Tag Archives: parenting

Memories of My Mom, Lillian

She hated that name, and always went by her middle name, “Ruth”.  ­­­Lillian is what you called her if you wanted to make her mad. She would have been 90 years old this week.  But instead, she died one day after turning a mere 69. It was her birthday, and then her “death day” and her funeral and Mother’s Day all within a few days. We buried her on May 8th. It was the worst possible week, back in 1995.

It all comes flooding back this time every year.  I remember driving her to the hospital for the “preventative” and also elective surgery that ultimately took her life.  I had settled into the role of being a child who knew better than the parent.  I scolded her when she expressed doubt about going through with it.  Of course she was going to go through with it.  Dad had died just one year earlier – we needed to do everything we could to have her around for a very long time.  Even after more than two decades, writing this fills my eyes and I get that familiar sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that is like no other.  It’s the one that means your mom is gone.

She didn’t have an easy life.   She came from a large family, one where – and this is a direct quote that would rival anything Frank McCourt could offer up –  “the early bird got the socks.” She was smart as a whip, and loved school.  Nevertheless, one day in Grade 8 Grandad showed up at her school all excited because there was a job “going” at the brickyard.  That was the end of her academic career, a sacrifice for the family

She married at 15.  FIFTEEN.  Dad was much, much older.  And if you’re thinking sugar daddy, think again. Kind of the opposite.  I now believe that my dad suffered a form of PTSD from living through the depression, and he lived very “frugally” for all of his life. (eg, didn’t splurge on niceties such as indoor plumbing or a  furnace until the early 1980’s) Lived off the land, if you will. This was WAY before living off the grid was cool.

She didn’t have any kids until she was a ripe old 21, and eventually had six.   In 1947, 49, 51, 53, 59, and 66,  having the last one when she was 40. Three boys and three girls.  It was a tough life.  Imagine raising six kids.  Now imagine it without running water and a wood stove for heat – when your family is the only one in the neighbourhood living like that.

But through all of the years and the hardship of raising six wild children, she never lost her “edge”.  She was a firecracker.  She always possessed a wicked sense of humour, and razor sharp wit.  In spite of the lack of a toilet you could flush, our place was the place to hang out.  Our friends who visited used to say we should have our own show, the quick witted insults and constant banter was rapid fire and would outdo any of the lame laugh tracked sit-coms of the day.

The late sixties were a little messy at our house, with all those teenagers, and eventually some weddings and a combination of menopause/postpartum/doctorsgaveyouvaliuminsteadofrealtreatment, but thankfully we all survived and came out on the other side with lots of great inside jokes.

Mom was a smart aleck, to the end.  Below are a few of my favorite mom quotes that we heard as we were growing up.  You won’t find many of these in “Today’s Parent”:

I thought she invented the ever popular, “Do you want me to give you something to cry for ?” (These were almost always empty threats)

Often followed by a firm, “The more you cry the less you’ll piss.”

If you were bugging her and trying to get her attention repeatedly you would get, “Call your ass ‘Mom’ and you’ll have one with you.”

“He went for a shit and the crows got him.” (This was the standard answer when you asked where dad or a brother or really anybody was)

“Screwing the dog and selling the pups – you wanna buy a bitch?”  (Standard answer when you asked “what are you doing?”)

“Sick in bed with my feet hanging out the window.” (Standard answer when you asked how are you doing?”)

“Hot tongue cold shoulder.”– Standard answer when you asked what was for supper.

“Crazy, and you’re driving.” – Standard answer when you asked “Where are you going?”

Or the “How can I miss you if you won’t go away?”

Sometimes she was “Busier than a one armed fiddler with the crabs.”

She didn’t limit her wisecracks to immediate family.  I remember once she asked the doctor about something that she had that was a bit abnormal and his response was “I wouldn’t worry about it.”  She said, “Frankly Doctor if you had it, I wouldn’t worry about it either.”

Nothing much phased her.  One time my brothers and brothers in law were re-roofing our house, and one of them flicked a cigarette butt that rolled into a vent and was now sitting in the attic and very likely to start the house ablaze.  My youngest brother raced down the ladder and into the house, past Mom who was rolling pastry on the kitchen table.  He ran upstairs into a closet and then walked along a beam to get to the smoldering cigarette butt.  Except he slipped, and fell so that he was now straddling the beam, having busted through the kitchen ceiling, and his legs dangled very near to Mom’s head as she continued to roll pastry.  “Nice of you to drop in”, she said, without looking up.

My dad was in the hospital for some months before he died.  The cashiers at the grocery store used to ask about him.  But then he died, and in a relatively small town, everyone knew fairly quickly.   Mom hadn’t been in the store for awhile and one of the forgetful cashiers asked her as she was bagging her groceries, “How’s your husband doing?”  Mom didn’t miss a beat, continued piling bags and answered simply,  “Still dead.”

She had a wicked sense of humour, and while it was never measured I’m sure a very high IQ..  In this day and age of opportunity and equality, she could have done ANYTHING.  She was a voracious reader, understandably her preference ran to escapist type novels and thrillers.  She loved to solve mysteries – if you watched a whodunnit with her, she always knew whodunnit way before you were supposed to.

She was an unconventional mom, but there was never any doubt that she loved you and would be there if you were in need.  When as a teenager I had back surgery and was in Sick Children’s Hospital for 3 weeks she never really left my side.  She watched my toddlers when I was in hospital having babies, and filled our freezer with home-made food.

She was good at bluffing at poker.  She never learned to drive.  She made amazing pies.  She would lend you her last dollar. She loved Cribbage.  She never stayed at a hotel.  She never traveled beyond Ontario.

Nothing gave her more pleasure than having all her kids together.  At the end, when the same doctor who strongly recommended the procedure and performed the surgery, informed us that the reality was that “Lillian” was now at the end of her life, we all six offspring gathered in a small hospital room in Hamilton and held her hand and watched her leave us.  She wasn’t conscious, but there was no doubt that she was going under protest.

She was witty and funny and human and humane and did her very best with what she had and what she knew. She lives on in her kids and her grandchildren and now great-grandchildren. I and my siblings miss her every day.  Our mom – Ruth – would have been a kick-ass 90 year old.

 

 

 

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Filed under Family, Memories, Mother's Day

Time Marches On

"Totes" - not just an expression of agreement, but a sophisticated filing system for borderline hoarders

This has been a long span between blog posts, but I have a good reason.  We’re moving … for the first time in 20 years.  No more farm life for us.  When we signed the deal way back in September it seemed like a great idea.  “On to the next chapter”, we agreed, and high-fived to seal the deal.  But as our closing date of March 15th looms, a few troublesome realities have cropped up.  Like for example, before cutting us a cheque, the people who bought our place expect us to leave … and to take all of our crap.  Did I mention we lived here 20 years?  We have accumulated a lot of crap. 

We’ve always lived by the tried and true “let’s keep it and decide later” school of organization, and we have a giant barn, which served as great storage for innumerable Rubbermaid containers full of papers.  Each year we socked a few more away.  Out of sight, out of mind. Plus, being classic helicopter parents, we thought everything our kids ever created was brilliant and we kept every single piece of paper they produced from nursery school until roughly, yesterday. Believe me, they were quite prolific.

We’re now trying to get it down to one tub per offspring.  We can be found each night, rummaging through the dusty totes. We had a lot to get rid of , so did get progressively more discriminating and established new ground rules.  All school worksheets – gone.  All the math notebooks and tests – gone (It didn’t stick anyway).  All “that doesn’t even look like a horse” drawings – gone.  Can’t tell which kid did it – gone.  Anything in French – gone.  All “participant” ribbons – gone.  Assignments with any teacher comments that contain feedback that resembles criticism – gone.  I prefer to remember the happy times of enthusiastic and unbridled achievement…. so pretty much anything the boy did between grade 10 and grade 12 (both years) – gone.  

In the “keep” pile, are multiple, multiple “Lifetouch” sheets with 24 school pictures in the same pose with each kid, for each year.  Not sure why we always went with the “25 prints” package, when we only had one set of grandparents.  Also, not sure WHO dressed those kids and did their hair on picture day, but it was someone with a cruel sense of humour for the most part.  Also “Keep”:  any piece of paper/macaroni craft/tissue, that says “You’re the best Mom/Dad/Parents …  we do need that  validation and we’re not above digging through a dusty tote to get it. Plus, I want that evidence handy, and strategically on display when they are making our elder-care decisions.

Our ticket to the "Good" old age home

Something else I kept were multiple copies of the local newspaper if our kids made it in.  Cleverly though, I kept the whole paper, so have spent a good portion of my time this week thumbing through 10 – 20-year-old newspapers looking for likenesses of my kids or their names in small print, so I could reduce bulk and just rip the page out, which apparently I was just too busy to do in the 90s, because then it would have been too dangerously close to scrapbooking.   This has proven very time-consuming though, as I am easily distracted and inevitably end up poring through the classifieds, and beating myself up that I didn’t buy EVERYTHING at those prices.

There were other Rubbermaid containers too, filled with fun facts, by way of receipts. My wedding dress cost $279. Our honeymoon for two weeks to Bahamas all-inclusive cost $1080, for both of us.  Fuel to fill up our oil tank was 39 cents a litre when we moved into this place.  We got our septic system pumped for $70 in 1989.  Additionally, we had the good sense and foresight to keep a little brown envelope with somebody’s extracted teeth in it.  Also, I worked with someone somewhere whose name was Pat(?) who was sooo “sorry to see me go” that she/he bought me a card.  I have no memory of this co-worker, but ironically, I was able to name  every kid in a yellowed and ancient looking photo of my grade 1 class.

Yes, life has become a fun-filled, time consuming, teary eyed meandering trip down memory lane. Because we’re easily distracted  procrastinators by nature and we have to examine each piece of paper thoroughly and play the arguing remembering  game about the timeline of events of our lives thus far, we haven’t had time to exactly hammer out some details, like exactly where is going to be our forwarding address.  But we’re not too worried about it.  We don’t have to be out until March.  And luckily, it’s a leap year, so we’ve got that extra day in February. 

This year March may come in like a lion, and go out like a middle-aged couple and a dog  and 3 cats living in a van, down by the river.

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Filed under Family, Humor, Kids, Memories

Hockey Parenting – Not a Spectator Sport

source:attheroxy.com

You know the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick.
Sarah Palin

Honestly never expected that I would ever be quoting Sarah, but just spent a great weekend travelling north with friends to see their son play hockey, and it seems applicable.  Their son plays in an elite provincial league which for many is a stepping stone to the NHL.  He’s 19 and lives 8 hrs away from home.

This young guy is such an amazing talent – but I just can’t understand  how he  got this far with our friends for parents. For one thing, they don’t go to any of the practices, to help the coach with strategy and whatnot.  They don’t have the coach on speed-dial, and I didn’t once witness them critiquing the plays or offering suggestions.  My son played hockey, and even though he mysteriously chose to stop playing once he became a teenager, I’m sure he couldn’t have had the stellar house league career he did, were it not for the fact that his dad was the coach, offering tips and direction 24-7,  and had I not been dedicated enough to faithfully stand  and bang on the glass for every practice and game , yelling helpful reminders such as “SKATE!” and “SHOOT!” and “GET IT OUT OF THERE!”

Instead,  this poor young man’s parents just watched and made noise only at the obvious times — even when he got a penalty, whereas everyone knows that if you stand up and make wild hand gestures whilst loudly screaming things like “COME ON!!!” or “HOMEEEEEER” (where applicable), that the referee will see the error of his ways and the next penalty will go to the opposition.  (His team ultimately won both games, but no thanks to these spectators.)

Plus, they sit in the stands with the rest of the audience, and if someone around them comments on their son’s play, they don’t even respond with a normal reaction of (if a positive comment): “That’s my son out there”, or if a negative comment*: “Shut your effing mouth and watch the game”, or blast an air horn in their face to set them straight or anything – they just sit there like bumps on a log.  Also, my suggestion that we paint their son’s name on our bellies for the home opener fell on deaf ears.  They politely declined.  (I think it may have been related to my caesarean scar but I can’t be sure.)

Then, the part after the game when people gather outside the dressing room door to wait for the team, they could and in my opinion should take this opportunity to network with the media and say things like, “Do you know who I am?”  Like honestly, ever heard of Walter Gretzky?  That kind of press doesn’t just happen on its own you know.  They also should take the time to talk to the other parents to give them specifics on how their kids could step things up, and give examples of how the game could have gone better if their kid had only passed the puck to their offspring.  But no, they just stand there, smiling and chatting, and are satisfied instead with a quick hug from their boy when he emerges from the dressing room.

And they completely missed the boat on the fact that the opposing team’s bus was right outside, and they could have easily taken the opportunity to put the fear into that team about the remaining season by at the very least, issuing veiled threats as the players boarded,  or by slashing at least one tire.  At one point I thought things were going to get real interesting because after the game they were marching purposefully toward the opposing team’s bus in search of one particular player.  They seemed very focused and intent on finding this guy, and I thought “FINALLY!” and racked my brain to remember what this player had done during the game that they were going to get retribution for!  Turns out, they were just trying to find this guy because he used to be on the same team as their son, and they wanted to say “Hi” and ask about his parents.    Hopeless. 

Actually, the only real hockey related comments from mom were health and safety related, like is the chin strap on his helmet tight enough to protect his noggin, and did the team issue a coat that was going to be warm enough in this cold climate.  Two words, mom and dad – embarrassing much?

*Pure speculation on my part -there were no negative comments

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Filed under Family, Friends, Sports

To-do or not To-do

I ran across one of my old calendars from about 12 years ago when the kids were between 8 and 12 years old, and it was quite shocking.  Ignoring for a moment the possible hoarding issue, I used to be incredibly busy and super efficient.  Every single week was filled in mice-type, with work commitments, sporting events and practices, birthday parties and orthodontist appointments. I worked at least 50 hours a week and I was also taking university classes, so there were assignment due dates and exams.  Plus in those days I periodically fancied myself some sort of “hostess” so would voluntarily invite people to my house for dinner and even parties.

Things have certainly changed.  I’m now working considerably less hours a week, and the kids worry about their own appointments.  The birthday parties my two girls at home for the summer attend no longer involve getting picked up by mommy afterwards.  Even on their own birthdays, my involvement is minimal and by special request, I have ceased and desisted from preparing goodie bags from the dollar store. The birthday parties hubby and I attend now usually commemorate someone attaining some milestone age that previously we only connected with elderly people who we had to talk loudly to and  respect, but definitely not hang out with.   (You know when you’re at one of these parties because when they pass the birthday cards around, everybody either reads it by holding it out at arm’s length like it’s poisonous, or by looking down and peering scarily over glasses perched way out on their nose. Also these parties end really early, and nobody throws up, or passes out or dances.)

Once again I digress – but my conclusion is that it’s true what they say about if you want something done give it to a busy person – because now even though I have the time, I find every excuse in the world to not do the stuff on my list from day to day. I’ve been carrying over some to-do items for several months now.  In fact, I’m thinking of having my list laminated.  Tasks include:

  1. Do paperwork
  2. Put away Christmas ornaments
  3. Paint kitchen
  4. Paint every other room in the house
  5. Organize photos and videos (this one should come pre-printed on all to-do lists)

Carrying over these items from day to day and week to week is really kind of hurting my self esteem.  I’m starting to feel like an underachiever.  So I’m starting a new to do list, one that makes me feel good  because I am checking things off.  (And who among us hasn’t added something to their “to-do” list after the fact, simply for the satisfaction of checking it off?)  Yesterday my list looked like this:

  1. Get up
  2. Make Coffee
  3. Phone bank and see if they can undo the horrible mistake I made while online banking last night
  4. Pet cats
  5. Feed cats
  6. Put cats outside
  7. Check email
  8. Go upstairs to get something
  9. Come back downstairs
  10. Check Facebook
  11. Change clock alarm time back to a.m. from p.m., so next time I work we don’t wake up at the time I should have left for the meeting like yesterday
  12. Think about if there is enough beer for weekend
  13. Go get beer
  14. Walk around outside and look at yard
  15. Get dressed
  16. Have a beer when it’s 4:00 because it’s the long weekend
  17. Throw away the now rotten strawberries I bought 5 days ago to make jam

Wow – that’s a lot of checkmarks!  I got 17 things done! Notice there are no meal preparations written down.  I don’t want to set any precedents.  If I make a meal for the family, then good for me – but I don’t need the pressure of them seeing it written on the list, because then expectations are just too high.

The other alternative that might be equally satisfying would be to have a “To-Don’t” list.  On it I would list all the things that I’m not going to do that day, and then I could also still have the pleasure of checking them off.  It would have things like:

  1. Clean Windows
  2. Water Plants
  3. Get on the scales
  4. Clean out the fridge
  5. Lay mirror flat on the table and then look down into it*

(*If babies “make strange” and get hysterical when you peer into their carriage or crib, you might want to try this – the mystery may be solved)

I think the “To-Don’t” list might be equally fulfilling, because it amounts to checking stuff off, and then basking in the warm glow of accomplishment.  And what’s not to like about that?  So my calendar isn’t as filled as it once was.  Times change. To steal a quote from Jerry Seinfeld:

“I am so busy doing nothing… that the idea of doing anything – which as you know, always leads to something – cuts into the nothing and then forces me to have to drop everything.”

I get that.

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Filed under Family, Humor, Kids, Thats Life

Post Traumatic Farm Syndrome

It’s spring, and usually when you were raised on the farm, this time of year would conjure up all kinds of happy memories.  However, some of my kids’ family memories from their “farm life” are probably going to result in some psychotherapists making a fair bit of coin somewhere down the road.

For example, when the kids were about 7, 5 and 3, we had a few cows that we would breed every year. One of our mother cows evidently skipped Lamaze classes and didn’t know the part about you have to stop pushing once the baby comes out, so when I went out to check on her during the day when my husband was at work, she had delivered the calf just fine but she also had her entire uterus spread out behind her like a giant gross parachute.  I was home with just my little 3 year old daughter… and I had to call the vet.  He arrived alone, and announced that it was a classic case of  “prolapsed uterus” and that I was going to have to help him put it back where it belonged.  He also warned, “It’s going to be messy”.  Luckily, when you live on a farm you have cool functional fashion choices like coveralls, so I put those and my rubber boots on and we headed out.   Little Laura had to accompany us to the barn – we had learned the hard way that she liked to dial 911 when left unattended for any length of time.

First the vet washed the giant parachute very carefully using a highly sanitary boot brush and sterile bucket of water with some iodine squirted in it.  Then he announced that I would need to “lift it up and hold it up high” so he could stuff it back in.  There were 3 problems with me “lifting it up and holding it up high”:

1.  It weighed approximately a thousand pounds.

2. The “right height” turned out to be at exactly my head height, and the right position turned out to be about 1/2 inch away from my own face.

3.  Holding “it” up and keeping it there required both of our combined strength and we had it pinned between our bodies so it didn’t touch the ground, meaning that I was plastered right up against this guy, far closer than I had ever been with a stranger before — at least without the benefit of drinks and dinner.

Throughout all of this little Laura sat on a bale with her “green baby” (her favourite doll)  and looked on, with eyes the size of saucers.

We finally had everything put back in its rightful place and the vet stitched things closed  — he had me put my finger on each knot as he tied it, like we were wrapping presents at the mall (I think at this point he was just taking advantage of my good nature).  When we stepped out into the daylight I looked down at myself to see that I was completely soaked in blood, right through to my bra.  I should have opted for the garbage bag poncho instead of my super absorbent coveralls.  The vet handed  me the bill and drove off, and then I remember walking toward the house looking like Carrie after the pig’s blood scene at the high school prom – except for I was walking hand in hand with a toddler.   Little Laura  seemed unphased at the time, and just wanted to get into the house to have cookies and watch Lion King, as was our bargain.

She seemed unphased, but who knows when these memories might make their way back into her consciousness.  I’m on a first name basis with enough esteemed doctors of the human psyche (Both Dr.  Phil AND Dr. Drew) , to  know that the human mind is a mysterious thing, and nothing ever really goes away, but is merely suppressed. I  fear that I will ultimately be featured in some investigative episode of 20/20 or something when my famous daughter (it’s inevitable, eventually – she’s awesome) starts having flashback memories and goes public with them.   The thing with flashback memories from when you were 3 years old is that they are known to leave out critical details.  I’m afraid that Laura’s revisionist recall might just leave out the key elements of the cow  predicament– and only retain the terrifying image of me, and my blood splattered sweaty face,  looking like a homicidal maniac, bribing her with promises of snacks and a Disney movie.

PS – The cow and the calf went on to live long happy lives – at least long as long as can be expected when your lot in life  is “beef cow”.

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Filed under Animal Stories, Family, Farm Life, Humor, Kids, Memories

Food for Thought

I was reflecting on how our eating habits have evolved over the past 30+ years of marriage. When we were first married, I didn’t know how to cook.  Somebody took pity on me (or actually probably on my malnourished hubby) and bought me a Betty Crocker cookbook at some point, after having attended a “special occasion” dinner party at my house, which consisted of Shake & Bake pork chops, boil-in- a- bag broccoli WITH cheese sauce if you please, frozen French fries, topped off with a nice Mrs. Smiths frozen apple pie.  You put that with a nice bottle of Baby Duck and BAM you had yourself a 1980 gourmet meal.

Next I learned how to be a by-the- book -cook , and my repertoire expanded so that I was making us delicious little numbers like authentic Caesar salad, which the two of us would romantically eat together by candlelight, from the same large wooden bowl, while gazing into each other’s eyes.

Then the kids came along … and I morphed into some sort of Organic Power Ranger type.  I spent hours painstakingly making nutritious meals and snacks.  I made all my own baby food, and became a bit of a freelance in-your-face nutritionist, recoiling in horror when people tried to contaminate my offspring with the likes of hotdogs.    At one young and overly zealous point I joined forces with my close friend Meryl Streep in a letter writing campaign to government officials, demanding they immediately put a stop to pesticiding the hell out of veggies and fruit. I think we know how that turned out.  I blame Meryl.

Once the kids were in school, I mellowed somewhat, but still carefully prepared home cooked breakfasts, and sent ecoli- proof cooler packed lunches. Snacks were strictly home baked treats.  Of course I found out later, that these home baked treats got very old very fast, and were widely traded on the school market at a ratio of one of my chocolate chip cookies to two for Oreos and Chips Ahoy.  And as for the poisonous threat of hotdogs, I was fighting a losing battle.  The school itself declared an actual day in honor of them, and peer pressure and the fear of being shunned as “different” was stronger than the drive to avoid death by nitrates, so on a weekly basis I sent hotdog day money, constantly torn between my own maternal instinct to protect my children from avoidable toxins, and the more immediate and pressing need for me to have a day off from packing lunches.

As the kids got older, they became even pickier with the school lunches.  I was no longer allowed to send egg sandwiches because they stunk up their locker and the hall and the schoolbus, and, they were constantly being accused of having just farted, which was wreaking havoc with their social lives.  They were increasingly jealous of the cool lunches other kids had – loaded with various plastic delicacies posing as food, such as “cheese”  strings and fruit” roll ups.   Side note –  It didn’t help that my sister also had a teenager at the same time, and  enjoyed some fleeting fame as the coolest mom in the world when she, by accident, sent beer on her Grade 10 son’s lunch not once but twice.  The can looked the same and was located in the same area of the pantry as the pop, was the official explanation.   He was thrilled, both times, and his own cool factor at school reached Fonzie-esque heights. But I digress. ..

Nowadays, our offspring are out in the world and preparing their own meals, they seem to have a healthy appreciation for all the food groups, which I take total credit for. They read the nutritional information on the labels, and make wise food choices.

Meanwhile back at home though, mom and dad have taken a giant leap backward.  A lingering pre-dinner cocktail (but only on the days that end in “y”)  now means that dinner is either: A) non-existent or B) a bag of chips or C) cereal. Where I used to feel a need to cover all the food groups and make meat, veg and potatoes every single day, now I’m in the kitchen dumping snack bags into bowls, preparing a basic wine and cheezie tray, or  muttering about how potatoe chips are technically veggies, and too much meat isn’t good for you,  plus I’ve revised the threat level of pesticides up to red, so vegetables are obviously out.

Hubby and I do still on occasion huddle together sharing a Ceasar salad out of the same big old wooden bowl, but we have abandoned the candlelight in favour of Clapper controlled lighting, and we’re usually sitting side by side on the couch, each with a cat in our lap, yelling out incorrect Jeopardy answers to an ever- pompous Alex Trebec.

Vive la romance!

P.S.

As a partial homage to Betty Crocker,  here is my somewhat bastardized version of her  Ceasar Salad recipe, and a pic of my 32 year old  salad bowl.

1/3 cup oil (I use ½ canola, ½ Olive)

1 tsp worchestershire sauce

1/4 tsp dry mustard

1/8 tsp salt

Fresh Ground pepper

1 ½ tsp lemon juice

Crush  1/2 large clove garlic and smash it all around inside bowl.    Add dressing to bowl (start with about ¼ cup) toss with washed and spun romaine lettuce pieces, adding more dressing as needed, just enough so leaves glisten but not so much that they get wet and gross.

Lastly,  toss with ¼ cup shredded parmesan or even better, those fancy parmesan “petals” and add croutons and crumbled crisp bacon (but not those gross fake bacon “bits”),  if desired.

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Filed under Family, Food, Kids, Marriage, Memories

The Roaring Twenties

Mommy blogs make me laugh, but not in the way they intend to.    They discuss their child rearing problems like feeding issues, and kids who say hilarious things unexpectedly and embarrass them (Oh My!), and complain about their kids who play too many video games.   Then there are actual message boards where other mothers contribute and try to offer solutions and sympathy.  Why??? These aren’t problems!  These are child’s play – pun intended.

And then people talk about the teenage years, like once you get through those, you’re safe.  As if.  Talk to me when your kids are in their twenties.   Case in point, this past weekend when the youngest (20) came home from university for a good old fashioned rural “Kegger”.  Sounds harmless enough.  But seriously, it did – she’s the good one.  I’ve never had to even once issue an Amber alert for her, and go hunting around town on a Sunday morning to find/collect her, dehydrated and disheveled and sporting one shoe like I routinely did with her siblings during their later teen years.  (Those recovery operations were always made worse by witnessing the local perfect little Christian family of my kid’s classmates, smiling wholesomely and holding hands as they skipped off to church.)

She really was the good one, and has often in the past stood shoulder to shoulder with me with arms folded, shaking her head in disapproval while we would prepare our Sunday brunch accompanied by moans and retching sounds coming from a sibling upstairs.  “I’m never going to drink” she would announce with conviction.  I couldn’t have been prouder.

So … got a text from her on Friday night at 10:30pm from the Kegger, saying that she was going to be sleeping at her girlfriend’s.  At 7:21 Saturday morning I got a text that said “ I am anzosurdle. Loste.”  At 7:22am I got one that said “I am do unreaiabe no soo0oo0oooooo. Points. On meye.”

Well, you can imagine my hysteria.   These were clearly the gibberish rantings of someone who not only had pulled an all-nighter, but had alcohol poisoning AND/OR had been roofied, and it was now up to me to save her.   Since the first text mentioned “Loste” – I knew that we were dealing with disorientation.  It brought to mind that Dateline show I saw, where the two teenagers used Meth and then abandoned their car and took off their coats and froze to death.  THERE WAS NO TIME TO WASTE! The second text included that word that kind of looked like “unreliable”, and then that other word that had the “s” with so many “o”s …. so naturally I understood that she was trying to say that she was sorry she was unreliable.  Broke my heart – so like her to be concerned about me.

I leapt into action.  Tried phoning her cell phone, went to voicemail every time.  Obviously she was busy trying to phone 911 – or worse, there were captors involved and they had stolen her phone and were using it to make long distance, possibly even international calls!!  Got her dad up – and instructed him to go start scouring the back roads looking for her.  I picked up the phone to call the police and the milk carton people. TIME WAS OF THE ESSENCE.  Meanwhile Dad, sporting severe bedhead was sprinting out to the car, but stopped in his tracks and said “Maybe you should call her friend’s house.”   I knew it was a waste of time – he,  as usual,  wasn’t comprehending the gravity of the situation, but if I’ve learned anything over the past 30 years it’s that sometimes you just have to humour them.  So I dialed her friend’s house and when Cindy  pleasantly answered and I asked knowingly whether my little baby was there,  the answer was ….  “Yes”, then “ Do you want me to wake her?”

My next text, at  8:07am said “Hi mom, my phone fell between the couch cushions, and it sent random letter texts. I’m fine.”

Never mind.   Enjoy the innocent years, Mommy Bloggers, because parenting twenty- somethings is no kids’ game.

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