Archive for July, 2006

You Have Got To Be Kidding Me

I am trying to think of a useful reason to keep talking about my misfortunate series of events this summer.  And, perhaps at the end of today’s blog, I will feel as if I have provided information that is relevent and helpful.  But for now - I am only capable of ranting and telling you that I now believe that I am one cursed mo’fo.  Yes, I said mo’fo.

Here we go:

Yesterday, we were bopping down Gallatin Road here in Nashville - on a sponteanous milkshake run to shake some of the summer heat off.  Gallatin Road is a four lane road famous for lousy drivers and desperately misplaced parking lots that only allow you to pull out into oncoming traffic.  Anyhoo, one of Nashville’s finer citizens, with a lovely gaze of someone who had been hittin’ the juice a little earlier than he shoulda’ been, was pulling out of one of these parking lots - strangly enough, right in front of a car going forty miles an hour (that would be us). As much as I tried, I couldn’t stop in time to prevent us from ramming him nearly head on.  He was less than concerned with the fact that this was our brand new car and only mildly concerned that there were two children involved - he was more concerned that his rusted out 1970 Buick whose bumper was, literally, dangling by a piece of rope was “damaged”. 

Our brand new car is now undrivable and in the shop.  Not sure if its totaled yet - the wheel and axle are pretty bent - so we just have to wait to get the word from the mechanic.  But it looks pretty awful.

Ahhhh, here’s an educational twist:  Get the gap insurance when you buy a new or used car.  We didn’t.  We knew, when we bought the car that we should, but couldn’t afford it - it was a pretty high premium that they were quoting us.  So now we are incredibly nervous about the fact that we may be paying for a car that is damaged beyond repair.

Aside from that, I am just wondering what the deal is.  It seems like, since things have been looking up for us as a family that we have had the worst occurances around us - things that seem completely out of our control.  When we were poor and could barely eat and not making art and working too hard at things we didn’t love and not able to spend time with our kids or each other, it seemed that everything else was great - no accidents, no death, no illness, no tragedy.  Now, we are happy and making it and getting closer to our goals and everyday we feel lucky - and it seems that the more of this we have the more we are faced with completely uncontrollable ickyness.  Do you have to always give something up to be happy?  Is this some way of making sure we don’t get too comfortable or at ease with our lives?  Is there always going to be some big disaster or heartbreak that we are going to have to deal with if we keep living a comfortable life?  I am starting to think yes.  I am starting to think that this is how things keep its balance.  I am starting to wonder if being financially unstable and overworked wasn’t a better gig than this.  How crazy is that?

Better go get back on the phone with the insurance company.  Wish me luck.

Posted in Stress and Trauma, Insurance, Cars | 1 Comment »

Beauty Queens, Princesses & Ponies

Little girls, little girls, little girls.  I think I was less shocked when my son began proving the whole nature over nurture theory to me when he started being uber-boy than, now, seeing my daughter lassoing her absolute girlish nature at barely two years old.  Prissy, prissy, prissy.  She already wants a pony and is in love with those moronic Disney princesses who have had modern day “makeovers” that maintain the facade of being strong, independent women but, realistically, are just looking to hook a man’s attention and get laid.  Yuck.  Why is it in our nature to be lured by this?  She has already mastered fluttering her eyes at any man she sees and has perfected playing coy when they notice how pretty she is.  Yuck again.  Trust me, she is not learning it from me.  Sure, next to my boyish, lesbian friends I am pretty girly - but that is about how far it goes.  I like to think that there is a difference between feminine a being girly.  Being feminine implies strength of character and poise.  Being girly involves flirting and playing dumb to get your way.  A flirt I am not..  But wait a minute, my friends say I flirt with everyone - I think I am just being friendly - but they swear it is flirting.  Hold on - am I inadvertently teaching my daughter to get her way by being cute and flirty just because I like to be nice to people??  Can’t be.  I don’t care what my friends say, I don’t think I’m that girl.  I have seen that girl and have heartily rolled my eyes at her as man after man falls over himself to buy her a drink just because she is hanging out of her top and blinking a lot.  I have scoffed loudly when I have heard that girl say “Oh, I am just so dizzy - can you help me carry those??”.. I am not that girl, why is my daughter gleaming with the potential of becoming that girl?  Is this that whole mother vs. daughter thing taking root?  Or is this just a phase?  I mean, she’s not yet two.. Maybe I’m overreacting, no? 

Posted in Behavior Issues, Character Development, Child Development | No Comments »

Finding a Reliable Babysitter: The Hardest Task on Earth

My husband is an artist.  Everyone once in awhile we have an opening to go to that we can’t (won’t) bring the kids to.  There was a day when, with only one kid, we could bring the whole family and all was well.  My son would talk calmly walk around the gallery.  He knew the rules: no touching, no shouting, no breakdancing near any fragile sculpture.  Then we had our daughter.  Those of you with two kids know the shocking reality that going from one to two kids is.  We can no longer take the whole family anywhere but the park and other uber-kid-friendly places.  It is a damn near impossible feat to get them both functionally well-behaved at the same time.  In fact, it seems that when one is practicing the utmost self-control and being angelic, that the other feels that that moment is perfect for causing utter chaos.  So, see, we have decided that finding a regular babysitter whom we can count on as regularly as the bug man is essential to our future sanity and happiness.

This might seem like an easy task.  Not so.  I am realizing that one of the only ways to attain babysitter info is from other mothers.  It’s tricky.  Some mothers are happy to share everything they know.  Some mothers, not so much.  I asked a friend of mine if she had a good babysitter to recommend.  She said “Yes, but I’m not giving her number out - are you crazy!”.  Believe it or not, I have gotten this response quite often.  It’s like the holy grail of parenting.  I swear, I have never seen adults be more covetous of anything in my entire life.  It’s like those who have them are scared to death of losing them and those who don’t have them would kill to get the information.  Bizarre.

But, somehow, we managed to pull through and Saturday night we’ll actually be going out together, sans children, for the first time in - geez - I think, like, over a year???  Yeah.  I think that’s about right.  Hopefully our babysitting woes are behind us.  And, even more so, I hope that when some desperate parent looks me in the eye and asks that threatening question “Do you have any good babysitters you can recommend?”, that I’ll be able to free myself from any instinctive babysitting hording that I might feel and pass along the info with love and willingness.  I may have to grit my teeth, but I think I can do it.

Posted in Daily Living | No Comments »

Oh, Wicked Past.. Stop Creeping Up on Me…

Funny how people from your past (read: people from your past that you really never want to hear from again) find a way to infiltrate your happy little bubble.. Some folks just can’t leave well enough alone.. Especially with things like MySpace and other online people finder sources, it is easier than ever to be located - even when you don’t want to be. 

There are certain pleasures and nuggets of happiness to be found on MySpace.  I enjoy it thoroughly for music finding and for keeping up with friends whom I adore.  Every once in awhile, though, someone from my past who has been purposfully excluded from my present and future will insist on bombarding me with emails.  Is this the price to pay for an online social life?  Perhaps others don’t have my peppered past and don’t share this sentiment.  But, for those of you who have lived many colorful lives in just a short time - there are probably a few people from one of those lives whom you don’t want poking around your happy home, even via internet.  I am considering cancelling my MySpace account and just sticking with regular emails, even though they aren’t nearly as fun.  Just a thought.

Posted in Daily Living | No Comments »

Something In the Way She Poos

I am knee deep in other people’s poopy.  Yesterday I wiped a total of three other being’s bottoms - both kids and the dog.  Am I being too sharing???  Tough.

The most alarming of all three was my daughter, if you can believe it.  My cute, sweet, cherubic little baby girl had the most horrendous diapers these last few days.  I know what it is, I just can’t get her to change the bad habit that is producing these frightful diapers.  My daughter’s a juice junkie - and it’s creating quite a funk in her huggies. 

I am having to hide the apple juice and orange juice from her. The diapers weren’t the only indicator that we have a problem - at mealtimes (and even snack times) all she wants to do is drink her juice.  I am having to buckle down and only give her one juice drink a day now - it has caused a stir in our household. She goes to the refrigerator and screams “szhoooze,szhooze, szhooze!!!!” and when I refuse, further hell breaks loose.  Water won’t do.  Milk occassionally makes her happy, but I don’t want her to start replacing meals with milk either.  She certainly doesn’t look to be malnourished, by any means, and maybe I should just write it off as a phase in her eating style.  Whatever the case may be, it is something I never had to deal with with my firstborn.  He has always been a big eater.  I guess, like anything else, we’ll just ride this wave and work our way out of it.  In the meantime, I’ll just let my husband deal with the juice junk in her diaper… I am officially on diaper changing hiatus.

Posted in Nutrition, Child Development, Daily Living | No Comments »

The Summer of A*#-Whoopins Part 3: Crippling News

So, anyone else tired of my continuous drama this summer?  I am.  But, what the hell, let the royal emotional a** kicking continue! 


Jackson on Easter, 2002

Our sweet dog, Jackson stopped being able to walk about four days ago.  He went from walking (albeit, like an old man, but walking nonetheless) down the street with us to only being able to take two to five steps and then collapsing.  Hoping that it was just arthritis kicking in, we took him immediately to the vet to get it checked out.  Apparently he has a neurological disorder that is going to keep him paralyzed for good.  They are not sure if it is cancer or if a disc is blocking the spinal cord - they could not tell anything after X-rays or blood work.  So, we decided yesterday that we would bring him home and care for him as best as we could - as if we have an elderly family member who needs our help (which is, afterall, the case).  The vet doesn’t recommend that we take on the task of trying to care for a dying elderly dog, especially since we have two very active kids to focus on.  But, how can we not?  Jackson has been with us for twelve years - his entire life.  Granted I have only been around for five of those twelve years - he was my husband’s bachelor-days dog - but he has been my dog too and our kids’ dog their entire life.  Since I have no idea how to care for invalid animals, I am having to do my research.  We have decided that we will keep him home until we think that he is in any pain or becoming any sicker (he is having difficulty expressing his urine - not a good sign).  While we have him home though I want to make sure we are doing things right for him. 

Home care for a pet that can’t walk or eliminate is a task certain pet owners have chosen to tackle with the help of Pampers, pet wheel chairs, egg crate mattresses and ramps. Families will even acquire portable oxygen tanks for pets with compromised respiration. Some people react with fear of medical procedures and needles. Others have great interest in learning how to administer to their pets for convenience and needed financial savings. The most important ingredient to look for in oneself, in the staff and in the pet owner is willingness. Hold a staff meeting and ask the question if being a compassionate veterinary care giving facility is truly O.K. with the nursing staff. Put one special staff member as the appointed support person for a certain pet and its owner. Ask the client to direct phone calls and concerns to their designated staff member or support team. Staff can handle most of the home care problems and the doctor can see the pet on regular rechecks to answer major questions such as changes in prescription medications. 

Though most of the information I am finding is advocating hospice care for dying pets, not an option for us, it is still riddled with good tips on how to cope and, physically, how to help your pet get on with their daily functions and how to make them more comfortable. 

Posted in Pets | 1 Comment »

Summer Time, Summer Time, sum sum Summer Time

Anyone else feeling that middle-of-the-summer slump??  Anyone else having those days where you just want to put on all your DVDs and lay in your pajamas with your kids?  Or those days where you toss out a bowl of cereal at 730am and eggs at 1130pm and a weird quesadilla concoction sometime around 2pm?  I get them dressed sometime around noon.  I haven’t worked on my writing in about two weeks.  I have abandoned my schedule, my routine has left me standing here with slumped, defeated shoulders.  I haven’t taken the kids to do anything fun in about three days.  They’re bored with me.  Hell, I’m bored with me.  I need an intervention.

So, in my utter desperation I went internet hunting for some ideas.  Someone, somewhere, must be feelin’ me because they took the liberty of writing down daily activities for those parents who are summer-brain-dead, as I am.  Here is July for those of you that need some help:

July 1 Encourage your child to check out 2 books this month from the library.
July 2 Write a list of your child’s favorite animals. Talk about what makes each animal special.
July 3 Include your child in preparing a healthy meal.
July 4 Explain origin of holidays, such as Independence Day.
July 5 Ask your child to write a thank you note or write a note to a relative or friend.
July 8 Ask your child to watch the moon & record changes in size and color.
July 9 Have your child decorate a shoe box to store treasures.
July 10 Talk to your child about fire safety. Discuss a fire escape route and have a mock fire drill.
July 11 Make a grocery list that fits within a budget with your child.
July 12 Learn a tongue twister with your child.
July 15 Talk to your child about avoiding strangers.
July 16 Hide a treasure with your child and draw a map to find it.
July 17 Practice printing or handwriting with your child. Make a certificate for job well done.
July 18 Take a walk or bike ride with your child.
July 19 Discover when things were invented with your child. Make a timeline.
July 22 Have your child swap favorite books with a friend.
July 23 Tell a story. Ask your child to tell it back to you.
July 24 Ask your child to make a collage from things found around the house — ribbons, string, buttons, pebbles.
July 25 Show your child how and when to dial 911.
July 26 Take your child to the grocery store. Talk about prices and weights of food.
July 29 Make a wish list of places you would like to visit with your child. Look them up on a map.
July 30 Make a personalized bookmark with your child.
July 31 Read a poem aloud with your child.


Posted in Activities, Daily Living | No Comments »

Boys Will Be Boys….

I have gotten used to people (usually those without kids or those with girls only) looking at my son with great wonder - his preference to jump and run everywhere rather than to walk, his penchant for loud sound effects, his constant (albeit, articulate) banter with adults and kids, alike.  My mom has raised me to be utterly concerned with other people’s needs and opinions - or at least she tried.  It kicks in when necessary and occassionally I get bothered with it when it really doesn’t matter (my son being himself, with flourish, in the grocery store - for example).  I think when you have kids (overly-energetic boys or girls especially) you have to come to a point of agreement with yourself regarding how much you are willing to stress yourself and your kid out about how you are making strangers and those around you feel about your kids personality (notice I am saying “personality” and not “behavior” - strong personalities that can be overwhelming sometimes is what I am talking about, not bad behavior).  And, I think that the more you worry about it - putting all that negative energy into the situation - the more it becomes a problem.  When I make a big deal out of something that, in essence, really isn’t bothering me but I feel is bothering someone else - the problem becomes bigger.  Just something that I realized last night at our 4th of July picnic.  I started out overly concerned that my son, surrounded by very sweet, docile little girls, would offend someone or annoy someone.  He is pretty out there to begin with but, when surrounded by calm girls, by contrast he looks WAY out there.  Then this woman, god bless her, who - by the way- had no problem telling my son how to act, said to me “honey, boys will be boys - let him be”.  And I realized that he wasn’t doing anything wrong. He was just being himself and here I was, surrounded by people I didn’t know very well, worried more about what they thought or felt than I did about the fact that my kid was having a blast.  I relaxed and realized that I was the only one who was even concerned. Sure, everyone still made comments about his energy level and his propensity to kung-fu everything (even the cat) but, he’s a kid, and if you can’t pretend to kung-fu a cat when your six, when the hell can you? 


Posted in Concerns and Expectations, Character Development | No Comments »

Happy 4th of July!

Today is one of my favorite holidays since having kids… A chance to get outside with your friends and eat as much wonderful picnic food as possible, true American style.  We have the whole afternoon/evening planned around bbq, slip and slides, baby pools and fireworks.  We’ll be secluded out in south of Nashville country and surrounded by folks who we thoroughly enjoy being around.  Fun times for all.  Here’s my contribution to the shmorgasbord:

1 cup (packed) mint leaves, chopped
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups vodka 

Crushed ice
Fresh mint sprigs 

Combine chopped mint and sugar in large bowl. Stir in lemon juice and vodka. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.


Strain mixture into pitcher. Fill six 6- to 8-ounce glasses with crushed ice. Pour mixture over. Garnish with mint sprigs.



Have a happy 4th yourself!

Posted in Holidays | No Comments »

Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Fresh Air Gone?

One of my best friends has always been one of the most nature-philic people I know.  She has to be surrounded, for some part of her day, by mountains or open fields or rivers or creeks.  She can’t exist, happily, without them. 

I came to realize, in my early twenties, that I was not the same way.  I spent a lot of my teen years wondering why I never felt that pull toward being outdoors.  All those years of everyone inviting me camping and hiking never made me giddy with excitement - it just wasn’t my idea of entertainment or relaxation.  Bugs and sweat don’t turn me on.  I always love the view from atop a mountain that I just hiked, but the getting there part is never anything that I enjoy. I like (love) the city.  I love air conditioned museums and sidewalk cafes.  I would rather spend my day sitting on the floor of a used bookstore than at the beach.  I like that I have learned this about myself before the age of thirty. 

Ok, but now I have these two beautiful kids and, occassionally, when I help one of them blow their nose I find that their sweet little baby snot is full of black sooty looking stuff.  I notice that they cough a wee bit more than I did when I was a kid.  They get colds with a greater frequency than my friends’ kids who live out in the country (note: I said country, not suburbs.  I think the suburbs are equally as detrimental to one’s health as the city, if not more).  Is this what is best for them? 

Is it possible for us urbanites to marry our love of the city with some kind of commune with nature?  Yes and no.  Obviously, we are a species that has taken ourselves seriously out of the loop in regard to natures deepest cycles but there are people researching means to this end:

We believe that urban planning efforts and public policies would benefit greatly by integrating the lessons learned by ecologists working with health professionals, and the ecological health guidelines that these researchers are setting forth.  It is clear that urbanization, and the inevitable degradation of the environment that ensues, disrupts ecosystem processes and ultimately threatens human health, and the well-being of all species of animals and plants. 

Hopefully, I won’t feel the need to push the eject button, but I think that finding a city that regards this balance is going to be an important factor in our decision making factor for where we settle down for good.

Posted in Healthy Living | No Comments »

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