Archive for June, 2006

Oh, Not-so-Sweet Interruptions

Earlier this morning, I had written a blog that seemed important at the time and was, what I thought, to be a pretty accurate reflection of my role as a mother and how difficult it is since most girls my age don’t have kids anymore… blah blah bleh… Thanks to the ineffectual powers of technology that be, I lost everything I wrote because of a lame internet connection in our new house.  At the time it seemed important and I was angry.  Five hours have passed, my daughter is down for her second nap and the world has changed with just one phone call.  My dad is sick and in the hospital - doubled over in pain.  They are going to have to operate soon to take a cyst that we knew nothing about off of one of his kidneys.  His stomach has swollen to look like he is seven months pregnant and he is in so much pain that he can’t speak.  We have no idea what is going on - we just have to wait until post-surgery to get a better understanding of what is wrong with him.
Parents never get old in our eyes - at least mine hadn’t yet.  My parents are in their early fifties and they still look forty.  My dad is a marathon runner.  He has always been active and healthy and energetic.  This is the first time I have been faced with the fact that, one day (hopefully, very far away), I will have to face him being old or sick or gone.  I have never really thought about it until today.  My grandmother died when I was ten and, though I saw what it did to my mom, I never fully understood what a god awfully empty feeling that must be to lose a parent.  Thank goodness they aren’t gone - nonetheless, since my mom called and told me the news I haven’t been able to shake that lost feeling - that feeling like when you’re five years old and lost in the supermarket.. it’s like I wandered away from him in the bean and pasta aisle and he has already made his way to the frozen food section and I am panicked and I miss him and I can’t stop thinking about how I will never be able to make it without him….. And there will be no customer service desk to call him over the intercom.. there will be no kind, old lady to ask me if I am lost… How do people do this?  He’s not supposed to get sick.  Ever.

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Girl’s Day Out

Right now she is napping, but in about an hour, my little sweet daughter and I will go out on the town. My husband and son are working in the studio today, being brilliant artists, and so she and I will take a picnic at the park and laze about in the bookstore. She is starting to talk pretty conversationally lately, making things so much more interesting. I get soggy and teary just thinking about how she is changing. She laughs so heartily and is just so sweet that it makes me want to squeeze her… god, she’s just so fun. It is rare for us to be able to have this time alone together.

I can’t believe that we have to be so busy all the time that this isn’t the norm.

Lisa and Child

Seems backwards, doesn’t it? All in all, though, we are lucky. We have crafted a fairly livable schedule that includes all of us getting a little of what we want and a lot of what we need - pretty darn close to paradise if I do say so myself. Days like today make all those hours spent on my feet, chasing dollars, so worth every minute. We work hard to have this, and this is worth anything I could have ever asked for.

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Whistlin’ Dixie

For a girl that isn’t really from anywhere (thanks to being raised army brat style) I was shocked to find out that I am, dialectically speaking, a southerner.  Or at least that is what is computed by this little quiz I took - I had no idea that I had such southern style… wow.  I was 70% southern.. wow again.

Alphadictionary.com is a linguistics and language website that researches how differently we Americans use language throughout this country as well as provides us with a very in-depth look at languages throughout the world.  Here’s a very funny overview of some southern dialect:

A Glossary of Quaint Southernisms

A selection of “quaint Southernisms” from Dr. Robert Beard of AlphaDictionary.com:

a- A prefix added to the present participle to make it purtier, e.g. “Abe’s a-workin in backer t’day; Ma’s a-talkin to you, son!”

Ahere adv. In this direction, as in, “Yall come ahere; I got sumpn a show yuh.”

Backer n. A large cultivated weed you can smoke legally. (Southerners don’t get all that excited about the syllables in front of the accented one.)

Bard v. Past tense of the infinitive “to borrow.” Usage: “My brother bard my pickup truck in never brung it back.”

Caint v. aux. Cannot.

Carry on v. Overdo your actions or make a lot of fuss, as in, “Yall young’ns stop a-carryin on so; we cain’t hear each other talk.”

Catty-corner(ed) adj. Diagonal.

Damyankee n. City-slickers from exotic places like New York, Chicago or Philadelphia. (Notice down South it is one word.)

Dinner n. The meal et around the middle of the day.

Err n. A colorless, odorless gas containing oxygen, as in: “He cain’t breathe. . . givvim some err!”

Ever adj. Quicker form of “every.”

Fixin v. aux. Getting ready to: “I’m fixin to leave.”

For crying out loud! exp. Well, I’ll be darned!

Gol darn (it)! exp. An expression of surprise or frustration.

Haid n. The uppermost part of a human or animal body.

His’n poss. pro. Belonging to him, as in “Are them-air boots mine, yourn or his’n.” (See “her’n” for more.)

If’n conj. Variation of “if”. (Southerners love their new suffix, -n, so much, they stick it everywhere. See young’n and his’n.

Kin to adj. Related to (someone) .

Like-to adv. Almost, nearly. “Hit like-to kilt d’man when he saw his boy a-wearin’ a kilt.”

Lord a’mercy! inter. What you say when thangs get out of control.

Mawnin n. The early part of the day.

Might could v. aux. Might be able to. Auxiliaries don’t scare Southerners they way they scare Northerners; we string them together fearlessly, “I might coulda finished choppin the wood if’n hit hadn’t rained.”

-n Suffix for creating nouns from adjectives: young-n, little-n, big-n, that-n over yonder. However, Southerners are so proud of it, they stick it on a lot of other words: if’n, his’n, her’n, sos’n, etc.

No ‘count adj. Worthless.

Pitcher n. (1) a vessel for holding and pouring water; (2) a visual representation of something, as a photograph. The “t” is silent.

Plumb adv. Completely: “Are you plumb crazy?”

Purt near adv. Nearly, close to.

Saerdy n. The sixth day of the week.

Story (tell a) Well, sorta, you know, tell a lie. For example, “That’s a story, mama! I never told his girlfriend he et snails!”

Sugar n. As in “Gimme some sugar”: affection, a chance to snuggle your neck, huggin’ or kissin’ or both.

Supper n. The meal (supposed to be) et around 5 o’clock.

Them pro. Those. “Jimmy John, where in the world did you git them pants?”

Them-air pro. Variant of “them”: “Jimmy John, where in the world did you git them-air pants?”

Uppin v. aux. To do something suddenly or unexpectedly: “I toad him we’s havin liver puddin fer dinner and he uppin left.”

Whup v. Inflict physical pain on someone younger and/or smaller than you using a leather strap or switch.

Used by permission. © 2006 The Lexiteria.

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“I have no problem spanking you in front of all these people…”

This is what I actually said to my six year old son yesterday.  It’s true.  I never thought those words would come out of my mouth, but, I haven’t been able to stop saying things like this for the last two or three weeks..  He is driving me crazy - he knows it and he is loving every minute of it. What the f*!# do I do?

I spent a good two hours on the phone with one of my closest friends a couple of nights ago.  She doesn’t have a six year old yet, but she has three kids and I value her opinion and respect her capacity to keep cool with three kids all under the age of five.  I get exhausted just watching her. But, she has utter control over those babies.  Complete.  Meanwhile, my son is pulling my daughter’s pants down and hitting her in the head (he calls this love tapping) with a plastic butterfly net and my voice seems like nothing but white noise to him (I probably just sound like a fly in his ear at this point)… Most of the time he is golden.  But there is always a large chunk of our day that requires huge discipline.  He doesn’t respond to anything other than physical discipline during those times.  No, I don’t mean I hit or spank him - what I mean is that if, for example, I am telling him to “stop” spinning in the chair that (after two times of stating verbally that I need him to quit) I have to go over and physically take him off the chair and remove him from the situation.  This was the same thing I had to do when he was 3(!) and I just don’t feel like I should have to do it with a six year old. 

Anyway, I am trying out some new books and think that I need to have a consistant system to my discipline with him.  I need something that works for a 6year old - something that will help him understand he is in control of himself (and only himself - that is another issue: he seems to think his sister is his toy or possession) and something to help him realize that he is at his best (and having more fun) when he is listening and working well with others. 

There is a series of books that started with the Love and Logic principle.  It was written by Jim Fay.  I have looked through the website and so far I am impressed with the ideology of it.  It seems realistic and unlike a lot of other parenting guides (don’t you find that a lot of them are a little hokey and drippy? maybe it’s just me..).  I think it will be geared toward my need for compassion and my son’s inherent and strong logical side (I tend to be a little too “wordy” and give too much info - he needs directness and exactness). 

I’ll let you know how it is going along the way…

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Indian Pizza Rocks My Socks Off

What a treat I had last night.. We went to our lovely friends’ Jonathan and Lesley’s house where they made us Indian Pizza that was to die for.  I don’t have the recipe for it, but basically, you can make a tomato sauce that is curried and top it with a nice white cheese of your choice.  You can also make a spinach version - reminded me of sag aloo.  So good.  You should give it a whirl.  Sorry I didn’t get an exact recipe - but it seems like something you can play around with and not go wrong.  I do, however, have a nice recipe for a mango chutney to pair alongside it if you do ever make it.  Here you go:

3 unripe mangoes (about 3 pounds total)
1/2 cup distilled vinegar
1/3 cup sugar plus additional to taste if mango is very sour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1/4 cup raisinsFor seasoning paste
a 1-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled
2 fresh Thai (bird) chilies or 1 fresh jalapeño chili
5 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

3-inch piece cinnamon stick
2 star anise
2 tablespoons corn or safflower oil

Peel mangoes and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. In a small bowl toss mangoes with vinegar, sugar, salt, and raisins.Make seasoning paste:
Cut gingerroot into 4 pieces. For a milder chutney, wearing rubber gloves, remove seeds and veins from Thai chilies or jalapeño. To a food processor with motor running add gingerroot, chilies, and remaining seasoning paste ingredients, 1 at a time through feed tube, and purée to a paste.

Heat a 4-quart heavy kettle over moderately low heat until hot. Cook seasoning paste, cinnamon stick, and star anise in oil, stirring frequently, 10 minutes, or until very fragrant. Stir in mango mixture and simmer, covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, until mangoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Discard cinnamon stick and star anise and cool chutney completely. Chutney keeps, covered and chilled, about 1 month.

 

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Ain’t No Ride Like The Ride I Got….

Wow.  Wow.  Wow.

So, I have crossed over a thresh-hold that I never thought I would cross.  We were successful in the haggling game of buying a car and we are now the proud owners of a mid-size SUV.  To go from a Toyota Echo, which is about the size of a two seater bicycle, to this (a lovely, wonderful, comfortable, reliable, stylish Pontiac Torrent -sigh) is a euphoria unlike anything I have ever known.  We drove home from our vacation feeling happier, and roomier, than we ever have before. You never know how cramped you are until you are un-cramped. 

The old “selling out” question has come into play, I’ll be honest.  I’m just uptight enough to have worried about my prior disgust with our biggie size culture and whether or not I am becoming all that I find detrimental to our society.. Blah Blah blabity blah.. You know what?  My kids are safer, happier and much (much!) more comfortable - and so am I.  The AWD and airbags to spare make me feel much more secure.  And, you know what, in my little bug of a car I was never noticed in the midst of all the 18-wheelers and oversized trucks and uber-sized SUVs.  I like feeling heartier and more noticable on the road.  The XM radio doesn’t hurt either. 

It is just one of those “nevers” of mine that has put me in check.  Never say never.  And leave your judgement at the door - because, one day, you might just be all that you say you hate and you might love every minute of it.

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This World is Going to the Dogs it is….

SO, we are desperetley trying to figure out how to get our dogs home, to Nashville, from my parents house in Florida.  They have been living here for a year now - we had a very small, third floor apartment that our eldest dog (12 years old) Jackson couldn’t take anymore.. It was too small for his big Catahoula Hound Dog body AND the stairs were more than he could take.  So, they have been vacationing in Florida for awhile and, now it is time to take them home.  I’ll admit, having two less creatures to care for has been less stressful, but seeing them this week has reminded all of us - kids included - that they are just as much a part of the family as we are.  We miss them. 

We miss them so much that we are moving up our plans to buy a car sooner - sooner being today or tomorrow.  So now, part of our no-hassle, stress free vacation (our first one ever) is being usurped by the ickiness of car lots and car salesmen.  We just can’t fit into our little Toyota Echo anymore as it is - there is physically no possible way to fit two dogs into that equation.  I have never been a fan of haggling and playing the whole “deal-making” game.. That doesn’t mean I am not good at it, I actually pride myself in not being a pushover for these types of business deals.. But, I still don’t find any joy or excitement in it… It makes me wonder why people can’t just cut to the chase and make you an offer that is genuine and good for both parties.. I completely understand that people have to make money - I wouldn’t begrudge someone for that.. But, come on, spare me the schpeal about how you are going to treat me as if I was your own daughter while you are simulteanously sticking it to me with hidden fees and enormously high interests rates..  It should be interesting, if anything.  Swindlers, here I come!

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City Slicker am I

My parents live out in the middle of Nowhere, Florida.  To get to the grocery store one must embark on a journey that lasts days and nights.  The internet connection is almost nonexistent and the chance to run out to see a movie after the kids have gone to bed is next to none.  For the last two days I have been wondering why they, two people who have traveled the world and lived near great cities, have chosen this remote, seemingly uninteresting location as their retirement place.  I have only been here two days and I miss walking down the street to the park or to the Korean grocery store for vegetarian eggrolls and Jasmine ice tea.  I miss my high speed connection and ibook. 

Then, last night as I floated in the pool in their backyard, I opened my eyes and drifted silently.  What I saw was breathtaking:  stars strewn across the entire sky.  Not just one freckled here and there, fighting their way through the manmade city lights and smog, but literally thousands right there before my eyes.  And then I noticed the quiet.  Sheer, deafening silence - with the exception of crickets and dogs  off howling in the distance. 

I don’t know if I will ever been the kind to take off my city hat, but I sure understand now why some people do.

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My Six-Year-Old Son Hates Change

Six year olds are peculiar little characters. Mine, in particular, has a strong tendency toward meltdowns if anything even remotely out of his routine is in engaged in. He avoids spotaneity as if it were the plague and, you can bet your last penny that if you change even the slightest smidge of his expected routine, that he is going to (perhaps inadvertently) have a huge meltdown at some point in the day.

Case in point: Today we traveled from Nashville to Florida to visit family and to rest and recenter after the icky month we have had. Rather than stop at our usual spot for a long, sit-down lunch, we thought we would save some time and eat on the road and then stop later at a bookstore and a park that we knew was along the way. All things pointed to “happy vacation” until we stopped at said bookstore and my son had a meltdown which worked it’s way into quite a nasty tantrum, the likes which I have never, ever, seen. His wailing and screaching created a stir amongst the other bookstore patrons - the kind of buzz that begins when someone feels that, perhaps, they should contact authorities or maybe a swat team.. It was horrific.

As much as I hate to admit it, my son is such a routine junkie, that my husband and I believe firmly that it was simply because we had made one, simple, unexpected change to his normal way of traveling. What was a small glitch of changeto us was, to him, a massive upheaval of emotional stress.

Second case in point: Once we arrive at my folk’s house - my mom decides that she wants to have a spontaneous (gasp! there’s that word again!) swim in the pool with my son. She jumps in with shorts and a shirt and hollars for him to join her. He can’t do it. He loves swimming and he has been waiting to get in this pool all year. The problem: He has to be in proper swimming garb - this means that he spent twenty minutes looking for me and getting me to unpack the car and dig through the bags for his swimtrunks. When I couldn’t find them, I told him to just take off his shirt and socks and to go for it! “Look, Nana’s in there with all her clothes on - go get her!”. You would have thought that I had just told him to go rob a bank. An utter look of fear and anxiety arose in his little innocent eyes. He eventually got in, but with much hesitation and severe coaxing from me and my mom that is was very OK to get in without sanctioned swimtrunks on.

It has left me wondering what has caused this in my sweet little boy? And is anyone else experiencing this?

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S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Nite!

I have to catch you up on the weekend I had - something magical happened on Saturday night that, most wives will attest to, is a gem in one’s marriage.  I came home from work at about 11pm and my husband, John, was waiting in the dining room with a bottle of lucious red wine, the first CD that he ever made me playing (an artful collection of Keb’Mo, Frank Black, Etta James, The Sea and Cake just to name a few) and (here’e the icing on the cake) and tearjearking and hilarious slideshow on our computer of pictures from the last five years of our lives.. we sat, drank wine, watch our lives on screen and realized how damn lucky we are. 

it’s true that when people close to you die, you are shocked into taking notice of all the beautiful things around you that, typically, you ignore - our families occasionally get taken for granted, our own good health goes unnoticed…. What John reminded me (and himself) Saturday night was that we are living the lives we always dreamed - we have healthy kids, lovely and supportive spouses, budding careers, good (great!) friends and even more incredible families.  Things are good.  Life is sweet.  I am happy.

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