Saturday, November 15, 2014


~"If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you. When mountains crumble to the sea, there will still be you and me.."~Robert Plant and Jimmy Page

(I swear it only looks like I am choking him!)
"Let's go out tomorrow night.".."Huh?" I said.."What do you want to do something with the kids?" It had been a while since we all did something together."No-just me and you..lets go out." "What do you want to do?"..I still wasn't getting it...OUT? what does that mean? To me, "out" is leaving the house..having to actually put on shoes and possibly remember to brush my hair..out is going grocery shopping..or to the dentist or any other sort of appointment that I would much rather stay in than go to..He looked at me "The kids are old enough to stay by themselves..lets go out-just you and me." "You mean..on a date?".."Yeah-lets go out to dinner.".."Like a real dinner? At a real restaurant?.."

 We have gone out alone a few times in the past..usually to Christmas shop..or do some sort of errand that needed doing..but we haven't gone "out" for no reason other then wanting to since Oscar was a baby..and even felt like a requirement..something that we were supposed to do because that's what keeps marriages strong. ..We tried!  We did.But, we just could not relax-all thoughts were on the boys.( who were not happy we were gone).."Do you think they're o.k.?  Should we call home?"-And that was before we had even left the driveway!  Back then-going out was an ordeal.. So we just stopped trying to do what other people thought that we should do and Instead we focused on this wonderful family that we have made. Preferring to be together-preferring to truly-I've never felt like anything was missing-and I don't think that Omar has either. Sure, we have each had our "moments"..but mostly we laugh..which is easier then running away from home and say..joining the circus. 

 "Yes..I'll make reservations to someplace nice and we'll just go." "Alright.." I admit, I was a little hesitant..I haven't gone out know, like to a REAL restaurant in years..I was excited too. A REAL restaurant!  With cloth napkins..salad forks! basket of fries to keep kids lids on cups..cocktails! ..A place where I would be "ma'am" or "Kathleen"..or even "Hey you"..anything other than "mama.." I couldn't wait to get dressed and go..The kids were excited for us as was almost as if it meant more to them than it did to us..which was a gift in and of itself. They are starting to be ready to let us go..lovely and bittersweet. We have done a great job and are about to be promoted..scary that.

So, I put on a dress that Omar had given me years ago-but I have never had a chance to wear..and with a DETAILED list of instructions(do not kill each other) and phone numbers (do not call unless there is blood)..we left. We went to an Italian Restaurant whose menu DID NOT include pizza..We had cocktails..and appetizers..a lovely dinner..I even had someone grate fresh pepper on my dish!  Do you know how long it has been since someone put something on my dish that wasn't pre-chewed? A very long time. We just talked..and laughed..eventually (the waiter really needed to clean up) leaving to get coffee and to take a walk...on our way home we stopped to get ice cream (for us!)..As we were driving home some four hours later..I looked at Omar and gasped.."We didn't talk about the kids once!" ..and almost simultaneously we said "Isn't that great?!" We laughed..and then got quiet...I guess this promotion thing goes two ways..maybe we too are ready to let go of them...just a little...lovely and bittersweet..

Omar and I celebrated twenty one years of marriage this past October. We have had wonderful times..and some horribly awful  times..we've walked through fire and have come through it changed..but we still walk together...we raise each other up, sometimes hold each other up.. he is one of the best people that I know-my partner in time. I look forward to our next night out together-and hope that it doesn't take another fourteen or so years to happen..

I HAD to add a picture of the dress!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Small town big Halloween

~"Thunder bolts and lightening, very, very frightening me.."~Freddie Mercury


                 "Mama?"..."I need lightening bolts for my costume.." "Lightening bolts?" ..I pause...I am all ears, the outside world does not exist.  It is just me, Zoe and the very important next question ...the sixty four million dollar question.. THE question to end all questions!  

"What are you going to be for Halloween?"

I brace myself for the answer..will it be an easy costume? Do I have all the things to create  it at home?  Or, will I be desperately running from town to town to find the odd bits and pieces that make up the elaborate image that they have in their heads? Oh- Halloween for us-is a very serious business.  From the creating of costumes and the planning of trick or treat routes to the very serious candy trading at the end of the night (honestly, my kids behave like the heads of drug cartels when it comes to trading candy..intensely negotiating the value of chocolate vs. gummy treats) Very serious indeed.

 It isn't always easy living in a small town. Everyone kind of knows everyone..(sort of like six degrees of separation..give or take a degree) or at least thinks that they do. Sometimes I am just astounded by the things people tell me that I have said, done or even plan on doing. I mean, when the person you hired to work on your house (who lives an hour away) asks "Hey, when you are going to start building the second home?"..."Huh?"  "You know, the second house...over on the corner of your property..?".."What?" " The house you are building for your boys to live in when they are adults.".."Wait...what?  I'm not building my boys a house! " Oh.. that's not what I heard.." "Where did you hear that? " (insert name) told me." "I don't even know who (insert name) is!" "Well, that's what they said.." 

There are really wonderful things about my small town as well..One of them being that they take Halloween seriously too. Even better-everyone and anyone who wants to- can participate. From tiny babies carried by costumed parents to the senior citizens putting together a haunted house..that's actually scary! (Omar's heart skipped a beat when he had bent down to look at a "mannequin" that was laid out in a coffin-only they jumped out at him) It is a no holds barred celebration of all things scary-and candy. There are streets blocked off for trick or treating, fund raisers for the library and key club..restaurants providing treats and hot drinks..the police and fire dept handing out candy...even the funeral home (which gives out large sized candy bars) joins in. Some people decorate their houses and hand out candy in costumes-and character! (my favorite is lived in by a couple of guys who dress up and scare the hell out of everyone as they pass out candy..this year, one was a crazy bride(?) and the others were some kind of winged creatures crawling around) They out do themselves every year..It is fun, it is joyful, and EVERYONE is equal. Yes, Halloween is a big deal to all of us. 

 So, as I waited for her answer..I thought back to some of the more interesting costumes we have made.. "Ghost rat", "peg leg pirate clown" and my all time favorite "yellow dog with rainbow tail with a sun on the end of it"..and I hoped that maybe this year she would be a  cat, or a witch...something easy-that didn't require hair coloring or sewing. 
 "I'm going to be my avatar." "Your what?" "My avatar..the character I created for animal jam-Lily is going to be her avatar too" "O.K....what do we need ? "'s easy..just pants and shirts..and Lily needs a blue vest and a hat."  "That's it?" "I need lightening bolts for my hair.".."Anything else?" "No."   "That's all you need?".."Yes!"  Great!....And then it was Halloween.

" costume needs more's going to be boring!" "I ASKED you a million times- at. least.-if you needed anything else! You said no!"...and then..*sigh* her eyes tear up. "..*sob* I..Forgot" the tears are rolling down her cheeks..."I'm sorry! *sob*".."O.k..O.k..What else do you need?"..."A collar....and pink hair...and lightning bolts on my shirt".."Oh, is that all?".."Yes." sometimes sarcasm is wasted on the young...I managed to dig into my supplies and make a collar (old belt), I had pink hair color from who knows when...but the lightening bolt on her shirt? For some reason..I just could not get it right..maybe it was all the sugar from the eight million pieces of candy I had eaten that day (my girls don't share-so I buy my own...about a week before Halloween...and then.....I buy more because I eat it all..and it's Halloween and you have to eat candy on's the law..for me at least...) mental deterioration?  I do not know..But, it took me three hours to make. I think it actually came out great...My girls were happy with their costumes-even if everyone else asked them what they were supposed to be. (Personally,I think that Lily looked like a Walmart greeter ) We all had a great time..and I was able to write a post about it-when really, I just wanted people to notice the fabulous lightening bolt on Zoe's shirt. I'd say that calls for some candy...except we ate it. All of it...really.  


Saturday, November 1, 2014


~"What I do is between me and the Lord, to examine and possibly alter the state of grace in which I live, and thereby the state of grace of anybody who listens." Townes Van Zandt

 We were driving to the Halloween/party store the other night..all six of us squeezed  together in one van. This has slowly been happening less and less.  As the kids get older,(and can stay home alone) this type of adventure becomes rarer..So I was enjoying all of us just being together..the boys and their long legs squished into the back (because that is where they have ALWAYS sat) and the girls in the roomier second row seats. Omar and I up front- listening to them talk to each other..having random bits of conversation..("Does Ebola have something to do with your elbows getting sick?")  mostly they were focused on favorite holiday.."When did Halloween start anyway?"..."I think it was in the year seven.." "That doesn't make sense!  Everyone would have been seven years old!  Seven years old people don't make up holidays..because they don't have anyone taking care of them and feeding them and they were mostly probably eaten." 

I just adore they way my youngest thinks.She has an opinion on EVERYTHING...usually delivered with great disdain..She is so very passionate, so full of ideas..opinions...AND, she saves them all for home as she is not comfortable speaking at school. Which sometimes works against her..

  She came home the other day just beside herself. A group had come to the school to bring disability awareness and sensitivity training. Only...they didn't seem to be very aware or sensitive.  At least not to my girl..I know of this group as they have come to our school every year we have lived in town..I'm not a huge fan. They talk about changing attitudes and bringing respect towards people with disabilities..but how do they do that? By having non disabled people discuss what disability is. That makes no sense. You can not talk about inclusion when you do not include the people you are talking about in the conversation.(reading aloud a story or stories about a disabled person is NOT inclusion) It sends the wrong message. Us and them.  Unfortunately, it was one my daughter heard loud and clear.
 Imagine hearing an adult-an advocate-a sensitivity trainer-discussing a part of you..that  very real part that impacts everything that you do,..just imagine hearing this advocate discuss with another child that they hoped that a cure would be found for this part of you,....that your kind of brain didn't grow right..imagine hearing that at eight years old....As my daughter later wrote "It was shocking. I thought it was true.I got teary made me feel different..but not in a good way."

  We are so weird about discussing disability. We talk around it..Pretend that there really isn't much of a difference between abled and disabled. Pat ourselves on the back for being so open minded and inclusive.  But really-are we?  Inclusion isn't declaring the "popular "can get a date with anyone" boy or girl"- a hero for asking a disabled kid to the dance, inclusion isn't cheering extra loud when an autistic boy makes a basket in a regular basketball game, inclusion isn't purposely sitting next to a person at lunch because they are disabled. No, these gestures, as well intended as they may be, are isolating.  They are a direct reflection of how disability and disabled people are viewed. Less then, incapable, one size fits all.
No amount of advocacy, or sensitivity training is going to change that until we include the disabled community in the conversation. That is the perspective we should be listening to. 

  My youngest had a bumpy week...luckily it ended on Halloween. My little town does an amazing job of it..closing off streets so kids can trick or treat safely, homeowners going all out with decorations and costumes, local businesses giving away hot drinks and treats..the senior center has a haunted house (and it is scary!)..all of this kind of restores your faith in the world..keeps you hoping that maybe things CAN change...My kids are quickly growing older,,they are moving forward...I need to believe that the world will move along with them..