Thursday, March 31, 2005

Breast Cancer Commentathon

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If breast cancer has not touched you personally, it has touched someone you know. The statistics are sobering. On January 11, 2005 Greg Hammond, a fellow blogger, hosted a comment based fundraiser on his blog, California Hammonds. The fundraiser was in memory of his wife, Cheryl, who lost her battle with breast cancer after more than 5 years of fighting. The proceeds from the fundraiser were donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation's education and screening programs. Early detection is the key to survival.

The fundraiser worked by spreading the word of the need for donations and asking those who heard about it to please leave a comment on his blog. Sponsors pledged money for a certain number of comments. For example, Greg donated $1 for each of the first 500 comments. A different sponsor donated $1 for each of the first 50. Still another donated $1 for the 50 following those. In the end, over 700 people commented, raising $2846.

On April 1, 2005, the one year anniversary of Cheryl's death, Greg plans to host another fundraiser. Again, the proceeds will go to the National Breast Cancer Foundation's education and screening programs, and the format of comments and sponsors will remain the same.

I am proud to participate as a sponsor this time around, and I hope that you will consider sponsoring as well. If you are unable to, please at least CLICK ON THE BANNER ABOVE AND COMMENT on the California Hammonds site between 12:01am and 11:59pm TOMORROW, April 1st.

Monday, March 28, 2005

A Fashionable Easter

Holy week and the Easter weekend have always been special for our family. This time of year still is, but our celebration has changed quite a bit as the kids have aged. We did not have the traditional egg hunt this year, mostly because the time got away from us and it was a rainy, nasty day anyway. The different parts of our family attended their own separate churches, instead of attending one en masse. We did all get together for a fabulous brunch at a local restaurant. Certainly not the traditional ham & fixings feast, but there was no clean up, so that is one tradition I don't mind changing. I think the thing I miss the most, though, is the "special Easter outfit."

Gone are the days of the freshly scrubbed little cherubs all dressed in their special Easter finery. No precious pastel dresses and sport-coats. No brand new patent leather dress shoes. Instead, it looked like we were carting around refugees from a trailer park after the tornado had passed through. Perhaps I am being too harsh. I'll let you be the judge:

#1 Son - His first outfit of the morning consisted of a t-shirt that proclaimed "I'm Out of Bed and Dressed, What More Do You Want?" and a pair of jeans that loudly proclaim their manufacturer. I "subtly dropped the hint" that perhaps he should change. Okay, I admit it was probably more along the lines of, "there is no WAY you are wearing THAT to Easter brunch," but I digress. After quite a bit of digging in drawers and closets, it was determined that the dress pants we had purchased for him in December no longer fit. Instead he chose a shirt that can best be described as "sort of Hawaiian" and khaki shorts. I was actually fine with the outfit. No really, I was. What got me was the hair.

#1 Son's hair has grown out since the monumental haircut of several weeks ago. He decided yesterday that he was going to wear a Mohawk. This does not, however, consist of shaving the sides of the head as it did in my day. Now they use a handful of "spiking cement" to slick the hair into a straight line that stands erect along the top of the head. Think of it as a Mohawk without the commitment. It resembles a shark fin. Unfortunately the thing stuck up at least four inches tall. Every time he bent his head towards anyone, he poked them in the eye. I admire the restraint of all of his grandparents, who never said a word about the new "do," though they did keep giving me strange looks throughout the meal.

The Little One - She assured me that she had her Easter outfit all picked out. She did, all right. She appeared wearing a pair of blue camouflage cargo shorts and an olive colored skater t-shirt that was emblazoned with the number 360 and a skull with wings. She accessorized this get up with a knee-length argyle sock and a high-top pink and black Converse tennis shoe. She insisted that she could not wear a skirt because it would show her walking cast. *sigh* After much cajoling, on C.'s part, not mine - I've learned not to fight with her about clothes - she had changed her outfit. The final choice was a bright pink and black polka dot layered skirt, a black "trucker" t-shirt, a black knit poncho and the aforementioned argyle sock and Converse combination.

My friends, C. and I are the masters of denial. You should have seen us walk into that fancy restaurant with our heads held high. We like to think of the fashion freak-show as our Easter gift to the world.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

I Don't Want a Baby, I Want Legos!

Talking to my children about the new baby brought back memories of trying to prepare #1 Son for the arrival of his baby sister 10 or so years ago. #1 was a month shy of 3 when The Little One came along. I anticipated some adjustment issues, so I did what I do best. I researched and read everything I could get my hands on. I found a lot of ideas. Some worked better than others.

THE BOOK - #1 Son LOVED when I read to him. Our nightly ritual consisted of at least one book, most commonly Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham. It was his favorite. I happened to find this fantastic book that was written for children who were about to gain a sibling. It was a great "feel good" book written to enforce the child's special place in the family as the oldest child, etc. The first night The Book debuted at bed time, the kid didn't even make it half-way through. Apparently it was a little dry.

Him: "Mommy, this is boring. Can we read Sam I Am?"
Me: "But Honey, this is a special book. It's all about a boy who gets a baby sister, just like you!"
Him: "It's dumb. I want Sam I Am."
Me: "Can't we at least finish it?"
Him: "The boy gets a dumb baby, the end."

There was no point in continuing since he ruined the ending for me.

THE VIDEO - I cannot even remember the name, but I found a video with a plot similar to The Book. It went over about as well. We didn't even make it 5 minutes into the show when he changed tapes on me. He preferred Barney. Not one to want to pick a fight, I decided to go with the flow. I tried to point out that Baby Bop was Barney's little sister, just like he was going to have a baby sister. When he started asking me if she would be purple or green, I gave up.

BABY SUSAN - One book I read suggested getting a life-like baby so that the child wouldn't feel left out when Mom takes care of the real baby. That made sense to me in a twisted sort of way. It couldn't hurt. Nothing else had worked and I was still worried about his adjustment. Baby Susan started off on a more positive note than The Book and The Video, most probably because we had to go to the toy store to get her. Day 1 with Baby Susan went fairly well. I taught him how to change her diaper and feed her. We even let her test drive the new baby swing. I must admit that I was slightly concerned when he kept cranking the swing up as fast and high as it would go, and certainly it was only flinging Baby Susan around like that because she was so light. By day two, I realized the Baby Susan experiment had probably run its course. By lunch time I found her face down on the floor. #1 Son was using her as a landing pad for the Hot Wheels cars that he was flinging off the coffee table. In a last ditch effort, I suggested he take Baby Susan up to his sister's crib for a nap. The last time I saw Baby Susan he was dragging the doll up the stairs by one foot, clunking her little life-like head on every step, I knew we were done.

I guess I should have listened to him when he told me, "Mommy, I don't want a baby, I want Legos." I'm with you kid.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Karmel is Going to Get You

My children have raised picking at each other to an art form. For as long as The Little One has been walking, they have had it in for one another. You may remember I've given you a few EXAMPLES in the past. A couple of years ago things got really bad with The Little One constantly pushing #1 Son's buttons. She became fond of snooping through his room, listening in on his phone calls and walking by him with a flick to his head or a stomp on his foot. We tried to tell her about a little thing called karma. She didn't buy it at first. Then one particular "flicking incident" ended with her running from him and promptly slamming her shin into the coffee table. #1 told her it was karma. Her reply to me was, MOM! Karmel got me!"

Karmel became a member of the family. He was everywhere we went. Eventually Karmel became the family joke. He was the one everyone blamed for breaking things or losing things when no one else fessed up. Karmel would get you when you weren't looking and he sometimes had a sense of humor. Open a two-liter and it explodes all over the place? That is Karmel getting you back for eating the last fruit roll-up. Did you bite your tongue? Karmel is repaying you for being a smart-mouth. When the computer crashes in the middle of a game, it's Karmel reminding you that you didn't finish your homework even though you swore you did. There is no end to Karmel's antics.

You have probably noticed that I wax poetic on this very blog about parenting and various moronic parents I have encountered. I have occasionally given advice, even though I haven't been asked. The recent Super Nanny posts come quickly to mind.

Last week we found out I am pregnant.

My friends, Karmel has kicked me squarely in the ass.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Seen and Heard in the ER

As if we have not spent enough time in the emergency room and doctor's offices lately, The Little One and I spent our morning and a chunk of our afternoon yesterday in the soap opera that is the ER. This stunt involved her forehead and a dresser drawer. After a call to her Pediatrician, we were sent to the nearest hospital as it was a head injury, it bled quite a bit and she was acting sleepy. Since it was her face, they opted for something called Dermabond (a surgical super glue) instead of stitches. To think, this is my coordinated kid. It must be a growth spurt.

Sitting for several hours in the emergency waiting room makes for excellent people watching. Keep in mind, as I was repeatedly reminded, that the wait in the emergency room is generally because of all the people who show up there WITHOUT an emergency. My friends, I give you my three favorite "ER Moms."

Bored Single Mom - This 20-ish woman was in the ER with her son who looked like he was about 2 or 3-years-old. The kid apparently woke up that morning with a fever of 101 degrees, so she thought she should rush him to the hospital. Please lady, my kids have to be pushing 102 for me to break out the Motrin. You would think a simple call to the Pediatrician would have saved her a whole heck of a lot of time. Instead, the rest of us in the waiting room were treated to the "Hyper Kid with Personality" show. This kid danced. He ran around and sang. He played peek-a-boo with a guy who had come in by ambulance. At one point he was diving from one chair to another. His Mom only threatened to "beat his ass" 72 times in the two hours we got to sit near them.

Mom Looking for a Day Off Work - We learned a lot about this lovely young "lady." That was because she was loud and liked to talk. She arrived, signed in and began by asking everyone "what's wrong with you?" Positively charming. It seems her 10 or 11-year-old-kid has "had chest pains since December" and she had finally decided it was time to "get to the bottom of it." Couple her "concern" with the fact that she "didn't feel like going to work" and there they were. She said she picked the particular hospital because she figured it would have the longest wait and besides, "she didn't feel like going to work." She thought about taking her son to Hospital X, but decided it was too close to work and she might end up getting out of there too quickly and she "didn't feel like going to work." Did I mention that she "didn't feel like going to work?" She did, about 5 times. And the kid with the chest pains? He drank 3 cups of hot chocolate and did karate moves for an hour.

Angry Mom - This young woman came in with her 10-month-old daughter. I have no idea where she left her 2 and 3-year old children she told everyone about. She was pretty sure the child had "another ear infection," as she seems to get them "all the time." Angry Mom was rather irate when she learned that Bored Single Mom had been sitting there for over an hour without seeing the triage nurse yet. In fact, she let us all know that "usually" she is in and out of that ER in about an hour. After a half an hour, her kid began to cry. I would have too, had I still been bundled up like I was outside in the cold. I guess she was too busy complaining to notice. The more the kid cried, the louder and more irate her mother became. She was yelling things like "cry louder Baby, maybe they'll finally see you" and "if an infant is crying they are obviously in pain and should go to the front of the line." Never mind the two people that had been brought in by ambulance from a car wreck. She finally barged her way into the triage nurse so her child could be seen and promptly, and very loudly, cursed the nurse out. She then came out and demanded everyone's name and screamed that she was going to file a complaint. The last time I saw her, a poor hospital official in a suit was taking her to file her complaint as she was yelling, "who does she think she is telling me this is not a life threatening emergency? My kid was CRYING!"

My friends, I am having a difficult time trying to choose my candidate for "Mother of the Year."

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Jump Back Emeril.

Apparently I make a MEAN prime rib roast. Even Princess Picky thinks she's starving.

#1 Son and I heard this strange noise coming from the kitchen. Lots of groans, moans and writhing around on the floor. This is what we found. It's not surprising as her favorite foods are only the really expensive ones. Who knew the smell of an incredible roast could drag her away from the television? The smell has the same effect on the dog, but she's not near as picky as the Little One.

It's nice to be appreciated once in awhile.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Dear Soccer Mom

Dear Soccer Mom in the Silver Mini-Van:

I understand that you were busy talking on your cell phone, but did you realize you blew through that 25 mph school zone doing at least 50? Did you also notice that you almost removed the back end of my car when you swerved around me to pass?

I can imagine you were slightly distracted by the small children in the back seat hurling objects at each other. Who knew that DVD of The Wiggles was not going to keep them occupied? I was rather impressed with your driving skill when you were able to avoid the road crew who had closed down the left lane. It takes a special kind of fearless to swerve back in front of me while simultaneously reaching for something in the front floorboard, or whatever you were doing. I think the skill I admire the most was your ability to slow to a crawl as I followed you on the entrance ramp to the highway. Most people think that ramp exists to allow drivers a place to accelerate to the speed of the traffic you are merging with. Silly people! We both know that the lane is only there to allow you to collect your thoughts before facing that scary, fast traffic like that tractor-trailer you pulled out in front of when you merged. I think the truck driver was probably just as amazed as I was that his brakes work that well. What a crazy noise, though!

Good luck dear Soccer Mom in the Silver Mini-Van. While I am amazed at your ability to drive, I don't think I'll be adding you to my carpool list anytime soon.



P.S. Be thankful that I do not own a firearm.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Toddler Fashions

It's getting warmer and thus people are losing the layers. As usual, the warmer weather brings out some "interesting" outfits. In the grocery store Monday, though, I was appalled. There was this little girl who was dressed in an outlandish outfit. There she was with a winter cap and scarf, pink and purple tank top, yellow shorts and patent leather tap shoes with no socks. What kind of a woman would let her child go out dressed like that?

Then I had a flashback. There was a time when The Little One had a "favorite outfit." She was about two and a half. Every single solitary day she insisted on wearing the same thing. She thought she looked like a Princess. The get up consisted of a Pull-Up, 4 strands of cheap Mardi-Gras beads, a tiara, a "Barbie Magic Wand," and dark blue rubber rain boots. I swear. We have pictures.

There was also the winter she turned three. Her outfit of choice at that time was a Mickey Mouse sundress. She had, of course, grown out of it the prior summer. No matter where I hid it, she found it and put it on. The one time I attempted to throw it away, she instinctively knew and dug it out of the bottom of the trash. By the time of the first snowfall I had finally given up. I let her wear the stupid thing as an undershirt as long as she wore something warm over top of it.

I had been quick to judge this poor woman in the grocery store today. Who was I to think badly of her? As we passed in the aisle, I gave her a knowing smile and a nod. She wearily smiled back. We are sisters.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Things I Learned This Past Weekend

The attitude of a 10-year-old girl increases exponentially with the size of the cast on her leg.

The bumper sticker says, "It's Never OK To Hit A Child," but I maintain that it's OK to really want to.

A glass of wine and a cigarette enjoyed out on the deck will keep you from lunging for the throat of a 10-year-old child.

There is nothing funny about bathing a child with a cast on their leg. Someday I may change my mind and find something humorous to write about the incident. I doubt it.

The Spanish teacher assigned a project for Spanish class due today (Monday). I was informed Sunday afternoon. #1 Son had known about it for almost two weeks.

It is almost impossible to create a poster "promoting foreign languages" with no further instruction.

My son has no creative ideas for last minute projects.

The poster project was worth a test grade.

My son has no sense of urgency.

When in doubt, go with what you know and love – food.

By combining our "talents," my son and I are able to slap together a poster that says, "Foreign Languages...Get a Taste of Something Different" in about an hour and a half.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Where is Darwin When We Need Him?

It has been a while since I've commented on local news stories, but after last night's evening news broadcast I cannot resist. If natural selection was indeed allowed to play out, I am guessing neither of these stellar members of my community would exist.

Moron #1 – This grandmother was in her home, along with her 11-year-old grandson who lived with her, when a fire broke out. The fire demolished the woman's house as well as her neighbor's home and severely damaged a second neighboring house on the other side. 12 people are now homeless. The grandson started the fire by playing with a lighter on the mattress his grandmother was sleeping on. When she awoke, she reacted by trying to shove the mattress outside. It got stuck in the doorway, thus the whole house went up.

You might think that is the stupid part. Actually, my favorite part of the story was the grandmother's interview on the broadcast last night. And I quote, "He always play wit matches and lighters. He always startin' fires. I guess he likes da smell or sumthin'. I doan know wat his problem is." Beautiful. Despite the fact that this kid obviously had some serious problems that were ignored, I guess 15 minutes of fame is more important than a liability suit. Then again, $20 says they don't have insurance.

Moron #2 – My personal favorite. A woman was arrested this week on felony child abuse and neglect charges. You see, earlier in the day she had gone to Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court for a custody fight, presumably to argue that she is a good and fit mother. And where was her 6-month-old daughter while she was in court? A police officer noticed her locked in Mom's car in the parking lot.

To think, we have laws to protect people like this from themselves. Nothing like diluting the gene pool.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Interior Disaster

You know, when we bought this house 5 1/2 years ago, I had dreams of how wonderful it would look. Visions of Home & Garden and Southern Living reporters clamoring for interviews and tours danced in my head. Who was I kidding? I should just be happy that the place is not blue anymore. At some point in time in this city there must have been a HUGE sale on blue paint. I'm not talking a breezy light blue, or an interesting navy accent color. Oh no. I'm talking about a Williamsburg blue color, which should only be experienced in small doses.

The Little One's room was painted what we've taken to calling "that blue" (say it with disgust in your voice). The master bedroom guessed it, "that blue." The great room was...yes again, "that blue." To top it all off, the cabinet doors in my white kitchen are...say it with me, "that blue." And yes my friends, when we purchased the house there were no fewer than four gallon cans of "that blue" paint left in our garage. Oh, and my office? Guess what color that was. NOPE. It was blaze orange. I swear. From the street, when the light was on and the blinds were closed this room looked like it was on fire. In the last five and a half years things have improved slightly. The first room painted, before we ever moved a stick of furniture in, was my office because it made me queasy. The Little One's room was the next to change because she was adamant that she could not live and breath in a blue room. Two years ago my family surprised me by painting the great room a rather normal eggshell color. That's about as far as I have gotten.

I have recently resigned myself to the fact that I did not inherit the decorating gene. My birth mother is amazing. No matter where she has lived, no matter what her budget, her home is a showplace of design genius. You would think that I might have received it through osmosis from my adoptive mother. Her homes have always been tastefully decorated (not to mention clean). Did I at least learn from her? Nope. Not one creative chromosome in my body. Apparently it skips a generation.

The Little One has decided that she is an interior decorator. I am rather flabbergasted by this turn of events. You see she can barely pick the debris up off her floor. How can she paint and hang things on walls when she cannot get to them? This doesn’t faze her. She just climbs over the piles of crap and tapes things to the walls. The real plaster walls. With packing tape. Do you have any idea what packing tape does to real plaster walls? Trust me, if you are a Martha Stewart type, you don't want to know. It might send you into cardiac arrest. Recently, she has taken to rearranging her furniture. A lot. A whole lot. EVERY day. It sounds like a bowling alley during midnight drunk & bowl (I mean Rock 'N Bowl) up there. C. & I have actually discussed attaching rollers to her furniture. I now avoid entering her room after dark for fear of cracking my shins on something. If she doesn't outgrow this soon, I'm going to turn her loose on the great room. If nothing else, at least the pounding in my head should stop.

As far as the rest of the house? I am an optimist, my friends. I know someday my home will be a showplace of design excellence. We have 24 and a half years left on the mortgage – I've got time.

Name: Cattiva
Location: Virginia, United States

About Me: I'm the mom of three: #1 Son (20), The Princess of Wails (17) and their baby brother - The Baby (6). I was a grad-student working on an MA in history until we were surprised - I mean blessed - with The Baby. I'll get back to it...someday (the thesis, not the kid - I have no choice concerning the kid). I am one of only a few people I went to school with who is actually using their history degree in my career (and to think my Father called it Basket-weaving!). I live a very hectic life amongst massive clutter. I call it a good day if we have managed to get home at night without losing one of the kids (no matter how hard I try!). Friends say I have a humorous take on life's happenings. The sad part is that what I write about is true. I laugh to keep from crying.

See my complete profile

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