Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Liar's Diary

I know. I haven't been posting much lately. I have been too busy reading. Books! MotherTalk has been affording me the opportunity to read some fantastic books lately. As well as a reason to sit down and read them. The only problem is, I end up losing sleep because the books they send me inevitably being so good that I get caught in that "just one more chapter" trap. I guess SugarPlum comes by that honestly.

So, last weekend, I finished The Liar's Diary by Patry Francis. Oh, man. I had heard about this book and I had wanted to read it. I was so excited when it came. I will say that I am not really a big mystery reader. Not really my genre. That said, this book has so many unexpected twists and turns that had me guessing until the end. I loved it!

Francis starts by introducing Jeanne. A mother of a teenage boy, doctor's wife, school secretary. She seems to be comfortable in her life. Things aren't perfect by any means, but she appears to be happy.


Appearances are not always accurate as we quickly find out. I really don't want to give away to much of the plot, but I will share this from MotherTalk:
At the center of the story is Jeanne Cross, living the average suburban life
until Ali Mather arrives in town and strikes up a friendship, not only with
Jeanne, but with her husband and son as well. And this friendship, in the end,
will take a deadly turn though the reader will need to decide which person–and
diary–holds the truth.

As I read the story, I found myself gasping more than once. The surprises and revelations throughout the book kept me sucked in. The characters are so multi-faceted and complex. Their interactions and connections are so unexpected at times, eliciting an occasional "Aha!"

By the end of the book, I found myself both sad and gratified for the characters I loved. I can't tell you much without spoiling the whole thing for you. You will just have to trust me that this is a story that will draw you in and not let go. It really makes you take a good look at your own life and consider what little lies we tell ourselves just to get through the day. AM I really happy? ARE my children healthy? What secrets am I hiding, even from myself? Because, sometimes, those secrets can lead to our own destruction. (Or not....this is why I don't write books...)

Oh, and PS. I've been reading Patry's blog and I have totally fallen in love with her. You will, too, I have a feeling....

Monday, February 25, 2008

IRATE (warning:profanity laden post. read at your own risk)

To the Motherfucking Asshole "gentleman" driving the pickup on I-35 Saturday:

Dear Dickhead,

What the fuck is your problem? I am nobody to lay much fault on someone for accidentally rear-ending another person while driving. But I STOPPED and accepted the consequences. What kind of asshole runs into someone and then LEAVES?? And especially when it was patently obvious that there likely was a baby in the minivan that you bashed in? Who drives off without at least making sure that everyone inside is okay?!! Fucker.

I will tell you that that was my sweet Buttercup in that van. My precious godbaby. And her big sister, my other god-daughter. And my oldest, dearest friend. You hit her van with enough force that it shattered the rear windshield and glass was found as far forward as the middle row - IN THE BABY SEAT. Bless their hearts, they were all freaked out. Thankfully, everyone was okay NO THANKS TO YOU. Moron.

I suspect that you are:

a) an illegal alien
b) uninsured
c) a felon out on parole, afraid of going back to jail
d) any combination of the above

Guy, you had better hope that I never EVER find you. Because I will tear you to pieces. I hope that you are experiencing some terrible guilt. I hope that you end up having an ulcer and chronic migraines over this. Mostly though, I hope that nothing like this ever happens to you. Because the pain, anxiety and trouble that this has caused for my dear, precious friend is something that I cannot ever wish on anyone.

Should you wish to get in touch with the victim of your unconscionable act, you can get in touch with me and I will let her know. Until then....GROW A CONSCIENCE.

PS To all of the other people on I-35 in Dallas Saturday who failed to stop and help a woman who CLEARLY needed help or to even give her the license plate of the asshole who hit her: You should be ashamed of yourselves. You all saw what happened and you all chose to keep flying right past her. It's almost as bad.

(There really are not enough profanities in the world, or this post about you would have been much longer)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Making me feel like a FANTASTIC mom

I recently had the privilege to read The Sky Isn't Visible From Here by Felicia Sullivan. This is no typical, lighthearted chic-lit. No Bridget Jones. This is real - far more reality than I have ever imagined. Books like this make me need to call my mom and thank her for being so...normal. For taking god care of me and making sure I always had everything I needed. And if you are one of my IRL friends reading this you are saying, "DAY-UM!"

Felicia grew up with a mother who was addicted to cocaine, alcohol and eventually, crack. She and Felicia lived with a series of me who encouraged her mother's addiction and abused both of them. Her mother began calling her "Lisa" at a young age because her lover couldn't pronounce "Felicia." Thereby, essentially taking away the girl's identity at a very young age.

In spite of all these obvious obstacles, Felicia managed to graduate from high school and go to an Ivy League college. There, she was determined to become a different person. She wanted to become the opposite of her mother - a smart, elegant, successful WASP who came from a good family. And she managed to pull it off for a while. Unfortunately, the demons came back to haunt her and Felicia fell into a drug and alcohol addiction of her own.

By the end of the book, Felicia, with the love and support of her step-father among other things, is overcoming those demons once again. She doesn't wrap it all up in a pretty package. She still has such conflicted feelings about her mother. She ends the book with a chapter titled "Before Cocaine" where she describes a trip to Coney Island as a young girl with her mom . It recalls a happy time where the day is all about just the two of them. Where Felicia feels her mother's love and protection. Even there though, she is afraid to tell her mom how much she loves her, for fear of ruining the moment. It concludes with Mom telling Felicia "You're mine" and Felicia chanting "I'm yours. I'm yours."

Bittersweet? Yes. But real? Absolutely.

I can highly recommend The Sky Isn't Visible From Here. With one caveat. You won't be able to put it down. Sullivan's heartbreaking story pulls you in and makes you long to hold that little girl AND to take the woman and shake her and ask what the hell is wrong with her. It's a world that makes me angry and sad and indignant. It makes me thankful for what I have and who I've had the chance to become. And it amazes me that anyone could convey such a life with the clarity and eloquence that Felicia has. I would like to thank her for sharing her story of pain and strength.

You can also read Felicia's blog where she continues to share herself and her life with us. You won't be sorry.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Guess who WASN"T my favorite Valentine

Bug: Mommy, you are very old!

Me: Hmph! What makes you think I'm very old, Buggy?

Bug: All those lines on your face!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy *#$^*% Valentines Day!

Okay. As we prepare to send our little ones to school tomorrow to receive another shitload of sugar in the form of Valentines candy (which of course can't be consumed AT THE SCHOOL. Because the teachers aren't crazy! They send all of that crap HOME so that your little monsterssweethearts can bounce off your walls instead) I want to ask you a question (and do a fair amount of bitching - what? you're surprised?!) :

Are you the parent who helps her child prepare Valentines with little candies or Valentine-y doo-dads attached? Or are you more of the here's-your-box-of-32-cards-for-a-buck-fifty-Sign-your-name-and-put-them-in the-impossibly-small-envelopes-and-then-try-JUST-TRY!-to-get-them-closed variety of mom? I'm certain that you have guessed by now that I am more of the latter. My lazy really takes over on this holiday and, while I don't want to send the kids to school empty handed, I also don't feel like putting that much work or money into this.

But then, the kids get home from school and pour out their little Valentine holders and I see the Kisses that Suzie gave everyone (no, not THOSE kind of kisses and not THAT Suzie- she's the slut at the Junior High now), and the pencils that Dylan brought, and the handmade picture frame/Valentines that Hannah's mom sent (You know her right? Damn overachiever makes all of us look bad), and I feel like a cheap, horrible Mommy. And I resent that. I also resent that I have to give every kid in those classes a gift. Because really, the last people I want to give a gift to are the kids who give my children shit everysingleday at school and sent my sweet babies home in tears. (I'm looking at YOU Bailee and Carlos!) Of course I can't send something for some kids and not for others, so I choose to send just cards.

My children, however, are humiliated by the bare Valentines they are forced to hand out. Oh, the humanity. How can they face their peers on February 15th, having given nothing but a paltry card with a Bible verse on it. How dorky. (The Bible verse Valentines are my pathetic attempt at being subversive)

However, I have found a way to counter the whining. I ask them who gave candy last year. Obviously the initial answer is "EVERYBODY!" But when pushed to elaborate because honestly not everyone did, neither one of them can remember who did or didn't attach a special something to the Valentine. I go on to ask if anyone was ridiculed or shunned for giving a bare card. " don't think so."

See? Because all of that sugar after school creates temporary amnesia, thereby remedying the situation immediately AND getting me off the hook. In theory, anyway. Until next February.

So, your opinion please....does this make me a terrible mom or do you feel the pressure, too and resent it as much as I do? And, do you cave or do you stand your ground (she asks, eyeing the bag of Hershey's miniatures that may or may not be going to Candyland Elementary tomorrow)?

Just for the record, I am also against this whole "party favor bag" business at birthday parties. Why do I have to give you a present on MY birthday? I don't remember that. I always figured that cake and a satisfying round of "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" was treat enough. But I'll put my soapbox away for now.....

Friday, February 08, 2008

The secret peanut

We took the kids out to dinner the other night (because, clearly, we are INSANE) to Texas Roadhouse. If you are not familiar with this restaurant, it is FAB. Truly one of my favorite places to eat. Classy? Not so much. It is one of those places that has peanuts on the table for you to munch on until your actual food gets there. My kids think that this is the ultimate in cool and LUURRRRVE shelling peanuts and licking the salt off of the shells. Because, duh, how cool is that?

On our way out of the restaurant, after STUFFING ourselves to the point of discomfort, Bug grabbed one last peanut out of the barrel (mmmmm food from a barrel!) and decided that he might save it. The ensuing monologue, for some reason, struck both SD and I as truly hilarious and we laughed until we couldn't breathe. SD literally - he is still recovering from pneumonia and had to pull over and let me drive home, he truly could. not. breathe.


This is my secret peanut.

I'm hiding my secret peanut in my pocket.

I have my secret peanut in my pants!!

I'm going to hold my secret peanut.

Mmmm! I licked my secret peanut and it tastes salty!!

Oh, look!! My secret peanut has a hole in it!

Is it just us, or was that really funny? Just us, huh? Poor Bug. His parents are 12 year old boys.

Monday, February 04, 2008

This is when Noggin looks good to me

Dear Discovery Channel,

First, I would like to thank you for all that my children have learned by watching your programs. My boys now have an incredible store of knowledge in physics, chemistry, biology, and many other scientific principles. I credit MythBusters, and How it's Made with this incredible and vast education that they have received at the tender ages of six and four.

They have also gained an appreciation of the hard work and sacrifice involved in many of the jobs that are overlooked though incredibly vital to our daily lives. All this through Mike Rowe's antics on Dirty Jobs. Thanks to Mike, my children are more motivated than ever to stay in school and go to college, lest they end up cleaning sewers or tanning leather. (Let me pause for a moment and tell you though, that the episode about horse insemination perhaps was more graphic than I would preferred.. I do realize that there are parental guidance warnings on the show, however, so, I'll take the blame for not taking heed. Still. Ew.)

Now you have your new show Smash Lab. Heaven help me. A show about, essentially, blowing stuff up. It's a little boy's dream come true. All I hear all day now, are "kasplosion" sounds coming out of my boys: "psshhhkkkkkwweeeeerrrrr!!!!!" "BAAAAAMMMMM!!!" "ssshhhhpppkkkooowwwwwwrrrrrrr!"

These children are all day, jumping off the top of the swing-set, rolling things down the slide, launching objects from the tree house. OR worse....mixing things up IN MY KITCHEN to "see what happens." I cringe when I hear one of them say, "Okay, I'll be Adam and you be Jamie!" Or, like Saturday, when Bear came into the kitchen as I was cleaning the oven and said, "Mommy. What if there was FOAM all in the oven?!" If felt it my duty to make it clear that if there was foam "all in the oven" that there would also very likely be a little boy who wouldn't be able to sit down for a week. Hmmmmmm.

SO while I do appreciate the humor and especially the educational value of your programming, I also live in fear for my life and property every day. I am asking to to PLEASE take it down a notch?

Might I suggest a program where some really cool, tough looking guys clean their rooms? Or maybe investigate the chemistry of, say, bathroom cleaner and HOW IT WORKS? Or maybe the physics of the vacuum cleaner and show how very, very exciting it is to sweep the rugs? OOOH! Or the science behind Swiffer and how all the cool guys like to dust. Maybe a show called "Real Men MOP!" Or perhaps, "Cool Guys Clean Gutters!"

Thank you for your time and patience, Discovery Channel People. Keep up the good work. Oh, and please know that if anything does happen to me as the result of a crash or "kasplosion", my attorneys have been instructed to sue you first.


PS I haven't even mentioned SurvivorMan or Man vs. Wild. Suffice to say, I fear for my children (and our pets) once summer is here and they have time to put these shows into practice. Expect another letter from me say around, July.

Friday, February 01, 2008