Saturday, July 30, 2011

This Is What You Do To Me

The ugly cry.

My sixteen year old boy leaves for Civil Air Patrol Encampment today.

He'll be in another state.

We will be apart for two weeks.

When he comes back, I'll be doing the same ugly cry as when he leaves.

Funny how that works.

Bye, baby, mama loves you....

Monday, July 25, 2011

And All I Could Think Was, "Oh, Boy..."

photo credit: cafemama via photopin cc

If you have yet to grow a human and then birth it, perhaps 'tis best that you just click out of this post now.

I will absolutely understand.

All right then, the three of you brave enough to stay, may I ask you to please not let me know what a fantastic ItWasLikeATripToDisney! labor and delivery you had, because not all of our stories are like that.

With all that said, let me tell you that today, as I was looking for some "rockin' the bump" pictures, I came across labor and delivery photos of me 16 years ago.

Holy Moley, I've got the wild eyes of a steer that knows he's about to get roped and branded in these pictures. Hog tied and bound and no way out.

I remember thinking just those exact thoughts, too, as I lay on the labor and delivery bed: there's no way out of this one, and oh, boy. Oh, boy but you've really got yourself into a jam this time.

Some women will say that during their delivery, they felt as if they were a beautiful flower slowly blooming and opening, one lovely petal at a time.

Some women is not me. I felt like somebody was playing a game of wishbone, and I was the wishbone. I didn't care who won, just snap it and get it over with.

It was Easter Sunday, 11:55 p.m., and I felt the beginning of contractions announcing that our first baby was coming! My husband and I excitedly grabbed the overnight bag I had sitting outside the front door for a month now, and left for the hospital. The pang of muscle bands across my stomach tightening visibly, I could see contractions happening close enough together that I knew I'd be admitted once we got there. I was 35 weeks pregnant and had been on bed rest since 31 weeks for pre-term labor caused by pre-eclampsia. Also known as scary blood pressure numbers. But I was doing well on medications, and we were given the good to go once some real action started up, and it had indeed "started up."

In fact, funny thing this, I felt great and ready to take this on: stronger, taller, faster -- almost Canadian. My body was making the world's greatest hormone drugs to prepare me for birth, and I had this. Megadoses of somethingcon Triptocon or whatever hormone coursed through my blood and I felt like Trinity in Matrix.

Bring it. I am Predawn History of Womankind, Clan of the Cave Bear united with all mothers past, future, present and step aside hear me roar.

Because of the pre-term labor, I had been on strict bed rest for my last trimester and had missed the Lamaze classes that all Ob-GYN Doctors order first time moms to attend, so they know what to expect during labor. My husband had attended solo, made no notes, but he had brought home the birthing tapes from class for me to watch. Reclining on the sofa one lazy afternoon while on bed rest, on my left side, of course, I fast forwarded through the footage for all of half an hour. The whole stack of six tapes. I can surmise the information in three basic steps: grunt, push, smile. And step four: *highfive* all around.

The woman on the video slipped a squealy one out in three seconds, 1 - 2 - 3 grimace, frown, and congratulations!

Let's do this.

1:00 a.m. Sunday night: I'm hooked up to a contraction monitor. Yeah. Definitely. I'm admitted.

7:00 a.m: The next morning rolls around. Still no baby but I felt like Queen of the Amazons.

11:00 a.m: No baby, but I am starting to feel a few inches shorter.

12:00: High noon at the O.K. corral. No baby and I'm ready to get the heck out of Dodge. I wanna go home. Tell me what to do.

1:00 p.m.: Our Doctor finally stops in. The nurse had called her, and after the Dr. checks me, I am told I am "progressing" nicely. Which feels like the gold stars Mrs. Sprowell gave me on my second grade spelling tests. All is great, save for one little logistics matter of position.

Seems that our little baby is in love with my spine because he can't stop looking at it. What our little guy needs to be doing is looking at mama's hoohaa.

I was in what I learned then, was something called "back labor." What my voice of experience today more accurately calls The White Hot Poke of Fire with the Devil's Trident aka the sole reason for the invention of labor and delivery pain meds.

"We've got to get this baby turned around," my Doctor snaps.

"OK, Doc, have at it,"  I reply.

"No," she zeroes in on my eyes. Pointing at me with her chin, she barks, "YOU need to get this baby turned around. Now, get up on all fours and rock back and forth on the bed. I'll help you from the front -- ready? NOW. (pause) I said NOW. (longer pause) Let's go... like they showed you in your Lamaze classes."

Me: *blinkblink* "Errr... Doc? I didn't make it to Lamaze classes, remember? The bed rest?"

"Oooooh," she says a little too *I wash my hands of this* for me, "That explains it. Listen, honey, if you don't get this baby out in three seconds, you'll be a C - section, he's starting to go back up."

Back. Up?? Oh hell no. And so, like someone who had lost their mind and was sitting in an imaginary rocking chair at NutHill Acres, for all its worth, I rock -- and the nurses start kneading my belly. And something starts to click THANK GOD because OH MY PRECIOUS LORD IN HEAVEN OF ALL THINGS HOLY TAKE ME NOW BECAUSE I AM NOT GOING TO LIVE THROUGH THIS.

I know I asked to die, because I remember the Doctor telling me she hadn't lost a patient yet, and she wasn't going to begin with me.

"But what if I ask you to, what if I give you permission to, what if I BEG it of you?!?!," I pleaded in between desperate pants.

"Still no." She wasn't interested in any life bargaining deal.

I grab at my husband's arm, "Promise me you'll marry right away, as soon as I'm gone, because you don't know a thing about taking care of a baby. Promise me."

And then I saw the look in his eyes. It was one of mind separating from body. He wanted out as badly as I did. Only, he could bolt, I couldn't -- and, I remember being so jealous of that. I had nowhere to go and there was something big stuck between my legs and I wasn't going anywhere.

"Doc," I gasped between the lightning bolts Zeus was aiming with incredible accuracy at my tailbone, "I know our silly little naive birth plan asked for a natural birth, which embarrasses me now -- but I changed my mind. I'll have the epidural now, please."

The nurse looks at the Doctor, the Doctor looks at the nurse, the nurse looks at the other nurse. They all look at my husband. My Doctor breathes in, then slowly exhales out her words, "Your labor has progressed too fast. It's past the point of an epidural being safe. I can't give it to you."

I'm sorry, what was that Dr? Did you just say NO EPIDURAL??

"Say what?"  Now it was me aiming my laser beam eyes at her. "Nuh-uh. Game on, doc, because this baby is coming out and it's coming out now," I battle cried and called out the cavalry of sisterhood since women first huddled around each other with the first cave birth, Charge!

The rest of the story is on warp speed. I remember looking at the military hour clock on the wall: it read 13:05. We had been there 12 hours. The television sitting on a chained shelf next to the clock was on and Barney and Baby Bop were singing about "Going on an island adventure." Before those two arrived at their imaginary purple destination, a 7 pound 4 ounce baby boy with eyes so blue they took my breath away had luge sledded out of my body.

I did it. With a lot of hooting and hollering, and learning the new word, perineum, I had done it.

My first request? "Give me that phone, I am calling my sisters and letting them have it for not telling me a WORD about what this was like."

And I called the both of them, and they laughed, and then they told me I'd forget all about it and do it again.

Which I did.

Two more times.

Did I forget the part about how this was one of the best days of my life?

Because it was. I'm misty eyed right now, thinking about it.

Sometimes I wonder what's wrong with me.

Tell me a highlight of your birth story: what didn't you expect? (You can't say survival)

**and P.S? I hope it's all right that I spared you the details about blood pressure plummeting and needing a blood transfusion and 103 stitches put in places I didn't know I had and words like tear, and degrees of said tear. What's the point, right? I'm still standing (though sitting is harder). And it was totally worth it. A thousand times over. Well, at least a hundred.

photo credit: astio via photopin cc

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Life With Him

Read more here


Saturday, July 23, 2011

That's The Thing About Rainy Days

Since I can remember, I've always been strongly affected by weather. And by music.

Especially rainy days, especially rueful music.

Put the two together, and ruhroh, Shaggy.

The combination of those two things today knocked me down for a loop while I was driving on errands this morning. Usually my children are with me, so I don't get easily undone should the weather change, or a plaintive song come on the radio - my kids being the lovely distraction that they are.

But today, I was alone in the car.

And on the way home, big fat drops of rain began to hit the windshield. Not all at once, the small ones fell first.

And then James Taylor came on the radio, sensed the shift in the barometric pressure and decided to chime in with some grey clouds of his own: little notes first, and then the big ones.

Then I began to look like this:

What in the world?

I was thinking, just like that, with Sweet Baby James not even into the second minute of baring his soul on friends who have been lost, and I thought of all the bloggers I used to know that have closed their laptops and said good bye.

And I cried. I cried because I know I never told them enough how much I enjoyed their words, and how brilliant I thought they were.

I miss them. Each one of them had a special style, and now they're gone.

Some had a final post, others didn't.

There was Mothering Mayhem, and OkNowWhereWasI, and Craptastic, and CrabbyMommy, and OnlyYou, and Mayor of Crazy Town.  

And there's no way for me to talk to them now and say, "I miss you."

And so, with the luxury of being by myself today, I cried for that. I cried for the hole left in my heart with these women gone from my daily life.

I pulled into my garage after my time with my thoughts today, stopped the car and fluffed up my hair, bit my lips for color, and pinched my cheeks to look cheery. Then, I walked into my house with my back straight and my mouth open in a grin for my children.

I put the blue thoughts behind me and shouted out to my kids that I was home and had a great idea for lunch.

While we ate, the faces of the bloggers I used to know kept kicking their way back to the front of my mind. The only way to put my heart at rest, was with the promise of this post.

The connections we make online are real, our online lives are real.

I miss you, my bloggers that have disappeared.....and I always thought that I'd see you one more time again.

Today, think of the bloggers you know and the blogs you love, and of how much you'd miss them if they were suddenly no longer there. Let them know what they mean to you, and what their words bring to your life.

I wish I would have.

Do you have bloggers you miss? Tell me who they are, leave their name here. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bring the Funny? Daphne Can

I begin my mornings with a visit to one of my very first blog loves,; one of my favorite favorite blogs. When I saw this video at her site, I knew I had to repost it here.

"Daphne the Explorer" is  Daphne Brogdon, her blog is coolmom. Daphne was one of my first friends on the internet, and she helped me through a tough year. She is beautiful, very funny, kind and down to earth.

Her blog is very, very funny videos of  life and parenting  moments. She sneaks in a bit of adorable sappy every now and then, but Daphne can work a video like you wouldn't believe.As a reader commented there,"Just wanted to say that i was having one of those horrid days and a friend showed me your site and i have had a smile on my face since thanks for brightening my day…."

That's exactly what every video there does for me, too. I leave with a smile on my face.

Daphne is a stand up comedian, mom of two, and also hosts TV Guide Channel's weekly series The Fashion Team. She is married to the fantastic L.A. Chef, Mark Peel, who is executive chef/owner of Campanile Restaurant and co-founder of La Brea Bakery. He has appeared on Top Chef, and Good Bite. When Mark's latest cookbook, "New Classic Family Dinners" was released and I purchased it, he was kind enough to sign a copy for me.

She is always funny. This funny. You're my girl, Daphne. And I think you are a Bring The Funny--She Can instant classic.

You will love this blogger.

COMMENTS CLOSED. Please visit and see what I mean: she brings the funny.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I Have Nothing To Wear: A Dictionary

Me, except minus the cuteness

I have stood in the middle of my closet more times than I can count, and muttered and sputtered to myself, "I should have run out and gotten something, anything. I have NOTHING to wear."

Nothing, No Thing of material that I can place over myself and use as fashionable body coverings.

There is a conference that I will be attending in the very near future and I am in deep trouble, clothing wise.

See, the only kind of conference I've attended for the last eight years of my life has been of the parent teacher kind.

For that, I pull out the steady eddy:

Thanks, Target!

But, I'm about to go to a very fashionable place. And I have airquotes nothing to wear.

Nothing to wear with a closet bulging with clothes that are hanging, folded, shoved, smashed, forgotten in dusty corners.

What does it mean when a woman throws her hands up in the air and screeches, "I have nothing to wear!!"

We mean this:

  • Ugly as sin but it's an expensive label, so...
  • Great lines, lines which I've outgrown
  • Sentimentally I have to keep it, I wore it to my baby's christening/first birthday party/first dance
  • Whoa. I am NOT giving away this itty bitty number that once fit me because man, I was hot 
  • Oh, the knobby nubby textured boucle sweaters that cost an arm and a leg. I just can't
  • Still can use this just need to get my a** to the tailor's for button/zipper/seam/hem/stitch repair
  • Ditto with the pile intended for the cleaners 
  • Ten pounds to go and we're back in the saddle again section
  • The so close and yet so far five pounds to go and we are in business, baby
  • Fifteen pounds away but hey, miracles happen
  • Just a few more months of push ups and I can bare arm it again side of the closet
  • The I think I just need a solid more $erious bra and the buttons will button dresses
  • If I just give in and get me some Spanx I bet it could work pants section
  • This was a good deal, color may be off, but if my mood is right....
  • My sister/friend/aunt/husband bought me this while in Greece/Italy/France so must keep pile
  • Just a good bout of flu and I'm in those jeans shelf

And there you have it, what "I have nothing to wear" means. And, as you can see, I'm right.

What things keep you lamenting "I have nothing to wear" in your closet, and why?? Why?? Do we hang on to these things??

Friday, July 15, 2011

BlogHer: True To Their Word

"BlogHer creates opportunities for more than 25 million women who blog and their readers to gain exposure, education, community, and economic empowerment."

When I discovered blogging 16 months ago, it was like the scene in Alice in Wonderland, where Alice finds the cake that says "Eat Me," and eats it, where she finds the drink that says "Drink Me," and drinks it.

I couldn't get enough.

Blogging was like those 100 calorie snacks that are so good, and only 100 calories each! So good that you have about eight of them.

Who cares if that turns out to be an 800 calorie snack attack.

They're just that good, and you want that many.

The same with blogging. Who cares if you're going nights without sleep, the blogs are just that good, and you want to read that many.

Blogging has been that great for me, and so much more.

A community that I quickly developed a daily habit for was and is BlogHer.

I met bloggers through the discussions and forums there, I learned the things I needed to know about social media through their Tech section.

I was encouraged by their mission statement of creating opportunities, so I submitted my posts in hopes of syndication by BlogHer.

LesbianDad 's sincere, authentic words in her post calling for 2011 Voice of The Year submissions made me feel we all stand a chance.

We have to just try.

And be led by our passion.

I have found my passion. 

And BlogHer has provided the opportunities for me to pursue this passion of mine; blogging - that has turned my life into one that I had dreamed of.  I get to write, and I get to read, and I get to interact with others who love to read, and write in the same borderline obsessive manner that I do.

Yesterday, BlogHer announced  the Voice of The Year presenters for its BlogHer '11 Conference in San Diego. The judging committee for Humor has stunned me and left me feeling light headed in the same way that taking an anxiety med ahead of schedule does.

I have been chosen to be a BlogHer Community Keynote presenter/Humor at this year's conference.

I am honored and in head shaking disbelief to find my name listed alongside so many others that I admire and enjoy.

Thank you so very much, BlogHer, you are true to your word: you create opportunity, and empowerment.

You also make dreams come true.

Thank you.
If you haven't joined the community at BlogHer yet, I hope that you click over and take the 40 seconds to register. To become part of the awesomeness they offer, take the BlogHer Community TOUR here.

Follow them on twitter, too.

And please stop by the BlogHer'11 Voice of The Year Honorees and Presenters Party and say hello! I would love to meet all the people I have come to count on in my life.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

People's Restroom Habits

"Just a minute, you need to use the papers!"

Had you gone through my mother's white clutch purse in the 70's when I was growing up, you would have found something like this.

A snap case containing EMERGENCY toilet seat covers. I can see the case so clearly in my head and still hear its crinkly contents being unfolded as if it were yesterday.

Not a single butt of any of my mother's six children had EV-ER touched a bare toilet seat.  There was always a film of safety between our behinds.....and what we imagined microscopically lingered on the surface.

Alighting on this germ-laden environment, with no protective layer, we could promise you, would result in the worst case of dogscoot ever.

Durn dogscoot.
On any outing, with six of us in tow, it wouldn't be long before one of us (nine out of ten times, me) would announce, "I have to go to the bathroom!"  and off to the races it was, with my mother digging around in her purse for the bright blue package to hand us, shouting orders in her thick Spanish accent, "Rrrrememberrr tooo pooot down dee paperrrrrs! Dere arrrre sooo manies off dee gerrrrms! Make sure tooo help your leetle seester! Pongan el papel!!"

And so we would place our onion skin papers down, a ritual that had become as natural as setting a table, because we knew she was right.

If, per dreaded chance, there were none of "dee papers," well, then, instructions were clear and never to be broken. No toilet seat was to be sat upon bare nekkid. By ANY one by ANY part of the body.

You were to hover. You were to coat your hands with miles and miles of paper towels and do the hiney-hover.

By age six, I had developed killer triceps that would make any yogi master seethe with jealousy.

Whatever you have to do, do it! Just don't for the love of all that is holy touch that toilet seat!
Even if we'd all be out for a walk, and no one would have the need to relieve themselves, if my mother were to pass a sign--anywhere, gas station, storefront, restaurant--that read "CLEAN RESTROOMS," her eyes would grow wide as if she had just been blessed with a  holy vision and the paper passing would begin. "It's a clean bathroom, we must go! GO! GO!"

A clean bathroom.

I had learned to accept what my memory has filed away as "eccentricities" of my mother.

But I am now that woman. The one that is always in search of the ever elusive clean restroom.

I can't even begin to describe the level of cleanliness that a public restroom must meet,  before I will use it or allow my children to use it.

We will look and search and hunt until the color of our eyes turn yellow to find a clean bathroom before we squat or stand before a filthy toilet.

Forget gas stations.

Pffffffffffft to grungy diner rest stops.

Ain't gonna happen.

The back of an old supermarket? Puh-leez. A-1 best quality untouched by any germ butts here.

I have learned to be a bathroom snob. I can appraise a bathroom in less than  a second, and give it a raised eyebrow, or pursed lip, or sharp gasped evaluation. Based on how many huffs and puffs, or one or two eyebrows up, the children know whether to proceed or not.

We will dance the jig of leprechauns on St. Patrick's Eve and hold it like Beckham before we enter a dirty bathroom.

And Port-A-Potties?

That's when mama counts on her BFF,  StadiumGal.

Wire me up.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Finding The Moments That Count

Have you ever paused your life to step out of the hustle and bustle to pray or meditate or just rest? 

This is the question posed by Jdaniel4's mom, in her series, "Pause Life For a Moment."

I get to answer that today, as the guest post on her site.

I hope you'll join me as I tell how a split second decision on my part, changed the morning for my 16 year old son.

I appreciate your support, and encouragement, of my writing.


Thank you.


I hope you'll click over, and meet Jdaniel4 's mom, and think of your own "Pause Life for a Moment."

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mama Wants This!

Alison and Monkey of MamaWantsThis!

See these two sweet faced angels here?

Beautiful, aren't they?

The taller, older one started a blog this past March.

And she has become a force of nature.

You see her everywhere, tweeting, RTing, commenting, posting, encouraging, supporting. Being a love to all she has met.

I am honored to be her Guest Blogger Interviewee today.

I so enjoy a good self indulgent interview.

How else can we moms get any attention, like, ever?

Please join me at Alison's blog, Mama Wants This. Click over and meet her, and see for yourself why Alison's loveliness of spirit is the reason she has a growing community, quickly building around her.

Love you lots, and thank you for the lovely visit, Alison.

COMMENTS CLOSED. Please come visit at Mama Wants This.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday Best - Funny Papers Hero

Bil Keane Had It Goin' On

Many of you will immediately recognize the above cartoon, Family Circus, and think of its creator, Bil Keane. Do you remember the ghost pictured here, named "Not Me"? "Not Me" was often accompanied by his partners, "I Don't Know," and "Nobody." One of these three ghosts were always present at the site of broken vases, spilled juice, or alongside footprints of mud that had been tracked into the house.

As a child, around the age of eight,  I'd read Family Circus in the comic section of the Sunday paper. The bright colors of the strip, along with the guaranteed quick read in a few sentences always caught my eye, but each time I'd read it, I'd think, "Lame. lame lame lame lame. Lame." I'd then announce to the closest person, sometimes just to the air, "Family Circus is so dumb." Heavy emphasis on the last letter "m," followed by an eye roll.

Ah, Life.

Last week, while on our weekly trip to the library, our youngest son came across the Family Circus Treasury, what you could call the bible of Bil Keane's work. He had found the book on the shelf, while looking for the cooler, hipper comics, like Foxtrot, and Calvin and Hobbes. The cool hip stuff was out, like much of the rest of cool hip stuff in life usually is. In their stead, our son picked up the Family Circus, drawn to it by its' simple glossy white cover and  large bold sketches outlined in black. He had never heard of it. We took it home.

Feet up on the coffee table, relaxed on the sofa, he flipped through the large volume quickly. At book's end,  he pronounced it, "lame-o, lame-o, lame-o." It fell to the side of the coffee table.

Later that day, I picked the heavy book up from the floor while cleaning. I leafed through it. I began laughing. Like hard laughing. It had been at least ten years since I had looked at Bil Keane. I called to my husband, "you have to see this, remember?" He recognized the trademark "family in a circle," and reminisced, "Oh, yeah, him. I always thought that cartoon was so dumb."

We sat together and read. We sat together and read in a new light, no longer as little children. And we laughed. Family Circus was wasted on the foolish youth we were. Oh, you sophisticated wit, Bil Keane. We have matured into an appreciation for Family Circus. How we now hang our heads in shame --  you were light years ahead of us, Bil, you wrote your comics in preparation for the parents we have now become.

While cleaning up the kitchen tonight, my bare feet landed on sticky ketchup that had been left on the floor, right in front of the refrigerator, the red splotch visible to anyone. Anyone. "Who spilled ketchup all over the floor?!," I shouted, expecting no answer back. I had become the crop cut dark- haired Mom on Family Circus. All three of our boys came running, and right on cue, they began down the line, from tallest to shortest. "Not me," said the oldest, blaming Not Me, straight out of one of Bil Keane's panels. '"I Don't Know," is who middlest placed the blame with. "Nobody," was accused by the youngest.

Bil Keane, consider this my public apology here to you, today, in front of all who read this. Bil Keane, you were not lame! As a matter of fact, you rocked at this parenting gig. You handled it with humor, grace, and joy.

And to Family Circus, to quote the Na'vi in Avatar, "I see you! I see you!"

*Bill Keane is now 87 years old, and happily living in Arizona, enjoying the heck out of the children of his five children. I emailed him a copy of this post, and his family graciously accepted my humble apology, on his behalf.

This blast from the past originally ran here May 2010. I should check up on Bil, see how he's doing.

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Friday, July 8, 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What I've Learned In My Sixteenth Summer As A Mother

"There is no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one."

-- Author unknown

Enjoy these summer days, and give them all memories!


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Photos and Color Swatches Are Essential

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Keep An Eye On That Potato Salad

You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.

-- Erma Bombeck

Have a wonderful Fourth of July!! 


Friday, July 1, 2011

You Know That You Want To Be Canadian

I featured this video, produced by Julia Bentley and Andrew Gunadie--last year, honoring Canada Day, and I'm doing it again today.

I love Canada and Canadians.

I have a crush on Canadian bloggers: they're faster, smarter, funnier, taller.

Love me the ones I am lucky enough to know online:

Crazy Town Mayor
My Life as a Libra
Bungalow '56
The Mombshelter
All Work and No Play Make Mommy Go SomethingSomething 
Last Girl Standing
Mom of The Perpetually Grounded

I love you women, so bold and brash and letting that Freak Flag fly (yours, not Canada's).

Happy Day, awesome ones.



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