The Courage of Her Convictions

June 19th, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

In early May:
Pie: I think I want to be a vegetarian to protest the treatment of animals.
Me: That sounds good.
Pie: Tab has been a vegetarian for two years because she loves animals.
Me: I know. She’s the only kid I know who turns down marshmallows on principle. So, what do you want for dinner tonight?
Pie: Chicken.
Me: I thought you were going to be a vegetarian?
Pie: Oh, I meant I’d start in June.

Later in May:
Me: So, you’ll be a vegetarian starting in June?
Pie: Yes, but just for a little bit.
Me: How come?
Pie: Because I’m going to want bacon on my birthday.

June 1, early in the day:
Me: What should we have for dinner?
Pie: Steak!
Me: But it’s June 1. I thought you were going to be a vegetarian.
Pie: Oh, I decided that instead of being a vegetarian, I’d just eat more healthy and try new foods.

June 1, dinner time:
Me: I made a kale salad. I made it with no tomatoes, no onions. It’s just kale and avocado, and you love avocado.
Pie: No, thanks.
Me: I thought you were going to eat healthier and try new things?
Pie: You know I don’t like my vegetables mixed.

Pie: Five Guys is the best. Oh my God, I would die without these hamburgers! But their bacon hamburgers are terrible. They tear up the bacon! Such a terrible way to treat bacon!

The Dangers of E-mail

May 22nd, 2014 § Comments Off on The Dangers of E-mail § permalink

In our house, the children were capable of earning e-mail once they were in third grade. The thinking is, if they are old enough to attend Hebrew school three days a week, they are old enough to earn the privilege of e-mail. The requirement to get the account is the child must demonstrate the ability to touch type. Nothing extreme. But if they can manage 10 words a minute without looking at the keyboard, they can have the account.

Doodles was motivated. He practiced and practiced and received his account within the first week of third grade. Pie was motivated, but not quite as focused. So she dillydallied. And complained. And said it was “sooooo hard.” And we were “super unfair!” But a weekend with my mom and she practiced and practiced until she hit 13 words a minute. And she has an e-mail account.

Which was fun for me on my trip to New Orleans. I sent the kids a ton of pictures. And they wrote back…

Me, to the kids:
“Pie, don’t look! I don’t want you to have an allergic reaction. Doodles, this was my afternoon snack. Way better than Goldfish!”

And my daughter responded, demonstrating her strong grasp of punctuation and grammar:
“looks yummy were you drinking don’t get too drunk”

And then I sent a picture with the subject, “The Mighty Mississippi,” and wrote: “It’s more muddy than mighty, I’m afraid.”


To which the response from the girl was: “you were in mississippi i thought you went to new warlands.”

Some might agree with her interpretation.

Of course, the boy wasn’t going to be outdone. All over New Orleans, music is played on the streets, in the bars, at concerts. Almost every group had a violin/viola and a bass, so I took photos to send to the kids. I pointed out that even Bruce Springsteen had a violin player. I wrote the boy, “So freakin many of these awesome bands have violin/viola players and upright basses. You guys could totally go rock or funk or blues…”

He wrote back: “I don’t wanna be a musician for a living. If you want me to you might just say hey, heres some ecstasy you wanna snuff it?”

Have I failed as a parent? How have I raised children who don’t understand the concept of apostrophes, capitalization, and an old fashioned map? How have I raised children who don’t see the value of the artistic life? Most importantly, how have I raised a son who thinks the best way to take ecstasy is to “snuff” it?*

Maybe I’ll send them an e-mail and find out.

*Confession: I Googled “how to take ecstasy” and the consensus is swallowing is the easiest method, sniffing it burns like hell, and the most effective way is to, no joke, stick the pill up your butt.

Little Einsteins

March 18th, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

The holiday of Purim just passed and one of the traditions is the giving of mishloach manot, which are baskets of food, traditionally hamantaschen cookies and other yummy things. I’d like to tell you I’m not sitting here working my way through the cookies and candy, but you wouldn’t believe me anyway, so what’s the point.

Last night we had a “Wine and Smell” party at the house. Pie and a buddy (I’m going to call her Monet) are doing a project for the school science fair. They recruited six friends and gave each of them a T-shirt. The kids (including Monet and Pie) slept in the T-shirt for five days and then they all came to our house so that each mom could sniff the shirts and see if she could tell which one belonged to her daughter. So they all came over last night. Juice boxes for the kids. Wine for the moms. Hamantschen for everyone.

And the little scientists went to work. Sort of. Three moms sniffed shirts. And then I heard Pie say to Monet, “Let’s go par-tay with the other kids downstairs!” as they clomped down to the playroom.

“Um, excuse me?” I yelled. “Don’t you need to finish your experiment?”

Deep sigh. “Oh, okay.”

Back to work. “We’re interviewing people after they smell,” Monet said. Sounds good. I heard Pie interview one mom: “So are you confident in your choice?” When my turn came, Monet asked, “Do you think that you were involved influenced your ability to pick the right shirt?” Why, no, I said. And I waited for the next question. “No, that’s it,” Monet said. To both of them, I asked, “But aren’t you going to ask everyone the same questions? How are you going to get statistically significant results if we all have different questions?” To which they looked at me and said, “Huh?”

It was all very scientific. And while I don’t want to give away any results before the science fair, I will say that, no, I could not pick out my own child. But that’s only because we were smelling shirts. Had it been socks, I could have picked Pie out at 10 paces. Stinnnnkkkky!

The Joys of Children

March 5th, 2014 § Comments Off on The Joys of Children § permalink

Pie is having a problem with her butt. Excuse, not her butt. Your butt. Your anus, to be precise.

“It’s pronounced Yur-uh-ness!” she screeches from across the house.

Whatever. Planets were chosen while we were on vacation, so Pie was assigned hers. Yur-uh-ness. Models must be made. The ring of Yur-uh-ness isn’t staying up well (in deference to the abilities of the sculptor and the limitations of Model Magic, Yur-uh-ness‘s eleven rings got mushed into one), and we apparently are a house full of ten year olds.

Uranus. Hee hee.

The girl deserves it, though. She’s become a mouthy little thing. In the car, I said to Pie and Doodles, “No bickering, you guys! This is a bicker-free zone,” to which she instantly shot back, “I don’t see a sign.” We’re entering the tween years folks. For the teen years, I’ll be renting her out as birth control.

And the boy? He thinks if he steals cookies but leaves one in the package, no one will notice. Hey, Butch Cassidy. We’re on to your tricks.

The boy just had his first experience of school sex-ed. What’d he learn? “Oh, hormones and crap. Oh and we’re supposed shower. And use deodorant. Every day!” Gasp! The expectations! Not that he’s following orders.

Mouthy and smelly. Five more and I’ll have a full set of dwarves.

Mornings in Our House

January 28th, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

Me: I slept oddly. And I had a dream that we got a divorce.
Husband: Huh. Well, good thing you didn’t dream about your teeth falling out. That would be really bad.
Me: What?!
Husband: Isn’t it supposed to be bad to dream about teeth falling out?
Me: As opposed to our divorce?
Pie: Are you getting a divorce?
Me: No. We are not getting divorced.
Husband: I think teeth falling out in a dream means you’re going to die.
Me: If you dream about teeth falling out, you’ll die? How does that work?
Husband: Dunno.
Me: Speaking of death, look Pete Seeger died. Wow, he was 94!
Husband: Pete Seeger? How could he be 94?
Me: He was.
Husband [doing a quick Google]: Oh, I was thinking of Bob Seger. Who was Pete Seeger?
Me: Really? “If I had a hammer, I’d hammer in the mooorrrrnnning. I’d hammer in the evening, all over this land!!” Is the boy up? I bet he’d love this song.
Husband: Oh boy. Everything is a song.
Pie: You don’t like her singing?
Husband: She just does so much of it!
Pie: You married her.
Husband: She didn’t sing this much when we met.
Me: Yes, I did. You just weren’t listening.

Note: The boy didn’t like the song any better. Especially when I started to hammer him to wake him up. “Where Did All the Flowers Gone” didn’t go over any better, either. Grumpy family. My singing rocks.

My Life: Cold, Peeps, and Butts

December 20th, 2013 § Comments Off on My Life: Cold, Peeps, and Butts § permalink

Note to self: If someone asks, “It there a temperature that’s too cold for you to run?” the answer is not “I’ll run in anything!” but “Screw the run! I’m taking a bubble bath!” Actually the running part is fine. Is the after-run part. Running in “12 degrees, feels like 2” is actually fairly invigorating. Walking home (with coffee) in “12 degrees, feels like 2,” as the body cools off and the sweat on you begins to freeze is miserable. Stupid New England. Luckily the weather has warmed, so no longer do I fear the cold; merely the melting slush that freezes into sheets of ice just in time for my morning run.

And my son isn’t helping things. He gets little rewards at viola lessons for practicing five days a week. This week, Adam went to pick him up, and overheard the boy telling his viola teacher, “I can’t have Peeps. My mom will eat them.” Uh, yeah! Let me tell you there was hell to pay when he got home and I confronted him. “Uh, well, uh…” I just waited. “Well, she was giving them out from the box so they would have gotten yucky in my hand on the ride home.” Excuse me? Have you not seen me eat five-day-old gummy bears that I found on the floor under the counter trim? You think a little boy sweat is going to scare me off? He did give me a big hug and lots of apologies. He’s very lucky that literally the next day, Lilith came to pick her daughter up from our Girl Scout meeting, and she brought me a pack of Peeps. Before this, I might have considered sharing them (note, I wouldn’t share them; but I might have considered it). Now that boy can cry himself Peep-less tears when he goes to bed at night.

Speaking of crazy children, Pie has this thing she’s been doing for about six months now. When she “sees, smells, or hears of anything gross,” her butt hurts. Her butt has been hurting a lot lately. She’s a sensitive kid, that Pie.

In the meantime, I’m sick as a dog because with our impending winter vacation, I’ve had to do laundry, and we all know that doing laundry makes me violently ill. In fact, I think it’s making my butt hurt. Stupid laundry. Stupid butts. Time for Peeps.

Would I Lie to You?

October 7th, 2013 § Comments Off on Would I Lie to You? § permalink

Hungry, desperate furloughed-government officials came knocking on the door this afternoon. The only thing that I had that would cheer them up was a Charleston Chew bar of my daughter. I sent them on their way with the chocolate and that, my dear daughter, is why your candy bar is missing. There is no other reason. No, don’t go looking in our trash can for an empty wrapper. It’s not in there. What kind of mother would steal her own child’s chocolate and then lie about it? Seriously, get away from the garbage can.

Of course, if I had eaten her candy bar, it would have been justifiable (not that I would do that!). On this miserable, foggy, rainy morning, as I was rushing to pack lunches, finish exercising, and clean up the mess that forms after every weekend, she stopped me to ask, “Mommy? What month did you and Daddy have sex in to get pregnant with me?” It wasn’t the question I minded so much as the math. Math before 7 a.m. is not my forte. “Uh… November? December? I don’t remember!” When I asked Adam, he just sort of gave us a panicked look and ran back to his computer.

Kids had their annual check-ups today. The 8 year old is officially taller than the 10 year old. Not that I told her (that’s not a lie! Just an omission) as she would never let him live it down. However, I think she figured it out. Eh, if he’s upset about it, I can give him some candy. The girl has another Charleston Chew lying around. At least for the moment she does.

Define “Too Much Sugar”

September 26th, 2013 § 1 comment § permalink

Q: How many servings of candy corn are there in a nine-serving bag of Brach’s candy corn?

Sorry, that was a trick question. Because all of you, knowing me, would answer, “One.” But I’m PMSing, which means it’s really only about 3/4th of a serving. But what to do what that needed additional 1/4th? How long before the kids notice that their candy stashes are slowly disappearing?

Hey, did you see what now lives in my front room?

It is freakin’ ginmormous.
“How am I going to cart that thing around?” I muttered this morning.
“Bass cases have wheels on them,” Doodles said.
“This one doesn’t,” I said.
“Oh,” he said. “I guess Pie will have to carry it by the handles.”
Really? Your sister is going to carry this thing? And this is coming from the boy who frequently asks, “Mom, can you please carry my viola?” Viola, boy! A viola is the size of that bass’s pinky! And, help me lord, because that bass is a 1/10th size. I cannot fathom the mama bass that goes with this baby bass. The girl had better stop growing right where she is, if she plans on continuing to play bass. Jealous much?

Eating 3/4 of a serving of candy corn makes me realize that too much candy corn is not a good thing. It really needs to be balanced with other foods. Like, say, a bag of gummy bears. Or a box or twelve of Peeps. Why don’t my kids have any good candy in their candy stashes? And it’s not just because I’ve already eaten it all. They have bad taste in candy.

On a non-musical, non sugar-related note, guess what I just received!
photo 1

Yep, containing my lovely essay (yes, I know you can’t read the name, but that is my finger pointing to me).
photo 2
Get yer own copy of The Best Women’s Travel Writing, Vol. 9: True Stories from Around the World

I’m off to work on the ol’ novel. I advise you all to lock up your candy cabinets. When I’m writing, no sugar is safe from my clutches.

Who’s the Boss?

September 19th, 2013 § Comments Off on Who’s the Boss? § permalink

As if there was really any question about it.


Instrumental Madness

September 11th, 2013 § 2 comments § permalink

Everyone has crazy, over-scheduled children and the mishegas that goes with that. I’m not alone in the “Who am I taking where today?” mindset. This year’s planning has required extra care: Pie has Hebrew school Tuesday and Thursday (with a friend who comes home with us); Doodles on Monday and Wednesday. Dance on Monday (with a different friend who comes home with us). Soccer for Pie on Mondays and Thursdays; viola for the boy on Mondays and Thursdays. Girls Scouts the first Friday of the month. And this doesn’t include weekend games and Hebrew school nor the upcoming hockey season.

Pie has been taking piano lessons for a couple of years. And for a couple of years I’ve begged, screamed, bribed, and screamed some more about her practicing piano. She just wouldn’t do it. No amount of anything would get her to practice. So I said, “Fine. No more piano.” I’m not going to pay for her to take the same lesson over and over because she wouldn’t practice. She agreed pretty quickly and we said we’d re-think instruments in 4th grade when wind instruments are introduced at the elementary school. Third grade is string instruments, which she has no interest in, and I’m not letting her do an instrument this year when our schedule is already crazy and she refuses to practice.


Until she came running out of school today. “I’m going to play the bass! I’m going to play the bass!”

And now the battle of the wills begins. Me, who doesn’t have the inclination for her to 1) play an instrument twice her size and 2) not practice yet another instrument and 3) schedule in more lessons because bass instruction is after school at the high school.

And her. Who wants to play the bass.

I think we’re about to find out who is in charge in this house. If you see a small girl with a huge instrument, you’ll know it’s not me.

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  • Who I Am

    I read, I write, I occasionally look to make sure my kids aren't playing with matches.

    My novel, MODERN GIRLS will be coming out from NAL in the spring of 2016.

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