Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A New Low

Picture this... You are walking through the airport and you suddenly encounter a cute little elderly couple getting verbally attacked by a person half their age. The silver-haired woman, in her jewel-toned wind suit and coordinating fanny pack, and the man, in his bifocals and hearing aids, are just standing there, completely befuddled. You would want to intervene on their behalf, wouldn't you? I know I certainly would... except there's only one minor problem. The person screaming at them uncontrollably is none other than me

Yep, that's how I left things the last time I saw my parents. What is wrong with me? Who yells at old people? 

There are issues that run so deep in my family (the family in which I am the daughter, not the one in which I am the wife/mother, thank God!). Issues that can take people down. We have my brother, who is about halfway through his stint at rehab as a stellar example, and my unhinged, slightly maniacal ass, as another. Why can't the skeletons emerge? Why can't they be discussed? Why can't I get any real, concrete answers or feelings or thoughts out of my parents?

And as horrible as this sounds, I still believe I am right. No, I take that back. I know I am right. But I am starting to realize that there won't be any convincing them of that, and even if that miracle were to happen, at what cost? Am I going to be demanding an apology when they are on their deathbeds? Am I going to continue to insist that they acknowledge my feelings, when there may come a day when they don't even know me? 

I guess my anger towards them has subsided enough to let the guilt creep in. I was really enjoying my indignant self-righteousness, staking my claim to that ever-so desirable real estate commonly known as the moral high ground. 

I have got to find a way to love them unconditionally, in spite of themselves. They've certainly done that small favor for me. 

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bun in the Oven?

Surprised? I bet my husband is! I guess just because I am eating for seven, doesn't mean I am expecting septuplets. Oh well, sorry to mislead and disappoint... no multiples here. HOWEVER, I have blognapped a very wonderful mom of adorable multiples, and the ransom is high, people. I'm not joking. If you think you can help her, go read about my demands

And a happy Friday to you all...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Teen Talk, Part II (Can You Believe It?)

Here I am, many days late, and much more than a dollar short (thanks to the wonderful subjects of my video). Nonetheless, I present to you the second installment of Teen Talk. As this series of mine has evolved, the one thought that keeps returning is, I should have looked into boarding school way back when I threatened to the first time. Oh well... At this point, the end of my time as their guardian is drawing nigh, so I might as well use them to my advantage as much as legally possible.

Monday, May 18, 2009

School's (Not Quite) Out For Summer!

For the next couple of weeks, there is major testing going on at both boys' schools. SOLs, Finals, APs, XYZs... you name it. I have my own particularly strong opinions on all of these standardized tests that really have very little to do with how the kids have spent their last 8 months in the classroom. But, so sorry, that's not what this post is about!

In honor of test season, I have created my own short quiz for you all to take. Not to worry, though, it's multiple choice!

So get to class before the bell rings, and let's see how much you know. And hey... no cheating!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Reflections of An Older Person (Uncut and CLEARLY Unedited)

I'm not sure what my deal is. I am becoming such a hermit in my old age. I just want most people to leave me alone. I hate talking on the phone (except to the one person for whom I will always answer). I would make an excellent 86 year old man. But is it such a bad thing to just prefer the company of my husband and boys... and myself? 

I absolutely adore being alone. I love crawling into my head and mulling things over and over and over. Oh, and I have plenty to mull, mind you. I have at least one problem from all the major problem categories. And as much as I like to think that all my problems don't define me, they actually do. They contribute to the story of my life. They're the chapters, really. I don't look back on my life and think in terms of "pre-going-blonde" or "post-purchasing-really-awesome-metallic-flats-and-matching-handbag". I think about college "before the car wreck", or how I feel about my childhood "since finding out my brother is an alcoholic". Doesn't everyone think this way? I mean, I do think about the good things, too, but they aren't so much chapters, as they are the fuel that keeps me up and running. 

But listen, that's not to say that I let these problems get me down or control my actions. They really don't. Well, who am I kidding? Sometimes they do, as you have all bore witness. I get down and frustrated and sad and mad, better (and more frequently) than most. But as weird as this sounds, I don't really consider my problems to be problematic. They're just my circumstances. My hand from the great deck of Life. 

And I persevere. These circumstances don't kill me, but they don't necessarily make me stronger, either. They exist as long as I exist. Some will pass, others will remain. Forever. New ones will crop up (oh joy). I don't ever question the fairness of it all. "Why me?" is never entertained.

But I don't say that in a self-promoting sort of way. I don't think I am particularly well adjusted just because I don't ask for an explanation for my path in life. But I am aware that if I am going to ask "why?", I need to be prepared to ask "why not?" 

And although I have at least one problem from each of the major problem categories, I certainly don't want anyone who happens to be listening (yes, God, that means You! But I guess You already know that), to think that I want or need any more!

Anyway, happy Sunday and happy my birthday, and thank you all (especially you), for your sweet well wishes.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Habitual Rituals

I've been blogging for almost a year now, and I have figured some stuff out. Nothing earth shattering, mind you, but interesting. Sorta kinda. Well, let me amend that... I have learned some extremely earth shattering things, but that's not what this particular post is about. Sorry, no buzz kill for you kids today.

So, I've noticed I have writing habits, and that makes me happy. I feel like it legitimizes me as a writer (again, sorta kinda). Which reminds me, my boys have the funniest little rituals they go through before they swim in a race. Sweet Mr. Beans always waves his arms around in big circles and kind of hops up and down. Moody Teen presses his googles to his face with his palms, over and over and over again, then shakes each leg once. Unless he's swimming backstroke, in which case, he sits in the water, gripping the coping, waiting to take off. Boring, I know. He hates backstroke, so he'd wholeheartedly agree.

Anyway, back to me. Here are my behaviors I have observed:

As much as I would like to, I can't listen to music when I write. No iPod, no cd, nothing. 

As much as I would like to, I can't plan out ahead of time what I would like to convey. I have to clear my head and just let the words come as I type.

As much as I would like NOT to, I must always be eating when I type. Occasionally pausing for a bite of Reese's Puffs really seems to keep the creativity flowing.

I have to have an empty house when I write. Like, totally empty. No husband, no kids, no cleaning lady. Dogs are allowed, but they have to be silently sleeping (or outside digging in the yard).

Oh, and this one is really weird... and it must just be a habit I developed (duh), but everything has to be written in the little blogger post box. I can sit and stare at a blank word document all day long and the words don't come. However, if I pull up Blogger and click "new post," my thoughts start to crystallize and my fingers begin to move. So even if I am not writing a blog post, I will write it here (in Blogger), then cut and paste in the appropriate format.

And finally, I have a special spot. The whole reason I got a laptop was so I could write on the fly. Sitting by the pool, lounging in the hammock, holed up in the study. But here I am every day, sitting at the head of the kitchen table, hammering out my thoughts. Alone. At the spur of the moment. In silence. With food. And a big ol' smile on my face.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Changing My Tune

The original inspiration for this post came during our family vacation to Whistler.  Although a fun time was had by all, I was ever so disturbed by my boys' complete lack of couth and situational awareness. It would be an understatement to say I was discouraged and perhaps even a little humiliated as my kids belched, ate with their hands, told inappropriate jokes just a little too (okay, a lot too) loudly, and basically ran amuck, while other kids sat cleanly and quietly, exuding politeness and civility (and these weren't just those cute little British kids). I think the last straw was when, at the nicest restaurant we visited, my eldest (Mr. Moody Teen, himself) picked up the creamer pitcher, and took a big swig. Where had I gone wrong? 

I've always adhered to the philosophy of 'choosing one's battles' when correcting, guiding, punishing my kids. Clearly, I haven't chosen so wisely. Or so I thought...

While I was back 'home' this past weekend, reliving old nightmares (and creating some new ones) with my parents and brother, my husband and boys were basically left to their own devices. No, baths weren't taken, clothes weren't changed... heck, hair wasn't even combed. Home repair projects weren't completed. There really wasn't much in the way of organized, productive activity, whatsoever. 

However, homework was completed (marginally, I assume, but who cares), serious guy time was spent, a home cooked steak dinner was prepared and consumed, and the following little gem was emailed to their mom (me). 

They may never be able to eat in public, and no girls will ever want to get near them, but they've won my heart forever.

*author's note: in case it is too difficult to read, the sign says We Miss Mom. also, if you don't find this a big deal, you obviously don't have teens. the sheer will it must have taken for them to a) smile (yes, those count as smiles), and b) hold up a nerdy sign admitting their love for their mother, is staggering. or perhaps their father was holding them at gunpoint. either way, this was a dramatic moment.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Eyes Wide Open

Okay, I am back from my whirlwind trip with some really exciting news... I am almost 100% sure I am not going to burn in Hell for all of eternity! This is actually quite huge for me, as the uncertainty of my soul's future has been weighing on my mind since I was a child. Let's see what else I learned:

I am now convinced that God has very little to do with the distribution of people's problems. Not that He couldn't be, if he so chose (so don't panic, I am not underestimating His omnipotence), but the whole "God doesn't give you more than you can handle" is a fallacy. An old wives' tale, if you will. Bunk. Bullshit. Soooooo not true. So, if there are any of you out there riding the wave of false hope that it can't get any worse because God won't let it... I am here to tell you to get over it. 

It can get worse.  It can get a lot worse. People whose lives seemed idyllic can break under the weight of a lifetime of secrets. I happen to be related to someone who can no longer handle the enormity of his pain. In reality, he hasn't been able to handle it for quite some time. And it is so very clear to me that it will probably get worse before it can get even remotely better.

But I don't say that out of bitterness or anger or hopelessness, or even lack of faith. Ironically, after my weekend cruise down the River Styx, my faith remains unshakeable and stronger than ever. But I am no longer certain that "it will all be okay." And I am not so sure all of my ever-increasing, big girl problems are all "for a reason." Which is not to say that I don't think God is with me every step of the way.

In fact, I do know with all my heart that God is here for each of us. Whether we attend church 3 times a week or not at all. Whether we have a prayer chain that extends around the world, or if we are just one weak, tired, confused and hurt voice whispering in His ear.  

Friday, May 1, 2009

He Said, She Said

I interrupt my regularly scheduled gloomy, depressing posts of late, with a query for you, my sage readers. I should disclose that I am not asking on my own behalf, but on that of my incredible (yet slightly misguided) husband of almost 18 years. You may leave your opinion in my comments section or email me, or even remain anonymous, if you fear retribution. Don't worry, though, it's okay to side with my husband. He's all about the external validation, and I'll just be relieved to have him shut up (finally). So here it is (and I quote):

Is it ever acceptable to say to your husband, "So you're going to put yourself first and finish eating your pizza before you rub my feet?!?!!" 

In other news, I've come to realize that I may have a comma problem. Or maybe a run on sentence, coupled with a comma, problem.