Sunday, September 27, 2009

So sometimes....

You CAN go home again!

Not that you want to all the time of course, because if you did, they'd change the locks. But on occasion traipsing down that lane of memories is a hoot.

This weekend a long gone restaurant reopened in a near-by town. Said restaurant was the site of many Sweet 16s, birthday dinners, dates and then in college and the early years of teaching, "GNO" (Girls Night Out). It had a salad bar to DIE FOR...don't know what was in the tortellini salad but a dollop of it could get me going back in the olden days. The place closed down in the mid 90's and I am not joking when I say that I have thought about some of their menu items routinely for years.

So, fast forward to this summer when they began renovating another restaurant in the same mall. We all waited with breath drawn until this weekend when they reopened. And guess what? I didn't have high expectations. But really, it was the most fun I've had in a room with my children present in ages. Of course, they have some bugs to work out:

1. The main room is too bright, thus giving it a kind of cafeteria style feel.

2. The sweet young hostesses were clearly not ready for the throngs of 30, 40 and 50 something drooling patrons who descended upon them.

3. The usual new restaurant mix ups with a new wait and kitchen staff.

But the famous tortellini salad is still fabulous...I'm thinking about it now and I had half a plate full. I know the way to a man's heart is through his stomach...but tonight the way to my heart was via the salad bar.

Welcome home!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I live with my husband and 2 sons. I understand my husband, but it took time. We've been together 24 years this fall. As for the children though, I am occasionally confused, confounded and confuzzled by their behavior....Why, oh why do they:

1. Not care how dirty and smelly they are?

2. Not look when they pee? (And yes, I do look before I sit, but still...)

3. Refuse to use napkins...shirts are not for facial crumbs.

4. (Regarding my older son) Have nothing to say on the telephone but text constantly? And yes, KW, I realize you will blame me for this habit. But he doesn't drive, he's only 11. ;-)

5. Not hear anything I ask them in the morning but can retain the sports scores from the night before while eating cereal and watching SportsCenter?

6. Like to shoot things in video games? I find this boring.

7. Say there is nothing to eat and then take 4 boxes of things down to the basement?

8. Refuse to put clothes in the laundry basket?

Ok, I know there are easy reasons for these things like, "Because Mom will do it," or, "Because they don't care and they aren't really hurting anyone." And really, I choose happiness...I'm just wondering.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Choose Happiness!!

This is my self-proclaimed mantra this year. It has become a bit of a joke between a few of us at work...I think the young'uns might be making fun of me but I don't care. You know why? Because I am frickin there!

Really, what is the alternative? And don't be glib and say, "Um, duh, moron...the alternative is unhappiness". Because that type of cheekiness is not necessary in my happy world. There are many reasons and ways to be happy. I shall illustrate:

1. Things can be suckish at times...stressful and overwhelming. But you can meet things head on and deal with them, or you can bitch about it and blame others. I spent a lot of time in my younger years doing just this. And really, it takes more effort than just doing what you need to do. Be it work, family or social obligations...things are only as bad as you let them be.

2. Being mad and bitter take A LOT of effort (plus, it is bad for frown lines). If you got killed by a bear tomorrow would you want to leave some things the way they are now? If the person you are mad at got killed by a bear tomorrow how would that pan out for you? Think about it. It may not be worth it.

3. Most people who annoy you do so not because they want to, but because they are concerned, worried or scared about something. If it has to do with their kids put yourself in their shoes...if it were your kid, would you be upset too? If the answer is yes, then stop being annoyed and help them address the problem.

4. Waiting sucks...but sometimes there is no choice. I'm not talking about morons at McDonald's who don't know what to order and hold up the line...those people deserve a little shove. But find something else to do when you are forced to wait for something important. Play on Facebook, read a book, watch General Hospital, call me for a drink. Obsessing raises the blood pressure...I know, I spent lots of time doing this in the past.

5. Say no sometimes. Lots of overstressed, grumpy people are that way because they take on too much. Say no once in awhile. Maybe your family needs you; maybe you have some magazines to read. Whatev, do something for YOU. It is ok.

6. Focus on what you can do and what you can change. I know there are some things I can't change so I move on; it doesn't mean I have given up. But if I soldier on and do MY best the annoying things have less of an effect on those around me. Sitting around complaining accomplishes nothing.

7. Spend time laughing. If there aren't people in your house or at your work who make you laugh, you may need a change of scenery. If you can't be friends with people at work and consider them merely "people I work with" then you may very well be in the wrong career. I feel bad for you because I can't imagine not laughing at work or at home, for that matter.

8. Along the same lines, enjoy your job. Life is too short.

9. The days may go slowly, especially when trapped in the house on a rainy day with your kids. But the years go quickly. Don't blink. Over the mantle in my house it says, "Life isn't a matter of milestones, but of moments". It is true, enjoy things as they come and choose to be happy.

10. Have friends of all ages...the young ones make you remember what it was like, keep you up on music and good nightspots and the more mature ones remind you to add more to your retirement account and seem to know a lot about prescription drugs.

I know I am going out on a limb time I'm in a pissy mood someone will be all, "Choose happiness, Amy!" and I might punch them. But hey, once I get that out of my system I'm sure I will feel better.

Is it wrong?

That I am not that excited for the Olympics to perhaps come to my hometown?

I think Chicago has a pretty good chance at winning the bid to host the 2016 games. In fact, if you don't live here you can't appreciate the constant newspaper articles, the commercials ("I back the bid! Do you back the bid?") with the real Chicago celebs (Mike Ditka) and the locals (Tim Smithe of Smithe Brothers Furniture) and the news reports with the "countdown to the decision". But, I'm not that excited...

I see several issues:

1. Those of us who live will erroneously think that we can get good tickets for awesome won't happen. The tickets will be outrageously priced and impossible to get.

2. Driving anywhere downtown for the weeks leading up to, and the weeks of, the Olympics will be HELL. Us locals won't be able to get to appointments, engagements or anything else for that matter. That will piss me off because it will be SUMMER, when I have the time to do all that stuff!

3. The local news will discuss NOTHING ELSE. I mean, already they talk about it nightly and we haven't even "won" yet.

4. There will be constant infighting about what buildings and lands will be used, taken over, torn down, rebuilt, refurbished etc...This will also take over the local news. Which as you can see from #3 above, will annoy me.

5. The city will prett-i-fy lots of stuff just for the summer...and then let it go to crap afterwards. That is suckish, as my 9 year old would say.
You might think I am un-American, unpatriotic or just a Scrooge. I'm not really...I LOVE the Olympics, when they are on television. Generally, I watch them 24/7 when they are on my tv. I'm not begin negative, just realistic.

Oh well, maybe I am wrong...maybe Chicago will win the bid, I will get tickets for fun stuff like diving and volleyball and gymnastics and we will all be able to drive anywhere we want to all summer. Hey, it could happen!Really, it could...maybe, allegedly, perhaps...I'm not sure. I guess we will have to wait and see...Tune in October 3 for the big DECISION.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I Hate It When People Say....

1. "No offense but..."-Really? Because if you didn't want to offend me you just wouldn't say it. As my son once told a friend, "Just because you say 'no offense' doesn't mean you can be a jerk."

2. "Maybe you didn't understand me"-People say this when they are annoyed you don't agree with them. No jerkwad, I understood you, it is just that you are WRONG!!!

3. "Excuse me, are you in line?"-No, I'm just standing behind all these people to fake you out. Yes, I'm in line and you better back off because I was here first.

4. "I didn't hear the phone ring."-Liar.

5. "Can I see you in my office for a minute?"-It NEVER takes a minute and it is NEVER good. It is better to just be honest and say something like, "Come in my office so I can screw up your whole 'good karma' day."

6. "You look different. What did you do?"-Hmmm, I don't know. Depends on if you mean that as a compliment or not. Different as in "I used to look like crap and now I don't" or different as in "I look older and more worn out but you don't wanna say it"?

7. "Have you talked to Mom/your sister today?"-Don't answer, it's a trick question!!

8. "Does this smell spoiled to you?"-WTF? You think something smells disgusting and you want me to confirm? Trust yourself and leave me out of it.

9. "I hate to ask this but..."-Then don't. Seriously, I'm a busy person and unless I have given birth to you, I'd rather not go out of my way to do anything for you. Deal with it yourself.

10. "Do you have any plans for tonight/tomorrow/next Tuesday?"-Well, I don't know. If you are going to invite me to do something stupid then yes, I have plans. If the invitation is for something good, then I might be available. The only possible answer to that question is, "Why?"

11. "Mom! I need you down here!"-Again, NOTHING good ever comes of this. There is usually, blood, glue, Coca-Cola or something else spillable to contend with when I arrive.

12. "Oh, yes, we've met before."-And I stand there wondering who the hell this person is. I hate that.

I'm sure there are more, but you get the idea...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Things I Would Still Like To Do...

1. Dance on a bar, look good doing it, and have strangers throw money at me. (Ok, well, it would need to be a CLEAN bar...and all the strangers need to have all their teeth.)

2. Tell off a cashier who is being bitchy and acting like *I* am wasting her time when *I* am the one spending money.

3. Say no at work.

4. Meet Sig Hansen.

5. Stop checking up on my kids when they say that things are in their backpacks ready for school...I know, I'm an enabling Mommy and a teacher who does not practice what she preaches. Sue me, I'm human.

6. Leave the house without making the fricking beds...I used to ALL THE TIME in my younger days. Why can't I anymore?

7. Stop giving money to Channel 11 out of guilt. I have paid my dues....Bozo is dead, the boys are long done with Barney and the Teletubbies and everything else on there is British and boring and angst-ridden.

8. Learn to drive a stick shift car. I always say I don't drive one because it is too much work...but really, I tried to learn in high school and it was traumatic and I've always felt like I gave up too soon.

9. Cut the cord on friendships I have outgrown. (If you think this might be you, it might be...)

10. Eat more veggies.

11. Floss at least 3 times a week...or at least more than the day before a cleaning at the dentist.

12. Read some classic book that seems boring...maybe I'll like it. Anyone have any suggestions?

13. Try to spend one day without judging anyone else and see if I feel better about myself. I probably won't because really, what is the fun in that? But I could at least say I tried.

14. Have a day at school where we eat candy, watch a movie and draw pictures all day...but I'd have to swear the kids to secrecy and probably even threaten them. And eventually someone would tell on me...Even being union VP wouldn't save me from being called in on that one.

15. Say what everyone wants to say but is too scared to say to __________. (Can't even put her name...too scary!)

16. Get hit on by a former student who doesn't realize who I am. (Don't be disgusted, my first few classes of students are in their mid to late 20's at this point, there has to be at least one or two that MIGHT go for me, right?? ;-).)

17. Climb to the top of a climbing wall. My problem is I am too chicken.

18. Swim with dolphins.

19. Pet an Orca.

20. Learn to speak Spanish.

21. Win the Lotto...doesn't have to be MILLIONS. Just several hundred thousand would do. Pay off the house, buy a new car...put some away for the boys and buy one of everything at Ann Taylor Loft.

22. Learn to make banana bread so I don't have to throw away all those bananas every week.

23. Trip that mean girl who called Ryder fat and ugly.

24. Have enough expendable income to go back to Disney World and not have to take 2 years to pay it off.

Not a real "wow" of a list...I have NO desire to bungee jump, climb a major mountain or anything else that might cause my untimely death. I also am not patient or hard working enough to write a novel or cure cancer. But it would be exciting, cathartic and in some cases just fun, to do the above.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Don't Leave Me Hanging....

So, yesterday I introduced myself to a couple that I will be seeing weekly now that a certain sport my older son plays has begun. They are new to the team. I briefly met the husband a couple of weeks ago, but I reintroduced myself and held out my hand. He said hello and that he remembered meeting me and did not shake my hand. He did not introduce me to his wife, I had to repeat myself.

For some reason, I can not get over it. RUDE!!! I have no open sores, rashes or even a cold so that he would have been fearful of touching me. Now, maybe he's a germ-a-phobe and he touches no one...I will have to watch. But it really pissed me off. Ok, vent done...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Thing I Am Not Sure About:

At my ripe old age not much surprises or confuses me...but then something does and I just have to stop and wonder, "Huh??" Things such as:

1. That the guy in back of me in line at Starbuck's knows my order, but the woman behind the counter doesn't and she is there every fricking morning. Is that guy some weird stalker or is the Starbuck's lady slow?

2. Am I allowed to walk up to the drive through at the bank during business hours? I do it all the time, but people in cars look at me funny and I always worry someone will run me over.

3. Having the news on with the kids around. My kids see the news and sometimes I switch it off when it gets intense. But really, I think they are old enough to know what is going on in the world. I know some of my friends do not approve of this. Or, maybe it is just some of the other shows....Hmmmm...

4. I can't stop these ShoppyBag emails and I am starting to get pissed off. I know it is my fault for opening it, but I got the original one from a mom in my class...I couldn't ignore it!! Now, I pay the price for being a prisoner of technology. Fiddle sticks and damnation...

5. My parents will be out of town for the High Holidays. My sister is having her kid's sleep over party on the first night of Rosh Hashonnah and I am going to see Tom's band the second night. So, no Rosh Hashonnah this year. Is that wrong?? I don't even feel guilty about that wrong?

6. I have a retirement fund...I haven't looked at the statements since the economy started going downhill. I figure what I don't know won't hurt me and things have a decade or two to right themselves.

7. Why are some people scared of people from their past? They are just people you went to high school with...if you aren't in the witness protection program you have nothing to worry about. No one cares that much about your extra 10 pounds.

8. Does my dog really need that expensive flea stuff if she never goes outside? She's getting old, she saunters out, pees and then comes back in. Plus, no fleas are in my yard in the winter, right?

9. Who should I call about the sticky tack at work that doesn't actually stick to anything? It is driving me nuts.

10. If you don't want to police your kids cell phone usage 24/7 then give them unlimited texting and tell them they have no minutes. Really, life is too short to be the cell phone police. Fork over the $ for texts and just read through their inbox when they are asleep.That's not wrong, is it?

11. How much bad stuff my 6th grader is learning on the bus. He played me an audio clip he recorded of some 8th graders and really, I almost blushed. And I am no prude! I deftly danced around my 4th grader inquiring about what "a party in my pants" means. I'm sure his brother filled him later when I left the room. That's what brothers are for, right?

12. Why my son's soccer trainer thinks it is fine for me to have to pick up from soccer practice 2 weeknights/week from September-November at 9:15 p.m. Oh, right! Because I am paying for this crap, that's why. I guess I should be happy that the third night he is done at 7:30 p.m.

13. Why ooblek works. It is cool though.

14. Is is ok that I like "The Wizards of Waverly Place"? I mean, that isn't too weird, right? It's not like I'm watching Barney or something...

Ok, my brain has been very busy. It is all going well, but as you can see, I have a lot on my mind. And you know, eventually I will run out of space up there. Then we are all in trouble.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Very busy....

Trying to come up for air....very busy....first week of school. Everyone pulling in different directions....class, my own kids, union stuff....I will be back soon!!!