Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tell your kids to stop reading Vanity Fair.

First and foremost, many thanks to momma's tantrum for leaving me a comment. Since you were my only entrant, I will be sending YOU that 15. Old Navy gift card. Seriously, thanks for not making me sit all alone at the lunch table.

On another note, was watching the today show this morning as they were broadcasting from Amsterdam. My brother was just there a couple weeks ago, after he ran the Rotterdam marathon. My brother, almost thirty six, was the ninetieth man to cross the finish line. Not too shabby, considering there were over seven thousand entrants. So anyway, was interested in seeing Amsterdam, if only through the eyes of Matt Lauer, on my twenty inch t.v. screen.

On the New York side of the today show, Meredith announced what they would be discussing coming up in the next hour. One of the topics on today, "How to talk to your kids about Miley Cirus' photo shoot in Vanity Fair magazine."

Sadly, I was unable to watch, because God knows this is utterly important information. Right up there with how to teach your children to drive to the only store in town that sells avant-garde, over-priced magazines, full of soft porn pictures of kids, like Vanity Fair.

I mean, maybe I'm alone here on this, but what is the average age of Hannah Montana fan? My oldest daughter, Sierra, is 13 and certainly beyond the Disney channel shows, although she and her father do both have the song with the lyric "she's just being Miley", sorry I don't know the title, on their ipods. However, she is far from the stage where she idolizes or emulates this girl.

My boys, who are six and ten, have no interest in Hannah Montana. Our biggest fan is our five year old daughter, Isabelle. She does love Hannah Montana. She has a purple hair piece, a guitar, and the Hannah Montana tour bus. What she doesn't have, at least to my knowledge, is a subscription to Vanity Fair magazine. Her favorite reads are the Olivia book series, she loves pigs, and the Little Bear anthology.

I'm not sure how people come up with these topics for Today, or how the hosts can announce them with a straight face. Really, if it were not discussed in the media, how many people would read the Vanity Fair spread of Miley Cyrus that were under age? I do agree that these pictures are exploitative and in bad taste. If my child would happen to see them, which would likely happen due to some other media outlet's coverage of this story, and not because she happened to page through a copy of Vanity Fair, I'm pretty sure that I would know what to say to her. I mean, I am not a complete idiot. This is not nuclear physics people- this is Hannah Montana wrapped in a blanket, sans shirt. You can come up with something to say...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Oh yes, one more thing...

If you participate in my comment contest (details in the post below), would you answer this question? Would you be mad about the beach cover up or not? Maybe it's just me, but I wouldn't be mad. Maybe I'm in the minority. Just curious.


We're not in high school anymore.

I can't tell you how many times moms I know, myself included, have used this phrase to describe another mom's seemingly immature behavior, because we all know that gossiping about and labeling others is the best way to stay above the fray. We don't act like we're in high school anymore. We don't worry about what other people think; we don't engage in competitions with our close friends; we don't talk about people behind their backs; and we don't get our feelings hurt over silly things, like party invites, who called who first;etc. The moment that we turned our tassels from one side to the next, we were magically transformed from silly school girls to mature matriarchs, ruled by reason.

On brutually honest Monday, the truth must be told. Here ye, Here ye:

It doesn't matter that we're not in high school anymore. The tassel turning is really just symbolic, and not, in fact, actually magic. Think about it. We do still worry about what other people think (how many of you were at the home depot this weekend?); we do engage in competitions with our friends; we talk about people behind their backs and yes we still get hurt over silly things.

Case in point

My own mother was in my car on Friday and we were going to pick up my kids at school when she started to tell me about the beach cover up scandal. My mother, who is 65, is preparing to go on a cruise with a bunch of high school friends as a sort of unofficial reunion. She was preparing to have a meeting at her house on Sunday so that the travel agent could give everyone their packets. My mother is of the generation that doesn't use new fangled technology, like atm cards, and the U.S. mail service, but I"ll save that subject for a series of future posts.

Why didn't the travel agent just mail the packets? I ask her.
Well, people might have questions.
Having just returned from a cruise that I booked on line only a month in advance, I can't really understand what questions these people could possibly have. I mean the reservations are all made. The dinner debate, over what seating the group should get, has been over for months. The superdelegates intervened and 6:30 won the election. Now all that is left to do is to hand out the tickets. That what is in the packets, the tickets and the luggage tags. So what would the questions be?

Do I have to bring my ticket with me? Can I use a movie ticket to get on the cruise instead? Do the luggage tags go on the actual luggage, or should I simply clip them to a photo of my luggage? I mean, mom if you want to have a party, just say I want to have a party.

In any case, amidst the discussion of what my mother would serve at this Q& A on Sunday that would be held at her house, my mom says to me, did I tell you what Jean did?

Jean, my mom's friend, called her last week to say, she still hadn't found a beach cover-up. If you think teenagers shopping for prom dresses are difficult, you should see what it is like when senior citizens shop for cruise wear. Add to it that the cruise is a reunion cruise and it becomes ten times worse.

I told her that you helped me find a cute one at Old navy, my mom said. I described it to her, and told her that maybe they had others- which of course was my mom's code for don't get the same one that I did. Do you know she went and bought the same cover up but in a different color?

Have you called police yet? I sarcastically replied. What grade are you going into third or fourth? And I said to her, you did realize that Old navy is a national chain and not a couture boutique, that the beach cover up is mass produced, that more than one other woman on the cruise could be wearing it? Imagine the shock and horror.

She was completely annoyed by my response. I don't want to be seen wearing the same thing that she is. People will think we are trying to dress like twins; or that she looks better. I shook my head at my mother. Poor soul.

I spent the weekend reveling in my own maturity, thinking to myself, what a shame mom doesn't get it and go beyond.

It was not until this morning, when I was on the phone with my friend Susan, gossipping about some other nutball mom who tries to boss all of us other moms around, that I realized I am not much better. At drop off this morning, I talked to another mom about this same bossy mom, and she rolled her eyes, and then said half-heartedly, oh I shouldn't have done that. Then, I spent an hour on the phone with my cousin talking about her daughter's prom drama and how weird soccer people are.

Do we ever really grow up? I'm going to say no. Because we are not in high school anymore maybe means that we should know better, try harder, and attempt to reserve judgement, but our graduation does not free us from the bonds of being silly school girls. It's not always a bad thing- as at times it makes life more fun. What is life without a little drama? The key
word, for us adults, is little.

What do you think? Do you think it is possible to shed your school girl skin? Leave a comment, and because I'm the new girl, sitting at the lunch table by myself, I'll reward one random winner with a $15 old navy gift card, provided you promise not to buy a beach cover up, wink wink. Look at me paying for friends, and trying to harass my mother, you can take the girl out of high school...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

About the Dwarfs

By the way, I totally forgot to say... that the movie that my cousin Luann took me to see when I got my legs caught was Snow white and the Seven Dwarfs. My omission of the movie title speaks to how little I was able to enjoy the movie after I nearly lost my legs to a ridicuosly uncomfortable movie seat.

Also, I noticed that I didn't finish one of my sentences about Jaws. What I meant to say was that even though I knew it was prepostorious that a shark could enter a swimming pool via a filtration system, I ,nevertheless, was plagued by the memory of the two note theme song nearly every time I entered the pool.

I apologize for the errors. Wish I knew how to edit a post once it is posted. Am a technological moron.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Sharks and dwarfs are my first movie memories- is it any wonder I am crazy?

Flashback Friday

My mom is from a large Italian family, she is one of seven. When I was growing up, my mom and her brothers and sisters always took turns having family parties. We probably had birthday parties biweekly during some months. The routine for every party was pretty much the same, pot luck; adults hang out talk and eat and drink while kids run wild outside or in the basement.

Aunt Joan and Uncle Anthony had the most kids, five, and consequently, the most fun house. They had this awesome basement where we kids would go and play, literally, until someone was bleeding. I am not sure what year it was, but I was somewhere between the ages of four and six, when Aunt Joan and Uncle Anthony decided to host a movie party at their house to watch the Jaws premier on t.v. Of course, the kids weren't going to watch.

I was the kid that always sick at the worst times -when my class took field trips, holidays, and My Aunt and Uncle had their movie party. I don't remember how it was discovered that I was sick, all I remember was my mom taking me home and my dad staying at the party with my brothers. I was so damned disappointed, but not well enough to fight back.

Back at home, I, being sick, wanted to lay in my mom's bed. My mom, being trapped in a time without vcrs, tivo, or any other device on which to watch movies at her leisure, wanted to watch JAWS. Who knew when it would be on next? Never mind, that my little girl will never want to swim again. Less time, I' ll have to spend watching her at the pool, more time I again spend watching the soaps.

I don't remember much except that fin starting out in the distance, then coming closer, then blood and screaming. From that moment on, I was fascinated by sharks and the Jaws series, but also scared to death of my own swimming pool. My Dad would say, Laurie, how can a shark get into a swimming pool. I'd point to the filter. Even then I knew that it was ridiculous, but every time I jumped into the deep end or waded in the shallow end, or swam at night, which I almost absolutely never did. Rafts were out for me, also, and I still stick to the sand at the beach.

My other first movie memory involves the first time that I went to the movie theatre, or at least, the first time that I remember going to the movie theatre. My cousin, Luann, who incidentally is hearing impaired took me. I was probably about four and as skinny a string bean. Luann, not known for her love of kids, and I sat down in the darkness, preparing to watch the movie. I was a skinny as a string bean and made the mistake of sitting on feet so that I could see better. Of course, almost immediately I slipped into the back of the chair and caught my legs. Because was four, I didn't think, oh right, Luann can't hear me, so for what seemed like an eternity, but was probably tops five minutes, I sat there screaming and wondering why in the world Luann wouldn't help me out of the chair.

other participating blogs:

Mrs. flinger
Izzy Mom
Oh the Joys


Just got finished reading the Bloggess' account of her first class flight to Puerto Rico. It is hilarious. She speaks of the joys of first class, however, her vision is impaired, I mean enhanced by a combination of xanax and cocktails, which could make an episiotomy seem like a spa treatment.

I once first hand experienced the down side of sitting in first class, which is that those seats often are filled by obnoxious asses. Here is my story. My brother would probably this number six or seven.

I get to the airport with my two children who are at the time four and eleven months. I am leaving my parents' house in Fla to return home, which at the time was in Columbia, South Carolina.

I hate to fly, and I have two flights with two babies ahead of me. Myhusband had to stay home and work. The airport is busy because it is Spring Break. This is pre 9/11, so mom and dad walk us to the desk. I see Bruce Hornsby, who I recognize because he has recently had, if memory serves me correctly, twins and I saw him on some morning show. He is on our flight, and now I know the plane is going to crash and we will all die a fiery death. I look down at my shoes, and think these are the flipflops that will be floating in the ocean on cnn. They'll say, one of the victims was a young mother of two... I know I am crazy...

* Some of my superstitions with regard to flying include:*

1. Never fly on plane where there are celebrities, the makings of a perfect tragedy.
2. Never take a bump or switch flights, because then you are destined to go down. Your family will say, "if only she had been on her original flight"
3. Only fly if a major crash has recently occured, you have better odds.
4. Don't fly if you hear "fire and rain" on the radio anytime during the week before your flight.

And now back to my story:

So anyway, I saw Bruce Hornsby and I started to panick. Then I heard the flight was overbooked. The check-in guy told me that no way would I make my connecting flight because this flight was going to depart later than scheduled. If I missed my connecting flight, I would have to sleep in the charlotte airport because there were no more flights to Columbia that night, and every hotel in Charlotte was booked on account of March Madness. He could give me first class seats on the first flight in the morning. Over course, I'd be laid over in Charlotte for three hours instead of twenty minutes, as I would have been if my original flight took off on time, but it was my best option. I agreed, figuring, the likelihood that we'd live to see Charlotte was slim, what with two red flags, celebrity and switch flight, already up. Although maybe, since I switched my flight to avoid flying with a celebrity, the two would cancel each other out and I would be safe.

The next morning we arrived for our first class flight. Everything went eerily well. We were the first on the plane, and all the flight attendants were being super sweet. One teeny tiny problem. The two seats they gave us were not together. I was across the aisle from my daughter and in the window seat. At four she would not sit alone and next to a stranger. "Oh the FA said, don't worry, I'm sure whoever has the seat next to you will happy to switch. Just sit her next to you and ask them when they get on the plane."

Enter a most disguisting being. Over weight, sloppily dressed, wearing his hair in a braid and carrying a two liter of diet coke and a styrofoam box of greasy, stinky chinese food. "This is my seat" he says. I nicely explain the situation. His reply is "I paid for this seat, and this is where I will sit."

I wanted to fucking strangle him. I explained to the FA nicely that I originally had seats that were next to each other, but because of an airline error, I had to have my flight switched. I got no food vouchers, no hotel accomodations, and now I was getting a bag of shit from this guy.

"I am sorry mam, but there is nothing that I can do. It is his seat."

With that I picked up the baby and moved over to my window seat, leaving my daughter alone with the spineless slob. I figured that if she cried for a couple of minutes, he would agree to switch. Instead, he sat there as she sobbed and guzzled his diet coke straight from the bottle and shoveled his chinese food into his swine-like face. So disgusting.

A woman came and sat down next to me. She asked me what was going on. She insulted him and asked him what his problem was. He ignored her, and my crying daughter, and continued to stuff his face and heckle the FA to bring him more food. Ultimately, the woman who was sitting next to me said she'd next to the bastard.

The only good thing about the trip was that for the first time in a long time, I felt safe flying. Death by plane crash would be too comfortable a death for the devil sitting across the aisle from me.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


When I woke up this morning and turned on the t.v. to check the weather report, I could not believe that the five-day forecast started with Thursday. Today is Thursday! I am turning into my mother.

She can never believe what time it is. We'll be somewhere, anywhere-at my house, at her house, out for a walk, out to lunch, or on the sidelines of the kids soccer field, and she'll say to me, because she rarely wears her watch, " WHAT TIME IS IT?"

I look at my watch and answer her. It's 9:30; 10:30; 5 o'clock, or 8 o'clock, it doesn't actually matter what time it is, her response is ALWAYS the same. "It's not (5,6,7,or whatever time it is) o'clock?

I can't for the life of me imagine why she would think that I would lie to her about the time. What would my possible motivation be for doing so? Do I secretly want to throw off her schedule? Does she think that I am trying to detain her? I don't know, but I always, "Yes, it really is whatever time it actually is, and then to prove to her that I am not trying to deceive her about the actual time, I show her my watch. She usually sighs and says "I can't believe it."

The other day we took my aunt, her sister, out to lunch. She is older and her health isn't great, so we thought it would be a nice thing to do. We picked her up at her house at about 11:30. We drove to the restaurant, had a leisurely lunch, and then drove my Aunt back to her house. On the way home from Aunt's house, she sat in the front seat of my car, where my aunt had previously been sitting. She looked at my car clock. "This isn't right" she said to me pointing at the clock.

"Um, yeah, it is."
"It's not 2 o'clock?"

I thought to myself, this has to stop. "How is it", I say, indignantly," that the time is always a surprise to you? Don't ever have an idea of what time it is?" I went through the events of the afternoon. "What time did you think it was?"

My mom laughed at herself, recognizing what a ridiculous habit she had adopted. I sat smugly in the driver's seat, thinking to myself, man she is losing it. I hope I never get like that.

And then, this morning, I was surprised that it was Thursday. I knew full well last night when I went to bed that it was Wednesday, nevertheless, Thursday was a complete surprise. I suppose that' s what I get for being smug. No matter how old you get, I suppose, you shouldn't talk back to your mother.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I had exactly fifteen minutes between the time that I finished giving the kids dinner before they went off to CCD, and the time that I had to be back at home take our exchange student to a prom meeting at her high school, to drive to the polls and cast my vote in the PA Primary.

Why didn't you go during the day? My husband asked.

Ha! I laughed. Even though over the years he has become smart enough not to say so, I still think he believes that I do very little during the day. Unfortunately, I didn't have a spare second all day long to go vote, much less to take a shower.

I had to drop my daughter off at school in the a.m. and then pick up by one o'clock (she is in pre-k). My ten old son was home from school sick. The baby was here and in need of meals, snacks and nap time. The school secretary from our exchange student's high school called to tell me about the prom meeting at seven. My six year old came off the bus with a bag full of homework to complete, and he had to be ready for CCD by six fifteen. My oldest daughter had to be picked up at quarter to five from Lacrosse practice. I had to shower and get ready for the meeting at the high school and also cook dinner, entertain two little girls, and help the boys with homework, and make up classwork that my older son was sent since he was home sick.

Why didn't I vote during the day? It's a good question.

Fortunately, when I arrived at the polls, there was absolutely no line. I was able to get in and out in less than fifteen minutes, and I was in fact, home with time, maybe a minute, to spare. While I was at the polls, I was approached by both an Obama supporter and a Clinton supporter. I took literature and a sticker for Hillary, and on my way home while I was stopped at a traffic light, I gazed at the materials. For some reason, the sticker looked surreal to me. It was red, white and blue, and it said "Hillary for President." It reminded me of something you might find in an American Girl catalog, or something a kid would give out if she was running for president of her class.

Hillary, a woman, is running for president of the United States. Of course, I have known this for a while, but at that moment, looking at that sticker, it sort of hit me all at once, it was real.

I have to tell you that I live in a divided household. My husband is a registered Republican. My oldest daughter likes Obama. The only other Hillary fan in my household is my five year old daughter, Isabelle. For some reason, probably because she is a momma's girl, she is very excited about Hillary.

As I was driving home, I was thinking about how amazing it is that my daughters will grow up in a time where women can run for president, and be formidable opponents of men. When I was little girl, in the late seventies and early eighties: men were Doctors and women were nurses, boys played sports and girls did ballet, Dads went to work and moms stayed home and cooked and cleaned and took care of the kids.

I am sahm, and I completely appreciate the value of my job as such. Just the other night, a mother of one said to me "I can't imagine what it is like with five, you must completely loose your identity." At one point in my life such a statement would have made me furious, but I simply smiled and said calmly, "um, I wouldn't exactly say that." Being a stay at home mom can be as fulfilling and demanding a job, if not more, than any other job in the workforce. Nevertheless, I think it is a wonderful world when women can be whatever they want.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


There is an entire epoque of my life full of stories and memories that I would prefer to never share with my children, and in particular with my oldest daughter. The stories aren't about the times that I skipped school; drove to Washington D.C. on a school day to pick up my boyfriend, three weeks after getting my license; or about the numerous times that I drank, smoked, experimented with various substances and made poor choices. I would be willing to share these stories, under the right set of circumstances, although I confess that I hope that I will never have to.

The memories and stories that I never want my children to know about relate to how I first became a mother and a wife. These memories and stories, which are for many families, happy tales openly shared around the dinner table and written about in baby books, are for me painful and shameful.

For instance, I hate when people ask me the question, how many years have you been married? If my husband and I are together, without the kids, we will look at each other when this question is asked, and convey to one another through a glance, whether or not we should tell the truth or lie. The truth is, that we did things backwards, baby first then marriage. I know that it is not as big of a deal anymore, as it once was, to mess up the proper chronological order of these events, but it still feels wrong. The sense is, "oh you had to get married", and in part, that is kind of the truth.

When I first found out that I was pregnant, I wasn't elated as most mothers are. Instead, I felt
like someone had punched me and knocked the wind out of me. I couldn't believe that my life was over at nineteen. I told my mom, while I was home on Spring Break, that I was pregnant. Thank God, my Dad was away on business at the time. It was March and I was due in July, so I was nearly six months along, though you couldn't tell by looking at me. I crawled into her bed the day before I was to fly back to school and I told her. Once the words came out of my mouth, I started to cry.

My mom was not happy. She did not call all of her friends and tell them that she was going to be a Grandma. She took me to the mall and we bought some non maternity clothes that would fit me. I wasn't going to be able to spend a lot of money on clothes anymore, my mom told me, if I kept the baby.

From April until July, my life moved in slow motion. My parents told me that if I wanted to keep the baby that I would have to get married, otherwise I would have to put the baby up for adoption. Our engagement was simple. No roses, no music, no surprise in black box. My now husband bought the ring that he could afford, which wasn't much considering he was twenty and a college student, and he gave it to me one afternoon.

We rented an apartment in the college town where we lived, ten hours from home. I wanted to come home to live, but my parents said no. I had to stay and finish my degree. I felt abandoned and isolated. I knew no one in my situation, and because I had only just transferred to that school in the fall as a Sophomore, basically I knew no one. We found out that the baby was a girl. I called my mom to tell her because I was excited, and she responded in a monotone voice, "oh, is it a girl?" In her opinion, I did not deserve to be excited. Everything had to be somber.

The day we went to look for my wedding dress was miserable. We went into one store. My mother motioned towards one dress, I said that I liked it, and we were done. I told her that I wanted to look some more, maybe try a few things on-she said plainly that I would be getting that dress. My girlish dreams of a wedding fit for a princess were quickly extinguished. Because of my mistake, I forfeited the right to have an opinion.

The night before I was to be induced, my soon to be husband did not come home until 2 AM. He went out drinking with his friends as a sort of last hurrah. I was furious and scared to death. We left for the hospital and six am and by 6 pm that night I delivered my beautiful baby girl.

Almost immediately, nothing else mattered. I had beautiful baby who was healthy. I didn't care if my mom was mad at me, if my ring was the size of peanut sliver, if my reception was at McDonalds. I didn't care that nurse was nasty to me because she thought that I was too young. I had a purpose, someone who needed me to the best me that I could be.

Over time, everyone came to love and accept the baby and our family. There were still many hard moments ahead, and the task of being a young mother in a society that is very unaccepting of that lifestyle choice was not and still sometimes is not an easy thing. However, I truly believe that my daughter's life story transformed my life story for the better. Thirteen years later, I know that I made the right choice, and I know that all those who doubted me at the time, would now agree that it was the best decision that I could have made.

I prefer not to share the sad stories that surround the beginnings of our family, however, with my children. They are truths and realities that I think that they are better off not knowing. I would never want my oldest daughter to think of herself as a mistake-if anything, she is the best thing that happened to me. I did miss out on a lot of things because I became a mom at a such a young age, and the circumstances under which I became a wife and mother were not ideal to the least, but that has not diminished the joy that being a mother has brought me, and I would never want my children to think otherwise.

Other participants in flashback Friday:
Izzy Mom
Her Bad Mother
Mrs. Flinger
The Bean Blog


Thursday, April 17, 2008

C'mon Kate- give Jody a break!

Last week, Kate took her kids to the crayola factory and refused to let them use markers. I thought that was bad, until I watched this past Monday nights episode, in which Kate calls her sister-in-law Jody, upon returning home from a one-on-one day with daughter Mady and husband Jon, to chastise her for giving the three year old sextuplets gum while she babysat them for the afternoon. I mean, she's kidding right?

F.Y.I. to Kate and any other Moms who give relatives who volunteer to babysit, in all likelihood for free, but even if not free, it is still a favor- YOU DON'T LOOK A GIFT HORSE IN THE MOUTH.

As the mother of five children, if absolutely any of my relatives offer to babysit, I am ecstatic. Kate, and I have met many other mothers like her, has some type of entitlement complex. Boo hoo, I had eight kids so the world should help me watch them. Look, I agree, the woman deserves a hand, but when her sweet as sugar sister-in-law offers to babysit seven of her children for the day, plus she has her own three kids, one that is a fairly young baby, I think the appropriate response for this gesture is "THANK YOU"- not tell me you didn't give my kids gum.

Do you want to go out or not? If you are such a control freak that you can't let go a little when someone else is doing you a favor, perhaps you should always watch your own kids, or hire someone who pay handsomely to follow your instructions like a robot. This is not how to treat your family, on national t.v. nonetheless. If I were Jody I would forgive her, but it would be a cold day in hell before I'd babysit again.




Personally, I think that Kate has grown entirely to accustomed to having everyone wipe her ass, and now doesn't even think that she has to be appreciative when someone does something nice for her. I don't care how organized she is, nice is more important in my book.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Just walked into my bedroom to shut the t.v. off as the Today show was doing a segment on "comeback items." There for a second I thought they said, Members Only jackets and Acid washed jeans are back in style. No, I must have heard wrong. I hit the rewind button on the remote- OMG- it's true!

I have one question to ask what is wrong with these people?

MEMBERS ONLY jackets can not come back into style, if in fact, they ever were. I saw many middle aged, over weight men wearing these everyday. I live in a town that has its fair share of people stuck in a time warp. What's next- everyone will start wearing elastic waist pants and polyester mu mus? JUST SAY NO!

ACID WASHED JEANS go nicely with mullets. There was no announcement that mullets are coming back, but I suppose they had to save something for tomorrow's segment. Is it my imagination or does the Today show have too much time on its hands. Stop adding hours if you are going to use them to promote bad fashion sense. ACID WASHED JEANS WERE ALWAYS UGLY. JUST SAY NO!

On the upside, apparently, tretorn sneakers are also back in, though, I wasn't aware that these were ever out. You remember them, perhaps. They were the shoe to have when I was in junior high ( mid to late eighties). They are are canvas shoe with a little comma like thing, the tretorn emblem, on either side. The emblem is the only thing that is colored, and the very tip of the back of the shoe are only things that have color. You were really cool if you could find some unique color, or even better plaid, that no one else had. Technically tennis shoes, we wore them more as fashion statement than a sport shoe. GO GET THESE AND STAY AWAY FROM THE AFOREMENTIONED ITEMS!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


As a resident of the state of Pennsylvania, I have been hearing so much about Obama's remarks regarding the people of Pa lately. It's all over the national news, and here, it is also big local news, so I can't help but think about it.

This morning, as I listened to pundits speak about Obama's defense, which is that he is not perfect, I began to feel really angry. There is nothing worse than an insincere apology.

Now Obama supporters, hold your horses! Don't go getting all hot and bothered. This post is more about how to apologize than it is about anything political. This mistake of Obama's can be lesson for all of us. Parents, in particular, should be eager to use this political boo boo to teach their children about how to give a proper apology.

The ability to say "I'm sorry" in a sincere and meaningful way is a strength that unfortunately few people seem to possess. This is a sad fact, because, as we are all human beings, we do all do things that we are often sorry for, or at least regret. When we hurt other human beings, either inadvertently or intentionally, we jeopardize our relationships. The only way to keep a relationship in tact, if you are responsible for the hurt that caused it to fracture, is to offer a sincere apology.

The words, "I'm not perfect" are not indicative of a sincere apology, but rather those words are used to deflect blame. When someone says, "I'm sorry, I'm not perfect", what they are really saying is, "yes you caught me doing something that I would admit is "wrong" (in Senator Obama's case, he was caught making a hasty generalization about the people who populate PA's small towns) but your expectation that I should apologize is unfair. When you defend yourself by saying "I'm not perfect", you imply that the offended or hurt party expected you to be perfect. As human beings, we all recognize that perfection is impossible, so to apologize for being imperfect is silly. Furthermore, it demeans the hurt. It puts the blame on the victim, saying they should not be hurt, but because of unrealistic expectations, they are.

The people of Pa do not expect Senator Obama to be perfect- that would be unreasonable. They do expect that he be respectful of their faith; they do expect that he not cast them in a negative light by characterizing them as "bitter"; they do expect that he not equate their love of hunting with desperation. One does not need to be a perfect person to live up to these expectations .

Of course, words are taken out of context, and it is entirely possible that Senator Obama did not mean to offend an entire portion of the population with his stereotypical generalizations. If that is the case, however, Senator Obama should not hide behind human nature, but rather he should offer a sincere apology- one which recognizes that what he said was hurtful to people, and one that recognizes that the hurt feelings of the people of Pa are legitimate. A proper apology will not attempt to make excuses. After all, it doesn't really matter why he said it, what matters is that he did say it, it hurt people and for that he should be sorry. It's that simple.

Having heard these words personally, and actually having a friendship end when a friend excused herself from hurting me with the line "I'm not perfect", I know that these words can add insult to injury. Having spoken these words myself, I recognize that this phrase is more a cop-out than it is a true explanation. Why can't we, as human beings, say we are sorry? Why is it so difficult?

When we say, "I'm not perfect", what we really mean is I'm not wrong. It may sound like a contradiction in terms, but think it through. When we say, "I'm not perfect" we deny responsibility for the wrong doing, as it is a part of our nature to be imperfect. Marine biologists tell us we can't blame sharks for biting humans. It is part of their nature, it is what they are biologically programmed to do. It is not wrong or bad behavior. As human beings, we are imperfect, so when we act imperfectly, we are not committing a wrong, but rather acting according to our nature.

There is a difference between being wrong and being imperfect. When we act wrongly, we do not act according to our nature, rather we choose to act against what we know is right. The choice isn't always a deliberate one, but it is a choice, nonetheless, for which we are responsible. Maybe Senator Obama didn't think his comments through, but he should have. When we speak about other people, we understand that our words have the potential to be hurtful or harmful, and thus, we have a responsibility when speaking to think through what we say so that it is not offensive, unless we intend it to be so. Sometimes, in order to speak truth, of course, we have to say things that some people will find offensive or hurtful. Even in that case, however, we can acknowledge the hurt. If for instance, Senator Obama believes that part of the problem in Pa is that people use religion and guns as a "crutch", he can still apologize that his remarks are a source of sore feelings, while still standing by them. What he positively should not do is to invalidate the feelings of the people Pa, as this only adds to the initial blow.

His response, that he is not perfect, may excuse him from culpability in the eyes of some people, however, I think that the people, to which this sentiment is directed, will continue to harbor bad feelings. An insincere apology, without a doubt, can cause bitterness in people. The saying, "it takes a big man to say he is wrong"is true. Admitting that you are wrong does carry some risk, but in the end, it is the right thing to do. And since we all know that two wrongs don't make a right, it seems to do right after you do wrong is the best strategy.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Moms everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief. I received an email on Friday from my son's first grade teacher that officially confirmed that I am THE WORST MOTHER EVER!

Okay, I may paraphrasing a bit. Here is what it actually said... It began with Lori (she spelled my name wrong -1point)

"Aidan has not done the two weeks worth of Ketchup work that I sent home. It is a shame to see someone with so much potential developing such poor work habits at such a young age. He really needs your help."

Now you are all probably wondering, what in the world Ketchup work is?

No, it does not involve taste testing Heinz. Aidan would eagerly do that work. When we go to McDonald's and I ask him want he wants, he always includes "Ketchup" as part of his order. In fact, most times, he begins his order with Ketchup. I think that it is his favorite part of the meal.
Unfortunately, his love of Ketchup is limited to the food- and does not transfer to the school work of the same name.

KETCHUP work is comprised of papers that the students don't finish in class during the week. I did say that he is in first grade, right? On Friday, any papers that aren't finished, i.e. one word that was supposed to be circled did not get circled, are sent home to be done over the weekend. There is a rule at my kids school, it is a private school, that first graders are NOT supposed to have homework on the weekends, as they have at least two pages of homework every weeknight, except Friday, plus once a month book reports, and the occasional project. Apparently, Ketchup work is the exception to the rule. As my teenage daughter would say, IDK.

In any case, apparently for the past two weekends, my son brought this work home on Friday afternoon. I never saw it, because as he confessed to me this Friday, he took it out of his bag and hid it.

I have several responses to his teacher- some of which I can post without being offensive.

First of all, I have a problem with the notion that the class work that my son doesn't finish then becomes work that I should have to do with him at home. I mean, hello, isn't that her job? Can I send his homework back as her ketchup work?

I sat Aidan at the kitchen table for fifty minutes, but he didn't get this done. Please have him finish it at school today. I'm sure she'd love that! How 'bout this? I'll do the homework, you do the school work. Why I am a failure for not helping him do his work at home, but she, the teacher, is not a failure for helping him do his work at school? 3+2=5; 2+3=5!

Second, I am sorry to hear that my son's future is being permanently scarred by his failure to do Ketchup work two weekends in a row. Never mind that he is smart, sweet and social. In a world where kids plot to kill their teachers, he asked me while on spring break vacation in Jamaica, if he could buy something for his teacher.

Finally, I take offense to the notion that I do not help this boy. Everyday, I do the following:

Feed him, 3 meals, 2 at home, 1 packed lunch
bathe him
dress him
wash his clothes
wash his body
help him with his homework

Additionally each week, I
take him to karate, soccer, ccd, six million birthday parties and play dates.

And then there are the other four children, two cats, household.

So if I am a lousy mom, what can I say? I'm doing the best that I can.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Behind the closed door of my bedroom, I am seeing someone new. Not a lover, but a Doctor-specifically, a psychotherapist. I am watching "In Treatment", which stars the scholarly yet sexy Gabriel Byrne, who plays Dr. Paul Weston in HBO's new original series.

In the t.v. land desert, created by the writer's strike, I spent much of the winter looking for something other than my regularly scheduled programs, which became regularly scheduled reruns, to quench my thirst for evening entertainment. One night, while searching the HBO channels for a movie to watch, I stumbled on to "In Treatment."

This is not a reality show- but it offers many of the same guilty pleasures, as it has some basis in reality. If you've never been in therapy, the show provides an insight into how the whole process works, which I think is of interest to anyone suffering from the human condition. If you are no stranger to therapy, you will be equally at home and entertained on the couch of Dr. Weston.

Do be advised, this show can be addictive. The first season, which ran Mon-Fri for nine weeks, has aired in its entirety, however HBO continues to replay it. If you are a comcast cable customer, you can watch the entire series ON DEMAND. You will want to watch it in proper sequence, so that you don't miss anything!

I love this show because it is thought provoking and not mind numbing. In my opinion, if you really want to turn to t.v. to get away from it all, calgon style, what you want to do is give your mind a place to go, not bore it to death! I am not Doctor, and I don't even play one on t.v., but I strongly recommend a dose of "In Treatment" to fulfill your need for entertainment.


Wednesday, April 9, 2008


You can give your kids a traditional "sleepover" camp experience, without shelling out the big bucks, by taking them "camping" at your local state park. We have a state park, which is about fifteen minutes away from our home, that rents modern cabins, complete with kitchen, bath, 2 bedrooms, and a cathedral ceiling living room for under $400 for the entire week! This is less than it would cost to send one kid to camp for a week, and you can bring the whole bunch. If you stay locally, as we plan to do, Dad can come and go as he pleases without eating up vacation days at work! If you have a friend with kids that are roughly the same age as your own kids, maybe you could convince her to join you and rent a cabin herself-or if you really want to rough it- you could all share one cabin!

To find out if your local state park has cabin accomodations available, simply check your state park website. If you have never been to your state park, or have no idea where the closest one to you is, you should be able to find out simply by entering your state and the phrase "state park" on a google search engine to find the website, and ultimately your nearest park. The website should also have information about activities that are available at the park.

Our state park has a swimming pool, a playground, frisbee golf, boat rentals, and of course, tons of trails. They also have nature programs offered at specific times. Much of our camp experience will focus on participating in these activities, just as the kids would do at a regular camp. Additionally, I will bring arts and crafts supplies, books and movies. There is no t.v. in the cabin, but we have a small set with a built in DVD that we can plug in just to watch movies. We will definitely watch "The Parent Trap", new and old versions. I will look at the library for a book of ghost stories to read around the campfire for the older kids, and the younger kids can listen to a chapter book, probably a classic. We will leave behind the computer, the video games;etc. , just as they would have to do if they were going to an "actual" camp. Board Games that we rarely play at home, will see some action at camp.

Most campsites have grills available. Each cabin at our local park comes with its own charcoal pit, so we will do a lot of outdoor cooking. Smores are a must for this type of camp- hot dogs too!
I will keep all meals simple, camp cuisine. Since we won't be in a rush, the kids can prep dinner and desert.

Hope this inspires you! Don't deprive the kids of a camp experience simply because of cost!

Monday, April 7, 2008


Hosting your own camp for your own kids will prevent some challenges. No- it is not as easy as dropping them off at someone else's doorstep and heading home for some peace and quiet. It can, however, have its advantages. After all, summer may seem to last forever, but if you really think about it, the summers that your kids will want to spend time doing stuff you are absolutely finite. Make memories while you can!

Before beginning any type of "create your own camp" experience with your kids, be sure to sit them down and explain your plans to them. You may want to include some of their ideas and suggestions into your plan for camp.

Once your camp is prepared, have the kids help to gather together all the things they will need for camp, just as you would if they were actually going away to a camp. If you are planning a week of camp from Mon-Fri, spend Sunday cleaning clothes and picking out outfits for the week. Plan meals, in advance, as well, and try to get as many chores and errands out of the way as you possibly can. Prepare as if you were about to leave on a vacation, so that you have extra time to devote to running your camp.

Post an itinerary and schedule for each day of camp. Be sure to establish a start and an end time before the beginning of camp, and if possible, keep a consistent time frame for the duration of the camp.

Select simple activities that you know your group can handle. Don't over schedule your day- you want the kids to have fun, but you don't want them to be exhausted!

Enlist the help of others, if possible and practical. Have Grandpa come over one afternoon and do an activity with the kids. Having more than one "counselor" will help round out the experience, and will give you a chance to rest!


Summer looms large on the horizon, and most stay-at-home moms that I know, myself included, of course, have begun to worry, "what will I do will I do with the kids this summer?"

Summer camp seems a sensible solution to the problem of how to fill the unstructed days of summer, but if your budget is tighter than ever or you have more than a couple of kids, summer camp costs can be out of sight. To simply send my kids to a local traditional sleepover camp for the week would cost @650.00. If I were to send all of my camp age children, four out of five, I would be shelling out 2600.00 for one week!!!

So what's the solution? I could pick a name out of a hat to determine who gets to go, but likely this would create more chaos, and the point of camp is to curtail that. I was thinking to myself one day, how can I give my kids a camp experience without the expense? My aha moment- create my own camp!

Now, I'm not talking about starting an actual camp for children other than my own. I'm suggesting a little D.I.Y. to turn regular old summer weeks into camp weeks. You can do it too!

Check this section of my blog each week to find my suggestions to create a variety of camps for your children. The first in the series will be...Traditional sleepover camp

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Rules of the Playground

When we were kids, my brother and I often spent summer days organizing games of kickball. Someone gave us a set of four cream colored bases, and this inspired many afternoon kickball games with any and all willing neighborhood kids, and any of our cousins that we could convince our mom to pick up from their houses.

Before the game started, we always picked teams and determined rules. They were simple and basic. How many outs, how many innings, what would be considered foul, fair and a home-run.

Inevitably the winning team would always try to quit early, especially if it was a close game. Someone would always have to go help with dinner or take out the trash. The losers were no better. They would call for do-overs; try to trade teammates; and they would insist there were more innings left than there actually were.

Of course, the cardinal rule was, no changing the rules after the game starts, otherwise, "it's no fair" my brother would always say.

As an adult, I don't much play kickball. My kids play soccer, and basketball, and my boys love to wrestle. Kickball isn't so much the rage anymore it seems. Nevertheless, the rules of the games that my children play continue to be governed by the cardinal rule that you can't change the rules after the game starts.


Since I live in Pa, I have been privy to much of what has been happening on the political playground lately as the candidates have been busy playing in my backyard. I can't help but notice how the "rules" on this playground continually change, even though the game started, and has been going for a long time now. Some members of the Democratic party seem unaware of the cardinal rule that makes playgrounds across the nation places where democracy reigns.
By constantly changing the rules according to what they think the score is, they act as bullies, trying to manipulate the game, instead of simply allowing the game to be played out- the winner determined fair and square.

They forget that...

1. Delegates are up for grabs until a nominee is chosen.

2. Super delegates are entitled to decide their vote at their own discretion.

3. The game ends at the Convention, as was predetermined before the whole process began.

And as for fouls...

1. Why is it the case that when Hilary Clinton surrogates claim to use information regarding reverend Jeremiah Wright to persuade super delegates its called "dirty politics" by Obama surrogates, but when those same people are asked about Chelsea being questioned on Monica Lewinsky, they say its fair ball?

Why is it that Senator Obama shouldn't be held accountable for his minister's remarks, but Senator Clinton should be held accountable for her husbands' misdeeds. Senator Obama could have easily walked away from his minister. Hilary Clinton was in a precarious position. There was no clear right or wrong for her in this personal matter. She did what many women do to make their marriages work- she forgave her husband. If perpetuating the humiliation that she suffered at his hands isn't dirty politics, than this is a game where all balls must be fair.

2. Why is it that Senator's Clinton's story about Sniper fire should be used to discredit her, but Senator Obama's misleading statements about hearing his pastor make offensive remarks is a non-issue? Either both misspoke, or they both lied.

What's more dangerous- an embellished war story or failing to admit that you have participated in an institution that promotes hate speech?

3. Why can Jeremiah Wright's remarks be explained away by Senator Obama? Why does it matter in what environment his comments were generated? The comments of Geraldine Ferraro were not forgiven or explained away. Why is context an explanation for Pastor Wright, but not for Geraldine Ferraro?

Perhaps the rules of the race need to be redefined. Since the game has already started, both candidates should keep on playing, according to the rules, until the game ends, or until someone decides (and is not bullied) to quit.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


When lunch time rolls around on a weekday, I am typically focused on preparing food for my one and five year old daughters. Like most moms I know, I would rarely fix something for myself for lunch. I would eat the leftover half of my older daughter's pb and fluff, or nibble on some crackers that I would also be feeding to the baby. Of course, by five o'clock, I would be absolutely starving, and at that point, I would shove anything into my mouth that I could lay my hands on- a stack of girl scout cookies; a chunk of cheese; several handfuls of pretzels.

I decided to start watching my weight shortly after the baby turned one at Christmas. No better time than the New Year. I decided that I would try to eat a healthy lunch everyday. At first, I found myself most often microwaving a healthy choice, or a lean cuisine, or a lean pocket. Then, my Mother drew my attention to the high sodium content in these meals.

When I went out to lunch, I loved to order a grilled chicken salad, but the thought of fixing those at home during the week seemed impractical. I didn't have time to slice and grill meat, chop lettuce; etc.

While at the grocery store one day, however, I realized that by buying a few convience items I could make a restaurant-like salad in nearly the same amount of time that it would take me to microwave a meal or make a peanut butter sandwich. Here is my recipe:

Dole salad bag- I like the field greens variety
Goat cheese
Pine nuts
Frozen chicken strips or beef strips; also you can buy grilled strips in the refrigerator section of your supermarket, if you prefer.
Vinaigrette dressing. I like Ken's Steak House Lite Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette, which is 80 calories, and Neuman's Own Light Lime Vinaigrette, which is 60 calories.

Fill a plate with lettuce. Spoon craisins on top. Sparingly crumble goat cheese on to lettuce. Mean while, cook chicken or beef strips according to package directions. Use pam or a small amount of olive oil to coat pan. Strips can usually be microwaved as well, but they taste better when cooked on the stove top for about 3-4 minutes. Top salad with hot meat, salad dressing, and a sprinkle of nuts.

Enjoy with a nice glass of Perrier or pellegrino with lime. This lunch will taste good and energize you for the rest of the day. Take a couple of minutes to try it!