Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Greetings From California

Dear Friends,

This letter is long overdue. I just wanted to let you know what's new around here.

The school play, Into the Woods, wrapped up about a week ago. It was a great production, the kids were very funny. When they were working on the Big Bad Wolf scene, they told John that he needed to act more like a "pimp." Ruth was half the size of her husband, yet bossing him around with spunk. The prince was off to save his DAM-ZELL in every production.

I love that play. The writing is so funny. The characters are so outrageous, yet so true. The junior version is even better than the full version, I think. Whenever I get to the second half of the play, I am surprised that the story keeps going on and on and on.

Of course it was nice to watch my own kids, but ALL of the kids really were fantastic. They sang and danced and acted up a storm to standing ovations every performance.

At the same time, high school acceptance letters arrived. To add to the chaos, we had to figure out high school in 5 days...that's when the decisions were due. John did very well, in that, he was accepted everywhere he applied. His final choice is an AMAZING school very close to our home. It was actually a hard choice, he really liked all four schools he applied to, but now we can finally settle in a little bit and know what lies ahead for next September.

Meanwhile, we had visitors in our house for two weeks. My dad and George's parents arrived to see the play. The kids were thrilled. My dad left last week and my in-laws just left this morning. It is always a lot to add more people into the mix of our busy lives, but it's very nice that the kids have such a great opportunity to spend time with their parents.

Cottage plans are everywhere I look. How do I know where I want a window? A door? An oven? I can tell you that I don't want 2nd floor laundry in a house where only the master bedroom is on the second floor. There needs to be some changes and I wish I was more equipped with a vision to know just what they are. This all could really push me over the edge.

We also just had our school auction. We get to act crazy and silly for a cause once a year, so we did. It was very fun and a very late night and I'm still suffering from lack of sleep well into Tuesday. The theme was 1920's, and everyone got into the spirit.

Well, mostly my house is a gigantic mess with tons of laundry to do and a fridge full of uneaten leftovers. I had a double espresso and I'm off to whip this place into shape. Back to real life.

Time to think about Easter!
Ciao for now,

Monday, March 22, 2010

Weekend of Theatrical Madness: Into the Woods

It was a long week, but we all went Into the Woods... and now we are out again. Whew! What a production! The kids were all fantastic and the costumes were amazing. That is where we've been and what we've been up to lately.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Grass is Always Greener, or Is It?

I used to blog anonymously, but my husband sold me out big time. Now there's no more complaining about certain people and events without getting stoned at the next PTA meeting or family reunion.

The funny thing is, that, these people don't even read my blog regularly. There is just this minimal chance that they'll stop by and see what I'm up to. Just when I think no one is reading, I get an email from Aunt Sally, asking all kinds of weird questions.

I just am so tired of people thinking that I have THE LIFE. They whine and moan about this and that, and say, "Oh, I wish I were you and had your life." Come on people, do you hear yourselves? Do you truly think I am living THE LIFE?

I'll be the first to admit that I'm fortunate. My problems are small in the scheme of things, so far. I think I mostly fool people because I'm a generally happy person. It can be -32 degrees or 115 degrees, and I'm still smiling. I try to see the bright side, the silver lining and the humor in life--preferably all at the same time.

Once, an old boyfriend told me never to look for happiness. "You'll just be disappointed." How many Ebeneezer Scrooges are out there in this world? There are people that will never be content no matter how big the mansion, paycheck or boob job. They will never settle, thus they will never feel settled.

I've written about this at length before. If you see yourself in this post, own up to it. Don't lurk on the blog and attack me at the next cocktail party. I am too old and tired to say it again. You are lucky. You have a good life. You are healthy. You have a good husband. Shut up.

I am here to tell you that the grass IS NOT ALWAYS greener. Be careful what you wish for. There are things about other people you will never know. Until you've walked a mile in my size 10 wide shoes, think again.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Root of the Problem/The Root of All Evil

It's been three weeks and my roots are showing. My biggest fear? That I will look like that lady I saw on the escalator with her wicked grey roots looking stripey as a skunk against her dark dye job.

People, I'm grey. I try my best to be regular about appointments, and I'm about as fastidious about the color of my hair as any gal is. However, there are times like now that I'm feeling the true desperation of needing to wash that grey right out of my hair.

This time, I'm caught between events. I had to space my appointments around these events and now, I'm all off kilter.

The top 3 reasons I color my hair:
1. My husband is anti-grey
2. All of my friends already look 5-10 years younger than I do, even if they aren't
3. People won't ask my kids if I'm their grandma

Did I also mention that my husband is very youthful looking? Therefore, I have always looked older, and pretty soon, people are going to think that I am his mother.

I've been grey since high school. I have more grey hair than my mother. I have a lot of hair and make quite a mess when I try to color it myself. I am very good friends with many hair stylists--I think I've put quite a few of their kids through college.

I am a little bit ready to let go of this charade of youthfulness. I am ready to be the girl God intended me to be--to look the way my genes have dictated.

I've been to the edge and looked over, and it ain't pretty. But my hair will be, next week anyways!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Don't Talk To Strangers

This post is for my kids. Originally, it was titled, "Men (and Women) I Meet in Bars." Realizing that my kids are my biggest readers, I thought it better to write about the teachable moments that can be found in grown up foolishness

Learn from your elders, kids. You may think that we're old and slow and need bright light to read, and yes, this is all true, but we are the literal beings of been there, done that. Learn from our stupidity and our smartitiude, I beg you.

O-k, John, you are smirking at the word, "smartitude," and I tell you that grown ups can be smart. Now you be smart, and read and learn...

I'll start this off with a letter:

Dear Dee,

I'm sorry that I never e-mailed you. You were kind enough to find a pen and a spare napkin and write your name, phone number and address down for me. However, the next day, my friends told me that they feared for my life when I was chatting with you.

My friends even went so far as to think that maybe you were an ex-con. They thought you and your husband had plans to take me back to your apartment over the bar and lock me in your closet for the rest of my life--however long or short you determined it to be.

This thought was more than a little terrifying.

The truth is, I don't know you. I don't know where you've been, I don't know where you're going. I don't know where you live. I don't know if you're nice or if you're crazy. I don't know if you're a cat person or a dog person or an iguana person.

It's more than truth, it's fact. I don't know you. Therefore, I thought it best not to e-mail you. On Sunday, I realized that we just didn't have that much in common and you probably weren't my new best friend, even though you told me that you were...over and over again.

You were very friendly, and I enjoyed chatting with you, but I think that's as far as it can go. I am 41, and I know I'm being a little narrow-minded, but I just don't think we have much of a chance at true friendship.

Thanks very much,

Although sometimes it's good to take chances in life, it is much better to take them in the daylight in public places than post midnight in a drinking establishment.

No matter how "nice" someone appears in the dim light in the wee hours of the morning, trust me, you will be thinking much clearer if you wait to meet them in daylight. Caffeine might even be helpful.

The next day, you might not even want to meet that person anymore. It's nice to make new friends, but use caution and trust your old friends. Think situations through, keep your head on your shoulders, and remember trusting that there is good in everyone and friendliness runs in the family.

My friends were a little paranoid, but a little paranoia can be a good thing. Trust me, I'm not in Dee's closet right now.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lawn Furniture and Suburban Planned Obsolescence

What is it about lawn furniture? Especially the cushions. I am trying desperately to get stains out of our one year old cushions. Duh, I did store them for the winter before I tried to clean them, I'm sure that's mistake number one.

These things cost more than the actual furniture frame of our outdoor furniture. Mistake number two: the cushion color. To the best of my memory, it was decided by myself and my husband. However, he told me this morning as he looked at our faded, stained cushion covers, that he had chosen "dark green" and the pale blue mess is my fault.

That's now how I remember it. No matter, here I am with hundreds of dollars of cushions in that fancy, stain-resistant sunbrella fabric that look like crap. Not only do they look less than worthy for someone to plant their tush in, they are "discontinued," and virtually irreplaceable. Go figure.

Spring is almost like Christmas for grown ups with patios. All of the sparkling new outdoor furniture comes out in the fancy catalogs and in the back corner of Target. It all looks fresh, clean and inviting. You fantasize about sitting out on a sunny afternoon or a balmy evening and all you can think is that you want new furniture, new cushions and all of the gardeny nick nacks that makes the outdoors a home.

I ignored the directions, I took the cushion covers off and put them in the washer on delicate/hand wash. I should have used bleach and the power scrub mode. It basically made no difference. Oh, Smith and Hawken and Sunbrella, why have you forsaken me?

Is it the planned obsolescence of lawn furniture? What is a suburban woman who wants to serve lemonade in the summer on clean cushions to do?

Friday, March 5, 2010

It's All About Me, Isn't It?

Birk threw herself on the floor last night and started a tantrum that lasted 45 minutes. What cruel force of parental nature did I inflict on her you might ask? I would not stop at the grocery store for her favorite ice cream.

This particular night, I gambled on dinner from our local burrito place (or shack, really, as it's been written up by the health department several times for many reasons). The game was, if there was a parking spot on the street in front, or even in range of the establishment, we would get burritos for dinner.

It wasn't my day, there was no easy access spot. I had a howling eight year old in the back seat, I had just completed part b of carpool and was returning home to John and his guitar lesson, which was taking place at the same time as dance.

As the aforementioned howling continued out of the car and into the house, I told John to turn on CNN so that Birk could see that the children of the world had bigger problems than not having the favorite flavor of ice cream in the freezer. But, then, it never really is about the flavor of ice cream when one throws themself on the floor and howls.

Speaking of howling, we've been introduced to satellite radio in our new compact car. It does help to have a good soundtrack as you go about your life in a compacted space with growing children who are used to talking loudly. There is quite an adjustment from sprawling out in the van to breathing down each other's necks.

This morning we were listening to a group called "Muse." John said, "It's o-k, Mom, you don't have to still listen to this when we get out of the car." I exploded in rolling on the floor laughter. What made him even think I was going to feel obligated to listen to Alternative Nation when I had the sweet spot of having the car to myself? Kid free?

From rolling on the floor howling to rolling on the floor laughing, it really is just all about me (or your you as me), isn't it? Oh, and chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

While The Husband's Away...

When the Husband's Away

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When the husband's away I do crazy things---like go out and do the kind of shopping that makes owning a mini van respectable.

I am not one to buy things and hide them from my husband. There is no sneaking Bloomingdale's Big Brown Bags up the stairs and pushing them into the back of my closet. This is partly because I have such a small closet that the bags don't fit in there. It's also partly that I have such a guilt complex about overindulging in impulse purchases that I have to take the scorn head on.

Although, sometimes, I can still fit a few things under the bed.

I love shopping because it is like Christmas morning--except you kind of know what's in the packages. Of course, that is if you can remember all the stuff you bought that day.

I like the part of rediscovering my newfound treasures. In a sea of bulging Target bags, I relish pulling each new purchase out and congratulating myself on such a terrific shopping decision. It's always fun to do this with a friend, and sometimes that friend is my husband. You can imagine how much he appreciates this.

He especially likes the part when I come home with 4 or 5 pairs of shoes.

Oh, and my husband's away a lot, and he's probably reading this right now.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Outta My Mind on Monday Moanin': Issue One

I grew up reading the Detroit Free Press. Bob Talbert is my all time favorite columnist. On Mondays, he would write a column called Out of My Mind on Monday Moanin.'

I think that Bob had the perfect job. He could just sit down at the old typewriter and write whatever he wanted. It didn't have to be a novel, it didn't necessarily have to follow any format. He just wrote and what he wrote was entertaining and funny.

And, funny enough, here I sit on Monday morning writing pretty much whatever I want. I've created the scene of my own perfect job. Well, except for the part of getting paid.

Mondays are a lot like the aftermath of a gigantic snowstorm around here. No matter how hard I try, it's as if I need a shovel to dig myself out. On top of the physical activity of digging, I also take a quiet moment to write and reflect.

I'd like to dedicate my Mondays to Bob. He passed away in 1999, but I still think about him every Monday. He was a columnist for 31 years and dedicated to journalism education and his community.

Cheers, Bob. Now, I'm off to get my shovel.