Wednesday, April 29, 2009

To be (shy) or not to be

I've always considered myself a shy person. A lot of you that know me just spit out your drink and said "Yeah, right!" But, it's true. I was raised in a very quiet, reserved family and we're not used to being outgoing and boisterous. I overcompensated by being a clown when I was in school. At first, I seem aloof, but when you get to know me, I'm chatty and funny (if I do say so myself!) But, talking to strangers - ick. Making small talk? yuck. Sales - no way! Today, I represented the company I work for at a small business expo. Luckily, I was will BFFMP who is one of the smartest people I know. She talks and I just sit there nodding and trying to be supportive. She's going on about content development and I'm like "We write brochures and lots of other stuff." Okay, maybe it didn't sound that bad. And, at least I didn't sweat and clam up. It's very strange that my first major job was as a newspaper reporter where I had to talk to people every day! What was I thinking? I wish I knew how much or how little to say to these people walking by. I don't want to be too quiet, but I also don't want to be pushy. It got me to wishing that Caty was there. She would have chatted people up like a champ! That girl can sell ice to an Eskimo! I'm so proud of her ability to talk that way. She's so sanguine. Of course, many of the times she's talking to people, she'll tell them the most random things like "my dad can touch the ceiling" or "my swimming coach made me jump off the diving board." Sabrina likes telling complete strangers that her room is pink and that she helped her dad paint it. I think she's following in her sister's footsteps. Well, that's good. Stay outgoing. It will help Caty when she's running for Senate and Sabrina when she's accepting the Nobel Peace Prize.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

You're just not getting it

I just had one of those "a ha!" moments when you give yourself a mental forehead smack. I finally understood something that has been a sticking point for quite a while with my beautiful, spirited, sassy, clever, wonderful oldest child. I just got an e-mail from an editor asking a bunch of questions about an article I submitted. Part of me didn't really understand the questions because, in my opinion, they were already answered in the story. But, since she's not me, she doesn't see things the way I see them. So she asks questions, which I find inane so I give her a bit of an attitude when I answer them. Like "Why don't you get it?" And that's when I realize that my daughter often feels the same way with me that I am feeling with this editor. She's trying to explain things to me and I think she's talking back and being sassy and disrespectful. Hmmm. Maybe she's just aggravated that her mom doesn't get her. Of course, this makes me feel awful, because I'm totally on her side and I want her to always know that her mom understands her. I don't want there to be a divide between us. So, I guess I'll just have to keep trying harder and harder to show her that I do get her. As for the editor? If she wants me to explain myself more clearly, I think she'll have to pay me more!

Monday, April 27, 2009


I'm sure everyone has a list of things they wish had been invented to make their lives easier. When we were driving home from Yonkers this weekend, I came up with two that really need to be installed in every car made. A pull-out board underneath a child's seat so that their legs aren't just dangling in nowhere land. I know they have some type of product you can buy that will accomplish this, but it would just be easier if it was built into the car. Oh, and my number one thing for a new car? Between-the-seats junk catchers! Why oh why do they make the space between car seats so darn small? Either make the space big enough for a human hand to reach the crayon the toddler just dropped or have no space at all! Who's making these cars anyway? Guys, yeah, I know. Isn't it always a guy?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Spending the day with my daughter

Spent some of the afternoon with Caty and she reminded me that it isn't very often that she and I spend time together - just the two of us, having a nice afternoon. It was the way she said it that was so cute. Like, we were long lost friends that hadn't seen each other in a while. But the way she and I spent time together was just so very different than an afternoon I would have spent with my mom. We went to a park that I actually used to go to with my mom in Tuckahoe. It was a bit different (better) than I remembered, and it was fun to share that experience with her. Then it was driving to find a place for something to drink and paying $2 for an ice cream sandwich and $4 for a frapp from Starbucks. There's no more walking down the street to the luncheonette or corner deli and getting a cold soda. There's no more kids just playing together and having fun and being silly and getting dirty. I watched three girls walking down the street together and said, "Caty, if you were walking down the street with two friends, what would you be doing?" And she said talking and laughing. Well, all three of those girls were talking on cell phones. I don't get that. Why are you hanging out with these girls if they're clearly not the people you want to be talking to? It made me sad for Caty and her generation and how they will grow up. I wish things could be simpler for her. But, as I type this, I realize she's still having a bit of fun - even though it might not be old-fashioned. As we speak, she's using an inner tube to play in her grandmother's jacuzzi tub. Right before that, they were using the bedais as a sprinkler. Weird yes, but still fun!

Friday, April 24, 2009


Do you see the glass as half full or half empty? It probably depends on what's in the glass. If it's some nice scotch, it's half empty, so you'd better fill it up!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sometimes I think that all the things I once found to be terribly important are really just terribly trivial. If you're raised to always work hard and try to please people, how do you stop doing that and focus more on yourself? And can you do things just for yourself without feeling selfish? These are questions I continue to ask myself as I try to raise well-rounded, thoughtful children. I want my girls to understand the importance of doing for others, but I don't want them to sacrifice their happiness and mental health in the meantime. I know a woman who is very good at knowing what she wants for herself and her family. And, whether they like it or not, they are going to do those things that make for a happy family. Another lady in my family just had a baby and, no matter how exhausted she was, welcomed visitors until all hours of the night. The former is steadfast in her wishes, regardless of their effect on others. The latter is more like me. You might not want to do it, but you do it because that's just what you do. I always put my kids first. And then the list goes on until I get to myself somewhere towards dead last. I hear people say that I have to be happy in order to make my family happy. But, those are usually the same people who will cut you out of their lives for being negative and dragging them down. Sure, it's not anyone else's job to make me happy. But, if you're not going to at least try to help get me there, could you not rub in the fact that your life is grand and mine is not? So, I guess that's why I feel so unglued so often. You feel like you're being pulled in so many different directions - even if you're the one doing the pulling. Now I must be on a mission. I must learn how to make me happy - but I can't swear I'll get my act together!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sticky and stinky

I had such a "mom" day today. After Caty got on the bus, I went to pick up some food for a member of my mom's group that is pregnant and on bed rest. Then, it was story time at the library. Then it was up to Po Town to get gift certificates from the PTA for the school secretaries. Then it was lunch, drop Sabrina off at school, get more food for the bed rest mom, deliver the gift certificates and come home. While I had some free time and the girls were at school, I folded laundry and made rice krispies treats for a bake sale at Chris's job. Okay - is it me or are these things nearly impossible to make? I mean, I realize it's three ingredients - butter, marshmallows and the cereal. But, melting those marshmallows nearly killed me. I thought I would burn the pot beyond recognition and then, when it was done, I considered throwing it away. How could I possibly clean that mess? Talk about sticky! So, the treats are made. I threw dinner in the slow cooker and made a batch of Heidi's Famous Salsa. Talked to one of my editors on the phone to set up some work, balanced the checkbook and RSVPd to a birthday party invite. Then, it's picking up Sabrina and hanging with her until Caty gets off the bus. Here is where stinky comes in. My girls have the world's stinkiest feet! So, now I'm on a mission to find a way to cure that problem. I shot 'em with a little Dr. Scholl's spray, but it's definitely not enough. You want to know what it's like - open up a bag of salt and vinegar potato chips and stick your head in! Anyone with suggestions, let me know! So, mom duty continues. I unpack backpacks, finish making dinner and serve it; clean the table, do the dishes, make lunches for tomorrow and give baths. Now it's off to the PTA meeting. Wasn't I just blogging about not being a traditional mom? I think I've got it down today!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bake me a cake

My husband just called and said "If you're not too busy, could you bake a cake and bring it to my job?" Huh? Not that I'm overly busy, but who's just sitting around waiting to bake a cake? I don't even have cake mix! It got me to thinking about the kind of mom that would do that. One day, Caty asked if we could bake cookies and I said I didn't have any (slice and bake) cookies to make. My sister said that of course I had stuff to make cookies. I had flour and sugar and eggs and I blocked out the rest. She wanted me to make cookies from scratch? It wasn't even Christmas! So, she and Caty made their awesome "from scratch" cookies. Just another reason that I'm a horrible mother. I don't bake. I must have missed the chapter in the perfect mom manual that teaches you to know recipes for cakes and cookies and sweet treats that can be thrown together with a few pantry items. I don't think I've ever made a pie in my life, yet don't good moms have those things cooling in the window and a newly-baked plate of brownies on the table when the kids get home from school? So, I'm off to the store to buy a cake to drop off at hubby's job. Maybe I'll pick up some cookie dough while I'm at it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mating call

Today, Sabrina and I stopped by our local farm market. The produce is awesome and the kids love to visit the chickens, turkeys, goats and whatever other animals happen to be there. Today, there were a ton of ducks hanging around. They were really beautiful and I don't recall ever seeing these varieties before. As we're feeding the goats and enjoying the spring day, one of these mallards decides he wants to procreate with one of the other ducks. I tried to look away, but I just couldn't! Listen, I understand animals do this just to produce babies. I get it. What I don't get is why the female of almost every species usually gets the short end of the stick (pun intended). This poor duck! The male climbs on her back and he has such a hard time maintaining his balance. I can just imagine this female..."Could you get off my back?!" Ugh. Then, while he's trying to do whatever it is he's doing, he's pecking at the back of her neck with his beak. Talk about a pain in the neck! He tried it with a few more of the ladies and they were all just squawking. After about 3 minutes, he gave up and fell asleep. Typical! I was very happy Sabrina didn't catch any of this and start asking questions. And believe me, I made sure not to drive past the cows on the way home!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Perpetual Mess

Wouldn't it be nice to be so rich that you could just wear new clothes every day? Okay, maybe not that rich. How about rich enough to have someone do all my laundry, fold it and put it away? That's not asking too much, is it? Oh, and can he also do my dishes and pick up all the toys from the floor? Some days, I feel like Lucy and Ethel when they were working in that candy factory and the conveyor belt wouldn't stop and the candy just kept coming and coming! The mess is on a conveyor belt in this house. It just keeps coming - non-stop. I know these people have to eat, but do they have to have so many dishes and glasses and forks and spoons? I know it's bad for the environment to use paper plates, but isn't it just as bad to use so much water to wash the dishes? Seriously, I'm sure my husband could wear the same pair of jeans for at least three weeks. And, aren't kids supposed to be dirty? Who cares if they have the same shirt on all week? Come on - who's with me?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hollow Bunny

This morning, as my girls were digging into their Easter baskets, my husband pulled out one of his "when I was your age" stories. At first, I got flashbacks of my dad (who was able to take the bus to the movie theater, see a double feature, get popcorn and candy - all for about $1) but then I realized what Chris said was true - and funny and sad at the same time. He told the girls "When I was a kid, the only thing we got for Easter was one chocolate bunny." He then went on to whine about his bunny being hollow and how his friend's parents must have been rich because he always got a solid chocolate bunny. Funny and true. We did get one chocolate bunny. And our egg hunts? There were no plastic eggs filled with little toys and candy. We colored the hard-boiled eggs and my mom hid them. I do have fond memories of that, though, since she would give us little clues and tie yarn or ribbon to the eggs so they were easier to find in our apartment. I think of that every year as my kids run around the backyard searching for their treasures. This year, we took the girls on several egg hunts - two of which were pretty disappointing. But, they were happy with what they got and I am amazed at the joy within them. Who knew someone could get so excited by the discovery of a rubber frog or an eraser?! Sometimes, I get sad with my children because it doesn't seem like they're happy with what they have. It seems like they want more too often. But as I watched them on the floor with their cracked eggs, I realized that it's not the amount of stuff they got that made them happy. Heck, at one hunt, Caty got only three eggs and gave one of them to a child that was crying because he didn't find any. This is not the work of a greedy girl. I realized that it's just fun - finding the eggs is fun. Opening the eggs and discovering what's inside is fun. It's the same as Christmas or birthdays - the more presents there are, the more opportunities for discovery! I'll keep that thought in mind every time my kids want something new. And just for the record, the girls did get chocolate bunnies in their baskets this morning. And, yes, they were hollow!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Good Listeners

I always wondered what it would be like to have someone listen to everything I say. And not just listen, but actually hear me and get it and do what I want them to do. You know, that type of person that just has to change their tone a little bit and it stops their kids dead in their tracks. I just don't have it. My kids are sometimes bad listeners. Sometimes are better than others. Sometimes, I think the wax buildup makes them unable to hear me. Or I have that type of ultrasonic voice that makes them go crazy and run away. Or, I just talk so much that their eyes glaze over and they just completely block me out. Today, right before we walked in the bank, I told the girls I expected them to behave. I asked them to wait patiently and, if they were good, the teller would probably give them each a lollipop. "Okay, Mama," is what they said. They lied. It's like as soon as they walked through the door, they turned into crazy, hyperactive maniacs that wanted to do karate kicks and pull my pants down. And they knew they had me, those little punks. They knew I couldn't turn around, grab them and walk out. They had me by the short hairs, so to speak. So, they kept going nutso and giggling because Mommy couldn't do a darn thing to stop them. I gave them the evil eye. I gritted my teeth. Nothing worked. Thankfully, the teller was patient. She finally gave them lollipops. Not because they were good, but it was her way of shutting them up!

Monday, April 6, 2009

I might not make it

What horrible person created Spring Break? I have no memory of ever enjoying this time off from school. As a teen, I never had the money to go on those cool spring break vacations to Florida or Mexico. As an adult, I am doing nothing but dreading the rest of this week! I woke up this morning with high hopes. I had a great day planned. I was going to keep the girls busy and entertained and happy. Where did it all go wrong? We didn't even make it to 8 a.m. without something being thrown and names being called. I swear, I think my daughters truly despise each other sometimes. They get along famously when conspiring against me - when they're doing something wrong or illegal. But, other times, the older one tells the little one "Shhh. You're annoying me." They really tried to drive me crazy today. I can't see me making it past Wednesday - forget about the end of the week. How do people do it? I can't pay for boarding school, so I'm doomed to have these two girls together! I know the kids (and teachers) need a break from school, but does it have to be here? I'm sure it will get worse before it gets better. Tomorrow, they'll have me tied up and locked in the closet while they scream their heads off and beat each other up. And maybe Wednesday we'll have a picnic. All I know is the liquor cabinet is calling my name. So maybe if I'm drunk for the entire Spring Break, I'll enjoy it more? Can't hurt.

Friday, April 3, 2009


If you're ever in a store and you see a woman walking around, looking at the shelves, and talking to herself, don't jump to the conclusion that she's crazy. Today, while waiting for a prescription in the drug store, I watched some of the women who were shopping. They're reading labels out loud. They're asking questions and there is no one around to answer. They're wondering aloud if the generic is just as good as the name brand. As I watch and listen, I realize that I do that too. I walk around and talk to myself when I'm shopping or performing another task. Maybe I am losing it. Maybe I have created a group of imaginary friends who can listen to me, but never talk back. Then, I realized the true reason women do this... It's chatter. Chatter is all we hear. It's like a constant white noise that starts when we wake up and doesn't stop. It's the radio, the alarm clock, the bathroom noise, the kids waking up, the husband asking where his favorite t-shirt is. It's the noise at the breakfast table, the school bus, the car radio, the teacher, the cashier in the coffee shop. It's work and traffic. It's the hum of the computer, the windchimes outside, the birds, the cat scratching to get in (or out), the phone, your BFF telling you about her crazy day, Noggin, Disney, or whatever channel is on in your house. It's the microwave, the fridge, the sink, the dishwasher. It's cooking, laundry, vacuuming. It's kids fighting and laughing and yelling and asking you over and over and over to come and play with them or to "watch this, Mommy." It's reading books and husbands snoring. It's constant chatter and noise. It's endless. So, when ladies are by themselves, they don't know what to do. They feel lost without that chatter. So, they start talking to themselves. Don't laugh. Don't stare. Don't judge. Because you do it too - you probably just don't realize. Just treat the poor woman like you would a sleepwalker - let them be unless they're going to harm themselves!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bad Breath?

Kids say the darndest things, right? We all know it's true. They usually wait until the worst time or at a moment that embarasses you the most. My kids are famous for their one-liners, but this one I just had to share. Turns out Sabrina has a wicked nasty ear infection and the stuff is draining out of her ear. But, this morning, I didn't know that and thought it might be her pacifier or something stuck in her hair. So, I'm holding her in my lap and scrunch up my nose and say "What is that smell?" And what does my adorable and loving daughter say??? It's probably your breath Mom!