Friday, March 28, 2008

eight year olds and long term projects

He excitedly called it his "Orbital Studies" project; where he wanted to create magnificence in the form of core board posters and paper maché. I called it long-term drudgery that would require every ounce of my patience and strength.

Now this particular child of mine has VERY definite opinions about what he wants and how he wants to do things (ergo he'll make a great movie director/CEO/dictator someday!). But in the meantime, he's a constant source of emotional terror in our household -- and as far as the family is concerned (and because I'm the weakest link) I always cave in to his strong personality. *Did I mention that I'm obviously fostering the next generation of hot-headed movie directors/egomaniac CEOs/hostile dictators!)

Anyhoo ...

So instead of surfing my favorite blogs, submitting comments to my favorite blogs or even posting to my own blog, I've submitted my time and mental/emotional/creative energies to the newly aroused enthusiasms of my second grader.

So without further ado, here's a Mollygras original, illustrating the experience I like to call "Primary Independent Studies Hell":

Get ready, set … go!
Build an ant -- a humongous ant.
I am labor: he is management.
“What,” I repeat, “WHAT do you want to make?”
That? And THAT? ALL of THAT?!
Alright, let’s get to it.
Cook sticky paste. Shred strips of paper. Blow up balloons.
Mess, mess and more mess.
Black -- paint everything black.
Not one, but two poster boards
affixed to one another like civil engineering construction.
Information, you need information.
Type. No, focus! Now type. Dude, FOCUS!
(Are we almost done yet?!)
Hot glue, packing tape, wire, paste –
we would have used the adhesive properties of spit if needed!
What about that spot?
OK, how about including this?
More glue.
Almost done.
Good - I have exactly 24 minutes of patience left.
Finally, the apparatus is trussed up and completed.
He is thrilled!
He can’t wait to show his classmates HIS project!
I secretly email the teacher:
I was labor. He was management.

Hmmm, analyzing my life, I’m seeing a trend here …

Thursday, March 20, 2008

desperately seeking ... something

OK, OK ... I know I've been on a major negative roll lately:

wah! wah! No money! wah! wah! Frustrated with life!

But the fact of the matter is that I'm about to turn 40 (in May!), I'm stumbling about trying to raise 3 kids, I don't give my husband nearly the amount of attention he truly deserves, and I'm stuck in a strange professional predicament.

I'm also having these middle of the night palpitations over "Is this what I want to DO for the rest of my life?" "What the hell is WRONG with me?!" "Where am I going to get the money for THAT?!" ... stuff like that.

I can't concentrate, I can't be happy and I'm stressed out of my gourd.

I hate where I am right now and am struggling mightily to figure things out.

Here's a Facebook comment I slammed out yesterday summarizing my current state:

Lately I've been freaking out because of where I'm at: emotionally and professionally speaking. Currently I'm sitting at a crossroads and the fastly approaching summer (i.e.: impoverished season!) is starting to invade my psyche.

I want work = make enough money + schedule flexible + be available to my kids

I want to feel useful + be proud of what I do = job satisfaction

I want to be involved in an occupation that challenges me + motivates me + taps into my creative strengths ...

making money vs. fulfilling personal passions ...

Currently none of these things are meshing! :(

I know, I know ... wah! wah!

So instead of whining and grousing, maybe I should do a better job of getting perspective:

healthy, mostly happy family (*check)
kids happy at school (*check)
house in good neighborhood (*check)
food when needed (*check)
clothes and shoes (*check)
transportation easily accessible (*check)
great friends who want to spend time with me (*check)

I really could go on and on ...

but I've done enough to remind myself of the important things.

Monday, March 17, 2008

bored ...

and not terribly inclined to do anything about it ...

just yet ...

but here's a silly video to occupy two minutes of your time ...

if you're so inclined.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

the perils of not communicating

You know you are being influenced by the Hells when …

you’d much rather nurse a toxic grudge,
you’d much rather feel really pathetic and sorry for yourself,
you get all mopey and despondent throughout much of the week
and make everyone feel bluesy and sad when you’re around

instead of …

taking a deep breath,
getting a grip,
counting your blessings,
trying to focus on the positives,

and communicating hurts and misunderstandings.

For me, it always, inevitably comes down to my emotional Achilles heel = money.
When I wrongly perceive an inequity of resources being allotted
or wrongly perceive a selfish prioritization of expenditures …

Then I turn into a snipping, snarling evil gremlin-like person
and in turn, I’m cold and uncharitable to the very person
I wrongly perceive as creating my unhappiness.

Lack of money – that’s what makes me unhappy,
Not Hubby.

Therefore, when I have a hissy fit,
and hurl accusations,
and hurt,
at the one person who ALWAYS gets it …

I certainly DO NOT deserve the beautiful vacuum cleaner
(that he had been researching and online price comparing for weeks and planning to buy THAT very night!)

right after I had my hissy fit
and hurled my accusations,
and poured out my hurt.

Because, honestly, I really need to do a better job of taking deep breaths, getting a grip, counting my blessings and focusing on the positives.

And communicating before things get that bad.

Because I really do love that guy,
and all that he does for me,
and how he wants me to always be happy
(when he and I both know that it’s me who sabotages my own happiness on a semi-regular basis)

And, in a silly, silly really rather shallow way
I really, really love my new vacuum!

Monday, March 10, 2008

simply waiting

I’ve always been a waiter – a person who acutely feels the passage of time ticking in between things.

I feel I spend about 85-95% of my time just waiting.

Waiting for big stuff and little stuff to happen: waiting for long-term and short-term stuff to hit my radar.

I feel like I’m always waiting on the dog to complete a bowel movement.

I wait on the kettle to boil.

I find myself waiting for one of my children to call and tell me they’re ready to be picked up.

I end up waiting for innumerable sporting events to begin. And then I wait on those blessed final minutes when they end.

I wait for more messes to be made so that I inevitably have to clean them up.

I wait for things to break, or get trashed or simply not turn up.

I wait around for friends to invite me over so that I have an excuse to drink.

I’m waiting for those last ten pounds to drop.

More times than I care to count I have to wait for other people to make decisions so that I can make my own.

I wait around for inspiration to strike so that I can do something other than waiting.

Frequently I can’t wait to read my favorite blogs. Then I have to wait for newer posts. But ultimately I have to wait for a spate of courage to invade my soul in order to leave a comment.

I usually can’t wait until after dinner so that I no longer have to wait to go to bed.

I’m waiting for that moment of clarity and understanding when the purpose for my existence reveals itself.

I’m waiting to discover what is “normal”.

I’m waiting for final confirmation – that I’m really full of shit.

I’m waiting for reassurances that my kids will grow up to be good people – that I didn’t mess them up.

I’m unconsciously waiting for the other shoe to drop – and find out that I’m not that resilient after all.

I’m waiting for people to stop being so mean. Or ultra-sensitive. Or insecure. Or unthinking.

Or maybe I’m waiting for the uncomfortable truth to be revealed that I’m all of those things – and then some.

And as existential as this sounds, maybe in spite of all the things we accomplish and manage to get done, we are all just waiting to disappear. Get turned back into dirt.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

powerball fever

I tell ya, when those numbers climb up over 100 million, my daydreaming capacity really kicks in!

Currently, the pot's sitting at $230 mil ~ the next drawing isn't until this coming Wednesday.

In the meantime, I'm completely, ridiculously obsessed with what I would do with that money if I were the BIG winner.

~ it's really rather pathetic how I've managed to let this mental addiction take hold ~

anyhoo ...

Suppose the final total were to be up over the current $230 million. And after numerous (and obscene amounts of) taxes have been accounted for, I would then be allowed to take home a humongous cardboard check which would essentially amount to about $100 million dollars, ...

what then?

Well, I'll tell you--because for the past two days this has been clogging my brain arteries and I somehow need to purge this mental demon by posting about it!--by giving you a list of ways I intend to deal with that mountain of cash!

[*ordered according to how each inspiration popped into my head!]

1) Establish trust funds for my three kids; I never, ever want my kids to ever have to worry about money ever, ever (is that enough ever's?!):
= $30 million/$10 mil each

2) Set aside two separate operating costs funds for the hubby and I; I don't want us to have to worry about money ever, ever, ever again (are you all seeing a trend here!):
= $10 million/$5 mil each

3) Preemptively provide for a family appeasement fund -- pay off siblings' cars, pay off siblings' mortgages/buy them houses, set up niece/nephew trust funds (right now there are 13 of them @ $250,000 each):
= $6 million/roughly $3 mil for each side of the family

4) Pay off existing and projected debts -- cars, mortgage, private school tuition for the next 11 years, future college/art school/film school tuition for my kids:
= $1 million

5) Build a new, more energy-efficient, not-so-big house:
= $1 million

6) Establish a family travel fund:
= $1 million

7) Donate to some very specific, personally relevant charities -- our church, our kids' schools, my college scholarship fund [Bread Upon the Waters], my old high school, specific medical organizations, the cancer association, plus a few others:
= $5 million/roughly $250,000-$500,000 each

8) Create The Foundation of Good Causes and the Place Where You Can Follow Your Dream; we shouldn't be the only ones to benefit from this mystical, magical monetary windfall!
= $35 million

9) Invest the rest in a highly diversified portfolio:
= $10 million

10) Lawyers' fees (*Dave, you interested?!)
= $1 million

Wow! I'm so glad I did that! It was rather therapeutic to make "real" that which is imagined.
And besides, you never know ... crazier things have been known to happen; and isn't it clever of me to be SO prepared!!

all I need is that winning combination ....


Thursday, March 6, 2008

spring break 2008

Lame ~

that's what my kids are saying about our week off so far.

No exotic locals; no beaches; no outrageously priced mice ~ nope, none of that.

Instead, we've signed up for the simplified vacation package:

(1) sleep in til 10:00 a.m. (or later, depending on your sleep preferences).
(2) all-day pajama wearing is encouraged.
(3) loads and loads of commercialized T.V. watching for the youngsters.
(4) loads and loads of blogging and Facebooking for the elder.
(5) housework/laundry/unfinished projects ~ conveniently relegated to mental "no man's land".
(6) the sucking-black-hole-of-canine-affection gets more undivided attention than he knows what to do with.
(7) a matinée may be scheduled ~ but don't get your hopes up kid!
(8) spend way too much money (of which we really don't have) on Rita's water ice and random dessert fixin's (because when a vacationer can't get going, at least they can consume some savory calories!)
(9) receive random emails/phone texts from other Spring Breakers (because they are feeling slightly bored!), whose vacation options have included touring the Grand Canyon, lounging on the beaches of Sanibel Island and fast passing it in the Magic Kingdom!
(10) getting to hang out with my kids just about every day while succeeding in fulfilling NO pressing obligations.

Hmmm, actually, our vacation plans don't sound so lame after all!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

miniature memoirs

This past Wednesday, my daughter comes home from school with a copy of her high school newspaper clutched in her overburdened hands. As she struggles to haul 60+ pounds of school cargo out of the van, she reads to me some of the more important and entertaining stories being reported.

One story I found rather intriguing was a writing contest, or challenge, that was being sponsored by the English Department: Write your life's memoir in six words or less! I thought "Wow!, what a great idea! I'm all over that!" To learn more, I did a little investigative reporting and managed to locate the first ever Six Word Memoir contest (thank you Google!). I was able to check out how the contest originators determined what a good memoir was and perhaps derive inspiration from some of the original entries.

So, without further adieu, here are a few of my potential mini-memoirs:

once, rather cute; now, terribly unattractive

when awake, perpetual motion; prefer sleep

words: evade, elude, taunt, torture me

when tough comes along, I flee

shit job: my name listed first

enviable, graceful, cultured, elite - I'm not

can't fathom inspiring; only manage surviving

still waiting for something to happen

Whew! I could go on and on ~ but I won't !! However, I challenge you, my lovely blog-reading pals, to come up with your own succinct brand of literary life summations and send them along to be shared!

Best of luck :)