Tag Archives: Mom

Music Review: Wives and Lovers: The Song That Makes My Mother Foam at the Mouth With Rage.

27 Jan

You all know my mom, right? She’s very chill. Once my brother and sister had an egg fight in the kitchen—yes, an actual fight involving throwing eggs at each other, and she just sat calmly in the kitchen with her cigarette in hand and when they were done, she said “Okay, you can clean that up now,” and they did. She was the perfect 70s mother, very different from the hovering mothers of today (i.e; me). I try to match her insouciance but it is not easy.

There’s one thing that got her goat, though. If you wanted to get her into a headbanging rage, all you had to do was start singing softly, “Hey, Little Girl, comb your hair, fix your makeup. . .”

This Burt Bacharach and Hal David classic has a catchy tune and a jazzy vibe. It has been recorded by many famous vocal artists, including Frank Sinatra (though I think this Jack Jones version has the perfect smarminess.). The basic theme of the song is a warning to your basic housewife that even though you have that ring on your finger, there’s no excuse to be a schlumpadinka because there are hotties in the office and men are dogs, so watch out or pretty soon you’ll be living in an apartment with your six kids in a bad part of town where your only dating prospects will be 50 year old men who live with their mothers and guys who take you out to the bar on their motorcycles, while he and 20-something are living it up in your home—YOUR home, with the built in pool and the new washer and dryer in burnt orange! He’ll be feeling like a new man and you’ll be feeling like an old woman with those six children that you had TOGETHER, until your stomach feels like a stretched out sack. And somehow after a full day of “Mommymommymommymommymommy, wipe my hiney,” picking up Monopoly pieces, floor waxing, listening to hideous chldren’s television show, cooking and the eight million other crises and dramas that children can whip up oh so quickly, you’re supposed to be ready to make it an Aviance Night.

(Please do not miss this classic.)

Okay, I hate this song, too. Especially, “I’m Warning You.” How about a little appreciation for the SAHM. How about, rein it in, Men will be Men. Behave.

On. The. Other. Hand. Even though the way this sentiment is expressed is truly reprehensible, there is one little way there’s something true to it. And my sly mother knew all about it. It’s true that “Wives should be lovers, too.” And so should husbands. Sending Him off with curlers in your hair is well—I don’t know, back in the day they had to wear curlers at night I guess. So when you’re trying to make 6 baloney sandwiches and make everyone eggs and bacon before the schoolbus appears, it’s not so easy to get your game face on before Mr. Breadwinner takes off for that glossy tower full of sex kittens where he spends his days. However, my personal feeling about what “sexiness” means in a longterm relationship is less about how you dress up than about how you look at your spouse. How you speak of him or her when you’re at a party. The in-jokes you share. The experiences you build together. When you do the tiny considerate things you know they’d love—bring home the tiny oranges he adores, make a phone call she wouldn’t want to. And the way you touch. Not just the um, end result of the Aviance Night, but the sitting close together, the smelling of her hair, the silly butterfly kisses, the hand on the arm, the protective hug.

Yesterday was my parents’ anniversary. Though my father is dead, a part of him lives in me: how much he loved my mother. But how she treated him with respect, kindness, tolerance, and playfulness, as well. Wives and husbands—they should be lovers. But if anybody wants to whine about how his wife doesn’t wear as much makeup as the 22-year-old secretary, he can, as my mom would say, “go $&*@#)($*&!@) himself with a *@)#$(*#)*$)*.”

Oooh, Bonus! Extremely amusing article in the Huffington Post that agrees with me!


Writing prompt: Okay, you heard the song. Thoughts?

July is Journaling Month Part 9. Jarts and Clackers: Department of Bad Ideas

14 Jul


As a mother of the 90s, I was full of terrors of having my children choking to death on—“Yeah, yeah, I know, Mom: the big three, hot dogs, balloons, and hard candy.” Or strangling themselves on the strings in their sweatshirts. Or—the world seemed FULL of life threatening objects just ready to attack my precious young ones.

But Moms were cooler when I was growing up in the time of legend, far back in the mists of time. One of the big fads was clackers. They were two hard plastic balls at the ends of a string and you were supposed to try to bang them together quickly. So they had the advantage of many toys of my childhood, which were that they were both loud enough to blow your eardrums out and dangerous enough to carve a hole in your skull. They could shatter, too, so you could be full of brightly colored shrapnel. I remember the near hysteria of our school as they banned these frightening monstrosities.

They couldn’t burn the house down, however. That was reserved for unattended Easy Bake ovens and Incredible Edibles. Yum, hot gooey candy worms! See, kids of today, we had to MAKE our own gummy worms, you have it so easy.

Like most parents of the day, Mom and Dad had their own special way of inviting danger into the home by cigarettes by falling asleep while smoking, so their blankets were full of burn marks and holes, and there were usually two or three cigarettes burning, unattended, in the house, like very unpleasant incense, in case a parent wandered by to smoke it. To (the children’s) everlasting credit, we did used to try to get our parents to quit by giving prissy lectures and sticking matches INTO the cigarettes so they would flare up when you lit them, and we’d make a lot of wheezing noises and complaints when it was winter and the wood-paneled station wagon’s  were fogged up with smoke, but Mom would say  “stop exaggerating” and lift her cigarette to her beautiful lipsticked lips in a glamorous manner. She’s the healthiest person I know—perhaps it’s sheer perversity that cigarettes have preserved her lungs.

Oh, and my brothers discovered that you don’t even need toys to have wholesome fun. A pack of matches and a can of aerosol hairspray can provide hours of amusement. But my parents did not stint on actual toys. Another favorite was Jarts. Which is short for “lawn darts.” (why the J? For Danger?) In the hands of my three wild brothers in their Sears Toughskin jeans, these heavy, sharp projectiles were hours of fun and terror. Nobody bothered to read the package about how you were supposed to throw the stupid things as far AWAY from each other as possible. Like at a target or something. Not at whoever was stupid enough to not know when to run.

Don’t ask me why, these bad, bad things are making me feel very happy to remember. Perhaps because I, like my beautiful and dangerous mother, am full of perversity.

Anyway, I found a list of the top ten banned toys. I just wish I could have grown up in the fifties so I could get the Atomic Energy Laboratory!


Writing Prompt 9: What did you do or play with when you were young that would be considered way too dangerous today?

July is Journaling Month 5: Procrastinating.

10 Jul

Am I the only one who procrastinates over stupid things? Come on, please tell me I’m not alone. And then, if you’re like me, the Furies fly around your head and whisper stinging remarks about how you are not as smart as you think, Missy, if you can’t even go to the Post Office and buy new stamps because the one stamp you have left, of a jolly Christmas ornament, is not going to cut it for your condolence card you are sending to your friend’s mother after the shiva for her father. I find myself in utter spasms of shame for the tasks I don’t accomplish and brood about them ceaselessly. And if I try to do them,somehow my computer crashes, I lose one of the important pages, Zeus throws thunderbolts so I can’t go outside and put it in my mailbox, etc.

Today I had two tasks I needed to accomplish. One was give a speech at 10:30, and that I did manage to do, because 10:30 is Showtime, no BS about it. The other task was writing about 30 captions for my latest book, about beekeeping. It is not the kind of task that takes any kind of genius to accomplish. Basically, the pictures are of bees, beekeepers, bees’ nests, dead bees, a website about bees, smoking out bees, harvesting honey, drizzling honey on bread, and other bee-tastic things. A not-stupid person would have had this finished in 30 minutes tops. They could write, “A worker bee pollinates flowers.” And “A beekeeper holds a thing full of bees.” And “Oh wow, more beekeepers!” and “Those damn bees all need to read that Jon Kabat-Zinn about letting yourself But somehow I am in an agony of perfectionism (more than that), which means I have zero captions finished. I have however:

  1. opened up an account with Pinterest and put in all kinds of pictures about what our new and improved kitchen renovation should look like.
  2. Searched through Groupon for interesting possibilities for entertainment and jobs for Child 1.
  3. Done a large load of laundry and cleaned out and reorganized five drawers. Filled an entire garbage bag with giveaway clothes.
  4. Tried to beat my previously pathetic highest score at Mahjong Dimensions without success.
  5. Watched most of the movie Ray while unsuccessfully attempting to match socks.
  6. Had long, funny talk with Child 1 and husband at dinner about a bird that lives in Ethiopia, dropping bones on rocks so they can extract the “tasty vascular substance, marrow” (wondering, is that right? Marrow is a vascular substance? Guess so. It’s called a langer gruber or something.
  7. Typed in 2000 words from old journal (more to come on this.)
  8. Talked to sister on phone for long, gossipy chat.
  9. Lingered on Facebook way too long admiring my friends’ lives.
  10. Realized it’s 11:30.

This also brings to mind that I did not do my much promised web prompt. So, here goes:

 Prompt #5: What’s a recent thing about which you have procrastinated? Why did you procrastinate? And what did you do instead?  How do you STOP procrastinating?

September Statistics, Part 2

2 Oct

–lesson I failed to learn once again: bananas and pocketbooks don’t mix.

–most distressing thing I can’t find at the moment: 8-CD library book

–Crops that are finally starting to come in: raspberries, sugar snap peas, green beans, purple beans, wax beans, tomatoes (mostly Brandywine), raspberries, baby bok choy, collard greens, pattypan squash, broccoli florets.

–times sister has called me: 12

–percentage of phone calls by sister that started with a song: 100%

–number of miles ridden by the Mr. this month on his bike: 489

–Number ridden Sunday on Pumpkin Patch Pedal: 100.

–Pieces of pumpkin pie eaten by husband at 80 mile mark: 2

–Days on which I consumed more than 5 pieces of fruit: 30

–Weight lost: 0 pounds.

–Nutella consumed: no comment

–Most recent question asked by husband: “Why do they call something with chorizo a side dish?”

–What he’s teaching right now: The Upanishads and Wuthering Heights

–Very happy occasion: My mother’s birthday.

Free prompt! What makes your mother amazing?