Monday, February 23, 2009

All Signs Point to Yes

You know, I've discovered another one of those secrets that other parents do not tell you before you have children of your own. And it was, and continues to be, quite a shock. I had no idea how often I would feel like I have no idea what in the hell I'm doing.

Sure, there have been times when I've trusted my gut and I turned out to be right about something, but there have been many, many more times where I've worried myself sick about whether the path I've chosen is the right one.

Bubba's eating habits -- his pickiness, to be precise, was one of my first worries. But those, for the most part, have straightened themselves out. I make what I make and he's required to eat some of it, but he doesn't have to clean his plate. But he doesn't get anything else either.

But it's dealing with Punkin, particularly here lately, that I wonder if I've lost all my skills. I'm constantly questioning whether my course of action in dealing with her temper tantrums are the best path. Her strong will feels like it's breaking mine. And I don't know what to do. I try to let her do for herself as much as I can but there are times when I simply must take charge and she often will just go beserk. We just had one of our bedtime go-rounds and right now I'm feeling frazzled, unhappy and very unsure of myself.

In addition to all this, we're now faced with the decision about whether to start her in pre-k in the fall. Her birthday is the day before the cut-off date, but because school starts so freakin' early around here, she'll still be three when she starts pre-k. And frankly, I'm not sure that's a good idea. She's definitely smart enough, but I really worry about her emotional maturity. I spoke to her teacher today who seemed to think that it would be a good idea to go ahead and start her, but she went on to warn me that we need to keep in the back of our minds that the possibility could exist that because she's starting early she might have to repeat a grade at some point. She said that this was only a possibility -- but sheesh! I feel like repeating a grade, even a very early grade will stigmatize her.

Ugh. My brain is tired from just thinking about it. I just wish that sometimes I could appoint someone else to make all my decisions for me. Any body interested in helping me? The pay is crap, but I can give you some wine and I bet we'll have a pretty good time.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Maybe Those Experts Know What They're Talking About

I'm feeling better today, thanks for asking. Not so grouchy, though this morning did not start off well. Also, I'm supremely busy at work right now with our biggest event of the year coming up, plus my newsletter is due in two weeks and I'm not feeling quite as good about this one as I have the others.

BUT, I just got back from my exercise class and I'm feeling pretty good. Must be those endorphins everybody's always talking about. I, frankly, had never encountered them before. When I was running (very briefly) in college, I kept waiting for that runner's high you hear so much about. I never did find that mythical beast, just the shakes after I finished my first 5K.

But when I get home from my exercise class I feel like I could do anything. I have the urge to fight the piles of crap that are lying everywhere. The pile of folded clothes mocks me! I want to take on the world! But unfortunately (fortunately?) it's late and there's only so much I can get done. Also, here I am blogging when I could be sweeping. Oh well.

Anyway, I fully credit this class with helping me reach my goal weight. Back in January I was .4 pounds (that's point four pounds, not four pounds) away from goal. The next week I was EXTRA good. I didn't count my points, but I'm pretty good now with figuring out what I need to eat to lose/maintain. I didn't even eat our Friday night pizza that week. And when I went in on January 19th for my weigh in, I fully expected to be at or below goal. But when I stepped on the scale, I had GAINED .8 pounds. Which now meant that I had to lose 1.2 pounds to meet goal!!

My leader told me not to get discouraged, but I did. I basically went on a bender for the next two weeks, eating pretty much whatever I wanted. And I felt my jeans start to get tight. And I got really pissed at myself. So, I signed up for this class because usually when I'm exercising I try to eat well so that I don't undo all my hard work. If I'm going to have to sweat off the calories, it makes me think twice about what I put in my mouth.

Also, I'm going to be 37 this year. Thirty-seven! That year is significant for me because that is how old my grandmother was when she died (in 1940). That is young, y'all. I can remember when my own mother turned 37 she started running and I can now understand this compulsion for health. You want to feel alive. You want to do everything you can to stay alive, to be healthy, to increase your odds of a long life. To see your babies grow up.

So, I get back on the wagon. I watch what I eat. I am (finally) exercising. And I feel good.

Now, let me go tackle that load of laundry.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Sassafrassin son of a biscuit eatin' so and so.


Do you ever have one of those days. I'm having one and I'm not really sure why, since I FINALLY made my goal weight at Weight Watchers today. After umptymillion weeks of gaining and losing the same 1.4 pounds.

I just feel supremely crabby.

So, to counterbalance my crabbyness -- and so I don't bite anyone's head off -- I leave you with our snow photos:

Our "bucketman."

Even though that last one is blurry, you can still see their huge smiles!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Is it Live or is it Memorex?

So guess where we're going this weekend? You Northerners and Mid-Westerners are going to have a field day with this. We're going to Snow Mountain at Stone Mountain -- a winter wonderland with sledding, snow tubing, and snow-man building right in the heart of...Atlanta. Where there is no snow. It's an artificial winter wonderland. I know, right? Some of y'all are probably like, "Seriously, you're going pay money to go play in this stuff that I'd pay good money to get rid of??!"

But see, at least you guys get some snow. And admit it, when it first falls, it's exciting, right? I can't even tell you the last time we had snow. And no, that half-inch? we got last January (that was gone the next morning) does not count.

Actually, I can tell you the last time we had snow...January of 2005. Bubba was too small to remember it and Punkin was...I started to say just a twinkle in my eye, but I had so much morning sickness with her that there was no twinkle to be seen anywhere near my eyes.

So, we're going to get our snow anyway we can. This trip is actually a gift from my mom. We have some great snow memories in our family. Is it just my imagination -- or global warming? -- or did it used to snow more than it does now? She wants my kids to have some fun snow memories too. And since it doesn't look like we're going to get any the "natural" way, we'll take our snow however we can get it. And the kids are beyond excited. Bubba has already told us how he's going to roll himself into a snowball and roll down the hill. I can't WAIT to see that!

I wonder if they'll let me bring my pizza pan?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

If We Left You Alone, You'd Be By Yourself

I know I owe y'all a little bit more on the Savannah Book Festival, but something happened today that was sort of the straw that broke the camel's back. Except that it didn't really break it. It's just that maybe the camel is not sure how to feel about what happened.

We've been having some behavior issues with Punkin lately. She's always been strong willed and has always resorted to tantrums to get her way. If we're being honest, I probably let her get away with way too much because it was often easier to take the path of least resistance or because in some cases I realized that I had chosen the wrong side in the battle -- or actually that there didn't even need to BE any sides and I would relent.

But apparently, her tantrums have extended to school and if she doesn't get her way, she screams. And Punkin can scream really loudly. Her teacher told me that she has told Punkin that she needs to "use her words" and we've recently implemented some new rules around here.

But in the discussion with her teacher, I also found out that Punkin often refuses to play with her classmates. If she's in the library in her class, or in the little tent they have set up, she'll tell her friends to leave her alone. I was a little nonplussed and a little concerned because that explained why Punkin will sometimes tell me "Nobody played with me today." No, nobody will play with you if just five minutes before you yelled at them to leave you alone.

And then today when I picked her up, her afternoon teacher approached me a puzzled look on her face. "She had a good day," she said. "But she doesn't want to play with us in the afternoon. We're playing a game and she doesn't want to play."

"Huh." I replied. "Maybe she just wants to do her own thing." But the teacher didn't seem to want to let it go. It seemed to bother her that I was unconcerned. And that in turn made me concerned that I was unconcerned. Should I be concerned? Am I raising an antisocial misanthrope?

Or is she really just a mini me? As a child I was often content to play alone. Sure, I had friends, but I was often ready for them to go home long before it was actually time for them to go. I was never a telephone talker, even as a teenager. I'd chat for a few minutes before I'd say "Well, I have to go now."

Even today, though I enjoy the company of friends and have been making a concerted effort to "put myself out there," I still enjoy being alone. I think it's a sign of self sufficiency and I don't think it's a bad thing. So, for once, I'm not going to worry about it.

The title of this post, by the way, is what my mom and brother used to say to me when I would get angry and yell at them to leave me alone. This reply would only enrage me more.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Savannah Smiles

So where was I? Oh yeah, Ferrol Sams cussin' in church. Before you get too upset with him, the fiction venue was held at Trinity Methodist Church and the authors who spoke there were somewhat taken aback by the fact that they were in church, though one author did use it to her advantage.

If you don't know anything about Ferrol Sams, he is a storyteller in the Southern tradition. Which means that his stories are probably going to be a little salty but you're guaranteed to laugh. After assuring the audience that he felt better than he looked (he's 86), he said that a friend had once asked him, "Ferrol, who in the hell wants to live to be 90?!" And Dr. Sams replied "Whatever sumbitch is 89!!" Dr. Sams then went on to tell story after story, keeping the audience in stitches the entire time. If you ever have an opportunity to hear him speak, I highly recommend it.

Mr. Daddy and I then headed over to Bailey White's tent. Bailey White is an author, but she is most well known for her NPR commentaries on All Things Considered. She admitted that she used to be offended when people would ask her "Where do you get your ideas?" "From my BRAIN, of course!" was her reply. But then she realized that if she was going to be truthful, she had to admit that she stole ideas from people every day, often people she encountered in public restrooms. Think about it. I bet we could ALL write some interesting stories about people we've encountered in public restrooms. I thought there might be a riot when she told the audience that she had not been the reader on the audio version of her new book, but she quickly settled everybody back down. She says she has the voice of a 90-year-old woman, but I think she has a perfectly lovely voice -- it reminds me of one of my aunts.

I had to miss Mary Kay Andrews talk last year, so this year I was determined to make it. She took full advantage of the church location and had us all raise our right hands.

"I swear." I swear.

"In church." In church.

"On the baby Jesus." On the baby Jesus.

"That I will buy The Fixer Upper when it comes out in June. In hardback." That I will buy....

You get the idea. We were all dying laughing, but we all did it so I guess she knows what she's doing! She said that the festival had asked her to talk about her "Life in Letters" and so she humorously began to run through letters from the alphabet that had special meaning in her life. I think I've mentioned before that I was a fan when she was writing under her real name, Kathy Hogan Trocheck, but I had no idea that she had written seventeen novels altogether. SEVENTEEN!! I love her storylines and her sense of humor and her style is one I aspire to, but whenever I think about my plots they're always so gloomy. Don't know what that says about me, but let's not dwell on that, mkay?

I know I've got two more authors to cover, but this feels like it's running a little long so I'm going to finish up tomorrow. Hope you'll join me!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Life of Letters

If you had told me last year that I would have more fun at this year's Savannah Book Festival than I did at last year's, I probably wouldn't have believed you. But I did. This year's festival was even more fun and already I'm looking forward to going back next year. The Festival just keeps getting better and better. This year everything was contained to Telfair Square, which made it much easier to go between the different venues.

There is so much energy about the festival. Everbody is in such a good mood and there's such a positive vibe. I told Mr. Daddy that I always feel so invigorated when I'm around people who love words and books and authors as much as I do. And I know the Festival organizers had no control over this, but the weather was absolutely gorgeous. It seems that every year the sun comes out and shines on this Festival. And there are few things more wonderful than Savannah with the sun dappling through the live oaks and a warm breeze blowing.

Friday night started with the keynote address by Roy Blount, Jr. I had not read anything by him so I wasn't really sure what to expect, but the man is brilliant and hilarious and as Julia Reed noted in her introduction, he is the master of the digression. Even his digressions had digressions -- but they're so funny you don't mind and you don't even necessarily care if he ever gets back around to his original point. He had the crowd in stitches the entire evening, though he did draw some astonished gasps when he admitted that he didn't care for Lewis Grizzard's work. For those of you who don't know Lewis Grizzard, saying that you don't like Grizzard while you're in Georgia is akin to standing up in church and saying you don't like Jesus. But, in Blount's defense, someone DID ask him about Grizzard and I guess his mother never told him that if you can't say something nice don't say anything at all. Anyway, I fully intend to check out some of his books.

Following the keynote event, Mr. Daddy and I were invited to a lovely soiree for authors and the Festiva'ls patrons. We had a great time chatting with Dr. Ferrol Sams, who recounted the time he saw a photograph of Patton "pissing in the Rhine," after Patton made good on his promise that he was going to beat the Russians to the Rhine and piss in it. Dr. Sams said it was a back view photograph but it was clear that Patton had no prostate problems!

We also ran into Dr. Edwards, my former obstetrician whom I credit with saving Bubba's life. We had to remind him who were were, but then we had a great conversation with him and his wife. As it turns out HE has a women's healthcare blog and he promised to link me if I would link him, so here he is Dr. Joe Edwards . I told him that there are a lot of hot button issues with "mommy bloggers" (and I put that term in quotation marks on purpose!) so he might get more than he bargained for! Mr. Daddy and I marveled at the fact that Dr. Edwards did not immediately remember Bubba's birth -- an event that was so frought with terror and joy and is one of the key moments of our lives. But I suppose he's delivered hundreds of babies since Bubba and some perhaps in more distress than Bubba was.

After we left the party, we went to Wild Wings and had hot wings and cold beer. While we were there we saw a man buy a hamburger and fries for a homeless man. In fact, while in Savannah, I saw more people doing more things for those less fortunate than I've seen in a long time. Savannah is a good town, with good people.

On Saturday we woke to a gorgeous day. After our obligatory Starbucks stop, we headed to the Festival where we heard Ferrol Sams say "sum bitch" in Church, where Bailey White admitted she stole a lot of her ideas from public restrooms, where Mary Kay Andrews made us all take an oath, where David Bottoms compared buzzards to angels, and where Natasha Trethewey made me cry.

Intrigued? Then come back tomorrow!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Savannah on My Mind

I've got it bad. Savannah fever, that is. We're leaving Friday morning to head to Savannah for the Savannah Book Festival. Some of you might remember that we went last year. And we had a GREAT time.

This year's keynote speaker is Roy Blount, Jr. I'm ashamed to say I've never read any of his books, but of course I know who he is. I'm very excited to hear him.

And while one of my favorite poets, Starkey Flythe, will not be in attendance there are lots of other authors I'm very excited about. In fact, I already have my whole day planned out, jumping from one tent to the next as there is someone speaking that I want to hear at every time slot.

I'm particularly excited to meet -- again -- Kathy Hogan Trocheck, aka Mary Kay Andrews. I loved her Callahan Garrity mysteries she wrote as Kathy Trocheck and then fell in love with her writing all over again when I discovered her books as MKA. She has a really funny blog, if you want to check it out. She gave me some great writing advice about how to write a book-- "sit down and write a page a day. At the end of the week, you'll have seven pages." I don't have the heart to tell her that I still haven't written a single page. Unless you count this blog. But she probably won't ask, so I think I'm in the clear.

Also in attendance will be Natasha Trethewey, former UGA Cheerleader turned Pulitzer Prize winning poet. That's right. I said Pulitzer Prize winning former cheerleader. Not that cheerleaders can't be smart!! I'm not saying that. Also, she probably wishes people would quit harping on that, but COME ON! The jokes practically write themselves, people!! Anyway, she must be brilliant and I can't wait to hear her speak.

There's tons of other great people planning to attend. Bailey White. Ferrol Sams. David Bottoms -- Georgia's Poet Laureate.

So, if you're in the area, come on down! I'd love to hang out with you!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I SO Should Have Knocked On Wood.

Do you know what happens when you tell the world, via the internet, how easy it's been keeping the kids by yourself this week?

1. You get a note home from your son's assistant principal alerting you to the fact that your son has 5 unexcused tardies or early leaves from school and that if the problem is not corrected you will be referred to a Social Worker and/or the Truancy Panel.

2. Your son wakes at 10:00 p.m. after having thrown up all over his ENTIRE BED.

3. On Friday night, after returning home from a late movie with your daughter, you're stopped at a license check, whereupon the younger-than-you-by-a-good-ten-years deputy informs you that your license expire. In October. And then he writes you a ticket.

4. Your husband, without one iota of sympathy, tells you that it was dumb to let your license expire. As though you did it ON PURPOSE.

Fortunately, all of these things resolved themselves pretty easily.

I called the school about #1 and I think we've figured out what's happened. On several occasions, when picking up Bubba from the After School program, they haven't had an After School sign out sheet and so have instructed us to sign Bubba out on the early release form. HOWEVER, there have been a couple of times that I've visited Bubba's school toward the end of the day and Bubba has begged to go home with me. I asked his teacher and she said all he was missing was recess and that it was fine for him to leave. As it turns out, those leaves DO count against him, even though all he was missing was recess. It would have been nice if somebody had told me that.

Also, do you know what else I have a problem with? Now, I know that they have to have rules and that once you start making exceptions for one person then it gets to be kind of crazy, but it seems to me that the office could have coordinated with Bubba's teacher to see if there is a real truancy problem before sending me a letter that says "If the problem continues then the result may be a conference with school administration and/or School Social Worker. If the problem cannot be resolved, then a referral to the Truancy Panel and possible referral to the appropriate court may be made." Because you know what? That sentence right there pisses me off. Bubba had not missed a single day of school yet so I really don't think there's a truancy problem here.

As for Item #2, that was the one and only time Bubba threw up, which, thank GOD. Also, do you know how hard it is to get on your high horse and call the school all in a huff about how wrong they are about your son's truancy problem when he is not, in fact, in school that day? I could have sent his germ-infested self on to school, but I didn't want to send him to school just to prove a point.

I don't know if there's anything I'm going to be able to do about the ticket. My dad knows some people who know some people, so I might be able to get the ticket thrown out. I've already had my license renewed and that was surprisingly easy. I was in and out of the DMV in less than 30 minutes. I know!

And as for #4, Mr. Daddy apologized "if he seemed like he was being a jerk."

So. My week is almost up. Tonight we're going to make nachos, watch the Super Bowl, drink beer (Miller 64 for me -- the absolute PALEST beer ever, but hey it's only 1 WW point!) , and root for the Steelers.

And then I'm probably going to collapse into a coma-like sleep for at least three days.