Monday, February 25, 2013

I saw your boobs?

Usually on this Monday, the Monday after the Oscars, I'd present my own version of the best dressed and the worst dressed.  Then, as a seamstress, I'd go on at length at why fit and proportion matter.

This year I just don't seem to care enough to go on about that.

I mean, I saw a lot of nicely dressed people. 

My favorite nicely dressed person was Charlize Theron. 



My favorite not nicely dressed person was Brandi Glanville.



I know who Charlize Theron is.  I did not know who Brandi Glanville is.  Upon looking her up I learned that she is a housewife in a reality TV show I've never watched because I am just not that desperate for entertainment.  Nor am I desperate for validation for my life choices.

Apparently our Mrs. Glanville designed this dress all by herself.

I have no post past that sentence.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A letter to my son in Navy boot camp from our mummified turtle

When my son was still walking back and forth to school, instead of marching up and down the square like he's doing now, he happened upon the treasure of this dead and mummified box turtle lying there on the side of the road. 

 
 
Of course he brought it home so we could all have a good poke at it.  Including our cats who made it a cuddle companion for weeks on end.  Not being the squeamish sort, I sat the turtle on the middle shelf of my hutch for display and there it's stayed.  His little mummified nose looks out across my living room.

This letter is from him...or her...it?  It's from Turtle the Former.



Dear Turtlenapper,

I don't know why your mother put me up to this.  She seems to think I have thoughts in my head that I wish to share.

Well, I don't.  You picked me up off the side of the road and then you let those cats use me as a toy and then you have ignored me for the past year.  When I was a wee little turtle I sure did dream of growing up to become a stinking knick-knack.  No one dusts my shell.  No one.  Don't think I don't notice. 

But, I do see you and all your goings on.  Oh shuddup, I know I don't have eyeballs anymore.  I see you from the afterlife dumbass.  I've seen you watch those YouTubes with all those cartoon turtles in them.  What do they call that Pokemon poser...Squirtle?  What a wussy name.  It's special Pokemon superpower must be sharting. 

Speaking of sharts, I hate those cats.  If they aren't sleeping they are running around like fools or sticking their faces in their own backsides.  Stupid animals.  At least your parents haven't gotten themselves a dog.  It's bad enough the way they talk to those cats with all their cutesy names for them but a dog will drop their already straggling IQs dangerously low.   Your little brothers might starve....they couldn't even figure out how to make toast.

Be glad you escaped from the house when you did.  I can see it all going downhill from here.  Your little brother is just entering puberty and I can smell him coming from down the hall.  Your littlest brother has begun sleeping in a box.  Without the Navy you might have begun to pierce parts of your body no one wants think about you hanging chains from much less see it with their own eyes.

Again, I know I have no eyeballs.  What the hell is your point? 

Time to go.  I've got crap I've got to do.  Like sitting here.  All day long.

Whatever.



Turtle the Former


                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mommy Guilt...as useless as Ipads on a deserted island.

I feel guilty at the moment.

No, not Mommy guilt, on that front I'm good.  Great in fact.  I'm an awesome parent.

I feel guilty for not getting back to this as soon as I expected.  Life happens.  Mostly what happened is that I had guests on Sunday and then I got my first phone call from my manchild in Navy bootcamp!  Seaman Recruit Manchild is doing very well and that makes me so proud of him.  It cannot be fun to hang around Waukegan IL in 15 degree weather with a bunch of other recruits who have all had only two minutes to shower.

Then I did some housework and some furniture refinishing and I clipped the cats claws and there was some laundry somewhere in there and Presidents Day.

The parenting though...it's gone pretty well.  I've delivered yesses to reasonable requests and no's to unreasonable requests and both responses in context have made my maternal heart swell with a sense of duty and accomplishment.

Which lands me on one of the reasons why I don't engage in mommy guilt ... My husband and I started our marriage and our roles as parents damned poor, so we had to focus on our values and our priorities, which made saying no real comfortable.



This is my husband and our firstborn in our first apartment,
a one bedroom with a galley kitchen and a barely functioning fridge and stove.
 
 
Only days into parenthood we came to know that parents for thousands of years managed to rear offspring with little more than a lick and a prayer.  Cavemen parented well way before the wheel was invented and then the media calculated that it will cost the average American citizen $235,000 to get your child to age 17.  It takes a bit to raise a kid but not nearly what popular opinion would have us think.

I haven't crunched my own numbers, but I'm telling you that my family has managed to feed, clothe, house and educate our children for a lot less than 200K.  Not that we were bargain hunting.  We had to.  We didn't have more to spend. When you've got ten bucks in your pocket and it has to last two weeks until your next payday, you stretch that ten bucks so far that Hamilton squeaks.   Now, as poor as we were, we were lucky. We had our health, we had enough to eat, we found enough to wear, and we could pay for well maintained housing. Thank God for evil socialist institutions like public education, the public library and parks, public transportation, public health and veteran's benefits.

So why didn't I feel guilty for not being able to give my children more, like what other families seemed to be able to provide for their kids?  Because it costs nothing to teach your kids how to not lie, steal, whine, cheat, beg, intimidate or hit.  Because it costs nothing to teach your kids how to be kind, joyful, humorous, grateful, industrious, dignified, and hopeful.  Because these values that cost nothing and mean everything are going to serve my kids well for the rest of their lives if they take them to heart. Without a single payment of 29.99 plus shipping and handling or AA battery.

Think about it.  You buy your kid a nice present for some holiday and your kid tosses the toy aside to play with the box.  We started our marriage knowing this was true and we provided a lot of box.  Our kid didn't know any different. 

Guilt can't thrive when you know that the makings of better or more loving parenting isn't because you can provide designer clothes, popular and expensive toys, politically correct educational exposure, their own cell phones, any amount of over advertised baby gadgetry, or theme park inspired cruises.  My kids have had some of these extra joys but none of them are required for happy healthy productive kids who have good memories of their families and childhoods and grow into decent adults.

Adults who join the Navy.

And call their mommies.

And begin to sniffle because he says it's good to hear your voice.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Smoked and brined Valentines

To all my readers and other hangers on, Happy Valentines Day! 
 
My husband and I celebrated our love yesterday.
 
We had some bad pasta and some fried cheese.  Then we retired and attempted to work through our gluttony in ways that need not be repeated.
 
Tonight you have me all to yourselves.
 
Except for that post gluttony bit.
 
I'm not doing that ever again.
 
Put away the camera.
 
Seriously.
 
No.
 
Does your mother know you do that?
 
My mother does now.  My sisters read my blog to her.
 
Hi Mom!
 
But you?  We all know that's nasty. 
 
The day after Ash Wednesday too...wow.  
 
What did you give up for Lent anyway?
 
I gave up bacon.
 
Didn't give up lying though.
 


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A letter to my son in Navy boot camp from Adam, Lot Technician.

Hanging above my computer, on the wall above my desk, is a framed and matted photograph I bought at a thrift store for two dollars




This is Adam, Lot Technician. I bought Adam's photo at the thrift store because Adam's happy face makes me laugh.  For the past year Adam has watched my family from his wall and I'm sure that he also misses my oldest son now that he's joined the Navy.  This letter is from him:


Yo, Dude.

Dude!

So, Navy.  Right on! 

Bet you go around saying ahoy all the time.  Like dude, I gotta drop one at the head, ahoy!  And dude, quit farting in the submarine, ahoy!  And dude, Hawaii is too a state, ahoy!

You ever see that Tom Cruise movie where he was like all in the Navy and he had to put some Marines on trial for like grunting too much and there was that old Marine dude and Tom was like, "Dude, I want the truth." and the Marine dude was like, "You want the truth?  YOU want the truth?  You can't handle the truth!" 

Yeah, that was awesome.

Me?  I'm just a workin' man.  Sniffin' the car wax.  Spikin' the do.  Girls think that this freshly waxed 1994 Saturn is da bomb!  Take 'em out cruisin.  Turn up the dubstep, make that bass quiver.  Hit up the Sonic.  Buy 'em the foot long hot dog, oh yeah. 

But then girls dump me cuz I'm livin' in my ma's basement.  I got an Iphone but whatevs...they don't care about my 4G.

But dude, you get the uniform and shit.  Girls be trying to get a piece of that action.  You be like, "YOU can't handle the truth!" and all them females will think you know Tom Cruise personally and they be so into you.  Lookin' all sharp.  Girls dig that military action.

 Boot camp...dude...that's serious.  They, like, inspect your underwear and shoes, right?  You get that haircut and the dude with the clippers doesn't even give a crap.  Just sit and buzz and dude, all your hair is on the floor.  Then you sleep with other dudes, you know, in a big room.  What if they snore?  You be like, "Dude, shut up!  I'm tired!  Runnin' all day.  Damn!"

I watch your family all the time.  They are weird peeps.  Dude, your Mom is a freak.

Dude, gotta cruise.  My Xbox is calling my name.

Adam
Lot Technician

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mommy guilt, it sucks, and it will continue to suck the longer you nurse it.

...and therefore I don't engage in it.  I said as much in a recent comment on Danielle L. Vermeer's article, Being A Mom Is Not A Job, But It Is Hard Work for Role/Reboot.

Have you ever googled "mommy guilt"?  Helpful and well educated experts are willing to give you hundreds upon thousands of tips on how to rid yourself of mommy guilt. 

I remember the first time I felt real guilt over my parenting abilities.  Except for a couple blinks in my subconcious, it was also the last. 

My oldest child was four years old.  We were renting the basement of a house and another couple lived up on the top floor.  They had bought an expensive shiny new barbecue and put it out under the large covered patio we shared.  They hadn't even had a chance to use it yet when my son went outside to play and promptly filled the bottom of cooker with dirt, covering the gas burners.  My boy hadn't even been out more than ten minutes!  Our neighbor came to my door angry and my heart dropped down through my guts and ran out from between my toes.  Lucky for us it was an easy clean up and there was no damage, but what kind of mother was I?  Not watching him more closely when he played?  Not telling him not to touch it?  Not reiterating where to play in the dirt and not play in the dirt? 

Then I realized that I'm the kind of mother that has a kid that has done something wrong, did the utmost to fix that wrong along with my child to the best of his abilities, disciplined my child because he knew what he'd done was naughty, and the kind of mom that made my son apologize for his actions.  I'm the kind of mom that showed my son I was disappointed and angry and then was firmly compassionate when it came time to take care of business.  I was the kind of mom that warned of what would happen if he did it again and then followed through on just that when he did it again.

In other words, normal kid, normal mom.  This was the business of raising my kid to adulthood.

So I put the guilt to bed.  You could close up kids in a padded room, with the cleanest clothes, the most educational toys, the healthiest foods and the most predictable of schedules and what you will still have is kids being kids and you being you being their mom, with guilt or without.

Ever wonder why you suffer from that guilt?  Or a better question, why you don't put that guilt to bed?

Ever consider that suffering from mommy guilt is fashionable?  As fashionable as those awful baby leg warmers?  What was wrong with warming baby's legs with pants I ask?    It's not enough that baby socks just fall off but now you've got whole leg thingamabobs drooping and then falling off.  No one blinks at a baby wearing one sock but a baby wearing one leg warmer looks injured.  Nosy women in the grocery store are going to ask what happened to your baby.

Oh, and if you are a mommy that likes leg warmers, and you've purchased several pair, and you think my opinion is ridiculous...well good!  Your baby, your right to put leg warmers on it.  My opinion shouldn't make you second guess yourself in any way.  Nor should the weird look the grocery store woman gives you.   Besides, I just covered my babies in Crisco and dryer lint to keep them warm and I felt fine about it.

Yes, mommy guilt is in style and like I said in my comment on the article, it's fed by religion, politics and commercialism.  In the coming days I'd like to explore mommy guilt a little bit and why I came to the conclusion that when it comes to me and my family, it's an emotional response about as useful as snail trained to play fetch.

Or as useful as a barbecue full of dirt.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

A letter to my son in Navy boot camp from our cat, Chumlee.

My son Kaelan has been in Navy boot camp a week as of today.  I figure he's beginning to miss us a little bit.  He might miss parts of home that didn't occur to him to miss previously.  I think it's my duty to write him letters in that vein.  I write this letter in behalf of our half-witted cat, Chumlee.






Dear tall sweaty boy person,


Why you no sleep in my room?  You has good snacks hide there.  Lick dishes.  Chew on socks.  I like see out your window.

Birds.  Birds outside.  Crunchy snacks fly all over.

Old lady person clean room.  Spider.  Good snack.  Suck up noise suck up my hair.  Room no decorated in my style.

Blond sweaty boy person sleep in my room now.  He no good snacks.  I like his pets though.  He make purrs.

Little boy person chase me.  I no bird!

Food taste good.  I eat it.

Old man person.  I no like his pets.  He have good snacks though.  He tease me.  He not comfy to sit on.  He make big noises but not with voice.  Scare me.  Hide under bed.

Sister cat chase me.  Bite me.  I no bird!  I bite her.  She no like it.  Just play!

Squirrel outside.  It looks like snack.  No let me eat him.  I hate squirrel.  Hate a lot.

Lady person sits on white chair.  She no let me look.  Whoosh goes water.  I smell.  She eat stuff I no like.

Snow melt out window.  Want go!  Don't want get wet!  Don't want go!  Want go! 

Nap.  My rocking chair.  No sit there!

You no clean my poo place.  Blond boy person do it.  I like his pets.  Make sure poo stays on top for him.

Where you go?  You feed me.  I like you.  You no snore like old man person.  Scare me.

I nap now.


Chumlee

Monday, February 04, 2013

Pass the salt. Get out of the way.

Are you reeling from yesterday's Super Bowl pointspread?  Halftime?  Commercials?  Lack of electricity?

Neener...I'm not...I didn't watch it. There was a few seconds of tuning into the Puppy Bowl but no one in my family room could make head nor tails of that show.  Get it?  Heh...that was funny Cletus.

No, yesterday, like all the other Sunday's this last month, was filled with the anticipation and subsequent wonder of Downton Abbey.

Other Sundays preparation for Downton Abbey has been in Sunday dinner, making a pass in the family room with the vacuum, and doing the laundry.  For the premiere of season 3 I attempted a British delight called Yorkshire pudding.  Pretty tasty considering I left them in the oven a bit too long to attempt English overcooking...yeah, that's my excuse.



Despite not watching jockstrap-palooza, I didn't want to give up a party simply because I am not a football fan.  I found there was much one can do to celebrate episode 5, season 3, of our favorite Masterpiece Classic...

- Wore my specially created large brimmed and feather trimmed beer hat with jewel encrusted hat pins.  I managed to watch the whole episode without having to get up to pee.  PBS ain't got no commercials.

-  I waved around my Thomas the Valet and Footman foam #1 fan finger with self inflicted battle wound included.

-  Every time they mentioned that Ethel was a former prostitute, I did the wave.

Mary chides Matthew and I start chanting, "Defense!  Defense!  Defense!"

-  Coronation chicken wings and hot earl grey with milk and honey, served on the royal doulton.

-  Halftime show!


-  Commercial!


- Belching contest...points for duration and style when you belch, Sir Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham.

- As the show ended with a level of disappointment, inebriation, heartburn and exhaustion, I cursed Laura Linney under my breath and fantasized about buying a bigger TV.

-  Finally, I considered going to Twitter to leave spoilers for everyone on the West Coast because I'm gonna bring it..  I'm bringing it hardcore.  Miss O'Brien ain't the biggest she-dog in the servant's hall.


Best of all, I get to find a whole new theme next Sunday!  It won't be Downton Abbey Bowl again.  That's over.

Nope, next Sunday Walking Dead is back on AMC.  Free Bates... because he'll go medieval...nay Edwarian...on zombie Lady Sybil!

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