Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happy Homework Weekend

That's suppose to read Happy Thanksgiving Weekend but our weekend turned out to be more about homework. I just finished writing a lovely email to Eva's three teachers, principal, school counselor and school psychologist (hate to make anybody feel left out) about our Happy Homework Weekend.

But I think I'm just going to sum it up here by saying Eva did a LOT of homework this weekend and she deserves a big fat gold star. Tim deserves a bigger and fatter gold star for hanging in there and doing it with her through fits and tears and tantrums (and Eva had a hard time with it too). I deserve a lump of coal because after 30 minutes of homework my head popped off my shoulders and started running itself into the wall repeatedly. It was embarrassing so I went and took a nap. Laying down and covering your head in a big woolly blanket is a very mature way of dealing with stress.

We have much more exciting news in the Johnson household besides homework hell. We now have 6 pierced ears. (Seven if you include Tim's Billy Idol phase back in the 80's but I think it has filled in.) The girls were very excited to get their ears pierced on Saturday, thanks to grandma (and the other grandma who will be sending an extra pair of earrings via Florida). They never even thought twice about it. And not only that but earlier in the week Eva got contacts. So new ears and new eyes in one week. And this week they are both getting their hair cut short. Next week they'll be dating. After Christmas they'll be sneaking out at night to get a their navels pierced. I'm going to have to purchase bigger and woollier blankets. Maybe an aromatherapy blanket. How much lavender does it take to make you black out?

On top of all of that Isaac never once asked for earrings. This is big for the kid who can't decide between pink or purple polish on his toenails. He must be growing up. Although he did set up a shop this weekend and pretend to sell lip gloss and nail polish. I'm thinking that's because it's the most abundant thing we have in this house short of dog chew toys so we'll let that pass. He is getting bigger though. Not quite big enough to wipe down the kitchen table while still keeping his feet on the ground...

But bigger still. It's getting chilly in here, where's my blankie?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Job Schmob

I got a job. I started last Tuesday and I quit on Sunday. I worked for four days. That's a new record for me. I usually work for about 3 years then I quit. And back then I felt like a quitter. Sheesh.

It didn't work out. That's fairly obvious at this point. I was working in a call center. It was a room with four walls. Most rooms have four walls I guess but I just couldn't make myself sit at a desk surrounded by four VERY beige walls. I kept staring at the walls thinking they can't be THAT beige and everyday I went in (yeah, it was only four days) they became beigey-er. That was four days of torture.

The last day they put me at a kiosk to take tickets from people. It was at least out in the open and I could kinda interact with the outside world but it required no brain activity whatsoever. I was sitting right next to a wall (a little creamier, not so beige) so I took a few minutes to actually bang my head against it. Somehow it helped. I must have knocked some sense into my noggin because I realized I couldn't do this. Work should be work, sometimes a pain but not always painful.

So now I'm back to my stay-at-home status. And I must say I do appreciate it so much more. I almost want to dive into the dirty laundry and roll around in it. Ewww look! Dirty dishes! Whoopee!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Houston We Have A Problem

She's committed the ultimate crime. She was feeling a little feisty this morning but I chose to ignore her because I had things to get done (and I kinda got curled up under the covers again after the kids got on the bus. I don't know how these things happen....) and she wasn't happy with me.

I came out in the family room to find fuzz, lots of little bits of fuzz spread around the floor and Olive curled up BEHIND a chair. She looked like she just ate the Thanksgiving turkey. I thought this better not be you-know-what but all I saw was fuzz. So I decided if it was you-know-what then I wouldn't know until later today when she went outside to do you-know-what. But then she had the nerve, the GALL to bring the you-know-what out into the living room right at me feet in a big display of defiance. And there it was, orange-bear, better known as....Orangey.

Da, da, da, daaaaa. At first I thought it's mostly intact, I can save it, and kick that little beep of a dog while I'm doing it. But then I noticed it was missing something very important - it's head. Now, sometimes toys go through amputations. You know a leg, maybe a fin (or two) but then they just become "Purple Fish With No Fins". But a head? I'm fairly certain that's just not going to fly. Headless Orangey. Yeah, I don't think so...

So Olive is cooling off in her crate while I ponder replacement heads for Orangey and how I'm going to explain this to Isaac that the currently most important 4 inch (ok, 3 inch) stuffed animal out of 86 stuffed animals is now missing a head. Any suggestions?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Bye, Bye Little Chickatarian

My birthday was yesterday. Thank you - I know you mean it. Turning 41 is kinda like turning 36 - who cares? I considered telling people that I was turning 52 so that I could get all kinds of "Wow, don't you like great!" and "Really, I can't believe you look so young!" But then I was afraid someone might not comment at all and that would be bad. That would mean I'm a 52 year old looking 41 year old.

My mom loaned me a book about geno-types. The theory behind geno-types is that there are 5 or 6 (I can't remember) body types and that you should eat for your body type for maximum health (and I suppose happiness). Mom put me through the ringer, I mean helped me find my body type last Saturday. The process requires a tape measure as you need to measure your torso, your legs, your head, maybe even that 5th appendage if you're a man. You have to know your blood type and you have to have access to an ink pad for fingerprints.

Once we figured out my type we went straight to the back of the book and started on the list of red meats I can and cannot eat. I think it would be quickest to say the ones I can eat because the list of cannots is rather long. I can eat goat and mutton. Mmmmm, yum. I don't suppose goat comes in a nice filet cut. That leaves out beef, pork, veal and whew - opossum among other animals. My chickatarian lifestyle was looking just fine but then I looked at the poultry section. For poultry I can eat emu, ostrich, squab and turkey. Chicken is listed as something I can eat after I've cleaned out my system of toxins for 3 to 6 months. I'm not sure where to find a 3-6 month supply of emu as I don't live in Australia. I don't even know what squab is. I'll have to look it up. Ok, I looked it up. It's pigeon. Yeaaahhh........

So my protein sources are looking a little bleak. I'll have to check and see if peanut butter is on the"good" list. I pretty much brushed off this diet after I read it. It didn't seem all that doable to me as I've never seen elderberry juice or lingonberries at Meijer. But I took the book home and started reading more about my "type". I am a Teacher type. As I read the description of Teachers I began to hear some eerie music in the back of my mind. Doo, doo, dooo, doooo...... It seemed all the descriptions rang true: "steady way of looking at the world; soul of an artist; (doo, do, doo); can "see the forest for the trees"; sensitive digestive system (I can belch like a sailor) and "andric" - tends toward masculine body type. Oh, the irony of it all.

But I don't want to be a Teacher I want to be a Chicken-Eater. It's just easier that way. I have chicken in the freezer...

And not to ring my own bell, or wait maybe I mean toot my own horn (I should probably ring my own bell when nobody is looking), it also said I was "sinewy and flexible", "ages gracefully" and I "have a powerful spiritual energy". So, I'm like Ghandi but with more hair.

But the most powerfully convincing part of my description was the Teacher slogan: "Why can't we all just get along?"

So I might just give this diet a shot. I can cut out the things I should be avoiding like cottage cheese (bleck) and worcestshire (it probably goes great with mutton) and I can cook ground turkey instead of ground beef and eat more fish. And best of all, there was no mention of marshmallows so I think those are safe.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Democracy At Home

The beauty of children is that they never cease to amaze me. In this particular case it's my own children who have taken the art of the debate to a new level. Eva and Isaac's gift of bicker has become more and more impressive (if that makes any sense). Last night it was about the election.

Now this is an argument between an 11 year old and a 5 year old. Eva voted for McCain in her class and Isaac voted for Obama. Neither one based their "decision" on any information about the candidates and I have a feeling Isaac voted for Obama because he likes to say "Obama" as evidenced by the Obama song I heard this morning. It only had one word in it - Obama. I had to put a stop to it after about 5 minutes. Nevertheless, his need to stand by his favorite word caused a rift between him and his sister. Not a big surprise, the color of the sky can cause a rift between Isaac and Eva.

Eva did have some knowledge of the candidates mostly received from her classmates because her parents won't let her watch the news as she pointed out for the umpteenth time. The knowledge she received from her classmates was highly inaccurate and it got me to thinking. (And this is where it all becomes a learning experience - for me.) It's true I haven't let the girls watch the news because news of murderers and molesters is disturbing, it evokes fear and I don't want them to have a life based in fear and what could happen. Here's the irony - they are anxious. I could pass this off before, my kids were no more anxious than any other kids out there but then Eva got the diagnosis of General Anxiety Disorder. If that's not a slap in the face then I don't know what is.

And Eva's not the only one. Maya was disturbed (ok, genuinely afraid) by the fact that Obama would win and that's not who her parents voted for. I explained to her the beauty of our government. That Barrack Obama was not a "bad" choice for president just because he wasn't our choice. That because of the election process our country is never exposed to the threat of anarchy that no one can just come in and take over. "Does this happen in some countries?" she asked. As a matter-of-fact it does. So we are lucky, we are blessed to live in this country where people vote and make the choice for president and other political offices.

Then there's my son who will be Diego for Halloween when he's 24 years old. Like he said "Mom, I'm ALWAYS going to be Diego, how many times do I have to tell you that?" So perhaps a little fear of change in there along with a dictatorial attitude. He's either going to be a priest or the president when he grows up.

So I had a discussion with my mom this morning. When I need a sounding board of reason my mom is the place to go. She told me that we use to watch the news as kids and it was really no worse than the news today. The girls need to see what's going on and there needs to be a discussion about it if necessary. Even Isaac could handle the news she said. At one point she was yelling at me although she said she just raises her voice when she gets excited. I had to remind her that I did not vote for Obama.

But all political discussion aside I have a point here. While I've been so busy trying to raise my kids in an environment that was safe and nurturing (and not at all democratic) I've overprotected them from life and from learning what legitimate fear is and when we let fear overrun our lives. This is a life lesson I'm trying to learn myself, that if a decision I make is based in fear it's never the right decision. We can't live our lives afraid of what might happen because we'll never have the chance to see what could happen if we do.

It is a painful lesson to learn because as a parent you want so badly to think that you're doing the big things right even though you know that it is impossible to be right all the time. And that's where a little more democracy needs to come into play at our house. If I truly stop and listen to what my kids are saying rather than always putting my foot down then maybe we can work through some of these things together.

And on that note I'll leave you with this thought. You can't possibly always make the right choices but you just have to put one foot in front of the other, say a prayer, and hope that you're next choice will be better.

Now come back tomorrow, I'll try to be funnier.