They Said There’ll Be Peace On Earth

The Horror!  Five days left to go in the month and I miss a day.  So much for blogging every day during the National Blog Posting Month.  Maybe I’ll post twice today to make up for it.

I wish I could say I forgot because I was too busy scoring great deals on Black Friday.  Wait, no I don’t.  I hate crowds – why on earth would I want to deal with that many people all at once?  I’m not always convinced the deals are that great, really, and the whole experience seems to bring out the worst in some people.

I was reading an article on this morning that described the troubles several people had during their Black Friday shopping trips.  There’s one woman who was arrested for cutting in line so she could score a deal.  Her excuse? 

” “I just wanted to get my daughter the toy that she wanted for Christmas, which probably won’t be there when I go today,” Lanessa L. Lattimore, 21, told CNN.”

What, like the rest of people in line were just there for their own amusement?  Pay your dues like the rest of us, Lanessa.  If you want the deal, work for it.  If you’re not willing to work for it, then stay home.   And for goodness’ sake, don’t threaten to kill the people behind you in line when they complain about you cutting in, then feign surprise when you get arrested.  Ignorant twit.

No, I’m glad I wasn’t dealing with Black Friday lines.  Instead, I was dealing with (thankfully short) lines first at the pediatrician’s office, then at the radiology lab.  The Youngest was sporting a 104.3 fever on Thanksgiving night.  In combination with bad pain in her side, it almost sent us to the ER.  A dose of Tylenol brought enough relief that we held out for sick clinic on Friday morning, where blood work results led the doctor to give her a shot of Rocephin in each thigh and then send her for chest x-ray.  She has to go in for repeat blood work this morning.  Her fever was down last night, though, so hopefully she’s on the mend.

All of the Turkey Day sickness made me think of one of my favorite Christmas songs, “I Believe in Father Christmas” by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.  The song ends with “Be it Heaven or Hell – the Christmas we get we deserve.”

It surely wasn’t heaven, nor was it hell, but I wonder what we did to get that type of Thanksgiving?  Hopefully Christmas is a bit calmer.  Still, it was nice to have an excuse to spend some mostly quiet time together.  Now, if we can just get rid of all the coughing….

Well, I’m All Grown Up Now

Happy Thanksgiving!  For the first time ever, we’re spending it alone as a family of five.  Usually we join my Bestest’s extended family to celebrate the holiday, rotating the holiday among families so we all share in the I-95 corridor holiday driving pain fun.  This year, though, we’re spending it alone in the house of great illness.

It’s not all that bad, really.  For starters, we’re all still in our jammies at past 2 pm.  We got up when we wanted (well, except for me – the Son needed help with breakfast).  We had yummy chocolate croissants for breakfast while watching the Macy’s Parade.  When Santa finally made his appearance, the Christmas season officially started.  With that, we started blasting the Christmas music.  Our iTunes Christmas playlist has 22.5 hours of songs – we’re good to go for a while.

Still, it feels weird not to be surrounded by lots of family on Thanksgiving.  We do have our virtual family on hand, though – Facebook has been buzzing all day with well wishes.  I love that we’re so far away from our loved ones yet still so connected at the same time.

My “Grown-Up Christmas List” is far different than the one I would’ve thought of as a child, but so are many other things.  I guess the key to a happy life is flexibility.  It may not be the life I thought I wanted, but its the life I love having.  My little, happy family, all snug and warm in our small, delicious-smelling house.  In the end, it doesn’t get much better than this.

I’m Not Proud…Or Tired

So here it is – the day before Thanksgiving, the official start to the holiday season. Time to get in our car, drive to Grandma and Grandpa’s House in the Woods, and enjoy a delicious feast.

One out of three ain’t bad, right?

No holiday is truly complete without a sick child. The Youngest is taking the hit for the family this time. She started with a sore throat, then added a cough and runny nose, and finally a high fever. She then proceeded to erase any doubt of whether or not we’d make the trip by vomiting. If at all possible, I try not to have puking kids in my car. It’s bad enough that they sometimes puke en route; taking an actively puking child is not going to happen. All of the talk of going seemed moot regardless, since my Bestest has followed up pneumonia with an allergic reaction to his antibiotics. He’s a mess too.

So instead of going over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house, we’re going to hang out at home. It’s not the day we’d planned, but one thing will stay on schedule: the annual playing of Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant.”

Won’t Let Nobody Hurt You

And so it came to pass, on the day before the day before Thanksgiving break, that some little shit decided it would be a good idea to sexually harass my baby in the middle of their sixth grade classroom. It was not the best decision he’s ever made.

This boy exhibited the kind of behavior that would get you punched in a bar. In a workplace, it would get you fired. In the classroom today, it got a look of shock and a quick avoidance from the Eldest. She felt too shy to tell the teacher and instead waited until she got home to tell first me, and then both of us. The reaction was swift – first we told her that his behavior was unacceptable and that she was right to come to us. Then my Bestest wrote a strongly worded email to the Principal and her teacher. It’s a letter I could’ve written as well, but he’s better at that sort of thing and besides – a letter from a concerned father about his baby girl being sexually harassed tends to be taken more seriously than when the mother writes the same letter.

The response from her school was just as swift – her principal emailed us back, assuring us that it would be taken care of. He added the guidance counselor to the email. Her teacher emailed and called us, reassuring us (and the Eldest) that things would be taken care of and that if the Eldest had any concerns ever, she should feel free to talk to the teacher or guidance counselor. The guidance counselor emailed us as well. We’re happy with the school’s response so far.

It just infuriates me that we have to have this conversation with the Eldest now. She just turned 12. Except this isn’t the first time we’ve talked about it. She had a similar, though less invasive, experience in third grade. What the hell is wrong with kids these days? If the Son ever did something like that, he’s be grounded forever at best. We talk to all of them about how to treat each other and others with respect. Are other parents not having these types of conversations?

We can’t protect our kids from everything. What we can do – and what we did over and over today – is reassure them that we have their backs. The Eldest and her siblings know that we’ll fight for them. Granted, we did have to tell her that calling him a “Fucking pervert” was unacceptable (just “Pervert”, thanks – she’ll get in trouble for the curse word). Any other action necessary, though – go for it. We told her to protect herself when and if she needs to, even in the classroom in the middle of a lesson. We’ll take care of the rest. We’ll always stand by them.

Now I Lay Me Down (Not?) to Sleep

My Bestest has been taking extra good care of me for the past several weeks/months, both pre- and post-plica removal surgery.  He’s done most of the grocery shopping, school pick-ups and drop-offs, a lot of the cooking, and all of the heavy lifting.  Now that my knee is almost healed at three weeks after surgery, it’s his turn to be sick.  Poor thing has pneumonia.

I’m grateful the universe has at least provided us with good timing.  I just hope the rest of us don’t get sick too.  The Youngest seems a bit sniffly already, which is significant.  She also has a tummy ache, which may or may not be.  Such is life with Eosinophilic Esophagitis – maybe she’s getting sick or maybe she’s just reacting to something she ate.  Time will tell.

It’s looking like the elder two will outlast the rest of us.  My Bestest is exhausted, I’ve been up since 3:30 am (oh, hey there early menopause!), and the Youngest is crashing.  Hopefully a few good threats will get them through the night with few disturbances.  Otherwise, I’m hearkening back to our theme song from when they were little – the Barenaked Ladies’ “Who Needs Sleep?”

My Hometown

After reading a Facebook post from a childhood friend this morning, I decided to check out our old stomping grounds. Boy, how things change. And how they don’t. A quick scan through Google maps reveals a lot of different stores that I don’t remember being there. I’m sure if I looked a little more closely, there would be a lot of new developments too. New houses, new stores, new people – this is my hometown?

But my hometown is just that – somewhere I came from. It’s under no obligation to stay the static place that exits in my memory. That’s actually a silly concept anyway. It was changing the whole time I was growing up. Why should it stop now that I’m gone?

I’m very grateful for New Jersey’s Farmland Preservation Program. It’s guaranteed that some of my hometown will always look the same. Long Valley has always had a large farming community. I grew up with cornfields in my back yard. It’s a little bit of heaven in a state that’s not known for being pretty, despite having the nickname of “The Garden State.” Look at this picture – isn’t it gorgeous?


The farms, the hills, the small town atmosphere made me feel safe, but at the same time they made me long for the city. I’ve always enjoyed spending time in The City, and any other busy, bustling place. The City (aka NYC) was about an hour away; just close enough to escape to. I loved to go there as a kid – to feel like I could be lost in a crowd instead of known practically everywhere.

A few years after we married, my Bestest and I headed up to LV for a visit. We had to get a tire fixed (darned I-95 potholes), so we dropped the car off at the tire place before heading to the dentist’s office where my mother worked. This being the time before cell phones were commonplace, we just gave the dentist’s phone number to the tire dealership so they could call us when it was done. The dealer looked at the number and said “hey, Dr. Gaudio’s office!” Freaked my Bestest out completely – he’s never lived in a small town like that. To me, it was just home. That’s how things worked.

It’s easy to make LV sound so idealistic now that I’m gone. It is, and it isn’t. But in the end, it was a really fantastic place to grow up. I hope my kids remember their hometown as fondly as I do mine.

** Photo courtesy of NJN Public Television and Radio.


…and there I was, trying to think about what to post for today.   All I could think was, what the hell was I thinking, signing up for NaBloPoMo?  One post a day, for a month?  Me?

But here I am.  Content-less, but here nontheless.  When I tried to pin down a song that I could write to (what in fresh hell was I thinking, making this month’s theme ‘trying to relate the post to a song’??  Idjit.) I came up with nothing.  No inspiration.  Gotta get going, though, keep on working, crack the whip…oh, hey!

‘Minimum Wage’, by They Might Be Giants, never fails to amuse nor to drive the point home – gotta get the job done, no matter what.

Minimum Wage! from Tallulah on Vimeo.

When I’m Stuck With a Day

I think I’m finally approaching Zen Parenting. I doubt I’ll ever be fully zen – I’m way to much of a stress puppy for that – but I am finally learning to occasionally just roll my eyes and keep going after I get bad news instead freaking out and freezing. Yesterday’s episode was yet another of the Youngest’s efforts to keep her health status as “interesting.”

We’ve long since given up trying to list all of her illnesses, except on medical history forms. Even then, it’s a challenge to keep them all straight. While she was in the doctor’s office yesterday, I commented to the nurse that the best part of their computer system is that there’s finally space to list all of the conditions she has. They ran out of room at the top of her paper chart a few years back; she’s 8 now. I guess most kids have only a few, if any, items of concern or note. She’s certainly picking up the slack.

So yesterday, when I got a call from her teacher detailing an episode of what we all think were two seizures, I just took notes, called the doctor, made an appointment, and kept going. No freaking. Just a call to my Bestest to keep him in the loop. Lesser things would wait ’til the end of the workday, but this one was important. Besides, he was able to leave work early so I could take the youngest to the doctor on her own. Oh, and I thanked her teacher for being observant. I love her teacher.

In the past, I would’ve freaked out a lot more. Not that it would’ve helped any, but it’s a natural reaction. I can’t decide if I’m becoming numb to all of this or if I’m just treating this like a business transaction. It’s just one of the things that we’ve dealt with early and often since the Youngest was born. She shows no signs of slowing down. Thank goodness nothing has been very serious. Concerning, yes. Oh, heck yes. But nothing life-threatening and that’s what’s important.

The Youngest is a remarkably resiliant child. After all of the IVs, injections, and blood tests she’s had, she’s no longer afraid of needles. Last year, while they were getting their flu shots, the Son was nervous. The Youngest just looked at him and said, “Let me show you how it’s done!” She walked past him, rolled up her sleeve, presented her arm to the nurse, and took the shot without a wince. After that performance, there was nothing left for the other two than to emulate her. I don’t know if she really wasn’t scared or was just acting like she’s not, and I don’t care. She’s dealing with it. I’m very proud of her.

The Reigning Queen of Pink is her nickname, and I can’t think of a song that represents her better than “Tomorrow” from Annie. No matter how bad things are, nor how bad her mood, you can always count on her to bounce back with a smile. Sometimes (ok, often) I feel badly that she’s dealing with all of this. Then I think that maybe she’s the one best suited to deal with it. She’s spunky, just like Annie. Here’s hoping she finds her own ‘happily ever after’ someday.

Something (not-so) Wicked This Way Comes

Tonight’s the night! The (sort-of) final Harry Potter movie will start showing in theatres at midnight. Well, part 1 anyway. I usually despise it when franchises are dragged out, but in this case I’m thrilled they’re taking the time to do the books justice.

Part 1 of The Deathly Hallows promises to be a great adventure. Still, I can’t help but thinking that The Prisoner of Azkaban will always be my favorite HP movie. Alfonso Cuaron got the mood of the movie just right. After the scary sweetness of the first two films, Harry really started growing up. That movie helped the franchise turn into more than just a series of kids films. It was the perfect transition into the darkness of the films that followed. I’d really hoped to see what he’d do with the rest of the HP series, but it was not to be.

While my wish for Cuaron to return as director for DH was dashed, I am very happy that John Williams has returned to score DH. Williams is responsible for many classic musical moments in the HP movies, as well as countless other classics. I love his addition of “Double Trouble” performed by the Hogwarts choir -and frogs? It’s that sort of odd detail that made PoA so interesting to me.

I’ve Seen You on T.V.

I admit it – I’m a sucker for Cheese. I loooove me some Cheese – that is, anything that’s cheesy and entertaining with little intellectual value. TV is my favorite form of Cheese delivery, but I’m also fond of magazines and other news reports. In a pinch, any form of Cheese will do, but I really love awards shows and anything else that involves pretty dresses and other eye candy.

Yesterday, I found out I’d be hitting the Cheese Jackpot next summer – a royal wedding. Prince William finally proposed to his longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton, setting the stage for what promises to be a Cheese Extravaganza. From now until months after the wedding, we’ll be inundated by all sorts of Cheesy goodness. It’s a dream come true for many royal watchers and a happy occasion for others. After all, who doesn’t like a good wedding?

Thing is, there are other wedding coming up that won’t receive a fraction of the attention that the Royal Wedding will. Why? Because the don’t involve famous people. I’m not sure who has the better deal. Watching someone on tv can make us feel like the person is close to us, even if we’ve never met. I fondly watching remember Prince Charles’ and Princess Diana’s wedding on TV. I also remember reading about their marriage breakdown and eventual divorce. Their lives were lived out on a stage. Now their son is taking his turn. I hope his marriage turns out far differently.

One of the nicest things I read was that Price William proposed to Kate Middleton using his mother’s engagement ring, so that Princess Diana could be part of that day with him. It’s a lovely yet bittersweet way for him to remember his mother. I’m sure she’d be pleased with her son’s choice of future spouse. But then, how can I be? I never had the chance to meet her. I only know what I’ve read about her and seen on tv. It seems, well, Cheesy for me to comment on an occasion that I am not involved it. But the magic of Cheese is that we feel involved, if only for just a moment. It’s not reality, though – also the definition of good Cheese. It’s en escape for us, even if the involvement of others is very real.

One thing I do know about Princess Diana is that one of her favorite groups was Duran Duran. She reportedly loved their song “Rio.” So do I. I don’t listen to them much anymore. I left my devotion to the behind in the 80s. Like all good Cheese, sometimes things go past their prime.