July 16, 2011

Just a little crumb…

My kids are with ‘the ex’ for a couple of days. I am (trying) to enjoy some much-needed peace and quiet. Also, (trying) to use this opportunity to catch up on work and be social…A few hours ago, the phone rang:

Me: Hello?

The Ex: I’m dropping Nick off in your neighborhood to hang with his friends, okay?

Me (Hearing gravel on the driveway from a car backing out): Sure.

Nick (Banging through the front door as boys will do): Hey Mom!!

Me In My Head: Even if I minded (and I don’t) he is already here. Am I supposed to shove him back out the front door??

The Ex (vague, leaving it hang): I’ll pick him up later…

Me: Okay.

Nick (via text an hour later): Mom, are you making dinner?

Me: No.

Me In My Head: Like, who would I be making dinner for? Nobody was supposed to be here for dinner…

Nick: Okay. Can you take me out to get something? Dad gave me money.

Me: Okay.

I am exhausted by summer “vacation.” All parents should get a vacation when school starts, so that we can recover from our summer “vacation.” Our homes become Grand Central Station–in my case with teenagers coming and going at all hours. Food disappears into thin air, the house is a mess of stinky sneakers, miscellaneous wrappers and empty cups. The dishwasher runs two, sometimes three times a day. And its loud! (From me who isn’t the quietest person…)

Sometimes, I have these thoughts...

Such is my life. And I am not complaining. Not one bit. Because I am going to blink and the kids will be gone.

So I try to savor these moments with the children–all of them. I feel incredibly blessed to have them in my life and am always genuinely happy to see whoever walks in the door.

It’s just that I am also tired

The funny thing? It only takes a few hours of quiet and I miss them!!

July 14, 2011

my very first Crumb…

I’m not quite getting why those in my (rather) small town seem to have peanuts at their graduation parties. It’s not like we’re at the circus, right?

Trying to understand, I asked my Godchild and the conversation went like this:

Me: Why do people out here seem to have peanuts at graduation parties?

Smart & Gorgeous Godchild: I don’t know…just to snack on while socializing?

Me (Showing my Age): It’s like the Ground Round. Remember that restaurant where they used to serve peanuts and you could just toss the shells onto the floor?

Smart & Gorgeous Godchild: Oh…my Dad does that at home.

Me: I’ve seen him toss the shells to the dogs….

Smart & Gorgeous Godchild: He does that too. I’m actually kidding about him tossing peanut shells to the ground, but they will end up in places only God knows how they got there.

And still, I just don’t get it. Dessert, cheese and/or fruit platters? Yes. Peanuts? No.

Crumbs between the Cracks

Introducing Crumbs between the Cracks.

I often have a funny anecdote or story to share. It isn’t enough for a post, but is poignant or entertaining enough to be mentioned.

In brainstorming with my staff—that consisted of my two teenagers—my son came up with Crumbs between the Cracks, after we nixed Tiny Tidbits (been done) and several other ideas.

Expect me to begin tossing crumbs into Playing with Perfect from time to time.

If it works—great!

If not, we’ll blame it on my getting off the Coke his week—cold turkey. Diet Coke, that is. I am half way through Day 3 and the dull headache has set in. My thinking could be impaired. Diet Coke is a bit of an addiction for me. I   always think I can drink a little bit, or just one in the morning for the jolt of caffeine. Then one turns into two…and soon I have one in the evening, which keeps me up all night. And then I notice that I drink very little water…and way too much Coke. Inevitably, I end up at Sheetz at 7am, because the kids (or somebody) consumed the last of the Diet Coke…or some such thing. Fed up with my addiction, I quit.

And I get a little (a lot, actually) short-tempered, not to mention sluggish and snarky–for the first week. Then I adapt. Still, if this whole crumbs idea is a disaster, I’m blaming the Diet Coke!!

Please do let me know what you think in the coming days and weeks.


At what age is body glitter inappropriate?


Anybody who has read this blog knows of my affinity for glitter. And that shiny objects draw me like flies to s*#t.

Well…I have finally found an exception. Or at least I think I found one…

As I walked into a local festival last weekend to meet up with an old friend and her circle, a shiny, sparkly lady headed my way. Stunned,  I had to mentally force myself to close my mouth and avert my eyes.

She was one of those ladies that from a distance look like a teenager, but as the pseudo-teenager got closer, it was more like…Oh?

Ohshe’s old. Which is funny, because if she had been dressed age appropriately and with a little less sparkle, passersby would have thought, Oh…what a strikingly attractive woman. 

The sparkly lady wasn’t old—maybe 40s, or 50’s. She just looked too old for her overdone, young presentation.

I do take notice of presentation these days, in ways I did not when I was married. I am trying to figure out how to be single—because I haven’t been in a long time. I met my ex-husband when I was 15, began dating him a few weeks after turning 16, married him at 21 and our divorce was final last year—just before I turned 40. While going through the divorce, I dated an incredibly wonderful single father with three kids for a while.

Which all adds up to my having done little socializing on my own. Very little.

So I study others in an effort to figure this ‘single thing’ out.

Not nearly where I expected to be!!

Kind of like taking a class in school—except in school I really wanted to learn new things. Thrived on it. I am now doing an Independent Study called and Suddenly Single Middle Aged Woman 101. And quite frankly, it isn’t a class that I wanted to take. Nor was it even my idea to sign up. Yet here I am.

Breaking down the look of another. Which is absurd given that I am NOT the most socially experienced, single person around.

That is slowly beginning to change. More often, I am invited to go out—and I inevitably meet new people. And so last weekend, I found myself with social plans. Again.

And yet again, I hadn’t given any thought to a ‘going out’ wardrobe. Or that I don’t have one. With minimal selection in my tiny closet, I went down to the basement to see if there was anything clean in the dryer. No luck. Mostly, everything was dirty on the laundry room floor, separated into piles by color.

I threw on a pair of classic, tailored denim shorts and a black Eddie Bauer t-shirt, mainly because they were clean. (I hadn’t yet worn them this summer—which is why they were clean) I slid my feet into my black, sequin flip-flops thinking I looked reasonably okay.

Of course, I fluffed my hair. I was a teenager in the 80’s and there is only so much straight I can tolerate. A little volume is acceptable in 2011, isn’t it?  Not that I leave the house with much lift at the roots after my daughter uses both hands to smooth my hair down, close to my head—its like putting my head in a vise. She takes care of me like that.

Are you beginning to see my problems?

I have a lot to learn and zero adult single-girl social savvy or ‘going out’ clothing. My hair hasn’t been cut in months. And I could care less…

I have bigger fish to fry.

I’ve got to deal with the empty ring finger. It is without the wedding rings I wore for 16+ years. Up until a couple of years ago, I was part of a couple—for over 20 years. People have told me to put a fake ring on that finger. But that feels like trying to be somebody I’m not. I already did that and I won’t do it again. The alternative—the empty hand—creates other difficulties, but feels more right.

Since removing my rings, I have men striking up conversations everywhere

This is NOT what I look like. Not at all!!

I go. It has become a joke between the kids and I. I have been approached looking at bras (embarrassing!), reading at the bookstore, at grocery stores, and more. It isn’t like I am some looker—just a 40-year-old, nice, rather chubby, ordinary mom. I present myself the same as when I was married, but when I took off the rings—the kid gloves came off and apparently I am now considered ‘fair game.’ Which is laughable

It is also my personal hell in many ways. Even as a child, I couldn’t stand people looking at me. I prefer to fly under the radar. I dance from one end of my house to the other—but hate dancing up on a stage in public. Being divorced sometimes makes me feel a little like I am on display—which is not at all my thing. And which explains why getting all fixed up to go out feels awkward to me. How does one strike a balance between looking nice and attracting attention?

Maybe this is why I was so perplexed by the sparkly lady…because she was put together in a way that would never suit me—or my personality. She was like a beacon in the night with all of her shimmer. Almost like a human glow stick.

She screamed Look At Me—while I much prefer to fade into the background.

It seems more unfair to me that men get better looking as they age. Women find them more attractive. They flock to middle aged single men. Gray hair and laugh lines are distinguished. A little (or even a not so little) gut only adds to their charm. And men’s knees don’t drop as they age.

None of that seems to be the case for mature women. Which might explain why so many resort to wearing small, teenage clothing and to dying their hair funky colors in an attempt to match the hair color of their youth—if they even remember it! And some dive into bottles of body glitter. Possibly, these are attempts to draw the eye away from the parts that aren’t quite where they used to be? The ones heading south, but hoisted into proper position by God’s Grace and expensive undergarments.

After careful consideration—and another evening learning, I changed my mind. Who am I to say that body glitter is only for those under the age of 12? I am an authority on nothing. That is obvious.

If the sparkly lady wants to do the backstroke in body glitter before hitting the town, so be it. She seemed happy. Doesn’t mean I should go swimming in glitter, or that I ever will. I suppose I just need to be comfortable being me. And let others be themselves.

You see? I’m learning…

SUGAR…Dinner of Champions?

Yet again, I am a Role Model for Perfect Parenthood.

Busy yesterday putting together a brochure for a freelance job and preparing for a Writers Group Meeting, I didn’t quite have dinner together.

Okay…my cupboards were as bare as Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard.

Is there sugar falling from the sky?

Although my ex-boyfriend and I no longer date, his children, my children and I often spend time together. And despite her brother being my ex-husband, we are pet sitting my sister-in-law’s dog this week.

I swept out of the house at 6pm to get to my meeting, leaving behind; my two teenagers, the ex-boyfriends three teenagers, a couple of boyfriends and three dogs. With the potential for more teens to stop by…

In the car, I rang up the ex boyfriend to let him know that I was out for the evening and that I had left a houseful of unsupervised teenagers with no food back at my house. He got another call and said he would call me back. It’s a good thing I didn’t wait…

Charles Atlas

My ex boyfriend is on a bender of a health kick. Complete with exercise and lots of healthy food. He has dropped a fantastic amount of weight—and quickly. At the rate he is going, he will soon look like Charles Atlas.

If I were a betting girl, I would guess that ‘Charles’ consumed some concoction of protein and veggies–while our children ate sugar cubes??

‘Charles’ let the children know that he had plenty of ‘good food’ over at his house. And that they were all welcome to come on over when they got hungry. He has always been a good sport about a slew of kids, my two dogs and even a couple of cats making themselves comfortable in his house.

A couple of kids’ ears perked up at his offer, because my ex-boyfriend is known to be an excellent cook. Then his daughter (the one I refer to as my godchild) described his new eating habits. Gone are the huge dinner-breakfasts of pancakes, hash browns with homemade creamy sauce, bacon, sausage, eggs, and biscuits. Gone are the Mexican feasts, Avocado cheeseburgers on thick buns with homemade French fries…

Instead of heading over there for healthy food, the children ran to the store for the ingredients to make “Puppy Chow.”

It looked so much worse, than what I pictured during my ride home...

“Puppy Chow” I said, visualizing the children drizzling chocolate, butter and sugar over real dog food.  God knows, we have enough of it in the house this week!

“No,” Said my daughter “It’s Chex Mix cereal, chocolate chips, peanut butter, powdered sugar… “

“Oh,” I said, beginning to get the idea. I’ve never actually made this Puppy Chow junk before, but per my daughter it is TO…DIE…FOR…

The dialog in my head…Great! Just what we all need…another snack to like…

Because I already have a long list, I try to avoid sampling new snacks, treats, or baked goods. And I do believe there is butter in that recipe, as well–because we no longer have any.

As I finished my drive home, I figured that peanut butter is protein, sort of. And there must be fiber in Chex Mix. As for the chocolate, there are always reports about dark chocolate being healthy—there must be something redeeming in chocolate chips. I couldn’t think of a way to spin the powdered sugar or the butter.

The reality? The teenagers ate a congealed mass of sugary goo with zero nutritional value for dinner last night. And the parents’ were MIA while they did so. I’m sure the children think we are Role Models for Perfect Parenthood. For now, until their sugar buzz wears off.

a teenage finger...or a doggie tongue??

Thank goodness I didn’t want any Puppy Chow. What little I could have scraped out of the Tupperware container was ruined, because our doggie guest stuck his slimy tongue in for his share.

The kids did clean up my kitchen per my instructions. Somehow, it fell apart  while they ‘hung out’ during the day.

Unfortunately, they laid waste to it while concocting their Dinner of Champions. Because they are

Does this need an explanation?

wonderful children, I am sure they will clean it up themselves. Positive of it, actually. Because I am not cleaning that mess up.

After all, I got up at 5:30 this morning to shuttle my son and his buddy to early morning football workouts. And also because it is a one can of Diet Coke morning. (Two cans is much better…) But one can is better than none.

My daughter likes to tell people that I am “addicted to coke.” She means Diet Coke. The Cardinal Rule in our house is that nobody drinks the last Diet Coke. They know that I cannot function without it.

Who am I kidding? I can hardly function with it. Otherwise, the children would have had dinner last night. Instead, they ate a Tupperware container of sugar slop.

I am confident that last night was probably an educational experience for the children. They must have learned how awful it feels to consume empty calories in the evening. They will certainly feel sluggish this morning. And swear off the Puppy Chow in the future…

And because ‘Charles’ and I are usually responsible, attentive parents—we will be making dinner tonight. I am almost sure of it.