Sunday, December 30, 2007

Ailing with Age

Recently, I went for my well woman appointment. I decided to make the appointment with my regular physician this time instead of my OBGYN since I had a list of aliments that needed addressing.

After reading through the most recent People Magazine and getting disgusted with all of the celebrity nonsense, I was called back. Hopping on the scale was my first disappointment. I chalked up the extra 5 pounds to shoes (the nurse wouldn't let me remove my shoes), jeans, and mid-afternoon bulge.

When the doctor arrived I told her to get her pen ready because I was starting at my head and working my way down. Thankfully, she laughed. After telling her about my equilibrium failure from Disneyland, my excessive fatigue, my edginess, achy hand joints, abdominal pain, stomach muscle fade and the gap resting between my abdominal muscles, varicose vein that sometimes hurts, and lower back pain, she proceeded to administer a list of prescriptions and otherwise.

After each diagnosis, she gave me the cure, and I chose to either accept or decline.

Ear check: Good. There was no liquid findings to account for the slight equilibrium failure.

Edginess: Happy pills. Declined. They have side affects which decrease your libido. Not good. Tranquilizers. Declined. I didn't want my children to find my on the couch comotose, in unmovable, tranquility. I told her I would just pray more often.

Back pain and abdominal muscle gap: Pilates. Accept. With a personal trainer. Decline. Too much money.

Joint pain: Splint. Decline. Advil. Accept. It turns out that the pain is from using the mouse.

Abdominal pain: Possible fibroid. Pelvic Ultrasound. Accept. I just need to schedule an appointment.

Fatigue and everything else: Blood work. Accept. I have to fast for 10-12 hours. I cannot even drink coffee. I'm sure that the technicians have seen their share of starving, caffeine deprived, moms.

Varicose vein: Laser surgery. A financial issue. Accept for a later date when I have a lot of extra money sitting around my house.

Eating practically nothing for breakfast and lunch, excercising five days a week, and still feeling like my jeans are too tight: Part of getting older. Decline. My lovely doctor went on to tell me, "Just wait. When you go through menopause your metabolism will come to a screeching halt." Great news. Eating practicaly nothing was perfectly acceptable.

The next time I need to make a well woman appointment I am going to visit my OBGYN, and keep all the other aliments to myself. I don't need the disappointments.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Best Bargain Going


I love to eat breakfast at a restaurant. I don't need fancy fare, just a plate full of variety. My husband laughs at my desire to eat breakfast out since he loves to cook, and willingly offers to cook an egg dish, served hot and fresh, every Sunday morning. (We go to church on Saturday night). I enjoy his cooking immensely, but there is just something special about having someone else bring you breakfast, exactly the way you like, with everything imaginable on the side.

My last breakfast, in a restaurant, was on the 20th, my mother's birthday. I ordered the platter which was served with two eggs over medium, bacon, potatoes, and the best part, a side of Belgian waffles. Inadvertently I forgot to order a side of English Muffins. I love the way the egg yolk slips into the nooks and crannies of the muffin when I spread the egg over the top of the bread. This isn't the easiest meal to replicate at home.

I also love the 49er Flap Jacks from The Original Pancake House. I forgo the eggs and stick with the pancakes on the mornings I am privileged enough to visit this fine establishment. Last time we took our four children there they were horrible. My husband and I have vowed to only return if we are child-free. The experience gets tainted otherwise.

By far and away the very best, get-it-in-a-hurry-breakfast-on-a-dime, literally, is the much-loved donut. Admittedly I don't frequent the donut shop as often as I would like to but, that is, the best bargain going in the world. Where else can you get a warm, fried, sugary, pastry, and a cup of hot coffee, for under two bucks? I'll tell you, no where! My fave is the cinnamon roll. My second fave is the apple fritter even though I usually don't like cooked apples. I realize that my top two are not officially donuts, but who's the donut cop? Okay, if I must stick to the true donut standard, the glazed donut wins my vote.

Breakfast out is delightful. Out of necessity, and bloat, a long, very slow, jog usually follows my big breakfast. Burping eggs or flap jacks during exercise is not my first choice, but I'm always willing to make the sacrifice.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

An Addition or Two

Previously I blogged on "Why does it Bother Me?" about the things that I loved as a kid, but now bother me. I need to get over being such an old fuddy duddy mom about it and move on. However, my daughter reminded me of my all time most annoying thing-I-loved-as-a-child-and loathe-now, and, in addition, I have another to add to my list.

Jaw breakers: I would buy the biggest jaw breaker I could find. I would lick the rough otter edge until the ball became white. I would set it on my dresser at night and wake up the next day licking the jaw breaker until it was small enough to fit into my mouth and then eventually chew it to bits. This process took days.

I had the opportunity to chaperon some fifth graders to the mall. After our lunch we walked to the nearby candy store. Many kids filled bags with gummy candy and very little chocolate, but almost everyone purchased jaw breakers. One girl spent $8.75 on the delightful delicacies and everyone ooohed and ahhhed at the very thought of partaking in the jaw breaking experience. Gag! I don't get jaw breakers anymore. They are a waste of sugar and frankly speaking may even break your jaw.

Green Apple flavored bubble gum: I loved bubble gum. I still do and ever since my sister-in-law, Karen, introduced me to Orbit Bubblemint I keep a pack in my purse at all times.

When I was younger they had just introduced green apple flavored bubble gum. I chewed it daily. My dad could not stand the smell of my gum, and although he never made me spit it out, complained about the smell relentlessly. I didn't get what was so putrid about the smell of my bubble gum. Well, now that I am an adult, I cannot stand the smell of green apple bubble gum. My son loves it.

Today I am going to the store to purchase green apple bubble gum and jawbreakers. I am attempting to overcome my fuddy duddyiness. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I got a lap top! I am thrilled, even though it sits it a box needing assistance before it can be properly used. I actually have a computer of my own that my children will not be allowed to breathe on let alone touch. I feel like such a big girl. I'm glad that I did not get a pony.

I did not get my red Vespa. I may have to wait until my birthday, if ever.

I need to brag for a second to all the readers who do not reside in Southern California. Yesterday we attended a 1:00 Christmas Eve service at our church, Saddleback. I am happy to report that with our fantastic weather, I wore a short sleeved top and flip flops...nice flip flops. It was joyous to be donned in "spring clothing" on the third day of winter. I kept telling my husband how happy I was to be wearing short sleeves. He just smiled. On the flip side, my children complain notoriously about the fact that they have never seen snow. Never is a strong word. Oh those poor children.

Well, ramblings may go forever, and my glossy magazines, and new TNIV Bible await. Merry Christmas and good eats!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Bethlehem Gulch

I just attended my ninth school Christmas program. I only have eight more to go. That will bring me to a total of 17 years of sheep costumes, shepherd's get ups, pajama outfits, animal attire, and holiday clothes they will never wear again.

Last night was the best performance we have seen in nine years. It was well organized, fun, and, I choked up three times when my kindergarten sheep square danced in the isles of the worship center. Tuition well spent.

My eleven year old son had a major part in the play that was ongoing throughout the program. He was a cowboy shepherd. He was a nervous wreck! At the last minute they decided to have him do a ten second solo. He was mortified. While his co-shepherd friends, girls, were ever-so-anxious to be in the solo spotlight, he was not.

He had toilet issues the entire evening prior to the performance, and we prayed for his nerves incessantly. At one point in the play he was supposed to scratch himself while he was talking. I told him that I would give him $5.00 if he, in front of hundreds of people, would scratch his breasts and armpits like a monkey. He is motivated by money, but not to the point of embarrassment. He said that he would not carry out the action. On the other hand, if I told my 14 year old daughter that I would give her $5.00 if she ran through the mall in her bathing suit, she would not hesitate.

As the show started, my son kept waving to someone, or so I thought. He was actually giving me the sign for five, as in $5.00. Sure enough, as his speaking part began he did in fact, scratch his breasts. My family could not stop laughing, and every one around us could not understand what was so funny. He sang his solo on key and did great, but I don't think he will be signing up for any performances in the near future.

Today the kids are out of school at noon and I can stop thinking about teacher gifts, aide gifts, gifts for the office staff, money for mistletoe mall, a birthday cake for Jesus, cookies for Jr, High, secret angel gifts, science projects, a gift for the security guard, Christmas program costumes, Teddy Grahams for ginger bread houses, candy for friends in class, Cinnamon sticks (see previous blog), and EVERYTHING else school related. I do not have to pack a lunch for the next two weeks, the kids can stay in their pajamas until dinner time, and anyone who wants to earn an extra $5.00 can run through the mall in their bathing suit, singing "Jingle Bells." I smell a new tradition brewing!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Cinnamon Sticks

In my daughter's 2nd period Bible class they are having a hot chocolate party. She informed me that she volunteered to bring whipped cream and cinnamon sticks. For the life of me I could not figure out what she meant by a cinnamon stick. I guess that I had candy cane brain and could not remove the image from my mind because I kept thinking of a candy that tasted like cinnamon. When my oldest son said, "Mom, you know, real cinnamon sticks" it finally clicked, and off I went to make the necessary purchase before today.

"How many cinnamon sticks do you need?" I questioned, after I had already purchased seven. I figured that another student was also bringing the sticks and did not assume that I had to purchase them for the entire class of 17. "Seventeen" she replied. "Oh gosh, I only bought seven."

When she sauntered into the kitchen she noticed the packages of cinnamon sticks sitting on the counter she asked, "Are these the cinnamon sticks you bought?" Although I figured it was obvious, I still answered, "yep." and then the following conversation continued:

"These are not the cinnamon sticks I wanted."
"What do you mean?"
"They don't look like this."
"But these are cinnamon sticks."
"These are not the ones that I was talking about. They look like straws and have stripes."
"Are they a candy?"
"I don't know...no...I don't think so. They come in a round tin."
"What? Where do you get them?
"Anywhere, Target."
"They don't make cinnamon sticks that you eat."
"Yes they do, I have had them before."
"You have eaten a cinnamon stick?"
"Well, whatever they are I have had them before. Can I draw you a picture?"
"Sure."
(The conversation went on for much longer, but I spare you the lenghty details.)

The picture she drew looked like a thick straw with distinct stripes. I, at this point, was getting frustrated knowing that there is no such candy or anything cinnamon that looked like her picture. I asked if she maybe got her idea wrong and that she was thinking of candy sticks or candy canes. She insisted over and over again that they were not candy canes. They were tubes, and maybe dipped in chocolate. She could not remeber. I thought about those reception candy sticks but knew that she had never tried one. I continued to try and figure out what she was talking about - to no avail.

"Can you just take me to Target and I will show you?"
"Sure, after your Bible study group we will go."

My son was just as confused as I was and continued shaking his head. I knew that my mind would not get off of the cinnamon stick thing unless we solved the puzzle; until we drove to Target and she showed me the correct item.

On the way home from dropping her off at her Bible study group I continued thinking. At that moment my mobile phone rang. It was her.

"I know what they are called!"
"What?"
"Pirouettes! I am eating one right now!"
"Those are COOKIES!"
"I know, but they would be good with hot chocolate."
"They have no cinnamon anwhere near them."
"I know, but they are sticks and on the package it looks like they are spinkled with cinnamon."
"You make me crazy."
"Sorry. Can you get them."
"Sure."

"Mom" my son said, "You HAVE to blog about that." Done.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Sleep Habits

I am completely dumbfounded by the fact that my teenage girl, who just turned 14, cannot sleep in on the weekend. I thought that teenagers were supposed to imitate the sleeping habits of a hibernating bear and go to bed at ten and wake up some time before the sun goes down again in April, eat, and then go back to bed. What gives? My daughter goes to bed at ten and wakes up at 7 a.m. She claims that she cannot fall back to sleep once she wakes up, but shuffles around the house for the first hour groaning and telling everyone she encounters about how tired she is. I'm confused. When I make the egregious suggestion of her going to bed earlier it is as if I asked her to scrub the toilets of all the neighbors.

My eleven year old is much the same. He is suffering from a head and chest cold at the moment and still wakes up at 6:45. If I were sick, I would not leave the comfort of my flannel sheets for a few hours. Again, he insists that he cannot fall back to sleep either. Evidently he thinks that if he stays in bed to recover from his illness, he will miss some very exciting events transpiring in our very own living room. Nothing exciting is happening anywhere.

Our middle boy could go to sleep at 6:30, 7:00, 7:30, 8:00 or 11:00 at night and still wake up at 6:15. His internal alarm is set for 6:15 and there is no budging that clock. I cannot understand how a child, who has had less than adequate sleep, can spring out of bed so early. When he goes to bed between 6:30 and 8:00, I understand, but really, if I went to bed at 11:00 and woke up at 6:15 I would be miles away from feeling like I want to spring out of bed.

Our youngest is quite possibly the best sleeper. Unfortunately, the days when he decides to sleep, are the days that I need to get him up for school, along with everyone else. Normally he is not a grumpy get-upper which is good.

The ONLY redeeming value to my children's sleeping habits is that they wake up in good moods. Also, they can watch television and keep themselves occupied while we, well, sleep in, if you consider, 6:50 a.m. sleeping in.

I guess there are worse things to be upset about, really.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Why Does it Bother Me?

There are some things that I absolutely loved as a child, and now, since my child love them too, I don't understand why or how they could love them. It's really is dumb of me. Let me give you an example. My children all think that it would be great fun to climb on the roof. I don't have any idea what they think they would do once they got there, none the less, they discuss the adventure often. This bothers me. The roof is no place for a child and frankly I don't see how or why it would be so much fun. It is extremely dangerous and you can kill yourself if you fall. Now, I am sure that when I was a child I wanted to climb the roof too, so what is my problem?

Another example: My oldest boy wants me to buy a pomegranate every time I go to the store. "What is so great about pomegranates?" I question. "I love them! They are so good!" I never buy pomegranates at the grocery store since they are $3.00 a piece. I either borrow them from trees I pass while jogging, or hit up my neighbor, who I just discovered, has a pomegranate tree. Pomegranates are a lot of work with very little reward. I try to explain this to my 11 year old boy, but he just shakes his head.

I LOVED pomegranates when I was younger. My girlfriend and I would chew on the seeds for hours. What do I care if my son wants to eat pomegranates?

Third example: My kids love to crumple the paper off of the straw to form a "worm" and then drop a smidgen of water on top to watch it "un-curl." What a mess! There are typically drips of water everywhere, and mounds of soggy straw paper littered around the table. What gives? Restaurant entertainment?

I know that I did the "paper straw wrapper worm" trick when I was younger and thought that it was the coolest thing ever. So, why can't I enjoy the fact that my kids feel the same way? My only excuse is that I don't like the mess. I am just no fun to be around.

Lastly, My son has learned to "loosen" the muscle on his ring and middle finger so as to make them limp-like. He then snaps them in a downward motion, which causes them to hit each other and make a slapping sound. He walks around the house, grocery store, mall, anywhere, shaking his hand and slapping his fingers together. The two younger brothers are in awe of his great talent.

Boys I knew in grade school did this all the time and I thought nothing of it. Why now. I am constantly telling him to stop doing the finger thing. He just thinks my ears are too sensitive and that it shouldn't bother me. He's right! Boys love to make noise. That is what they do. Destroy things, and make noise. I need to get over being so bothered.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sign, Seal, and Deliver

Without fail, every year I make a point to corral the family, throw them into outfits that blend, coif the locks of five people, find an appropriate setting, grab a friend with a camera, and snap a shot for the annual Christmas photo card. This seems to work out perfectly since our family has not stepped foot in an official photography studio for ten or so years. A commitment of that caliber would require money bribes, a bit of duct tape or handcuffs, too many hair products to count, and Christmas sweaters. We don't do Christmas sweaters. The thought of executing that scenario exhausts me.

After sorting through the photos I typically choose one where I look best. I do have my limits however, no closed eyes or turned heads no matter how photogenic I appear. After careful selection, I saunter down to the warehouse store and place the order, but I don’t always get it right. One year I inadvertently chose the wrong photo; a costly mistake. This year I ordered too many cards with the assumption that I had more friends than I actually do. Half of the cards were thrown away; another costly mistake.

With every card sent, I include a "year at a glance letter" which, for a family of six, can get lengthy - I like to write. I can tell you though, I have never exceeded the one page limit even I have to use a font size of 4.

In the past I have placed a disclaimer in the enclosed letter that excuses anyone from reading through a years worth of thoughts if their choice is to do otherwise. No feelings will be hurt if a family friend opts out of the reading, glances at the picture, and than tosses the entire contents of the envelope.

I however, love to read over what people have written so as to catch up on their lives. I think it is funny that these letters are mostly written by the mom of the family, yet they speak in third person. I always sign the bottom of my letters because, after all, I am the letter writer.

This years letter is complete, and I was able to squeeze all of the information on one page using a font size of 11. Pretty good for a writer who LOVES details. This year I chose a picture that makes everyone else look great, and I look so-so, so-so and old. I just hope that no one else notices. Next year we'll have to use the camera with the frosty lens to hide the "details." I'm going to need it.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Try Harder

Every year at Christmas time, before the actual chaos begins, a group of our friends get together for a progressive dinner. One house is responsible for appetizers, another house salad and bread, the next house serves the main dish, while the last conjures up a fantastic array of desserts complete with a side of hot chocolate, cider, coffee, or tea. The left over people who are not responsible for opening their doors help one of the hosting families. It is quite nice.

Our family has always volunteered to serve salad. I serve a very non-traditional dish of baby greens, fresh raspberries, candied walnuts, feta cheese, and a sweet raspberry vinegarette dressing. The salad was actually invented by my cuisine savvy husband but in his absence, I take the credit. This time he happened to be absent, but made it for the main dish and dessert. Every adult loves the salad while the kids (26 of them) scarf on the bread sticks and soda opting out of the fancy greens.

The last house, in addition to dessert and beverages, has every child participate in a gift exchange. Each child brings a gift worth $10.00 and a story is read as the kids pass the gifts left and right ending with a gift being traded by everyone. I took great pains in finding the perfect, creative gifts for our contribution. The children range in age from 4 to 15 so creativity is a must. I went to Wal-Mart and purchased the following:

1. A working gumball machine complete with two bags of gumballs

2. A bop bag that you blow up and "punch." It had sand in the bottom so it keeps popping back up after you punch it...great fun.

3. Etch-a-Sketch, a real classic!

4. Toy electric guitar. It made really cool electric guitar sounds and I thought the teenage girls would have fun with it if it landed in their lap at the completion of the game.

Well, my gifts were an utter and complete bomb. No one wanted them and every kid wanted to trade them at the end of the game. They shouted from across the room, "Who wants a gumball machine? Does anyone want this Power Rangers thing?" Only the Etch-a-sketch was deemed keepable.

We ended up with the guitar because I promised my son that I would return it and give him the cash. The bop bag was a failure beyond belief. It had a goofy Power Ranger printed on the side, and no mother wanted it in their house. Everyone fought over the one Webkinz, gift certificates to local fast food restaurants, and the sports equipment. Go figure. So much for trying to be creative.

Next year I am going to wrap ten dollar bills in elaborate paper and ribbon. I'm sure those will be a hit. I'm giving up on being creative.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Newest Nemesis

We stood in line at one of the rides at Disneyland while my oldest, affectionate son, rubbed my arms. Although his hands were filthy, and stuck to my skin as he rubbed, I withheld from dismissing his sticky love fearing that my time between his showing affection to me in public and pretending that he doesn't know who I am was getting shorter. At one point while we were talking and snuggling he began flicking the dandling skin below my arm. I was a tad annoyed with the fact the the fatty tissue at the base of my arm was getting so much attention, but I chose to enjoy the moment of his affection anyway.

When we arrived home I stood in front of the mirror and pretended to wave at a neighbor to see if the skin flopped around more than necessary for a gal my age. Flashes of over weight grandmas flashed before my eyes with their under arm skin flap hanging and flopping mid-waist as they greet fellow neighbors and family. Step too close, and a child could be knocked off of his feet by the sheer trajectory of the flap in full swing.

I needed assurance that my arm flap was not dangling to unforeseen depths after being given so much attention. I was feeling self conscience after my sons gross notification that I definitely had more skin dangling than I should, so this is what I surmised: Push ups.

My armpits ache and now I cannot cross my arms to lift the bottom half of my shirt for removal. It hurts to wash my hair. I have recovered from the lunges and now I have push up strain. So that is it. Through all of my muscle pain I am covering cellulite with the lunges, and avoiding arm skin dangle with push ups, so that when I turn 70, I can wave at neighbors and not knock my grandchildren into next week with my "flaps." I am always thinking, sore, but always thinking.

And so, that is it. The buck stops here. I will not, under any circumstances, do sit ups I absolutely draw the line at lunges and push ups. Those six-pack abs are for girls in their twenties and that, I am not.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Shower with a Friend

My youngest will shower with any warm body whether he needs to or not. He has been know to rack up to three showers in one day depending on how many family members he can convince to letting him join in the misty loveliness. With all of that man soap slipping around his body we have deemed him the cleanest kid in the O.C. Not bad for a four-year old.

On the other hand, showers have become uncommonly popular among my older children and I have no idea why. This is a huge switch from the boy who begged me to let him wait until the morning hoping I would forget about his much needed soaking and allow his sweaty mass to offend those around him at school. People would be sure to point and whisper when they saw me knowing that I was the one who sent my filth ridden child to school. The stares would be too much to bear.

As for the girl, I can remember just months ago pulling out the baby powder and shaking the contents on my her scalp to cover the grease. This was done in attempts to push through another day without a shower. It was enough to get her to brush her teeth, let alone shower and wash her face. The audacity of such a strict mother was overwhelming.

I am happy to report that almost everyone showers on a regular basis without arguments and fur flying. The two oldest even jump out of bed early in the morning in order to squeeze in a shower before school. Crazy. I still have one small six year old hurdle who insists that he is irritated with the sheer action of just getting wet, and in case you didn't notice, the shower is full of wet. That never seemed to be a problem all those times we swam in the summertime and dripped with wet. What gives? I think he hates smelling good. Once again I force the clean, and once again I am deemed the "Meanest Mom in the World." I apologize.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Believe it or Not

I’ve looked at seven new homes this past month. Each one of them is listed in the low millions. The tax rate is 1.8%. That is not an issue for us at this point. I asked if the furnished model was available. It is.

My husband makes a lot of money and I am a full-time writer and speaker. My daughter attends a private Christian college and the younger boys take private hitting lessons from a retired major league baseball player. We just sold our home and need more space. We need a five bedroom home immediately. We need to move within 30 days.

We are considering investing in a condo also. We would like to purchase one for my mother. We are nice that way. She needs a new home and frankly, we have the extra money.

Dream on dream weaver. It is all an act. I am a mystery shopper for a land developer. I “shop” their sales offices. It is fun to pretend and get paid for it. I am very convincing! Returning to reality is hard to swallow.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Plunge Taken

Typically we wait until the first full week in December before we purchase and decorate a Christmas tree. Typically. My two youngest have been biting at the bit to get a tree assuming that once the tree is purchased, the gifts than arrive, and the next step is - viola` Christmas morning in all of its glory.

The true concept of time has yet to soak into their brains so I keep reminding them that even though we have a tree, which was purchased on November 30th in the rain (way too early in my mind), the tree is gleefully decorated, the lights outside are hung, and Christmas lists are compiled, Christmas is a long way off. Really it is. "How long?" my youngest questions, "This long?" and he stretches his arms wide like a super big bear hug. "Yep" I reply, "That long." He slaps his hands down at his sides, drops his shoulders and walks away from me.

The advent calendars I purchased a week ago are nearly null and void. My candy head, oldest boy is surprisingly the only one who has waited until today to start opening the little window and eaten the first chocolate. the rest of the children have already consumed about two weeks worth of chocolates.

Thanks to commercialism we are in the very middle of the Merry Christmas merry-go-round. Whoa. Hold on tight, it is a fast ride, but really, it is a long way off - 25 days to be exact. That is a lifetime to a child.