Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"They" Are Always Right...Bastards!

School Break.  Day??  I stopped counting after three.

Teenage years are Hell.  They were right - whoever "they" are and I hate "them".  Bastards. 

As I eluded to in one of my prior blogs, summer break with my two boys, ages fifteen (almost sixteen) and twelve (almost thirteen), has so far not been very pleasant and, might I add, this is only the day after Memorial Day.  Deep sigh.  I've been pleasant and positive.  I have sincerely tried.  I even took them to see a movie over the weekend.  A kids' movie.  Strike that - a teenage boy movie.  My husband stopped volunteering to go some time back.  You see, Austynn is not the easiest of movie goers.

William and his friend, whom we treated after having spent the night, sat on their own in a completely separate part of the theater.  They have learned long ago what Austynn is capable of during movies and don't want to be associated with the goofy middle age lady and her crazy son.  Ok, I get it.  That's cool. 

The movie was a weekend blockbuster and it was a packed house.  When an older gentleman sat down next to Austy with his two sons I thought everything would be ok.  At least it wasn't a couple of teenagers who smelled like smoke because my kiddo would certainly have lectured them about dying a painful death and how badly they smelled (yes, been there done that).  No, instead when the gentleman softly coughed to clear his throat, Austynn discussed this with him.  Didn't this man know he should cover his mouth and say, "excuse me".  Really?  Like Austynn has ever done that in his life!  My first apology.

Throughout the movie, in addition to the screaming, hooting, and hollering which Austynn contributes so beautifully to the soundtrack, he also has the habit of giving his very loud opinion to just about every other scene.  It's one very long meandering sentence which repeats continuously the same thought repeatedly over and over in different detail and thought process until you think he's finished and then he continues with something else because he has another thought but then he remembers something else and so on and so on and so on....STOOPPPP!  My second apology.

Then the inevitable happened.  The long, drawn-out, stinky fart.  This one was so long and so loud, I couldn't believe it was a real until the smell wafted up to my nostrils.  How awful.  Of course the man next to us was extremely polite about it.  When I looked over and offered my third apology, he merely shifted in his seat and smiled.  What else could he do?

Towards the end of the movie, Austynn remembered that he didn't get to play PlayStation before we left the house.  "Mom, when we get home, can I play PlayStation?"

"Shhhh!  We'll talk about it when we get home, Austynn.  Watch the movie."

Two minutes later, "Mom, I didn't get my time before we left.  Can I play it?"

"If you ask me one more time, you're going to lose it.  Now be quiet and stop disturbing everyone and watch the movie.  It's almost over."

Less than three minutes later, during the final scene when everything was quiet, "Mom, William got to play but I didn't!"

"That's it!"  No PlayStation!"  We'll talk about this when we get out.  Now be QUIET!"

As we gathered up our things and Austynn continued to argue over the PlayStation, I placed my fourth and final apology to our gentleman.  He merely nodded and rushed his boys out of the theater.  The sooner he could get away from us the better.  Another new friend, lovely. 

My other teenagers eventually wandered up to us.  I asked how they liked the movie.  It was a silly question because I heard them laughing and clearly enjoying themselves.  Score one for mom.  Yeah!  William's friend gushed over it.  It was AWESOME.  Thank you so much, Mrs. Potts and so on and so forth.  My surly, sour puss fifteen year old?  It was ok.  Not as good as the first one.  ARRRGHH!  The only thing keeping me from whacking William on the back of his head was that I was still surrounded by other moviegoers.

"They" are always right...Bastards!

Monday, May 30, 2011

There May Be Such A Thing As Too Much Studying

In my home, we have a room off the front of the house which we call the Study.  This room is where I sit and type my morning blogs, stare out the window, over the park and across the northern plains, and "study" the framed artwork my sons and nieces have contributed to Eric and I over the years.  This is also the room where my parents' antique piano stands quiet against the wall and my Zebra Finches more than make up for it by sweetly singing throughout the day.

This is the only place where my boys have no claim to.  Other than my laptop, there is nothing in this room which interests them unless they remember that their Dad keeps his antique camera collection here.  Unless Eric mentions them, William and Austy run right past the cameras towards the refrigerator and the PlayStation.  As far as the laptop, since the day my oldest Googled  "virginas" on my computer, the logon password is a sealed fortress.  No more boobie sites for him.

I mention this room because I'm in a deep quandary about removing a particular picture of Austynn's.  I hate it.  It disturbs me.  Can I be any more blunt?  Yes, I was the parent who decided to frame and hang it to begin with.  I liked the colors.  It's a curious piece of art.  Now, I'm just over it.  And of course, we hung it directly over my shoulder so every time my eyes shift to the right, it startles me.  I don't even know what it is.  I don't believe Austynn knew what it was when he finished it.  Eric and I struggled for ten minutes to decide which way we were suppose to hang it.  I think it's supposed to be the Space Shuttle outlined in black puffy paint but because I'm me, it looks like a lopsided penis.  Now I ask you, isn't this reason enough to remove a piece of children's artwork?  I believe I've studied the picture just a wee bit too much. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I Smell Like Smoke, Summer Has Begun

Growing up in Southern California summer officially began and ended with a beach party. 

Bolsa Chica or Huntington Beach was where we normally found ourselves staking out a crumbling firepit by Lifeguard Station 23.  Who was bringing the hot dogs, the firewood, the boombox, and in our younger years - the alcohol?

I'm writing about this today because when I moved from SoCal, I thought I would miss the nostalgia.  Sure, I miss the smell of the ocean and the sound of the waves hitting the shoreline.  But there are a couple of things I don't miss.  I don't miss sand in places it had no business being.  My belly button, the back of my ears, my hairline, and the extremely private areas that one could not get to at the community showers on the boardwalk. 

I do not miss eating sand with my dinner.  No matter how well organized the party was, there was always wind at the beach and wind blows sand.  Hmm, go figure?  Hot dogs don't taste good gritty.  Sorry.  Some people might like it but I don't.  Also, I have never been able to cook my hot dog on a skewer perfectly.  They're either bubbly on the outside and cold in the middle or completely charred.  Sorry again, but charred hot dogs somehow taste like the bottle of lighter fluid it took to get the fire going.  Also, smores.  Organizational skills a must for this too.  It takes at least two competent, non-drunk adults to prepare and dole out the ingredients plus one to watch the crazy children (or adults) flinging their fiery marshmallows hither and thither.  I will not question those who prefer their marshmallow charred, but really?  Really?!  Gruesome.

On this eating at the beach note, I have to interject some personal guffaws at a magazine article I read just last week about hosting Thanksgiving at the beach (yes, I am a wee bit behind with my reading materials).  GUFFAW!  Life is not perfect.  Plus, the hostess was beautiful.  No stress, no sweat.  The food was laid out magnificently, the candles were lit, and lovely, happy guests were sitting around the table.  Where were the seagulls, the evening's gusty winds, and the size sixteen friends?  GUFFAW, GUFFAW!  Give me a break!!
Summer 2008

I'm writing this blog because when I overslept this morning and threw on my clothes from yesterday, I smelled the familiar and comforting nostalgia of wood smoke.  My hair, my jeans, and sweatshirt were permeated with it.  My family, in our own way, in our new home and state, have started a new tradition, welcoming summer by hanging out around our backyard firepit.  We've spent the last two nights of the Memorial Day Weekend eating our dinners, talking, and laughing around it.  Sure, there's no smell of the ocean but I can smell my Lavender in the garden and the Carne Asada on the BBQ.  Yes, there's no sound of the sea but instead we're listening to the sound of our Aspens blowing in the breeze.

Families, wherever they find themselves, make their own nostalgia.  And one day, if I were ever to leave this lovely state, I'm sure I'd be nostalgic for the things I just mentioned.  The lesson I've learned this morning; look back with fondness, enjoy what I have now, and smile.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Predictability is Highly Overrated

I hate being...what is the word?...oh yes, predictable.  It's annoying and embarrassing; however, there is just no getting around it.  My body clock is set.  At 9:19pm at the sound of our local weatherman's voice, I'm done.  Kaput.  Finito.  The bummer here is that I specifically would like to hear what to expect for the next day's weather.  This is Colorado, folks.  There's no such thing as a seven day forecast in this state and more often than not, these specialists are hit and miss.  The rule is, and local friends feel free to chant out loud while you read this, if you don't like the weather in Colorado, wait ten minutes.  At any given moment it can be sunny and 70 degrees then a front will blow in from the north and we'll have snow flurries.

So I go to sleep at 9:19pm and wake up at 7:24am if and when I can sleep in without the dog slapping me in the face, having to make lunches, or listening to cartoons blaring.   Why 7:24am?  Why not 7:30am?  That's a nice round number.  7:24am - that's just weird - and when I roll over, look at the clock, consider the strangeness of it, and attempt to sleep in towards a nice round number, I end up making eye contact with my face slapping dog.  At this point it's all over.  He knows I'm awake.  If I even consider rolling over without dolling out his mandatory belly rub he'll walk on my head and start pulling at my hair with his teeth.  I love my dogs.  Have I mentioned they're spoiled rotten?

I bring this up because my husband and I, after close to sixteen years of marriage, really need to work on our timing.  I'm tremendously in love with my man; however, I don't feel as if I give him as much attention as he deserves (take this as you will).  Often times when I fall asleep we're still relaxing in our sitting room.  After he's finished watching the news he'll go through the evening routine of locking up the house, turning off the kids' stereos, and facing the daunting task of cajoling me into my PJs and bed.  Sometimes I've forgotten to give him his medicine shot.  Poor guy!  No wonder he has anxiety attacks.  He has to ask me to administer it to him in my sleepy, grumpy state.  Oh my!  He's lucky I don't stick him in the wrong end.

After all is said and done, and we're snuggling in bed, usually giggling (after sixteen years together, there's a heck of a lot to giggle about), we talk about our day, our kids, and our dreams.  At this point, things can go one way or the other.  Unfortunately for my dear one, it's usually well past 9:19pm if you catch my drift.  So last night Eric was sharing something with me.  Something is the key word here because he asked for my opinion.  This morning, all I remember about my "opinion" was that I told him "I don't like grapes in my salad".  I also recall, after apologizing profusely for missing the point, was that he laughed at me and told me we'd talk about it in the morning.  I sure hope it wasn't important.  Well, at least now, after all these years, grapes in a salad is no longer a mystery.  He'll know never to order me one. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Go Ahead, Play With Fire. Make My Day!

I should know better by now than to place a lit candle in my upstairs hallway and say to my autistic 12 year old, "Please don't touch the candle."  It's like screaming, "PLAY WITH FIRE!  GO AHEAD.  YOU HAVE MY PERMISSION!!"  Sometimes I can be such a dumbass.

So last night, my eldest son yelled downstairs, "Someone (aka, the House Troll) tried to light the clock on fire!"  Wonderful.

Eric, my husband, ran upstairs to investigate the damage and how it might have happened.  Yes, indeed it was true - it was not an accident, it was arson.  I could have told him this before the crime scene investigation commenced.  I always place the cheap, wooden desk clock far, far away from the smelly $2.00 Glade candle before I light it.  I knew it was intentional and I knew who the culprit was. 

The suspects were brought before us.  Each were given a chance to come clean before the other brother.  Accusations were tossed about like water balloons.  It was very ugly.  Lots of screaming.  Lots of finger pointing.  Then dad jumped in and tried to undo what had already been done.  Impossible situation.  Privileges were taking away for the evening, the week, the summer, a lifetime.  No one would budge.  Such darn stubborn children!

Finally, I couldn't take it any more.  I sent my 15 year old up to his room to debrief with Dad as I sat with my youngest who was still pounding his fits on the dining room table.  At this point, I always ask for his glasses.  There's no point in paying for new ones if it can be avoided.  I asked him to go up to my bedroom with me and this is how the conversation went...

Mom:             Austynn...?

Austynn:        What?

Mom:             Austynn?!

Austynn:        What!

Mom:             I know you did it..

Austynn:        I didn't do..

Mom:            STOP!  Let me finish please!  I know you did it.  I take partial responsibility because I planted an itty seed in that head of yours..

Austynn:       It grew into an idea Mom but was an accident.  I only wanted to see if I could put the candle out with the clock.

Mom:           I know.  You weren't trying to start a fire but you could have.  That clock was old and dry Austy.  That's where your responsibility kicks in.  You are NEVER to play with fire.

Austynn:      I'm sorry Mom.  I wasn't trying to start a fire.  Is the clock ruined?  I'm sorry.

Mom:          Yes, the clock is toast.  I know you're sorry.  But remember, you can never, ever play with fire again.  Now I think you owe your brother and Dad an apology.

Austynn:     Ok.  Do you think I have the clock now to take apart for the motor?

Really?!  Deep sigh.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What the Hell Was That?!

I have not made any secret of the fact that I'm a wuss, a "scardy cat", a woman frightened of all things that go "boo" in the night.  If you need reminders of this, please refer to my blog, "Who's That Rapping At My Chamber Door". 

I am not proud of this.  Yes, I live in the great Rocky Mountains of Colorado.  Will I be able to go camping with my boys without downing a few Valium on an hourly basis?  I can't be certain.  The idea of being anywhere near wild animals that are not safely contained, for instance at the Denver Zoo, is rather disconcerting. 

The evening my ex-husband announced rather bluntly over the phone that he wanted a divorce (we were temporarily separated at the time), my friend and now current husband, Eric took me for a long walk at dusk in the foothills of Southern California to wrap my mind and heart around what had just happened.  I couldn't move.  My feet were immobile.  Every time I heard a twig snap, I screamed.  Poor guy.  He was trying so desperately to help ease the trauma of my afternoon but instead he added to it tenfold.  By the time I got back to his car I was inconsolable. 

My mother loved leaving sticky notes on her back door when I came home late from my restaurant shifts.  (Oh, those damn lists!  I believe I wrote about this once too.)  Anyway, she had asked that I take out the trash before I locked up for the night.  No problem.  Out to the back porch I went, tired, blurry eyed, and thinking about nothing but taking off my nasty work shoes and crawling into bed.  Lesson One: ALWAYS be aware when approaching trash cans especially when foolish younger brothers leave them open during the day.  Lesson Two:  Mama Opossums are nasty bitches especially when they have their babies with them.  I should also mention at this point how friggin' ugly they are when you're practically nose to snout with them.  Bad teeth, unpleasant breath, rat-like tails.  I hate rats.  Screaming hysteria ensued.  That stupid thing and her parcel of minions could eat all the left over chicken bones they wanted.  I didn't give a shit.   In fact, I was hoping they'd go someplace and choke on them.

Last night, I was leaving from a very nice guitar practice (yes, it's going very well, thank you) and while approaching my car, I saw a huge black critter waddling about and going down the sewer drain next to my driver side door.  LOVELY!  What the Hell was that?!  This was not how my evening was supposed to end.  I had a good afternoon.  I finished all my laundry.  The kids didn't rile me too much on their first day of summer vacation.  Eric BBQ'd.  I completed all the heinous paperwork (at least what I could find of it) collecting on my desk.  And here I stood in stock terror, holding my 40 year old guitar case, and wondering what in God's name that thing was and more importantly...was the bastard gone?  So of course I did what every terrified middle-aged woman would do in this situation; I hopped up and down, hooted like an owl, ran to the passenger side of my car, threw in the guitar, and climbed up and over into the driver's seat. Then, for clarification purposes, I drove my car towards the gutter and flashed my high beams trying to catch a glimpse of the critter.  If Animal Control needed to be called, I would be the hero of Broomfield County.  I would save the community from the beastie but alas, it was gone. 

Next Wednesday I'll keep my eyes open and I certainly won't park next to the gutter anymore.  I'll also have to explain to the gentleman at the front desk what I was doing.  He was watching the entire adventure.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Please Don't Spit Rice-A-Roni In My Face

Summer Break.  Day One. 

What the heck am I going to do with my 12 and 15 year olds for the next 80 days?  I'm still working diligently to figure it out, and at the last minute might I add.   I'm trying to get them into a day treatment summer camp starting the first week of June.  This would be great because the kids would be in separate, small group settings based on their ages for their autistic spectrum challenges.  Austy will be in camp for four days a week and William for two which will be fine because I don't think my oldest would agree to more than this anyway.  It's all good because at least he won't turn into a vampire.  What is it with fifteen year olds and the need to live in complete darkness?  Anyway, I digress.  These programs will have trained therapists as their counselors and help them with peer interactions and social skills necessary to co-exist with others much less their parents before we murder them prior to reaching adulthood.

Perhaps we can also ask the therapist to focus on teaching our 12 year old how to close the door while using the toilet and to flush when completing his business?  This seems to be a reasonable social skill nowadays.  I think out of all the arguments which involve the House Troll, this is the biggest (pardon the pun) - the left behind, non-flushed business in the toilet.  I have even made signs and taped them above the toilet as a kind, yet gentle reminder.  No can do.

Another social skill - not belching at the dinner table.  I realize that with most households, even without autistic spectrum children, that this is probably a common occurrence; however, my kids do not understand the difference between manners at our table and let's say, hmm...a 5-star restaurant - not that we can afford it, but maybe one day...

While the therapists are at it, perhaps they can assist my boys with table manners in general.  I can't count how many times I've reminded Austy not to talk with his mouth full of food yet he often forgets.  I also ask William to eat slower but he doesn't.  So here's the deal, I don't know who's worse to sit across from;  Austynn who sprays a generous amount of Rice-a-Roni into my face while he's talking nonstop or William who eats so fast he chokes up an entire piece of steak onto the table, places it back into his mouth, and then swallows it whole again (of course, followed by an obnoxious burp).

That's it!  This will be the summer of table manners.  Before day 79,  my boys will be able be able to sit through a meal of Denny's fried chicken fingers without spraying, choking, or belching and if we're really lucky, Dad will have picked up on the belching manners too. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Night Sandy Mugged the Neighborhood Jackass

Strange title to be sure but there is no better way to describe it.  It's the truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.

Every year, a wonderful neighbor (who's name shall be withheld) hosts an amazing Halloween Party.  As expected, my husband and I with a strong emphasis on the I, tend to make rather merry.  A couple of years ago we made huge jackass' out of ourselves with our choice of costumes.  I will, at this point, interject that the idea behind the costumes belonged entirely to Eric.  Really.  Honestly.  You'll have to wait though to read about this unfortunate event.  I promise to share it with you as I get closer to Halloween.

Because of this foolish and embarrassing faux pax, we decided this past holiday to dress simply as the Neighborhood Jackass'.  We purchased donkey ears, tails, teeth, and wore white t-shirts clearly labeled, Mrs. and Mr. Jackass respectively.  Easy and appropriate to be sure.  Also, due to some personal issues for the usual hostess, we also offered to host the party.

After the party had ended, I decided to walk someone home who had more to drink than I had.  Impossible?  One would think so, but no.  She trotted past the donkey and won the race well earlier in the evening.  So we set off, a stumbling ass holding up a cackling witch dressed in black and purple trying to get four doorsteps and one empty street away.  We made it, just barely.  Until she opened her front door. 

Now, I believe I've mentioned how awful my two little dogs are, Tank and Tulip.  They need serious behavioral training.  My pets jump on people when guests enter my home, chew on shoelaces, bark, etc., but they're small.  They can be pushed aside with a leg and ignored if necessary.  My Witchy Poo friend's dog, not so easy.  The beastie is a big cross between a poodle and a sheep dog.  There's probably a pure breed name for it but I have no clue.  All I know is that she's huge, strong, and that when she's stranding on her hind legs she can place her paws on my shoulders.  The dog's name is Sandy.  She's a very naughty dog but sweet in her own funny way.

Now imagine, if you will, a drunk jackass walking into her domain with a long tail waiving in her face.  It's like handing her a living, walking "toy-toy" for her own personal enjoyment.  My donkey tail was wrapped tightly around my waist with a strong piece of Velcro underneath my t-shirt.  The moment Sandy the Dog saw the waiving tail, she grabbed it in her mouth and took off for the family room.  I'm a big girl.  I would never have thought that the Velcro was so strong and the dog was so powerful that she could pull me like a rag doll along the wooden floors, down the hallway, and into the family room with my Witchy Poo friend screaming like a drunken lunatic for Sandy the Dog to let me go.  There was no escaping the ordeal.  I was on the other end of a Tug-O'-War game and losing badly.  At every tug, Sandy the Dog was gaining momentum while I was trying to pull back and release the Velcro. I could feel my belly bruising at every tug yet I was laughing, snorting, and crying at the same time.  I couldn't believe, yet again, the predicament I was in while my friend, Witchy Poo, was jumping up and down in a wild and weird dog owner frenzy.

Sandy the Dog finally grew tired of the Tug-O'-War game and had her eyes on a more interesting "toy- toy", the donkey ears wiggling around on my head.  With a great leap, she placed a powerful scratch down the side of my face, grabbed my ears, and took off with a bound.  A crazy drunkin' chase ensued.  Bodies falling face down, hysterical laughter, lamps overturned, a big, silly dog barking and jumping over us. 

Success!  Donkey ears finally recovered, one broken in half and the tuft of hair on top missing but still out of Sandy the Dog's mouth.  Time for Jackass to finally go home.

An hour an a half later, as I walked in the front door, Eric looked rather concerned.  I was holding a limp soggy tail, my donkey ears were broken, and I had a long, bloody scratch down the side of my face.

"Are you ok?  What happened?!"

"I was mugged."


"Sandy The Dog mugged me but I'll be ok."

I saw Sandy the Dog yesterday pulling her owner, my dear friend (Witchy Poo) down the street.  I stopped my car and said hello and the dog came bounding up to my window like we were old friends.  And you know what, we are.  I love that Damn dog! 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bullies, Bad Guys, and Buffoons

As I sit here in my comfortable little space and drink my nectar of the Gods (do I really need to describe my coffee once again?  Let's just call it, "candy bar in a cup", shall we?), I'm listening to my son watch Bugs Bunny cartoons on TV.  Bugs Bunny was the ultimate bully.  I suppose if everyone left him alone, he wouldn't retaliate but even still he thrived on making his hunters look as foolish as possible, didn't he?  I often found myself rooting for Elmer Fudd.  Poor little feller.  He just wanted to get rid of the rabbit in his garden or have a nice rabbit stew for dinner.  There's no crime in that.

Growing up, I didn't have too many problems with being bullied.  I was the big, athletic, good natured girl in a Catholic grade school and junior high.  For the most part, I fit in pretty well with the rest of my class mates.  I did hang out; however, with girls who were teased.  The overweight one, the painfully shy one, the one who wore green plastic glasses, the clumsy one, and the odd one with the high, squeaky voice.  I remember on picture day when the camera broke with one of my friends in the room.  Oh my goodness, the other kids were brutal.  It was all her fault.  They said she was so ugly, she broke the camera.  Now remember, this was a private school.  Where was our religious education?  Awful brats.  It doesn't matter.  Kids are kids, no matter what faith, no matter what generation.  We never change.

So now my own boys are going through junior high and high school.  They're adopted and different.  They fall into that category where they're going to get teased.  But now things have changed on school campuses.  There's a "Zero Tolerance" for bulling.  That's nice.

The other day my son was walking home from school and another boy heckled him.  Words were tossed, punches thrown, and the next thing I know my son could have been suspended for five days and missed his final exams.  My son mentioned the fight to one of his teachers because his chest hurt.  It was just a passing comment.  Phone calls were made, William was called out of class, and a referral was written up for something that happened a few blocks from school and around the corner from our front door.  The bully, the bad guy, the buffoon?  William has no idea who he is.  The "Zero Tolerance" policy is working well.  Where does the power of the school district draw the line and why does Elmer Fudd always get the short end of the stick?

Food for thought...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What's Wrong With Texas?

I'm trying to get to the bottom of my husband's aversion to the state of Texas.  If you live in Texas please don't send comments about how wonderful it is.  I totally get it which is why I want to go and visit your interesting and diverse state.  Also, I must ask at this time, not to send Eric hate mail.  Negative comments would push him over the edge.  Besides, if this were to happen, how could we prove him wrong about your glorious state?  Plus, I would have a lot less to write about and, on a slightly more personal level, I would miss his funny mug tremendously.

For the last year or so I've been throwing out suggestions to take a road trip to Texas.  It makes sense.  We live in Colorado and there are quite a few directions in this country we can head off to.  A couple of years ago we took the Yellowstone, Presidential Faces on the Mountains Thing (Mount Rushmore) direction which was extremely entertaining.  Now it seems about the right time to head southeast. 

Eric is adamantly opposed.  No Texas.  Why is this?  What is it about Texas that has him so riled up?  Could it be the country western music?  It did take the guy a little while to get used to it playing at our local grocery store.  He is a bit of a rock and roll snob, but there's nothing I can do about that (my apologies to my country western music friends).  Perhaps it's the idea of cowboy hats and silver belt buckles.  Eric simply can not wear cowboy hats.  He tried wearing one in Wyoming once and it was a dismal failure.  I'm thinking not every Texan man wears these things; however, once Eric gets an idea in his head, it's hard for him to let go of it.  And really, if they do so what.  The bigger the better I always say.  The bigger the better?  Hey, maybe I'm latching on to something here...I think I understand now.

I'll just have to have another one of those self-confidence building talks with my man.  After all, big hats and silver belt buckles are like shiny, red sports cars.  Nine times out of ten these fellows are just trying to overcompensate for something they don't have enough of.  I'm thinkin' they're probably more concerned with short statured, eye-glass wearing, quiet liberal, rock and roll snobs.  And you know something...with my guy, they should be!  

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Hairy Blue Kitchen

My house has white walls.  Well, not really white.  They're more creamy tan.  Either way they're one of the standard base colors that the painters offered me when the house was being built.  I'm a wimp.  I'm a decorating, color coordinating wimp.  There is a reason for this and, as you know, the explanation is forthcoming.

My very first apartment was a dump; however, it had possibilities.  What I mean by this is that it was an old duplex in the heart of downtown Longbeach, California.  The prior tenants trashed the place and the owners felt that if I wanted to invest my own money and make it my little "domain", they were totally fine with it.  They lived miles away and never checked in unless there were serious problems with the property.

It was wonderful.  My older sister, her husband, and their babies rented the front house.  In time, my boyfriend and eventual first husband's friend rented the attached duplex next door.  It was like a perfect little happy commune and it was my first home away from home.  It had a common front yard where we could BBQ and a backyard to call my own.  The downside here is that we never had any money to invest in that little dump, so for the most part, it remained the dump that it was.  But it was our dump, damnit!

My current painting anxiety stems from this era of my life, having three cats, and not knowing the difference between flat and semi-gloss paint.  Some of you may have started guessing where this is going.  Also those damn samples in the stores.  What?!  They are never the same color that you expect them to be, EVER!

I had a beautiful old but tiny kitchen with built in cabinets.  My thought was that I wanted the walls to be very light blue with dark blue trim.  Even as I type this, it just sounds bad.  So my dear ex-husband stayed up an entire night painting before a party the following day.  What a good guy.  I woke up and almost screamed.  It was as if Circus Circus showed up and barfed in my kitchen.  There was nothing we could do about it.  I spent all of our money on that friggin paint.  Jeff did what I wanted.  God forbid if he questioned me (this was before I was diagnosed and medicated into the lovely lady I am today).  The only thing I thought to do was down a few Coronas, take a brush, and paint big ole blue daisies on my deep white bathtub.  If I also remember correctly, I painted a love note inside the medicine cabinet mirror too but that was for the next tenant to find.

Now for those of you who haven't guessed what the flat paint and three cats comment was about, one of my cats was a 24 pound, long hair tabby.  I have never been good at combing my pets (ok, so call the Humane Society already).  Anyway, at any given time of the day, one could see lazy hair fluffs floating around the duplex at their leisure.  Cooking grease on flat paint and hair fluffs are magnets.  My ex-husband, Jeff and I affectionately called our kitchen, the "Hairy Kitchen".  Disgusting!

All those years ago, it never once occurred to me why my mother didn't want to have dinner at our little apartment.  I get it now.

For all of you creative, beautiful people out there who have bright painted walls and walk into my cream colored house thinking I'm boring, please remember this story.  I will walk into a paint store eventually.  All in good time my friends.  All in good time.

Friday, May 20, 2011

It's the Eve Before the End

It's the Eve Before the End.  The Big Enchilada.  I'd say this should be a new holiday but, well...there's an obvious point here to be made isn't there? 

If this happens to be my last evening on Earth, I have a few questions rolling around in my mind like marbles.  I'll toss them out and see where they drop.  They're rhetorical; however, if we're still here tomorrow morning feel free to kick back some good theories but only if they'll make me laugh.  I'll need some celebratory guffaws not reflective mood benders.  Otherwise, if we're scattered moon dust, our God, whomever we conceive Him or Her to be, will give us the answers in our own eternity.  Thank you very much.

Why do dogs lick themselves for hours on end at such inconvenient moments such as in the middle of the night, during love making, or while saying grace at Thanksgiving dinner?  There is never really a pleasant time to hear this but really, while I'm giving thanks for all good things?  I don't consider licking good, it's wrong.  No matter how you spin the marble, it's just gross.  Oh, and I didn't realize that girl dogs were just as efficient with the whole licking process. Sexist, I know, yet still disgusting but on a whole different level.

What happens after you feed children at a restaurant?  Normally they're not so well behaved anyway (don't squawk, I'm speaking about my boys here), but the moment they get into the car, havoc, chaos, and every inappropriate sound and smell possible explodes out of them.  I suppose I should be grateful that I can enjoy my cheeseburger and fries with some sort of polite table conversation; however, I almost dread the moment the bill is paid.  Is behaving for one hour so difficult for children that it has to come back ten fold for the fifteen minute drive home?  I remember how it was for my parents. The pinching, the pulling, the poking followed by the threats, the yelling, and the long arm of the law reaching over the front seat trying to whack us.  I know why my brothers, sisters, and I did it as kids.  My parents made us order meals with vegetables and glasses of milk.

Why am I horny when Eric is asleep and why does Eric think I'm sexy when I haven't showered for two days?  This is TMI (too much information) but if the crazy people are right, and tomorrow is the end of the world, then the majority of my blog readers (Eric and myself) will only have nightmares about sharing this information tonight.  That is, if we survive not running off the road after our last restaurant meal, make love before Eric starts snoring (though the thought of meeting my maker with smelly armpits is rather disappointing), and we can fall asleep despite the sound of Tulip licking herself for hours on end.  On end?...pardon the pun.  See you tomorrow?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Listening to My Heart

It's interesting how excited everyone is to read about boobs but not boogers.  Sex but not gross.  So I'm getting good at "reading" my readers so to speak.  I've also discovered that I need to lure you in with better hook lines, for instance yesterday's blog title should not have read, "The Topic is Boogers".  See, right there I lost you.  Instead it should have been something like, "The Velveteen Chair" or "My In-Laws Have Stories Too".  The last one would have promised me at least two dozen hits from Eric's side of the family alone.

The funny thing with all of this is that I started my blog purely as a means of self therapy.  Now it's morphed into, as with everything else in my life, a way of validating myself.  Am I good writer?  Do people like what I do?  Why aren't more people reading my blogs?  I sent a note to the Editor of the Denver Post, what the Hell happened?  Oprah should be calling me by now, why not?  And so on and so forth.  I am my own worst critic.  I'll re-read something I wrote a week ago and my first instinct is to delete or edit it.  It takes every ounce of willpower to just let it be.

Perhaps this stems from the fact that I've wanted to write my entire life.  One could find me scribbling away in my journals as a nine year old and if I start digging, I'm sure I could find my poetry notebooks in the basement.  Those were going to win me a Pulitzer Prize at twelve.  I was certain of it.

So, going forward I will continue doing what I promised myself I would do from day one, write.  Write whatever comes to mind.   Write honestly and from the heart.  I will not focus so much on my statistics and whether or not I'm finding readers in the Sudan.  I will not give up because I get frustrated about where the commas belong or because I did not take college writing courses.  I will write because that's what my heart tells me to do.  I'll write because it feels good.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Topic is Boogers

I know, Gross.  Totally disgusting in every way but if you have children or grew up surrounded by brothers and/or sisters it is or was a common household issue.

Some families discuss them openly because they're a natural everyday occurrence to be dealt with efficiently and neatly.  Most families consider them gross, revolting, or funny however they happen to creep into a conversation. 

Sometimes they don't creep into conversations at all.  Sometimes they explode for instance, "Who smeared the snot boogie on the chair in the family room?" or "Why did someone wipe a booger above the roll of toilet paper?"  These things drive me crazy.  Notice how I don't accuse any one person?  It's because I know the House Troll is responsible and he certainly won't admit to these crimes. 

When I'm certain of the culprit, and there's no way around the truth, I go straight to the source of the scene.  "Son (who's name shall be withheld to protect him from future humiliation), I want you to work with dad this weekend and scrape the boogers off your ceiling."

Awkward silence, "Those aren't mine, mom".

"I see.  Well then, they belong to someone and that someone has an impressive booger flicking technique.  They'll need to be scraped off before any PlayStation time this weekend.  Don't do it again, understood?"

"Yes, Mom."

Growing up in my home, we had a special chair, a gold, velveteen chair.  This chair was situated in the perfect position for ultimate television viewing comfort.  It's secret name between three little girls and one brother at the time was called, "The Booger Chair".  I don't believe I need to go into any great depth as to why it was called this.  My mother wasn't aware of it's name until we were much older; however, I remember this chair was the one she guided her guests to at parties and get togethers.  Gruesome.

This is the time I get to drag my in-laws into my sordid blog stories.  My husband, Eric has told me his fair share of booger lore in his large family too.  One of his younger brothers used to taunt his sister by placing "slimies" on her door knob before she entered her room.  And one particular story (which goes down as my all time favorites and places this brother in the highest esteem possible in my eyes) is that Eric's sister had a wooden plaque of a little girl with a finger outstretched.  This same brother, who shall remain nameless, had it in his mind that this outstretched finger needed a lot of boogers on it.  The plaque needed a little more character, I suppose.  Perfect.

Finally, a co-worker and I had a serious laugh one day on an elevator.  This experience has since convinced me never to touch elevator keys with my fingers.  Someone (probably Eric's brother) thought it would be funny to supply a few well placed boogies on the elevator keys.  My friend found a couple of them.  Totally disgusting in every way.

Life is gross.  Laugh at it and keep some hand sanitizer with you at all times.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fears, Phobias, and Anxiety Attacks

Fear:  a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.

Phobia:  a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it.

Anxiety Attack:  an intense attack of anxiety characterized by feelings of impending doom and trembling, sweating, pounding heart, and other physical symptoms. 

For an hour and a half last night my husband, Eric struggled through a fierce anxiety attack.  He has been prescribed medication to be administered by shots every day.  He agreed to take this medication even though he has an intense fear of needles.  In his anxiety, I had to literally chase him around the bathroom to give him this small shot.  To the untrained eye, it was quite the comedy routine between Mr. and Mrs. Potts.  In fact, at one point, my oldest son walked in and witnessed the event as I was coaxing (loud voice, exasperated voice, yelling) at his father to come out of the closet and sit down on the tub while Dad was protesting (loud voice, exasperated voice, yelling) from said closet that he wouldn't and that he had changed his mind about the whole thing.  It really would have been funny if wasn't so frightening for Eric.  He was absolutely terrified.  Eventually, the tiny shot went into his arm.  "That was easy!  Oh, my gosh Bri, I'm so sorry!"

I have an intense fear of flying on planes.  I believe this is because I'm a control freak.  I don't like the fact that my destiny is in someone else's hands. For instance, Captain Jack is sitting in the cockpit drinking a Frappuccino, munching on a jelly doughnut, and discussing his bad date with a Madonna look-a-like.  Suddenly a blob of jelly splurts out of his doughnut and lands on his obnoxious striped, airlines issued tie.  Captain Jack looks down, hits the controls with his knees, and spirals the plane into a 45 degree angle.  Now, I'm not one to deny Captain Jack from discussing the horrible date he had with the Madonna look-a-like nor from enjoying the jelly doughnut (as I've been known to partake in them myself), but what I do take issue in is that my life is in his hands.  My control was turned over to a stranger having the bad judgement to date a screw ball still thinking it's cool to bleach her hair, wear fishnets, and expect some sort of payment beyond dinner and a movie. So here it is in a nutshell, I have a fear of flying, a phobia of falling, and anxiety attacks about turning my life over to complete strangers, and in this case, a total idiot behind the controls of a large aircraft.  Lovely.  Pass me my Valium, please.

I would assume everyone has some sort of fear or phobia but how we handle them is as unique as we are individuals.  I've been known to cry louder than the babies in front of me on airplanes.  I begged Eric once to get our money back for the return trip so we could take a relaxing train excursion home.  He merely handed me a bottle of Dramamine which knocked me unconscious and made his return flight much more pleasant.

Eric was held down by three technicians once (per my request) to draw blood so he would not make a quick get-a-way to the waiting room.

We all have reasons for our phobias.  Some of us know what they are, some of us don't.  What I do know is that sometimes we have to work through them as painful as they may be.  Now that you know what Mr. and Mrs. Potts' are, my suggestion is that you never take a long distance plane trip with my family especially if I have to give Potsie his daily shot during the flight, unless of course, you enjoy a little comedy along the way.

It's True! One is Bigger Than the Other

I almost took a header in chapel on Sunday morning.  Ok, what's a "header" and what does it have to do with the price of beans? 

A "header" is when I have my head in my hands, my elbows on my knees, and suddenly I fall forward almost landing on my head because I've fallen asleep.  I wake up with such an amazing jolt that anyone who happens to be with me at the time is also startled wide awake.  No one wants the stigma of being caught dozing in chapel.  Everyone wants to catch the other fellow snoring.  Oh well, I've lost my saintliness for the time being.  I'll have to work on it again.  To quote one of my favorite Billy Joel songs, "I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints". 

Oh, and by the way, it has nothing to do with the price of beans.  This has just been one of those rambling thoughts I needed to share since Sunday morning.

Embarrassing moments whether shared with the World Wide Web or at night under the cover of darkness with your loved one, just seems better spoken aloud then locked squirming away in your mind.  I have so many of them.  I laugh out loud and think, "Did that really just happen?  How silly!"  We all have them. Why not talk about them and give someone else a good laugh who couldn't be there to experience it for themselves. 

A couple of months ago, I posted an embarrassing moments Facebook challenge.  Out of all of my friends and family, only 3-4 responded with bonafide stories.  How is that?  We need to stop worrying about what people think of us.  It's one of the steps to making us stronger, laughing at our own mistakes and follies.  So with this said, I will end my blog with one of my better embarrassing moments.  Some of you have heard it but it is definitely worth a re-tell.  Enjoy.

As many of you have heard, I'm a big girl.  Fluffy?  Ok.  That's a nice word.  Along with "fluffy" comes big breasted.  Always have been, always will be.  It's been somewhat of a curse but I manage.  Anyway, in my early dating years I was hounded by a young, pervert who felt the only interesting place to take me was the drive-in movies.  I'll say no more about this except that his name was also, Eric.  Hmmm...what a coincidence.

I was such an innocent.  On my second date, hoping to go someplace a little nicer, I wore a yellow dress with white stockings.  Nope, drive-in theater again.  At intermission, I walked to the restroom where on Friday nights these places were a madhouse.  The lines behind each bathroom stall were at least ten girls deep.  When it was my turn, I did my business and upon leaving the stall, discovered rather unfortunately that the door opened inwards.  Let me explain that these bathrooms were made to squeeze in as many breathless, sexed out teenagers as possible.  The stalls were extremely small.  When I pulled the door in, it got stuck between my breasts.  SERIOUSLY!  At this point I will add that it is a true statement that one boob is bigger than the other.  I was stuck.  I couldn't push myself out.  I struggled, I pushed, I pulled but to no avail and all of this while I listening to the giggles and shrieks of laughter from the girls in the bathroom.  I had no other recourse than to slide down the door with my yellow dress and modest slip being pulled up over my head exposing my girdle and control top white pantihose.  Then, I had to crawl on my belly on that filthy floor, under the door, and walk past these same laughing girls.  If I had just ignored my mom and not worn the girdle...I think that was the final straw in my book of shame.

Yes, at that moment in time I was embarrassed.  Ok, humiliated; however, I look back now and think what an amazing story.  Plus, I have to add, a very good lesson learned.  Not only do I have nieces whom I can warn about evil, perverted young men who prey on large, innocent, big breasted girls but I can also prevent them from going out in public wearing yellow dresses with white stockings and shame upon shame, girdles.  Certainly not a necessary undergarment in today's world.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The $180,000 Light Bulb

Oh, to be fifteen again and have that unfailing optimism that college will accept you with D average grades, accounting firms' starting salaries will begin at $180,000 a year, and that everything your parents tell you is a bunch of crap.

First of all, I was under no pretense that I wanted to be an accountant when I was fifteen.  I wasn't quite sure what accountants did but I knew it had something to do with math, formal business attire, and cramped working conditions so therefore, it was crossed off of my life's ambitions immediately.  No can do, especially the math part.  It's true that math is an entirely different language.  I attempted it and it was one that my brain could not translate.  No harm, no foul.  I new my limitations which was everything past long division.  It's interesting how math minded people try to force knowledge upon you such as how to move decimal points into percentages.  Eric, for the last time, STOP!  I don't care.  Thank you.

I do recall begging my mom to sign a waiver in high school allowing me to go into Algebra 2 after I had barely squeaked by Algebra 1 with a D.  I could not go into the lower math course.  My pride was at stake.  After all, my other classes were strong A's and B's.  The D was a total fluke.  I was convinced Algebra would be a light bulb.  It would turn on eventually.  I was certain of it.  Not only did it not turn on, but it caught fire.  D-.  Dismal!  Geometry.  At least I entertained Mrs. McGuire for the year.  She always called on me for an answer when she needed a giggle.  I'm glad I could oblige.

I've read the magazines and the parenting handbooks.  I know teenagers are stubborn.  I also know he's going to find out in a few years that we were right about hitting the books and studying.  It's so painful to watch him throw away his college education because he's determined to prove us wrong.  In his opinion he doesn't need to study because he's smarter than the rest of his class.  Deep sigh.  That's the Aspergian stuff coming through.  The autistic, I'm better than my peers, they're a bunch of idiots, and I'm above them all Asperger's syndrome stuff.  It breaks my heart because we can't force him to study.  His grades have guaranteed him a summer without his phone, TV, Gameboy, e-reader, etc.  Oh, what a lovely summer it will be with my surly fifteen year old.

In a couple of months, when he turns sixteen, he's going to expect us to sign off on driver's education.  For the umpteenth time, we'll have another discussion about his grades and that it's a privilege, not a right, to drive when he turns sixteen.  We'll also talk about gas money, that he'll need a job, and we won't allow him to work with the grades he's keeping.  He'll argue, yell, and carry on telling us once again that we don't know anything.  Sound familiar? 

Oh, to be fifteen again!  I'd like to make a $180,000 a year too.  Somehow as the mother of this kiddo, I feel I have earned it and I don't even need to be good at math.  Hey, I think the light bulb finally turned on!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Parents Moan, Children Squeal

There is a deep moan, low and rumbling in many households across the country.  If you concentrate you can just make it out over the high pitched squeal of glee while children count down their last few weeks, days, hours, minutes of school.  The moaning, of course, goes without saying as parents reading this are all nodding their heads in complete understanding.  It is the sound of abject terror starting to rise out of their bodies and formulate through their vocal chords.."NO!!"

Summer vacation.  Every day, my kids come home and inform me how many more days (not counting the next) they have left.  To be honest, I'm totally confused because my kids are in different schools and now the numbers are just a jumble in my brain.  All I know for certain is that it's coming in less than ten days.  Deep sigh.

In my more organized years, I would already have my summer planned out (literally).  I'd have three calendar months printed and each week would have pools days, library visits, mini-field trips, and family weekends scheduled and posted.  Then, for my notes, I'd have the field trips selected, what pools we'd go to and what week, the hotels and vacations paid for, yada yada yada. 

Are you kidding me?!  Where is this person?  She's gone.  Hasta la pasta.  I believe she's hanging out at Starbucks and drinking a cup of tea because this gal is sitting at her dusty dining room table drinking a bowl of coffee with nonfat half and half (to counter the 12 swirls of Hersey Chocolate Syrup), 4 packets of Sweet n' Low, a few dashes of cinnamon, and hasn't even submitted Austy's camp paperwork due in a week.  Denial is frightening. 

Did I once have coupons for positive behavior with a prize shelf in my basement?  Yes, I admit it.  I even decorated the prize shelf with flashing lights and ribbons.  I was every stay-at-home mother's nightmare.  Now, I'm lost.  I can't keep up.  My scheduler still sits on February.  No prize shelf.  No detailed calendar.  I'm hanging on for dear life, slurping my bowl of coffee, and like every other parent in the country wondering why we can't be on year-round schedules. 

Good grief, the moaning in this household just got a whole lot louder... 

Friday, May 13, 2011

I Met An Angel Last Night

I've discovered that I could never work at a humane society, homeless shelter, or children’s home. I would have little critters running around, folks making a home for themselves in my basement, and more foster kids than I could possibly take care of.

Before I start receiving countless posted comments about how “good” I am, please stop before your fingers hit the keyboard. I am no better than anyone else. The difference is that I’m extremely impulsive. I opened my mouth and before I considered the implications, I offered my spare bedroom to a pregnant, homeless stranger and her 3 year old son for a couple of months.

Did I think about the uproar it would cause in my home? No. Did I consider asking my husband first (after all, this is his home too)?  No. I called him after the fact. But this is where it gets interesting. He’s so generous that I knew in my heart he'd be ok with it. Yes, it would be awkward. He would certainly be nervous but yet I know he would have done the same thing or at least thought about it.

So last night, while waiting for the phone call to pick her up, Eric and I went through the pros and cons - the “what ifs”.  I knew she was on probation. I will not share why on my blog.  What I will share is that in the hour before I invited her into my home, while we sat together chatting in the therapy office about our children, I gained a good sense of who she was. A girl in her early twenties who came from an awful family, made one mistake with the law, and was trying desperately to get on track with her little boy and the baby she was carrying. She was getting absolutely no breaks in life.

What if she takes something from us? Then obviously she needs the money. What if her son damages the house? It couldn’t be any worse than what our own boys have done. What happens if she doesn’t leave after a couple of months? Then perhaps she needs us more than we know.

She didn’t end up calling last night. We waited well past dinner until after the boys went to bed. The blue ball and coloring book I purchased for her son is still sitting on my kitchen counter. I’m sad and worried. It was pouring rain yesterday. Their entire life was packed into five grocery store bags. I wonder where her little boy’s next diaper will be coming from. Perhaps she found it odd that a complete stranger would open up her home to another stranger and her son. 

Again, please don’t post a comment. My heart is heavy. What I ask instead is that you forward this link to someone else and then perform one small, random act of kindness for a stranger today - just one.

P.S. The girl’s name was, Angel.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

All Things Sweet & Miraculous Are Worth The Wait

A robin is nesting in our patio again and now another spring I face the quandary of how not disturb the bird and her eggs.  Yes, you see, Breezy has a soft side for all things pertaining to nature.  

These darned, beautiful birds can not seem to get it into their little pea sized brains that our patio is the Potts' second living room.  We have an all weather rug, wicker furniture, and a table.  Once the last frost is over, we practically BBQ every night.  We eat our meals out there, Eric and I snooze on the sofa on warm, lazy afternoons, and the dogs go out the sliding glass door to do their business. 

Last year, the birds were spooked away and left their nest with two itty blue eggs.  My heart was broken.  I don't know if I, much less my son Austynn, can handle this again.  So what do we do?

When we lived in our townhouse in California, we had a Mourning Dove nest right next to the front door on our wind chimes.  It was quite challenging.  We made a special sign for deliveries to be dropped off in front of the patio and then the family and I had to tip toe through the tulips (that was our term of endearment for dog poop on newspaper in the back hall), through the garage and around the townhouse unit to get to our BBQ so we wouldn't disturb the nest.  We did this for (don't laugh) umm...ten years.  Ok, ok, I hear you!  Why, you ask, didn't I take down the wind chimes before they came back to nest?  Because I would lose track of time and before I knew it, the nest would be back and then I couldn't very well take it down after they worked so hard to build it, could I?!  That's just cruel.

So yesterday, it was raining here in sunny Colorado and the dogs stayed curled up next to Eric telecommuting upstairs in bed (nice).  The robins got busy and before I knew it, the nest was made.  This may be a logistics nightmare but we will, as a family, have to accommodate another family for a short time anyway.  The dogs will have to be escorted through the garage to do their business in the backyard, Eric will have to do the same to get to the BBQ, and I will have to give up my naps for a bit.  The chair underneath the nest with have some bird poop on it but it can be washed off.  Until we see empty, blue shells lying on the ground and the sound on little peeps in the nest, we will not be hanging out in the patio.

All things sweet and miraculous are worth the wait and just a wee bit of an inconvenience.  If you've ever heard a robin sing in the sunshine, you'd totally agree with me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I've Come Out of the Closet and It Feels Good

Hello, my name is Bri Potts and I think I may be a closet Hollywood Gossip Follower.

While standing in the grocery store check-out line, I allow my eyes to wander past the candy bars and water bottle stands, past the cheap cigarette lighters and the pine tree car deodorizers, and allow them to rest on the most sensational gossip headlines of the day, "Kirstie Alley Falls During Rehearsal, Then Earns First 10 on ‘DWTS’! " and "Inside Kate Gosselin’s Busy Derby Eve". 

Of course, I would never stoop so low as to actually pick one up and read one.  No!  That would be admitting to my husband and the rest of the world that my interest in such base information has sunk to a new low.  I'm a Time Magazine and a New York Times type of girl.  I do not support such trash.  Never mind that the first thing I open in the morning on my Internet is the Celebs & Gossip tab.  What's happening in the world of Bradjelina?  I don't know what you're talking about.  Poor Jennifer!  She was such a sweet girl.  And little baby Louie?  He's much better off with Sandra.  He doesn't need that rascal, Jessie James in his life.  How could he do that to the little guy and Sandy?!  Oops...

Yes, it's true.  I'm hooked.  When I'm at my local hair salon sitting under the blow-dryer with enough foil on my head to contact distant galaxies, I soak up gossip rags with such fervor it's humiliating.  If it wasn't for the fear that my hair would fall out in bright orange clumps, I'd ask my friend, Melissa to keep me under the dryer for a few hours longer to finish their collection of post dated reading material.

My husband has had his suspicions for years.  How could he not when I pause for longer than 10 minutes on channels like Entertainment Tonight or TMZ?  Perhaps it's the long conversations with my mother after the annual award ceremonies about the dresses or the bizarre behavior of the entertainers versus the actual performances.  It could be so many things.  And, of course, he's always right.

Why do we do this as a society?  Why do we examine, under a microscope, the lives of entertainers?  They are, after all, just people.  They have colds, temper tantrums, they get constipated, they do everything we do.  I know why I'm fascinated.  As a hectic, crazy person who struggles every day with how to pay the bills, why the heck I forgot an appointment, or wondering how long it's been since the family has taken a vacation - I get excited for people who seem nice and can afford to do things that I can't.  I actually find myself rooting for particular entertainers.

I know this sounds odd and it seems truly strange typing it, but if the lifestyles of some of these people take my mind off of my insane world for a few hours, then as of today, I'm coming out of the closet. 

My name is Bri Potts and I'm a Hollywood Gossip Follower.  Ahhh, that felt good. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

I Received a Swollen Tongue & Dirty Finger Nails For Mother's Day

Now that the brunches are over, the massages are a lovely memory of the past, and the silence of somewhat well-behaved children is but a golden memory, the mothers of the world dig in their heels and begin another year of thankless monotony.

Good grief!  That was a depressing paragraph.  Just shoot me now.  It makes me want to go back to bed and hibernate for a few hours, weeks, months...

It's not that bad.  I guess I'm just grumpy this morning because my tongue is still swollen from the extra large bag of Sour Patch Kids candy that I attempted to consume in one sitting on Saturday afternoon.  I did have a little help but I could tell she is one of those "taste and savor the flavor" types instead of "chew ten at a time" types such as myself.  How did I eat these things as a kid?  Did I walk around with a constant drooling problem?  If so, I need to have a serious conversation with my old school pals.  Perhaps they had the same malady and we were all oblivious to each other's lisps?  Curious.  This will entertain my thoughts well past breakfast which I will not be able to enjoy due to my swollen tongue.

My holiday was lovely, actually, the whole weekend was.  It is a known fact amongst my family and friends that any holiday pertaining to me, myself...Breezy, starts days in advance and can last several days after the fact.  One day is just not enough, in my opinion, to truly savor the pampering that I deserve.  So, on Saturday, my family and I spent the afternoon working in the yard.  We replaced dead flowers (I will not go into detail on how they died.  I will allow the culprit to continue to squirm in his guilt), planted new flower beds, and prepared the patio for summer.  Spending the day in the yard is one of my favorite springtime activities.  Afterwards, we hung out around the fire pit and laughed well after midnight with some of my most cherished friends.  Sunday was very much the same.  I slept, savored the beautiful day, and had a BBQ with my family.  Deep sigh of contentment.

I don't like crowds and the fuss so I'm absolutely fine with how I spent the weekend, which is what it's all about, isn't it?  It's about being comfortable and having your family show you, in their own way, how much they appreciate you.  Austynn's pencil portrait of a bird was glorious.  William's attempt at detailing my car was terrific; however, I'll need to leave soon so I can see out my windows before the glare hits.  And Eric, he just knows what I love and need.  In a couple of weeks, when I'm threatening to leave the family for the upteenth time and drive to Kansas, I'll look at my spa certificates and quickly change my mind.  He knows just how to play me.  So this morning, I'll chip away at the dirt stuck in my fingernail beds, consider my swollen tongue, and appreciate what a glorious Mother's Day weekend I had.

P.S.  Since I have extended holidays, you should too.  This is my gift to all of the mothers out there whom I love and miss tremendously.  You are always in my thoughts and prayers.  And a special thank you to Maryellen.  You are my quirky, funny side and I aspire to be like you when I grow up.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I Could Have Been A Boring Piece of Melba Toast

While driving to chapel this morning, it occurred to me that my blogs about my mother and my motherhood experiences as of late have been, well...slightly negative.

Today, in honor of Mother's Day, I will make an attempt to be more uplifting. My mother, God bless her, is absolutely wonderful. I have inherited her quirky personality so, along with my father's somewhat dry sense of humor, I owe her my ever resonating laughter at all things bizarre and slightly odd. Thank you, mom because without your genes, I could have ended up a very boring piece of Melba Toast.

When I share stories to my sons about their "Nana M", Austynn and William are always in shock and awe.  "Did Nana really drive all the way home with the gas hose hanging out from her gas tank?" or  "Please tell us again about the time Nana dressed up as a Gorilla and went Trick or Treating with you." or  "What about the time Nana M was pulled over with dirty underwear hanging off her front bumper?"  There are never shortages of funny stories when it comes to my mother.  One of her true gifts is that she's always ready to laugh right along side of us when these treasures re-told.  The laughter is priceless.  Her giggling is completely contagious.  Once she starts, my sisters and I are hooked.  The cackling Bryant women have been known to infect entire rooms of strangers.

My mother is also extremely generous.  She never forgets a birthday, an anniversary, or a graduation.  If she can't be there in person, you can be certain that there will always be a card, a phone call, or a gift in the mail.  She tries to be all things for all people and perhaps this is a shortcoming.  She's a "pleaser".  I believe this is another lesson I've learned from her.  Now it's her turn to sit back and take a lesson or two from me.  Take care of yourself mom.  Treat yourself.  Relax.  Breathe.  You can't be there for everyone because you're going to get a whole lot crazier if you do.  Trust me, I know.  

Today, I will take a nap because I was up late last night and got up extremely early.  After I get up, I am going to sit and cuddle my 164 pound "little" boy for a very long time or until he tells me to let go.  Then, I'm going challenge my smack talkin', obnoxious 15 year old, vampire to a game of RISK.  I may consider making some tactical errors in his favor for a change ("may" is the operative word here).  I'm going to spend the entire day not taking a moment for granted that God has given me an amazing husband and friend to help through the recent rough patches.  And finally, I'm going to call my mom and tell her how much I love her and apologize profusely for my awful behavior when I was 12 and 15 years old.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Everyone Dreams But Not About Candles

I had a dream last night.  This is a stupid opening sentence.  Everyone dreams.  Now, if you're going to post a comment that you don't, I am thoroughly going to ignore and possibly delete it because it is a proven scientific fact that everyone does indeed dream.  You just may not remember yours.  Oh my goodness, I completely apologize - I digress!

Anyway, my dream.  I dreamt that all the candles in my house were, upon my death, never used.  Odd?  I use them all the time.  In fact, I light the bathroom candle downstairs while I'm cleaning just to get the house in a smell-good kind o' mood for motivational purposes.  I realize that this sounds quirky but I've never denied that I am just a little left of center.  This dream haunted me after I woke up.  Why did it linger in my thoughts while Tank proceeded with his morning ritual of licking my face and denying me my pillow rights?  I have learned early in our dog-human relationship never to make direct eye contact otherwise he believes the morning and the bed belongs to him.  Unfortunately today, he barked because of the Saturday cartoons downstairs, which startled me into eye contact, which, well...you get the picture. 

The house which I grew up in had a guest bathroom off the family room that had lovely, unused brown hand towels.  It was an unspoken rule to leave them alone.  Even guests knew this.  Instead, my mother had paper, decorative hand towels for every holiday occasion in a special tray next to the soap and sink.   Growing up, I thought nothing of this.  It was just how it was.  Then it happened.  A friend offered her opinion.  Why did we have this?  Why didn't we just use the lovely, unused brown hand towels?  Well, because they would get ruined, of course.  Then why wouldn't my mom just buy new ones?  Yes, why not? 

This was just too much for my brain to process.  And then it happened.  I started walking through my mother's beautiful house and saw things.  Candles that had been sitting on sinks and bookshelves for years which had been dusted but never burned.  Plastic dust covers on lamp shades.  Custom made glass table tops on the wood tables.  And of course, those lovely, unused brown hand towels that were never meant for hands.

This past year for my birthday, my mother sent me a lovely candle (seriously, this is not a dream).  It had a picture of a little girl on it and a poem about mothers and daughters.  For a split second I thought it was too lovely to burn and that it should go up on a shelf or something.  No way!  There will absolutely be no plastic dust covers on lamps, glass table tops, holiday paper hand towels, and certainly no unlit candles at my house when I die.  In fact, I'll light my birthday candle tomorrow in honor of Mother's Day and smile.  After all, I did inherit my quirkiness from someone, didn't I?

Friday, May 6, 2011

There are Two Limping Potts' People This AM

When do fifteen year olds become so adept at shooting arrows and when, might I add, did they learn about your Achilles' Heel?

Oh, he was good last night.  Every arrow stung.  He was right on target.  I do recall once taking Love and Logic classes.  I also remember somewhere, in some remote parental handbook, reading about walking away and not engaging in nasty one-on-one, tit-for-tat arguments with an escalating teenager.  No, not me.  I, in my constant non-adult behavior, engaged in the battle by pulling out the bloody arrows and shooting them right back.  Again, not one of my better moments as a parent.  William had already chased Eric out of the house for some fresh air and contemplation so I had no one to remind me that I was being an idiot; however, William helped out with that.

He reminded me that I didn't finish college.  I couldn't comprehend the math that he was working on as a freshman in high school.  I was nothing more than a lazy housewife and that no one would hire me based on the skills I didn't have.  I was a financial drain on the family.  Oh, he was something alright.  Every single sentence which came out of his mouth was one that I've heard before but not outloud and certainly not by someone other than myself.  Ouch.

The things I threw back at him were equally as bad.  The difference is that I'm his mother.  I'm suppose to build him up, not tear him down.  He struggles with his self-confidence already.  I didn't help him last night by being brutally honest.  It was an ugly, ugly night. 

We put our arms around each other this morning and apologized but I still wonder how much damage was done.  I'll survive, but will he?  Is he strong enough to lick his wounds and recover?  I was an ass-hole last night.  There's simply no way around it.