Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Stuff

"A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff" George Carlin


I am sitting here looking around my house at all the stuff we have. I can't help but to think of the great George Carlin who talked about accumulating stuff. "The meaning of life: trying to find a place to put your stuff".  


I find it comedic but also true how much stuff you accumulate. I am looking at the stuff on our ottoman..not sure what it is. a couple of kids books, mail that lost its way from opened to paid. (Que late fees)..a notepad so I can write stuff down that I wont forget (helps when I know where it is). To my left, there is more stuff. Clothes helplessly wait to be folded...two guitars waiting to be played. On the mantel is our important stuff...pictures and a Happy Birthday Layla card from her first grade teacher. In front of me there is TV stuff. Wires..game consoles, games from the game consoles, even games from game consoles we no longer have (RIP play station 1). There is a small TV (RIP grown up TV) and there is a couple containers filled with small TV stuff. Next to the TV there is workout stuff collecting dust. My weights are laying next to the yoga mat fighting over who will be used first (my bet: neither). There is my WII fit balance board...just waiting to double as a kickboxing and step aerobics work out. I look up at unused stuff. A bookshelf filled with the unreadable, the must be read again, the maybe the kids will read this and the great pictures books. They lean slightly to the side as if someone removed a few (Que ottoman) and left them sitting around. To top off the room of stuff, there is a clock that lost its will to tick five daylight savings ago. The kitchen is a collection of domestic stuff...cooking, calendars, more books, aprons, and of course stuff. There are three containers of things that have no other place (tickets, pens, the prongs from our fondue set). There is stuff we think looks nice and needs displayed. (nice bowls, pictures, baskets, napkin holders. There is stuff that has a purpose and is used a couple times a day so its place is laying out (trash can, broom, napkins, baggies, tea, vitamins, bread, coffee maker). Then there is stuff that is never used, but has just not found a home. 


The bathroom is where you keep your grooming stuff. You need to shave, brush, pluck, pinch, pull, clip, wipe and wash your self clean. So there is face wash, mouth wash, body wash, hand wash, toothbrush, hair brush, lint brush, eyebrow brush, toilet brush, nail brush and maybe even a scrub brush. Then there are towels, hand towel, wash towel, body towel, hair towel and the towel that gets laid on the ground so the floor doesnt get wet. You look at the sink and it is filled with things that make you smell nice, make your skin soft, make your legs soft and make your hair soft. There is stuff that makes you eyes sparkle or your lips shine, stuff that makes your teeth white and stuff that makes your ass clean. There are places for your dirty clothes, your three curling irons, your bath toys, and your towels. There are places to keep the paper for your nose, the cotton for your toes, and the Qtips for your ears. (so wrong, but so right). The counter gets messy from toothpaste spatter, makeup drip, and little fingerprints. 


The bedrooms have your more personal stuff. You underwear your socks, shoes, clothes and a glass of water for bed. You have a desk collecting dust filled with bills that are unpaid, bills that are paid and ready to be filed, bills you forget to pay and bills that you may never pay. There are papers for trash, papers for news, papers for drawing, papers for printing, papers for wiping the table, papers for wrapping gifts and papers for doing things you shouldn't do. There are important papers with important stamps that you keep in important folders in your important drawer. There are pictures on the wall, pictures on the fridge, pictures in frames on tables, pictures pinned to a bulletin board and of course pictures in books and boxes. You have utensils for cooking, utensils for writing, utensils for drawing, utensils for removing unwanted hair, utensils for cleaning, utensils for playing games. There are blankets, bags, hats, coats, more bags shoes strewn about every chair knob and every couch back. There is dust settling on stuff for decoration and stuff that has seen better days. There are bins for toys, bins for mail, bins for games, bins for crayons, bins for unknown stuff, bins for stuff you should just toss, bins for summer clothes, bins for winter clothes, and even bins for cat toys. 


Somedays I look at all my stuff and get overwhelmed. If my living room were my inbox, I would go around selecting things for "trash" and all incoming stuff would be spam filtered and the stuff we don't need would immediately go into "junk". I don't know how we got so much stuff or what to do with all our stuff. Our stuff isn't organized or is our stuff neat. I grow tired of looking at all this stuff..and wonder what we can do to eliminate some stuff. Kids have stuff, dogs have stuff, cats have stuff, mommies have stuff and daddies have stuff. There is so much stuff involved with, well living I guess. Cooking involves a set of stuff..cleaning involves other stuff..having company involves displaying your best stuff and hiding your worst stuff. Some days I wonder what to do with all this stuff!!!


Have you ever noticed that their stuff is shit and your shit is stuff? George Carlin

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Kung Fu Panda

Today was trying and long. After a large meal, an early evening nap and a budding headache, I can honestly say i am mentally worn out. I was going to take today off from posting. I have a couple stories I am working on but to try to do them tonight would not give them any justice.

If you haven't yet, I would really appreciate more votes for my story for Lucky magazine. (I promise next time I will spell the title correctly!!!). Although there is a cash prize, most importantly it is a chance to get paid to do what I truly love..that is writing.
http://contribute.luckymag.com/blog/my_go_to_beauty-134/dressed_for_sucess-563

Layla came home with one of her masterpieces. She has been working on this painting for the last two weeks. I was glad to have something wonderful to share tonight....as this painting is the best thing to come out of this long Tuesday

Layla's Panda

Monday, August 29, 2011

Countdown to September 6

I am relaxing on the couch..the house completely to my self thinking about the chaos that will ensue next week at this time. I imagine an utter cluster (you know what) of last minute worries. "All the paper towels, tissues, wipes and supplies won't fit in my book bag..and the paper  says the have to be there on the first day" (Layla). "Can I wear this?" Olivia (wearing her Easter dress with leggings). "Oh crap, now I have to start getting up early again. (Josh-in his mind) "Wonder if my black work pants will fit tomorrow or will I have to wear my Monday pants" (Me).  Despite all this chaos, I am more than ecstatic for my girls to go back to school. I look at their little heads and see the soft spot from birth reforming with the lack of new knowledge obtained lately. So here I am thinking about the pros and cons of back to school time.

Pros:
Well the obvious..they aren't here all day. (can I get a hell yeah!!!). Don't get me wrong, I love my kids. They are entertaining to be around and they are well mannered and well behaved.....most of the time. But having them around the house all day and all night with out any real break from well the house, it wares on us all. Sometimes I think they get so tired of being in our house..they resort to running around, chasing each other, compulsive giggling, excess tickling, or fighting. When I turn out the lights and close my eyes, I hear echo of my voice which I now can't stand, saying "Girls, settle down. Girls settle down. I said settle down." I hate this sound. It is like nails on a chalkboard or even worse listening to Justin Beiber over and over again.

Order will be restored. Let me be the first to say, my house is never really cleaned. Sorry. Even when it is scrubbed from closet to corner it still just looks messy. Unfortunately that is how it is. I am not the most neat person nor did I marry the most neat and organized person. So there is always the random basket of random things. (keys, coins, stickers, expired credit cards, 32 cent stamps, extra Christmas light bulbs, lip gloss, plastic rings, silly bands, pen caps, etc.) There is always the shelf of oddly shaped items we have no need or place for. Most people put these things in something called a "closet". Well our closets are littered with random things we haven't used in about five years. For example we have a closet we refer to as the "diaper" closet. That's because it still contains diapers. (yes my kids are 7 and 8 and yes they are potty trained). So when I say order will be restored, I mean their rooms may remain cleaned for longer than twenty four hours. My rule for the summer was "clean your room before playing any video games". Simple enough...except it really doesn't count as a rule if Mom isn't here to enforce it. So daily chores kinda move to weekly chores. I randomly come home to stuffed animals strewn about the floor (Layla), paints open and laying out on a table (Layla) stories half written all over the bedroom, living room and kitchen (Layla). I often see clothes left abandoned as if they tried on and replaced (Olivia) Barbies left in compromising positions (Olivia) and candy stowed away for later enjoyment (Olivia). I assume the house will always be a bit on the chaotic side, but I would like to even out the balance of hours spent at home creating messes to 2-3 instead of 7-8.

My grocery bill will go way down. I know there are school lunches, school snacks, juice boxes, after school snacks, etc. But nothing compares to the eating capacity of two growing girls that seem to think that snack time occurs every half hour. I imagine them sitting at home eating everything from our now twice a week grocery runs. My favorite is when I come home from lunch, have a full out family lunch, get ready to leave and hear "Mommy-can I have a snack?"

Video games will be put on pause. This is my favorite reason for returning to school. Would it be the end of the world if the laptop, WII, DS, Ipod touch, Leapster, etc got to take a rest. My children are really only thinking of one other thing besides food...when can I play the Computer/WII/DS, etc. Their little eyes are permanently glued to little arrows moving some virtual animal to some unknown kingdom. (What the hell is a moshi monster?????) So now the electronics in our house can take a much needed break from their summer time over use)

First day of school 2010
Cons: 
My mornings will become our mornings. Every morning this summer, I have enjoyed a quiet hour (who am I kidding, half hour) of solitude before I head off to work. I am not brushing hair, picking out outfits, tying shoes, yelling things about homework and bus stops. My summer mornings are literally stress free (well, when I have my work outfit pre picked out). I don't have to remind kids about what time it is, listen to Wiki-Layla spout off random facts or wonder why my husband has to "contemplate" on the toilet every morning at seven-fifteen. For the next four days, I am going to enjoy my kid free morning.

My laundry load will go up. Summer = less clothes and NO socks. I generally try to keep four swim suits per child. During the summer, the wardrobe rotation starts off as these four swim suits rotated over seven days. Throw in a pair of shorts over the suit or perhaps a tank top and you are set. I can realistically wait for two weeks and fill up one load with these items. When school starts, this changes. Flip flop wearing turns into socks and shoes. I don't know if there is a sock monster present in anyone else's house, but here he steals sock matches. Every morning at seven twenty five, I hear Josh calling him a sonofabitch while he is digging through clean laundry to find a pair of matching socks. According to Olivia, Justice for Girls sells socks in unmatching format. We have the jackpot here. As soon as school day 1 hits, the laundry doubles. The girls must now wear: shirt, pants or shorts, socks and shoes. Then they come home from school and change into play clothes (not to be mistaken for gym clothes). No matter how much I say "jeans can be worn a couple of times" all these things get thrown in the laundry when they are in a rush to tidy up.

I guess it is time to move back into our fall routine. I am pretty excited for the girls to get back to a normal schedule. So when Girl Scouts, Gymnastics, CCD, Art Classes and soccer are in competition with homework and sleep and we cant get a minute to say hi to each other, I am sure we will miss the lazy days of summer. But for now, we are ready for the change.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

My minute of fame

I really enjoy this blog. I cant tell you how much all the great feedback and dedicated readership means to me. I wrote this article for a contest to be a contributor for Lucky Magazine. (hello...dream job). I would like to combine my personal stories with my love for shopping. Its like a chocolate having sex with vodka orgasm. Just saying....

Vote Vote Vote 

http://contribute.luckymag.com/blog/my_go_to_beauty-134/dressed_for_sucess-563



Thursday, August 25, 2011

Share Your Thunder

I was watching the show "Happy Endings" on ABC. If you haven't seen it..I highly recommend it. I think it speaks to people my age..early thirties. (very early). Or really anyone else who would think a "Color Me Bad" reference is funny no matter what. The main theme of tonight's episode had to do with one sister stealing another sister's thunder. The older sister was this A type who was always planning and organizing things..and her little sister would jump in at the last second and win everyone over. I don't know why...but I found myself crying (PMS?) at the end of this episode. They finally come into conflict and the older sister confronts the younger one about how she is upset her sister is constantly "stealing her thunder".  So the younger girl writes her sister a letter saying she is sorry for always doing this and how much she admired and wanted to be like her sister. It was one of those moments where I was filled with these memories of my sister and I growing up. I don't know if I craved that feeling again of being a child...not having to worry about much and spending endless days just playing.

First off, what the heck does it mean to steal one's thunder? Thunder is awesome, don't get me wrong. There is nothing like the feeling of an upcoming thunder storm to relax me. Being a total night owl (a phrase that actually makes sense), I find the only way to fall asleep with out tossing and turning is by the calming chaos of a thunderstorm. Apparently Liv also feels the same way..she comes running down the hall at 11:30 to announce she almost fell asleep...but needed a glass of water.  So I wonder who steals Thunder? Rainbow Bright? (best cartoon ever) Don't we all share thunder? I can understand stealing glory or stealing the spotlight but I would love to find out the mystery behind why we stay steal some one's thunder (wiki-what!)

I thought about times when my sister came along and stole my thunder. I remember the feeling of total thunder being stolen when she came along. Me (to my mom): Are you holding her??  Its not like I was ever envious of her..I was just a bit of an attention hog...and until she came along it was all eyes on me in our house. I remember a time when we were in our basement riding bikes. (winters in Ohio get boring). I had my little bike and she was on some sort of riding toy..like a bus or something. I was enjoying the limelight of being the master of the bike..the one who was especially skilled in the art of basement biking. I want to say I was about 7 and she was about 3. Then she comes along with a collection of sunglasses, necklaces..etc. Looking back..she looked darn cute. It was pretty funny. All the laughs turned to her. She just scooted around the corner on her little bus with her pajamas on and all this embellishment..just hamming it up in the spotlight. Being the big sister...I manipulated her to pass over her things. I took the sunglasses, the necklace, the hat. I did not however get the response she did.

I look at my girls. Liv is by far the show stopper. I wonder if deep down Layla gets the feeling her Thunder stolen. Did this little sister come along and take away from her cuteness (hardly). Does she even remember the time before Liv came along. The age difference between my girls is twenty months..the age difference between me and my sister is four years. So I had time to cultivate my little personality. Layla may have been born an individual..but she really didn't have much time to come into her own. She had us for a year or so..but part of her individuality always existed because of her sister. And...if anyone will ever be the "A" type it is going to be Liv. I hope there is no thunder being stolen in my house..but as parents can we control our reactions to each child. We feed off of them..cuteness..individuality..smartness and smart-assness. So I guess it is a commonplace for one child to feel the other steal their thunder..

So maybe the crying was a little far. Although I will tell you..I am a crier. Just show a newborn...with their soft little hands..in a commercial and I am a misty mess. I think of things at times and get emotional. Sibling dynamic is one of my sensitive topics (right after Steel Magnolia). I would like to think there is no need to steal each other's thunder. Thunder is heard by all..and is much better when it is shared.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Some like it hot

I am officially convinced the key to a man's heart is to add Sriracha to it. Where the hell did this stuff come from? Its like tasting the inside of a pepper. All of a sudden everyone is adding it to everything. I made chicken wings...hmmm. I made Srircha BBQ chicken wings...OH MY GOD that is amazing. Its like some amazing magic potion you apply to food and it just makes it better. It is to food what a statement necklace did to the Tshirt. Having that magic bottle of red pasty stuff with the green twist lid and words in a language you will never understand makes you automatically a world class chief.

My go to dinner is pasta and veggies. If i was left to one thing to eat, it would be pasta and veggies sauteed in olive oil and garlic. I don't even care if meat were involved. I would just need a barely moo-ing steak and an order of chicken Mc Nuggets once a month and I am set. But pasta..rice..mmm carbs, I could never live with out.  So the other night I kicked up my usual, I am a great cook, really no I am not meal. I may have mastered the pasta, veggies, olive oil and fresh garlic menu, but tonight I took it to rock star status when I added a little of that magic Srircha.

I want everyone to know....and all members of the Taylor family can attest to this, I am not a big fan of all things spicy. I remember one of my many Taylor dinners. Let me paint a picture. I am from a structured we all eat at the same minute at the same table when prayers are said kinda family. We all waited until the last person expected to arrive was there. We set the table, spoons, forks, salad forks (exaggeration font) napkins, water glasses, etc. Then we all sit together, (sometimes kids are sent to a special area called the "kids table". Then we pray. Then we eat. Then we clean the table, then we have dessert and coffee. Well, imagine my surprise when I embark on a family that a) doesn't wait for anyone to start eating. b) eats fast and moves on c) doesn't all sit together. Its grab a seat, on the couch, on the floor, at the table, who cares. d) with no "kids table" or passing of main dishes. Its the Hometown Buffet to my Bucca De Beppo. At first I was holding my fork in hand, waiting to get the official "go ahead" to eating.

So now you can picture me in this setting of chaos compared to what I am used to. Well add hot sauce to that mix. My eyes water when I eat mild wings. At the bar I used to work at we had a hot sauce with that said "NO REFUNDS" next to it. For $30 I ate a spoonful of this stuff. (the pros of waiting on frat guys). It took me a week to get over that pain and twenty minutes to spend the money on a new purse. So when I found out every meal Taylor was covered in hot sauce, it took me a while to adjust. One time, they made some tortilla soup. "This one is really mild" they promised. My mouth burned two bites into it. My mother in law ate the no refund sauce where I used to work with out breaking a sweat.

When I ate my spicy pasta dinner, I came to the realization that I am finally growing up. I am finally able to eat hot sauce with out breaking a sweat. Maybe I almost have a signature go to dinner dish...and most importantly I impressed the most important Taylor.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Number 2

As in baby number two. I was on my way to the hospital to meet my new nephew the other day when an old feeling came knocking around in my head. It was something I had forgotten about that occurred approximately seven years and two months ago. It was the feeling I had when I was pregnant with baby number two. Actually, while Olivia in my belly turning cartwheels into my sciatic nerve, we would refer to her as number two. Layla was named more lovingly, Biscuit. I recall in about month seven this growing fear lingering faster than the little hairball growing inside of me. It was this concern....what if I didn't like her as much as baby 1? I mean in my mind, Layla was perfect. Her head was the right shape (large, but in a cute bowling ball kind of way), her hands were tiny and wrinkled and not too dry. Her eyes were the most amazing shade of bluish grey. And she was so good. She ate, slept and pooped...sometimes all at once. I took that kid everywhere. Layla would happily chew on a lemon while I socialized with old friends while eating dinner.  I sat in the yard, watching Layla swim in her Ralph Lauren nautical swim suit, the strap slightly pulling on her chubby little shoulder,  and I wondered what baby number 2 was going to be like. We all know how sequels work out.  Sure it sounds great in theory...the same same characters, new adventures, similar plot lines. Unless you are Ghostbusters 2..it is hard to live up to your predecessor.  So here I was sitting there, Layla splashing around in her little pool, trying hard not to think of the growing fear...what If I didn't like this second baby? The moment that Layla was born was almost magical. I looked at her with adoring eyes like a scene straight out of a movie (minus the part where my stomach goes right back to being flat). We just connected. What if I don't connect with baby 2? What if Baby 2 isn't as cute as Baby 1? Will Baby 2 look like Baby 1? Will Baby 2 act like Baby 1? I didn't really want to be thinking these things at all but the hormones and lack of sleep got the best of me.

So when I was headed to see my sister' Baby 2, the same feeling (minus the hormones) came creeping back. Technically, it isn't my baby...but being an Aunt has somehow transformed me into a child lover. Its like being a parent...except they actually like you..and vice versa. Your house is the place they want to go to. They run up and hug you when they see you and ask you if you lost ten pounds (well that part I imagine will happen in the future). Being an Aunt has that feeling like you are their parents because you know exactly how their parents were raised. You have no problem yelling at them or scolding them and you are equally excited as their Mom when they excel at something.  So when I got to go see this little second child..I thought about having Liv.

The most amazing thing about Olivia was how easy my labor was. Five hours from start to finish..and there she was. Unlike Layla, she came out screaming. Like she wanted the world to know she was here. She had scratched her little face. (she was probably bored from sitting in the same spot for nine months). She had all this hair..it was really dark and spiked in all different directions (kind of like my mom's hair in the eighties). Her eyes were crystal blue...and I really didn't know what to do with her. We had our moment...but it was a different moment.  She looked at me as if to say..I am in charge here..and I like it. (most of the time).  As I watch Olivia walk around in a circle around me...hoping I grow tired of here long sigh every time she passes and give her the computer to shop for Justice sweats...I cant help but to love her.  She is always challenging me...and entertaining me. (Olivia: I am baby number 2 so that means I didn't get to have a baby shower..only Layla..no fair).


On my way in to see my nephew for the first time, I thought about how much baby number 2 exceeded my expectations. I remembered how easy it was for a mother's heart to grow (I am like the grinch but better). And there may even be different kinds of love and appreciation for each child. So when I met my tiny little nephew..with his round head..spiky hair..when he opened his less than a day old eyes and looked at me...I immediately fell in love. (Olivia is making him  happy 0th Birthday ..welcome to the world card since he didn't get a shower either).


Monday, August 22, 2011

Little Miss Sunshine Horn

The title describes exactly my latest predicament. The horn on my 2009 Subaru Forester is stuck. Every time I turn a corner or hit a bump, the horn sporadically goes off. I have scared the crap out of a couple of old people and gotten unnecessary hand gestures thanks to this mechanical anomaly. As I am learning the hard way there are many situations that you don't want your horn to have a mind of its own. This is true for anytime I am at Walmart, the ghetto, traffic, or anywhere else excessive horn blowing can result in gunshots or possible death. Another example, when I had my two and a half year old niece in the car. She had finally shut her eyes for a much needed cat nap. My plan was to carry her in the house and let her rest for a bit. I turned into my neighborhood..holding my breath. HONK HONK!!! She shot up startled and I started going thought the usual punch the horn routine until it started to die down.
Then of course there was the most embarrassing church incident. I decided to take the kids enjoy the most beautiful and holiest of experiences. The St.Teresa monastery in Mill Creek park has often been one of our family's past times. We enjoy the nice outdoor and quick mass given by Fr. Madden with the backdrop of the park. The kids can be a little less proper then in usual indoor church and I can relax a bit.

I had my two girls and my niece in the car. Running a bit late I hurried through the speed trap of my small town (honk!). Waited at the red light with my dad on the phone making sure I had the exact street names for the mass (honk!). I entered the free way (honk!). Trying to hurry but maintain my responsible parent driving, I got off on my exit (honk!) made a right up the hill (honk!), down the bumpy ghetto street (honk, honk!) and into the park. As I turned toward the old house that is the church, I could see the patrons sitting outside and the opening music of the mass had stared. I see my dad waving me over to where he was going to sit. So I pulled forward toward him, over the gravel road (honnnnnkkkkkk!!!!). I started to try to hit the horn again to get it to stop. People had turned my way. What felt like an hour of honking was actually only a minute and I desperately wanted to leave my honking machine behind. But of course I was on the "no parking" area. Let me just take this time that it really fries me when I see people parked in a fire lane at church. If I see your car in the fire lane you must be either (a) handicapped or (b) pregnant or (c) have a baby carrier, baby bag, and possibly a toddler in tow. I do not accept that as the spot you park in when you are running late and don't want to park in the second parking lot of late comers. I have a permanent spot in the late comer's parking lot due to my inability to be on time anywhere. Also- while I am on that subject...when you come out of mass filled with the Holy Spirit, ready to do good for the week, wouldn't the first thing be to let a stranger in the turning lane instead of "pretending" you don't see someone hopeful to inch out? just sayin.

Anyway, so here I am...contemplating on the most unholy of parking spots...the not so parking spot spot. If ever this was the time..I had thee kids (but no baby carrier). I was late (my fault) and my horn was broke (Satan's fault). I let my principals and the look on my dad's face get the best of me and I pulled around to where there was a man directing a mini van into a parking spot. The mini van had backed into the spot. All instincts told me to do the same...except the number on the clock. 4:22 (my clock is fifteen minutes fast to try to help me to be on time. never works. actual time: 4:07). So I pulled into the spot as normal and was about to get out when the little parking man appeared next to my window. "ma'am, you will be able to get out much better after mass if you back in". Crap. busted. I looked at the van next to me. They were still getting out..there was also the little parking man, another man and my dad all looking at me. no pressure. I am terrible at backing in..especially with a small audience. So I pull forward. reverse. pull back. take up two spots and straighten out. And you guessed it...HONK!!! I waved to both the people in the mini van and the little parking guy. They probably figured I thought I was Miss America or something because they did not even crack a half of a smile. Then I unloaded my kids like the little old woman who lived in a shoe. We walked toward my dad..trying to forget the horn incident. "I am coming Papa" my niece yelled in her usually cute but church has started two and a half year old voice. We arrived just in time to catch the end of the homily (for you non catholics...that means mass was at least a quarter through).  After mass, we got back into the car, waited for traffic to clear out (as of course no on would let us cut in line), headed out of the park (honk) through the ghetto (honk, honk) over the freeway (honk) and right home (honk).

As my sister was laboring through the birth of her second child. I was at the Subaru dealer hoping for a quick fix to my honking problem. I almost cancelled it and went straight to the hospital...hoping she would have the baby conveniently on my lunch break...but there was time. I could probably take the car in, grab lunch and my camera, come back to work for an hour or so then go to the hospital around 3. I pull in the dealer (honk) give the guy my keys, sit down and get ready to read a magazine when I get a text from my mom. "She is 10 cm and the doctor is on the way". HONNNNNNKKKKKK! (the ear piercing sound of them testing my horn which went on for a good three minutes). "some one's kid is probably playing in a car" said the old man next to me. No one else seemed to notice. There was no way I could get the keys back and make it in time to the hospital. So I settled for the see you later text...waited the 45 minutes to hear that the part would have to be ordered and I would have to be hornless for two days. So I got in my car (silence) pulled out of the dealer and on to the busy street. (silence). I accelerated toward my street when an old guy in a red car pulled out right in front of me (silence).


Sunday, August 21, 2011

I'm Hungry

I woke up late today. 11:30 to be exact. The storm had set me off into a deep slumber and reset my internal clock. When I woke up confused and even a little alarmed it may be Monday, my mind was simply just blinking 12:00.

The girls were (shocker) playing nicely in Layla's room. They have taken a new interest in their Barbie dolls that we had hauled to the basement months ago. Last night they decided they wanted to bring them upstairs and play. I look at the tornado of little hooker shoes and dresses strewn about the floor and I ignore my first impulse to comment. Who knows how long they have been up. The thing about having children that are 7 and 8 is that they are for the most part self sufficient. They can actually make their own breakfast (cereal or poptarts). We have learned from actual error to be careful when putting things in a microwave or toaster. Oatmeal cooked for 10 minutes instead of 1 minute..or an plastic bag not moved off the toaster has caused them to be extremely careful when we make things on our own. I could have said a million times..be careful what numbers you enter on the microwave or make sure there is nothing near the toaster..but I already know they don't hear a word I say that doesn't involve ice cream or going to see grandparents.

I am eating my toaster strudel. I forget if I am dieting at the moment..but probably will be tomorrow when I attempt to wear my work pants. I am debating on whether or not to interrupt their perfect playtime for things like the bath the desperately need to take or the chores they have ignored all weekend. Why bother a good thing. I could sit here at my kitchen table soaking in the beauty of a Sunday morning (afternoon) for hours. As I take the last few bites of my yummy breakfast treat, Olivia strolls in the kitchen.

"Whats for lunch?" She asks "I am starving"

Questions involving food, the upcoming food situation, the snack situation and all things that must plague Olivia's little mind drive me absolutely crazy. The way she talks one would think that I never feed my children. Yesterday, in front of my neighborhood watch team (the four retirees that sit in their driveways in lawn chairs all day and night) I scolded Olivia for her constant hunger.

Me: "IF you ask about food one more time, you will never eat again/"
Olivia: "But Mommy"  Que head drop, giant tears and pouty face.

Food time in the Taylor house goes like this...Breakfast (fend for ourselves). After breakfast snack. then lunch..then an hour later hunger ensues...so another snack. Then dinner.....then bed time snack. Dinner is usually either gobbled up in seconds (BBQ chicken and corn on the cob) or picked apart piece by piece as to examine its exact contents. (veggie stir fry). It never fails after the dinner dishes are barely cleaned Olivia is hungry. I have had her wash her dish off, put it in the dishwasher then ask for a snack.

Olivia's metabolism functions as such. I'm starving. So I make her food. She takes three or four bites then says she is full. Then of course minutes later she is asking for a snack. Its not like I am opposed to snacking. I am pretty sure any diet will tell you that five to six small snack like meals is way better than three main meals. And I keep plenty of somewhat healthy snacks around...and the kids love stuff like yogurt, carrots, and fruit. But the thing that gets me is how much Olivia wants to have a snack. Everything we do involves when the snack will occur. She must know the exact time in which the snack will take place or she goes into a hunger panic. The worst is when we are at a friend's house.  She will sneak off to the friend and ask for food.

"What do you have to eat here? " she will ask

To which I am plagued with morbid embarrassment. The desperation of her hunger makes me look like I never feed her. (Maybe that is why she is so small).

Yesterday during the meltdown over food in front of our neighbors, i tried to have the usual conversation with her

Me: do you think I wont remember to feed you?
Olivia: No
Me: Have I ever forgotten to feed you?
Olivia: (thinking) no
Me: Then why do you always ask me about food.
Olivia: I am just hungry
Me: But we just ate. Maybe you could go finish your lunch
Olivia; But I am not hungry for spaghetti
Me: What are you hungry for?
Olivia: Well what is there?
Me: Spaghetti
Olivia: Mommy!
Me: Carrots, fruit, I don't know what do you want?
Olivia: Ice cream



Friday, August 19, 2011

Steal your face right off your head

When we first got our mortgage at this great little ranch in suburbia OH that I live, I am pretty sure there was a line that specifically said "piece of mind". It isn't that piece of mind that includes living in a place with your own garage...but that piece of mind that includes being able to leave your car unlocked in the driveway, keys in ignition and know the next morning that you can jump in ...beep beep and head off to work. So the other day when I heard there were break ins in our neighborhood...I was so offended and angered. What gives someone the right to go into someone one's personal space and wreak such havoc.

Its not like I am a stranger to break ins. Quite the contrary. I remember a night, circa 2001. It was months after 911. We lived in a time of uncertainty and a time when life as anyone knew it would change in an instant. I was working as a server/bartender at the time. Unknown to me, it was the eve of my first and life changing pregnancy. This was thanksgiving time. I was in my last year at Ohio State. To any student, Thanksgiving was the most important holiday. Not only was it the night of the year when everyone went out in their hometown to judge who had changed, who went away, who was dumb enough to stay home...it was a time when we figured we had the world by the short and curlies. That night, while serving the remaining OSU population beer and fries, I knew it was a matter of hours before I was headed home to see old friends and most importantly, enjoy the best home cooked feast of the year.  I left around midnight..ready to face my empty home since my two roommates had already left for their dose of holiday fun. I came home figuring to pack a quick bag..have a beer or two in the amazing solitude of the apartment to myself. What I came home too still rocks my bones to this day. The back door was open..I hesitated to take another step further. Peeking around the corner, I noticed an overturned trash can. My kitten, who I had inherited for my birthday a few weeks prior, was hesitantly hiding behind the kitchen stove. I ventured a bit into the back entrance, my heart pounding and my eyes in disbelief that my home away from home had been so violated. When I felt brave enough to move through the house, my legs shook and my hands could barely touch the items that had been ransacked and left for nothing. Our house had been robbed. Our belonging strewed about like trash in an alley. My roommates rooms were void of such items as stereos and computers. Even more eerie, a picture of one of my roommates and a friend as well as my spare car keys were never found. I stood in my room looking down. It was a mess..blankets laying about and clothes in disarray. I realized that was its normal state of being and nothing of mine was missing. Shaking, I grabbed my kitten and ran toward the nearest payphone. (this was the time of my life post pager and pre cell phone). I called my would be husband and didn't step foot into that house for at least another week.

There is a feeling beyond scared you get when you realize your stuff has been tampered with by a total stranger. It is more than a mourning for what is no longer there, but a feeling like nothing you have or feel is sacred any more. So when I heard that there has been random break ins (20 to be exact) around our neighborhood, I couldn't help but feeling that anxiety I felt ten years ago when I walked into that empty, ransacked house.

I like to say that was my last encounter with the selfish act of violating a total stranger's privacy and livelihood. Fast forward a couple months to early 2002.  What can I say, I am a sucker for a hero, and a month after our break in, I was pregnant with his child. (Layla) On a cold Monday night, I was dozing into my usual early pregnancy slumber. My roommate had been out for the evening ( It was the college years, drunken Mondays were a standard).  I heard the usual murmur of voices late in the evening that accompanied a night out. I heard laughter and music..which eventually quieted. I woke later to the sound of my door opening. I thought it was a random drunk...who clearly realized this was the wrong way to the bathroom.
"What?" I said...arising from my slumber...barely able to open my eyes. I saw his face. He was pale with dark hair wearing those circular John Lennon glasses. He wasn't much older than me but looked more scruffy. His dark navy hoodie was pulled up over his head.
"Oh...sorry" he said and closed the door.  It wasn't until moments later, when I heard my roommate scream and the pounding of quick footsteps down the stairs, that I realized he was an intruder. There was screaming, confusion, quick dialing of 911, then the thought that had finally set in. We had once again been robbed. This time the only casualty was me. He took $200 cash from my purse, the labor of a long weekend bar shift.

hoodie finally faded to distant memory. But last night, when I fell asleep in state of panic, I felt every cricket chirp, every slight summer breeze, every tire squeak. I though about how my stakes were so much higher. I have two precious bodies sleeping in the next room that I didn't want to ever have to feel this anxiety. So to you, stealer of neighborhood souls, what is so important that you need to take people's bank cards and ipods right from their cars? Were you not hugged enough as a child, did you never feel the security that everything was going to be fine with the right amount of faith and humor. Thank you for once again steeling my face right off my head.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Whats up with that

after a long day of reading


I am back. Went over the Canadian boarder and back for the first time in my life. Last night, I got to (for the first time in my life) see Niagara Falls. It is stunning. If you have never done so, I recommend doing it at least once. Also bring an umbrella. And be glad you didn't see in the news someone fell off the falls until you returned home.
The falls were stunning

I am happy to be home safe and sound in the good old US of A, but I can appreciate the beauty of all things Canada...especially the metric system. (does that make me un-patriotic?) I have missed my daily dose of writing therapy. For five days of no technology I used my original blogging medium...my journal. The pro of using a journal is that it is easier to transport than a laptop...you can staple stuff to it (I like to cut out outfits from magazines) and it is OK to get water on. (or in my case beer). While in Canada, I did the one thing I enjoy most of all...laid next to water and read. (1.5 books!). So after five days of relaxing..its back to real life. More pictures and stories to come. Like many things (including my texting fingers) my writing is a little rusty.


Each night featured an amazing sunset
Now that I am back and my batteries are fully charged, I can reflect on the vacation. It was like the good old days how generations before us entertained themselves...when they weren't walking up hill both ways to go to school. When someone had a question..it was the smartest person and not the quickest iphone that answered. Names were forgotten and movie titles were left unfigured out...like the days of our childhoods. Did I mention all meals were prepared by someone not working at a drive through. Canada was different than real life....there were different complications (the toilet will not flush and my stomach is gurgling). It was basically summer camp for grown ups. There is no time out or "no TV" rule if they don't comply. There is the canoe of shame. this is a method when children are fighting over who doesn't have to ride with mom and dad and then you both end up having to sit there in silence while we row extra slow and lay on the guilt extra thick.

Since we were void of all technology and there was a good amount of us we had to rely on old fashioned entertainment...cards, games, puzzles, books, booze, etc. During a marathon of go fishing Olivia wanted to play another game (maybe something she could win). A game dawned on us...a game she would be good at..something that required less skill and more improvise. That game is called Bullshit.  For those unfamiliar..the point of the game is to rotate cards to throw down (2 through ace) and if you don't have the card when it is your turn then you pretend you do since cards are face down. Then if the others don't believe you, you get called out..bullshit! If there was ever a game at any point in time ever perfect for a single person...than it was Bullshit to Olivia. And of course she couldn't get enough of that game. First she rotated sitting on some one's lap being their help, by the next day she was a full player. First the name was changed to BS so we didn't have kids yelling out obscenities (it the old fashioned equivalent to WTF). Then we started saying like "Liar" then my personal favorite "whats up with that. (think SNL mock talk skit.."whats up..whats up with that!")


BS

I cant help but to draw parallels from the card game Bullshit and real life. I want to be able to use the Bullshit card when raising children. Yes Mommy my room is cleaned..Bullshit..no mommy I didn't hit Layla...Bullshit. Life should hand you a bullshit card. You should be able to call out liars..life with Liv would be so much easier. Its funny...the game she loved so much on vacation describes her best. The part where she used her birth certificate and cant remember where it is..(bullshit) the part where she is telling other kids about the time mommy and daddy took her to Florida (bullshit). Or the time where she came home from school with a stomach ache..only to convince her Papa to take her to Burger King for lunch. (more bullshit). So I guess when you spend a good amount of time pretending to be telling the truth...a game of lying suits you best.

 I had a wonderful time..and of course we took over 500 pictures.. I am going to spend what little is left of this evening going through photos. My TV is not happy to hear I managed to survive...it has now distorted the color and smells like it is going for suicide by burning.

Fisher Woman

Boating woman


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Travel Anxiety

To say I get anxious when I am going anywhere that involves an overnight bag and a car is an understatement. In the minutes leading up to any trip, I just snap. I yell, I throw things, I call my husband and my kids mean names (under my breath of course). My mind just turns into a jumble of random thoughts...toothbrush, underwear, kids clothes, wait do those outfits match, kids jackets, makeup, eye make up remover, deodorant, did I grab toothbrushes? I have tried lists, pre packing, last minute packing, and even drunk packing. Nothing ever seems to tame my last minute jitters. So tonight, when I was packing to leave the country, I was even more tense.

I can't help but think my past experience in cars may have something to do with my fear. I have had some bad road trip as well as on road experiences. I recall one year we took a family trip to Ocean City. I was six and when I say family, I mean my whole mom's side of the family. Cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, the whole clan was there. The ride home was to say the least a nightmare. It turned for me when I left my seal in the bathroom at Burger King. The seal was a stuffed souvenir from Sea World, which used to be an hour away from us. I took him all over the place that summer, so of course he made the drive to Ocean City. Then it went from bad to worse. My dad was driving and cut off a semi. Maybe the semi cut him off, I cant really be too sure. But we were stopped in traffic and its started as a honking and gesture war. Next thing I knew my dad and this very large truck driver were in the middle of the highway about to throw punches. My dad, (keep in mind this was 1986)..had his shirt unbuttoned and was rocking his usual tighty coaches shorts. He took a shot and ran back to the car. The trucker came over and there was some swearing and four letter words being tossed around. Then next thing I knew we were traveling up the side of the highway at a very fast speed with the trucker somehow swerving in traffic to catch us. Did I mention my grandparents were in the car? Soon after a trip to the police station and a good head start we were safely on our way to Ohio.

If that was how my car anxiety started, It was then doubled by car sickness, and my own run in with a semi truck. Two weeks after getting my license in my 1987 Sunbird, I was trying to rewind my tape. I was listening to Bone Thugs N Harmony, "Buddah Lovers " (no judgement) and of course I wanted to hear it again. (it was the song of 1995 when I got my license). Looking down for a split second, I looked up again. The semi had stopped. I swerved to hit the back of the left tire. Did I mention our Brazilian exchange student was in the car? Fifty stitches and a plastic surgery later, I still see my "humpty dumpty" scar when I wash my face, put on make up, etc. I will say this, for anyone who has ever been in a car accident, that feeling of loss of control will never go away. I am always doing the foot on the "brake" and holding onto the "oh shit" bar when I ride in the passenger seat.

Today, I was thinking road anxiety the whole way. Also there is the whole crossing the boarder thing. I have never been to Canada. I was expecting a smooth transition. All things were covered, kids were packed, groceries bought, air mattress, air pump, books to read, car packed. Last week I had told Josh to grab the girls birth certificates, and the dog's medical papers. We had boarder cards and passports. I am eating my dinner (crab cake salad, yum..) then Josh asks "Where is Olivia's birth certificate?"

Me: In the file, in the folder labeled "Birth Certificates"
This strikes me as odd..Layla's birth certificate has been sitting out all week next to Nomi's dog papers. I assumed Liv's was under it the whole time....

Josh: Didn't you set it out with Layla's
Me: I didn't set that stuff out. I thought you did
Josh: No, where is Olivia's birth certificate
Me: in the file

Confused, we start ruffling through our files and different paper piles laying around the desk and the kid's art area

Josh (to Olivia): Did you touch your birth certificate.
Olivia: no
Josh: It looks like this (he holds up Layla's)

Olivia paused and didn't say much. Then she looks down in shame...missing shoelaces shame

Me: This is not like the shoelaces...this is much more important. without it, you cant get into Canada
Olivia: Yeah I took it out. I just wanted to see it
Me: Why were you in the important files?
Olivia: I had it on my desk

So we tore apart the desk area, both their rooms, our desk, the kitchen, etc. etc. Here we were, three hours from departing and no birth certificate. Did I mention she was born in a county three hours away, so waiting until morning to get a fresh copy was not an option. I lingered between wanting to ring her little neck to wanting to ring Josh's big neck. Why did she take it? Why couldn't he have asked this question yesterday? Why was this happening? Were we doomed not to take a vacation. Luckily, our neighbor came to the rescue. He texted the principal at their school and they were able to go to the office and copy her school file one.

With all this anxiety in place it is a wonder I haven't had a "pre trip" heart attack. I try to prepare myself for all obstacles, but living with Miss. I can't keep my hands off other people's property, it is hard to expect anything but confusion and last minute chaos.

So I bid you all good night. It is going to be a few days before I will post again. I will be in the remote and international calling charge area of Canada. Time to turn to the woods and nature to recharge my batteries. I am sure I will be back with plenty of good pictures and even better stories.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Rise and Fall of the Burgundy Boots


Shocking....I have another story that involves something in my house ruining a pair of boots. I love shoes...in fact if I had to choose between eating or buying shoes, I would most likely choose the latter. In my childless and petless world, I would own many pairs and they would all be in pristine condition. Unfortunately, that is not my life so there are some tragic shoe casualties along the way.

Its been over a year, but there is one thing that hunt me to this day. My burgundy boots. Gone..gone..gone. Maybe by now it has become apparent that I have a bit of a shoe obsession. Well that isn't the half of it. I live for shoes...wedges, pumps, especially boots. There is nothing hotter than a dress..some tights and a great pair of boots.

It was 2007, and Josh and I were in San Francisco. I love that city more than any other city I have been.  The culture, the people, the scenery....I just feel at home with my weird self there. It doesn't hurt that one of my oldest and dearest friends lives there. The city..the girl..they are interchangeable in my mind...just both amazing.  So back in 2007 when Josh and I were visiting my lover of a city, I was doing some vintage shopping. I found an amazing pair of burgundy boots. No heel but fold over. They were that shade of vintage leather that bordered being a neutral. I saw them on the wall. "What size are those?" I asked the girl. "Size 7" she replied. Cue angels harmonizing...they were made for me. In fact, that year, I became "so and so's friend with the cute boots" My favorite outfit was the boots, dark skinny jeans and my "may the Schwartz be with you" T-shirt. ( I wasn't quite 30...it was still ok).

Upon our return to real life, OH, we had to fulfill a promise we made to Layla. My sister-in-law has a huge soft spot for stray animals. It is an admirable quality to say the least...and I know Layla is going to take after her. So when she took in a stray cat that was pregnant, it was inevitable that one of the kittens was going to be ours. "Please, please, mom..."Layla really wanted a cat..and I can't lie I can't resist a kitten. So we return to Ohio, and Layla had her kitten all picked out. There was a litter of mostly orange and white calicos, but Layla choose the fuzzy gray cat. What did Layla want to call this fuzzy gray creature? Fiona. (Shrek was her favorite movie) So that weekend, Princess Fiona Apple Taylor (children of the nineties, Fiona w/out the Apple is not Fiona) came home with us. She was shy and afraid of her own shadow. She wont go outside and the only person in the house she likes is Layla. Olivia was about three at the time...and of course always running. The cat used to hide behind walls and attach as she would go running by. Fiona eventually fit in with our laid back Taylor house.



Fast forward to fall 2009. We have a shoe closet in the front of the house. In the summer we live in flip flops so we don't use the shoe closet much. There was a funky smell..and it drove me crazy. I knew it was pee. I know cats and they pee in random places. My nose to the ground like a vacuum, I wandered around the house trying to find the mystery funk. Where is that smell coming from? Then, like Tu-can Sam, my nose led me to something way worse than Fruit Loops. I found the mystery pee spot. The shoe closet...and the favorite place? Ding Ding, you guessed it...my burgundy boots. The front of the boots were stained in pee..BOTH boots. I held them up..and just cried. I ran my finger down the side of the cuff...touching for the last time. I had no choice...the soul of the shoe was soaked..as if she had spent her whole life thinking these were the litter box. I looked at the cat...I wanted to kill the cat. "This cat is going" I said to Josh. Then I saw Layla, her little mouth turned down. "Why don't you like Fiona, Mommy?" I couldn't answer..or even look at her. That little face, those sad eyes, that is why we still have a cat. To this day I still can't find anything in that perfect shade of wine red. RIP- Burgundy Boots...My "may the Schwartz be with you" T-shirt will never be the same.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tigers like Pepper


Layla returned home from art class with yet another masterpiece. I can only Facebook brag so much...talent like hers deserves a webpage and one day a gallery. I need a bigger house with more wall space..gallery a la Layla. I know I brag a lot about Layla's art experience and write a lot about Olivia's antics. But don't think for a minute my perfect little 9 year old, (who has recently discovered the art of back talking) was always such a perfect child. Well, I guess she was. She slept like a dream, ate and was generally jolly. She has always been a total animal lover. I am not surprised all she paints is animals.

When Layla was about three or four we decided to compete in the neighborhood game of who has the greenest lawn. This was pre lawn service and pre pre we cant afford to pay the lawn service. We bought the weed and crab grass killer since we were sprouting random weeds all around the yard. (not acceptable in suburbia, OH). We have committed such neighborhood faux pas as parking our car on the front lawn for too long (more than five hours), not getting a permit for our above ground blow up ring pool, not cutting our grass in the timely manner, not bringing our trash cans in in the acceptable time frame of two hours, not bringing our recycling in the acceptable time frame of a week, having our dog wander farther than the deemed boarder of our driveway, keeping our Christmas lights up longer than the one week after new year's deadline, not raking our leaves by the December 1 deadline..etc. etc. Since we were failing suburbia 101 epically, we had to do something right by the retired I care too much about what my neighbors are doing community. (anyone under fifty excluded). We needed to do something or we were going to get the swift shun from our neighbors. Green grass was the first attempt at neighborhood conformity. So Josh bought the lawn fertilizer stuff...the cheap stuff of course (all we could afford on my stay at home mom salary). We sprayed the yard and kept the girls away from it for at least twelve hours after the instructions said.

The next day, the kids were playing in our soon to be frothy green grass. Layla comes running at me holding something small , furry and brown. It looked like a stuffed animal.

Layla: Look mom! this one is letting me hold it

Then I realize my little animal lover is holding a stiff dead squirrel..most likely a victim of our lawn project.

Me: Oh God!!! Layla drop that..drop...JOSH!!!

Layla drops the squirrel and looks at me. I am most likely greener than our grass will ever turn. Josh is running and looking horrified by the realization that our child was holding and petting a dead squirrel (think: the kid holding the headless bird from Dumb and Dumber).

Layla: That was a bad one, huh Mommy

I took Layla inside to scrub her from head to toe and back again. I also took a shower...feeling way dirtier for even witnessing the dead squirrel petting. Josh was instructed to dispose of the squirrel in a way that I would never see it or ask about it again.

Since that will never be included in Layla's artist bio section, I felt it was necessary to express her love for animals and of course display her latest masterpiece.



Monday, August 8, 2011

Throw the First Stone

 Since it is Sunday...well my mind is still there. I don't think Monday exists in my reality. There is Sunday..then Sunday 2. And since sequels are never as good as the original (with some exception..Ghostbusters II..hello), Sunday 2 will never be its awesome predecessor..Sunday 1. Don't worry, this blog will not be about my interpretation about how awesome Sunday is or even Ghostbusters II for that matter. Its Sunday (2) ..and I am getting Biblical. One of my favorite things the Bible says is
 
"when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her". John 8:7 .


If the Bible were a movie..that would be the tag line.  (Don't worry, I wont call the New Testament the Old Testament II).  That quote is important to me because it is the groundwork for all other evils. Maybe Judgement should be one of the seven deadliest sins. (but not the one where Brad Pitt gets his wife's head in a box). I always assume all evil comes out of our constant need to judge one another and ourselves. 


Do you think it is hard to go a whole day with out passing judgement on someone?  We are judging each other and passing labels around like a doobie in a college dorm. We all do it. I do, I admit...I try not to but judgement will hit my ears like a little devil sitting on my shoulder. I don't want to convey an attitude to my kids that it is OK to judge books by their covers all the time. What you end up with is a shallow version of the truth. In reality, we have no right to call out someone based on their flaws. Just think for every judgement we pass, the card gets passed back to us. 


I say all this because reality can be a hard pill to swallow. Every time you thick you have a grip on reality, something comes from way out field and knocks you in the face. I took a fly ball to left field once right on the nose..one of five times I busted my nose.  Reality can hurt like that fly ball and leave you with a big old Pinocchio nose. So before you pass judgement on anyone, imagine what judgment you want passed onto you and keep your stones to yourself. 


Can't we all just get along?




I guess today was a bit of a rant for me.  From time to time I feel like a loose control of reality and I start to judge myself..aka put on mass amounts of unnecessary guilt like a loose shirt. It stems from what I am afraid people will think about me. I think I am a total slob..or that may be what someone would say if they came to my house. I am officially relinquishing care about what anyone thinks of me...which means I am trying my best not to pass judgement on anyone else. 


I choose a song of the week that would remind me that reality is not always what it seems.  Little known fact about me: I love Incubus. "New Skin" is my song. Somewhat because I feel like the lyrics..kind of angry, kind of harmonious. It is a great sound effect sort of song..and I love that overtime I think about my grip on reality..I hear this: 
Until the 20th century, reality was everything humans could touch, smell, see, and hear. Since the initial publication of the charged electromagnetic spectrum, humans have learned that what they can touch, smell, see, and hear is less than one millionth of reality


 and well that is SCIENCE (the album). 







Saturday, August 6, 2011

Please put your tears in the garage

This post is being brought to you live from my living room...while I am like a domestic queen. I have my niece here feeding me fruit loops while I am typing...don't be jealous.

Olivia has had a busy week..so it is no surprise that there have been a couple "breakdowns" in the last day. The first one was over her being thirsty and me not bringing her a drink in her water bottle. Then there was a meltdown over who was the technical owner of the water bottle in question (Layla). Most recently there was a meltdown over my latest (but not first or last) garage door lecture. It usually goes like this. I see one of the kids touching the garage door button. I round them up (so they can both hear).

Me:  "Please girls, ask Mommy or Daddy before you touch the garage door. It is a very heavy and it is not a toy (a very expensive toy). Do you know how heavy that door is. You could get crushed. and i don't want to have crushed kids. I only tell you this because I love you and I don't want you go get hurt".

Girls: (usually in unison...anything to bring an end to my hardly believable lecture): "ok Mommy"

After my lecture they went back to playing. I hear sniffling in Olivia's bedroom a good half hour later.

Me: "whats wrong, Liv? are you tired?"
Olivia: (arms out for extra dramatic effect) "how did you know I was playing on the garage?"

I wouldn't dare rat Layla out, not right now..Olivia's mental state was way to fragile

Me: "I was washing dishes, I saw you touching the garage button"

She nods. I could tell she was holding back tears (a daily occurrence). Giant tears start to stream down her face. Like a magnifying glass over her freckles. I pick her up (yes she is seven).

Me: "Are you having a moment?"
Olivia: "yes"

A moment in our house has to do with Olivia's "spirited" nature. I once read a book titled "Raising Your Spirited Child" it was like it was written about her. It has to do with a child's sensitivity, perceptiveness, adaptability and intensity. Olivia is not at all "go with the flow". she is sensitive to comments, fabrics, changes, colors, smells, etc. She is one of those kids who can't handle the unexpected. So today's meltdown was a usual occurrence. Its like the emotions and trials of her seven year old life become too much for her to handle and she needs to break down and reset her mental clock. We usually just hug it out then she lays on the couch and watches TV..her time out from life. All this because she touched the garage...

Just to clarify here, we have one of those sensors on our garage. When we first moved in, there was an old garage with no sensor....which caused endless panic attacks on my part with two babies running in and out of the garage. Something about the garage door sets a certain paranoia off in my usually relaxed nature. When we had the door replaced with a modern sensor, key pad opened door, I was still unable to let go of the anxiety. Then, one day...my anxiety was heightened by the overall stupidity of my then 5 and 7 year old girls.

This was 2009...the year of the marathon. I say this because this is when I decided I was going to be a runner...or at least loose ten pounds trying. Somewhere over beer and the lingering depression of extra winter weight, I was convinced to run the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. Thirteen miles of pure running. For someone who could barely run a mile, this was quite a feat. By April, I was up to a seven mile run. After work one day, I was out for my run. Josh was mowing the lawn and the girls were playing in the back yard. Our house is an L shape so the garage is in the back...unseen by the front yard. (good thing..since it hasn't been cleaned since 2009). I was on the home stretch..almost to my driveway. I waved at Josh..who was deep in thought perfecting his front lawn stripes. As I walked up the driveway, letting the adrenaline of the run seep out. I hear the garage open. I open my mouth to give the usual garage lecture, then I see something that stops me dead in my $130 running shoes. Layla is in the garage pressing the door button. Olivia has her hands on the bottom of the door and is "riding" it as it goes up. She gets a good five or so feet off the ground and lets go...jumping from the open door. I didn't hold back....

"You dumb asses...what the f$@k are you doing???" (I am not proud but those were my exact words.)

"What?" (Layla)
"It was Layla's idea" (Olivia)


So if you think a little sensor can keep your children safe from the garage door, you are wrong. Nothing can save kids from their own stupidity. So when they are 15 and 17 I am still going to enforce the "don't touch the garage door unless you ask first" rule.  (and in case you are wondering, I still haven't lost the ten pounds).

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Penelope Cruise

OK girls, we know we all do it. We think we are hot, fit, funny, a good mom, a good friend, a great lover. Then we see another girl and we laundry list comparisons. I am skinnier than her, she has better hair then me, I bet I am smarter than that girl, she defiantly makes more money than me. Why do we do that...constantly compare ourselves to other women? We see the stay at home mom sunbathing at the pool with two beautiful perfectly tanned children and think "she isn't taking a vacation day to go to the pool, her husband is rich and she gets to stay home". She has a real, not tanning bed, tan. Her body is perfect, six pack, Halle Berry arms, with a Penelope Cruise face. I know its not fair, or right. There is no such thing as a perfect person. I have been in that persons boat, and being a stay at home mom is much more than trips to the pool and PTA meetings.  We all want what we can't have, a rich husband, a better job, a better car, the perfect house. But in reality, everyone has a struggle and no one's life is perfect.

There is this girl that I see around town. I call her Penelope Cruise because...well she looks exactly like her. Skinny, beautiful, well dressed...the girl does not have a flaw at all. The other day, I saw her bringing in her mail. She was perfectly dressed, designer jeans, cute tank top, sensible jeweled sandals. I cant help but think that she really has it made. Her children are perfect, athletes, popular, and smart. Her husband works hard but is still a good father. And, I bet he is a rocket in the sack. She has a giant ring, and the best stuff money can buy. She has a perfect life. Maybe she used to model, maybe she was on TV. Either way she is a dedicated mother and wife. She has the perfect recipe for a side dish that everyone raves about. "Oh Penelope, this dip is fabulous" People will say. She just replies "And it has literally no calories" Like I said, she is perfect. Did I mention her IQ is well over 120?

I guess as women, we are programed to create a princess fantasy in our minds. We dressed up in crowns hoping one day prince charming would take us away to our castle far away. Look what happened to Cinderella, one day she is cleaning and doing laundry, the next day she is living in a castle. Is it so wrong to create a fairy tale life as an adult? Sure it is tweaked a bit to include the comforts that an adult woman would love. But we spend our time idolizing these beautiful, skinny, flawless women and get disappointed every time we fall short of perfection. I know we have come a long way to promoting "real beauty" and real figures. Its why we put so much emphasis on the perfect wedding...its really our only shot at being a princess (unless of course we are Kate Middleton).

When I see Penelope Cruise roaming about town with her perfect children and her sweats, I cant help but envy her. It is natural, I am programed that way. But in reality, I have to wonder if she is really that perfect. She has problems, everyone has problems. Perfection is what we think other people have to make ourselves feel worse. It is unhealthy and counterproductive. Life isn't about what you don't have, it's about what you do have. Relationships are ruined and children are meant to feel guilty when  you compare them to what other people have. So I guess every time I see Penelope, I will use it as a positive reminder that life has given me many blessings, and I too can look good in designer jeans.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Will Somebody Please Me?

Thank you...it may be one of the most powerful phrases in the English language. Thank you for caring, thank you for doing your job, thank you for just being you. It often goes unstated and there is times where every person feels unappreciated. I was thinking about this today as I was driving. I let someone pull out in front of me, a common driving courtesy that I like to do often, and the person didn't give the universal hand gesture for thank you. (So I wanted to give the universal hand gesture for WTF). Tell me, please, why is this not a thank-you worthy experience. Do you feel that being let in front me is due to you and I am just complying? Do you feel that you only have a few thank you's left and I am not worthy of one of them?

While it may sound petty, but when I do something, I expect a simple thank you. (now if you can't speak, a wave or wink will also suffice). At work, I find my attitude about a project is generally influenced by how much stroking I will get for completion. If I am going to be ignored and someone else will get my hard earned stroking, then I will not have a very good attitude. If someone does something as small as thanks me for changing the toilet paper, then my title shall be  Toilet Paper Changer...becuase that title comes with some appreciation. I know it isn't always necessary to give a thank you to every little task, but a good thank will ride weeks or even months. I don't care if you work under me or work under the person who works under me (who am I kidding...no one works under me)..if you do something for me, then I will say thank you. If you hold the door open for me you will get a thank you. Whether you are the person who buys me a beer, pours my beer or holds my hair when I throw that beer up, you will get a heartfelt thank you.  People perfom way better when they are stroked..end of story.

There was an email trail that went around the office. A local elementary school teacher wanted to schedule a field trip to one of our locations. She sent an email to our general address which then circulated around the operations department. Her request? someone to please call her. The email started from the highest person in the department and trickled its way down through the ranks. It simply said "will some one please her?" (s/b will someone please help her?)  Someone? anyone? will someone please this poor woman? Just like this school teacher who wanted to show her children the ins and outs of pretzel rolling, I want to be pleased. I want to be stroked and more than anything I would like a good thank you.


Don't forget to thank the Big Guy Upstairs for all your blessings

Today, I got an email from a concert ticket broker. The email thanked me for my recent purchase to a Toby Keith concert in California. As much as I think I would fit in at a Toby Keith concert (there really needs to be a sarcasm font)..I know for a fact I did not order these tickets. I especially knew it was me when I saw that the name was Kevin and not Kristen. I wondered if this Kevin Taylor was 1149 or 1178 or 179...either way it wasnt my 1179 which he had used as his email. Since there was number on the email confirmation page (followed by the notice fed ex tracking information), I figured the other Taylor would like a phone call. So I called and left a message. And waited, and waited. I kept checking my phone..why Kevin, dont you want your tickets? Why are you denying me the satisfaction, a complete stranger, gets for relieiving you of your "where the hell are my tickets" confusion. I imagine we would have a little chucke about the mixup and move on to our seperate stranger lives...just a simple thank you bonding us.

*** note since I started writing this..he did return my call. I emailed his tickets..and of course no thank you email. so much for a happy ending.

In this thankless world it can be hard to be any bit of an optimist. I know I tell my kids they better say thank you..and I can only hope they are as mannered as I imagine them to be. Think of me and my little quest to spread thank yous like a video of funny cats on youtube..tell someone you apprecite them today. That is one of the reasons I like to constantly thank people for reading this and being so amused my me. So take one down and pass it around.....Thanks!!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bedtime

"I am not sleeping in my bed until someone buys me a new mattress " Liv Taylor

So tonight has been a busy night. First the girls started of soccer. They are a blue team and need to come up with a name. Hmmm blue - birds (Layla), weirdos (Olivia's friend), Skys, Cats, Jays (Olivia), Balls (me and Josh together whispered under our breath).  I started a (hopefully successful) workout routine. And yes, I count Wii Boxing for over twenty minutes as a successful work out routine. I sit here, tired and worn out. I actually think I pulled my inner thigh..boxing..go figure. I am watching Olivia and  hoping for her to jog some sort of memory  or inspirations. "Olivia, what should I write about tonight?" (me) "um, um, um, um I dunno" (Olivia).


I think I am going to take it easy tonight and recharge my creative juices. I will leave you with a couple of funny Olivia-isms that have to do with her spelling and keeping secrets

Olivia (on having ice cream)- 
Olivia: Daddy, can I tell Layla you said we can have ice cream now?
Daddy: No, why don't you keep it secret
Olivia: Oh..well I already told her

Olivia (on spilling ice cream)
Liv: You know why you don't want to eat ice cream on the couch? because if you spill and someone sits on it,  their butts will freeze off

On Spelling: 
Olivia: I know one of the words they say in that song? P-E-N-A-S

On Phonics: 
Olivia: I know how to spell that bad word
Daddy: What bad word?
Olivia: The one that is in WTF
Daddy: The F?
Olivia: Yeah. Its spelled F-A-W-K
Daddy: Really?
Olivia: Fawk!


On Mild Language: 
Olivia: Whats the D word?
Layla:  damn
Olivia: no thats not it
Layla: I don't know...spell it
Olivia: D-A-M-I-T 
Layla: thats not a bad word. Thats mild language

** disclaimer...my kids have promised me that they will never, ever repeat these words again


Monday, August 1, 2011

The First of Tha Month

aSo wake up, wake up.....




Yes..its true. I sing that song every month on the first (and 15th). Why? because that is when I get paid. And at nearly thirty two years old, I am still living paycheck to paycheck. Remember when we were kids and we figured we would be living in a mansion by the time we are thirty...and some of you are..but not me. I got to thinking about having kids and the responsibility...and of course the expense they come with. Its not like I want to be a payment behind on every credit card, or still leasing a car. I still cant believe that the last time I had a walk in closet we were still getting ready to party like its 1999. For two years, I didn't have to worry about constantly explaining to Olivia why Mommies have to shave their legs while showering.  All this aside...the little money suckers I live with (and I am talking about my email inbox) have gotten me really thinking about what it would be like to not be broke.

-Olivia would be able to get all 200 items from her Toys r'us wish list....well at least the important items that she really wants...like an ipod touch and an electric scooter.

-Back to school time would no longer be known as "oh crap..I hope jeans are on sale for $4" time of year

-Buying school supplies wouldn't mean we don't get to go out to dinner for two weeks

-Starting school...and all fees associated would not require holding off until the last minute so that the payments can span over two paycheck

-Christmas time won't require a second mortgage

-Dinner and drinks with friends don't have to be drinks with friends on dollar beer night

-Finding dress pants for $25 at the Limited takes a second (or third) though before buying

-Diets would be easier since the value meal at McDonald's doesn't have to be "too much of  a deal to turn down"

-Dinners out won't be decided on what Groupon has that week

-Your kids style wont be referred to as "Garage Sale Cool"

-Due to HSA restrictions...kids must be near death to go to doctors..unless it is that one year physical


So if you are like me...wondering if it will ever get just a little easier. (there is always the power ball). Maybe one day something will get paid off..whether it be that college degree you aren't using, or that credit card that is still carrying last year's Christmas gifts..You just keep counting the blessings you do have and be glad the house is "cozy" and you get to spend so much quality time with each other. Still...there is the song of relief today..you know the song ..Wake up..wake up...its tha first of tha month.