Monday, October 19, 2009
I work at a world renowned school of music. Which is really funny because I don't know the first thing about any kind of music. I'm not a music person. Never have been. And in this job in particular I am a fish out of water because the curriculum is classical music. I know even less about that than I do about any other type of music, and that's really saying something. Fortunately, my job doesn't really require much musical knowledge. But sometimes my lack of musical understanding is obvious. Glaringly obvious.
Like a couple years ago when our school awarded Sir Paul McCartney an honorary doctorate of music. Everyone was buzzing in my office. Sir Paul McCartney was coming! Sir Paul McCartney was coming! Could I believe it? Actually, I couldn't. This was one time when I actually knew who they were talking about.
That night when I got home from work, I walked into my living room and told my husband who had been on campus that day.
"Wow! Paul McCartney, huh?" he said.
"Yeah, I know," I said back. And then I added, "He's that Monkeys guy, right?"
There was dead silence in the room.
"No, he's that Beatles guy, dear," said my husband. And then he added, "Please don't ever tell anyone that you said that. Okay?"
I swear, some days I don't know how I get through the work day at all.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Haven't we all seen the movie where the unlikable sister-in-law or brother-in-law sits at the family table saying evil things and everyone loathes them? I've actually been at one of those events and I hope that my husband and I will never be the hated one. But what would it be like if your family doesn't like your significant other?
I was fortunate enough that the first time my brothers met my husband they got along famously. I had been so nervous to introduce my boyfriend after years of my brothers asking if I was dating anyone they could beat up. (Lovely weren't they?) I got lucky because my family likes him, but what would I have done if they didn't?
But, my sister has brought home some men that put my family on edge. In fact, I quit speaking to the last guy she dated because he said an unbelievably rude comment to me shortly after I had my first baby. (I was hormonal and sensitive and I will never forgive or forget his stupidity.) Sis claims that she doesn't need or care if our family approves of her boyfriend, but would she really marry someone that the family doesn't like? The last couple of guys just didn't seem to mesh with the way that our family interacts.
We all get along as a family, sure we yell, but we also have a lot of fun when we get together. Wouldn't you assume that what our family deems 'likable' traits would be the same things that my sister looks for in a guy? She was raised with us and has the same values and background as the rest of the family. So if he can't get along with us, wouldn't that be a clue that the long term compatibility with my sister probably isn't there?
I'm not saying if our family doesn't love him immediately or worship the ground he walks on that she should dump whomever she's dating. But shouldn't she at least value our opinions a little?
I'm just sayin' . . .
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
submitted by Pony Girl
There are so many life lessons we can teach our kids. Although they probably ride the ATV faster than they should, on the flipside, my youngest is very paranoid if the space heater is anywhere near the bathtub. They buckle their seatbelts religiously, did I tell them not to turn on the cruise control when the road is wet? What about hyrdroplaning. Have I have cautioned them on things like carbon monoxide and schooled them on the small animals most likely to carry rabies? I wonder if they’ll ever be ready for the real world.
I hope that one of the things they will learn and carry forward in life is kindness. Growing up in a small town, I went to school with most of the same kids from Kindergarten through high school. We had the nerds and the jocks, the beauty queens, the popular kids, the pot smokers and the fun crowd. But invariably, there are always kids who get made fun of. And even as a child, I remember feeling sorry for them. I didn’t necessarily invite them into my clique, but tried to be a little nicer one on one. It was the best I could do as a shallow-minded child. As a parent, I’ve tried to direct my kids in that direction, as well. They don’t necessarily have to be friends with everyone, but just be kind.
Throughout the years, I haven’t seen them demonstrate any heroic acts of kindness to their fellow students, but I haven’t heard them necessarily dissing anyone either. My oldest has had a spat or two in the locker room with other boys – not sure who bullied whom, but they served their detentions and moved on. Socially, things seem to run a pretty even keel.
Seventh grade has been tough on Child #2. (Well, maybe not so tough on him as it has been on me!) Adjusting to a larger school where he is not the “cock of the walk” has had been challenging and I believe in his efforts to fit in, he has made some bad choices. He had three behavioral detentions in 2 days, compared to his older brother’s 2 detentions in 4 years! From clowning around to drinking the science experiment, (Huh? Was it toxic? No. Well thank goodness for that!), it cost him participation in his first football game and trust me, that hurt him! A lot. All minor infractions, but at least they set the bar for him and he has been trying to walk the straight and narrow since. Well, until yesterday.
Late in the afternoon, I get an email from one of the priests. The title of the email was “inappropriate language”. Slowly, I open the email and quickly scan for a notice of detention – as one more and he will be off the football team. Whew. No detention. It seemed, however, that a young lady in his class called him a name. He struck back by calling her a name. She then went to the teacher (in tears) and said that my son called her a name. He called her a “douche bag.” (Do you know how thrilled I was getting an email from a priest with “douche bag” quoted in the email? I know I am being paid back for all the things I did to my parents. God help me, this is just the beginning!)
Now to be fair, the priest said that my son probably didn’t know what that meant, so he was not going to give a detention, however, I may want to explain it to him. (Oh, great – I get to have a douche bag conversation with a 12-year-old boy!) But I can handle it. Actually, I’ll have fun with it. I’ll bring up visuals on the internet and tell him what it is for! I’ll embarrass the hell out of him. Again, I am still so grateful for no detention. When I got home, I followed through on the embarrassment, including having him write a letter of apology to the girl in question.
Upon further reflection, I thought about the injured party; the girl who was called a “douche bag”. She is a pre-teen – maybe even thirteen years old; six years from graduating high school. I assume her mom got an email, too, informing her that she called a boy a name. Seems like it might have been appropriate. But, if I were that mom, I would not hold that girl to my bosom and tell her everything is going to be all right and that boy will never hurt you again? Not a chance!
I would tell her “Cowgirl Up, Sweet Cakes! I cannot believe you are almost a teenager and you are still tattle tailing to the teachers about name-calling? You can dish it out but you can’t take it? Still having someone else fight your battles? It’s time to toughen up right now! This may have been the first boy to hurt your feelings, but trust me, it won’t be the last!” Life lesson learned.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
I'm feeling extra frumious today.
My cell phone rings at the office at 8 am sharp Friday morning.
It's my mom calling to say, "Hi, your great- uncle died last night."
First off he was not just a great uncle - he was my grandfather's twin brother. Which me being a twin myself, I've always had a special place in my heart for him.
Now lets put the sadness aside for a second for the reason for my post.
I tearfully asked my mother why she felt that 8 am at the office was a good place to tell me this. And her reply?
"This is a good thing. He had so many health problems and now he can be with his wife in heaven and not living in pain. There's no need to be sad."
I asked why she didn't wait to tell me later in the day. And her reply?
"I wanted you to have all day to deal with this and not hear about it in the evening."
My thoughts are she could have told me at lunch so I could cry while I eat - always a great thing to try to juggle tissues and food, or until the work day was almost over, then I could sit in the car until I got a hold of myself and drove to get my kids from daycare. I understand that her first thought was to spare me having to deal with this in front of the kids, or heaven forbid I drive while upset.
But seriously, 8 am on Friday?
It seems a rather rude question, but how do you pass along bad news? Is there a better time of day? A better method? There has got to be a better way to share sad information.
Friday, October 2, 2009
The word, people, is Realtor. R-E-A-L-T-O-R. It is not Realator. And yet so many of you insist on pronouncing it as if there is an extra "a" stuck right into the middle of there word. Please note that that is not the case. There are only two syllables: REAL/TOR. Say it with me, "Real-tor."
Very good! You are hereby responsible for always saying this word as it's supposed to be and also for gently correcting those who are being wasteful with their syllable usage.
Thank you for your attention.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I wish to preface this discussion by saying I love my husband. Deeply. I wouldn't trade him for another. He is truly my best friend and has stood by me always. The issue I want to discuss and the question I want answered is, what happened to the really romantic guy I married some twenty years ago? The guy is still here, but the romantic part of him left a long time ago.
When I ask him why he is no longer romantic, he seems clueless and lost as if I brought up a whole new concept. I remind him of the many wonderfully romantic things he once did and all the beautiful letters and notes he once wrote that I have carefully saved. I mean this man truly wrote some of the most beautiful things you could imagine.
I have read somewhere before that when a man is trying to win a woman's heart, he throws his whole heart into it until he conquers and wins that which he is seeking and fighting for. Then he marries her and he is victorious. He no longer has to pursue her. Oh, he might stay with it for a few years until the babies are born. Then he has to conquer the working world to provide for his bride and children. And after awhile, the cares of work, family, church and everyday life take it's toll on him. He settles into life as he now knows it, and takes for granted that his wife will know how he feels about her since he expressed his love for her in such grandiose fashion during their courtship and early marriage. Can anyone relate?
Meanwhile, his bride thrived and blossomed on the love he showered upon her in those early days. She felt truly cherished. Then, pregnancies, parenting, and everyday life began to take it's toll on her. She begins to notice that she is getting older and the cute shape she once had is getting a little lumpier and rounder and her face is starting to wrinkle ever so slightly. She tries to take care of herself so she looks as pretty as she once did, but age is a cruel enemy. She wonders if he even finds her attractive anymore. She hates how crabby she gets some days after dealing with the kids all day and she wonders if she is still a fun and interesting person. In fact, she wonders if her only worth is in the clothes she gets washed, the groceries she shops for, and the hot meal she puts on the table each night.
I know that love deepens through the years and matures and a couple won't always feel "giddy in love" 100% of the time like when love was new. I can account for that. I am realistic. I don't expect my husband to leave me love notes and flowers everyday. But, what I am saying is a woman never wants her man to stop pursuing her. Even though the wedding has taken place and many years have passed, she wants to know she is still a treasure worth having.
Monday, September 28, 2009
My mother is the champion of the Understatement. For once, just once, I would love to get a straight-down-the-line, dinky-di, absolute truth answer rather than the surface sugar-coated blather that is most often dished out.
I am not, by my very nature, a negative person and I don’t automatically see the ‘bad’ in everything. But sure as shit, sometimes there is bad stuff happening (or about to happen) and I would just like to know about it.
Take, for instance, the impending birth of my first child. You would think my mother, who had gone through it twice before, would at least give me a hint as to what I was about to experience. And it’s not as if I didn’t ask for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.
She dodged. She weaved. She sidestepped. And in the end, I gave up. All I got was “mumble, mumble, mumble ... but at the end you have a beautiful baby and it makes it all worthwhile”. I really should have grabbed her by the lapels and screamed “Makes all WHAT worthwhile? So, is it going to hurt really bad, Mum?? Am I going to embarrass myself? What should I be looking out for?”. But I didn’t. I realised she didn’t want to talk about it so I let it go.
And that was fine. Until the day after the birth, when she came to visit her first grandchild and leaned over and said to me “Hurts like a bitch, doesn’t it?” and proceeded to give me ALL the information I had so desperately wanted – no, needed - before the event.
OH. MY. GOD.
So it’s not like she didn’t know or couldn’t remember. She waved away my expletive with the reasoning that she didn’t want to scare me. Heelllooooo. Crazed information gatherer here!! I fear only that which I don’t know!!
Oh wait, It gets better.
Because there’s that whole “Heart Incident” thing with my father. Not a Heart Attack, oh no no no! Silly me. The phone conversation went something like this:
“Oh no, dear, it was a heart incident. Your father didn’t actually die so that’s the difference. [insert high pitched questioning over phone from daughter] Oh, well, yes there have been some signs over the past few months. [more high pitched noise] Well, his cholesterol was up a bit. (A bit? Try 9.2 when warning range is 5.5) I didn’t want to worry you, darling, that’s why we didn’t say anything ... and it’s no big deal now. He has two stents ... well, yes, they had to put two in because it would seem both arteries were pretty clogged ...I’m sorry, darling but can you lower your tone a little? It’s a bit screechy. Are you feeling alright?”
And so on and so forth.
“Your fathers’ not feeling very well” =“His depression is hitting new lows. Now he just lies in bed all day long in the foetal position”
“ I haven’t been too healthy lately” = “Uh-oh, it would seem I have developed Type 2 diabetes”
“Your grandfather has had a little accident” = “He broke his hip. He’s 82. It’s a corkscrew break so not so easy to fix”
See, the trouble is we don’t live close by so I can’t just ‘pop’ over and do a reconnaissance for myself. I am relying on her to give me accurate information regarding the health and general wellbeing of herself, my father and anyone else in the family.
Now that you have the background, you can imagine the warning bells going off in my head as my father talks to me on the phone the other day about having lost ‘ a little weight’. He is fighting prostate cancer and the last time I saw him, he wasn’t carrying any extra around with him. He states that he’s down to 64 kg (141 lbs). That’s ‘pretty light’ for a man 1.76m (5' 9")tall (oh hell – it’s 4 kg lighter than me. There. I said it. And to be honest, that was what freaked me out the most. My Daddy weighing less than me.)
But of course, after I got a little panicky and left a message on Mum’s phone and sent an email saying “Whenever you need help with him, call me and I will be right there”, I get a reassuring email and a phone call to say it’s just been a series of unfortunate circumstances and he is feeling much better and put on a whole ½ kilo from actually eating the night before.
PLEASE let her be telling me the open, honest-to-goodness truth for once ...
*DISCLAIMER: I love my Mum so very much. I think she is a top chick and a good-lookin’ sheila to boot. And those rose-coloured glasses do go so well with her beautiful skin ...