Archive for the jools (also a beloved child) Category

i’m so tired

Posted in BC (beloved child the elder), health, jools (also a beloved child), miracles of science on April 14, 2009 by wrekehavoc

so i’ve just returned from something called a sleep study. i haven’t been sleeping well for awhile — and not just because there are little people who occasionally wake me up at night over a nightmare or feeling barfy. i don’t quite breathe right, and every morning, i don’t exactly wake up fresh as a daisy, so to speak. my pulmonologist decided i might have sleep apnea and sent me to get a sleep study. in theory, this might be the easiest test you ever take. in reality, perhaps not so much.

our sleep center happens to be located in our local hospital — yes, the same one where i not only had two babies but also spent two weeks searching for my dear departed platelets. jools was soothed enough when i told him that they would send me home by 6 am (the same time he wakes up), but BC was completely wigged out. seems that the girl remembers my history of going to the hospital to check something out and then getting locked up there for awhile. in short, she was afraid.

it’s very difficult to be ill as a parent. it’s hard enough to be ill, of course; but when you’re a parent, there are other people who are younger and more sensitive to think about. it destroys me to know that my daughter will forever be freaked out whenever i go to a hospital, even for the most benign reasons (such as a sleep study.) we had sturm; we had drang; we had a lot of tears.  but the time came, and i had to leave my girl, sobbing in her daddy’s arms.

to be honest, i wasn’t exactly enjoying the idea of spending a night in the hospital. i had to check in through the Emergency Room registration, as regular registration is closed at 8:45 pm.   i dread ERs simply because i do not want to catch whatever the hell is in there. luckily, then, they speedily send you to sit in the main lobby and wait for the sleep team. as i am friend to the friendless, i ended up talking with a hospital employee who was sitting and waiting for someone. we talked about how his night-shift work was destroying his life and himself. (yeah, i have that affect on people. i have missed my calling as a talk show host.)

eventually, the sleep team came and escorted me and two men up to our expensive hotel rooms our rooms, which had bathrooms with showers. oddly enough, no complimentary soap. i filled out some forms, had electrodes placed all over me, and learned about the cpap machine (in case they needed to use one on me in the night, they didn’t want me to be freaked out by someone putting as mask over my face while i was in a dream state.) who knew that there is a mask simply for women? (i was told that as women age, our heads get bigger but our noses shrink. that’s one for the books.)

and then, nighty-night time. on the bright side, the hospital now has regular TV remotes instead of the huge thingies that don’t let you do anything but move a channel forward. however, i was so tired, i just turned it off after 5 minutes of la grande illusion and tried to sleep.

try would be the operative word. i tossed. i turned. i couldn’t get comfy all wired up. oh, and i was afraid i would have to wake up and hit the loo, which would mean that the lady who helped me would have to actually come in, unwrap me from my cords, and take me to the bathroom. no thanks. i think i slept a tiny bit, but most of my night i recall being awake.

so i’m not entirely sure what they’ll study.


guilty pleasure monday: play guitar (john cougar mellencamp)

Posted in FAMILY, guilty pleasure monday!, jools (also a beloved child), music on April 6, 2009 by wrekehavoc

forget all about that macho shit and learn how to play guitar.

sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar, and you really want it that way. you get a little weary of having some millionaire preach to you from his or her pulpit of righteousness. (yeah — i’m talking about you, mr. springsteen. i love you, i’ll always love you, and you’re bringing me down as of late with your canned patter and your albums that aren’t really exploring much new territory.) and then, sometimes, you get a guy like john cougar melonhead who simply talks plain and talks true.

hell yeah, i am trying to convince jools that he needs to learn how to play something.  sure, learning to read music apparently helps kids mathematically and logically. as a mom, i guess i’m supposed to carry that banner for the little man. sharpen his brain, that sort of thing. and to be truthful, this little dude is truly musical. you should see him play air guitar. hell, you should see him keep time when he drums. he sings in tune, he dances like fire, and in short, he definitely inherited plenty of my artsy-fartsy genes.

but damn, i’m looking toward his future. there are a gazillion women out there who will fall in love with his huge, puddle brown eyes. but a gazillion more will truly go head-over-heels when he plays over the hills and far away just for them, just as i play (air guitar-wise) on his little back as he falls asleep to the baby zeppelin version.

play guitar, dude. just like mr. melonball does. mr. melancholy has always been able to crank out a tune that goes straight to the point, do not pass go, do not collect dust or allegory. and while there are days when i like layers in my lyrics, when i want to cut to the chase, our little pink-housed pal from indiana is the go-to guy.

learn to play guitar, jools. you’ll thank me one day.



Posted in bad '70s music, BC (beloved child the elder), BS (beloved spouse), CVID, FAMILY, guilty pleasure monday!, health, jools (also a beloved child), music, political animal on March 27, 2009 by wrekehavoc

just saying a howdy to anyone who might have wandered here thanks to the magic of television. i’m your host, wreke, and i’d love to tell you a little about the place.

i’m a mom. i’m a writer. i’m a webgrrl, too. i’m also the toilet paper fairy and apparently the only person in this house who realizes that bath towels do not jump up and clean themselves. oh, and i’m from NJ; and yes, i can trace the first 24 years of my life based on exits. (for you jerseyan trivia buffs, i grew up at exit 82A (GSP), went to college at exit 9 (Tpke), and have lived off exits 105 (GSP), 8, and 10 (both Tpke) until moving to the Commonwealth. and no, i do not sport big hair but i do sport a big mouth.)

i’ve been blogging since 2002. i tend to write about my kids, daughter Beloved Child (BC) and delightful hellboy Jools (an equally beloved child; he was just born after i had been blogging about BC for awhile.) as a political animal, i often tilt at windmills, large and small, in the political arena.

and i lurve music. every monday, i feature a guilty pleasure song that would make my music snob pals cringe. i’m evil that way. one month, i featured blatantly bad 70s songs, every single day of the month. oh, the humanity!

i don’t capitalize often. i do know how, and it isn’t an e e cummings thing. i’m just l a z y that way. unabashedly opinionated, i’m sort of like a cross between erma bombeck and iggy pop, only i don’t smear food all over my chest when i’m pissed. i simply write. (well, i irritate my Beloved Spouse, aka BS, generally. but the warranty is up, so he can’t throw me back, no matter how annoying i become.)

and occasionally, i’ll talk about CVID, something i wrestle with daily. it stinks, but i intend to live to be a pain in everyone’s collective ass for a very long time.

so welcome. poke your nose around. kick the tires. applaud me. argue with me. whatever floats your boat.

just don’t mind the dust bunnies. my masters isn’t in housekeeping, you know.


Posted in BC (beloved child the elder), books, FAMILY, jools (also a beloved child), ms. malaprop on March 19, 2009 by wrekehavoc

my right pinky is currently attempting to sever its ties with the rest of my right hand. it is assuming the hitchhiking position, a position that only my thumb should know how to do but generally fails (if only it hadn’t been pulled completely backward in a ninth grade game of kill the guy with the ball.) in short, my pinky — tiny, nearly useless appendage — aches and aches. the little bastard is currently punishing me for doing something i shouldn’t have done.

i went ice skating with the kids on saturday.

ah yes. last weekend, when it was get the kids the hell out of the house while the husband does income taxes weekend. i remember it well. usually, when this weekend in march rolls around, i escape to NJ with the kids. unfortunately, the three-day-weekend prior was chock-a-block filled with plans (mostly abandoned), so i was left with this past two-day weekend. and who really wants to drive 200 miles on saturday and then 200 more sleep-deprived miles on sunday with two kids in tow?


so of course i figured that i might just plan a fun-filled weekend for the three of us. the three of us turned into the four of us when BC’s pal J — a lovely, lovely girl who could move in with us as far as i’m concerned, as i think she’s very sweet, well-mannered, and, most importantly, doesn’t treat jools like he’s something that someone scraped off her shoe  — joined us in our exploits on saturday. my plan: take the kids ice skating. then a movie. drop off BC’s pal. take jools to his first-ever playdate with his pal h, which was going to be at the school playground during h’s older brother’s baseball game. simple, right?

those of you who’ve been here for awhile remember the ice skating debacle of 2007 and know that i get a little gunshy about ice skating. nevermind that preteen wreke went skating most fridays and saturday nights at our town’s ice rink. nevermind that i really DO know how to ice skate, though stopping is still a challenge. but our hero learned that when you fall at age…21 and a half, you don’t necessarily bounce back the way you did at 13.  yes, i did get back in the saddle again after that. but i think that was the last time i was on skates.

until saturday.

so off we went, BC, jools, J, and me.  J and BC are competent skaters; i truthfully don’t have to hover anywhere near them. jools…i wouldn’t call him a skater as much as i call him an ice runner. and damn, he’s fast.  LL Cool j (because deep down, even these two ladies love cool jools)  spent his time chasing the two girls, who had made friends with two other girls and were mostly ignoring him. i pretended i was a speed skater (pretended being the operative word. i’m about as fast as a glacier) and was in hot pursuit of all. not an easy task considering all the potential landmines there.

let’s see:

there’s the middle of the rink, where people are taking private lessons and doing all sorts of advanced tricks. somehow, my kids, as well as others, didn’t grasp the need to stay outside the cones. there were girly figure skaters there; there were burly hockey boys there; and there was a grey-haired, brittle-boned woman who looked to be nearing 60 with knee braces on doing little leaps. every time jools went near those people, he was nearly taken out. that boy is constantly flirtin’ with disaster.

then, there was the idiot father and son tag team who were literally racing around the rink playing — wait for it — tag. the son, who had to be about 15 and who was the size of a burgeoning linebacker, was zipping in and out of clumps of people, chasing his dad, who was doing the same. and when they tagged each other, they actually knocked each other down. oh, the hilarity. i was waiting for someone to skate over the dad .

dorothy hamill and dick button had decided that the middle of the rink was too crowded for their jumping and skating practice; the two, middle aged ice mavens took over the entire goal area of the arena for their training exploits. at one point, mr. button nearly took out my daughter as she actually skated where she was actually supposed to be skating. (silly girl.) and. he. scowled. BC, being 10, was completely oblivious to the situation. i, being 21 and a half (as previously mentioned)  was not. hey kids, i said to the four, let’s leave the kennel to lassie and skate further away. if i had only known that the two grownups who actually owned the ice arena were hard at work, preparing for the olympics, i would been more careful with my children.

and of course, lest we forget the clumps of people who decide to stop dead in their tracks in the middle of the skating path. there was the line of teen girls, stretched almost completely across the entire path, all holding hands and stopped. (i lied. there was one who was texting, right near the sign that said no cameras or phones on the ice.) there was the happy loving couple twenty-something foursome, taking turns taking pictures of themselves on the ice because gee, we’re fun people wearing fun, inappropriately fashionable clothes in a fun skating rink. we’re  just. TOO. FUN!

and, of course, my favorite: the clump of dads just standing and talking about hockey. every time i passed them, slowly manoeuvering myself around and just barely avoiding contact,  i learned a little bit more about the washington capitals and their success while on the road. [note to the men: there’s a snack bar where you can buy BEER and have that conversation. (yes, i said beer. now shoo!)]

in short, for 90 minutes, i lived in utter fear.

every now and again, jools would randomly skate across traffic and smack himself into the glass. i’d say a little prayer as he cut off countless skaters, all of whom were much larger than he and possibly not terribly adept at stopping. he always looked pained, so i would magically skate across traffic as safely as possible and get over to him. usually, he complained his back hurt him (what, are you my age already, little boy?); i’d tell him to come sit down; and he’d skate away.

one of these times, i essentially body checked myself. bashed my pinky. all 98 pounds of me barrelled down on my tiny little finger.

we survived our skating. we went out to lunch. we never made the movie, though we did end up meeting one of BC favorite authors and got her autograph at a local bookstore. it rained and rained and rained, so i couldn’t take the kids to a playground. that rain also doomed jools’ playdate later. oh, i saw my future, and it wasn’t looking very pretty. thus,  i did what any desperate self-respecting mom would do: i took them to dunkin donuts, got them sugared up, and drank myself a cup.

and lucky me. it’s thursday, and i still have a happy little black and blue remembrance of the day.


mamma mia

Posted in BC (beloved child the elder), BS (beloved spouse), FAMILY, health, jools (also a beloved child), ms. malaprop, political animal on March 17, 2009 by wrekehavoc

a woman on my favorite list, DC Urban Moms, had the gall to share a well-written article from The Atlantic. (kudos to you, girlfriend.)  she asked not to be flamed, which of course incited some serious flames among the well-thought-out posts. (and i don’t mean well-thought-out in the sense that i agree with all of the posters’ points; i just thought they made some interesting and useful ideas known, as opposed to the ones who think that anyone who isn’t comfortable breastfeeding requires professional help. to which i’d reply, yes: cleaning, cooking, and other domestic professional help.)

anyway, i thought i’d share my response for those of you not lucky enough to be among the group. i got a little upset, to say the least.

as always, your mileage may vary.



this article resonated with me. VERY deeply. i’m not being my usual politic self. apologies in advance.

i was unable to nurse my babies; and Dog knows i tried. with baby#1, i read everything known to humankind about nursing. a week postpartum, my DD was losing more than her normal share of weight (to the point where she may have been in danger) and i was freaking out. i was determined to make nursing work, even though my pediatrician — who is incredibly supportive of nursing, btw — strongly recommended  i supplement my DD with formula for her own sake. i pumped. i tried to feed her (though we were imperfect nursing partners.) i called la leche.

the la leche representative Brought. Me. To. Tears. this woman seemed far more concerned with carrying the torch for nursing than she was for the well-being of my child and myself. hello? yelling at an engorged, wildly-hormonal, first-time mother because she is considering feeding her starving child with formula is not the way to go.this was not the case of the expected one-week weight loss. this was a crisis in the making.

no one wanted to make this work more than i did. i was in an endless cycle: nurse the baby as best as i could, then supplement with formula, then pump. (oh, and i worked full-time and had to pump *in the bathroom* during the day.) for those of you who got the hang of nursing easily, it’s quite simple to turn your noses up at people like me and think we didn’t try hard enough. that we need professional help if we’re stressed because we can’t get the hang of the balance right with work and child and feeding. you simply have no idea of the pressure you feel when you fail. (or, as the author did (after nursing her first two) when you decide that you’re done.)

the AHA! moment came from an unexpected source: my husband. he had seen me in my round-the-clock-dance of nurse-feed-pump one too many times. and there i was, in pump mode, sitting in the middle of my kitchen floor. 3 AM. crying. “honey,” my husband said, “our daughter needs a sane mom more than she needs breastmilk.”

yes. exactly.

i understand that fewer women breastfeed in the US than in other nations. i get that people want to promote nursing. i’m on board with it as being a completely natural thing to do and get equally upset when women are told to hide or leave the premises rather than to nurse babies. i will admit  — and i don’t care if people flame me, btw — that i don’t actually understand why moms still nurse kids who are in kindergarten; but at the end of the day, it is their choice — not mine — to make, and so i respect that choice and stand ready to defend it if necessary.

but what i don’t get, and what i hear in this article, is the pressure that people in the breastfeeding camp have placed upon a whole generation of women. listen, sister la leche: those first five months with my baby? they’re gone, and they’re not. coming. back. Ever. and while they weren’t completely unhappy, they consist greatly of a blur of inadequate feelings Because I Could Not Nurse. And. My. Baby. Suffered. For. It. needlessly, i’d add. the pressure was THAT intense. my baby could have been happy AND HEALTHY with formula — what’s more, her mom could have been happy and healthy *with her*. but the message i received throughout my pregnancy and thereafter was that i was somehow failing my daughter in my very first task as a mom. that message is especially crushing for a first-time mother. i wanted to do what i understood was best for her. thankfully, when i grew mom-balls and started trusting my own judgement on what is best for my child (in this case, by giving her formula), life inched its way toward the quasi-nirvana we enjoy to this very day.

sometimes, i think that breastfeeding advocates, as well as rank-and-file moms on the upper/middle class milieu, often lose sight of the forest for the trees. shouldn’t we be supportive of WOMEN? some women are uncomfortable with the idea of nursing for reasons that might be more personal than you or i can fathom. some women, like me, simply are not able to nurse (and yes, i have receipts somewhere from the lactation consultantS i saw — for both babies, btw — i tried, and failed, again with baby#2.) whatever: it’s not for me or you to decide whether they should or should not be nursing. if they want to nurse, let’s give them information and help them along. if not, let’s support them, too, and not treat them like they are amoral, child-abusing, pariahs. the best thing we can all do for each other is to give each other the courage and support to make the best decisions for our children. and not just about breastmilk, either.

after all, there is so more to being a mother than whether or not you serve up lunch from your mammaries.

guilty pleasure monday: from a whisper to a scream (elvis costello)

Posted in BC (beloved child the elder), BS (beloved spouse), FAMILY, guilty pleasure monday!, jools (also a beloved child), ms. malaprop, music on March 16, 2009 by wrekehavoc

like a finger running down a seam…

faked you out again, huh? in fact, i was going to feature a completely different song today… until BC started singing this song at bedtime last night. (in the fine tradition of her dad, who usually sings the glenn tilbrook part to my elvis, girlfriend started singing bits of tilbrooks’ part on the car ride home from sunday school.)

when i was growing up, the only person i knew who loved elvis costello more than i did was my friend leifer. (add also pete townshend and the jam to that list.) i mean, the dude had an altar to pete in his room in college. (perhaps he’ll confirm in the comments so you all know i’m not a liarliarpantsonfire kind of girl who hallucinated too much in college.) his lyrics (costello’s, not leifer’s) at times are incredibly pointed and cleverly invective –anyone recall this gem, for just one example:

Some of my friends sit around every evening
And they worry about the times ahead
But everybody else is overwhelmed by indifference
And the promise of an early bed
You either shut up or get cut up, they don’t wanna hear about it
It’s only inches on the reel-to-reel
And the radio is in the hands of such a lot of fools
Tryin’ to anaesthetise the way that you feel

yep. the only thing during that period that came close, in my opinion, to costello’s brilliant songwriting was the stellar team of chris difford and glenn tilbrook of squeeze. in their early days, there was nothing finer than those two… plus i adored the hilarious keyboard player jools holland. (do any regular readers of this space know of anyone else usually referred to as jools? anyone? anyone? bueller?)

i still have fond memories of asking my mother, the original ms. malaprop, to borrow the then-latest squeeze album from my Brother The Doctor  (before he was a doc and was merely my brother) during her visit to his apartment. my brother later called me up, laughing. mom asked for georgie porgy by the crush. i figured out you wanted argybargy by squeeze.

thank Dog he could translate elaineese..

anyway, when elvis costello produced squeeze’s east side story, i nearly went over the edge. (happily, of course.) squeeeee! two, two, TWO mints in one!  i played tempted at least 50,000 times in a row on my little rinky-dink tape recorder every single day during the summer of 1981, smiling dementedly whenever i heard elvis break in singing his little bits and bobs. (later on, i’d lose it every time i heard him squawk no milk and sugar! in black coffee in bed.) and when i wasn’t listening to it on cassette, i was playing it on the damn piano, over and over until i suspect my parents considered having me committed. (don’t worry; i was still working on my old partridge family favorite… in secret, though. the patridges were tres uncool in the early 1980s in my set.)

so, to my delight, elvis and glenn did a little duet on elvis’ classic album, trust. is it either’s best work? hell, no. but their energy, along with the contrast in their voices, makes this song a firm favorite.  (i’m not a belter, but i belt elvis’s part so loud, people probably hear me in west virginia and wonder what the hell is up in them there hollers.)

i remember it coming on one time and i started singing one part… and lo and behold, BS, a man who doesn’t sing a lot, period, suddenly burst into the tilbrook part. maybe it was an early sign of the apocalypse, but hell, it charmed me!

so hell. i’ll sing it anytime, any place, anywhere. thanks to my big, sometimes off-key mouth, the torch has been passed to a new generation. today, elvis. tomorrow, nirvana? now that BC is singing it, my musical hope for her has started to bloom anew.

take that, jonas brothers.

guilty pleasure monday: dog and butterfly (heart)

Posted in BC (beloved child the elder), BS (beloved spouse), FAMILY, guilty pleasure monday!, jools (also a beloved child), music on March 9, 2009 by wrekehavoc

it’s my party, and i’ll sing what i want to.

we’re getting older/the world’s getting colder/ for the life of me, i don’t know why.

yes, today actually is my birthday. (i’m 19 in case you were wondering.) and actually, i celebrate my birthday for the entire month of march — i mean, why not? but today is the actual date.

sure, i could put up the beatles (for which i crank the volume up to 11 every year on this date.) i could put up the smiths unhappy birthday (which i also listen to every year on this date.) but neither one captures the guilty pleasure essence; there’s nothing to feel guilty about over either song. methinks.

and then, there’s this chestnut, which has nothing to do with birthdays but everything to do with wanting things you can’t have, keep striving for things anyway, and being happy to be as you are in the meantime. sure, it didn’t chart as well as it’s companion single, straight on, another heart song i, ehem, heart. [in fact, my dream cover band will definitely sing that one. i would kill to have ann wilson’s voice.] but i think it’s a beauty nonetheless.

(i remember a comedian once making fun of dog and butterfly, though i cannot find it anywhere on google. ah well.)

anyway, every year on this date, i try to remember all the good things that have happened to me in my life. there are waaaaay too many to list, and besides, you all didn’t come here to read pollyanna’s sweet guide to the sweetest life ever, right? and of course, people who read this regularly or who know me know that it hasn’t all been wine and roses (in spite of the fact that some spouses, unnamed of course, think i step in shit and up pops a daisy. yes, honey. i’m talking to YOU.)

i haven’t had a birthday party in years; i suspect if i ever want one, i will have to plan it myself. but i do get a lot of love from my entire family; and, if luck holds, they’ll bake me Betty Crocker’s finest cake slathered in Betty Crocker’s finest, er, cake goo (and covered in a zillion pounds of pink and green decorating sugar. my teeth hurt just thinking about it.) we’ll hit a restaurant, perhaps not my favorite one (which doesn’t exist anymore, anyway), but one where the kids will also eat and where it’ll just be fun to be out together (and not have to do dishes!)

yes, sometimes it is important to reach for those slightly-out-of-reach birthday stars; but more often than not, it’s good to appreciate the soft, green grass beneath your feet.