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Mom's Nag Pad is a place of support for women and moms. I hope that while you're reading the stories about the crazy lives of others, you'll remember yourself and pick up that dream deferred. Like me, everyone should indulge a dream!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Please make it stop!!!

If I eat one more thing this holiday season, Mrs. Claus will have some competition. My husband put mini Twixes in my stocking and I immediately put them out for company. I really appreciate what he did, but I don't need that kind of temptation. What is it about overindulging in sweets for the holiday season? It's the same mentality women employ when they're pregnant. Well, we're not eating for two unless that second stomach belongs to a cow. I've got to get back to the gym before I have to put that pesky weight loss item back on my New Year's resolution list.

I hope all of you had a safe and happy Christmas!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thank God it's Thursday!

I love to see Friday come as well, but for me Thursday is my last day of classes for the week and I get to relax. There's one more week of classes, then finals and then I have a month off. I can't wait. Remember that princess? It's almost done, thanks to my Mom pitching in. My seven-year-old is going to be the cutest Princess Tiana Disneyworld has ever seen.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The end of another week....

I swear I thought I had three weeks. We're going to visit my oldest at Disneyworld and I've got a princess costume to make. Problem is, I've only got a week. Having just gotten past midterms (school not political) and a major paper, not to mention the five Mardi Gras costumes on my table, I'm starting to feel a little pressed for time. So, it's time to prioritize and of course, princess costume first.

Am I the only one who is shocked that Christmas is just around the corner?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Oy, what a time I've had!

This is a cautionary tale for all those who ignore their blogging. As you can see I haven't posted since the beginning of June. I just had too much going on with school, work and family, so I took a break. So of course, when I wanted to come back, I couldn't remember logins, passwords and who knows what else. I don't know how I got back into my dashboard, but I did. Let's just say it was a sign.

I've actually been stuck in bed for a while. My high blood pressure is acting up, so I'm trying to simplify. I'm taking three classes this semester, but working and blogging from home until the pressure comes down and I learn the simple lesson of not eating too much fast food. The salt in even a Chick-Fil-A meal is enough to choke a horse (and their food is supposed to be better than the rest). Suffice it to say, I'm trying to get back on track.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Trying to find a balance...

My summer class started last week and I can't tell you how relieved I am to be taking only one course. My classmates also signed up for another class which begins right after the one I'm in. The class is an important prerequisite and can only be taken in the summer. I just couldn't do it. Five hours of class in one evening? The very thought makes me want to give up. If I've learned one thing in 48 years, it's knowing when I need to pull back and reassess and that's what I intend to do this summer. After five weeks of class, I intend to take the rest of the summer to catch up and relax a bit. I want to finish my Masters in a timely fashion, but I don't need to kill myself.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Last Day of School

And as promised, I took my girls to their favorite Middle Eastern restaurant. It was like one big breath we all got to take on a Friday afternoon and it was well deserved. Everyone has worked hard and now we get a week or two off before summer activities begin. Education never ends. I'll be taking one course, and there will be gymnastics camp, drama camp and ACT prep. The summer is shorter now, a scant ten weeks and I'm not sure there's a vacation in the mix until the fall.

Still, the last day of school is always sweet.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wouldn't it just be easier to work at McDonalds?

I just paid $125 for a book for the summer session which lasts only six weeks. OMG!! If the cost of education gets any higher, I might consider going to work for Mayor McCheese. The cost of college is a constant discussion at my home, since my oldest is going into her third year, I'm going into my second, and the 17 year old has dreams of studying while lying on a beach in California. She also dropped the phrase 'law school' the other day. Clearly, she doesn't understand the phrase 'a quarter of a million dollars' either. That's a conservative estimate of what it will cost for undergrad and law school if she chooses to go to school out of state.

So, I tried to couch it in terms she could understand; disposable income. This girl likes to shop. The minute money goes into her high school checking account, it goes out. It's not strange at all to check the balance and see less than five dollars in the account. If she gets a job in law, how much disposable income will she have, once she starts paying back those sizable student loans?

The only time you should this kind of debt is when you're purchasing a home, someone in your family is deathly ill, or you own a business. I hope she understands this before she mortgages her future.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Mother's Day Remix

On Sunday, I will do something for my Mom and then we'll visit my husband's Mom. She lives about an hour away. I'll probably host a breakfast or brunch for Mom, and I'll contribute a cake to the meal at my mother-in-law's house. So let's see, I'm cooking and spending the day in the car. Yes, I'll enjoy seeing these two ladies who've been so important to my development as a person and a mother, but........

I came up with the idea of an alternative Mother's Day a couple of years ago when at the end of one of these days, I came home exhausted and my family considered Mother's Day over at about five o'clock. Needless to say, I was feeling a little let down.

To me the perfect Mother's Day is doing what you want to do. I want to do nothing, or at least to have the option to do nothing. After doing nothing for a while, I might want to watch a movie, work in the garden, edit a manuscript, or just walk around in my pajamas all day. Being served meals in bed all day wouldn't hurt either. Twenty-four hours before the cruel reality of motherhood bites me again would be sweet.

Now that's a great Mother's Day.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

It's Over!!!

I turned in my last exam today. Well, actually, I emailed the exam to my teacher, and then because I'm so anal, I walked a hard copy to his office. I'm starting to act like my 70 year old mother who refuses to use the ATM because she's sure someone will steal her checks.

I remember this feeling. I had the same feeling when I passed my last class in undergrad, then walked aimlessly around the campus because I was no longer a student, nor was I gainfully employed. And of course, this euphoria will only last for a month, but as the end of the school year nears for my daughters as well, we're all just thankful for the break.

What's next? Time to get caught up. I've got a million and one projects I'd love to get at before the summer session starts.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

One down, two to go....

Higher education in 2010 is incredible. After working hours on a take home exam, I had to upload it to two different sites for grading. Whatever happened to the days of handing a blue book to the teacher at the end of the exam? Oh yeah, that went the way of the dinosaur and the IBM Selectric.

I was so glad to have that test over, I can honestly say I don't care if I get an 'A'. Don't get me wrong! I'd love to get an 'A' on the exam, but I'd be happy with a 'B' and 'A' in the class, if that's possible. One test tomorrow night, and another one next week, and I can take a break.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Testing Season Begins

My children have been given strict instructions. MOM IS NOT HOME THIS WEEKEND! If they speak to me, they'll get one of two responses. "I don't know you people", or "Go find your Dad". This weekend I have to work on two exams; one take home and one in class. The next week, I have a take home final as well, and then the semester will be over. Then I get to enjoy a month off, though I'll still have to teach. When you're juggling several balls at once, it's a respite when one of the balls can be tucked away.

We're at the time of the year when everyone is ready for the school year to end. Everyone has just enough energy to make it through the next few weeks, and then there will be a final push at the end. Even now, the six year old has to prepare for those end of the year field trips and teachers' gifts. And as much as we want to the school year to be over, summer plans are being made.

My youngest and I have already gotten into the yard and planted seeds, wildflower seeds native to our state, and we can't wait to see them come up. It's been a long winter, even for New Orleans, and a little bit of color in the yard is just what we need.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Is it Summer Yet?

We're all hitting the wall. In three to six weeks, every student in my household will be out of school and enjoying the summer. But until then, we're holding on by our fingernails, trying to get through the last tests, finals and fieldtrips. Right now the end of the semester work seems overwhelming at times and there are days when we just want to stay in bed and knock it out in one day, but that's not an option unless we're deathly ill. Then, of course, how much work would we get done?

I have a month between the end of the Spring semester and the beginning of the Summer semester. I've got a lot of living to do in that time. I get to spend extra time with my kids, there are about a million projects I'd like to get to. In meantime, I've got to get back to work. See you after finals.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Light at the end of the current tunnel.....

It was one of those weeks again. Our new dishwasher broke, a couple of the kids are sick, I had an all day conference and had to coordinate solutions to all these problems in between sessions. I felt like one of those workaholic moms who have a cellphone superglued to their ear! But I handled it. The dishwasher got fixed (it was still under warranty), my 17 year old still has a slight fever, but she's resting comfortably, and I did actually get something out of this conference. Kudos to my Mom, who came over to babysit the house and her granddaughter since I had to be away.

I still have a hard time dealing with delegating to others jobs which were once my exclusive domain. The next two and a half years are going to be tough with school, work and family, and if I don't learn to delegate, I'll go nuts. I have to make an extra effort to spend as much time as possible with my youngest, but luckily, she's the kind of kid who can roll with the punches and doesn't mind the occasional play date or alternate pick up because I have to study.

I'm only taking one course this summer because I have to take two trips. I could also use the extra time to catch up on some of my primary schoolwork in counseling. I want to be better prepared for the new semester.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Healthcare in America

I feel there's been a lot of irresponsible rhetoric surrounding the new healthcare legislation out of Washington. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, I'd personally like to see how this thing shakes out. I have a college-aged daughter who takes a rather expensive medication. If she could stay on our insurance until she's 26, it would be a great help to her, as well as her family. My father died a couple of years ago of kidney failure. The last few years of his life, he lived on less than $600 per month, which of course made it impossible for him to see the doctor or to afford medications for his high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. If some type of healthcare reform had been in place a few years ago, he might still be with us.

The price tag is alarming to a lot of people, and I understand this, but I believe we've got to start somewhere. I don't believe the bill we have now will be the plan we might have ten years from now. Some massive effort will have to be made to correct the problems with healthcare in America, or it will remain a system of expensive insurance for those who can afford it, and charity hospitals being used as primary care physicians for those who can not.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I feel like I haven't posted in such a long time, but I had a presentation in one class and an exam in another. Finally, they're both behind me and I can look forward to the weekend. I'm ready for the summer to begin. I'm tired of studying and shuttling kids back and forth. We all need a break from being stuck in the car. It's been an especially cold winter for us in New Orleans and everyone is looking forward to green lawns and flowers in the garden. I want to create an outdoor living space once the yard looks alive again. It would be nice to feel warm again. I think I'll ask for an outdoor swing for Mother's Day!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

If in doubt, wash it out!

The "Battle of the Dishes" continues. My seventeen-year-old is nothing, if not persistent. Her overly full academic life, now the bane of her existence, is the newest excuse for doing a poor job on her kitchen chores. This child is so much like her father, it's almost excrutiating to watch. She loads the dishwasher poorly, not rinsing anything and placing bowls and glasses on the bottom rack, then seems utterly surprised when everything comes out as dirty as when it went in. Then, of course, there are all the dishes she couldn't get fit in like bowls and pots, which just sit around the kitchen waiting for divine intervention to whisk them clean.

She always tells me that she plans on being rich and hiring someone to keep her home clean. This is mostly a fantasy, but hey, it's her dream to dream. Meanwhile, my advice to my darling daughter is, "If in doubt, wash it out!" The next time I clean the kitchen, I plan to photograph it and email the pictures to her. She's got to realize at some point that a clean kitchen actually involves surfaces you can actually eat off.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Weird Potty Women

I am ready to start a group against women who urinate all over the seat in public restrooms! I mean, seriously? This is the behavior for which we have been railing against the male of the species since the dawn of time. You don't think the first cave woman threw a rock at her mate the first time he got pee all over the outhouse!

I saw a news report on a study which said that women's restrooms actually had more germ activity than the men's room, the reasoning being that children often went into the restroom with their mother. I think it's because some of these women are pigs. I can totally understand you not wanting to sit on a public toilet seat. For the love of God, cover the thing in toilet paper, or at the very least, wad up a piece of paper and dry the seat when you're done. Be considerate of the people who'll come after you. Restrooms for women are already notoriously guilty of fewer stalls, so why make it harder by rendering one unusable?

I'm sorry to be on a soapbox about this, but when I went to class last night, at a college, where there were only ADULTS present, I encountered this problem, and it's just unacceptable.

Golden Rule folks! Do unto others!

Friday, March 5, 2010

I had to take a break!

The last couple of weeks has been exhausting, and I guess you can see by the fact that I haven't posted in a while. Some sad things have been happening. My supervisor's husband died this morning. One of my daughter's professors also passed away, and this is really her first time dealing with the death of someone she admired. My husband took her to the visitation.

I've also noticed a disturbing trend with my family as of late. Everyone walks into the house, goes to their room and plugs into a television or a laptop, sometimes both. Even the six year old pulls up YouTube and pulls up her favorite Miley Cyrus song. I know I should be disturbed by this and I am, but it's hard to get this family all together at one time these days. I've got to come up with something to get them to reconnect. I can't stand the idea that the next few years are going to be like this. One day I'll wake up and we'll all be strangers.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Back in New Orleans

While I enjoyed the little bit of free time my Americorps conference in Pittsburgh allowed, I'm glad to be back home in my bedroom in New Orleans. Pittsburgh in February is a dreary place piled high with soot stained snow and equally damp weather. The people are very nice, and I'd love to see this city during the spring. There's a lot of history there.

We helped out in the very first Carnegie library in the United States. It's a beautiful old gal who's been badly neglected over the past few years. Unfortunately, she's in the center of a town named Braddock, a steel town which has been hit hard by the economy. Once a town of more than 20,000, it now has less than 3,000 residents. To make things even worse, the town's only hospital closed recently, taking more jobs from this already depressed city.

It's hard to return to New Orleans and continue to complain about the recovery. Don't get me wrong; I'm sure we'll all be complaining about something city related tomorrow. But in Braddock, there's such a sense of despair. I can't imagine any parent urging their high school seniors to stay, or encouraging their college graduates to return. The job of bringing the city back seems insurmountable, but they have a dynamic young mayor who's making an effort and as the economy of the country improves, slowly but surely, I'm hoping some good luck will trickle down to Braddock, Pennsylvania.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

First Night in Pittsburgh

It was a long travel day! We had to be at the airport for eight this morning and we didn't get into our hotel rooms until seven this evening, after which we went out for dinner. I couldn't wait to get a shower and fall into bed. It's funny when you travel without your family. Of course, you miss them, but at the same time, you relish the time you'll get on your own. I can blog, read, write, or watch television without interruption. Did I mention I'm in a very nice hotel room which I don't have to clean? It can't get much better than this.

Of course, my heart strings took a little beating when I talked to my six-year-old. She was very cheerful, her dad was struggling with her hair, and the teenager was caught in between. I know they'll survive the next few days, but the vanity in all mothers hopes they'll miss me just a bit.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Mardi Gras!!

It's a beautiful but cool day in the Big Easy. Still on a high from the Saints' victory in the Super Bowl, New Orleanians filled the streets of the city to celebrate Fat Tuesday. My hope is that this feeling stays with us for a while and that we take this positive energy and turn it into positive changes for our city. Be safe everyone and laissez les bon temps!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

February: A Crowded Month

Congratulate us! For the first time in history, the New Orleans Saints are Superbowl Champions! While I'm not a football fan, I'm really happy for the Saints and the City of New Orleans. On top of that we have Mardi Gras, and what else? Oh yeah, today's my birthday.

When you hit your forties, you're not exactly sure how to feel about birthdays. I'm back in school, working full time and still raising a family with all of the ups and downs that entails. The only thing I've come to realize is that I look at the beginning of each new year of my life with optimism and hope. It's always the hope that I've learned something from the past year so that I continue to celebrate the positive and try not to repeat the negative.

So, what's on the agenda today? I plan to go to the gym and workout, and I'm told that around three there's going to be a birthday celebration of some sort. I don't know what it is, but I'm going to leave obsessive compulsive Kevin behind today and enjoy whatever it is the family has planned.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

New Orleans Has a New Mayor......

Mitch Landrieu is the new mayor-elect of New Orleans. This is almost as historic as Barack Obama becoming President. Landrieu is the first white mayor of this majority black city since the 70's. And as usual, everyone is now pledging to work together, just as our new President, the Congress and the Senate promised in 2009 on Inauguration Day. And as usual, they've been at each other's throats ever since. No matter what your political leanings are, don't you just get tired of it?

There's something to be said for not having one party controlling everything. When one party controls everything, there is no incentive to work together. At the beginning, Democrats had no reason to really work with Republicans, just as Republicans had no incentive to work with Democrats from 2000 to 2006. Don't you ever wish it was really all about the voters and what's best for the country, as opposed to what's easier for politicians who are always in 're-election' mode?

Friday, February 5, 2010

It's almost over.....

Well, Friday is here and it's a mixed bag at best. The school and work week are over, but my husband is still out of town, and Mardi Gras and the Superbowl have descended on New Orleans. It's exciting and maddening at the same time. Yet, I digress....

I feel like I'm doing a million things at once, and none of them with mastery. Is there such a thing as having it all? I don't think so, which is why I stayed at home with my older children. Now, I feel like my youngest is getting the short end of the stick with the new schedule I'm trying to manage. I do get to pick her up from school on most days, but I don't get to go on field trips and by the time we all get home, I'm not in much of a mood to do anything else but sleep. But I can't do that because there's homework for all of us, dinner and housework.

As much as I try to put these things into context, I'm having a tough time getting everything done while trying to give my youngest the quality time she deserves. The idea that I won't be in school forever, that one day I'll make a more substantial living, and that I'll be better able to provide gives me little comfort.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tiring Week

Sorry I haven't been around for a few days, but this week has just started and I'm already tired. My husband is in Miami covering the Superbowl which makes me a single mom for a few days. Hats off to you ladies who can do this 24/7! To start things off, my six year old lost her morning ride to school when her friend fell sick. Thank goodness my next door neighbor has a child who goes to the same school and was able to pick up the slack. The 16-year-old has rehearsal for her play almost everyday, and her pick up time can range from 5 PM to 6:30 PM. This is fine except for the fact that I have class two nights a week.

So here's a special thank you to my Mom and my sister, my neighbor, my older girls and the other school moms who've helped me out this week. I could not do this without you.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Small Bites in Action

This week my husband will be out of town (he's on his way to cover the Saints in Miami), so we four girls are on our own. You never realize what your spouse really does until they're out of the picture for a few days. My husband does all the grocery shopping (mostly because he doesn't like me adding things like cleaning products to the cart), half of the driving of kids to schools and some of the cooking. I've already told my older girls that we'll be getting organized this weekend.

All the laundry has to be done and the outfits for me and the youngest will be ironed and chosen for the week. I have to have her at her friend's house every morning for 7:15 in order to get to school and since I already hate being up early, the more organized we are, the longer I can sleep.

We'll make three or four extra dinners this weekend, so that we'll only have to reheat during the week, and one day I'll take the girls out or bring food home. My mom will help out on those days when I have class, and my oldest will slip into Dad's shoes for evening pick-ups.

So let's all take a deep breath and get ready for next week!! Go Saints!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Go Saints!

Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints on their first ever trip to the Super Bowl!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Back To School

The nervous energy is back. I left work at 2:30, came home and made dinner for the family and plan to be at school early so that I can go to the bookstore and get supplies. After one semester I feel invested in this portion of my life and will work very hard to see it through. I'm also trying to plan my days in such a way that I don't lose my mind!

This will take another family meeting. Since I've been out of school, the girls have gotten a little lax on their chores and I got a little tired of staying on top of them. But everyone has to pitch in if this is to work, so whenever I can make double dinners I will. I'll save laundry for the weekend and make an extra effort to make extra time for my youngest. It's very easy for the youngest to get lost in the shuffle of our very busy schedules.

Bathroom update! The painting is done, but I still have a lot of little things left like putting up the shower curtain, curtains at the window, caulking the surround, etc. I wanted to have all of this done before tonight, but a sinus infection got in my way. Keeping to one of my resolutions, I'm going to take small bites and commit a half hour each night until the work is done.

Off to school!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Happy 50th!

I'm pretty sure my husband had a good birthday. We had a family brunch at his brother's house, then he went to the Saints game, where I think the Saints won 45 to 14, but don't quote me. I got him a really nice Oster blender because he likes to make smoothies. That was the good news.

The bad news is that my perfectionistic sixteen year old is still moping about getting a 'C' on a quiz. I hate to see any kid put this kind of pressure on themselves. It's hard for kids this age to see the big picture because their worlds tend to be a very small sphere which encompasses their family, friends, and school. This morning I gave her a suggestion. Try thinking about someone else for a while, like one of the children at my literacy center. Her home burned down just before Christmas, now she and her pregnant mother are homeless. The child's reading library was also lost, so I suggested she and her little sister go through our children's books and see what we can give.

Maybe she could think about the people in Haiti? If getting a 'C' on a quiz was the biggest problem teenage girls had in that country, it might be the best day of their lives. So come on you teenagers who are so connected and into saving the world! Why not get together with your friends and figure out a way to help someone in real need? How about remembering that five years ago, your city was also devastated and that many people came to your aid to help rebuild your life and your city?

It's just a suggestion from your Mom.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Disaster Relief

As a Hurricane Katrina survivor, you can only watch the unfolding events in Haiti and put your head in your hands. The earthquake was devastating and the overwhelming majority of these victims have nowhere to turn. The displacement is gut wrenching with little hope of stability for some time to come. In New Orleans, we discuss everything as 'before Katrina' and 'after Katrina'. Five years later, there are still parts of this modern American city that look like the hurricane hit yesterday. If you're able to help at all, even in the smallest way, I encourage you to do so. Five or ten dollars from millions of people can go a long way to begin the recovery and healing of this island nation.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

One more hurdle....

Today, I finished my last Mardi Gras costume for the Zulu parade. For those non-New Orleanians, it is the rare person in the Big Easy who does not participate in Mardi Gras in some fashion. When I was a stay at home mom, making Mardi Gras costumes was a major part of my sewing season. And as excited as you are for the season to begin, you're just that ecstatic to see it end. I made fourteen costumes this season while working full time for Americorps and going back to school. I almost died. Lesson learned: edit your schedule to prevent insanity!

School starts next Tuesday and of course, I'm nervous. My husband's fiftieth birthday is Saturday, I'm painting my bathroom on Sunday, and volunteering on Monday. Don't feel too sorry for me. If I didn't really enjoy this level of activity, I think I'd stop before the next project took shape.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day of Service

As an Americorps member, monthly service projects are required, and usually enjoyed. To celebrate Martin Luther King's birthday on Monday, January 18, I will be volunteering at a local elementary school. We'll be painting, landscaping and organizing the library.

With the tight schedules we all enjoy, the idea of volunteering is sometimes met with a wince and a faint promise to pick up the baton on another occasion. It' s like trying anything new and unknown. If you give volunteering a chance, you'll find an enjoyable experience underneath all the work. I'd like to challenge everyone to do more on Rev. King's birthday than go to a sale or sit in front of the television all day. Give a little of yourself to your community and make it better for all.

Monday, January 11, 2010

When did high school get so hard?

My sixteen year old is starting to have more of those days when she wishes she had stayed in bed. As a junior at one of the toughest high schools in the country, in addition to half days at the performing arts high school, she's starting to get in the car at the end of the day looking like a fifty year old man who's been laid off. She's got teachers who give her biology finals with two hundred questions and science projects which need the signature of the President for completion. When did high school get so hard?

I get it. I know it's the preparation ground for college, but teenagers shouldn't be having this kind of stress over papers, tests and grades. There are times when the pressure gets so great and she has been so overworked that I want to call in sick for the kid. It doesn't help that she's a perfectionist when it comes to her grades. Where does she get that from, I wonder? Possibly from the woman who's trying to juggle family, work and school at one time.

Well, it's taken me years to figure out that perfection isn't all it's cracked up to be. In the end you make it look so easy that others continue to pile on the work. At the end of that self perpetuating hamster wheel, you're either forced to keep up the facade, chuck the whole thing, or look for the non hostile middle ground. I've told her to start looking for the middle ground now. Anything's better than trying to pull off the perfect Martha Stewart Christmas for people who are just as happy with styrofoam plates, paper napkins and pigs in a blanket. Oh wait, are we talking about me again?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Heat Is On

On December 22nd, I walked out of work relieved. I was going to have almost three weeks off and I could get all kinds of things done. Well, here it is, January 10th, and I'm looking at my bathroom, my still unfinished bathroom. I've got an article to write, some sewing to do, and preparations for the beginning of my Spring semester at school. I get depressed just thinking about it.

I'm going to take a couple of deep breaths, then I'll remember my mantra for the year; small bites. I'll work for an hour in the bathroom and for an hour each day until it's ready for painting on Saturday, the last thing I need to do. I'm completing one last costume today. I'll do some reading for class. I'm breathing easier already.

Gotta go now. My six year old has asked for a stretching partner. She's a gymnast and this will help knock out the exercise for today.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Back to the grind!

Today was the first day back to work for me since December 22 and let me tell you, it was not easy. I had gotten used to sleeping past six and wearing my pajamas past lunch. It was a nice long vacation and I was sorry to see it end.

Only one thing made me feel good about going into work today. I'm an Americorps member and I work at a family literacy site. Just before Christmas, two of our moms took the GED test and they both passed. One of them came in today to have her childrens' language skills evaluated, and the look on her face is something that can't be described. I think people who get their GED, especially those who have dealt with the hardship of teenage pregnancy and poverty, appreciate it far more than the average high school graduate. I had to drag my college sophomore kicking and screaming to every Senior activity, convinced that she would have been sorry if she missed these events (and I was right, of course). These two ladies will have a graduation ceremony with GED graduates throughout the city in May and I can assure you, they'll be floating on air the entire time.

What, fitness again?

Okay, I dusted off my "Dirty Dancing" dvd and shared a nostalgic evening with a finely muscled guy who reminded me of the late Patrick Swayze. I worked up a sweat and reminded myself that I'm not really that good a dancer. So, in essence, I kept my promise to start working out.

I thought about getting the Wii, until I spoke to my sister. She got the Wii fit and told me a few things that would ensure my burgeoning relationship with the Patrick wannabe. This game apparently weighs you, and if it doesn't like the pressure you're putting on the scale, it tells you. It also critiques your exercise prowess, and if you're struggling, it tells you that, too. If I wanted that kind of abuse, I'd go to a gym and let the trainer pistol whip me! Has anyone else tried this thing?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

47 and Unaccomplished

I am 47 and unaccomplished

I didn’t necessarily look forward to this birthday, but I didn’t exactly run away from it either. I am 47 and unaccomplished.

I know I would not want to be 16 again. I had my first real boyfriend, who proclaimed his love for me on our first date and would have been pleased to marry me when I turned eighteen. The idea was totally foreign and the relationship ended quickly. For the rest of my high school career, I had no pressing desire for a steady boyfriend, but to be free of any domestic entanglement. I am 47 and unaccomplished.

I know I would not like to be 22 again. I had just graduated from college, with a faint desire to become a television reporter, because it was what everyone suggested. I could write. I was pretty. I could speak well and I was photogenic. I returned home to find I had a niece by my younger brother and his 16 year old girlfriend. The idea was totally foreign to me and I had no desire to be a mother. I had been a part time mother to my brothers and sister while I was growing up because both my parents worked. I am 47 and unaccomplished.

I know I would not like to be 29 again. I was married and had a child. I had a husband and a daughter whom I absolutely adored. But I also had a demon chasing me, which left me feeling unable to protect my own child, because I felt too duty bound to others. The work needed to rid myself of that demon took many months and travels to parts of the mind best left unexplored. I am 47 and unaccomplished.

I know I would not like to be 35 again. Family DNA caught up with me and every physical ailment which plagued my family began to plague me, no matter how much I exercised and no matter my diet. I had no right to complain because I was not dying, just inconvenienced. I am 47 and unaccomplished.

I would not like to be 40 again. I looked around at my life and at the lives of some of my friends. Financially, I was not where I wanted to be. Career-wise, I was not where I wanted to be. I wanted to make my living as a writer, and while I continued to work at it, no favor was forthcoming. I wondered what I was doing wrong. I am 47 and unaccomplished.


I would like to be 10 again. It was the first time I remember the pretend play between my sister and myself. It was the time I could remember the doors of imagination opening wide in my heart and mind and it was the time I could conceive of a future where fantasy could be the workplace of my soul. I am 47 and unaccomplished.

I would like to be 12 again. It was the first time I learned creativity from my mother. Though of little means, I learned watching her how I could change my surroundings with paint, wallpaper and fabric. The four walls around me needn’t be a constant diet of beige and white. I learned that if I didn’t like where I was, I needed to make a change. I didn’t have to be uncomfortable. I am 47 and unaccomplished.

I would like to be 26 again. It was the time I walked away from the career many would kill for. I decided I didn’t like television news as much as I thought I would. I didn’t like covering murder, suicide and sewerage disruptions in a small town. I didn’t like living away from the love of my life, whom I thought I would never have. I knew I wanted to be at home with the children I thought I would never want. I missed home. I wasn’t cosmopolitan and I no longer cared if I set New York on fire. I am 47 and unaccomplished.


I would be 47 again. I am still married to a man who is so sentimental and wishy washy in a house full of women, that he can not eat if one of them is unhappy. For my birthday, I received flowers, a gift card from Victoria’s Secret and dinner from one of my favorite restaurants. I asked for sledge hammer, but that was okay.

I am a mother of three little women, who are being raised in an age where the world is really their oyster. If they want to run for president, that’s good. If they want to run a multi national company, that’s good. If they want to be the best snack mom at a suburban elementary school, well, that’s damn fine, too. I like everyday of every age after their births when I remade the decision to stay at home with my children because it was what I wanted. It was something I could give to them, something my mother could not afford to give to me.

We’re at a point in our lives where a mother and daughter can be friends. We don’t talk about sex and that suits me just fine, too. I haven’t quite forgiven her for my name, but that may come in time.

And though I am still not where I want to be financially, and have made very little for my writing efforts, I am a writer. Aside from the unintentioned dream of a husband and children, it is the one thing I’ve always wanted. It’s the one thing I have accomplished.

I am 47.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

They had it coming.......

They knew! I warned them. "We will be taking down the Christmas decorations after the first of the year, probably Sunday." I gave everyone a task and was hoping to knock it out in a couple of hours. And of course, they acted like this was the first time they'd ever heard of the plan and we'd live with Santa staring us in the face for the next couple of months. Why is it that they love to have the Christmas stuff out but seem completely befuddled when it's time to put these things away?

It's not like I asked them to spend New Year's Day like my mother does, which is cleaning everything in the house (and I do mean everything) to within an inch of its life. My mother will be 70 years old in February, and if she can clean a whole house by herself, I think my young and physically fit family can give me two or three hours to put Santa back in his box.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Renovations continue......

I'm painting the tub tonight with one of those kits from Home Depot (about $40). So far, so good. The fumes are vicious and you do need one of those special ventilation masks for the job. You have to let the tub cure for 5 days before running water. With every step of this bathroom renovation, I feel a little more confident with what I can do (past painting and sewing). The key is to know when to hire a professional.

To get my youngest out of the house today, we went to the store to pick new accessories for the bathroom. The activity was totally lost on her, as she was more concerned with how to pull off a cartwheel in the very crowded aisles. You need a lot of patience to shop with this one, and perhaps a straightjacket. Just when you're ready to pull your hair out, she says something that completely charms the cashier, and once again you realize how lucky you are to have this child.