Thursday, November 29, 2012

Your Wants Won't Hurt You

There are a couple people in my life that have asked for my Christmas list. At thirty two years old, this is trickier than it seems. I have a very specific list compiled for Alice, her wants filtered and edited by yours truly. I know exactly what she needs and wants. I know the reaction each item will elicit. I know the gifts that will produce big smiles and giddy sounds of delight and I know the packages that will be more of a letdown. I take this all into account when I give out her list, who can hande being the giver of the letdowns and who really needs to hear shrieks.

But gifts for me?? I'm stuck. I'm not one of those people that keeps a running list on for situations like these. Generally, I buy what I need and forget about the wants. My father had a saying, "You're old enough to know your wants won't hurt you." I guess I took it to heart. I'm not saying I don't want, I do. Since they are merely wants I tend to let them slip out of my thoughts. And the wants that don't slip away over time become needs. Another factor of giving my Christmas list to family is money. I never know how much someone is interested in spending. Do I ask for hand lotion or a new handbag? Huge price differences. I don't want someone to think I'm greedy. See? A gift list as an adult can be a sticky situation.

So far my list includes a 9 x 13 baking pan. And that's it. Period. People want to buy me things and all I can come up with is a $10 cake pan that I should have bought at Target several years ago. In order to get my want juices flowing, I will take a moment and list a few things that come to the front of my brain. You know, the kind of things you wouldn't dare ask a real person for.

  • A garage. I can't ask for a garage, right? I really want one. I would love a convient place to store all things with wheels (strollers, bikes, trikes, wagons, scooters, cars, etc.)
  • A brand new completely stretchy wardrobe to accommodate all the holiday eating and drinking. Think yoga pants for every day of the week.
  • A dishwasher. I'm not referring to the appliance. Ours works fine. I'm talking about a person. I want to hire someone full time to wash all the dishes. And they will never complain about it. It will be awesome.
  • While I'm on the topic of wanting household help, I want someone to be in charge of bathing Alice. I just can't be bothered with it anymore. I'm not greedily asking for a nanny, I'm a stay at home, what would people think? I just want someone to give my kid a bath four days a week. She can do it mostly by herself, I just need someone to be near the bathroom and make sure she is doing a thorough job.
  • Anti aging products. I'm young, I know. But in the last two years my face has aged more than I'm comfortable with. I want the expensive stuff made with bee venom or sterilized placenta powder.
  • Central air conditioning. We live in an old rowhome with steam radiators for the winter and window ac units for the summer. Taking the bitch ass things in and out of the windows every year sucks. Storing them sucks. They just suck. All around suckage.
  • A parking spot. This is completely unrealistic, but I still want it. No matter where I go, I want an empty, free, and legal parking spot to accompany me. Go downtown during busy times, no worries, I'd always have a place to park. Get home late at night and all the street parking's gone, ain't no thing, my spot's always ready. The mall a week before Christmas, the sold out concert, the football you see how magnificent this would be?!
I'm not sure where to go from here. It seems I've gone to the crazy side of wanting. That's the problem with wanting, it can take hold and make people loco. Like kids at Christmas time.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Relish Tray

Thanksgiving came and went. We survived. I mean, really, it's a fairly painless holiday. You eat and drink and eat and watch football and drink and eat and drink and eat and eat.

People talk about the Thanksgiving meal for weeks ahead of time. The proper turkey technique is debated, to brine or not, to stuff or not, to deep fry or not. Recipes are shared. Every morning show and cooking channel attempts to teach you how to prepare the easiest and tastiest Thanksgiving meal. Everyone has their favorite dish, the one aspect that makes it Thanksgiving dinner. For me it's a trifecta: mashed potatoes, stuffing, and dumplings. Without all three, it's just not Thanksgiving.

But, this isn't about me. Surprise,'s about Alice. Wanna know how much she liked Thanksgiving dinner? Wanna know what she ate? Pickles. And a roll. Not a roll with butter. No, she wouldn't try that roll. Just a plain roll. And approximately ten dill pickle slices. To say my daughter is picky is an understatement.

There were twenty four people seated at dinner, all of them piling food on their plates, the waist band on their pants stretched to maximum capacity. People helping themselves to seconds or thirds and Alice is only eating off the relish tray.

How is possible that my child will eat guacamole and hummus and gazpacho, but will not eat mashed potatoes? Or a roll with butter for that matter? When I was three years old, my mother walked into the kitchen one day to find me on the counter eating from a tub of butter. I was eating butter by the fingerful, but my child wouldn't eat a roll because of it.

I'm starting to feel she isn't going to make it in the world, survival of the fittest. She won't eat chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers, or french fries. No hot dogs, or fish sticks, or grilled cheese sandwiches. I can't make her try tacos or lasagna. She's never going to be invited to any sleepovers. Her friend's mothers are going to talk about picky Alice. She won't try fish or crab or any other seafood besides shrimp, ergo it won't be long before my family will ostracize her. In no time, she'll be banished from society completely. And to think it could've been avoided if she would've just eaten Thanksgiving dinner when she was four years old.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Dazed and Confused

I am too tired to write.

I know I said I wasn't going to give any more excuses for not writing, but I swear, this time it's different. See...I'm writing. Even though I'm so tired my brain is jello, I'm still stringing together letters to make words. Promise kept.

Alice is killing me. Slowly but surely. Autocorrect suggested surly instead, which may be appropriate too.

She's been having bad dreams. I suppose I would have patience for them if they were truly bad dreams, but I kind of feel they are merely less than stellar dreams. Correct me if I'm wrong, but your pink and purple heart Vans being tagless does not constitute a bad dream. It doesn't warrant crying and yet she was. Scream crying in the middle of the night because her shoes didn't have a tag. What tag? I don't have a clue what she's talking about. Yet, I was awake to ponder the thought.

I was awake to listen to the coughing, too. The rediculous coughing. Fifteen minutes of coughing, twenty minutes of rest. Ten minutes of coughing, fifteen minutes of rest. Ten more minutes of coughing, hour of rest. All freaking night long like this. I might have been more sympathetic and motherly if I wasn't already sleep deprived from the previous nights. All she got from me was "Go to the bathroom and get a drink of water, Alice." I vaguely remember telling her to get up and go play even though it was only five o'clock in the morning. Not exactly a shining moment in mom history.

Tonight I will sleep, damn it. I'm making Hatta buy Vicks Vapo-Rub as we speak, hopefully that will calm the coughing from her cold. I'm going to bed early. No Monday night football for me. Hell, I may even drug myself for a restful eight hours of sleep. As I tell a childless friend of mine, if you like sleeping don't ever, ever, ever, ever have kids.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Dreaded Man Cold

I'll be the first to admit, I'm bitter. I don't get sick days. If I'm feeling yucky, I grin and bear it with less emphasis on the grinning. I don't get to call my boss, fake cough, and take to the bed for the rest of the day. Oh how I would love to take to the bed! The last time that happened was when I had my wisdom teeth sliced and ripped from my gums. Drugged and vomiting, I was given two days to recuperate before I was expected to be back to work. Work being a stay at home mom, of course.

That's quite possibly the biggest downside to my job, limited time off. For me to take a sick day, someone else (namely Hatta) has to take the day off from work to cover my shift. And even then I'm not really off. Alice, the helpful sweetie she is, likes to make me better when I'm not feeling well. She climbs in bed with me, armed with books and lovey friends, where she entertains me lest I be bored.

So you can imagine my displeasure this morning when Hatta announced he wasn't feeling well and probably wasn't going to work. Something about a cough, chest pain, blah, blah, blah. Before you get the wrong idea, I'm not mean. I can be very sympathetic for real illnesses, which this isn't. This is a cold.

"How can you be so certain?" you ask. It's simple. Alice and I had the same infliction a few weeks ago. I still wake up every morning with a sore throat, cough up green stuff, and fall asleep at the end of the day with the same sore throat.

"What's it matter to you if he stays home?" you question. Let me tell you. See, I work from home. Hence, when he stays home from work he's really coming to my office, laying around my work space, pretending to be sick. If he was really sick he would get out of my way and take to the bed!

When I picked up Alice from school, she was excited knowing Hatta stayed home from work.

"When I get home, I wanna play with Papa."

"Well, he may not be able to play with you. Remember? He's sick."

"He's not sick," she said. "He just has a cold."

Even at the ripe old age of four, she gets it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Letter to Myself

Dearest Nelly,

I'm not sure how to begin, the nicest way to tell you this. So I'll come right have to write more. You have a million excuses. Frankly, non of them are that good. Life is hard. Yep. Got it. So what?


I know you have ideas swirling around in your head. I'm there at night when you lie awake thinking of them. I'm there when you write bits and pieces of posts in your mind and never manage to let them out. I see the pictures in your photo stream of posts not written.

Just write.

I know somedays you struggle finding the humor. That's okay. Remember, you write for you. Always have. You don't have to force yourself to write funny stories. Remember your post, if you have nothing nice to say, say it brilliantly? Write what you want. But don't forget your purpose, the reason you delved into the dark side, to cathartically chronicle your life with Alice. Write about Alice. The good and the bad. Maybe the battles don't seem as funny as they used to. She's getting smarter, the battles are much more than sharpie on your furniture. Try telling the story anyway.

Allow yourself to grow as a writer. Yes. You are a writer. You type letters to make words and words to make sentences and sentences to tell a story. That makes you a writer. You can't not write just because the material isn't what it used to be. Things change, people change. You have to accept it and embrace where you are now. You have to find a way to write it down. You enjoy writing. It's not work. It's a release. If you need to, use writing prompts or write fiction. Anything. Just start writing again.



Sunday, November 11, 2012

Almost Heart Broken

"Forrest doesn't want to play with me anymore Mama," Alice said with a sad tone.

"What do you mean? Did he tell you that?"

"Uh huh. He said he wouldn't play with me at the potluck dinner after bed tomorrow."

"He said he wasn't going to play with you at the potluck dinner on Saturday? Why? What happened?"


"Well. Did you two have a fight? Were you not nice to him today? Did you guys get in trouble?" I asked trying to make sense of her story.

"No. He just said he wouldn't play with me at the potluck dinner. I'm so sad, Mama. I really like playing with Forrest."

You will be happy to know Forrest played dollhouse with Alice the very next day and even tried to cheer her up when she pricked her finger on a pipe cleaner during craft at the potluck dinner. They are merely four and friends are flighty and temperamental at this age. Even though she was upset and a touch heart broken at the time, no real harm was done.

The episode did, however, make the heartache I know is just ahead on the horizon appear a whole hell of a lot closer. I dread the moment when my girl puts herself out there to someone else only to have them dis her. And worse yet, the moment when a boy she gives her heart to turns around and stomps on it. I know the pain in store for Alice. Childhood can be hard, kids can be mean. Love at its worst is agony.

And what if my daughter's the one causing someone else unnecessary pain. I can remember a time, I was twelve, I was a mean girl. There was this girl my same age, a daughter of a family friend. We had very little in common, yet we often played together out of convenience. One day, with my friends by my side, in the cafeteria, I told this girl I no longer wanted to be her friend. And then, with a flip of our hair, we walked away. At the time I saw nothing wrong with my behavior, now I look back on it and feel awful. I'm sure this girl was very hurt by me. I'm sure I caused her pain. I was mean.

Every day I try to teach my daughter to be nice. I talk to her about bullying and what to do if she sees someone else bullying. I hope with every conversation we have she's one step closer to never being a mean girl. I pray she has the courage to stand up to her friends if they turn out to be mean girls. I want her to make the right choice because she doesn't want others to hurt. I want her to think of how her actions affect the feelings of other people. I want her to be a nice girl. That's the best I can hope for.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Go Vote!

I overheard this conversation and it made me chuckle.

Him: So, Alice. Today's Election Day. That means we get to vote to decide who's going to be our president.

Her: What?

Him: Well. I'm going to vote this morning. I'm going to pick who I want to be president of our country.

Her: Where?

Him: You know the playground near our house?

Her: The one with the spinny blue monkey bars.

Him: What? I don't know the spinny blue monkey bars. I'm talking about the playground at the school near our house.

Her: Uh huh. The one with the spinny blue monkey bars.

Him: Sure. Fine. I guess. Anyway. I'm going there to vote.

Her: You get to go to the playground? I wanna go to the playground!

Him: I'm not going to the playground. I'm going to go to the school to vote.

Her: ..........

Him: So tonight or tomorrow we will find out who's our president for the next four years. It's either going to be Obama who is our current president or Romney.

Her: I think you should pick Romney.

Him: I think you're wrong.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Greetings Friend!

Tonight is my last night here at this gorgeous resort and spa. I really can't believe I have to go home, but sadly my flight leaves in the morning and my bags are packed. It has been the best week of my life!

If you have never vacationed alone, I highly recommend it. No one waking you before your ready. No one begging to be fed. No one else's itinerary to follow. It's just me and it's been divine.

I've never seen a town quite like this one. It's breathtaking really, with its view of the beach on one side and the picturesque mountain on the other. And the weather has been perfect, 80 degrees with a slight breeze during the day and an ideal 69 at night, just enough nip in the air to need a sweater. I'm afraid I can't tell you where I'm staying. If word gets out it will be trendy and overcrowded and no longer the peaceful retreat it is today.

I've spent the week doing nothing and I've loved every minute of it. I've had no agenda. No schedule to follow. No rules. I've done what I wanted every minute of every day. I didn't manage to see any sunrises, since my body was allowed to sleep until it was good and ready to wake. But I saw seven beautiful sunsets, every one better than the night before. The reds and oranges and pinks and purples splashed on the deep blue sky were beyond breathtaking. The images will forever be etched in my mind.

The resort staff has been nothing but exceptional during my stay. I've not heard a single sigh or humph yet. No matter what I request for room service breakfast they deliver it promptly with a smile every time. Even the day I took a vow of silence they were nothing but accommodating.

The beach was a perfect paradise. Comfy lounge chairs and towels ready for me when I meandered down. As soon as my bare feet touched the sand, I knew I was home. There's something about the warm sand between my toes that makes me breath a sigh of relief as a weight is instantly lifted from my shoulders. There's something about it that makes me feel at ease, settled. Some days I'd spend hours lying there doing absolutely nothing. The sun too bright to enjoy reading, I'd lie there and listen to the rhythmic roar of the ocean and feel the heat on my back. Those moments on the beach were probably the closest I've ever come to successful meditation, the sounds and smells blocking out all thought. It's just that peaceful. Add to it the wait staff at my constant beck and call with cucumber margaritas and ice cold coronas and the beach was heaven.

I usually went for a mountain side hike in the late afternoon. Almost as appealing as the beach, equally as peaceful. What can I say, I'll always be a beach girl at heart. I'd walk along, the crunching of the autumn leaves beneath my feet, the sun flickering through the trees as it made its descent. There was a stream that flowed close to the trail. I'd find myself memorized with the rushing water much like a pyromaniac would with a flame. Hiking along, if I didn't have sense, I could have allowed myself to become lost. There's just something about following a trail and seeing it through until an unspoken force pulls you in another direction.

The spa. Oh! Em! Gee! The spa! Truth be told, like an addiction, I could have spent all 8 days at the spa. Every treatment I had was the best I've ever had in my entire life. Every spa hand that touched my skin felt better than any other spa hand had in my entire life. They had the power with every touch to melt my skin like butter. I was an instant puddle there for them to mold and reshape into a better, looser, happier me. And the spa amenities were to die for! I've never seen more beautiful spa water! Spring water infused with perfect blends of fruits and flowers, herbs and vegetables. It was just as much art as it was a beverage. I really can not say enough in this short letter about the spa. The dressing room had the most organic feel and the showers where so clean one day I debated forgoing lunch just to spend another uninterrupted thirty minutes bathing. The raving review goes on, steam room, sauna, outdoor women's only whirlpools...the tiniest details not overlooked in every aspect of the spa.

I have eaten well during my week vacation. I'm not entirely sure what the native cuisine is in this town, but whatever I've craved I've eaten. From simple deli sandwhiches to steamed little neck clams, gourmet soups to spicy fish tacos, if I desired it, it was on the menu. It was like everyone in this town knew my favorite foods and exactly how they should be prepared. It was the best.

The vacation on a whole was the best. It was exactly what I needed. Every mother needs a break from the never ending job that is "mom." A night out here, a trip alone to the grocery store there gets you by. But eventually a mother needs more. Eventually it all adds up, the constant "on-call" of it all weighs you down. Until the moment when you snap free and say enough is enough, I need a break. This vacation was the best break I could have ever asked for. I will go back tomorrow, refreshed with a spring in my step. I will go back a better, more patient mom. But, mostly I will go back remembering I am not just a mom.

My lofty dream, but unfortunately just fiction.