Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Que Sera, Sera

The first time he looked up at me with those happy blue eyes and said, "Mommy, I'm gonna grow up to be an army man," he was probably 3. Without hesitating, I replied, "Of course you are, my brave, sweet boy," even though I knew I was lying. It wasn't going to happen, but it seemed unusually cruel and completely unnecessary to tell him he couldn't. After all, isn't it a parent's job to instill confidence in their children? Help them realize the world is out there for them, the sky's the limit? But what if it isn't? What then? Well, I certainly wasn't going to worry about it right then. Besides, don't all little boys want to be "army men"? Don't most grow out of it? Surely.

Well, the little dream of his remained. And grew. But there was time... No rush to break the news to this smart, funny, gregarious boy that only wanted a normal life. He had enough to deal with. Daily medicine, treatments, doctor visits. It was important to let him know he could be completely normal. Just like everybody else. Even better, in fact.

After all, he runs so fast, swims circles around others, and points his skis down the steepest of slopes without looking back or slowing down. A metaphor for how he has lives each day. He is actively defeating the odds. He can do anything... except the one thing he wants to do. How do I tell him? Does he maybe already know? There's time. He'll grow out of it. 

But then it happened last year. My unstoppable teen was talking on the phone to his girlfriend in a tone I hadn't ever heard. Shocked and maybe slightly panicked. Not scared or worried, but angry and confused. I stood outside his door, listening while my heart slowly sank. He was recounting how some kids at school told him rather matter-of-factly that he was going to die by the time he was 30. It was time to get real. 

Don't get me wrong... my son has known about his disease since before he even knew what a disease really was. I have been upfront, direct, and completely honest with him. Of course I have put my hopeful, positive spin on it because that is what gets me out of bed and keeps me sane. And it is what will keep him healthy until a cure is found. But it is also what has perpetuated the one lie (or conspicuous omission, if you will) that has to finally be confronted. 

He won't die by the time he is 30. He will do more and live longer than most that share that pesky mutated gene, DeltaF508. However... He can't join the Army. Or the Coast Guard. Or, while we're at it, the Peace Corps. And he certainly can't be a firefighter... his lungs would never last.

He has taken the news well. He certainly is mad and finds the situation completely unfair and illogical. But slowly, he has grown to accept it. He's started to look into other careers... trying to reshape his dream. He still brings it up, the unfairness of it all. And all I can do is agree and tell him what a great policeman he will be. Or teacher. Or doctor. He can be anything he wants to be. Almost. 

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I've Made My Own Bed and Now I Can't Lie In It!

See anything wrong with this picture? For those unfamiliar with my house, let me give you a hint... The bed does not belong to either individual resting so comfortably in it. 

You see, the blonde creature belongs down the hall in his own bed, and the black and tan one belongs, well, someplace else. Anyplace else. The empty spot where you might think I could fit is my husband's (who I insisted remain in the photo to give the viewers a true sense of what a logistical nightmare this really is. He refused.). The result of this almost weekly occurrence is two-fold. I am screwing up my 11 year old AND getting a bed full of black fur. I TOTALLY see my role in this, yet I keep allowing it to happen. I kind of like the fact that my son sees it as a treat to get to sleep in Mom & Dad's bed. And we all DO begin the evening together in the bed in question. We read together, discuss the day, talk about the Broncos (although I am not sure why), and just snuggle. But then my son slowly orients himself perpendicularly. The dog forgets that no one can stand her and gets as close as she possibly can to me. The claustrophobia sets in and I hightail it to the guest room. It's a battle of wills, but I am the only one awake to participate, so by default, I am the one to leave. Everyone else is quite content staying put. As you can tell... 

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

How the Grinch, Along with Shameful Mass Consumerism, Stole Christmas

I was strolling through Target today, and what to my wondering eyes should appear? This, my friends. THIS! 

Unfortunately, this was not the first straw, but rather, the very last in a string of increasingly irritating straws. 

It all started the afternoon of the first day of school. My kids came home with long lists of supplies to be purchased. I outfitted them with binders and pens I had around the house and promised them I would complete their lists the following day, sparing them the hassle, and allowing me to shop in peace (oh, silly me). When I walked into Target the next day, to my complete surprise and horror, the school supply aisle had been been emptied. I was stunned. Everything was GONE! There were a couple of workers, packing up the display units, that informed me they had to clear out to make way for the Halloween items. HALLOWEEN?? It was September 3! Sure enough, back at Target not a week later, I encountered aisles of costumes, plastic pumpkins, and scary skeletons. Isn't Halloween still in October?

So that brings us to today. Naturally, like all good retail cycles, the Halloween merchandise is now deeply discounted. "Clearance", they are calling it. And next to the picked-over Halloween junk are these lovely Christmas cards. No wonder I am sick of Christmas by... well, Christmas!

Apparently, I must be a remedial shopper. I certainly wouldn't classify myself as one, as I love to be the first to know about new fun stuff. But I just can't keep up. I can barely plan for tomorrow, much less over a month from now. But maybe it isn't me. And if it ISN'T me that is way behind the curve, then what is it? Is it the retailers helping us out by forcing us to plan ahead? Or is it something darker, more nefarious? 

Well, I pick B (of course... it's that paranoia rearing it's ugly head again). I can't help but think we are all blindly falling into a dangerous and soul-stripping pattern of purchase now, buy more, grab this steal, be one step ahead of the neighbors. 

I know I sound preachy, and as I glance at the simple but elegant Christmas cards I went ahead and purchased (they're just so perfect), I realize I am throwing some awfully big stones in this glass house of mine. Maybe it isn't the end of the world, but shouldn't a gal be able to buy a protractor and some glue sticks on the second day of school? Can't we wait until December to see if we are even still speaking to our relatives before we spend money on them? We may not be able to buy as much, hoard as much, but maybe life will be calmer and simpler? Maybe we'll make better decisions. Maybe we'll actually think about the meaning of a holiday, rather than walking around in flip-flops and shorts, wondering if the cashmere scarf will match Grandma's coat.

Lesson here? I don't know... Maybe just that when you get your little gold envelope in the mail this holiday season (probably late), remember I've been thinking of you since September.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Tis the Season

So, ever since what seems like forever, but is probably more like January, I have been receiving all sorts of inflammatory, nonsensical emails from both the right (hi Mom!) and the left. I've had Obama's gay, back-of-the-limo tryst and McCain's faked POW stint come through my inbox. Like driving past a bad car wreck, I usually can't delete without taking a peek to see just how crazy things have gotten. Usually, I have underestimated the depths to which the forwarder will sink.

Then there's the TV coverage. The screaming. The distortions. The taking of things out of context.

And it's all starting to make me confused(er) and cranky(er). So what I want to say to all of you people that are making my life miserable is this:

It's not your POLITICS that I don't like, it's your BEHAVIOR that I have a problem with.

I am willing to hear anyone, with ANY point of view. I am certainly not going to think less of someone simply because they disagree with me. And I think we would ALL agree that these decisions we make this election season are important ones. But is it not possible to feel passionately without acting rude, demeaning and hateful? If you feel strongly, even fervently about one particular way of doing things or one candidate, can you PLEASE express it with dignity and respect for others? Human Decency 101. Hope you didn't cut class. We are all in this together, and I, for one, would like the finger-pointing and name-calling to stop. That's what I have my kids for.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Day 2 Post Op

Here we are at day 2. Bananas appear to be fine. I am a bit worried about the bag, as it seems to be working overtime, battling the produce-damaging ethylene. There is sweat everywhere, which is a bit disturbing. So that's about all I have for you. Which leads me to my important announcement. I am abandoning my study. Jumping ship. Movin' on. For those one, maybe two, of you who care, here's why:

1) Flawed Study: No control group. I should have had a second bunch just sitting on my counter, exposed to the elements, living dangerously.

2) School Lunch: My boys are requesting PB&B sandwiches today, so say goodbye to our subjects. No tears. Be brave.

3) Boredom: I've lost interest. I'd much rather be talking about how misunderstood I am, or my boys, or even that rascally husband of mine that is just now re-emerging from the doghouse.

4) Been there, done that: Apparently, I was reinventing the wheel. Click here to see this lovely lady solve the mystery for us. I am happy to see she takes her product review more seriously than I take mine.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

As Seen on TV

Wha-Wha-Wha-Whhhaaaaaa...Have you seen the commercial on TV? It ranks right up there with Orange Glo and ShamWow. The Debbie Meyer Green Bags, in all their glory. All of your produce will supposedly stay fresh up to 10 times longer (10 times!). And let's not forget that these little miracles are 1) made in the US and 2) reusable. IF these bags do what they claim, my life could be irrevocably changed. You see, one of my biggest issues with buying, cooking, eating fresh foods is they always go bad and I end up throwing out obscene amounts of food. I decide to make a salad, so I buy the head of lettuce, celery, peppers, cukes, etc., yet only use a portion of them. Well, of course the next day, no one in my family wants salad AGAIN, so everything sits in my fridge, wilting and turning blue, until garbage day, when it all gets tossed out. 

I'd like to say that I am cynical about all these products advertised on TV, but I'm not. I always have a nagging "What if they really work?" in the back of my mind. Take, for instance, the Pro Activ Skin Care set. Those kids really do seem happy with their clear skin. And, it was mentioned in my Bible (the annual Best Beauty Buys issue of InStyle Magazine). AND, those pretty doctors do seem to know their stuff. 

So, anyway, I was doing my weekly hunting and gathering at Target, when these little pups caught my eye. I could not let this opportunity pass me by. So I am now the proud owner of a box of 20 (reusable and made in the US) bags. I cracked it open and immediately put this intriguing product to the test. I am happy to report that my bananas are resting comfortably in their ethylene-eating cocoon. Check back tomorrow to see how they are doing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Skin Deep

A friend of mine recently announced that he was interested in getting a "tasteful tattoo" (which is a bit of an oxymoron, if you ask me) and was seeking input from others. I found that a little strange, since what you engrave into your skin should be, well, personal. Call me crazy.

So, naturally, since everything (in MY mind), ends up being about me, I began to reflect on my own tattoo, and how it came to be. Come with me, won't you, on a journey that began just about 18 years ago.

My boyfriend of about one month and I decided that since we were both kindred, crazy spirits, we should get tattoos to show the world just how rebellious and spontaneous we really were. Never mind the fact that he was a straight-laced, conservative-leaning medical student. Someone I would hardly give a second glance toward, had he not been so dang funny (and cute and smart). Anyway, anyway... we were both flat broke, so we decided to borrow money from my mom, lying that we were off to the movies. Being so typically my mom, instead of handing us a fifty and sending us on our way, she carefully doled out $14 ($7 per movie ticket x 2). I'm sure we were to bring home change, should there be any.

Fast forward to the tattoo parlor. We were just so pleased with ourselves, walking so bravely (and coolly) into the seedy dive. As we began to peruse the menu of colorful markings, we quickly realized that if we were going to go glamorous or outrageous, we were about $200 short. We made our way to the "cheap" section and saw that our options were limited. But suddenly, our eyes lit up and we sang out in unison, "That's the one!" We both agreed that the tiny peace sign would be perfect and ALMOST within budget. We coerced our grumpy, but talented and sensitive, artist to give us a 2-for-1 deal. A little pain, and a miniscule amount of blood later, we had matching tattoos on our feet, outwardly displaying our matching hearts. Now, that boyfriend of mine wore socks for a few months, keeping it out of sight (his parents would have physical proof of my bad influence), whereas I flaunted mine to any and all. It was met with very mixed reviews (which I loved), with the majority wondering what it would look like when I'm 80.

Of course, that boyfriend became my husband just a few short months later. The rationale being, where else was he going to find someone with a matching tattoo? The proposal, if you haven't figured it out by now, will have to be a post all unto itself, if I'm to do it any justice whatsoever.

I might not know what my tattoo will look like when I am 80, but I am exactly halfway there and it still looks pretty darn good. And besides, by the time I am 80, my breasts are certain to be sagging so low, they will cover it nicely. Or I will be completely out of my mind and simply won't care.

Friday, September 12, 2008


I totally buy into the idea of harbingers. Those who know me will insist that I just read WAY too much into things. Some have even suggested a mild paranoia. I am constantly on the lookout for these little clues to what the future holds. Not necessarily because my thought process is so evolved, but because I have this nagging fear that I might miss out on something. I'm a gotta-be-the-first-to-know kind of gal. God forbid Armageddon begins and I'm still on the couch in my PJs. 

Anyway... harbingers. Most people, I think, overlook them for a variety of reasons. Busy schedules, self-absorption, complete lack of awareness of their surroundings, or simple disinterest. But for me, they are extremely comforting. On good days, they are affirmations of my semi-irrational hopefulness. On bad, they are gentle reminders that I have no business trying to exert control over that which I have absolutely no influence.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Crossing the Line

Literally AND figuratively. Admittedly, I took care of the literal, but the author of this fine note handled the rest ...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Jumping on the Bandwagon

Rumor has it, it's Kids Week here in Blogtopia. A time to flaunt shamelessly the beauty, brains, and brawn of our offspring. Well, that works for me, as every week is Kids Week at my house, as I am quite capable of seeing the genius (read: college scholarship) in even the smallest, and completely insignificant, of things. Take for instance, the following poem written by my 11 year old. While it would be much more impressive if I told you he was 5, nonetheless, I find it very funny and not a bad little piece of the written word. If anything, it's a glimpse of the creative, sensitive, good-natured man I know he will grow up to be. Enjoy...

Mountain Dew

Mountain Dew, who doesn't love you?
Your taste, so beautiful, like something Picasso drew.

The first taste,
A burst of citrus flavor
Even a queen would want to savor.
A little piece of Heaven's plan
Is contained in your gorgeous jade can.

When I am through and the flavor is gone,
Sorrow blankets me like the grass on the lawn.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

You Know It's Time for a New Dishwasher When:

1. You have to wash the dishes THOROUGHLY before you load them.
2. You have to wash the dishes thoroughly AFTER their done.
3. You take out a plate and the entire rack comes with it.
4. Your utensils fall straight through the basket onto the floor of the washer.
5. The spinny-roundy thingy on the bottom doesn't spinny-roundy anymore!

Monday, September 8, 2008

About Last Night

"Um, you're going to have to repeat that, because I am sure I must have heard you incorrectly," I stammered in disbelief.

"I don't want you to tuck me in. I don't need you to," My 15 year old declared matter-of-factly.

Well, I knew he couldn't have really meant it, so I headed into his room to give him a quick kiss, hug and cuddle. He was having none of it.

"I told you not to tuck me in! Tuck-ins are for babies."


I left him as he was, turning off his iPod and packing his backpack for the A.M. But as soon as I thought he was asleep, I crept back to his room to sneak a kiss. You see, while he may not need to be tucked in anymore, I still need to tuck him in. Although, clearly, I need to get over it.

I gave him a kiss and straightened out his covers. And as I was about to walk away, I spotted this, under his arm, snuggled up next to him, and it made me smile:

Oh, and as I was walking out of the room, my big boy who didn't need me mumbled, "I love you, Madre." Phew...