Thursday, October 30, 2008

And I'm dealing blackjack..from one to two.

Even though it's not Halloween, today was party day at my son's school. I came to his classroom party dressed as a frumpy housewife.

My assignment--to run a blackjack table( a.k.a."21").  I was surprised by how many 5th graders know how to play the game.  One even asked if she could "double down".  Many also knew the appropriate hand gesture to signal yours truly to "hit" them with another card. One boy got the greatest kick out of purposely busting out.

In all the years I've been helping at classroom parties, the energy level of the kids hasn't changed as the they have aged. They still want to argue about the rules of games, and take one extra prize, just like they did when they were in Kindergarten.

Sadly one thing that has changed: I am no longer taller, than any  of them.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dedicated to Monty Python

29 October, 2008

Dear Mrs. Jones,

I wish to complain in the strongest possible terms about your last post.  I mean--what indeed is your point?  Near as I can tell. you don't have one. Must be your illness.

First in your post, you talk about how tiring it is being a housewife.  Cry me a river! 

Then you go on and on about your son and girls. 

Then somehow we go from there to a diatribe that reads like it's coming from a hippie.

Because you deliberately wasted my time, I will no longer eat my bon bons while reading your crap!

Sincerely Yours,

Dear Eden:
 I guess the point of my last post was that I was a little surprised by some of the stuff coming out of my son's mouth. Now I have two questions for you:
  1. If you aren't going to read my blog, can I have your bon bons?
  2. Why are your writing to yourself.  Are you okay, dear?
Eden Jones

Monday, October 27, 2008

What does it take to be an "American Idot"?

It seems like I was in my car all day, which is scary, and a miracle, considering the shape I'm in. Much of that time was spent shuttling my son hither and yon.  First it was to get his flu shot, then back home again in time for me to make "dinner." After dinner I took him to his Tae Kwon Do class.  After class, a road trip to Dairy Queen, where he cashed in a coupon for a treat that was burning a hole in his pocket.

I'm tired. But I shouldn't complain. Everyday is Friday when you are a housewife--or so the myth goes.

While my son has his treat. I get an earful about his day as only he can tell it.  

First, he tells me he kicked butt at dodge ball during P.E.  Nobody could hit him, he says. This made his classmates "insane," he said.

I wasn't surprised. I play dodge ball with him every time I try to discuss homework with him, or get him to take medicine, or just turn off a light.  And we all know I'm insane.

Then he talks about this one girl who was giving him a hard time. I ask him if it was one of the "popular" girls that are currently the bane of his existence. 

He says no the girl is British, so she's not popular. Then he yelps, "The British are coming!" "The British are coming!"

First it was the Canadians; now our neighbors across the pond? What have they done to him lately? Besides, they probably don't think too much of "Americans" right now.

He then says that if he were in a British school he wouldn't be popular either, and adds that "only the Americans" are popular at his school.

Since when did my boy get the notion that all you need  be American is to be white and wear the appropriate flag pin? At any rate, I'm pretty sure most of the children at his school are American. And so what if they aren't? 

I ask him what he thinks it means to be American.

At first, he doesn't want to answer.

Then he sighs and says, "anyone who is born here."

I say he's right, but that even people who aren't born here can become citizens, recalling the story his second grade classmate--an American boy of Middle Eastern heritage, who took a day off to see his parents become citizens.

One of the things I love  about this country is its ideal of achieving diversity and equality. And one of the things I love about my son is that he marches to his own drummer. As he gets older, it will be harder for him to not cave in to what's "popular".  I hope he makes good choices.

Our differences should create excitement, not tension.  We can learn so much from people who aren't like us.  But despite the lofty goals of diversity and equality we have in this country, it seems we're given the  message that we should all be alike--a nation of sheep or clones.

One of me is enough, and one of my son is enough, too.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I'm not quite dead yet. I feel HAPPY!

One of the blessings of not being on chemotherapy right now, is that I actually have energy. I'm volunteering in my  son's classroom again,  I actually can enjoy entertaining, and some days, I stay up past 10 p.m.  I will take my son and a friend out trick-or-treating this Friday.

The cancer is there, but it's like a dormant volcano, for now, and I'll take that. 

There are many cancer patients  who don't get to "enjoy"  the extra time the cancer treatment is intended to provide, but I do.

This wasn't always the case. In general, I'm not an optimistic person. The cynical part of me would think (about the cancer) "Well it hasn't killed me today, but it will kill me," or "I just have that much longer to contemplate my doom!"

So I wasn't much fun to be around. I needed help and I got it, in the form of pills I call my "I don't care" pills-- anti-anxiety/depression medication. Most who know me would say I needed them since birth, but better late than never. I call them my "I don't care" pills because they haven't removed me from the reality of my life-threatening illness, but they have made it possible for me to put my worries in their own basket. Also, being off chemo (for now) has made a BIG difference for me.

Better living through chemistry and modern medicine! Next look at my head will be in December. We'll see if I dodge another bullet.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A half-baked blues song

I've got a boy
Who says he likes math
But he makes a few mistakes
Because he works too fast
And I say hey
He's got the homework blues
He's already been in school all day
Now he's got the homework blues.

Well I try to help him
He yells "Get out of my room!"
He flings his pencils at me
And I say "No TV for you.!"
And I say hey
I've got the homework blues
I need armor to dodge the pencils
So I have the homework blues

The teacher, she's supposed to teach children
or she gets the parents' wrath
Every day she comes home with a headache
And needs a nice warm bath
And I say hey
She's got the homework blues
The kids complain they get too much
So even she's got the homework blues

Saturday, October 18, 2008

"I'll get on my knees and pray......We don't get fooled again."

Those are the immortal words of Pete Townshend as performed by The Who, my son's new favorite band.

Stick me with anything you want to. I'm done with this election cycle.  That said, everyone who can, should vote.  The stakes are high.  Still for the last two years, I've been bombarded by candidates wanting to get my vote, promising lower taxes, better schools, saying they understand foreign policy because they can see Russia from their house, saying "the other one" is lying.

You all lost me when you decided to become politicians. I'm sick of the rhetoric.  It's time to decide!

I wanted to do a post featuring sort of a satirical "greatest hits" from the political season, but as usual, my son gave me inspiration--to do something else.

We were having one or our famous talks in the car, when my son asks if I have anything on my ipod by this band that had "the best drummer in the world".

With little hesitation I say, "Do you mean The Who?"

He then tells me he has been learning to play the drums to one of their songs on Rock Band, and proceeds to play "Won't get Fooled Again".

It occurs to me that the song with its lyrics ("Meet the new boss/Same as the old boss") and ("I'll get on my knees and pray/We don't get fooled again") is relevant today, despite the fact it was written 30+years ago.

Then my son and I were playing Rock Band together, along with his friends, and we were practicing The Stones' "Gimme Shelter".  I thought, that too, is a political tune, in its own way, I interpret it as a song about how the 60's were rather a violent period, even with all of the peace activism.

So I have a list of tunes that make me think about politics, and to some extent, reflect my my attitudes about it.

Besides the two songs I mentioned here's a few that leap to mind:

Freedom of Choice-Devo
It's the End of the World As We Know It...But I Feel Fine-R.E.M.
It's a Beautiful World We Live In-Devo
Imagine-John Lennon
Revolution-The Beatles

Feel free to add to the list.  And please don't get fooled again. Use your head and your heart when you vote.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A special day for my family

Today we celebrate an anniversary--of my son's adoption.  Ten years ago today, a judge made us parents. It was a bumpy ride to parenthood, but all the more reason to celebrate.

There's a line in the movie Parenthood where one of the characters says, "You know,  you need a license to drive a car...but anyone can become a parent."

Or I like what comedian Martin Mull said:  "Anyone with bone marrow intelligence can become a parent."

In our case we were inspected, detected and put on the "Group W" bench (see Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant). We had home inspections, interviews, and medical tests (If I knew about my tumor then, I might not have been able to adopt).  In addition we went to seminars, participated in "mediation", and wrote autobiographies.

It is because of this effort to be a mom, that I take the job especially seriously. His mistakes are my mistakes.  Likewise, his triumphs are somehow because I'm the best mom on Earth.

Our son at times has expressed sorrow that he's not like other kids. He doesn't know too many other adopted children. However, he is like other kids in that he didn't get to choose his parents.

I will not to into detail about the adoption process, except to note that we did an open adoption, which means we have contact with our son's birth parents, and he still seems happy to be with us.

I have enjoyed immensely watching him grow.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"I'm too gergus!"

My son is some kind of Dr. Seuss.   He likes to make up words and phrases.  Here are just a few in his lexicon:
foofer (otherwise known as "the word")
stop farting! (which in my son's language means, stop talking)
meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow ( can be used interchangeably for "Good Morning" or "I'm home")

And then there is gergus.   The e and the u are short.  I cannot quite define gergus, but I know it when I see it.

Example:  My son is getting old enough to fix some of his own snacks and meals, but he still prefers being served, which I tend to not want to do, if he isn't going to eat what the rest of us are eating (a subject for another post). Tonight was an exception.  I made him a hot dog.  He asks me to get him some ketchup.  I tell him that if he wants it, he knows where it is.  Then he says in a cat-like voice, "But I want you to get it."

I ask, "Why?"

"Because I'm too gergus!"

So does gergus mean lazy, tired, or spoiled?

Maybe next time he wants me to serve him, when he can serve himself, I'll speak in his language and tell him to stop farting.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

What do you do when you've been married 14 years and have time away from your child? Buy laundry baskets.

My friend agreed to have our son over for a play date with her son. Husband has a college football game on and says, "So, what do you want to do?" I say, "It looks like your watching football."

Finally we decide that our son is in need of some new clothes.  He's growing, and he doesn't have much for the colder weather, which is coming.

One of the stores we visit is Target.  To my surprise he says that we're there to get-- a laundry basket--among other things.

"You said you wanted one," he said.

It's true.  In fact, I say "Can I have two, please?"

My wish is his command.  I can't wait to get my new toys home to put them to use.

As of this writing, I'm ready to unload one of my new laundry baskets.

What? Not interesting, you say? Just what should we have done during this time away from our child?

I'm open to suggestions.

The Principle of Popcorn

I'm not as stupid as I think I am.  I recently discovered a principle of physics. I'll call it the Principle of Popcorn.  

Here's how it works:  You give your child and a few of his friends some popcorn.  Two things happen.
  1. Popcorn crumbs can be found within a 20-mile radius of where the bowl of popcorn originated.
  2. Ditto for unpopped kernels.
Somehow the popcorn travels.  I may even find it in the washing machine some day. It's sort of like sand that way.  You know how you can go to the beach and think your covered up, but then weeks later find sand in your navel, or places I can't mention in a family blog.

The Principle of Popcorn is not my first discovery as an amateur (a.k.a. NON-EXISTENT) physicist. I've got patent pending on the Bismarck Principle, which states that however many custard bismarck you purchase at a bakery; that's the amount that will be eaten.

The Bismarck Principle also applies to money.  Many of us spend the money we have until it's gone.

I wonder if Albert Einstein or Isaac Asimov had brain tumors.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Oh No! Not Thomas Covenant!

I scare myself, because brain tumor and all, I still have the most common sense  in our family.

Case and point: I wake up at 3 a.m. and discover that my husband hasn't come to bed yet. I go downstairs to find him reading a book in the "Thomas Covenant" series by Stephen Donaldson called The Runes of the Earth--The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.

In theory, these books are supposed to be "fantasy," but if so, I don't want to live in this fantasy world. Here's the summary from the back of the book:

Thomas Covenant lost everything.  Abandoned by his wife and child, sick and alone, he was transported while unconscious to a magical, dreamlike world called the Land.  Convinced it was all a delusion, Covenant was christened The Unbeliever by the Land's inhabitants--but gave his life to save this newfound world he came to regard as precious.

Ten years after Covenant's death.  Linden Avery still mourns for her beloved companion.  But a violent confrontation with Covenant's son, who is doing the evil Lord Foul's bidding, forces her back to the Land, where a dark malevolence is about to unmake the laws of nature--and the laws of life and death..

I don't think it's a stretch to say that my husband reads these books when he's in a dark mood, so I say to him, politely as I can, when I see him up in the wee hours reading this happy fantasy:
"Christ, not Thomas Covenant again!" Excuse my language, but those were my exact words.

Meanwhile, my son was up at 5 a.m.  We all need our sleep.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Jerry was a race car driver

It appears, sadly, that my son's new favorite band is Primus. He's also taken a liking to Toad the Wet Sproket.

On our way home from his tae kwon do practice, my son dials in Primus on the ipod. He hears me singing under my breath:
Jerry was a race car driver
Drove so (expletive) fast
Never did take the checkered flag
But he never did come in last

My mistake to think he couldn't hear me. He finds the song on the ipod and plays it. Click on the link to hear a sample:

By the way, Primus does the opening credits for South Park. 

I prefer Toad the Wet Sprocket, or Toad, for short.  Appropriately enough, my son's favorite song is "Fall Down". Click on the link to hear the song, as used in the game Final Fantasy:

As an added bonus, Toad gets its name from a Monty Python sketch.

Well it took me an hour to do this post.  I'll never take the checkered flag, but I think I'll go "fall down" into bed.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Walk of Life

Today I, along with hundreds of others walked 5km to raise money to find a cure for brain tumors. I captained a team I called "Eden's Army".   My sister had about a dozen visors made with the team logo. I would not be here today without the support of my family.  They give me the will to live, and keep me laughing. So without further adieu, I give you the team members:

My sister Marie

My mother Karen

My mother and my Aunt Viv, who came a long way to walk with me!

Mom, me and Aunt Viv

Tina and Steve Estrada (no relation to actor Eric Estrada). Tina has the same tumor as me, and they both go to a local brain tumor support group I attend.   They are good people!

Tina, me and Steve
Me with the Brain Tumor Support Group Team--The Cranium Crew! They know more about me than they ever wanted.  

Me with the crew again!

This  year I raised about $660 dollars for brain tumor research.  I plan to keep doing this walk, even when some poor person has to push me in a wheelchair!

Today was a great day to be alive!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A moral dilemma

My son, at age 10, is having girl problems.
He says to me, " Mom, I have another person I like."
I say, "What do you mean?"
"I mean, LIKE, LIKE"
"Besides 'J'?"
"Yes," he says
"K," He responds.

Just so we're clear, I'm only using the first initial of the young ladies in question. It turns out the difference between "J" and "K" is that "K" may "LIKE, LIKE" him back; whereas,"J" thinks that they are too young to be even discussing the matter. Nevertheless, she remains a loyal friend.

My son tells me that he doesn't want to have to choose between "J" and "K".  I think this a good sign. After all, let's face it, some boys (and girls)  like their "J" and "K", and every other letter of the alphabet. I'm glad that my 10 year old isn't a "swinger".

I must have "that" talk with him, before he changes his mind. I hope I live to be a grandma, but that does not mean I want my son to start early.