Saturday, November 12, 2011

Leaving Well Enough Alone...

has never been my strong suit.

The PTA is in overdrive preparing for its annual Holiday Shoppe. This has been a year of great transition as the organization had a regime change. And due to the closed circuted way things are run, regime is an apt word.

We are fortunate to have very deep pockets and are in the process of ordering a holiday projector and snow machine that will bring the kiddos a little taste of winter, here in the Sunshine State.

The sticking point about the plan is the "holiday" content of the projector's show. As a public school Merry Christmas and angels are acceptable but need to be counter balanced by dreidels, a menorrah and the more generic doves and wreaths. Apparently there is no magical calculation but like pornography the principal will know it when she sees it.

As the atheist hiding in plain sight I'm debating whether or not I should out myself. To the best of my knowledge the rest of the PTA flock are practicing Christians so I really do appreciate the thought they are giving the matter.

I don't presume to speak for any of the atheistic families that might be enrolled (with the constant talk of being blessed and numerous scriptures attached to people's email signatures, I wonder if I'm the only godless creature roaming the halls) but the projector is not at all offensive to me.

But I choose to celebrate Christmas ( I never miss a birthday party) complete with tree and all the trimmings, so perhaps I'm not the best potential representative.

I'll see how things go as the debate continues but maybe for once I'll heed my husband's advice and manage to stay mum.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Real Housewives of Sunset Beach

I'm sure there probably is a Sunset Beach in Florida but for the record it is not where I currently reside.

It's just the name of a soap opera that I never watched but whose title stuck with me. Speaking of soaps, I was met with blank stares when I tried to explain their cultural significance to the kiddos. I might have snagged their interest had I divulged that All My Children made 5 year old me feel tingly down below (direct quote, which I instantaneously regretted. Pre cable & VCR, banned from AMC,I was stuck with Chico & The Man) but I skipped that part of the way back time machine.

Life with the PTA, a basic cable franchise just waiting to be pitched, is nothing if not funny. All the stock character types are present:

Go Getter Mom-
fearless leader, former pagent director (suntan lotion not scholarship kind) lots of silicone and lots of smiles.

Woe is me Mom- always looks like she is on the verge of tears. Super sweet, very helpful and always putting her self down.

The Tri Athalete - self explanatory. But for color, had a conversation with her re: her 7 year old's lack of interest in outdoor life. Needless to say the Iron Lady was not pleased.

Law and Order Mom- again self explanatory.
Actually reads the minutes and always has her Roberts Rules & a copy of our by laws at the ready.

And last but not least... Wait for it...

Large & Sassy Black Mom - takes no nonsense and is forever baking something. Except for the Jesus talk I'm Shirley from Community!

Things are going well but I'm there for the cause not the people/social aspect of things.

As a result I'm not always in the loop regarding the after hours events.

In particular there was a cruise that I would have declined to go on- had I known it was happening. Initially I was quite upset about it, wondering if race was a factor...

But I really don't know if the cruise was organized before I came on the scene. And more importantly I do keep these women at arm's length. They have been very welcoming but this town is pretty conservative. I'm sure our PTA is largely republican with a few tea partiers sprinkled on top.Which make the complaints about school budget cuts particularly ironic.

Its not a workplace but we are working together, so for me ignorance is bliss. At present 99% of my dealings with the other moms (and at this school it is definitely mom, dads are pretty present but all the heavy PTA lifting is done by women) are during an official capacity, meeting events, etc. The last thing I need is to find myself listening to the virtues of Michelle Bachman from some broad who I need to help run the book fair.

And just when you thought it couldn't get more titillating, next up Ice Rink Parents. Wherein our plucky protagonist debates calling Child Welfare on a biweekly basis.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Model Citizen

At 8 years of age my daughter Mirette is an enthusiastic Girl Scout. Summer fun includes working on a slew of badges. A trip with her grandparents to a Veterans Home on Flag Day began an avid interest in service people and she is dutifully carrying out the tasks for her model citizens patch. Any little thing to do with the military has her rapt attention. I am thrilled to have a found a fantastic troop that is giving her a wonderful way to channel all of her natural curiosity.

She is definitely a chip off the old block so her natural curiosity has also lent itself to a love of celebrity gossip. Mila Kunis being coerced into saying yes to a Marine's you tube invitation was not a story she was apt to miss. Shakesville wraps it up pretty well.

As awful as the whole thing is, it was definitely a teachable moment in our household. Mirette knows that her body belongs to her and her alone. She is learning that compliments are fine but no one has the right to engage her beyond her level of comfortability. That being called rude isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Her delight in seeing men in uniform hasn't rendered her ignorant to the obvious. She was completely puzzled that anyone would expect a woman to go out with a total stranger just because he is a Marine.

That made me prouder than any of her glowing report cards.

My son had zero interest in this conversation. But he's 6 and I know that there will be plenty of proposals on Jumbo Trons that I can complain about in the future.

This Old Town House

I began this blog because of my obsession with a magnificent house in a changing neighborhood that I knew we were never going to be able to afford.

The plan was to document our real estate search and my third pregnancy. My life had essentially been charmed, so whatever mishaps I imagined along the way, I knew things would end with another healthy, cherubic cheeked babe in a space that reflected me.

Fast forward two and a half years. One miscarriage, a cancer diagnosis, several weeks of chemotherapy, radiation and a 400 mile relocation later, I'm about to move and transform a space into our home.

An attached town house in a lushly wooded but rigidly pristine neighborhood is a far cry from the houses we looked at smack dab in the middle of Atlanta.

At roughly 1700 square feet, it's larger than the Brooklyn apartment I grew up in. We will miss our current home's abundant outdoor space and over sized pool. At the new place the patio is small, but there is ample space for 3 chairs and a grill. Most importantly it is connected to a Florida room that will easily seat 6.

Lots to do on an uncertain budget. Men of A Certain Age encapsulates the angst that can result in the power dynamic between grown men and their fathers when the parent is also the employer. Never the less I realize that an uncertain budget is a hell of a lot better then no budget.

The internet has convinced me that a powder room is a good space to start a do it yourself project for a novice. And since everything I read on line is accurate the half bath will be my inaugural journey into the land of home improvements.I'm as unhandy as they come, so hopefully this quest won't result in any ER visits as I'm currently uninsured.

After I read the manifesto that passes as our homeowner's association guide, I hope that a sea green door is street legal.

Monday, July 11, 2011

"You Don't Look Like You've Missed A Meal!"

This is how my 81 year old paternal grandfather will probably greet me when I see him in a few weeks. Never mind that missing meals often results in weight gain, this is one instance during which I'll keep my infamously big mouth shut. Married to a woman who has waged war with her body the entirety of their almost 60 year union, my grandfather-always long and lean- thinks will power is the answer.

My beautiful grandmother and her three daughters are a endless parade of binging, purging, lap bands and gastric bypasses. At 77, my grandmother's extensive collection of hats has worked overtime as she attends funeral after funeral. And yet no conversation is complete without a mention of her weight. My vibrant, globe trotting aunt will casually refer to herself as a disgusting pig who shouldn't be allowed to look in a mirror.

The heavy grandchild, I should be heir to their misery but I'm not. In large part because my mom, who couldn't gain weight if she tried, refused to let me carry their mantle of shame and self doubt.

I vaguely remember a conversation when I was 12 or so, we were getting fit as a family, (which was admirable for the 1980's as I was the only overweight member) during which I told my mom she couldn't relate to my struggles. I barely remember this exchange but it struck a chord with her as she has never mentioned my weight again. Any internal struggles that she might have had with my body were never transmitted to me.

So I'll suffer my grandfather's barbs knowing first off I'm not alone. Upon hearing about my brother's emotionally charged divorce, complete with custody and alimony issues our family patriarch launched into a sermon that began "I told him not to marry that girl. I could see from the get go how this was gonna end!" And more importantly knowing that his feelings don't represent mine...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

In the Good Old Summertime

It's been so long, I don't even know where to begin but I will start by saying my health is fine as far as I know. Getting adequate health care as a self employed family is no picnic and I'm anticipating a major struggle on that front in the near future but tomorrow is another day...

After spending last summer in the cancer institute, I'm determined to make this summer an endless stream of happy days for my well deserving children. Think of a Country Time Lemonade commercial on steroids. At 6 and 8 they are easy going and easily pleased. I'm sure this perfectly delightful stage is the calm before the tween storm.

Our idyllic summer finds us in sweaters and gloves 3x a week as my children continue to pursue ice hockey & figure skating. Every now and again the UPS man will deliver something-doubling the number of black people in the building. I had a fellow figure skating mom tell me that middle school was horrible for her because they bussed in "all the Puerto Ricans" Not a lot renders me speechless. But her little bon mot reminded me that for better or worse I am essentially on terra non firma and need to keep my head on a swivel. It's especially ironic because whatever her ethnicity actually is she looks Latina.

The hockey folks have yet say anything as outrageous but I did read a blog post from a self professed hockey mom (from another state) about how unlike NBA or NFL stars, thugs who you would want to cross the street to avoid or arrogant grandstanders, NHL players were great, clean cut role models. Since thug is the new nigger is that even subtle enough to qualify as a dog whistle?

Mirette starts math and science camp tomorrow. Thelonious will hang with me and attempt to eat his way through central Florida. It would have been cheaper to send him to camp!

I've been pleasantly surprised that our new hometown isn't as much of an educational, cultural, and culinary wasteland as I had feared-racist figure skating moms not included. But I am going to try and blog and comment more frequently on the blogs that I read, because Metro Atlanta it is not...

Monday, November 22, 2010

PET Scans & Puma Sneakers

I've been tested, scanned and given a clean bill of health. For what ever reason I was actually quite calm during this round of tests, my first since my diagnosis last April. Statistically none of this should have happened to me, so I felt that the odds would finally favor me.

My family's declarations that "God is so very good!" were met by my standard "Yes, indeed!". One of the rare occasions in my life that I opt for a lie simply because it makes things easier.

After the tests I over indulged in Desert Pear Margarita's at Outback. 11am and I'm ordering drink after drink in a strip mall somewhere south of Atlanta. Staggering into the bathroom I dropped my passport along the way but didn't realize this until we arrived home the next day and were a 5 hour drive away. They claimed to have put it in the mail, but 2 weeks later and if push came to shove I couldn't photo document my id for shit. With an expired GA driver's permit, and no passport it will be a paperwork nightmare to renew anything if my old passport doesn't arrive. With the cost of a new passport tacked onto our Outback bill we could have gone to Ruth Chris'. I'm pretty sure if I had left a passport there I'd have it back by now...

But on to more interesting things like how my build a wardrobe project is going. I found a pair of Puma's, black and comfortable but sporty and stylish too. On sale at Nordstrom's I was afraid the Imani might be a little narrow for my wide-ish foot. But they slipped on just fine and I've been wearing them to great acclaim.

They've almost made me as happy as my test results.