Thoughts Running Amok

I took 24 hours for myself and took a little trip to the big city to visit my sister and her family before they head off for a little holiday. It was a great 24 hours.

I loaded the CD player with new disks and sang my heart out without fear of anyone mocking my voice or noticing if I got the words wrong. I played American Pie three times in a row and You Can Call Me Al five times. James Taylor and I Showered The People That I Love With Love and Sting and I Laid In A Field of Barley all at a volume of 40 – it doesn’t get any louder than that.

In between I thought about stuff. A stream of semi-consciousness.

I thought up some things I’d like to blog about, but couldn’t write them down so they’re history.

I wondered why on the drive there I was so tired when I had gotten a whopping eight hours of sleep and why on the way home I was wide awake with only four hours of sleep.

I had so much fun just being with my sister and not having to be MOM for an evening that I decided that even though, according to my parents, there is no greater sin than selfishness, doing something strictly for myself can’t be all bad. Hubby said I should do it more often and I think I just might.

I thought about Paris. I don’t remember ever feeling this excited about a trip, ever. This isn’t to say that I’ve never been this excited before, I just don’t remember it . 😉

I thought some more about the blogging/narcissism issue and I came to a conclusion which many of you (not that I’m read by ‘many’) will probably consider quite narcissistic but I’m willing to risk it. Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past is without doubt considered a great work of literature, yet it can also be viewed as somewhat self-involved. I sincerely hope that I haven’t offended anyone in France and I am in no way comparing myself to Proust I’m merely saying that there is a great literary history of self-involvement. So, is blogging any worse? I’m also constantly on the watch for signs of Alzheimer’s in myself. Blogging aids me in this. I seem to have become so forgetful over the years that I’m just waiting for the day that I forget how to manipulate the keyboard. So far so good.

Not sure where this one came from – but I thought about gravity. I wondered how the heck has gravity managed to get so up close and personal with my body if I have always made sure to wear very supportive bras and the only time I don’t have one on I’m horizontal? I take that one a little personally. TMI?

I wondered if you were to name your child Higgs or Boson would he achieve great things or just have a huge ego?

I’m sure I had other thoughts but luckily for you I can’t remember them. That’s normal, right?

I returned home refreshed, ready to tackle my crazy week made even crazier by my absence and very happy to once again be MOM.

A Useful Turkey

I was at the grocery store today. For a change. I saw a freezer full of very large turkeys. They were marked as “utility turkeys” it also said on them “some parts may be missing”.

Does that make you wonder? It makes me wonder. The dictionary definition of utility is “useful” or “used for more than one purpose”. So how do you think that these turkeys are more useful than say, your average Butterball turkey and what else could you use them for besides eating? They’re way to big for paper weights and too small for ottomans. I guess you could use them for door stoppers but why would that be so necessary this time of year?

Or were they previously used by someone else for something else? Is this what made them lose some of their parts? The question then becomes, what the heck were they used for? Do we even want to know? It couldn’t have been pleasant if they’re losing parts over it. What would you use a live turkey for? Other than a ‘watch turkey’ I’ve got nothing. An angry turkey would scare me away from your home but then again I’ve got this thing about birds. An angry budgie would scare me away as well. Turkey fighting? I don’t think so and that’s just gross.

So what’s the deal with the utility turkey? Is that just a euphemism for tough old bird? Could we then say that Margaret Thatcher was a utility prime minister?

Aww, Come On

This morning I was on the ball. I took the fish out of my freezer early enough so that it would be unthawed in time for me to cook it for dinner tonight.

One of my twins saw the package sitting on the counter and asked what was for dinner. Granted I could have just said salmon, but I was in the middle of preparing six lunches, the package was labelled and I knew that he would ask me this same questions at least two more times before dinner. So I said something that I thought might stick in his mind, “Either salmon or a severed arm.”

He then proceeded to unwrap my frozen fish. I snapped at him and asked him what he was doing. He responded with “Just checking.”
I replied, “Come on, I said a severed arm.”
He answered, “You’ve been acting weird lately.”

Geeze, try to poison your kids just once and they never forget it.

Sorry Cookie

I thought I’d do something nice for my kids today. I was short of time and I had some cookie mix in my pantry so I decided to bake almost scratch cookies for the kids’ after school snack.

As I was mixing the cookies I noticed a strong smell. I immediately checked for an expiration date on the box as I’ve had the mix for a while (years?). There was no date. The mix had cocoanut in it which is an ingredient I don’t usually use. I thought that maybe that could just be giving off the strong sort of soapy smell.

A girlfriend came by for coffee while the cookies were baking. I mentioned the smell to her. She also checked for an expiry date. Then she made the sacrifice of tasting a cookie warm from the oven. SHE said they tasted FINE. I wrapped up four cookies for my two kids I’d be taking to piano lessons so they could have a snack on the way.

I got my daughter first. As she ate one cookie she said that she didn’t like the after taste and that “it’s something funny in my throat”. I told her not to bother with the other cookie and tasted a piece. Yep, the cocoanut was very strong tasting. We decided to let her brother decide for himself.

My son took one bite and exclaimed, “Oh my G-d what is with these cookies? They taste like vomit!”
My daughter chimed in with, “Yeah! That’s what that thing in my throat is!”
I apologized to him and explained the situation. He was aghast that we didn’t warn him. I asked him to text his brothers and our houseguest and warn them away from the cookies. My eldest and his friend were working late at school and would not encounter the cookies.

As we were sitting in his sister’s piano lesson he received a text from his twin brother. laughing he handed me the phone to read this message, “Did Mommy vomit in the cookies?”

Oh My Gosh. I’m so sorry kids. From now on it’s scratch from fresh ingredients only, no mixes. I promise.

Oh No She Doesn’t

My twins have just finished a unit in health class and were tested on it today. The unit was on reproduction. Human reproduction. Human anatomy. Reproductive anatomy. Male and female human reproductive anatomy.

Can we see where this is heading?

They helped each other study yesterday. Out loud. In the dining room off the kitchen. I was glad that I could hear it. Sort of. One of the boys was being goofy. I told him to be mature. He responded with, “I can’t, I’m not mature enough to be learning this stuff!”

I continued to listen as they drilled one another on the various body parts and their functions. It was…disconcerting. We talk about a lot in our house, almost anything is up for discussion. I’d always rather they be able to reflect on something with our moral spin in the mix than shy away from an uncomfortable conversation. But still listening to my boys discuss female anatomy in such detail was causing me to blush.

Then I heard the unforgettable question, “What is the Libya Majora?”
I had to interject, “Ah guys, it’s not a country. Check your spelling and your pronunciation.”

A little while later they asked their dad, “Have you ever performed an episiotomy?”
He responded with a, sure. So it seemed only reasonable to me that I could also add to the conversation. “I actually had one.” From their reactions you would have thought that I made them watch the actual footage – which does not exist. Once they stopped screaming and their ears stopped bleeding their dad and I responded in unison with, “It’s better than tearing.” I’m sure you can imagine what followed. They’re so sensitive!

This morning I took the opportunity to mention to them that the next time they’re thinking about getting friendly with a girl they should remember the episiotomy. Actions have consequences.

I look forward to health ending and phys ed starting again. I bet they do to.

Access Denied

Our Passports are in need of renewing. We (and when I say we I mean my husband) have completed the laborious task of filling out the forms – six times over. We have had our photos taken.

Ah yes, the photos. We had them taken yesterday. You know how some days you look in the mirror and you think, “I’m an attractive looking person.” and then other days, not so much. Yesterday was a not so much day. Then it came photo time. Remove all jewellery and your glasses. O.K., so no earrings to help pretty me up, not a good thing. No glasses. The only times that I don’t have my glasses on are when I’m asleep for the night or swimming. I don’t even know what I look like without my glasses on – mostly because I can’t make out my reflection in the mirror. I tend to think of myself as somewhat fuzzy.

I took off my glasses and immediately noticed that I felt a little tired. This will mean only one thing in the photo, that slightly lazy eye of mine that has a mind of its own and acts up when I am tired and not wearing my glasses will not be doing me any favours. Great.

Then came the orders. Stare into the camera lens (I couldn’t even see the camera), keep your head down (you cannot make your neck look longer like Oprah showed us to do with your head down) and no smiling or showing your teeth. Hair behind your ears so that your ears can be seen – no problem I have my dad’s Buddah ears. Oh my. This is not going to be a pretty picture.

I did not look at the final result. I was too scared to.

Last night I mentioned to my husband that I didn’t have the guts to look at my picture. He responded with two words, “It’s bad.” Then he added his usual, “but your beautiful, anyhow it’s just a passport picture.” He never tells me that pictures of me are bad. This one must be BAD.

I summoned up my courage to look this morning. I looked and then I gasped. I can’t travel for the next five years. My eldest son saw what I was doing and he responded with, “I know, we all decided that your picture is the worst.” So, they discussed it. Ouch. I bet they were laughing. Then he added, “You look like a Serbian dockworker.” I gasped again because even though I’ve never seen a Serbian dockworker I just know that, that is exactly what I look like. My son responded to my gasp with “Mommy. It doesn’t look anything like you.” Too little, too late kid.

I don’t know why any official would let any of us in. We all look quite angry (except for my husband, why does he look O.K.?) and capable of overthrowing any country. I may not even be allowed on the plane, I definitely look like someone who will one day need to be escorted off of some plane somewhere.

Would it have hurt so much to allow us a little smile?

I hate passport photos. At least when I have to show my health card photo I’m sick so expectations are low.

19.50 And Change

It’s been an interesting if not alarming week.

There have been appointments; dentist, optometrist, orthodontist and a mammogram. All of that was nothing out of the ordinary. The thing that took the cake this week was a lecture given by Rob Nickel, an internet safety expert who worked undercover with the O.P.P. for many years. His area of expertise is child pornography, pedophilia and the internet. Anyone out there feel like being scared witless? I know just the lecture for you to hear.

I did come away with some important tips as well as a general feeling of nausea. Some of these tips may be basic to many of you, but they are good to hear again anyway:

Make sure that you and your children do not advertise that you will be away from your home on vacation on your Facebook accounts. Don’t count the sleeps to that family getaway. This is an invitation to thieves.

Make sure that your children (obviously not older teens and young adults) have their Facebook privacy settings set to Friends Only. This needs to be checked monthly as it will automatically default back to something else. A predator can use the internet to locate your child in a matter of minutes. By the way, they use chat rooms and help educate one another.

Any photo taken on a cell phone contains the GPS location of where that photo was taken. So, any pictures that your kids take at home and send out to their friends and who knows who else will contain the GPS co-ordinates of your home. Once it’s out there it can end up anywhere, you just don’t know.

Allowing your kids to take their computers into their bedrooms greatly increases their risk of being cyber bullied without you knowing about it. It also increases the risk that they could be bullying (possibly inadvertently) without your knowing.

Be sure that you and your kids enable the passcode on your cell phones. Without the passcode enabled someone can gain access to the cell phone and listen to what is being said through it, even if the phone is turned off.

Computers need to have a virus scanner to protect against Trojans.

I know that this sounds very alarmist and George Orwellian but he backed up everything he said with examples and cases.

So, once again I was yearning for the simpler times of the 1950’s. Not to say that there weren’t bad things going on then and not to say that the internet is all bad, but false or not I was missing the innocence. 1950 sounded good, the changes since then, not so good.

I went home and had a discussion with my kids. They of course think that they’re very savvy and that I’m the uninformed one. I’m not so sure. I still think that they may be somewhat naive. They got to hear Rob Nickel speak to them at school although he did temper some of what he had to say about the pedophiles so as not scare them.

Two days later in an attempt to recreate a false sense of security I baked brownies for the kids to have as an after school snack. They walked into a home smelling of home baked goodness, warmth and love. For the ten minutes it took for them to hoover their snack I got to live in a world of denial and innocence. We have also changed Facebook privacy settings, encoded phones with pass codes and discussed some of the evils that lurk out there. Hopefully with a little luck as well as informed kids and parents my children will get to grow up in a safe environment.

Kiss and Makeup

I have noticed that as I am aging my views on many things are changing. From religion to politics I am not the same woman that I was in my twenties or even in my thirties. I have even changed certain views on personal grooming.

I have always been a clean person, please don’t misunderstand that, but my beauty regimen consisted of showering, shaving (no earth mother look for me even though I am partial to comfortable shoes), deodorant and a spritz of perfume. Now there are moisturizers, hair dyes, pedicures, manicures, hair products and great amounts of makeup needed to keep me from looking like your a average woman in need of a homeless shelter.

I let the hair colour go a few years ago and my husband gently told me that gray hair just makes some women look much older than they are. ‘Nuff said, don’t need to tell me twice. When my feet began sounding like high heels on the floors the every-other-month pedicures began. What is that all about? I’m as flat footed as I’ve ever been, why the calluses at this stage of the game? Too much personal information right now?

The makeup thing is the newest addition. I’ve always worn makeup off and on, mostly off. It is only now that I recognize the need for it. I look at my beautiful nieces in their twenties and I am in awe of their glowing skin. Their luminescence would allow them to act as a beacon on the darkest of nights. They don’t need makeup, they are stunning in their youth. I have realized from standing in line at too many grocery stores trying not to look at those cheap pseudo newspapers that if movie stars can look that bad without makeup on how can regular old Jane Blow, me, expect to look good au natural? With a summer tan,maybe, otherwise fuh-ged-aboud-it! So I have learned to put on foundation, contour, blush, eye lid colour, mascara and lipstick in about 5 minutes all for that natural, healthy look.

50 may be the new 40, but honestly, when it comes to skin 40’s not so great.

For all of you out there who are now thinking of me as vain and shallow, yeah I get the whole age/wisdom thing and that you’re only as old as you feel but I figure that you don’t really know how I feel. Most of you only see how I look. If men have laugh lines and women have crows feet don’t give me a hard time about a little makeup. Did you know that a group of crows is called a ‘murder’ of crows. So, to all you gentlemen out there who don’t see our inner beauty and the wisdom that we have gained from living, look out.

We may have a murder of tiny lines around our eyes but let’s laugh with the men as we put on our creams and makeup. After all is said and done we are all aging and there is even less that our husbands can do about their balding and/ or gray hair.

Thanks For The Mammories

Tomorrow is another fun filled day. I get to take a break from the dentist and the periodontist to go have a mammogram. Yeah.

Honestly I think I prefer this to dental work but that doesn’t mean I like it. It begins with the atmosphere. A little candlelight would be appreciated. Then there are the”funny” cartoons all over the wall. You know those cartoons. The ones that compare post mammogram breasts and pancakes or that point out that men would never get tested in this manner for testicular cancer. This to me is about as funny as the Three Stooges.

The funniest part of it to me is when the technician asks me not to move and to hold my breath. I don’t need to be told to hold my breath, I need to be reminded to breathe.

I will do this without complaining because maybe, just maybe it will one day save my
life although I do wonder if the test itself is not doing some kind of lasting cellular damage to my breast.

While I continue to be poked, prodded and squished by various medical professionals in the name of good health and a long life I’ll also continue to hope for the discovery of chocolate as some sort of diagnostic tool.

Memories

I recently found the journal that I kept when I spent six months in Israel on an ulpan 27 years ago. It was nice to read in detail about my experience. I remember a lot of it and of course I’ve forgotten a lot as well. Mostly I was struck by how young I was. I thought I was soooo mature. I wasn’t.

I read about a weekend that remains both very distinct and somewhat fuzzy in my memory. My roommate at the time had a family friend who made Aliyah and married an Israeli. They lived in Jerusalem and we were able to use them as a weekend retreat. I think that they had decided that I would be a good match for his younger brother. His brother spent an entire weekend taking me around Jerusalem, visiting family and friends (who had babies). It was very nice but at 21 the whole baby aspect scared the shidduch right out of me.

When we visited with his parents (yes I met his parents and they insisted that I called them Abba and Ima)his mother who was a very sweet woman proudly showed me a set of juice glasses that she had. If I remember correctly, her eldest son bought them for her in the market in Jerusalem. He was a soldier who had taken part in reclaiming Jerusalem. That’s two of the things that I loved about Israel, soldiers bring back souvenirs for their mommies and they buy them,no looting and pillaging.

For so many reasons Israel is always in the back of my mind. Let’s raise a juice glass to continued peace.