Monday, April 30, 2012

Haiku Theater: Starring Pilates!

Hold my hands and feet!
That is the only way that 
I'll teaser today.

Rolling like a ball -
Nemesis. The scourge of God
for such a tight spine.

Everything working -
core and thass are so engaged!
No earring shoulders!

The police are here
Dirty smiles, their eyes twinkling
Is this a sex place?

I teach Pilates.
My last reformer session
was eons ago.

Glick does Pilates.
Laugh, work that transversalis!
Watch the clip below.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Tribute to My Mom Friends

What do I do when my love is away
Does it worry you to be alone
How do you feel by the end of the day
Are you sad because you're on your own

No, I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm, I get high with a little help from my friends
Mm,Gonna try with a little help from my friends

From The Beatles'  "I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends"  

Now of course, geniuses Lennon and McCartney knew they were writing a song that being about the human condition, would have universal appeal.

But there is no way they could have known how perfectly this song encapsulates contemporary motherhood.  

I can't thank my friends enough.  It is you ladies who often get me through the day when I am about to run screaming from my house, never to return.  I can rely on you in person, or via phone call, text or email, to hear my pain and give me the courage to keep going.  

I can also count on you to hear my triumphs, and cheer me on.

I hope I have been there for you as cheerleader, confidante and shoulder to cry on.

Some of you I've known since we were kids.  Some of you I've known for years, from dancing or teaching. Some of you I've met recently in the neighborhood (Go H.P.!).  And one of you I met from blogging, and even though we chat regularly, I've never seen your lovely face in person.  

Many of you I didn't know when you had an identity other than mom, meaning we never had a chance to be wild and free together. 

But even those of you whom I haven't known for that long, because of the intensity of this motherhood thing, because of how much we depend on each other, it feels as though we've known each other forever.  

Sorry to be sappy, but each one of you is a huge part of my life. 

It was in the spirit of needing my network of mommy buddies, of craving momraderie, if you will (I am sorry about these mom puns, I can't help myself), that I wrote  A Mom's Night Out, A Hangover and Longing to Seize the Moment.  It is currently featured as a guest post on the terrific parenting website Green Eggs and Moms.   

Thank you, and a big hug to the lushy friends who inspired it. You ladies know who you are, wink, wink.

I encourage you to find some friends, lushy or teetotaler, mothers or not, and share this post with them.  I encourage you to make plans with people who make you blissfully, ecstatically happy.   And more than anything, I hope you can rediscover that carefree, fun person you once were.

And to my friends and readers, I thank you for your support.  I hope to raise a glass (or more!) with you soon, either face-to-face or virtually.
Twitter - @momsnewstage
FB - Mom's New Stage

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Slap That Mom

Don't slap me because
I'm patronizing.

As you know, I'm the first one to get all pissed off about champion mompetitors.

The ones who want to give you advice, while making sure to very heavily imply that you are an idiot.  The ones who want you to know that they are more together than you because they have on make-up/a nice outfit/hair that doesn't look like something from a Judy Blume novel.  The ones who want you to know that your child's clothing/hair (Oh yes, she did)/ behavior/skills/intellect are no match for those of her kid.

And perhaps the worst ones of all, are those who have been there before, patronizing a new mother's  concerns.

I hate those bitches.

So how was it that I found myself doing just that -- being THAT MOM?  Exactly the kind I'd like to give a Dynasty slap?

A colleague of mine, who is due in several weeks, asked a few of us veteran moms about organic crib mattresses.  Mind you that when I was shopping for Mr. R's crib mattress, I agonized over the same thing.  The thought of him breathing in god-knows-what made in some factory with the safety standards of an electric chair gave me the shakes.

We wound up settling on something in between, i.e. neither made of cancerous-upon-inhale poisons nor made of the pulp of the boola-boola tree from the deepest rainforest.

However, in a tone dripping with a cocktail of sympathy and condescension, I answered with, "Oh, you don't need an organic mattress!  Our homes are just loaded with toxins anyway!  We did got one with soy, I think. I don't think it makes much difference."

I know I just lost any chance of getting my "green" card then.  And I'm not even sure I believe that it doesn't make much difference.

What was wrong with me?  Was I trying to poo-poo her concerns, or was I trying to give her some perspective -- a reality check?  After all, I did have tons of friends whose kids sleep on run of the mill mattresses, i.e mattresses that did not cost as much as an Ipad, and the kids are fine.  There is so much to worry about, literally an endless barrage of concerns, that, once purchased, your kid's mattress usually comes out way low on the list.

But when you're pregnant, and you are just getting going on the Worry Superhighway, it's up there.

Even if we mean well, at some time we have all been that mom who deserves a slap.  Although, as we all know, hands are not for hitting.  Maybe we just need to give that mom a sign.  Something besides the finger.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dance, Teach, Mother: Random Thoughts from My Day

Before Class:
I have been circling the effing South Loop for 40 minutes.  Almost late for work because I'm too cheap to pay for parking. It would be silly to take a taxi because I parked in West Jabook for free.  

Or would it?  

In the office:  
I guess I'll change in front of K so that we can continue our conversation.  Too bad this office is the size of a jolly rancher. And I am as hairy as Mrs. Cro-Magnon.  Embarrassing...

In first class (modern):
My God, where are my rotators?  Do you think I can buy some new ones at Walgreen's? Maybe Jewel?  My hip flexors are on fire!

Love demonstrating a turn to my Intro level class and falling out of it. I have stayed too long at the fair.

Wow, this adagio kicks ass.  Especially for something I just pulled out of mine.  Fooled 'em again!

Broccoli and brown rice and tofu.  Not the best pre-class meal. I'm going to look bloated, like someone in her first trimester.  I hope I don't crop dust my next class.  

Second Class (jazz):
I cannot believe I am giving a study guide and am going over the study guide so these kids don't get Fs.  Why don't I just tell them the whole freakin' exam?  What is up with these kids today?  In my day they told us to study the material that had been covered and that was it.

I sound like I'm 80. I HAVE stayed too long at the fair.  

Do you believe this girl?  Tells me nonchalantly after the fact, that she left classbecause, she had to use the restroom - to pee really bad.  Hello, you pee during break when you put your shoes on! Not when you're running through the routine for our showing!  I taught the whole class with a pee-belly BUT I HELD IT.  And with pelvic floor muscles that is as strong as 1-ply toilet paper. 

It's called Express Your Mess, Not Show Your Incompetence.  Should I sit at the showing with a bag over my head?

At Trader Joe's With Nicole:
This checkout lady must think we are nuts, bitching and moaning.  And did she really just suggest that we should stay home with our babies? Does it look like I'm married to Mitt Romney?!  

At the park with kids after school and daycare and before dinner:
It is lonely here. I am bored. The park sucks without other moms to talk to.  

Does R really think he can poop in the park, like a dog, or squirrel or something? That's all I need after complaining about people bringing their dogs in here.

Is he going to get constipated because I told him to hold it?  Or is he going to poop his pants and force me to contemplate running away?

Am I really buying this kid a monster truck, just because I wouldn't let him take the one home that someone left at Butternut?  It's true that maybe the kid who lost it will come back for it, and we couldn't take it home after scolding that homeless lady.  Plus, Mister R has wanted a truck for a while.  But that doesn't mean I have to buy him one now.  

Now that I am getting him a truck, I have to get something for Lady A as well.

I have bought these kids new s--t everyday!  $22 of crap on a whim and we have a b'day and a 1/2 b'day coming up.  I am a Class A Sucka.  

"A fool and her money are soon parted."

After a great dinner of leftover pad thai and miso soup that everyone actually ate, and sitting watching Thomas On Demand:
I LOVE it when Gordon says, "Oh, the Indignity!" 

Is it sad that I identify with a pompous animated blue engine? I think Gordon symbolizes my life.  Oy.    

After bath, and finally getting both kids in bed and threatening 4 times that I will take both their new toys away and not going through with it:
Free at last!  Free at Last!  Thank God, almighty...

Now where is my wine?  

Friday, April 20, 2012

5 Haiku Friday: Dance

Even with handles,
she could not pick up movement.
Bless her little heart.

If I don't want to
leave class in an ambulance
two hours pre warm-up.*

Oh, please point your feet!
This is not Popeye's, you know.
Those poor, poor biscuits.

I miss taking class,
having daily communion
in the studio.

A great semester,
technique, even artistry.
they are on their way.

*To quote the great Jeff Hancock, "I am 107 in dance years."

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Potential Playdate from Hell

Dear Grace-

How perfectly lovely of you to invite my Shisa over to play with Michelle!  This is her second year at Community Preschool and only one other family (Remember the Claudins? They recently moved to Alaska?) has invited her over for a playdate.  

Will it be all right if we come at 10:30 a.m. instead of 10? Shisa has a lesson with her Mandarin tutor from 9:15 - 10. It was suggested that she spend fifteen minutes lying in a semi-darkened room with an omega-3/ginko biloba compress on her head so as to increase retention of her lesson.  It may seem extreme but it has really worked!  Shisa already has the vocabulary of a Taiwanese fifteen month old!

I will be happy to provide lunch and snacks.  We do not allow Shisa to have ADDED SUGAR OF ANY KIND.   We would appreciate it if Michelle didn't have any sugar during the visit as well.  If Shisa sees so much as a cookie the results could be quite upsetting -- even catastrophic -- for all involved.  

At her one and only playdate chez Claudin, Shisa happened to spot a freshly iced cake on one of those lovely cake stands.  She immediately scrambled to the top of their entertainment armoire and began braying like a frightened mule.  She shattered the crystal in the china cabinet and caused their dog to run away.  I came as soon as I could.  I could hear my little angel three blocks away.  

As soon as I showed my sweetie a picture of Dr. Atkins, she calmed right down.  

I'm sure this won't happen again.  Lightening doesn't strike twice, but if it does, please call me and I'll be over in a jif!

Anyway, I have an delicious homemade lentil soup and rye bread that the girls are sure to love!  Yes, I made the bread too, in case you're wondering!

While surely you are an educated and articulate family, please watch your language around Shisa.  We are careful not to mention certain body parts by name.  I don't know about Michelle, but these days Shisa sure is curious about the body!  If you hear her mention chaloubies, balykies or jabobos, you can guess what she's talking about.  Just smile knowingly!  And feel free to make up some of your own.  It is great fun!

I don't know how you feel about television, but my husband and I think it is an instrument of Satan.  We do not have even a single one in our home. Unfortunately, now Shisa is desperate to watch Olivia -- that conceited pig -- and Dora, running around the rainforest speaking Spanglish.  Really!

Anyhoo, if you could cover your television(s) with a sheet or tarp that would be most appreciated. Actually, if it's not too much to ask, would you mind taking them to the basement?  You might even thank me later!  Grace, this isn't just my being overzealous!  The last time Shisa saw a television she froze on the spot.  I tried to lift her, but she kicked me so hard in my balykies that tears sprang to my eyes.  I was bruised and unable to stand up straight for a week.  

Nothing could snap her out of it.  After 3 hours she just slumped down and fell asleep. 

Well, there you have it.  I think I've got everything covered!  I will pick Shisa up at 12:45.  If she's not in her nap by 1 p.m. things could get ugly, LOL!

I am very much looking forward to this and I hope you are too!  Please don't hesitate to let me know if you have any questions.

Ima Noying

Friday, April 13, 2012

10 Ways to Show a Blogger Some Love*

1. Pressure (Billy Joel, 1982 )
Bloggers love comments!  And comments are good! They show that you had some kind of response to a post.  Or maybe that you're just friendly and wanted to say hi.  

Peer pressure is good, too,  if it’s to do something good like write comments on someone’s blog.

Therefore, writing a comment, which makes others want to write comments, thereby exerting peer pressure, is EXTREMELY GOOD.* (These reasoning skills are why I cancelled my LSAT scores.)

And if the comments start to have boxing gloves or kitten claws, a skillfully written comment can pressure Mr. and Mrs. A. Hole into realizing the error of their ways.   I'm just sayin'.

2. I Will Follow (U2, Boy, 1980)
Your blogger writes because she likes to, but also because s/he’s trying to build an empire audience community. Without following/liking, etc., you can’t help Mrs. Blogger feel happy about her uptick in numbers on FB or Twitter or Belt Notch (I made that last one up).  And unlike a membership at Costco, NPR or PBS this is FREE.

3. Matchmaker  (Fiddler on the Roof,  Original Broadway Cast, 1964)
While she can write, your blogger friend has the Twitter skills of Davy Crockett.  If you’re not a social media maven yourself,  you might know a someone who is to help a sista out.  Or, maybe you know a web designer or went to college with Anderson Cooper.  Introduce your blogger friend to someone to get her out of blogging peasantry. 

And while you’re at it, a sugar daddy would be nice too.  Ha! Just kidding!

4. Paparazzi (Lady Gaga, 2008)
You don’t have to stalk your blogger friend with a camera, but couldn’t it be a blast to exclaim at Trader Joe’s, “Oh my God, aren’t you Lola LaBlogga?  Don’t you write Escape from Mamatown?!  I looooove that site!  I read it every day!”  If she’s a mommy blogger, be sure there are lots of moms with strollers within earshot.   Brilliant.

5. Something to Talk About (Bonnie Raitt, 1991)
Everything may be online, but word of mouth still has some Klout!  Talk up the blog you love so much to your friends.  Just don’t over do it and alienate your in-the-flesh pals, because then your only friends might be online, which is kind of sad. 

6. Feedback (Janet Jackson, 2007) or Honesty (Billy Joel, 1979)
Tell it to her straight.  If a post made you pee your pants laughing, made you weep, or made Herman Cain look like Socrates, tell the author.  If the blog is like online vodka, i.e. a savior, to you, tell the author. Or if your experience reading the blog has gone from shopping at Tiffany’s to haggling over stuff from some dude’s briefcase, get ye over to the Contact Me page and start typing.  

7. Razzle Dazzle (Chicago, Original Broadway Cast Recording, 1975)
Are you a blogaddict?  Do you know why others in the same niche have tons of followers and comments while your favorite blogger’s wrists burn like someone poured battery acid on them, but she has nothing to show for it?  Be her online bedazzler and help her entrance readers.  Or go tie a buncha people up and force them to read her blog all day.  Whatever works.

8. Put ‘em on the Glass (Sir Mix-a-Lot, 1994)
This might have been a sad follow up to Baby’s Got Back, but you can successfully follow up your membership, follows and likes by sharing posts.  Put those babies up on the glass!  Posts and links, that is.

9. What a Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong, 1968)
Your favorite blogger, if she’s remotely decent, now gets the DTs if she’s away from her computer for too long. She has all but put an electric fence around her workspace to keep her family out. 

Remind this person that there is life outside.  She needs fresh air and time with her kids, who have forgotten what she looks like.  And she needs a drink.  Lie. Use moderate force if you must.  But get this woman away from her computer. 

10. Big Time (Peter Gabriel, 1986)
Your aspiring Bloggerina saw some gal on Oprah chirp, “I had no idea my blogging would lead to a book deal, a six figure income and D-list celebrity status!”  Now, your poor ambitious and hubristic friend won’t rest until she, too, has her own clothing line at Family Dollar.

Give your friend a reality check.  Celebrity is not a cure all.   Help her to remember that she blogs because it feeds her soul. Tell her that despite what she’s read about hard work, fame for laypeople these days comes from putting the right combination of beauty/quirkiness/ talent/criminality on youtube.

Note:  This post is definitely somewhat not at all self-referential.

* Revised from original of April 13, 2012.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Now a Brite!

Of course, as a regular reader of this blog you've been wondering what ever happened to our dear friend Seething Serena.

No, she hasn't been arrested.

Actually quite the contrary, she has a new book out! Never mind the "quite the contrary" part.  Books by quasi-articulate jailbirds are all the rage, aren't they?

Anyway, tap or click on over to her new Brite, formerly known as Blinkbooks.  

Get yourself a nice glass of wine while you're over there looking at the other books designed by some very clever people.  You might even decide to make your own.    

But once you get there, you might find yourself hooked, with a new addiction masquerading as a creative hobby.  

Now who's Brite idea was that?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Special Guest Blogger: Amy Weisman

A few weeks ago, I read about the senseless killing of Trayvon Martin.  As a mother, I cried for Trayvon’s mother.  I cried for the state of prejudice that still exists in this country.  I cried for the fact that we live in a country where people can shoot someone & claim “self defense” without consequence.  

I felt a sense of shame, to be honest. 

I felt shame that I’ve never truly called anyone out when they make prejudiced remarks.  All I ever did was to ask people not to speak that way in front of me.  I’m ashamed to say that since I wasn’t part of the solution, I was part of the problem.

It’s time to open a meaningful dialogue about racial profiling and prejudice.  We all have preconceived notions about one another based on race, gender, religion and even the clothes that we wear.   

As parents, as mothers, we need to set a standard that not only expects, but demands, that we treat others with the same amount of dignity and respect with which we would want our own children to be treated.

Maybe if we adopt this attitude, our children's generation won't be dealing with racism to the extent that we do. Maybe they will look back on this time in history the way we look back at slavery... wondering how in the world it was allowed to go on or justified in any way.

Maybe they can evolve beyond our shortcomings. 

I notice a lot of people in this country avoiding this issue or becoming defensive about it.  No one wants to be accountable.  I hear a lot of excuses about what’s happened; people are trying to find Trayvon somehow at fault.  Perhaps some are legitimately trying to make sense of something senseless.  But I believe most people simply don’t want to admit that Zimmerman acted not out of self-defense, but as a racist.

People who aren't racist don't target black men, follow them and then shoot them dead.  Simple as that.

People don’t want to take a hard line about this because it rocks the boat.  If you’re white in this country, you know someone, probably pretty well, who is blatantly racist.  I know that especially here in the South, if you speak out, or speak up about it, you subject yourself to an argument you cannot win.

But this isn't a problem that exists solely down here.

People don’t want to truly acknowledge what goes on because that would require them to do something about it, and it doesn’t affect them directly, so it’s easier to look the other way.  Though most racism is subtle -- not meriting a national headline-- it is nonetheless there.

What does it say about us as human beings that some of us turn our heads to injustice and social problems?  I am guilty of it.  I’ve found that because I’m white, people assume they can talk to me about their racist views without it becoming an argument. 

And sadly, for a long time, they were right. 

I wouldn’t call anyone out on it.  I would change the subject or fidget uncomfortably.  I’m not going to be someone’s racist sounding board anymore.

As a mother, a white woman, and a human being, I am challenging you to take a stand about this. 

Don’t turn your head.  Think of how devastated you would feel if Trayvon had been your son.  Think about the injustice.  Think about the prejudice you hold.  Think about ways in which you can make a conscious effort to change it.  Set an example and an expectation with your own children on how to treat people.  I challenge you to be heard.  At the bare minimum, the racist people we know will realize that more and more people are intolerant of their views. 

Maybe it will make them question their line of thinking. 

I challenge you to stand with me, and pledge to no longer be silent.

Amy lives in the Houston area and is a stay-at-home mother of two boys.  

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Visiting Day

Visiting Day conjures up some baaaaaaad images for me.   When I was 6,7 and 8 I attended a sleep-away camp where my mother was the nurse.  Which meant that on Visiting Day, when everyone was brimming with anticipation about seeing their loooong loooost parents, it was business as usual for me.

I went along with being trotted about like a show pony for our esteemed guests.  Sure my mom got to watch too, but since she hadn't spent the last twenty hours in a station wagon, driving to the Berkshires, it just wasn't the same.

And then that night when the other campers, desperately missing their parents, wailed, whined and whimpered with homesickness, I had to watch them get even more attention from the counselors.

I found it a suck, sucky, suckfest.

YOU, dear reader, can help me erase those awful memories by coming to visit me at Cocktails With Mom today.

Click on over.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Following in the Footsteps

I'll confess.

Over the years, I've spent many a class not having a chicken's clue about the exercise/combination.  

Maybe it was day 3 of the combo and the teacher didn't really teach, so much as review.  Maybe it was crazy technical and I got googly eyed over the teacher or demonstrator's extension/turn-out/feet/musicality and "missed" the movement and counts.  

Maybe I was two poorly clenched butt cheeks away from blowing myself across the studio due to the might-as-well-have-pumped-air-into-my-colon salad/yogurt/snack I'd been stupid enough to eat before class.  

Whatever the case, as far as dance is concerned, I can follow like the best of 'em.  

Enter Blinkbooks, a little e-book -- a clever piece of visual candy, if you will. 

MNS spotlight moms Nicole Shaw over at Ninja Mom and the fabulous Jennifer McLester are brilliant blinkbooks authors.  I idolize these women.  If they had found that a masque made of month-old ham salad would repair an oily T-zone I'd slap that s--t on my face by the barrel.  Needless to say, after seeing their fab creations I had to follow in their footsteps. 

Little kids might call this copying, not following, but let's not even go there...

Go Here: 

In the House of Mom We Believe

Please click on the link below the photo for a look-see at my fledging design skillz -- so novice-level I had to spell skills with a "z." Speaking of the f-word, do that when you get over to Blinkbooks. 

I mean FOLLOW.  Jeez.  

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