Saturday, May 18, 2013

Help Needed For Harried Mother of a Teenage Girl

Help!  My daughter is suffering greatly from an unidentifiable affliction that seems to have appeared overnight.  Her facial muscles are lax, as though she's had a stroke, although when looked at directly her eyes roll slowly to the back of her head.  She seems to be having trouble breathing as she is constantly sucking in large gulps of air and releasing them while hissing and rocking her head back and forth.  I'm afraid that her leg muscles have atrophied, as she cannot seem to lift her feet from the ground and must shuffle around from room to room.  Her chain of thought is easily broken and a mumbled request often ends with a forced "nevermind".  This alarming symptom may be a sign that she is frustrated at herself for her inability to follow through or even formulate a single coherent thought.  And when she does excuse herself from social interaction, which always occurs about 1.25 minutes after attempting to re-integrate, she retreats to her room where I believe she is trying to be discreet about some involuntary muscle spasms that cause her to slam drawers and doors and force her to grunt like a pig rooting for truffles.  If there are any other girls around the age of 14 that are suffering from these or similar undiagnosable afflictions please contact me.  I have found an asylum where they can be housed until they are fit to be reintroduced into functioning society.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Geographical Tourette's

Do you think it's possible that geography can cause Tourette's? I live in Los Angeles. I moved here 10 years ago with my boyfriend (now my husband) and my daughter who was then 2 (and is currently just starting the universally known "Disaffected Youth Syndrome" - or DYSyouman. My other daughter, now 4 was born with DYSyouman). I swear (literally) that "shit" comes pouring into my brain and puddles out of my mouth the moment that I cross into the LA area. I feel joyful and relaxed coming back from visiting friends and family in San Diego. I'm watching the sun rays play through the June gloom along the coast of San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano. I'm blissfully reclined in the leather seat of my long-fought-against Honda minivan (yes folks, we chose the Honda) listening to Wilco or Arcade Fire, belly full from the coveted Los Panchos machaca burrito. Then, as though someone rammed a hot poker up my ass, I sit straight up in that reclined leather seat, curl my upper lip, jut my teeth out as far as they can buckfully extend, add more crevasse to my aging forehead, lengthen my neck in a damn good giraffe imitation, emphatically point and yell "hey you stupid motherfucker! what the fuck do you fucking think your doing you shit-eating ass-wipe! you and your motherfucking Mercedes need to pick a fucking lane you fuck-all idiotic bastard shit-fuck!" After I recover from this fit of peak, I look around at the faces of my family: older daughter in silent awe, wondering when this behavior will be acceptable for her; younger daughter with raised eyebrows which say "your in a s*&tload of trouble mom"; and my husband wondering what the hell happened to his wife and can he trade this crazy in for a new one? I then slowly look out of the front windshield through burning smog-laden sunset and discern the highway sign which reads: Cherry Ave next exit. Yes, we've officially crossed over the LA county line, and all car-joy has vacuously disappeared only to be replaced with frothy loathing and label-ridden judgements for all others on the infamous 405 freeway. Mercedes (by far the worst offenders) are filled with oblivious road-owners of elitist money-hungry Diasporas. BMW's carry fierce ladder-climbing Ayn Rand-ers and are the second worst offenders. Then there's the super SUV class of middle class nobles displaced in the LA area from New Jersey. Here you have the minivan moguls with their stick figure "family portrait" stuck to the back window next to the "baby on board" sign who drive 50 in the carpool lane and beg for the finger. (side note: I now play the minivan card as often as possible on the road for the sake of revenge. So if you are aggressively approaching that minivan and it seems to slow down considerably and the driver looks like an oblivious soccer mom with her oversized sunglasses and ponytail, she slowed down on purpose to see how pissed you might get - haha). Finally, here in LA, you have the owner of the Prius, who feels that any other car on the road in a monstrosity, all while inhaling that Big Mac after tossing their lighted butt out of the window. These thoughts and ideas permeate my view of the world, now that I have entered what I call "the asshole zone". Every morning, before I get in the car to drive my kids to school, I tell myself "here is another opportunity to rise above your GT (Geographical Tourette's) and feel positively about those on the road around you". So far, I have not been successful in this personal challenge and although I do refrain from shouting my protestations aloud while my children are held hostage to NPR in one of my 6 available backseats, I find the stream of profanity is alive and well, zooming around in my brain, bashing around the lobes, jumping on my cerebellum and pushing against the back of my teeth begging for escape. I am, however it may seem to you now, an optimist. I will still actively seek to overcome my GT. I will continue to challenge myself everyday to thinkgoodthoughts and liveingenerosity. I will work to catch that foul phrase before it jumps into the dog-stale air of my car. In the meantime, I am also researching others places to live. Far Far Far Far away from LA.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Possible Autobiographical Book Titles

The Landmark Forum Made My Husband A Sap (and other reminders that you should be careful what you wish for)

Before I Had Children I was _________ (mad-libs for moms)

From Girl Scout Cookies to Bake Sales - Primary Education's Complicity in Post-Pregnancy Weight Gain

And A Hush Fell Over the Room - The Day One Mother Abandoned Her Family to Do One Thing for Herself

Spandex Optional - One Mother's Superheroic State of Mind

A Cynics Guide to Appreciating Your Children's Artwork

Talk Dirty to Me - Diapers, Snot, Lice, and Puberty and how to Survive it All

Bedroom on Fire - How to Turn Your Revulsion into Desire (and the upside of going blind)

Your Vacation, My Vacation - And Other Separate Pleasures After Marriage

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Culinary Conundrum

In my life, food is both a joy and a burden. As a single young parent, my mothers priority was never food, but money and individual freedom. Our most elaborate meals occurred during the fall and winter holidays, prepared by my enormous Irish-Catholic family. Those were wonderful gatherings. My ten aunts and uncles and tiers of cousins that I still have trouble identifying when befriended by on Facebook. When we weren’t celebrating however, mealtimes were often relegated to digging through the refrigerator with my younger sibling for iceberg lettuce, or jarred pickles, or pawing for change in the couch to buy a burrito to share from Roberto’s taco stand while my mother prepared herself for whatever nighttime job came her way. We often went hungry and were starved for more than food. Suffice it to say, I did not know how to cook much more than a tuna sandwich.

As I struck out on my own I found work in fine restaurants, and at the same time became very close with a community that used mealtimes as social vehicles. Most evenings were spent with various people both friends and strangers. Food preparation was communal and inspirational, the company eclectic. I slowly learned the connection between food and life and experimented with various customs and ethical eating choices. My culinary educators ranged from a quintessential Jewish matriarch, a nihilistic macrobiotic, a classically trained French chef, and Food Network television just to name a few.

When my first daughter Sara was born, food became my foundation for motherhood. I defined the kind of mother I was by how I fed my family. In the beginning, it was easy. We still lived within our community that had instilled my gastronomic and social values. Before Sara turned two, my husband finished college and we moved to Los Angeles to start his career. We left absolutely everybody. I found myself in this highly traditional role of isolated American homemaker (my husband works a minimum of 13 hours a day) and meals became lonely and arduous. Food started to become a burden, demanding and unpleasant. My husband, who had enjoyed my rambunctious crazy community, would still be just as content to eat a Big Mac and some Doritos while watching Monday Night football. He would be no help in reinvigorating my mealtime fantasies.

We’ve been in Los Angeles for almost a decade now and I would love to say that I’d been able to re-create what I found so stimulating in my youth, but I haven’t. I randomly get a group together and I still try to traditionalize Thanksgiving. I’m in no way resigned to food and meals being just a place or time to eat. I’ve read Barbara Kingsolver, Michael Pollan and Fast Food Nation. I get bursts of motivation where I’m back at the Farmer’s Markets and I’m still searching for that perfect co-op. But I truly believe that it takes a village, and my current community is SFV mom’s who are all incredibly busy, too busy to stop and open that amazing bottle of super-Tuscan over homemade osso bucco and I’m not sure they want to talk politics anyway. It’s still extremely important for me to sit down each night at the table and share the time with my family. I plan, organize and execute all our meals. Most with care, sometimes it’s all I can muster to open that can of chicken noodle soup. I can quantify the joy in my life by the quality of food on my table, the attention given to the meal and the lively banter, even if it is just the four of us. And life’s still good.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bitter? Moi?

Grouchiness, the transient disease, has found it's way into my being and supplanted all rational goodwill. I can feel wiry hairs growing from my ears and nose. My eyebrows are becoming bushy and the crevasse between them deep and foreboding. Long in tooth (figuratively - not!), lower lip weighted with disappointment, chin receding into the flesh of my neck, all which pine to meet my shoulders stooping toward the next disaster. My upper lip is glued into sneering pessimism, eyes full of rejection say "get lost!" Grouchiness crawls along my skin looking for a way in. Once inside, Grouchiness swims through my blood shrivelling my abdomen. Riding to my lungs, every exhale a complaint, Grouchiness sweeps into my heart for it's final stab and I buckle; somewhere inside there another piece of joy withers. Exhausted and beaten, Lethargy takes over, Grouchiness skulks away to hide, and if I'm lucky hard sleep until morning. Start again, try again. Today I will not invite Grouchiness to dine at my table and make all miserable. I will rescue my joy with a tender embrace then hold it up for all to see. I will share it with you, my head held high, face flushed and eyes atwinkle. A smile emerges, laughter follows and all within feels light and clean. Dreaming?

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Simple Key to Happy Life

I have a friend, who met her husband a few years ago. They had a fairytale romance of prince and princess, eyes for only each other. "Penelope" and "Colin" were pledged soul mates who had weaved their weary way through the frosty world into each others waiting arms. They soon wed, and shortly before the wedding Penelope had a conversation with another friend, "Susan", who had been married for almost 20 years. They spoke of some of the trials and tribulations, arguments, out and out brawls that married couples may encounter. My delusional punch-drunk-love-bitten friend said to this seasoned matron that she could "understand this could be how it is for less fortunate folk". However, she and her beau would not fall victim to the same diseases run rampant on us unenlightened couples. They had truly found the fountain of pure, everlasting love and adoration. When Susan did relate this tale to me, we had a fantastic laugh, a knowing glance at one another, and said: "just wait." Penelope relocated from her home country to her husbands and has recently called Susan to say that she has since kicked him out due to his overall inability to "get" her. Colin has failed to remain as devoted to the relationship as she, unable to maintain their former nirvana, and could not truly be the man she married. As Susan is the wise sage of our circle, Colin also called her to lament that he has tried desperately to please, (or avoid displeasure) yet falls short every time and asked for advice. Susan, gentle and nurturing, gracefully tactful told Colin that all Penelope really wants (as does every wife) is "a woman with a penis".
My own husband wooed a wonderful love story for us as well. He was spontaneous, romantic and full of adventure. We kissed for hours under the moonlight and waxed lyrical about the life we would create together. About endurance and devotion resulting in the ultimate bond where we would collapse in an elderly embrace somewhere on the craggy cliffs of the pacific northwest, after raising beautiful children and seeing them plentifully provided for, now raising our grandchildren who would adore us and come for visits of hot cocoa and oatmeal cookies. I bought it hook, line and sinker. If I were to still believe in our own love story, we would be rooted in the endurance stage for the last 5 years.
See, husbands and wives really are fundamentally different in so many ways. Men do not sit around and ponder if the relationship is headed in the the right direction. They don't worry about our happiness and wonder if we are satisfied and content. They don't stand in front of the mirror, turning to see every angle and possible protrusion both wanted and unwanted asking themselves "will this dress and haircut make her happy?" Men are like cheetahs. They use up all their energy in the chase and then need to take a breather (for a good decade or so). Husbands have two indicators, at most, as to what calls them to action in their marriage: are we having sex? and is she nagging me? If the answers to these questions are (former and latter) yes and no, then there is no need to do anything at all but come home, plop on the couch and fondle the remote. If the answers are reversed then, well, a little more time is spent in the bathroom or garage.
Poor Penelope, I do not envy her stage in the marriage house. The disillusion, and possible dissolution if you don't recover from your heavenly euphoria. It took years to grasp the reality that marriage is a really great friendship in which you may have sex occasionally. Your husband will never "get" you, that's what your girlfriends are for. So have your sex then call your best friend to chat while your husband snores away blissfully. Simple key to happy life. And, I've decided, in the next life: he's the woman.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Things To Look Forward To

A list of things to eagerly look forward to when you decide to have children:

1. 8am is sleeping in
2. 8pm is staying up late
3. Instant stupidity monitor (your children)
4. Understanding clothing size 2x
5. Your bi-weekly shower
6. Inability to shave bikini line due to stomach obstruction
7. Nipple adjustments - to avoid "looking" south while the other "looks" west
8. Referring to nipples as though they have eyes
8..............................................................................unexpected loss of focus
9. Loss of vocalubary and alibity to speak tanive longue
10. Loss of sexual appetite
11. Increase of ice cream appetite
12. Relating to "Everybody Loves Raymond"
13. Relating to your parents
14. Becoming your parents
15. Most exciting event - being able to poop OR not having to use wet-wipes when you do
16. The "Sneeze-Pee"
17. Hemorrhoids - no it's not a character from Star Wars
18. Night Out On The Town: Dinner at the Olive Garden and a jaunt over to Lowe's
Just a little information for those contemplating the joys of parenthood