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Momcation

I haven’t been by myself in a house for an extended amount of time in… Years. I always have my son (15) or my dad (95) around or coming back. It’s wonderful. I love my family. But….

I used to love living by myself too. I’ve always kept myself occupied– readings writing, television. I’m not one that gets bored and stays bored. The quiet is a friend of mine- it allows a moment of reflection, a deep sigh.

Thanks to Caltrans and my Best friend I just had that. A glorious Sunday through Thursday morning where I stayed in a house all by my lonesome. Caltrans closed the freeway that I need to get to work. (Not a work vacation, alas). My BF is travelling, and offered her house. I have to tell you….

It. Was. Glorious.

I wrote and sent out cards. I didn’t cook ANYTHING. Frozen all the way. And after work, I went to the real happiest place on earth, Barnes and Noble, and bought many wonderful magazines. One was brand new to me, called Oh, Reader and I read every single article in it. Which has inspired me– to do magazine reviews. Share what I’m loving. Maybe a few book reviews in there too.

The fact is that I miss blogging. I miss sharing the things I love, and boy do I love books and magazines!

I love my family. Of course I do.

But I missed myself, and didn’t even realize what had been missing in my life was ME.

Memory Tree

How do you decorte your Christmas tree? Some do designer level decorating, all gorgeous and color coordinated. Others do theme trees, and they make you go WOW!

I know you know that’s not me. I appreciate a gorgeous tree, but the one I do is not perhaps gorgeous to anyone else. It doesnt have the same meaning for them though….

Because I have a memory tree.

First, a side bar. Be careful about your attitude when ecorating with your kiddos. It always made me anxious when the Princeling was younger– 5 ornaments clumped together? This whole section bare? He is 14 now and wants nothing to do with decorating the tree. Was it me, or was it being 14 and a boy and all the other stuff?

So I had Pops, 94, sitting next to the tree and was showing and talking and having fun while the boy child was xboxing. (NOTE: WE DID NOT BREAK QUARANTINE. WE LIVE TOGETHER. )

And we talked about all the decorations. Some are mine from being a teen, bought either by my mom or my sister. Theyve been mine for years. And there are 3 family ones, from before i was born, bought in Trinadad when Dad was stationed there.

A cable car from a trip to San Francisco with Regina. A modern, weird Mickey one from our second trip to Disney- one ear broken off during the flight home. A metal version, with jingle bells, that one of my besties bought me because mine broke. A star fish from Monterey, an abolone from Fort Bragg. And one and on and on. Small little beaded ornaments handmade by (the boychilds daycare/other mother) Miss Dawns Grandma, both of whom have since passed.

I have a memory tree.

And it is gorgeous.

What about your tree?

Holiday Conversation Starter

So I’m working on a special treat for my Christmas cards, wanting to “up my game.” It involves Christmas traditions that I love, memories of the holiday and of course my secret talents. Others have wonderful themes that make my eyes turn green with their creativity (I’m looking at you, Drea!).

So i started asking people two questions. 1. What is your favorite Holiday tradition, both from when you were a kid and now. And 2. What was your favorite present as a child at Christmas? These questions work across generations, too.

And it brings you closer to your family. Because in this time of Corona, there might not be a lot under the tree. We can always give of ourselves, tho. The gift of listening. Maybe a secret talent. Maybe just being a voice on the phone.

During World War II, Dad returned home at Christmas time. He brought his mom and sister a roll of… tinfoil like tape. It was used to jam radar devices while flying. My Auntie Mary told me the story, about how he brought it home and they used it to decprate the tree. They were poor– a poor we can’t imagine now. But that tape…. that tinfoil tape made her holiday.

Do yourself a favor and ask questions. Make up your own, or use mine. But ask. Find out about life in the family before you were born. It is the best gift you can give yourself. I have very few stories of my mom’s childhood, because she died when I was 24. Before I knew I needed those stories.

The holidays will be different. But that doesn’t mean they have to be horrible. Wrap yourself in your family’s stories, write them down and savor them. Who knows, Next year, you can turn those answers into a game of trivial pursuit!

Christmas

Its a little early, but I love me some Christmas, especially when I am a little down. 2020… well, its been a year. I wrote this for a group I’m in.

Way back when…

Santa loves me… he always brings me the bestest Christmas Stocking (that’s a lie.. I know it’s Mom—I believe in the magic of being Santa but not one person.. I have known since I was tiny, when Christmas was on a Sunday and Miss Teacher brought in a birthday cake and we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus).

Mom’s stockings rocked. They were…. They were LOVE. She knew me, she got me. It was a mix of silly and sublime, books and toys and hair pretties… even as I grew older. The stockings were designed for each person, thought and care put into each one. And a grand design—what would occupy us until everyone was up on Christmas morning so we could do the family thing.

One year, as a teeney bopper, I thoroughly ruined my own Christmas. I love hints, but I never want to actually know what I’m getting. Why? Because one year all I wanted were some gherkin (????) Boots. Thunk low heeled ankle boot, totally 80’s. She would not tell me, not a clue nothing. Then I told her “I hope you got the x style and not y, because you know I hate y.” she responded with “Of course I bought you x!….. oohhhhhh….. you……!” I got them early. I also got my stocking early—10 or 11pm, she said “Don’t open till Christmas!” I was a good girl—I toed the line. I stayed up watching “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and opened up the stocking at 12:01 am. I loved it. That satisfaction lasted mee until…. I woke up in the morning with no excitement. No expectation. I already had the present I wanted and the stocking. I never did it again.

Too few years passed, I stayed at home while going to college…

And then she died.

I was 24, still at home, going to school. But Dad stepped up, stepped out and made me a stocking so amazeballs that I cried. I didn’t think I would get one. He loved me. He got me. I can still remember the porcelain doll peeking out of the top of the stocking, the Meatloaf CD tucked inside, they Tylenol with the gift card addressed to Daddys little headache. Oh my gosh, the TAGS that man created!

But then Dad remarried and she had her own grown children and grandkids as a priority. I was still at home until I graduated, but… I left soon after. The last time I went home for Christmas ,, her daughter got diamond earrings in her stocking and I got perfume that was someone elses favorite. That I was allergic to. That shit show ended when her daughter told me, in my mothers kitchen, that I was the redheaded stepchild.

I didn’t celebrate on Christmas morning with my Dad until I moved back in with him. And the stocking and christmas love was back. Because its not about the money, its about someone who gets you. Who turns up and shows their love. A well thought out Dollar store stocking means more than diamond earrings. Because it was never about the earrings— I cant wear them. I don’t wear much jewelry, although I love necklaces and hang them on my wall.

On Mothers day, a few years ago, my son found my dad on the ground unable to use his legs. Massive stroke. He recovered, but his driving and shopping days were over. I bought every damn present under the tree, and in the stockings. It took all the… wow, the anticipation, out of Christmas.

The next year, I signed up for the Santa Exchange in the Chatting group. I finally had something under the tree that I didn’t know what it was. I put that Priority Mail box under the tree and it drove my family nuts. I didn’t shake, didn’t peek, nothing. I kept it until it was the last gift to be opened. My delight in the presents was… it was wonderful.

Since then, I keep the tradition of keeping that gift for last. I broke down in Walmart one year, just sobbing “I want my mommy”. My best friend stayed with me in the candle aisle until the storm passed and she asked me what was going on. So I dumped it all on her—and it amazed me that someone who had a close knit family, whose parents were still alive, felt the same way. For the past 2 years, we take our boys to Walmart and they have whatever we can budget and I take her kid shopping and she takes mine. (I’M SORRY 20202 IS MY FAULT BECAUSE I WANTED AND GOT A SUITCASE FOR OUR TRAVELLING WWAAAHHHHH!!!!!!) However, my kid gets me. And she reigns him in to a certain extent. Just like I do with hers.

Still, that Chatting gift stays under the tree until everything else is opened. Everyone wants to know what’s in that box.

I want to make the anticipation last…..

2nd Half of 2020

So, we are in the second half of 2020. They year i wemt crazy and bought 3 planners. They all sit empty. Locally, there are more Covid cases exploding here than there were in March. But the local school board decided to do all in for the 2020-21 school year. All kids, all the time, unless parents opted for distance learning. No info on how it would work…

2020 is a bitch. If we had a naming contest for the year, I personally would vote for Cruella.

There is so much wrong with this year…. how do we make some good come out of it? Nt necessarily the huge,YouTube worthy videos (although those were great!) But in a personal way, that gives us joy and helps us through to that next day?

Personally, I write cards. I call people. I need that personal connection. My son has stepped up and learned how to cook my favorite eggs (thabk you kind people of redditt!). He is trying to help out, trying on who he will be as an adult.

In my writing, I have been writing literary stories and i miss magic. I’m in the last 2 weeks of the literary class, and i have learned a lot this year. It helped to have something to do instead of going to museums, the beach… all those places I long to be.

What about you? How are you coping with The social distancing? With not being able to go where you want? What sparks of joy have come your way, and unexpected sparkler i nadark night?

PAN-ick!

So things are getting wild. People hoarding….toilet paper and bottled water? Going to the grocery store has become an olympic event. The problem is, some are not competing, we are just trying to survive.

I am going to ask a favor of you. It’s a big favor, too.

I am sure you can do it, though.

I have faith in you. In us.





Be kind.



Unfortunately it needs to be said. When the police have to be called to protect the employees at a grocery store— we need to remember who we are. We need to thank those poor cashiers and stock persons, not attack them!  We are not the United States of Anger. We are the US. We are US.

Do you remember getting yelled at by the neighborhood grandma to get your butt back home? Those neighborhood grandmas and grandpas need us to step into being neighbors. To being US. To asking if they are ok, if they need food. Keep the social distance, but please check on them. If you are at a store and know they have an endcap by the frozen food with sliced bread, and you see a woman staring at whats left in the bread aisle, trying to figure out how she is going to make it work, open your mouth and tell her. Tell the lady who asks where you got the flat of eggs. Go online and figure out who has toiet paper for your friend with Irritable Bowl Syndrome. Write letters to your friends and family, to strangers. Pick up a phone and call someone.

Be helpful. Be kind.

Be US.

Hello, let’s talk mainstreaming

Hello my lovelies! It’s been a while since we’ve talked. Never fear, I’m still writing.

I started taking writing classes and it is definitely keeping me on my toes. It has a secondary affect, which could have been adverse. My 11 yr old son is being mainstreamed in English Language Arts (ELA) and math. I am hopeless with math, but English? Who Ohio! I’ve got a degree in that!

This is important. If you have a child going from Special Ed to Mainstream you need to listen carefully.

His teachers are phenomenal. But most classes in the SDP range are focused on reading, writing and spelling. Parts of speech, well… So we have a child that has fought his way through everything and is ready to cross the threshold hold but doesn’t know half of what’s being asked of him. Not because he’s dumb. Not because of bad teachers. But because the program that got him this far didn’t teach him those particular things.

He also has a problem with short term memory. Don’t feel bad though, his brain goes so super fast, he’s able to convert to long term memory. It might take him a bit, but he’s able to do it. Pre Mommy taking classes it was no problem.

With me taking classes it is a problem. There’s only so much time in the day. Also, my kid will be a turkey with me:crying, pouting, fit throwing, you know the drill. Our kids will push us to our limits of patience, but will be perfect angels for everyone else. This just childhood, nothing to do with dyspraxia.

But a tutor? And a person he already loves to death? Who also happens to be card carrying member of the Grammar Police? Oh yes, that will do. That will do nicely, thank you very much. No crying, no fits, just lots of learning. And that is a wonderful thing.

Now, I’m off to do your own homework. Ack! I promise, tho, no crying… well. I won’t throw a fit…. no. I promise to do my homework. How’s that?

A Different Kind of Christmas

My son nickel and dimes me to death. Video games, in-app purchases, toys, soda, chips…. It seems like every day there’s a new thing that he needs me to buy for him. Sometimes I say yes, but I often say no. He’s a pretty good kid, and there are never any fits or tears over my not wanting to be a walking wallet.

               A few nights ago, that changed. Not about things though. He misses doing things with me. Simple things like playing 2 square, crafts and playing with his Legos. Little trips going to places we love. “We never do anything fun anymore!” He cried. Not for things, but for me.

               I was a little confused, as we had just been up to Sacramento for a fun filled weekend. Back in September, we went to Monterey, and on the way back stopped at Pea Soup Andersons. We might not do fun things every weekend—but I don’t have him all the time. He spends Saturday afternoon to Sunday morning with his dad.

               We had the conversation. I needed to know before the Black Friday deals disappeared. “Do you want things, or do you want me to buy tickets for us to do stuff through out the year?”

               “I want to do stuff with you,” he told me.

               “Ok. That means you’re not going to be able to be with your dad every weekend.”

               “I miss you, Mom.” Way to break a Mommy’s heart, kiddo. I miss you too, but I wanted you to have that opportunity to build a relationship with your dad. Now, though… Well. Mommy’s back in the driver’s seat and we’re going to do this!

               I still surfed the ads bought him a few things for under the tree (thank you wifi!). But I also started my evil plan.

               Boomers:  This weekend, the year pass is only $39.99 It doesn’t cover the arcade or food, but it is something he loved doing with his dad. It’s also something that I can just as easily take him to, let him go Go Kart racing, climb a wall, all sorts of fun stuff. The pass also works for the remainder of this year. Hmmm…. To give early or not?

               The Exploratorium He loves science and tinkering and there is no better place than the Exploratorium. I’m still debating between a yearly family membership and just buying one time tickets. We travel a lot with my sister and her son, so they would be on the pass as well. One huge thing in favor of the pass is that I don’t have to drive there. We’ve taken Amtrak down to Pier 39 before: it’s an economical, fun way for us to get into the city and back home again. In 2 visits, the pass would be paid for. I almost did it last year and regretted passing.

               The Winchester Mystery House: My son is 11 years old and has been asking to visit “Sara’s House” for at least a year. He’s fascinated by why she would build the way she did, all the little oddities. I’d like for him to experience it in real life, instead of via YouTube.

               In addition to the above, I’m looking at both science and art kits for us to do together. There are a ton of them out there, including some that come as a monthly subscription. I like that more for the science than the art. For art projects (which we’ll start on Sunday when he comes home), I can go to any number of local stores. There are plans for experiments on the Exploratorium website, and I could probably find kits online and just buy one or two. I have time to figure it out, though.

               The sad part about the list above is that coupled with what I snagged online for him, I’m not going to spend a whole lot more money on Christmas by doing this. There will be a lot less Christmas clutter, and I’m going to have to get creative on how to wrap and present these gifts.

               But before that, we’re going to go out back and play 2 square together.

               In the end, I’m giving him the gift he wants. The gift of time. With me. 

Boys and poetry

The princeling and I often talk about stories. Last weekend, I listened to him try to rewrite all of my stories. Every single one. 

While cleaning up some papers, I came across a poem we had started together. I remembered the first line, but had forgotten he had written the second. And now I know why he and I don’t work poetry much. He’s 11. And a boy. And I shouldn’t have been suprised….

Here goes…..

If I had a robot heart,

Would I be able to fart.

Yup, my son has mad rhyming skills.

Travelling

Today, the princeling and I are going on a trip, in our favorite rocket ship…. it’s time for us to go out and about. On our own. Well, sort of. We’re going to go visit family, but twill just be he and I in the car.

My son can’t remember the times we used to go travelling on our own. Admittedly, it’s only been twice, but still. My child thinks his mommy can’t travel on her own. Which if you knew my travel history is hilarious.

I love travelling with Linda. She’s one of the best friends I’ve ever had. Somewhere along the way, I’ve allowed myself to rely a bit too much on her. Yes, there are situations where I am uncomfortable. But something she said to me on the firstish trip (she ended up meeting me and a friend and ray in monterey) has been ringing in my head. “Why did you bring Her? You’re fine, you don’t need help with the princeling. You’re a good mom and you’ve got it handled”. 

And then I promptly let her handle the travel. Don’t get me wrong, I love travelling with her and T. It’s fun, and we get to talk answer laugh and share heart to heart moments. 

But my son sees me as weak. I write about kick ass women who save themselves and my son sees me as weak. It’s time to write a different story, one that includes travelling with Linda, but also some solo adventures with the princeling. 

It’s al,osteoporosis time for us to cut loose. Stay well my lovelies!