Seagulls, idleness, and the meaning of life

It’s the end of our first full week at the beach. The Husband was supposed to be joining us today for a week vacation, but he’s developed a temperature and is home sleeping it off. The kids and I have settled into a routine, we go to the beach in the morning, we have lunch, they nap, we go to the playground in the afternoon, then dinner, some tv or a show in the town square, and bedtime. It’s simple and quite sweet. I thought I’d be ready to strangle them by now, but I’m not, I’m actually getting used to spending all this time with them.

Of course all this leisure time has its consequences, mostly in that I have lots of time to think and observe the world around me and be amazed by all the things I normally don’t notice. For example, I always knew, but had never really realized how terrified of the weather Italians are. For example, kids here always wear undershirts, all year, so they “don’t get a chill”, despite widespread modern conveniences like, for example, indoor heating. Italians bundle up, they’re always wearing a couple more layers of clothing than I or my children are, in fact, my mother in law constantly tells me I’m irresponsible as she follows me around with a hat. I thought this behavior was mostly autumn, winter, and spring related, in reality it’s just ingrained in the culture. As I sit on the beach surrounded by children with their mothers, fathers, or grandparents all I hear around me are repeated admonishments not to go in the water, it’s too cold, get out of the water and warm up in the sun, stay out of the sun, it’s too hot, not to roll around in the sand, it’s too abrasive, not to get their hair wet (it’s too wet?), it’s annoying, and headache inducing.

Granted, the weather this year has not been fab. It’s colder than normal for the end of June, and the rain and chilly wind are plentiful, but we’re not in Siberia nor are we swimming in the English Channel (the British do this, and they seem to be in excellent health). I spend my days wishing I could just tell everyone around me to chill out a minute, relax, and enjoy the fact that it’s summer, and hey, we’re at the beach. A few days ago it was cloudy, this town is tiny and I didn’t really know what to do, so we went to the beach anyway thinking that if it was too cold to go swimming we could at least built a sandcastle. The beach was pretty empty. After a while it started raining, the beach emptied completely. I was under the relative dryness of the beach umbrella and my kids stripped into just their suits and started running like two crazies on the beach and in the surf. They reminded me of two dogs chasing each other on the sand running in the water, running away from the waves faces held high and tongues out to catch the rain. Of course they were frozen by the time an hour had past, the rain intensified, and they calmed down enough to actually leave, but they had probably never had so much fun at the beach. I mean, seriously, when else would I just let them run around half naked in the rain? We were the only ones on the entire beach, I’m sure grandmothers were looking out their windows at us and tsk, tsking at my irresponsibility.

Another thing I’ve just recently realized, is how completely and utterly weird being at the beach actually is. Think about it, everyone around you is someone you could run into on the street, in the grocery store, your doctor, your dentist, the delivery guy, the electrician, the teacher, the business man, people you see, you say good morning to in line for coffee, people we talk to, cross, run into, all day, every day, of our daily lives, but they are all, for all intents and purposes, naked.

Seriously, is it not weird?

You have a conversation with the mom standing watch next to you, but she’s in a bikini, which is not all that different from a bra and panties. And so are you. All year we hide our imperfections, camouflage our bellies, or our saddle bags, or our droopy behinds, or our flabby arms…. And then summer rolls around and we’re all there walking around, chasing our kids, playing catch on the beach, essentially naked. How is this normal? I ran into one of the check out girls at the grocery store the other day, she was laying there talking to a friend, she’s skinny but has really bad cellulite on her thighs, her stomach isn’t as flat as it seems in her clothes and I’m pretty sure she’s had a boob job. I’m not judging her, she’s flawed like all the rest of us, but don’t you think, suddenly, I have way too much information on the check out girl I see several times a week at the grocery store?

This is what being at the beach does to me, makes me think strange things, makes me notice stuff that I’m usually too busy and self involved to notice, completely useless things. For example, I’ve also noticed how insanely loud seagulls are. Have you ever stopped to think about it? Seagulls. They’re always cawing at each other (do seagulls caw, or is that just crows?). And there are so many of them, like cuter, whiter, sea vultures, just flying in circles overhead, cawing, and pooping on bewildered passers by, landing on light posts and looking down on us all tilted head and evil eyed. I’m not sure I’m a big fan of seagulls, though they’ve never done anything to me directly.  Although, quite possibly, all this attention to seagulls and their behavioral patterns is a clear indication that I’ve got way too much time on my hands.

So summer is officially here, it’s started, whether the weather agrees with me or not, so for now, for the next few weeks, I’ll be pondering completely useless things, as I stroll half naked on the beach, and who knows maybe I’ll alight on some hidden truth on life, or the universe, or human behavior, something meaningful to take back with me or at the very least to keep me occupied in this season of idleness.

It’s not that I want to go, it’s my wifely duty after all

These past two weeks have been pretty decent. The Husband was away for a few days two weekends ago for a trade fair, and again this week he was gone Monday and Tuesday giving speeches somewhere (I’m not very involved in his work life…), so I had plenty of relaxed bonding time with the kids. Is it weird, I wonder, that my life is so much easier when I’m alone with the children? I don’t mean long term, long term, I’m sure, would be a gigantic hassle, but just a few days here and there, if I’m the only adult around we can decide to have breakfast for dinner (something my Italian husband just doesn’t comprehend), or just snack in front of the tv, or spend the afternoon in bed reading books rather than being productive. Even the morning routines are more relaxed when he’s not around, of course, we’re always late, when it’s just me, mostly because I’m a much better procrastinator than my two preschoolers but occasionally a break from all the discipline and order is refreshing. As long, of course, as it doesn’t last too long, we need him to get us back on track, or our lives would be total chaos!

So anyway, he came back from the trade fair ten days ago and announced he needed to go to NYC and would I go with him. Our ten-year wedding anniversary is next month, so we had already decided to leave the kids at their Nonni’s house for a long weekend and go off somewhere alone. Initially, my reaction to going to NY was, absolutely not, remember what happened last time we were in the US?? But then rationality set back in and it’s not like his getting sick is related to our geographic position, right? Plus, I’m an awesome wife, I can sacrifice a few days of tedious routine, to accompany my husband to the city that never sleeps, where he has to work and I will have nothing to do but shop, eat out, and sleep in. With no kids. It’s my duty as a stay at home mom to set aside my engagements to stand by my husband. Right? Am I convincing you with this whole virtuous act??

Anyway. So we’re going next week. I’m taking the kids to Milan on Sunday, getting them settled with my MIL, who, incidentally, is over the moon at the idea of having her grandkids to herself for almost a week and The Husband is joining us there on Monday as our flight is on Tuesday (one of the major things that sucks about living where we live is that the closest big airport is in Milan, which makes travelling anywhere into a big two day production). And the cherry on top of this particular cake is that my Mom is joining us there for a couple of days. So to recap: the kids are spending a week in a place the thought of which gets them more excited than Disney Land, The Husband and I get to fly to New York in business class (company paying, and did I mention, no kids?), we get to stay in a nice hotel, I get to go shopping with no one breathing down my neck and asking me if I really need one more pair of shoes, in fact, I get to go shopping with my mom who likely will be all like, you really need another pair of shoes to go with that dress you just bought, and other than possibly a couple of work related dinner engagements we get to do all the stuff we didn’t get to do in Houston this past winter. I’m feeling pretty good about my life today. Of course, I have a whole host of insane worries that I’ll share with you soon enough. But for now, well, the sun is shining, the weather is finally a little warmer, and I refuse to think about the bad stuff, today is all about the blessings. Of which there are many.

p.s. this blog turned one year old this month, and my last post was the 100th post. So lots and lots of bloggy milestones!

R.I.P party girl

Hi! It’s been awhile… We’ve had a few holidays here, April 25th (freedom from fascism day) then May 1st (labor day) which basically means long weekends, short weeks, and lots of time off from school… basically no blogging time for mom. Plus the weather has been positively dismal, rainy and gross.

Aren’t I a big round ball of sunshine? Glad I haven’t been bringing you down on this blog with my optimism?

 

 

Anyhoo… we’re just back from a weekend in Milan now, where we had our newest niece’s christening (I am so over packing and unpacking every other day, btw).  And since we had the entire weekend at our disposal, along with free babysitting by grandma, we took this chance to see some of our old friends from our younger, party heydays. We all met at my in-laws’ house Saturday afternoon with kids to celebrate the first rain free Saturday in two months by letting the kids romp around the soggy grass (incidentally, my MIL is a saint, she had 40 people at her house for the baptism on Sunday and yet she let four sets – each composed of two adults and 2 kids under 6 – of our friends come take over her yard), the kids played really well, even though they hadn’t seen each other since last summer. The in-laws have a gigantic property (for Italy), so they got to run around and get muddy and we got some chatting and catching up done and the weather was just perfectly perfect and then that night various and sundry grandparents / babysitters allowed us to go out and enjoy a drinks laden dinner in absolute child-free peace and quiet.

 

Whilst in the middle of the very complicated problem of decided where to spend our first night in the big city in what seems like forever, I got to thinking about when, way back when, we left Milan for the rural haven (or hell, depending on my mood) in which we now reside. I was barely 30, skinny, no children, with lots of money to spend on entertainment and shoes and nary a care in the world (or rather, none of the earth-shattering, life-changing variety) and now I’m about 15 pounds heavier, more wrinkled and most of my money somehow gets sucked into the black hole that is child rearing (I need to stop blaming the children, all of my money is being sucked into the death star of a black hole that is the house renovation). I’m not complaining about this, I’m perfectly happy with where my life is right now (barring the added weight of course), but what got me thinking was that when I go back to Milan, in my head, I’m still that girl that left the city eight years ago.

I was thinking about what to do, of our old clubs and favorite bars, and suddenly I realized that I probably would no longer be let in. I’m too old, I no longer project the right image, I’ve got the mommy aura about me… (and honestly, I no longer own the right mixture of slutty and classy clothes and impossibly high heels, I would probably fall off of now). And that is all fine, I don’t really need or want to be that girl anymore, but when I left here I didn’t realize I was leaving her behind.

So basically, what I’m saying is, we need to be more present, in my opinion, more present in the present (if you’ll allow me the awkward phrasing) because we lose it without even realizing it. But that disconnect between what goes on in my brain and the actual reality is always a bit disconcerting, like my brain still thinks I’m 25 and skinny, but my clothes, unfortunately, wholeheartedly disagree with me, so it’s always a bit of a surprise when I look in the mirror. Or the fact that I’m often shocked at having to make adult decisions, like, shouldn’t someone more grown up than me be here to tell me what to do? And then I realize that someone more grown up than me is geriatric and, quite likely, enjoying the freedom of their retirement, and doesn’t give a crap what I do anymore. How and when did adulthood sneak up on me? And where did the party girl go? Cause she was undeniably stupider than me, yet infinitely more fun. (Also, much, much, better dressed).

You say potato, I say…well… mind your own damn business!

It turns out that, according to some, I’m a bit of an army general whereas according to others, I’m a bit of a pansy ass. It baffles the mind.

My in-laws were here for a few days at Easter and they kept remarking on how “good” the children were and how they do things that “other children don’t have to do” and I’m such a “good mother”, the subtext of which was clearly how the children are poor, over-burdened, little soldiers, and I’m a slave driver. (And when I say subtext I mean my father-in-law literally saying the words under his breath). All this because my kids help “set the table” (I put that in quotes because while the five-year old kind of knows where the utensils and stuff go on the table the three-year old dumps everything in the middle and just spreads stuff around randomly), and unset the table (what’s the opposite of “set the table”? we used to jokingly say dress and undress the table when we were kids, which regularly prompted my brother’s catch phrase “but mom we haven’t been properly introduced” to which much hilarity ensued… or not, anyway…),  and vacuum under the table with the dust-buster, and clear up their toys, and change their own clothes, and generally try to help out around the house. All stuff we did when growing up (despite the fact that my mom generally had between one and three maids in the house at any given time). I don’t feel like a slave driver, it’s just stuff they should learn how to do (also, if they don’t do it, I have to). I realize I’m the opposite of the typical Italian mother, who still irons her kids clothes when their twenty-five and in graduate school and living away from home, but I think that if though they may not consider these things normal they should at the very least be proud of their grandkids for being able and willing to do this stuff. Whereas, I’m sure, there are conversations going on in Milan between my MIL and her friends that go somewhere along the lines of “can you believe she makes her children set the table? What kind of lazy ass mother is she?!” Ah, the joys of cultural differences.

Speaking of cultural differences, on the other side of the Atlantic, in the sweltering heat of Houston, my Mother thinks I have forgotten the meaning of the word discipline, because my kids want my attention right now even when I’m speaking to another adult, because they jump on the couch, because I, *gasp*, allow them to take all the living room throw pillows and blankets, dump them on the floor, and then keep score to see who can jump farther from the couch to the pillow pile. My children whine and complain when I send them to brush their teeth, they dare protest when it’s time for bed, they have (occasionally) thrown a tantrum in a public place… Her favorite refrain is “your children’s behavior is a reflection of you as a mother, you have to take pride in them”, like I should only be proud of them when they’re well-behaved, or rather, I should take pride in myself when they’re well-behaved. Or something along those lines.

I try to walk the middle of the road… I do that a lot, lately. We had plenty of help around the house, but my mom made sure we learned how to do everything for ourselves, we learned to cook, and clean the house, and do laundry, and iron, and sew buttons… but our house wasn’t a lot of fun, there was a lot of tip-toeing around and not bothering the adults. Whereas my in-laws, as well as most Italians, like to complain (or pride themselves on) how many sacrifices they make for their children, how they’re still at home when they’re thirty-five, how no one wants to get married, because, let’s be honest, why should they? They live rent free in their parents house, with a free maid (their mother) and all the freedom in the world. How today’s youth is so entitled… but who made them that way?

And how on earth did I become the bad guy in this in the eyes of two completely opposing camps?? Walking the middle ground is hard, neither camp is happy, and I get a lot of crap from both of them. But I’m sticking to my guns, because I strongly believe in discipline, but I also very much believe in fun, and the two aren’t mutually exclusive. My kids need to learn how to do practical things, it’s part of my job to teach them, they need to be well-mannered, and learn patience (gradually), they need to be respectful, and independent, and responsible, but they also need to have fun and make messes, and do stupid things, because how else will they learn? I didn’t have a bad childhood by any stretch of the imagination, but I also didn’t have a lot of fun, or rather, there was always a limit to the fun we could have, we couldn’t make too much noise, too much mess, and when we did scoldings and guilt would ensue. There was lots of guilt and a fair amount of fear and I don’t think fear equals respect. I want my kids to respect me, to know when and where there are limits but also when and where it’s ok to cut loose, and I absolutely, positively, don’t want them to fear me or my reactions. So to some I am too strict, and to others I am too lenient, I just hope I manage to straddle the “just right” position at least half the time.
Do you have family members judging/questioning your parenting, and if so, how do you deal??

Joining Shell today for Pour your heart out.

If wishes were horses…

It’s a beautiful day today, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the breeze is still cool but there’s hope of warmer weather in the air. And I’ve been totally jacked up since yesterday, my trainer even asked me if I was on amphetamines yesterday morning since he’d never seen me so chipper so early (or ever, in fact). The answer is no, in case you’re wondering, I wasn’t, I was probably just high on the unexpected, unseasonable, sunshine.

But of course, as life has taught me repeatedly lately, to every high there is a low… something about keeping balance in the universe… although, if you ask me, there’s altogether too much low in the universe and definitely not enough high.

Anyway… the Husband is ill again. Nothing serious. He’s just got a relatively high temperature and is nauseous, which could be nothing or it could be plenty, but that’s not my point. I’m just so monumentally sick and tired of him getting sick. Of course he’s not capital S sick, but still, every few weeks, or months when we’re really lucky, he gets sick again. He lies in bed all day, he doesn’t eat, he needs to be taken care of, and sometimes he gets better on his own and other times he spends 10 days in the hospital like we did in Houston, racking up a bill that would have bought us a new house (thank god we still have insurance). He’s not big on complaining, mind you, and we’re married so there’s the whole in sickness/health thing, also I love him, but still, I would like to go back to a life where we could travel and not worry about whether there was a decent hospital nearby.

Ever since I moved to this site from Moomser I promised myself it wouldn’t be about the leukemia and all the crap that ensued, I didn’t want to rehash all that, but trying to keep that part of my life from this blog has resulted in my not having an awful lot to post about. I’m so tired of living with the consequences of his illness, but I’m going to have to make peace with it, because this is what our lives are about, still, three years in. Three years isn’t all that long, but believe me, it feels like a lifetime, a lifetime of worry, and fear, and misery, and meds, and hospitals, lots and lots of hospitals.

I know it’ll get better, at the depressingly slow, slower than a snail’s pace we’ve been moving in, I just wish I had something to take my mind off it, something light, and fun, and easy, to distract me. Then again, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride…

Random thoughts on Valentine’s Day, skiing, and how I need to work on my wifery so this post is all over the place.

I’m a horrible wife. Yesterday I completely forgot it was Valentine’s day. I got clued in by the wrapped present on my plate when I went down for breakfast. And I knew I was getting a present, because when a package arrived at home a few days ago the husband said “don’t open that, it’s your Valentine’s day present”. I forgot. Not only did I not get him anything, I also consulted with my friends and could come up with nothing even remotely original or interesting to get him, and I didn’t have time to get him anything all day anyway because it was one of those back to back days that happen rarely, yet at the most inconvenient times possible.

I now have all weekend to come up with something good, cause the Husband took the kids to his mother’s this weekend. He had a doctor’s appointment today in Milan so he decided to take the kids and let me rest, cause I really needed a break, and though a major control freak when it comes to my children I trust my MIL enough, though I don’t trust her not to give them candy… but hey, I’m not there to deal with the sugar induced insanity so totally not my problem. So it’s my first weekend at home sans children and it’s both weird and wonderful (and sad). I miss them, though I kind of like this complete lack of responsibility (I had a McDonald’s shake and fries for lunch…), but I miss them, but I’m enjoying myself, but I’m feeling guilty for enjoying myself. Motherhood makes women crazy.

On another note, the house renovations are on track and I’m soon going to quit just talking about it and start posting pictures so you get an idea what I keep going on about. The electricians and plumbers are starting to run all their tubes and stuff so I spent all morning yesterday (and this morning) on the construction site freezing my buns off. Yesterday afternoon I spent all afternoon freezing my buns off on the slopes taking pictures of the Boys skiing lesson. They had their first trial “race” and can I just say that skiing has got to be the most mind numbingly boring spectator sport there is. Also, it’s just plain uncomfortable, you’re wearing eight layers of clothes so you’re three times you’re normal size, and still your fingers get numb from the cold, you’re slipping and sliding on ice, or sinking to your knees in fresh snow, you’re clumsy, there’s no point cheering cause they can’t really hear you anyway, and it’s hard to get decent pictures. (I don’t have any to post cause the Husband took the camera with him before I could download them. Sorry!

Anyway, the Boy has fun (and truth be told, it is fun) I just hope he doesn’t decide to do it competitively because I don’t want to spend my Saturdays and Sundays with chattering teeth trying to unobtrusively play with my ipad while pretending to be fascinated by whatever is going on on the slopes. (And also, I imagine, freaking the hell out cause apparently as they get older, they get faster and faster, which is the point of the race… but they go 100-120km an hour. I don’t want to watch my kid barreling down a mountain with no protection at that speed after eight hours of labor, a c-section and countless sleepless nights!) So, he needs to choose soccer, or better yet basketball (so no torn ligaments), or some other team sport, because I want to sleep nights and not worry, and also, I want to be the annoying mother cheering on the sidelines with a cowbell.

I have a big girls’ night planned tonight, pizza, a movie, popcorn, sundaes and lots, and lots of alcohol! Updates tomorrow as soon as I shake off the hangover haze. So for now I can’t but wish you a wonderful weekend and if anyone has any tried and true hangover remedies hit me in the comments!

Also, sorry for this post being all over the place!

Weekly recap

Tuesday was my grandmother’s one hundred and third birthday. 103. Amazing.

My grandmother was kind of a hardass, and not always in a good way. My mom gets mad at me cause I tell her she needs to be softer, more loving with my kids than her mother was with us, because when I was a kid my grandma was kind of a bitch. Disrespectful? Certainly. But true nonetheless. Despite all that I have some wonderful memories with my grandmother and I’m sad I didn’t make it to Brazil this year for her birthday.

On Tuesday I also went skiing for the first time ever. Practically. Well, we lived in Canada for a year, and that year I took some skiing lessons, but I was thirteen, it’s been, like, 24 years, so basically first time skiing ever. I went with my bestest, favorite girlfriends and while they skied at quasi professional level (most of them) I took a lesson with what I thought was supposed to be an average looking, middle-aged, ski instructor but was actually a young, very hot, ski instructor, who kept telling me not to look at my feet, to look at him, and I was like, well, do you want me to fall on my ass? Anyway, very distracting.  I’ll be seeing him again next week, I figure that if I can learn to ski with him around I will then be able to ski under any and all circumstances.

Wednesday I wanted to kill myself.

That’s how badly my legs hurt. Despite that, and against my better judgement, I went to the gym. My very hot, tan, blonde, blue-eyed, trainer (pattern, anyone?), who sent me to the very hot, tan, dark haired, brown-eyed, ski instructor, decided that since my legs were in crippling pain my upper body needed to be in crippling pain as well. So…

Thursday I had a three hour long coffee with the girls.

I literally could not get up from the chair, in fact, I could barely lift my coffee cup.

Oh, but wait, back to Wednesday, three separate but related facts. On Wednesday the kids have baby basketball in the afternoon. It’s Carnival time, Carnival is a big kid holiday here, they dress up, they have parties at school, they get sweets, and usually on the Sunday before Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday, last day of Carnival before Lent starts – condensed mini lesson on Catholicism, you’re welcome) there’s a parade, with floats and costumes. I have the worst memory of any mother anywhere, ever.

They were supposed to go to basketball in their costumes, for once in my life I got them to their lesson early, we ran into one of their friends, I realized they were supposed to be wearing costumes and clearly weren’t. I had a mini panic attack induced by extreme feelings of guilt and the memory of all the times I was the only kid not in costume cause my mom forgot. I left them with their friend’s dad, raced home, got two Spiderman costumes (cause the girl made it very clear that she was not playing basketball in a princess costume. Did I mention she’s three? I definitely will not survive the teenage years.), and raced back.

And when I say race, I actually mean hobble.

Anyway, they had their costumes and were happy, and I felt like slightly less of a horrible mother.

On Friday, I went to see the seven seater Prius.

I have a Prius now, the old model, I love it but am ready to upgrade to something a little roomier. I’ve gotta say, I’m not thrilled. If I don’t find anything better, I’ll get that one, but it’s a little pricey, not enough bang for the buck. Although with the price of gas here it may be the smartest option out there.

We were also supposed to go down to the beach house, as the kids are on holiday until Wednesday, but we didn’t make it today… it’s like we’re constantly swimming upstream. But tomorrow we’re definitely going. Probably.

I’ll leave you with some pictures of our skiing expedition and my warmest wishes for a wonderful weekend (holy alliteration batman, look at that!):

J, Y, F

One of the girls, me, hot ski instructor.

 

girls

The Girls (two of them are holding me cause I was having balance problems due to having to look at hot ski instructor – that’s his name.)

lunch 1

A carb and sugary drinks laden, well deserved, lunch.

 

Very proud of myself (also, hot ski instructor)

Very proud of myself (also, hot ski instructor)

 

Almost there

The last week before Christmas, the last day before the end of the world… Honestly, I kept asking myself all day, would I be doing this if the world were really ending tomorrow? The answer, of course, was always no. No, I wouldn’t have met with the other class mothers to sort out Christmas pageant problems over coffee this morning. No, I wouldn’t have gone to the gym. And definitely, no I wouldn’t have spent most of the morning packing for my trip to Houston. I wouldn’t have had white rice and vegetables for lunch, I wouldn’t have spent three hours at the hairdressers getting my hair de-frizzed so my mom doesn’t spend the next 19 days telling me how unkempt I look, and I would not have spent the past hour fighting with the British Airways website trying to get on their frequent flyer program.

What would I have done instead? I have no clue. I can’t imagine what sort of activities are appropriate if one’s existence were to be knowingly and expectedly wiped out. I definitely would have wanted to spend that time with my kids, eating Nutella, and watching cartoons. But I also would have wanted to spend that time alone with the Husband, enjoying… ahem… each other’s company. Or with my family, or my friends… But mostly I realized that if I were to cease to exist, or rather, when I cease to exist, cause there’s really no getting around that, is there? I would want to do it suddenly, unknowingly, as I go by my daily business, because, at the end of the day, I can’t imagine planning a perfect day. There would be too many “last things” I’d want to do, and that day would become never-ending, and all those last things would lose their significance, their “specialness”. I can’t imagine any one last thing that would make my total obliteration meaningful.

So I go about my business, sorting clothes into suitcases, trying to plan for everything as usual, I go about my day, my very mundane tasks, methodically, purposefully, because that is all I can do. Tomorrow the kids have their Christmas Pageant and I can’t forget the appropriate outfits, I have to distribute the last raffle tickets, I have to pack my carry-ons and unearth my passports from the mountain of unfiled crap all over my desk. I have to get two last-minute gifts and I have to go to the bank to get my engagement ring, without which I simply won’t travel but which can’t stay in the house cause we’ve been have a flurry of petty thefts in our neighborhood. I absolutely, positively, have to make it to the post office to send off a very important package. I have to get all teary-eyed and sniffley when my kids, an angel and a friar respectively, get onstage tomorrow afternoon. And then I have to quietly freak out about our trip on Saturday.

So you see, I don’t have time for the world to end. Not tomorrow.

The – why couldn’t I keep my mouth shut – Monday Listicle

Hi! This week the Listicle subject is my fault. Thanks Stasha for picking my suggestion! But you should really learn to ignore me, because this week, the listicle is just too damn hard, what the hell was I thinking??!!

I’ll tell you what I was thinking, a few listicles ago Ducky suggested we write ten amazing memories and it felt wonderful to remember some of the great things that have happened to me and to just generally look at the positive, so on the resulting high I tweeted this suggestion to Stasha: @NorthWestMommy Hey Stasha, how about 10 reasons why I’m great, just to get us in a positive mood before the Christmas insanity.

GAWD! Now what do I write? Cause I can’t very well ignore my own Listicle suggestion now can I? Note to self: next time write out the list before suggesting it to others. Why am I making such a big deal of this, you ask? Because what I hadn’t thought of is how to actually write this list without sounding like a gigantic self-important ass, or being falsely modest.

Anyway… here goes ten reasons why I’m wonderful (without being an ass or falsely modest.)

1. I can throw a pretty great party. Of course, I’m a nervous wreck by the time the party starts and don’t enjoy myself at all, but everyone else is happy and that’s what counts.

2. I worked for my husband for two years (as in he was my boss, I answered directly to him, I was managing a company that belonged to his family, so no pressure at all) and I managed not to kill him.

3. I generally learn from my mistakes (I’ll never work for my husband again, no matter how enticing the offer).

4. I get stuff done (when I’m not procrastinating).

5. I speak five languages (four fluently, one passably, I made no effort to learn any of them, it just happened when I was a kid).

6. I can out argue almost anyone.

7. I can also annoy almost anyone to the brink of suicide, which means I usually get what I set after.

8. I read really, really fast.

9. I can usually bake or cook myself out of any conflict (unless my mother is around, in which case I can’t cook at all for some reason).

10. I’m a really good mother. I know, I shouldn’t say it, but I am. I’m not the best mother out there, I’m not the most patient, I’m not the most fun, I’m not perfect, obviously, but my kids are well-mannered, they’re nice to everyone, they’re happy 99% of the time, they know right from wrong, and they’re very, very loved. This is actually the one that lifts my spirits up when I’m down, or when I’m wondering if I’m doing anything right, I look at them and they’re happy, so yeah, I’m doing a good job.

I’m going to be looking over this list often in the next month or so, when the holiday blues hit, when I’m overloading on too much family time, too many obligations, when I inevitably forget to mail Christmas cards, or buy someone important a present, when I’m fighting with my husband or my kids because that’s what too much holiday togetherness and too much holiday sugar does to us. And I’ll be looking over all of your lists too, because it’s important to remember how wonderful each of us is, but it’s also important to remember how much wonderfulness surrounds us.

Thanks Stasha for coming up with Monday Listicles, and for picking mine this week!

By the way… I got sucked back into the black hole for bloggers that is twitter, so please be nice and follow me. If only for my self-esteem… and yes, I will soon (soonish) set up the easy and practical sidebar button for just this here purpose, for now click on the link or search for thebonnybard or follow the smoke signals… please and thank you.

I’m a treasure, a treasure I tell you!

I’m starting to wonder whether I may have a mild case of OCD, because yesterday I reloaded the dishwasher. In this house, the dishwasher gets loaded by whoever seems to be in the kitchen when dirty plates materialize in the sink, sometimes it’s me, sometimes it’s the housekeeper, rarely it’s the husband, but that generally is an indication of a forthcoming snowstorm in July or some other completely unlikely and possibly catastrophic meteorological event.

Yesterday, the housekeeper loaded the dishwasher, and when I went to put in a few more of the stray dirty items that periodically appear all day long as if by magic, I rearranged all the glasses and bowls that were already in there. Because they were askew, whereas, clearly, dishes in the dishwasher need to form neat, color-coded, itemized rows. Clearly. Also, the glasses have to be alternated with the kids’ plastic cups and baby bottles so they don’t bang against each other, knives have to go in point down, and plates arranged in decreasing order of size. Apparently, it is vital to my mental well being that the dishes be arranged just so in the dishwasher. In fact, I may be averting all manner of cataclysmic events with my precise and orderly dishwashing habits. Some may hint that it’s annoying to live with someone like me, but frankly I know I’m a treasure rarely to be found. Or something along those lines.

By the way… I got sucked back into the black hole for bloggers that is twitter, so please be nice and follow me. If only for my self-esteem… and yes, I will soon (soonish) set up the easy and practical sidebar button for just this here purpose, for now click on the link or search for thebonnybard or follow the smoke signals… please and thank you.