Monthly Archives: May 2010

When Jane Wishes Upon A Star

I wish I had all the time to read every blog I want to read, with plenty of time to make deep, thoughtful comments and the time to write amazing posts of my own.

I wish I hadn’t have spent $75 on a massage that was just so-so from someone fresh out of massage school. I thought I was saving money.  But it was so not worth it.

I wish I didn’t use the word “so” so much. (Whoops! I did it again, Brittany!)

I wish I could turn back time and snuggle my babies when they were babies again.

I wish the mess in the Gulf had never happened and I worry about all the wildlife choking on the filth.

I wish more than a fifth of all Americans, such as, COULD locate, like Iraq and South Africa such as everywhere like, the United States on a map. (I’m sorry to make fun of her again. But it is still funny.)

I wish whenever I was stuck for a blog post idea the writing prompts I look up actually inspired me.

I wish I had a pa-pa-pa-poker face.

I wish all the food that tastes so good had the negative calories of celery.

I wish Diet Coke didn’t taste like….Diet.

I wish the trip we are taking in a few weeks was for pleasure and not obligation.

I wish every blogger out there (especially the ones who read my humble blog) lots of traffic and lots of fabulous post ideas.

I wish I could win the lottery. Of course, I suppose I should at least play the lottery first. (Which I’ve never done. Ever. Can you believe it?)

I wish I knew what my writing gift was. I wish I could decide what I do best and run with it.

I wish everyone out there a happy, happy Memorial Day. I wish everyone protecting our freedom and the freedom of others a safe arrival home. And if you’re missing someone who has died I wish you peace in your heart.

18 Comments

Filed under Completely Random

Now Showing In A Neighborhood Near You – The Wrap Party

FADE IN. Comfy living room open to kitchen area. A mouth-watering buffet is set. Beverages of all kinds, including YOUR favorite libation. All of Plain Jane’s blogging buddies are chatting and relaxing, laughing and sharing….

Thank  you, all, for your supportive comments yesterday. That post was a nice burden to unload. (And a fun way to unload it!) But it still frustrates me that I stood there like an idiot. I feel like I let my son down.

A few of you asked about my friend’s suggested retort. I’m probably mis-remembering (so correct me if I’m way off, K!) but it went along the lines of this: “Oh! That’s why we chose Even Better Montessori for our boys. We WANT diversity. We want our Asian son to feel confident and secure and accepted in his school environment. We want to teach our children that what matters is on the inside, not the color of your skin.”

Great response but as Annah pointed out, a garden party may not have been the time to educate.

And staying away from these women? Pretty much impossible. And quite honestly, the comment wasn’t said in a mean-spirited tone. The Pollyanna in me would like to think that what they were getting at was that the school population of Perfect Grades Elementary was made up of “like-minded” individuals. And we all want that, really.

The school my children attend is a beautiful mix of skin colors. There are many reasons we chose that school but the blended skin tones was a plus. And the parents are willing to shell out tuition to ensure a strong education for their child. There are mandatory volunteer hours for each family. The campus is set on many acres with walking trails, sheep, goats and chickens, raised earth gardens and compost bins. It’s a beautiful environment that we chose to reflect our values.

At least, I’m hoping that’s what those women were getting at about their school. Hopefully, they just have a misguided view that homogeneous means shared values.

I need to stop beating myself up about this.

But I still wish I had been woMAN enough to have said something. Anything to let them know how offensive their comments were.

Instead of just standing there.

It’s done. I can’t transport myself back to that moment in time. I can only move forward and give my children an extra hug. And try to be prepared if it ever happens again.

Ok.

That’s a wrap!

21 Comments

Filed under Be-Causes, Lessons Learned

Now Showing In A Neighborhood Near You!

FADE-IN. Beautiful garden pool party. The sun is setting and children are playing in the pool. The beautiful people mingle and talk, carrying drinks in their hands save one plain Jane, trying to fit in. Soft conversations and the laughter of children can be heard in the background. Four women are talking together in a group.

WOMAN #1

Oh, we just LOVE Perfect Grades Elementary! Absolutely LOVE it!

WOMAN #2

We had Mrs. Spectacular this year. For kindergarten. She is a gem!

PLAIN JANE

Oh, is it a K-5 school?

WOMAN #2

Yes, it is. And they’re making it a Charter School next year. They’ll be offering karate, piano, Chinese, expanded art classes. I can’t wait.

WOMAN #3

I know. I hate it that my little Allie is graduating. We’re going to miss it!

PLAIN JANE

What are the class sizes like?

WOMAN #2

Oh, the average size. But every class has an aid and the kids are so well-behaved. They WANT to be there.

WOMAN #3

And, most of the kids are (her words are barely audible, muddled by the shouts of the children playing in the pool)

Thinking she misheard, Jane leans in closer.

PLAIN JANE

Pardon me?

WOMAN #1 and WOMAN #3

(leaning in together and whispering)

White

Plain Jane is speechless and unable to overcome her shock. She glances over at her Asian son playing with the other white children. The chatter among the women continues as Jane fades into the background.

This scene actually happened to me this past weekend. A gorgeous garden party in our subdivision. The perfect evening. And when those women repeated the word “white” I stood there, unable to utter a sound. I thought, in that moment, that this is going to be one of those times when I’ll think of the perfect thing to say as soon as we get into the car to go home.

But I didn’t. And days later, it is still bothering me.

I shared this scene with a dear friend and neighbor of mine. She had to miss the party. I was relaying the scene and before I could finish she said, “Oh, I know EXACTLY what I would have said. I would have said….” And then she rattled off the perfect retort. (Just one of the reasons I love her so!)

But what would YOU say? How would you finish the scene?

 

 

38 Comments

Filed under Observations

Teetering On A Tightrope

Today’s Tune for Tuesday Selection = Kandi by One Eskimo

You’ve been my queen for longer than you know
My love for you has been
Everything step i take
Every day i live
Everything i see” – Growing up as I did, it was difficult to feel worthy. When a boyfriend, or even a husband, claimed love for me I had a hard time believing him. Insecurity doesn’t even begin to describe.

“But i heard from Jo about this guy And i want to know” – As a result, I teetered on a dangerous tightrope, many times. If another boy gave me attention, I listened. I encouraged. I often came close to crossing the line.

“What did he say?
He called me baby, baby all night long
What did he do?
He called me baby, baby all night long” – But I didn’t. Not physically. But emotionally. Intellectually. Instead of confronting issues within my current relationship, I savored the attention of someone else. Not some of my prouder moments, to be sure.

“Why? Why? Why, did you need him?
Where was i?” – So I’d feel unworthy all over again. A vicious cycle. One that I’ve broken, thank goodness. But the regrets of my younger years haunt me sometimes. I’m much stronger now. Much more secure. But still, regret lies in the shadows.

“And it hurts beyond hurt
It was a love that blinds
And a love that stings” – I’m so thankful that I am who I am. I’m thankful for regret. For mis-steps. That I’ve been hurt. That I’ve hurt.

Without the sting I wouldn’t be able to appreciate what I have now.

(Update: And the winner is…..lucky number 4! (Chosen by #2son because “that’s how many Star Wars army guys I have in my hand!”) Mary Lee of Marrilymarylee’s Weblog is the lucky winner of Aidan Donnelley Rowley’s copy of “Life After Yes!” Congratulations, Mary Lee and thanks to all who played!)

9 Comments

Filed under Growing Up, Lessons Learned, Music

What NOT To Say To Adoptive Parents

“Now that you’re adopting, you’re sure to get pregnant!”

“Oh, it happens all the time. Once you take the pressure off, you’ll get pregnant!”

I have been through adoption twice. Biological birth, once. Happens all the time? Yes, it happened to us – one time. But the first time? No.

Our world was turned upside down and our adoption threatened when we found out that I was 10 weeks pregnant. #1son was already assigned to us and we were waiting for him to come home.

Please, don’t say “Oh, that happens all the time!” It doesn’t.

It didn’t after #1daughter was adopted. And I know of only one instance where pregnancy happened during adoption – out of all the families I’ve come into contact with through the course of our journey.

While we were waiting for a decision from the agency if we could still adopt our son because of my pregnancy, those comments were of little comfort. We were already in love with our son from Korea. He was already born to us, as far as we were concerned. We had pictures. We had named him. To lose him now would be devastating. The pregnancy was no consolation prize.

I can’t tell you how many times someone said to me, “Oh, now that you’re adopting you’ll get pregnant!” I waited 11 long years for that to finally happen. So, I suppose they were right. Eventually. But I had given up all hope of pregnancy. Those comments, as well-meaning as they are, can be little stabs to your heart if you aren’t physically pregnant and you desperately want to be.  It takes away from the joy that you are pregnant in your heart with your adoptive child on the way.

In our case, in our second case, I was actually pregnant, with an adoptive son on the way. All of the well-meaning, but mildly thoughtless comments, took away from the joy of our #1son and HIS place in our family – as if he were second best. As if he were the consolation prize.

I am so grateful that I was able to experience the joy of giving birth. Of being physically pregnant as well as mentally pregnant. If it weren’t for my age, I’d go back on the fertility roller coaster all over again.

But forming a family through adoption is no consolation prize. It is an amazing, wonderful and perfectly viable way of creating family. The planning, wishing, hoping and heartache that accompanies the adoption journey makes it that much more beautiful.

Be excited for the once infertile mom if you ever hear of this happening. Be delighted for her that she gets to experience the joy of adoption and the joy of pregnancy.

Most of all, be thrilled that she is creating this amazing family.

Out of biology.

Out of need.

Out of love.

20 Comments

Filed under children, Motherhood, parenting, Soapbox

Proof! Proof, I Say!

Ck challenged me to prove that there is a Family Shootin’ Range opening up a mile from my house. I wrote about it last week, remember? Click here for my Happiness Is A Warm Gun post if you need your memory jogged.

Yup, got the proof riiiight cheer….

It’s guaranteed to be a bang up time. Yer darn tootin’!

(The scary thing is? I have a 7-year-old son that keeps asking if we can go once it opens. “But it says family, Mom!”)

15 Comments

Filed under funny, Observations

Men! They Just Don’t Get It!

(To all three of the men who read my blog: You are not included in this rant. I have a feeling, especially since you follow my blog, that you are among the enlightened few. And a special note to LLCoolJoe – I apologize in advance for this sexist slant. But I’ve had it up to here!)

Yesterday, I was trying to catch up on my blog reading. I came across this, featured on Nap’s blog, Naptime Writing:

Now, Nap had a lot to say about it. She was annoyed. And you can read all about it here. I watched the ad and thought, “Yeah, but it’s still funny.” So I re-read her post and thought, wait, she’s right. It’s backward. Stereotypical. (Which makes the title of this post all the more amusing.) But my husband is still going to love it.

And he did. He thought it was hilarious.

And then I quizzed him.

Me: So, as a parent, what does the dad do?

Him: Has tea parties with his daughter?

Me: Correct. Now, what does the mom do?

Him: pays the bills, kisses the boo-boos, bakes for the bake sale…

Me: Right. Everything else.

Him: You gotta remember. This is marketing. They’re marketing this minivan to MOMS. Moms who think they do it all.

Me: THINK they do it all?!

Him: Yeah. (All smug and shit. Oops. Sorry. Now I’m starting to talk like a rapper. Word!)

That’s where the discussion ended. I wasn’t going to get into it with him. Because, it’s not news to me. My husband thinks HE does it all, too.

We live a very traditional, stereotypical existence. We even joke about blue jobs and pink jobs. And frankly, I like it that way. I like the way I clean a bathroom compared to him (using actual cleaning products). Or doing the laundry (separating colors). Or cooking (as opposed to opening a can of pinto beans, pouring it over rice and calling it supper.) It works for us.

And oh-so-fortunately, he works outside the home, and I’m able to “stay home.” Which translates to: work (unpaid) at his office one or two days a week, be available for the kids at any hour of the day and run day-to-day household things. 

My husband works very hard. He puts in 10-12 hour days. He’s not afraid to work weekends. I’m so very proud of how he has built up his business. He yields success that many others in his field never attain.

But he doesn’t get it.

He has never bathed the boys. I can count on one hand how many times he’s supervised a shower. Wait, make that one finger. The very first time he ever “watched” the boys alone was when they were 3 and 4 years old. And when I came home he said, “That wasn’t so bad,” and the house looked as if a tornado had blown through. On the weekends, my husband’s threshold for patience ends about 4 o’clock on Saturday afternoon. “I can’t get anything done,” he says, sending the boys off to watch TV.

Yes, when we added kids to the mix my workload increased to infinity and beyond! My husband’s extra chores? Not so much.

In Nap’s rant she says that even in 50/50 marriages it abruptly switches to 90/10 once the kids are born. I wholeheartedly agree. It might not be 90/10 in OUR household. More like 80/20. But it’s not my husband’s version of 60/40.

No. Freakin’. Way.

31 Comments

Filed under All In A Day's Work, Hey! That Reminds Me!, Motherhood, Soapbox

Aidan Donnelley Rowley: The Process, The Journey, The Yes!

One of our very own became a published author yesterday. Aidan Donnelley Rowley, author of “Life After Yes.” Oooo, my heart did a little jump. And why? I hardly know her. But then, many times when I read her blog (Ivy League Insecurities) or she leaves a comment or sends an email, I feel like we are long-lost friends, keeping in touch through the convenience of the internet.

I discovered Aidan through her blog a few months after I began my own. I was immediately taken with her philosophical musings. Her lyrical phrasing. When she shared with us the excitement of having her book published I was instantly caught up in the joy. She was kind enough to share her thoughts on the process, the journey and the yes.

 1. Tell the truth, is this your very first attempt at publishing a novel?

 Yes, this was and is my first attempt at publishing a novel. I will say that I took my time with Life After Yes, starting it immediately after leaving my job at the law firm and working on it, on and off, for over three years before seeking an agent. I must add that I welcomed my two little girls during that time, so I was not a complete slacker! 🙂

 2. Many authors talk about books “writing themselves.” Did you have a plan or outline or did LAY write itself?

 I had no outline for Life After Yes, but I did have a vague plan in my mind for how the story would evolve. There were certainly parts of the book that “wrote themselves”; I would sit there for hours on end in my local Starbucks pounding away at the keyboard and then be amazed to have a dozen pages wherein my characters did things I never predicted they would.

3. What was the greatest challenge bringing your novel to life?

 Frankly, I – and I imagine most authors – faced many challenges in bringing my novel to life. Among the biggest were time and confidence. As a mother of two young girls, it was hard to find adequate time to sit down and focus and write. And it continues to be very hard for me to justify spending time away from them which writing a novel patently entails. And confidence. There were so many points during the writing process where I was plagued by doubts, where I convinced myself that my story would never cut it. Once I realized that it didn’t matter, that I loved to write and that completing the story – no matter its fate – was my goal, things really came together.

 4. What is the best advice you can give hopeful authors?

 Just write. Allow your first drafts to be terrible. Tease out your voice. Take writing classes. Don’t mimic. Be willing to fail. Be willing to succeed.

 5. What books have most influenced you?

 My favorite book of all time is Charlotte’s Web. This book plays an important role in Life After Yes and has continued to be a big influence in my life. There are so many things about this book that speak to me  – the simple and stunning nature of its prose, the universality of its lessons about life and love and loss, the commingling sweetness and sadness at its core.

 6. Writer’s Block. How have you overcome it?

 Blogging. Before I started my blog Ivy League Insecurities, I dealt with writer’s block by not writing. I would only write when I felt a particularly compelling urge and when the sentences flowed freely. The result was that there would be large chunks of time – weeks and months – when I wouldn’t write a word. Not good. The discipline of blogging and keeping to a schedule of posting five times a week has kept my literary juices flowing. The problem now is trying to find a balance between blog writing and book writing…

 7. You are a mother of two adorable little girls and a wife to a devoted husband. How did you balance time for your family and time to write?

 Looking back over the past few years, I feel good about how I balanced things between my family and my writing. I have been able to be a very hands-on mom and present wife while also being productive professionally. But – and it is a bit but –never once did I feel like I was doing a good job at balancing these things in the moment. Each and every day, I worry that I am neglecting something or someone in the existential equation of my life. I am just now realizing that this is par for the course and that balance is something of an enigma.

 8. Describe the perfect day for writing.

 The perfect day for writing is one that is busy and full of other good things – time with friends and family – but full of bits of time where I can sit down – in my office, or at a coffee shop – and bang out a blog post or a few pages of a manuscript. I do better with fitting writing into the cracks of my days – early mornings, between commitments, late at night – than I do with the open expanse of an entire day.

 9. If you could have a “do over” for anything involving the writing/publishing process for LAY what would it be?

 Good question. Tough question. I can honestly say – and know that this is before publication so I might feel differently even days from now – that I have been genuinely happy with how everything has gone with the publication process. There have been bumps. Of course. I struggled a bit with the title choice and cover choice, but I sit here now (yes, at Starbucks!) clutching my rookie novel and it is gorgeous and has the perfect title and perfect cover so it is all worth it. One thing I do wish is that I was able to enjoy the process a bit more. That I was able to worry a bit less. That I was able to control my insecurities a bit better. But, alas. I am here. And it’s a good place to be 🙂

(Leave your comment below by Saturday, May 22 at 6:00am EST for a chance to receive a brand new, hot off the presses copy of “Life After Yes!”)

(Kristen, at Motherese, hosts an online book club. The next selection is “Life After Yes!” It begins the week of May 31st. For more information, click here. See you there!)

14 Comments

Filed under Books, friends, People

Yes! Yes! Yes!

(The above title should be read Sally-style, as in “When Harry Met Sally.” Now, on with our regularly scheduled post.)

Today’s topic, for Momalom’s Five For Ten, is Yes. And while I have a wonderful interview with Aidan  Donnelley Rowley about her first novel “Life After Yes” planned for tomorrow…it IS Tuesday. Tunes for Tuesday, that is. So I thought a music selection for today would be appropriate. Plus, I like to tease. If you come back tomorrow AND comment, you might win a copy of Aidan’s new book. Something to look forward to….

I love the earlier groups. Progressive Rock.  The ones that shaped modern rock music. The layers and intricacies. Jethro Tull and the signature flute, The Beatles with their amazing lyrics and variety of sound, Queen with its use of classical voice and instruments, Pink Floyd’s reflective lyrics.

And Yes. Intricate harmonies. Fantastic instrumentals. I had a difficult time choosing a song. I spent much too much time listening to “I’ve Seen All Good People, “Roundabout,” “And You and I,” “Leave It,” “Owner Of A Lonely Heart,” “Almost Like Love.”

I settled on “Changes.” At this point in my life I’m going to ignore the stanzas that talk about lost love. I’m done mourning what was never there. Instead, I’m focusing on the chorus.

“Change changing places
Root yourself to the ground
Capitalize on this good fortune
One word can bring you round
Changes”

My grandmother was so afraid of change. She resisted. She denied. I’ve understood those feelings at many times in my life. But when you get stuck there….you’re just that. Stuck.

I prefer to move. I prefer to grow. I prefer to experience.

I choose to embrace change.

And by embracing change, I’m saying “Yes!”

(Stay Tuned! Tomorrow I’ll be featuring an interview with Aidan Donnelley Rowley from Ivy League Insecurities on her debut novel, “Life After Yes.” A copy of her new book will be awarded to one lucky reader!)

 (This post is part of the Five For Ten project at Momalom. Please visit their site for more wonderful posts on Yes. Or click the button below to find out how YOU can participate!)

20 Comments

Filed under Music

Lust. It Does A Body Good.

Lust.

Seriously? I’m supposed to write about lust?

My heart is beating in overdrive right now. I’m about as shy as they come. I blush VERY easily. And I don’t kiss-and-tell.

How am I going to write about lust?

So I did what I do best.

I Googled lust.

(51,300,000 results in .25 seconds)

Wikipedia has a definition for lust that includes: “Lust, or a desire for the flesh of another, is considered a sin in the three major Abrahamic religions when indulged outside of marriage.”

Which made me smile, remembering Jimmy Carter’s “lust in his heart” comment.

The Urban Dictionary has 29 definitions. But they’re all essentially the same and many of them use words in their examples that I don’t use….well, that I don’t use here.  And don’t forget. At Urban Dictionary dot com you can buy mugs, magnets and t-shirts about lust.

The third Google result is a quiz. “Is it Lust or Love?” For teens! Really? Well, I suppose that’s good. Teens can discern whether it’s lust or love in on the privacy of their own computer. I remember THAT conversation with my daughter very well. We’re whizzing done the Interstate at 70 miles per hour (so she can’t jump out) and I’m explaining alternatives to sexual intercourse. She’s so embarrassed that she’s curled up in a ball, face pressed against the window, saying, “Mom! Please! Stop!”

Dictionary.com and Yahoo! Answers have definitions on lust. The Catholic church has something to say about lust (I’ll bet they do!). Yada, yada, yada….

And then I found: Book Lust. “A Community For People Who Love Books” with Nancy Pearl. OMG. My kind of woman! Discussion groups. Online reading groups. Recommendations. Reviews. Contests and interviews. (You know where to find me as soon as I finish writing this post!)

There were lots of religious sites talking about lust. Dante’s Inferno covers lust. But honestly, I didn’t research all 51 million hits. I was too afraid I’d come across porn.

(Real conversation that just happened!   Me: Can you please go watch TV or something? I really need to finish this post. #2son: No. I wanna play with my imagination. Me: Then can you play with your imagination somewhere else, please? #2son: Fine. (stomping off) Boy, SOMEONE has issues! — Boy-oh-boy, he ain’t kiddin’!)

Lust. It may do a body good. It may be a sin. It may be the greatest temptation. And like Jimmy, I have lust in my heart. But I can’t write about it.

But you can be darned sure that I’ll be reading all of your posts about lust.

Hey, I said I was shy. I didn’t say I wasn’t curious!

(This post is part of the Five For Ten project at Momalom. Please visit their site for more wonderful posts on Lust. Or click the button below to find out how YOU can participate!)

19 Comments

Filed under funny, Ponderings