Sweet Surrender

December 18, 2014 at 8:58 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Cake is so loud.

It’s all “Hey you! YOU! Yes, you, the one over there trying to put that belt on! Drop it and come over here. No really, I need you. I need to tell you something. C’mere.” Meanwhile, I’m like, “My mother warned me about you, Cake. I know your deal. You’re gonna tell me you lost your puppy and you want me to help you find it. You’re gonna offer me candy. No wait, CAKE!! You’re going to offer me CAKE! How dare you?! You know I can’t resist cake!” and Cake’s like, “Shhhhhh, there there. No one is going to offer you cake. Especially not me. Don’t you trust me? Don’t you believe me? I’m your FRIEND. Your best friend, really, when you think about it. Who else is this creamy, chocolatey good? Huh?th4MI4YX5A WHO ELSE?” And so I’m all, “Weeelllll, it’s not that I don’t LIKE you, Cake.” So then Cake gets kind of mad, sort of huffy. Cake starts yelling, “Really? REALLY? Then why don’t you get OVER here, huh? If you don’t come over here right now and EAT ME, I’m going to tell everyone about that BELT. How you’re over there trying to squeeze it around your waist like a post-baby Jessica Simpson squeezing into some leopard-skin jeggings! I’m going to plaster it all over FaceBook along with those pictures of you that you HATE and tried to delete off your phone – you know, the ones with the double chins, bad hair, under-eye circles, giant upper arms and TIGHT BELTS! You know what I’m talking about missy!!! You THINK you deleted them but they are still there living in cyberspace and I KNOW HOW TO FIND THEM!” Then Cake softens up a little, which really gets me every time… “Come on, honey, you know you want it….”

But seriously, Cake is nothing compared to Cannoli.

Cannoli are all round and soft on the inside, crunchy/powdery sugary on the outside and they are SPECIAL. They are for a th8PA0Y4DRSPECIAL occasion. Anything that is SPECIAL needs to be eaten immediately (i.e., in the car on the way to that special occasion), and in great quantity. Oh, and by the way, the shells get soggy if they are kept overnight and it is a SHAME to let them go to waste so you’d better make sure they all get eaten. Even if it means you have to eat three. Remember, they are SPECIAL and this is a SPECIAL occasion. Even if you just discovered that the new Market Basket sells them and there can now be a special occasion every weekend. Even if they are CHEESE-FILLED. SWEET CHEESE-FILLED, to be exact. What could possibly be better than CHEESE and SUGAR mixed together? Oh, I don’t know, why don’t you throw some CHOCOLATE CHIPS on those puppies??

I know what you are thinking. STOP WITH THE CAPITAL LETTERS. But I REALLY NEED THEM. I need to emphasize how truly horrifying this season of joy can be. What with all the baking, eating, baking, eating, baking and eating, followed by celebrating and eating, visiting and eating, and clean-up eating, it is a food-loving dieter’s hell!! HELL!!!

But I have to admit, it is a sweet, sweet way to go.

Enjoy the holidays, my friends. See you at the gym on January 2nd.

xo

M

Life Lessons from A Horse Trainer

May 16, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Posted in Horses, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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An excerpt from a recent conversation with my Dad (insert heavy Massachusetts accent):

“Hi Honey, how ah your hosses?”

“They’re good, Dad, I’m headed to the barn now for a riding lesson.”

“LESSON?! Don’t you know how to ride by now? What was I paying for all those yea-ahs?”

“Yes, Dad, I know how to ride. It’s just that with horses, you never really stop learning. You can always be better – there’s always something more to know or a new method to try. Kind of like life.”

“Huh. I thought you were going to outgrow this hoss thing anyway.”

That got me to thinking about how riding really can be like life. I’ve been working with this great trainer here in Maine – Chris Lombard – and some of the things we’re focusing on translate directly to the rest of my life. A few choice lessons from my recent schooling sessions:

1)      Breathe.

2)      Keep a deep seat.

3)      Feel the motion and go with it.

4)      Keep your eyes up and looking forward to where you are going; don’t look down.

5)      Stay alert for the scary stuff, but don’t let it ruin your ride.

6)      When you sense that things are about to go wrong or get scary, sit deep and relax. Let go of the reins so nobody gets banged in the mouth.

7)      Build partnerships based on mutual trust and understanding.

8)      Keep your hands, voice and demeanor soft, unless you’re about to get kicked.

9)      Appreciate and work with each other’s personalities and quirks.

10)   A little understanding goes a long way.

11)   Treats make everyone smile.

12)   Some of us are in it for the fun, some for the competition, and some for the incessant gathering of knowledge – but we all have to slog through the mud at times to get there.poleWalker

And the most important life/riding lesson of all: keep your HEELS DOWN, or you might get dragged!

xo

Fire & Rain – The Remix

April 20, 2013 at 7:25 am | Posted in Kids, Parenting | 3 Comments
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Those of you who know me know that I love music. When I had children, I vowed not to get sucked into today’s tween rock and kiddie music. No Justin Roberts & The Not Ready for Naptime Players or Naked Brothers Brand for me and my kids. And certainly no Teletubbies! They would listen to some of my favorites – mostly gentle folk and acoustic rock music from the 1970s up to today. And this has gone over pretty well so far.

But after last night, I’m not so sure.

On the way home from a busy evening of karate, dinner with friends and an early-in-the-season ice cream cone from Ben & Jerry’s, my two little darlings decided to dissect James Taylor’s Fire & Rain on the way home. Maybe they were over-stimulated. Maybe it was the sugar. Maybe I need to re-consider my music choices after all. But this is how the conversation went:

JT: Just yesterday morning, they let me know you were gone…

“Where did she go, Mommy?”

“She died, Michael.”

“Why, Mommy?”

“I don’t know, Michael.” (Even though I do know – she died of a drug overdose. How does one explain this to a 4-year-old?)

“Maybe she ate too much candy.”

“I don’t think so, Michael.”

“Yeah, maybe she choked on a Tootsie Roll!”

“No, Brady, I don’t think that’s quite it.”

“Well, maybe she didn’t take very good care of her body.”

“Probably right, Michael.”

Suzanne the plans they made put an end to you. I walked out this morning, and I wrote down this song. I just can’t remember who to send it to…

“Why can’t he remember where to send it, Mom?”

“I’m not sure, Michael.”

“He’s stupid!!”

“That’s enough, Brady.”

I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen sunny times that I thought would never end. I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend. But I always thought that I’d see you again.

“Why doesn’t he have any friends, Mommy?”

“Well, I don’t know if he…”

“Hey, Mom, why can’t he see her anymore?”

“Because she died, Brady.”

“Who?”

“The person James Taylor wrote this song about.”

“What was her name?”

“Suzanne.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because he says it in the song, if anyone was listening, boys.”

“Why did she die?”

“Haven’t we already been through this, guys?”

Been walking my mind to an easy time, my back turned toward the sun. Lord knows when the cold wind blows itll turn your head around

“Why is it cold where James Taylor is, Mom?”

“It’s a metaphor, Michael…”

“Maybe he’s on the moon! It’s really cold on the moon!”

“Brady!! He is NOT on the moon! You can’t even go there and you can’t breathe, so how could he sing? I think he’s in Antarctica.”

“Michael, he’s just trying to say that he’s sad about his friend.”

“No, Mom, he’s probably at the North Pole. It’s really cold up there and windy. Does he have to wear gloves to play the guitar?”

“He’s NOT at the North Pole!”

“Whatever, Mom.”

Won’t you look down upon me, Jesus, you’ve gotta help me make a stand. You’ve just got to see me through another day

“Is he saying a prayer to Jesus, Mom?”

“Sort of.”

“Why, what does he want?”

“Well, he just needs help with…”

“Hey Mom, if you say ‘Oh Jesus’ and you are not saying a prayer, Jesus won’t listen, right? He’ll be all like, ‘Oh no! Here comes that Brady again with his fake prayers! Don’t listen to him!’ And you won’t get what you want. Right Mom?”

“Uh, it’s a little more complicated than that….”

“Hey, Mom, does Santa need help from Jesus?”

“Santa?”

“Is he all ‘Hey, Jesus! I need to make some toys here! Can you help me?’ Next Christmas I’m going to leave Santa one of my dollars because it costs a lot of money to make all those toys. Then he’ll have more money to make toys. And he can help Jesus.”

“Ok, sure, guys. Why don’t we listen to some Iron Maiden?”

Sweet Honey Pony

April 10, 2013 at 11:35 am | Posted in Honey Pony, Horses, Kids | 7 Comments
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Well, this is a post I didn’t want to have to write so soon.

Our beloved pony, Honey, finally succumbed to the laminitis caused by the Cushing’s Disease, Lyme2011-07-27_16-17-23_828 Disease, and year and a half of neglect she had suffered. My goal when I adopted her was to give her the best retirement I possibly could and to ease any pain she had along the way. We did everything we could for her, but in the end her hoof and joint issues got the best of her and we simply couldn’t ask her to go on.

As every pet owner knows, this is the most difficult aspect of owning (do we really “own” them?) an animal. We almost always outlive them. And it leaves us with this awful responsibility and choice that we must make for our four-legged babies.

Honey was one of those really special ponies you don’t come across too often. Not only was she cute (never met a pony who wasn’t), she was incredibly sweet and willing (met a lot of ponies who weren’t). Oh, she had her moments… a warm summer day when she didn’t really feel like going for a walk and would plant her feet in the ground and let you tug on her head as if she were a 50-ton rock and you were an ant. But if you were patient and gentle and gave her time to think about it, she’d always decide to come with you.

She loved children and would get the sweetest look in her eye when they came around. Every single one of them seemed to fall in love with her, and the girls especially would spend hours braiding her super-thick mane and tail. If I had given them glitter and pink hair dye that pony would have been covered in it.

Roundpen StandingI loved how Honey would throw her scruffy-maned little head up at the sound of my voice or sight of me coming around the corner and shriek that sweet little pony whinny. I guess she had me pegged – carrots and scritches coming up.

So when she didn’t want to get up to eat anymore (although she would take her meal lying down if you put it in front of her) and I had to make the decision to let her go, it really was heart-wrenching. A friend who was trying to comfort me gave me some advice:

“What was Honey’s place in your life?” my friend asked,
“What doors did she open in your heart?
Think about why you two were brought together.”

I had never thought about losing an animal in this light before. Sometimes we think about why certain people come in and out of our lives, but seldom do we think about animals in those terms. Aren’t they just as important to us? Don’t they touch our hearts in the same way?

I thought about it… and I think Honey was brought into my life to remind me what it’s like to love unconditionally in difficult circumstances. Honey was sweet, but she wasn’t an easy pony to keep. She had numerous health issues and needed to be managed very carefully on a day-to-day basis. We were constantly checking and changing her supplement/vitamin/medication intake trying to find just the right balance. She had to be kept off grass and away from regular hay, and sometimes she would have mysterious stomach issues. I’d hoped she could be used as a regular mount for my children – especially Brady, who seemed to be much more grounded and relaxed when riding her. But that only proved to be possible for the first summer she was home. After that she was never consistently sound enough for regular riding. And of course I couldn’t ride her. I’ve always been the type that loves my horses but kind of wants to rush through all the custodial care and get to the riding. The only thing I could do with Honey was take care of her and love her. And somehow, she made this easy. She taught me a lot about patience, kindness and how to deal with chronic pain (I have a bit of that myself). She showed me that sometimes just being present is enough. And that a darling, damaged little body can hold a whole lot of love.

Honey 1So when it came time to let Honey go, I knelt in the thick bed of shavings next to her and put my forehead on hers. I thanked her for all she had done for me and my boys, and I told her the next place she would be going would be free of pain, free of limitations and free of fear. I know she heard me. I’m pretty sure she understood.

You touched everyone you met, little Honey-bear, and we will miss you very much. We’re all thankful for the gifts you gave us and the time we had with you. There will never be another one like you.

xo

P.S. We have now found a way to immortalize Honey by telling her story in a series of children’s books. Go to www.HoneyPonyBooks.com or check out Honey’s FaceBook page.

Parking Lot Angels

March 17, 2013 at 7:50 am | Posted in Parenting | 1 Comment
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I started this blog thinking I would write a lot about my horses, my obsession with the Real Housewives franchise, all things beauty-related, and other light-hearted topics. But what I’ve found is that I often write about what is in my mind and heart at the time, and very often that is parenting. I find parenting to be daunting, demanding and unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. I thought since I could boss a 1,200-pound horse around and keep my business clients in line I could easily handle a couple of kids.

Haha, good one, universe.

As any dedicated parent knows, raising your children will challenge you on every level. And if you are blessed with one who doesn’t fit the “typical” mold – like my Brady – then you need even more patience, love and skill. These things don’t come naturally to me. Ok, well certainly love does, but patience, not so much. And skills have to be learned. I have so much to learn.

But apparently I have lots of help from above. Because just when I think I am the worst parent ever, when I am down in the dumps about my ability to deal, thinking no one could do a worse job… the strangest thing happens. An angel finds me. And this seems to happen most often in the supermarket parking lot. I’m not kidding. Four times now, I have had someone – generally an elderly person – walk up to me out of nowhere in two different Hannaford parking lots and say something like this:

Angel: “Hi! Was that you and your little one laughing just then?”
Me: “Yes ??”
Angel: “I worked in child welfare services for over 30 years, and it is so good to see someone taking care of their child in the right way.”
Me: “Thank you ??”  “Thank you!!”

Or

Angel: “How old is your little boy?”
Me: “3.”
Angel: “I can see you really love being a mother. Just by the way you’re talking to him and laughing with him. I see too many mothers acting like they can’t stand their own kids. You’re doing a great job!”
Me: (thinks: “I guess you didn’t see me losing it 20 minutes ago in the car.”) Says: “Thank you so much! You made my day!”

And the truth is, she really did. Because God knows I am trying! I guess He knows, so He sends me some angels to help me.

Even this blog has become a source of inspiration. A while back I posted an article about my struggle to restart my childrens’ book, which had stalled out creatively and energetically. Out of the blue, an old friend whom I hadn’t heard from in 20 years appeared in my Comments section with the most amazing advice on how to jumpstart my efforts. I took the advice, it worked, and now I am nearing completion on the book. Angel.

Where will you see or hear your angels today?  Will a random stranger approach you, or will someone close to you say just the right thing? Will you simply hear a whisper on the breeze or the muffled rumble of the ice shifting on the lake to tell you that change is coming, however subtle? If you are open to it, somehow you’ll get the message that everything is going to be ok and that life goes on, despite what may feel like small tragedies or giant victories.

Listen. Look. Pay attention. It’s there, it’s powerful, and you don’t want to miss it.

xo

Saffron Gets A Bad Rap

March 8, 2013 at 8:15 am | Posted in Beauty, Honey Pony, Horses, The Real Housewives | 4 Comments
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A dear friend from down south once told me that the following is a very “Yankee” exchange:photo

Friend: “Ooooo, I love those shoes!”
Me (the Yankee): “Thanks!
(hushed whisper) 9-West. Marden’s Factory Closeout Store. $19.99!!”

Apparently we frugal Yankees are extremely proud of a bargain and not only seek them out, but then proceed to tell everyone who will listen what a steal we got. Apparently this does not happen in other parts of the country. I did notice Lisa Vanderpump giving Kyle Richards the business about showing up to an event in identical shoes and insisting that Kyle must have gotten them “off the sale rack”. Kyle looked none too pleased about this accusation. I would have been like, “Yeah, I did, bitch. Are you really stupid enough to pay full price?” Yankee.

And recently, I read an article about spending habits that put forth the following hypothesis: One’s idea of “expensive” is directly related to the first thing they buy that day. So, if you go online and buy a $200 bathing suit (Ahem, Spanx with tummy control and lots of DD boob lift.), then you’ll think that the $180 pair of jeans they try to sell you at check-out (“People who bought this also bought…” The ultimate keeping-up-with-the-Kardashians/Joneses ploy.) is not really all that expensive after all. But if you pop into T.J. Maxx for a quick browse and stop first at the $5.99 tights rack, well, you might not drop $149.99 on that Michael Kors bag, even if you CAN compare it to the MSRP (that’s Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price, for those of you who are not rabid bargain-hunters) of $289.00.

So all this got me thinking about my own spending habits and what I consider expensive. A little look into my spending psyche:

Beauty Bucks

– Getting talked into spending $60 on foundation that is not the right color or texture for your skin by the adorable and heart-breakingly hip make-up store girl with the perfect cats-eye eyeliner = face-too-dark-from-spray-tan-21396414[1]EXPENSIVE

– $20 self-tanners that leave giant brown stains on the couch in the precise shape of your bodacious booty = EXPENSIVE

– Spending just about any amount of money on anything (short of plastic surgery) that will make you look even 5 minutes younger = NOT EXPENSIVE

 

Travel Tariffs

– Spending $65 to have a car service meet you at the airport when you could easily grab a filthy, smelly cab complete with bullet-proof glass between you and the driver into town for $25 = NOT EXPENSIVE

– Thinking those leopard-print spandex pants the cocktail waitresses at the Jungle Bar in Miami Beach are wearing are super-duper cute and rushing right out the next day to buy yourself a pair = EXPENSIVE (I don’t care what they cost. You don’t look like she did in them and you will never, ever wear them out in public when you get home. Let’s just agree that you got caught up in the moment. And the mojitos.)

– Anything you buy at the hotel gift shop, mountainside ski shop, surfside cabana or in-room amenities bar = EXPENSIVE x2

 

Equine Expenses

– Spending $400 on fancy schmancy full-seat breeches that are just going to get dirty the second you put them on anyway (you know your horse is going to rub his snotty nose on them, right?) and probably won’t keep you in the saddle during your new green show mount’s inevitable spook/swerve/buck at the judge’s booth = EXPENSIVE11235[1]

– Spending $60 on a double-hot-pink halter with your cute-as-a-button pony’s name stitched on the nose when a $19.99 one would do the trick just fine = NOT EXPENSIVE

– $5.00/bag for pine shavings that sawmills otherwise consider trash = EXPENSIVE

– $150 for chiropractic work, $80 for acupuncture and a $50 massage (this is for the horse, not you!) so that Lightning won’t flip over on the crossties the next time you slap a saddle on his back = NOT EXPENSIVE

 

Food Fares

– Paying $45 for the most amazing piece of Kobe beef you’ve ever tasted in a charming and elegant restaurant setting without anyone climbing under the table and squirming into your booth because they “need to snuggle you” or standing on their seat to stare at the poor old lady sitting behind you = NOT EXPENSIVE

– Spending $8 on clearly pre-processed meatloaf in a place that is supposed to be making everything from scratch. At least they have microbrews to get you through the meal. But of course they’re out of the one you really like = EXPENSIVE

Best SaffronSo what is truly expensive, anyway? The first time I heard that saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, I thought it must be really outrageous and who in their right mind would pay for it? Then I went to the Hannaford and there it was: $14.99 for a small jar of saffron threads. I mean, I suppose compared to the Cream of Tartar that’s a little steep, but I’m pretty sure it’s cheaper than an organic cucumber. I guess it’s all relative, especially if you’ve just been to the Dollar Store.

So the next time I’m feeling down and need a little treat, I think I’ll go splurge on some saffron and live like the rich people do. Care to join me?

xo

When Did THAT Happen?

February 27, 2013 at 11:24 am | Posted in Horses, Kids, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Lately, I’ve been stumbling across various situations that remind me of my age and stage in life. I wouldn’t call it a mid-life crisis exactly, but I’m definitely in a contemplative mood these days. Here are just a few of the nagging questions that have been on my mind:

When did I go from…

Oh, FX35, how I miss thee...

Oh, FX35, how I miss thee…

Racing around in a hotrod to carting around a carload of kids?

Styling my hair with texturizing mousse to detecting the distinct aroma of Eau de Playdough in it?

Wearing high heels every day to wearing out a pair of sneakers every three months?

Being applauded for increasing clients’ product sales to being reprimanded by a 3-year-old for forgetting to buy applesauce?

MMmmmmm.

MMmmmmm.

Choosing a restaurant for their marvelous martini menu to choosing one based on their mac & cheese magic?

The 5:45 a.m. spin class to the 5:45 a.m. wet-bed-sheet-stripping workout? (The kids’ of course, not mine. I’m not that old yet!)

 

And for that matter, when did I go from…

“I’ll call you when I get there” (from a payphone, which you can’t find anymore) to thinking it’s not ok to leave the house for 10 minutes without a phone? (Remember when phones had cords… and “dialing” actually meant the phone had a dial??)

Being one of that group of girls at the bar (you know, the ones who dance on it) to being one of that group of middle-aged ladies (you know, the ones who are passing around a single pair of

Not actually us (just for the record)

Not actually us (just for the record)

reading glasses because some idiot printed the menu in mouse type and it’s too dimly lit to read anyway. Also, if we don’t get some food to go with these drinks soon there’s going to be some serious heartburn to deal with in the middle of the night. Where are those 12-year-olds who work here, anyway??) Goodbye crazy times…

Sleeping ‘til noon on Sunday to thinking it’s so cool that I can get up at 5:30 before everyone else and get so much done? (Is cleaning the toilets before anyone else is awake really that fulfilling? Maybe it’s the pre-dawn cat-licking [see So Crazy Right Now] that I am attracted to…)

Being a hot mama to having hot flashes?

 

And finally, when did I go from…

Galloping the length of the beach on my hotrod horse to thinking a nice easy trot down a

Going sideways is pretty slow.

Going sideways is pretty slow.

familiar trail (without any bucks or bolts) would be just fine?

Hopping up and riding bareback in from the paddock to carefully picking out the best footing for my 26-year-old gelding while I stumble through snow drifts and glide across glare ice?

20-mile trail rides to 20-minute tail brushing sessions?

 

But most importantly, I’m glad I’ve recently gone from…

Caring so much about products, businesspeople and price points to realizing the only truly important things in life are your babies, your buddies and your boyfriend (otherwise known as my husband!). Let’s try to keep it all in perspective, shall we?

xo

So Crazy Right Now

February 9, 2013 at 8:23 am | Posted in Kids, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Do I have to get slapped in the face with crazy the second I wake up?

“Oh, Michelle, you’re not crazy. Don’t say that about yourself!”

It’s not me I’m talking about, people.

Let’s start with the first thing I see/hear if I make the mistake of not getting up before everyone else in the house does: Monty the licker. Don’t get too excited. Monty is a CAT. He’s a crazy, obsessive-compulsive, over-bearing, hyper-demanding CAT who will come into my bedroom first thing in the morning screaming like a banshee and start LICKING… me, the comforter, the sheets, the pillows… anything he can get his tongue on. I have no idea why he does this and I have never met a cat like him. He came from the shelter as a “stray” (although after years of having him we’re pretty sure someone dropped his nutty ass off) and now he lives with us. Lucky, lucky us.

That’s crazy #1 to start my day.iPhone Download 2012 057

Next comes a whole heap of hooey from number-one son, who leaps into my bed (risking a severe licking from said cat) ranting about the dream he just had. You know, the one about the talking buffalo from Bugaboo Creek (I can’t believe I was stupid enough to take him there. I thought it would be fun. I thought he would get a kick out of it. [I certainly didn’t go for the gourmet food, although I’m still fantasizing about the 10,000 lb. chocolate cake we had for dessert.] I must have forgotten for 5 1/2 seconds that kids with Asberger’s Syndrome are anxious and literal and the first questions he would ask about the giant talking buffalo head on the wall was, “Can he get out of there? Is he going to come over here? Can he see me? Is he talking to me? When is he going to talk again? Does he know my name? How did he get up there? Where’s his owner? When can we go home?” And that a trip to the bathroom would entail hands clapped over ears [even though the buffalo was not talking] and a 20-minutes-out-of-our-way walk to successfully circumnavigate said buffalo without a chance encounter.). And so, of course, the mania about the talking buffalo continued on the 30-minute car ride home and then right into the night, where Brady insisted he had spent his dream time wandering the house trying to save himself and our family from it. And all this because “Trick”, his giant stuffed horse (whom he regularly pretends is a stuffed cat even though he has 26 stuffed cats), was pretending to be a giant talking Buffalo all night long and continually bamboolzing Brady with his shenanigans.

And that, my friends, was crazy #2 to start my day.Brady Michael Buck Teeth

Then, number-two son, being fascinated and flummoxed by all things big brother, picks up on Brady’s train of thought (if you can call it that) and is high-tailing it through the house shrieking that there’s a buffalo in their room and we should head for the hills. Brady screams back that it is only TRICK (the giant stuffed horse/cat) PRETENDING to be a buffalo, and so a bellowing fight ensues between the boy in my bed and the boy in the hall. This goes on until Michael can be convinced to join us and take his licking like a man. Meanwhile, I’m still just trying to wipe the sleep out of my eyes and shake off the dream I had about frozen margaritas at a swim-up bar in Cozumel. As if.

That was crazy #3.Michael Kissing

And so eventually we all stumble downstairs, where my wound-just-a-little-too-tight husband is insisting that there’s a strange red light on in the back-up power generator and since there’s a BLIZZARD coming (Or maybe it’s just 4 inches of snow, I never know for sure with his overreactive nature. Also, have you ever noticed how men over-call the number of inches something is? Like snow or… other stuff? That’s a topic for another day.) I’d better cancel all my plans and hunker down to wait for the generator company to make an emergency service call. Now. Today. Before it’s too late.

Come on. Red wine keeps. Is it really an emergency if the power goes out?

Hello, crazy #4.Boys2Men

And finally, the chaos in my own mind, whirling and swirling about what needs to get done today, what can’t possibly get done today, and how much Advil it’s going to take to get me through the day. And, course, what color eye shadow I am going to wear. Priorities, people.

So now you see why I always try to get up before everyone else. A mother’s work is never done, but at least she can fend off the crazy a little better when fortified by a cup of tea and a few minutes of pre-dawn silence. Here’s to 5:30 a.m. May it arrive free of wet beds and bad dreams. Those are for 6:10 a.m.

xo

Model Behavior

January 26, 2013 at 7:58 am | Posted in Kids | 10 Comments
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“Children with Asperger’s Syndrome need very clear and concise social guidelines,” said Brady’s wonderful and well-meaning therapist. “Social norms and behaviors are like a foreign language to them. They need to be taught very specifically how to handle social situations. Brady will mirror your behaviors and reactions to the world at large. YOU are his best and more important role model.”

Oh great.

Maybe that’s why my kid can swear like a truck driver. (But honestly, why give truck drivers the bad rap? The expression should be “swear-like-a-Catholic-school-raised-middle-aged-marketing-professional-turned-housewife” because really, I am amazing at it.)
Monty

Or maybe that’s why he falls apart at the slightest frustration. Demands perfection from himself. Lies in bed and worries at night. Falls in love with every animal he meets and then frets about them for the rest of his life.

But I can’t say I’ve ever thrown myself on the floor when a stranger in a store smiled at me. Or shouted “Nipples!!” when someone asked me how I am today. Those are pure Brady.

This behavior modeling thing is a lot of pressure to put on a mother who already puts a lot of pressure on herself. I’m back to that perfection thing again: If I’m not a perfect mother, how can I raise incredible kids? Notice I didn’t say “perfect” kids. I don’t need my kids to be perfect, just me. Something about having no regrets. How will I live with myself if they don’t turn out all right?

And what is the ‘perfect’ behavior to model for your kids anyway? Is it ok to show them your weaker side? Like that you get completely pissed off, too, when you can’t get that last drop of (organic) ketchup out of the squeeze bottle? (You paid about $4 more for it, you damn well better get to enjoy it on your locally-grown bison burger. Or your Ballpark Frank. Whatever gets you through the meal.) Is it a bad thing for them to see that you lose your patience while driving and drop a few choice words?

(Recent conversation in the car:
Brady: “Cut it out, you jerk-off!”
Me: “Jerk-off?? Where did you hear that?”
Brady: “You say it, Mom, when you’re mad at some idiot in front of you who’s not going fast enough.”
Me: “Oh… uh… Well, don’t say it, it’s not nice.”
Better than some of the other words I’ve chosen in the past, I guess.)

What about when I’m tired, frustrated, overwhelmed, exhausted? How about when I’m Cute Bradyhormonal? Are you trying to tell me that my kid’s going to grow up to be a chocolate-gobbling, wine-swilling, weep-at-Hallmark-commercials wussy boy? Or what?

This parenting stuff is hard, and it’s totally compounded by having a child you needs a lot more from you than your average kid. And don’t most parents hand down a whole heap of crazy to their kids anyway? Haven’t we seen some of the best and brightest come from really screwed up homes? And vice versa – nuts from seemingly perfect backgrounds? I know we’re dealing with something different when it comes to Asperger’s because these beautiful children are so very literal and need such clear and complete guidance. But really, how badly can I mess it up? (Ok, probably pretty badly if I’m not careful. Maybe Mommy needs a little more herbal tea…)

So I ask you, how did your parents contribute to your complete and total insanity? And what are you doing to wreck your kids’ lives? Also, if it takes a village to raise a child, can I send Brady over to your house when he’s really driving me nuts? Then you can explain why it’s not ok to leap into the chair of an unsuspecting guest, rake your fingers through her long dark hair, and throw your blanket over her head in a crazed giggling fit. I’m sure you can handle it.

xo

Top 10 Reasons Why I Can’t Finish My Books

January 8, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Posted in Honey Pony, The Real Housewives, Uncategorized | 12 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Last winter, I embarked on a potentially misguided journey to write and illustrate a series of Roundpen Standingchildren’s books about my pony, Honey. Before I adopted her, she had fallen into the wrong hands and suffered severe neglect. My idea was to create books for very young children that introduced the ideas of animal neglect and rescue in hopes that this would plant the seed for future adoptions of abused/shelter animals.

Well, this experience has left me frustrated, flummoxed, and (to quote Lisa Vanderpump) flabbergasted (say it with a British accent: “flah-buh-gahstud”). It’s not that it’s so hard to do, it’s just so hard to find the time to do it. My ideas flow like wine (but really, what doesn’t in this house?) and the words to three books are already written. But actually sitting down, pulling out the paints and creating – now that’s the hard part. It takes not only time, but creative energy. And I just don’t have much of that left after spending each day coming up with ever-more imaginative ways to keep two little boys entertained, enthralled and even-keeled.

So here, I humbly submit the Top 10 Reasons why I just can’t seem to finish illustrating even the first book in the series:

1)      I’m too busy writing this stupid blog.

2)      The pony has chronic diarrhea.  (Just try dealing with this during a freezing-cold New England winter. Frozen tail poopsicles anyone?)

3)      I have to re-heat my cup of tea for the 450th time today.  (No, I don’t know where I left it last, either, so I have to find it first, ok?)

4)      I’m checking my blog stats. Again.

5)      Somebody’s butt needs wiping.

6)      FaceBook.

7)      There’s a Real Housewives of Anywhere-on-Earth-That’s-Better-Than-Where-You-Live-and-Don’t-You-Forget-It marathon on Bravo.  (I cannot help it, I’m addicted.)

8)      That text message from my newly divorced girlfriend about whether or not the guy she thinks is cute thinks she’s cute and if maybe he’ll pass her a note in Algebra today.

9)      I have to blowdry my hair. And you know what that means. It means I actually have to take a shower first.

10)   I’m too busy writing this stupid blog.

Any suggestions on how I can get out of this funk and make these books happen would be greatly appreciated. Also, if anyone wants to come over and wipe the kids’/pony’s butt, that would be great, too. Thank you for your support.

xo

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