Monthly Archives: October 2009

Who Will Visit When We’re Gone?

Graveyards have always fascinated me. I’m not sure why. But even as a child I loved strolling through graveyards, reading tombstones, imagining the stories behind them. Where I grew up there was a small graveyard, up on a hill, that was fairly hidden from the road. It overlooked a river. Over time, erosion caused some of the caskets to become visible on the side of the hill. I loved to visit that particular cemetery because it was very small and the last person to be buried there was in the 1940’s because frankly, it was full. There were graves of early settlers and notable residents of our area. On one visit I noticed that many people, of various ages, all died within a year of each other. I raced to the library to see what I could find. A horrible flu caused many people to perish. This investigation took place almost 30 years ago so I can’t remember if it was the infamous 1918 Spanish Flu – but it wouldn’t surprise me. 2009_1030SeptOct20090078

And so everywhere I go I love to visit a graveyard there. Bien sur, while in Paris I had to visit Père Lachaise Cemetery. Among the inhabitants: Moliere, Frederic Chopin, Sarah Bernhardt, Jim Morrison, Honore de Balzac,  Oscar Wilde. This cemetery contains some of the most interesting headstones I have ever seen.


Headstone for Georges Rodenbach

 I lived in an old brownstone in downtown Savannah, Georgia for a few years and would walk my dog to Colonial Park Cemetery. The Union troops during the Civil War kept horses and livestock in the graveyard. Bored, they tampered with headstones, making the oldest inhabitant 1700 years old when he died. Ten thousand bodies are buried there but due to disrepair and Union soldier mischief only 600 headstones remain.


Colonial Park Cemetary - Savannah, GA

 Bonaventure Cemetery is one of the most beautiful, also located in Savannah. It overlooks the marsh and is nestled under a canopy of live oak trees and Spanish moss. Certainly one of the most compelling headstones for me was Gracie. Little Gracie Watson was born in 1883 and an only child. She died, at age 6, from pneumonia and her parents were devastated. It is said that Mr. Watson suffered a deep depression after she died and was no longer able to stay in Savannah. Before he left, he commissioned John Walz to create the sculpture for her tombstone. When I lived there, people would leave little toys or flowers in her lap.


American poet, Conrad Aiken is also buried there. His marker, a stone bench with inscription, is one of my favorites. A friend of mine teases me because I want to be cremated when I die, scattered in the wind of places I loved.  I don’t want my body to clutter the earth, yet I love to visit cemeteries. I’ve told her I want a bench, just like Conrad Aiken’s, so people have a place to rest when they visit the people who didn’t mind staying in one place.


aiken bench

 Death scares me. Cemeteries don’t. To me, they are fascinating places of history and legacy. Wandering the graves I want to know the stories of the people who have died.


I create stories based on their age, epitaph, if family surrounds them. I wonder if anyone still visits them here. I imagine the life they lived and the imprint they left. Cemeteries make us pause and evaluate our own lives.  Will we make an impression that is lasting? Who will visit when we’re gone? 2009_1030SeptOct20090081


Filed under How We Roll

The (Health) Countdown to Halloween

My two youngest have just recovered from a cold?…the flu? …..H1N1 (formerly known as Swine flu)? A friend of mine said that her pediatrician told her that in our area H1N1 is presenting itself as a mild, upper respiratory, low grade fever kind of flu. That’s exactly what the boys had. Fingers crossed!

But that still doesn’t ease my mind about getting the vaccine (I’m still undecided) or if we should get the regular flu vaccine (which I wrestle with every year, decide not to and then sit on pins and needles all season worrying that I made the wrong decision) or if this last thing that passed between them (daughter and husband still healthy, I just had the achies for a day) will come back to haunt us in just one more day. Hold on, guys! I know you can do it!

You see, Halloween is a big deal in our house. Probably because we don’t keep candy in the house or even eat candy that much all year-round. But at Halloween we let them have a free for all, eating as much as they want for the week or two. Eventually, they forget about the candy (I’m not kidding) and I can toss the leftovers and they never ask what happened to it.

But when they’re sick? No candy. No sugar. My husband (Chinese Medicine Man) calls sugar “Rocket fuel for a cold.” And having to give up sugar at the only time of year we let them eat candy with abandon would be torture in this house.

Plus, I remember a Halloween not so long ago…ok, 40 years ago…when a sweet little girl had to miss Halloween. She missed the Halloween parties. She missed wearing her costume to school. (Remember when you could do that and not offend anyone?) She missed….trick or treating. She had the chicken pox. And all she could do (because she felt fine, her skin just decided to try on a polka-dotted costume that wouldn’t wash away) was stand about 18ft. from the front door and watch all the trick-o- treaters come and go. She had a very dear friend who carried around an extra plastic pumpkin to fill for her. But it wasn’t the same.

So, fingers are crossed. Toes are crossed. We’re eating Flintstone vitamins like, well, candy around here. jackolantern

Hope everyone out there has a safe AND healthy Halloween!


Filed under How We Roll

What To Do When You’re At A Loss For Words? Play Around With Google, Of Course!

I was in the habit of writing posts when the mood struck (which was often) and then scheduling them to be posted. I was getting so ahead of myself my body had a hard time keeping up with my brain. My brain was already wearing tomorrow’s outfit and my body was taking off my shoes from the day before. Posts were just spilling out of my head and onto the keyboard. I was more than a week ahead of myself.

Until now.

 I just realized I had nothin’. Not a thing scheduled for tomorrow.

The little angel on my right shoulder said, “Come on, now. You can do it. Just cozy up to the keyboard and write. You have so many wonderful things to say.”

The little devil on my left shoulder said, “Awwww, skip it. Who really looks in on you daily, anyway? Just those weirdos searching for moms doin’ dirty things. Go downstairs, open up the Halloween candy a little early (ok, it’s already open…you caught me) and watch one of the 100 shows you have TiVo’d.”

The little angel on the right shoulder said, “No. Your public awaits. They’ll be so sad to have to look at yesterday’s post all over again. You MUST add something new!”

The little devil on the left shoulder said, “Mmmmmm…some chocolate sure sounds good right about now.”

Guess who won?

Hey! Ye of little faith….read on.

For inspiration I decided to Google “top ten reasons for….,” just for kicks and giggles, to see what comes up. Among the suggestions were “Top ten reasons for divorce” Intriguing. So I clicked it. There were 2, 360, ooo hits. Quite a lot of people pondering that issue. I decided to investigate other reasons for top ten lists. Below are the rest of my findings.

Top Ten Reasons Sarah Palin Resigned – 164,000,000. That’s million. Are you kidding me? I had no idea that many people cared.

Top Ten Reasons to Date a Wrestler – only 272,000 results. I betcha I can think of #272,001.

Top Ten Reasons for Getting Fired – over 1,000,000 results. There are articles on the reasons, the causes. There’s even articles on warning signs. Thank God I’m a SAHM. Job security is lookin’ pretty great right about now.

Top Ten Reasons You Might Be A Jedi Redneck – Really. I can’t make this up. Approximately 2,950 hits for this search. Now, I know Jedis. (My husband is a big Star Wars fan) And I know rednecks. (I live in the southern United States). But how do the twain meet? How, I ask you?

Top Ten Reasons I Procrastinate – Only 102,000 hits there. Come. On. Now! Procrastination is an art form, carefully crafted by many. Only 102,000 hits? We got a lot of people in denial out there, and I ain’t talkin’ about a swim down a famous river.

Top Ten Reasons Against Evolution – First of all, against? Like it’s a choice? Ok, so the number of results? 2, 960,000. Almost 3 million.

Top Ten Reasons for Bathing – Only 177,000. I thought I smelled something funny.

Top Ten Reasons Couples Fight – There were 2, 540,000 results for that. I bet my husband and I could add a few more.

Top Ten Reasons Gay Marriage Is Wrong – Another 2 million plus results. Someone tell me why we’re spending any time on this issue? Really? Behind closed doors. Consenting adults. Doesn’t affect my taxes. Two people love each other. Oooooooooo. Scary.

Top Ten Reasons Men Are Better Than Women – 3, 220,000 results. And the Top Ten Reasons Women Are Better Than Men? 29, 400,000. Let me say that again, gentlemen. Twenty nine million, four hundred thousand. Somebody’s got some catching up to do!

Top Ten Reasons Not to Get a Toller – What the heck is a toller? There were only 4,040 hits. So I’m not the only one who is in the dark on that one.

Top Ten Reasons to Vote Democrat –  There were 2, 010,000 results.  But only 1.4 million hits to vote republican. Hmmmmm.

Top Ten Reasons Why I Love You – 45,000,000. But that must be a typo. Surely there are more hits out there? Because love is what makes the world go round. And I just want to shout out to all of you out there,  I LOVE YOU! (You’re the best. You really are. Now, go hug someone.)


Filed under funny, Lessons Learned

Strong Marriages and Strong Role Models

I think providing a good example is one of the supreme responsibilities of our leaders. Say what you will about the last presidency, I think the strength of their marriage was evident. One of the things that I admired about President Bush and First Lady Laura was their strong commitment to each other.


And from the looks of it, President Obama and First Lady Michelle and going to give us more of the same.


Here’s to strong marriages and strong role models!



Filed under Soapbox

Don’t Let Your Mother Hear You Playing This!

Ok. So this post is going to really date me. Hold onto your time machines. We’re going waaaayyyy back….

The first albums I ever owned (vinyl, 33 1/3 RPM microgroove) were the Jackson 5 (that’s Michael Jackson’s first gig) jackson5

and Donny Osmond. donny6

Safe. Wholesome. Fun pop music.

Then I discovered the Beatles. Sure, I was  a little late (they broke up in 1970) but my uncle had all their albums and I thought my uncle was pretty cool. I started collecting their albums, too. I’d pour over the lyrics, spin the records backward, analyze every word. Was Paul dead? Who was the walrus? Where IS Strawberry Fields? Is there happiness in a warm gun?

The first hard rock album I ever bought was Deep Purple’s Machine Head. I loved the song Smoke on the Water. The lead singer was Ian Gillian, voice of Jesus on the 1970 recording of Jesus Christ Superstar. My parents played JCS in our house all the time. I remember one Saturday, listening to my newest purchase with my hard-earned allowance and being very disappointed. Sure, Smoke on the Water was a great song but the lyrics of the other songs disturbed me. I was  a young innocent. Many of the songs glorified drug use. Sure, the Beatles had alluded to it in their songs – often quite openly -but somehow this was different. A little more crude. Real. With no consequences. I was quite disturbed by this and my father used it to teach me about “wise purchases” and knowing more about the product before I lay down my hard-earned cash.

Eh. I got over it. As long as I liked the music I learned to ignore the lyrics. And so it went and on another Saturday my sister and I were listening to Nazareth’s Hair of the Dog (sometimes referred to as Son of a Bitch because of the line “Now you’re messin’ with a son of a bitch!”) nazarethMy sister and I, in our room, record player blaring, singing into our hairbrushes. My dad bursts in. “WHAT are you listening to?” “N-n-n-nazareth” we stutter, pointing to the album cover. “We just bought it.” “Oh,” my dad says, realizing this was our latest purchase. “Well, just don’t let your mother hear you playing this. And turn it down.”

As a young adult, because I truly enjoy all kinds of music, I became interested in this new genre, Rap. Ok. Not so new, but finally in the mainstream. I loved the Beastie Boys, Run-D.M.C. and the first rap song, “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang. But talk about struggling with the lyrics – Gangsta Rap really turned me off no matter how much I liked the music. And then, of course, there was the portrayal of women.


And speaking of women, and getting back to my love of hard rock, I really struggled when Nine Inch Nails hit the charts. The music? I loved. The lyrics? Not so much. Ok, not much at all. Well, most of the lyrics, anyway. How could I like such an artist? Many of the videos are banned for their graphic visions of violence and torture. But a song like “Hurt?” Gut wrenching and beautiful. When Johnny Cash did his haunting version Trent Reznor (lead singer for NIN) was quoted, “[I felt like] I just lost my girlfriend, because that song isn’t mine anymore… It really made me think about how powerful music is as a medium and art form.”

Now I have children. I’ve censored the music I listen to when they’re around. My love of theater and opera and classical; they’re VERY aware of. We listen to “safe” pop music stations in the car. Tori Amos, NIN, Puddle of Mudd, and friends – I listen to when I’m alone.

But my daughter is now 17. And she’s listening to the same things I am – and then some – for a while now.  How do we keep our children from believing in the damaging lyrics found in some songs? How did I emerge from my teens with a strong sense of self? Have I sheltered them enough, for long enough, until they could come to their own conclusions of how the music should move them? And is it just me, or is sheltering them getting harder and harder?

Music is powerful. And as an art form it’s easier to come by. It’s everywhere. And we’re influenced by it more easily then I think we’re willing to admit.


Filed under Growing Up, Music

Heard While Trying to Concentrate on a Much More Prolific Post

#2son – We were made to play Legos!

#1son – You are under arrest for making too good a starship…..Can you make me one?

#2son – It’s easy! Just do step one, two, three and you’re done!

#1son – Dooo, doo, doh, doh, doh,  (high pitched whistling)

#2son – Tarter Sauce! I wanted to play with that train! (Oops…I think they’re watching too much Spongebob)

#1son – Chugga, chugga, toot, toot! Ha, ha – get it? Toot? Like you tooted? Did you toot? Hey, I can toot on purpose!

#2son – Brrrrrrmm. Brrrrrrrmm. Brrrrrrrmm. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrmmmmmmm.

#1son – Don’t forget to flush! That’s gross!

#2son- When I was a baby I didn’t need this much fun!

#1son- Pshhhhhh. Boot. Boot. Boot. Pshhhhhh.  (What IS IT with boys and sound effects?)

#2son – Arrrrrrr, Matey! Wanna sail the seven seas with me? Ask mom if we can take a bath.

#2son – MOM! Do you have any  knives? We want to see if this is magnetic.


Filed under children, funny

Operation Beautiful Dot Com

Cammy, over at Classroom Confessions, pointed me into the direction of this site and I love it. It must be shared with you all! About a week ago, in my post about the media/modeling industry and our standard of beauty, I quoted Kate White at Cosmo who said, “Women have to complain and then back it up with their actions — with their pocketbooks”  Well, here’s another thing we can do!

At Operation Beautiful they are encouraging you to end “fat talk one anonymous post-it note at a time!” As a parent of a teenage daughter and a six year old son that has started asking if certain foods will make him fat I’ve become acutely aware of how my own self-image challenges the people around me. Fat talk is all around us. We can stop the cycle at home but here’s an opportunity to stop it worldwide. Every little effort is like a ripple that will spread.

Please check out this worthy cause and get involved. I’ve already put my post-it pad and pen in my purse. I’m starting today!


Filed under How We Roll, Self Image

Chocolate Cake for Breakfast, Lucky Charms for Dinner

The other night was just one of those nights. Pick up kids from school. Go to bank. Pick up milk. Race home. Feed kids. Get back in car. Pick up daughter from practice. Go to parent meeting. Race like a madwoman from one place to the next.

Now, I knew the schedule beforehand. I knew it would be tight. I also knew that the parent meeting would be right in the middle of dinner hour and would probably run longer than expected. And wouldn’t you know it, my husband had to work late.

We had plenty of leftovers in the fridge. And that’s when the lightbulb went off.

“Guess what boys? It’s opposite day. And today we’re going to have dinner for snack and snack for dinner!”


“Today, when we get home we’re going to eat dinner for your afterschool snack. And then after mommy’s meeting we’re going to come home and have any kind of cereal you want for dinner!”

“ANY kind?”


“Can we have Cocoa Puffs?”


“Or Lucky Charms?”


“Mom! You’re the BEST!”

You see, we don’t eat sugared cereal for breakfast – at least not on my watch. The sugared cereal is reserved for snack after school or for dessert. They were practically racing into the house to put away their jackets and shoes. They washed their hands at record speed and hurried to the table for their ‘snack.’ I heated up the leftovers and they ate heartily. I smiled at my brilliance.

We picked up my daughter. She watched the boys while I attended the parent meeting for her team. And then we went home.

“Can we have a really, really big bowl?”


“Thanks, Mom! I can’t wait to tell my teacher I had Lucky Charms for dinner!”


I didn’t think of that.

And then I remembered the Bill Cosby skit about chocolate cake for  breakfast.

Enjoy your Friday funny!


Filed under children, funny

Running from the Scary Mommy

A blog I love, Scary Mommy, is having a Scary Mommy writing contest and it intrigued me. I’m always looking for ideas on what to write about and truth be told, I needed inspiration for another post. I’ve known about the topic for 3 days now but have struggled with whether to participate or not. Because, you see, I’ve spent my entire stint at motherhood avoiding just that – The Scary Mommy.


I was raised by a Scary Mommy. And I’m terrified of becoming her. My mother has Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). This disorder has been pooh-poohed by some in the psychiatry field. But take it from one who has lived it – it exists. I recently read a book about BPD and it lists signs that your loved one may have it. I cried when I finished. It described my mother to a tee. I no longer felt crazy anymore.

You see one thing BPD’s are really good at is hiding it from others. Some people would comment how wonderful my mother was and I’d have to keep my face from revealing my confusion. I’ve learned to smile and nod. Others, who were subjected to her whims, would wonder if I’m as rude, as careless with people’s feelings, too. Childhood friends would talk about us as the ideal family and my sister and I thought they were nuts. They had no idea what went on behind closed doors.

 The Scary Mommy I know pulls you by your hair. Tells you you’re worthless. Criticizes your clothes, your friends, your figure, the books you read. They favor one child over the other making you feel guilty when you’re on top, eager to step over your siblings in order to please her when you’re in the doghouse.

Scary Mommys blame everyone else for their problems. Leaving you to pick up the pieces. Make things better. You become the fixer. You learn the term ‘co-dependant’ at too young an age.

Scary Mommys sometimes drink too much, punch holes in walls, break window panes, take medications. Sleep for days.

Scary Mommys wallow in dark, negative places. Or relish tragedy and drama. They turn other people’s pain into their own. They have few friends. The friends they do have rarely last. One day they’re ‘the sweet lady who lives next door’, the next day they’re ‘the spinster.’

I don’t want to be that mommy. I want laughter to spill over in all situations. I don’t want my children to test the waters every morning when they wake up to see what mood I’m in. I want my children to be children while they’re children. I don’t want miniature adults running around fixing, care taking, re-building.

I’m so scared of becoming a scary mommy I’m constantly doubting myself. I check in with my “barometers” (husband, therapist, sister, friends) constantly to make sure I’m making good choices. When I stumble and glimpse hints of a scary mommy in the mirror I panic. I go overboard. I spoil. Become permissive. Defend my child when I shouldn’t.

But I am a scary mommy. No matter how hard I try not to be. We all do it. It can’t be avoided. No matter how idyllic our childhood was. But in my reality I feel I’m Scary Mommy more often than most.

I struggle to make peace with my scary side. Forgive myself. Learn from it. Move on.

But it is so hard. So very, very hard.

And I struggle. And I try. I try hard every day to leave scary mommy in the shadows where she belongs.

And most days I never see her.

Thank God.


Filed under Growing Up, parenting

Wordless Wednesday – Family History



Filed under family, Motherhood