Friday, May 21, 2010

Let Yourself Off the Damn Hook Already!

This list was inspired by everyone's obsessions with lists these days, by people's guilt about not being able to squeeze one more damn thing into their already busy days, by the fact that a dear friend of mine recently said to me, "Girl.  You ARE the Joneses," when I was droning on about not being able to keep up with someone about something, and my feeling that I need to disclose confess give you a truer picture of what's really going on in this house that has been accused of manufacturing it's own granola bars...ahem...they're muffins.

If I say it's ok does that make it ok?  Um.  No.  But there's a whole bunch of stuff you can get away with and still be a good Mother. Wife. Woman. Human Being.  Seriously...

It's perfectly ok to...

Pick your nose.  Sometimes there's just no other way to get the job done.

Buy your Pottery Barn furniture used on craigslist and lie about it.

Go for weeks at a time during the cold winter months of the Middle and not even consider shaving your legs.

Snack on a Fiber One bar while making homemade oatmeal muffins.

Wear the khakis with the stain on the front side if they make your backside look fabulous!  Hey, you can always just cross your legs!

Not make your bed.  Ever.  Except when your Mother-in-Law is coming.  And sometimes not even then.

Use food coloring in the organic boxed mac and cheese to celebrate various cultural holidays.

Wear a bra so padded that you once caught your middle kid using it as a trampoline for her Littlest Pet Shop toys.

Lock the dog in the minivan once a month so she can eat all the crushed food covering the floor and seats.

Wine a little.  Misspelling intended.

Whine a little.  Correct spelling intended.

Have curtains that don't match the carpet.  Life was meant to be lived.  Hair was meant to be dyed.

Make your kids wash their hands after using the toilet, but skip it yourself sometimes...when they're not looking of course.

Have red wine and popcorn for dinner and report it to the public the people at your Weight Watchers meeting as a fruit and a vegetable.

Tuck your issue of US Weekly inside the cover of Cooking Light so the other moms in the waiting room of the ballet studio won't realize it's Robert Pattinson you're salivating over and not asparagus risotto.

Reuse a diaper after dumping the evidence into a bush when you accidentally left the house without an extra one intentionally did not bring an extra one because it wouldn't fit into your cute Spring clutch and you didn't think she would poop at that time of day.

Dislike BJs, but occasionally make them your business anyway, because it is possible to get a good deal out of the whole thing.  And no, I'm not talking about the alternative to Sam's Club or Costco.

Get a tattoo in your thirties.

Blog about homemade soup on the same day you serve chicken nuggets from Costco to your children for dinner.

Not dust.  I subscribe to the philosophy that dust functions as more of a protective coating than something that needs to be removed.

And finally...

It's perfectly ok to have a whole list of things you're not proud of, but to still walk tall in your peep-toe stilettos!  You know...the ones you got at the thrift store!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It's For You...

My friend thinks she missed her calling in life and now she's stuck with this one.  This life.  This thing that is different from what she thinks in a moment of haste was the calling she missed.  She also thinks she better just GET OVER IT.

And since I've always got something to's what I have to say about this!  I reject your reality and substitute my own!   We're modern women.  Free range chicks...pastured if we're lucky...and we've got all this cool technology right at our fingertips.

Like Call Waiting.  The call waits until you are ready to address it, all the while softly beeping in your ear that it's still there.  This calling, it doesn't have your full attention, but you know its there waiting for you when you've finished with life's most urgent business.  Hung up on the mother-in-law.  Scheduled the dentists appointments.  Ended the phone interview.  Ordered the graduation/wedding invitations.  Finished with this life you're living now without getting over it because it'll still be waiting there and all you have to do is click over to it.

And Voice Mail that holds the information from your calling in life so you can go back to it later.  Later after the busy part of your day/parenting/life has ended and you're ready to try something new.

And Call Forwarding so that calling in life that is looking for you at an old location can find you now.  Find you here.  On this new device.  In this life.  In this place.  Because you were kind enough to have your callings forwarded...wasn't that so nice of you.  Yes.

Seriously...there's absolutely no reason to miss a calling these days!  Pick up the's for YOU!

Monday, May 10, 2010

I am...well...I am a lot of things really.

At the very beginning, for my very first thing, I was somebody's daughter.  Their child.  Full of the potential to become lots of things...eventually.  Instantly I was cousin, niece, grand-daughter, god daughter.  But first I was somebody's daughter.

Not too long after becoming that very first thing, she came along and I became somebody's sister.  Full of the potential to become lots of her...eventually.  Sometimes her best friend, other times her worst enemy.  Part protector, part tormentor.  Part paver of the way, part partaker in her little sister ways.  Sister.

Along the way I became somebody's friend, student, teammate, classmate, teacher, aunt, girlfriend, best friend, employee, notable things to many different people...some of whom were notable, others...not so much.

Then he came along and I became somebody's love.  Full of the potential to become lots of things...eventually.  Best friend, lover, bride, partner.  Wife.

When she came along, finally, 13 days after I was expecting her, I became somebody's mother.  Full of the potential to become lots of things...eventually.  What did I become when the next little girl came along 2 and a half years later?  And then, the bonus little girl barely 17 months after that?  Still a mother?  More of a mother?  Certainly, even more full of the potential to become lots of things...eventually...for all three of them.  Mother.  

It's interesting to think about how what we are, connects us to the people we keep.  I have no choice but to be somebody's daughter.  It's simply what I am.  There's an amazing amount of power in that connection.  There's a different kind of strength in the connection that makes me his partner.  That's my choice..and one I would make day after day, over and over again...but still, it's my option.  That's a compelling connection.

The connection that makes me their mother is special, because for me, it's both.  For me, it began with a choice.  I chose to become a mother, but now, it's simply what I am.  Actually, it's not simple at all.  It's complicated, and sophisticated, and profound, and intricate, and unconscious and forever...and I'm grateful for it day after day, over and over again.

Happy Mother's Day to me.  Thank you girls.  For being what you are and making me what I am.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

This vs. That...and other really important stuff.

Sometimes I'm awake at 3am.  Here's what happened last night and in a fog I resolved to do a little something differently.

Last night, this brilliant woman I know posed the question on her Facebook status "Are you an Austen girl or a Bronte girl?"  Almost immediately there were folks from across the globe chiming in with very definite votes for one or the other.  Always loving to be surrounded by people with strong opinions, I was desperate to join in.  But I couldn't.  I was feeling more than a bit left out, kindof small and blush-in-my-cheeks embarrassed to think that the last 3,000 pages or so that I read had me debating the question "Edward or Jacob"... if you don't know, please, don't ask.  I'm ashamed enough already.

I consider myself a fairly intelligent person.  I've been places, done stuff, eaten there, read that, met them, seen those...blahblahblah.  There's always room for improvement, right?  Right.  I guess I shouldn't be too hard on myself...after all, I did have Breitzman and Schurtz for HS English, but in many ways, it was downhill from there.  I read a bunch of stuff in college.  But I did alot of stuff in college that I wouldn't do drink Coors Light and kiss New Yorkers.  Blech.  Shudder.  Not that I'm comparing Chaucer to skunky beer, but you get the point. 

In the interest of full disclosure, and because I've been thinking alot lately about the things we keep, here's what's piled beside my bed this week.  So I think I'm ready for a new stack on my nightstand.  The picture of the cute husband stays.  My children sleep through the night, concert season is nearly over, summer is knocking on my door, my major home projects are almost completed and I'm feeling the strong tug of some potential free time coming my way...even if it is only 20 minutes each night before my eyes slam shut from exhaustion.

So, if you're out there (and I know you're out there, you silent, hiding readers.  I know you're there, because my sitemeter tells me so, even if you're too shy to comment here and there.  Please do, I know you have things to say.)...where should I start?  If you could map out a journey (another trip I'm sure) through your favorite classics, where would you have me start?  Free reign.  If you tell me to read it...I will.  

Sunday, May 2, 2010


"How far are we from where we need to be?"

As parents?  As partners?  Good question.

It's all a bit of a trip isn't it?  This life we travel through.  A journey.  An odyssey sometimes.  An odyssey frequently. 

There are certainly course corrections.  The u-turns/back-tracks/about-faces we make to get back on the right track when we find that we are headed in the wrong direction.  Then there the thousands of tiny adjustments we make just to stay in themiddlebit of the road.  To not crash into something.  And when you're happy about where you're going...and who you're going's an easier trip.

Happy.  Yep.  I've been loving myself a lot more lately.  No.  Not that kind of self-love.  What kind of blog do you think this is?  I've assembled a perfectly respectable collection in theMiddlebit of everything else I'm doing and I may have slipped up a bit here, and maybe here, and most certainly here...but no real harm done.  This kind of self love must be the Fahrvergn├╝gen of this trip of life.  The I like what I see, this must be the right road, the scenery is fantastic, I'm no longer being held hostage in the trunk kind of love.  And I've been thinking about signs again.

There are signs along the way.  A wise girl said to me there are always signs if you know when to look for them.  Yes.  True.  Sometimes we see those signs.  Other times, we ignore them.

Here's one I apparently missed.

It's is entirely possible that I did see this sign, but thought that my skills were such that I could just keep moving along at my normal speed and accommodate the presence of children. Yeah.  I was totally wrong about that.  There's a whole list of things you need to do differently in the zone of your life that has children running all over it.  All.  Over.  It.  This is their zone and I drove right into it.  I took this route on purpose, but I've only just realized I'm going to need to slow down on some things, pay closer attention to a few others and focus a little more on the important stuff if I'm going to navigate through this without hurting the children, my other passengers, my self, and my driving record. Yes.  Go slow.  There's children. 

And then there's this one...
A narrowing road forces your focus like a laser beam and it would certainly be helpful to know those times in your life were up ahead before you headed into them at full speed.   A narrowing road gives you fewer options, yes.  But once you choose your route, and you feel like you're on the right much wiggle room do you really need?

Many signs pass us by when we're on a familiar road.  Our level of comfort is such that we don't need to look at those street signs.  We know the speed limit.  We know where the stop signs are.  We just go.  But my awareness is heightened these days because I have recently chosen an unfamiliar road.  A new trip.  I've headed down the road without directions, but with a general idea of where I'd like to end up.  "How far are we from where we need to be?"  And I'm looking out for this sign.

You'll let me know if I missed it won't you?  Fellow travelers.  This sign will signal that at least for the next leg of my journey I can focus my attention somewhere other than the potential crevice I might fall into if I'm not watching where I'm going.

Thanks.  I'll send you the directions when I get where I'm going.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Moaning and Whining

In our house we call her Mona.  That's not the name we gave her, it's the name she has earned with her unfaltering compulsion to moan...low and long whenever she is unhappy about something.  It's this sighing puff of air followed by the most irritating, droning, knee weakening, gravely "Huh-oooooooooooooooh" that commands your attention.  Pathetic.  Effective.  She is my Middle Bit, now nearly 4 years old and she is a riot.
Last week as I perused the long aisles of my favorite wine store I happened upon this quirky little option.  For obvious reasons it caught my eye.  A fairly inexperienced winer, I am regularly guilty of judging a vintage by its label.  I can report, and a careful observer of the photo will observe that the bottle is indeed empty already, that it was decent.  A blend...simple table wine, but very easy to drink.
Not being one myself, I can only imagine the kinds of things middle sisters have to whine about.  But for less than $10 a bottle, if you know a middle sister, this is certainly a more constructive way to wine.  We'll leave the moaning to my Middle Bit.