Monday, March 31, 2008

The Excellent Adventures of Momma and Granmmy

The last 55 hours have been... well.. how about I let you decide what adjective to use.

Friday plan to leave for an 8 hour drive to help my elderly Aunt pack up the house she has lived in for over 30 years to move into an assisted living facility.

Arranged to borrow a truck from a friend- think a cute little 2 seater with a jump seat.. strike that.. think a small burley manly truck used mostly for farm chores.

Laughter was, the only thing that got us through.. one of my favorites was my mother accusing me of going 175 miles an hour and that it made her nervous. I assured her that I was only comfortable at about 125 mph, and that frankly I thought after about 100, the doors would fall off.

Being a farm truck, well, the truck doesn't have all the amenities one might hope for, I was perfectly happy, but it seems my Mother's seat belt stuck in 2 positions only- tight and even tighter. I kept insisting it was user error, and that she was making it tight, and she kept insisting this could not possibly be the case, and at one point could not reach down to grab her purse to pay for the toll without undoing the seat belt. I think my laughter including tears are her predicament was not what she was looking for when she asked for help, but I thought I was being a great help!

In packing, my Aunt has some odd, odd stuff, some of it pretty cool, some of it down right scary, I threw out a can of Cream of Shrimp Soup that expired in 1993. We found a little figurine that looks something like what would happen if Precious Moments baseball player figurine mated with Chucky.

Then of course there was the 5 am stop at Walmart to get rope to tie down the tarp for the return trip home as after a glorious 50 degree it started to rain cats and dogs and sailors and midgets. Now, at 5 am, I am guessing rope isn't one of the things people usually go to Walmart for, at least that is my guess based on the looks I got (for future reference- rope is in the automotive section, not the hardware section). To make matters worse, I had to go back in and ask them to cut the little ropes off that were holding the big ropes together. Yes, I have ropes to tie someone up, but no sharp or blunt objects- I am a menace to society!

The dog? How did he do? He was wonderful, always near my side, never letting me out of his sight, sleeping on the air mattress with me (which I don't recommend.. a twin air mattress.. a dog and me) how we both didn't end up on the floor is a miracle. But this morning when I took him out to go to the bathroom, I brought a load of stuff out to the truck... after relieving himself, he jumped into the car and would not budge until we drove out the drive way on our way back home.

The adventure has ended, we survived, we laughed and my Aunt is packed and ready to move... now I just need some sleep...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Don't Come a Knockin'

As a single woman, there are times that I certainly wouldn't mind someone else sharing my bed. And last night I got my wish.

At 3:30 in the morning Sunshine wakes up because her ankles hurt and crawls into bed with me. This was obviously a clue for the animals in the house to rise and shine and start a party.

One cat was walking around my pillow, the other was literally walking up and down the side of my body (I'm a big sleep on your side kind of gal, and clearly this creates a fabulous runway for my cats).

The dog, well the dog was clearly having some sort of trouble with one of his paws and was on some obsessive licking marathon (yes I know this probably means something is wrong, but at 3:30 I wasn't thinking about that). He of course also wanted to curl up next to Sunshine which created an I'm squished, I need more room drama.

Sunshine can not lay still because her ankles hurt and then the cats decide that they are physical too close to each other and start to hiss and bat at each other- one at my head, one on the side of my chest.

Really and truly when I've joked about the time when I can say.. if the bed is a rockin' don't come a knockin', this was not what I had in mind.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I Dressed Myself

I mentioned earlier that I would talk about letting Sunshine dress herself and well it is really one simple story, a story I repeat regularly.

Dear friends of my Aunt and Uncle have 2 daughters who are now grown, intelligent, well adjusted, professional women.

But when Susie was in 2nd grade (name changed so as to not embarrass Susie) she got on the school bus after dressing herself.

Shortly after arriving at school Susie's Mom received a call from the school asking if she knew what Susie had on. Sure, I put her on the bus the Mom responded. So, you are aware that she is wearing tights on her head? Yup, she wanted to have rabbit ears today.

So my mantra.. Susie Black wore tights on her head. And today, Susie is a very successful young woman in New York City.

So those days I want to pin a button on Sunshine that says.. "I dressed myself", instead of rushing to find a safety pin and paper... I say (often more than once)

Susie Black wore tights on her head...
Susie Black wore tights on her head...
Susie Black wore tights on her head..

and look how successful she is today. Hey, maybe I should wear tights on my head!!!

Speaking of bunny ears- Easter photos coming soon.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Mother Nature

In the car on the way home this afternoon:

Me: "Guess what!? It is supposed to snow tonight and I'm not very happy about it!"

Sunshine: "More snow?"

Me: "You know I really would have appreciated Mother Nature calling me and getting my permission to let it snow."


Sunshine: "Momma, that can't happen, Mother Nature is the whole Earth, she can't call."

Me: "Well, she could have tapped a branch on the door and talked to me about it or something."

Sunshine: "Momma, she can't do that, it is the whole Earth."



And why, you ask, do I think Mother Nature needs my permission to snow?

This is a picture from my front yard on Sunday, Sunday March 23, 2008!


And for perspective, Sunshine in her Easter Best with the snow...


I'm Watching You

You know that scene in Meet the Parents when Robert Dinero's character takes two fingers and points them at his eyes and then at Ben Stiller's character... to symbolize I'm watching you? It has somehow made it's way into everyday communication, people know what it means without the words.. "I've got my eye on you".

Today on the way to pick Sunshine up that song "Beverly Hills" was on the radio.. and it got stuck in my head.. so while I'm making dinner I'm singing "Beverly Hills that's where I want to be" over and over and over again.. annoying not only myself but Sunshine, but the lyrics were in my head and would not get out.

We watched an episode of Hannah Montana, the one where we finally get to meet Uncle Earl after hearing so much about him and they play that song.. the same song they play in the episode with the guy from Backstreet Boys who plays the washed up ball player. Well, I really like the beat of that song, and every time I hear it I think, I should get this for my mp3 player for when I run, but I've never really paid attention to the lyrics.. until tonight.

"sometimes I walk a little faster... "

By the way the song is called Rockstar

replace.. "Beverly Hills that's where I want to be" with "sometimes I walk a little faster".

So during Sunshine's bath.. I am singing it over and over again and she is getting annoyed and we start discussing our favorite Hannah Montana songs... and yes folks, I do have some on my mp3- player they are good for running... favorites include "I've Got Nerve" and "If We Were a Movie". So Sunshine starts singing "If We Were a Movie" one of her favorites.. and I sing along, and am quickly reprimanded, I have reached my singing limit with her.

So we curl up on the couch and watch the Jonas Brothers episode of Hannah Montana- the theme song is Best of Both Worlds, which Sunshine had pointed out earlier was one of her favorite Hannah Montana songs and I start singing along and bopping my feet.

She says stop singing! So, I do. And then she says stop moving your feet. Well, I try, but I was dancing even if I was laying down on the couch and it was hard to not move to the music. She grabs my feet and says Stop! So I stop for a second and my feet start again.. and then...

she turns, looks at me.. puts 2 fingers up to her eyes and then points those fingers at me.

Tears rolled from my eyes.. I said.. are you watching me?? And she did it again!!! I was laughing so hard I could barely breathe and then she started her big awesome belly laugh.

That memory is going in the vault!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Gymnastics

The other sport Sunshine participates in regularly is gymnastics. She loves it, we started with Mommy and me classes when she was like 18 months. This weekend was the last day of the session and we got to watch.



I can't figure out how to turn this... but enjoy...


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Inspiration

Back in October, my friend posed the question.. what inspires you?

My response:
"I always find it interesting how when I need to see or hear things they come across my radar screen.

Sometimes I loose site of what inspires me, especially when I'm in the mad rush of my every day life.

My Sunshine inspires me and good people, people doing good things and being good people- people who openly give and share their love and joy with the world- they inspire me to be better.

Since the news of baby Jack- I've been very focused on that word Love and what it means... I think I need to let it inspire me more... to love without rules...

And you, Mulch, you are a great person and I aspire in many areas of my life to be the person you are."

Well since my response I have been thinking about what I said a lot and how I can do something about that inspiration. One of the things I've found that I've been doing more readily is to be open and honest with people and to share my love more freely. It still terrifies me, but to tell people I think they are doing a difficult job and doing it well, or that I really care about them no matter what I think their response will be. It is a bit freeing to be able to do that.

But, I also think one of the only reasons I am now more able to do that is because I am much more comfortable in my own skin, something that I think only comes with age and experience. Sure, I'd like my skin to be a bit smaller and a bit thicker, but you know what, all and all it is pretty darn good and I am pretty darn good, so if I can at least plant the seed to someone that they too are pretty darn good... I'm going to try and do that... I may be holding my breath when I do it.. but I'll keep trying.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Dust Bunnies...

More confessions... I am not the world's best housekeeper.

I prioritize, I hate a dirty kitchen and I hate a dirty bathroom, but after that.. it is all up for grabs. Now, with 3 cats and a dog, imagine, if you will, the dust bunnies that are living in my house. I would wager that some are not even originally from my house, but have migrated to my house after hearing how nice it is and how they live pretty much untouched for weeks on end.

I imagine something like this goes on when I'm not home.

So yesterday the furnace guy came to clean the furnace and all went well until he pulled out the filter. There was literally and inch to 2 inches of fur stuck to the filter, it looked something like a square fur coat, it was both funny and embarrassing...

But I might be on to something here... just like putting dirty dishes in the stove, maybe I can just start dropping things down the heating vents and hide them there until the furnace tune-up next year. Maybe?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sushi or PB&J?

If you know me, you know that I am my own worst critic. I can never do anything good enough or right enough for my own standards. I am working on this and being more gentle with myself... BUT....

Have you met the SuperMoms of the world? I'm on a message board for several local communities and I find it very interesting, people sell different items or put the word out they are looking for something (I sold the old swing set and bought a pool), people ask for recommendations of carpenters and doctors etc. It is a great idea and a wonderful way to share and gain information.

The other day someone posted for lunch suggestions. In full disclosure... I am a champion picky eater, I am not adventurous in my eating, I eat about 4 vegetables and maybe 5 fruits- I find something I like and I stick to it. Both of my parents and Sunshine's Dad are all good eaters- they like variety in all their foods, so I was very cognizant of trying to expand my fruit and vegetable intake when Sunshine was born so that I wouldn't hold Sunshine back in the foods she was exposed to.

Okay, so back to the post- a Mom asked about different food ideas- and there were tons of answers- I am not judging here.. but when people come back and say well I pack sushi for my kids, and hummus and carrots and celery sticks and we make antipasto each morning together... when you have a tendency to beat yourself up... that just about allows me to throw a knock out punch.

We have, I kid you not, Macaroni and Cheese almost every night.. not we, but Sunshine, I mix it up a bit- there are shells, or Arthur, or Bunnies or regular noodles.. but it is Macaroni and Cheese. And this year Sunshine asked to buy lunch at school. I don't have a problem with this, our school system does a great job of providing us with the nutrition information and keeping it pretty well balanced, and it gives her the ability to choose what she wants- so I feel good about that, but I also know that many days Sunshine chooses to eat the bagel and maybe some apple sauce (although I doubt she is eating the apple sauce).

I try to tell myself that I'm doing pretty well raising Sunshine, I let her dress herself and some days, I'd like her to wear a sign that says "I dressed myself", but she wears what she wants (as long as it is clean and weather appropriate). Remind me I have to share a story about this sometime.

But when faced with these messages from Mom's who are right out of "How to Be the Healthiest Parent Ever"... it is a bit like a punch in the gut. So it was really nice for a few brave Moms out there to write about how their kid eats PB and J every day and they are okay with that or something similar.

Not judging any of the Moms and what they feed or don't feed their kids... just judging myself and finding solace in the fact that some Mom's may feed their kids just like I do. Taking the boxing gloves off now...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Rules of Engagement???

I'm really struggling with this one and need some advice...

We don't have a lot of play dates at our house, not because Sunshine doesn't want them or I don't want them, it just never seems like we have the time on the weekends. But we've had a few.

And the last 2 the same thing has happened- Sunshine comes up with a plan of what they are going to do.. arts and crafts or play a game what have you, there is some general play time in there.. and then the child visiting doesn't want to do what Sunshine has laid out and her feelings are hurt. For example, we knew we were having lunch and she said- let my friend choose what she wants since she is the guest.

Now, I ask Sunshine what happens when she is at other people's houses and she says she does what they have planned... I tend to believe her because like me, she's a rule follower.

So, is it:

a. Sunshine is too nice and should say no when she is at other people's houses? Note, I understand that the potential exists here that Sunshine could be weaving a little fib.
b. Should the visiting kids play along and should I encourage this? Today I pushed for a compromise... and that seemed to work ok.
c. Is this some how my fault? Did I train Sunshine to be too complacent? And does that mean when confronted with drugs and sex and rock and roll in the future that she won't stand up for herself??

What are the rules??? And yes, I am aware that one play date as sent me 800 mph into the future...

The Bathroom

Okay, not really a great title for a blog entry... but I just need to understand something.

I've read other blogs, and talked to friends who have kids and animals. And we all say the same thing, the minute you go into the bathroom your child(ren) need you, or the animal needs to be on the other side of the door than it is at at that very moment.

I don't take or have a lot of time to myself, and frankly I think in the grand scheme of things I am pretty speedy when it comes to using the bathroom, so if someone could tell me why it is in those few moments of time the world can come crashing down. Why was it today when I went into the bathroom that during Sunshine's play date, her friend tipped over the chair and fell? Is there some sort of bathroom watching evil wizard that decides this is the EXACT moment to make some loud crash so you have to make these vital decisions..
1. do I finish what I'm doing?
2. do I wipe?
3. just pull the pants up or take the time to button and zipper?
4. do I flush?
5. what about hand washing? Do I take the time or deal with that after I have assessed the situation?

I think pretty fast on my feet, but I never feel like I make the right decisions at these times.. it is one thing if it is your kid, but when it is not your kid- do the answers change?

And why does it have to happen at that moment? Why not when I'm in the basement doing laundry or in the other room putting laundry away? Why when I'm in a compromised position?

By the way, it isn't just when using the bathroom, Sunshine, has at times screamed so loudly while I'm in the shower that I have literally run out of the shower naked to see what is going on, and invariably it is that she needs more chocolate milk or can't find her clothes. This has to be some sort of cosmic test.

And just to illustrate my speed... twice this week (day light savings kicked my butt).. in the shower at 7:20.. Sunshine at the bus stop (which is about a 9 minute drive) by 7:46, and at my work by 8:01 (again about a 7 or 8 minute drive). And I was completely dressed, all my make-up and jewelry on- was only missing my belt which I threw in my bag to put on at work. I'm not a dilly dallier- I swear!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Boom

unshine goes to Mad Science "classes", it is offered through our local community education program. It is, by far, one of the best investments I've made for her. She loves it. They do "stuff" in class and then bring home different things to do. Each session has a theme- she has done a space one and a mechanical one and right now she is in a chemical reaction one.

So today, we made a volcano in our kitchen:



video


Saturday, March 1, 2008

Winter in New England

I have for my whole life lived in New England, as a child I skied almost every day of winter. I have played in the snow as a child and as an adult. I have been through at least 3 ice storms that I remember where we were without power or people in the area were without power for days even weeks.

I don't really mean to complain, I am, after all, healthy and able to shovel, I have oil for my furnace and a roof over my head, my car handles fairly well on the snow covered roads and I am a good winter driver.

But I ask, is it really necessary that we have a storm 2 or 3 times a week? I think we have proven time and time again that we are hearty and live in the North because we like 4 seasons, we like the snow, and the mud and the flowers when they bloom, the leaves in the fall and the summer sun.

I think we may all be nearing the edge of insanity... if not insanity, apathy... people have taken to not cleaning their cars off completely so that big chunks of snow come flying off them, people aren't wearing their boots anymore.. they just wear regular shoes. Jackets aren't buttoned up, gloves are often not worn probably because one or both of the mittens/gloves are lost in a snow bank somewhere.

The one phenomena that continues however is the mad rush to the grocery store the day before a storm. I really don't understand that one. But it happens every time.

I work with a woman who's partner is the foreman of one of the local town road crews. She never sees him, and they are all so tired... just when they think they'll get a day off another storm shows up.

I'm not really sure what Mother Nature is trying to prove... I'm pretty sure that we will continue to survive and shovel our way through the next 3 months... but really perhaps we could have a peace conference, or at least some sort of cease snow. I don't think we're going to give up.. we may be out shoveling in our swim suits in June, but we'll keep muscling through...

I suppose the only way we'll give up is if we finally reach the point when we can't put the snow any place, I know my 2 car wide driveway is now about 1 1/4 car wide and about 3 feet shorter than it used to be. I'm not throwing in the towel yet, just suggesting we explore some conflict resolution strategies... between us and mother nature.

Reached the Finish Line

So the project I've been leading for the past 4 months finally shipped on Thursday. It was an incredibly long haul. Lots of very tough decisions, long days and late nights. People giving 110% every day. By the end we were all short tempered and exhausted. But we did it. And I am so incredibly proud of the team and what we accomplished. I'm proud of how I behaved, and carried myself, I definitely see how I have grown as a person and a leader and am thrilled to see those traits in me.

I was offered tickets on Thursday to see the Bruins. It was luxury to the nth degree, a free bus ride to Boston, free food, a suite to watch the game and we got swag and got to meet 2 players. One current- Fernandez and one retired, some of you may have heard of him.. Ray Bourque. I went with 3 other people from work, 2 who were on my product team (and one member of the executive team), 1 who worked incredibly hard, just busted his butt from start to end, and the other who helped me keep my sanity throughout the project by being a sounding board for my concerns and ideas. I would have love to have brought the rest of the team, but that wasn't possible. I was glad I was given the opportunity to go and to invite some members of my team.


I love sports, I love watching them, I think watching hockey is wonderful, at times these big lumbering men in tons of padding can look as graceful as ballerinas just skating on the ice. It is amazing. So to see a professional hockey game under these circumstances... it was just about perfect in every way. Plus it was a well played game and they won!


As a humorous aside, I was the only woman on the bus of 33, and the only woman in the suite. I said to the security guard when he checked my purse- you aren't going to have to do this much today are you? He simply said no.

I'm hoping it only takes me a few days to wind down from the last few weeks of pressure, still feel like I need to be going a million miles an hour. Hopefully that will end soon.