Monday, September 28, 2009

Boys and Girls

I think, after having 3 of each, that boys are just mostly boys and girls are mostly girls. There are behaviors that seem to just come about, patterns of development that are for some reason pre-programmed according to gender. Girls are faster at their fine motor skills, boys run better sooner. That kind of thing. I'm lately discovering that some girl and boy behaviors are purely situational from a very early age...
My baby girl, Miss two years old, likes bugs. She likes snakes, lizzards, "bug-bugs" of all kinds. I mean she has so little fear of crawly things that I'm in constant fear that she will bring me some kind of extremely toxic thing one day -- open her little hand right under my nose, "see momma see my new bug-bug?!" just in time to see the scorpion sting her palm, or the tiny baby snakey strike her on the wrist. Ack!
We have a home day care business here, where as of today we have one little boy (he's about 5 months older than my baby) who joins our family during the day. He gets "home" (as my kids put it, lol) around 7:30am and leaves around 4:30pm Monday thru Friday. He was on vacation with his mom and big brother last week, and boy did our Izza miss her Davy! All week long she was catching "wrasshoppers" and "ugly bug-bugs" and trapping poor unsuspecting earthworms in all kinds of containers, "so i tan show it to Daby when Daby tums home!" She was diligently giving the snakes we have in glass containers "a drint of water so Daby tan see my sakes when Daby tums home." I quit counting the stinkbugs she caught, bare-handed, after she brought me the fourth one, "see momma see my tinky bug I save it for Daby!" Just so you know, a coffee can full of stink bugs is really REALLY nasty.
So anyhow, this is Monday and "Daby" is back. Joy! My drowsy kids finally arise around 9:00 and we all have breakfast, then the little ones and I retire to the front yard to play...I was getting my camera ready to take some very cute pictures of Izza proudly showing off her bug-bug collection, when I heard a peircing scream from the sidewalk in front of me: "AAAHH!! BUG-BUG!!! AAAHHHHH! MY DABY GET DAT BUG-BUG! AAAHHHH" My little bug collector, future entymologist prodigy, who has spent the last week with bug-bugs in her very pockets, is running screetching down the walk at the sight of a tiny little black beetle the likes of which she spent the last week feeding to her pet snake. And SCREECHING FOR A LITTLE BOY TO COME AND SAVE HER!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Sabbath Day

A friend sent me a text message this afternoon asking what I was up to. I replied "oh, cleaning, catching up on laundry, helping the kids clean their rooms and get us all ready for Monday." Got a message back saying did I know that Sunday was supposed to be a day of rest, that even God rested on the sabbath and I'm kinda offending him by not honoring it.
A:  If I'm supposed to be honoring the sabbath by resting today, why did you text me to see what I was up to? Odds were, I was "cleaning, catching up on laundry..." etc. So next time I get a message on a Sunday asking me what I'm up to, I'll just say "resting." Unless it's from a Seventh Day Adventist, then I can say "cleaning..." Unless it's from a Seventh Day Adventist on a Saturday.
B:  Yeah, okay, God had like six whole days all to himself with nobody else around to work on this one project. So he finished his project and he stepped back and looked around and said "It's all good," put Adam in charge of things and took the day off. Which day may or may not have been Sunday...in any case, God didn't have five children running around screwing up everything he tried to make as soon as he made it, adding peices and switching things around every time he turned his back. On the sixth day (which for these purposes we'll call Saturday,) God didn't have to stop in the middle of what he was doing to fix 4 meals, potty with a 2 year old like 17 times, play cards with 9 & 7 year olds, read to a 4 year old and watch an 11 year old mow the lawn. God also didn't have day care kids coming on Monday morning. Amen!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Short end of the stick...

Why is it, when somebody gets a raw deal or a bad hand in life, we say that they got "the short end of the stick?" Because, really, if you were coming at me with a stick and I could pick -- like you stopped and said "I'm here to smack you with this big ol' destiny stick here, it's really heavy and spikey and might turn you into a toad, so which end do ya want me to clock you upside your fool head with?" I'd definitely holler "SHORT END!"
And speaking of sticks, I have a confession to make. I'm suffering from a small case...well, okay, it ebbs and flows from a mere trickle to a raging tide of a case, depending on things like how many pee-pee panties I found hidden under my bath towels...at any rate it's a case of the green-eyed monster, Jealousy.
My husband has gotten a job in the field he's been aspiring to for some twenty years now. Some years more aspirated...aspiring...he's tried harder some years than others, to be sure. And for many years, he actually completely put aside these aspirations (I knew I'd get to use it again!) in favor of the Old Man, money. I know, there's more to life than money, but at the time I was busy aspiring to have like six children, and two people in the same household can really only aspire so much at one time.
And lofty aspirations about a dream career don't buy many pair of shoes on their own. So for a few years there we had some babies, worked, sent a couple to school, brought a few home to school, had a couple more babies...keeping our minds and hearts open, and this year (we're 40) comes an opportunity for my husband to take the leap, from "paying the bills" to working at a truly fulfilling career that happens to pay the bills. He's in law enforcement now, and gets to attend police academy.
I say "gets to" instead of "has to" because he does! He gets to go out of town, all by himself, from Sunday evening through Friday afternoon -- he gets to start every day with a healthy dose of exercise and doesn't have to stop 15 minutes into his workout to shush a cryer, or change a poopy diaper, or fix a bowl of malt o' meal. Somebody will cook him 3 hot meals every day and clean up the dishes. He gets to attend classes most of the day, learning things besides the new phonics. He gets to sit down in the evenings and do homework, which he will turn in without crayon marks on it, and for which he will recieve a grade within a short period of time. Somebody will look at his paper and say "good job."
He'll be challenged, too -- he gets to take tests, gets to boost his running speed with regular fitness routines, gets to practice marksmanship (tho he's already a great shot) and maybe learn about new weapons technology and wow, all kinds of cool cop stuff! He even gets to get tazered! I've got no desire to get tazered, but you know what I mean? He gets to use his brain for something besides tracking how much money is already in the grocery cart by the end of aisle 4. I admit it, I'm jealous. I do feel a little bit like I got the short end of this particular stick.
I bet it'll be hard for him to be away from us all week -- but then again he does get to come home every weekend, it's not like he's deployed out of state or anything. And I can always call him at 3am and tell him all about the little feet kicking me in the back and the pukey sheets I just threw into the washer, if he's missin' the "night life." And true, if my night sucks I can always veg-out with a book for a few hours in the morning, while the children watch a movie -- no thinking or physical effort there. If he's up all night studying or whatever, no excuses in the morning. Up & at 'em!
Also, unless I'm mistaken, I believe he will be without cell phone service for the entire class day! For like FIVE MONTHS! And here I'll be, texting my little heart out...that makes me feel a little better. ;o)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hot chocolate for breakfast, in NM, in September -- somebody kick up the A/C!

Sitting out on the porch this morning enjoying the moist chill in the air mostly brought on by a late night rain shower -- a friend said on her FB profile "it's like the whole world got a bath." It's also chilly enough in the shady, west-facing front porch that my hot tea tastes that much better, and the children are asking for hot cocoa & home made rolls for breakfast.
Rolls...check. Made a big batch yesterday. Cocoa...here goes:
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder (which is very healthy for me, I can tell by the little green "best life" seal on the label!)
1/4 cup water (or leftover coffee for "mochococoa" as my kids put it)
pinch salt
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup half & half
teaspoon vanilla
milk to taste

Spray inside a large saucepan with a little cooking spray, then whisk together sugar, cocoa, salt and water in the pan til smooth. Bring the syrup to a low boil on medium heat. DO NOT start this mixture cooking, then go change a diaper, switch the laundry, and swipe & bleach the main bathroom before going back to the stove. Stir constantly and boil for about a minute, until the syrup is very shiny and pretty and the aroma has attracted at least three children who know you can't stop stirring even long enough to shoo them out of the kitchen. Warn children of the dangers of sticking their noses over the edge of the stove. Move pan onto a cool burner while you open the can of evap milk and find the half & half behind the mustard (it BELONGS on the shelf with the milk, I know.) Move pan back to hot burner and say Hail Mary that nobody stuck their hand on the hot burner or into the hot syrup while you weren't looking.
Whisk in the can of evaporated milk and half & half until smooth again, then add the vanilla and bring back to almost a boil. Now, it's officially done -- put a shot of Kahlua each into your four favorite demitasse cups, fill with hot mixture and top with real whipped cream for a decadent dessert cocktail! Or glug some Kahlua into the pan, whisk up, and divide into...oh, say about ONE big mug...
Otherwise, here's where you leave out the Kahlua and add whatever milk you drink, to taste. Just dump it in the pan and swirl around with the whisk until it's a color/strength you like. I add about 6 cups of 2% milk for the kiddies' batch. If you whisk it real fast right before each cup you pour, it gets nice and frothy so everybody can compare their "cocoa-stache" while they're at the table and they don't miss the marshmellows that you leave out because this really is a low-sugar snack when you make it with at least 6 cups of milk.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Lava Java

Yum, I love the pumpkin, spiced, and peppermint coffees that start popping up at the market in the fall. Throughout the year I'm a hot-beverage fan, in fact we keep our house so cool in the summer that I'm perfectly comfortable enjoying an afternoon tea with hot tea. Earl Grey, English Breakfast and that-orange-spice-with-remember-or-something-in-the-name-but-I-never-can-remember-it are my faves. I also like a hot energy drink now and then, which might sound strange, but an EmergenC drink warmed up or an "Advocare" product called "Spark" is really great either morning or afternoon. Heatin' it up is even a nice way to recycle a leftover half-a Red Bull that's been forgotten in the door of the fridge for a couple of days. (DANGER! WARNING! Has to be F L A T Red Bull. Hot and carbonated do not go together!!)
This morning, tho, I got me a straight-up sludge-o-rama, hand perked because my carafe broke...now I'm hand-pouring boiling water over the fresh-ground beans in the metal filter perched atop a large measuring vessel, which results in a product that must fall somewhere in between "turkish campfire," old fashioned "percolated" and new-fangled "french press." Plenty of tar at the bottom which will also make a great flavoring for things like cheesecake and chocolate frosting, if I get it in the fridge before it turns really bitter. Of course what might really happen with that lovely syrup is that my poor husband will notice that there's "coffee" left in the big measuring cup on the stove and decide to pour himself a cup...I'll hear "jesus christ how can you drink this s--t! I thought you were ordering a new carafe for the cuisinart like weeks ago..." Which I was, ordering the new carafe I mean. Then I found something else I wanted to spend my $30 on, like probably deli meats for hoagie night or, um...okay maybe some fancy candies to go with tomorrow morning's coffee. ;o)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Self Checkout

Well, I had my first personal experience with the "self-checkout" yesterday. The "little kids" (who would be two 2-year olds and one 5 year old) and I went to catch up on the last minute shopping for a 5th birthday supper. Wal Mart was really busy, and of course had only two or three poor lonely checkers for the ten-cart lines that seemed to magically appear behind us just as I was paying my bill and realizing that I had forgotten to pick up AA batteries. Ordinarily batteries aren't a personal priority and certainly not a priority enough for me to go back into the store proper and stand in a ten-cart line with three young children. I wouldn't even do it by myself, actually, except that I needed the batteries to put in the birthday cake blow-up deocration I bought on sale for $7 down from $9. SO FUN! But needed batteries, so here I go turning the cart around despite protests of "NO MOOOOMMM, NO MORE STOOOOREEEE" and "but we hunry mommy!" and "no mama no mo toe!" from the peanut gallery. Battery display only a few feet from checkout and I was sure relieved until I turned around and saw the lines that I hadn't noticed behind us a few seconds before.
In desperation, I spot two completely empty "self-checkout" kiosks. Stands. Whatever you call them. I have always hesitated to try these because I feel like I'm missing part of the true shopping experience. I like to say hi to the checker, ask how they are, make them laugh about my children etc. I pride myself on leaving more than one grouchy-seeming cashier with a smile on his or her face as we pull away like some kind of grocery parade. So anyways I assure the children it will only take a minute because we're using the self-checkout.
I have to say it, in text message parlance: "O M G!"
Talk about the most annoying thing ever to repeat the phrase "please place item in the bagging area" you have ever seen in your whole life! Okay, fine, I press the "button" (all on the touch-screen) to begin checkout. It tells me to "please scan item" so I scan. Item beeps. No, wait, that was the lady across from me's item, okay that beep was my item. "Please place item in the bagging area." I've already got a cart full of bags and it's only a 4 pack of batteries, so I skip that step and toss the batteries into the bag with the balloons & streamers in it. Then I go to scan my Red Bull (because they put the damn energy drink display right before the self-checkout so of course I needed a Red Bull, and one for later, and a Monster Lo-Carb for my husband so I didn't look like a selfish ass only taking care of my own energy drink needs) and it says "you have reached non-bagging limit, please wait for assistance." What? Okay, the screen has a button that says "I don't want to bag this item" so I press that one. It says "please place item in bagging area." So I hold the can over the bagging area, fiddle with the bag like when you're trying to start the automatic faucets, ya know the hand wiggle...not good enough. Apparently you have to set the item down on the platform in the bagging area? I give up, scan two Red Bulls and a Monster in quick succession, glance at the total which looks about right, and press the "done" button, hoping if I just ignore the machine's pleas to bag my items it will eventually decide to shut up and take my money. Which will be a whole other show, because now I have to decide "card or cash." I'm eyeing the cash slot, thinking how hilarious it will be to see me fighting with the bills I want to put in, imagining the automatic voice repeating "please flatten out your old wrinkly money" and "please use bills without chocolate on them..." Swipe, sign on the line, thank goodness that's over with.
Never again! The "goodbye-er" (what we call the exit person, since he's not technically greeting us) just about high-fived me, I was waving my reciept so victoriously on my way out!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tween reads...

Wow. The "Twilight series"... I had to write about these books after about the tenth time I heard somebody with a daughter say that their daughter loved these books. Which is fine, they're light, easy reads with little depth of character. Very predictable but still fun. Definitely directed toward people under 18...BUT THESE ARE ELEVEN AND TWELVE YEAR OLDS THAT ARE "IN LOVE WITH EDWARD!"

Yuck!! Eeeeew! And no, I'm not saying "eew" because he's a vampire. It's a work of fiction, for pete's sake, vampires are interesting. I'm saying "eew" because he's creepy and controlling! Here is a boy...man...a hundred year old teenage boy, let's say, who (unbeknownst to the girl, Bella, until well into the stories) creeps into her window every night to watch her sleep! This is completely uninvited and before they were "dating." Then he admits it later and does Bella see the GIANT RED FLAG that such behavior should drop right in front of her face? No.

Instead this author goes on to justify and glamorize the fact that a boy is sneaking in the window of a young woman night after night...it's because he loooooves her, he's protecting her, BLAH BLAH BLAH. He actually breaks her truck at one point and sets his vampire sister on Bella to keep her away from another male friend (werewolf, no less) and Bella, while admittedly she is irritated about it, allows this kind of controlling behavior to continue while in her head she's still thinking how she doesn't deserve Edward's love or protection. She has to sneak off with her werewolf friend at one point, he rides a motorcycle up to her school and snatches her out of the parking lot.

Bella herself -- she's completely lacking any self-esteem or sense of her worth. Supposedly others see it in her and she can tell they notice her when she moves to Forks...but throughout the four books, she is self-deprecating to an annoying level. She's constantly thinking about how Edward is so perfect and beautiful and she could never ever "deserve" him. Now, to be fair, the author does allow Edward to tell Bell how beautiful she is, and how desirable to him, but it's all mixed up with his vampire-ness, in the sense that the only compliment he pays her that she believes at all is that she smells delicious to him and it's hard for him to resist killing her because of it.

Bella doesn't accept gifts well, nor compliments, we're constantly given the impression that she just feels like a plain, boring, undeserving nothing of a girl. I want my daughters to see this person as the heroine of the story?!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cute babies!

Apologies in advance to anyone who enters their baby in one of those online photo contests. I'm never voting again. Talk about Spam, Junk Mail, garbage, scraps, ads, solicitations and any other word you can think of for a bunch of stuff that comes to your mail box that you didn't ask for and don't want. I'm even getting messages that say things like "you've won a new laptop computer, we just need your street address" and "looking for perfect love, foreign man wanting marriage with young American" AND "hot bikini girls! photos now!" in the subject. YIKES!
I mean, I should have known. It's pretty obvious when you have to fill out a ten minute questionnaire about all your hobbies, shopping habits and beer & wine preferences that you're doing more than voting for a cute baby.
Of course I'm not opening these. I rarely open any junk mail, if you're coming to my junk box it's because I haven't assigned you to my inbox. Which means that I probably don't want you in my inbox. So. Got that out there. LOL!
Okay, now I have to write a whole page worth of stuff about inoffensive things like fruit and face cream so that my ads don't show up with all kinds of ridiculous business. ;o)
I have a friend who's a balloon pilot, maybe I should write about balloons...we could talk about the risks involved in that kind of hobby, maybe? I just think hot air balloons are SO cool. I've wanted one since my first and only flight, a short jaunt over Socorro during our Socorro Balloon Rally (I think that's what it was called) a few years ago...just amazing. I close my eyes and I can see the city drifting by under me, feel the gentle upward push as our pilot fired the burners.
Like what would I do with a hot air balloon, right? I know. "Expensive hobby." And "what would happen to your children if you died in a hot air balloon accident?"
I have an ATV in the garage that I haven't ridden in over two years, let's talk about fast desert bikes! My kids ride too, and I ride slower than they do, so I'm pretty sure I'm not gonna die in an ATV accident. I miss my bike, my husband gets it out and zooms around the neighborhood now and then to make sure it doesn't rot...and he takes our boys out to Gordy's pretty often, their little buzz-around bikes get a workout. Mom's usually busy with day care kiddoes in the afternoon when dad's off work, so it's a boys' thing for the time being, I guess.
Boy, sounds like somebody's jonesing for the sound of a motor & throttle control in my hands doesn't it? I better mow the yard this afternoon.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bloggin' blind...

Okay today I've got my contact lenses out and I haven't had a pair of glasses for DECADES, no lie, so I'm sitting with my laptop on the table and wingin' it. I refuse to stick my nose to the screen like an old lady but I seriously cannot see waht I'm typing and I hate to go back and edit things et the end, so for today whatcha see is whatcha get! LOL.
Please none of the old ladies out there take it personally that I said "stick my nose in the screen like an old lady." I just put it that way because usually when I have to do that, one of my children will come up to me and say "mom, you look like an old lady with your nose right up to the screen like that."
My kids think I'm old, but I haven't quite reached old lady status yet, thank goodness. And maybe I won't -- probably their children will think of me as an old lady, but our own parents are usually "not that old." Don't you think? Like once in awhile it occurs to me that my mother is the same age my grandma Coble used to be, and I'm now the same age as my mom, back when she was just my mom and not yet anybody's grandma.
One of the drawbacks to writing with no contacts in is that I can't see what I've already written...which since i've resigned us all to putting up with typos as they come shouldn't be a big deal...except that once I write it down, it's kinda out of my head...so here I go blathering on and having absolutely no idea what I've said already...then I get word deja vu, you know, like when you start to say something and you think "wait, did I tell this story already? Oh brother, I hope I didn't tell this story already. Okay, they're looking at me like they've heard this aldrady, should I just shut up, should I ask them if I've said this already..."
A sweet little child around four years old (actually she will be five in September) just came up and put her little arms around my neck, patted my shoulder and said in a slightly muffled voice "Mommy, do you like sea food?" I turned to her, wondering what prompted this out of the blue, off the wall question in the middle of the afternoon. I mean we've just finished a snack, some of those bright orange artificial cheese crackers with peanut butter (I like 'em. I admit it. Shut up about it.) So I'm not sure why she's asking about food again but I turn and put my arm around her cute little shoulders and prepare my speech about how I really do in fact enjoy sea food, and maybe we can go look for some frozen shrimps or crab legs this weekend for supper if she wants to try some.
I'm just saying "Yes I do, I love sea food!" when, wide hazel eyes looking back at me from under those darling summery blonde bangs, my sweet girl leans forward almost forehead-t0-forehead with me, goes "GOOD! SEE MY FOOD! AAAAAAAHHHHHH!" and opens her mouth full of mushed-up bright orange crackers and slimy-looking peanut butter so close and so wide I'm afraid she's gonna swallow my right eyeball whole! Then she runs away cackling like she's just played the joke of the century on me! And SHE DID. She got me with the "do you like seafood" trick. I don't believe I walked right into that one.
Disgusting, huh?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Children are basically disgusting creatures...

The sooner a parent realizes and accepts the idea, the more stress you will avoid over your career as a raiser of society's future leaders. Of course plenty of us grownups are pretty disgusting too. But as grownups it's no longer our prerogative to be disgusting. For our children it's a mark of normalcy -- if your kids don't gross you out in some way at least once a day, I think you should take them in for a developmental grossocity screening.
I also think that the most disgusting adults are that way because you never had the chance to be really gross as a young child. For instance, there are many videos and pix online that contain people doing really gross things like peeing on stuff. Probably what's going on with these people is that as young children they were never allowed to pee on their mom & dad's fence. This was a behavior that I used to think was disgusting and thoroughly inappropriate...until I had six children, the youngest potty training, along with 4 children in my home day care, one of whom is also potty training.
(I'm REALLY hoping the ad crawler will pick up on the phrase "potty training" and not just the word p e e. Please forgive me if they get wierd...but let me know if you click on any just to see what they're about! LOL)
Anyhow, a mom by herself in the backyard with 6 children in the swimming pool and two toddlers both hollering that they have to go potty could be in a pretty difficult spot, were she easily offended.
By the time a potty training child hollers that they have to go, they probably already went in the first place. Assuming they haven't actually peed their swimsuit, they will in about ten seconds. So by the time I convince the six happy, splashing swimmers to get out of the pool and each of them grumbles his or her way up and down the ladder, then out of the pool yard (fenced area around pool that we lock with padlock when a grownup is not outside) so that I can take the little trainees inside, both toddlers are screaming in frustration and wearing pee-pee swim suits. Soooo much easier (albeit disgusting) to yell excitedly "You guys BOTH have to go potty?! Wheeee! Take off your suit and pee on the fence!" Of course, boys and girls don't potty together around our house, so each little potty trainer runs to his and her own section of the fence. But about 5 seconds later they come racing back extremely proud of not having wet themselves, and nobody else had to get out of the water!
A humorous side effect here is that my little girl can almost write her name on the fence as well as my little day care boy...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Red Bull Energy Drink (Do you think they'll pay me for the ad? LOL)

So I'm sitting here thinking to myself "Oh shit, I need a Red Bull." Yes, I thought "shit..." that's my cussword. I'm really working on not using it around the kids, it's not anywhere near cute to hear "oh shit" out of a two year old when she drops the crayon bucket. It is cute, however, to hear the two year old girl screaming "DAD BURNIT! DAVY DON'T DOP MY TAY ONS!" at the two year old boy when HE drops the crayon bucket. So in mixed company I try to stick with "dadburnit" or "doggone it." Though sometimes "dammit" just fits.
Anyhow, I'm in the vicious circle where I'm just exhausted. I mean I'm "about through!" as Grama Jean would say. And I'm wondering if this little headache is a result of not sleeping or something else, so then if I drink my Red Bull will I get that little boost of energy and feel better or will it get worse? Maybe I'll just get a buzz and then a worse headache that will last all afternoon.
There's always the option of taking some Advil with my Red Bull, which in theory will actually help the Advil work that much faster. Hmm...that seems to be the ticket, doesn't it? The Advil would counteract any painful effects of the Red Bull energy formula, and I'd still get my boost.
Does anybody think now of that awesome song by The Kinks?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sleep? Huh? What?

One of the things that I would be writing about in my Home Fires column, if I were still writing for the Mountain Mail, would be the enternal quest for a good night's sleep. And the humorous effects of the lack thereof.
Morning showering, for instance, is much more fun (assume I'm talking about the kind of morning shower where you're by yourself, please!) with only one eye only partially open. Children will notice the results of your sleep-deprived efforts at hygeine -- "Mommy, this one spot on your leg is the only fuzzy spot, no wait, it's a whole fuzzy stripe did you do that on purpose mommy? When I grow up can I leave a long fuzzy stripe on my legs too mommy?"
Boys who are just starting to use products like deodorant are particularly sensitive to other people's bodily aromas, despite a continuted lack of sensitivity to their own: "Hey, Bran, come here! Mom's armpit on this side is kinda stinky but the other side isn't! Mom I think you forgot this side, did you run out of deodorant? I can lend you mine if you're out..."
What sweet children! Yes, honey, you can leave any fuzzy design on your legs that strikes your fancy -- and no, son, thank you for the offer but I don't want your pits and my pits that closely acquainted.
Which one of you people knows how to make a pot of coffee?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Home Fires

So this is something that I never ever thought I would do! "Blog?" I had to call a friend a couple of years ago to ask "what in the world is a blog, anyway?" Maybe that was the time frame when blogs and bloggers were all just getting started; I think I vaguely remember hearing the term "weblog," could that have happened? I mean did that term really exist at some point?

Anyhow, my sage friend explained that a blog was "a deal on the internet where people who need other people to read their most inner thoughts and every detail of their private lives can write it all out. Like a diary only instead of hiding it under your bed and praying nobody ever finds it, you're letting millions of people you never even heard of read it."

Hah! What a bunch of baloney, thought I. A: who wants to hear what I have to say? and 2. who wants to hear what I have to say?

It was until recently that I would have called myself a "blog snob." I admittedly shook my head at folks pouring out their innermost feelings or the minutae of daily life, in such a...well, "public" forum doesn't quite cover it, does it? I was, however, having a good time writing a weekly column for our little home town newspaper, the Mountain Mail (Socorro, NM.) I would jot down something cute my children had done that day, or my feelings about losing a family member or how crazy I felt during a pregnancy, just any old thing I thought to write about and that came out coherent and fairly complete in around 600 words. I would sit down to write and just let the words flow as if I were talking to you, very little editing and very from the heart.

It started with a piece I wrote and submitted to the editor, about my youngest (at the time) child eating nothing but hot dogs for two weeks straight. Pretty funny, something lots of parents could relate to, and when a friend read it and said "you should send this to the paper," I did. Thom (owner/editor at the time) got back to me about a month later with a "so sorry I lost this email, of course we will publish this and if you have any more please send!" type of thing, and my column "Home Fires" was born.

I enjoyed the writing, but was taken entirely aback by the amazing compliments I recieved! I just couldn't fathom anybody missing me when I was absent from an issue, and when a lady came up to me in the grocery store parking lot and said "...when I read your piece, I felt like you were sitting with me at the kitchen table, talking over coffee," I cried all the way home. Me?! Wow. Because that's just the effect I was going for -- I wanted every reader to feel like I was talking to her. Or him.

Well, I got lazy last summer and "took a break" from writing my column...still on break, can you believe it? Shame on me for letting go the habit and shame on me for disappearing -- I've actually had people encourage me to start up again, "ASAP!" (Thank you so much!) I've missed doing my column, and been so uplifted in knowing others have missed it too.

Though I did read my fellow newspaper columnists, I haven't been one to read blogs, feeling as though I were almost invading someone's privacy. I know, it's on the internet, how private could it be? Still...then I found out a friend of mine has a blog about her "micropreemie" daughter's life and times, and in reading about Kiera, it occurs to me that her mother is doing so much good by sharing her struggles and successes as the mom/nurse/advocate of this precious little girl -- how many other moms in the same situation are feeling comforted and even informed by my friend's writings? So this is what blogging is about? It's not voyeurism or that ism where you feel compelled to tell everyone you see your entire life story in the liquor store parking lot, it's that ism where we're all in it together. I can do this!