Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Competitive Competition

Stop looking at me
Don't tell me what to do
Then stop looking at me
MOM Katherine is telling me what to do
MOM Jeffrey is looking at me and not eating his oatmeal

Ahh breakfast! Such a relaxing way to start the day.

Competition is something I am not accustomed to. I grew up as an only child (had siblings elsewhere but that's a different story). So I was always number one, chose what to watch on TV, sat where I wanted to sit in the car, had mom and dads attention when I wanted it. Yes I was a spoiled little princess but I didn't know it at the time.

It was a bit of a shock when I had kids and they started trying to one up each other (and anyone else for that matter) in any way that they could.

One fine school morning

Friend: "OW what happened to your knee"

Katherine: "I fell down on the sidewalk. You should see how big the boo-boo is under the band aid."

Friend: "Ive had one bigger than that and didn't even use a band aid."

Immediately Katherine starts running though the list of her past boo-boos not wanting to let anyone think they had suffered more than she had.

She upped the ante. "One time I fell down and scraped my knee AND my elbow both at the same time. I didn't let my mom put a band aid on either one of them"

"WOW... that was like the one time I fell down scraped my knee, elbow AND cut my chin open. See I still have the scar"

Katherine scowled. Apparently flashing a scar trumped her not wearing a band aid. Time to pull out the big guns.

"One time when I was in Russia, I ran into a wall and knocked my front tooth all the way out of my mouth."

She smiled and triumphantly scooped up her backpack, confidant she thrown the winning punch.

"Well at least it grew back.... Last year my brother dropped a brick on my toe and the nail came off and now it will never grow back."

OOOoooo knockout! She was down for the count.

But it was not all in vain. She may have lost that fight but she was gaining valuable knowledge in how to one up your opponent. Knowledge she routinely used on Jeffrey.

Jeffrey flashes his piece of candy. "Look what I got from school for having the most table points"

"Wow that's great. I got 3 pieces just like that, and a cupcake and some punch because we had a party in our room with balloons"


Jeffrey: " Look at how many French fries I got...  more than you did"

"That is a lot but my cheeseburger is bigger than yours and see how much cheese is oozing out the sides. I cant even see your cheese"


But Jeffrey is learning from the best so often, when she least expects it, she gets broadsided by own her creation.

Katherine: "Look at how big my Lego building is"

Jeffrey: "Mine is big too"

Katherine: "Yes but mine is bigger.. I'm bigger than you so that means I can make taller."

By now she is hoarding the bricks and shooting Jeffrey building tips that she assures him he is not yet old enough to master.

Jeffrey: "I could make mine as big as yours if I wanted to...."

Katherine: "No, you can't but that's OK... one day you will be able to make something as big as this but then I will still be older and taller so mine will be bigger and higher then yours anyway."

She is building as fast as she can so he cannot catch up to her.

Jeffrey contemplates tattling on her but instead starts breaking his bricks up and putting them into the bin.

Apparently he hears the freezer opening...

I call them for ice cream: "Are your toys put away?"

Jeffrey: "Mine are, but Katherine's aren't"

Katherine shoots him a look

Jeffrey helpfully points out: "Hers are all over the place"

Katherine:" Jeffrey! Help me put them away"

Jeffrey: "I put mine away while you were still building. I guess you were right. Your building was bigger than mine. It's sure going to take a long time to put all those bricks away."

Ahh the sweet taste of ice cream flavored revenge.

K: I'm taller than you
J: I'm cuter than YOU
K: Mom likes me better than you
J: Stop choking me
K: Don't lick my neck

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Birthday President

Where does the time go?

Another January has rolled around.

I have had yet another birthday. It came even though I kept trying to find a way to just skip it.

Even though this year I got one of the best birthday presents I have had in a long while.

A new president. And a new hope that what has been going on in this country will be turned around and we can once again feel good about being Americans. Not embarrassed and somehow responsible for the past 8 years even though it wasn't my vote that got us into this mess in the first place.

But either way, I feel a joyful and heart swelling rush that we are on a better track. A track that will lead us to a future that we can feel good about for our kids.

Now that I am all of 44, I feel like I have lived so much longer than the sum of those years.

I think I am getting soft in my old age, nostalgic.

I look at my kids and wonder where did THEY come from? Who are these adults that have their own lives, their own beliefs, and their own path that I don't have a say in anymore?

My oldest three have become their own people and I hope that I have given them what they need to make it in this world. They are each so different, so vibrant, so independent.

Each with goals and dreams for the future that are uniquely their own. Busy with their own life, I don't get to see them as much as I would hope, but having the younger 3 still under my wing it takes some of the sting out of that.

My oldest has moved a state away and I haven't seen him in over a year. We talk on the phone but that isn't really the same. I miss seeing him, seeing his smile and hearing his goofy laugh. He was my baby. Bald, often cranky and absolutely adorable. Now he is tall, handsome and going to be a daddy.

I know that has not sunk in yet. Because if he is going to be a daddy than I am going to be a grandma.

Grandmas are old people who sit in rocking chairs and knit and have gray hair pulled up into a bun and wear tiny little glasses on the end of their nose.

Being that I do not fit that bill I cannot possibly be a grandma. There that settles that. I feel better now.

I still have vivid memories of removing a stuffed Big Bird out of a puddle of water on the bathroom counter one night 18 years ago, trying to soak his fuzzy yellow butt in a towel so he didn't drip all over the floor. As I was grousing about the lack of care they were showing for their belongings, it occurred to me that one day Big Bird wouldn't be on my bathroom counter and the perpetrators would not be asleep in the other room cuddled up asleep with Monkey and Hippo.

And so it has come to pass.

But now when I go into the bathroom I am greeted by 2 pairs of socks and a discarded button down shirt. All removed for comfort by the wearer before engaging in bathroom activities. This is a daily sight, no matter how many times I tell him to put his stuff in the laundry.

I remind myself again, one day I'm going to blink and those socks and shirt will be on his own bathroom floor, not mine, the wearer will be taller than me and he might even be a world away where I cant snuggle him into bed every night.

Time passes and children grow. They grow old and we grow older.

I have to take the time to be with them now, while they are still home. When I can read to them that story I keep putting off because before you know it, they will be reading it to their own children.

Here is my grandma at 103 with Sarah.
She had 5 generations below her.
She was a great-great-great grandma.
She passed away last year.
We will miss you grandma.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Birthday Dinner


We had a great dinner at Cho-Cho San tonight.

We got there early and were the only ones in the entire Teppan area.
It wasn't long before it started to fill up but it was fun while it lasted.

I just love their food and the kids do too.

Here's our cook doing the famous volcano with an onion.

And here is the food... (OH YUMMY)

And here are the partners in crime who behaved themselves rather well for the entire evening. Jeffrey used to be terrified of coming here. The fire scared the bejeezus out of him and if he didn't have a complete melt down, he would crawl under his chair and hide.... Ahhh how quickly they grow!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Craig's List

The wonder of wonders!

Want something gone..... Post it on Craig's list and the phone will start ringing.

But beware of the dark side.

People who want your stuff but only on their terms.

First there's the people who call for the free stuff you are giving away.

These people are always a little on the odd side wearing light blue leisure suits or mumus and often showing up in a 70's van or an AMC Gremlin.

They will call you at 11 PM at night or 7 AM on a Sunday morning. Unbridled avarice knows no courtesy.

And when they arrive to pick up said free item they will then proceed to ask 500 questions, walk around the item, stare at the item, touch the item, turn it upside, shake their head, and tell you they aren't really sure if they want it or not.

Then they want know if you can drive it over to their house. Or if you can hold it for a week or two until they borrow their cousin's truck. Or if you can load it for them when they do borrow their cousin's truck.

COME ON PEOPLE..... its free. I am giving it away because I no longer want to deal with. I don't want to take it to you, hold it for you, or load it for you.

If you want it and it's free you should be thanking me and not trying to figure out how to make me work for you. Also, if its free, you can pretty much assume that its not in pristine, show room quality condition. Don't look surprised or disappointed when you notice it has a few flaws. I am not going to pay you to take it, so take it or leave it, but make up your mind.

Then there are the people who are willing to buy things from you. This automatically make them suspicious of the item you are selling. Over the phone they demand exact dimensions, complete history, and names of previous owners, if any.

NEWS FLASH: I have placed the ad on the appropriate LOCAL Graig's List to make it easy for you to come on by and take a look for yourself. BUT do not drive for an hour then complain to me that the color is closer to mahogany then to cherry and therefore does not match your decor and now you have to drive all the way home empty handed. If you are decorating your home with $20 used items, you might want to lower your standards just a touch.

And then there are the people who call after you have promised the item to someone else but before that someone has come to pick it up.

Let me make this clear: No I will not let you rush over and see if you can get there first because you clearly want it more than they do. I also will not give you my address so you can come and wait outside in case the other person doesn't show up or doesn't take it, thereby assuring you are next in line.

If I tell you I will call you if the other person does not show up.... I really mean it. Don't get mad and yell that I'm lying because no one ever calls you back. Perhaps if you had a better attitude? Just a thought.

There are also those who will call and become ecstatic that you have just the item they are looking for. They will take your address and give you an exact time they will be there and make you promise not to let anyone else have it because OMG this is like SO perfect!

And of course they do not show up.

I really shouldn't complain though. If it weren't for these people I don't know what I would do with the stuff.

Most stuff is pretty decent, but is taking up too much space and I want it gone. I just don't want to deal with the riff raff. Just come pick it up, I don't care what you do with it, you don't have to tell me what you are going to do with it,  just don't give me a hard time in the process.

 I'm glad its out of my life and into yours.

Heres a couple of pictures of some of my Riff Raff.....
But they're mine so I forgive them

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Dear Wednesday... Letter to my Cat

Dear Wednesday,

Why is it that every time I get out of my chair, you find it necessary to go frantically scrambling across the wood floor, trying to beat me to the bathroom door?

And why is it, that if you do manage wiggle in ahead of me, you find the need to sit directly in front of me watching my every move. Honestly I feel like when I'm done you're going to hold up a score card to let me know how I did.

And if I actually manage to get into the bathroom before you and close the door,  is all the desperate reaching, scratching, and clawing under the door really necessary?

I can assure you that your presence does not enhance my experience, nor is it necessary for completion of my task.

And when I do finally open the door, rushing in and tangling with my feet will only result in a lot of colorful language that should not be necessary for a simple trip to the bathroom.

And as long as we are talking bathrooms, lets discuss yours for a moment shall we? When one poops in the sand, it should be followed by using said sand to cover up said poop. Otherwise the delicate aroma floats delightfully through the entire house, wafting this way and that until there is not a corner untouched by its fragrance. See me and this can of air freshener? I am not smiling.

I would also like to discuss your fascination with drawers and cabinets. Nothing in any of these places is for you. It is not your job to spend hours stuffing your paws into every crack until you manage to open one and squeeze your body inside. For some unknown reason my family objects to eating off of dishes that have kitty litter residue tracked all over them. They are funny that way. Rest assured that anything that is actually for you will be placed in an easy to get to, convenient and logical location such as your cat dish. There is no need to go on a scavenger hunt.

My hair bands by the way do not belong to you. They are not your personal play things and you do not posses any attribute for which they can be utilized. I have now bought 3 packages and have nothing to show for it. I know you have them. Please give them back.

Also, I am not the least bit interested in hair balls. I not only do not like the look of them but I especially do not like the sound of them. If you absolutely must produce one, would it possible for you to barf them up quietly somewhere where I do not find them, cold and sticky with my foot in the middle of the night?

It would also be helpful if you would stop having disagreements with the other cats that share your space. This only results in blurry feline projectiles that amount to nothing more than hissing, growling streaks flying through the house, leaving tufts of cat fuzz in their wake. There are enough children's shoes and laundry piles for me to trip on, I don't need to add moving targets to the list of things I have to dodge.

And lastly, I understand your desire to be close to me. This is why I placed your cushion directly on my desk. But it is OVER THERE, off to the side where you can jump directly onto it without having to parade across my work area so I can get a nice close look at your ass. It is a nice ass I suppose, from a cats point of view. But Ive seen it before and do not find the need to see it again. This includes lifting your leg, placing it behind your head and preceding to clean said ass with your tongue while you are less than 2 feet from my face. I personally find it unnecessary that we share this activity.

Anything you can do that will help us come to some sort of agreement would be greatly appreciated.

Now if you can please remove your tail from under my nose and stop whacking at the cursor on my screen I can post my little request and we can get on with our day.

Thank you

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to everyone!

I have never been so happy to see a year end as I was for 2008.

It went out with a bang too. Just ask both Sarah (totaled her car) and Emily (hit someone who turned left in front of her). Both within days of each other. It was the sour icing on a bitter cake.

But this year has started out with promise. We got good news on the medical front for Erin who was cleared of any disastrous conditions that the doctors were worried about and a glimmer of hope that the exceptionally large amount of money owed to us might be returned.

Also both Jeff and I have found old friends that we have looked for for years.

This brings a bit of promise that perhaps this year will be better than last. That past hurts can be healed, that past troubles will wash away and the horizons will dawn with the promise of good things coming.

OK.. there I go again, waxing poetic. But the truth is that this past year has taught me more than any that life is damn short, that if you don't get around to doing what you want, healing old wounds, and basically getting your head out of your proverbial ass than it will be gone faster than you can complain that things aren't going your way.

I watched the mother of Jeffrey's 7 year old best friend laid to rest in October and it was a harsh slap in the face reminding me that it doesn't a matter how much time you think you have, fate may not be in agreement.

I've fooled around way too much and haven't gotten the things done that I really have wanted. Including posting on this dang blog.

So here I am.

On January 20th we will celebrate not only my 44th birthday (EEK!) but the end of an error... George Bush will will take his leave and a new presidency will begin. See me doing the Happy Dance!

Since I can't do a post without a picture I will show off my delightful Hydrangeas from last spring.

I must add however that the FREAKIN' gardeners who don't know a FREAKIN' thing when it comes to real gardening chopped the poor things to within an inch of their life last week leaving nothing but a few sticks poking up under the kitchen window. I'm waiting for someone to come along and stick hot dogs on them and have a weenie roast. We are now doomed to a flowerless year. I have tried to keep things in perspective because they will after all grow back. But in truth it really pisses me off and every time I walk past my poor mutilated bushes I have visions of chasing the whole sorry lot of gardeners down the street with their electric hedge clippers and see how much I can trim off their twigs and berries.