Monthly Archives: April 2011

One Royal Wedding + Continuous Television Coverage = A Refreshing Pause

My part of the country can’t seem to catch a break from tornadoes this season. For reasons quite obvious, I’m not fond of this time of year when it comes to weather. The television coverage alone is enough to make you want to move. As Jon Stewart so aptly commented, the Weather Channel seems to be forever covering “The Storm Of The Century Of The Week.”

And our recent storms were quite the attention getters. We even made the BBC World News.

Where I live, it seems every single one of our tornado watches or warnings have occurred in the wee hours of the night. I’m an early to bed, early to rise kind of girl. And these late night watches are kickin’ my butt.

I was lamenting this to my husband just yesterday morning. Whining about my horrible sleep deprivation. And then, on the news, flashed devastating pictures of huge trees fallen, brick homes flattened. Parents, clutching their frightened children, found under the debris. An elderly woman, who did everything right – going to the lowest point of her home, crouched in a closet with blankets on top of her – still perished with her home demolished.

So much for my lack of sleep cry. It doesn’t merit a whisper in the wake of such devastation.

And the television coverage? Constant. On every channel. My children, unnecessarily worried long after the storm. Spongebob never looked so appealing.

While I was getting ready for my day this morning, my husband walked in and said, “I know we don’t allow TV in the morning before school but I’m letting the boys watch the Royal Wedding coverage.”

Huh? I will barely watch the coverage. Sure, I’m excited for them. But a wedding is a wedding. Sweet. Wonderful. But I barely know of them, let alone know them.

“And they’re mesmerized,” he marveled, “with all of the horses and swords and guards and carriages.”

Of course, they are. They’re boys. That would be what they would gravitate toward.

“This will only happen a few times in their lifetime,” my husband continued. “There’s no harm in a little indulgent history.”

Indulgent history. History. I never looked at it that way. An event? Sure. But history? He’s right.

As I watched with my boys, I, too, was swept up in the pageantry. And then, watching later with my 18 year-old daughter, I was swept up in the romance.

“Awwwww, look how he looks at her!” She exclaimed. “And mom! You have to see this!”

She rewinds to the moment when Prince Williams says, “You look beautiful.”

My daughter swoons. She watches the kiss (and second kiss). She admires the dress and what a handsome couple they make.

At first, I was amazed at the all-day, every channel coverage this event is garnering. Now, I am grateful. I’m having a hard time remembering an event, a news-worthy, interesting, happy event that was plastered across the news and televised for hours upon end.

A positive, uplifting, happy event. All over the news. Talked about the world over. Celebrating love and happiness.

What a refreshing pause.

10 Comments

Filed under Observations

Google It. A Blogger’s Best Friend.

I’ve tried other search engines, but quite honestly, Google is my best friend.

He’s always there for me. With information, with a laugh, with the unexpected.

And I absolutely love the suggestions it creates with each of my Google searches. Most of the time.

I TiVo most of my television. I love the convenience of watching when I want to watch, on my comfy couch, on my fancy (for us, anyway) television screen. I was watching the last episode of the season of Detroit 1-8-7 (I’m addicted to cop shows) and decided to “Google it!” to learn more about the program and when it might start up again. Imagine my surprise as I’m typing in the title of the show and one of the suggestions is “Detroit 1-8-7 cancelled.” No, not surprise. I was officially ticked.(Who are these people at Nielsen, anyway?) But thanks to Google, I can write the futile letters to the powers that be and begin mourning the inevitable.

I also love the clever visuals they provide, celebrating the holiday du jour. Like this one for the 119th anniversary of the first documented ice cream sundae. Yum!

Or more recently, Earth Day….

When I’m lost for a blog topic (like today) I will often “Google it!” with “it” being anything. I’ll just start typing letters and see what Google suggests I write about. Sometimes the suggestions will jog a memory or remind me of something that really irks me or make me want to research something I’d never considered before. Like warcraft ( I still don’t get it) or study island (my kind of place – yes, I am and always will be a nerd) or chocolate rain (a viral video on YouTube that reminded me of another post I want to write. Hey! Two for one!)

I’ve even googled “Google it!” and found these clever sites:  Just (blanking) Google It and Here, Let Me Google That For You. (Oh, how I wish I had thought of these first.)

Google is my friend. My best friend when I have a bit of writer’s block. Or some extra time on my hands. Or when procrastination is more fun than productivity. But then, when isn’t procrastination fun?

That’s my secret. And I’m sharing it with you, dear readers. It’s the kind of blogger I am. Little Miss Share My Best Kept Secrets. 

Wait, you say I’ve shared this before? This is a secret re-run?

Uh-oh.

Oh, and you don’t think this is much of a secret? Every blogger knows this. Well, aren’t we all la-ti-da?

Hmmmmm….

Guess my next google should be “original blog topics.”

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Filed under Blogging

An Earth Day Pictorial – Sort of

For all of you Star Wars fans….

For my favorite philosophers…

For my fans who enjoy a little potty humor….

For those of you, like me, who work daily on improving themselves…..

But to everyone, a very happy, healthy Earth Day! (What will you do today to make our Earth a better place?)

9 Comments

Filed under Be-Causes

Yes, I’m Against The Death Penalty. Unless You’re A Tick.

I wrestle with high-profile, controversial, ethics shaking topics here on my blog. That’s because I wrestle with those very same topics in my heart.

I think I know myself. I’m fairly confident in my convictions. Take the death penalty, for instance. I’ve often said, I could never be on a jury that might involve a death penalty case. I’m not God. I don’t feel qualified deciding who lives or who dies. But then, I always add with a wry chuckle, “And may God help me if anyone hurts my child!”

Spiders or the occasional scorpion in the house? I capture it and set it free outside. My boys inexplicable fascination with guns and swords? They are basement toys where I can pretend that kind of play doesn’t exist.

I honestly felt (notice the foreshadowing here) that I couldn’t kill. Anything.

And then……

This……..

“What is that on your ear?” I said to my son.

Looking more closely, it just looked like a piece of leaf. I flick it with my finger but it stays firmly attached. I grab my reading glasses (yes, I’m that old) and take a closer look. It’s a piece of a leaf with legs. Hey, that isn’t right.

“Come with me,” and I grab his arm and drag him into my bathroom.  Thoughts of drowning with baby oil, petroleum jelly and use of matches race through my mind (all wrong, by the way) but all I really want to do is get that thing off of him. I grab my tweezers and pluck that little sucker off. I swab the area with rubbing alcohol and breathe a sigh of relief. Then, something in my memory jogs. You’re supposed to save the disease carrying culprit. So, I lock him up safely in a Ziploc bag.

This maneuver intrigues my boys. They take turns carrying him around and examining him. My daughter, angered that something would dare hurt her little brother says, “Let me see that!” and she shakes the bag, disorienting the poor little bugger. “That’s for hurting my brother!” she says. Apparently, that’s an activity only she can partake.

I search online, frantic that I may have done the wrong thing. (I haven’t) Thank goodness. (Click here for a step-by-step guide) I did exactly as I should have. I even saved the evidence for a call to the doctor in the morning.

When my husband comes home I tell him of our ordeal. He has dealt with Lyme disease before in his practice. I tell him I’ve saved the tick.

“They’ll just order a blood test. There’s no need to save him,” he says, “Just toss him.”  

Hmmm, really? Online it says to preserve/kill it with rubbing alcohol. We just put him in a Ziploc baggie, letting him suffocate and squirm. He’s not even close to death.

Yet.

I go into the bathroom and feel a little giddy. The little angel on my left shoulder chastises me and I feel a bit guilty. Then, the little devil on my right shoulder shouts, “But he tried to give your baby Lyme disease!” And without the slightest hesitation I pour a few glugs of the vile liquid into the bag.

The menacing tick stops squirming. One little leg gives a final surrender and he’s dead.

I try to hide my satisfaction. I suppress an evil grin.

But my little angel shakes a finger at me, reminding me that I’ve just administered the death penalty without the benefit of a judge and  jury.

I don’t care.

He tried to hurt my child.

15 Comments

Filed under children, Moms, Motherhood, nature

Oops! My OCD Is Showing!

I come by it honestly. My OCD.

When I was just 16 and coming home from a date, my mother was outside scrubbing the front curb. Embarrassed, I mumbled a quick “thank you” and “bye!” Poor guy. Probably thought I had a terrible time at the baseball game. But then I remembered that he, too, had noticed my mother out there, scrubbing away.

After he pulled out of the driveway and was safely around the corner, I went back outside.

“Mom!” I said, “What are you doing?”

“I’m scrubbing the curb,” she said matter-of-factly.

“I can see that. But why?” I insisted.

“Because it was dirty,” she said, now looking at me like I’m the one from outer space.

“But that’s what the street cleaners are for,” I explained.

“Well, they don’t do a good enough job!” she replied and went back to her scrubbing.

Our home always looked like a Better Homes and Gardens picture spread. Everything always in its place. Impeccably decorated.

And now, I’m carrying on the tradition. With our trash cans.

We have a convenient concrete pad next to our mailbox. It is where we always put our garbage cans to rest until the garbage men come to empty them. Four years they have occupied that spot.

And then? Our new neighbors moved in. They decided to share our space, next to our mailbox.

I’m a bit finicky about my garbage cans. When they get smelly, I rinse them out with Pine-sol. This can be tricky during drought restriction summers. I’ve been known to sneak out, at night, to clean them in the cover of darkness. (Oh, please don’t rat me out!) But last summer, it seemed they were smellier than usual.

Every week I was having to clean out our cans. Much more than usual. Stinky. Smelly. Attracting flies. I’d remind my daughter to tie the bags tightly. I’d accuse my husband of tossing loose trash (mostly half empty fast food wrappers and cups) into the can without being securely hidden in a tightly tied plastic bag. But every week, when I’d collect our can from the curb, there would be ooey, gooey, sticky, smelly drippings and droppings on the bottom or coating the sides. It was gross.

But not as gross as the maggots.

I still shudder when I remember the maggots. Imagine my surprise when I brought the can up from the street and open my can and saw maggots. Not one. Not two. Hundreds. Coating the bottom of the can. The bottom. I’m all of 5’6″. My arms didn’t reach to the bottom. A broom (I tried) couldn’t get them all. I had to put the can on its side and crawl into the can armed only with a scrub brush and a spray bottle of Lysol disinfectant. (Had to, you ask? Yes. Had to. I’m OCD, remember?)

And then I remembered. We had been on vacation the previous week. There was hardly any trash in the can to begin with. In fact, there were no perishables in the can. How in the world did we have maggots?

It was then that I realized that we (and by we, I mean I) had been cleaning out our neighbor’s trash can all summer long.

So I did what any other self-respecting OCDer would do. I drew our initial, in Sharpie, by the handle of the can so we’d know whose is whose.

And they, in retaliation I suppose, drew their house numbers even bigger by the handle of their can. (They’d show us!)

But even that didn’t work. So when I went to pick up our sparkling clean recycling bin – because we (and by we, I mean I) rinse out everything that goes into our bin – only to find their recycling bin coated with layers of dried, sticky and stinky soda, milk and beer dribblings? I left it at the curb. I had proof that bin wasn’t ours. Not only were their house numbers written on the side, my husband was on his latest “I’m giving up coffee/soda/beer – take your pick” binge. No way was that bin ours. We hadn’t tossed a soda or beer can in weeks.

So there.

Yes. I pulled the can over to their side and left it at the curb. When they finally noticed, they pulled our sparkling clean can out of their garage and left it in front of our garage door. The following week they decided not to share the concrete pad next to our mailbox. They put their cans on the other side of their driveway, sitting on the grass in defiance.

They showed us.

And I don’t care.

At least I have my sweet-smelling garbage cans back.

And that’s all that matters to little Miss OCD.

13 Comments

Filed under Completely Random, How We Roll

Yes. A Spring Break Staycation Can Be Chock Full Of !!!

First, there was no money for a spring break vacation. So, we cancelled our reservations.

Then, #1son, followed closely by #2son, caught a virus for the first 1/2 of spring break. (#1daughter followed soon after, of course.)

Things were not looking pretty at Chez Jane’s for spring break.

And then, the unexpected happened. Brady Bunch marathons. Cookie baking. Magic tricks. Card games. Reading aloud and finishing The Borrowers and The Hobbit within days of each other.

Games of Chutes & Ladders with Sorry game pieces because the Chutes & Ladders pieces were vacationing at the vintage Fischer Price jail and barber shop and couldn’t be disturbed.

Lunch out at Cheeseburger Bobby’s because mom had coupons. (Yay, Mom!)

Hanging with our friends and a  chance to see and be seen at the Imax theater for a showing of Born To Be Wild. Loads of fun!

No, I didn’t get a tan or any closets cleaned out. But there was lots of cuddling and plenty of laughs.

The perfect spring break staycation.

!!!

(It’s been so long since I’ve participated in this wonderful meme. I want to give a shout out to the wonderful creators: Bad Mommy Moments and Momalom! Thanks for encouraging us to celebrate the !!! in our lives!)

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Filed under The !!!

Different Words For Different Nerds

I love words. Their sounds. Their many meanings. Their contradictions and misuse.

I enjoy learning new words. (Hence, my addiction to A-Word-A-Day) 

I certainly wouldn’t call myself a linguaphile. It’s merely a hobby.

Sometimes, I can be very literal. “Say what you mean. Mean what you say.” – a phrase I use all too often with my husband; I’m sure he’d agree. Other times, I look for hidden meanings and agendas. Sometimes I create something that isn’t there and let my imagination take flight.

The wonderful thing about words is that everyone has a favorite and for very different reasons. Different words for different nerds. That’s my motto.

Here are a few of this nerd’s favorites:

1. Marshmallow – Doesn’t it sound all soft and fluffy? I don’t even like marshmallows but I love the word. A little evidence of how tolerant I am.

2. Lethologica – The inability to remember the right word. Such a useful word. One I employ more often than I’d care to admit.

3. Onomatopoeia – I love the word and I tend to love the words it represents. Buzz, zip, click and clack. Perfect? No?

4. Hobgoblin – Sounds exactly like an impish, mischievous soul. Right? And it’s used in one of my favorite Emerson quotes: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

5. Elixir – Don’t know why I love this word. But when I describe my beloved Coca-Cola, I’ll often declare that it is “the elixir of the gods!” So, elixir stays on my list.

6. Plethora – I use this word quite a bit. So much so, that when my then 3-year-old told his grandmother that he had a plethora of toys to play with; She agreed.

7. Rumpus – “Let the wild rumpus begin!” – From what favorite children’s book? You tell me!

8. Brouhaha – A cousin to rumpus but a fun, appropriate sounding word, all the same.

9. Haricot Verts – Not an English word, but a wonderful phrase. My favorite in the French language. I just love the way it trips off my tongue, sounding so delicious and sweet, romantic and beautiful. Who knew a simple pile of green beans could sound so wonderful?

10. Skedaddle – Some say, “Hurry up!” Others say, “Chop chop!” or “Shake a leg!” Me? I’m always telling my kids, “Scoot, scoot, skedaddle!” Much more fun to say, don’t you think?

Any true  linguaphiles out there? Or hobbyists like me? Share a favorite word of yours in the comments below. I need to add to my treasure trove.

20 Comments

Filed under Because I'm Curious

One Mistersippi, Two Mistersippi, Three Mistersippi

“One Mistersippi, two Mistersippi, three Mistersippi….”

(I start giggling uncontrollably.)

“What, Mommy? What’s so funny?”

“Mistersippi?” I ask.

“Yeah. ‘Cause that state is a boy state.”

(I try to stifle back another giggle but I’m unsuccessful.)

“Sweetie, it’s Mississippi.”

“Ohhhhh, so it’s a girl state! Thanks, Mom!”

He runs off to continue playing with his brother and I hear, “One Missus-sippi, two Missus-sippi, three Missus-sippi…”

Yep. Must be a girl state.

17 Comments

Filed under children, funny

The Pain Never Lasts Very Long

We were all working in the yard over the weekend. Spreading mulch, dividing daylillies, minor repairs. Side by side. The whole family. Ok. So, we had to bribe our daughter with gas money for her upcoming trip. But we were still having a great time. One big, happy family.

A thorn jabbed me under my nail. Deep. And it hurt.

“Ouch!” I cried.

My youngest son, all 7 years of him, rushed over, grabbed my hand and said, “Don’t worry, Mommy! The pain never lasts very long.”

I smiled. Savoring his wise words. Starting to dismiss them. Because our family has been struggling through a heaping basket full of minor and major mishaps for the past five months.

And then I realized, he’s right. In the huge (and in our case it has to be huge because we still haven’t seen the end to the crap parade that’s been coming down our street) grand scheme of things everything we’ve been going through is going to look like a tiny blip on the radar. Tiny. At least, fingers crossed, that’s what I’m predicting.

Have you ever sat there, in your comfortable life, thinking things were so hard? And wishing for the days when things were so easy? You’re in your forties, with college looming ahead for your daughter, wondering how in the world you’re going to help finance it and wishing you were in your thirties when her biggest expense was a new bicycle. Or you’re in your thirties, struggling to give your children everything they deserve, wrestling with their constant demands, wishing for the carefree life of college. Or you’re in college, struggling with studies and holding down two jobs to help pay for your existence and wishing for the easy days of high school when your biggest dilemma was what to wear or which social activity to attend.

It’s all relative.

And it’s true, the pain never lasts very long.

In a blink of an eye, your daughter is being placed in your arms at the airport. Sweet, cuddly little bundle of joy from Korea. Blink, blink. And she’s 10 years old, doing her adorable judges salute at the state gymnastics championships. Blink again and she’s struggling with a death of a boyfriend, honors and AP classes, essays for college applications.

Or she’s struggling with pain you feel you created for her. A dad, the man you married much too young and later divorced, who is making her feel like a burden, less than valued, an inconvenience. You try to take away her pain. You try to tell her the pain never lasts very long. But your words feel hollow and thin.

As much as this pain that she’s struggling with hurts right now, it is true. It will dissipate.

And be replaced with something new.

And thank goodness, that pain will never last very long either.

18 Comments

Filed under children, Deep Thoughts, family, Lessons Learned, Motherhood, Observations, parenting, Problems