play dates, friendly athletic rivalries (and even some not-so-friendly--but hey, exciting times nonetheless) . . . you name it. It was a neighborhood, with real bona fide neighbors that had grown into friends. He was saddened that over the years those traditions had fallen to the wayside.

This past Christmas I tried to build a bridge. Just a little one. After all, this is now J's neighborhood and I want him to have even a taste of what I had growing up in my childhood neighborhood. So, I baked cookies. I spent hours elbow deep in flour, sugar, and a variety of chips, flakes, nuts, and powders (I'm not much of a cook/chef/baker, but I can whip up some mean cookies). I bought cute little tins, filled them with coordinating tissue paper, gently placed the assortment of cookies inside, sprinkled in a few candies and headed out the door.

Maybe my cookies weren't so good. Maybe they were just in sugar shock after the super sweet holiday season. I didn't hear from my neighbors after said cookie delivery. It didn't produce the effect I wanted. Nods didn't turn into chats and waves didn't turn into play dates.

I tried again.

As soon as the ice started to melt, I packed up J, snuggled him in the stroller and headed out for a walk. I waved at neighbors. They waved back. I said good morning to a few walkers. They nodded. I complimented a neighbor on her blooming garden (this from someone who still has trouble distinguishing a weed from a real plant). She smiled.

I did this for weeks. I still do this. Hoping against hope that something other than the nod/smile/wave might occur.

I know what your thinking. Well, just start talking to them. Help them with their garden. Invite them over for coffee. Offer to baby sit. Buy them a car! The thought has crossed my mind.

But instead. I'm going to go all out and make one last attempt . . .

Ice cream.

I won a contest. Take a look . . .

An Edy's Ice Cream block party. Ice cream. The stuff happy souls of made of.

If this doesn't work, I don't know what will. Got a neighbor/neighborhood story to share? Any advice to yank some personality out of my 'hood?

This kid is ready for some serious neighborhood fun . . . and momma is running out of ideas.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Photostory Friday and Blog Blast for Education: Inspire Me


Today I am participating in a very worthy project to bring much needed attention to the topic of education, April's Blog Blast for Education. I am also participating in PhotoStory Friday, a wonderful initiative that gives each of us a chance to really showcase not only photos we take, but to tell the story behind them. Yes, I'm doubling up, but I'll be darned if it just didn't work out perfectly . . .

PhotoStory is hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

*Click HERE for OhMommy's CCC #1.
* * * * * * * * * * * *

This was my classroom.


There are no windows. There is no air conditioning unit. That big monstrosity above the podium didn't produce anything but noise. And, fear as I was constantly concerned that at any moment it might drop on my head (Worker's Comp. anyone?).

My desks were hand-me-downs. Which were previous hand-me-downs. So, they were old. Broken. Cracked. Rusted. Scratched. And, quite interesting if you really took the time to read what was etched into the desk tops.

At night (yes, I often stayed late to finish grading--which never really happened--or to work on lesson plans) while sitting at my computer, I would hear things. Strange things. Things moving above my head--in the rafters. Scratchy sounds. A low growly hum. Skittering. Scattering. I one time took an old broom and tapped at one of the ceiling tiles (clearly, I haven't watched enough horror movies). More skittering and scattering. It would send me hopping out of the room as if I had caught fire. The night custodian would just stare and nod. Stare and nod.

One early morning during the weekend I came in to grade some projects. As I opened the door, there they were. At least two dozen "water bugs." Now, where I'm from (Detroit and then Chicago) we call them COCKROACHES. But here, with a slight southern drawl I'm told, "Oh, they ain't cock-a-roaches. Them there, they're only water bugs. Harmless. We just leave 'em alone." Um. OK. Me and my can of RAID left 'em alone alright.

And then, the mouse-capades. My students loved it. I had a concession stand right next to my room (YES, my room was in near the gymnasium, locker rooms, concessions, and band room. Makes perfect sense that an English classroom would be there, right?). Need I say more. Anyway, right in the middle of analyzing symbolism in Macbeth one comes racing across the floor. Girls jump up on OLD desks, boys start to holler. Who the heck is Macbeth? Clearly, nothing will be accomplished, so, I offer 2 bonus points to the person that can collect the rouge mouse nad deposit him out into the parking lot. Let me just say that it is amazing what a kid will do for 2 measly bonus points.

I was fast approaching my sixth month of pregnancy and school was nearly over. It was a comfy 98 degrees in my room. I had three fans. One student actually brought in a misting fan for me. Apparently seeing a sweaty pregnant woman wobbling around was a little too much. One afternoon during my planning period I put my head on my desk and just tried to relax and cool off. It was really hot. So, off came my little t-shirt. I had a tank underneath. Granted it was a SMALL and I was now clearly an XL. Let's just say that when I stood up to greet my students as they came in, well, full on sweaty belly shot. So attractive. I may have scarred some for life.

Why do I mention this? Well. The conditions in my classroom were horrendous. I can only imagine the asbestos, the lead paint, the mold. And, we won't even discuss the locker rooms. I taught in a district with very little money (though it is deemed fairly well off compared to some). Budgets are being slashed. People are being let go. Projects are being abandoned. The district can't pass a bond. No one wants to pay for books much less a fresh coat of paint.

This is where we send our children. Tattered books or, NO books. Desks falling a part. Classrooms with dust/mold/rodents/bugs/no air. Exhausted brilliant teachers. Horrendous indifferent teachers who are tenured.

But still . . .

They thrive.

I was honored by one of my students at a banquet this past May at a banquet. This student believed she would never go to college. Her parents didn't. She had NO money. She was the Salutatorian. She thought she would never be recognized for her talents. She expressed at times she wasn't even sure she had any. She was accepted into a prestigious writing program the summer before her senior year and will begin college there this year. But there she was. Up at that podium. This young woman who didn't believe she could handle speaking in front of a crowd was so eloquent. Intelligent. Filled with charisma. There was a light in her eyes. A passion in each word that fell from her lips. She learned. She grew. She had arrived. There were tears in my eyes as she described how I had inspired her. With a little quiver in her voice, she asked me to come up to the podium. She hugged me. She told me she would never forget me. I was her inspiration.

Me. An inspiration.

Bugs. No air. Mice. Lead paint. A monstrosity that might fall on my head at any moment.

For that moment . . . it was all worth it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

CCC #1: Heads (You Can't Catch Me!)

OHmommy challenged her readers to think outside the box and take a picture of your child from above . . . of his/her head.

Here's mine . . .

My little fella is getting speedy. He's crawling away from daddy . . . giggling away with each move.
Check out more here.

A Quiet Shame

I remember trying not to cry. I was an adult, but inside I needed you. Still. I remember sitting on the cold hard floor and leaning against the porcelain, holding you up, asking if you were alright. Wiping your face, pulling back your hair as you lurched forward for what I had hoped would be the last time.

But it wasn't.

You were "never a drinker." You didn't do drugs. At least not the kind that didn't come with a label and a prescription.

Was it you? Was it the tiny little pills?

Why did you leave? Where did you go? Why didn't you want to be with me? With us? Those little faces. Babies. They were just babies. They looked to me and asked why. I had no answer. I was lost just as they were.

I know your history. Your pain. Your abandonment. The pills. The booze. The things that will forever go unspoken. I feel for that little girl you once were. I would hug her, hold her, and tell her it will be OK. But. The little girl you once were is gone. You are here and I still have no answers.

Instead. We go on . . . we fight for each second of awkward normalcy. We forget your "sabbatical." Or, at least we let you forget. Our quiet shame . . .

But each day I am reminded. The face of a cherub. That smile that brightens up even the darkest day. The laugh that sounds like little bells. He "tells" me that it will be different. That the cycle will be broken. I will be different. I will try to be good. I will learn from a past that I will never escape.

I will embrace him. He will inspire me to be more . . .

My inspiration


*Filed under super personal story that I will need to delete if my parents ever find my blog . . .

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wordless and Toothless (nearly) Wednesday

Can you see it? Hello my single, crooked little friend.

A little closer . . .

Meet CHOMPER. He has been one very busy little tooth . . .

*For those wondering, YES. I did delete the original post. Instead of explaining, I figure I'd just give you my one-toothed wonder.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I'll Always Love Chachi

The other day I was listening to the radio and the hosts were discussing the list of the worst TV shows ever. I'm a sucker for lists like these, so I listened to hear if any of my favorites made the list.

Here they are . . . with some commentary thrown in, of course (from The Chicago Tribune):

"You're in the Picture" (1961). Jackie Gleason appeared in a prime time quiz show, but it was so bad the quiz format was dropped after one airing and it became instead a short-lived talk show. Even Gleason knew it was bad: "I've seen bombs in my day, but this one made the H-bomb look like a 2-inch salute." Never heard of it. Maybe it was because I wasn't born. Still . . . no reruns or anything.

"Petticoat Junction" (1963-'70). Some shows from that era hold up remarkably well -- either as sweet nostalgia or entertaining camp. Not this one, set in Hooterville. Watch video
My dad LOVED this show. It was also before I was born, but being that it ran for seven years before anyone figured out it was horrible, I've seen my fair share of reruns.

"My Mother the Car" (1965-66). In it, Jerry Van Dyke's mother was reincarnated as a talking automobile, the voice supplied by Ann Sothern. Actually made it through one season. Watch video
Really? A car. Well, at least it wasn't a stove . . . wait, was I just being sexist?

"Turn-On" (1969). Illegitimate son of "Laugh-In." Lasted one episode. 1969. One episode? Did you see the title? Well, duh.

"Ernest Angley Hour" (1973-present). Broadcast from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Angley's Southern rural lisp deliveries are syndicated worldwide. While he doesn't claim to be a faith healer, his trademark palm-of-the-hand to the forehead is accompanied by his high-pitched shout "Be heeeeaaaalllled!" as the healee drops to the floor, to be caught by an assistant. Watch video
Here's the problem: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. I'm from Ohio, so no angry comments please.

"B.J. and the Bear" (1979-81). Comedy/adventure about an itinerant trucker who traveled the nation's highways with his pet chimpanzee. Watch video
Anything with a chimp . . . doomed.

"When Things Were Rotten" (1975). Created by Mel Brooks. Hoo boy. Lasted a half season. Brooks used the same Robin Hood theme in the 1993 movie "Men in Tights." Clearly, better as a movie.

"Mr. T. and Tina" (1976). Starring Pat Morita (who also played Arnold on "Happy Days"). Canceled after five episodes. My husband was just telling me about this. I thought he was kidding . . .

"The Ropers" (1979-80). An entire show built around the landlords from the nearly as awful "Three's Company." I would have rather watched a spin-off with Larry. Cad that he was . . .

"Joanie Loves Chachi" (1982-83). Scott Baio's addition to "Happy Days" was a classic jump-the-shark moment; here the shark goes belly up and begins to smell. Watch video
Um, I didn't really watch this one, but I *heart* Chachi.

"Mama's Family" (1983-90). The Vickie Lawrence skit was the weak link on "The Carol Burnett Show." So, naturally, it got a weekly half-hour. Watch video
I liked it. It lasted seven years. Clearly, there were a lot of us with bad taste watching it . . .

"Manimal" (1983). NYU prof could change into any animal to help fight crimes. Show turned into a turkey. Watch video
Weird. Cool idea, but just weird for TV. Maybe movie??? Could be a pretty cool franchise. Think of all the McDonald Happy Meal toys you could create!

"Mr. Belvedere" (1985-90). Starred Bob Uecker -- need we say more? Watch video
I liked Bob Uecker. I will not apologize for that. I thought he was quirky in a gruff sort of way. I liked this show and I will NOT apologize for that!

"Small Wonder" (1985-89): Robot scientist builds robot in the shape of a 10-year-old girl, then tries to hide her amid his family. Theme-song quote: "She's fantastic/Made of plastic." Watch video
The theme song did 'em in. I swear it did.

"Life With Lucy" (1986). Lucille Ball's final, disastrous short-lived series. It lasted only a few months but still tarnished the TV icon's legacy.
Come on? Does anyone even remember this one? I was just a kid. And, quite honestly, at nearly any given hour you can find an "I Love Lucy" episode airing. So, this is just not that big a deal . . . Tarnished her legacy. I think NOT.

"Beauty and the Beast" (1987-90). The pretty gal and ugly critter didn't just love each other; they solved crimes! Too weird for me. But, I remember it had a very loyal following.

"Cop Rock" (1990). Steven Bochco, apparently bored with making legitimate cop series ("Hill Street Blues"), decided it would be fun to have cops sing, and it would be even more fun to have them performing legit, hard-core cop work while they did it. Stupid. Just plain stupid. It was like someone was playing a joke on the viewing public.

"Pink Lady and Jeff" (1980): Quite possibly the most demented variety show of all time, this bizarre offering paired two Japanese pop singers who spoke almost no English with comedian Jeff Altman. Hilarity did not ensue. Watch video
Never, ever heard of it. Thank God.

"The 100 Lives of Black Jack Savage" (1991). A 17th Century pirate trans-whatevered to modern times has to save a life for every one he's taken. Which, come to think of it, is the same plot as "My Name Is Earl." Again, never heard of it. Where the heck was I?

"The Jerry Springer Show" (1991 to present). His aim is low. I accidentally watched it. It was like watching a car crash with a bunch of freaks inside. Ugly. Bad. Hard to turn away.

"Barney & Friends" (1992-present). Yes, some little kids love it. But parents helped compile this list, and it annoys the heck out of us. Watch video
"I love you . . . you love me." Whatever. If Barney is on, I get a chance to pee . . .

"Homeboys from Outer Space" (1996-97). The name was a tip-off. What the heck was this??? Not a clue. Main problem: HOMEBOYS

"The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer" (1998). A black British gentleman run out of England for cheating takes a job as a butler to Abraham Lincoln. And it was a comedy. And it made fun of slavery. Watch video
I'm laughing at the description. It was a comedy about slavery. Wow. How far we've come.

XFL (2001). NBC and Pro wrestling decide football isn't entertaining enough the way it is. They are wrong. Lame. Bad. Unwatchable. Some bored dudes clearly needing more reasons to drink beer and chill in their La-Z-Boys.

"Cavemen" (2007): We'll take this insurance commercial, see, only we'll make it 30 times as long! No, not the one with the lizard. Watch video
Horrible. I actually had to turn away out of embarrassment. For the actors.

There are 25 more here that list some pop culture faves such as Hogan's Heroes and Baywatch. I could tack on a variety of reality shows or how about those dating shows on MTV? There are just so, so many shows that just make you cringe.

I think about how years from now when I share stories of the types of shows on TV "back in the day" that J will laugh about the robot, the "Beast," the huge purple dinosaur (but I'll remind him just how much he loved him), the changing animal thingy. We'll laugh together about how if by chance other planets can pick up our TV signals, can you just imagine what those aliens must think of us? Now, that might be a cool concept for a show.

So, how about you? What are your worst show picks? Or, how about favorite shows that you think are the WORST? Doesn't matter . . . just share. This is very valuable information!

Oh, NO! He's escaping . . . Apparently there was nothin' on TV worth watching.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Good Man

Before we were even married, I remember thinking about how you would make a great father. I watched how at ease you were with children. You could roll around on the floor with a group of toddlers one minute and gently cradle a newborn in your arms the next. Nearly every family gathering meant that you would find yourself in the middle of a gaggle of kiddies. They wanted to be around you, to talk to you, tell you their stories, listen to your stories, have you hoist them in the air, give you hugs and kisses, have you chase them. They just loved you . . .

I remember wondering if you were for real.

You were a respectful son. A thoughtful boyfriend. A successful student (I so love cute dorky guys). A responsible worker. A supportive sibling. A loyal friend.

But most of all.

You were a good person. A good man.

You and me. We grew up together. We made a ton of mistakes together. We laughed at said mistakes. We realized we weren't perfect. We figured out just trying to be better each and ever day would be enough. And once we figured that out . . . we knew.

It had been over ten years since we walked down the aisle. Said our vows. Lived our married life. It was time. Adoption was most likely the option, an option we embraced. But, God had other plans.

Baby J. We had no idea that we could actually create another human being (we seriously thought it wouldn't be an option), let alone actually raise one. But there he was. All 5 pounds and 14 ounces of him. Pink. Crinkly. All sorts of amazing.

Life changed . . .

You weren't just a husband. A brother. A son. You were a father . . . less than a year after losing your own. You amazed me with your strength (though I know you will say I amazed you with mine as you couldn't believe what it took to actually bring J into the world). Your determination to be good, to be everything J needed you to be, amazed me. And continues to amaze me every single day.

Now, I watch you with him. You hoist him in the air and he giggles with glee. You blow on his belly as he runs his chubby little fingers through your hair. You sing to him and he looks at you as if you are Pavarotti (we both clearly know you are not--but he thinks you are). He watches you when you walk in the room and his face breaks into a wide, one-toothed grin. He loves you.You are his world.

Just as you are mine.

A good person. A good daddy. A good man.

For which I am eternally thankful.

Your first of many, daddy.

Happy Father's Day . . .

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thursday Thirteen: Some Random, Some Weird



. . . Factoids About Me. And yes, this does count toward my "100 Things About Me Post."

1. I make up words or phrases all the time. For instance, I call J "Turkey Beans." I don't know why. I just do. Or, I'll say, "I need that bottledy boopie over there." What the heck is that? Don't know, but apparently I needed it. I think it comes from having to come up with a creative way NOT to swear (I work with kids, I was trying to set a good example, really, I was) and it has just spilled over into my every day speech. Some of my swear words include: flippity flark, shykers, pitch and bone (no comments on this one please). The list goes on. And on.

2. I have a funny way of eating bacon. I strip the fat off. It is tortuous for anyone who watches. me. Oddly, if I have bacon on a sandwich and can't see it, I can eat it, fat and all. But alone, I have to strip the fat. I know its the best part, blah, blah, blah.

3. I have a ridiculous number of "To Do" lists lying around the house. If you find a notepad or random sheet of paper around our house, chances are there is a To Do list on it. With nothing crossed off.

4. I swear that my guardian angel was a man in a top hat, with a cane, who sang "Puttin' on the Ritz." Sadly, it is the 80s version.

5. Yes, I do have a penchant for 80s music. But, not 80s fashion. However, I did try to get my bangs to do that fluffy thing. It never worked. Thank God.

6. I am now obsessed with "So You Think You Can Dance." I like it more than IDOL. I will NOT be blogging about it.

7. I have ZERO attention span. It took 15 minutes for me to go from #6 to #7. I did 101 things in between. Awe . . . the Rocking Pony had her puppies. That sounds weird, doesn't it? See what I mean . . .

8. I have an addiction to the ellipsis and exclamation mark. Forget my fashion faux pas, this is where I clearly need an intervention.

9. I am a huge procrastinator. I like to tell myself it is because I am a perfectionist and that once I start something I will become fully engrossed in it . . . thus, I tend to procrastinate. Yeah. Right. Whatever.

10. I can make one dish, yes, ONE dish really well. Chicken Tetrazini. Whenever there is a gathering or a party, be rest assured that LaskiGal will bring Chicken Tetrazini. Seriously, though, my recipe is to DIE for. You can feel the artery clogging fat surging through your body with each bite! Perfection.

11. I have a thing about numbers being rounded off. Usually to the nearest FIVE or at the very least, an even number. I often eat things in twos or fives. Asparagus--two. Chocolate Chip Cookies--five. When I buy cans of soup, I must buy them in twos. My favorite numbers all are some variation of five or have an even number in them. This OCD-ish behavior is why I can't stop at 13. I must go to 15.

12. I used to have an obsession with:
This is only half the collection. I was cleaning out the basement. Hubby thinks we should Ebay this stuff. Well, if MJ would not have been an accused pedophile, maybe I could make some money. But, now, not so sure . . . Stop laughing at me. I was a kid . . .

13. As well as an obsession with:
McDonald's Happy Meal toys. Like you didn't . . . Now these, I might be able to Ebay. Nope . . . just checked. Not worth it. Dang it . . . Why didn't I collect expensive things? Check out all the ellipsis.

14. And an obsession with this:
90s R&B music. Ridiculous, really.

15. But, now, I am obsessed with all things this:




After learning all this, hopefully, I still have your respect . . . if not, maybe I can buy it with some R & B CDs, an old Michael Jackson poster, and a Cabbage Patch McDonald's toy. I'll even throw in a few of these . . . and these !!!

* * *
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I Need an Intervention

What happened to me? I mean, I don't think anyone will ever accuse me of being a fashion maven. But, still. What happened to me?

It isn't that I am a poor dresser, I am just not what one would call stylish or trendy. I'm practical. I'm budget conscious. I like to say, fashionably frugal. I am by far not a pro when it comes to accessorizing. I'm not in the know when it comes to handbags worth over $12. If a designer's goods aren't available at TJ Maxx, then I have no clue who they are and probably won't care. The only fabric I really know well is cotton. And more often than not, the only "heels" I wear have rubber ridges suitable for running. There are a few areas where I might let a little, dare I say, s ex appeal shine through (like my cute little VS under wear) , but quite honestly, all that was reserved for our pre-J days.

I think most people would call my style (if we can call it that at all) practical, sporty, classic, casual. I've tried the suits, the dresses, the halter tops, the designer this or that only to go right back to my tried and true choice of wares. Truth be told, I'm perfectly OK with that.

Until just the other day.

My friend A and I went to see Sex and the City. We thought it was great fun--we didn't care about weak story lines. It was SATC! The characters were great. The fashion was fun. The banter was witty enough to hold my attention. We had fun. After consuming a bag full of popcorn and a couple gallons of pop/soda/cola/soft drink, we decided to head into the mall and do a little shopping.

After a little window shopping ,we decided to stop at a rather trendy shop whose fashion is clearly aimed at the younger set. Well, that would be me, of course. I may not be all that hip, but surely I can find a "sporty/casual/classic" outfit or two.

I piled a half dozen articles of clothing in my arms and headed for the dressing room.
Top one--too snug
Top two--too revealing
Top three--too itchy
Top four--too "I wanna jump your bones-ish"
Top five--not bad, great color
Top six--If I were 14 and trying to woo the Jonas brothers, maybe (impressed that I know the Jonas Brothers? Me, too)

I come out of the dressing room with the ONE top that looked semi-OK if you squint really hard and something hits me. I suddenly look around. I mean REALLY look around. I glance back at the mirror. Then I look around again. Girls. Young women. Their cute jeans, the trendy tops, the fitted blazers, the hip skirts, the stylish sandals. . . I look back at the mirror.

At my reflection.

Oh no.

IT has happened. Not only was I not cool, trendy, or fashionable, but that practical, sporty, classic, casual look didn't exist either.


I looked like their mother. The oversized $5 Kohl's print t-shirt. Light blue jean crop pants (see, they stretch). Comfy sandals. My mom necklace. I was stunning. (See oversize top. Can you even make out my womanly attributes? I think NOT . . . so sad). Yes, I was too embarrassed to take a full on shot of myself. It was just too depressing.



Before some of you get all, "Hey, it's OK to get all comfy like! You deserve it. We are busy moms, women. Who cares what you look like, it is about what is on the inside. It is just CLOTHING!" Blah, blah, blah . . .

The fact is . . .

it doesn't look good. No matter how you spin it. Stretch jean and an oversized top on a Weeble Wobble are NOT COOL. Period.

Now, it wouldn't be so bad if I stuck with my cool, casual, sporty look, but this has just gone too, too far.


I mean, I used to wear kinda cute clothes like these . . . (actually, the plaid shorts I recently bought in hopes of having something "in style.") Then, after J, there were suddenly over sized plain t-shirts and large stretch pants and shorts everywhere . . .











I mean, it even invaded my under roos drawer . . . I used to wear cute Victoria's Secret under garments like these (which were never worn, I got pregnant before I had the chance to wear them. Didn't want to weird you out with a shot of WORN under garments.).











Now I wear something more along the lines of these (NOT MINE but a good example. They are from some story about a British woman's und ies--she used them to put out a fire! So many jokes for this one I can't even begin.)

















I used to wear cute sandals. I loved how they showed off my toned calves (only really toned part of my body). Add in a pedicure and I almost looked stylish (I've had all of 3 pedicures in my lifetime, mind you).












Um, pedicure? Are you kidding me?! My toes have no business out in public. However, I still go with sandals . . . um, flip flops. So se xy . . .











I used to carry purses with some style (and I'm not much of a purse carrier) that I found on sale or clearance (remember $12). It was clear you could find STYLE on a budget. Like, this one . . .












But, it has since been replaced by this $9 TJ Maxx goodie.












How about night time? I used to wear soft cotton or silk evening wear every so often (I must confess that shorts and t-shirts have always been common night wares). But, I felt so girlie and well, you know, good lookin' in them.



















Now, it is sleep pants (with bears on them) and a t-shirt (with holes in it). Turned on yet?




















We won't even discuss my hairstyle.

Clearly, I need an intervention. And maybe even a pedicure. . .

PS: Not aiming for the SATC look . . . not only is it far from my "sporty/classic/casual" look, but come on. Those who saw it, what was with the bird on the wedding dress??? I just would like to make it out of the PJs (or similar ) every now and then.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Shame of Indifference

Over the last several days I've been blogging, twittering, buzzing, and plurking. It sounds as if I lead a rather adventurous life. I've been caught up in the virtual world. It just so happens that many of my new friends hang out there, so it is the place to be.

However.

While ensconced in my virtual haven, things have been happening out here that have me perplexed.

It started yesterday.

I needed some watermelon. I grabbed J and we headed out early to our local Kroger. As I started to turn into the aisle to park the SUV behind me sped (in a PARKING LOT) through the aisle, weaving between cars, pulled in front of me and parked at the nearest spot. Had I been going any faster, either I would have hit her or she would have hit me. I was shocked. Not angry. This is a small lot. A local store. Early morning. No crowds. Tons of parking. I didn't get it. Was the two seconds she saved by cutting through the lot worth it? Well. It wouldn't be for long.

I parked and then hopped out of the car and called, "Excuse me . . . Excuse me, Ma'am?" She turned around. She was about 60 or so, clearly angry for having to stop her march into the store. "Did you not see me right in front of you? Was there a reason you cut through the lot to get this spot?" She claimed I didn't use my signal. Then she said something along the lines of "what's the big deal?" I told her that not only was driving through a parking lot that fast dangerous, but I could have hit her, she could have hit me and I have an infant in the car. Did she ever consider that her hasty actions could hurt someone. ALL FOR A SAVINGS OF two seconds? She angrily turned and marched into the store.

A moment after the woman walked away, two elderly ladies approached me and told me they saw what happened and couldn't believe what the woman did and how she behaved. "People just don't care anymore." Her friend nodded in agreement. I smiled and thanked them for being so kind. Once inside the store one of the clerks (I know her fairly well since I visit quite often), came out to help me get J into the cart. "We saw what happened on the monitor and thought for sure she was going to hit you. We were hoping you would take her down. I have no idea what has gotten into people nowadays." As a side note, she then made a comment about how the stock guys in the back were hoping for a cat fight. I said it is a sad day when men are looking to a cat fight between a thirty-something mom and a senior citizen to turn them on. Very sad.

Now, don't get me wrong, I've been an idiot and have made my share of mistakes behind the wheel. The fact that she did what she did was not so much the issue as the fact that she just didn't care. She was completely indifferent to anyone else but herself. That is what frustrated me to no end.

It doesn't stop there.

My story pales in comparison to that of the elderly victim of a hit and run driver left to suffer in the street while no one, this bares repeating, NO ONE, came to help him. The video will have you gritting your teeth and spewing expletives. Amy just commented that one of the witnesses did not stop because it would be too inconvenient. What?!?! Well, %$##@&*!

Does anyone care anymore? Do people care that their words or actions may leave scars that will probably never fully heal? Are we becoming indifferent to even the atrocities that are happening right before our eyes?

I'm not talking about marching on Washington or building homes in a third world country (though that would be great if one were so inclined). I'm talking about just giving a damn. Just caring about others. Caring about how you treat others. I don't know, maybe stooping to help the man who was just run over and is now lying helpless in the street. Maybe just starting there would be nice.

Are we in a hurry? Are we afraid to reach out? Are we too consumed by the craziness of life to pay attention to what goes on around us?

I'm just as guilty as the next person. Of that I have no doubt. I sometimes feel I've lost my passion for humanity. That can't be good.

BUT, I feel in my heart of hearts that I would have rushed to that man and offered whatever help I could while simultaneously calling for help.

With this all said, my rant must have a purpose . . .

Here's my idea. Do you ever see something that just pulls at you and makes you think, "Now that was so cool. Humanity rocks!"? Have you ever done something that makes you think,"I'm not such a bad person after all!"? Whether you save someone from a burning building or merely hold the door open at your local Micky D's for a group of 85 senior citizens (knowing they will probably clear out the Sausage Egg McMuffin supply) or if you see something like this happen, it doesn't matter. Share it. No matter how big or small. I need you to share it. WE all need you to share it.

We need to fight indifference.

I know this corny, mushy, overblown post is not the savior of humanity, but it is my tiny step toward making it, LIFE, this world around us, matter. I have a little guy who will grow up in this world of ours . . . It pains me to think he will grow up under a shroud of indifference. They, those little people who depend on us, deserve so much more.

You know, I was originally going to post about my love affair with mom jeans. But, in light of my own shame, I decided those stretchy, light blue, high-waisted wonders would have to wait.

I am dedicating this weekend to fighting indifference. So, take part!

Well, my Mister Linky died. Several of you e-mailed me and said you had trouble with your links showing up! No worries. I plan on continuing this series and will showcase stories you share either through the comments section or through writing your own post on your blog about how either YOU or someone you have observed is fighting indifference each time I do a "Fight Indifference" post.

This will definitely NOT be a ONE POST initiative!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wordless (except for the small print) Wednesday

A mixed bag . . .

They were only a few feet from us. I'm sure if they
were any closer J would have tried to eat them.

Bubble love. (You can't see the oatmeal/apple/banana concoction
smeared on his shirt. Bubbles were the priority over cleanliness.)

Finger painting with FOOD. Finally, a way to use those green beans.
Hub's comment, "Great, let's take him out back
and hose him down." Nice, Dad.


A picture of me naked. Totally hot, I know this.

Monday, June 2, 2008

I Made Her Do It

“He’s so cute. Did he see you look at him?” she asked.

“Um, no! Are you kidding? Do you think he likes me?” I replied.

“How could he not?” she encouraged.

“Yeah, but he has a girlfriend and he just jokes around with me.”

“He’s secretly in love with you! He just is too shy to tell you.” Her encouragement was without end.

“Really, you think so?” I asked with an invigorated hope.

“I know so!” she lied . . .

She knew he barely knew I existed, yet her unfailing desire to keep me from throwing myself off a bridge prompted her to soothe my bruised and battered ego with some little lies words of encouragement .

She also knew that eventually I’d come to my senses and see that my CRUSH was a dork who liked to wear corny white suits and pose like John Travolta wannabe. She was right . . .

We talk on the phone for hours even though we both hate being stuck on the phone. We can not talk for months and then pick up right where we left off, never missing a beat. We’ve known each other since high school—sophomore year. We’ve seen each other through break-ups, family turmoil, and major life decisions.

She has an amazing sense of humor. I’m constantly laughing at, well, her life. Her observations are spot on and contain a healthy dose of sarcasm. She is one of those people that the minute you meet her, you like her. You want to take her out to lunch and split a pizza and drink some margaritas.

She’s honest. She’s real. Not a phony bone in her body.

She knows me so well and thankfully, she keeps me real. I admire her . . . I wonder if she knows that?

She does now.

She’s probably reading this right now.

She’s entered the blog world. I made her do it. She’s just too damn funny not to share her life and musings with the rest of the world. Seriously, scram. Get outta here and read a blog with some real substance.

Welcome, my BFF.

Bloggy buds, meet Jedi Mama. She rocks. She’s hawt. She's a FORCE (get it???) to be reckoned with. Don’t let her tell you otherwise.


BTW, thanks to all those who read the first installment of my About Me post. It took FOREVER to write it. I'd give each and every one of you a prize for suffering through that whole tangle of words. I would have been lucky to have gotten past the first few paragraphs before starting to drool and stumble for the exit, or ESCAPE button.

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