Rhetorical

I want to post about a couple of things but every night I am so exhausted.  But maybe tomorrow.

There’s always tomorrow.

And here in Southern California, we’re also pretty sure the . . . sun will come out, TOMORROW . . . (go ahead, sing it loud, sing it proud!).

In the meantime there are a few things I constantly wonder:

1)  How does my office get this messy?
2)  How can one dog shed so much fur?
3)  Will I ever get to read all the books I have stacked around here?
4)  What month is this?
5)  Where is my stapler?
6)  Where is my favorite Pyrex mixing bowl?
7)  Will everything turn out all right?
8)  Why do so many socks not have mates?
9)  Why am I saving mittens and hats and scarves?
10)  Will I ever get my garage organized?

I’m not entirely serious, but maybe I am. You’ll never know. Or you will. Maybe.

It’s funny how much advice exists about how to deal with small kid issues.  Books, magazines, blog posts, television shows, radio podcasts . . . it’s abundant.  How do you stop the pacifier habit?  What do you do about nap-times?  What’s the best age to potty-train?  Everyone has an opinion and a solution and facts to help the new mother.

But we old moms?  Those of us who have teenagers whom we can’t really discuss because they have Internet access . . . well, we are the ones who truly need help.  We have questions without answers and worries that can’t be addressed with a time-out and a reward chart.  We’ve been mothers long enough to know that we really don’t have a clue and that everything that unfolds will unfold with or without our permission or guidance.  What we want is assurance but no one can assure us of anything.  I liked being a mom of a two-year old better.  I felt more competent back then.

Oh, the old days of struggling with overdoses of apple juice and tantrums on the kitchen floor and picky eaters seem like a fairy tale compared to now.

Part of the problem for me is that I was one of those teenagers who had no interest in causing trouble or wreaking havoc.  I was a careful young person, determined not to make mistakes.  I babysat on weekends and spent time in the library looking for more reading material.  I was independent from a young age and focused on the future.  So I have no idea how to relate to teenagers who aren’t me.

Well, maybe you know what I mean.

Parents of teenagers who are really troublesome keep quiet.  No one wants to admit defeat.  And you can’t really talk about your teenager without it getting back to your kid.

Of course, there are parents of teenagers who are thriving, who are Mr. Homecoming and the Class President and who have found a cure for cancer already while rescuing unwanted kittens and writing classical music for the cello.  Those kind of parents make me feel like a failure . . . even though I know that their parenting has little to do with their kid’s achievement . . . because some kids are just like that.  Someone has to be Mr. Homecoming and the Class President, after all.

I believe most behavior is genetic.  It’s pre-programmed, just as inevitable as brown eyes or knobby knees.  But that doesn’t stop me from thinking maybe I can change the course of a river with a few gentle suggestions and raised eyebrows.

I wonder if someday I’ll look back on this phase of life with something resembling nostalgia.  I kind of doubt it.

A sort of review of The Odd Life of Timothy Green (but not really)

Last weekend, I saw The Odd Life of Timothy Green with my 9-year old daughter. She’d seen the previews on television and had been counting down the days until the movie opened.

I have a few things to say about the movie.

First of all, I absolutely love Jennifer Garner and have since her Alias days–well, even before that, in the Felicity days.

The movie plot . . . was improbable at best.  And kind of annoying, if truth be told.  I won’t spoil it for you but let’s just say that I found the actual happenings of the movie to be kind of dumb (a pencil made out of leaves somehow saves the day?).

But, I’m not the demographic.  I know.

Here’s what I did love about the movie:

1) Jennifer Garner’s lovely acting.
2)  Jennifer Garner’s wardrobe.  Oh, I loved the dresses and cardigans.  So adorable.
3)  The light.  The glowing, autumnal light was really beautiful.

As the movie came to a close, to my utter embarrassment, I began to cry.  Despite the improbable plot, the annoying contrivances in the plot, and silly crises meant to move the story along . . . the emotions still bubbled up.

My daughter kept peeking at me and I kept trying to wipe away tears without her noticing that I was crying.

How ridiculous.

I blame perimenopause.

Reading is fun!

Photo: Smokey quit eating for mysterious reasons and now has liver disease. She's getting a feeding tube. Goodbye, Disposable Income.It’s been one thing after the other around here.  Smokey the Cat quit eating for mysterious reasons maybe related to her pancreas and maybe not.   But the result is this:  fur tinted yellow by jaundice and bones.  We didn’t see how skinny she was getting for awhile because of her long fur.  The vet implanted a feeding tube into her neck and assured us that her prognosis was good, but it appears hopeless.  Tomorrow may be her last day.

Meanwhile, the 10-month old puppy continues to find new ways to wreak havoc.  She has been systematically unraveling the carpet insert in the living room.  I have run out of options for furniture placement to hide the damage.  She ripped off the face of my old Raggedy Ann doll that had fallen from a tall shelf.

School has begun for my youngest two kids.  The oldest two are sort of staring blindly into the future, unsure of what do next.  Jobs, school, and driver’s licenses are in their futures, details to come later.

I have been reading again.  For awhile, I couldn’t manage to focus enough to read, but now I’m back in a rhythm.

I read these books:

Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel

I really enjoyed Where’d You Go, Bernadette?  The setting was Seattle, the story amused me, the writing was excellent.

My blog friend, Quinn Cummings, wrote this new book about homeschooling (and her life) called The Year of Learning Dangerously: Adventures in Homeschooling.   She’s such a smart, entertaining and funny writer.  I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

The Year of Learning Dangerously: Adventures in Homeschooling

Now, I’m reading Nora Ephron’s book, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts On Being a Woman (Vintage), I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman.  I’m reading it in her memory.  It’s a quick and entertaining read.

Before all this, I read A Prayer for Owen Meany.  I really got bogged down in that book, but by the second half, I was racing through it, watching in amazement as the pieces all came together and the story unfolded.  John Irving is such a master of fiction.  I finished it, cried, and then, most embarrassingly, recounted the plot to my husband and BURST INTO TEARS.

I blame perimenopause.

This is why we can’t have nice things

I’ve been scarce around here for several reasons.

We had company for a few nights and did our best to pretend we were on vacation while they were here.  You know, fruit salads and bratwurst on the grill and time at the beach.

And then our cat had the nerve to stop eating which necessitated a feeding tube.  This features random cat vomit and four feeding sessions a day that take forever.  Fortunately, the teenagers have taken over this task.

But mostly I’ve just been spending all my spare time finishing A Prayer for Owen Meany.  I read it when I was 22 or 23.  You miss a lot when you are only 22 or 23.  You don’t know it at the time, of course, but when you look back 24 or 25 years later, you understand how narrow the spotlight of your knowledge and understanding really was.

Here are a few things my almost 10-month old puppy has destroyed:

1)  the cord attached to a lamp while it was still plugged in
2)  three shoes owned by visiting teenage girls
3)  a salt shaker
4)  the living room carpet
5)  various bowls and plates.
6)  other stuff I can’t remember this second.

Lola was so cute when she was a baby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look at that baby face!

Where’d the week go?

I’m amazed that tomorrow is Friday, even though every week has exactly seven days and Friday always arrives after Thursday.  The week has been so busy.  Here are just a few of the things that have occupied my time this week:

  • Took ailing cat to the vet.  She was diagnosed with fatty liver.  Basically, she’d stopped eating, became anorexic and jaundiced.  The cure?  A feeding tube that now juts out of her neck.  Just what I needed . . . to force feed a cat four times a day.  You do not want to even know how much it costs to cure an anorexic, jaundiced cat.
  • Soccer practice!  Lacrosse practice!
  • Out of town company arrived and left and will be returning in twenty-four hours. This visit prompted me to replace four burned out lightbulbs.  I also tidied up the backyard and planted some more flowers in pots.  It’s always weird the things I find necessary to do when company is coming.
  • Spent the afternoon with the company and most of my family at the beach.
  • Work!  Work!  More work!

This weekend, our company will be back for a day.  Grace has a soccer tournament with a couple of games scheduled for Saturday and a couple for Sunday.

And, of course, all I really want is a nap and time to read.  Maybe next week!

Mourning

A mourning dove chose to build a nest on the front of our house.  After the nest was constructed, either mama bird or daddy bird sat on the nest, even when we walked by.

And then, a few days ago, this happened. We don’t know how or why.

The mourning dove couple is gone and this is all that’s left of their hopes and dreams.

Sad.

Reckless controversy

Okay, you asked for it.

Here’s what I think about some things, both petty and not.

I was raised to dress very modestly.  At some point, modesty veered into shame when I began to hate my body.  But that’s not why I disapprove of strapless tops and dresses for women.

I disapprove because they are almost always extremely unflattering.  You know who looks cute in a strapless dress?  Taylor Swift because she is lithe and tall and has a small bosom.

The rest of us?  No.  Please.  Just, no.  It’s just not cute.  I even disapprove of strapless wedding gowns.  I just think that most women look better in sleeves.  No more smooshed boobs.  Please.

Seriously.  Look around and you’ll have to agree with me.

*

You’ve probably heard the news about Yahoo hiring Marissa Mayer as its new CEO.  The only reason this news is newsworthy is because Ms. Mayer is pregnant.  I guess that’s big news because everyone is wondering how she will manage to tackle her new job at Yahoo while being a new mom.

I’m sure she will hire excellent help since she has the resources to do so.  I heard someone (on a daytime talk-show) say that she will have be able to take the baby to work with her. That’s what I want to discuss.

I work from home.  I’ve worked from home for almost five years now, starting when my youngest child was four years old.  And I’m here to tell you that a mom who thinks she can work full-time while simultaneously taking care of a newborn  is nuts.  Well, maybe that’s too harsh. Actually, no.  It’s the truth.

Taking care of a newborn baby is a full-time job. Taking care of a baby is a full-time job.  Taking care of a toddler is a full-time job.  You can’t just tuck a baby under your desk and pull it out like a doll when you have a minute here or there.

I assert that if you are working full-time and taking care of babies full-time at the same time, either you aren’t a good employee or you aren’t a good mom.  I would never have been able to do this job when my kids were younger than four.  It was a challenge to balance work and childcare even when my kids ranged from four to fourteen.

Maybe I’m the only one willing to admit that I could not simultaneously care for a newborn baby and work full-time.  Maybe my babies were just particularly needy.  But I think babies should be held and talked to and babied.  How can you do that while devoting yourself to a demanding job?

I have no doubt that Marissa Mayer can be an excellent mother and an excellent CEO.  But she’ll need to hire help.  And then she’ll need to clear a shelf to store all the Mommy Guilt she’ll experience when she realizes that she can’t be in two places at once.

*

Tattoos.  Listen.  I have seen lovely tattoos.  And I have friends and family with tattoos.  And I love those people.

But I don’t understand the point of tattoos, especially the ones that look like doodles written on a high school Pee-Chee.  Stars and hearts and calligraphy, oh my.   Don’t even get me started on the faded green color or the smeary lines or the ones done on the back of the neck.  You can’t even see the back-of-the-neck tattoo.  Why get it at all?

Here are the people who  are allowed (in my kingdom) to get tattoos:  Marines and rock stars.

And I know that most of you have tattoos because everyone has one these days, so I don’t mean YOU.  I’m sure your tattoo is lovely and meaningful and all that.  But don’t get me started on tattoos written in other languages.  If you don’t speak Chinese, why would you get a saying inked in Chinese on your arm?  (Are Chinese people getting American slogans inked on their forearms in English?)  I just do not get the tattoo craze.

*

Okay, there you go.   Enough recklessness for tonight.

Please feel free to speak up and share your thoughts.

(I have already unwittingly ignited controversy on my Facebook page where I not only complained about making school lunches for my 14-year old, but I admitted that I make school lunches for my able-bodied 14-year old.  How dare I do something for my son when he could do it himself!  Hey listen.  No one ever made me a school lunch after fifth grade.  I quit eating lunch at school after that.  ((Sometimes I’d have an apple out of the apple-vending machine.  They cost a dime.))  I shouldn’t complain, I guess, because I am never going to insist he make his own school lunch.  I’m the mom.  I make the lunch.  But I hate controversy so I didn’t say a word in my Facebook comments.)

A day in review

From time to time, my daughter wakes me up to ask me urgent questions like, “Are we doing anything today?” or to recount the details of her bad dreams.  So, after the dog woke me early this morning and I’d fallen back to sleep, my daughter woke me and I said (without moving my mouth or opening my eyes), “Can we talk about that when I’m awake?”

It sounds more like this:  “CannwetaaalkboutthatwhenImwake?”

Staying true to myself, I stayed in bed until the very last minute, then rushed into the shower, into my clothes and downstairs to start my work day.

I worked until 2:5o PM and then gathered my lacrosse player, my soccer player and my cat-food-stealing dog into my mini-van.  Then I delivered the lacrosse player, took the lamp-cord-eating dog to two separate dog parks (first one closed, second one perfect) and then took the soccer player to practice.  I sat and read A Prayer for Owen Meany while the poop-eating-dog sniffed around and teenage boys continued to whack their soccer ball over the goal and toward my head.

I finally moved to a different bench.

Somehow, I’ve trained my excessively-shedding dog to expect a treat when I unzip my purse, so every time I’d pull out my phone, she’d push her slobbery face into the purse opening.  This was rather inconvenient.

Practice ended and I resisted my daughter’s attempts to convince me to stop at Baskin-Robbin for ice-cream.  We went straight home so I could cook dinner (soft-tacos, thanks for asking).  By then it was 7 PM.

What was next?  My nightly nap, of course.  I napped at 7:30 PM and woke in time to work again.

And now it’s 1:22 AM and I’m going to sleep.

I only wish I had something interesting to write about.

I would like to discuss the following topics, but then I think of how many people I might offend, so I keep quiet:

Controversial Topics I’d Like to Discuss But Probably Never Will:

Strapless tops and dresses
The pregnant Yahoo CEO
Tattoos
Gun control
Movie-ratings and why people should heed them
False eyelashes

But I do have opinions.  And maybe one day I will recklessly share them.  Ha.

 

Day off

And today I napped all afternoon.

It.

Was.

Awesome.

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