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Archive for March, 2008

The other day I was working from home (translation:  I was surfing the Internet at my dining room table rather than at my desk in the office) when something happened to me that hasn’t happened in a long, long time. 

I was “working” along and minding my own business when I was suddenly besieged by eye pain, the kind of eye pain that can only come from having something lodge itself onto your contact lens. 

Now, I haven’t had pain like that since I switched to soft contacts years ago.  But I was sitting there at the dining room table with a cat rubbing and loving on my shoes (really, we have a cat with a foot fetish, want her?)  and all of a sudden kapow.  Pain. 

I was weeping rather prolifically out of one eye by the time I made it into the bathroom, and I gouged my eye getting the contact out, but oh sweet relief.  Yep, it was a great big fuzzy cat hair. 

I had just run the Roomba (seriously, get one, they’re great) in the dining room and it must have kicked up the kitty tumbleweeds pretty good, and one of them zeroed in on my open eye.  I got my lens clean and back into my eye and decided right then and there that yes, I will definitely have my cleaning lady come this week, since I haven’t had her clean in a couple of months. 

And I know how bourgeois that sounds, that I have a cleaning lady, but if you must know, my cleaning lady is also my cousin.  She’s family, and I trust her not to walk off with the silver, or whatever it might be that less-than-honest cleaning ladies walk off with.  She cleans houses for her beer money.  And I’m all about earning your beer money. 

— Mox

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So as I was rounding the corner at the track this morning at my gym (I went to the gym today!) I started thinking about where, physically and healthwise, I am headed. 

I am going to be 41 later this summer, and oddly enough, 41 isn’t bothering me nearly as much as 40 did last year.  Why is that?  I’ll tell you why:  40 is a milestone. 

I got similarly freaked at ages 25 and 30.  Age 35 was too much of a baby-induced fog/blur for me to even notice.  And then all of a sudden I was staring down the barrel of 40 and losing my ever-loving mind. 

I think the main reason I get all hopped up about these age milestones is that they represent where I have or haven’t been in my life.  I can’t say I’m all that satisfied with how I’ve conducted my 40 years on this earth, but I’m also a great big chicken-shit so it’s all my own fault how I haven’t climbed Mt. Fuji or written the Great American Novel.  When you think about it in those terms it’s easy to sort of lose your shit. 

And too, I look at my mom and how her life has turned out and how miserable she seems to be with it all, and it makes me really nervous.  Because I look so much like my mother and I’ve got a healthy dollop of her personality and tics, I sorta see where this road is headed and wow that’s a scary thought.  As much as we claim to like to know what the end result is going to be, I think it’s human nature to deny that end result. 

What that means for me is that I am trying to make some conscious changes in the way I live, what I eat, and how I think.  I’d like to avoid some of the health pitfalls my mother has.  I mean, it’s great and wonderful that modern medicine can do things like replace both of a person’s knees with artificial ones, but then again I’d like to not be in that position one day.  I’d like to go out of this world with all my Original Equipment. 

So I make the effort to go the gym and I try to cook differently than the meat-and-potatoes that I was raised on, and I know that regular applications of deep fried pork tenderloins are probably not paving the road to good health.  (And they give me heartburn so it’s probably just as well.)  I still like pub food and beer, but baby steps. 

Still, there is no denying that my mother’s DNA is in me.  The other night we went to a restaurant for supper and what did I order?  Breakfast!  I actually ordered eggs and bacon and pancakes and coffee!  I remember as a kid my mother would serve breakfast for supper sometimes and I used to think that was the weirdest thing I had ever heard or seen.  And here I am doing it. 

Gah. 

— Mox

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I was driving into work this morning, and as my brain is wont to to, my mind started wandering back to when Spawn was a baby.  When you’re a first-time mom and you’re dealing with a colicky newborn, the last thing you think about is what kind of personality your kid is going to have.  But I started to remember one particular evening, when I was dead on my feet, waiting for a bottle of formula to warm, walking around in a circle on the kitchen floor, holding a wailing, hungry baby and singing Amazing Grace over and over and over.  And I just wanted to go back there and tell that Old Me, the one who was about to lose her mind, that in almost 7 years she would be standing around wondering how she was going to face the next big crisis in her kid’s life.  Because a colicky newborn?  Is a piece of cake.  Comparatively speaking. 

I wish I could go back and take that screeching kid out of the Old Me’s arms and let the Old Me have a rest.  The Now Me could handle the ruckus, since I am now navigating a mine field without a map.  And the Now Me would really, really like to go back to the day when Spawn fit comfortably in one hand, on one shoulder, and I was blissfully ignorant of what was to come.  Before I knew what kind of Personality that my kid would have. 

Spawn is a big personality.  Big like my husband’s personality.  I’ve been frequenting a website as of late that doesn’t use the labels ADD or ADHD, and instead uses the term “intense.”  I’m thinking, that’s a pretty good way to look at it, and it’s a term that I have used to describe the two people I live with, even before I found this site.  It’s just the term that leaps to mind when I talk about them.  My friends agree, probably because they know how so very Not Intense I am, and in comparison my two kids (the 7 year old and the 42 year old) are forces of nature. 

I’m slowly coming to accept that about the both of them.  The big one I can’t do anything with, for, or about, so he’s on his own to deal with the world.  Or maybe I should say the world deals with him.  The little one, the one who doesn’t know jack about the world, well, that’s the one I have to focus on, and help.  And while I’m coming to understand the kind of help the kid needs, it’s a process for me, too, to think differently about the kid.  To not label the kid with this label, this DSM-IV code that allows the school and society to pigeonhole someone as Troublesome.  It’s not troublesome, it’s just different. 

Once I started to think about Spawn’s intensity as a positive thing, I started seeing the kid in another light.  It was like a switch was thrown in my brain, changing my attitude.  That’s not to say that I don’t still want to pinch the kid’s head off about 17 times a week, because I do.  Some days it’s all I can do to not just scream at the kid to be more like other kids, kids who are easy to deal with.  But I am starting to see that the way Spawn is wired is something that neither one of us can change.  All we can do is find ways to work around the more problematic spots. 

Yesterday afternoon we had a rare moment of calm contentment, the two of us.  Even though I like to bitch and complain about the time change, the niceness of having that extra hour of daytime at the end of the day means that I don’t feel as rushed to get supper on the table, or homework supervised, or bathtime started.  I had made Spawn come in out of the rain, and we sat on the swing listening to it rain and petting one of our many cats, eating jelly beans and just Being Together.  And it was really nice to soak up the minutes in quiet companionship.  I felt a little germ of acceptance begin grow in me.  Like, Ok, this is what I’ve got to deal with, this is who Spawn is and it’s my job to see to it that the kid has a big life.  Because the kid is going to have a big, full, robust life.  No more square peg. 

I’ve been rather impatient in trying to get things diagnosed, in trying to find out what it is I’m supposed to be doing to help, and the process has been maddeningly slow.  Things like that happen for a reason.  There hasn’t been a minute that has gone by in these past few months that I haven’t been ruminating on the subject in one way or another.  I’m now starting to see that the snail’s pace of this process has its’ purpose.  It’s helping me to come to grips with Whatever It Is that we’ll eventually have to cope with. 

Up to this point it’s been me who needs the fixing. 

Thanks for reading. 

— Mox

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Do you have any idea what burnt peanut butter smells like? 

If you do you can laugh with me instead of at me.  If not, then you can just chalk it up in the column marked Mox Is Crazy. 

I packed Spawn’s lunch last night before I went to bed.  As much as I hate to admit things like this, my mother is right about getting ready for the next day by doing as much as you can the night before.  Often this means I’m the last one to go to bed in the evening because I’m doing things like making sure there are clean uniforms or packing lunches.  I resent it but if I were to leave this sort of thing to the other members of my household we’d have a fully charged cell phone, a backpack full of toys, and possibly a horked-up hairball waiting at the back door each day.  Because what else do you need in life, am I right? 

So.  Packing lunch.  I am just a teensy bit obsessive about what I pack in Spawn’s lunch, since the kid gets the Full Daily Allotment of junk no matter what I do and I sorta feel like it’s my duty to wedge some healthy stuff in there.  Getting the kid to eat raw veggies is like being on a game show because it’s luck of the draw sometimes.  Currently we are off broccoli, but cucumbers and baby carrots are okay, as long as there’s not too many.  And it’s always a challenge to get some protein into the kid, since I can’t get the kid to eat a sandwich. 

I knew I was tempting fate, or the wrath of the school lunch gods, or something, but I decided to fix a sandwich for Spawn’s lunch.  The kid won’t go for PB&J unless it’s that high sugar white bread Smuckers Uncrustables crap which to me seems an awful lot like candy masquerading as health food.  So I tried a new twist:  PB&B, or peanut butter and bananas, on raisin toast.  Hey, I’ve never tried that one before. 

I buy the “natural” peanut butter, the kind that you have to stir before using and keep in the fridge after opening.  The problem is, refrigerated peanut butter is hard as a brickbat to spread, unless you let it sit out on the counter for an hour or two and soften up.  More often than not I’m not organized enough to think that far ahead, so I’ve hit upon an solution to soften up the peanut butter in a hurry:  I nuke it. 

It’s been a while since I’ve used my jar of refrigerated peanut butter, so I’ve forgotten how long I zap it for to soften it up.  Guess what?  The time limit is substantially less than one minute. 

The smell of liquefied, burnt peanut butter is, well, indescribable. 

It’s also really hard to get that smell out of your nose. 

When I took the jar out of the microwave, the center of the peanut butter was bubbling, like magma.  I stirred it around, to distribute the heat a bit, and even managed to salvage enough to make half a sandwich.  The rest of it, I’m not too sure about. 

I put it back in the fridge and will conduct a smell test again this evening.  Assuming my nose has recovered sufficiently by that time. 

Sometimes I think God has put me on this earth to serve as an example to others. 

— Mox

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The fact that this Easter is the earliest it’s been since 1913, and that it won’t come this early again until 2228, means that for one thing, it was damned cold around here. 

Spring weather is notoriously fickle, and this year it seems to be more so.  On Friday we were treated to 65° and sunshine, followed on Saturday by 40° and clouds.  Sunday looked to be somewhat promising, but at one point during the afternoon we looked out and noticed that it was snowing. 

I don’t know about you, but I am officially done with the snow. 

But you know how kids are.  As long as there’s candy it doesn’t matter what the weather is. 

And in an effort to show off my vast wealth of useless knowledge (always handy when you’re an advertising copywriter), here is some information about early Easter (thanks to my friends who send me emails like this because they know I love this kind of useless info): 

As you may know, Easter is always the 1st Sunday after the 1st full moon after the Spring Equinox (which is March 20).

This dating of Easter is based on the lunar calendar that Hebrew people used to identify Passover, which is why it moves around on our Roman calendar.

Based on the above, Easter can actually be one day earlier (March 22) but that is pretty rare. This year is the earliest Easter any of us will ever see the rest of our lives. And only the most elderly of our population have ever seen it this early (95 years old or above!). And none of us have ever, or will ever, see it a day earlier. The next time Easter will be this early (March 23) will be the year 2228 (220 years from now). The last time it was this early was 1913 (so if you’re 95 or older, you are the only ones that were around for that!). The next time it will be a day earlier, March 22, will be in the year 2285 (277 years from now). The last time it was on March 22 was 1818. So, no one alive today has or will ever see it any earlier than this year. 

So there you go.  Easter was early this year, it snowed here, and Spawn got candy anyway.  All hail the Easter Bunny for his dedication to the cause. 

— Mox

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I’m not kidding, y’all. 

I’ve been drinking decaf for the last 40 days and it’s just not the same.  Gimme the full lead version. 

This year, Lent has seemed rather irrelevant to me.  While I don’t pretend to know The Mind of God, I have wondered about this business of Lent and the attendant giving up of things.  I mean, do you think God really cares that people give up stuff for Lent?  In the grand scheme of things, do you think He’s keeping score? 

I’ve started to wonder about things like that as of late.  I realize that Lent is a time of reflection and personal discipline, but with all of the crazy stuff going on in the world, is it really important that someone give up caffeine for 40 days?  What difference does it make?  Does it raise your TVQ with the Big Guy?  Or does it just make you more pious? 

I’m also not really too sure He cares what you wear to church, just so long as you go.  This from a woman who was raised that women don’t wear pants to church, much less bluejeans.  While I haven’t crossed the denim line yet, I’ve been attending our church’s contemporary service, and doing so in pants.  Our contemporary service is populated by a lot of young adults, and we’ve got a drum set and keyboards and a praise team, and this service began several years ago in response to lagging attendance among the youthful set.  It feels a little less like church to me, since I was raised with the pomp and tradition and rites that go along with regular church.  But I guess that’s the point, actually.  It’s Church Lite, and I go because my child and my husband prefer the looser service and it’s the only way to assure that we attend as a family. 

Spawn gets plenty of High Church stuff during the week at Catholic school, anyway. 

Actually, I prefer the Catholic style of worship, with communion and incense and cantors and the whole bit.  It feels more like a conversation to me.  Problem is, I just can’t get behind some of what the Catholic church believes.  In a lot of ways I think the Pope is out of touch with the world.  I don’t think God Himself is out of touch with the world, at all, so why does the One True Church (per my grandmother) seem to be? 

I’m kind of in a weird place with my thoughts on faith these days.  There is a certain level of temptation to just chuck it all and not be involved in a faith community, but I realize that’s just refusing to do the hard work that comes with living as a person of faith.  I’m not sure refusal is an option.  But I also feel just a little bit adrift. 

Look at me.  I’m 40 years old and having a spiritual crisis. 

— Mox

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TGI(G)F

Today is Good Friday, and because of this fact, Spawn’s Catholic school is not in session today.  Which means we both got to sleep in and putter around the house in our jammies this morning. 

In  just a bit, we’re going to take some stale bread out to feed the ducks and maybe get some ice cream after lunch. 

I will return fully caffienated on Monday. 

— Mox

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