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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Really Got Me

Soon, 2011 will tick away into oblivion. This is the final entry of the year. Rather than write about my post-holiday recovery, like a journal entry of Lindsay Lohan in jail (if she even knows how to write), I chose to revisit the blog posts of this year that really got me. It's my little way of showing gratitude for the generous support in this blogging network. As Clarence pointed out to George Bailey via Mark Twain, "No man is a failure who has friends," so has my blogging journey proved this to me seven fold.

There were endless posts worth mentioning but these are a few, just a few, that were personally memorable to me. Ones that made me laugh above my blaring headphones causing the minions to check if I was having a seizure. Posts that forced me to grab a tissue before I reached for my beer. Thanks for making me look mental.

About sons and mothers - I love how Adrienne writes from the heart in such an honest, comforting voice. "Boldly Speaking About Love," from All These Things summed up the endless well of love and the stark reality of love a mom has for her son. Perhaps daughters get this too, but I wouldn't know because I don't have one and my mother's not the best example. I asked her to teach me how to select fish at the market once and her answer was, "Look at it."

Ever wonder if blog posts could be literature? The "The Odd Man Out" entry by According To Chip And Bobo is so perfect, it's sick. It's personal to women who have been pregnant. For men and women who haven't fallen into this category yet, it should be required reading. Quiz will follow. It's called life.

Being labelled as "funny" is a serious responsibility. Somehow, Bridget manages to pull it off every friggin' time. "Focusing On Chores" by Twinisms remains my favorite post among the countless hysterical ones that followed it. It's my favorite simply because it has all the right elements for a perfect blog entry: a conversation between a four-year old and his dad eavesdropped by a blogger.

Like many single moms, Maureen is courageous. Like, television sitcom courageous. I don't know how she does it. "A Day In The Life," by Tatterscoops recounts, well...a day in her life. A single mom - in conventional Jakarta. Not even Bonnie Franklin could've pulled that off.

I often wondered how my husband managed to walk all his married years, what with one foot constantly in his mouth. After reading "The Things Men Say That Live Forever," by Critters And Crayons, I realized that thinking before speaking is an impediment for most husbands.

I love posts about personal triumphs. I love posts about memorable days with Dad. Put them together like "Mini Triatholon" by Real Life Reslers and you've got a new Ben & Jerry flavor.

Pregnancy was one of the most astonishing experiences of my life. I took classes for the first one. The second one, however, was all based around what the first parasite wanted to do. In other words, I don't remember nothin'.  That's why I got a kick out of "Goodnight Moon," by And Lily Makes Three.

This post, "Learning The Hard Way," by Educated Abroad reminds me of that Faith No More song that goes, "it's always funny until someone gets hurt and then it's just hilarious." Real mature of me, right?

I really wrestled with two posts but settled on "For My Mom's Birthday, I Made Us Leave The Restaurant After We'd Already Ordered..." by Best Of Fates. If I treated my mom to the birthday adventure Megan planned, my picture would be plastered on the side of milk cartons advertising for missing people. Fortunately, Megan's mom is a good sport.

My husband once confessed to me that if we had a girl, he would be more conscientious about his appearance. Why a daughter would impact his effort to improve his image more than his nagging wife was a mystery to me until I read "I Finally Am Able To Convince Her To Wear Her School Uniform," by Grapes And Oranges.

It seems the site for Musings Of Mama Grace is currently going through some kind of metamorphosis. Although, I've mentioned her "Meditation" post as an inspiration, there is so much more. Once the site is navigational, I'll share my favorite post along with some others that really deserve the mention.

Hope you all get piss-ass drunk and regretfully amnesic entering 2012 - in other words, Happy New Year!

That's a lotta balls!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Say NO To White

This was Christmas vacation 2010.
Dec. 26 - four hours after the first snowflake fell.
Who'd rather be in Aruba?

It was the Avalanche that hit New York.
December 27, 2010

Seriously, if I see this much snow again on a holiday break, I'm going to set fire to the next person that lectures me about global warming. Is that warm enough for you, because it does the trick for me.

This year, I'd like to do more exploring with my guys other than dog poop treasure hunting in the snow. I have plans to revisit museums, sights and locations where famous movie scenes were shot because I never know what they'll remember. They are both obsessed with the Linda Blair "Exorcist" doll that was displayed at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria. Yes, that of all things. Hope it's not foreshadowing.

So please...say "no" to a White Christmas this year. I'm sure Mr. Snow Miser can use a break. He worked awful hard last year.

And if you're still bent on seeing the white stuff, listen - I have these two guys to entertain. Tell me you don't get wrinkles and gray hair just looking at them.

All they want during Christmas break is adventure ending with a hot plate of fries. At a pub. A pub that pours a perfect pint. Okay, I added that last part but we deserve that, don't you think?

Merry Snow-less Christmas wishes from our family to yours!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Pin Drop Head

It ain't over until the fat lady is muted. That's what I've learned after one week of meditation. It's really hard to shut yourself up and quiet your thoughts enough to hear a pin drop in your head. Funny thing is, when it comes to evicting that mad gibberish into writing - I find myself staring at a blinking cursor while my fingers are on infinite standby. We've all done it. Brain constipation, I call it.

I think it was my father who let me in on that secret: if you do five things the same every day, one new thing will occur to you. Apart from the meditation, what I've done the same every day is have three pieces of chocolate with my coffee. It has occurred to me that I need new pants that are roomier.

I miss my dad. I see him reflected in Zuki's facial expressions, temper tantrums and the way he can't open a simple bag of chips. Although my dad wasn't an "air head," he certainly wasn't "handy." The air head is endearing, though. For homework, Zuki was reading aloud the "Greenwich Guide To Day And Night." It's slightly above his reading level, but I figured the challenge was beneficial. Plus, I get a good laugh at things like this, "The Earth spins on Texas."

Zuki, I believe the book says 'axis' but Texans would probably agree with you.

He gets these crazy writing topics in school: "Would you prefer to live in New York present or past?"

The teacher meant like "pre-sliced-bread" past. Past enough when they had cameras to take pictures to show you just how shitty life was back then.

I explained how they had no cars zipping down the street so the kids played in front of their stoop but they also had no playgrounds.

"No restaurants, either?" - Nope.

"No haircutters?" - Nope.


That stickers would impact their quality of life so much made me feel old. That was his deciding factor - he would rather live in the present. Stickers was even the closing sentence of his composition. If that were my paper, it would say - Well, I'm not going back to sanitary belts, that's for sure!

Speaking of going back, Samu has gone back to his "Weiner and Tushie Show." But he hasn't pissed his pants. I must be saying a different trigger word - there's time to find that out.

This is the last installment on meditation week. But it's the week that's over, not the journey. I feel like Dorothy, on a mission to find "home" with new friends who humbly want a brain, a heart and the courage not to piss his pants. Were it not for her old farm house landing on the confidence-stripping-witch, she may have never ventured with these guys to find a man who travels by hot-air balloon. Although...I've always known that these Bozos lived on my farm since life was black and white.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cracked Nut

The Christmas performance by the Sunnyside Ballet students was so damn good, it made me want to get trashed. "After Show" parties don't go that way, however, when the performers are only old enough for Capri Sun and pizza. I'm not kidding though, the performance, execution and showmanship was just so adorable, were it not for the grumpy old man claiming he was going to be sick all over me, I'd have been crying like a blithering idiot.

It just goes to show that every child's talent can be uncovered, nurtured and polished under the guidance of a fantastic teacher. And that grumpy old men should be left at the bar until the show's over.

There were three dance numbers, but the shakiest one was the peppermint or candy cane dance of the Nutcracker. It involved most of the Sunnyside Ballet students. Including...the boys class.

Boys. Wild boys. 

The thing about boys is, they act like flatulent-happy-monkeys on dope during rehearsals. Even dress rehearsals. But when it comes down to the wire - they get it. Actually, they're stellar - the heroes, the team players and the minions in between.

It made me realize - they are as big of a mystery to girls as girls are to boys. How they manage to know what was going on during the movie when they were streaking through half the story is a complete mystery. It's how they store knowledge, I guess - gives a new meaning to the word exposure.

At a parent workshop, I recently learned that girls draw nouns and boys draw verbs. For instance, if you asked children to draw a picture of a rocket ship, girls would draw a rocket ship whereas boys will draw it in flight.

Perhaps we need to do our homework whilst skateboarding?

Major kudos to you kids! I'd say I'm good for my annual dosage of "The Nutcracker" until next year.

Goody Bag infused boys class

There's a cross eyed peppermint in the middle.

The ballet and violin troupe that were told to pose...or else

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ohm My God

I am stubborn. At least that's what my husband will tell you. My mother, too. And a good portion of my friends - all except the ones who are more stubborn than me - they'd say I'm a pushover. The term I like to use is "determined." There's a distinct difference. Stubbornness, simply does not budge. Determination will move on, but behind the compliant smile, it's fixing to find another way to walk over the hot coals. It's why we keep plenty of ice in the freezer - what's left over does wonders for a martini.

True, I don't give up that easy. For that I am labelled "stubborn"? Well, I suppose my butt does resemble a mule's.

Day two of meditation week was not so good. Then again, day two of anything is never good. Diets, new jobs, school, even vacations - the second day is always the hitch. Rather than trudge through it, I look for the lesson to be learned. In Meditation Week that lesson was: don't use my iPhone to play the music.

It thoroughly pissed me off. It does that sometimes because it's stubborn. Seriously.

While I raged at my iPhone for changing the music, my husband sat serenely meditating - oblivious to the negative charges I was inflicting on my nemesis of a gadget. Good for hubby. The bastard.

Four days in, I have to say there's been some subtle changes in our house. There so subtle, like losing weight the correct way of one pound a week, the difference is told in time. But so far, I've not had the homework battles with Zuki. And Samu has kept his wiener in his pants during dinner for the entire week.

One realization, I am compelled to share at the risk of sounding flaky was a particular exercise that calls for connection to others. When someone is rude or unreasonable (and that's like five people per square foot in New York) you say to yourself, "There I go being an ass, again."

Of course, the meditation tip didn't say "ass" but that's what I use. It's to connect yourself with that ass and realize that we are all in this hot mess together.

With that, Shalom, Amen, Namu ami dabutsu ~ uh, have a good one.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Get Your Ohm On: Day One

I'll try just about anything once. Just about. Chicken feet dim sum - done that. Cockroach canapes? Uh, never. A willingness to try new things has its virtues, such as exposure things. It also has its setbacks - "Master of None." Still, when a challenge filtered in my email to set aside ten minutes of my day for a week to meditate, I decided to take it up.

Perhaps Grace over at Mama Grace is about the only person to appreciate this act - after all, it was her post on meditation that first inspired me. Truth is, the first impression most people have of other people who meditate is "flake." In Western culture, when we need to find peace, we take drugs Mannnnn. Booze, weed, Valium; otherwise, it's Jesus on the dashboard! You get the picture.

I publicly stated my commitment on Facebook and recruited my husband as added affirmation. If I didn't do that...yeah, I would've hit the snooze button this morning.

To my surprise, he got up early and was rearing to get his Ohm on. I'm not sure what his goals are for the end of the week but mine was to get a lot of writing done. And look! I'm writing. Spelling with my eyes closed, even. I just may finish that short story I've been working on for a month. It'll still be crap but at least I could say it's done.

And the low-self esteem thing is next on my agenda. It's a result of listening to too much Nirvana.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Santa's Memo

Our Kindergartner is loving Christmas this year. He's at that age where Santa has become an opportune fantasy. He's written a letter to Santa in Pre-K class last year but now he's wondering, wouldn't it be great if it's truly effective? If all this fat man needs is a letter and the goods are delivered like Maribella's pizza? Despite his limited knowledge of sight words, he managed to write this memo:

 "Can I HAVE a DS for Christmas"

Unfortunately for him, he wrote it on my memo pad. He wrote it after I told him he couldn't have a DS until after his seventh birthday - which isn't for another two years.

I reminded him how he already has a Leapster and he's allowed to play games my iPad or our iPhones when we're outside.

He doesn't need another gadget - that's final.

And I'd have to sell his older brother to afford it and the overpriced games that don't come with it.

He knows that Grammy and my mother would agree.

So he took matters into his own hands and went over our heads. His plan was to get this order in to Santa via his Kindergarten school teacher. But like I said, he wrote it on my memo pad and the messaged was intercepted.

"Better luck next time," I said. It was cruel, but not as cruel as the thought that was going through my head which was, "wouldn't have made a difference anyway."

I'm sure he's writing a letter to his lawyer right now.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Desmond's Wishes And More

The second graders in Zuki's school have lunch at 9:50 am. To me, that's brunch. Minus the cocktail. So from 10:30 until school gets out at 2:30, they're running on fumes. By the time they're dismissed, the kids are like ravenous zombies.

It wasn't surprising then, that Desmond (Zuki's schoolmate) said, "I wish a hot meal would fall out of the sky."

"Yeah," Zuki agreed, licking his lips.

I could only imagine what "hot meal" he was thinking of. He's such an air head, he was probably thinking of a ham and cheese sandwich.

Seeing that this was not Cloudy with a chance of meatballs, Desmond then wished aloud for something else.

"I wish I had some cash."

Good wish, I thought and agreed out loud.

"I wish a thousand dollars would fall out of the sky." He said.

It's no wonder Desmond's in the "Gifted" class. That's a pretty abstemious number to wish for, especially for a seven year old boy. Most kids who would wish for money are like congress, I want a billion-gazillion-five-hundred-zero-forty cents!

Luckily, Samu wasn't there to be part of the conversation. He always has to upstage everybody. This morning, he said to me, "Mommy, I can spell "December" with my eyes closed!"

He closed his eyes and said, "D - E - C- M - B - E - R - E - R."

So much for that trick. Next time, I'll tell him to keep his eyes open.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

When I Think About Me, I Talk To Myself

This morning, my mountain of chores and tasks had me confused as usual where to start. My alter ego said, "Why don't you start by making the beds?"

"Good idea!" I replied. ", Honey."

"Don't call me 'Honey'. I hate that."

"Yeah, me too."

What the- ? I was talking to myself. Out loud.

When I was working full time - at an actual job that paid me for wearing nice clothes - I used to talk to myself all the time. My co-workers would look at me and say, "are you having a conversation with yourself?"

And I was. A full fledged conversation. Asking myself questions and answering them. It was disturbing to watch, I'm sure. But you know what? It helped me get the job done. Instead of those words and tasks running amuck in my head, my "assistant" would blurt out the next obvious step and it was all business.

I should've name her Pepper Pots.

In the days before baby-brain set in, I was like Pepper Pots. Well, a slightly disorganized version. A little heavier, too. Actually, I was nothing like Pepper Pots - I'm just wondering how many times I can include her name in one paragraph. And if you're wondering, Pepper Pots is that fabulous secretary for Tony Starks (Iron Man), played by the cute-but-not-at-all-sexy Gwyneth Paltrow.

They say that talking to yourself is a healthy habit. Don't ask me who said it exactly, or why "They" think it's healthy - I'm just assuming it is because of how much it helped me. I stopped talking to myself when the boys happened. Communication became this split personality of talking normally, infused with yelling in baby talk.

A typical cell phone conversation at the park went something like this, "I'm calling to get the paperwork to pilfer my 401k...SAMU DON'T TOUCH THAT, ICKY POO...sorry, where was I?"

When there was nothing to say, it was just easier to shut up and listen to the hum of my headache. My "assistant" probably felt neglected and took a well deserved vacation.

But she came back. Must've heard through the neurological grapevine the calamitous state of my affairs. Thus, when she found me this morning, in the eye of the hurricane-mess in my boys room, she took over. The room got cleaned, my day got planned and she got her old job back.

Wait till the boys meet her! They'll say, "Who are you talking to, mom?"

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

We Are Shaking The Tree

December - it's my new November. Until last year, November was my nemesis. The time when skeletons came rattling out of my closet to beat my spirits down with their femur. Even during the dullest years of my life, I can't remember a dull day in November. But this year was different.

2011, I guess was always a little off. What with major natural disasters, including Kim Kardashian's wedding, the trivial trials of life had to take a back seat.

Without going into the sordid details, I've been letting an uncomfortable situation go on for the past couple months. It's been gnawing at my sides, insides and stealing my sleep. I just got a haircut and I still look a wreck. Recently, a good friend of mine took out her pitchfork - she found it at Bo Peep's yard sale, and stuck me with it.

"Get a move on," she poked and said,"Shake the tree. It's gonna be okay."

She's a pro when it comes to holding her friends accountable for following through, especially when her friends are a'threatenin' to fight injustice...or shoddy customer service.

So first thing Monday morning, I shook the tree and guess what? It bore fruit. Apples, oranges - even lemons. How's does that saying go about life giving you lemons?

I realized that I'd never be saved by the stray satellite tearing through our atmosphere to simply crush my nuisance away. Even if it did, in the great scheme of things, nothing ever changes. But that doesn't mean that no one will understand. And it certainly doesn't mean it has to be accepted.

People have been understanding and if nothing else comes of it, at least I know who has my back.

Perhaps this is an affirmation to myself so I don't lose the balls to continue fighting the good fight I'm currently fighting because how many times can I use the word fight in one sentence? But synchronicity works in strange ways - if this makes sense to you then you know what I'm talking about. Otherwise, feel free to assume I'm having a Miss Teen South Carolina moment. Such as.

To salvage the time you've spent reading this post thus far, let's just take a moment to thank our most precious benefactors for forcing us to shake that tree. Where would Newton be without tree-shakers? My guess is Pennsylvania.

Excuse me now, I've got to make some lemonade.