Monthly Archives: June 2011

ROAD TRIP

Start spreading the news...I'm leavin' today...

Wendy and I are hitting the road.  It’s Manhattan or bust, baby.  We’ll be updating you all from the Big Apple, God willing, oy.  We’re taking the red-eye and should be boarding in a matter of hours.  Since both of us have a bit of anxiety when it comes to flying, we will be medicating, hence drooling on each other and snoring in each other’s ears.  I only hope we wake up in time to get off the plane and don’t end up in, you know, Aruba… or…

I’d better pack a swim suit.

Carolyn

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Fifteen Minutes of Fame, friendship, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, New York, Outdoor school, Writing

My Fantasy Life

Muuaahahahahah! Alone at last!

I have a rich fantasy life.  But, it’s not what you’re thinkin’.  Sorry.  This time my fantasy involves planting the “Family Garden”.  Oh, yeah.  I could just see me in my floppy garden hat and a gauzy white sundress.  The kids, frolicking at my feet, digging holes and planting veggies that they would consume with relish, because they grew them with their own two hands.

(Wavily dream sequence music here).

“Oh, Mother!  Look at the beautiful broccoli plant I grew!  I can’t wait to eat of its
bounty!”

“Mommy, dearest, may I please harvest a zucchini from the lush depths of my little patch?”

“Why yes, darling, but remember, though eating from the garden is good for you, you must include other nutrients, such as sugar, in your diet.”

“Oh, Mumsie, but must we?  I prefer Brussel-sprouts!”

Sigh.  It all started so well.  “Kids! This year, I want each of you can plant your own raised bed with whichever vegetables you want!”

“Yay!  Oh, goodie. I get watermelon!”

“No!  I want watermelon!”

“What about me?  Don’t I get a watermelon?”

Heavy sigh.  “I’m sure there will be other things we might want to plant.”

Blank stares.

“Okay, kids let’s go to the nursery to get your plants.”

“Do I have to?”

“You don’t want to go?”

“If I have to…”

AT THE NURSERY

“Mom, look!  Let’s get this!”

“We can’t eat a flower basket.”

Mutter, mutter,cheapskate, economy, flowers, mutter.

“What did you say?”

“Nothing, Mom.”

“Great.  Let’s load the car.”

“Do we have to?”

AT HOME

“Okay everybody!  Hang tight while I go get my floppy garden hat!  While I am changing into my gauzy white garden dress, you guys take the plants out to the beds and start digging some holes, okay?”

“Do we have to?”

IN THE GARDEN

“Hey, Liv why are you the only kid in the garden with me?”

“The other kids are all asleep.  Mom, why are you dressed like that?”

“Shut up and weed.”

“Do I have to?”

Wavily dream music here.

And so, I spent another afternoon in solitude, planting my garden.  Note to self:  Want much sought after alone time?  Ask for help with the garden!

Carolyn

1 Comment

Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, aging, Children, Cussing, Fitness, gardening, Humor, manners, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, parenthood

My carpet is disgusting

Wendy!  Get Rich Quick Scheme number 197,322!!!

I am thinking of calling it Nature’s Carpet, a revolutionary new flooring manufactured with the family in mind.  Envision this in your
own home.  Orange cat?  Nature’s Carpet will incorporate random tufts of orange hair into the weave!  Have a baby?   Imagine haphazard patches of mustard yellow and baby burp white!  For you dog owners, muddy paw prints in chocolate and caramel brown and some ‘oopsie’ spots for the puppy years.  I’m thinking the ketchup and pizza stain pattern is a must for a rumpus room.  And every guy will clamor for the barf and beer stain look for his man room.

Husbands?  Go ahead and take that motorcycle apart in the living room.  She won’t care.  Not with Nature’s Carpet’s “Garage Floor Stain” pattern.

Get that new carpet smell with the user-friendly feel.  No more need to chase that wet pet through the house.  Screaming at the kids over muddy boots is a thing of the past.  Peace and tranquility abound as you ‘go green’ with our bark dust, rabbit droppings and moss chunks pattern.

Your friend’s will turn puce with envy!

Wendy, my family will easily be able to do all of the design work.  You look into the patent deal.  I’m thinkin’ we’re on to something big this time.

Carolyn

5 Comments

Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Children, cleaning, Cooking, Cussing, Death, Dogs, Geroge Clooney, Humor, kids messy rooms, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, parenthood

Furious R-rated Don’t Read, Pt. 2.

"Make my day, doo-doo head!" This bad boy don't need to cuss.

   Why is it, when you make a decision to rumble with someone, to knock heads (I’m talking Bill Murray’s Ghostbuster rant about “disaster of biblical proportions, old testament, real wrath of God type stuff, fire and brimstone coming down from the skies, rivers and seas boiling, 40 years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanoes, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria”–okay maybe not that bad), that you end up having to like, I don’t know, sit next to them on a plane, or be their lab partner or neighbor or something? 

Well, that just happened to me.  Remember the kid I was so hot under the collar over several blogs ago entitled Don’t Read, Rated R?  Yup.  Ended up spending a week with him at outdoor school.  (This year, we took on rocks and planets out in Eastern Oregon).

Yes.  I was scared.  I’m guessin’ he was too.

You know that theme from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly that always plays when outlaws are in the middle of a shootout at the O.K. corral?  The one where they squint at each other just before they draw their guns?  Here.  I’ll try a few bars for you:  Doo-doo-doo-doloo, Bah Wah, Wah. Doo-doo-doo-doloo, Bah Wah, WAH!  A big old ball of sage brush rolls by?  Yeah.  That song. 

It’s playing as I get on the bus, where I had to spend the next four solid hours.  And just who do you suppose is the first person I see?  The cussing eighth-grade rap-artist!  He was already seated.  The last empty seat was within spitting distance.  We eyeballed each other, brows a’see-sawin’.  Who was gonna draw first?  As I strolled down the aisle, we never broke eye-contact.  Didn’t smile.  Didn’t speak.  Slid into my seat.  Pulled down the brim of my hat.

Days passed.  Bumped into him every time I turned around.  I didn’t mention the obscene ballad to his mother he posted on Facebook.  He didn’t mention my vitriolic response.

I carry candy.  Lots of candy.  Especially when I’m forced into confined spaces with hormone-crazed middle-schoolers.  One blazing hot afternoon, he was hungry.  I had candy.  He wanted some.  I gave him some.  He said, “I love you!”  I said, “I love you, too.”

I think I got my point across.

Carolyn

Leave a comment

Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Children, Clint Eastwood, Cussing, friendship, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Outdoor school, parenthood, please and thank you, politeness, The Bad and the Ugly, Travel, Young Love

Life Is Hard. Now Go Play.

Here at Too Hot Mamas, Carolyn and I have ever-so-humbly dubbed ourselves the Lucy and Ethel of Menopausal Motherhood.  (If you had any idea how many whacked-out schemes for one thing or another my blog mate comes up with on a near daily basis, you, too, would suspect Lucille Ball of staging a walk-in.)

But Carolyn is in Central Oregon roughing it with her kids’ school, and I…well, dear reader, I am not feeling funny today.  Hey, I can laugh at a toothache, but as my hilarious Great Uncle Henry used to say, “Some things ain’t funny, Magee.”

My last blog touched on the extraordinary grace under fire of one of our neighbors.  Since then the nasty stuff hit the fan in another neighbor’s life when she awoke to an intruder who assaulted her, brutally, in her home.  The police caught the guy, but will the judicial system keep him off the streets?  Will she find the peace that defies understanding and feel safe in her home again, or out of it?  Will the children who usually run up and down our block as if it’s Mayberry be allowed to play as freely this summer?

And then, on Tuesday, I went to juvenile court to support a friend who has raised her granddaughter since the child was born while her parents struggled with meth, domestic violence and parole violations.  For five years, this grandmother’s refrain regarding her granddaughter has been, “If I do my job well, she won’t realize [how much chaos and fighting surrounds her].”  Being the eye in the storm can’t have been easy, but the five-year-old is a happy, stable child, as innocent as she should be at her age.

Juvenile court—whew.  Stay out of there, if you can.  For what was probably no more than thirty or forty minutes (but seemed like hours)—we watched this lovely five-year-old’s fate be tossed about by a bunch of lawyers whose chief agenda appeared to be Don’t Bother-Me-With-The-Facts-I-Have-A-Case-To-Win.  I watched my friend attacked as the wicked interloper instead of thanked for her love and devotion.  Yeah, so much for that pesky commandment about honoring our parents.

My Uncle Henry had a tough life.  Thirty-five major operations beginning at age three, cancer more times than I can count, heart disease, went blind for a time, broke his back, yadda yadda.  None of his siblings made it much past sixty.  When Uncle Henry was ninety, a waitress (he loved to eat out) asked him if he’d lived in Los Angeles all his life.  “Not yet,” he deadpanned.

Uncle Henry was the happiest person I’ve ever known.  Like any Jewish fellow worth his salt, he knew how to grieve heartily, how to bemoan the fact that bad things happened to good people.  He was not shy about asking, “Why?”  But he had a philosophy of life that was as much a part of him as his brown eyes, and he taught it to us in everything he said and everything he did:  Life is hard, kinderle.  Now go play. 

A mother dies, leaving three young children….  A woman is attacked in her home in the quiet area she trusted….  A little girl may lose the only stability she has ever known and face an uncertain future….

Life is hard.  Sometimes it’s bitterly hard.  But in the midst of it all, there are people willing to be God’s hands here on earth.  On Sunday night, eighty people gathered around the home of the young mother who lay dying on her forty-third birthday.  With candles lit and their voices raised so she, her husband and children would hear them inside the house, they sang Happy Birthday.

Life is hard.  Now go play.

Wendy

Leave a comment

Filed under Children, Death, friendship, Jewish, Motherhood, parenthood, Writing

Live Like You Were Dying

Today is Sarah Bach’s 43rd birthday.  Yesterday she was given the last rites after a year-long battle with metastatic melanoma.  A battle that appears to have been grueling and filled with extraordinary grace.  I don’t know Sarah, though I have met her husband and kids a couple of times.  I’ve thought about her every day, though, for months.  Often several times a day, because of the ribbons.  Giant, happy-looking orange ribbons that circle the broad trunks of trees, the thin branches of azalea bushes and posts of mail boxes throughout our neighborhood.  If you live where I do, you know who Sarah Bach is even if you’ve never laid eyes on her.  You know, and your life has been changed.

Sarah is a mother with three young children and an adoring husband who thinks the world of her.  I doubt I’ll ever write a novel about a romance as real and eternal as the one Sarah and her husband have written this past year.

Their family is devoutly Catholic, blessed with a grace that has carried them through disappointment after disappointment as each new treatment failed to halt the progression of her cancer.  Together, last Wednesday, they told their children she was dying.  To me, the situation seems utterly wrong.  Unfair.  Horrible.  Tragic.  I know plenty of people who didn’t take care of themselves and healed.  We all do.  The photos I’ve seen of Sarah before she became ill show a gorgeous woman who is fit and vibrant.  Sarah had a legion of people praying for her.  And yet she’s leaving three elementary-age children.

Her husband and friends tied ribbons around the trees and then a local market began selling them.  More ribbons popped up throughout the neighborhood.  They reminded me to pray every day.  They reminded me it’s possible to care deeply about people we’ve never met and that no matter who we are or where we’re from, we’re all riding the same bus.  Every step outside my house is a visual reminder that communities grow when imperfect strangers become perfectly caring.

In the neighborhood, our children began asking about Mrs. Bach, her illness and whether she would die.  We had conversations with our kids we hoped not to have for a long time; conversations that blessed us and, I believe, them.

It is so easy to trust when life feels like a cleanly cut puzzle, one piece fitting neatly next to its neighbor.  I suppose the deepest trust, the richest faith, the one that works, is honed when it is tested, when we can somehow cry out, “It’s not fair!” and “Thank You,” in the same prayerful breath.

I hope Sara Bach won’t mind that some lady she never met is writing about her.   She’s part of my life now and, I hope, part of yours.  You can read Sarah’s Journey “Fight Like A Girl” on http://www.caringbridge.org/story_bach.  I hope you’ll read it.  And her husband’s blog entry on June 4th.  http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/sarahbach  Let their story change your life.  We prayed for one kind of miracle and got another as we discovered we are all each other’s angels.

Wendy

2 Comments

Filed under Children, Death, friendship, Marriage, Motherhood, parenthood, Writing

Cupcake Wars

One of my daughter’s early teachers was called “Cupcake” (not to her face) by the parents, because of her penchant for celebrating every birthday, half-birthday, and holiday, including obscure-in-America British holidays, by serving fluffy cakes with gobs of frosting.  She considered sugar to be, in part, a learning tool.  It was quite effective.  My daughter does not remember the storyline to The Lace Snail, which we read a gazillion times (it’s wonderful), but she still speaks fondly of London’s October Plenty.  Attempts to form letters were rewarded with m&m’s or bits of red licorice.

Why am I thinking about this now, a few years after the fact?  Because I just spent two hours learning how to make a radish mouse to entice my daughter to eat her veggies.   Any veggie.  A no-thank-you bite of cherry tomato.  A snippet of gray green bean out of her Alphabet Soup.

For many years I was a sugar-free vegan (this was before Carolyn and I began entering the Pillsbury Bake-Off, I grant you) and regularly offered collards and kale to my daughter, who ate her greens with gusto.   Oh, yes she did.  In fact, her favorite breakfast was brown rice with butter, tiny minced carrots, nori seaweed and gomasio.  And then…Cupcake.

I love you, Cupcake, I do.  When introducing children to school, it’s a Jewish tradition to dot the pages of a book with honey so the learning will be sweet.   My daughter’s books were smeared with buttercream; I suppose that’s close.  And when she majors in British history I’m quite sure I will remember you fondly.  But I can’t help the pang of regret and frustration I experienced when she saw that adorable mouse staring up from her salad.  Raising it by it’s long radish root tail, she stared ambivalently awhile then asked, “Do I get dessert if I eat this?”

My next attempt will be carrot-cake oatmeal.  I’ll post the recipe if successful.

Wendy

2 Comments

Filed under Children, Cooking, Fitness, Health, Humor, Jewish, Motherhood, parenthood, Pillsbury Bakeoff, Writing

Don’t read. Rated R. I’m furious.

If you are easily offended, stop reading now.  

Seriously.  Go ahead.  Trot off and have a nice cup of coffee and a chat with your neighbor.

And, whatever you do, don’t read the last paragraph. 

Still here?

Okay…here goes.  Last night, I logged on to Facebook, only to find a post on my wall by a charming eighth-grade friend of my children.  I think it should be titled Ode to My Mother, as he claimed he wrote it himself about his ‘explitive deleted’ of a mother.  He says he composed this thoughtful poem because she wouldn’t allow him to have friends and s**t over any more, although it smacks more of one of Eminnem’s masterpieces.  Dude. Word.

Anyhow, I get the feeling Mummy doesn’t alway check in on her little darling’s Facebook page to view his poetry.  People, people, PEOPLE!  Why are we allowing such blatant disrespect to run rampant on Facebook?  Not only did little darling’s post make me look like a white trash bimbo on my wall, it made his mother a laughing-stock.  6 people “Liked” his poetry.  Not one of them was his mother.

Another thing that children and adults alike simply don’t get it this… Your future employer LOOKS AT YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE when they are trying to figure out who and what to hire. At this rate, this kid’s career prospects are limited to gang member, rapper (and I hear it’s super hard to break in to the industry) and serial killer.

I know, a lot of you are thinking, “Hey, why doesn’t this uptight hag simply unfriend the kid?”    I did.  But not before he sullied my wall and the walls of anyone else on his list, including MY kids.  And as an adult, I don’t feel right about not saying anything.  About not hurting/embarrassing this kid’s precious inner-child.  Letting him throw a public tantrum isn’t responsible or self-actualized, folks.  It is cowardly and uncaring.  Why do we all sit around and put up with this crap, all  in the name of freedom of speech?  Hey, if you are a minor in my household, you are free to speak you mind.  But start up with the f-bombs and we’re gonna wrangle and I’m gonna win.

I have a feeling this kid (underneath his vitriolic spew) is probably a nice kid looking for guidance.  Clearly, he’s not getting enough at home.  He’s lucky he’s not my kid.  Because if he was, his Facebook account would be history.  As would his computer, iPod, iPhone, gameboy and Xbox 360 and all the other baby-sitting devices his parents are no doubt currently employing.  He would be assigned a mountain of chores (my toilets would sparkle!) and he would have to spend endless hours sitting with (and getting to know) ME!  his new best friend!  Oh, the ways we’d bond!  He could teach me to rap and I would teach him Ephesians 4:29.  And perhaps, in the future, we could avoid the four-lane car crash that he posted yesterday.

I don’t pretend to be a saint.  Far from it.  I spent waaaay too many years using language that I have come to realize made me look illiterate and low-class.  And, vulgar.  Trampy.  Disgusting.  And, while these things may still be true, at least I try not to give off the immediate impression anymore.

For those of you who hung in with me to the end of this rant, here is the edited version of this post:

&%$-ing slut you look like a mutt you held me in a rutt im done nomore fun we had a good run you too ton timeing #$%@! your a snitch you snaked my heart i dontmean to sound dark i guess it wasnt very smart to trust you in the first place when i got the first taste i got hooked i shouldve booked it when i got to chance no i dont dance or prance for you i stayed true too you oh boo whoo #$%@ you too.

I ache for his mother.  The spelling is atrocious.

Carolyn

 

7 Comments

Filed under Children, Cussing, Facebook, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, parenthood, phone, please and thank you, politeness