My Middle Name Is Not Grace

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Many moons ago, when LilZ was playing soccer (and hating every minute of it) MrZ had to have a talk with me. He informed me that he didn’t think it was a good idea that I constantly joke about LilZ inheriting his clumsiness or lack of grace from me. “He may have gotten that from you, but you might remove any possibility that he overcome that if you keep joking about it.” Something to definitely think about. Yes, his soccer playing reminded me a lot of my own as a child. Struggling to run and kick simultaneously. Yes, he sometimes tripped over imaginary objects. Yes, he often ran into things that had not ever moved – like walls in our home. All of these things indicated a strong Zoot-ness in his grace, but why should I point that out? MrZ had a good point, if I gave him that excuse early on, he might not ever feel like he can move past it. Imprisoning him to a lifetime of bruised knees and scraped elbows.

SO – you will not hear me say those things ever often regarding any of my children. At least not if their in earshot. No matter how much it may be warranted.

However

If I were going to? This would be one of those weekends I’d be joking about it. There were bonked heads on tables that had never moved. There were scraped knees tripping over flat concrete. There was a bloody lip and a bloody toe. One child went to bed last night with an icepack on their food while another went to bed looking like they had gone a few rounds in the ring with a heavyweight champ. Let’s just say this: There Was Not A Lot Of Graceful Performances This Weekend. Maybe the floors were all slippery. Inside and out. Maybe there were shifts in the gravitational pull that threw certain children off-balance. Maybe elves secretly moved walls in our home while we slept. Whatever the cause…this was a weekend of blood and bruises.

Or maybe, a certain parent passed on a few clumsy genes. Not that I would ever imply that while the kids were listening – of course. But if I did?

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I’d totally blame the one with the goatee.

The End Of Dance Week

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We finished our week-long trial dance class. I’ll probably sign her up again in the Fall because the classes are only once a week and she likes the outfits, but I’m not sure if this is her thing or not. She really didn’t seem to care too much about learning the dances. More about looking at herself in the mirror while shaking her booty. She gets that from her Mom.

Since I don’t remember taking any dance classes (I think I did when I was her age, although I’m sure it ended the second they realized I was born with NEGATIVE amounts of grace.) this was a new experience for me. For example – dance clothes are expensive! Because I didn’t know any better I went to our local Dance store and bought everything there. I think that was probably the only place I could have gotten the shoes, but evidently Wal-Mart sells the outfits. BAH! And a lot of ladies said they got theirs at consignment fairs but that those outfits are the first to go so you have to get there early. Eh. I like a good deal as much as the next lady, but I don’t see me putting that much effort into it. I’m still also lazy.

I think she may have been the only girl (save ONE maybe) who wore the same outfit every day. Some of the girls wore different outfits every day! Luckily NikkiZ loved her outfit so much she didn’t care. Although next time? I’m buying a one-piece outfit. She kept taking the skirt on and off throughout the class.

I still don’t know why there are holes in her tights. Can someone explain that one to me? On the heal of each foot there’s a big hole. It’s not torn, it’s obviously supposed to be there. But why?

And also…the hair. I actually had to use hairspray on her hair to get it to stay back. I had to go out and BUY hairspray. Possibly for the first time since I got married. Hairspray! On a preschooler! Because she had to get her Daddy’s hair that is so fine it won’t stay in a bun for more than 2.3 seconds.

It was a fun week. Definitely gave me plenty of photo ops, that made it worth it right there.

Wanna Trade?

I fixed Brit’s Blog. Kinda. I’m no expert but I did my best to at least recovered posts/comments from her old database and copy it to a new database for a new WordPress install. Unfortunately, There is no design. But that should be easy to remedy. I’m just happy she’s back because Brit is one of those many women I hold as my Mom Idol. She is the Mom every child deserves and that I hope my children get at least MOST of the time out of me.

(Not yesterday. When I put my child in time out on the floor of the DVD section at Target last night and sat there browsing the DVDs while she screamed.)

(Hey. At least it wasn’t the beer aisle, right?)

But having her here yesterday was fun and got me thinking…(I know! I know! Hide!)…Can I we trade blogs? I was thinking about starting something called the Big Friday Blog Trade. I’d give you a platform here if you would give me a platform on your site. See…we trade! All you need is (a) A Blog (b) The ability to either create a login for me or to trust me with yours and (c) The desire to lend your voice to my site.

What’s in it for you? Um. Nothing. I mean, you get to write an entry on my blog…but that’s it. No donuts. Sorry. But I’d get to write on your blog! And that would be fun for ME!

If you’re interested, leave a comment using a valid email and your blog URL. OR – if you’re not big on the comments…email me. Keep in mind that my blog is kid-friendly as many kids read my site. Including my own. So if you’re interested in writing about your sexcapades or if you are addicted to the F-word, it might not work. I have to keep my blog a nice place so this is no Basement, but if you have kid-friendly content you want to write about? Come here! And feel free to duplicate the post on your own site later for your own records…I’m not claiming ownership.

So…are you interested? It will be fun!

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

I remember when MrZ told me that he was certain the house I grew up in was smaller than the 1400 sq ft apartment we were living in at the time. I thought he was joking. (I’ve never been good at spatial approximations.) He assured me he was not so I called my Dad and said, “Dad? How big is your house?” “Probably just under 1000 sq ft.”

I was shocked. I mean, yeah I lived in that house my whole life, but I was shocked it was so small. Really? Are you sure? “Yes, Kim. I know how big my own house is.”

The funny thing is, he bought it at half that size. When he and my Mom bought it – I was an infant/toddler and it was only the half of the house you see to the RIGHT of the door. He added on the part to the left. I don’t remember the house that small – since he added on almost immediately – but we have the pictures to prove it. 500 sq ft. That’s a small house.

Dad spent his last few weeks referencing how frustrated he was with the house. He had all these plans to make it bigger. Better. And he was experiencing quite a bit of regret over that. Part of him wishing he had just done it already. (There were golf club handles in the yard he was using to survey the property to draft out the floorplan.) While part of him just wished he had settled for a “better” house long ago. Given up on that house. It kinda bothered me that he seemed to be so torn up over that. I mean, we were happy there. He worked a lot. No one expected him to work full time AND build another half of a house. But he expressed his regret nonetheless.

The funny thing? I was NOT happy there for a long time. I hated that house for a large portion of my childhood. I feel like I can say that now that he’s gone. I was not comfortable having friends over until I was old enough to find our strange house interesting. For many years I was just embarrassed it wasn’t like anyone else’s. There was no air-conditioning. Not a central unit, not a window unit. Just fans in the windows. And those were only on at night because why have them on during the day when it was just blowing hot air around? Showering in the summer was almost pointless because you began sweating the second you dried off.

Since there was no central unit, we also had no central heat. We did have one baseboard heater in the living room under a table. We would curl up under that table with blankets during the winter and watch TV together. We also had a fire hazard coil heater we only turned on for Christmas Day (because the tree was always in the part of the house without the baseboard heater), and when it snowed. We turned it on when it snowed because we could lean up against it to warm up after playing in the snow. I learned the hard way though that wet jeans get hot very quickly and had the burns on my ass to prove it.

I had two friends spend the night once in high school. We had a math competition (or something like that) the next day and Dad was driving us early. So, they spent the night. It was cold so we all three bundled up in Dad’s old waterbed (which I claimed as my own because it was HEATED) and giggled all night about HOW DAMN COLD IT WAS. Maybe that’s why I’ve never minded camping. Wasn’t much different than life in that house.

We weren’t poor. That’s not why we lived such a minimalist existence, Dad just wasn’t concerned with trivialities. We could survive without the heat and a/c – so what’s the point in wasting money on it? Other trivialities? Furniture. We anever had a proper couch my entire time through high school. We had bean bags. It’s hard to invite a boyfriend over to watch movies when you only have bean bags on an ugly linoleum floor. Needless to say – I didn’t have boyfriends over often. I was too embarrassed.

Somewhere towards the end of High School, however, I started thinking that maybe my lifestyle was kinda cool. Maybe my unique living situation was something to brag about, and not hide. I thought more and more like that the older I got. I was proud to bring my kids into my childhood home. Teach them how to stay warm in the winter nights (breath heavy under the blanket wrapped around your body like a cocoon) and stay entertained with no cable. I even brought two coworkers by my Dad’s on a trip in college and they both were fascinated by my house. One of them even asked if he could move into the basement he thought it was so cool.

My room
This was my room. And the closet Dad built into the wall because the bedrooms had no closets.

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The back of the house.

Now it’s empty. We’ll be handing it off to someone else soon. Someone who will see the cracking plaster and peeled linoleum and not ever know the amazing hands that constructed the frame so many years ago. They’ll probably tear it down and start over, I know I would. And the only thing left will be the pictures and the memories of a father and his two children huddled up watching A-Team together. I feel bad for the years I was embarrassed because it really is something I’m proud of now. The tiny house surrounded by commercially zoned properties filled with warehouses and 18-wheelers. It wasn’t the typical neighborhood nor the typical house that my classmates lived in…I wish I had appreciated that more. Maybe if I had, Dad wouldn’t have carried regret about staying in it for so long.

Either way…it served it’s purpose. Living without air-conditioning in the summer and without heat in the winter became my version of, “walking uphill to school both ways,” with my kids. It gets thrown out to my kids every time the whine about something.

“You’re hot? SERIOUSLY? It’s 71 degrees. That’s not hot! You should try living without air-conditioning in your car OR YOUR HOME. That’s how I grew up, you remember. I would have thanked GOD for 71 degrees.”

Dad would be proud.

“You know, people underestimate the value of a good ramble.” — Buffy

brit’s blog ‘Running Stitch’ is currently down. When her blog is not down she can be found posting there most days, however not today as her blog is down.  She hopes that Zoot can fix it, but in the meantime is quite happy to post at Zoot’s place. It’s pretty here and not broken.

Hi there. There is nothing more dauting then guest posting now is there? Well maybe walking on your hands, or skipping and chewing gum, I could never do that either.

Some of you know me (Hi Cara!!) Most of you don’t, many of you are either moving on to the next blogger on your google reader or trying to figure out what is going on.

Dude. I have been trying to figure out what has been going on for three days. Three days ago I tried to update my blog and it went kerflooey, kerflunk.  It’s a major bummer. For me blogging is a way not only to connect with others (Hi kelli!) but also to keep track of myself.

Seriously, once I lost myself for an entire month, I found myself again ( I was at the beach, of course) and things have been pretty normal ever since.

This week I lost my blog. I lost the place where I write down the cute things my kids say, where I post pictures of my craft projects, where I reach out to other mothers, wives, women, people to see if they know where I’m coming from, to see if they have been where I am, and how they got from there to somewhere else.

And I find it disorienting, frankly.

Which brings us back to, what do you talk about on a guest post? Your host, I’ve always thought.

So,  I can’t remember how I met Zoot.  I do remember her masthead from when I started reading her, it was a woman sitting at a cafe table drinking tea. I was new to blogging, or newish. I was blogging but looking around for an actual look, and maybe an actual site or something. And there she was all drinking tea, and knowing html.

I remember that I emailed her and asked for help with code and she sent me some links and I learned some stuff and then the world went all php and css and I had to lie down.

lunchtime1That was somewhere around 2004 or 2005, those early mama years a re a blur. By the time I met her in person at BlogHer 2006 San Jose, we had both had babies and her movie star status was in effect.

An introvert at heart I took it upon myself to meet at least one new person, sort of at the BlogHer meet up and so I bribed Zoot with diet coke and candy bars (she is so easy) to let me follow her around the conference.  She was really nice about it and I met lots of new bloggers (okay three) most of whom I keep in touch with to this day (okay two).

Zoot spent several more years pretending to help me with my site, but generally in the end just going in and fixing it herself.  Which on some levels frustrated me (that I couldn’t just pick it up myself) but mostly relieved me alot because I’ve come very attached to my little corner of the blogosphere.

At some point I completely lost interest in the technical side of my blog, the html is as rusty as the Japanese I took in highschool and can really only be called upon when I need to Bold something or count to ten Ichi Ni San Shi Roku (err five).

Blog templates are everywhere and those of us with only a passing interest in coding can find others to do the pretty work, leaving us to wax rhapsodic in our own little corners of the world. Wondering at our amazing ability to put words together and describe our lives as we see them, as we are living them.

And then kerflooey, keflunk.  Blankness. Overwhelming blankness. I tried to embrace the blankness, to see it as a vacation. A Freeing moment. A time for self reflection and re alignment.

And upon reflection I realized I miss my blog. I miss my blog friends, and my blog memories and the bloggity blogness of it all.   So I’ll be around for the rest of the week.  Releasing some of my inner blogginess out there in to Zoot land. (Because wow is she a good friend)

This is like an introduction. Next time I’m going to get serious and talk about making granola or using old tires to make shoes or something really crunchy like that.

In the meantime, I’ll be in the creek, with these children, not all of them are mine, but I’ve made some serious offers.