Sunday, October 31, 2010


It's Halloween!! I can't say that it is my favorite holiday but what's not to like about candy and chili and running around in the dark with friends.

Unless your obsessed with fear and uptight about everything. Little harsh? Probably, I'm not known for my restraint. I'm one of those people that gets up in the morning and forgets the filter.

But really, Halloween? Has it gotten that out of control? Help me understand, so 17 year-olds go out with a pillow case and try to get candy...boys in my class did that 20 years ago. Some people laughed at their gumption (shall we saw) analyzing their creative costumes (I think they dressed as cheerleaders and hookers)and rewarded them with a snack size snickers while others said Get out of here!

Did they egg, TP, and ding dong ditch? Heck yes, but guess what, so did my Dad 60 years ago. Maybe I'm pushing it, 50? Anyway my dad and his friends tipped over outhouses, sometimes with people in it! Do I need to describe that in detail? Use your imagination people.

All I'm saying is that we were allowed to wear our costume to school and we had a parade. Some one's mom brought in treats and the Cafeteria ladies dressed up. We collected for UNICEF and brought it to Mass the next day. We ran around the neighborhood and sometimes a friends neighborhood also until way past dark and ate as much candy as we could that night.

Where does all this commotion over Holiday's come from, how sad was your Halloween growing up that you want to take away parties, candy, and trick or treat? Maybe I'm a naive Midwestern fool that still sees good in the world, in people, in letting my hair down on Oct. 31st, and eating all the Reese's cups I can steal from my children.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

This one's for you...

OK- so I feel I should make a public apology for my latest attempt at comforting a friend.

She has a wonderful, energetic, smart, funny, cool son - and I called him a dog. Well, technically I said that he is like a Labordor. I grew up with Lab's: Black and Brown and Yellow. I love these dogs because they are loyal, friendly, playful, energetic, loving, kind. But there is nothing more trying than a Lab pup - thank God they are so cute!

What I was trying to say was that even though Lab pups get into everything and have more energy than the Energizer Bunny - they do grow up, chill out, and become amazing pets. I know that her son is going to grow out of this and be absolutely amazing - look at his parents!

So many things sound better in my head than they do coming out of my mouth...

Make some Jello

Have you ever felt so totally overwhelmed that you were stuck. You just want to sit down and cry, or eat ice cream instead of figuring out where to get started?

Make Jello. That's what my mother used to tell me. Sound funny? Well, it is but it was the idea. You see when ever my mother would get that stuck feeling her mother would tell her to set the oven timer for 20 minutes and see how much she could get done. Just 20 minutes, because it is amazing what you can actually get done in 20 minutes when you just get going.

It's true. In turn, when I would call my mother from college crying because there was just too much to do and I wanted to quit, she would tell me to make jello. "But I hate Jello!" I would protest. "You don't have to eat it, just make it."

She was right. Just the act of starting and finishing something in 20 minutes gets you ready to tackle another and another and another...

So when all else fails, Make Jello. And if like me you don't really care for it, try adding vodka, it dosen't make the Jello any less gross but you feel WAY better in 20 minutes!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Facebook this!

Is there truly shame in being the last hold out? I think not - and I will tell you why, because I am. My dad sent me a facebook request.

Seriously? My father who thought his computer was broken for over a week because my mom had signed into yahoo and he could "find" his email.

OK so will I be shamed into creating a Facebook page by my father? Perhaps. But only if I can log in as Anastasia Beaverhousen...

Look for friend request soon.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

You are your Mother

We all know it is true. Try as we might in our teens and early twenties to turn our back on all we know, we become our mother.

It happens gradually though, you have the first child determined to do things differently. And life happens gradually, you do not give birth to a mouthy teenager. So at first it's the lullaby that creeps into the evening routine, or the song you sing while feeding them, or the game you play in the bathtub. But it ends up with the phrases you sore never to let cross your lips, "Eat it or no dessert!", "Wait till your father gets home!", or the dreaded, "Because I said SO!".

I just finsihed reading Ruth Reichl's book, Not Becoming my Mother and if only it were that easy. Her mother told her not to become me, gave her permission to see her for just who she was and become whoever she could dream. Her mother was maniac-depresssive (I believe)and that is why I say, if only it were that easy.

I think it is harder for those of us with Baby Boomer parents who struggled through war times, and free-love times, and equal rights times, because so much was happeneing, changing, moving faster and faster. I struggle today and it's been moving this fast all my life, how did my parents make any sense of the world? Keep their feet grounded? Adapt to the changes of the world?

I know that some did, adapt that is, change with the times. I'm not sure what my mom felt about the turbulence of the times, she kept her nose to the grindstone, built a career in Real Estate and raised 5 children the best she could. She made sure to tell us to wear clean underwear in case we were in an accident and wear a seatbelt. But I don't think I really know who she was....she was just mom.

I don't want my children's only memories of me to be in the kitchen, taking them from place to place, screaming at them to clean their room, do their homework, and eat their vegetables. I want them to know that I chose not to work to be with them. I want them to know I yell at them about their homework and lack of chores to teach them responsibility, I yell about fighting and mouthing off to teach them respect, and I cry when they hurt me and hope they learn empathy.

It's hard to stop, when I think about it, there are lots of things I want to give my children - We all do! With the greatest intentions. and somehow, it comes out sounding exactly like my mother.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sing me a song

When our children are babies we sing to them almost instinctively. Maybe it's purely survival when it's three a.m. and you are up for the fourth time. Singing keeps you awake enough not to drop the child.

The older our children get the less we sing those lullabies, nursery rhymes, or folk tunes. My youngest son always asks his Nanna to sing to him when she puts them to bed. But my mother is from a different generation. Singing, singers, radio was a bigger part of their life. My mom who no longer listens to any music, just talk radio, can still sing every camp song ever written and most of the music from the 50's and 60's.

The other night after putting this particular four-year-old back in bed for the third time while trying to finish kitchen clean-up, laundry, and school papers he said to me, "Sing me a song mommy."

I was ready to say for the third time, "JUST GO TO SLEEP." When is realized if it were that easy for the child, I wouldn't be here. Maybe he needs a song.

So I sat down on the side of his bed and began to sing to them, when it occured to me that my reportire needs considerable help. I'd start a song and forget the second verse, or worse get a tune stuck in my head without words, or words but no tune.

I ended up reverting to the sounds of my early college days when I was introduced to Cat Stevens and James Taylor. Now for someone who grew up with Peter, Paul and Mary, then went to High School with Guns -n- Roses and Ozzie Osbourne, these men were a treasure. And having been a dance and theater person I also have a few show tunes that are forver inbedded in my head.

Last night must have been one of those nights, again, for the four-year-old because as I was walking him back to bed for the third time I said, "How about a song?"
"Please mommy will you sing the moon shadow song?"

Thanks Cat, I owe you one;-)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ice Cream Monday

As is obvious from my more than melancholy post earlier this week life just seemed to catch up and bite me in the butt. Does that ever happen to anyone else? Several people commented that I should seek help from a therapist which started out offensive and then I realized, YOUR READING MY BLOG!!!!! Yeah Me!

Anyway on Monday when we went to the gas station/convenient store for gas I had to go in and pay. As the four-year-old and I jump out of the car I realize there is an ice cream sale going on and I started to grumble thinking, Great now all he's going to do is whine "I want this and I want that!"

I do not know what happened as we stepped inside the door, but when he looked up at me and said, "Mom, can we have ice cream?" I said, SURE! Why not, it's Monday!

Everyone around us giggled, and then giggled a little more as I held him so he could pick a flavor. He had to taste about ten of them first and make a comment about all the others being gwross, or yucky, or just oooouuuuu.

We left with our Ice Cream Monday's. There is nothing like the power of ice cream.

Kindered Spirits

I know you are never suppose to play favorites, but there is a 5 year-old boy it the neighborhood who is the red haired middle child. Need I say more! (I was the red haired middle child;-)

This kid cracks you up from the get go. His mom was telling stories the other day and these are two of my favorites. It seems that everyday at Pre-school when they say the Pledge of Allegiance, as soon as they are finished he yells, "Play Ball!" Because of course- that is the very last line of the Pledge of Allegiance.

The other day at his soccer game after running up and down the field blowing her kisses and giving her the big boy guns (that is what we call it when our boys don't want to kiss us in public and instead you get two finger guns and a wink) he said to her, "Mom, did you enjoy the game?"
To which she replied, "Yes. I love to watch you and your brother play."
"Yeah, you got it good Mom. You get to see the whole game, I have to keep running up and down the field and I don't get to enjoy any of it."

Love this kid!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Who are you praying to?

There are moments in my life that have made me absolutely believe in a power greater than me. Mother earth, the Almighty, the gods, whoever you pray to, most of us believe in something bigger.

Funny thing- for me growing up that "thing" was God of the Catholic variety. So he took on the figure of a man basking in bright white light seated on a throne. In college as I started to meet other people and explore new ideas I toyed with the idea of figures, a sort of consortium of deities. Allah, Buddha, Messiah, and so on. Now that I am a mother, the figure has taken on the face of a woman. A mother.

I hang on to those moments when I am sure that the higher power I feel is a kind and gentle woman, perhaps sitting by the hearth, feeling the warmth on her face and hands as she sews the fabric that is our lives. Pushing us as if on the head of that needle threw the fabric, this way and that. A chance encounter, a sudden change of mind, or a total shift in direction makes the quilt that will tell our story.

There are too many moments when I curse the sky not sure where the higher power is at- if there at all. Why do children die? Why does war happen? Why do loved ones get cancer? That to me is the act of a cruel God, not a gentle woman. No woman would let you harm a innocent child, nor take her son to war. No woman would create cancer, there is enough suffering in motherhood already.

Some days are just like this I guess, you can't seem to get a hold of anything that makes you feel grounded. It all seems to short, fleeting, temporary. It is days like this that I can not seem to get motivated to do much more than hug my kids, and pray, that God truly is a gentle woman.