Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is the day we all take time to be thankful for all we have. Honestly, I try to be thankful each and every day for all my blessings. I am a very lucky woman and want God and the Universe to know that I appreciate all I've been given.

Here is my list for 2009...

1. My husband and sons. Sometimes they each drive me mad, but I am so lucky to have them all. Jim is the greatest man ever--and I am not biased at all! My sons are kind and good-hearted. Often people will say they hope my boys appreciate all we've given them. I never think in those terms. I am thankful that they gave me the gift of parenthood. We didn't adopt our children because we were being altruistic. We were being totally and absolutely selfish in wanting to be parents. We just got lucky and got great kids!

2. My animals. All seven of them. Nothing makes me feel absolutely loved and adored than when all the animals run to greet me when I get home.

3. My house and my physical possessions. I live exactly where I want to live. Our community is great, our neighborhood pleasant. My house isn't the biggest, but it's home and that's what counts. I'm pretty sure when people visit that they feel welcome. It's hard not to feel welcome when all the animals are crawling over you to give you a wet and hearty welcome!

4. Health. We are all relatively healthy and sane! My health problems are negligible when compared to some other people.

That's enough of my list. No, it's not complete! I want to hear from you! Tell me what you're thankful for.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Way of the Buddha Mom

We are coming to that time of year when we need to call on our inner selves to channel peacefulness and tranquility into our surroundings. I thought we should have a short course on Buddha Mom-ism.

Remember, I am merely a student of Buddhism myself (I read a few books and visited some websites). I will share my interpretations of Buddhism and how we can apply them to motherhood and fatherhood. I do not have all the answers. Hell, I don't have any answers!

Buddhism asks us to let go of our egos. That means we should not label things as good or bad...they just are. We cannot live our children's lives no matter if we know best. We must take care of the Earth and those creatures who inhabit it (animals and humans and plants and insects).

Let's look at some examples of how to properly channel our Buddha Mom.

Example 1:
Jeremy is in serious danger of failing three classes this semester. Classes he cannot afford to fail. Failing puts him in jeopardy of not graduating on time and for not competing in track in the spring.

I mute the television and calmly say, "Jeremy, do you know I am worried about you?"

He says, "Yes." Note: his voice is not particularly Buddha-filled. He is pretty much labeling me "retarded."

I take a deep breath, "Do you understand that failing these classes means you might not graduate on time?"

"Yeah." Again, no Buddha in his voice.

"I'm concerned that you are going to feel awful in the spring when you can't throw."

"Yeah." He has gone from labeling me as "retarded" to labeling me as barely capable of breathing on my own, much less being capable of forming a coherent thought. I can tell by the snarl that is filling his voice.

I could jump up and slap his lips off (that's Kelly's favorite saying at times and I am stealing it), but I don't. I take a cleansing breath, grounding myself, and say, "I hope you can pull yourself out."

No yelling. No screaming. No slapping. No hysterics on either of our parts.

Of course, we didn't solve the problem either. He is still failing three classes. I am no longer worrying about it because his success or failure isn't feeding my ego. Yeah, sure.

Example 2:
Aaron wants to go play outside, despite the fact that it's 40 degrees and drizzling. I have repeatedly told him no. Yet, he continues to ask.

Aaron: "Can I go outside and play?"

Buddha Mom: "No, it's nasty out."

Two minutes later, we repeat the cycle. And two minutes after that. And another two minutes...

Aaron: "Can I go stand in the yard to see if it's still drizzling?"

Me: "I can see out the window that it's still icky out."

Repeat the above four or five times.

Now my Buddha Mom persona is seriously cracking. I want to tell him to go play in the rain and leave me the hell alone. But I can't do that. I don't want him sick for the weekend. I don't want to give in. After all, I am the parent. I am the stronger one. I cannot cave because what will that show him.

But I am wavering. Seriously, wavering. I wish I had some chocolate. Or brownies. Maybe a cake.

Then the cycle ends.

Aaron: "Can I go watch TV in your room?"

Me: "God, yes. I mean, of course! Make yourself comfortable!"

I don't really like him watching TV in my bed because he messes up the bed. He moves the remotes. He steals my chocolate because he knows where my stash is. The joke's on him though, because I depleted my stash last night!

But he gave me an out and I didn't have to lose my inner peace. It's just slightly shattered at the moment.

As you can see, this whole Buddha Mom thing is still a journey. I don't believe I will achieve perfection, but I could have chosen someone else to emulate. I could have picked Joan Crawford!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mommy's Only Temporarily Deformed, Honey!

I used some of my Lifetime bucks (I got $100 for signing up in October to use for services at the club) to get a facial and pedicure on Thursday. The facial felt so good that I was planning on scheduling my next one very very soon. The pedicure was divine. I felt so pleasant...

Until around 4pm. I asked the boys if I was turning red. The looks of horror should have been a clue. From my chest up--because a facial includes your upper chest, arms, face, neck, back, ears, hairline--I was tomato red. Powergirl fuscia. And that was the good part.

I took benadryl immediately after serving dinner to the family. I am such a good, self-sacrificing mother that I was worried about the nutritional state of my family over my own trek into fire skin. I couldn't take the benadryl sooner because it would knock me out. God, I wish it had knocked me out immediately!

By 9pm I was completely deformed. Not only was I red on all bodily surfaces from the chest up, I was also swelling. Swelling like I've never seen myself swell before. My eyes were slits. I didn't have bags under my eyes, I had a full set of hot pink luggage. Yes, I had rolls under my eyes. It was rather unattractive.

Jim offered to take me to the ER, but I said I would tough it out. And take more benadryl.

Jim was off work on Friday, so he took me to the convenient care. I couldn't get into the dermatologist until Monday and my internist didn't have an appointment until late afternoon. The convenient care sounded...well, it sounded convenient!

We sat for three and a half hours in a waiting room filled with sick people. Luckily the lady sitting right next to me just needed an antibiotic for her dermatitis, so she wasn't contagious.

First, the nurse was horrified at the amount of benadryl I was taking. I know that if two pills are good, three have to be better. She said three would make me never wake up. Frankly, as bad as I felt Thursday night the thought of being in some type of short-term coma was welcomed.

Second, the doctor I finally saw was chortling when she came into the room because the same exact thing had happened to her. She apologized for laughing, but that didn't stop her. She kept shaking her head and giggling. I was too weak to even smack her. Her prescription: more benadryl!

Dammit! If I knew I was only going to get benadryl, I would have skipped the visit. When this has happened in the past I've gotten a shot in the butt and a prednisone med pack. Seriously, my eyes were swollen shut. I deserved drugs!

I have quite a colorful (yes, pun intended) history of skin rashes. I have seen the best ER that Pittsburg, Kansas, has to offer. They provided shot and meds. Kelly and I have spent a drive on one of our adventures watching the skin on my arms turn red and dot up because of the sun. I no longer use Bath & Body Works products because of the rash they caused.

All of this has lead to the jokes about muumuus and burkhas. I mean, I can't go in the sun because I get a rash. I can take a shower because I get a rash. I can't eat spicy food because I get a rash. I am destined to wear the burkha and eat oatmeal for the rest of my life!

I am pretty much recovered now. I went back into the pool yesterday and nothing burned. I got my hair cut today and opted only for high lights. Hair dye would probably cause my scalp to bubble and cause baldness.

I just can't win! Thank God I find the humor in everything or this really might send me over the cliff!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Do you want to know what I consider the absolute worst part about housecleaning? Cleaning the cleaning implements.

Today, I had to delay my load of laundry because I had to clean the laundry detergent bottle and clean the actual washer. Wouldn't you think an appliance called a "washer" could some how clean itself?! We've been buying laundry detergent in a big bottle and pouring it into a smaller bottle. And the smaller bottle is just coated with dried up soap. I think Jim has aiming problems...

Some days it seems I'm spending more time cleaning the cleaners than I am actually cleaning.

I just finished vacuuming and really should dust the vacuum cleaner. It looks awful. Every few months I have to slap all the various filters on the fence or sidewalk outside to get all the dust and gook out of it. That's a real pleasant task when someone has managed to vacuum over something wet--I'm not mentioning names, but I have some idea who does that.

Dr. Oz says the best way to clean your kitchen of evil food germs (think e. coli and other pretty bacteria) is with a spray bottle filled with half vinegar and half water. I've been using vinegar and baking soda for years to clean my stove top--that hint was from the Queen of Clean.

Kelly reminded me last week that you can use vodka as a cleanser. I came home and used it to clean off my remote, the mouth and keyboard. It was cheap vodka and smelled like rubbing alcohol when I poured it on to the paper towel!

If I was a drinker and liked vodka, that would be perfect! I could carry the bottle around, take a swig, clean something, swig, clean, repeat! But I'd have to invest in a better class of vodka!

Come on, share some cleaning tips with us!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Gym Membership...Week 1

It's official, I have belonged to the gym for over 1 week. I have attended six water aerobics classes since I joined.

And I have no urge to quit yet! I actually am wondering, though, if water aerobics actually counts as exercise because I love it so much.

Hey, am I feeling an endorphin rush?! Is this that elusive feeling that I've failed to identify in the past?

I know water aerobics has made my muscles sore. So I'm guessing it does work.

But in the water I feel no struggle. I feel graceful and light on my feet.

Using the ladies' locker room has also been an eye-opener. First, I saw what boobs look like when you're young. OK, ladies, remember when your nipples pointed forward instead of downward? Yes, I have witnessed a set of these on a "regular" woman. It's been awhile and I had forgotten!

Second, I have seen what a "regular" aging body looks like. It has been ages since I've used a locker room. At my old clubs, I worked out and left to shower at home. I never saw an unclothed or partially unclothed woman at all. So it's been nice to see cellulite and saddle bags. Not everyone looks like a Victoria's Secret model under their clothes! They have sagging and bagging and look pretty good dressed.

Third, I have seen what makeup can do for some women. I've seen a blah looking woman sans makeup transform into a goddess with it. It almost makes me want to start wearing makeup on a regular basis!

I'm pleasantly tired from this morning's session of water aerobics. Maybe I'll go take a nap...