Saturday, September 27, 2008


Don't stop and smell the flowers or appreciate the gentle curves of a rolling green hill. I mean really, smelled one flower smelled 'em all, right? They smell all floral-like. Hill, schmill, you see them on the way to work every day. Don't you dare stop to appreciate any of nature's beauty because you had better hurry up and get to wherever you are going, and I mean RIGHT NOW!

That means if you have to cut someone off on the freeway or not wait for a pedestrian to cross the street or make a passing move that is not quite safe, it's all for the sake of getting to where you need to get just a little bit more quickly.

How did we get here?

Don't get me wrong. I don't like to meander down Interstate 80 any more than the next guy. I love that working odd hours keeps me out of commute traffic for the most part. But come on, where are we all going that we need to get there so fast?

When I see a carload of teenagers swerving in and out of the lanes and speeding and tailgating and doing all sorts of crazy stuff, don't tell me they are trying to get one of the passengers to the emergency room because his appendix has burst. Or that they all work at the same place and are late. Or that they are undercover superheroes on their way to save the day. I'm not buying it.

No, they just want to get there before everyone else. And the sad part is that I do, too, even though I always remember something from a book I read. I think it was in Don't Sweat the Small Stuff that the author talked about the fact that you could just chill and drive the speed limit and stay in your lane and you'd get there at the same time as the crazy guy doing all the crazy stuff. In my head I know it's true, and believe me, I try not to ever exceed the speed limit by more than 5 miles, but I still get aggravated when someone is in front of me going exactly the speed limit. I will literally yell and use bad words (if my kid is not in the car) and wish my car was equipped with machinery to remove the car in front of me off the road if that car is going 64 miles per hour when I would like to continue at my steady pace of 67. Who cares? Really, who cares? Even when I do not have to be somewhere at any particular time, I'm like this!

Which brings me to another problem. I think I might always be rushing because I have taken too long to get ready at home. No matter how organized I think I am or how I have all the time in the world to get ready, there is a always a snag. And strangely enough, it seems the more time I have to get ready, the better the chances I will be running late. Something always comes up that throws me for a loop and extends my getting ready time. For example (and this is pretty common), I get too hot. Invariably when I'm getting ready I wind up getting really hot and this slows me down. I don't want to sweat so much that a) I can't put on my makeup or b) I sweat off the makeup I've put on or c) I get stinky. I have always been the hottest one in the room (and I mean that quite literally and not at all figuratively), and carrying around 100 extra pounds makes me even hotter (again, literally).

Of course, if I am trying to get Kayla out of the house with me, we can throw countless variables into the mix. Let's just make a list:

1) She doesn't want to take a bath. For the longest, this was never a problem. Recently, however, it seems that she is much too busy to be bothered with bathing. No matter how I try to sell it (Bubbles! Play with your toys! You'll be clean and shiny and fresh!), we wind up going back and forth and back and forth until she relents or I throw her in kicking and screaming.

2) She does not want to go where we are going. Now this is kind of an unusual one. She is usually game to go wherever it is we're going just for the sake of not staying at home. But sometimes she will decide she doesn't want to go to such and such a place, so I figure out a way to sell the place as the best place she'll ever go, so she will allow me to continue to get her ready to go to said place.

3) She throws a fit... about anything and everything. Wow, my least favorite delay-causer by far. She can go from a perfectly content and angelic place to an evil, awful, horrible place in about 10 seconds. For example, I'm getting ready for work. I have the light on so that, oh, I don't know, I can see what I'm doing. Kayla doesn't want the light on. Why? You would have to ask her. Have you tried to reason with a 33-month-old kid lately? So much fun it should be illegal. And very time consuming. Especially when you try to roll Super Nanny style and get that kid to stay on the Naughty Chair for the entire length of the timeout she earned for a) screaming, screaming, and screaming, and b) hitting Daddy.

4) She is too busy. As in, "Kayla, let's get dressed." "Mommy, I'm too BUSY!" She tells me this all the time. "Would you like to have some lunch now?" "Mommy, I'm too BUSY!" Where did she even get this? What does she know from busy? She's not even three years old! If she is this busy at this age, just how fast is she going to be driving on the freeway one day?

Kayla taking time out to enjoy the great outdoors with Dolly Diego.

The next time you are taking a walk and your kid stops and says "This is a beautiful pink flower, Mommy," and proceeds to smell it, I suggest you do the same.

"Watch me, Mommy, watch me! Watch me run in circles! Mommy, run in circles with me!" Yes, it is just a kid running in circles in your kitchen. But one day she'll be driving, on her way to college or her job, no doubt in a hurry because she's running late, and I can pretty much guarantee she will not be asking you to watch her run in circles anymore or to chase her.

Don't think I wrote this post for all of you. I mean, I did, but I also wrote it for me and I hope I'm listening.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Thank You Post

A million thanks to Vanessa, a childhood friend with whom I have recently reconnected after twenty years plus. Were it not for Ness and her kick-ass blog (, chances are I would not be doing this now. It might have happened, but not until I was blogging about retirement and grandkids.

Ness is the little cutie in the middle. The cutie on the left is my bestest bud,
Spooky. The one on the right is me. This was taken at our 20-year reunion by Jeanie. I know, we do not look old enough to be out of high school 20 years.

Thanks to Mom, for coming up with the title of this blog. I called her for advice when I was trying to think of a title, because basically, I call her for advice about everything. I keep trying to get out of her how I will get to the point where I know everything like she does, but she will not tell me. I guess I will have to figure this out on my own. Also thanks to Mom for everything else, and I do mean everything.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Big Lie of Omission

So it's not a lie. It's just that people do not tell you the truth. Not the whole truth, anyway. No one, and I mean no one, tells you how hard it is to be a mother.

They do not tell you that should you decide to procreate, you will in fact be signing on for the hardest, most grueling, and most thankless job on the face of the earth.

No one can explain this to you. It is not that they have not tried, it is just that you probably caught them on a day when their kid was good. Their kid had probably not said on that particular day "I want a NEW mommy!" or "Mommy! Be quiet RIGHT NOW! SHHHHHH!"

The fact of the matter is, they could not tell you how hard it is, because there is something inside of all of them - all of the mothers and fathers who came before you - that wants you to suffer right along with them. There is a reason someone came up with the phrase "Misery loves company." It's because it is true.

Also, think how the world would be if every prospective parent knew the real deal? The good thing is that stores would be less crowded. You wouldn't have to change your dinner plans on a Saturday night because you are starving, there's an hour wait, and not even a spot at the bar so that you can forget all about the fact you are starving. The bad thing is that if you are single, you'd have a lot fewer eligibles from which to choose (and it's slim pickin's enough as it is, or so I hear).

No one tells you that even though you survived the days when you had to make sure anything your curious toddler would want to put in their mouth was out of reach without incident, one day at the age of two-and-a-half-plus you'd look up and see their teeth are purple because they decided to try eating a crayon. Or they'd managed to find a yogurt-covered raisin in the couch that is God knows how old but they are munching on it contentedly anyway.

No one can give you a clue, not even Super Nanny herself, about how hard it is to carry a 30-pound, kicking and screaming child from the middle of the mall to the car, as sympathetic parents look on, because they did not get to spend enough time at Play Town. You also do not get briefed on the whole potty training thing, and how much urine you'll be trying to soak out of your carpet, as if you've just brought home a new puppy, and you find yourself wondering how your family room would look if you covered the entire thing with plastic.

The other thing that none of these mothers and fathers can adequately prepare you for is the way you feel as though you have so much love for this new person in your life, you think you need another heart to contain it all. They don't tell you that finally, you will get just how much your own mother loves you.

They have no way of explaining that almost immediately after the kid arrives, everything makes sense. All of your missteps and foul-ups and bad choices and really, really, really bad choices all seem to make sense, because they all brought you to this point in time, the one in which you are getting a big hug and kiss from your kid and hearing them say, "I love you, Mommy." And even if they played a recording for you, you would not be able to understand that hearing their laughter is like being immersed within joy itself, if that is possible.

It's the ultimate paradoxical situation. Nothing will make you feel more like you are losing your mind than being a parent. Nothing will leave you feeling more beaten, battered, and forsaken. But nothing else will give you as much laughter, entertainment, warmth, and fulfillment, either.

I wish I could tell you the truth the right now, to make up for all the people who will not tell you later. But I just can't write it as bad or as good as it really is.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Frienemies and Emmy's

I really don't think I have much to say about "frienemies," but I absolutely love this term. It is one of my favorite of all time. I think I first heard the expression "frienemy" when watching a show called Miss Guided, which was an Ashton Kutcher-produced venture on ABC last season that was around for about eight episodes before it got the boot. And that was a shame, because for mindless entertainment it was quite entertaining! Anyway, frienemies... such a lovely, evocative word. I think almost everyone has them. I'm sorry, I should stop and define this word before I go on, in case you've not heard it and don't know what it means from the way it sounds. The (love it) has several definitions, but it basically means someone who is at once a friend and an enemy. I know, it's silly, but these people exist!

For example, there is the "friend" who is always kind to you when they see you, but who spews all kinds of crap about you behind your back. I would have to say that for me, this is the basic definition. There is also the person you can get along with just fine, and have casual conversation with... perhaps a co-worker. However, you think everything they are about is ridiculous and you have no respect for them whatsoever. Also you think they are a complete idiot.

As for my first definition, we will always have friends about whom we have something to say. You could think your friend was like a better person than Mother Theresa, but wonder to yourself whatever possessed them to wear that shirt with those pants. Or think that they should have handled a particular problem in the same way you would have. That's normal, and that person would not count as a frienemy.

No, a frienemy is someone who could be totally hardcore awful, either to your face or behind your back (a frienemy's favorite place to be), but then be sweet as pie to your face. And these people I do not get. I just don't understand. I would rather have friends and enemies, and no frienemies. If you want to be evil when I'm not around, I'd pretty much rather you be evil when I am around. Or at least don't sign your e-mails with big fat x's and o's and then start plotting what you could do to make my life miserable. That's just silly.

I figured I'd better speak my peace about the Emmy Awards, since they were just on last night. I know, you don't care. I read that the audience for the Emmy's was the lowest of all time or something. But I DVR'd them and watched them today, and first of all I would like to say that whoever thought it would be a good idea to have five reality show hosts do the hosting duties is an idiot. I guess it sounded good on paper, but then they got up there and started talking, and the opening bit is pretty much the most painful thing I've ever endured. I'd take the false labor pains I had in Las Vegas and recovery from a C-section combined over watching Jeff Probst and Howie Mandel try to be funny. Perhaps they are funny in real life, but together they were as funny as doing your taxes. Meanwhile Tom Bergeron (I love the guy) and Heidi Klum stood around looking uncomfortable, and I'm thinking, "Okay, this is part of the bit and at any moment it's going to get funny... " but then it never happened. Sheesh, I can't even remember who the fifth guy was... oh, gosh. Of course, the omnipresent Ryan Seacrest. Is there anyone else who is not happy with the fact that it seems he is being primed to be the next Dick Clark on New Year's Rockin' Eve? I have spent like the last 30-plus years with Dick, and the thought of spending the next 30-something with Ryan Seacrest makes me want to boycott New Year's Eve entirely. Please, if someone can explain to me why I should like this guy, feel free. I am open-minded and willing to listen to your reasoning before keeping him on the list of People Who Are Famous And Just Shouldn't Be.

On the bright side of the Emmy telecast was the fact that 30 Rock won, and so did Tina Fey, for Writing and Best Actress, and Alec Baldwin for Best Actor. Say what you will about his personal life, dude is funnier than hell on this show, and if you are not watching it, please do. It's freaking hilarious and Tina Fey is my idol. Oh, goodness, and Josh Groban. I did not get this guy before. And what I mean by that is that I did not get why he was so famous and so adored. But after his medley of TV theme songs, I was ready to marry the guy. He was adorable and the medley was so much fun. Mad Men won for best drama, which caused me to ask myself for the bajillionth time why I am not watching this show. One day, at least a year ago, I watched bits and pieces of several episodes during a marathon while I cleaned house and loved it (the show, not cleaning the house), but have never made it a staple on my DVR, and I think I need to change that. And House, I need to watch that show, too.

Oh goodness, THE highlight of the Emmy's... the Ricky Gervais/Steve Carrell bit. Laughed off my you-know-what!!

Say what you will about its defects, but I will never be one of those people who do not watch TV. Every time I hear that, I feel a slight of pang of jealousy, which quickly subsides and turns into "What the hell is wrong with you?" There is a heap of good stuff on TV. Do I like the fact that it takes time away from reading, writing, or my kid? No... but let me think on that some more after the season premiere of Dancing With The Stars.

Why? And also politics.

First of all, why?

Jen, you will all undoubtedly ask, why do you need to blog? The most obvious answer is why the hell not? But seriously, it is because for close to 30 years, I've thought that maybe I have something I need to say. Or more importantly and egotistically, I have something to say and I need people to hear it. Or read it, or whatever. I cannot explain why this is the case. I cannot explain why I want people to know what is inside of my head. Even as I write this I think that the contents therein are probably truly best left where they are, to fester and ferment. But I'll try to leave the ones that fester and pester there, and instead share the ones that entertain and delight. Wow, I can't believe I just said that, because I am only setting myself up for failure. I will change that now and say that instead of trying to entertain you, I am just going to say whatever the hell is in my mind that day, and do with it what you wish.

I have had a motto for several years that goes something like this: "I feel the reason I'm here is to entertain and be entertained." Seriously. This seems like a silly, meaningless, empty sort of motto to have. I disagree. Life is short. I think we should spend as much of it laughing and smiling or making people do the same as possible.

This is also my motto because sometimes I feel I don't have much else to add. For example, do not ask me about politics. I know I'm a Democrat, have always been and will always be. This is about where my knowledge begins and ends. I do know that they always seem to be the ones who want more teachers and libraries and everyone to have equal rights, regardless of skin color or with whom they sleep, so it makes sense that I belong to this party because I think these are good things. Also, if you watch the conventions, you will see that obviously, the Dems look way more like they would be fun at a party. Even the most conservative Rush-Limbaugh-loving Michael-Savage-adoring of you know this is true. If you were trying to throw a really fun party you would totally invite the crowds from the Democratic convention and not the stiffs from the other one.

So I will not debate you on the issues. I know what I know (which is very little) and I feel what I feel in my heart (which is a whole lot). This being said, I have made it my goal to start paying way more attention to what is happening in the world and become super educated about politics, current affairs and whatnot. I think I will start by watching The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, as both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert make me laugh any time I see them, and yet I do not watch these shows. I believe I need to start my education about issues by getting them in heaping hilarious, satirical, comical doses from, of course, left-leaning hilarious guys. Then perhaps I will move on to some real news, the stuff I try to avoid because it super bums me out and gets in the way of me being entertained.

As I have told countless folks, especially the one (because there has only been one so far who has been so blatant about it) who accuses me of burying my head in the sand, if something really important happens, I have a whole bunch of friends and family members who will let me know. Also I will catch a blip about it when I sign in to Yahoo! to check my e-mail.

And the title of this blog, Work in Progress? It's because it is and so am I. For the love of all that's good and holy, I really hope I am.