SobHer '07

I feel like the little sister whose big sister just came home from a date and told me she DID IT. Lost her virginity. I'm thrilled and want to hear ALL ABOUT IT, but I am also envious.

You see, I didn't go to BlogHer. A lot of my bloggy friends did...and the photos and stories are trickling in. Dammit, some of them make me SAD because I am so bitterly jealous. I'm not too proud to admit it, even if I should be. I totally missed out on what was not only a fun time, but a great learning opportunity.

And I'll make sure I get a pedi.


Now I need to get back into my exercise routine

When I was in third grade, a girl in my class came up to me at recess and asked me what was wrong; why didn't I want to play on the playground?

"I'm tired," I said.

"Mentally or physically?" she asked.

Mentally or physically? That brought me up short. I hadn't ever thought about the distinction. "Mentally," I realized out loud.

That's how I was yesterday. Utterly drained. Emotionally spent. Just fucking EGGS-hoss-ted. And I haven't had much in the way of reserves left for my son, my daughter, my husband, or oh, yeah...myself.

As I stated earlier, FBNOML has been going through some serious stuff and is facing some big decisions. Since that post her situations has become more convoluted, more wrenching, more weighty...which actually clarifies her situation to me, but complicates it for her. Her future will be bright someday no matter what, but I just want for her to need those shades sooner rather than later. I can advise her, and I do when she wants me to..but ultimately as much as I'd like to I can't make the decisions for her. It's like letting go of that bike seat for the first time your child doesn't have training wheels; you know they can balance, but they just *might* fall. Especially when they realize you aren't holding on anymore.

Not that I resent a second of it. It's the essence of parenting, this worry, this visceral love that elevates your kids and their needs above all else.

But, it is hard sometimes.

There is more than just this situation that has left me yesterday a quivering protoplasmic mass of psychic fatigue. One of my closest friends has had some issues of her own; I've stepped in the past couple of weeks as a part-time nanny for her two children (10 months and 3 years). I don't mind this a bit, either...for isn't that the essence of friendship, to swim through the bad times together as well as the good?

Anyway, all of this has left me with too little time for myself and my youngest children, and also without the resources to provide them with A. FUN. SUMMER! which had been my hope. Instead, I have been letting them watch too much TV and play too much GameCube while I too often turn to my computer for some Brain Candy Downtime (like my new header?) while I try to recharge.

This morning I woke up while my husband was still home; I hopped in the shower (I KNOW!) and decided my son and daughter and I were going to have a mini-excursion. Not a big deal, just some simple summer fun. We donned our sunblock/helmets/harnesses (oh yeah, we brought the cutest puppy EVER as well)/gear as appropriate and headed a mile or so to a local, independently owned coffee shop. They know us there, and always manage to find a croissant in the back for my daughter even if they are sold out. We sat outside, chatted and laughed and fed the cutest puppy EVER our scraps.

Life IS good. Everyone will be fine. This I know.


Hope you like it

So, I spent some time this weekend creating a custom header. I used this <-- photo that I took at Alcratraz (you can see the Bay Bridge through the remnants of the window). I love the texture of the weathered wall...I played with it in Photoshop, used some freebee brushes from Design Fruit.

The thing is, it was fun. I thought once I'd finished a header I'd be DONE. But I am already looking at other free brushes out there and dreaming up ways to use them...including different headers.

Like I need one more excuse to spend time in front of the computer. My kids know the back of my head too well as it is.



My prediction for the Harry Potter series ending:

Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Ginny are sitting at Hogwart's Main Dining Hall eating a meal. People and ghosts and whatnot are coming and going around them, in and out of the room, passing through walls, etc. The four are discussing random things; just another day at Hogwarts.

But you KNOW something is coming; it's the end of the last chapter. Will Harry live or die? You turn the page and...

it's blank.

Was it a printing error? No, just a lame-ass ending. Or a brilliant ending. Whatever.


CPQ (no, it's not a new shopping channel)

I have more than one...oh, let's call them Cute Personality Quirks. Today I was faced with one of them. Maybe more, I'm not sure.

My son was was not just bored, he was BORED!!! He'd reached the screen time cut-off (that is, no more TV, GameCube, or computer for the day). He'd read for a couple of hours. He'd jumped on the trampoline. There was NOTHING TO DO, as apparently all of his toys are BORING.

Then he gets a call from a buddy; his father wants to take the two of them golfing.


The thing is, I get weird about my kids being in cars with other people. More than weird; I get anxious. What if? What if? What if??? I have driven on every single field trip of his, from Kindergarten all the way through third grade (except the few in which my husband participated), just to avoid this scenario.

But my son and his friend are taking golf lessons together, and this boy's father and I have carpooled to and from the lessons; the course isn't too far away and so it's within my comfort zone. I sucked it up and said, "Yeah, sure."

Then the father follows up with this one, "We're going to try a new course, over in Town-Twenty-Some-Miles-Down-The-Highway."

I didn't sign up for that. It's one thing to take my kid three miles away, but on the highway? AT RUSH HOUR? How's a paranoid mama like me supposed to deal?

A friend was with me, a friend who knows me well. She's mouthing at me, "Let him go. He'll be fine. Let him go. He'll be fine. Let him go. He'll be fine. Let him go. He'll be fine"

I told the dad that before I gave a final okay I'd need to check with my husband. HA! As if that's how our family works! I was really calling him to see if he could come up with a good excuse to get me out of the pickle into which I'd cornered myself. He just said, "I am sure it would be fine, but if you aren't comfortable with it just say no." Thanks a helluva lot...I need a better excuse than that. I mean, Just Say No? How 80's!

Ultimately, I knew I was being selfish and overprotective and unreasonable, so with a lump in my throat I told my son he could go. And how much fun you're going to have!

As we waited for him to be picked up, I put sunscreen on my boy's face, helped him get his golf gear in order, hugged him and kissed the top of his head, handed him his baseball cap, told him to wear his seatbelt (to which he looked at me as if I was insane; it would never occur to him to NOT wear it), and kept saying, "HAVE A GREAT TIME!"

I can't tell you how incredibly thrilled I was when five minutes later as the dad was picking him up, he informed me that he had decided to stay in town...traffic and all, you know.

Once I was back inside, my friend told me about how it was for her, growing up with a paranoid and overprotective parent. Her mom was always so concerned about something horrible happening to her kids she didn't allow them to do a lot of fun things. Like golfing with a friend, for example. The more I thought about it, the more I knew it was the right thing for me to do, to override my Cute Personality Quirk...to shed my selfishness and ignore my discomfort in order to allow him to HAVE SOME FUN.

As I typed the above, the phone rang. It was my son (ThankGodheisokay); he told me that they are on the eighth hole and then he exclaimed, "Can we have a sleepover?" My son, who just turned nine, has had literally over a hundred sleepovers here, but only once has he been willing to spend the night at someone else's home once...and not this Friend's home. So when he asked for asked for a sleepover I assumed that he meant at our home, so I answered, "Yeah, sure." See a pattern emerging?

My suddenly independent little boy said, "I don't care, but Friend wants to sleep at his house." This friend is a nice enough kid, but I don't know him or his family very well. Is this another Cute Personality Quirk, or just me being a good parent?

Really, how am I to know?


Things I learned on my summer vacation

Well, rather, our long weekend in Napa:

1.) After my initial disappointment when my husband told me our laptop wouldn't work with the hotel's internet system, I actually enjoyed the break. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, after all (or is it, "Out of sight, out of mind?").

2.) You can, in fact, pay $20 for a mediocre GLASS of Cabernet Sauvignon.

3.) My kids still want to watch TV at hotels.

4.) 50% of the people in our family have been known to pee in public pools.

5.) Just because you're "on vacation" doesn't mean it's all fun. Well, I already knew that, but my son figured it out this trip.

6.) When lounging poolside, I would much rather eavesdrop on the conversations of strangers than read the book I am holding in front of my face.

7.) If you go to a hotel bar without your wedding ring on (it's faster and cheaper than calling for room service), gross people will talk to you.

8.) I can make it all the way back to our home from Napa with the gas gauge warning light on the entire time. I hate pumping gas.

9.) I don't check my cell phone's voice mail nearly enough.

10.) There's no place like home.



My daughter, after watching me spoon minestrone into two bowls for her and her friend, attempts to assert her authority and competitively exclaims, "I want the same bowl Emma wants!"

She meant the color of the bowl, which is a very important issue in our home these days. I'd used one blue and one pink bowl; but I have duplicates of each, so I let it play out.

"Oh, you do?" I respond.

"YES!" My three and a half year old then turns to her friend and asks, "What color bowl DO you want?"


(*Ahem*) Me Me Me Meeeeeeeeeee!

The lovely and erudite Blog Antagonist has tagged me for an eight things meme. I love her, you should too.

The eight things meme goes as follows: enlighten us with eight newish things about yourselves, tag eight people to do the same. DONE!

Here I go:

1.) I used to don a bikini at a moment's notice. My only concern was that I didn't fill out the top as much as I would have liked. Now I actually have nightmares (literally, NIGHTMARES) that my post-baby abdomen is exposed in public.

2.) I've lost exact count, but my best estimate is that I've had 37 roommates; the male:female ration is close to 50:50.

3.) I procrastinate. A lot. I have been known to use a bathroom knowing it didn't have toilet paper because I figured I'd deal with that problem later.

4.) If my husband and I heading somewhere in a car, I always drive. Unless we will be:

5.) Driving on curvy mountain cliffs WITHOUT GUARDRAILS while on the outside lane (hugging the inside wall is fine for me). My hands are sweaty just thinking about it. I never want to go to South Lake Tahoe again, or to Yosemite for this reason. A mere six inches of shoulder being all that stands between me and plunging headlong into certain death just isn't comfortable.

6.) When my dad died, he was homeless. He lived out of his car, and died in the gutter next to which he was parked.

7.) I owe more in student loans that many do for their mortgages. It's insane and makes my stomach hurt.

8.) My husband and I have the same first name (well, we both go by Chris, but I am Christine and he is Christopher). I ended up taking his last name when we married (I had wanted him to take mine, but he won the coin toss), so now we have the same name. This is more convenient than you'd expect.

I tag: Stephanie, CM , A Child's Smile, My Minivan is Faster Than Yours, treadmillista, Jennifer, Krisco, Jennifer aka Binky Bitch, moosh in indy. What? That's nine? I didn't realize.

release the spiders

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This just feels good

I was cruising around the internets and found this ...an unexpected compliment from someone I'd never met/read before. I've come to discover she is an amazing woman and writer.

Thanks Nordette...you made my day.


Feeling all patriotic. And self-absorbed (What? Me? On my blog? Surely not!)

Happy Fourth, everyone.

If you asked one of my friends from high school (or college, or through my twenties for that matter) what my favorite holiday was they'd unhesitatingly answer, "The Fourth of July." There was something about the electricity of the day, the "Oooohing!" and "Aaaaahing!" over the fireworks, and the consistency of the celebrations that appealed to me. No matter where I lived, I could count on fireworks.

Probably because it meant so much to me, I remember every Fourth of July since I was very young. I'll spare you the entire list, but here's a sampling:

When I was six we laughed as our dog, a huge husky, jumped into our car through an open window at the first fireworks boom. We discovered then that he hated loud noises. Sorry about that, Bandit.

At eight, I listened to the fireworks as I snuggled in my bedroom; it hinted at adult things about which I had no idea.

When I was thirteen, I peeked at the the fireworks from my bedroom window and felt connected (in the visceral, obsessive way only an adolescent can do and still be healthy) with a boy I liked who I knew was at the festivities downtown.

At fifteen, three of my friends and I laid on a picnic blanket, staring up at the West Point fireworks show over the Hudson River. I was moving from New York to the Midwest a few days later...the fireworks were my last hurrah with my friends.

When I was seventeen I went to a fireworks show on a first date with a boy that became My First Boyfriend. We dated for nearly three years; next to my husband he is by far the sweetest boy I dated.

At nineteen I celebrated the International Freedom Festival (a joint celebration between Detroit and Windsor over the Detroit River) with My First Boyfriend's family on their boat; the wakes of barges tossed around the private boat we were on, music blared from adjacent yachts, I was young and in love.

At twenty-one I watched fireworks from the rooftop of a 19th century Michigan State University lecture hall onto which my friends and I had climbed via fire escapes. We smoked, drank beer, and felt exhilarated in the way you only can when you are free, confident, and the world is before you.

When I was 23 I spent the Fourth of July on a beach in Greece, toasting my friends back home. I did the same at 27.

At 31 my husband-to-be and I spent a Fourth of July with a bunch of friends, watching fireworks from a golf course that we had snuck onto.

At 33 we watched fireworks from the second story balcony of our new home, barely visible above the trees in our backyard. Our baby son slept.

At 35 we watched the tips of our new city's (new state as well) official fireworks from our second story window. Our toddler boy slept.

At 38 we were in our present home, same city (same state as well!). We drove to the opposite end our street, about 1/5 of a mile from our far west cul-de-sac, from which we looked past the corn, the protected wetlands, the rice farms, towards the Sacramento River. We could see the explosions of a nearby city's show. Our baby daughter slept and our son was thrilled he was allowed to stay up so late.

Today all five of us walked to a neighborhood block party...potluck breakfast followed by a "parade" behind a firetruck. A quarter mile later, the kids took turns alternating between squirting the fire hose and being squirted. It's a tradition that has been going on for over thirty years now; our family has participated for the past four years.

I still love the Fourth, but it isn't my favorite holiday anymore. It's not as exciting to me. I don't need it anymore; I don't need its electricity, its "Oooohing!" and "Aaaaahing!", its consistency. I have it in my life everyday now.

Or, maybe I'm just old and lame. I dunno.


Appliance update

It was a quick fix this morning, getting my dishwashing machine operational again. A new thermal fuse and a measly $134.54 later I huddle up next to it (after the repair guy left, of course), listening to the wonderful sound of the arms spraying water against the stainless steel interior. I even called my husband to play it for him on speaker phone. I really did.

I let it run it's course, and when it shut off I scampered over to load it up. I'd saved the breakfast dishes for JUST THIS REASON. Upon opening the door I was greeted first by that fresh plume of steam (a mini facial to boot!)...and then the eye-popping sight of an inch or so of standing water. EEK! I looked at the control panel and sure enough. No lights. I called the repair place and told them that history has repeated itself, my washer has stopped mid-cycle and the control panel doesn't have power.

I'm thinking the thermal fuse keeps popping because the temp gets too hot...I don't know, but that's my guess. Makes sense to me. Soooooooooo, now, if that's the case, my heater or thermal regulator or something is off whack. This is what we wanted to avoid...spending too much on a unit (teehee, I said unit) that in the end would need more and more work, which you justify spending because you've already put in such-and-such dollars. I just didn't expect it would happen in one day.


All we want is a pepsi, just one pepsi

There is someone I haven't told you about. I have a daughter who is twenty. I met her dad when she was five; I met her when she was six. The past couple of weeks for her have been laden with major decisions about the path her life will take. They have consumed me. And her.


I understand her like I understand few. She gets me as well. My FBNOML, which is the temporary pseudonym she and I concocted for here (first to figure out that acronym will win the prize of knocking my socks off, and I will give you the hint that there could be a comma after the "B"), and I can look at each other across the room and *know* what the other is thinking. We can have whole conversations without speaking a word.

FBNOML read my blog for the first time this weekend (and thrilled me to tears when she laughed out loud as she went through it). She had a blog years before I started my first; it would just be wrong for me to write about her in this forum without her being properly introduced.

My friends, this is FBNOML. FBNOML, this is my internet gang.