Sunday, August 30, 2009

Two Moments in My Life

I was looking through old photos tonight and came across a couple that really brought back great memories. I have to say it, I've had a bloody great life so far.

In 1997 Craig and I went on a two week camping trip to Scotland. This picture is taken at Gairloch where I want my ashes scattering when I pop my clogs.  I remember that we went to the local pub where Craig beat everyone including the landlord at pool, then we drank a few beers at our tent site but we were terrorized by a group of obnoxious Germans & Craig did the Monty Python funny walk routine. It was not the most PC thing he's ever done but it still makes me laugh today. We'd sit and paddle our bare feet in the waters edge, looking out at the Isle of Lewis. Craig and I had such a great laugh on that holiday. 

My courageous days! Bungee jump number 9 or 10 I think. I drove to Durham to do it and took some students along.  What a fashion disaster I was though. I am wearing red Doc Martens, ridiculous skin-tight stripey pants (?), and a bio warfare jacket. I was cold and one of my students who was in the TA/National Guard lent it to me.  I told the bungee people that  I wanted to go backwards and I can still remember the adrenaline rush. What a daredevil I was. 
I can't go up a chuffing ladder these days without getting wobbly legs.  

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Crazy or Chaste - Pick your Poison

Since I've had kids my PMS symptoms have, let's just say, been a little amplified. It got so bad last week that I had a complete meltdown over a tin of ravioli.

I'm meeting my doctor in a few days and I'll talk to her about it but I really don't want to start taking any kind of medicine. I don't take medicine. I would prefer to lie on my death bed covered in sores than ask anyone for a bit of antibiotic cream. Stupid I know but that's how I am.

I was so excited when I started looking at natural cures and I found Agnus castus, otherwise known as Vitex. There are scientific papers published by the British & American medical professions about its efficacy and it's readily available in health food shops. I thought GREAT! I'll tootle off to the shop, take a few and by this time next week I'll be like Julie Andrews.

Then I read about the side effects. They don't call it the chaste berry for no reason. It smothers your sex drive so much that monks use it to stay celibate. When I was recounting all this last night to my husband his face went from elated to crestfallen. Then he looked at me and said "I'd prefer that you tried to kill me".

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Road Rage

I took Jack to our local DIY shop yesterday for a kids workshop where he could build something. He had a fabulous time and got a badge and a certificate and the toy he made. We left the shop in the sunshine so we drove out with our windows down and he was chattering madly.

On the way out of the car-park I have to turn left and it's a bit of a nightmare because all the oncoming traffic from the left never uses their indictors (turn signals) to show they are turning in. But I was taught never to pull out in that situation, even if you think people might be turning in, and especially if they don't use their indicators. Having Jack in the back makes me extra careful.

I was first in line, there were 3 cars coming from the left and none of them used their indicators so I sat and waited and the driver behind me went NUTS. After the first car, he pomped his horn. Second car he pulled forward till he was right on me and blew his horn several times. Third car he was screaming and shouting and just going mental. After the third car had come in (and this whole episode can't have lasted more than 30 seconds), and we pulled out he tried to undercut me, realized he couldn't so swerved around me, drew level and screamed "you f***ing stupid blonde f***ing bitch"

Right in front of my son.

He then went on to undercut and go nuts with all the drivers in front of me till we got on the freeway. 

I know the guys is a nutter and I know it wasn't my fault but it really upset me that he did it in front of Jack.  Sometimes, people can be real wankers.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Popcorn Movies

Years ago we watched the Eddie Izzard sketch about "popcorn" movies and ever since we've ranked them as such.  I was fiddling about doing stuff tonight and Craig came into the kitchen to make popcorn. He said "I'm going to watch the new Rambo film". 
After about an hour I walked through the room to see both Craig AND our dog Cody just loading that popcorn like their life depended on it. I asked how the film was. Craig said "In all my life I've never seen so much blood and gore".  I think he liked it. 

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lottery Dreams

The Mega Millions Lottery is at $207 million and is drawn tomorrow night. I bought a few lines tonight, like we always do.

People say - why buy them? There's a 1-in-a-zillion chance of winning a fiver. 

I buy them because it gives me something to daydream about. I daydream about how to spend my millions. Mostly paying off all debt of our loved ones and buying houses for everyone. 

The lottery ticket makes sure that each week I can have a little dream. Wish me luck. 

The Transparent Child

Someone once told me that boys are completely transparent and I'm finding out that it's true.

Jack tells me when he draws on the coffee table with his crayons, when he's going to "sneak" out the front door "moma, I'm going to go out the front door!", when he breaks a toy, spills his food, frightens the cat. He tells me every single time. I suppose he has yet to develop that trait of personality that makes you devious or crafty. Maybe, as a boy, he won't? Most times I'm happy about all of this, that he's honest with me. But sometimes it creates a situation that I'd really prefer to avoid.

Two nights ago he called me into his bedroom to show me water he'd spilled on his rug. I know he didn't have a water bottle and there's no water in his room so I said "did you wee on the rug?" He looked terribly guilty and tiny whispered "no". I said "don't ever lie to me Jack, tell me the truth - did you wee on the rug?" and he tiny whispered "yes". I asked him why. He grinned at me and replied "because I had to".

For a moment I thought "Bollocks. How do I handle this? I just told him to tell me the truth and he did, so I can't punish him or he'll lie to me for the rest of his life. But he just weed on the rug"

So I took Danny to the park and as a punishment he had to stay behind with dad. And he cried real tears. Big blobs of tears rolling down his cheeks. It made me feel like crap but this is what discipline it's all about, right - sticking to your guns, even if it makes you feel terrible.

Last night when he got home from school, he said "Can we go the park mama? I didn't wee on the rug today" and I had to look away so he wouldn't see me smile.
I do wonder sometimes if he repeats all this stuff to his teachers at day-care.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Jack's 3-Year Docs Visit

Here's the little fella with the sunflower he grew from seed. Pretty impressive isn't it. What he doesn't know is that his mummy snapped it last week and I've been propping it up till it flowered this past weekend.

Here's his 3-year statistics from the docs today:
Height = 40 inches (95th %ile)
Weight = 35 lbs (70th %ile)

The doc is called Dr. Brown but Jack insisted on calling him Dr. Brownie, like his favourite chocolate cake, and he pestered him to death till he let him use his stethoscope. I had told Jack we were going to the doctors so he could check that he's okay, so he announced "I am happy and healthy!" as soon as we got there. 

I did wonder if the doc thought he had some vocabulary problems as he said "fleeping" instead of "sleeping"  but after 50 more test words he said he's doing great.  So overall a great visit and once again he made me laugh. I really enjoy his company these days because he's so cute and funny and inquisitive.

He was so well behaved that I took him for ice cream afterwards. He had "brown" flavor with sprinkles and got more on him than in him. I had blueberry frozen yogurt, you know, so he wouldn't feel embarrassed eating on his own.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Next Time the Bird Gets It

We just got back from camping at Lynn & Debbie's house in London (Ohio, not Old Blighty) and what a lovely time we had. It was great to hang out at their house and chat and eat glorious food and we went swimming in their next door neighbour's outdoor pool. 

Jack was so excited to sleep in the tent he kept sneaking in there and I had to keep shouting at him to come out. It was about 120 degrees in there and his face was as red as a beetroot. He'd scowl at me and come out, only to run back in when I turned my back, little monkey.

Danny's first time in the pool, watched by four adults all on pins, gasping every time he looked like he might tip over "hold him! steady him! don't let him drink the water! put his hat back on! where's the ozone strength sun cream?" Makes you wonder how the human race survived all these years when fussy mums like me weren't around.

Jack launching himself into the water 
(insert "Damn Busters" theme tune in your head for full effect)

At night we covered ourselves in mozzie-cream and watched a film outside. Can I just say how absolutely marvelous it was, sitting in the warm evening with friends, drinking wine, looking up at the stars and watching a funny film.  I can hardly see the moon from my house in the city there's so much light pollution and smog. By the way, the film was "I love you man" which was surprisingly good.

We got to the tent about midnight, then at 5am Danny woke up crying, Jack stirred, and a cockerel next door shrieked "Cock-a doodle!"   He was missing the "do" at the end for some reason. Maybe the last person that camped in these parts went over and tried to choke the little swine.  Craig and I let out a huge sigh and then just started laughing and wished each other a happy anniversary. You have to laugh don't you when you feel so crap you want to cry.

This morning, for some reason, and I'm not sure why now, we ended up looking at a few houses for sale in the area. One was on the edge of a big lake. I'll say it again - ON THE EDGE OF A LAKE and was only $94,500. But it needed loads of work and I'm just too tired. Ten years ago I would have jumped right in and got it fixed up but after two house renovations I'm buggered. The thought of more dry-wall work makes my bones ache. 

Tonight we're all tired and sunburnt but really happy. It was a fabulous weekend.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Kick Off with District 9

This weekend is our 13th wedding anniversary and I can't believe it, though I'm sure most married couples say the same. That time has flown by. 
My marriage is a happy one, with a husband that's my best friend and he's a fabulous dad. 
He's not perfect mind you and I could bonk him on the head many times, but he would definitely say the same about me. 

Tonight we kicked it off by going to see District 9.  I can't show the trailer in my blog, sorry,  so you'll have to click on the link. It was a GREAT film, unlike any film I've seen in years and I need to watch it again because suddenly I get it - the whole apartheid thing.  It's a bit science fiction, a lot action, a bit drama, a lot to think about afterwards and definitely lends itself to a serial.. We both REALLY liked it. 

I would give it an A

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Career in Ass-Kissing

Something happened to me yesterday that I thought I'd write about, then I just read Wifey's blog and saw that she had encountered something similar - namely dealing with someone who wants to jump on for the ride.

I met a woman yesterday that's offering a service to our group at work. She was incredibly dynamic and personable. The kind of woman that takes charge and has balls as big as Arnold. She can play the political game like a pro, seal the deal, balance the check book and woop any of her male colleagues at golf, all on the same day.  Lipstick and nice perfume and high heels.  A lady very much in charge of life.  

I, on the other hand, rarely wear make-up, have a corking farmers tan, swear like a sailor, have no interest in work politics and wear Tevas.

When she met me she exclaimed "Oh! You're Pam X! You are amazing! I've read all your articles and I know you did this and this and this".  And I thought, Holy Cow, what a compliment. I must be a lot more famous than I thought. It's impossible to hear someone lavish praise on you and not suck it up just a little bit.

As the afternoon wore on, I heard her say it to a couple of other people and then I felt foolish. This woman isn't daft. She's done her homework. If we sign up with her, we're going to be looked after and I have no doubt she's going to get the job done. 

But today we all sat around and laughed at how we all got sucked in and the fact that she kissed so much ass to get the job. The falseness of it all, the uncomfortableness of it all. We'll have to work with her so I hope she drops the ass-kissing now that we've signed up. 

Now I've had time to digest it, I actually feel really sorry for her. Imagine having to spend your days sucking up to people and trying to get them on your side. You couldn't ever just relax and have a laugh because you have an agenda, you have to constantly impress. I suppose that's "sales" for you,  but I couldn't do it for all the tea in China.

Best Friends

On the way to day-care yesterday Jack said "Danny's my best friend" so I asked him why. He said "because we play together". Then he said "daddy's my best friend" so I asked him why. He said "because he has to". Then he said "mummy's my best friend" and I asked him why and he said "because you love me". That's pretty perceptive for a 3-year old.

He has started telling me imaginative stories. Last night at bedtime he told me this story ... "I took your shoe and I threw it in the tree and then it fell out but got stuck in the mud, but the dinsoaurs were coming and they went wooooar and we ran away"

He is obsessed with airplanes and wants to go on one. Everytime one flies over our house, he waves at it and asks of we can go on one, or maybe even get some wings so we could fly ourselves.

The "why" questions are cute, exhausting and sometimes drive me crazy. I try and answer them but have had to resort to 'because mummy says so" or "I don't know, it just does" on many occasions. It's relentless - when will it stop?

He's very tactile and very talkative, like me. He's very much like me. Are we going to have kids where each one looks and acts like one particular parent?

We're going camping soon and he's sooo excited. Last night we had to pretend putting the tent up and wrapping ourselves in sleeping blankets. He was very convincing about the whole thing until he told me to sprinkle cheese on the top. 

Saturday, August 08, 2009

A Great Day at the Fair

We had a fabulous day today at the Ohio State Fair and being a big kid again has really made me feel better, less stressed-out. We rode the rides and got to watch Jack squeal with excitement. I rode one that made me queasy and Craig admitted that the big slide was a bit faster than he had imagined. We both used to skydive and now we're nervous of kids fairground rides - how funny is that.

I also put Weight Watchers to the back of my mind for the day because at the state fair all bets are OFF.   Today I ate: a chicken gyro, a root-beer float and a funnel cake, which probably constitutes a weeks worth of points but I don't care and still have the icing sugar on my shoes to prove it. I could also have eaten: deep fried ravioli, deep fried Oreos, deep fried Buckeyes and deep fried dill pickles. Notice a theme here? 
For English people - a gyro is a kebab, a root-beer float is pop with ice cream floating on it and funnel cake is a big squiggly donut the size of a dinner plate, cooked in fat and then covered in icing sugar. 

Jack had the absolute time of his life and he came home with an inflatable pirate hammer and  a Sponge Bob Square Pants bat and ball set. I wish I could remember all the things he's saying and the questions he's asking at the moment because he's dead funny. The very last thing we did was a big bungee thing that we paid for and then he got frightened and didn't want to do it. Then the attendant tried to pick him up and take him over to it which made him hysterical but we told him he absolutely didn't need to do it if he didn't want to. On the way home I asked him why he changed his mind and didn't want to do it and he said "the lady was scary". I silently agreed, seeing as she had no teeth and was sun burnt bright red.  If I was 3 she'd have scared me to death too.

Craig & Jack on the big slide...

Friday, August 07, 2009

Schooling my English Lads

We've been talking a lot about schools for our lads.

Here's the conundrum: we love our house and our neighbours and our neighbourhood has one of the best primary/elementary schools in the state but the middle and high schools in our school district are a bit rough to say the least. They don't rank well and people generally don't say good things about them. So we could enter the Charter and Lottery system for middle and high school or go private (insert hilarious laughter here) or move.

I really don't want to move, just thinking about it makes me heart-heavy. I don't think I could ever find my house, my garden, and my neighbours anywhere else. I have no direct neighbours for starters. My little house sits alone and means we can be noisy and naked whenever the fancy takes us. Not that we walk around in the buff a lot but it is nice not to have anyone within peeking distance. My garden is a life project and I love my plants. I have plants that we bought to mark babies' births and birthdays. I have plants that have grown into breathtaking specimens of shape and color and scent. My trees and large shrubs feel like family and I couldn't leave them behind.

Also, we live in a liberal neighbourhood that cares about things and has festivals and outdoor concerts and farmers markets. Moving to a posh neighbourhood surrounded by women that do coffee mornings gives me the willies.

So, we are going to stay put. Work on the school thing and hope that our kids get a good mix of diversity, life challenges and education without too much of either one.

By the way,I use the term "English" lads because one of my colleagues saw this picture of Danny and said "he looks English!". I'm not rightly sure if it was a compliment. I think he looks like a little gem, but we probably shouldn't mess with him when he's older. I'm not going to tell him to go to bed early - would you?

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The Kindness of Strangers

Our friends, Debbie & Lynn, have a friend Martha, who lives next door to a family that have kids over 10 years old and have outgrown their play set. Somehow all the stars aligned so that they knew we wanted it and they gave it to us FREE. How fabulous is that! 

Craig and Debbie got their tools out and dismantled it. Debbie got stung by a wasp in the process so we got wasp killer out and nuked the little bastards. I hate wasps and I can't see what purpose they have on this planet. But I digress. The hardest part by far was lifting a really heavy cumbersome thing onto a truck bed. It required 4 adults and lots of grunting.
All it needs now is a rocking chair sat on top with an old lady in it!  People walking on the pavement were literally stopping and staring, mouths agape, like they'd never seen a truck overloaded before. I'm just glad a big chunk didn't fall off or we may just have to have driven off and disowned it. Debbie & Lynn were very brave to drive this across town for us. 

Ta da! All back together in our garden. The boys LOVE it. Jack is beside himself with excitement and didn't even whine about not being able to watch telly tonight. He scooted up the ladder into his tree-house yelling "the dinosaurs are coming!", then he used his big yellow telescope to keep an eye on things in the garden. 

Monday, August 03, 2009

I Do Like a Bit of Pomp

We took a picnic and a big blanket and we trundled off to our local park for the weekly summer concert that's free and very jolly indeed. I do love to sit on the grass and listen to a band, especially one like this that is comprised of talented teenagers from high schools across Ohio. 

The American flag was fluttering from a tree and the evening was a perfect 75 degrees with a cool breeze. Jack danced like only a toddler can dance and he was in awe of the drum major as he twirled his baton. He looked at me and said "I want to throw a big stick mama!" Danny played on the blanket and got lots of admiring looks from all the grandparents that sat around us. 

It's one of my favourite things about the neighbourhood. Our little bit of Americana.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

Ohhhhhh, I feel bad today. Jan and I sat up until 2.30am this morning talking and watching British comedy on YouTube. It seemed like such a good idea at the time, and if I had a quid for every time I'd said that I would be sat in the Bahamas right now watching my cleaner lady hoover up all the damn pet hair in my house.

I got up at 7am with the kids and they were 110% all day so I took at least five Exedrin Migraine, drank 15 pints of water, ate grease all day (there goes my points for the week) and managed to smile like Mrs Perfect Mommy at the park, even though I had a bastard behind the eyes at the time.

And really, I don't regret it. Jan and I had a right laugh. Big belly laughs and knee-slapping stuff. I was torn which clip to add here. I nearly added the clip of "Cats that look like Hitler" but you can look that one up if you like. I miss British comedy terribly but thankfully I have YouTube.

Danny-D at 6 Months

As my friend Emily said on a recent post, these blogs are actually baby journals for the modern woman, so I'm going to record our Danny's stats from this weeks doctors visit and a few milestones.

I've give him a nickname and I have no idea where it came from. For about 3 weeks now I've been calling him "Danny D"  which is odd considering his middle name is Lewis. I tried to convince myself it means Danny Darling but that wasn't the original idea - it just seemed to rhyme or something. It must be catchy though as Craig calls him Danny D too. By the way, Jack's nickname since he was a newborn is "Munchie" or "Munch". Again, I have no stinking idea where these things come from but it's stuck.

Anyway, on to Danny's stats:
Height = 28 inches so he's in the 95th %-ile
Weight = 21 lbs 10.5 ozs so he's in the 97th %-ile

He's now on number 2 baby food and eating three meals a day. The pediatrician told me Danny will talk me into feeding him normal food probably much sooner than Jack did. He'll probably be on t-bone steaks by Christmas and might a future contender in the international hot dog eating contest.

He's sitting up now which means he'll be able to sit in a shopping trolley and I can ditch the car seat. With Danny in it, it weighs a ton and I'm beginning to look like Fatima Whitbread by lugging it around everywhere. 

He's so cute and so friendly and got such chubby kissable cheeks I just can't get enough of him. Today in the park a couple were cooing over him and the man said to his wife "Awww, can we have another one?"