Archive for November, 2006

It’s here. God. It’s here.

The flu has arrived in full force in the Donovan house.  We are all walking zombies with plenty of unstoppable green funk flowing from our noses.  The babies are being sports. They are sucking it up and working through it. My husband, however, not so much.

I can’t quite figure it out - why do men suck at being sick?  I noticed it as a girl when my dad would get sick and act like he was being tough.  But he failed.  Miserably.  He would walk around moaning, literally, and wait for someone to ask if he needed anything.  Then, when someone (Usually me.  My mom had figured out his game I guess) would ask if he needed something, he would wimper and say “nah, I’m just fine.  Don’t mind me”.  Then, more wimpers would follow and I would follow him around doing things for him and scampering to make sure he didn’t have to lift a finger.  My husband - a little different.

He gets sick with bravado. He actually pranced in the house with zinc cough drops the other day and annouced “Well, I’m sick!”.  I rolled my eyes.  He doesn’t understand why I am so unsympathetic.  I don’t understand why it is an event to be sick.  He rolls around in his sickness like a pig in mud.  And, he expects me to roll around in it with him - not to necessarily be sick with him, per se.  No.  He just really wants someone to be around to watch him be sick. I get every little detail about what is feeling bad - right down to the color of the snot.  I don’t get it.  Men - help me out here.  Is it the whole nurture instinct that I’m supposed to be whipping out here?  Why do you guys wallow in your illness while we women tough it out and get on with the show?  Come on.  You’d think you guys would want to show how tough you are.  Instead, you become whiney little boys again.  You’re all lucky we women love you so damned much.  And that you manage to be mildly cute while your fussing up a storm about how bad you feel.  I guess there’s no changing it.  Thousands of years of evolution hasn’t managed to help men shake it - I guess me ranting about it won’t do it either.  Here’s to the flu.  Wish me luck in kicking it’s ass (in all four of us) this week. 


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A Little Something For Whatever Ails Ya…

We are all slowly coming down with the flu.  Normally, one of us gets it and then passes it around the house. But, yesterday, all four of us started feeling that ache, that lethargy, that sleepy, cranky feeling.  That fluey feeling.  So, today, we all cozy up to my son’s famous homemade soup and some Sesame Street.  The cable guy came yesterday and we finally succumbed to introducing a television into our home.  Man.  Right now, with my ickiness sticking to me like the nastiest funk ever, I love love love television.  Love it. Love it. Love it.

My son’s soup is both a too-cold-to-play-outside tradition as well as an everyone is sick tradition.  He picks out the ingrediants from the fridge and cupboard and washes them and tells me how much to cut.  He is a pretty fine cook - he understands how to balance out flavors.  So - thought I’d pass along our family tradition of kid-made soup.  Our recipe usually goes a little something like this:

Two onions - sauteed in oil and a little butter in big soup pan

Add carrots, celery, mushroom, and whatever else suits your kid

Sautee all together (I usually add a little white cooking wine & garlic…)

Add vegetable broth and cut up potatoes and sweet potatoes

Boil until some of the potatoes are falling apart and then add one more cup of cubed potatoes and cook until those are just soft enough (this makes for a thicker broth - the first potatoes will serve as the thickener - while still being able to have some nice chunkier potatoes to enjoy)

Season to taste - my son loves to add a little bit of everything which, sometimes, makes the soup taste like the spice cabinet, but whatever.

This soup thing always makes our crappy days a lot nicer.  Thought I’d share. 

Posted in Health, Cooking, Daily Living, Cold and Flu Remedies | No Comments »

6 Wasted Hours of My Life…

2 1/2 Hours spent bouncing to (and consequentially, from) the airport - thinking I was on my way to Gainsville, Florida to visit my best friend.  I got up at 5am and headed there with Travelocity itinerary in hand.  I was feeling footloose and fancy free - even at 530am - as I drove down I40.  “Highway to the Danger Zone” even made a cameo on my radio and I couldn’t help but turn it up and marvel at the wonder that is Kenny Loggins.  I get to the airport, park in long term parking, trudge through the cold rain and make it to the counter - rosy cheeks, shining grin and ready to check my bag. Carl, my friendly Delta clerk, can’t find my name in the computer. “Oh.  I said.  Well, Carl, here’s my itinerary.  Better check again.  Thanks”.  He looks at the schedule on my paper.  He looks at the computer.  He looks at my crumpled paper again.  “Uhhh. Honey.  The reservations on your itinerary say DECEMBER 9th-11th.  It’s November”.  Fuck Travelocity, I thought.  Bastards.. How dare THEY screw up my plans!  I cursed them all that day.  After several glasses of wine with friends that night - I finally had to face the fact that in my haste to snag a good deal on the website, I adsent mindedly was punching in dates on the little calender icon in December, not November. Score one for the beast of absent minded mommyhood.  Gah.

1 hour 47 minutes spent watching The Break Up.  Can I just say, I now will live the rest of my life with a complete understanding of why Brad Pitt divorced Jennifer Aniston.  If it wasn’t for her weird oversized head on a smaller than life body frame, it was most certainly for her lack of judgement with movie scripts.  One of the worst movies I have ever seen.  I thought that Vince Vaughn could keep the whole thing together, but alas, he was misguided.  I can forgive him this once and hope that in the future, even if he is trying to get into a girl’s pants, he will refrain from making a movie so foul.

1 hour 32 minutes spent watching Nacho Libre. It had its good moments.  I love Jack Black but, all in all, it was one I could have done without.  The “Nickolodean Kids” advertisements and trailers before the movie should have clued me in to the target audience. 

I hope your weekend was a little more successful.  I did get to go to a birthday party and it was nice to hang out with the kids without having to rush out to work or run errands.  But, those 6 hours - I want ‘em back.

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The Plane! The Plane!

Tomorrow I take a flight to Florida to see one of my best friends.  Two days away from the kids - relaxation, wine, uninterrupted dinners, long conversations.. It sounded like fun, until today.  Don’t get me wrong.  I still think the whole weekend sounds fun and I know I will be thankful I did it.  But, now, two days without the kids sounds like the most depressing thing in the world.  I miss them and I haven’t even left yet.

I guess, though, that it means that things are right, right?  I am glad I don’t like being away from my kids.  Wait.  Does that make me a good mom or an overprotective mom?  I don’t need to be with them out of worry - I just like my people.  When I have down time I want to be with my huband and babies.  That’s a good feeling. 

So, aside from that - I am having to get over some new, strange fear of flying.  I can’t quite figure out the source of this very recent fear - all I know is that I have been having nightmares about flaming plane crashes and rushing through airports, late and sweating.. God.  I need to relax, don’t I? 

So, all my crazies aside, we’re off to the park.  Then lunch on the grass - and maybe a little shopping for some pretty things.  Have a great weekend!

Posted in Vacation and Travel | No Comments »

ch ch ch changes….

Hold on.  I can’t concentrate.  This flitty, flirty “music” on NPR is making my nose bleed.  Gah.. Who’s the douche that picks this crap.  There is good classical music, for christ’s sake!  Need to change the channel.. NOW. freakin lame world… grumble grumble grumble…….. 

Ok.. There see. I just typed what I was thinking and did not alter anything to make me look like a better person than I am - not even the grumble grumble part.. When did I become this grousing grump of a person? WHEN!?!  It seems, these days, that this (”this” meaning my overwhelmingly and alarmingly worn out, tired, overwhelmed, sour demeanor) is the norm and I want it to stop. 

I am evaluating my habits.  Here’s what I have come up with.  I am not eating right.  I don’t drink enough water.  I don’t get enough exercise.  I don’t get enough sleep.  All of those things add up to a very icky me.   

Today I turn over a new leaf.  I start fresh.  I found a great website that I think any of you ladies, mothers or not, could benefit from.  Check out Dr. Weil - I have been an avid follower of his work since I was in high school, until recently.  He is a brilliant combination of homeopathic, natural healing as well as a trained modern day doc - it’s called integrative medicine and I think it is brilliant.  He talks a lot about proper eating and how to live up to your optimal health.  These are matters that I have always been passionate about and very interested in learning more about. With kids, it has become a bit harder to focus on myself and how my body is functioning - obviously not to positvie recults. He even has a section about how to age gracefully.  It’s never to early to start thinking about that.  And with all my grumpiness, the last thing I feel is graceful.  I think I could use a little help.

You can sign up for his newsletter and fill out a personal survey that will bring you personal helath advice every week - it is called his Optimal Health Program.  I’ll keep you posted on how I am progressing and what proves to work for me.

Posted in Lifestyles, Health, Websites | No Comments »

Everything is Coming Up Mutha F#!@*! Roses

I swear this will be my last blog entry regarding the fact that my daughter remains smugly settled into her terrible two-ness.  But, I have to rant just one more time about it.  I mentioned yesterday that my son had fall break.  It was hard.  I started to speak louder and louder to them toward the end of our last day.  I had that wierd Steven Colbert look on my face - you know the wide-eyed one where he looks like he could go psycho-homicidal at any moment?  Yeah.  That one. 

I was laying it on my son pretty thick.  “You’re older!  Set an example!” - I was mad at him, not her.  I was reaming him for everything she did - I was blaming him for the lack of balance in our home yesterday..  How is that fair?  She was the one that was going around flipping over the dog’s water bowl and pulling her brother’s hair.  He was just trying to read a book.  He was just trying to build legos.  He screamed at her because she very premeditatively ripped the drawing he had been working on for an hour.  Yet, he’s the one that got sent to his room. 

God.  Can you smell the guilt on me this morning.  I have tried to wash it off, but it is sticking to me like a bad night of drinking brown liquor - I’ll be tasting it ALL damn day.  Guilt. Guilt. Guilt.  The most useless, yet somehow one of the most prevailing traits of motherhood.

I can remember my older brother getting laid into by my parents for every little thing that went wrong in our house.  Even if I did it - he got in trouble for not preventing me from doing it.  Somehow the eldest gets the baggage of “setting an example” - how lame is that?  They are kids too.  How did I fall into the trap of making him as responsible as an adult in our home?  Shame on me.

Nothing left to do now but change.  And sooth my guilt by feeding my son lots of cake and ice cream tonight.  Yes.  Ice cream makes everything better. 

And, as far as the adorable little hell raiser that my daughter has become - she’s in for a serious change.  I have made - god, I almost can’t say it - a time out corner.  It’s a bleak wooden chair sitting in the corner of the living room.  Two minute time ous for her.  She won’t like it but, it’s time.  And, there’s always ice cream to ease my guilt if she takes it too hard.

Posted in Parenting, Behavior Issues | 1 Comment »

Last day.. last.. day…

Last day of fall break.. Taking lots of deep breaths and counting to ten.. one hundred.. five thousand… How did I become so incapable of having both of my children home at once? good lord.

But. A little something that has eased my tension. Go to Pandora. Create your own radio station and play it. Play it loud. Dance around. Sing at the top of your lungs. It’s a killer site and has made at least part of our day much more chilled out. You can even create a seperate station that your kids can call their own.


Posted in Websites | 1 Comment »

Birthday.. Birthday…

Yesterday was my 29th Birthday.

You would think that I would have some great declaration to make… some new awakening..  Usually, my birthdays are, indeed, indicative of such self-reflective type behavior.  Not this year.  This year, I seemed to resign to the fact that, at a certain point in one’s life, it truly does just become “another day”.

My dad always said that about his birthday.  “Happy birthday daddy! How do you feel?”.  Always the same reply: “just another day”… Though, the older he got it would occassionally be replaced with “better than the alternative”.  I always thought it was a horrible way to behave on your birthday.

As I crept toward my last birthday in my 20s, I thought that there would be some life altering declaration of how I forsaw the rest of my life playing out - some big resolution of sorts.  But the day came.  It went.  There was no spiritual climax.  There wasn’t even a twinge of resentment toward my waning youth.  The only thing I felt was relief that, up to now, I had not made any really significant mistakes or blunders in my life that might put my future plans asunder.  All in all, I felt just glad that another year was under my belt - and under my belt quite successfully (or, at the least, without damage).

The truth is, I look forward to getting older.  I don’t know if this makes me lame but I feel like being older has always suited me better.  I am not, by nature, a youthful person.  I have, even since a very young age, been odd among my peers.  I have never been one to party till I dropped.  I never really found the thrill in life threatening ventures.  I just like to sit and think. I like to take naps and make hot tea on cold nights.  I enjoy long walks to stretch my legs and going to the pond to feed the geese.  I guess, the closer to 30 I get, the more relieved I feel because I finally get to be the age I feel.  I missed three phone calls last night.  They all left messages saying “Yeah, you must be out having one hell of a time!  LIVE IT UP!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY”  or other such customary tidings on one’s birthday.  Really, I was curled up in bed at 9pm, big book on my lap and my husband next to me snoring.  And it was the only place I wanted to be.  My birthday wish is for many more years of this.

Ps.  There are two jokers sitting next to me at the coffeehouse I am sitting in.  Old men.. One of them just said “do you think the Pope says ‘Holy Shit’ when he is in the vatican bathroom?”.

Yes.  To be older is to be better.

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Sunny Sunny Friday!

Today has been a bag full of FUN! My son has fall break and we are livin’ it up!

We are taking walks, cleaning out the car, planting “gardens” (he doesn’t seem to care that it’s too cold for anything to grow so, why should I?) and just enjoying each other immensely.

There are so many things I should be doing today (cleaning, sorting through bills, laundry, grocery shopping, making phone calls..) but I can’t fight this feeling of wanting to be out there, hands in the dirt with my son. Today is a day for living it - and not just talking about it.

SO - I’m off! I hope all of you have a great weekend and we’ll see you Monday!!


PS. John Updike is giving a lecture tomorrow at our downtown library. I am THRILLED! One of my heroes and one of the only living literary legends left - right here in Nashville. Can’t wait. Can’t wait. Tune in soon for how inspiring (I’m sure) his mere presence will be.

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It’s Just a Song.. I know.

There’s a Ray Charles song that I can remember my grandmother singing when I was a girl. Everytime I hear it, I can picture her singing it - it is so vivid I can remember the sound and pitch of her voice and the way she smelled and the way she would sing half in spanish….. 

When my mom came to visit, we were playing the Ray Charles CD and when the song came on - my mom teared up and said that it was her mom’s favorite song.  She was crying only because she missed her mom - she died when I was ten and it was a pretty traumatic event for all of us as she was a huge part of our lives. 

Today, it made me cry as I listened to it taking my son to school.  I didn’t cry because I miss her, which I do.  I stopped crying about missing her when I had my kids.  I realized that I didn’t have to miss her - she was everpresent and I could feel it.  Hard to explain unless you have had someone close to you die. 

No, I cried because the song is confirmation of my deepest suspicions that she was unhappy in many aspects in her life.  Her marriage was a mess.  Her choices in life didn’t work out the way she thought.  There was a marriage before my grandfather that resulted in the pregnancy of my aunt.  Her first husband wanted nothing to do with the child or the pregnancy and he abandoned her.  Which is when she met and married, at a full five months pregnant, my grandfather.  He was as good to her as he could be and I love my grandfather, despite all of his mistakes, huge personality flaws and adultery. The song is “I can’t stop loving you” - which is a heartbreaking ballad in itself.  The fact that my strongest memory is of my grandmother incessently playing and singing it breaks my heart. 

I cried because I want more for her life.  I want her to have a chance to relive all of those incidents and accidents and not be resigned to swallow it down with a forced, martyred smile on her face.  I want to picture her strong and capable, not degected and a victim of her slim choices, as many women of her time were.  She loved us with all of her being - and all that love that she poured out onto everyone, I’m afraid, was never returned to her from the men in her life.  And, being in the marriage I am - one that is beautifully composed of respect, admiration, pride and passion, I feel nothing but sadness that she never had that.  Because she deserved to feel all of it - she deserved to have more.  I want more for her.  But it is too late.

And, then, I look at my daughter - and myself - and I think that it can’t be too late.  We are how her life becomes rectified.  I know she is watching me - the choices I make, the way I will show my daughter how to be better than I could ever be, the way my daughter and I will expect more from any relationship that we forge in our lives, and the way we will remember her for all that she was and all that she couldn’t find the strength or support to be.  And I know she is proud.  But I am sad.  And, I don’t know that her sadness will ever be washed out of my heart. 

Posted in Relationships, Grief and Loss, Daily Living | 1 Comment »

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