Friday, July 31, 2009

HMD #36.5

Beautiful Stranger takes the lead:

Westley and Buttercup are scheduled to meet - ice cream social is tomorrow....tensions are high....cute little sundresses are littering the hallways and options are being considered.....

HM will update you accordingly, after dodging the "does this make my butt look big?" and "I think I'm getting arm fat!" bullets several dozen more times between now and then.

HM out...I hear practice primping coming from the third floor....must feign sleep.....

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What I haven't been doing...

I just realized that I have not watched the evening news (or anything, actually) since the Beloved was here back in June for Princess' prom. I turned my bedroom tv on to check the weather for tomorrow (a day without rain?!?) and realized it was tuned to ESPN.

I NEVER watch ESPN unless he's here.


My ONE single day (including Sundays) without 2-4 different kid-related practices, speech therapy, or other things to do was this past Saturday. It poured. We watched Pride & Prejudice (1995...Colin Firth, baby!) all night and I made fabulous blender drinks. The great thing about this new blender is that it has dual blades, so I can make a cold adult beverage on one side and a cold child's beverage on the other. Frozen lemonade with fresh strawberries....and a nice ZING of Grey Goose for the Mamma.


But it would've been great to enjoy it while snuggled up with my Beloved watching ESPN. Or, better yet, watching P&P...


Thursday, July 23, 2009

HMD #36: Question of the week

If you are a Princess, do you choose to remain with a Beautiful Liar (Beyonce, Beyonce...Shakira, Shakira)...or do you take a chance on a Beautiful Stranger (Madonna, Madonna)???

The Beautiful Liar

More drama with the belaguered Princess/Athlete duo...another spat erupted over the original lying episode. The Princess, whether sadly or luckily, has inherited her mother's cross-examination skills and is now tending to pick apart even the most mundane statements the Athlete makes and stories he tells, because she has a hard time believing him. It is good that she spots these things, but it's not exactly her most endearing trait. She's caught him in some pretty glaring inconsistencies more than a few times. All I can say is that it's a painful process to watch them both go through.

He's not helping matters - the more defensive he gets, the more likely it is that he's not being completely candid or accurate. He admits it eventually, but not before making her feel guilty for not believing him ("I can't believe you think so little of me...") - even when he knows he's not telling the whole truth. She nailed him for being emotionally manipulative as well as dishonest, and rightly so. And so here we are...five days, several dozen roses, countless texts, and scores of profuse apologies later. She remains sequestered in her garret on the 3rd floor, while he stands on his family's hillside across the river, gazing over at our 'hood and missing her.

To his credit, he's recognized that much of this petty dishonesty stems from hiding information from very strict and unyielding parents, and he's making strides by being more open with them, even when it means he isn't allowed to go places he might have otherwise gone under cover of going to a movie with friends, etc. It's a tough behavior to change. He swears he's trying. I hope he's being honest about that, at any rate. However, for now, and perhaps for good, they are on boyfriend-girlfriend hiatus again.

The Beautiful Stranger

In other news, the Royal Grandparents have acquired the teen-yard-slave services of a fine-looking, well-raised, and respectable young man...let's call him Westley....who spotted our Princess (Buttercup?) flitting about barefoot in the garden in one of her cute little sundresses, blonde tresses blown about by the breeze, laughing and chasing her little brother through the beanstalks. (This was a few weeks ago, during the first break-up period.) I was sitting on the porch swing and watched him stop dead in his tracks, crane his head forward...I SAW the poor boy's jaw drop open, but then he recollected himself, turned away (and saw me smirking as he did so), grabbed the rake he'd come out back to get, and practically ran back around to the front of the house to keep working with King Grandpa. We ate dinner, but young Westley remained outside because he hadn't finished his work and didn't want to intrude, despite numerous invitations to join us. When we were done, he came in to check with King Grandpa about the next day's agenda, but fell silent when the Princess came into the kitchen with a stack of plates. She (unaware of his interest in her) smiled, said hello, and offered to prepare him a plate now that he'd finished working. He smiled back and very politely declined, because his mother was holding dinner for him at home...but then clever Queen Grandma mentioned that Princess had prepared one of the side dishes. He promised to try what she'd made when he came back the next day. :)

Apparently he's smitten. He made some discreet inquiries the next day and asked Queen Grandma a number of questions about the Princess, her intereests, her grades, the state of her soul, etc., and then asked King Grandpa for his permission to speak to me about possibly COURTING the Princess, as the Beloved is not here for him to ask properly. Yep. He gets it. He's a hybrid-homeschooler. Another half-Catholic, half [fundamental Baptist of some sort] boy with a very conservative upbringing. Just got done with his high school work a year early and is pondering college vs. enlisting in the USMC when he turns 18. (Former Marine King Grandpa is skipping about with joy and whistling the Marine Corps hymn...Queen Grandma is dropping all sorts of little hints via email and phone call about how gorgeous these two blondes would be as a couple...) He is a very handsome boy, the Royal Grandparents have raved about him and what a good kid and hard worker he is, and the Princess admits he's....interesting. Young Westley confirmed to Queen Grandma that he approves of Princess Buttercup's culinary abilities as well as her overall appearance, demeanor, and toddler-wrangling skills. Queen Grandma heard about the latest "off-again" incident and gave him our home number yesterday. He indicated that he would be making use of it in the very near future.

So the question remains. Should she stand by her Beautiful Liar and hope he does some growing up and character building, or invite the Beautiful Stranger over for a chaperoned dinner or perhaps an ice cream cone outing with the family?

Hard to know....all HeloMom does know is that she needs some Jimmy Buffett-esque boat drinks....

Friday, July 17, 2009

Waaaay overdue!!!

Speluncae award/meme from our favorite club-wielding Cavey:

Now here's the deal - you must divulge 10 truths about yourself, and then pass the award along to 7 others. I tag you ALL if you're reading this and especially if you're on the blogroll. I've been so swamped I've not had a chance to catch up with all of you in weeks!!! Which leads me to....
1. I am, always have been, and always will be a horrible procrastinator. Why? I don't know. I hate it. But I think much of it has to do with having always been a "gifted" kid who didn't have to try or study much in school. Had I done so, I'd have taken over the world by now. Law school made me "average" - but I had one baby going in and was pregnant with the next one on the way out, had a 110 mile r/t commute from Irvine to LA each day, and I learned to accept it. And I was in the minority of people in my class who passed the Bar the first time out - 1997 was a brutal passage rate year. The other major thing is that I do my best written work under pressure. So it always works out. But I hate it all the same. The stress isn't worth it. Yet I still do it.
2. I don't make friends with other women easily. Now, don't get me wrong. I am a very social person, not one of those loner types who sits off in a corner feeling either above or beneath her company. It's just that a) I don't like all the typical female drama/gossip/cattiness, and tend to avoid those who engage in it; b) I don't like women who have an "agenda" and think it would be cool to be my friend because of what I do, how much money they think I have (snort!), and/or who I know; and c) referring back to points a) and b), I seem to piss other women off because of their own insecurities and jealousy. And I don't get that - really. On the surface, I'm a slightly chunky 41 year old mother of three, never could be accused of being a stunner, but I still turn heads here and there, from what the Beloved tells me. But I've never cared much about that stuff, so long as the Beloved still likes me. :) As for what really matters, I'm pretty down to earth (honestly, what you see written here is pretty much what you get, save the pen names to protect the kids' anonymity). I am equally comfortable hanging out with my cleaning lady (who has become one of my closest friends since I moved to NY) for drinks as I am with my local elected governmental official friends and those who fund their efforts. I just like women who are comfortable in their own skin, and who don't feel the need to compete with me about husbands/ money/looks/weight, join self help groups or book clubs, or - Lord help us - watch Oprah to figure out what their purpose in life is. I think the fact that I'm a lawyer makes other women feel threatened in some way, or incomplete in themselves. It's very odd.
3. People find me intimidating. Now, this is both a good and a bad thing. I think it's laughable, because I really am not like that at all. The Beloved says I am like a tame and occasionally frightened little rabbit on the inside, but I have scary eyebrows and sharp cruel fangs on the outside. But for professional purposes, it's good to instill fear in other lawyers, and to be looked at as a voice of reason as well as authority (especially as a woman lawyer). Personally, it's good because people don't generally want to mess with me, but bad because they tend to shy away from me because they're afraid of what I might be thinking about them or say to them. Apparently I have a very serious expression, even when I'm thinking happy thoughts, unless I'm actually laughing out loud about something. The kids occasionally think I'm angry at them when I may just be pondering all the crap I have to do, but haven't, because I've been procrastinating...but they're learning that it's my usual Mommy is thinking face.
Finally, this whole intimidating thing doesn't do me any favors with other females in my life (see #2). See? It's a lonely world for freaks like me.
But as a consolation, little kids and babies LOVE ME. I have some sort of magical calming power with upset little ones. They know I like them and want them to be happy, and they respond in kind. The Beloved is even better with the wee ones, but I've got some game.
4. I'm a terrible packrat. I have clothes in three of the six bedrooms' closets. I have expensive designer shoes that haven't fit since I had preeclampsia during my first pregnancy and gained a half size and went from a narrow to a wide foot. I figured the Princess might wear them someday. Same goes for those Size 28 Guess button-fly jeans. She just snorts and laughs. I've procrastinated about having a garage sale to get rid of all sorts of crap since we got here in 2004. Shocker, eh?
5. I have man hands and hobbit feet. Further to #4, I blame my good German and Irish immigrant forebears. I have thick, sturdy fingers and my once svelte size 8 AA's were stretched and swollen beyond recognition (courtesy of the Princess) to 8.5 D's. I thank the Lord every day that they didn't get bigger with Therese or The Boy. I'd have to buy the boxes and throw away the shoes.
6. I spend way too much time on the computer/Blackberry. Self-evident, really. Not to the point where I'm not around the kids, of course, but I think back 10-15 years and I'm disgusted with how much time we (as a culture) DON'T spend with our families and friends because work and leisure time alike find us pasted to these freakin' machines. I watch virtually no television, other than PBS kids' shows with the baby in the mornings
7. I would love to live in either England or Italy. Maybe just for a few years. Maybe forever. I've spent a few weeks in each lovely country and felt more at home in the landscapes and lifestyles there than here. (We've always preferred to rent a villa or stay in an off-the-beaten-path B&B so we can plan our own days and experience the neighborhoods more so than the major tourist attractions.) I love the USA, but I could use a break. At least until 2012 or - gasp - 2016.
8. I have been to 11 U2 concerts. I may have mentioned this before...but just thought I'd throw that in.
9. I bake when I'm stressed out. Hence the chunky bits....bread, cookies, complex meals...that, or some solitaire, compulsive laundry loads and folding/matching socks - whatever mindless activity that will take my mind off of what's bugging me.
10. It took me an hour to come up with this!!! See, I told you I'm kinda boring and low key...
Now all of you have at it - you wouldn"t be on the blogroll unless I like ya!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Got Stock? (As in St. SIMON?!?)


Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, and the Feast of the Scapular of Mt. Carmel. On this day in 1251, our Blessed Mother appeared to St. Simon Stock and presented him with the scapular and promises special favors and protection to those who wear the scapular.

I've had to fight to wear mine each time I've had a baby or any other sort of minor surgery - the best was my knee arthroscopy about 4 years ago. My good Irish Catholic orthopaedic surgeon, who is a quiet, sweet and soft-spoken man, told the OR nurse to back off when she got testy with me for refusing to remove it (in case of emergency breathing issues under anaesthesia, they want a clear shot at your throat). He then very reverently removed it and wrapped it around my wrist, lacing it through my fingers so that it rested in my palm, and crossed my forehead. As usual, I got a little verkelmpt. But for the first time since they rolled me into the OR, I felt completely relaxed, at peace, and ready to go under.

The (very Americanized)young Indian anaesthesiologist was intrigued by all of this, and asked me what "it" was, and what it meant. I told him the deal and he said "That's really beautiful! I've never heard of that and I've never seen one of those before Cool!" and then to his colleague, "Man, I never knew you were such a religious guy, that's great!"

So wear your scapular - don't be shy - there's so much to be gained for your own soul, and for Team Rome! Here's mine:
It's the Cross of the Crusaders....quite fitting, when one lives in the DOR, really. :)

The Princess wears Our Lady of Lourdes/Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, the Beloved carries - but does not wear - his Confirmation name saint, St. Jude (a natural choice, given who his bride is...) and our Little Therese has the Holy Face, which was blessed at the EWTN 25th Anniversary celebration in Birmingham by the late Alfonso Cardinal Lopez-Trujillo, who led the Pontifical Council for the Family. She ran up to him as he crossed the street and asked him to bless it, he bent down, took it in his hand, blessed her and beamed at her and said "it is so beeeaauuutiful! And so are you, precious little one!" Again, I was verklempt.

So....that's ours. What does yours look like? And if you don't have one, why not? Spend the $5 for this wonderful devotional - keep it tucked in close, and if you're asked, hey - you might just reach into a heart or two.

Friday, July 10, 2009

To the Little Boy

Dearest Little Boy,

It's me, Mamma.

Please start talking to Mamma. I'd love to hear your little voice saying stuff to Mamma. The hooting, squealing, giggling, and screeching are good.

"I love you, Mamma" would be great.

The nice speech therapy ladies always tell me how much they love you. But it's nowhere near how much I love you. And even though you haven't said so, I know how much you love Mamma and Dadda and your big sissy and your glasses-having sissy, because your oh-so-tight hugs, sweet and gentle kisses, babba and Sesame Street-time snuggles, and neck-sniffing nuzzles are nothing short of phenomenal. They tell me all I need to know, but there's so much more I want to know...and I can't wait for you to tell me all about so many, many things.

But guess what? Even if you never say a word, I will love you forever beyond measure.

Just thought you should know.


Monday, July 6, 2009

HMD #35....Denouement

Well, well, well.....look who's back in business!

Sort of.

We had a rollercoaster ride of a holiday weekend around here. The weather finally became tolerable (sun, low 70's) in time for the 4th, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the rest of this week, as we have houseguests who deserve to get out and see more than toddler tv on the flatscreen all week. That said, the heater is still kicking on at night because the house temperature sinks to less than 60*. The Boy is wearing thermal jammies, and the down blankies are still on all the beds...but the sleeping weather, I must say, is excellent.


Since writing the last HMD, we have had a sad, angry Princess who refused to discuss the Tall One Who Must Not Be Named at all. And if the subject arose, she got quite nasty and slitty-hatey-eyed, and ran from the room. This got HeloMom thinking. You know...the old adage that the opposite of love is not hate, but apathy. So, one night last week, I finally cornered her, (sitting on a stool in her full length flannel nightie sipping on a cup of tea to warm up in July...snort!) shortly before midnight and employed my best interrogation/cross examination skills and got her talking.

Very reluctantly, very slowly, through lots of tears, she admitted that she felt like she had a huge hole through her midsection - she was missing a big (okay, maybe tall) part of herself - her best friend. But she couldn't let go of being angry at him for betraying her by lying and letting her down, as her former pack of female friends had done before him. We examined what the lies were about (really more a matter of "been there, done that"-style exaggerations and boasts to impress her by making himself seem "cooler"), and eventually agreed that while BAD to do, they didn't really revolve around anything more than his own insecurities and relative immaturity. He wasn't lying about anything material or detrimental to her, to their relationship, or anything of serious consequence. The real consequences came back down on him - he has been despondent, and, as he put it one day while finishing up yardwork "I hate myself far more than she could ever hate me for what I did..."

When I thought the conversation was over, she looked at me with tears pouring down and said "WHY? Why did he do this? Why didn't he know that I loved [!] him already the way he was and he didn't need to impress me?!?" I told her I could not answer, and suggested she ask him those questions herself and tell him how she felt, just as she'd told me. She handed the cell phone to me and demanded that I summon him immediately (She might as well have ended it " my Presence Chamber"). I should have made her do it herself, really, but she was afraid he'd say no to her (doubtful) and would listen to me.

So - sucker, hopeless romantic, or overly meddlesome parent that I am - I sent the text at 11:55. He arrived at 11:59. He lives about 7 minutes away.

When I opened the door, he walked into the kitchen, and she was nowhere to be found. He eventually followed the sound of sniffles into a dining room, where she was on a chair, curled into a little flannel ball. He walked over, cradled her, and carried her out to the living room where they talked everything out for the next hour. When I peeked in, she was fast asleep, snuggled up against him. He looked more relieved than overjoyed.

They have both apologized and forgiven, and are going to try again, with the proviso that when he leaves for college, each may date other people, so long as they advise the other in advance.

HeloMom is cautiously optimistic. We are currently debating Transubstantiation via text message while he's lifeguarding, and she's taking accelerated geometry with a tutor. He has befriended Padre Pyro on Facebook and may go straight to the source for better information than an amateur apologist like me can provide.


P.S. For Old Bob - HIGH FIVE!!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Summer, wherefore art rainy? And creepy...

Another week has blown by - literally. It has been cold, gray, rainy, and crappy here for the past week. We had a severe thunderstorm on Friday that knocked our internet service and telephones out until Tuesday afternoon. (More on that in a bit). My basement is leaking, my hair is frizzy, my flowerbeds got crushed by hail yesterday, and I truly believe I am suffering from a bout of S.A.D. in the summer. Sheesh!

In Princess/Athlete land, no real news, but he does still hold out hope. He came over and did some yardwork for me (hacked the hedges I can't reach), and we had a long conversation about Transubstantiation, his doubts, my attempt at apologetics was good (he gets it now) but not good enough (he still doesn't believe it). All the while the Princess lolled about in her bikini with a magazine and a diet 7-up, trying to soak up whatever rays she could between cloudbursts. She is back to work after only a week off after exams - 6 weeks of geometry tutoring (so she can skip a grade and accelerate toward calculus her junior year - ugh!), cheerleading practice three times a week, and ballroom two hours a week. No rest for the wicked. :)

Okay - now for the creepy bit. When the storm hit, lightening struck on the block behind us, between our house and the river. One of those instantaneous flash/crash things. Very scary. Less than 30 seconds later, three of the baby's "noisy toys" - Elmo, a car dashboard, and a school bus that sings that song - all spontaneously started making sounds. None are electric, all require pushing and pulling to get the sounds going. All were in different spots in the living room, and the baby was in bed for his afternoon nap. The girls and I looked at each other, and all the "warning hairs" on the back of my neck stood up, as happens when I get the feeling we are not alone in the house. I decided we should all repair to the basement to wait out the storm. We shut off all the electronics at their various power strips, grabbed the baby out of bed and went down - just as another huge crash hit outside.

When we came up, we heard a blast of static and a screeching sound through the computer speakers. The ones that we shut off at the power strip before we went downstairs. Then we looked out and discovered that a tree directly across the street from our house had been split down the middle. Utility wires and one of our own trees kept it from hitting the house, but part of it did knock out a USPS box that had been anchored into the cement for decades, by the looks of it. Crews came and took down the tree. A near miss.

Rational me says the electricity in the air must have somehow triggered the toys. Not-so-convinced me wonders if we got some I said "thank you" out loud and then said my prayers.


We still are finding strange things - a few fuses to parts of the house that are rarely used were blown, and two of eight phone jacks were fried, as were our cordless phones (one base unit, two handsets).


How's your summer going?