Tag Archives: Working Mamma

Mental Health Day

Today I took a Mental Health Day. You may know a Mental Health Day by it’s adolescent names: skipping school, ditching, playing hookey. You take Mental Health Days when you’re over 30, have leave time (or someone who loves you enough to babysit should you have mini yous), feel like you’re brain is being squeezed in a vice and your shoulders have permanently scrunched up around your ears.

Mental Health Days must be taken Monday thru Friday. Saturday and Sunday are the weekend and are already recognized for their goof off potential. But weekdays, taking those days to play, that’s super rocking bad girl. In a good way.

On Mental Health Days there are key things you must do to unleash the  straight jacket from your brain:

1.  You must do something that makes you feel naughty.  Eat sugar. Take a nap. Burp the alphabet. Eat chocolate for breakfast.

2.  You must stand outside and sniff: the dirt, the air, laundry on the line.

3.  Ramp up your endorphins:  go for a run, do a cartwheel, climb a tree.

4.  Make yourself pretty just for you: wear a dress (could really add a boost to #1 and #3), shave your armpits,  sit at Starbucks and pretend you’re French.

5. Have a pen and paper ready for when that throbbing in your head finally breaks loose and all kinds of lovely, relaxed thoughts come pouring out.

I don’t think my shaved armpits will thrill you so instead I shall share my something naughty. I made iced coffee. Not skinny coffee. Not fat free. Not sugar free. Not semi-decaf. Real coffee. With ice.  I found the recipe at The Pioneer Woman. If you’ve never visited there before.  You should go… immediately. Her pictures are as yummy as her recipes. And she’s funny.

Here’s my cliff note version of iced coffee (you can click on the link above and The Pioneer Woman has a pretty printable one).

First, you’re going to make a supersonic coffee concentrate.

Start with a pound of coffee. The kind I used is made for espresso. Be warned, if you drink 2 glasses of this you will start to feel your cells replicate. Put it in a big big bowl. Pour water in it.

Put it in the fridge for at least 8 hours.  After 8 hours, or sooner if you’re just standing around staring at the fridge waiting for something magical to happen, take out your big bowl of coffee. Get you a strainer. Lay some cheesecloth in it. Pour your coffee concoction through the cheesecloth, into a pitcher, a vase, some sort of vessel meant to hold liquids.

The cheesecloth will catch all the coffee grounds. Blech, you don’t want to drink grounds. Chuck your coffee ground cheesecloth. Or throw it in your composter. It would make an interesting potpourri bag for your “lovelies” drawer if you’re into smelling like a barista.  I only had one small pitcher. This makes a bunch of coffee. In my fridge, I now have a little pitcher of coffee, a  pasta pot of coffee and  a yellow Pyrex bowl of coffee.

Once you have made the coffee concentrate, you are ready to partake of your beverage.

Take a glass (You’re smart. You don’t really need me to tell you that do you?). Throw in ice. Fill the glass halfway with your fabulous coffee. Toss in some milk ( I used skim), half and half… whatever floats your boat. I tossed in sugar for a touch of sweetness. And then, this is where I felt naughty (in an I don’t give a damn about my wobbly bits way)….. I threw in 3 teaspoons of fat free sweetened condensed milk. I don’t know who they think they’re fooling…. it’s still sweetened condensed milk.. 120 calories instead of  130.  Give it all a whirl, with a spoon, with your fingers….. just stir it up good. And suck that goodness down your gullet.  Be dainty if you want too but nobody’s looking so you can gulp, slurp or shoot it through your nose. This is your Mental Health Day after all.

If you’re like me and feel compelled to memorialize all of your culinary escapades – remodel your kitchen first and put in lots of big windows so you don’t have to run everything outside to snap pictures and then you’re neighbors look at you trying to figure out what drugs you’re taking cause your cooking, again, in the front yard.

Go make you some now. I’ll wait. Then we can sit here on the front porch and slurp our caffeine  together.

What’s your perfect Mental Health Day look like?

xo

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Out my window

I have 2 kidneys.  Gas costs approximately 5 kidneys per gallon. Therefore I am now riding the bus to work 3 days a week. It’s an adventure.

“It’s an adventure”, that’s what my mother would say before something unpleasant happened.  Like a freak snow storm that left us stranded, or her little Honda Civic stalled on the tiny flooded bridge near our house (in which case she promptly instructed her passenger to open the door.. so the water could pass through).

I digress. The bus. I love it.

My bus stop is right outside the fire station. I was going to try starting just a wee little controlled burn to lure the fireman outside….. but that would be bad.

45 minutes of reading, letter writing, and talking to my fellow bus riders, we arrive in downtown Nashville.

I switch to the #10 Charlotte / Walmart bus and get dropped off a couple blocks from work.  That’s right, Walmart. It’s not just the home of the Roll Back Special. It’s a final destination.

This past week  I sat next to: a lady who worked in a hospital cafeteria where she makes biscuits from her Mama’s recipe; President George Washington and President Eisenhower;  a lady who runs a Cash Advance store which offers an e-file tax service that is keeping her so busy she couldn’t call in to sick to work when she wanted to be home helping her sister who just got her new teeth;  a water systems engineer; and a new mother of twins.

This is my work. Sometimes I stare at it from across the street before I go in. I’m not stalling. I’m sending up a prayer that the coffee will be ready when I get to my office or that maybe someone will have invented National Slacker Day and send us all home to make pie and drink sweet tea.

I love my city. I love seeing my city from the bus.

The back of the Ryman Auditorium as seen at 45 mph on a bouncing bus

Legislative Plaza

Broadway - the Tennessee Version

Tammy Wynette. Which makes me think of the movie Sordid Lives. Which makes me do a belly rolling snorting laugh. If you don’t ever ride a bus that’s okay. If you’ve never seen Sordid Lives, that’s just wrong. Go rent it now.

This is the Parthenon at Centennial Park. I don’t take the bus there cause I can walk there from work. Sometimes I go there and walk vigorously in a manner resembling exercise. Sometimes I go there and sit on a bench and drink Diet Coke.

So if I you took a photo somewhere along your day, what would you see?

x0

Franny

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A Simple Supper

A one week away from being 12 years old  Girl Wonder is exercising her hormones and trying my patience. The hormones zip through the air like the evil flying monkeys on Wizard of Oz. Holy Crap, if you plan on coming through my front door tonight I suggest you come in crawling.  The  red shirt for the dance tomorrow is not the right red. The clean jeans aren’t the favourite jeans. The white shirt has sleeves that are all wrong.  All of a sudden not a single pair of shoes gives her the right vibe. And conversations take place which make Tylenol’s CEO sleep really well at night cause he knows they will never go out of business:

“Oh Mom… did I tell ya Mom that I have a science test tomorrow?”

” What! Have you studied? I don’t think I’ve seen studying”

“Well….. not tonight”

“Did you study last night cause I’m not remembering any studying”

“Ummm…. no not last night”

“What about on Monday.  I’m thinking back and I don’t remember any studying on Monday”

“Noooooo….. I didn’t study on Monday”

“So you haven’t studied at all then?”

“Well you don’t have to say it like that”

Crap on a Ham Sandwich…. how am I supposed to say it? She hasn’t freakin’ studied.  Apparently the way I said it pulled a metaphysical stopper that unleashed a torrent of girl tears and snot. I feel the Mother of the Year award slipping away. Probably to some nice lady down the street who has been home to cook dinner every night, and is whipping up cookies and fire so her brood feels well fed and cozy while she gives them each cute little embroidered pillows accurately depicting the phases of the moon to make studying for their science test a snap.

While this mother is just frazzled. Work to home to work.  A networking meeting for a new business. Who invented the term networking anyway? They should be shot. It just makes me want to curl in a ball and suck my thumb. Or a bottle. A bottle filled with vino. Smile. Shake. Hand off the business card.  Sorta like drug dealers on a street corner. Put me in a room full of folks and tell me to talk.. I’m good with it. Call it “networking” and please just give me a lobotomy now.

A brain that refuses to sleep past 3 a.m.. A To Do list that is feeling like a Too Much list.  A creative muscle with a cramp.  This Mamma has her own homework that needs to get done.  An overachieving me wanting nothing more than under some nice warm covers.

We have a bit too much of “too much” going on around here. Despite which,  Girl Wonder still expected to be fed.  A tired mother means a simple supper. Something that pleases and soothes. Reverses the flow of tears and snot. Reminds the Maternal One to breathe. Breathe deep. Breathe Deeper.

A quick whip up tomato soup joined with it’s mate grilled cheese. We slurped. We dunked. She accidentally forgot about the unleashed hormones and let a giggle loose.  We patted our bellies. Let out a burp.  Order has been temporarily restored. At least until I remind her that she still needs to pack up clothes for tomorrow’s dance.

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Why I Should Never Drink Coffee

Ihad3cupsfcoffeetodayIslammedthemdownlikecheaptequilaandwowIstillcan’t

stoptalkingandtalkingandsinginI’mhavingsomuchfunsingingsongslikeGirls

JustWannhavefunanddancingIreallywanttodanceonmytippytoesandit

wouldbeevenbetterifIhadatwirlyskirtcausethenIcouldtwirlandswirl

whodoesn’tlikeaswirlytwirlyskirtandmyeyesfeellikegignaticbugeyes

andkindatwitchyandIswearIcanfeelmyhairgrowingtoobadIcan’t

getmyboobstogrow and I need to cook dinner but don’t think I can be trusted with a knife

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Everyone Needs A Daily Goal

Today was a long day.  I haven’t had a day like this in a long time  The kind of day that starts out with you being really really tired. The kind of day where lots of people talk at you but never really listen. The kind of day where your eyeballs feel like pincushions from trying to look interested in what people are saying even though you’ve heard them say the same thing over and over …..  a human record with a nasty deep scratch.  The kind of day where you try really really hard to wake up your inner PollyAnna but can’t due to the fact your inner GI Jane has her tied up to a tree in the pouring rain and is setting fire to poor Polly’s pigtails.

In an attempt to cheer myself up  and find a way to smile… I thought a little goal setting ( oh how goal setting makes me smile) would do the trick. So the goal for today:  “Do not put a pencil in anyone’s eye”.

But that wasn’t working so I had to create some breathing room and amend it to this:

“Do not put a pencil in anyone’s eye and no matter what refrain from screaming ‘Do you need a foot up your arse’ to the people who really need a foot up the arse”

But due to extenuating circumstances it had to be amended to this:

“Do not put a pencil in anyone’s eye and no matter what refrain from screaming ‘Do you need a foot up your arse’ to the people who really need a foot up the arse and pretend that when that person’s mouth is moving you are hearing something besides ‘wah wah wah wah’ and stop imagining that he’s one of those blow up punching doll things which is taunting you with the Weeble Wobble theme song”

And finally, because goals should be achievable I had to do a quick edit and revise it this:

“Awwwww….. feeckit…..would you shut the front door “.  Otherwise know as the  cliff note version of the Serenity Prayer.

Which totally worked for me.  I’m an overachiever yes I am.

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Barnum And Bailey Mamma

And under the Big Top tonight….. for tonight only,  one of the unrecognized Wonders of the World – Super Mom. Step right up. Don’t be shy. Just you dollar stands between you and one of the rarest most ferocious creatures in the world. Beware and hold your children close. She might snatch them up, wash behind their ears, stitch them new britches, finish their homework and return them to you holding a delectable and nutritionally sound casserole.  Watch her tease you with her amazing, freakish, dexterity. See how she can contort herself like an 8 armed Buddha. Gasp at her speed and skill. Come on Ladies and Gentlemen!  You only have tonight to feast your eyes upon this dazzling dervish.

Tight rope walking between good employee and good mother. Juggling longer work hours, laundry, dinner, giggle time with the Girl Wonder, homework, dishes  still in  the sink, a garden that needs weeding and just general life / housekeeping.

Putting on my giant clown nose  and floppy shoes trying to see how much of me I can cram into a pocket size VW to see how fast and far I can travel. All lion tamer  like as I return to full time work, continue self employment and still fulfill my spiritual purpose as a mother. Which one will bite me first and remind that I’m merely human and should always proceed with gentle caution when dealing with the wild world outside my hearth and home.

And somewhere amidst all my spinning plates, there is still Me. The woman. The writer. The entrepreneur.  The crafter of thread and needle.  Where does she fit in between the high wire and the safety net? How do I continue to feed her and let her stretch her legs before she shows her fangs?

I’m rattling the cage bars. And while I’m rattling, I’m ignoring the dusting, the dishes, the dirty underwear on the bathroom floor and I’m going into the sewing room. It’s been delayed for one too many nights to keep the circus crowd satisfied.  There is fabric laid out waiting to be cut and stitched.  This Barnum & Bailey Mama is taking a night off.  How about all you freak show Super Mom out there… wanna rattle the cage bars with me?

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A Day In The Life Of A Pair Of Lucky Red Shoes

Every girl needs lucky red shoes. They make her feet feel like  happy explorers on the Yellow Brick Road. When her feet are happy, well her hips get all perky too. They swing left and right to a rumba beat which is probably being strummed on her heart strings. When her hips are perky, well naturally, her arms swing a little jive too. While the arms are jiving, the head gets its groove on too. So to be a pair of lucky red shoes means to be flesh and bone jukebox.

Please meet my lucky red shoes. Today they carried me off to a new job. Bright and early. 6:45 a.m.

There they go. Off to the car. Girl wonder dropped off at her place of care for a day of swimming and friends. It felt like the first day of school only without the Holly Hobby lunchbox.

There they are waiting patiently to fill out the forms and files that officially make me someone else’s employee for just a little while longer. The next step in the Big Entrepreneurial Plan. They went up and down hallways, meeting new faces (or fellow footwear). They gave a nice push for a twirl in the office chair.

Then they waited patiently on the floor, while the toes had time to roam the new office. And they waited patiently on the floor while the toes decided that they were having too much fun running untethered and refused to be corralled again.

And at the end of the day, they carried me home. Knowing they did a job well done for they could still feel a tiny little sparkle in the curves and swinging parts. Which is what it’s all about if you are lucky enough to be a pair lucky red shoes. Now they  rest quietly in the closet. Content. And I, having left work at work, shall head to the sewing room to finally craft some stitches and seams into a pocket of love for my new nephew.

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