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Guilt: When the “Staycation” Lacks Luster

When I took my children to the community playground yesterday, I felt sort of guilty that they weren’t on some fabulous trip for their school vacation. I thought about us parents who were there on the swings, and what our situations were that made us “stay home” this vacation (aside from vaccines). Was it money? Co-parenting schedules with divorce? Work responsibilities? All of the above?

I thought back to my childhood when I remember being on the “staycation” in Cleveland during spring break, because my parents both worked, and my mom also got her Ph.D. at night. We went to the Museum of Natural History, and we toured Cleveland. We went to the mall, had some meals out (Burger King and Wendy’s were a treat), and I watched TV . I went back to school pale as Casper, while others had a marked sunburn (this was when it was cool to burn in the ’80s). I recall feeling less privileged, which is funny, since I was in a private school (read: privileged) and really want for nothing.

Yesterday, after the playground, my kids and I walked to get ice cream, and I took them to the store for a toy. She got a Rapunzel doll, and he got a Kit Kat and bandages, so he could pretend to be wounded while playing war outside when we got home.

The kids picked these

It was a super nice day together, and I know they had fun, but I still felt sort of bad we were “home.”

I know I should not.

Truth is, I asked them: would you want to go somewhere later in the week?

She said, “I don’t like Florida.” (She only says this because of alligator fears)

Yikes

He shook his head, “no.”

I wonder if they really meant that. I know time together is what counts…

But I couldn’t help wonder if they were trying to make me feel better.

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A Day in the Life of Me: My To-Do List Compared to My Daughter’s.

I found this amazing list my daughter wrote titled, “Friday After School List.” It started with the very obvious: 1. unpack backpack. This was followed by: 2. clean up room. Um, pretty sure that never happened. Then, there was, 3. draws/color, and so on…It ended with: 11. go to bed. This list, while somewhat compulsive and hyper-organized, also reminded me that life was so much simpler back when we were young, and maybe we ought to get back to that.

It also made me think of my own to-do list and how it compared. I decided I would write it down:

  1. Get up unwillingly: Dog and child bust into my room. Dog licks my face, and she leaps onto my back, while I let out a hurling noise.
  2. Wash out the coffee pot: Wonder why I don’t just get it ready to go the night before, because it’s so cumbersome to wash old grinds out from yesterday morning, and it takes too much time.
  3. Pack lunches: I LOATHE this task. Like, I envy those whose children have a school lunch. She won’t eat sandwiches, which leaves…chips and carrots and yogurt (which she always lets go to waste. And, they are the Chobani ones, which are not exactly cheap! #annoyed) And we can’t pack peanut butter anymore. He? He’s easier. I hate the water bottles too. It’s like they are hamsters or rabbits and need a water bottle every day. We never had water bottles. Pretty sure the one gulp I took from the nasty, dirty water fountain at field hockey practice was my entire water consumption for the whole day.
  4. Drive kids to school: even though they very well could take the bus, which drives past my freaking house. But, no, they claim they’re too afraid of COVID, and people on it are loud and wipe snot on the windows.
  5. Go to work…
  6. Pick kids up: Wonder how the hell the day went by so quickly. Tell the kids they have to self-entertain for the next two hours, because I still have work to do.
  7. Walk the dogs: Grab a roadie of wine, breathe in some fresh air, run my work day through my head and wonder what else I have to do, and then try to pretend that I am breathing and being present. Pick up poop.
  8. Make dinner: Convince children that it’s important to eat as a family, say grace to Jesus, and tell each other our “rose and thorns” of the day. Implore them that they need to take their time, stop wolfing their food, and tell them “no” to their requests for eating in their rooms, on their beds. #gross
  9. Pour another glass of vino.
  10. Play dolls or Barbies with daughter or make fire pit with son.
  11. Try to find a TV show: Scroll through Netflix, watch a bunch of trailers and realize I hate period shows and am tired of murder shows, so I turn it off.
  12. Go to my computer, read blogs and wonder why I am brain dead. Wish I could write.
  13. Make phone calls and stare at my social media.
  14. Play Words with Friends. Crush it with a few two-letter words, have one eye open because so tired.
  15. Brush teeth, wash face, stare at wrinkles, plan Botox and Fillers
  16. Go to bed.

REPEAT!

I wish I had a manicure like this. But, I don’t.

There are things I’d like to have on this list, like “Draw/Color” and playing with friends, like my daughter did. I might want to add, “Clean Room,” since the armchair looks like a hanging rack for misplaced clothes, and the bed is still not made (I hate this!).

But, maybe I’ll get to that tomorrow. Tomorrow is a new day, and a new list…I hope! Probs not.

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My Favorite Things (today)…What do We Have in Common?

You know that song, My Favorite Things that Julie Andrews sang? (I sang it at my first audition in fifth grade…I thought I was good but only got the nonspeaking role of “Peablossom” in Midsummer Night’s Dream...guess I sucked it). Anyway, I decided I’d like to share some of my favorite things these days, maybe to inspire you to try them!

1. SHIZZLES. I can’t think of one thing!

I think I’m depressed. Well, no, it’s like a post-war malaise or something where this surge in COVID is legit taking an emo and physical toll. Physically, because I just wolfed down a Twix ice cream bar (so not in the diet–oh wait, I’m not on one); and mentally, because I feel sort of dulled. I tried to sharpen up and read a book on my Kindle, and I did some Words With Friends. This is also why I have not written my blog, or worked on my novel, in like a month! I am dead inside!!!

Well, that’s not true.

BUT, okay, so here are some of my favorite things lately:

1. TV. Yeah, I’m sorry for all y’all that extol the virtues of not owning a TV and not paying for cable (even though we know you stream…be honest!), because it’s legit fun to binge watch shows on Netflix, like The Fall (watching now,) or on HBO (The Undoing). I also still enjoy Housewives of NYC and Salt Lake City and OC. It’s like these people are my friends now that I don’t see other friends as often. #bravotv #netflix #cable #HBO

2. “Yasou” Greek salad dressing. I make a lot of salads. And I’m Greek. To my dismay, I think this salad dressing is the most I do with my Grecian heritage. I thought to join the Greek church here, and I went with good intentions, but I can’t speak Greek! I can, however, say “Yasou!” which means, “Hello!” in Greek. Maybe I can bring the dressing with me to church. #yasou #greek

3. Spotify. I basically crank music daily and the best part is that you can purchase a subscription and play whatever song you want whenever. It’s like having your own jukebox. I love me a good jukebox. My fave songs to play are Sweet Thing, by Van Morrison, One, by U2, and She Wouldn’t Be Gone, by Blake Shelton. #Spotify

4. Work. Yeah, I know that sounds basically cray, but at least it’s something to DO besides focus on myself, my kids and ruminating about things we can’t plan! “Make a plan, and God will change it for you,” is a quote I just heard on Real Housewives, actually. LOL Honestly? That fact that I am quoting from Bravo, instead of like Darwin or Plato, is kinda rotten–well, and funny at the same time. But, it’s good to have a sense of purpose and to get a paycheck after my summer off and my dwindling bank account. Oh, and RIP to my “Preferred” banking status at Bank of America. Apparently, I am officially too poor to maintain that privilege, since I kept withdrawing and not depositing for months. Whatevs. I never ASKED to join that club, m’kay, BOA? Ya’ shut it!

me at work

5. Coffee and Wine. Not together, but like as bookends to my days. Maybe I should mix them together and see if the day is all a hot mess and turned upside down! Or, maybe that is just another word for —“a problem.”

Well, what are your favorite things???? Please share!

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She Persisted: My Failed Attempt at Cooking a Nice Dinner

“So maybe I should just stick with chicken nuggets?” This is what I asked my kids as they crinkled their noses and stared at the sauteed shrimp skewered on their forks and turned it round and round, like a pinwheel.

“Sorry, mom. I just don’t like garlic,” my sons says, trying to be nice. He actually, I think, felt bad for me, since I’d make a big deal about cooking this special dinner since we woke up this morning. See, this is an aberration. I am not exactly known for my culinary skills, and, truth be told, I’d be happy having chips and wine for dinner. But, I tried to be all maternal and decided I’d watch the Food Network and start making actual meals. Typically, I have a rotation of pasta, veggies and rice, steak, and chicken. As my son James says, “Mom, all you cook is chicken with a different sauce and side.” The grill is my friend: easy and fast, and the mess is outside. No lingering smells in the house, and basically no dishes!

But, today, I went to Roche Bros., equipped with my recipe and took to task. Of course this Spicy Fennel Shrimp meal ended up costing twice as much because I had to essentially buy a spice cabinet–the one I had included salt and pepper, nail polish remover, dog treats and gummy vitamins. This was my amazing basket. Oh, and see that random vegan stuff in there? Well, I decided I might try going Vegan for a week and see how it goes. So far? The smoked vegan cheese is dis-GUS-ting. Note to self: no fake cheese.

So around five, I decide to give it a whirl and take out the shrimp. Alas, what the hell is deveining??? I read this on the recipe. And, by the way, anything with veins? I don’t super want to eat. However, I watch a You Tube on how to pull the legs and shell off the shrimp and then cut a line down its spine to pull out what is essentially poop. I mean, I have goldfish, and this “vein” looks very similar to the bottom of their tank. I thought to toss them right then and there but, as Chelsea Clinton wrote, “She Persisted.” I persisted and cleaned those babies.

Well, I made quite a tasty dish, I must say. Here’s a pic:

But, when I had the kids try it, all fired up, saying grace, staring at their scared faces, all I could say was, “Should I stick to the nuggets?”

And I did.

I ate the shrimp, and I’m writing this as the nug’s cook. Round two on dinner…