Tuesday, May 27, 2008


It's days like these that bring me closer to my long lost, Jewish roots and all I can think to say is....oy. My Jewish roots are very long and lost mind you but they're still there. Is "oy" Hebrew? Makes me feel bilingual.

Anyway, it's the dog. Phoebe. Our dog. The light of our lives. That might be pushing it a little bit but she hasn't been well lately and she's 12 years old. Somehow impending death elevates you in the heirarchy of family life. It also brings about certain privileges like becoming a couch dog when you were never allowed to be a couch dog. And then becoming a bed dog when your owners put stuff on the couch so you can't be a couch dog. And then a chair dog... you get the picture.

Everyone seems to see the obvious path here pretty clearly except for myself. She doesn't seem old enough to me. It seems to me when I was growing up our dogs always lasted a good long 15 years. It might have something to do with the fact that my mom would cook our dog Bo a special meal of hamburger, corn and rice because he had congestive heart failure and that was all he would eat. I'm thinking my mom increased our dogs longevity this way and probably paid for a few extra vet visits to keep 'em going. And here I am cooking chicken breast for my dog and spending $180 on bloodwork that will probably show something very enlightening like she's old.

But twelve is not old it's just middle age old. She should still have 3 good years in her. Sure they might be years of peeing in corners of the living room and leaving gifts of poop on the carpet but these are the years that make you think "ok, she can go now, I've had enough - God love her." It makes it all a little easier.

And here I've been thinking my kids have no idea what's going on. I'm trying to shield them until the inevitable. And how will we tell them? Will we give them a chance to say good-bye or will Phoebe go to live at a farm? Maya was overheard telling her cousin that when she gets a puppy (because Phoebe obviously won't be around much longer) that she would really like a smaller dog. Guess I don't have to worry about "the farm" story with her.

So the thought of an upcoming puppy will help Maya through this. Eva and Isaac will definitely have a hard time with this. Then there's Tim who told me about the cute puppy he saw at the vet this morning when he took our dying dog in. Traitor.

I guess it's just me I have to deal with now and Phoebe. Oy.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Help Me Oprah

Ok. I have a problem. It's never been a real issue before but now that Dancing With The Stars is over - what am I going to do?!!!!? This is a problem. I'm completely addicted and it's OVER. WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?!

You're thinking I'm pathetic right now I know. And you'd be right. But I'm fighting the post DWTS blues here. Two nights a week of dancing and gyrating (mostly gyrating) in sparkly, spangly outfits, the hair, the makeup. Bruno and Carrie Ann Enamor (I just like to say that) and Len's "I have underwear older than you" comments. The competition, the comraderie, the bro-mance between Jason and Christian. Shannon Elizabeth cries more than I do. I appreciate that. I miss Tom Bergeron. He's funny. I think I love him.

So now I need to get a life. I'm feeling it big this morning. I have no job. (Ok, I quit that way back in February) I have no purpose (except mothering, but I can do that with the little pinky on my lefthand now) I have no goals (my one goal was watching DWTS every Monday and Tuesday night). I gave up my spirituality when I let Oprah and Eckhart go and sold my soul to THE STARS!! And now they're gone. Leaving me limp and lifeless on my couch flipping my remote looking to satisfy my needs with some lame design show on HGTV. I don't think so! Sniff. It's just SO hard.

I'm going to have to buck up here. School is ending and for Isaac it's already over. I have to start mothering with more than a pinky here, I have to use both hands! I need goals, I need aspirations! I need more dancing!!!

I need serious help here. Oprah I'm coming back.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Enlightenment or Cheesecake?

I'd be the first to admit I could use a little spiritual help. That's why I was gung-ho about Oprah's whole shindig with Eckhart Tolle. I had read the book (A New Earth) and encouraged my husband to as well. I signed myself up eagerly for the online "classes" and I was doing great till about week 5. Then it happened. Dancing With the Stars was back on TV.

You know you put a lovely Chardonnay in front of an alcoholic who loves lovely Chardonnay's and what do you think is going to happen? I had it all reasoned out at first. I could record Dancing With the Stars and watch it on Tuesdays and still be "present" for Oprah and Eckhart at 9:00 Monday night. Well, DWTS (Dancing With The Stars, keep up with me people) starts at 8:00. So I'm just suppose to stare at my computer screen for an hour waiting patiently to be spiritually awakened at 9:00pm when the stars are gettin' down on the dance floor without me? Nah. It wasn't working.

So hey, why not watch Oprah on Tuesday? Well, the last time I watched Oprah on Tuesday was 5 weeks ago. So that plan isn't working out so well either.

At this point I've yet to watch another Oprah podcast of her and Eckhart Tolle. I still think about reaching a sacred place of enlightenment and somedays I even humor myself and imagine myself watching all the podcasts that I missed, reading the transcripts and becoming a new person. But right now I'm drinking a glass of wine and am about to partake in a rather large and decadent piece of cheesecake as I watch DWTS. I think if I try hard enough I might be able to find myself in the piece of cheesecake.

Friday, May 9, 2008

God Love Me

There are many things you can learn at camp. How to take a fish off a hook (although I already knew this of course because of my incredible outdoorswomanship), how to cook Bisquick biscuits over hot coals and clean up for the "pioneer lady" because she doesn't want to do it herself and how to cut the umbilical cord of your 10 year old daughter. I was certain I had done this cutting 10 years ago but somehow it got reattached. God love her.

I learned some time ago that if you're speaking about a person who makes you a bit nuts but you just have to talk it out then it's ok to say just about anything about this person as long as you follow it up with "God love her" or "God bless her heart" or something like that. This, I hear, is how people in the South talk about their crazy relatives.

I had a couple of apprehensions about camping with Maya and Eva's entire 4th grade as a chaperone but my real fear was more about Maya and Eva. I was going to be with them in the cabin, at mealtimes and during activities. This is a lot of together time for us. Ok, it was a lot of together time for me. And on field trips of the past they usually literally attach themselves to me and won't let go. This can be a little distressing. I can handle others people's kids but my own can be a little overwhelming.

Now Maya I wasn't very worried about. She's a little aloof with her emotional attachments, like her mother. On one of those email chain-letter questionaires that get passed around that ask questions like "Do you prefer hugs or kisses?" I answered "why? Do I have to?" So Maya like me is more comfortable coming after her hugs when she needs them.

Eva on the other hand would prefer to be still entombed in the sanctity of my womb with the umbilical cord wrapped around her. The closer the better. She still wants her freedom mind you but she'd be much happier if she could drag me along by umbilical cord, me scraggling behind her. This can be a problem for me sometimes because I don't require that kind of physical closeness or hand-holding. As a matter of fact, I don't require any holding what-so-ever. I prefer NOT to be held. I might even ask "why are you holding me?" "Could you stop touching me?" and "Tim were done already, now back off sweetie." (Sorry, TMI) But you get the idea. This sometimes perplexes me as my mother is Italian and I've been exposed to Italian aunts who hug and kiss. I guess my dad's German heritage showed up in me as I'd prefer to just punch someone in the arm as a greeting. Anyway....

At first Eva did great. I made an effort not to walk right next to her so she can hang with kids in her group and not on me. Well, it didn't last long. Before the end of the first day she was walking next to me holding my arm with one hand and wrapping her arm around my back and rubbing my back in a reassuring circular motion. She'd say things like "you're doing great mom" as we walked several places to various activities. It was great to have that reassurance because I've only been walking on my own for about 39 years now. God love her.

So, by the end of the next day she was driving me crazy. I was literally peeling her off me by the second evening and by the third day I was saying "get back, Eva, give me some space!" God bless her heart.

There was a girl in our cabin that must be extracting that same phrase from her parents on a daily basis or at least some other expletives. It became obvious to me that this girl was used to having things done for her and if there was a pea under her mattress in her bunk she would detect it. She was also used to everything going her way, being the one in charge and always being first to any and all food that was placed in front of her. We had a few disagreements. God love her. For some reason God put her in every one of my groups! God love himself. What was HE THINKING!? This is the only other person in camp besides my daughters that was in EVERY group I had. (Did I say that already?) And by the third day I was ready to strangle her. God help me.

Now I consider myself to be a fairly rational, pragmatic and considerate person but at breakfast the third day I "Mrs. Robinson" told her "Betty" (I will not be using real names to protect myself) that a person did not need to put "dibs" on the ketchup bottle as soon as she saw the hash browns coming out of the kitchen because there was enough to go around unless of course she was planning on eating all the ketchup herself (Ok, I didn't actually say that last part but I was thinking it - really hard) and that it really wasn't all about her and maybe she should try to think of others first. (I, "Mrs. Robinson" did say that part.) She at least sat down in her seat then and we passed the food around the table. This was the most civilized we had been at our table the whole time.
God love me.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Taking A Day Off

Sometimes you just need a break. Isaac has a cold so I decided he didn't need to go to school which was an easy decision since I didn't want to take him. We thought we'd just have a day off today.

After getting the girls dressed and on the bus we chilled out in front of the TV and watched the Little Mermaid. Since I've seen the Little Mermaid seventeen billion times this allowed me to dose off several times in between Isaac's commentary of the various funny things going on in the movie. "Mom, did you see Sebastian?" Yeah, I saw him through my eyelids. For some reason he was ok with this. Usually he'll attempt to pull my eyelids open if I get caught sleeping.

In the spirit of taking the day off I've only made breakfast, lunch and a casserole for dinner, cleaned up the kitchen and so far run two loads of laundry. Good thing I'm taking it easy. I might mop the kitchen later when I need a break.

So Isaac and I were just chillin' at the counter eating our lunch and watching Ellen when he says to me "Mom, are we going to die?" That'll bring your whole grain brown rice back up. (It's not that easy getting it down in the first place) Hey, wait a minute, aren't I off today? So I silently asked the question "why me lord?" and asked Isaac where the question came from. He said he didn't want to die. That makes sense to me. So I told him we won't die for a long, long time, not till we are really, really old and asked if that made him feel better and he said "no". Thoughts of Prozac began streaming through my head...

The really big news today is that I went camping and lived to tell the tale. Maya and Eva's entire 4th grade went on a two and a half day adventure down to the YMCA Flatrock River Camp. I was very impressed with everything. Our cabins were brand new with a nice bathroom that included two showers. Ok, so I wasn't exactly roughing it but I did sleep in a room with 10 4th grade girls. Yes, that's 10 pre-pubescent girls in the ultimate slumber party atmosphere. We didn't get a whole lot of sleep that first night.

We didn't get a whole lot of sleep the next night either.

Sleep wasn't on the agenda but everything else was. We did archery, canoed, fished, played Native American games, pioneer cooking (which consisted of us cleaning up after the "pioneers" before us.) and all kinds of fun camping things all of which required us to walk approximately 20 miles a day. I didn't know my muscles could be that sore. Yow. But I was trying not to be a wimp.

Evidently I'm a bit of an outdoorswoman. My archery skills and my canoe knowledge surprised the two male chaperones in our activities group. When we went to dig in the river for fun little creatures to investigate I heard one say to the other "she loves this stuff, kinda makes you question your masculinity." By the end of the second day they were saying "Just give it to Michelle, you know she wants to do it." Well, hey, I'm pretty good at reading a map too.

There's more to share about camp but this is getting lengthy and starting to feel like work and hey, I'm off today.