Sunday, December 13, 2009

tis the season ...

*cue screams, revving engines and pottery smashing

yep! that's my life right now.

I don't have much else to say other than I can't believe it's almost Christmas ...

I'm really not ready ...

and I'd just rather be reading a book than plowing through these piles of seasonal obligations!


this particular school year has been a bit brutal: I'm supporting a nightmare of a class--7th grade boys with reduced academic abilities/interest and know no boundaries--and my two oldest kids are under a lot of self imposed pressure and grappling with some major emotional upheaval.

I'm noticing I'm reading more to avoid it all ...


well, I'm sure to keep plodding along (what choice do I have).

a huge part of me would absolutely love, love, LOVE to win the Lottery just so I could exercise some other options.

a nice change of scenery, or some creative challenges, perhaps the time/energy to clean out my closets ...

right now, any and all of those options sound just lovely.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

lazy is as lazy does

I have such a burning desire to accomplish so much more in my life than what I'm currently pursuing; however, I have this incredible knack for talking myself out of just about everything -- from taking that first step or making any strategic plans or really exerting any effort what so ever.

In short, I suffer from what I like to call "convenient inertia" ... of the "not moving" variety.

I seemingly like to appreciate other people's hard working efforts/accomplishments but I haven't the gumption to be a part of that group. I'm a fantastic consumer -- lousy contributor.

Love to read -- read alot, but can't bring myself to write [I'm too lazy and have a loud critical voice in my head]. Love beautiful images -- admire and analyze them often, but I can't be bothered to create my own original work [again, lazy and it's awefully loud in here!]. I make up all sorts of glorious excuses for not taking on any personal challenges other than dinner, laundry, car pick up/drop off and impromptu social gatherings.

I'm starting to feel restive and more than a bit rote.

I feel like I'm living a barely contemplated existence and am not willing to take on any challenges. This sorry state might have originated from when I took that last gut-wrenching, mentally exhaustive exam at U of Penn five years ago and, as a result of that final academic effort, I must have subconsciously made a vow that only vapid and shallow pursuits will fill my days from there on out! And now I'm aghast at how long I've allowed myself to become so dormant and vacuous.




I guess, in short, I'm looking for a good kick in the pants to get moving on something -- anything! -- either self imposed, from a close friend, from a working group of compadres and friends, or where ever. I obviously need to do something -- anything! -- before I sink any further in this mire of "what's the point? who really cares?" ...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

my disease

the terrible case of not being able to say "no"

to friends, family, teenagers, people I work with ... just about anyone!

I absolutely struggle with this affliction.

Friday, September 4, 2009

a reflective time of year

starting school again (both the kids and me) always feels like such a "new beginning" ...

a big start and opportunity to do big, exciting, new and interesting things.

but almost immediately I find myself getting mired in the minutiae of just getting through the day:

the breakfast/lunch/snack/dinner [don't forget the coffee!] routine ...

the laundry piles: the dirty/to wash/to dry/to fold/"where are my uniform pants" piles ...

the attention needed for the dog/the bunnies/the house/the garden/the weeds ...

the touch base ~ make connections ~ check in ~ support ~ problem solve ~ communicate ...


I really don't MAKE the time or find the energy or prioritize my efforts to include challenging personal endeavors (such as painting, writing, or researching new interests!)

What does that say about me and how much importance I put on personal growth.

I'm a tad bit nervous that I'm going to turn into one of those horribly bland and complacent middle aged women whose college-aged kids come home and say "Wow, mom WHAT do you do with your time/with your life?!"

I kinda cringe inwardly when I imagine my lack of response to such a critical (albeit accurate) observation.

I've always really wanted to DO something and BE something even contribute SOMETHING to the greater humanity ...

But right now I'm at a tremendous loss as to what the hell that something may be ...

Monday, August 10, 2009

what happened to that really nice and mild weather?

it was obviously obliterated in the face of such brutal heat and humidity!


I hate when sweat pools in my girlie parts and my ass sticks to the driver's seat!

Double YUCK!!

I'm already counting the days until autumn :-)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

peeing my pants

this post (which I stumbled across whilest browsing Awkward Family Photos, but originally came from here!) had me howling out loud!

and the 700+ comments which follow are quite hysterical as well ...

[this is how I avoid doing any more painting!] :-)

Monday, July 27, 2009

officially crazy

... as if we had any doubts!

Yep! Still going at it. All cylinders banging and no end in sight.

I'll ask Pos to post pics of the current madness I'm involved in (I promise, it's NOT illegal!) and I'm sure to be better about posting once the summer ends (if you can believe it! -- not!)

I'm still trying to win the lottery but those damn statistics are plotting against me. But I'll keep trying ...

Smooches and squeezes to all and know that you all are missed (as -- apparently -- am I!)


Sunday, June 21, 2009


that's how many legitimate "occupations" I have occupying my time, energy and brain right now.

First (and foremost!), being a mom and housekeeper for our lovely family unit: *check minus*

--> The house (are we ever surprised!) is a sty and dust bunnies and hair balls are starting to pile up in corners and the carpets are starting to have an unpleasant crunch to them. The youngest child has already logged obscene amounts of plugged in time because, well quite frankly, he doesn't make it onto my schedule until after his bedtime!

Secondly, Swim Club snack bar manager (for the first time ever): *check*

--> I have made so many trips to Sam's Club to buy copious amounts of snack crap and sodas that I think I'm starting to develop a hereto undiagnosed allergic reaction to bulk packing and flat bed carts!

Thirdly, Museum Summer Camp leader (again, first time ever!! and this year's theme is Native Americans): *check minus*

--> I'm incredibly overwhelmed with all the details and nuances of this endeavor. And the reality of managing a crew of teenagers/young adults who work with small kids is tremendously daunting. Plus I have to learn Native American dances, some sign language, scripted speeches and how to pull off a 'female rites of passage' ceremony. Yikes!!

Fourthly, tutoring a diverse contingent of kids (where I'm going to find the time is anyone's guess!!): *check minus minus*

--> math, math and more MATH!! Not my real forte, but I shall overcome my resistance. Plus I have the added challenge of learning how to work with a Smart Board in order to makes things more interesting and exciting for my reluctant learners.

**To sum it up, I'm just terrified that I'm going to look up and see that summer has super sonic flown by ... and I still have so much left to do!

Sunday, May 31, 2009


I really should be cleaning, sorting, folding and scrubbing right now ... But I'm stalling instead.

At this moment, I'd rather not be productive or maid-ish, instead, I'm reluctantly cracking the whip from the semi-stationary position of this computer chair. I'm verifying Facebook statuses, commenting on graduation photos, and responding to blogs ... not directing clean-up efforts.

Instead, I'm being "gifted" with the sounds of unsupervised squabbling and muffled (not very successful!) attempts at co-brother tidying. Surprise, surprise, the boys were more resistant to creating order than I was and somehow managed to have a rather tense argument over one brother's choice to ditch some boxer shorts ("they're too small; I won't wear them" vs. "you're being ridiculous; they still fit"!). I guess their ability to avoid work was gleaned from the master!

However, the daughter is quietly plugging away. She's "shoveling" out weeks of living in final exam hell with no time to keep track of the mundane ... her room could have easily been classified as Superfund site! She has dutifully donned her white bio hazard suit and her toxic chem goggles and is slugging away at clearing out the bigger, chunkier bits of adolescent debris. It's appalling, really.

But then there's my room. Disgusting, actually. It looks like a laundry mat recently attacked by madmen and household-order anarchists. It's quite amazing how much clean laundry I can throw into unidentifiable piles with a rate of wrinkles that rivals any old 80 year old man's crinkled countenance!

I must, nay am compelled to, stop right here. I can't take the guilt any more. The beautiful weather outside is mocking me for continuing to put off this drudgery any longer when I know that my reward will be lounging poolside with a good book.

So, here I go ... my useless housework is a'callin' ...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

miracles are welcomed

especially those of a statistical nature!

I bought my token $5 worth ... actually even filled in some of the numbers instead of going all random (my attempt at exerting some 'control' over a terribly uncontrollable situation)

The odds are 1 in 195,249,054 ...

not very good, are they. Unless, of course, you're looking for a miracle!


In a way, I'm really glad these are the only statistics I'm contemplating right now.

So in a way, I have my miracle ...

Friday, May 15, 2009

he always knows

Max, Mr. intuitive, observer supreme, current dog of less funk and filth ALWAYS knows when I'm leaving for the weekend.

He 's like glue to my side and dogs my footsteps the entire time I'm rushing about the house trying to sort out items for the trip.

The coup de grace is when the "big bag" gets hauled out of the attic.

*key dramatic music*

He HATES that big bag with the flowery handles ... absolutely despises it! Poor fella probably thinks that this time (out of every other time) I'm never coming back!

And no amount of reassurance by Pos and the kids can convince him that that ain't so ...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

am i the only one who struggles with this ...

As a middle-aged woman, who should be hitting her emotional stride (so to speak), and happily rejoicing in some hard earned confidence, why am I still bugged by body image garbage?!

I mean, I'm incredibly lucky that I'm healthy, active and still have unrestricted use of my ankles and knees. I can run, frolic, skip and canter with the best of them but somehow find myself skidding to a stop when I catch a glimpse of my little bumpy frame in the reflection of a passing mirror/picture glass window. *Ugh* I have no idea why I can't reconcile myself with the realities of physical aging (I mean, my chubby tummy is a well worn symbol of the three babies I gratefully carried to term; my ample backside is a familial gift of thriving genetics; my stocky legs are carry-overs from, I'm positive, good solid farming stock).

But personally, I think one of of the biggest reasons I have such a hard time with these silly imperfections is because of several cultural factors.

Take exhibit A:
There is absolutely NO way I could EVER look like this (unless I undergo the knife several times!)

But take Exhibit B:
Now we're talking! In my humble opinion, the ancients had it right all along ... big, bulbous and beautiful! I really should focus on old measures of beauty and start filtering the ridiculous versions we have today!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

be careful what you wish for ...

Yikes! What the hell was I whining about last week!

It's been like 90+ flippin' degrees since the weekend and we're dying slow, sluggish, brain-fried deaths around here! I can't believe I was complaining about the cooler climes just a week ago! The weird part is that we were getting 99 degrees reported on our local bank signs and out west their getting pummelled with several inches of snow. Wacko, I know!

And the truly sucky part is that it's supposed to drop again (into the freakin' 50s) by Thursday! I simply have no idea what to expect any more. I just need to get over the fact that I'll need to continue rotating between my winter and summer wear for the next couple of weeks and forget ever getting my internal temp regulator sorted out.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

where's spring?

I feel like I'm never going to experience nice weather ever, ever again!

I got two -- count'em TWO -- beautiful days this month and the rest has been like a scene from Blade Runner (a dreary post-modern nightmare with lots of rain, wind and perhaps psycho androids lurking around corners!).

I've been sick and tired. But mostly sick -- a dysentery kind of sick -- that leaves one desperate for some kind improvement.

And it really doesn't help that the weather really sucks!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

whoo wee! where'd the week go ...

Wow! I totally blew off my customary "beginning of the week" post [*I must have been sleeping at the wheel or forgetting to drink my coffee or not getting enough sleep or completely knee deep in other stuff]

ooo ... ooo ... pick the last one! please, please ya gotta pick the last one!

Yep folks, knee deep in other stuff.

I've been baking like a shackled slave in the kitchen everyday; I think I'm breaking a world record with how many sticky buns I can crank out in less than a week. With such tremendous success at my daughter's "snacks by the tracks" fundraiser last Saturday (and the numerous compliments regarding my buns!), I just couldn't disappoint this weekend's post office crowd and potential fund raising contributors by not showing up with the "goods".

And in addition to all of that, I had an unexpected conversation with the boys' 8th grade teacher regarding the final geography unit and that had me dusting off my old GGS notes and doing some major tweaks to my proposed Guns, Germs, and Steel curriculum idea.

So for your viewing pleasure (and because it represents what my brain's been on for the past few days ... beside brown sugar, cinnamon and fast-rising yeast!), my proposed pitch of how to teach 8th graders Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel:

GGSGeography Lesson summaries

An actual story of global conquest:
  • The famous battle at Cajamarca – Peru in 1532
  • Why was it the Spaniards conquering the Incans and not the other way around?
  • It was a conquest based on willingness, ability and necessity!
What it takes for man to survive:
  • Man’s basic needs
  • The need to travel in order to fulfill those basic needs
When man moves from surviving to thriving:
  • Hunter and gatherers become settlers – the rise of nations
  • The good (innovations and discoveries in the arts, science mathematics, astronomy and architecture to name a few), the bad (political systems, social hierarchies, introduction of rich vs. poor), and the ugly (dictatorships, spread of disease, and war)
  • Ultimate motivator in developing societies was the desire for more – more wealth, more stuff, fame and glory!
What in the world does geography have to do with all of this?
  • Moving in the right direction – longitude and latitude and having the right climate
  • The shape and terrain of continents – allowing people and ideas to move
  • Having the right stuff – access to valued and usable natural resources
Back to the people:
  • How food helped change the world
  • How disease helped change the world
Looking at the connections:
  • The theory of how people’s natural wants and necessities had such global effects
  • The example of Europe
Playing the game of Global Risk:
*student assignment

[and kiddos, if you're lucky and I remember, I'll post the longer teacher version with the cooler notes so we can *discuss* this stuff!]

Monday, March 23, 2009

more syrupy reflections

I tell ya, I've been experiencing some pretty amazing confirmations that life is darn good everywhere I turn:

  • All my friends are hale and hearty and for the most part in good spirits.
  • I just got offered an incredible summer position at our local museum running kids' camps from now until I'm probably too senile or tired to do the job
  • My daughter's fund raising efforts have blown both of us away! We have both been incredible humbled by the show of financial and emotional support she has been given thus far.
  • In spite of the intense anxiety-laden news saturating the news lately, I feel like Teflon and haven't allowed any of it to touch my core of optimism (just call me Pollyanna!)
  • I'm physically feeling like I have pounds to go before I can reacquaint myself with my optimal pants size, but honestly, I could care less! I still run three times a week, play field hockey every Monday and can hustle through the school hallways without breaking a sweat.
  • I can find just about anything to laugh about everyday.
  • My kids' antics have me rolling my eyes instead of making want to ship them off to Siberia. I've only just realized that I have less than a decade before (feasibly!) they'll all be gone and living on their own.
  • My husband is still a great guy to be around ... even after 18 years and three kids.
  • I'm really appreciating the "now" ...
So as far as I'm concerned, life is good!

Monday, March 16, 2009

headache with a side of encouragement

I'm thinking that seasonal allergies are for the birds ... big, ugly vulture-like birds. You feel like doo-doo and you constantly take medicine in the hopes that you'll feel somewhat normal.

Which is never the case. Until summertime, when the sun can sizzle out all the bad sinus beasties.

Anyhoo. I'm feeling a bit under and slightly stressed and rather silly for feeling either of these things.

But in spite of my pounding/aching head, I did mangage to do some really good things recently: I made an appointment with the dermatologist to check all my suspicious spots, I helped my daughter launch a major fundraising initiative (it's going to be called: "D.C. or bust!"), I had all the friends over for pizza night last week (even though the place was a pit!), and somehow I have no laundry to fold and put away in my bedroom!


Now I just need to refocus my energies and motivate myself to finish reading the six books I've started (namely Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution: and How It Can Renew America) and sooner rather than later I need to make a decent stab at storyboarding this 'fiction brew' I've got cooking up in my head ... along with all the other nasties causing my brain to feel likes it's about to pop off!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

feeling good

and looking tan! That's what a week in Florida will do for ya, boys and girls!

The drive there and back (two days each way -- no small commitment, folks) was bearable and thankfully uneventful. We ate tons of crap food (I don't think I want to ever see McDonald's ever, ever, ever again until time lapses and time crunches force me to darken the golden arches' doorway once again!)

As a family, we bonded, watched a total of 47 1/2 movies and totally trashed the van. We took pit stops in some of the nastiest little gas stations off of I-95 to be found between here and Santibel, FL.

We played with friends, went bike riding, played rollicking rounds of beach volleyball and managed to consume not one but three birthday cakes for my daughter's sweet 16.

We dined in. We dined out. And we certainly dined well.

We played hard. We slugged thoroughly. And we truly enjoyed having no real schedule.

Upon our return, the bunnies were found to be alive and well; the dog was thrilled beyond belief. And I, yes I, am struggling to make my way through 379 pounds of post-vacation laundry before we return to school tomorrow.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

continuous gratitude

I may be one of the luckiest people I know.

I have an incredible husband: he cooks, he shops for groceries, he schleps our kids everywhere, he is funny, smart, extremely literate, kind, considerate, he indulges my rages with admirable patience, and he never ever demands anything of me that he knows I simply can't give.

I have three amazing kids: they are healthy, smart, kind, socially successful, resilent, considerate (like their dad, I might add!), funny, they make dinnertime a real party and for the most part they are happy.

I am friends with some of the best people you'd want to know: they go out of their way to help me out, have fun with me, take care of my kids, take care of me, provide me with regular allotments of good red wine, make me laugh, they are tremendously kind and considerate and when we get together we always have a good time

I am healthy, I am happy, I have great interests that keep me happily occupied and for the most part I feel complete. I need to take stock of my life like this more often ... gratitude is a nice thing to indulge in.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

checked out

I feel like an old worn out library book

with a scummy scratchy hard avocado green cover

that no one ever pulls off the shelf

to consider as an viable reading option.

In short, I'm not feeling the literary love.

Because my mental circuitry has been clogged with other more pressing matters, I haven't had the time (nor the inclination) to stroke the keyboard. No words come forth and want to pour forward. No real urge to share. Or care. Sorry.

I'm going to blame other things. It certainly can't be because I'm lazy. Or feeling stupid and inarticulate. It must be because it's cold and wintry. It must be this extra fifteen pounds I'm lugging around on my outrageously disproportionately sized thighs and all that weight is surely weighing down my sluggish brain.

Regardless of my lame excuses, I am still thinking about my story. A lot. And I'm doing lots of lovely research about my story. A lot. And I am trying not to be too afraid to get serious and final get down to business and start plotting my story.

In the meantime, (to press my analogy a bit further) my card hasn't been stamped here in awhile because I can't seem to get the gumption to "get off the shelf" and make the words work.

Monday, January 19, 2009

attempting to excerpt

Peering up from a low crouch while re-situating dusty, sweat-smeared hands filled with random bits of debris, Hope finally hisses, "I have no idea what you're talking about. I've kept my end of the bargain; you keep yours."

Joshua sighs. "You don't get this, do you. There is no deal. There is no bargain. And heaven help me, if only I could make you finally understand ... there is no competition. It's all been a lie!"

An indrawn breath is all that registers. Then its slow, forced release. Followed by a steady grind of teeth.

"Then what the hell am I doing here! What the hell are we doing here! Josh, since you know so much, tell me why ... are ... we ... HERE?!

Joshua, obviously playing for time, pushes the toe of his left boot into a partial decomposed clod of garden soil and squishes it flat. "I'm not quite sure. But I have a few theories. I'll share'em with ya if you're interested. But only if your interested."

Monday, January 12, 2009

comfort food in a crust

[2:59 pm -- text from highschooler]

*im hungry i need quiche

[3:01 pm -- text response by me]

*quiche?! why?

[3:04 pm -- text response by highschooler]

*i need protein


And five hours later ... with much fiddling with the oven temperature ... I managed to make my daughter happy with this --Spicy Sausage Quiche
(poured into 2 unbaked pie crusts; a gluten-free one for the high maintenance highschooler):
  • 1 pound bulk pork sausage
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
  • 14 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Place sausage in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain and crumble. Spread into bottom of baking dish. Sprinkle with Cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, onion, chile peppers, and jalapeno pepper. In a medium bowl, mix eggs with chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Pour over contents of baking dish.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, then cut into squares.
I hope you all had yummy dinners as well (and hopefully you all ate before 8 pm ... unlike us!)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

been captured by vampires

and I'm not afraid to admit it!

I know, I know ... I've been majorly MIA these past few months (eerily quiet for someone as loud as me!) but I have a good/lame excuse. Recently, been reading. Lots. Remarkably for the past six days straight! No cooking, no cleaning, no decoration take down and certainly no worthwhile human interactions. I've simply disappeared into some lovely light fiction and haven't regretted ONE moment of it!

My husband and kids have been extremely kind and indulgent to have let me "check out" like that and I'm eternally grateful to them. I guess, in a way, I really needed to get outside of my own life and be able to experience someone else's for a change (in spite of the criticisms I've heard from online sources). I was completely immersed and obsessed and only reluctantly took breaks when my wimpy body needed sustenance and sleep.

And yep, I read more than one: I read ALL four, in a row, non-stop, until I was done. And again ... no regrets.

But tomorrow, it's back to work, back to the grind, back into the drudgery of a time-laden routine. *sigh*

Maybe Spring Break has another series of all-absorbing books in store for me ... one can only hope and see!