Monday, July 9, 2007

Snip, snip

No, I'm not making Vinnie get a vasectomy. I'm talking about what I thought was the best skort ever when I bought it. Turns out it needed a little quick modifying yesterday before heading off to the Fly-In and pancake breakfast at our local airport. This skort is made of the greatest material, you know, it is one of those sporty yet practical items that looks good but wicks sweat and is fast drying. A good item to wear on a 92 degree day when you plan on spending lots of time in the sun talking to people you hardly ever see (for a reason).

Anyway, when I bought it I thought I found the prize of summer and was even willing to pay for it (my b-day was coming up and I often treat myself since my husband neglects too, so I didn't feel too guilty). What I discovered after wearing it few times was that the shorts part underneath the skirt was not a "full" pair of shorts. Where the crotch comes together there is a separation between the sides, kind of like where a zipper would go but the zipper was missing and the ends were finished. It felt bizarre. At first I was going to whack out the entire shorts part and just leave the skirt but then I noticed how thin the layers were (all that wicking and quick drying happens for a reason). Instead I did a little snip-snip here and a little snip-snip there and I have a 5/6 skirt underneath my top skirt. I cut that nasty crotch area right out of there and evened it off so it didn't hang below the top skirt and presto-comfort!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Note Notation Notion

"I like running because it's a challenge. If you run hard, there's the pain - and you've got to work your way through the pain. You know, lately it seems all you hear is, Don't overdo it' and, Don't push yourself.' Well, I think that's a lot of bull. If you push the human body, it will respond." -Bob Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers general manager, NHL Hall of Fame

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Classic Diezel

Once a week I dig though the sand, rocks and sticks in Diezel's backpack and extract all the worksheets he has done in kindergarten. I usually do this on Thursday because it is also newsletter day and I don't want to miss out on any upcoming info for the next week (I'm kind of organized like that). I don't hold much stock in the papers that come home because the teacher has a habit of telling the kids what to write/circle so I'm never sure if it is his brain at work. Some of the stuff that I do see is very obviously non-directive and those are the papers I love to look at and sometimes (another bad habit of mine) analyze (the psychologist in me).

Today there was a religion worksheet with a little poem/prayer (is there a difference? and what is it?) on it:

God made everyone.

God made all people good.
God gave people many gifts.
He gave people the world and
all the good things in it.

On the page is a picture of a park with a bench, swing set, slide and sandbox. The instructions are to "Add people to this picture. Show them enjoying God's world." Diezel did an excellent job of coloring in the ground with green grass and colored all the equipment orange including the park bench. His "people" consisted of one stick person just outside the sandbox and nobody else. His person has two eyes, a smile, arms with 3 fingers on each hand and legs but no feet.

Now this is where I get into trouble because I wasn't there to see how the assignment was presented, how much time the kids had to accomplish the task and how they interpreted the directions. I just know what my boy did or didn't do. I adore his picture but I also think it tells a great deal about where in his life he feels happy and good. He loves to dig and he is at his best when he is alone. God may have made everyone but he didn't make everyone to enjoy everyone.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


For our May book club at C Public Library we read Snow Flower and the secret fan by Lisa See. I had already read the book and recommended that the club read it. When I first read the book I was fascinated by the culture and customs in China, especially those surrounding foot binding and the lives of the women in the story. The second time I read it I was able to pay even closer attention to the "clues" I missed the first time. After rereading the book I realized that initially I identified with the inexperienced and unlearned Lily, but the second time I was reading from the view of Lily's mother. Both times I could not comprehend having my own feet bound, nor binding the feet of my only daughter. Yet, after the discussion tonight I realize that in our own ways, both at home and in society, we are binding young girls everyday, it is just not as blatant as it was in China.

Women in China bound their daughter's feet to make them more marriageable and to give them a better life than they had. Although we do not wrap our daughters feet and make them walk until their bones break (so we can mold them into "Golden Lilies") we do have the expectation that they will have better lives than us, that they will have more choices, that they will make different and better choices than we did, that they will be more beautiful than we were, that their spouses will treat them better and love them more, that they will follow their dreams and secure their passions, that they will be everything that we are not. In China women were judged by the size of their feet and it was estimated that 10% of girls died during foot binding. In America women are judged by the size of their breasts, their physical beauty and their weight. I wonder how many girls today are dying from eating disorders, drug and alcohol related deaths, and suicide?

Unfortunately, the standards today are tough, tougher than they ever were. It is not good enough for a child to just be involved in extracurricular activities, she must excel at what she is doing or choose something else. Mothers are starting their daughters in dance classes as soon as they can walk and demanding perfection and acceleration in their schoolwork (because they WILL be smart and get a good education). Our daughters mistakes are pointed out at all times so they can do better next time, we expect that their clothing and hair is not an embarrassment to us, we put them on diets so their bodies are not revolting in their tight clothing, we push them and pull them, we offer breast augmentation for their sweet 16th and nose reconstruction for graduation, we demand perfection because we are under the illusion that perfection brings happiness and success. Are we are no better than the Chinese women trying to secure their daughter's future by foot binding?

Finally, we are forgetting to teach our young daughters to say no. And not just "no" to someone that is trying to be physically too close, but to those who expect more from them than they WANT to give. We are not teaching them to say no to us. I'm not implying that our daughters should be given free reign, but that we need to be careful about what we expect and why we are expecting it. At times they should be pushed outside their comfort zones but allowed to return GUILT FREE to where they find solace. We need to know when to guide, when to observe and when to offer resources. We need to loosen their bindings so they can run free.

A few little things

Well, I discovered when I was running today that yesterday marked the longest amount of time in months that I have gone in between children without getting pregnant. Three times over I was pregnant by 19 months of the last birth and yesterday marked 20 months and no pregnancy. Applause, applause! After 4 days of vomiting and diarrhea out of the youngest two this little fact is pure relief.


The kindergarten class has a substitute today and I left my lovely Diezel boy feeling a little more than worried but his excitement about having a substitute made me keep my mouth shut. CR, one of my least favorite children in the class (he is in the number 2 spot next to KA), was attempting to climb the door frame when we arrived and as I was leaving the kids were convincing Ms. Kylee (who doesn't look old enough to be out of high school even though I know she is) that they don't do centers in the morning. I hope Diezel is in a talking mood when he gets home, of course he rarely is so my urge for dirt on the class will not be satisfied.


Yesterday I HAD to go to Meijer, the four days of vomit/diarrhea left me almost totally depleted of baby wipes. We started the trip trying to buy bird seed (buy one/get one!) but they were out of the bo/go size and the clueless door greater just didn't know what to do. I guess that explains her door greater position. I grabbed the tag off the shelf to "prove" to the cashier that it was on sale. We made it through the rest of our list, even remembered the baby wipes, without trouble. But, then again, the trouble no matter where you shop seems to start at the cashier lanes. The friendly "I'll help you find a short lane" lady pointed to a lane with a cashier that in the past has been less desirable to me than others. I tried to find another open or short lined lane but there were none to be found and Ollie was already acting tired/sick/moaning so I jumped in her line. First thing I told her was that I needed a rain check for my bird seed. This woman plays by the rules: I had to verify that I could not locate the item, that I asked for assistance, the name of the person that offered the assistance, and I had to locate the item in the ad. All this and I was rewarded with my rain check. I hope the birds are happy.

The bird seed wasn't even my main complaint. I had two bottles of very cheap wine that I was purchasing and by this point there was a preschooler with his head down in the front seat of the cart and a toddler in a backpack on my back making moaning/whining noises-it was obvious that I had a lot going on and that I DON'T LOOK UNDER 21! I may not look almost 34 (well maybe I do, I don't know) but I sure as hell don't look under 21. The b**** after all I had been through asked for my I.D. She even looked at it when I gave it to her and put in my real b-day instead of the fake one they all use to bypass the system. By that time she knew she was pushing her luck and even looked up and told Ollie that she was trying to hurry. We barely made it out of there without me assulting her but I try to be mature now that I am in my mid-30's.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

A bean in Diezel's ear

I must consistently remind myself that SPD is fun! Fun for the whole family! I have learned that it is better to be amazed by the behaviors and laugh a little at them than to let them irritate me to the point where one or all of us needs to be on medication. Last night Diezel couldn't resist climbing into the gravity wagon full of last years soy beans. I bet it felt really good swimming around in all those beans, boots off, pockets full, sun shining. Until, a little bean magically popped in his ear and got stuck. To compound his troubles he does not like attention, especially attention derived from actions that were not intended to be shared with anyone. Poor Diezel, he was mad and scared, and especially worried that the doctor would have to cut his ear off to get the bean out!

Being ever so lazy in the evening I decided to fore go a trip to the ER, I mean really, is a bean in the ear really an emergency? According to some websites it is, but there is no way I sitting there all night for this minor inconvenience, and after all his highly selective hearing was still functioning. Our friend, the town vet, offered me a few suggestions but none of them worked. We left her place with a basket ball hoop, a little green ride-on tractor, kid sized wheel barrow and a bean in Diezel's ear.

It didn't fall out during the night so he was "forced" to stay home from school (which he claims that he hates anyway) until I could contact his doctor. My husband, who was too busy farming the night before, all of a sudden became vigilant about finding a way to get that bean out. Diezel was set on staying home from school and traveling to the doctor so he didn't want Vinnie to touch him for fear he would have to go to kindergarten that day. Once I convinced Diezel that he didn't have to go to school that day, no matter what, he was a little more receptive to letting his dad experiment. A few tries with a twisty tie stripped of the plastic coating and the bean rolled on out.

Diezel is a boy that likes the feeling of sand pouring in his ears, has swallowed two pennies because he likes to have non-food objects in his mouth, touches EVERYTHING when we are out in public, the list goes on and on. On the good days I watch and hope that a trip to the ER won't be necessary, on the bad days I forget my sense of humor, but everyday I tell him I'll love him no matter what.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Yeah for toast!

It is a beautiful day and I have no business being inside but I did a long run today and I feel ever so vigorous about life right now. A long run will do that to a person. If the long run is long and I finish feeling as though I could do another 5 miles then nothing can go wrong the rest of the day. The past 2 long runs have been especially motivating and I think it is because I have eaten a piece of buttered toast in addition to my daily banana before running. Of course I am still chewing my Shot Bloks every 30-40 minutes while on the road but that single piece of toast is really doing the trick. Before I added toast to my Sunday routine I would feel shaky by 4 miles and want to eat all my Shot Bloks at once, never a good idea. Yeah for toast!

The toddler is sleeping and yesterday we found some animal bones under a fallen stump so the big kids are excavating to find more. They will be busy for hours! Makes me consider skinning some road kill and burying it every few weeks just to keep the kiddies busy and entertained. Although, I am as hopeful as them that the skull shows up and we get an idea as to what type of animal it is. When I first found a few of the bones there was an old metal file with a wooden handle in the same area and I was already creating our own little mystery about someone who killed someone and buried the murder weapon with the body. Instead it appears that one day when Diezel came home from farming he claimed the filein the field and then hid it under the stump so no one else could have it and he could play with it later. That's my Diezel-part boy, part squirrel. Part lots of other things too but I'll save that for another day!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Note Notation Notion

"Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity." -Christopher Morley US author & journalist (1890 - 1957)

Nike+ iPod for me

I have discovered that the most difficult thing about blogging is actually sitting down to do it. Everyday my intentions are good then the kids need help getting the peanut butter, the baby deposits a surprise in his diaper big enough to require a bath and while I'm giving him a bath the dog chews up the Kleenex in the office garbage can. It is never ending. And when it seems as though the house is clean, the lawn is mowed, the animals are fed, the chicken coop is clean and I have dinner ready to pop in the oven someone pukes and I'm battling a virus as it makes it way through four kids and my husband. Thankfully, I always seem to be spared from the illness but by the end feel as though I've had it due to lack of sleep and exhaustion.

I've come to the conclusion that what I really need is Nike to make an iPod+ thingy that allows me to dictate my thoughts about myself and the larger world while I run and then when I get home I can plug it into the computer and all my thoughts would be instantly transformed into blog entries. I do my most stunning thinking while I'm on the move and once I sit down to type it kind of all falls away. This little machine would prevent all that! I could even write that novel I've been meaning to get to (because at this rate it won't happen until I'm in a nursing home and can no longer hear the kids yelling at each other over who's turn it is to visit or pay the bill). It would revolutionize my life. Ah, one can always have a dream...

Friday, April 13, 2007

I hate ironing

Last night I got to help the children pick outfits for spring school pictures. Yes, the spring photos, because they have changed so much since fall photos (I really am tempted to ask the school what percentage they earn from the photos). Seneca wanted to wear a skirt, she doesn't own one that is long enough except for her uniform skirt, so while she pouted I went to find appropriate items for Diezel. His only request was to wear jeans so I found a nice soft t-shirt to go under the sweater I wanted him to wear and told him he could take the sweater off after the photos. He seemed agreeable so off I went to appease Seneca.

Her and I finally agreed on a orangish/tye-dyish dress with a bright turtle neck underneath. We even managed to locate a pair of off-white tights with no holes. I thought we were on easy street until I used my critical eye to view the ensemble with an outsiders eye. Wrinkles. Damn wrinkles. I do own an iron for the purpose of ironing my quilt blocks but even during those projects I seriously debate on whether or not I want to go through the effort.

I was being lazy, as I always am with an item that needs to be ironed, so I hung the dress up with the hopes that overnight the wrinkles would straighten out. I made it back downstairs and thought I would try the old "steam it in the shower trick", although this has never worked for me I thought it would be less intensive than getting out the iron and board. By this time I could have ironed half my wardrobe (please note there are no items in my wardrobe that need to be ironed) including her dress. Instead, I finally decided to be an adult (read:my mother) about the situation and lugged out the iron and my mini ironing board (I would never own a full size one) and just did the deed.

It helped to know that I could finally block out the scarf I knitted at the same time, without that scarf in back of my mind Seneca probably would have had a wrinkled dress in her spring pictures. Gosh, is that selfish or what? My quilts and now scarf are all finely pressed but my kids are a rumpled mess. I guess I could be the polar opposite, one grandma used to iron her sheets and my other grandma used to come over and try to iron our jeans. I guess evolution is at work here, survival of the fittest: the fit do not iron unless absolutely necessary!

Friday, April 6, 2007

Conquering Easter Eggs

Ah, it is that lovely time of year when I venture to the store to buy white eggs (the kids don't like the result of coloring our home-hatched brown and green eggs) so the kids can bicker and cry with Dudley. It truly is nerve racking and this year I thought I would make it go a little easier by having a bit of wine with our egg decorating, but darn it, I had a doctor's appointment scheduled later in the day and didn't want to make a bad impression. Of course I could have put the event off until later in the day, but after the 99th time of "Are the eggs cool enough yet?" I rolled up my sleeves and dug in.

For those of you who tend to skip the directions on these boxes of hell, please note that:


Oh, so now it is not good enough to be a parent who is simply supervising, I must now be A-T-T-E-N-T-I-V-E. Let me tell you how I glad I was that I skipped on that wine before starting-can't have mommy passed out in the egg dye just passively supervising.

Somehow we managed to color all 30 eggs with 3 different "kits" and no major fallout. (I won't go into detail about the 3 eggs that cracked because I said no MAJOR fallout) The kids even decided to share kits. Wow. You should have seen me puff up my attentively supervising feathers when that happened. I was the whip, I could do this! Yes I did! Of course the pink dye didn't turn out right because in my efforts to be efficient (somehow my efficiency always bites me in the ass) I added vinegar to that bowl when the package specifically states DO NOT ADD VINEGAR TO PINK TABLET. So I wasn't as attentive as I thought. At least I found out why to not add the vinegar to the pink tablet. You too can find out why by adding vinegar to your pink tablet! My lips are sealed about what happened, just note that the kids didn't think anything of it. They were just thrilled to have me ATTENTIVELY coloring eggs without having to raise my voice. I don't think I've had another day this successful since I discovered my current running shoes over 10 years ago, ah, I think Easter is my new favorite holiday.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Is it REALLY spring?

I was just starting to recover from running this winter where the wind chill put us at negative 25 degrees and now it decides to snow on April 5. Just in time for Easter. What? We didn't have snow for Christmas but we will be hunting eggs in piles of white fluff! My chocolate egg stash in the ever-sticky minivan will be frozen. And let me point out that this is not the stash for the kids Easter baskets, but my stash to sneak while I'm trying to keep my sanity going from one activity to the next. Now don't get me wrong, I love frozen chocolate when appropriate and expected, but this is not what I consider timely.

Knowing what is going to happen or having an expectation of what is going to happen in the near future is very important to my mindset. How I ended up with four kids is so beyond me, especially because I can't predict more than one minute henceforth. If SPD had been a recognizable disorder when I was a child and my mother went through the proper channels (most assuredly unlikely as she didn't think it odd that I wore sweat pants or worn out corduroys for the first 10 years of my life) to get me diagnosed, maybe, just maybe, some wonderful therapist would have gently suggested that someone with my degree of sensory defensiveness should not have children, ever. Unless of course I was capable of producing sticky hating children too. And what are the odds of that, especially with a husband who is capable of wearing LONG underwear in July and socks with seams that would send me into convulsions.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Note Notation Notion

"You will make all kinds of mistakes: but as long as you are generous and true and also fierce you cannot hurt the world or even seriously distress her." -Winston Churchill

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Snack Time

Soccer season is here again. Or should I call it "snack season"? I received a phone call from a friend who thinks like I do about feeding kids for performing on the athletic field. Well, let's be honest here, they don't have to perform, they just have to get their hand into the circle where the snacks are being passed out. Anyway, my friend needs me to give her a copy of my favorite obesity article of all time, The Fat of the Land. This article should be a standard part of educating our coaches, experience and unexperienced. It details what has sadly happened to our American children as our culture has embraced electronic entertainment and not made much effort to push our kids out the door to play.

When I coached in town this past fall I told the parents that I did not think snacks were necessary but they were welcome to organize it amongst themselves, I would not be part of it. Mind you, this "snack" discussion occurred just after I handed out the uniform shirts where one overweight mother complained that her son's shirt was not nearly big enough (he was also overweight) and she was not happy with this. After all, she did just pay $25 for her child to receive a weekly snack, oops to play soccer, and this was unjust. The only time a parent did bring a snack, juice boxes, I passed at least six of them discarded on the ground on the way to my car. Not only are some of our children overweight, they are lazy and inconsiderate.

The statistics are horrifying, in the grand state of Michigan, and grand we are, almost 2/3's of adults are overweight. That means I'm a minority and proud of it! Also, based on current figures, 1 out of 3 children born after 1999 will be diagnosed with type II diabetes, and many of them will be diagnosed at earlier and earlier ages.

I'm taking a stand with my children by boycotting McDonald's and other fast food "restaurants" in the hopes that when they can make their own choices they will see that McDonald's is a poor selection. Not even their campaign to sell me my "made-to-order" latte will get me through their drive-thru. It was a smooth marketing decision on their part, mommy will get her latte and because the kids know they are at the "golden arches" they will assume they will be getting something too. Once again, McDonald's makes a few extra bucks at the expense of our children's health. I will stick to Starbucks and my $4 coffee!

In fact, my three year old had it right the other day. We have been talking about red light, yellow light and green light foods as a way for my children to know what is healthy to eat and what foods they should eat in small portions (found in The Healthiest Kid in the Neighborhood). So my son and I are driving along and he is talking all about food because he is really interested as to why he can't have those fries he loves (he has not eaten these fries in over 5 months and still remembers them very clearly). When we drive by any McDonald's he claims he is hungry and that we must go. Finally, the other day we drove by one and he didn't ask to go and commented that they made bad food. But what really has stuck with me was that later in the day he called it "hazard food" and understood exactly why he was calling it that.

Why is something so simple as (fat+calories) x no exercise=obesity so difficult to understand? The earlier we focus on (healthy food choices+exercise)=feeling great! the better chance we have to save these kids.

I'm not against all snacks, but let's see some oranges, apples, grapes, even a cheese stick being offered. It may give some of these kids, who don't know what fruit is outside of sticky "fruit snacks", a healthy chance.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Lucy is thankful we celebrate St. Patrick's Day
with corned beef instead of chicken!

Friday, March 16, 2007


On the way to drop the kids off at school this morning I asked Seneca what type of fruit she would like me to start putting in her lunch. "Apples," she replied, "I love apples!" You would think being her mother for almost 8 years now I would know this, but I don't. If I had put an apple in her lunch without her blessing she would not have eaten it.

Diezel couldn't help but announce that he likes apples too and he "once ate the best apple in the whole world, but that was a long time ago." He is six. I wonder if he will have apples sitting on his counter as an adult that he doesn't eat?

Note Notation Notion

"I may come in the back door or surprise you at the front. In my unrequired life I will climb through your window."

Thursday, March 15, 2007


I have so many words in me right now that they are getting in a bunch trying fight their way out. One thought leaps in and then connects me to another thought which in turn has me on another tangent. If I don't start writing them down I'm sure I will explode, or even implode, I don't know which I would prefer.

Each day I wake up in awe of where I am and what I'm doing. The same thing over and over and over. The aluminum stovetop percolator is showing evidence of wear from my tired hand holding the wooden handle every morning. EVERY damn morning. The little bubble of green glass, where I watch the coffee pop up and plop back down, falls out when I set the pot. Does it want to escape, too?