Friday, August 31, 2007

Jumping Through . . .

This is my post for Poetry Thursday -- in true "me" fashion it's being posted on Friday. I have, in my defense, been busy making deadlines on things I'm actually getting paid for. And I like food and clothing. So, at any rate, a dashed off blurb of a poem (no fine crafting here) -- more like advice, using Poetry Thursday's (completely and totally optional) prompt, "an open window."

Jumping through
An open window
Is not recommended.

But more so
Than jumping through
A closed one.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Evidence that my child is the best kid ever:

When she eats an Oreo, she eats the cookie parts, and gives me the cream filling.

She also has an Oreo song:
"When milk wants a cookie, it says O-R-E-O. Oooorrreeeooo."

Having kids rocks.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Yes, You Can Has Cheezburger

Again, slow on the uptake, but this is my new favorite place to go. Escapism is a wonderful thing. And it makes my son laugh that really hilarious laugh, the one that's uncontrollable and completely contagious.

My cats don't get it, though. Go figure.


Leave it to me to jump on the bandwagon just before it pulls into the parking lot for good.

Poetry Thursday, it seems, is ending.

The project, which has been in existence since February 2006, and of which I've been aware for at least four months or so, is drawing to a close. I suppose it's only natural for such an experiment to have a shelf-life. Revolution, even that of the smallest proportions, becomes rote with repetition. Nice alliteration, eh? I've still got it.

Any-hoo, there is one last Poetry Thursday on the docket, and I encourage all three of you who are reading this (potentially) to mosey on over to their site on Aug. 30. and add your two cents. The (completely and totally optional) idea they've given as a prompt is "an open window." Or you can just post a poem about whatever. But do participate.
It also seems that there will momentarily be an announcement about their next community poetry project. I fully intend to jump in on the front edge of this one. Because poetry is under-rated, under-appreciated, under-written, and under-read. And it's my first true love.

So join me, won't you? It'll be fun.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Poetry Thursday

In a half-hearted effort to refocus a tiny portion of my energy to creative writing, I've decided to take part in Poetry Thursday's, well, Poetry Thursday. So here goes:

An Inventory of You and Me

I am a little bit elliptical,
obtuse when it comes to you,
a silver service missing
the odd knife and spoon.
I linger over you intentionally
and catalogue your every look.
I am angular in my appreciation of you,
deliberate, and skeletal.

You are contrite and formulated,
a short order for the lunch hour.
You make notes instead of sleeping.
You are remiss to pick out patterns,
reluctant for the walls.
You grow fatter with each word I render,
a nominal fee for your appearance.

We exist in overlapping circles;
mine a saucer,
yours a dervish.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Open Wide

I'm not sure what to make of this, but I'm hearing about a connection between ADD and, of all things, tonsils.

The latest (and actually, it turns out this may have been out there for awhile), is that some studies are showing that children who have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, and then have tonsils and/or adenoids removed, are later found to be free of symptoms.

What frightens me a bit is tendency to leap to this conclusion: that tonsil removal is a "cure" for ADD (check out this FoxNews report, for example). It seems to me, however, that what this really means is that some kids with sleep disorders (caused by problems with their tonsils or adenoids) are being erroneously diagnosed with ADD in the first place.

This also says to me that, perhaps, the "mysterious" increase in incidence of ADD in the last 25 years could be chalked up to a number of things, one of which might be undiagnosed sleep disorders. Remember, up until 25 or 30 years ago, most kids got their tonsils removed as a matter of course. My older brother did, but a couple years later, when it would have been my turn, doctors were saying not to bother.

I've endured years of strep and excruciating bouts of tonsilitis, thanks to that, but that's another story . . .

Regardless, as a woman married to a guy with adult ADD (thank goodness for Concerta!) and a son who shows occasional signs of the same, I wonder how to incorporate this new information into my already tangled web of understanding.

Any thoughts?

For more on this topic, read here and here.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Back to Reality

This is it. Summer is officially over.

Despite the fact that it's only mid-August. Despite the fact that the temperatures will hover in the mid-90s all week long.

Today, the kids went back to school.

For a lot of moms, this is cause for celebration. It seems to appear a lot in editorial cartoons this time of year, the circle of soccer moms chillin' over coffee and thrillin' over the fact that their brethren have been dispatched, once more, to the hallowed halls of knowledge. Away from them. For eight hours a day. Yippee!

I, however, am not one of those moms.

Perhaps it's because I've worked outside the home for most of my kids lives. The summer has always been a chance to spend more time with them just having fun, rather than nagging over homework and trashed rooms while rushing to (pick one, or mix and match: cook dinner, throw in some laundry, feed the pets, vacuum the living room, mow the lawn) before dark.

Perhaps it's because we've moved them a couple of times, and this is one of the years where they're both starting over. New town, new school, new kid on the block. I did that a bunch growing up, and I know what it feels like. It's tough. Especially in middle school, where my seventh grade daughter is right now, having to make the traumatic switch to middle school all over again after starting in Florida last year.

Perhaps it's because I just like them so darn much, that I actually miss them when they're gone.

This year there's something else, too: back to school for the kids means that it's now time for me to really figure out what I'm doing here. We're settled in from the move. The house is set. The kids are feeling at home. We have a routine. So now what?

Am I going to be able to get more writing jobs? Am I going to have to break down and substitute a whole lot more than I originally wanted to? Am I going to make the leap and go back to school for my Master's?

And am I ever going to get this dag-nabbin' house clean?

On the one hand, this is the first "first day of school" in years that I've been able to just concentrate on getting my kids ready and not worry about getting myself ready to go to work as well. What a relief. On the other hand, I don't really have a job, so it's time for an existential crisis (and perhaps a financial one as well).

So this is my plan: Take a deep breath. Have some coffee. Make that phone call interview for an article I actually do have an assignment for. And see what happens next.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Excuse My Dust

... and it's not because I'm so far ahead of the pack.

Actually, I'm rather far behind it seems, a conclusion I've come to after perusing the multiple fabulous blogs out there and then returning to my rather sad-sack design.

I need an overhaul.

To that end, I will be using my limited design skills to create, at the very least, a new header. I've made the one that you see above, mostly as an experiment. Not thrilled, but it's a step in the right direction.

You will probably continue to see changes, as I attempt to find something even remotely usable. I know -- you can pay people to do this sort of thing. And I would. But school's starting, and the kids like clothes, paper, lunch. That kind of stuff. Very demanding.

Some of you clearly are much better at this, however, so I will shamelessly solicit any thoughts, suggestions, helpful hints, free advice. The first step, they say, is admitting you need help.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Different Way of Looking at It

My 10-year-old son told my husband yesterday: "You're only old without your glasses."

I'm sure he meant well. Makes me wonder if I should start wearing some.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

In Praise of Tori

I just love Tori Spelling.

Those are five words I never imagined I'd utter. But against all odds, it's true.

To qualify this statement, I must make another cringe-worthy admission. I've been watching Oxygen's "Tori and Dean: Inn Love" lately. A lot. In fact, while I'm making confessions, I need to tell you that my TV watching tastes are atrocious, running from police drama (that's a fancy way to say "Cops") to talk shows (Sylvia Brown on Montel is a DVR-worthy favorite, but I draw the line at Maury or Springer) to, yes, celeb reality.

Tori and Dean are my current favored fix.

Most of celeb reality, of course, is an opportunity to rubber-neck, check out how the other half lives while I avoid scrubbing the toilet for just a little while longer. What I like about Tori and Dean, however, is that they seem so, well, normal.

Consider this: Spelling had a baby, and she looks like a woman that had a baby. On this week's episode (I'm paraphrasing -- I'll leave transcripts to the "Lost" and "24" forum devotees): "People are used to seeing celebrities snap right back after having a baby, but that's just not how it works." It does appear to work that way for most celebrities -- do they do the tummy tuck right there in the delivery room? If so, Tori didn't get that memo, it seems. Upon viewing a plate set out for guests, filled with diet-busting pastries, she commented, "I want to stick those donut holes in every orifice of my body." Go Tori!

Other highlights include wrangling a mouse out of a bathtub with rubber gloves and a shoe (not to smoosh it, but rather transport it to a woodland home), and scraping aside bird poo to put up a flier for her yard sale.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know what you're thinking. Duh -- it's a TV show. They want her to come off likeable, relatable, normal. She's an actress. Did I say duh?

Yes, she has a nanny. Yes, she balked at selling clothing she never wears because it's Chanel! But for a woman who grew up in the house of a billionaire, her hanger-on friends seem more spoiled than she does.

Maybe it's because of some reality checks. Failed marriage. Feuding with mother. Minuscule inheritance, comparatively (only $800,000!), acting career relegated to the B range. Public humiliation, in it's many forms, tends to create perspective. Or maybe it's just that she's a better actress than I give her credit for.

Regardless, it's awfully nice to see a female paparazzi target who A) is actually working at something, and B) doesn't act as if their mere existence entitles them to great wealth and adoration.

That alone makes me want to root for her.
Now, pass the donut holes.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I Can't Seem to Help Myself

I read an article this week in Newsweek (I'm only three weeks behind in my reading now, thank you very much) by a married woman without children who is sick of hearing about motherhood. She wonders, in eloquent but clearly frustrated prose, about why moms feel the need to hold their own maternal status over her head, as if it were the Holy Grail and she is somehow inferior for having failed to reach it yet.

My question is, who in the world is she hanging out with?!? She needs to get new friends, and travel in new social circles, and her problem would be solved just like that.

It seems that the moms she runs in to actually put their hand on her stomach (under her shirt, natch) and ask if she's pregnant yet. They take their infants to "fancy, adult, nighttime restaurants" and R-rated movies. They belittle her job by telling her that she won't know happiness until she's had a baby. And, to top it all off, an acquaintance's 4-year-old popped her in the mouth, drawing blood, and the mom told the author that she "shouldn't talk down to kids."

If this is her experience, I don't blame her for sounding catty and bitter. Which she does. But I would, too, hanging out with these crackpots.

I've never (and to my knowledge, neither has anyone I know) placed my hand on another woman's belly and inquired about the status of her womb.

I've never taken an infant to a fancy restaurant (not having actually gone to any fancy restaurants while my kids were infants, this was easy to achieve). R-rated movies? Duh.

I would never presume, either, that I possess a greater degree of happiness based on my decision to procreate. Nothing makes me happier than my children, yes. Is it inconceivable that someone else is at least equally happy without children? What am I, a moron?

What I don't like is the assumption that all mothers are like this. Most of the moms I know are reasonably balanced, occasionally frazzled, uproariously funny, and overall interesting human beings. They have no need to put other women down. They actually adore their children appropriately, make intelligent daily decisions, and are sensitive enough to know that anyone else's reproductive choices are none of their business.

On a similar note, I recently read a blog (but in my hazy state of entertaining out-of-town visitors and withstanding the 100-degree-plus heat around here, I don't remember where) by a mom who is sick of hearing about being a mom. Again, I do feel her pain, just a little. And yet, I can't stop myself. I'm a writer, and a mom. And thus, I write about being a mom. It's sick, but I can't seem to control the urge.

So, my solution is this: follow the rules your mother taught you and that, if you happen to be a mom, you teach your own kids. Keep your hands to yourself. Respect others. Don't be rude. Play nice.

And I'll add one more: if you don't want to read about motherhood, simply turn (or close) the page.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

From the Mouth of Babes

Well, she's almost 12, but still.

My daughter on plastic surgery:
"If I were going to get a facelift, I'd do it right before I renewed my driver's license."

She's an old soul.

When It Rains, It Pours

I spent the entire summer lamenting my lack of progress, and as the summer draws to a close (based on the start of the school year, of course, not the calendar) I suddenly have 15,000 things to do.

Two weeks ago, I was thinking of hocking the computer and just being done with the whole thing. Today, my busy brain is juggling these things, even as I type:

  • Catching up on missed sessions of a grant writing course I'm taking online
  • Completing a review of the extensive materials involved in my application to become a tutor on (has anyone else had experience with this?)
  • Anticipating my first assignment for a local publication, the Illinois Business Journal (a real job -- hooray!)
  • Completing a sample assignment for a high-profile family website which could prove to be lucrative if I don't blow it (they're paying for the sample -- hooray again!)
  • Anticipating a response from the local school district regarding my completion of the (extensive) application process to be a substitute teacher
  • Visualizing possible scenarios for the phone call expected tomorrow a.m. from the owner of another high-profile website which could also be lucrative, again, assuming I don't blow it.
On top of that, signing kids up for school, doctor's appointments for everyone, and parents in from out of town!

Probably sounds a lot like your life, right? Well, mine had been devoid of such activity since our move to a new state earlier at the beginning of the season, and so I've been moping around wondering how I would EVER get anything going. Well, suddenly things are going (or they seem to be).

This isn't exactly how I imagined a "freelance" career. I was picturing writing articles or, even better, editing written material, with a bunch of jobs similar in scope and nature. Instead, I've got a hand in blogs, websites, print journals, tutoring, substitute teaching, and more. I'm not sure if this is better or worse, but just different, and has me feeling both a wee bit apprehensive and really excited about the possibilities.

Of course, it would have been nice to sit back and enjoy my "time off," so rare it is. But it's hard to relax when the bank account is dwindling, no matter how hard you try. That hasn't changed, but at least there's hope.

And, it appears, maybe a whole lot of work ahead.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Neglecting My Computer

That's what I've been guilty of this week, but with good reason. We've had family in from out of state, and it's the last two weeks of summer, so I haven't been very focused on anything but gleaning the last bits of fun and sun from the situation. I likely won't be posting anything until Wednesday at least, so if you stopped by to visit please accept my apologies for giving you little to show for your efforts. Thanks for coming, and I'll try to have something interesting to say very soon. In the meantime, some photos: