Friday, September 28, 2012

Why Nothing Gets Done

So, I went out to get my mail one day last week.  Now, I can say in all honesty that I am not very good at picking up the mail.  In fact, I usually stink at it.  As in, I don't pick it up.  The reason for that is there are two things that come in the mail:  trouble and junk.  The former I have enough of in the person of caterpillars, weeds, hard water residue, and muscle stiffness.  The latter makes me fearful for the future of the planet and therefore, crazy.

BUT.  I have been trying to be better about the mail.  Because T. has enough to do without sorting out the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.  So, I went and got the mail every day last week.  And last Tuesday, this was what I got.  This is ONE DAY'S mail.

The stack on the left:  junk mail.  The stack in the middle:  the worst kind of junk mail, the ones with the plastic envelopes that don't recycle. The stack on the right:  mail, as in one magazine, one bill, one coupon, and one check.  Four items out of what had to be 25 were actual, real mail.  When I think of the time I spend going through it all, I feel sick.  When I think of the trees, I feel murderous.

So, this week, I am taking a stand.  You should to.  Here's a great website to get you (me) started.

Declutter this.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Reality Check

G has been hit with the reality that is junior year.  She was really freaked out over the summer about the  number of AP and preAP classes (5).  She was really freaked out about AP Spanish IV because she's "luckily" scored the two easiest Spanish teachers for Spanish II and III, which is great when you're in it.  It's not so great when you hit Spanish IV with the rest of the kids who are actually ready for Spanish IV.  Surprisingly, though, this year has been pretty easy for her.  She's had homework, sure.  Some late-ish nights.  But all-in-all, she's had time to watch a little TV, hang with friends, compulsively clean her room.  All the usual things.

You know how life doesn't always space things out for you?  T had the worst June I've ever seen when he had two several hundred-page documents due for work.  Any week that grades were due were inevitably paired with multiple roadblocks, development days, and computer snafus.  It just happens.  And you have to take those weeks as they come, do your best, and move on.

This year, I've been very intentional about how I parent my older child.  I am trying very hard to pull back and let her make her own decisions.  For those of you who know me, you can stop laughing now.  I really am succeeding fairly well with this.  Because I have to.  Because in two years, she'll be gone.  She'll be at a wonderful school, having wonderful experiences, but she'll still be gone.  So she's got to learn to self-direct, self-manage, and self-soothe.  And she's done quite well with that so far.  She has really supportive teachers, and the things that she really feared have not come to pass.

Until now.   And her luck ran out in Spanish IV.  They had a quiz this week.  She stayed up until 12:30 studying for the quiz.  She made a 0.  As in ZERO.  Nada.  Nadie.  Zilch.  I don't even know how to process that.  She said that most of the non-native speakers made 0s, 5s, and 15s.  The native speakers made 25s.  Putting aside the argument that if scores are that low, it might be a teacher issue rather than a student issue, but still.  It's demoralizing.  And scary.  And I hurt for her.  And no matter how much I tell her that I know that she is working hard, she frets.  It makes the next assignment that much more important.  And it's due tomorrow.  And that doesn't include the pre-Cal test.  Or the AP History test.  Both of which are also tomorrow.

And as much as I want to run in and call the teacher and schedule the tutoring for her, that's not what will help her in the long run.  She will get there.  She will be okay.  She will leave me to make her own way in the world.  And sometimes it will be hard.  Failure and struggle are often much more educational than success.  And that's a lesson that I have no control over.

But it still sucks.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dear Ina,

Okay.  I'm back.  And I'm sorry.  It seems like having no actual job would make it easier to sit your ass down and write, but apparently  I'm wrong. I've made a shitload of notes.  I've started some stories, but other things got in the way.  I'll start filling in the gaps as I can, but tonight, it's time for a love letter to Ina.  Because, let's face it, only Ina can bring you back from the depths of writer's block (or laziness.  Whatever. You say potato).

Dear Ina, 

I love you.  There, I said it.  You probably already knew that since I cook from your books and link to your recipes way more than anyone else.  But I love you more than that.  I love that all your recipes come out looking just like they do in the book.  I love it that you DEMAND that people enjoy themselves while cooking, that you insist that I buy some parts of my dinner party and focus on some really good food.  I love that you've been married to your high school sweetheart for 44 years.  

And mostly, I love it that you're a little chubby.  I love it a lot.  Because no one that likes food and wine as much as we do (see how I called us "we"?) is going to look like Giada.  All due respect to her, but sister ain't really eating all that pasta, if you know what I mean.  I love it that you're real, and that you make fun of yourself.  And I really, really, really love your Basil Chicken Hash, which BOTH of my children ate the shit out of tonight.



Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Myth Busters

Okay.  So, I cheated.  I bought unsanctioned food from a restaurant yesterday.  My head hangs in shame.  Here is my story.

Hi.  My name is Mama O.  
Hi, Mama O.

I'm a roll-a-holic.
It's okay.

No, it's really not.  You see, I used to work right across the street from this magical place called Golden Chick.  And Golden Chick was the place where you went when your students were mean to you.  Or when you had a bad day.  Or when you had a good day.  Or when it was Fuzzy Friday.  Or really, any day.  
What did they have there?

Golden Chick had yummy, fried tenders.  They had creamy, peppered white gravy.  And they had yeast rolls.  Yeast rolls that were better than any white-flour carb you ever put in your mouth.  And they were brushed in butter.  No, not butter, but some kind of even better fake oil/butter hybrid that got all over your fingers and never went away no matter how often you washed your hands.  They were like crack.  I would stop by on the way home from work and get a large diet coke and two rolls.  Sad.  Sad.  Sad.  All I can say is that on the eighth day, God created Golden Chick. And it was good.
So, what happened?

I wish I could say that I just gave it up because it was not good for me.  But I didn't.  First, I quit working across the street.  This was sad, but I still had friends there, so I would drop by for a tender snack from time to time (2 tenders, sub the fries for an extra roll, and a large diet coke).  Then, they switched to Pepsi.  This was the first sign of Satan in the garden.  
So, you stopped going?

I did.  Our family was on the project.  I wasn't working.  There was just no reason to go.
Then, why are you here?

This afternoon, I was so tired.  I've started running again, and I go at 5:15 in the morning, which makes you tired.  And when I'm really tired, I want yeast rolls.  No, I didn't actually run today, but who's counting?  I was headed to the girls' tennis meet in Wimberley, a town nearby, the turnoff for which is dangerously close to Golden Chick.  I tried to resist, but I needed a notebook.
They have notebooks at Golden Chick?

No, they have notebooks at the Dollar General, which shares a parking lot with Golden Chick.  So, you see, it wasn't my fault.
It wasn't your fault that you drove through the parking lot to Golden Chick, ordered a roll and a large iced tea, paid for the roll, what?  Two rolls?  Took them from the cashier and pulled out of the parking lot with your yeasty, greasy booty?

Huh, when you say it that way, it sounds much worse.  But here's the good news.  They weren't very good.  Yes, they were still hot and really greasy, but somehow they didn't live up to the memory of them.  I had built them up so high because they really did make me feel better when things were tough (emotional eating could take up three more years of therapy, but I'll leave that for another time). This time, they tasted fake and overly salty.  Could the quality have dipped?  Sure.  Could I have attributed powers to those rolls that they didn't actually have?  Maybe.  But I realized that maybe this project is slowly retraining my tastebuds not to need fast food.  And maybe it's okay for a yeast roll not to have to be my savior anymore.
So, did you eat them all anyway?

Fuck off.