Thursday, April 26, 2007

the big scare

I must tell you, my youngest son is a prankster. Good hearted, but a prankster nonetheless. Once in a while, his pranks backfire on him. I was sitting here at the computer, reading blogs the other night, and the house was quiet (for once). It was a little after ten, and suddenly very faintly, I heard a dull thud and what sounded like tinkling glass coming from one of the bedrooms. I sat for a minute trying to figure out what the sound was, and then it dawned on me. I sat up straight. "What the heck!" I told my honey that it sounded like a window breaking in the boy's room. (I wanted him to go check it out, you see. I'm a big chicken when it comes to windows breaking late at night. Go figure.)

Well, before he could get up to go see, Lew came in the front door with a sheepish look on his face. He had just gotten home from work and had "knocked" (pounded) on the window (not that hard, he said!) to scare John, who was in the room watching TV, or so he thought. Only instead of scaring John, the window broke as he was banging on it and scared him! My honey sat on the couch gritting his teeth, and as he was telling someone about it later, all he could think about was that it was paybacks for him for all the windows he broke when he was a kid. Maybe kids are just naturally hard on windows. I remember breaking a few myself.

The irony of it all was that John was already asleep, and hadn't heard a thing!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

American Idol "shocker"

Some shows will do anything to make ratings. I think AI crossed the line tonight. Does someone have it in for Jordin or something? That was just plain MEAN. I would be furious if I were her. I'd want to walk off the show, or...or...or I don't know what. Do something to make it clear that treating her like a pawn in a corporate media chess game is unacceptable. Junior high school kids have nothing on that move. But really, what could she do? Nothing. Unless she wanted to walk away from all they offer the winner-to-be. It's hard to fathom that any of the contestants would be willing to do that right now.

We get so used to the big sell-out when it comes to getting exposure on national television. (Not that I'm saying she sold out, because I don't think that.) But think about shows like Jerry Springer or some of the other drama-mama shows that are so prolific right now. People get on there and tell so much of their business to the world, way more than anyone really wanted to know. And they do this just to get on television, to be seen, to be noticed. Fame is a two-edged blade.

It's kind of like the early shows of AI this season. They spent half of the show, sometimes, focusing on the desperate people who just wanted someone to acknowledge them. The show exploited them just to make an edgy, off-the-wall show that people would watch and laugh at. Many shows push the envelope so far already that everyone begins to compete with the extremes. What will they do next? Kick someone off and bring them back the next week? Oh, sorry Sanjaya! We were just kidding! You can come back and try again. Really we're kicking off Malinda. Now that would be insanity. I'm hoping that the pendulum will swing back the other way soon.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

did I miss something here?

Have things changed so much when I wasn't looking? I was standing in line at the grocery store waiting to check out and this young girl in front of me in line had a T-shirt that said, "Naughty boy! Go to MY room!" She was not more than twelve years old, if that. Her mother was right there next to her. What is wrong with this picture?? Something has gone horribly awry!

If I had tried so much as to go out the front door with a shirt like that--no, back that up. If I had even tried to bring a shirt like that in the front door, I would not have seen the light of day because I would have been grounded to my room, probably indefinitely. I can't even imagine going out in public with my daughter wearing something like that. I'd be waiting for child protection to track me down or something for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

I think when I was twelve, I might have thought the T-shirt was more daring than risqué. I would not have realized the sadder implications of the message on the shirt. I wanted to tell her how precious she was, and tell her not to even play at giving herself away so easily. I wished she knew that she should hold herself in high regard. I wished I could explain to her that her value does not depend on how attractive (read that sexually available) she was to any boy who might want her.

I knew my parents well enough not to even think about a shirt like that. My parents were strict, but I still knew I was loved. I may have chafed at some of the restrictions I had, but looking at it as a parent now, I so understand it. Perspective is everything.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

pms - permanent mental stress???

So this is perimenopause? That would be the time of life just before menopause. I just read that it can last from 5 to 15 years. Yes, years. I was wondering what happens AFTER menopause, but maybe I won't have to worry about that for a while. Yikes. There's a list of possible symptoms as long as my arm. I had to quit reading for fear that I would suddenly develop some of them as I was reading the list! Of course, the way my memory is going, by the time I got to the end of the list, I would have forgotten what was at the beginning.

Do these mood swings mellow out? Because Next-to-Youngest daughter asked me the other day if I was going to be done with this PMS soon so that my honey and I can stop being so crabby. "Crabby? Us? You must be joking!" She just smiled a fake smile and looked back and forth at the two of us, waving her finger.

I haven't noticed any excessive crankiness myself, but maybe I'm just getting used to it. Come to think of it, I haven't seen much of my Augie Doggie lately. He tends to avoid me or hide under the bed when my voice gets a little shorter and louder than usual. So then I have to put a little extra sweetness in my voice. Kind of like adding extra sugar to my iced tea.

But it's like I have this running dialogue of negative responses going on in my mind within every conversation I have with someone. I'm smart enough never to let these sharp, sarcastic remarks actually come out of my mouth, but even I am surprised by some of the things that come to my mind! It's like listening to my evil twin. Silent subversive subtitles on auto-play. As Amy's 3-year-old nephew would say, "I don't like it." But my mother would say, "This, too, will pass."

Pray for me! No, better yet. Pray for my family! I think they need it more. :)

Friday, April 20, 2007

500 ways to organize your life!

Now I know why some people are way more organized than I am. I checked out a book from the library on how to organize almost everything. I started reading the table of contents, and I discovered that this man has spent much too much time thinking of things for which he can create a "to-d0" list. It made me tired just reading the table of contents. Good thing I was reading in bed--otherwise when I dozed off, I could have fallen over and hit my head.

Okay, some of these are reasonable, and would be good for me! I'll read those parts. There is a listing for Find Your Keys. Oooh, got me right off the bat! Sort Your Sock Drawer. Yes. Take Control of Your Junk Drawer. Which one? Organize the Medicine Cabinet. Don't have one. Maybe I should. Oh, here's one! Live Better Through Labeling. That one makes my heart go pitter-pat! I love labeling.

But listen to some of these! Add a Workspace to Any Room. He hasn't seen my house yet. Amass a Real Estate Empire. Wow. Become a Brain Surgeon. Become a Rabbi. Become a Nun. It goes from macro to micro. Build Low Income Housing is right next to Build a Community Play Structure. This man is a virtual font of wisdom!

Oh, I love this one. Orchestrate the Perfect Conception. And he's not talking about romance, baby! He's talking health, diet, and centrifugal force. You'll have to read that one yourself. The ones that take the cake for me are the "unexpected" ones, and I'll leave you to ponder these on your own: Prepare for an Act of God. Is that a new evangelistic technique? How about these: Survive a Political Coup. Outsmart Pirates. Make a Jail Break. He ends with Die Rich and Be Happy. I think that about covers it all, doesn't it?

The table of contents is almost a novel in itself! Okay, then. This is a huge hardcover book about three inches thick, and there is so much information in it. It is very heavy. The author needs to add one more topic: Disabling a Night Intruder. Simply hit them over the head with this book and it will knock them out long enough for the police to be called or for vigilante justice to happen, whichever comes first!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

sayonara, Sanjaya!

Finally! Sanjaya is gone. So long, see ya later, sayonara Sanjaya. Okay, I know he was a very nice guy, and he is not very old. It's wonderful that he got as far as he did...but I'm really really glad that he didn't go any further on American Idol. The fauxhawk was the end of it for me. I'm serious.

When they divided the singers into two groups, I was rooting for Sanjaya’s group to be the bottom three, even though it meant that Beat Box Boy Blake was in there. He is my favorite for the guys. If they had voted Blake off before Sanjaya, I would have quit watching the show. And I loved what Malinda did. I could see it coming—I knew Ryan was going to put her in that position. I was shouting at the TV. “Don’t do it, Malinda! Don’t do it!” Like she was going to hear me, you know. John was looking at me like I had completely lost it.

Jordin was fantastic on the Martina McBride song, don’tcha think? She nailed it. MM is one of my favorite country singers, and I don't have too many favorites in the country music genre. I have a hard time picking a favorite from the girls. It changes from week to week. I really liked Gina—I like her rocker edginess. It's no wonder that I'm obsessed with AI because music is something I get pretty excited about--I have so many favorites. I just like good music. It speaks to me. And the best part is that if I don’t like what it’s saying, guess what! I’m in charge! I’ll change it.

I always have a tune playing in my mind. All day could ask me anytime, and I could hum a few bars of the current tune for you. It’s like a little jukebox, playing the soundtrack to my life. Now if only I could sing a little better. This week, though, I think the CD is skipping a little. I bounced over three days without posting. I’m going into withdrawal!

Monday, April 16, 2007

the heat is on!

The heat! It has finally caught up to me. I've been hearing things about hot flashes and night sweats from my women friends for months. I remember standing in Wal-Mart quite some time ago with my honey and feeling the rush of heat for a minute or so. "I think I've just had my first hot flash," I said with delight. My honey was not delighted. He was not the least bit impressed, matter of fact. He had heard the horror stories about women in menopause, and he discerned the forthcoming possibility of rocky ground in our relationship. He was not happy about it.

I've staved them off for the longest time, though. I'd get one here, one there, but none of it was too frequent or seriously uncomfortable. Well, all that seems to have changed without my even noticing. I get them once in a while at night, now, but most often I get them in the early morning. I'll be walking around getting ready for work, and suddenly it feels like the temperature went up about forty degrees in the house. I run outside in the chilly morning air for a moment, feeling much like I used to when we'd run down to the lake after sitting in the sauna for half an hour. It feels like the steam is just rolling up off my body. It's so bizarre.

We'll be driving down the road, when suddenly I simply must roll down my window and hang my arm outside to cool off. Even if it's only 15° or 20° outside. No one complains, strangely enough; perhaps it's the snarled, "I'm hot!" that goes along with the window rolling down. As soon as I cool off a little, the window goes back up, only to get rolled down again about five minutes later. No one argues about the temperature anymore. They are simply resigned to the fact that my internal thermometer is having massive mood swings.

I'll hear them quietly discussing it later, thinking they are out of earshot. I can't help laughing because I can hear how ridiculous it sounds, but it is what it is, I guess. You think God has a sense of humor? Somehow, I'm pretty sure he does!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

gadget girl

I took a half-day off to help my twin yesterday.

She had a surgical procedure, and I was her driver. I waited there for her to get done, and I had come prepared: I brought a book. Do you know, I finished the book while I was waiting. Does that tell you how long she was in there? It was great!! That is the FIRST book I have read from cover to cover, in one sitting without being interrupted, in years. I was so pleased and contented. It was absolutely wonderful.

I went with her to help her get home, get settled, and to do a few things around the house for her while she was recuperating. I went to the store for food for her and some miscellaneous items. I got back, and decided I could do some laundry, do some dishes, make sure she had something to eat, pamper and spoil her, you know the drill. She moved into her place in a rush, and has only had time to do minimal putting away of things, so I thought I would also put some things away for her. She let me have free rein! She's very trusting. She has seen the black hole in my bedroom and she still trusts me. That's very brave of her.

My twin is a gadget girl. Let me tell you...I found out that she has every lovely, fascinating, unique, useful gadget you can imagine. For example, she has these cool little clips that go over her visor in the car that flip open so you can clamp your sunglasses in them. I especially liked these because I have no place for sunglasses in my little car. She has an electric mattress pad that goes under your regular mattress pad. No blanket to slide off the bed or to get wrapped all around the other person in the bed. She has a keyboard and monitor stand that you can adjust vertically, along with an ergonomically correct chair and knee rest that you can raise or lower to match the keyboard and monitor height.

She has the best pens. We're both office-supply divas. A rubber stamp to mark FAXED on documents can send us both into a fit of glee. Banker's boxes, those cardboard file boxes that come unassembled in a pack of five or ten are the best thing in the world. They stack and store nicely, you can label them easily, they look neat and consistent--they're a yippee thing, too. In fact, anything that you can use to store, sort, label, or organize things is a big deal in my book...okay, I don't think anyone else much will get it, but I'll put it out here even so. If I don't tell my dorky stories, my kids will out me anyway.

Some things I had to just put into boxes for her to go through. She is me. (I am she. Or is it, I am her? I should know that.) We both save papers just in case we need the information at some point. What usually happens for me is that I save them and save them, and when I finally go through them, I throw most of them away because they are not relevant anymore. So I imagine she might do the same thing, but I put all of her papers in boxes for her anyway, so she can go through them at her leisure.

She appreciated the help, and I appreciated the quiet time to sort and straighten. Sometimes when I do that, my brain sorts and straightens itself without my realizing it. The peace and freedom from interruption was very soothing. I got more done than I imagined I would. She got to rest and recover. I came home with a renewed inspiration to do the same at home. Just not today.

Thanks, twin. Hope your nose is cold and wet again soon! You'll be living it up in no time.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

the wiles of women

The secret is out. My honey is a teddy bear. He has such a good heart.

Last night, Youngest Daughter was loudly wishing that someone would take her to the store. She asked everyone in the house who could drive, but no one volunteered to take her. When she asked my honey if he would bring her to the store, he gave her a flat "No." He was going to go to bed, he informed her. She sat down in the dining room and periodically let out these huge sighs, and she had the most pathetic look on her face. Almost as bad as the puppy eyes Otis used to give me when he was still sleeping in the kennel. He just smiled. "Do you think that will help you?"

She sighed. "No." Another sigh.

He went down the hall, presumably to get ready for bed. A minute later, he came back out into the dining room. "Let's go." He headed for the door. The most radiant smile spread over Daughter's face.

He's helpless when it comes to fighting his own heart. I absolutely love that about him. He's not so tough that he can't admit his soft spots. My sweetheart.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

in the land of women

There was a preview on TV tonight for a new movie coming out soon. It's called In the Land of Women. It looks like a serious chick flick. The characters appear to be in their late teens or early twenties. Okay, it's probably early twenties. I think everyone under thirty looks like a teenager these days. Is that a sign of getting old? Why is this age thing whacking me over the head every way I turn? I'm too young to be old! Some days, I feel like I'm still fourteen!

Well anyway, I looked at my honey, and I said, "Dear! Once the boys move out (maybe this summer), that will be your life: In the Land of Women!" (It will be just my honey, the two girls and me.) He just stared at me, without even cracking a smile. He called for next-to-youngest Son from the other room. "Son?" he asked. "When you move out, can I move with you?"

Son looked at him quizzically, and didn't even miss a beat. "No!" And then, "What are you talking about?!" I explained it to him, and Son said, very seriously, "Dad. You need to buy a dog. A big dog. Then when the girls are picking on you, you can just tell the dog to bite them!" Then he walked back down the hall. "Good luck with that, Dad."

In the Land of Women. I'll have to make time to go see that one. I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

parents call for a ban on homework

It almost sounds like a headline that some enterprising students would think up to send to their teachers as an April Fool's joke. However, this headline is the real deal. There are some parents in Australia who have joined forces to call for a ban on homework in the elementary grades, and to rethink the policy of assigning masses of homework in high school.

I'm a parent, and I like this idea! I think homework is a huge cause of stress for students, particularly younger students. Besides, it causes friction between parents and children, as well. How many power struggles happen over homework left undone? And conversely, how many parents beat themselves up with guilt for not following up well enough on homework because they are so busy themselves?

The story says that homework contributes to physical and emotional exhaustion and that it allows little or no time for leisure and family activities. They even have studies to show that homework contributes little to academic achievement in the lower grades. I may be in the minority, but I agree! I was reading the headline to Youngest Daughter, and her response was a huge smile.

I think our work ethic is so well-developed that it is difficult to wrap our minds around this concept. This is particularly true in the culture in which I grew up. Hard work was highly valued, and those who were not inclined to work were mocked and called lazy, or scolded and disciplined.

I knew people who couldn't stand to see a child laying around reading a book. They thought that kids needed to be outside "doing something," and these adults would either come up with a list of chores to make the kids do, or they would chase them outside on a hot summer day rather than let them just hang around inside and read an Archie comic or two. "Go play!" they would shout. But I never saw them pick themselves up off their behinds to go outside and run around in the heat.

I always tended to march to a different drummer, however. I hated mindless repetitive work that was done for the sake of keeping people busy. There was nothing I liked better when I was a kid than sitting in my room with a good book and a cold soda. After I had kids, if they were reading inside and it was nice outside, so what! I detested housework as a child, and I usually made myself scarce when it was time to clean. I still hate housework. I love to HAVE the house clean; I just don't like cleaning it. I still almost can't bring myself to admit that. It feels so decadent!

But now. There it is--right out in the open. The world didn't stop spinning. No one died from it. And as for me? I'm off to read a book before I go to bed! G'nite.

Monday, April 9, 2007

laying on the couch with my tongue hanging out

Wow. I feel like I've been hit by a truck. As a matter of fact, I think it backed up and ran over me several times!

We had two of the grandbabies, D-Boy and T-Boy, stay overnight on Saturday night (not literally babies, though, because they are three and six years old). "Mom" was going to be picking them up on Sunday evening when she came for Easter dinner.

On Saturday night, they weren't actually sleeping until two in the morning. Sunday morning when we got up at 7:30 am or so, they were awake and running around the house already! I don't ever remember having that much energy. The Energizer Bunny has NOTHING on them.

We hid Easter candy for them and had them look for it right away in the morning. That was our first mistake! I know, I know. You would think we'd never been parents before. That's one of the cardinal rules. Skip the sugar! Okay, well, we're old. We're entitled to forget things.

They were eating their Fun Dip at the little table in the living room, and we were right around the corner cleaning up the kitchen and preparing Easter dinner. I remember thinking, "My, they've finally mellowed out a little." My honey said, "They're pretty quiet." And we both looked at each other. "They're TOO quiet!"

He went around the corner, and there they were. Throwing their Fun Dip powder all over the table, up in the air, and all over the carpeting! It was time for a break. They sat on the couch and watched me wipe up the table, wipe off the chairs, vacuum the carpet, and throw away what was left of their Fun Dip packages. After all of that, T-boy's next question was, "Can I have my candy back?" Are you kidding me?? Oh, my. I forget what short memories kids have!

By about two o'clock in the afternoon, we were staring longingly at the door, waiting for "Mom" to walk through it. By five o'clock, my honey was sure she had actually packed her bags and headed for another country. At about eight o'clock, though, she showed up, looking well rested and happy. My honey and I, on the other hand, were barely hanging on by a thread, holding ourselves up on the counter.

Grampa didn't even make it through the whole day. After dinner, he was sitting on the couch watching a movie with D-boy curled up next to him. When I went in the room to see how they were doing, he was sound asleep and D-boy was wide awake, still going strong. I think we could name tornadoes after them without any problem.

I have been in the trenches, where only the foolish and the fearless dare to go. I guess there is no danger of "baby hunger" for me this week!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

where do they keep the fingernail clippers?

I was shopping at Cub Foods the other day, and I wanted one of those small pairs of fingernail clippers. I knew exactly where they were in the store, or I thought I did, but when I looked in the aisle where they used to be, they were nowhere to be found. I walked around, and walked around, and finally gave up looking. I asked the pharmacist behind the counter if she knew where they were located. I hate when stores move things around! You just get used to it, and bang! Try again. I thought stores wanted you to be able to find things so you could buy them!

Anyway, when I asked the pharmacist, she lowered her voice slightly, and looked around. "They're back here behind the counter," she said. I beg your pardon? I thought they must have been out of them and had just gotten a shipment in. Maybe they just needed to restock. No. They keep them behind the counter now. I was so taken aback.

"Why do you have to do that?" I asked her. Get this. It is because of the "new" airline regulations. Okay. Stop right there. Think about this! What is the point of putting them behind the counter? They did not ask me for ID. (THAT would have been another post!) Honestly. I asked for them, and she gave them to me. What kind of barrier is that?

Is it so they can't be used as a weapon? If that's the case, any sharp object would do. A sharpened pencil is more lethal than a little pair of clippers. Do they think that someone who would want to take it on a plane to use as a weapon is too stupid to think to ask for them? But wait, maybe if they are dumb enough to want to use them as a weapon, maybe they would give up if they weren't on the shelf. Who knows?

The second implication, which I like even less, would be that the pharmacist, or whoever has them behind the counter, is only supposed to sell them to people who they think will not be trying to use them as a weapon. How do they tell the difference??? Because I'm a Caucasian woman, I'm not considered a threat? This is all very unsettling!

Maybe someone can shed some light on this for me, 'cause I'm sitting in the dark on this one!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

forgetfulness is sneaking up on me; no, it's hitting me over the head!

I am such an easy target. People don't have to work hard to find things to chuckle about when it comes to my life.

Yesterday, it was about 10:30 at night, and it suddenly dawned on me that I had completely forgotten to watch American Idol. I was so upset! I hate, absolutely hate, missing it at this stage of the game. I think you could call it an addiction by this time. Anyway, I was having an all-out tantrum, and Youngest Daughter was looking at me, probably wondering if she should give me a wider berth to avoid the flailing body parts. Well, I got over it.

This morning, I was sitting on the couch having my coffee when, like a ton of bricks, the realization hit me. American Idol is TONIGHT! Oh, my. I was relieved. Youngest Daughter looked at me, and I could see the thoughts going through her mind . . . "Okay, my mother has been replaced by a lunatic."

Then this evening as I was telling all of this to my honey, he looked at me from the corners of his eyes. "Dear. American Idol WAS last night." Ooohhhhh, noooooooooo! A mind is a terrible thing to waste, but it's even worse to lose it completely!

Today, when Second-to-youngest Daughter was getting some teeth pulled in preparation for her upcoming braces, I asked the doctor to give me a note for school because of her absence today. I wondered out loud if she should go to school tomorrow, and she looked at me and said, "Mom. I'm on spring break this week!" The humiliation never stops. However, I guess the fact that I often forget to call her in when she is gone actually worked in my favor this time--I fortunately did NOT call the school office during spring break to report her absence. Lord, have mercy!