Sunday, September 30, 2007

He's wiser than I

We were making cookies tonight, the King and I. I couldn't find my reading glasses, so he had to help me decipher the recipe (I think the print is shrinking). We took turns measuring and adding ingredients (cooking makes for great science, math, and reading). I would plop the dough onto the cookie sheet, and he would arrange the cookies neatly in rows. That was the plan.

I told him that he needed to make sure they were in even rows, spaced two inches apart, or they just wouldn't turn out. "But, know it doesn't matter what they look like - these have so much love in them they are going to be great!"

Excuse me, I know the tissue is here somewhere.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Crisis in my mind

I love to read. I always have. I don't remember learning to read - I remember sitting on my mother's lap while she read to me, and ours was the kind of house with books everywhere (just as mine is today). "They" said I learned to read on my own at 3 1/2. I do know that I was the only kindergartner at our small school who read fluently the first day, and was allowed to check out far more library books than the other children. By the end of third grade, the school decided they'd taught me all they could about reading and literature, and I got to tutor the younger kids each day during literature class, right through sixth grade.

I didn't just read - I absorbed books. Especially after my mother died when I was 10 - there was no one to tell me that something might not be appropriate. I read "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" when I was 11. I still have nightmares about it.

Some books stand out more than others. When I was 11 or 12 (that part of my life is awfully fuzzy) my step-father's sister (step-aunt? Is there such a thing?) gave me a book on....ahem.... reproduction. All that I remember is that the man lies above the woman. This confounded me - did they have to do it on stairs? Was there a special structure designed for this? Now, if the book would have said lies on top of, or next to, or knelt behind and slammed her like a greyhound, I might have gotten a clue.

So the point of today's missive (if there is one) is this: I read. I read a lot. Unless a particular book is spectacularly riveting, I'll generally have two going at a time. There was a brief period in my life when my kids were under the age of about 2 that I couldn't read - I'd fall asleep if I sat down and tried to read....but thank God, I got through that.

I read when I'm cooking, I read while blow-drying my hair. I read while I'm brushing my teeth. Not flossing, unless it's a large, hard-cover book that stays open by itself. I read to my kids. I read while my dogs are taking a dump in the back yard.

And, of course, some books are better than others. I never read any books about any type of sport. Or those mechanical technical engineery thingies. Some I will read and re-read forever, I love them so (The Handmaid's Tale comes to mind). Some disappoint, though I will almost always finish a book I've started, just to find out the end. These people are real, damn it, even if just in the author's mind, and I have to know what happens to them!

I just read a book that pissed me off. I don't think I've ever said or written those words before. I was so angry when I finished it that I couldn't go to sleep until 3 a.m. I wanted to find the author and throttle him.

It started with great promise. I've read Robin Cook's novels before, and have found them interesting. Granted, it's been some years since Coma, but I remembered it well. A medical mystery - something I can really wrap my mind around and try to unravel myself.

The end of the first chapter had me worried. Too many exclamation points. If your damn story doesn't tell me on it's own when something is supposed to be exciting, do you really think that a punctuation mark is going to help? A chapter or two in and I found the one thing I look for in paperbacks. A typo. A major typo. This was not a good sign. Affect for effect. This is third grade stuff, folks.

Anyway, I won't spoil it for you. I hate spoilers, even though I'm telling you now - don't waste your money on this piece of garbage!!!!! The denouement left me feeling just like I did when I found out my ex-husband was cheating on me with a 21-year old.

Oh, but I can't forget the epilogue, where the good author rails about the downfall of the practice of medicine in the 21st century. Actually, I agree with him, but I didn't need this ridiculous piece of crap to support his thesis.

Ok, maybe I was a bit cranky to start with. The King had invited his oldest friend to stay the night. I know, I know. Never let kids spend the night on a school night. But her mom had let him (ok, so his name is Jake) spend the night at her house once so that he could experience the life-altering attainment of his greatest goal - to walk to school. The short, five-minute walk that gave him such a sense of accomplishment, such joy, and a near-life-threatening exposure to poison oak.

So, now it was my turn. Jake's friend wanted to be driven to school - why, it would be almost like riding the bus!

A word to the wise - set your clocks back one hour. That way, you can lie to the children and tell them it really is 8:00 and time for bed, and they might just be asleep by 10:00.

So, it was in this frame of mind (or loss of same) that I approached the last few chapters of "Crisis." And was reminded why it's a good thing I sleep alone.

I threw it across the room.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mini consumers

It's a 20-minute drive from my home to my children's school. Yes, there is one closer - in fact, the bus stops at the end of our street. But the King started at a wonderful school in the next town, and we've chosen to keep him there, and start his sister there, as well.

As we're driving the King pops up, "Mom, what are minions?" First I spelled it for him, then I spelled it out. "But do they get paid for doing that?" "No, I don't think so, honey. They got a spot to sleep, and some food, but I don't think that an evil one's minions actually took home a paycheck." "Why not? Oh, wait, I know....they didn't have malls then, so they didn't need money!"


He walked with me to drop his younger sister off at her kindergarten class. As usual, she didn't want me to leave. Mrs. A is great at redirection - "Guess what we're going to do today? We're having a party, since everyone has been so good, and we're having gummy worms."

"But you won't let me have as many as I want!"

I've done my job as a dutiful American - I'm raising two little consumers!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

It's Saturday night, and I ain't got no (just fill in the blank)

It's been an interesting week. Interesting, as in the old proverb....

Last Saturday, I picked the kids up from their dad's house. His way of catching me up on the last three days was to laugh maniacally and race away in his big silver truck. It was later than usual, as I'd spent three hours standing in the sun, attaching wristbands to those who were over 21 and ready to party in the streets at the beer and wine festival. Trying not to offend those who were quite obviously over the legal age to imbibe, but were in total denial about those silly crow's feet and leathered skin.

I had had the fortune of winning free tickets to the local drag strip - what a fun way to spend an evening with my lovely children and handsome man. I will never think that again.

I hadn't realized that bleachers were not invented merely to sit on, with each row higher than the next so that all could have a good view. No, they are to jump on, pound on, run up and down on, and generally give anyone over the age of 20 a screaming headache and the urge to scream, "Sit down NOW or I'll beat you so hard you will never sit down again!"

The highlight of the evening for the munchkins was the child's version of the roulette wheel...only a dollar, folks, and you can possibly win a sticker worth 1/5 of that! Oh, and the snow cones. They advertised 20 flavors, and actually had two of them in stock.

Finally, it was time to go. Home. I used my terrific Love & Logic parenting skills. "Kids, would you like to go home now, or in five minutes?"

The Prince of all decided he did not want to go. Not for any reason, at any time. Now, I know better. After all, I've been mothering this small angel for nearly all of his 7 1/2 years. I should have picked him up and carried him to the car. But, no - we ended up practically dragging him, with his heels dug into the dirt, the whole way. Screaming. Screaming the phrase that every parent loves to hear in public, "You're hurting me!!!"

He cried all the way home. He cried when I put him to bed. I cried later.

We spent Sunday in boot camp. My cabinets are gleaming, thanks to his housekeeping skills.

Tuesday, during his 6-month checkup by his ENT, the doctor says, "Hey, you want to see something?" I peer into the otoscope (that's what it's called, folks - aren't you impressed?). I never knew that anything that fluorescently green could actually be inside someone's body...even the ear. My psycho son was not acting up all weekend because of my parenting skills, or lack of them. He was not showing that he did not want me to date. He was not having a hard time adjusting to the much more difficult 2nd grade.

He had a screaming ear infection.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

And then it spits at you....

Less than a month has passed since my last blog. How life has changed. A month ago I was enjoying a vacation, this month - I'm unemployed. I've been laid-off, discharged, severed, canned, axed, kicked to the curb.

Now looking for a job is my job.

My kids love it. My blood pressure rises daily. I'm no longer June Cleaver, the SAHM. Who am I? I don't have a job - I need a new definition.

I'm tired.