Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Could it be...

Has it finally happened? I'm not really sure, the last time I had this feeling was March of 2003. My first child was overdue and for weeks I just sat around the house...feeling bored? Could it be? Bored? I wasn't sure I would ever experience this feeling again. Honestly for the first time in nearly six years there is nothing I need to do. Oh sure there are always things that could be done-should be done...but nothing pressing. Nothing I have to accomplish today-nothing for tomorrow, nothing for the foreseeable future. I feel empty inside.

Today I read a whole book-an actual grown-up book with no pictures. I should be thrilled to have a break-thrilled to read more than page at a time between interruptions-but instead of joy it feels a bit more like sorrow.

Usually I am manic with responsibility- errands, PTA, homework, projects, chores. Free time has been a rare and coveted commodity in my life for so long-shouldn't this respite from the grind be welcomed relief? Why do I feel so depressed?

I could ruminate on this for hours but I think the best therapy would be a extra large load of laundry and long walk. Reality and exercise - a sure cure for a boring day.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas for Dummies

I was raised in a cult. OK-I'll be honest it wasn't exactly a Kool-Aid with Jim sort-of cult, but it has had a dramatic impact on my adult life. As a child our "cult" didn't allow the celebration of religious or secular holidays containing any pagan component-so, no Halloween, no Easter, and most traumatic of all, no Christmas.

As a child I sorely longed to “have” Christmas. I loved everything about it, well I loved it from afar, since we weren't allowed to so much as accept a Christmas present or even respond to a well wished "Merry Christmas" uttered from a passerby.

My most magical memories of Christmas came from visiting my cousin’s house. Her dark wood paneled 70's era basement was filled with trees, garland, mistletoe, wreaths, lights, and presents, (not to mention home-made wine, a disco ball, and squirrel taxidermy-but these were easily overlooked on Christmas). I dreamed that one day I might get to decorate a tree and open a gift on Christmas morning. I had to wait 18 years for that dream to come true.

I celebrated my first Christmas while dating my (now)-husband. That was 10 years ago. The previous 27 year Christmas void has manifested itself in my adult life as Katherine- Christmas fanatic.

I finally get to do it all, the lights, the trees, and the presents-sheer joy. Of course along the way I have had to learn to celebrate a holiday which holds no religious significance to me what-so-ever. But it also gives me the freedom to pick and choose how I want to celebrate with my family. It also allows me to create lasting family traditions-no matter how bizarre or inappropriate.

Even though I officially began to celebrate the Season prior to Thanksgiving I am sad to see it coming to an end. Happily I can say that this year I have baked numerous treats, attended a cookie exchange, read a Christmas novel, decorated every room of my house including putting up 7 trees, I have made Christmas crafts, introduced a shelf elf, bought heirloom ornaments, made a gingerbread village, watched every imaginable Christmas movie and come one step closer to fulfilling the dreams of a little girl without Christmas.

Oh Oh Oh Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Helpful Homemaking Tip of the Day

My helpful homemaking tip of the day is....drumroll...How to make your home smell of Holiday Goodness while vacuuming.

Step one: As a result of your children's insatiable taste for cinnamon toast you mix approximately 1 quart of cinnamon sugar and store it in a Tupperware container (on the highest shelf of the pantry).

Step two: While reaching for a bag of pretzels knock the completely full quart sized container of sugar out of the pantry and onto the kitchen floor

Step three: Curse uncontrollably as you watch the sugar cover every square inch of the floor and ooze under the refrigerator.

Step four: Apologize to your now-crying child.

Step five: Haul the vacuum upstairs and vacuum up the sugar (while cursing under your breath-this time).

Step six: Vacuum the house and enjoy the smell of burning cinnamon throughout the home.

Happy holidays from the anti-Martha.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Saving the World One Plant at a Time

This inauspicious fellow is the Christmas Cactus that I rescued last year. Yes, I am a sucker for those in need even plants. I found this little fellow in the "save me if you can" section of my local nursery. He has rewarded my noble effort by blooming. Enjoy.

Monday, December 8, 2008

5 Year Old Fashion Accessory

While sitting in a diner this morning I had the chance to catch a few minutes of morning television. I have long made it a personal rule to avoid all morning talk/news shows for fear I will be sucked in their sheer vapidity. But finding it impossible to avoid a talk show positioned 3 inches from my right ear-I tuned in. A “doctor” (I’m guessing a PhD in art history or something) was advising a woman in the Studio Audience that by dressing her young child in head-to-toe designer duds, she was in essence using her child as a walking talking fashion accessory. The doctor chided her by saying the woman had her self esteem all wrapped up in the appearance of her progeny. The doctor then advised the women to allow her child to pick her own clothes which would most certainly be a mishmash of colors and patterns. The doctor then finished by warning that teaching a child to be materialistic at an early age would lead to insecurities and low self esteem down the road.

My first thought was amen sister. I had a sudden boost of confidence knowing I let my child leave the house in all sorts of inappropriate and poorly coordinating clothing. Conclusion: I must be very psychologically healthy (lazy) since I let my child pick her clothing. But then I had a further thought. Perhaps this “doctor” has no idea that it isn’t our self esteem resting precariously on the appearance of our children-but rather proof to the world of our ability to properly “mother.”

Has this “doctor” never been to a playground or on a play date? Has she no idea that women (who get absolutely no relevant validation of our parenting skills) judge each other solely and quite harshly on the following:

1. Coordinating clothing (bonus for Gymboree brand) and hair bows (includes properly styled hair).

2. Behavior of said well dressed child (bonus for sitting quietly and staring into space).

3. Amount of organic HFCS free snacks fed to the above well dressed and properly behaved child.

So if your self esteem is fully intact-go ahead and let your child dress herself but just know that an army of mothers are judging you and taking you off the guest list for the next playdate.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

My Week in Haiku

Tissues dot the floor
Sneezing, coughing, blowing snot
We’re a sickly bunch

Where is the Carmex?
Oh-the dog has chewed it up,
chewed it up again

Thanksgiving alone
It is how we’ll spend the day
coughing on turkey

The phone doesn’t work
“What do you mean 5 more days”?
That’s a freaking week!

Love that Trader Joe's
kosher turkey, case of wine
cheese and cookies too

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Guilt by Association

I read an article once in my anti-mom mom's magazine (Brain Child) all about MLM businesses that attract women wanting to work from home. Often disguised as a party, these sales pitches with appetizers rely on guilt to sell merchandise. And no one has more guilt than moms, thus creating the perfect storm. I have long avoided these "parties" unless they carried had a product I knew in advance I wanted to buy. So it was with strength and courage that I attended a Beauty Control "spa party" a few weeks ago. This "party" was hosted by my neighbor. I think she is really nice (fun, self deprecating, sarcastic-all the things I like in a friend) so I wanted to support her by attending. Armed with my knowledge of "guilt sales" I felt confident I could attend and not make a purchase....fast forward to the end of the evening and I found myself the owner of a 25 dollar, .00001 ounce, can of foot cream.

I'll admit, in my impetuous youth, I purchased absurdly expensive "products". A thimble of eye cream for 40 dollars etc. But then I grew up and realized a few things.
1. If you don't use said product it will not work.
2. If you do use said product it will work about as well as a 99 cent bottle of lotion purchased in the candy section of the check out line at Target.
3. There is a good likelihood that either the dog will eat the product, or your child will use it to finger paint the drapes.

In conclusion my friends-you are helpless to resist the at-home MLM presentation. Take your check book and make sure you consume 25 dollars worth of appetizers and liquor. Now I am off to clean the drapes.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Farewell My Bella

My heart is most certainly bigger than my brain as is evidenced by my recent failure as a rescue dog adopter. We adopted Bella in May. She was sweet and silly and precious. Bella seemed like the perfect dog and a well needed companion for our dear Molly. And-get this- Bella was rescued just hours before she was going to be euthanized. That very fact sealed the deal. I was a hero. Fast forward two months to when the first attack happened. Bella viciously attacked Molly. It took what seemed like hours to separate the two dogs from their very real, very scary, brawl. When it was over I was shaken, and Molly was bleeding from two neck wounds. I was terrified but once I separated the dogs, cleaned Molly up and recovered from the shock, I managed to convince my neophyte brain this was a normal part of having two dogs.

It was a while until the next attack happened. Over the following weeks I learned how to pull Bella away from Molly and I thought I had learned to decompress the situation. Often weeks would go by between attacks. What I didn't notice was the stress level in our house steadily rising-as I gradually stopped trusting Bella. We were walking on eggshells and all the while never noticing how fearful Molly had become. I also never noticed how I was afraid to pet Molly for fear it would bring on another jealous attack.

Poor Bella-she just wanted to be loved. And we did love her. The children loved her and my husband thought she was the best thing since sliced bread (although he still complained loudly about muddy dog prints and barking).

The end came on the night when with out thinking, I reached down to pet Molly and Bella attacked so fiercely that my husband and I could barely restrain her. And in the rumble she bit my husband on the nose. We know she bit in the confusion of the moment, and it wasn't a terrible bite, but it was time to face the stark reality that one of the children could be caught between the battling dogs and that wasn't a chance I was willing to take.

Thank goodness for the under appreciated rescuers at our rescue group-they have taken Bella back and are actively searching for a home that it is better match for her. For now I will stay off my soapbox about the over breeding of dogs and the countless dogs that are just set loose each year (like Bella), abused, neglected and finally with no family to love them, euthanized.

Bella we miss you and you will always be a part of our family.

Phunny Phallus

Come on...who can resist a good di@k joke...well certainly not me. Nor can I resist posting these funny fruit phallus photos. Say that 3 times fast. I am sure there is a Miracle Grow joke here somewhere.

Eating Crow Not Boar

Well slap me happy I was born in the GOLDEN year of the PIG. That rocks! Take that dragon! (see my first post to learn why this is good news)

Oh, to Be Born in The Year of the Pig

By Edward Cody
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, March 1, 2007; A12

BEIJING, Feb. 28 The Year of the Pig has turned into the year of the baby.

Chinese hospitals have been submerged in recent months under a tide of pregnant women; newborns are arriving in droves; and companies that manufacture diapers are upping their advertising budgets.

The reason is simple: The Year of the Pig, which began Feb. 18, is a good year to be born.

Since time immemorial, prospective parents have been told, children born under the pig's patronage will benefit from the animal's image as fat, happy and prosperous. Now, couples who schemed to have their babies in these blessed times are hoping for good fortune.

The Golden Year of the Pig, which comes along once every 60 years and showers extra-powerful blessings on those born during its passage. .

"The last Golden Year of the Pig was 1971, and the next one should be 2031, with 60 years as the full cycle."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Grandma, Christmas and Recyling

My grandmother was the dearest woman. She died when I was 25 and I will never forgive myself for being so distant from her the last year of her life. Grandma had few possessions but was the most generous person I have ever known. When she died she had very little left to pass along to her grandchildren. I cherish every item I have that was once hers. However that desire to keep the small treasures she passed along to me is in complete juxtaposition with my desire to clean up and organize my life-with the goal being to dispose of every unnecessary item in my home. I want to live simply and minimize. So arose the question of what to do with grandmothers old spools. When I received these old spools they were in a box of sewing notions and quite full of 50 year old thread. I used the thread. But the old spools were simply too charming to toss.

I chose to turn the old spools into Christmas ornaments using odds and ends I found in my craft drawer. I can't decide if they are garish or clever but either way they will grace my tree this year and for years to come. I love you grandma.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Humble Pie

I love holiday catalogues. I love them because prior to their arrival each November I don't need anything, not a thing in the world, I haven't a single desire. But once I turn a page or two I am barraged with items that I can't live without.

My favorites are the "Foodie" catalogues. I love food and all things related to food. I love zesters and peelers and ricers. I love spices and herbs and teas and chocolates. So I was thrilled when I discovered a Dean and Deluca catalogue sandwiched between a Land's End and a Oriental Trading Company in my mailbox on Friday. As I turned each page I fully expected to find over priced pretentious foods and gift baskets but I was in no way prepared to find this:

This my friends is a sweet potato pie.

A sweet potato pie that costs 94 dollars and 45 cents. No...you read that correctly $94.45 in US currency. That is 65 dollars for the pie, 13 dollars in shipping plus an additional 15 for overnight service. Now I could see if the pie was made from organic free trade ingredients, or if a portion of the sales went to the homeless or something. But-no. This is just a pie made from sweet potatoes, spices, eggs, milk. Or in my estimation about 4 dollars of ingredients. REALLY? REALLY! People this is a pie. How pretentious and delusional would a person have to be to order this pie. I can understand that you may not want your holiday deserts to be from the Kroger Bakery, but there has to be a middle ground.

My recommendation...buy a frozen pie from the grocer and give the remaining 90 dollars to a battered women's shelter-now that will leave a much better taste in you mouth than a 12 dollar slice of pie.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Candy Corn

I am wondering, at this very moment, if Margarita’s and candy corn are a proper meal. I mean it’s what I am having for dinner, but is it proper?

Pass the soy sauce please

I consider the Chinese Zodiac a personal offense. Oh how many times have I been sitting down to enjoy a festive and tasty meal only to be reminded that my Chinese Zodiac sign is a PIG. Really Chinese people…why a pig? If I asked you to name 12 really awesome and meaningful animals….and you got to eleven…would the 12th be a pig? I really doubt it. Don’t try to tell me it’s a boar…a pig by any other name…if you get my drift. When I was younger I would anxiously scan the place mat at every Chinese restaurant always hoping that, by some twist of fate, this particular restaurant would have a “different” zodiac. Maybe that day I would look down and be a Pea fowl or a flying fox. I have finally given up, feeling quite resigned to the fact that the Chinese Zodiac will never change and short of forging my birth certificate I will always be the year of the boar. Now pass the Moo Shu Chicken.