Finding the funny in parenthood before somebody loses an eye...



Monday, August 29, 2011

A Cure For Divorce?

Just letting you know you can check out my latest article on Huffington Post in response to a "Relationship Expert" who says he has a "Cure" for Divorce.

"Is There a Cure for Divorce?"

I'm sick.  And I didn't even know it.

According to an article by Dr. David Wygant on Huffington Post, divorce can be as preventable as the common cold, and Dr. Wygant, relationship therapist and dating expert, has the "cure."


Well, having been in a 12 year long marriage, I can relate to Dr. Wygant's basic theory that couples can get into a "You-don't-do-anything-for-me-so-I-won't-do-anything-for-you" downward spiral. I myself was the queen of it. In fact, I reigned supreme. But I believe his theory over-simplifies the complexities involved in the decision to divorce.


His basic hypothesis suggests that if two people can come together, they can stay together. But what he doesn't examine is whether or not they should stay together.

His article presumes that all people come together because they are mature, emotionally sound and ready to take "the plunge" (I'm sorry...I'm trying not to laugh...).

But what if two people come together for the wrong reasons?


 CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL STORY ON HUFFINGTON POST!  and tell me what you think.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Difference Between Wealthy Spaniards and Jews

"Maria del Rosario Cayetana Alfonsa Victoria Eugenia Francisca Fitz-James Stuart y de Silva (yes, that's one name) is one of the wealthiest women in all of Spain.  She is worth somewhere between $850 million and $5 billion--but not for long. The Duchess of Alba, 85, is giving it all away so she can marry the man she loves."

Remarkable story.  But not because she's giving away her money.   This woman's name is like a half a mile long!

Jews don't do this.  My mother doesn't even have a middle name.  My grandparents didn't  bother so they just gave her an initial, "F."  And it doesn't stand for anything. 

My name could have been Sarah Ellen Rebeccah Hannah Stacy Goldstein Winer Stein Schmidt.

Nah.  It just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Happy Camper

I grew up going to camp.

Every summer my parents would put me and my older sister on a plane, without any adult supervision, to travel from Philadelphia to Boston.  From there we would embark on a three hour bus trip to Poland, Maine, and our summer home -- Tripp Lake Camp.

And we loved it. Two months of a friend-filled, activity-packed, bunk-based living interspersed with cookies and crappy meals -- the shared ingestion of which bound you eternally to your fellow campers.  (Anybody out there remember Hot Dog soup?  Point made...) 

We wanted to go to camp.  We loved going to camp.  We BEGGED to go to camp!  And I felt a little guilty about it.

I used to imagine my parents, saddened by our departure sitting quietly in front of the TV eating Swanson Frozen Dinners trying to fill the void.  How could they not miss me?  I mean, what were they supposed to do without me and my sister?  It was obvious their summer trips to Europe, Greece and Spain were feeble attempts to keep their minds off of us.  To give them something to do until my sister and I returned from camp to fill their lives with joy.

I looked forward to visiting day knowing they would be thrilled to see me.  They would break free of the crowds of other parents to find me and my sister and they would shower us with comic books, iced tea mix and gum.  We would proudly present them pinched clay ashtrays we made in Arts & Crafts (it was the 70's) and they would feel complete once again.

Of this, I was sure.

Until this year when I sent my own beloved, oldest daughter to sleepaway camp for two months.  We hugged goodbye on her bunk porch and I held back a torrent of tears as I smoothed down her hair and assured her she would have the time of her life.   And as I drove down the dusty, gravely path to the camp exit, leaving her in the distance with her sobbing bunkmates I felt like somebody had ripped my heart out of my body.  I cried for three days.

Then I "woke up."

Within a week, the advantage of temporarily having one less child around was apparent.  Less fighting, less complaining, more peace and quiet.  It was nice.  Really, really nice.  My eight year old twins were ecstatic to have me all to themselves and I didn't have to concern myself with the daily trials of "tweenhood" angst that had recently invaded our home because I knew my daughter was, as confirmed in her letters home, "having the time of her life."  

I found myself imagining what it would be like when my twins were ready to go to camp -- I could stay out late, travel abroad, maybe I'd take up yoga...

And that's when I had an epiphany.  My parents LIKED sending us to camp!  Sure they missed us (I think...), of course they worried about us (I hope...), but they partied.  I'm sure of it.  They traveled, they went out to fancy dinners, they stayed out late, smoked in the house putting out their piling cigarettes in our lovingly made pinched clay ashtrays, and quite possibly danced on our beds to celebrate our absence.

It all became clear.  My parents had fun while we were away.  And I'm a little resentful they let me feel so guilty for so long.  

Sleepaway camp is good for everybody!  Sure I miss my daughter.  Every day I run out to my mailbox to see if there's mail from her.  I send a steady stream of letters and care packages filled with magazines, Mad Libs and other small non-food related offerings that show I'm thinking about her.  And she believes I miss her (which I do). 

In fact, this weekend was visiting day and I broke from the crowd to find her.  As I hugged my surprisingly taller girl, I felt complete.  Even the twins hugged their sister and more surprisingly, she hugged them back.  We were a family.  A happy family.  I brought her magazines and gum, she gave me ceramic fish sculptures (ashtrays are so passé) and we all enjoyed each other's company.  

At the end of visiting day, as we drove back down the dusty, gravely road to the camp exit, my twins surprised me -- they BEGGED me to let them go to camp next summer.   They assured me they were ready to handle two months without me and informed me it was "time to let them go."

And it may well be.  I'll be sad to send off all three children to camp next year.  The house will be so quiet and saying goodbye will be really hard -- on me.  I'll wait by the mailbox for letters, I'll send a never-ending stream of care packages, and I'll think about how very much I miss my wonderful children.

On the flip side... I've always wanted to see Spain.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mommy Dearest and other Educational Films

My kids think I scream a lot.  They think I'm mean and bossy and just plain absolutely no fun at all.

Well last night I changed all that.

We watched "Mommy Dearest."

I was folding clothes in the TV room which means (according to Mom Rules) since I'm doing something "for everyone" in my house that I get to choose what I want.  (Obviously, I didn't have a lot of choices.)

They stayed for 2 minutes and lost interest because it was "old fashioned."

"Is she dead?" Izzy pointed to Faye Dunaway.

"No."

"Is she dead?"  Livi pointed to the little girl as christina.

"No."

"Are any of them dead?"  Izzy asked.

"NO!"

"What about the people they play?"

Oy..."Yes."

"Which ones."

"Joan Crawford.  She's dead.  Do you mind?  I'm watching the movie."

I guess the fact that somebody was dead intrigued her enough to watch more. 

Livi walked by just as Mommy Dearest was cutting a screaming Christina's hair for playing at her dressing table.  That was all she needed. "Wait!  Can you play that again?"

"No."

"I want to see her cut the girls hair off!"

"I'm not rewinding.  Trust me.  There will be more stuff like that."

Obviously, Livi was hooked.

By the time Joan was in the garden cutting down all of her rosebushes with her kids in their pajamas Ben was chewing on his blanket and sitting with us.

"What is she doing to the bushes?"

"She's chopping them down."

"Why?"

"She's sad and angry and freaking out."

"Why do her kids have to be there."

"Because she's MEAN and she's making them help her."

"You wouldn't make us do that, would you Mommy?"

"Really?!"

He kept staring at me - shocked by this mother's behavior.

Part of me didn't want to satisfy his ridiculous concern "We don't have rose bushes."

"What if we did?"

"Ben...just watch.  Or leave the room."

He stayed.

Then came the wire hanger scene.

"OOO!  Ooo!  OIOOO! you guys!  Watch!  This is where the mommy goes REALLY crazy!" I started wringing my hands in anticipation.

As the wire hanger scene unfolded my kids were AWED by the mother's rage and TOTALLY CONFUSED by her hatred of wire hangers.  I told them I'd just be happy the clothes were up off the floor.

By the time Joan Crawford said "...clean up this mess." pointing to the wreckage of the closet and cleaner covered bathroom and left in a swerving, manic crazed daze (I have to say...I know that feeling), my kids thought I was a Goddess.

I shouted out "WHO HAS THE BEST MOMMY!"

"WE DO!" They shouted collectively and all hugged me.

I wonder when "The Step Father" is on?




Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Grapes of Wrath...and other tasty snacks

"Grapes please."

All my daughter and her playdate wanted were some grapes to snack on while they finished their homework.

Simple enough request.  Heck.  I even had fresh grapes in the fridge.

"No problem." I said.

I went to the fridge, pulled out the bag of grapes and took them to the sink to wash them. Unfortunately, my sink was piled high with dirty dishes crusted in tomato sauce, microwave pancakes and dried out pasta.

Obviously, I couldn’t wash the grapes until the sink was empty and cleaned out, so I opened the dishwasher to fill it with dirty dishes.   It was full of clean dishes.

"Mom?   Can we have some grapes?"

"Yeah.  I just need to wash them.  Hold on."

I pulled out the top tier of the dishwasher to start unloading.   I got two rows of lowballs unloaded when I took out a wine glass that hadn’t successfully made it through the rinse cycle.  Yeah, yeah…I should have hand-washed it.   I get lazy when I drink merlot.

As I lifted the broken glass out, a conveniently large chunk of thin glass dropped off.  I picked it off and went to throw the pieces in the trash.  The wine glass shattered against the side of the trash can turning into hundreds of less conveniently sized shards that jingled over the edge of the trash can, and on to the floor.

So I swept the floor.  And then I mopped it.   Twice.  I got down on my hands and knees and wiped the surrounding floor down finishing up the roll of the paper towels.  No glass was getting past me.

"Mom, are you getting me grapes?"

"Yes! I'm trying! You’ve gotta wait a second.'

I put away the mop and broom and went back to unloading the dishwasher. Dishes, glasses, and silverware all went back into place. I was momentarily stumped by half a salad tong, but I just shoved it into my miscellaneous utensil drawer in hopes the other half would materialize one day when I needed it.

I put the dirty dishes into the dishwasher. Nice and full. I do take pride in my loading skills.

I figured I should run it before dinner so I wouldn’t have to deal with another dish pile-up when I noticed the “rinse aid” light was lit. AAARRRRRGGGHHH!!!!

I fished around under the sink and found an almost emptied bottle of Jet Dry. I filled the little circular compartment with what was left of the Jet Dry and hoped it was enough.

The light went off and I popped in a cascade swirly cake (which I shockingly had), slammed the dishwasher door shut and pushed “Start.”

Wwwwooooooogggge….Ah, the sound of accomplishment.

Now the sink was empty. Of dishes at least. Lumps of bread crust, soggy cereal flakes, half-eaten apple slices, and crushed tomato bits stopped up the drain.

I picked it clean and sprayed it down with some Lemon Fresh 409. God bless 409.

I was now ready to wash grapes.

I opened the cabinet under the stove-top and poked around for my colander. Nothing. Where the heck is that stupid colander!?

“MOM?...”

“I’M WORKIN’ ON IT! I’M WORKIN’ ON IT! GRAPES ARE COMING! KEEP YOUR PANTS ON!”

“…what does that mean?” I heard her ask her friend. Her friend shrugged.

I sighed. Exasperated. Grapeless. How hard could it be to give my kid some friggin’ grapes! Why does everything I do around this house have to be so complicated! For ONCE, I’d like to need a grape and be able to HAVE a grape! Immediately! Or at least without having to do 20 other things first!

I was angry. This was so frustrating!

After pillaging through several cabinets and flinging All-Clad pots and cast-iron pans around - finding strange solace in the loud clanging of pots as I slammed into each other and onto the kitchen floor - I found the colander three cabinets later hiding behind a heavy mixer.   I held it aloft - like the Olympic torch signalling the beginning of the games - YES!

I ignored the bits and pieces of dried crap that crusted some up a couple of the holes rationalizing that the colander had been through the dishwasher at some point in the past and was clean.  Hence, any dirt found on the colander was “clean dirt.”

And then I washed the grapes, plunked them wet into clean bowl and victoriously served them. “Yes, my children.  I - your mother - have produced clean grapes for your eating pleasure.  Enjoy them.   Savor them.  These grapes I give to you this day…”

I started putting away the pots and pans on the kitchen floor when Livi asked, “Mom?  Can I have a paper towel?”

I got up to get her a paper towel.  The roll was empty...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I Was In a Flashmob!

I was just in a flashmob.

On purpose.

And it was one of the best experiences of my life.

About three weeks ago, I got an e-mail from a friend asking if I'd like to be in a Flashmob with her.

Now, I don't know anything about Flashmobs.   I mean, I've seen them on Youtube, but I always wondered, is it pre-planned?  Can anyone join in?  Will I get arrested?

Turns out "it is",  "yes", and "you won't!"  (Which is really good news for me because I suspect my ex-husband would be more inclined to let me sit in jail for a night then put up bail.)

My journey to FlashMobiness started in my living room in Woodstock, NY where Livi and I moved coffee tables and rocking chairs so we could practice to the videos of the choreography uploaded on the super secret BlogHer Flash Mob page started by our fearless FlashMob leaders, Mary from "Mama Mary Show" and Theresa of Rock on Mommies .   Livi encouraged me and my moves with supportive statements like "Wow Mommy, that lady on the video can dance!" "This is really hard ..." and "Mommy...you don't look anything like the lady in the video."

Thanks, Livi.

After three weeks Livi acquiesed that the dance I was performing mildly RESEMBLED the one on the video and I felt ready...ish.

On the day of the mob, as directed my friends and I took a separate across the lunchroom from the first group of dancers so as to make it look less "clumpy". 

The music rose.  As did Teresa.

And as she took the center of the convention hall lunchroom floor, her moves and smile elicited hoots, hollers and standing ovations.

Thousands of flip cameras and telephones were whipped out of handbags as spectators gathered around and encouraged what was obviously happening.

And as group after group joined in over 100 women bloggers from all over the country came together to perform the dance they had learned in secret and practiced in their living rooms.  Many of us had never met in person, but for those three minutes, we were sisters.  It was one of the most memorable moments of my life.

And if I could make one suggestion to everyone and anyone out there listening - you need to be a part of a Flash Mob at least once in your life.

Mary and Theresa are WITHOUT A DOUBT, my MILFS of the Month (I need to create a badge...).  You ladies are lit by a fire from within and anyone in a 10 mile radius can feel the warmth and the glow.

Thank you for letting me be a part of such an extraordinary experience and for helping me cross "Be a Part of a FlashMob" off my bucket list.

With that said, I present to you, "The Edge of Glory" by Lady Gaga, performed by 100 of the greatest bloggers to ever live...

My Interview with GenConnect

My interview with GenConnect at BlogHer '11.  (Note all the food cart people moving around oblivious to the fact I am being interviewed.  Yup.  People respect me.).


You Can Click Here for the Link to the Interview...

Monday, August 8, 2011

This Lunchbox is Closed Due to Health Violations

I am not a restaurant. 

Unfortunately, this is news to my three children, who daily submit their “orders” for school lunches.

Livi’s order? Turkey and white cheddar cheese on white bread.  No crust.  No mustard. No mayo: “TOTALLY PLAIN!” she specifies.

Ben’s order? Ham and orange cheddar cheese.  No crust.  A “teeny tiny…NO, NOT THAT MUCH!” bit of mayonnaise.

Izzy's “Peanut butter and honey on whole wheat WITH the crust on” and “something interesting.”  I kid you not.  She has actually asked me to surprise her with something “interesting.”

It’s obvious why I hate making lunches.  

Believe me, I’ve tried...

Want to read the rest of my Lunchtime Rant on The Today Show Blog?  Just click here.

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