Thursday, December 27, 2007

For Some Reason I'm Supposed to Call This Hoopla.

I don't understand why. It's really not Hoopla. It's a Meme. And I was tagged, so shit. Let's do this thing.

Here's the rules:

1. List 12 random things about yourself that have to do with Christmas
2. Please refer to it as a ‘hoopla’ and not the dreaded ‘m’-word
3. You have to specifically tag people when you’re done. None of this “if you’re reading this, consider yourself tagged” stuff is allowed…then nobody ends up actually doing it. The number of people who you tag is really up to you — but the more, the merrier to get this ‘hoopla’ circulating through the Blog-o-sphere.
4. Please try and do it as quickly as possible. The Christmas season will be over before we know it.
Amendment: I've been told to kill this thing, which I assume means tag no one else. This is like one of those laws we pass every election day that redacts some law about the amount of sheep someone can have on a one acre parcel of land which has been developed and suburban-ized for fifty years. So, disregard rule number 3.

Here goes:

1. I am writing this as I eat peppermint ice cream. It's about 12 degrees out and it snowed about 8 inches today, and I've not opened my front door for approximately 48 hours. We've shut ourselves in for a big, messy orgy of Christmassy goodness. We have cans of soup, half a chocolate Santa, peppermint ice cream, a bottle of Jameson and a Wii. We ran out of milk today. Were it not for the milk, I think we could have survived nicely until at least next Monday.

2. About two years ago, I took The Kid to see a live nativity on Christmas Eve night. When we got to the church, we saw a little barn on a little grassy spot on the side of the church and walked over to it. As we cleared the corner, it became apparent that Mary and Joseph were nowhere to be found. All that was there was a donkey, and as we approached the manger, a plastic baby jesus lay, unswaddled, in the hay. The Kid was all, "And Mary is supposed to be the best mother of all time? What the?"

3. I've only spent one Christmas away from my family. I spent that one Christmas away skiing at Chamonix, France with this boy who was about to be my ex-boyfriend. We stayed in this very Alps-ish youth hostel filled with drunken Aussies who sang the same verse of Good King Wenceslas over and over until my eyes popped out of my head, and it was by far the most depressing Christmas I've ever lived through. The good side of the day, however, was the skiing: the mountain was so beautiful, and clouds settled in around and above and below us, so we skiied completely blind, white out inside of a cloud. It was the most disorenting thing, like floating in space, the only sensation that could be felt was the gentle gravity taking us down the trail. Boyfriend would be three feet to my left and I wouldn't see him. I couldn't even see my skiis. Luckily, we were well above treeline.

4. This is a hard one to admit: I miss, and might even prefer, Christmas without children around. I'm the baby of my family, and as I grew up, Christmas turned into my sisters coming home from college, staying up late with me watching movies and playing trivial pursuits. Those are the years I remember laughing the hardest, my teenage years before the new generation started being born, and all of their wanting and needing attention and kid stuff. This year, we had all left my mom's house by 6pm, for the various reasons of wanting to go home to play XBox360 (my nephews), needing to go to fucking sleep because of the horrible grouchiness of Christmas Eve's sleep deprivation was closing its grip upon us (The Kid's). No games, no cups of coffee, no sisters making each other laugh until they start crying. I miss that.

5. However, my favorite thing about Christmas now, is The Kid's reaction to his gifts. Anything you give him, he has a heart attack, thanks you with kisses and screams and smiles and is just the most demonstratively appreciative child I've ever seen. I can't take any credit for raising such an appreciative child, because this is fully just part of his personality: he's demonstrative, he's energetic, he's enthusiastic. Best reactions ever? Here are the top three:

  1. 2005: My sister gave him Ice Bat. As soon as that toy was out of the package, The Kid began speaking in tongues (or possibly in Ice Bat language, I have no idea), to the Ice Bat, flying him around the room with gusto, and declared undying love, for the rest of his days, to the best ever stuffed animal bat ever made for all of time.

  2. 2004: Santa brings The Kid a stuffed animal snake. As he opens it, he screams, "Santa! I've always wanted a stuffed snake for Christmas! You know me! You really really know me so well! I love you Santa!"

  3. 2006: One of the things on The Kid's Dear Santa list is a penguin wearing a santa hat (why so specific? I do not know the answer to that). My sister found a little penguin, took a santa hat off of some ornament we had and sewed it to the little penguin. When The Kid unwrapped the present, he went into immediate, hard-core, laughter. He laughed to the point of crying, he couldn't stop laughing. Because laughter is so contagious, we all began to laugh, and for about five minutes, my entire family cried with laughter, all from a five dollar fat penguin stuffed animal, with a santa hat. It was a sublime moment.

6. Catholics will identify with this one: One of my favorite memories of Christmas was finally getting to sing Christmas songs in Church. The Catholic mass does not allow for the singing Christmas carols in mass until the actual Christmas mass. You might get a Lo, How A Rose Ere Blooming here and there during advent, but no First Noel, no Adeste Fideles, no Hark, The Herald Angels Sing until Christmas... Ah, but how I would bust out with those songs with all of my little Catholic heart on Christmas...

7. Halfway there. I'm now writing this as I'm about to go to my mom's house for my nephew's birthday party. He was born on 12/27/1995. Good lordy, he's twelve now.

8. My family gets together a lot. It's admirable. We love each other a lot, and we enjoy each other's company a lot. However, I had this sinking feeling, for the first time ever, on Christmas Eve, that it was just another night where we were all together again. We're together every week. Same cast, different occassion. Just being honest. I still love them... Its just a bit possible that when you see your family all the time, it's just kind of ordinary to get together. Then again, I wouldn't trade Friday night dinners at my mom's house for anything. They cap the week, they remove an entire menu from my grocery shopping list. They give me the opportunity to talk to grown ups outside of work.

9. My mom's Christmas dinner traditional entree is this wonderful stuff called hamloaf. I realize this does not sound very appetizing, or maybe it's just me: I don't like the word loaf all that much. Loaf. Say it out loud. Loaf. Ew.
But anyway. Hamloaf. It is just want it sounds like. Ham and pork, ground, in a loaf, baked. It gets all glazy, crispy and yummy on the outside, and is soft hammy goodness inside. You eat it with horseradish. It is the best thing ever.

10. Christmas always brings up memories, strangely enough, of my uncles. My dad had two bachelor uncles, they'd come for Christmas and all the other holidays, but I always remember them at this time of year. We'd play trivial pursuits with them. Or slap jack. Or name that tune. They would get into huge screaming fights with each other over really stupid trivial shit like whether I-40 headed east-west or north-south through Gallup, New Mexico. Those dudes just should have lived a little longer, just so that they could know the satisfaction of settling a dispute like that through Google Maps. Or Snopes. Or whatever. The internet. They really needed the internet.
There's also the year we rented A Christmas Story (like, before it was on constantly, remember that?) and they laughed til they cried, as they were depression-era kids too, and really appreciated all of the small details of that movie, as they had essentially lived it.

11. Okay. Almost done. I was supposed to do this fast. Not so good at the fasties. Um.... My favorite Christmas-season treat is Harry and David Moose Munch. You are more than welcome to send me some. Thanks.

12. I'm raised Catholic but in no way practicing. However, I'm strict with the Advent through Epiphany Christmas season thing. Many people don't even know what that means. Basically, it means that it's still okay to sing Christmas carols, since the three kings didn't show up while Mary was delivering the afterbirth, but instead took 12 more days. Of course, they probably didn't show up in exactly 12 days either, but you know, it's all biblically recorded that way, and for that reason, my Christmas tree will remain up, lights on in the evening, until January 6th.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas

This is all the time I can devote to blogging right now. I've got to go play Wii golf. Later.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

5 Songs of 2007

My friend Jaci and I often define years or seasons by the music we've listened to. Not like we're the only people in the world who do this, but she really got me thinking about it, as for Christmas, she sent me a CD of her songs of the year. Since I wasn't really around her more than two weekends of the year (she lives in Chicago), it was like she shared with me her moods of the year. And Jaci, the music of 2007 is not as depressing as past years. Did you notice that?

So, I got to thinking. What are my songs this year? What will I hear, years down the line, and think about 2007, or when The Kid was 7, or when I was 31? Here's 5:

1. Cat Power: The Greatest
This song is the depressing anthem of my drives to and from The Kid's hospital school days. Some of this bleeds into 2006, as he was in the hospital then too, but as I worked 5.5 hours a day, was falling apart as far as my duties there went, as I didn't appreciably clean my house for three months, as I just felt like sleeping for a good three months, this song was my anthem. What had I become? I was a shell.

2. Silversun Pickups: Lazy Eye
Same period of time, this was the alternate to The Greatest. The energy song. I have no idea what this song is actually about. But it's kind of building to angry, and has something to do with being unique, which emotionally, regardless of lyrics, hit me right on.

3. Rascal Flatts: My Wish
2007 is the year in which I stopped worrying and started to love the country music. It's The Kid's doing, actually. They listened to country music on his school bus, to and from school, and my awareness of all of this started during that bloated "Idol Gives Back" show, when Rascal Flatts performed this song, and The Kid sang every word. After the song, he turned to me and said, 'Mom, I think that's a good song for Kids to sing to their Moms. It's a good song for Moms to sing to their kids, too. It's a love song for families.' And so, it became "our" song. Cheesy? Gouda has nothing on the cheesiness of this song. Will it go down as one of my favorite songs ever? You better believe it.

4. Billy Joel: Summer, Highland Falls
Just listen to the lyrics. Bipolar theme song. Thing of beauty? Billy Joel does not get enough respect from my generation. Ben Folds, please cover this song for me. Thanks.

5. Journey: Don't Stop Believing
I became the ultimate in TV geek in 2007. I'm addicted. But also? TV has been incredible this year. I've had about 4 television-induced heart attacks this year, but no single television watching experience has ever, ever felt like watching the scene above, the first time I saw it. [Close runner up? All Along the Watchtower, Battlestar Galactica, end of season 3. I've also officially become a card-carrying geek in 2007. And I own it, yo.]

Other runners up? Impossible Germany by Wilco. Beirut, The Hold Steady and Lily Allen, my fave new bands/artists of this year. Hot Knives by Bright Eyes. Boy with a Coin by Iron and Wine.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Mr. Lady got me thinking about the food I buy for the week. Please, go over to This Post to proceed.

Soapy Water Family, Denver, USA $116.53

This, of course, is minus milk, minus the free lunches that I get through my job, and minus the random things I don't have to buy every week (like, how do you quantify the amount of mustard, ketchup, olive oil and balsamic vinegar you use in a week?), plus my shameful purchase of ingredients to make fudge, which honestly I've never done before (and then, of course, minus one major ingredient for said fudge that I somehow didn't make it home with).

But still, Damn. I spend a lot of money on food. There is also the $20 hair product I bought that I subtracted from my food total, and that without this exercise I would have never been clued in to having spent $20 on. That shit better make my hair really effing silky, that's all I'm saying.

What I really intend to say with this post: Food is an issue in this house. The Kid is incredibly involved in my choices for food. He intellectually knows what is good and what is not good for his body. His tastebuds, however, are yet to know these things. My favorite veggies, squashes, are like poison to him. He would eat cheetos for every meal if he had any choice in the matter.

When you have a kid that is healthy-food averse who also happens to have severe GERD, wonderful things happen. Lots and lots of puking. I think that the reflux is only a key in this puzzle in that the muscles needed for puking are so incredibly toned from the reflux, that the slightest gag will result in a full gastro-intestinal refusal to put certain foods into the digestive system. And so, whenever The Kid tries foods that he is grossed out by, there is often much puking.

If you wanted to create a general category of "Foods Which Make The Kid Puke" could be easily identified by the following characteristics:
1. Food is green
2. Food is naturally occurring, or at least is cultivated by humans in a natural setting and are then harvested from the earth in some form.

Ergo, getting The Kid to eat the foods that my body generally craves and that are my super favorite things in the whole world (I am so very much a vegetarian at heart), there is very little wiggle room.

It's a rough road. Over the last few months, though, I've really toed the line. I've said, Kid, you can go hungry, but tonight, we are eating ______ (insert: green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, tabbouleh, etc). This has sucked. He's been pissed at me. He has been really pissed at me. But the end result has found a number of foods he can stomach, and we can eat in peace. Among them: Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, and Peas.

I am still obsessed with beats, and I continue to try to convince The Kid that if he eats beats, his poop will turn purple. He has, as of today, remained both skeptical of my claim and has categorically refused to recognize that purple poop is in any way "cool." To this, I say, whatev. Purple is the best color, in whatever form it appears.

But seriously. I think I have some decent eating habits, myself. Except for the moose munch and godivas that are streaming into my office for the holidays, I actually prefer the healthy choice for food over the not-healthly. I've still got 15 pounds I'd prefer not to have, so whatever, I'm so imperfect. But still. I can blame at least 5 of those pounds on The Kid, right?

How to instill the good eating habits on children, though? When schools offer "Dominoes Pizza" for lunch, and your seven year old lectures you on the lameness on his ham sandwich and carrots in his lunch's inequities to "Dominoes Pizza" lunch days, how do you combat this? I say, "there are a lot of things out there that taste great, but our bodies are healthier with other things." This train of reasoning has failed for me.

At home, I struggle between time and intent. As a working mom, arriving at home, cooking, homework, QT, it's all muddled and over quick and needs to be easy. I'm pretty rocking at the quick, easy dinner, but still. Will he eat it? That's always the question.

It's funny, though, because it all became clear this weekend as I saw my sister is encountering the same problems from a different direction with her 11 year old daughter. My neice eats like a rabbit (heh, to Peggy, and anyone else who might get that joke). Friday night, she ate about three pieces of romaine lettuce and declared herself "full." Her brother teased her about being a "supermodel" eater. She feigned disgust at this claim. An hour later, dessert, a cheesecake w/ chocolate thing, was served. She started in wanting a piece of the cheesecake, when her mom usurped her and reminded her that if she was now hungry, she would be well served to eat some protein and other good things for her body before she went in for the dessert.

Basically, between my neice and The Kid, a great deal of what is wrong with American eating habits are personified. My neice is hyper conscious of eating right, but (at least on the night in question) starved herself of healthily filling, whole foods--we were having lasagne (and moderate portions as opposed to clean plates are encouraged around our tables)--but was willing to eat high-in-fat, high-in-calorie dessert, "as a treat." My son cannot abide real food, like, the food that really comes out of the ground or the farm and not a processing plant, and has a real (in my mind disgusting) preference towards high fructose corn syrup-laden, fake ass nasty ness such as ramen and chef boyardee and McDonalds.

I can't shy away from the fact that I've created my own monster here. He is my kid and I've fed him nasty nasty things that I never thought I'd eat regularly as an adult, like McDonalds, or Mac-n-Cheese, or Chicken Nuggets. But I resolved to stop ages ago. Like, more than a year ago, I stopped with the McDonalds (although I totally took him there once in the last year, but that was the day I got the Harry Potter book, so like, slip!, but also, more-uninterrupted-silent-reading-for-me!!!), I have been reading labels and have been anal about his coloric intake for a while now.

What to do? How to fix it? What did we eat? What did we not eat? I know I was always a gloriously non-picky eater. I still am. Part of me thinks I just got The Kid with every possible opposite personality trait from mine, with the picky eating and the social challenges, but part of me thinks that I have to work against a marketing machine that is so very much bigger than me. It's so big it's bigger than Ronald McDonald.

The end of this post? Will there ever be an end of this post? The beauty of blogging is that it is not professional. I do not need a conclusion. I am done talking about eating, and yet I am not. Please comment. Tell me what to do. Commiserate. Whatever. Just don't tell me that The Kid's eating of chicken nuggets is okay, because I disagree and will not listen to you anyway.

The end.

Ha. (sorry, weird mood).

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Okay, Okay, I'm done being done.

Kind of. I can't promise anything.

Because I'm a corporate drone, let's update with bullet points. I've been a citizen of a corporation so long, that when I am in a hurry, I just naturally gravitate towards the bullet point. This is officially the death of the grad student inside of me. Goodbye, longwinded narrative prose. Goodbye soul.

  • Have you ever seen that Office where Michael tells the office that they are getting laid off, make fabulous plans for the future, are excited about the change, and then find out they aren't getting laid off in the end and feel totally deflated as a result? That was me last week. I still have my job. Whoopee.
  • I fully realize how whiny that statement is. A lot of people would like to have jobs.
  • My boss's last day, however, is December 31. I am incredibly sad about this fact. He is one of the few things I truly love about my job.
  • The Kid's down-titration of meds is causing some major behavior issues. Or perhaps it is the fact that he's really obsessed with Christmas and isn't sleeping.
  • The Kid's doctor is still certain that we drop meds without adding anything else. Issues will sort themselves out.
  • I very reasonably and calmly informed the school of what's going on with the meds, and although they were initially very against the dropping of meds, I've gotten them to understand the impetus to do so, and how very vital it is to the health of The Kid to do so, although they still don't see that we had periods like this with the meds too, because we all think in frameworks and cause and effect of the easiest identifiable thing.
  • We meet tomorrow afternoon to discuss how best to handle the behaviors we're seeing.
  • They assure me they are not talking about a change of placement. I realize how fucked in the head I am still from the previous school's inability to create behavior plans and follow IEP's, because I find it hard to believe that they are this professional and willing to work with me to keep The Kid in school, to keep him safe, and to get him learning instead of spending time outside of the classroom calming down from anger.

Okay, I have to go to work. It also snowed like crazy this week and remained below freezing so driving sucks right now. I really hate snow. I'm not over last winter. I am dreaming of Hawaii.