my stall or yours?

I encountered something strange at SeaWorld the other day, that has me puzzled…

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After the singing Elmo but before the jump roping dogs, I took a potty break.  When I walked into the women’s restroom I witnessed a young BOY, about 14 years of age, walking out of a stall.  Of course I immediately figured I had inadvertently walked into the wrong restroom, which would not have been the first time. But as I looked around to see the bevy of women waiting for stalls and washing their hands, I realized this “boy” was in the wrong place, not I.  However, he seemed far too calm and unaffected to have just made the rather embarrassing mistake of using the wrong facility.  Something was amiss…

Then I heard his mom say something to him from the stall next to the one he had just emerged from, and it occured to me that this “boy” was simply going to the restroom in the women’s so his mother could keep an eye him.  Well, in all fairness, I don’t officially know why he was in there, but that is my interpretation of the situation from the evidence I surveyed.

And it made me think…Should there be a cut-off age to bring a child of the opposite sex into a public restroom?   Like maybe, once you can sufficiently handle the basic locking/unlockling of the door, wiping your own privates, and flushing those funky handles?  All of which this “boy” could certainly have handled on his own.  Or how about once you’re tall enough to see over the stall doors?  Or once you’ve hit puberty and “care” about what you might see if you happen to peer over said stall door.  Granted, I have female kids so I won’t ever have to make this decision in the future so I really have no place to comment, but, it sorta queebed me out…especially when he walked past and I got a glimpse of his facial hair.

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lean, green, cleaning machine

So here I am, sitting on my rear end at the end of great day with the girls, eating banana bread I was inspired to bake for no reason whatsoever, procrastinating paying bills, looking around at the pigsty that is my house and contemplating my New Year’s Resolutions.  What I’ve come up with is that 2009 is the year of Mama Mary – the Lean, Green, Cleaning Machine.

LEAN – in both physique and spending.   My goals to help me achieve these two resolutions are:

1) To run the Nike Half Marathon in San Francisco next October

2) To take a dance class (Lily and I have been watching “Zoe’s Ballet Class starring Paula Abdul” but that doesn’t count – anyone know of a mommy & me dance class???)

3) To eat healthier foods (That’s why I’m eating all the Xmas cookies & banana bread I can now, to get them all in before Jan 1)

4) To cut back on Starbucks/Coffee Bean drinks.  This will help my waisttline and my wallet, but good lord, I truly don’t know if I can do it. My chai tea lattes are my ONLY vice left.  I rarely drink alcohol anymore, I quite smoking  4 years ago, and if I give up yummy foods too then where will I turn for a little naughty treat once in awhile?  This one scares me the most but I will certainly TRY to at least CUT BACK, that is all I will commit to at this point.

GREEN –  This one I’m going to have to research a little.  I already do small things like using canvas bags at the grocery store and recycling cans, bottles & paper. But I know there must be more ways I can help the environment in my every day life.  Anyone have any tips?  And please don’t say cloth diapers.  I have pondered it many times, I just don’t think I could hack it (kinda like the Starbucks thing but this one I’m not even going to attempt).

Green can also be representative of all the money I’m going to save and all the money I’m going to make, even though I’m not working…Should be interesting how I pull that off.

CLEANING MACHINE – Anyone who knows me well knows that I don’t clean.  Number one, I’m not good at it and number two I just pretty much hate it.  But with two little kiddos around now, the amount of clutter, crumbs and crap everywhere, all the time, is extraordinary and is driving me nutso!   My problem is just as I mentioned before…. I don’t like to clean and I really don’t even know how.  Sure, I know how to use Ajax and scrub a dub dub.  But how do you do it on a regular basis?  How do you clean things like floor boards and blinds?  When do moms find the time?  I honestly didn’t learn good domestic tricks growing up so does anyone have any tips for me?

The clean will also refer to my potty mouth.  I need to clean that sucker up.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I really like to swear.  It’s another one of those vices that I just can’t give up.  But hearing Lily say damnit the other day is my motivation.

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And now that I think about it, I may need to also add MEAN to the list…Starting in the new year I have to get tough with Lexi’s sleep training again.  Ever since she came down with the retched cold that has infected our family for almost 2 months, I have been a real softy, i.e. giving in every time she cries at night by either nursing her and/or letting her come to our bed. But look at her…

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How can I resist her?   However…. if I’m going to find make* time to do all of the things listed above, then I’m going to need more sleep.

And above all else, except for wanting to be an awesome mom and wife, my primary goal is to get the father/daughter book published.  This will be the hardest thing I’ve ever set out to accomplish, but it is my mission and my mind is set.

Come on 2009, let’s do this!

*”Time is like money.  You can’t find it, you have to make it.”

xmas traditions

Tradition has always been a BIG thing in my family.  Some of my favorite Xmas traditions include: My niece Tiffany playing Christmas Carols on the piano, my Dad taking 10 minutes to open each gift, my sister Marci singing “Oh Holy Night” after a few glasses of wine (RIP sis, I miss you!), my mom gathering everyone around to play a special song or read a touching poem, and last but not least, devouring delicious donuts on Xmas morning.

It is interesting to see how the traditions have morphed over the years, as the kids grew older, spouses were added to the mix and the older generations began to die off.  Tonight is the first Christmas Eve I am spending the night at my own home, where Santa will visit and leave presents for my own kids.  Every other year of my life, I have spent this night at my mom’s house, or in the last two years, at my sister Laurie’s.  Part of me will miss waking up with Laurie, her family and my own mom, like I have for the a gazillion years. But now that Lily is old enough to give a rip, no pun intended, about Santa, we just really wanted to be in our own home.  I just cannot wait to watch Lily come downstairs to see her stocking and a tree full of presents.   This is how she left the fireplace…

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And this is what she will wake up to…

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(Laurie – note the new stockings from Donna are already up :-))

One tradition from Steve’s past that we are adopting this year is the “Hiding Present.”  The hiding present is the big ticket, big mama jama, omg gift.  The one that will just make her day.  I always grew up with the big present being the first thing I saw when I came downstairs, opened and assembled.  But Steve grew up with the big gift being saved for last.  After all the gifts under the tree were gone, this present came out from a special hiding place to surprise him (although you would think after a certain amount of years he would’ve caught on).  So, Lil’s big gift tomorrow, a pink tricycle, is going to make it’s appearance just after all the other presents are unwrapped and she thinks there are no more.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

For now, I will say goodnight and a very Merry Christmas to you and yours, dear Reader.  With love from the sleepy Godwins.

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And btw, did you notice how crisp and clear my photos are tonight? That’s because Santa brought me my gift early.  A new camera…I am in LOVE!!!

holiday cheer

The Holidays and blogging don’t mix.  There are just too many things to be done!  I can’t seem to find enough time to sit down and write something clever or creative.  Nor do I have the brain power to be either clever or creative, with visions of sugarplums dancing in my head, taking up all the space.  But here I am.  Both girls are sleeping so I have approximately 1 hour to blog and accomplish my list of 101 Things To Do before calling it a night.

What I am realizing this Holiday Season is that procrastination is like pulling a Plaxico Burress.  Not in the “making a last minute play to save the day” kind of way, but more like a “shoot yourself in the foot” kind of way.   Procrastination is just not good for anyone involved, not you or the team.  Because nothing seems to be right the first time around and tasks always take longer than anticipated.  Just like a first draft needs revisions, anything you set out to accomplish during the Holidays will not get done right on the first try. For example…I sent pictures in to the Ritz Camera to be developed, because what else does someone with young kids give for Xmas gifts besides photos of their kids.  When I picked them up, I had to wait in line behind a gal that was making a life-altering decision between two types of memory cards. Meanwhile my kids were in the car with Steve having simultaneous meltdowns, which most people, namely men, are not equipped to deal with for a long period of time, particularly not in a confined space.  Finally a second clerk came back from his break, rung me up and I bolted to aide the hubby and the meltdowns.  Needless to say, I SHOULD have checked the photos there in the shop because guess what…half of them turned out like CR*P!  By the time I noticed we were halfway home and not about to turn around.  Now I have get to find time to go back to the shop and have them re-do my prints, sometime in the next two days.  Bang…right in the big toe.

That is just one example of many, and I am sure you can relate, unless you are one of those weird smart people that start your buying in January.  It’s just hard to do things right when you wait to the last minute.   A lesson I should have learned the hundreds of times I stayed up all night cramming for tests or writing college papers.  Especially those times that something crazy happened, like my computer crashing, before I went to print it out.  Yes, that did really happen to me, but try explaining that to a nerdy, hippy-haired TA who has permanent record of just how many times I skipped or slept through class.  She was not very forgiving.  Bang…right in the other big toe.

I know it will all get done…the shopping, wrapping, photo copying…but it will just mean a few late nights until the big day and maybe a few less than perfect wrapping jobs, which doesn’t really matter since my kids are too young to notice anyway.

To celebrate the art of procrastination, I am posting a movie that Steve and I produced TEN YEARS ago, that is finally being seen by the general public.  When you watch it, please keep in mind that it was the very first thing Steve ever shot, it was made for NO MONEY, it was shot in March so we had to fake ALL the Christmas stuff (except for the opening credit sequence), and it was edited in a friend’s garage on weekend nights from 10:00pm – 6:00am on an archaic editing system with cockroaches crawling around our feet.  He broke the movie out into 4 parts and only 3 are up.  I’ve embedded them here but you can also check out the YouTube page.

PART 1

PART 2

PART 3

PART 4 will be up by Christmas Eve.

ok fine, fer sure, fer sure

Lily and I just watched the Sesame Street “Stomp” DVD where she learned that “Everything Makes Music.”   So tonight, as I was cooking dinner, I gave Lily some spoons and forks to bang around with to make music with.  All was going well…I was cooking (heating up a frozen pasta meal in a skillet), Lily was drumming away on the tile floor and cabinets and Lexi was chillin’ in the Bumbo Seat playing with her new teething rattle.  However, after a couple minutes of ratatatating, I began to hear disconcerting heh…heh…gagging noises.  I quickly looked over and saw Lily shoving a baby spoon deep inside Lexi’s mouth.

“Lily, don’t gag your sister with a spoon.”

It took everything in me to say that with a straight face.  Anyone who is a product of the 80’s can imagine why.

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bury me in my sneakers

Today is a very special day.

1)  My book club is reconvening tonight for a little holiday soiree after a short hiatus.

I call it “my book club” only because I was the one to ultimately jump start it a little less than 8 years ago, by picking a book, sending out invitations and calling it a book club.  The impetus for doing so was sitting in a doctors office at Mercy Hospital, seeing a CT scanned image of the grapefruit size tumor in my dad’s abdomen and hearing the words “inoperable and terminal” followed by  “2-4 months”…2 months to the day from my scheduled wedding date.  Doesn’t that sound like a good reason to read some books and drinks some (a lot) of wine?  Well, it made perfect sense to me, for several reasons.  Mainly because my dad LOVED to read and he passed that love on to me.  Also, I thought he would be proud of me for hosting something so intellectual as a book club (in his hay day he would have been proud of how much we used to drink and smoke too) and I wanted him to know about it BEFORE he died.  And last but not least, I wanted to have something to look forward to, to take my mind off my dad’s imminent and ultimate death.  A good book and a good night with friends…a great remedy for self-pity.  So, here we are, almost 8 years later…still drinking wine and talking trash under the guise of “book club.”  And although we meet infrequently and rarely talk about or even read the book, I still love it and look forward to it with a certain endearment.

2) The deadline for my book project submissions is today.

WOW is pretty much all I can say in response to the beautiful, poignant, powerful pieces I have been receiving over the past few weeks.  Kleenex is my friend, let me tell you, as I read the stories, poems and letters women are sending me. I have been moved beyond words.

I do have to admit to a few moments of self-doubt.  A few women that have found me via various literary/blogging websites have asked me if I have an agent or publisher yet.  Truthfully, I am as green as Sarah Palin (that’s not funny anymore now that the election is over, is it?) in the literary world.  No, I don’t have an agent and/or a publisher.  And yes, I know it is extremely hard to land an agent and/or a publisher.  But despite the struggle I will inevitably go through to get this thing published, I am certain, now more than ever, that there is a place in this world for a book like this.  And what struck me last night as I read one submission that particularly hit home with me and made my stomach have that nervous achy feeling, is that this book is for any woman that has lost her dad, regardless of how much time has passed or what the circumstance may have been.  Of course some stories will resonate more than others depending on your own story.  But these stories are proving my hypothesis that grief is universal and although it gets better, it is infinite and everlasting.  Reading the stories of other women is so strangely comforting to me.  I know it will be for other women too.

One quote that sums it all up for me came from a former co-worker (whom I have never met because she works in the Chicago office).  Margie McCartney writes…

If someone told me I had a week to live, I would be sad to leave everyone on this earth but I would be so excited to be with my dad that I would have them bury me with my sneakers so I could run into his arms again.dick664

3) Today would have been my Dad’s 77th birthday.

Happy Birthday Dad!


just a hypothetical

Hypothetical situation…

You’re at a theme park, like, let’s just say, LEGOLAND California, and your 2 year old sweet, stubborn, manipulative, smarty pants daughter picks up a water bottle and yells across the store, in her ever-so-sweet way, ” I WANT WATER!”  Since you have smuggled 3 other bottles of water into the park and are on a budget of sorts you say, “No sweet daughter, we already have water.”  To retort, she proceeds to stick her tongue out and lick the entire bottle, top to bottom, while maintaining evil eye-contact with you.  Do you:

a) Purchase it since her saliva is now all over it and the store clerk saw the entire thing happen

b) Give it to the sales clerk, who saw the whole thing happen, ask her to wipe it down, and then gracefully exit the store

c) Hit sweet daughter over the head with it

If you are me… you would want to do (c), think about doing (a) but since you too are stubborn and wouldn’t want to give in, you would ultimately do (b) and then cringe EVERY TIME you think about it.

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