Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving

I have decided to invent a new holiday.

One that I'm positive can't offend all the First Americans Indians.

But first? A little back story.

Yesterday I received a letter from a blog reader who has become a friend. Reading through this letter, I had tears streaming down my face and joy in my soul. I won't share the private contents of the letter here, but I will tell you this: This girl is an absolute rock star. She, who is all kinds of awesome herself, was thanking me.

It got me thinking about the new type of friendship that the Internet has given birth to: The Internet friend.

And I'm definitely not talking about the kind of Internet friend who wants to meet you at your house and then is surprised when Dateline: To Catch a Predator is there.

No one should have any of those kinds of Internet friends.

I'm talking about the friend who is in the motherhood trenches, the same as you. The friend whose blog you might read on your lunch hour, clear across the country, or even across the world. The ones you have met in real life; and the ones you have yet to meet. The people who tune in every day to blogs, hoping there are snippets from what you are sure is no ordinary life.

These are the people who get you. And the people whose words touch your heart, make you laugh, or tell you that you are not alone. The people who make our day a little bit better with their stories, photos, and wit.

So what I am proposing is this: Let's start a Thanksgiving revolution today. Think of someone you know (or don't know) whose blog you read. Send them a simple note, letting them know what their words have meant to you. Or simply thank them for continuing to entertain you. It doesn't need to take long - just a few minutes to type a note.

Imagine what that thoughtfulness will mean to someone. Their day is going to no doubt be hectic today; maybe they are traveling. Maybe they are cooking for inlaws. Maybe they are all alone. But to inboxes across the world, let's spread a little love.

We'll call it Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving.

I know what my letter meant to me. Imagine if every single one of you gave that feeling to someone else.

Just think of all the love flying around the Internet today.

It'll be amazing.

And just like the old adage that it's better to give than receive, imagine how great all of US will feel in return.

Go, internets. Fly out to the world with your good deeds. Then return and bring us word.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thirty-eight again


Last Thursday I finally turned 38.

I say finally because I have inadvertently been telling people for the past two years that I am 38. I didn't do it on purpose; I genuinely forgot how old I was and kept thinking I was 38. A few weeks prior to my birthday, I paused and wondered if I was finally going to turn 39 or 40 this year, as it seemed that my thirty-eighth year was really dragging on and on. Calculating my actual age led me to realize my mistake.

After having a good laugh, I decided it is quite telling.

It shows how unimportant the numbers of your mid- to late-thirties are. You're not quite to the forties, and just somewhere in the middle of the thirties, and all rather meh when it comes to years. I don't feel old; yet I don't delude myself into thinking that I am still a little young thing. I am just me. Plugging along happily, living my life, and hoping to eventually drop those 20 pounds I keep meaning to lose, but never seem to care enough to actually give up the food it will require to do so.

I am way more confident than I was in my twenties - both as a mother, a wife, and a friend. My kids are older and much more independent, making them, quite frankly, a lot more fun. I have all day to myself to work, shop, or meet friends for lunch. I happily indulge in an afternoon matinee at the theater and feel no guilt whatsoever. Those books I always intended to read actually get read.

I feel very at home in my skin. I've accepted the inevitability of the stretch marks staying for life, and, quite honestly, I have decided it's the least of my worries when it comes to my body. I work out, but have sort of given myself permission to eat, too. At 38, I have noticed the wrinkles becoming more prominent, but they are not quite concerning enough to act on just yet. Besides, I know my forties will be all about the botox anyway.

I am still slightly schizophrenic when it comes to loving my freckles, however.

But all in all, I am happy. I am experienced enough to be confident in my positive contributions to the world. I am not afraid to try new things and I still know there is a lot for me yet to learn and do. I know it is better to be full of love and forgiveness than to harbor hate and resentment. I know the value of a good friend, and feel my life richer for the beautiful women who I am blessed to know - both near and far.

I think that the thirties and I have done just fine together.

Here's hoping the rest of the decades are just as accommodating.

If not, maybe I'll just keep saying that I'm still 38.


P.S. Awesome things to note in my birthday photo: The coconut cake. If you have not made it yet, please do. It is life changing. And totally worth every bite of its 9,000 calorie self. The diet coke in a goblet? Courtesy of my children. Making their mama's caffeine addiction classy since 1998. The sweater? Courtesy of WHBM. My current favorite place to shop for all things ruffles.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It'll be okay. Don't worry.


A few years ago, when I first heard Randy Pausch's Last Lecture, I was moved to tears. Partly for the tragic horror it would be to face mortality and its consequences as a parent, but partly also for the magnificence of Randy Pausch's mother in letting him draw all over his bedroom walls.

Pausch says:
"When I was in high school, I decided to paint my bedroom. I always wanted a submarine and an elevator. And the great thing about this is they let me do it, and they didn’t get upset about it. And it’s still there. If you go to my parent’s house, it’s still there. And anybody who is out there who is a parent, if your kids want to paint their bedroom, as a favor to me, let them do it. It’ll be OK. Don’t worry..."
That quote has come to my mind many times. When my kids have asked to hang a particularly ugly poster on the wall in their bedroom or begged to paint their room a hideous color. Without fail, each and every time, I've said no. And patted myself on the back for not letting them make decisions I was confident they'd regret later.

Deep down inside, it's haunted me.

So this weekend, when I announced that I would be painting their walls as part the The Remodel, I was fully prepared to say no when they asked to help.

But I thought of Pausch, his mother, and I somehow found myself saying yes instead.


In the beginning, it was all I could do to not take over the job myself. Every fiber of my being cried out against this loss of control. When I stepped in large gobs of paint spilled on the floor. When I caught their paint drips racing down baseboards, and discovered I had caught them too late.

Most especially when one of them fell off a five-foot ladder, landing in a painful heap on the hard floor.

But once I'd made peace with the inevitable paint smeared on the ceiling, the paint dripping down the closet corners, and the extra hours it took for all of this, I noticed something.

I noticed the eagerness in their eyes as they talked about where they'd place the furniture in their new rooms. I noticed their smiles and laughter, as they sang along to the music. I noticed the teamwork as they helped each other navigate tricky angles. I noticed the ownership and pride on their faces at being given the responsibility of such a grown up task. I noticed us working, side-by-side, as our happy chatter passed the time.

And I noticed something I had missed all along: It's really not such a bad thing to let your kids paint on the walls after all.

And it'll always be okay.

Because the things that matter are not drips in the corner or smudges on the ceiling.

The things that matter are the three wonderfully perfect little people who put them there.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Eleven on the Eleventh of the Eleventh

Today is 11.11.11.

I can't help but flashback to 8.8.88. I was in junior high, and my best friend Christina and I decided to have an eight party. We bought each other eight gifts, had eight things to eat, and I'm not sure what else. We thought we were pretty awesome though. As did the zero boys who were in our life at that time. Correlation?

Nah. We were awesome. And our hair was big and curly. (Hi, Christina!)

I thought I'd spew some random thoughts for your reading pleasure this morning.

You're welcome.

1. I'm up early this morning, having just gotten my boys off on a church youth trip to Independence, Missouri. It's funny to have two old enough to go. Kind of blows my mind how fast the years are flying. I feel like the preschool age lasted like 20 years. Now that they're fun and interesting? Time is flying by at warp speed. Makes me sad.

2. The Remodel is going well. Last night, they FINALLY finished painting the ceiling in the living room, which meant that the Bubble Boy room was dismantled. The two couches in my kitchen have been returned to their rightful place, and it makes everything feel so big. Progress, people.

3. A few days ago, the Husband's company had a dinner at a glass blowing factory where we learned how to manipulate glass that was 2,03950,000 degrees. (Yes, I realize that is not a real number. But I exaggerate to show you just how stinkin' hot it was). We had a long safety seminar where they told us over and over NOT to grab the metal pole with our left hand, as it would take the skin off our hand with the heat. Guess who reached for her pole very first thing? Yeah. Me. Thankfully, the Husband was right there and screamed before I could actually touch it. That could have been bad. And embarrassing.

4. My backyard is covered in leaves and I have ZERO desire to rake them. Seeing as how my two work horses have just spirited off to Independence, it looks like the job may fall to me. Anyone want to do it? I'll pay you five bucks. No? Jerks.

5. I am hungry today. Like REALLY hungry.

6. I think this post just crossed the line and became the worst thing on the internet today. Sorry about that.

7. I am extremely mindful this time of year of what a good place I am in right now physically. I think back to last year -- the pain, the tears, the crippling depression -- and I get teary eyed with gratitude. I do not think I will take my health for granted ever again.

8. Speaking of which, don't you love it when your insurance company overrides your doctor and decides what medication and treatment are appropriate for you? I am thinking I will call their 800 number next time I get a cold or a yeast infection. They seem to know best and will have all the answers for me, right? I'll make sure to especially describe in detail the yeast infection. And definitely to as many male employees as I can get my hands on.

9. I finally got my Christmas card done. This is WAY late in the year for me. I usually have it done and in-hand before Halloween, and have spent days wringing my hands in anxiety. The Husband has just not been home and we've been waiting on him to do the pictures. Though I did consider photoshopping Hugh Jackman or Mr. Darcy in, I felt it could create too much uncertainty and confusion for the children. Now I can rest easy. And it's going to be spectacularly awesome, if I do say so myself.

9. Yes, I realize I'm crazy. No, I don't care. In truth, it's the rest of you who are crazy. Waiting until after Thanksgiving to think about your Christmas card? Gives me hives. Oh, the horror.

10. A few weeks ago, I got the new iPhone and I have to say that Siri has changed my life. It makes texting and driving so easy. You push the big button on the front, tell it with your mouth who to text and what to say, and bam! your text is sent. No one has to die! I set verbal reminders for myself all day long, then go back to my little checklist and cross them off. You all need to get it. It's brilliant. (For the record, I never texted and drove before.)

11. And that's it! Happy Eleven Eleven Eleven. Send a little prayer up for those who keep this country safe. Also? Pray that I provide you a better blog post next time. This is absolute crap.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I am a but insensitive


There, I said it. Too late to take it back.

Though I should clarify that statement by also saying that I have yet to even visit the site.


The reason for my rage-filled hate for the Pinterest is this post.

And, yes, I realize that it's my very own post, written with my own hand, almost three years ago.

That post is apparently making the rounds on Pinterest. I cannot tell you the volume of emails and comments I am STILL receiving on it. Most of them wonderfully complimentary.

But quite a few of them not so nice.

Take the most recent one, left by our old, cowardly friend, Anonymous:

Well, they're cute but Wampanoag Indians didn't live in tee-pees. They would be great for a lesson on the Plains Indians but not for Thanksgiving. Lumping all tribes and ways of life together is a but culturally insensitive.

I am assuming they meant it was a BIT culturally insensitive. I don't know what a but culturally insensitive is.

Though I am pretty sure my butt is quite offensive in several cultures. Maybe that was what they were saying?

And that is not the worst of them. I received a two-page email a few weeks ago from someone telling me I was promoting racial insensitivity, and that I was basically a racist pig.

In August, I got an email from a woman begging me to stop misinforming the world regarding the housing of the First Americans (as apparently, some don't like to be called Indians now). There were several informative links and if I gave a crap, I'd put them up here and educate the rest of you, too.

(Sorry. I don't give a crap. At least about educating the world on what the Indians First Americans lived in.)

Another kind reader informed me that I had no morals and was foul for using a swear word in that post.

(The dammit word.)

With the Resistance police hounding me night and day in my own home, I hardly need her to tell me I am going to you-know-where.

When I wrote that post THREE FREAKING YEARS ago, I had no idea that I would be offending Indians and prudes alike. I honestly just wanted a cute, edible decoration to put on my table at Thanksgiving.

I have said it before, and I will say it again, I WRITE WHATEVER THE EFF I WANT. If you don't like it, don't read it. And, if you have something crappy to say, have the courage to at least attach your name to it.

So, tell me, decent people of blog land, is there any reason at all that I should go visit Pinterest? Is it chock full of haters and anonymous trolls? Also? Is my butt offensive in your culture? Do you have obscure First American websites you could link for me? Would you like to send me condemnations for my bad language? Am I sarcastic and obnoxious?

Don't answer that.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My lucky day

A few weeks ago, I went on a little trip across the pond.

Or did I mention it? My trip? Yes?

All right then. Shut up.

While there (and properly following the instructions on my electricity converter, mind you) a slight mishap occurred that involved me and a Chi flat iron.

It broke my heart. (But mostly because it meant I had to walk around London and Paris with bad hair. And how would Darcy, Prince Harry, or Daniel Craig ever be able to fall in love with me?)

Because smooth, straight hair? Slightly important. Unless the Diana Ross ever comes back in style. Then I'm all set.

ANYway, the point of this rambling post is that I had to buy another one. So, first day off the plane, I stampeded my big-haired self into my local Ulta. Hannah came with me because, hello, she's female, and that store is like a magnet for us X chromosomers.

While in the checkout line, the clerk asked if I would like to donate a dollar to breast cancer research.

This happened at the exact moment that Hannah began tugging on my sleeve and whispering asking in a loud voice whether I thought the clerk was a boy or a girl.

The clerk, who was very obviously a boy, was wearing more make up than Cher on her best day in Las Vegas.

In a cheery attempt to distract Hannah and keep the He/She busy, I said that, sure, I'd love to donate to breast cancer. Oh, and what is that lovely thing over there?

I have no doubt that the He/She heard Hannah, and I got out of there as fast as I could.

Fast forward to today. I get a call from Ulta saying that I had won the breast cancer giveaway, which was $600 in free beauty products, and would I mind coming in to pick them up?

Would I mind driving five minutes down the road to claim my free stuff? Heck, I'd have crawled there in my underwear while wearing a crown of mayonnaise on my head. I love that store and spend a fortune on anything promising to make me look 12 again. Now you want to give me a whole bag of it FOR FREE?

Internet, I give you the booty, bounty, and beautiful pile of free stuff from the tragically gorgeous He/She at Ulta:


Shampoos, lip glosses, a blow drier, a curling rod, face creams, hair spray, nail polish, name it, I've got it.

Even three pairs of fabulously pink reading glasses.

I'm thinking today HAS to be my day to play the lottery.

Either that, or I should just put everything on my face at once, head over to Ulta, and take a photo with the He/She.

(I'll bet he'd (she'd?) still look better than me. Seriously. Boyfriend rocked the make-up.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Somebody's singing in our shower

Yesterday, Hannah walked in the door, paused, and looked up with horror on her face. Instantly, I knew just what her problem was.

"WHAT. IS. THAT?" she asked.

"Oh, that. It's the man upstairs."

"WHY is he doing that?" she inquired, hands held tight over her ears in a vain attempt at protecting herself from the onslaught raining down from above.

Having endured the sound for the past several hours, I had been asking myself the same thing all day long.

What was this audible horror story come to life, you ask?

It's our drywall guy.

Apparently, he really likes the singing. And music from the 60s.

Both at high volume. (And very out of tune.)

This morning, I walked by the boys' room, hoping my presence would serve as a shameful reminder that he was not, in fact, alone in the house. Sadly, I am afraid it had quite the opposite effect.

He looked up at me through dusty glasses, grinned like a bobcat, and said, "Don't you just love Pandora radio?"

I smiled, nodded, and went back down to the basement --the only place in the house where the new soundtrack of my life is slightly muffled.

Frankly, I'd like to stuff that Pandora back into the box where she came from.

And possibly him, too.