Monday, March 31, 2008

Mother Nature is Bi-Polar

Here in Tennesse, Mother Nature is Bi-Polar. And I don't mean she rules the weather on either pole on the planet. I mean she is flat-out moody here.

Two weeks before Easter we were in shorts. I got my kids sleeveless dresses. Yep, you guessed it. Easter we saw temperatures not get much above 40 degrees.

This past New Years Day only warranted a light jacket. But we saw snow showers during Spring Break.

Tennessee boasts weather that allows you to wear snow gear and shorts in the same day. The best you can hope for when you dress in the morning is that you are close.

I've learned to layer me and my kids. Light weight pants, short sleeve top, a sweater and a heavy jacket will get the job done most of the time. In cases of snow or extreme heat, the kids come home a little grouchy.

This past summer we cheered for the little pee wee football players in 108 degree heat. Tennessee heat is not dry heat. It's muggy, swampy, humid, hot heat. And we all felt like we were held captive under a large, wet, hot blanket for weeks on end.

Between the interesting array of plant life we have here and the unconventional, spurratic weather, this area of the country has the worst allergy record. Television, radio and print ads are constantly giving advice on how to breathe without feeling groggy. Some work. Some may as well be sugar pills.

This weekend was warm enough for the girls to get out their summer boxes and rummage through them to see what still fit from last year. Tomorrow it's supposed to rain and be cold in the morning, but nice and sunny & warm in the afternoon...
But I don't count on it staying that way...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bad Mommy

Today I was a bad mommy. Not like felon bad. Just not as good as I usually try to be.

Today when the kids asked questions, I wanted to find their "off" button. When they whined, I wanted to run to the mall for some retail therapy. When they begged, I wanted to scream.

These are the days that there isn't enough prozac in the world to make me better. I just need to go take a long, hot bath, eat some chocolate, watch some bad television, maybe read some trash magazine, and take a nap.

I hate it when I get like this. I like "fun mommy," who makes cookies & plays playdough & thinks her kids are "just the best thing EVER!" Instead, I'm "funk mommy," in a grumpy funk, who barely supresses sighs & screams.

These are the days that the guilt monster rears its ugly head, reminding me that "kids grow up so fast," and "soon, they won't be here to get on your nerves, and you'll missing them every minute."

Hopefully, tomorrow I'll wake up sans grumpy funk & guilt monster. I would like to go back to being "happy mom," who loves every moment- even the bad ones- with her kids...

For now, it's off to bed...

Saturday, March 29, 2008


We got a Wii for Easter. I am very sore from playing the wii.

My son's fitness age is 26. My fitness age is 76. He is not sore from playing the wii.

I am amazed at how user friendly the wii actually is. Once we got it "on", I was able to manuver around on it & figure it out (and that's saying something!). It's also very forgiving. In a normal baseball game, if I were to hold the bat there would be a tremendous number of variables that would determine where the ball went (if I was actually able to hit it). With the wii, as long as your timing works out, you can pretty much swing any way you want, and the wii counts it as a hit.

Kids & adults of all ages can play with little or no problems. It's also great because you can compete against yourself, the wii, or other friends/family. It has been a lot of fun!

I'm anxious to see other games with the wii. Maybe there will be a game where I can eat all I want and not gain weight, or spend all I want and not go broke. (I'm already trying to play both of those games & losing!)

The truly cool thing about the wii is that it is something everyone in the family can play- and we can play together. In my book, that's huge! All of the hand-held games and ipods leave everyone else out. Some of the play station games require too much skill and end up being a source of frustration. The wii allows for error, so it's not too easy. But it also is forgiving enough that you don't want to throw it across the room.

My husband wants to get us all shirts that say "I didn't join the Y, I joined the Wii." I also like "I'm part of the Wii generation". Either way, I'm sure this is a game we will enjoy for years to come!

Friday, March 28, 2008

And Our Next Guest Is...

While exploring the idea of people spilling their guts out on national television on game shows and talk shows, I began to wonder about being a guest on a talk show. To what show would I like to be invited? And to what topic would I like to respond?

I like the political shows- to a degree. But when they start getting blustery and self-appreciating, I turn them off. The same could really be said of most of the day time shows. Oprah usually does a good job of giving guests equal time. But the late night hosts generally have the most control over the content. I suppose that could be because they tend to stick to celebrities, and the day time shows delve into the "average Joe" and whatever human tragedy they are willing to air.

In fact, night time shows tend to be mostly an advertisement for celebrities' movies, music and other merchandising. But at least they are fun and look good.

Oprah kind of has a genre all unto herself. She takes the reporting aspect of a morning show, but takes out the news. She sticks to a particular topic throughout. She's really done a nice job of polishing up her product. She has guests all the way across the gamut- from celebrities to anomalies to the "average Joe". But she helps them all be presented to America and the world in such a way as to have them look good and sound intelligent.

I definitely would not want to discuss politics or religion or money or sports, if asked onto a show. I would like to comment on a topic near and dear to my heart, like having a great family or friends. But I guess I really don't have a book or PhD behind my philosophies (yet!).

If experience could suffice as my credentials for commenting, I would talk about one of the following:

  1. Treating your spouse like your best friend makes for the best marriage

  2. Setting tangible, realistic boundaries for your children (and sticking to them) make them happy and healthy

  3. Reaching out to friends, and having several friends with whom you can share almost anything, is healthy and necessary

  4. Believing that God loves you the way you are, but wants you to be the best you can be- and trusting in His will makes you peaceful and happy

  5. Eating well and exercising regularly take care of most of your health care needs

  6. It's okay to have "treats" every now and then- so long as it's all in moderation

  7. Money is a tool, which, used correctly, can give you peacefulness

  8. If you don't take responsibility for your own actions, you shouldn't be allowed to "play"

  9. Too many people blame everyone else for their self-inflicted problems, and expect to be given hand outs

  10. Life is NOT a television show or movie: violence does kill; words are irrevocable and can hurt and do damage that is irreparable; no big problem has ever been solved effectively in thirty minutes with a full ten minutes of commercial breaks

I must admit, the idea of being whisked away to wardrobe and make up and then looking stunning on national television does sound thrilling. But, for now, I'm happy to be on the viewer side of the screen.

But, if David Letterman or Jay Leno ever call, I'll be ready...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Truth or Dare...

There is a new show out this season called "The Moment of Truth." If you haven't seen it, the premise is that the contestant is asked personal questions and they are to answer truthfully "yes" or "no". A computer voice comes on verifying that they told the truth (presumably some sort of lie detector) and if they have, indeed, told the truth, they win money. Each question is more personal and worth more money.

Many of the questions are more personal than something I would share with some of my close friends- certainly not something I would broadcast on national television. And yet, with the age of the talk show hosts airing everyone's dirty laundry, this is just a new verse to an old song.

Several women have revealed through various questions that they have wished they did not marry their spouse, that they've wished their spouse was more attractive, and even that they have cheated. I can't imagine which would be worse: the contestant having to reveal their answer, or their spouse whose face is also splashed across the television screen, having to watch.

My question is: Why???? Why does someone want to watch this train wreck? Worse yet, why would someone want to be a contestant or their loved one on this show???

If you haven't told your husband he's not the father of your child in the privacy of your home, is it really wise to do it on national television? What are you possibly hoping to gain from this? If you make it to the highest level, after trashing everything and everyone you know, and you make the paltry amount of money offered for doing such, all you could possibly ever glean from this is proof positive for the divorce attorney as to why you should never receive alimony!

Is America really so starved for trash that we gleefully watch the beauty queen admit that she rigged a beauty contest or that the All-American blond has a thing for her husband's sister? Does the national news not hold enough punch for us???

I can barely watch the clips they show to advertise the show. I will have to "tell the truth" and say, "I have never watched an entire show." So, if there is some redeeming value, I have missed it. But I just have no need to watch supposedly fairly stable people knowingly and purposefully destroy their entire lives!

I hope that this show is very short-lived. I know that there will be another equally sick show lurking somewhere closely behind it. But I think it's pretty obvious that people have a hard enough time making good decisions about their personal lives. We really don't need shows like this to take it to the next level!

If you want to watch a train wreck, watch Celebrity Big Brother. They have professional make up artists who make them look decent. And they're paid well to do what they do. And they're actors- they get paid to be a mess...

Monday, March 24, 2008

Plants & Fish: BEWARE!!!

Yesterday we planted a fake fern. Since the past six plants died a sad, slow, "either-too-much-water-or-not-enough-water" death, we decided it was more "humane" to go with a plant that was already dead.

I have effectively killed ivy AND mint. Both plants come with guarantees to take over the entire yard. Not my yard. They shriveled up from lack of water. Then I over compensated on the water, so the dead leaves floated in the dirt.

We have seen similar problems with fish. We got 17 gold fish from a local fair. I groaned inwardly as soon as the first child won "Goldie". The sixteen subsequent gold fish elicited more audible concern. As we toted home the fish, we noticed that approximately 12 were swimming backwards, upside down, or not at all. They all received a watery funeral in our bathroom upon arriving home.

The five remaining fish didn't last through the weekend- despite the brand new fish tank, fish food, fish rocks and fish filter.

Tears streamed like rivers through our household as the last gold fish, "Pooka", circled the toilet bowl on the way to join his siblings. My husband, being a sucker for tears, swooped up our brood, and off to the Wal-Mart fish department we went.

$40.00 later, we had six more, supposedly heartier, fish. Time would prove otherwise. Currently, our fish who sucks the slime off of the bottom of the tank, "Pedro", is the only surviving resident of our fish tank.

The only plant I've been able to keep for any length of time is a houseplant that sits on my kitchen counter. I don't know what kind it is. It seems to be fine with my OCD tendencies to either over-water or completely neglect it. It was actually my grandmother's before she died. So I like to think there's a little angel watching out for it on her behalf.

Surprisingly enough, I seem to do very well with children in our house. I have yet to kill any, and they actually even grow under my care. My children have learned to make themselves cereal if they insist on waking up early on the weekends. And the pizza delivery guy and the Chinese food delivery guy have our home programmed in for regular stops.

I suppose it's a good thing that the kids aren't plants or fish. Especially since I can't hug a plant or kiss a fish!

When the kids are out and on their own I totally expect they will try their hand at both plants and fish. Hopefully, they will have better luck-- for their sakes, and for the sake of plants & fish everywhere...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Caution: Fashion Disaster

So, I was at Khol's today trying on Easter outfits. (Yes, if you look at the date, you will notice that Easter is tomorrow.) My kids had their outfits a month ago. But you know what they say about the Shoemaker's children, who had no shoes...

I came up to a few conclusions while I was trying on virtually every outfit in the store:

  • Everyone who had a full-length mirror in their kitchen would be far less shocked when they saw themselves in the dressing room

  • Fashion Designers harbor some deep, personal hate for a woman's waist.

Case in point: Every single pant or skirt came to the hip. (For those of us who are post-baby, that can spell trouble- in the form of "muffin top")

Every single top or dress had an empire waist that hugged right under the breasts. (And blousing out so very unattractively around the belly.)

If I were pregnant, today's fashions would allow me to go virtually unnoticed for months- maybe up until the delivery.

On the flip side, these same fashions make even Kate Moss look a little chunky. So for us mere mortals, who come with extra cushion and some unfortunate rolls, the dresses end up translating roughly to "moo moo".

Truly, there is about 5% of the population- who is not pregnant- who looks good in these fashions. I, obviously, am not one of the 5%.

I did end up finding a totally "un-hip" skirt and sweater set that I found classy & flattering. It was one of the last outfits I tried on, and it was in the back on the cast-off sale rack. (I chose to consider the sale a bonus, rather than a comment on the fashion style.)

I'm sure in the not-to-distant future the Fashion Designers will come up with some equally un-flattering, offensive, ugly fashions, that we will all buy into whole-hardily, casting aside the moo moo's of today. (Consider leg warmers, shoulder pads, bell bottoms, and wearing your bra as a shirt. Enough said.)

For now, I'll wear my outfit I consider "classic" and let younger, more fit girls wear the bubble tops and low-rise pants and skirts. I figure fashion is fickle enough that eventually, even I will be hip!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Mommy Barbie

On Facebook there is an application called, "Which Barbie are you?" My friends and I have amused ourselves with this for quite some time.

My quiz scores indicated that I was "Sorority Barbie." As a point of fact, I was in a sorority, and I still very much like to socialize with many different friends.

However, I find that even the Barbie aisle at the toy store has come to realize that Barbie takes on many personalities. Diva Barbie and Doctor Barbie are made from the same doll, but have different clothing and accessories.

I consider myself to be Mommy Barbie.

Mommy Barbie comes with children and (at least in my case) a husband. Accessories include a minivan with McDonald's french fries rolling around in the bottom, a large purse whose contents could win the jackpot on "Let's Make a Deal" (Yes, Monty, I DO have fingernail clippers, a banana, a Happy Meal toy and a half-eaten sucker!), a microwave that only works when Repairman Barbie is present at $150 an hour, and a family dog who can run outside for an hour and still pee on the carpet upon admittance into the house.

Mommy Barbie comes with no sick days. She has a kitchen with a rotating door, which is constantly pushing through hungry Pre-Teen Barbies, Little Barbies and Barbie Friends. She also comes with a vacuum, scrub brush and a washer/dryer combo.

Mommy Barbie has the unique feature of having a microchip implanted that allows her to keep up with the schedules of up to ten people at a time. Sometimes the processor goes down for maintenance, thus throwing the whole Barbie family into chaos.

Mommy Barbie comes with other outfits so that she can change into: Arts & Crafts Barbie, Shopping Barbie, Vacation Barbie, PTO Barbie, Part-Time Employee Barbie and PMS Barbie. (PMS Barbie outfit comes with an advisory for the Barbie family and red wine and chocolate.)

Needless to say, Mommy Barbie's greatest joy is her children. She actually revels in overseeing homework, dressing the kids for pictures, planning for play dates, and, especially, getting hugs.

Mommy Barbie is also painfully aware that her role as Mommy Barbie will not go on forever. There will be a day when she is transformed into Confidant/Friend Barbie for her children. And even Grandma Barbie. She will love and cherish those roles, as well.

But for now, Mommy Barbie is absolutely content just being who she is...