Archive for May 2009

Greeeeen Acres……

May 31, 2009

  I just washed my hands.  I wish I had of thought to take a picture of them before lathering them in soap and scrubbing my nails.  They were an amazing sight.  First of all, I have never had fingernails that were long enough to have caked top soil and Miracle Gro jammed under them so deep that the top of the nails were black.  Second of all, it has been a LONG time since I have had reason to drive my fingers deep into top soil and Miracle Gro. 

We planted a garden.

Well, it’s a small sort of lawn box actually.  It’s an eight by four foot patch nestled next to our equipment shed at the top of the hill my kiddos used to practice snowboarding last winter.    We built a frame, pulled up sod (transplanting it to a bare patch next to the driveway in case anyone wonders how we could destroy actual growing grass), filled the space with 12 bags of $1.19 top soil and one huge bag of Miracle Gro soil and planted vegetable plants.  Tomatoes, green peppers and cucumbers.  Two seed rows were also set in place – one with summer squash and the other with sugar peas.  We planted a half row of peas today and will finish the row in a couple of weeks in order to extend the picking season for them. It’s what it said to do on the envelope.  It’s mostly likely going to be too crowded for the size but I don’t care.  I’ll weed things out.

And I can’t wait.

I sat out on the grass in the sun for a long time looking at all the hardy little fellows in their mounds and tomato cages wondering if they were truely going to make it to harvest.  I was planning to purchase a watering can to make caring for them easier.  (The prince likes to squirt the little darlings with the hose not realizing he is washing away the soil around their roots. Heh) I was also wondering what sort of garden the Obamas have planted at the White House and how big of a garden my friend Mary and her little Rabbit are  planting this weekend.  And I was singing the inevitable ‘Green Acres’ theme song in my head.  Heh

When I was growing up the back end of my parent’s half acre of property in the middle of Michigan suburbia was planted and cultivated by my Grandfather.  He planted corn, cucumbers, tomatos, potatos and pumpkins (which we sold in October for spending money) every year.  We also had a stand of sour purple grapes (perfect for squirting in the faces of any ‘enemy’ we captured and tied to the clothesline post while playing with neighborhood friends), a row of rhubarb (you haven’t tasted rhubarb until you have had it straight from the bush – warm from the sun – the end tamped into a Dixie cup of sugar), raspberries (again – eaten warm from the sun out of a dusty, dirty hand) and a pear tree.  I remember detesting being sent to the fields to pick corn for dinner.  There was one summer when my father’s oil seal plant was on strike, that the garden became our supermarket.  I remember dinners of corn on the cob, sliced tomatos and cucumbers.  And that’s all.  Yum.

My mother had a love/hate relationship with those garden years.  I found out later that she liked having the produce readily available but hated having to constantly yell at us to ‘stay out of the garden!’  I can still hear her voice from the back door of our house.  Things were much more relaxing for her when my Grandfather remarried and planted his garden closer to the home he shared with his new wife.  Then that back field became a baseball field, a minibike track, home for an underground fort (my dad had a conniption about that one when his riding lawn mower took a nose dive into it one day), a tree house and a ‘snowmobile death trail.’

I always managed to carve out some little space for a garden though.  Nothing much.  Tomatoes…sugar peas…. pumpkins.  One year I was growing watermelon for fun.  Just one little melon actually formed and I went out each day to turn it so it would be perfectly round and green.  One day I went out, lifted the little thing to turn it and it was suspiciously lighter.  Something – a rabbit or a rat – had eaten a hole in the side, and then cleaned out ALL of the pink melon inside.  Arrgh.

I got married and we moved into to a ‘controlled community.’  My parents sold their house and moved to another state.   Our ‘gardens’ became  a few pots of patio tomatoes.  I had mulled over a raised garden bed for years but could never get anyone motivated to do it.  Until this year.

So today, at last,  I sank my bare toes and fingers into warm, rich and loamy soil.  I dug holes and slipped in tiny potted seedlings, added water and covered the roots with dirt.  The sun was hot and the wind was blowing cool.  And I was humming.  And wondering.  And remembering.  And loving the entire process.

Now, there are shovels and clippers and diggers to put away.  My back hurts and my bare feet itch.  And I have vegetables growing in a  garden again.

Life is good.

A Soccer Mom Tale

May 25, 2009

Once upon a time when they looked like this….MVC-221F

soccer girl






and this…….

 being a soccer mom entailed having them at practice once a week in a clean generic uniform with the correctly sized ball, a bottle of water and an occasional bag of sliced oranges or end of the game snacks to share.  You didn’t mind because there were others and watching them stumble and get right back up was fun.  They loved it too.

They still love it.

But along came soccer shoes that were NOT part of a $9.95 package that included a brand new ball and orange practice cones.  Shoes that seemed to be out grown by mid season.  Several times.

And there are club fees, coaching fees, tournament fees, travel expenditures, coach travel expenditures (split with the rest of the team each time) and gas to and from multiweekly practices and games.  Lots of games.

And indoor soccer fees because soccer is not your average seasonal sport.  In our state, there is a fall session, three indoor winter sessions, a spring session and summer soccer camp (to stay in condition).

And bigger soccer balls with bigger price tags.

And uniform ‘kits’ that include a pair of socks, 2 pair of shorts, and a home and away jersey.  To this you have to add extra socks, shin guards, athletic tape (to hold the shin guards in place), equipment bags, practice tee shirts, athletic pants (for those slushy practices/games) hoodies, jackets, sweat bands, extra socks, etc.

And water bottles, sport drink bottles, water coolers, and more water bottles.

And time.  Time spent shuttling your players here and there.  Time  spent washing uniforms stained with grass, mud, rain and occasionally blood.  Time spent cringing and holding your breath as another player (always heavier , taller and bigger than your kid) barrels down the field with cleats on their feet toward your soccer loving child.  Time worrying about an injured player and being thankful that it’s not your child being carried off to an ambulance.  Time spent bandaging, ice packing, compress warming, massaging and soothing. Time spent cheering and clapping and hollering and analyzing and praising and placating and easing a loss.  LOTS of time.

But then you see a smile like this….P1020407 - Copy







and this……..P1020479







and this……P1020481









and this…….









and it sort of makes it all worth while. 

Sort of.

And then you have to get back to the business of soothing and easing because the OTHER one missed out on HIS tournament weekend due to an injury (remember that mental picture of the bigger/taller/heavier player barreling down on your child….with cleats?)  A kick in the shin during a game and aggravated during a practice scrimmage three days later resulted in shin splints. Ouch.

But there is always next year……….so are we ready???

Uh oneah and a twoah and a threeah….

    WEeeee are the Chaaamppppions……”

I Should Have Just Let Her Run……

May 15, 2009

I kept my daughter home from a track meet today.  Yesterday I sat in the pouring rain and freezing wind for another school track meet.  She threw the shot put 22 feet. She came in 4th and 2nd and 3rd in various races.  And she complained about her knees hurting.

Today was an ‘invitational.’  Considering that she has a soccer practice tomorrow night, two soccer games over the weekend and another track meet on Monday and Thursday, I figured an Invitational could be blown off.  I’d rather have her feeling good for the school track meet on Monday.  Her coach didn’t mind.  SHE did however.  She wanted to run.

But  parental precedence prevailed.  Instead of track we did the girlie thing and went shopping for a new bathing suit.  She has an out of town tournament in another week and the whole team is looking forward to the pool at the hotel.  The Princess left her bathing suit in a bag of wet things at camp last summer so a new one was on our ‘to do’  list for this weekend. 

Honestly?  I’d much rather tussle with my dentist over root canals – minus pain numbing meds – than bathing suit shop with either of my children.  Heh.

We went to a newly opened local shop and gathered up an armful of possibilities in various sizes…along with a couple of cooridnating boys’ trunks to wear over a girly suit.  Don’t ask.  It’s been a horrible fashion issue with us for the past few years.  Along with cut out backs and spaghetti type straps.  No two piece numbers or bikinis or tankinis for this gal.  Nothing like that ‘feels’ right.  And she hasn’t a clue about ‘Speedo’ and wanted to know who he was and why his name was on all of the suits.  She rolled her eyes when I said I was coming to the fitting rooms and was much relieved when I found a chair to sit in OUTSIDE the stall. 

The first hot pink and teal number was ‘tight’ around her waist. ( I later found out it was the miniscule cups in the top that bothered her.)  The plain black number was simple and functional but didn’t feel ‘right.’  Even with the black and gray skateboarded toned trunks over it.  The orange flowered one was too….’pretty’.  The hot pink one had a cut out back . She didn’t want to risk a ‘funny looking’ tan.  The last one was a winner.  The straps are wide and the back comes up a little higher.  It fits perfectly right now but we are worried about summer.  The salesperson tried to see if another store would have it one size larger.  No dice.  Bought it any way…for the upcoming out of town trip.  We will worry about summer later. 

Soooo….she put the suit on to show her dad when we got home.  And wore it a bit to stretch it out.  Sleek black with red racing stripes and perfectly fit.  The child as well as the suit.  No longer a skinny little girl, and thanks to track/soccer/skateboarding, she is toned and muscled.  Her legs have gotten longer.  Her natural complexion already bears a healthy warm tan.   Straight black hair swings to the middle of her back.  She is old enough now to go to our community pool on her own.  In that suit.  With her skateboarding buddies.  Mostly ranging from elementary to high school age.  Guys.  Dang. 

Who really needs a bathing suit anyway? 

I should have just let her run…….

The Truth of it is…..

May 10, 2009


I have been getting a lot of sappy – ahem – meaningful… poems and posters and sayings in my email box and on my Facebook page.  All of them are crowing about the fact that my friends and my family regard me as a ‘good mom’ and want me to pass the message along to other ‘good moms.’  The truth of it is that – this week – I didn’t feel like such a good mom.  This parenting thing is hard stuff.  It always has been.  And I signed up for it.  Willingly…….

When the Prince was just a little guy he made it known, rather loudly in fact, that he was simply not a morning person.  Dragging him out of his crib and slipping him into jeans and a tee shirt and zipping him into a snow suit was the worst morning ritual possible.  When he was a bit older we had the issue with the seams in his socks.  Could not stand them.  Could NOT abide them.  Making choices was always difficult.  Clothes to wear…cereal to eat….what to put in his lunch box….ai yi yi.  Always a worry that something else might be better.  Transitions were difficult.  Home to school.  School to soccer practice.  Soccer practice to home.  Summer vacation to school.  School to summer vacation.  One teacher to another teacher.  Even transitioning from one season’s clothing to anothers resulted in ‘issues. ‘

You would think that 15 and a half years of this would have given me the foresight to see what would happen when I asked him to stop watching television to fill out his application for the YPA youth leadership opportunity.  Now, he has been talking about becoming a leader with the Youth Police Academy since completing their program LAST summer.  He had every intention of filling out the application.  He just didn’t want to do it….right now.  But I insisted on it….right now.  So all the teenage angst and frustrated Mombusiness came pouring out in all it’s ugly glory.  For about two hours.  Heh.

He is SO not like me.  I think. 

The Princess has been slip sliding through the spring semester, studying hard and not being altogether sucessful with Math and Science.  Her mind is on bike riding and skateboarding and how many friends she can gather with in a 24 hour period.  Unlike the Prince, she doesn’t argue or fuss….much.  Ask her to do something and she stops everything to do it….and then gets back to her social life.  Wherever it’s happening.  She dutifully checks in but feels the chains rattling if you keep her home at a unreasonable (in her mind) hour to get rested for school….or because it’s raining outside.  She’s actually gone…which is worrisome…..most of the time.

She is SO not like me.

But the truth of it is that he is a Good Kid….polite and interested in what is going on with others.  He has a wonderful sense of humor.  Adults enjoy him.  He is a solid ‘B++’ student who is very much a peer leader (but doesn’t feel like he is).  He is passionate about soccer.  Really passionate.  He is one very bright spot in a lack luster spring season for his ‘real’ team and has been invited to guest play for another team in an upcoming tournament.  They are so happy to have him as a goalie that they are actually registering to play in a higher – more challenging – division. 

She is also a Good Kid who is very well liked by her peers and her teachers.  A member of her school’s educational team made an off hand comment recently about how vocal she is with peers about teasing and playing fair and being kind to others.  And how much they appreciate that about her at school.  Her track coach told me that she loves having her on the team because she will run anything without complaint.  Her soccer coach said she is a ‘natural’ when it comes to knowing where to put the ball in a game.  And even with all the slip sliding and necessary support, she is a solid ‘B’ student as well.  She even got a ‘Rock and Roll’ award recently for bringing her Math grade up a peg or two.

The truth of it is, I’m sure they’ll be just fine.

So why do I feel like I have failed them this week?  There are piles of socks and shoes and papers and books and markers everywhere.  Peanut butter and jelly knives fill my sink while the open bread bag spills out of it’s basket on the counter.  There is ALWAYS a battle royal when it comes to getting the dishwasher emptied and loaded again….or the trash taken out.  There are rolling eyes and  muttered retorts when I rein in the social life in favor of homework and rest and chores.   I can’t begin to describe the war when I ask that they change in more appropriate clothing for the event of the day.  Or the battles we have almost daily about toothbrushes and skin care.  I feel like the big ugly Mom most of the time these days.

The truth of it is….I was a pretty ugly teenager myself.  I was moody and angst ridden and smart mouthed and stubborn at times.  Most of the time.  I complained about chores and argued about restraints.  Loudly.  I remember those days.  Vividly.  I am sure there were MANY times when my own mother was muttering… ‘just you wait……’ 

Looks like you got your wish, Mom,

Happy Mother’s Day!

: O )

A Conspiracy????

May 2, 2009

Google is my very best friend.  It has the answers for everything.  Seriously.

I am the sort of person with a wierd assortment of interests.  If I want to know something about anything – I google it.  Say, for instance, I wake up in the middle of the night wondering what happened to Pamelyn Ferdin – a child actress whose ability to cry on cue used to have ME crying along when I was a kid.  She was also a voice over actress who could be easily recognized if you were a fan.  I googled her to find that she is a happy adult (unusual in the world of child actors, I know), a registered nurse who was married to a doctor,  working to stop the abuse and torture of animals.  In a big contempt of court kind of way.

I needed information for a school project about Michigan lighthouses.  I googled it.    My husband needed an address for a middle school we need to be at for a soccer game.  He was setting his GPS for easier driving.  I googled the school name and voila!  I googled ‘The King Family’ to see if any of their old, old television shows were available on dvd yet and initiated a friendly email coorespondence with  a member of the ‘family’ that carried on for a couple of months.  I needed information about a medical procedure for a story I was writing.  I googled it.  I got the info I needed and was even referenced to a Youtube video showing the actual procedure. I needed a good picture of a turkey for a post I wrote here a couple of years ago.  I googled and found one.  I wanted to know if the author of a book I had enjoyed had written others.  I googled my way into a large paper back bill with

I once googled singer, John Davidson, and emailed him about a song he performed on ‘The Mike Douglas Show” years ago.  He’d written it  to sing at the Arabian National Horse Show that year.  I recorded it and sang along with it for YEARS.  I can still sing the chorus.  And I wanted to give a copy to my boss whose daughter had recently taken over management of an Arabian horse farm in California.  Alas…the song had never been recorded (too bad since it was awesome) and Mr. Davidson probably thought I was freaking nuts to even remember it.  LOL  I am wierd that way.  And just for the record, he and his wife are marketing a geography game they created while home schooling their daughter.  And he still performs.  Gotta LOVE those dimples.

I have fun with my Google.

Recently, however, my AOL has been diverting my Google requests to their own search engine.

Now, I have been an AOL client MUCH longer than Google has been around.  But word of warning to AOL…..keep messing with my Google  – even if yours is  ‘enhanced by Google’  – and I may just find another internet server.

NOTHING comes between me and my Googles.  Nothing……