Monthly Archives: February 2010

A Little Sunshine For This Dreary Winter Weekend

Some of you are suffering a cold and dreary winter. Where I live it certainly has been colder than most winters I can remember. But there have been rays of sunshine dancing on my blog and I have WackyMummy and Lisa at Peripheral Perceptions to thank.

I received this award last weekend. Please note it was received before my Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday posts were visible — not very sunshiny posts at all. Do you think they’ll take it back? Ha-ha! They can’t! I already posted here on my blog. And no take-backsies! I called it!

The only requirement is to pass it along to 12 other bloggers. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy. Gee, that’s so easy I keep looking for a catch. But there isn’t one. Yay! So here goes —

An Attitude Adjustment  – A new blog for me but one I look forward to visiting daily. My “attitude” gets shaken up a bit every time I visit and I like that about her!

Bad Mommy Moments – When I read ck, I feel heard. If I were to pick up the phone and say, “You’ll never guess what happened to me today!” she would totally get it. She’s wise. She’s fun. She cherishes the simple, precious moments that make up our lives as mothers. She reminds me of what is good inside all of us.

Diary Of A Virgin Novelist – A new find! A very “real” writer with real advice. She is generous with her wisdom, encouraging and supportive. I love peeking in on her blog.

Faemom – Ahhh, sweet Fae. She reminds me of a (way) younger version of me. Struggling through motherhood, she takes it all in stride. She doesn’t have to work to see the joy in a moment. And the antics of her children keep me giggling.

Ivy League Insecurities – Well crafted posts that make me crave more. I’ve described her blog before as “whimsically philosophical” and I just have to say it again. Because it’s true! She has the perfect mix to her posts: light/dark, funny/sad, simple/intricate. Beautifully illustrated with snippets from her life. She is a joy to read!

The Kitchen Witch – Many of you already know her, TKW for short. I’m pretty sure one of you introduced her to me. And I’m so glad you did! She’s funny. She has great stories. Yummy recipes. Clever and entertaining posts. And amazing taste in blog friends. Love you, Sweetie!

Momalon – one of my new favorite reads! Two sisters sharing a blog. And sharing wisdom and laughter and love.

Motherese – I love stopping by Motherese because she offers interesting vignettes that keep me wondering and pondering. She stirs my mind and my soul. Thank you, Kristen!

Naptime Writing – I’m beginning to see a theme here but this is another blog makes me think. And thinking is good, in my book. Thoughtful posts that make me pause. Absolutely LOVE her writing!

 Organic Motherhood With Cool Whip – With a blog title like that, how can you not check it out? I love the title because that’s exactly me! We live a life with organic veggies and milk, free range chickens and a trip to Starbucks and Mickey D’s every once in a while (ok, more than a while). This blog delivers – pure and simple (with a red dye no. 40 cherry on top, of course)

Square Peg In A Round Hole – And she ‘s not receiving this award because she just gave me one (Thanks Peg!). Honest! I started this post 2 days before she posted her awards. And I noticed that she’s already received this award. Well, tough. She’s getting it twice. She’s THAT good.

The Water Witch’s Daughter – This woman can craft a story. I get lost in her words. I can never skim her posts; I savor every word.

 There you have it! Twelve deserving sunshiny blogs. Enjoy your weekend – now get reading!


Filed under friends

The Duplicity Dance With One Mother And One Daughter


\doo-PLIS-i-tee, dyoo-\ , noun;

 1.Deliberate deceptiveness in behavior or speech; also, an instance of deliberate deceptiveness; double-dealing.

 2.The quality or state of being twofold or double.

I didn’t really, truly begin to see my mother until I was an adult. In my childhood and in my teens, I was cast by her spell. My mother suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder. But I was only able to name it just recently. In the past she was “weird,” “mean,” “an abuser,” “fake,” and “crazy.”

My parents are known for meeting someone and adopting them into their fold. They are “the best friend I’ve ever known,” “the kindest neighbor I’ve ever had,” “the sweetest person I’ve ever met.” That is, until the first mis-step. And then that person tumbles into a dark abyss. One day you’re the kindest neighbor. The next day you’re the spinster. On and on it goes. The best employee, the crook. The beautiful friend from church, the cripple.

My mother put me on a pedestal. According to her, I was the perfect baby. The perfect child. I was a young adult when my mother came back from a therapy session and she said, “My therapist says I put you on a pedestal and I need to take you off.” I remember the huge relief I felt just her saying that. My feelings validated. But it was also in that moment that I began to stand up for myself. Pull away from her control.

In that moment, I scrambled off that tower as fast as I could. In her eyes, I came tumbling down.

It was the beginning of the end for us.

My parents had followed me to where I lived. Nevermind that they had aging parents back in our home state. I was Golden Girl. I would “fix” my mother. When I tumbled from the pedestal they packed up and moved away. After they left, people in our small town would ask about my parents. How are they? Oh, they are just the sweetest people. I just love your Mom. She has such a wonderful sense of humor.

Sweetest people? Wonderful sense of humor? I didn’t see it. What I saw behind closed doors, within the comfort of their home was unkindness, selfishness and biting sarcasm. Behind closed doors she criticized others, made fun of weaknesses. What were these people seeing that I didn’t?

Duplicity. My mother is a master.

I recently saw an episode of House where the case involved a woman who was able to understand feelings but wasn’t able to experience them. She had perfected the art of lying and lacked a conscience. A clinical psychopath. At one point she deliberately upsets one of the doctors on her case. After the personal attack, the doctor appears to be on the verge of tears. The patient asks, gleefully, if she’s going to cry. She wants to see it happen because she hasn’t mastered that emotion yet.

Now I’m not so cruel as to call my mother clinically psychotic. But I saw my mother in that episode. Appearing the wildly successful career woman with the perfect husband, the perfect life.  Behind closed doors? A life that is distorted and phony.

I was recently looking through some photo albums with my children. The pictures of my father with them depicted playfulness, warm hugs and cuddles, belly laughs. With my mother they are forced. She holds them as infants at uncomfortable angles, out away from her body, stiff, with a pained expression as if she can’t wait for the moment to end. She will ask  me to take a picture of her with her grandchildren. To prepare for the pose she will stand a few feet away from them and then you’ll see this flash of recognition, as if suddenly she remembers to lean in, get close.

In the beginning of our marriage my husband would explain to me that my mother was sick. That it was just like any other disease. That I should be more understanding and not take it personally.  But then the behind-closed-doors-meanness crept into his world.

It started with snide remarks, and rolling of the eyes when he’d state an opinion and then moved to direct comments like, “I raised my daughter for better than this!” while appraising our first apartment together during our humble-beginning-years. He no longer tells me to stop taking her comments personally. He no longer talks about her “illness.” Instead, we have established limits for the amount of time we spend with them and never allow the children to be alone with her.

Like a magician, now you see her – now you don’t. She wears one face for some, a different face for others. And I have moved through a range of emotion, acceptance levels and tolerance. I straddle between guilt and anger. Guilt because it’s my mother. I feel like we’re supposed to be close. But when I try to be close she pulls a stunt that brings on anger and I push away. Even my role with her has become a dance with duplicity.

I envy my friends with warm, loving relationships with their mothers. I struggle to recognize destructive behaviour in myself so as not to repeat it with my own daughter. And I wrestle often with feelings of guilt and anger over a lost childhood and lost relationships. Dancing amidst all of the feelings I push myself to let go of destructive memories and people I can’t control.

My life now is about creating a new dance. A pure and joyful, playful, dance with my own children. Thank goodness I can both understand and experience every emotion. Even the negative ones. I am so grateful that I am not crippled by a disease that keeps me from experiencing intimate, loving relationships – filled with good and bad.

Even when I am experiencing loss and longing it means that I am capable of understanding and feeling.

And for that I feel so very, very lucky.  


Filed under Motherhood

I Survived Another Visit With The In-Laws And Got The Last Word

We just survived (I’m kidding Mom!) a visit from the in-laws. And I really am kidding about surviving – they are very easy house guests. They help with the boys so I can cook and bake (which I love to do – uninterrupted). They clean the kitchen after I cook and bake. They keep their things neat and tidy. They’re always up for an adventure.

And now I feel like I’m sucking up to soften the blow.

Maybe I am.

You be the judge.

My mother-in-law knows how to push my buttons. Her son is her Golden Boy (as every son should be). And there are times when I think she sees me as the evil-daughter-in-law. Even though we live a very comfortable life she still thinks I should go back to work and stop mooching off her son. She doesn’t say that in so many words but her comments more than imply it. This last visit she asked again if I was planning on going back to work now that the boys were in school full-time.

“No,” I politely replied.

“Even when they graduate from high school?” she asked incredulously.

“You mean when I’m 58?” I asked. (Yes, you read that right. Here. I’ll do the math for you. I had my youngest when I was 40.)

She then launched into a long lecture on how I wrap myself too much into my children. That I need to create a life of my own. My career isn’t going to be there when I’m 58 and so close to retirement age. I need to keep my foot in the door.

I told her, “I’m fine with the way things are now. It allows me to be the kind of mom I want to be for my kids.”

“But what will you do with yourself when they all move out?” she asked.

“Cherish the memories I’m creating now, ” I smiled.

And then a day later I found this on Momalon, one of my new favorite blogs. I think this has made the rounds in emails and on other blogs.

It is worth watching.

More than once.

Please refill that coffee cup, sit back and enjoy this beautiful testament to mothers cherishing the simple moments with our children.

It’s simply beautiful.


Filed under Motherhood, Observations

A Little Bit Of My Own WTH Wednesday

Ok. That should really be WTF – but children follow my blog (Hi #1daughter!) and I just couldn’t bring myself to put the “F” word in my title. Even that last sentence felt risky. (Looking toward the sky, waiting for the lightning to strike) And my WTH stands for What The Heck. I can’t even bring myself to say the other “H” word. Just call me Polly Purebred. My dear friend Submom started WTF Wednesdays on her blog and I’ve been annoyed by a few things lately (Could you tell? Am I PMS-ing? Is it menopause? I don’t know what it is but my last few posts have been leaning towards the Debbie Downer side of the scale. Sorry y’all!) and I decided to take full advantage of her wonderful idea and just share a bit of WTH of my own.

Have you heard? Oprah is against texting and driving. She’s even taking it a step further and decrying cell phone use and driving. She devoted an entire show to it. She’s joined the movement. Yay! Good for her! Now please know, that I am also against texting and driving. It IS a horrible, dangerous thing. But Oprah is telling us to stop doing it? Oprah has a chauffeur. Oprah can text and ride. Oprah doesn’t drive herself anywhere.  WTH?

Which reminds me of Jennifer Anniston’s 3-minute shower we heard about a few years ago. Just one little thing she’s doing to help the environment. She even brushes her teeth in there, too. This not only saves time but money! Yay for Jennifer! She’s taking a 3-minute shower to save water. Must really help reduce the water bill so she can afford to heat and cool the 14,000 square foot mansion she lives in. WTH?

Evgeni Plushenko (silver medalist in men’s figure skating) is still whining about his loss that took place a week ago. Evan Lysacek won the gold. And he has been more than gracious toward his opponent. But Evgeni Plushenko just can’t let it go. He even created his own Platinum medal, shown here on his website. He’s a legend in his own mind. The website claims he is still “the best” because Plushenko “is one of the few who performed quadruple jumps in their routine and did it best.” Did it best according to whom? Apparently, the Olympic judges thought Evan was “the best.” WTH, Evgeni?

My two favorite orders of fries are both the worst and best fries in America. I love 5 Guys Burgers & Fries french fries. And to my credit, I have never finished off an entire order (they give you enough to feed a family of 4.) But the 5 Guys fries have a whopping 1,464 calories and 71 grams of fat. And McDonald’s french fries? They’re health food, comparatively. A small order is 230 calories and 11 grams of fat. And of the big three (Burger King, Wendy’s and McDonald’s) they’re still the healthiest portion. Stop the presses! McDonald’s french fries are health food! WTH?

So there you have it. My version of WTF. It doesn’t hold a candle to Submom’s but it was fun to play along! What’s your WTH moment of the day?

(Our regularly scheduled optimism will be back tomorrow. Stay tuned!)


Filed under WTH

Mrs. Cellophane Shoulda Been My Name

Little known fact: I was a musical theater major my first year of college. Really. With a small vocal scholarship to boot.

And I love music. But you already knew that. I wish my life were a Broadway musical where people just break into song. (Unabridged girl reminded me of this with her post, Life: The Musical) I hum so much around the house my husband calls me his hummingbird.

I love the song Mister Cellophane from Chicago. I have felt like this so many times in my life.

I’m one of those drivers that actually allows X amount of car lengths between me and the next car. I hate tailgaters. And, as a result, people are always cutting in front of me or cutting me off. I shout, “Do I have a sign on my back that says Walk All Over Me?” My husband just laughs and calls me his favorite doormat.

When my in-laws are in town I’m made keenly aware of how transparent I can be. They’re talkers. And interrupters. So 8 or 9 times during their visit I’ll start to add something to the conversation and they’ll trounce all over me – so I’ll pause, waiting to finish. But my time never comes. And they don’t even realize I had a story to finish. And it always takes me the 8 or 9 times before I finally just stop talking. I become the Amazing-Listener-Who-Hangs-On-Your-Every-Word-Daughter-In-Law.

Instead, I just feel like Mrs. Cellophane. It really shoulda been my name.

“..’cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me
And never know I’m there!”


Filed under Music

Just A Little Something I Need To Get Off My Chest

Dear Friend,

I just needed to get this off my chest. I’m going to apologize in advance because I know what I’m about to say will be difficult to hear. But it has to be said. I can’t take it anymore.

Could you please just (loud truck noises due to construction next door) before you (more loud truck noises). It really makes you look stupid. It’s as if you never even (sounds of jack hammer and other tools of destruction). I mean, seriously. Did you really think I meant to (truck beeping as it backs out into the road)? Of course not. So stop acting as if I did.

Think before you act. Carefully (more jack hammer sounds) and then make (jack hammer, jack hammer, jack hammer). That way we can all benefit from your opinion on the subject. And I might listen. But until then I think you should just (trucks and jack hammers again – the sounds of progress!).


I feel much better now.



Filed under How We Roll

That’s It! Time Out For Everyone!

Faemom brought on this “Hey! That reminds me…” post!

Not long ago, the boys were playing in their playroom. I was working downstairs in the kitchen. Suddenly, it got very, very quiet. Fully expecting to catch them in the act of a dastardly deed, I tiptoed up the stairs. As I rounded the corner I witnessed a peculiar scene.

The entire playroom was perfectly neat. (very peculiar) Every toy was in it’s proper place. (very, very peculiar) Except for the stuffed animals. Every animal was sitting side by side in  a long row that wrapped around the room.

“What’s going on?” I asked, innocently.

#1son shook his head sadly and said, “It’s been a very, very bad day.”

It was everything in me not to crack up.

But just as seriously I replied, “I’m right there with ya!'”

And with that #2son sidled up to me and patted my shoulder knowingly.

Yes, they know all about the very bad day.


Filed under children, That Reminds Me!

When TMI Is TMI — For Me, Anyway

I just read another blogger’s post and I’m still in shock. Now typically, I’d link her, give her cred. But I can’t. It was a post about TMI – and frankly, it was TMI. (Too Much Information for those of you not in the know)

Now, please, if you’re reading this, Miss X – please know I’m kidding. Sort of.

I’m a pretty private person. I wrestle with how much to reveal here.

But I’m also a horrible voyeur. I never thought I’d enjoy reality television – but I do. I don’t watch every season but I’ve been known to dabble in Real Housewives (New York is my favorite), Amazing Race (I loved the family season), American Idol (I guess they let “Big Mike” stay in it to win it) and yes, I’m embarrassed to say I even watched Joe Millionaire. (But I just watched THAT show because I wanted to see the expression on the girls faces when they found out he wasn’t really a millionaire but a construction worker.)

So, I admit. I have voyeuristic tendencies.Hey, it’s why I enjoy your blogs so much. Makes me feel normal.

But Miss X’s blog post talked about sex. And vibrators. And loving sex. And describing sex. And that’s when I started blushing. And there was no one in the room to see it or even know what I was reading and blushing about.

My mother was a nurse. We always called our vagina, our vagina. My boys call their penis (you guessed it!), their penis. My mother very matter-of-factly discussed every aspect of our sexuality with us from the time we could point and ask what “it” was. We were armed with books. Loads of information. There was never a question too personal. She always answered, calmly and factually.

But talking about grown-up, consenting adult sex (or solo sex, as the case may be)? I can’t do it. (Talk about it, that is. Of course I can DO it. I have proof.)

Evidently, I’ve had this problem for a very long time.

When I was about 11 years old, I came to my mother with a question. She was making dinner. Oh good, a captive audience.

“Mom? Is this what sex is?” (And apparently, I proceeded to describe the mechanics of sexual intercourse. Which I’m not going to fully illustrate here – because, as I’ve said, I get quite embarrassed.)

She replied, “Yes. That’s what sexual intercourse is.”

“And THAT’S how you get babies?” I asked incredulously.

“Yes,” she said. Very matter of fact. (Did I mention she was a nurse?)

“But you and Dad don’t do that. Right?” I asked, with a horrified look on my face.

She said, “Well, when two people love each other….”

But I didn’t hear the rest. I ran out of the room and slammed my bedroom door. Apparently, I didn’t speak to my mother for days after and could barely look her in the eye.

So yes, I’m a voyeur.   I suppose that’s why Miss X’s post wasn’t really TMI for me. I enjoyed reading it.

But there’s no way I’m going to share that much with you all.




Ain’t gonna happen.


Filed under How We Roll

Meet BoJo – Our Southern Snowman


Filed under nature

Isn’t A Burka Simply A Mask?

Angelcel, of AC’s Scrapbook brought up a topic of the “Hey, that reminds me!” variety. See the inspiration for the following post here.

Angelcel’s post got me thinking. Isn’t a burka simply a mask? It conceals the identity of the person inside. It creates a nameless, faceless figure that is not easily identified.

Anti-mask laws are debated in the United States. In a simple google search I discovered that many, if not all, states have some form of an anti-mask ordinance in place. And for as many laws I found, I found just as many rebuttals, protests and appeals. Those against anti-mask laws are concerned about freedom of speech and expression. Those for anti-mask laws are concerned for public safety or to discourage offensive behavior.

Where I live, much of the hullabaloo centers around this kind of mask:

I find the above mask and robe offensive. I don’t want someone hiding behind it, spewing hatred towards others under the “safety” of a mask. I also find the burka offensive. But wearing it is an expression of religious affiliation. I believe those forced to wear a burka are victims of hatred. But there are some who willingly wear the burka as an expression of their religious beliefs. Who am I to tell them it’s wrong?

Which leads me to the “Hey! That reminds me…” part of the post.

It was July. My daughter was 8 years old and her US citizenship was finally approved. My husband suggested that we celebrate the fourth of July in Boston, his hometown. Perfect. A Boston fourth of July – there’s no better place to celebrate!

We had a wonderful time. Homes all decked out in red, white and blue. Picnics and Bar-B-Ques. Even a neighborhood parade (she decorated her scooter with streamers and rode with her cousins) that ended at the local park. Sack races and egg tosses. Pony rides and sno-cones. And the fireworks? Amazing!

We spent a week in the Boston area so we had plenty of time for sight-seeing. One particular afternoon, shopping at Faneuil Hall Marketplace, we all split up. Everyone wanted to see something different. When we met back up my mother-in-law was agitated.

“See? That person there? In the burka? It’s a man.”

Her husband scoffed. My husband laughed and called her paranoid.

“No. Look at his hands. His shoes. It’s a man under there. We should do something.”

She was right. Thick, hairy arms. Thick, hairy fingers. Large, black work boots. He noticed us staring and he scuttled away.

“What should we do, Mom?” my husband asked, “He wasn’t doing anything wrong. And besides, we’re not sure it was a man anyway.”

My mother-in-law was still upset. She had been watching him for some time. He appeared to be fascinated with the crowds and the buildings. We just brushed off her concerns. The date was July, 2001.

Two months later, America’s greatest tragedy happened. And the two planes that crashed into the World Trade Center originated in Boston.

Before 9/11, if you had asked me whether women should be banned from wearing burkas in this country I would have defended their every right to freely express their beliefs.

But now? No. No way. Never.

It’s a mask. Plain and simple. And in this country, we don’t wear masks when we’re in public. You are welcome to wear your mask on Halloween. But on every other day? No. In this culture, a mask in unacceptable on a daily basis. It conceals our identity and arouses suspicion. As angelcel pointed out, “If I were to go and live in a different culture I would accept that I should abide by the rules and accept the creeds and standards of that culture.”

So when you are in a western culture, burkas are not acceptable. Because a burka is a mask.



Filed under Soapbox, That Reminds Me!