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.

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.





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:


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.