Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Honey, Grab the Vacuum, I'm in the Mood!

Last night, I zoned out on a reality TV show, Wife Swap. Sadly it's not the first time. This show, along with the Nanny show make my kids and Husband (and, ah hem, me:)) look like dreams, so I actually enjoy watching them occasionally.

This particular episode had the farm mom from Kentucky swap with the city girl from I don't know where, but it didn't matter, as ABC, no doubt picked a woman who personifies the stereotypical city girl -she dresses hip, parties and has fun. The Kentucky mom was a stereotype too- dowdy, selfless, conservative and boring. I realize the networks are doing all of us girls an injustice by perpetuating these stereotypes, including this southern, liberal, loud, halter top wearing, not so selfless girl. However, I was reading between the lines in this episode, so hear me out.

They portrayed the city girl as a "diva" whose husband did all the chores and the farm girl as the selfless one who worked her bottom off, along with her children, keeping the farm in order while the husband was absent.

Of course, the VERY UPTIGHT farm girl couldn't believe that the city husband did most of the chores and didn't "have control" of his woman. I've got a news flash for you sister: City Husband "Gets More" From Doing Chores. He WAS in control and getting EXACTLY what he wanted: Good lovin.

It's no secret that men who do more household chores "get more" in return. There is scientific proof - somewhere, that says it's true. But me and my girlfriends don't need science; we have our own proof. So boys, grab the toilet brushes and vacuums and get to work. We think it is SOOO sexy.

Good Life

It's a nasty, cold, windy, rainy day here; something we haven't had in quite some time. But it has been so unbelievably gorgeous and warm here that when days like these blow in, it's good to embrace them. Time to get some indoor chores done, ones I just couldn't bring myself to do, not while the Indian Summer was still glowing outside my door.

We are just minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway and a plethora of hiking choices. Outside of the parkway, there are many other hiking, biking, rafting, camping, festival, museum, craft, music, restaurant (insert your passion here) choices within an hour's drive, if not closer.

Honestly, although I haven't had the opportunity to travel much in my life, I can't believe there is a better place to live. One could make a compelling argument that my opinion is skewed by where I come from. I grew up in a small military town of around 100,000 people, the commerce driven by 19 and 20 year old males. It is anchored by chain restaurants, bars, movie theatres, and a big mall. Nothing wrong with it, if that's what you like. Certainly, there are many, many towns and cities like it across the U.S. But once I tasted the originality of this eclectic town, I knew I was "home".

It's the first place I have lived where being a vegetarian not only is common (and not a side freak show at the circus), but accepted. Many of the (original) restaurants have vegy choices beyond a salad and soup with chicken stock (yes, I have had many people ask of my vegetarian lifestyle "Do you eat chicken?" "No, you bone head, chicken IS meat" - at least that what I said on the inside).

My sons go to the most amazing (to me) public elementary school. There are plenty in town with (those damn) test scores as good (or better) as this school. The draw is way beyond that. There is an palpable energy there that just can't be contrived. The student population is economically and culturally diverse. The school community is deeply involved in the welfare of each child. Most impressive is that students learn by "hands on" experience. Certainly, I would have benefited greatly from learning this way, instead of having my butt in a seat for 6 hours.

Well, it's stopped raining, no chores have been tackled and the puppy is whining (another blog) to get outside. I can file tomorrow (it's been on the list for six months anyway, what's another day?). C'mon Patch, let's go find the sun.

Pocket Treasures

In the past couple of days the temperature here has dipped into the 30's overnight, initiating the clothes exchange in the closet: shorts away, fall is here to stay. Each fall as I make the clothes transition, I discover little forgotten treasures in my various coat pockets. Messages, if you will, from my life six months ago.

I suppose that I am giving my self away, in that I'm not one who washes all my winter wears before "putting them away" for the spring. In this southern mountain town, Spring doesn't grace us with her warmth, at least consitently, until Mid May. By then, though, i just want to soak up the sun, and leave winter, dirty, in the closet.

So far my treasures have been: a pair of sunglasses (hmmm, I lose them so often that I'm sure I didn't miss them long), five dollar bill (woo hoo! I always like a little unexpected cash windfall), candy trash (this must of been from my boys, handing off their trash to me as if I am the trash can), and a receipt from The Early Girl Eatery (favorite lunch spot in town).

What pocket treasures have you discovered this fall?

Sunday, October 16, 2005

School Pictures

About a month ago, I left my children in my DH's capable hands to visit my friend Ann, in Atlanta. The catch? It was during the school week. As I was preparing to leave, I realized that picture day would happen while I was gone. I quickly perused the boy's closets for something suitable to wear. Damn, only t-shirts; exactly what they wear ALL the time. There has to be a nice button down shirt here somewhere, one someone handed down to them, I thought. I gave up. I told, ok asked, my DH to make the 3 minute trip to Steinmart and hit the sale racks for a decent shirt, ignoring that fact that all they wear are Pok-e-mon, Sponge-Bob, and various event/camp/charity t-shirts. There's something about my upbringing that screams "DON'T WEAR A T-SHIRT WITH WRITING FOR YOUR SCHOOL PICTURE"

The pictures arrived recently. I have to hand it to DH. He didn't spend any money on new shirts; he used what was in the closets. Of course, they DESPERATELY needed ironing. The pockets, collars and button holes were ALL turned up, dying for a little water and some heat to tame them.

Oh well. It will be a funny story. Some day, anyway.

Friday, October 14, 2005


My Kindergartener was writing rhyming words last night. (Stop rolling your eyes; this isn't a bragging blog.) DH was doing all the spelling then he would write them down. He first wrote the word "truck" then "stuck", and then (yes you guessed it) *uck. Of course, he didn't get a chance to write that one. DH quickly pointed out "That isn't a word."

Reminded me of the time I took my oldest to his 4 year old well appointment. He was on the floor playing with some legos while his pediatrician asked the typical developmental questions. Can you count to 10, do you know what color this is? I was thinking "Buddy, that's old hat" but instead I said, "G knows how to rhyme. Hey G, what rhymes with door?" Without hesitation, he said "Whore".(Of course he didn't know what it meant, he just added a different beginning sound to "or") Ah, I didn't teach him that, I thought, feeling the blood burning up into my face. I looked up at the pediatrician who smirked and said "I guess I shouldn't ask him about duck then should I?" No sir. Little did I know, that his brother would eventually have that one covered.

Friday, October 07, 2005


I met her about 18 months ago. She came to a neighbor's house to teach our preschool children Spanish. I never spent time chatting with her; I just observed the lesson and then always had to jet off to get my other son from school. She is definitely gifted. The lessons were always engaging and she had a gentle, calm, spirit that kept the children's attention.

When she told us, it literally took my breathe away. She needed to take the summer "off" to focus on her health. Pancreatic cancer. I can still remember the look on her face. That can't be, I thought. She couldn't be more than 30 years old and she has two young kids. It just can't be. But it was.

Pancreatic cancer has no cure. They gave her three months. I wanted to help, but I was paralyzed. Of course, I prayed but it didn't seem enough. I wanted to call her, but I didn't want to be intrusive. After all, I didn't really know her. So, my son and I wrote her. He drew her a picture and I wrote his get well message. I offered "help in any way" but I didn't hear from her. I didn't really expect it, after all she knew less of me than I of her. Since I had her address, I thought of sending money, even showing up at her door, but I didn't. Paralyzed.

My neighbor was persistent in calling her until she was able to speak to her. She spoke of trying alternative therapies, her faith, and that in a way she thought of her illness as "a gift" that brought her family closer. Amazing, I thought. I can't imagine getting to that place, thinking of a terminal illness as a gift. I could only discern that it was faith that brought her there.

Life happens and I let her slip from my mind. It's easy to do as who wants to think of something so tragic? Shortly after Kindergarten started this year, I realized that her son was in my son's class. His teacher said that she wasn't well.I spoke with Jack about remembering her. We played the Spanish tape with her voice on it and then took it into school to share with her son and the class. She has already beaten the "odds" but what consolation is that?

Today I learned that Hospice is now involved. The end must be feared near. I cried. For her. For her children. For her husband. I dried my tears. They came back. I projected her situation into my life and cried, again. I'm not sure why I'm so deeply affected. She's not my friend. But she's my contemporary. A young mom of two small boys, making her mark in this world, never imagining she wouldn't live to see her son graduate from high school, much less Kindergarten. I think about all that she will miss, her kids will miss, with her gone. It's tragic, unfair, frightening and deeply saddening. It sucks.

Today, I also learned of a young mom, a stranger to this woman, who apparently just "showed up on her doorstep" to offer her assistance and she took her up on it. She organized a meeting today of those who want to help. Why couldn't I have done that, I thought? In the beginning I did think about it but I was paralyzed. It would have been awkward, for her and me, to just show up. I should have just checked my insecurities. I'm thankful someone else could and has been able to help. You live and you learn.

I can't help but think that it's Divine intervention that has reconnected our families. We were meant to help; in what way, remains to be seen, but my paralyses abated, I'll be ready to move.


Most parents like to think their children are blessed with intelligence, right? Well this week my two, 5 and 8, demonstrated theirs. My DH told me that the boys didn't have a hand towel in their bathroom, so instead of walking to the linen closet, which is all of 15 feet, to get one, they "made do" with what they had. The path of least resistance? Their clothes? No,their mama raised them better than that! They used the shower curtain. Hey, it's pretty darn close right? What's the difference? I'll tell you. The shower curtain is white,was white. Turns out, washing your hands doesn't guarantee the dirt will come off. Brilliant, kids.