getting my house in order

getting my house in order
it's a jungle out there

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sundays in My City


The Bronx Zoo

this is where we were last Sunday
the last sun day
before
snowmageddon
snowpocalypse
a week of snow days

it was a beautiful day
prompting an impromptu trip



a sun day sky



1st stop
the World of Birds



you know I have a thing



bird on a branch



...light... sun...
...green... warmth...



we pretend it's summer



we're in Madagascar
lemurs sound just like they do in Dinosaur


tigers up close and personal
we never see them in the summer
it's too darn hot so they hide in the shade

apparently, they love the snow
a big beautiful cat
Mia just wanted to snuggle with her



zoo center



me and my shadow



Unknown Mami

Sundays in My City
brought to you by Unknown Mami
who has her own little corner of sunshine

Thursday, February 25, 2010

snow bound and cabin fever

Yet another snow day. shoot me


We spent the morning in bed watching morning television


watched The View with the boys. Today's show is about infertility. Dr Infertility Guy says by age 30 you've lost 90% of your eggs. By 40 you only have 3% left.
Both boys look at me...
mom you only have 3% of your eggs left.
Oh honestly you guys. I had all of you way after I was 30
Yeah but now you only have a few left.
It's ok guys. I don't need anymore eggs. If I want more eggs I'll go to Key Food

How can Nutella be advertised as a nutritionally dense food?

Commercial for The Oscars. I love the Oscars.

not that i've gotten to the movies this year...but...whatever.
The boys notice that Steve Martin is looking old. I don't think so, he just looks like Steve Martin.
He's not that old. Maybe 60.
Ty says right mom, well... you're 56 so of course 60 doesn't seem old to you...wait... are you 56 or 46?
here we go again.
Jack cracks up She's 56. 56. Mom is 56. smartass

Jimmy Dean Breakfast Bowls. gross

Frosted Miniwheats. Chocolate flavored. a great source of fiber

seriously?

Barbara Walters needs to retire. there. i said it

*****



it's one o'clock

i'm still in my pajamas

the kids are making more tie dyed napkins

the snow has been coming down like crazy for 5 hours

the damn dog, who HATES the cold and HATES being wet, still won't go out
if that dog poops or pees in the house, i'm gonna be mad

blah blah blah

all this snow is making me a wee bit grumpy

and cold

and stir crazy


Bruce went to down to the restaurant, in the snow, and left me this note...





...a little while later...



I opened the box and smelled...

olive oil???


do you know what this is?

it's an OLIVE TREE!

how amazing is that?

and love songs to boot


the kids were so excited

they love witnessing the romance

Mia kept asking me if I was gonna cry

not even happy tears, mommy?

Mia honey, I'm not gonna cry... dontcha see the SMILE on my face?

*****

I called Bruce. He'll be home early.

I made a summertime dinner to go with my olive tree

local chicken with 40 cloves of garlic

panzanella

local sour cherry puff something

they were supposed to be turnovers but I screwed up the puff pastry and it ended up looking like a ginormous pop tart. but it was still yummy

Then I got into the shower and shaved my legs and armpits.


and that's all I'm gonna say about THAT


happy happy snow day


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

just another fuckin snow day


Snow day.
Again.
I had a plan this week.
Again.
tuesday & thursday
yoga
me time
in whatever form that might take
wednesday
clean
be productive
cook a good dinner

alas, my hopes were dashed
this is what I saw out my front door at 10:30 last night


dammit
the kids are home again

but...
they're mostly good kids
so
I still got my floors mopped
and the bathroom cleaned
and
dinner cooked



and pulled this project out of my ass
the kitchen cupboards to keep them occupied
while we listened to Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba




it evolved from this




to this






it's not nearly as creative as Sister Adrienne's kiddie projects
but then again, I'm not nearly as creative as sister Adrienne


our own hippie version of a Tibetan Prayer Flag
today I'm sending prayers to the Congo

Tens of thousands of women and girls have been raped in the Congo in the past decade. This extreme violence is not a side effect of a country in conflict: It is "the use of rape as a strategy". Local armed groups and Rwandan militias use rape to systematically destroy communities. Populations are terrorized; families collapse as a result of the stigma; sexually transmitted infections spread.
Utne (March/April 2010)
The Progressive (Nov. 2009)


as I told Sister Halona last night
I give good prayer
any prayers you wanna add?
there's plenty of room

just say the word

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

X-wated Twosday

warning: this has some totally adult content. I'm gonna try to phrase and allude in a way that protects us from creepy google searches. The whole thing just cracked me up...

So. As I've said before, Bruce and I are sometimes like two ships passing in the night. It's been a particularly long and dark night over the last 2 weeks, as his sous chef has been on vacation. He's worked 13 of the last 14 days. And his days are super long. Typically in times like this, we text a lot. Sad but true.

A few Sundays ago in the insanity of pancakes, cello lessons, sleep overs, and catch up, I asked him if he knew about "tea parties". We used to talk for hours about social and political issues. Not so much anymore. It puts both of us over the edge. So in an attempt to preserve our limited quality time, we stay away from the frustrating stuff.

Well. I was tired of talking about the kids. Sue me. So in the midst of Sunday Morning Insanity I said something like have you heard about tea parties?

B: tea parties?
M: I dunno. tea parties. tea bagging. tea something...
B: looks at me kinda funny where have you heard about it?
M: it's been for a while... you know I'm so unplugged... I really should know more about it... a lot of people have been talking about it...

then I burned the pancakes or something

Flash forward to Friday. We're both at work, running like idiots, trying to touch base via texts

B: Really looking forward to monday. more later. Did you find out about tea b*gging?
M: No. Other than sarah palin saying stupid things @ one. Ty's lesson was changed to monday.
B: do you know tea b*ggin'?
M: Don't know tea b*gging I'm still thinking tea parties and why is he stuck on this anyway?
B: Did you not ask me a few days ago about it?
M: I did. What are they?
B.: OK. I thought tea b*ggin was either when someone gives **** to a woman *** *** *** *** OR when a man **** **** **** ***. Where did you hear about it?
M: no. NO NO NO. TEA PARTIES!. Some ultra conservative take back the country from Obama Limbaugh Beck creepy thing.
B: oops. I guess I misunderstood the question.... sorry

I don't know what he thought about my Sarah Palin reference. Must think I surf political p*rn in my spare time.

As Sister Halona said OH MY DOG


Saturday, February 20, 2010

A New Orleans bedtime story for Jordana


Once upon a time there was a Beautiful Princess named Michelle. And Michelle was married to a Handsome Prince named Bruce. They lived in a tiny cottage overlooking a beautiful river and they were very happy. What Princess Michelle wanted most in the world was to have a baby. And Prince Bruce said of course Chica because he would do anything in the world to make his beloved happy.

So Princess Michelle got pregnant and the baby was due to be born on Halloween. Princess Michelle was so excited. She looked forward to having their new baby at the royal family's Christmas Celebration, which was always the most beautiful, fancy, delicious, fun celebration of the whole year.

But then something terrible happened. Princess Michelle had a miscarriage at 12 weeks. The Prince and Princess were devastated. For the next 6 months they hoped and prayed for another baby. Princess Michelle had never been so sad in her entire life. With each passing month the pain in her heart grew bigger and bigger. There were some days her heart was so heavy she thought it might just. stop. beating.

Halloween came and went. Princess Michelle was still not pregnant. She began to wonder if she was cursed. Maybe she was being punished. Maybe she needed to ask the village midwife for a magic potion to break the evil spell. Prince Bruce said Chica you're not cursed its just gonna take a little time. But Princess Michelle cried soon Christmas will be here and I can't bear the thought of going to the Royal Family Celebration without a Baby. I don't think I can make it through Christmas this year. So Prince Bruce said Chica I'll take you away to the Magical Kingdom of New Orleans and under the spell of that city you will forget all about Christmas.

Which was a big deal because even though they had a kingdom, and everyone called them Prince and Princess, there were like no royal funds. So Prince Bruce, being the Awesome Prince that he is, arranged for Christmas in New Orleans. And Princess Michelle was so relieved, and thought she might be able to get through Christmas if she could pretend Christmas wasn't Christmas.

So they made their plans.

And in between Halloween and Christmas came Thanksgiving. And the day after Thanksgiving Princess Michelle woke up and said hmmm... the royal boobies feel kinda tender and the royal period is a day late.

And yes, that day Princess Michelle and Prince Bruce found out they were royally expecting.

But what about New Orleans?

Well, the Prince and Princess went anyway. Princess Michelle was 9 weeks pregnant and sick as a royal lap dog. All the smells in the French Quarter made her queasy. All the foods that she normally loved made her green around her royal gills. Cajun blek. Gumbo yuck. Andouille no way. Jambalaya wouldn't wanna be ya.

But grits were so good. As were hard boiled eggs and wedges of iceberg lettuce with bleu cheese dressing. That's what Princess Michelle ate for 5 days in New Orleans. Beige food. And beignets. And the growing Royal Tadpole made her feel so tired she could barely put one foot in front of the other. So the Prince and Princess would sight see for an hour or two after breakfast and then Princess Michelle would drag her queasy exhausted pregnant royal butt back to the hotel room and snooze the day away while Prince Bruce walked up and down Bourbon Street and drank Hurricanes.

All day Princess Michelle would lie like the dead in the King sized bed. She would order 3 hardboiled eggs and sometimes grits on the side from room service. She watched Keanu Reeves take A Walk in the Clouds over and over again on cable. And boy, did those hard boiled eggs taste good. She was so happy to feel sick as a royal lapdog.

Their last night in New Orleans they went to the movies. They saw The English Patient. It was the saddest movie they had ever seen. The next day the Prince and Princess and the Royal Tadpole went home.

And they lived happily ever after.

Night night. Sleep tight.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lent schment

OK. So the Lent thing isn't working for me. And it's only been, like, 12 hours.

Jack read my giving up for lent list and said no way mom you can't do that you're gonna burn in hell
Jack, honey,there is no hell
Yes there is. If you make a promise to god and you break it, you'll burn in hell. And there's no way you can keep that promise for the next 46 days I'm not sure where he received his religious training but it wasn't from me
Jack, I don't think it works that way
Still mom, you can't break a promise to god

frustration
aggravation
impatience

Mia had a rough morning. She didn't do her homework last night which is fine with me. I don't torture my kids into doing what they're supposed to do... but I remind them there are consequences to their decisions. And they don't like to get yelled at by the teacher or get bad grades, so usually that's enough of a motivator.

But Mia is so in the moment. So impulsive. She does what she wants, when she wants to do it. Which is also fine with me, except she has an ISSUE with the consequences part.

She's also a perfectionist. In her own way.

So many a morning it's a challenge for her to get dressed. She has more clothes than all of us put together, but none of them are ever quite right. On top of it, she's so damn tall and skinny it's hard to find clothes that fit her. AND they have to look right. Cause she's a girl. And already she's concerned with what the other girls will say about what she's wearing. She likes the look of skinny jeans but she's too skinny and the waist never feels right. She likes the feel of comfy drawstring pants but says the other girls will say she's wearing pajamas. She's that kid that if ONE negative comment is made it's the end of the world and ruins her entire day. And when she gets all worked up and anxious she says mommy it's gonna be a bad day. I can feel it.

This morning we had both wardrobe trauma and homework trauma. She was beside herself. And I was challenged to stay calm. not sure I was successful but maybe i hid it ok. I remember being her age and feeling so aggravated and frustrated and screwed by some of the homework. And I was right. Some homework sucks. And she gets aggravated and frustrated and feels screwed. And she's right too. Why does she have to draw 6 household objects and name their shapes. 1.draw a door 2.write the door is in the shape of a rectangle. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME??? That's just ridiculous and a waste of time. She talked with Ty about the vertex, the vertices, and the face of objects. I didn't know what they were talking about. I suggested vertexes, she insisted vertices. OK. But when she's given stupid homework she gets confused because it's so stupid. I was exactly the same way. And when she has to draw something like a door, she can't just draw a rectangle with a little circle for a doorknob. She has to draw all the glass panes, and the molding, and the wood grain. Cause that's the way she is. That's how I was too.

sigh

So this morning I tried to talk her off the stupid homework ledge. I wasn't too successful. I tried agreeing with her, to encourage her independent thinking and assure her that this stupid homework was really not important in the grand scheme of her life. It didn't work. Cause she still wants to please, and doesn't want to get in trouble, and wants to be a "good girl", but it's really hard for her to be that "good girl". She doesn't follow the rules. She doesn't sit quietly. She's chatty. And social. And bored.

It sucks for her. Cause it's hard for her to follow school rules. And her inability to stay inside the box is going to end up defining her. and not in a good way. She may not be able to redefine herself until she's in a position to make her own choices and position herself outside the box. Or at least in a box that fits better.

So.

frustration
aggravation
impatience

I was raised in an Episcopal box. I enjoy the ritual, but I don't do well with absolutes. Or negativity. That whole thing about only being saved by Jesus because we humans are flawed and sinful and there's no way out except through Him just doesn't sit right with me. I need some wiggle room. I need to be let off the hook. I need things to be inclusive and malleable and fluid. And not judgemental. We are all works in progress.

I dig the Holy Spirit thing, though

I need to believe in something comfy and safe and attainable. that doesn't mean easy. And forgiving and patient. Maybe that's why I'm drawn in by my itty bitty knowledge of Hinduism. I love the magic and color and spectacle. I also love the take what you like and leave the rest attitude. and no I'm not a fan of caste systems. I like the natural xanax of Buddhism. Being in the moment is a pretty good way to prevent anxiety. Not easy, but good and true. And lord knows nothing is permanent. Good stuff or bad stuff. It's all transient.
this too shall pass.

So maybe I can mix and match Ganesha and Buddha and the Holy Spirit the way Mia mixes and matches her outfits.

Whatever gets me through the night, right?

And helps me leave frustration aggravation and impatience behind.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

a little of this and a little of that


Fat Niles on Fat Tuesday in his Gras Beads
he looks happy, no?
no



I've never been one to give up something for Lent
but many are writing about just that today.

I've thought about it.
I will try my best to give up

frustration
aggravation
impatience

I
and my family
will benefit from my sacrifice

I don't think
god wants us to be miserable

god just wants us to make a joyful noise
and be happy


2 hour delay
next thing I know
they're out there
shoveling away

I have awesome kids


Mia did my hair
she and Ty declared it looks BEAST
that's midget-speak
for so cool and amazing
not sure I agree
Mia said
now all I have to do is dress you




that's what I'm talkin' about

the part about how all the US dollars
flooding in
has completely devalued
the Haitian dollar
really knocked me for a loop

damn


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Funny Valentines

So I'm a little late. What else is new?

As you can see, my blue balls are still hanging low in the snow.



view from my porch this morning


Jack's mortified and begging me to take the Christmas lights down.

No way Jose. I like my blue balls. They're a pick-me-up and put a spring in my step during these long grey winter days.

And I'm genetically incapable of being on time. Seriously. Hence the Valentine's Decor pasted on my blog walls today.
I promise it won't stay up till Fourth of July...

*****

Jack: mom there's this thing... a ghillie suit... And I'd really like to make one
Me: a what?
Jack: a ghillie suit. Its like full body camouflage that snipers wear. I want to make one and I might need some help
Me: sigh I dunno Jack... I'm already totally ambivalent about modern warfare call of duty tho deb at dirty socks and pizza says it's scientifically proven to be ok
Jack with his best puppy dog face: I just thought it would be a really good family project that we could all do together. You know... quality time
Me: quality time?... making a sniper suit? Good lord!

Jack's so independent. So reliable. Such a good kid. He's listed as currently in a relationship on his Facebook page if you catch my drift

*****

Ty fiddles with things. If he's sitting reading, eating, or watching tv, his hands are always touching something close by. The other day he came into the bathroom as I was clipping my toenails. As we chat, he absentmindedly starts playing with the long ass haven't been shaved in 3 months hair on my shin. All of a sudden he realizes what he's doing
Ty: mom?...what is this?
Me: it's leg hair, honey
Ty: but... totally bewildered why is it so long?
Me: cause I haven't bothered to shave in a while
Ty in horrified fascination: Mom... that's crazy... Jack c'mere... look at this!
I've got my own ghillie suit right here thank you very much

Ty's on another planet. Always has been. But he's playing The Nutcracker Suites and Bach's Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring and the Prelude to the Cello Suites. After only 16 months on the cello. His teacher just hands him the music and he plays it. And I see him flying with this and I can't keep up and it's crazy to watch and it makes my heart hurt cause if he continues like this he will probably outgrow what this county has to offer before he's in high school. And then what?

*****

In the never ending attempt to find common ground with Mia, I handed her a Sundance Catalogue
Me: Mia, honey, look at the pretty clothes in this
She looks at me skeptically, and give me her best one eyebrow raised look. She starts flipping through the pages exuding both boredom and impatience. She tosses the catalogue aside with just a wee bit of disdain
Me: you don't like any of it? I pick up the catalogue and start flipping through. What about this top? Eyes roll at me. How 'bout these shoes? Aren't they pretty? exasperated sigh and arms cross her chest. Oh come on honey, what about this? You don't like this ruffly blouse?
Mia: Mommy, you just need to face the fact we so don't have the same taste

She had a Valentine's Date. They sat alone at the sushi bar. He gave her roses and chocolate. She gave him a stuffed animal and candy hearts. The sushi man made them heart shaped sushi. They were adorable.

What am I gonna do when she's 14?

*****

So. The Christmas decorations still on the porch. The Valentines Day decor after the fact. Hating that Halloween stuff is on sale when school starts and Thanksgiving stuff is on sale at Halloween and Christmas stuff goes on sale in July. I'm in no rush. I'm dragging my feet. Cause every day I see my kids growing up and up and up. And I don't want the time to go too fast. As exciting as it is to see them change, as much as it cracks me up and leaves me shaking my head in disbelief, it's all a little too fast.

You know what I mean.

So. I'm late. I don't rush the holidays. I don't jump the gun. This is the I'm fooling myself way that I can slow down time and keep them with me forever. That I can keep them from growing up up and away too fast.

It's not going to work, is it?

Your fairy is called Columbine Icedancer
She is a bone chilling bringer of justice for the vulnerable.
She lives in mushroom fields and quiet meadows.
She is only seen when the bees swarm and the crickets chirrup.
She wears lilac and purple like columbine flowers. She has icy blue butterfly wings.