Welcome to One Busy Momma! The Blog for Busy Moms by one Busy Mom.....

Welcome to my blog. One Busy Momma is my space to rant about my life and the things that happen in it. I have a crazy life - and instead of focusing on the crazy - I like to focus on the funny. Because if I focused on the craziness - well, I'd have been shipped off to an institution long, long ago. And while, I'll admit, there are some days when being institutionalized sounds PRETTY GOOD compared to making ANOTHER diorama at 1am - I'd rather be right where I am - in my messy house with my not so perfect kids making crooked dioramas in the middle of the night.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Auld Lang Syne

Well Peeps - it's been a rough year. (That might be the understatement of the year!) As PC and I sit back and reflect upon this past year, we are quite tempted to utter several expletives and witty yet filthy phrases as we bid 2011 farewell. PC has so many witty yet filthy phrases in mind, that I will seriously have to watch his booze consumption on Saturday night to be sure that he does not utter them in mixed company! Busy Momma and crew will NOT miss 2011. It started off with unbelievable, mind -numbing tradgedy and grief. And as we get ready to mark the first anniversary of Aiden's passing, I find myself looking for something to hold on to. Something to keep me from sinking back into that pit of darkness and sadness and despair that I became so familiar with last winter. An anchor, a tree root to hold onto as the quicksand of despair threatens to suck us back into its crushing hold.

And I found it. I actually found it last year, as all of this madness was unfolding. I didn't so much 'find" it, as it was given to me by my brother. Last Christmas, as we were waiting for a diagnosis, I remember standing in my living room talking to my brother. PC and the rest of the grown-ups were acting as if everything was normal on Christmas for the sake of the kids. We didn't want to ruin their Christmas as we were beginning to realize that there was going to be enough saddness in the coming days to last a lifetime. So any "real" conversation had to occur out of the way of little ears and prying eyes. I remember just looking at my brother and saying something like "I just don't understand why this is happening to us. I don't know what lesson I am supposed to learn." And he looked at me and said "Maybe all you are supposed to learn is how much your family and friends love you. Maybe this is supposed to bring everyone closer together."

Now, I don't often admit this in public - but he was right. (There, I said it - record it!) I think he had a flash of divine brilliance that morning. Little did we know how our friends and family would rally around us in the coming days, weeks and months and provide the kind of love and support we didn't even realize was possible. People did things, made gestures both on a grand scale and a small scale that often brought us to tears and left us feeling loved and cherished and incredibly blessed.

And that is my anchor. That is what I am holding onto this week. I still maintain that I would have rather learned this lesson another way - but we don't get to control how we learn our lessons. All we can control is what we take from the challenges God puts before us. I think Aiden's death would have truly been a meaningless tradgedy if we didn't learn something from it. And we learned alot from it.

We learned that we are all - all four of us - stronger than we ever thought we were. We learned that our family is strong and whole and complete. We learned that we don't have to suffer everything alone, that our friends and family need to help out in times of crisis - and that we need to let them. We learned that we have amazing friends. AMAZING friends. Friends who think nothing of dropping off dinner, soup, muffins, cookies, flowers, shoulders to cry on. Friends who think nothing of dropping whatever is happening in their lives and hop on a plane to just lay in bed with you and hold you as you cry. Friends who take down your Christmas tree and remind you to get out of bed and take a shower. Friends who come to your house and act like it is their own - friends who clean and organize for you and make you dinners and put them in your freezer. Friends who remember to call you every month on the anniversary to check on you. We learned that while time doesn't really heal all wounds, it certainly does soften their raw, jaggedy edges and dull the pain. We learned that we can survive. 

So as we bid this year a FOND farewell - we have so many people we need to thank. Far too many to name, but they know who they are. We want to thank everyone who helped us this year. Whether you sent a card, stopped in, made a meal, said a prayer - we thank you. Thank you to the friends who let us cry, who let us get it out. Thank you to the friends who knew when we needed "normal" and shared their "normal" daily struggles and treated us like the people we were before January 2nd. Thank you to the ladies who would go out to lunch with me when I didn't know if I was coming or going. All they knew was that I HAD to get out of bed and get dressed, and they suffered through several depressing meals with me to be sure that I got up and showered for the day. Thank you to the wonderful teachers and guidance counselors who helped our children proccess their grief and helped us help Jack and Bella. Thank you to our beautiful neighbors who named a star in the sky for our beautiful boy. Jack still takes his telescope out onto the deck and searches for Aiden in heaven. What a wonderful gift - a million thanks. Thank you to the people who said "I just don't know what to say" - there was nothing to say - but you reached out, and that was enough. Everyone who came into our lives that terrible week was a Godsend. From the doctors and nurses at the hospital, to the funeral director to the florist - they were all  amazing. They knew just what to say and do to make an unbearable time tolerable.

Most of all we want to thank our families. What they did for us and continue to do for us is amazing and way above and beyond the call of duty. To Sookie and Bill, Fifi and Hermione - the family we chose- no words can ever express our gratitude. Not just for what you guys did that awful week, but for what you continue to do for us as we continue on our journey of healing.

So, as we look forward to a much HAPPIER and HEALTHIER 2012 - Busy Momma and crew wishes everyone a safe and happy New Year. We hope that everyone reading this post experiences the love and the blessings of friendship that they have expressed to us this past year.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Do You Hear What I Hear?

I think Christmas is trying to tell me something. Now, I know that sounds completely crazy, or like I've had more than my share of the holiday wassail....but it is. I think it's trying to say "It's OK, ot's ok". Let me explain....

Most of you know that I'm really not into Christmas this year. Not at all. If I had my way, I'd go to sleep today and wake up on January 3rd. It's been a year since my Aiden died, and the nightmare of it all started on December 23rd, 2010. So, this Christmas marks a really painful and traumatic anniversary. One that I never thought I'd be marking. So, Christmas is just not about happiness and peace on earth and silent nights for us this year. It's about remembering. And sometimes, remembering is hard.

So, I've been trying to balance Christmas still coming and celebrating with and for the kids and my feelings. And I think I have done a good job. The house is decorated, the cards went out, the gifts are wrapped and we even did a few different things this year to try to make new, happy memories. We went to Hershey Park to see the lights, and it started to SNOW while we were there - which made it all the more magical. I'm really, really trying. But some things have fallen by the wayside. The elf on the shelf arrived with his usual fanfare - but he keeps forgetting to fly back to the North Pole and change position every morning - that silly elf. And I didn't bake my favorite Martha Stewart cut-out sugar cookies. I just didn't have it in me. I didn't bake Carmella's pecan puffs or any chocolate chip cookies. I did get my rear in gear and I did bake a pan of Brownies and the kids made chocolate dipped pretzels for our neighbors. So that will have to do for Santa tonight. He will probably appreciate a nice brownie. By the time he gets to us, I'm sure he will be on cookie overload.

And, I've been feeling guilty about being such a Grinch. I really have, but things keep happening and my holiday plans have gotten all messed up this year and I think the universe is sending me a message. I think the universe is saying "It's ok. You don't have to be into it this year. It's ok" First of all, I came down with a wicked, wicked stomach virus the other day, and all of the baking I did plan on doing just fell by the wayside. And I am still recovering. I literally could do almost nothing but lay down for 2 days. Then, my dad got sick and I think he's going to be down for the count for the entire holiday. So there goes the family getting together at the butt crack of dawn to exchange gifts. And then my brother's house sprang some sort of ridonculous leak - and now they can't come down for our celebration until next weekend. So everything that we normally do - all of the traditions that we've had for years and years and years will be tweaked a bit. And in any other year - this "tweak" would have just devastated me so much. I like change - but don't mess with my Christmas. But this year, somehow all of the sickness and plumbing emergencies seem appropos. Like a gift from the universe. With all of these changes and all of this upheaval, this Christmas can't be like Christmases past. I don't have to try to make it that. I just have to be. Go with the flow and see what happens. And that's really what I need this year.

No worries, Santa will still come. He has his bag full of surprises and everyone will be happy and sugared up by 9am tomorrow morning. The roast beast will be in the oven at 3 and dinner will be on the table by 5 - I hope. And when it's all said and done, when everyone is in bed tomorrow night, PC and I can breathe a sigh of relief. because it will be over. We will have made it through what would have been "Baby's First Christmas" without baby.  

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Dog named Dog

Hey there Peeps!!! There is GREAT excitement in Busy Momma town this morning. In addition to the Christmas Tree going up last night and preparing to decorate it this afternoon...there is even GREATER excitement on the horizon. Busy Momma and Co. are headed to Delaware in about an hour to "look at and meet" a small litter of puppies and "perhaps" bring one of these little adorable babies home. And by "look at and meet", of course, I mean "select, pay for and bring home".  And by "perhaps" I mean - "we'd better".

Many of you know that we lost our BELOVED Dixie on July 31st of this past year. And many of you also know that as far as years go, 2011 was pretty much the worst possible year that Busy Momma and Co, have ever suffered through in terms of loss. Loosing Dixie was just the cherry on the top of our sucky sundae. So, the way I see it, we are due for some sunshine and laughter. And what better way to make that happen than by bringing home a puppy. At Christmas...hmmm.

Now I know what you are thinking: "Busy Momma - Christmas is the busiest and craziest time of the year. Why would you add an additional layer of crazy to the mix right now?" And to that I say: "You're right, you're right, I know you're right". (My favorite line from When Harry Met Sally) In all actuality - Christmas is the perfect time for a number of reasons. First and foremost - it is my quietest time of the year. I am home far more than I am away. And for puppy training, that is a must. PC is going to be on a project that will also have him home more than not, and Poppy needs to add a bit of excercise to his daily regime. A nice, mid-day walk with a puppy will get his blood pumping and he can now add "dogwalker" to his impressive post-retirement resume of "Manny for hire". (He is unaware of his impending new career as dogwalker. We are breaking it to him on the way to Delaware.)

And to be really honest - I'm really not looking forward to this Christmas AT ALL. I'm looking for ways to "get through it" as opposed to ways to "enjoy" it. There will be very little enjoyment in it for PC and I this year. Our nightmare with Aiden started on December 23rd of last year...so all of the lights and the Christmas carols and whatnot are just dredging it all back up. Even unpacking the Christmas decorations that Fifi so lovingly packed up for us last year makes me sad. But we CANNOT allow ourselves to wallow in that. We have 2 children who ARE here, and Christmas MUST go on.

So - we are actively trying to create new, different happy experiences to get us through. And I really think a little bundle of cuteness will help us. I like to think think that Dixie will be with us today - helping us select just the right puppy for our family. I know she will. She was ALWAYS there for us. Whether it was sleeping by Will's crib and growling at our beloved babysitter Lindsay - aka - Hinny -  whenever she checked on him or laying by my side and refusing to ever leave me as I recovered after Aiden's birth - she was always there protecting us from whatever she could "control".

So, our biggest dilemma today - in addition to really trying to just bring ONE dog home, will be what to name this ONE doggie - for Busy Momma and crew CANNOT agree on a name. At one point we had a list 25+ names long. One of us, who shall be nameless - Bella - is desperately trying to throw Twilight names into the mix. Which might have worked had she not started her quest by throwing the name "Twilight" into the mix first. PC objects to any name that MIGHT be associated with destructive behaviors - so Puddles, Pooh, Chewie and so on have all been ruled out. Jack is like a little old man - shooting down any name that rhymes with a "bad" word. So my dream of a puppy named "Puck" will remain a dream. I am gunning for Jake or Sprinkles. PC associates Sprinkles with pee-pee - so he is not a fan. He wants Snickers or Vader. I think not. So - right now - it looks like we will have a dog named Dog.  We are open to suggestions today. I really hope I don't come home with 2 dogs. Not because of the extra work - but because then we would need mathching names! Here is a list of names that have been vetoed:

Mistletoe
Snocap
Dasher
Dancer
Prancer
Vixen
Comet
Cupid
Donner
Blitzen
Shadow
Pooh
Dumpling
Darth Vader
Chewbacca
Rolf
Ruffles
Rufus
Ruff
Woof
Midnight
Ebony
Twilight
Edward, Cullen, Jacob,Carlisle and Jasper
Harry, Ron, Draco, Hagrid,Hedgewig, Scabbers and Fang
Atticus
Scout...(you can guess who came up with those last 2)
Puck

So, as you can see - we HAVE done our naming due dilligence. Thoughts?????

Monday, November 28, 2011

Confessions of a Bibliophile

Yes - you know me. You know that I love books more than almost anything - except my family. Some interesting facts about Busy Momma: I can wax poetic about Edith Wharton, I wrote a few REALLY amazing essays on Vanity Fair and The Great Gatsby to get college credits while I was still in high school, I read instead of watching tv most evenings and I always have at least 2 books going at a time. (I am currently reading: "Teaching with the Brain in Mind" by Eric Jensen and yet another Pat Conroy novel "Beach Music".) I have read "Little Women" and "Wuthering Heights" more times than I care to count - and yes, I still cry when Beth dies. Books are the blood in my veins, the air in my lungs - my escape. Always have been and I hope they always will be. But I don't like to read predictable, formulaic books. I cannot stand reading Mary Higgins Clark - no offense to anyone out there, but her books follow a template. The bad guy is ALWAYS the guy the female protagonist begins to trust and wham-o - he's the killer. (Sorry if I ruined it for anyone.) I also cannot STAND reading anything by Nicholas Sparks. I swear that there really is no living person named Nicholas Sparks. I believe that he is a creation of the Lifetime Television Network or the Hallmark channel. His books are designed to emotionally manipulate you and just make you cry the ugly cry until you fall asleep. I can't stand reading Stephen King, because although he is an outstanding writer, his books scare the crap out of me and the images that he paints with his pen stay in my mind's eye for FAR longer than they should. I pride myself on reading "literary" fiction and not wasting time on crap. However......I have a confession to make. One that I should be ashamed to make, but I am not ashamed. Are you ready??? Want to know my FAVORITE guilty pleasure?????????

I LOVE reading and rereading the entire Twighlight series over and over again! And - even MORE shameful??? I love watching the movies over and over again as well!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There it is - it's out there for the world to see. Yes, I, the self-proclaimed Busy Momma, who is far too busy and cerebral  to read "fluff "written by Danielle Steele or Nora Roberts have spent HOURS of my valuable time reading and rereading Stephanie Meyer's fantasy series about a brooding teenage girl and her romance with a vampire and a teen-age werewolf! I have ignored my husband and my CHILDREN at times to read "just one more page". I have stayed up past 2 AM to finish one of these YOUNG ADULT novels and begin the next! What is wrong with me, you ask? Is Busy Momma having some sort of reversion to her adolescence? Nope - I'm not. And I will argue that nothing is wrong with me. I just like a really good story - and the Twilight saga IS a pretty great story.

It has all of the characteristics of a great, classic love story -star-crossed lovers drawn together for eternity, a love that seems doomed from the very beginning, a handsome (if somewhat furry) stranger entering the mix that the heroine also falls in love with and the ever-interesting question of who will she choose? Now granted, this sullen, teenage heroine must choose between a 100+ year-old dead guy who might accidentally kill her as they get it on or a guy who is very much alive, but might need a flea dip every few weeks to keep things on the up and up. Hey - everyone has their flaws - right? This story even involves the heroine DYING as she gives birth to her love child....and transforming into someone quite different than who she was before. And yes, it was written for the 14 and over set, and yes, it took me about 6 days to read all 4 books and yes, there are glaring problems with the plot and characters.- especially Bella..but the story is so good and timeless that it transcends those issues. It is the perfect mix of romantic brain candy and pure escapism...with some bloodsucking and really good-looking teen werewolves thrown in for good measure.

And I am not the only grown woman who LOVES these books! Apparently, there are legions of "Twi-Hard" moms who love the books and movies right along with me. The gals and I went to see the latest installment in the series last week. It was a little pre-turkey day escape and I am happy to report that there were NO teenagers in the sudience that night. (OK - a 7:30pm show on a Tuesday evening does not usually draw the magic 18 and under demographic) The audience was filled with women who appeared to be over 30 and doing just what we were doing - enjoying a mid-week GNO. We laughed and one of us cried...I won't say which one of us cried 3 times, Tina - and we LOVED it!!!! It was everything we wanted in a movie about a sullen, clumsy teenaged human marrying and FINALLY getting it on with a vampire! I can't wait for the next movie! And I personally want to thank Stephanie Meyer for writing such a great series that allows me and countless other Busy Mommas to escape for a few hours into a world where pure romance exisits, where there are bigger problems than how to afford 2 sets of braces at the same time and where every 25 minutes or so really hot Native American boys randomly rip off their shirts and run - in the rain - for a few glorious seconds - 6-packs shimmering in the water - before they morph into big, hairy werewolves.

Thank you Ms. Meyers - thank you.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Is There a Doctor in the House???

Well peeps - it's been a fun week in Crazy Town, that's for sure. I have spent the past 48 hours in the hospital helping my poor mother recouperate from a very bad break-up. She and her gallbladder, Gil, decided to part ways this past week. Theirs was a classic love story - but it ended as so many of these tales do - with Gil turning rotten out of no where. See, Mom and Gil had been getting along really well for about 71 years or so...give or take the gestational period...not sure when in utero that sucker forms...but I digress. They had really been getting along peacefully until one day a few weeks ago, when he started acting up. Typical bad boyfriend stuff - heartache, upset stomach, sleepless nights. But she just chalked it up to bad sushi, you know, tried to look past how he was about to betray her. So, he calmed himself down for a while and then pulled the same BS about a week later. Stupid SOB - same act, different day. But once again, she tried to look past the pain and blamed Gil's misbehavior on any munber of things. And he settled back down. But this past week - he just behaved SO badly, caused so much pain and agony, that his complete betrayal was evident to everyone - even Mom. So - she kicked him out. She is doing really well - although it really sucks that we can't suck down some ice cream or "Bad News Pie" to help her recover from this one. We need to find other coping strategies. So far, we have been watching alot of tv, I have been knitting, showing her my knitting and forcing her to make all sorts of nice comments about how much better my knitting is getting. It's working out well for me.

In all seriousness - it was some nasty business. Who knew the gallbladder could cause CHEST PAIN??? Oh yes it can Peeps...in the patient and in the people taking care of the patient! But here's what I'm forced to reflect on- she, like so many of us, had had these symptoms for about 3 - 4 weeks and kept on self-medicating and diagnosing. And almost self-diagnosed herself into a big, fat mess. And I can't be mad at her for that because I do the EXACT same thing ALL OF THE TIME!!! I ignore aches and pains until they become unbearable and then and only then will I go - kicking and screaming to the doctor. Case in point:

Many of you know that I "ran" a 5K about 3 weeks ago. I put "ran" in quotes because I trained really long and hard and started out with the best of intentions - but about 10 strides in - LITERALLY 10 strides in, I landed on my right leg and WHAMMMOOOO - OUCHIE OUCHIE OUCHIE - as my good friend Junie B. Jones would say, I landed and the pain that shot through my right hip was BAD - like bad, bad. Like I had to stop running and every time I started again - I hurt worse. So, I walked it...and forced PC to walk the rest of it with me. And in typical boy fashion - PC's advice was shake it off, relax, ice it, take Advil - you will be ok. And to be honest - by the end of the race, I was really craving some pancakes, so instead of going back to Mac and JoJo's to ice that puppy up - I convinced Sookie and Co., to go to IHOP for breakfast. And then we went back and instead of icing up the hip, I showered, yelled at the kids for being messy, cleaned up after the messy kids, did some outlet shopping and resumed normal life. Fast forward 3 weeks -I am now dragging right leg behind me like wounded animal and WORST of all - cannot BEAR to wear high heels as they hurt. So what do I do??? I wear CFM shoes to Leenie's wedding last weekend - walk all over the damn place in them., REFUSE to take them off even though Leenie has provided everyone with FLIP FLOPS and ONLY agree to take them off at the END of the night when I have already danced the night away. Why? Why did I do such a ridiculous thing?

Cause if my body doesn't look as great as I want it to - I will be DAMNED if my feet don't.

Um - have I mentioned how I wore a long dress and nobody could even really see my sexy "come hither" stilettoes???

So - now the leg is dragging behind me and I am cranky. And I am slightly worried that it might turn green and fall off. So, PC convinces me it's time to give up the ghost and actually go to the doctor. He does this by pointing out all of the lovely high heels, carefully labeled and lovingly arranged in clear shoe boxes in my, I mean our closet. He says "They will be so lonely for you if you stop wearing them. What will they do without you?"

He always knows just what to say. So - I go this past Wednesday. Guess what??? Guess what I did to myself???

I broke my GD hip!!!!

Busy Momma has a STRESS FRACTURE to her right hip!!!

Now - even though it was only 9am - I was headed home, yelling at PC over the phone that "See - see hotshot? That's what happens when you make me go to the doctor? I get a broken hip! Are you happy now???" and telling him to pour me a glass of restorative wine, when my other line rang. It was my dad telling me that my mom was in process of breaking up with Gil. Ahhhh - are you kidding me????

So, here I am - with a broken hip, limping my way through the parking lot of the emergency room to take care of my mother. Seriously - it was like a scene out of a sitcom. One Gimp trying to take care of another. I haven't even had time to fill my perscription - I am just loading up on Advil, dragging my dead leg behind me and going about my business as if nothing is wrong. All while yelling at mom for ignoring the warning signs of the breakup of Gil for weeks.

Hello Pot, it's Kettle - you're black.

Why do we do this? Is this a woman thing? A Mommy thing or just a stupid person thing? What do you think?

Ok - well I'd love to stay and chat - but I have to shower and get going. I'm headed out to a fundraiser in HIGH HEELS to dance the night away. I am thinking that a mixture of wine and more Advil might numb up the dead leg enough for me to teeter on my sexiest black heels.....

Monday, November 14, 2011

Where-oh-where is Emily Post when you need her???

Ok - so I'm going on a rant. A real tirade if you will. It is now my belief that we, as a POLITE society, are going to hell in a hand basket.

(Disclaimer: I don't really know what a hand basket is, or why or how someone might climb into one and proceed to the firey nether-regions - but hey - it's one catchy phrase.)

What led me to this belief, you ask? What could have possibly happened to Busy Momma to give her such a negative outlook on the future? Well, as many of you know, Busy Momma has the IDEAL job for herself...I actually get PAID to TALK for a living. I talk/teach/consult...and get paid to do so. I am kept very busy in my home state, but occasionally they let me leave the local salt mines and travel to exotic locales - like Syracuse, NY or Columbus, OH. And recently, while "on location" if you will, I was faced with an interesting dilema:  an audience primarily composed of "under thirties". As in an audience comprised of people born AFTER 1987. Almost the entire group I was speaking to were people in their early to mid twenties. Now at first, I was excited by the prospect of speaking to people just starting out in their careers - people with a real fire in their bellies, people who were all shiny and new and ready to CHANGE THE WORLD!!!

These were NOT those people.

Nope - not at all. These people had a very different agenda. AND it had nothing to do with what I was there to talk to them about. These people had far more pressing matters to attend to.

Now, one might ask: "Why, Busy Momma - what could be MORE important than listening to you wax poetic about  reading comprehension, or writing in the content areas or brain research or classroom management or whatever other golden nuggets of wisdom you might have shared?' and Busy Momma might say: "Oh, you are way too kind...but thank you for the encouraging words..." But I digress.

What was WAY more important than whatever I was speaking about was: Facebook,Tumblr, Twitter and email and texting and ...wait for it....Bejewled Blitz AND Angry Birds. That's right my Peeps - they ALL were playing on their IPhones ALL day long!!! And it wasn't like we were in a big, giant lecture hall, or I was on stage and they were far enough removed that I couldn't see what they were doing...oh no. We were in a very small room - no desks to hide behind - phones out in the open and these people were playing shamelessly. Now, at first, I began to question myself. Was the workshop innappropriate for the audience? Well, not really as this was the topic they REQUESTED. Was I just droning on and on and on with no opportunities for reflection, interaction or practice? Well, not really. I had videos, cartoons, reflection questions, partner and group activities and ideas and suggestions for things they could begin implementing THE NEXT DAY that might make their lives much easier. PLUS, I had just completed this EXACT SAME workshop for a different group and it went over really, really well. So I really don't think I was boring them. So - what was it???

I hate to say it - but I think I am now old enough to see a "generation gap" if you will. These people were listening and paying attention to me - I figured that out later, based on their responses to me at the end of the workshop. They were just "multi-tasking". And I really don't think they realized how RUDE they were. Is it possible that we are now raising a generation of people - professional people at that - who think it is perfectly ok to text and Facebook and play computer games while someone else is speaking to them? IS IT Ok to do that now? Am I just hopelessly old-fashioned to think that when you are sitting in a class or a meeting that you kind of owe it to the speaker who has spent hours preparing the presentation and travelled from East Ja-Pup to deliver the presentation to PAY ATTENTION and not play Bejeweld Blitz as she talks to you????

Has anyone else noticed this? Has technology deadened our common sense? Have we allowed technology to advance at the expense of common courtesy?  Have we become so techno-reliant that our basic human interaction skills are suffering? Are we modeling this form of  "tech rudeness" in front of our kids?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Love and Marriage, Love and Marriage....

What an AMAZING weekend! I was fortunate enough to spend MY weekend at a FABULOUS wedding on Cape Cod!!! Besides being one of my favorite vacation destinations, Cape Cod holds many special memories for me. My cousins have a house on the Cape and many a fun-filled week was spent splashing in the ocean and Gull Pond. The stories and memories we made would take hours to tell - hours filled with love and the kind of laughter that could bring you to tears! So, you can imagine how special it was to be able to travel to the Cape and share in my cousin's amazing day.

The bride is my baby cousin - she was born when I was eleven years old. And really, the only word you can use to describe her is: loveable.  Ever since she arrived on the scene, she has been nothing but loveable. Now, granted, it did take me a while to get used to the idea of her being around. You see, when my Aunt announced that she had a "surprise" for my cousins and that she would tell them what the surprise was after school one day - I was really convinced that they were getting a puppy. We all wanted a puppy, really, really badly. My brother and I knew that WE would NEVER get one -  my Mom made NO excuses. No dogs for us. But my Aunt and Uncle are a wee bit more adventurous than my parents, so we had VERY high expectations. IMAGINE our disappointment when, the next morning, a very downcast ten and seven year-old climbed into my mom's car for morning carpool and announced that they were, in fact NOT getting a puppy. They were getting a  BABY instead! I won't go into detail about the absolute devastation that my brother and I felt. If they weren't getting a puppy - now we REALLY had no hope of ever getting one. We really didn't care that much about the baby...until she arrived.

I vividly remember the September evening that Mom and Dad loaded me into the car and let me visit my Aunt and the new baby in the hospital. Once I saw that little pink bundle - I was hooked. I will admit to thinking, as we drove to the hospital,  that no matter how cute she was, a puppy would have been WAY more fun. But I had to admit  once I saw that little taco baby all wrapped up- she WAS pretty cute, and I remember thinking that perhaps she would be pretty fun once she could walk and talk. And I was right!!!

So you can imagine what it felt like to watch her walk down the aisle and marry one of Ireland's most WONDERFUL exports on Friday. Her husband is as lovely as she is - they are a perfect pair. You have to have a certain degree of repect and awe for ANY guy who can assimilate into our family. When we all get together, we are loud and rowdy and outspoken and seriously really, really  LOUD... so any guy who can weather a family holiday and then keeps coming back for more - is a keeper. And her man is CERTAINLY a keeper!


The Happy Couple
The priest, who is an old friend of the family, gave a lovely homily about looking to other married couples as an inspiration for marriage. And he mentioned that there are few if any examples of married couples who are saints. Now despite my immediate thoughts of Mary and Joseph as a sainted married couple, there aren't that many more who pop right into my mind. And that is kind of a shame, because marriage can get kind of difficult at times and it does help to have other couples to look to in times of trouble. And in today's society when certain "celebrities" spend MILLIONS of dollars on lavish, over-the-top weddings and then decide, 72 days later that marriage really isn't their "thing", it really IS somewhat difficult to find rock-solid marriages in the spotlight. So, I've been thinking about this since the wedding on Friday. Who do we look to for examples of great marriages? I mean if we look to "celebrities" - the pickings are somewhat slim. Even when we look at our own communities, we see many examples of rocky unions, we hear rumors of who is cheating, who is thinking about cheating, and so on. It's rough out there!

And then it hit me -  examples of great couples are all around us if we only know where to look. So here is MY unsolicited advice for the bride and groom. If you want to look for inspiration for a wonderful marriage, if, when times get tough and you don't know what to do - look at your family photo albums. Look at pictures of your grandparents and your parents. Our grandparents got married right around the Depression. Talk about times being tough! They worked hard, created a family and managed to keep it all together - until death parted them. Things certainly weren't always easy, there were money woes, and sick kids and job woes and really scary things happening in the world they lived in. Yet - they managed to keep it all humming along. When things got tough, they didn't consult an attorney, they didn't find comfort in someone else's arms - they put their heads down and plowed through. When the fire burned, they walked through it, and emerged stronger and forged together on the other side. Our parents didn't always have an easy time of it. They had their share of worries and woes as well. But all you had to do was look at them on Friday night - dressed in their finest, dancing together at your wedding, 40+ years after their own weddings, to see an example of a rock solid marriage. They might not be famous and no one might ever reference them in a wedding speech as a well-known example of marital bliss - YOU will always be able to reference them. And it will be up to YOU and the rest of US to continue to tell the stories of their love affairs and mad-cap adventures. And someday, Leenie and Fiachre, when WE are watching YOUR baby get married, WE will be SURE to tell her all about her Nanny and Poppy and Great grandparents love affairs. We won't have to tell her about yours - because she will live it right along with you.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Awareness

Ok - I feel a bit better after shouting that. Well, shouting it in my mind anyway. Don't want to alert the natives that Mommy's about to have a freaking breakdown.  I have decided that I officially HATE the month of October - which sucks, because until a few weeks ago - October was my FAVORITE month. The leaves change colors, the humidity FINALLY goes away, We spend Sunday afternoons taking hayrides and picking pumpkins and  I can finally cover my beefy thighs in pants for the rest of the season..all really great things for me. And Halloween is in October - who doesn't like an entire day devoted to CANDY? (Hmmm - maybe all of that candy over the years has something to do with the afore mentioned "beefy thighs".)

But now, October is ruined for me because it seems that October has been assigned the additional job of being "Fill-in-the-blank AWARENESS" month. We all know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. I donate money, wear my signature color, support Race-for-the-Cure...listen, I do want to save second base, save the ta-tas and all of that great stuff. I do. I'm all for Breast Cancer Awareness month - let's raise all of the $$ we can to wipe out this awful mommy-killing disease.  But I'll bet many of you DIDN'T know that October is also....wait for it....INFANT DEATH AND STILLBORN AWARENESS MONTH!

AND the crowd goes WILD!


Yup - it's infant death and stillborn awareness month folks! AWESOME. Because hey - if it's one thing we all need to be reminded of - almost every f-ing day all month long it's that babies die. Yup - they die. Each and every day. Some die being born, some die right inside of their Mommy's belly, some die in their sleep. Some die for no apparent reason, some die because they have conditions that are "incompatible with life", some die because at the moment of conception something in their genetic code gets all fucked up and they grow and thrive and kick and wiggle and get you all excited about their arrival but, in reality, don't have a snowballs chance in hell of ever surviving outside of the womb. Aren't we all super glad that we are aware of this???

Bitter, party of 1? Your table is apparently STILL available!

I thought I was doing really, really well. In fact, I remember having a day in September where I literally felt like a veil was lifting and that I was sort of returning to life. Not just surviving anymore - like not having to get through each day one step at a time anymore. Not telling myself "OK ,  it is time to get out of bed now. OK - get a cup of coffee. OK - you can't go back to bed now because you are drinking a cup of coffee. Good girl. Let's get dressed. and see how we feel." I was starting to come back to life - starting to care about things again. And then - the invitation came.

The hospital where Aiden was born sent us an invitation to a "Day of Remembrance". A ceremony for families who have lost infants to stillbirth or infant death. Oh - and by the way - they say - we STILL have the photos we took of your son after his death. Do you want them?

Oh Fudge.

 It was like a punch in the gut. Just when you think you are recovering nicely - something like that arrives in the mail and rips the scab right off the gash in your heart. Do we go? We don't want to go. We don't feel like we're ready to go. How can we NOT go? What kind of shitty assed parents are we if we can't even do this for him? What about the pictures? What do we do with them? Do we want them? What will the hospital do with them? Should we look at them if we get them? Where will we put them?

Fun stuff

So - I reverted to my oh so healthy "take to the bed" method of coping...and we eventually decided that we're not ready to go. So we don't go. But we did have the pictures sent to us.

THEN - we get another invitation in the mail. This time it is from the social worker at our local hospital, who invites us to THEIR Day of Remembrance because - you know - October IS INFANT DEATH AND STILLBORN AWARENESS month! Just in case we weren't aware. Apparently, she got a copy of Aiden's death certificate, and added us to her "list". Awesome. I'm starting to feel like the most popular girl in the class. Once again - I take to the bed, only this time I help myself to a glass...or 4 of Pinot Grigio.

And the NEXT day - the pictures arrive. Wow. Killer week.

But then I realized that despite these setbacks, despite the staggering amount of Pinot Grigio I have consumed since these things started arriving in the mail, I AM doing ok. I'm sad, I cry and then I go to sleep, wake up and start the next day. And I'm ok.

But today was the day of my complete and utter undoing. And now I'm sort of pissed off to be honest.
Today- we got yet another "mystery" package from the hospital. You would think that I would have a "no open' policy for packages from the hospital at this point. But - nope. Like I dope - I opened the envelope.The hospital sent us the program from the Day of Rembrance. Now I know that it sounds lovely, and I am sure that it was a lovely little shin-dig. The program contains the "agenda" for the ceremony - it seemed nice, they had clergy there - and a harp player. Classy. Butterfly release - nice touch. Should have stopped right there. But no- they included pages of poems. Not uplifting poems about anything...uplifting. Nope - poems that read like Nicholas Sparks wrote them specifically to make you have a nervous fucking breakdown. Here is the opening of the first little ditty:

Please Mommy, don't cry, don't be sad.
Treasure the time however short we had.
I miss you too, but I can feel your love.
Even up here flying, like a little dove.

Shall I continue? It goes on for 4 more suicide-inducing verses. Lovely, right? The next 2 poems weren't nearly as bad. Of course I just realized that now as I have finally stopped crying hysterically and the swelling in my eyes has gone down a bit. So here is my question for these people: WHY? WHO is this supposed to be for? Does this make ANYONE feel better?? SERIOUSLY? WHO? Who in their right mind wants to be reminded of the most awful day of their life over and over again?

WHO needs to be made AWARE of this awfulness? CERTAINLY not the parents and siblings of the children who have died. CERTAINLY NOT their grandparents. CERTAINLY not their friends who now have to deal with hysterical phone calls and text messages in the middle of the workday. The jackholes who were insensitive when the baby died still need a bit of awareness - but this is not aimed at them. This "awareness" movement is aimed at the people who are the MOST aware each and every day of the realities of stillbirth and infant loss.

I realize that I probably sound like a jackhole right now. I know that people grieve in different ways and that these lovely social workers are just doing their jobs.Perhaps this ceremony was perfect for another mother. But not this one. For the love of God in heaven above - stop already. I'm aware...I'm really really aware...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Welcome to the 21st Century...

So, a few weeks ago I was chatting with my aunt, who is a former Catholic school educator. And somehow, we started talking about elementary school and curriculum and handwriting of all topics. I mentioned that the big "buzz" in education right now is a debate about whether or not cursive handwriting should be taught in elementary schools. Advocates of cutting cursive out of the curriculum argue that in the 21st century, the only cursive anyone needs to know is how to sign their own name. Everything else will be type written on a computer or some other digital device and that instructional time would be much better spent in teaching "21st century skills".

You would have thought that I had suggested teaching first graders how to play with matches in old, rotting wooden sheds filled with gasoline soaked rags. So shocked was she that she was almost rendered speechless - but not quite. She made excellent arguments for continuing to teach cursive, she really did. But the entire discussion made me think about these so called "21st century skills". What are they? What should they be? How do we even know what these skills are as we are but a decade into the 21st century? And most importantly - by cutting certain things out of the curriculum - are we throwing the baby out with the bathwater?

I must admit that now that we have started this conversation, some of the things my kids bring home do strike me as a bit old-fashioned. For instance - my daughter is in the midst of a tried and true fifth grade right of passage - the 50 states test. I remember having to do this is 5th grade - the test where you are given a big map of the US and you have to fill in the names of all of the states. Time honored tradition - right? But how neccessary is it to know the names and locations of all 50 states by heart? Within a matter of seconds, I can access a map of the US and see all 50 states, their locations, capitals, abbreviations, state birds - you name it. Is it really neccessary to spend time memorizing them? What purpose does it serve other than cultural literacy? I mean think about it - unless you are a geography whiz, do YOU know the exact locations of ALL of the 50 states by heart? I'm sure that most people know the states along the East and West coasts and the Gulf states. But what about the states in the middle, huh? Which one is Illinios and which one is Indiana? Pretty hard to tell by just looking...trust me - I am now an expert. Many of us can identify Michigan as the "mitten" state, and if you've ever bough potatoes, you can identify Idaho by its shape. But what about Alabama and Kentucky, Wisconson and Wyoming? Where pray tell is Kansas? Oaklahoma? Arkansas? Is it essential that we know this? Does it mean that we are unpatriotic if we don't and don't see the need to committ this to memory? Will our kids been seen as "stupid" and "uneducated" if they can't identify Kentucky on a blank map?

At what point does knowledge become somewhat archaic? And who makes that decision? I'm sure that at some point in history it was considered insane to stop teaching kids how to ...powder a wig,  for example. When did we stop teaching people how to churn butter or darn socks? When did teaching young ladies how to bake cakes from scratch and iron men's shirts fall out of favor?Technology is to blame for most of the above. I'd argue the rest can be attributed to common sense and changing values. And yet, in every generation there are people who fight the changes and advances technology brings with it. How many times have members of my parents' generation bemoaned the invention of the electronic cash register and/or calculator because now the check out person at the grocery store can't "make change" without the machine. Is that really the fault of the cash register or the educational system?  Do you mean to tell me that we'd all be better off without the calculator?

So - is it archaic to committ the 50 states to memory? I personally don't think it causes any harm. But I also don't think that Bella will really "need" this knowledge at a moment's notice at any time in her adult life- unless she becomes a contestant on Jeopardy. Or if state identification becomes a hot drinking game in college.

SO what WILL our kids NEED to know 10, 20, 30 years from now? I think it's a really interesting question. I think they will still need some old school skills - basic math facts, reading skills, communication skills. The literature suggests that "soft" skills like the ability to work as part of a team., communication skills, listening skills, conflict resolution skills and so on will be important. We all know that our kids will need some mad technical skills in order to compete. But what those skills will be continues to mystify me.

So what do you think?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Lady Gaga's Mother

Well - if that title didn't hook you in - nothing will. So - I'm learning all sorts of fun things being the mother of a tween- age girl these days. Or, maybe I should say, I'm remembering and re-living all sorts of things while watching my tween-ager hurtling full-speed toward the teen years. One of my girlfriends once said that NO ONE in their right mind would EVER choose to go back and relive their middle school years. How true it is. Not that Bella is going through any kind of trauma or real drama...at least not yet. But what she and her pals perceive as real trauma and create as drama is eye-opening.

And I have to admit - I now see why my mother often seemed like she was at her wit's end when I was in middle school. It 's because she WAS at the end of her proverbial rope! Between the surging hormones, the daily dramas that play themselves out both in the classroom AND at home coupled with the constant questioning of one's mothering abilities as the child in front of you changes and grows on a sometimes hourly basis - it's a pretty stressful time. There is SO much "unknown" territory for me here. And it's not like your girlfriends and Mommy pals can help you out like they could when your kids were all babies.

Sure - babies are all different and unique creatures - but they do share alot of commonalities and there is a general set of rules you can follow and be pretty confident that you are not scarring your kid for the rest of her life. Not so with the tween-age set, I'm afraid. What works for one kid will cause mayhem with another. When one girl seems ready to shave her legs - another will run screaming from the sight of a razor. While one prays for bigger boobs to grow overnight - another one cries at the thought of having to wear a bra to school. For the love of GOD! Why isn't there a book to help us wade through all of this confusing nonsense? Why isn't there a "What to Expect in the Tween-Age years"? Has NO ONE thought of this?

Again - not that Bella is suffering. Actually, things seem to be swimming along - no real complaints....YET. However - I can see what's coming. And some of it is not pretty, my friends. We are getting too old for the clothing stores that I have been relying on for years. Well, where does one go to buy clothing for a girl who has the long legs of a newborn pony, the waist size of a Smurf and the fashion sense of a Real Housewife of New Jersey??? Where I ask you - where? I mean sure - there are plenty of stores out there that I can shop in...if I want my 10-year old to look like a five dollar hooker...and I'm sure SHE'D be pleased as punch with some of these establishments. What has become of my child who used to say - in an uber-cute, high-pitched squeal: "For ME?????" every time I brought home a new dress or tee-shirt now says: "Um - eww." or "Seriously?" or "Um - I dont really think so Mom" to 99.9% of the items I bring home. And when I freak out about such attitude, she is filled with remorse and is my sweet little bunny rabbit once again - but the clothing item in question goes to the back of her closet never to be seen again. It's a no-win situation for me.

And let's not even talk about Halloween costumes. Has anyone noticed that once your kid is finished being a cute bumble-bee, a furry rabbit, Princess Leia or Fiona from Shrek - her only commercially produced options are: Slutty Kitty, Slutty Alice in Wonderland, Slutty Queen of Hearts, Slutty Dorothy..or just plain Slut.Oh and let's not forget Slutty Cheerleader, Slutty Dead Cheerleader, Slutty Zombie and Slutty Dead Zombie Cheerleader. Seriously. You can find all of these costumes at your local Party City, or at any online costume store...or Fredrick's of Hollywood.

Bella has actually decided on a non-slutty Monster High costume for this year. Some Sea Monster's daughter that looks like it will cover all of her body parts and does not include fishnet stockings. HOWEVER - so has her BFF. OMG!!! So, we have agreed to be twin Sea Monster's daughters - this week. But, I can already tell that Bella is having second thoughts about this plan. Last night she asked me if she could change her mind about her costume. And seeing as I haven't even ordered it yet - I said :"Sure - what do you think you want to be?" and without missing a beat she said; "Lady Gaga - but not in the meat dress."

And this got me thinking about an interview that Barbara Walters did with the one and only Lady Gaga. Good old Babs - always getting to the heart of the matter - asked Gaga about her mom and what it was like growing up and turning into this "character" of Gaga. And I LOVED the answer she gave. She said that her mom has always supported her and her crazy outfits and hair-dos and styles. And that Gaga isn't a character - it's who she feels comfortable being - and her mom "gets" that. Barabara followed up with the hard-hitting :"And what do they call you when you go home? Do they call you Lady Gaga or do they call you Stephani - the name you were born with?" And that crazy Gaga said: "They call me whatever they feel like calling me. Sometimes it's Gaga and sometimes it's Stephanie. I'm still Stephanie - but this person - Lady Gaga is like the best version of Stephanie. It's who Stephanie always wanted to be. And my parents get that about me. And it's all cool."

Can you imagine the woman who is Lady Gaga's mom? You will either think she's nuts - or that she's brilliant. Think about it. She let her kid be who she wanted to be. I'm pretty sure that this woman didn't daydream about her little baby girl walking about in a dress made of meat, or a bra that shot out sparks. (At least I hope she didn't!) But she raised a kid who feels confident enough to do it.

Forbes just ranked Lady Gaga as the 11th most POWERFUL woman IN THE WORLD! More powerful my friends than, dare I say it? Oprah Winfrey! Say what you want about her Momma - but that lady did something right. There are ALOT of "famous" women in their 20s and 30s - Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton,the sisters Kardashian...but none of them are on the Forbes list of the 100 most powerful women in the world. Lady Gaga outranks: The Queen of England, J.K. Rowling, Diane Sawyer, the Presidents of several COUNTRIES, Companies and Foundations! And yes, while she shocks and sometimes outrages people - her message is a great one for our daughters and sons. She tells them to be proud of who they are - gay, straight or bi. To love themselves, to value themselves and to value that part of themselves that feels good with turquiose hair, arriving at a party in a giant egg or wearing a dress made of meat...as gross as that must smell.

I do not think I have the courage of Gaga's Momma - but I really want to. I can't ever see myself letting Bella dye her hair blue or wear a dress made of duct tape - like the one she is trying to make as I type. But maybe I should. Maybe I should have a new mantra...not to replace Keep Calm and Carry On - but to enhance it. And here it is:

WWGMD?

What would Gaga's mother do??????

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Keep Calm and Carry On Everybody!

So - as the East Coast braces for a hurricane, Busy Momma and her crew are hunkered down, battening the hatches and baking. Yes, you read that correctly - baking. Because our family motto is: You can never have enough brownies in ANY kind of crisis or natural disaster. OK - maybe that is just my personal motto. Our other motto - the motto that has gotten us through our every waking hour of our lives thus far is: Keep Calm and Carry On. 

 According to Wikipedia - which, as we all know is the most reliable source of factual information on the planet: "Keep Calm and Carry On was a poster produced by the British government in 1939 during the beginning of World War II, intended to raise the morale of the British public in the event of invasion." This little phrase is sooooo representative of how Busy Momma and her crew live their lives that Carrie is going to paint it on the wall above the stove in the kitchen. Don't you LOVE that phrase? I know it's very "in" right now - you can see it pretty much everywhere. But that's because it's a GREAT way to live in these somewhat uncertain times. Think of ALL of the moments in your day that would be made FAR less stressful if you took a deep breath and repeated those words in your head. Don't believe me? OK - picture the following scenarios and think about how this simple phrase might help you keep your shit together:
  1. Imagine getting a call from your kid's preschool teacher, in January, while you are dying with what can only be a fatal case of the flu. Your husband has dressed your child and has dropped her off at school. Your dear friend Sookie has promised to pick her up after school and keep her for the rest of the day while you lay in your sweat-soaked sheets, sipping ginger ale and praying that the Angel of Death comes quickly. Your first thought, upon seeing that it is the school calling is that said child has also come down with the flu. You pick up and the teacher has a very strange tone of voice. She says: "Mary, are you sick today?' She explains that she figured that you were sick because your child has come to school dressed in an "unusual" outfit. And by "unusual" she means that your child is at school, in January, wearing polka dotted tights, a bathing suit, covered by a pair of shorts, yellow duckie rainboots and a sweater. Oh - and a Disney Princess crown. Now - your first thought is of a divorce lawyer you saw on TV. But THEN you chant your mantra in your head: Keep Calm and Carry On. And you realize that the child is at least covered and protected from the elements. AND that Sookie will, no doubt, redress her when she sees the hot mess of an outfit that your husband has apparently green lighted. Divorce averted.
  2. That same preschool teacher calls you a few weeks later to report that your daughter is complaining of an earache. You call the pediatrician, drive to school and head to the doctor's office. You ask your child: "When did your ear start to hurt?" And she sweetly replies: "After the crayon came out." And you screech: "WHAT? YOU PUT A CRAYON IN YOUR EAR?????" And she cowers in terror in her car seat and says: "No. Emma put a crayon in my ear." Emma is none other than your child's invisible friend - the one that does ALL of the naughty stuff. So, when you arrive at the pediatrician - you do a big song and dance number explaining about Emma while your kid is in the waiting room. You speak with the pediatrician - who can be a bit snarky at times - that he is NOT to give your child a hard time about Emma and to say that yes he can see her if she shows up in the examining room. The doctor says: "So, I hear that your friend Emma put a crayon in your ear, huh?" And she looks at him with her big, blue eyes and says: "Who's Emma?"  and "There was no cwayon in my ear - it just huwts."And - as the pediatrician is looking at you with a look that says: "Hmm - I think this woman is a psychopath and has invented imaginary playmates for her kid and maybe I should call Family Services on her" - you chant your mantra: Keep Calm and Carry On. And as he looks in her ear he says: "Oh - wow - Emma must like purple." Your angel says: "It's her favowite color. She was trying to make the insides of my ears pwetty." And once again - crisis averted.
  3. You are at your son's first day of preschool. And you are taking pictures and trying not to cry as you think about how fast time is flying by and you feel like it was only yesterday that you were bringing this baby home from the hospital. And here he is - going off on his own for the first time - away from you for 2 and a half hours two days a week. It's almost too much to bear. The lovely teacher tells the boys and girls to go and sit on the carpet and select a book to "read" quietly. And there he goes...your baby boy, your pride and joy, on all fours, crawling now like a dog, wait a minute...why is he lifting his leg, doggie-style?...OH MY GOD...he just lifted his leg to fart in that little girl's face! HOLY SHIT! You cannot BELIEVE he just did that...and EVERYONE saw and heard it! And as you pray to melt into the carpet - you say your mantra: Keep Calm and Carry On. And that blessed preschool teacher come up, behind your back and says: "Yep - I have 2 boys. You just have to roll with it Momma."
  4. You are told by your darling daughter that in fifth grade - your locker can "Make you...or BREAK you". You were not aware of this fact of life. She informs you that she needs some "supplies" so that she does not have a "loser locker" like she apparently had last year. So - you take her and her best pal  to the craft store where, according to the pal and your darling girl, they have everything one needs for a cool fifth-grade locker. You, after living on this earth for almost 40 years and attending 2 prestigious universities, had NO idea that every fifth grader needs: magnetic flowers,bejeweled pencil cups, mirrors, WALL PAPER, picture frames AND...wait for it........... A motion-detecting crystal chandelier in order to pass fifth grade and not be a total loser. And as you begin to mentally tally the amount of money you are about to spend on said non-loser locker...you begin to panic about having enough in your checking account to cover this month's mortgage...you say your mantra: Keep Calm and Carry On. And suddenly you hear your daughter screech: "Oh NO! They don't have the crystal chandeliers! OMG - WHAT are we going to do?" And you say a silent prayer of thanks that you do not have to explain to your husband why you shelled out $32 bucks for a locker chandelier. (Post-script: This particular pal and your daughter are very smart girls, They find the website and twist your arm to order it online. You let the other mother order and you write her a check. Hubby will never know..) (Unless he reads your blog. Shit.)
I can go on with this all day, Peeps. But do you see my point? I have come to believe that we all sweat the small stuff waaaaaay too much. We worry about what other people will think of our parenting if they see our kids misbehaving or acting bratty. We worry about what teachers will think of our parenting if we forget to sign a homework folder or send in an item for the bake sale. We worry what our mothers will think of us when our kids tell them that "We had ice cream for dinner!" We worry about what the people we went to high school will think of us when we show up at the 20th reunion 20 pounds heavier than we'd like to be, wearing at least 5 extra pounds in the form of extra-strength spanxx, control top pantyhose and those chicken cutlet things that hold your saggy boobs up inside of your bra. WHO CARES? Who cares what other people think of us? I suggest that we Mommies start to care more about what the people who really matter think of us and LESS about what everyone else thinks of us. Taking a moment to Keep Calm and Carry On helps me remember this.

So - here is Busy Momma's challenge to you: As Hurricane Irene comes crashing down around us this weekend - try to Keep Calm and Carry On. I am 100% sure that my basement will flood. I am really worried about my roof holding up. I am trying not to worry about my beautiful pin oak in the backyard that if it were to fall, would crash directly into my bedroom and/or family room. I am worried about all of the lovely food in my freezer that might spoil if the power is out too long. But I can't control any of this. So, whatever happens, we will Keep Calm and Carry On. If the basement floods - we'll clean it up. (And by We, I mean PC)  If the roof blows away, we will have to get a new one. As long as we are all ok - dry, well fed and not trapped beneath a giant, fallen pin oak - everything will turn out ok. The earth will keep on spinning. The storm will pass, we will clean up the mess and life will go on. So - good luck everyone. Check your flashlight batteries, freeze some water, stock up on PB&J and enjoy a glass of wine as Irene pays us a visit.

Oh - and before the power goes out - be sure to order those locker chandeliers.....because remember: Your locker can MAKE you or BREAK you.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

So Long Summer.....

Does it seem like everywhere you go and everyone you talk to lately says the same thing? "Where did the summer go?"I know I have been thinking alot about the passage of time and how it seems to fly by much quicker the older I become. Busy Momma and her crew had a really great summer. We spent a few wonderful days with Sookie and her crew in Rehoboth.  We spent some time at the pool...the kids spent ALOT of time at the pool. Most importantly - we really did chillax this summer - it was sorely needed. But it did seem to fly by.

Now we stand on the brink of a new school year, and I find myself repeating the same thing over and over again in my mind:  "This year HAS to be better than LAST year, right?" Because last year kicked our ass. I don't know about you guys, but transitioning to fourth grade was a bitch. A real nightmare. NOT because of the teachers or anything like that - it was just the workload increased and the responsibility put on their shoulders was ratcheted WAAAAAY up from third grade. And, even though I have spent my entire adult life in education - I was TOTALLY unprepared. Plus we had field hockey 2 nights a week, Scouts, soccer and let's not forget how we started the first week after Labor Day. Me, in the hospital, miscarrying one twin, trying desperately to hang on the the other one,  all while having some sort of "mystery" cardiac condition that all of the cardiologists at University of Maryland Hospital couldn't figure out. So there I was - strapped to wires and monitors and NOT ALLOWED to get up and go to the BATHROOM by myself - because I was trapped in the Cardiac Intensive Care unit!

Meanwhile, back on the ranch, my parents are trying to shuttle the prince and princess between 2 different schools AND trying to figure out all of the new homework, sports schedules and general routines of the fourth grade while PC stayed by my side. Not the BESTEST way to start a new school year. So I have decided that THIS year is going to be better. THIS is going to be OUR year. The way I see it, fifth grade is going to be just like fourth grade on steroids - with new teachers. Long division is behind us...meaning I think she has finally figured it out. So what else is there to dread? Well...there is "The Talk" that all of the fifth graders get about puberty - that she is already telling me she is NOT attending. But as long as I'm not GIVING the talk (been there done that) - I could care less. Listening to the talk will make her stronger in the long run. AND, her nemesis (and, I suspect, secret crush) is NOT in her homeroom. What can go wrong?

Although I will admit that I am a bit worried about my little man. He starts 2nd grade in a new school. He was finally released from speech - so he can go back to our regular school - which is a Catholic school. Now, while his sister LOVES all of the Theology and prayers and the rituals of her faith, like going to mass....let's just say that Jack does NOT. Like, he really doesn't like it. And I'm kind of worried about it. The kid STILL doesn't bless himself correctly - and I'm convinced he does it backwards out of spite because we force him to go to mass. He sits in mass and does all sorts of  silent passive aggressive things - like eye rolling and claiming that he HAS to go to the bathroom at least 3 tiumes during a 1 hour mass. This is the kid that was able to hold it ALL DAY during the year because he doesn't like using " dirty school bathrooms". One time right in the middle of mass he sighed loudly and said - not quietly - "God, all of this sitting and standing, sitting and standing - when will it END?" Hmmmmm

I'm worried that I will be getting a call from school on that first Wednesday that they all go to mass. Oh God, I am really sweating it to be honest. I can only hope that they remember that our other kid is a really, really good and devout Catholic. And that didn't happen by itself. She knows all of her prayers...her brother does not. He just moves his mouth to make it looks like he's praying - but he's not! He's moving the mouth and making sounds that are most definitely NOT prayers. I know - I bent down and listened to him at mass. I was pretending to get something out of my purse - and there he was - mouthing fake words and sort of humming.

With my daughter, we don't really have to worry too much about her embarrasing us in school. She's at that age where EVERYTHING embarrases her - and that's a good thing. Little Man? Not so much. Let's just say, our dinner time conversations of late have been quite interesting.

Us: "So, Jack, you know that when you go to SMS, there will be all sorts of new rules, right?"
Jack; "Like what?"
Us: "Nothing really weird - just like no burping or farting just for fun. And no pointing out if someone burps or farts on purpose. And no farting ON people."
Bella: "Yeah - we don't "weaponize" our farts at SMS. That's just a good all-around rule, Mom. Don't you think?"
Me: "Yes, yes I do."
Jack: "Well what if you have to fart or burp?"
The REST of us: "Then you go to the bathroom and conduct your business there."
Jack: DEAD SILENCE.......
Me: "Ok Jack - got it?"
Jack: "I have a feeling we're in for a bad, bad year."

Help me Jesus.....

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Boy Who Lived


I am suffering from a Harry Potter hangover. Hermione and I took the girls to see the final installment of the Harry Potter movies last night - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Or, as Bella calls it: HP 7.  Now, Hermione and I have been going to these movies together ever since they started making them. We've seen each movie within 48 hours of its premiere...with the exception of one. Hermione was sick the year Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire came out, and we missed it and had to wait for the DVD. I couldn't possible go and see it WITHOUT her - so I waited until we could see it together. Yes, I am THAT loyal.

I am a HUGE Potter fan - a fanatic if you will. I didn't start off this way. I actually HAD to read the first book for work. We were thinking of using it in as part of a  marketing package for a company I used to work for, but before I included it, I figured I should actually read it and see what this Harry Potter thing was all about. So, while waiting for a delayed flight out of Chicago one summer evening, I wandered into the airport bookstore and picked up a copy of the book that would change my life.

Dramatic? Perhaps - just a smidge. But something about Harry Potter really did change me. I have never been a "fan" of anything like this before. I've never been into the magical world - could never get into Tolkien or understand why people would go ga-ga over a tv show like Star Trek or god forbid, get dressed up like a character for a movie premiere. But all of a sudden, by opening a book, I was swept into a world beyond my wildest imaginings. Rowling used words to build the school of my dreams as she wove her tale about a great hall with an enchanted ceiling and four different houses steeped in history and mystery. She created a boy who had the odds stacked against him, who seemed to face insurmountable obstacle after obstacle, but always managed to succeed with the help of his friends. She captured the very essence of a hero in a very ordinary boy and his very loyal friends. Reading that first book was as close to a "magical" experience that I'd ever come to. When I closed the cover of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" that same night, I was hooked. The second book had just hit the shelves and I was out first thing in the morning to buy it. I was the lunatic who pre-ordered the rest of the books and had them delivered specially on Saturday morning. By the time this last book hit the shelves, Fifi and I were standing in line, at Barnes and Noble when it opened, getting wristbands that would allow us to enter the store after it closed so that we could get a copy of the book at midnight. Fifi read the book - OUT LOUD - as I drove us home that night. And we both stayed up reading all night long so that we wouldn't get ahead of each other. 

So what is it about "the boy who lived" that engenders such fierce loyalty among millions of readers around the world? Speaking as a writer, and I use that term VERY loosely, Rowling is just breath-takingly brilliant. To be able to create an entire world, a world with it's own language and creatures,customs and history with words that paint crystal-clear pictures in your mind is a skill that very few possess.  Her ability to mix frightening story lines with humor and age-old themes of loyalty, friendship, growing-up, betrayal and human failing in a fresh manner is what makes her a story teller extraordinairre.

As a reader, I know the characters are what keep me coming back for more. Rowling manages to introduce new characters in each book that even us Muggles can relate to. Who doesn't love Luna Lovegood - even if you do think she's a bit looney at times. And who can't relate to Neville Longbottom? The bumbling foolish boy who comes into his own in this last book and winds up saving the day? Haven't we all been Luna or Neville at one time or another? And come on - admit it: who amongst us wouldn't LOVE to be Bellatrix LeStrange...just for one day? I think the essence of the success of the series is a very simple premise: the power of friendship. Harry Potter is the luckiest kid in the world. At the outset of the series, he's an orphan, living with people who despise him and treat him terribly. He lives in a cupboard under the stairs, has nothing and no one. At the end - he has legions of friends willing to die for him. If that is not good fortune - I don't know what is.

Hermione predicted that I'd be crying at the end of the movie simply because it was all over. And she was correct - I was! It was such a beautiful way to end a beautiful, perfect story. I remember reading the final book, being torn between plowing through the pages to see WHAT WOULD HAPPEN and savoring every morsel because this was it - there would be no more books after this one. What a gift Rowling gave us! What a legacy she leaves. I hope that our grandchildren enjoy getting to know Harry, Ron and Hermione as much as we did.



 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

So - What are YOU Reading this Summer?

God,  I love Summer. Even though I can do without the heat and humidity Maryland has to offer, I really do love those "lazy" summer days. I am enjoying a week of having nothing to do and no where to go. Granted, I am half way through that week...but I'm enjoying it! I love sitting by the pool, soaking up the sun and getting my read on. So far, I've managed to read one book and I started another.

Yup - I LOVE summer reading! I feel like there is so much more time for "fun" reading in the summer - don't you? Now, I do realize that I am a total dork. But, I embrace my inner literary chick! I have always read my summers away. In fact, the ladies at our local library used to warn me that I'd better slow down because if I wasn't careful I'd "read every book in the library and run out of new books to read!" Now, while THAT never happened - I have read quite a few books over the past 30 or so years. Some good, some not-so-good and some REALLY great. So, I thought I'd share some of Busy Momma's favorite titles in case you might be looking for a great summer read.

I am the type of reader who enjoys getting completely immersed in a book. So immersed in fact, that my children tease me that they know I've found a really great book if they have to remind me to do things like feed and water them. So, in the interest of time, I am only listing  a few of those books that have captured my whole heart, soul and imagination and swept me away into a world of the author's creation. My hope is that some of you will respond to this post by letting me in on a few of YOUR favorite summer reads.  So, without any further ado...away we go...

I have to start with the book I just finished: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah E. Harkness. It was terrific. It kept me up until late in the night, quickly turning pages to find out what would happen next. It was well written, and although it is about witches and vampires - it is no Tween Lit book. The main character is a professor who is doing research about alchemy and ancient alchemy manuscripts. She also happens to be a witch, descended from a long line of famous witches. Her world changes when she is able to summon an ancient, bewitched manuscript that has been "lost" for thousands of years. She meets a mysterious vampire who takes an intense interest in her - but is he really in love with her or with what her powers and the bewitched manuscript might be able to do for him and his fellow vampires?

If you are looking to get swept away in a story that takes place in a beautiful city, introduces you to amazing characters and keeps you up until the wee hours of the morning - then you'll want to read South of Broad by Pat Conroy.
Pat Conroy is one of those authors who can just pick you up and deposit you in another time and place. His descriptions of South Carolina are so beautiful, you will swear you can smell the salt marshes as you are reading. He is a master of the written word. He creates characters that will never leave you and stories that you will continue to think about long after you finish reading them. South of Broad is one of those stories.

Another favorite of mine is Fortune's Rocks by Anita Shreve. You might be familiar with Shreve's work if you read The Pilot's Wife. Shreve actually wrote four books about the same house and it's occupants at different points in time- Fortune's Rocks is the first in this quartet. The heroine is a 16 year old girl whose life and the world she lives in is about to change as the twentieth century dawns. It is an unforgettable story about how life can take unpredicatable turns and how even the least likely among us can triumph over seemingly unsurmountable obstacles.

Looking for a classic? Maybe something you were supposed to read  in high school - but read the CliffNotes instead? I spent a few days last summer reading Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert , and I LOVED it!  Now - hear me out...while it's not a quick and easy read - it's really not that difficult. Not NEARLY as challenging as Jane Austen. AND it has EVERYTHING you'd want in a summer read - first love, love lost, disappointment, regret, infidelity, death, poison, betrayal and good, old-fashioned bodice ripping! I dare you to pick it up. If you do - you'll be hooked. I promise!

Another classic that I somehow managed to miss is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Last year was the 50th anniversary of this classic tale - so I decided to give it a try. The only regret I have about reading this book last summer is that I didn't read it earlier! It is such a great coming of age/end-of-innocence story. It should be required reading for every middle schooler on the planet!

Many of you might be familiar with Sara's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. If you haven't read it - it is really a must. I'll warn you - it is NOT the "feel good" book of your summer - but it is one of those stories that you'll never forget. It is the story of an American writer who finds herself in Paris writing an article about the 1942 Paris round-ups and deportations when thousands of French Jews were arrested, held against their will and deported to Aushwitz. Her research leads her to a story involving a little girl, her brother and a key that changes all of their lives forever.

If you're a crafty gal, or even if you're not - you might want to try The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs. This is a quick and easy read that will suck you in from the get-go and leave you wanting more of the ladies from Walker and Daughter - a lovely little knitting shop in New York City. In fact...it just might inspire you to take up a new hobby!

And, finally - if you need a good laugh - pick up Bossy Pants by Tina Fey. If you can - download this one on your IPod so that you can hear Tina Fey read her own words. This one was so funny, I laughed until I cried. And I mean LAUGHED - you know - the "I'm laughing so hard I peed myself a little bit" laughing that only Tina Fey can provoke. So if you DO download it - stop by the CVS and get a box of Poise pads...you're gonna need them.

There are SO many other great books that have touched my heart: The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, My Sister's Keeper and Nineteen Minutes by the amazing Jodi Picoult, Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand and anything that Jennifer Weirner has ever written - but especially Good in Bed and it's sequel Certain Girls. If you are one of the 14 people left on the planet who has NOT read The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo trilogy...get thee to a book store - STAT! And of course the entire Harry Potter series is a must read as well. ( I predict that Potter will become a cultural literacy classic - a book that has become so beloved, so universally read that anyone unfamiliar with the series might just be seen as being culturally 'illiterate.)   I'm sure when I hit "publish" on this post 15 more amazing books will pop into my head and I will be kicking myself over not listing them!

Last but not least - here is my reading list for the rest of the summer. While I don't know if I will get through them all by the end of the summer...fall is just around the corner - and I just love curling up with a hot cup of tea and a good book on a crisp, autumn afternoon....

The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy; Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz; One Summer by David Baldacci, Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner, The Last Letter From Your Lover by JoJo Motes; Silver Girl by Elin Hildenbrand, The Distant Hours by Kate Morton, Rescue by Anita Shreve, What Alice forgot by Liane Moriarity and The Very Thought of You by: Rosie Alison.

So - now you know what I'm reading this summer - what about YOU????

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Run, Run as Fast as You Can...you Can't Catch Me - I'm on the Seawitch Plan!

So, in a move that can only be blamed on pre- Casey Anthony "sure- to- be- guilty- of- murder- one"verdict induced euphoria - I did something REALLY, REALLY stupid. You see, Sookie and I were sitting around last Tuesday morning, drinking coffee and talking about how much money the state of Florida would have to fork over on all of the appeals Casey Anthony's lawyers would surely file on her behalf after the jury, that we had far too much faith in, came back with a guilty verdict. While chatting, Sookie was looking in a magazine that highlights all of the fun things one can do while in Rehoboth. And she sat straight up in her chair and said "Oh Mau!' 'cause that's what she calls me...long story involving lots of wine..."We should sign up for this!"

Now, by the word "this" and her general mood of what appeared to be happy excitement, I assumed she was looking at some sort of ad that involved a shopping or eating contest. Either of which, we could probably easily win. Unfortunately, she was indeed NOT looking at an ad for anything fun or exciting. Oh no, my friends, she was looking at an advertisement for an event that could, potentially, bring Busy Momma to her knees. An event so out of the realm of what Busy Momma considers her comfort zone - it might as well be on Mars. My Sookie - my darling, darling, wonderful, beautiful, loving Sookie - one of my three "people" -was suggesting that we RUN in the Seawitch 5K.

RUN

A

Freaking

5K!!!!!

Now, as I looked around the room we were in, trying to find the other person she was surely speaking to, as I knew she would never suggest that I run an almost marathon with her, I started to feel a panic in my belly. Similar to the panic one might feel when being chased by angry zombies or hungry cheetas. Because there was really no one else in the room who could possibly answer to the name "Mau" except me. So, here is a glimpse of my inner dialogue:

"WTF is wrong with her? Is she asking me to RUN this thing with her or to go and watch it from a coffee shop? That must be it. She wants to come down for the Seawitch Festival to shop and we can start early in a coffee shop and drink coffee, eat pastries and watch people running. That's it." 

Only, that's really NOT what she meant. She wants us to sign up and RUN in this freaking thing. Like lace up your sneakers and run! And, once again, in an insanely stupid moment, I said - without ANY hesitation mind you:

"OK"

What is WRONG with me????????????

So NOW, I have this training plan. It's called "From the couch to the 5K" plan. It's hanging on the fridge and I am supposed to start training for this thing by walking a brisk "warm up" walk for 2 minutes and alternate 60 seconds of running with 90 seconds of walking for a week. Now, at first that looked pretty easy and doable - until I realized that actually, all in all, that means that I'd be running about 8 entire minutes a day! I can't do that! So Sookie revised the plan and has us doing 60 seconds of running followed by 3 minutes of walking this week. So I am starting this today or tomorrow. Much to my chagrin.

Sook is trying to motivate me - as only Sookie can - by chatting me up about the cute outfits we will buy for the event. I am a bit more concerned about surviving the training period. My brother is encouraging me as well - telling me to "push through the pain" and "listen to your brain not your body" when it is screaming out "STOP! STOP!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME??? I AM ALMOST 40 OVER HERE!!!"

I keep thinking things like "What have I gotten myself into?" and "Is this REALLY being a good friend to Sookie? Imagine how traumatized she will be when I drop dead from sheer exhaustion and over training."

But I will walk down this path, I will forge ahead with this training plan. Why? you ask...Why subject myself to the utter torture and sheer pain that is sure to come? Well - peeps - here is the honest to God truth:

Damn that Sookie - she had me at "cute new running outfits".

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Not Guilty? REALLY?

So, after being GLUED to my satellite radio and the HLN channel, listening to almost every moment of testimony in the Casey Anthony trial over the past month, I was pretty sure of two things:

1. I probably could pass the bar exam at this point in my life just from what I learned from my round-the-clock obsession with Headline News.
2. Casey Anthony was going DOWN in a BIG way. In FLAMES.

And...I was dead wrong on both counts.

My job affords me a certain luxury. I spend HOURS in the car - every day. And I usually choose to spend those hours listening to books on tape - or the fine programming on the Martha Stewart channel on my Sirius radio. However, over the past month, I have been rivited to my seat listening in on the testimony in this trial and all of the commentary to go with it. Now, don't get me wrong, I am certainly NOT a Nancy Grace fan. And I did NOT listen to or watch her program during this trial - despite running into her at Disney's Polynesian before the trial began. Her kids are super-cute. Anyway - I digress.  I did listen to the other personalities on that network as they analyzed the testimony and explained the law.

So, you can IMAGINE my excitement on Tuesday morning, when it was announced that the jury had reached its verdict. And, because of all of the fine legal programming I had been watching and listening to, and my pending D.J. from the Headline News School of Criminal Justice- I was pretty sure that an 11-hour deliberation could only mean one thing for Casey Anthony...an appointment with a nasty needle.

Picture Busy Momma on the edge of her seat -  awaiting the verdict and hearing NOT GUILTY to Murder One. Can you imagine what was going on in my head? (Imagine me screaming "WTF?" and you pretty much have it crystalized.) So - I calmed myself and figured that they'd nail her on felony murder....and again - a fine WTF moment was had. I was actually in a room with Sookie, my husband and another friend and we were ALL just shell-shocked. How on EARTH had these 12 people listened to ALL of that testimony and come back with a NOT GUILTY verdict? HOW? HOW? HOW???????

Now, while I am certainly no lawyer - I am pretty sure that Sookie is.(At least she has a pretty fancy looking law degree in her office and uses big words and can write one heck of a strongly worded letter.) And she's a damned good one. And according to my Sookie - the jury got it wrong. It seems that the jury was looking for a smoking gun, or some sort of hard and fast proof that Casey did it. And they didn't need it to convict her - and that was their critical and crucial mistake.  As a lay person, I can totally understand wanting that video clip or secret confession or DNA or fingerprint evidence - especially in a death penalty case. But according to the law - you don't NEED that kind of evidence to convict someone of felony murder. And not having it ISN'T "reasonable doubt".

One thing I do have to say is that Jose Biaz is one lucky SOB. Don't TELL me that he BELIEVES that Casey Anthony is INNOCENT. But - he did his job, he defended the process - and believe it or not - I have a lot of respect for him because of it. AND, I think his remarks afterwards proved that he is a class act. I hope he does what he says he wants to do and fight to make the death penalty illegal. Which brings me to my next point...

I wonder if she got off precisiely because this WAS a death penalty case. The two jurors who have come forth have both made comments indicating that they felt that the prosecution did NOT PROVE their case - ESPECIALLY since they were seeking the death penalty. Which makes me wonder - if they were seeking Life-in-prison - would it have been easier for these 12 people to convict? Would they have been able to use their common sense if they weren't faced with condemning someone to death?

I realize that I wasn't there, and that we will never know what really happened. But I do know a few things. I do know what it feels like to lose a child that you love. Even though I had not even gotten to know my Aiden, I loved him and wanted him and I am still mourning his loss. I know what grief feels like, and it can make you do and think really crazy things. By crazy things - I mean lashing out at people who don't deserve it, or using inappropriate humor, or becomming obsessed with cleaning your house. I do NOT mean entering a hot body contest, partying and getting a freaking tatoo. I realize that everyone grieves in their own way...but I take offense to the idea that Casey Anthony was grieving as she was out partying. That is NOT grief. That is psychotic, sociopathic behavior - pure and simple. ( And yes, I got my degree in criminal psychology at the same school that gave me my law degree...)

I also know what it feels like to bury a child, and it is just an awful, awful process. And while it is not polite conversation and I hope NO ONE who reads this blog EVER has to do it - I can tell you a few things about what goes through the average mind. A mother wants her baby to be safe and warm and comforted. And the idea of putting her baby in the cold, hard ground is almost too much to bear. I really think that it is only by the grace of God that grieving parents manage to stay above ground and not climb in the hole with their child.  A loving parent DOES NOT store a child's body in the TRUNK of her car until the stench becomes unbearable and then decides to dump it in a swamp. And one should not need any evidence of that - it's just common sense, people!

And now, to add insult to injury, it seems that Ms. Anthony will be a free woman in less than a week. What then? It's been reported that she wants to have another baby. The blog-o-sphere is a-twitter with reports that she will make millions of dollars on book deals and movie rights. I just can't seem to believe that. What publishing company would take a chance on that? Maybe the same one that published OJ's lovely memoir: "If I Did It". And who would buy and read her book? Who would ever believe a THING that came out of her mouth?

I hope that Casey is up in heaven, bouncing on clouds and sliding down rainbows with Aiden and all of the other babies that were taken from this earth way too soon. I hope that she is surrounded by angel wings and can feel the love that so many people who never met her have for her tonight. If anything good is to come from this - I hope it is legislation that makes it a felony crime NOT to report a child missing and a felony crime to DISPOSE of a child's body without reporting the death to the police. Because apparently, in the state of Florida, it is NOT a felony crime to chloroform a baby, put duct tape around her nose and mouth, smother the life out of her, dump her in the trunk of your car while you party and then dump her lifeless body into the swamp.

To sign a petition to get a law on the books that would make it illegal NOT to report a missing child. visit http://www.change.org/ and sign the petition for Casey's Law.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Musings on The Real Housewives of NJ

Summertime is officially here! Wa-HOOO! No more pencils, no more books and no more HOMEWORK to deal with. Ahhh yes - summer has begun and Busy Momma is very happy! And with summer comes the last few episodes of my FAVORITE trashy tv show - The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Has anyone else been watching this season? It has been an eye-opener.

So, if you know me, you know that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Theresa Guidice. Theresa is the over-the-top housewife who famously flipped the table at the end of the first season. She is loud, brash, tacky and has a set of ca-hones on her that would rival ...well.....anyone's! She and her husband Joe spent the entire first season of the show spending ooo-gobs of money on their new palatial home. This house has more marble and crystal and other expensive touches than the Vatican. It's just like Theresa - 100% Italian, beautiful and completely over-the-top. And unfortunately, it is also a home that the Guidice family could not afford. Hence their legal and finacial troubles that have been splashed all over every newspaper on the East Coast. Theresa and Joe had to declare bankruptcy, there was talk of Joe serving a prison sentence and there were reports of an incredible auction where all of Theresa's finery would be available to the highest bidder.

This season, we see a very different Theresa and Joe. Gone are the shopping sprees, lavish parties and the wads of cash. Theresa is bringing home the bacon, writing cookbooks, making appearances and sitting at book signings. And Joe? Well, sadly, Joe is flipping pizzas at a local pizza place to make ends meet. And while, I'm sure, many people are LOVING watching how the mighty have fallen - it just makes me really sad.

I'm not sad that they had to declare bankruptcy - they made mistakes and now they are paying for them. What makes me sad is how Theresa is dealing with her troubles...or more to the point - NOT dealing with them. She seems to be in complete denial about her current reality. Her MO seems to be Deny, Deny, Deny. No - there is NO auction...No we are NOT in foreclosure...No No No...nothing to see here... Meanwhile, every newspaper seems to tell quite a different story.

And then there is the family fued she is having with her crazy brother Joe. Is it me, or is Joe's wife Melissa enjoying Theresa's money troubles a bit too much? She seems to glean pure joy out of talking about Theresa's downfall and her money woes. I understand that there are two sides to every story, and I'm sure Theresa has not been polishing her halo for the past several years...but isn't this a time when your family should gather around you and HELP you? I mean, OK - Theresa DID throw Melissa's store-bought sprinkle cookies in the garbage can...not classy. However - Joe and Melissa seem to be enjoying watching Theresa and Joe suffer. And that is just heartbreaking to watch.

I don't know why I love Theresa as much as I do. Maybe it's the passion she has for her family, her babies, her husband and her friends.  Maybe Theresa is representative of the inner Jersey Girl that STILL lives deep inside of me...the girl who longs to be Bling-ier and Show-ier. Maybe it's because she makes up words like Bubbies, Sang-which or my personal favorite: Cleanse-ey. Or maybe it's because she has the balls to say what she says and flip tables. Who knows...all I know is that my Sunday evenings are much more interesting when I'm watching Theresa and her crew!