Category Archives: Parenting

I Want Judy to Be My BFF

Cathy and life-size standup Judy from Ralph's Supermarket jpg

I first met Judy about two years ago on a late-night trip to Ralph’s Supermarket. My son Jake was turning 7 years old the next day, and I had completely forgotten to buy cupcakes for his party at school. I was already in my bedtime sweatpants when I stumbled in, feeling like a very bad mom.

“Hi! I’m Judy!”

The fresh-faced 20-something greeted me at the entrance with a warm smile and somehow, I knew she understood. I wasn’t a bad mom. I was just a very very busy mom with an obvious case of early onset Alzheimer’s. Suddenly I felt much better, and I owe it all to Judy.

Judy is kind. She has a smile that lights up the world. And she’s always glad to see me.

Judy - Ralph's Supermarket life-size cutoutJudy is also a life-size cardboard mannequin permanently perched at the entrance of Ralph’s Supermarket.

I know that her name is Judy because she wears a nametag that says “Judy,” and I’m sure that she’s glad to see me because she’s standing in front of a sign that says “Welcome! Glad you’re here!”

Wow! Two exclamation points! I think she’s REALLY glad to see me!

It doesn’t matter if I’m jetting into Ralph’s at 6:00 am because I didn’t realize we ran out of Uncrustables and it’s the only sandwich my daughter Mary will eat for lunch. Or if I’m racing into the store 5 minutes after Jake’s friend Gabe’s birthday party started so I can grab a $25 gift card to Gamestop and tell myself he’d rather have that than a hand picked, gift wrapped present anyway.

Judge Judy might have her strong opinions about my mothering skills (or lack thereof), but my BFF Judy doesn’t judge me.

I can proudly walk up to the checkstand with a package of Depends because I can no longer jump on Jake’s trampoline without leaking a little bit. The checker might give me a “does she or doesn’t she” look. But Judy understands.

Express Lane - About 15 itemsJudy also doesn’t judge me when I’m in the about 15 items or less aisle with 16 or 17 items because the “about” clearly give you some leeway, which can be a bone of contention for some of the stick-up-their-butt cashiers who have been around since the stringent 10 items or less days.

Sometimes I even think Judy gives me a little wink – the kind a BFF might give you from across the room when you’re running in late and hope no one notices that you said you’d be there early this time, but you’re only 2 minutes late, which is actually early for you.

I love that little wink from Judy.

Or maybe the twinkle in her eye is just the flickering supermarket fluorescents.

Judy is often seen hanging with her friends Sharice and Andrew. Like Judy, they’re also 20-somethings with big smiles. I call them Judy’s BFFs, but they’re BFFs in a way that you’re friends with co-workers who you don’t really want to hang out with for longer than your lunch break while you badmouth the manager behind his back about his BO problem.Ralph's Supermarket sign with Sharice, Andrew and Judy

Sharice is African American with cool blonde streaks in her hair, and has a hip African American name that is pleasant but not too scary to white people who don’t think they’re bigots, but are afraid when they meet an African American with a name like Shaniqua or Tawanda.

Anthony is Hispanic (or Latino or Mexican, whatever the PC term is these days that Prius owners use instead of “beaner”), and his name is more ethnically generic than the expected José or Jesus (pronounced “Hey-soos” and not “Jee-zus” because saying “Hey Jee-zus, can you not pack the detergent on top of the kiwi fruit?” makes you feel like you’re kind of taking the Lord’s name in vain). Anthony has short hair and a mustache, but they’re both the right length so that his mustache is not so long that he looks like he’s a drug dealer, and his head hair is not so short that it looks like it’s prison issue.

Neither Judy nor her grocery store BFFs have any visible tattoos or body piercings. At least not at my neighborhood Ralph’s Supermarket. Maybe in South Central they’ve got some ink. Or some bling. Something to attract a different BFF demographic. Perhaps in the Southern states the girls wear big hair and blue eye shadow and Anthony is a Caucasian holding a rifle.

Judy, Sharice, and Anthony say goodbye to me by bellowing, “Thanks for stopping by today!” Notice the exclamation point again? They’re REALLY glad I came in to say hi… and buy my cupcakes-Uncrustables-Gamestop gift card-Depends at Ralph’s Supermarket!

So I holler “Adios!” to Anthony and “Later, Girlfriend!” to Sharice. But I like to say goodbye to Judy by pulling out my iphone and taking a selfie with her. Because even though Judy is actually two-dimensional, she feels like a real 3-dimensional BFF to me.

 

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Filed under Humor, Kids, Parenting

The End of the Blog Hiatus

I

I tried to stop time. But time won.

The problem with having a blog called Very VERY Busy Mom is that it implies that if I am busy enough to warrant the second VERY in the title, when the heck do I find time to write a blog?

Exactly.

In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry’s gal pal Hermione Granger uses a device called a “time turner” which transports her to the past so she can double up her class schedule.

I’d love to win lotto one day, but I would trade those millions for my very own time turner. I’d get my work done with no stress at all, then use the time turner to spend time with my kids, hang out with my husband, exercise regularly, clean my house, and maybe have coffee with a friend.

But after a day or two of time turning, I’d want to tear out my lawn and put in drought-resistant plants, learn to speak Spanish fluently, write a book, start a small business, and train for marathon.

Don’t get me started on travel or getting a few more degrees.

I could never be happy with just two time turners. I would need two. Or three. Or infinity.

When other busy moms are taking a little “me” time – getting a mani-pedi, munching on a bag of chocolate-covered pretzels while watching Oprah (or possibly full seasons of Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones in a single sitting), or taking a little 5150 vacation in a psyche ward, I prefer to be productive. And write. My blog is my creative outlet, my little pick-me-up, and my own “Mommy’s Little Helper” without the hangover in the morning.

But for the past seven months, Very VERY Busy Mom has fallen by the wayside in favor of other pleasant pastimes like occasional exercise, a minimum sleep requirement and establishing a regular dog poop pickup routine before my backyard earns the nickname “Lord of the Flies.”

I decided to take a break for a week, which turned into a month, then turned into over half a year, and I felt like quite the loser whenever friends would come up to me and say, “Hey, Very VERY Busy Mom! I haven’t seen a new blog lately!” Their intention was encouraging and good-natured, but the translation into my insecure brain was “You’re a slacker! Show me your collection of bed sores!”

Instead of writing blog posts, I ended up finishing my third season editing dialogue on the ABC fairy tale drama Once Upon a Time (if you haven’t seen it yet, add it to your Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones marathon). The lack of time spent writing blogs enabled me to get my show done without it getting bounced from the stage – a term synonymous with “you’ll never work in this town again.”

My year-long obsession researching colleges, scholarships, and ACT & SAT prep for my 17-yeat old has culminated with her acceptance to the perfect college for her (Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois – known for its attraction of quirky kids ), but on the flipside, I haven’t practiced driving with Emily often enough to be certain she’s a safe enough driver to earn her license. Not that LA drivers generally are considerate enough to warrant a license, but I want her to be somewhat prepared for the cockfight.

I’ve spent an exorbitant amount of time behind the wheel of my minivan transporting my 13-year old social butterfly to probably two dozen Bar and Bat Mitzvahs (even though we don’t have a drop of Jewish blood in our veins – Mary is loved by all races, creeds, and religions), and more social events than a Presidential candidate campaigning for a tight seat.

Although I’ve been making it a priority to read Harry Potter to my 7-year old every night (we’re now on #4 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) my son unfortunately has received the dregs of any free time I had left, so I missed a few of his baseball games and Cub Scout activities. Fortunately my Prince of a Husband picked up the slack as baseball coach and Assistant Den Master and managed to be the token parent there for absolutely every event. My hubby also loves it when I mention him favorably in my blog, so I’m glad he gave me something to write about.

I still love volunteering at the kids’ schools and in the community, but there have been whole weeks when I’ve gone completely AWOL and the other very VERY busy moms, dads and community do-gooders manage to get everything done even without my indispensable help. Proof that no one – even mwah (not sure how to spell this one correctly since it’s not really a word) is irreplaceable.

This is not the post I envisioned after a long hiatus from writing. I would rather have penned “How I Invested My Lotto Winnings,” or “Reflections as a Staff Writer on The Daily Show,” but unfortunately, that’s not how I’ve spent my last seven absent months.

I’ve just been very VERY busy.

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Filed under Career, Family, Humor, Husband, Kids, Multitasking, Parenting, Teenagers, Volunteering

When Animals Behave Like Animals

DSCN4037Bowel movements. Bathing. Reproduction. These are all normal, everyday activities (ok – maybe the last one isn’t everyday unless you’re in a new relationship with someone really hot), which require the removal of clothing. They’re performed behind closed doors. And if someone walks in on you while you’re in the middle of doing it (especially doing it), everyone is expected to die of embarrassment.

denisovans_fig_1That’s what we’re taught as children, and that’s supposedly what we’re expected to teach our own children. Yet with the simple removal of just a pair of chromosomes, these private moments involving our very private parts and called “nasty” in the case of humans, become “nature” when talking about animals.

From Epic Parenting Fail. I can already tell I'm going to love this website!

From Epic Parenting Fail. I can already tell I’m going to love this website!

I had a friend whose toddler loved to reach into his diaper, scoop out a wad of poop, and then draw on his bedroom walls. If the baby was using oil colors, his parents would have praised him and named him Picasso, but since he was painting with stinky excrement, his hand was slapped and he was sent to the corner without dessert.

imagesThis apparently isn’t the case with man’s close relative – the gorilla. Last week I took my 7-year old son Jake to the zoo.  Jake and a creature resembling Tarzan’s best friend were studying each other when he turned around, exposing his backside (the gorilla – not Jake). He squatted directly over the moat separating the primates from the humans and started to bear down, giving the onlookers a peek of nature at work. Screen shot 2014-01-09 at 11.41.48 PMAt first I thought the gorilla had been meticulously potty trained to poop into the moat, making the collection easier for the zookeepers in training who enter the zoo hierarchy on the bottom rung as poop-picker-uppers. But instead of letting his feces fall freely, the gorilla caught the lump in his hand and set it down beside him.

64asia5rebzbzqwltib7ixrm4.400x300x1Then the gorilla pointed just like ET with his glowing index finger and he proceeded to play with the poop like it was some kind of fascinating new Play-Doh. The primate poked it and prodded it, then molded the middle of the dung heap, forming a little cup. Screen shot 2014-01-09 at 11.54.36 PMJust when you’d think he was going to sip from it as if it was a wine goblet, he reached back around to his backside and caught yet another load as it squeezed through his anus. The gorilla set the second lump down next to his little cup and poked some more.DSCN4079

The crowd reacted like they were watching a violent bus crash – aghast and horrified, yet so curious they couldn’t stop looking.

Jake thought it was cool.

Later, we went to visit the zebras and found two that were particularly friendly, if you get my meaning. Since I haven’t yet sat down to explain to Jake how babies are made, my mind was racing with explanations for the zebras’ behavior:

  • She’s giving that zebra a piggyback ride
  • They’re playing bucking broncos
  • She has an itchy butt and the boy zebra is helping her scratch it
  • She’s just giving him a boost
  • It’s a zebra game where they try to line up their stripes

DSCN4040It turns out I didn’t have to say anything. Jake just laughed and thought it was cool.

Then we visited the yellow-backed duikers, which are small African antelopes. They weren’t doing anything to call attention to themselves until one started licking the other’s butt. That one didn’t mind, and before you know it, he was exchanging the favor by simultaneously licking the other’s butt as well. The duikers were obviously enjoying themselves tremendously.DSCN4048

I figured that in a couple of years when I explain the facts of life to Jake, I’ll bypass the description of that little option for fear that in math class every answer he shouts out will be “69!” Jake will have to figure the duikers’ experience out for himself, or rather himself and some other willing partner. I guess learning experiences like that one are what college is for.

Jake says that when he grows up he wants to be a zookeeper. It will be very interesting to hear what he ends up telling kids who are asking why the duikers are licking each other’s butts, why gorillas play with their poop, and if zebras really are just striped horses since they’re mounting each other and taking a ride.

Maybe he won’t give any explanation. He’ll just tell them it’s cool.

Jake thinks the gorilla is cool!

Jake thinks the gorilla is cool!

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Filed under Humor, Kids, Parenting

Happy Father’s Day to the Guy Who Knocked Me Up!

happy-fathers-day-knocked-up-mom-fathers_day-ecards-someecards Life was pretty simple for Tom in the fall of 2004. He owned a tiny, unkempt home in Van Nuys and his three dogs happily roamed the huge yard filled with knee-high weeds. His roommate Travis was a barrel of laughs and they’d have cigar-infused poker games beginning at 10:30 pm on Friday nights and lasting until the wee hours of Saturday. Tom spent his free time watching ballgames and blaring Black Sabbath as he tooled around in his little sports-like car.

IMG_1953“Tom’s such a nice guy,” his friends would say. “It’s a shame he can’t find a nice girl.”

It never occurred to me that I might be that nice girl.

Screen shot 2013-06-16 at 8.03.29 PM

Emily & Mary 2003

In 1995, I became friends with Tom and his soon-to-be wife, who became his soon-to-be ex.  My ex-husband and I split up in May of 2004 when my daughters were 3 and 7 years old, and six months later, I was frustrated that I couldn’t get the internet to work. I knew Tom was great with computers, so I asked if he could set up my  Mac and offered to make him dinner in exchange.

Screen shot 2013-06-16 at 8.05.33 PM

Tom & Baby Jake

Apparently he could run rings around a PC, but he’d never touched a Mac. Tom’s roommate gave him a crash course before he came over so he could fake it.

Tom never did get me online, but a year later we were married, and three months after our wedding day I was pregnant. I was already 43 and in perimenopause. He was 38 and apparently had some tenacious swimmers.

Screen shot 2013-06-16 at 8.06.48 PM

Tom and 4-year old Mary

Suddenly Tom had a new home in a different part of the valley – one where the lawn was expected to be short and the mess shouldn’t be chokeable to young children. He became an instant step dad to my two little girls, and his life was no longer his own.

Screen shot 2013-06-16 at 8.09.53 PM

Tom & 8-year old Emily

There were constant play dates, slumber parties, and endless backyard karaoke performances with pop songs and show tunes that would make his ears bleed. Tom knew nothing about decorating Barbie’s Dream House, putting on Fashion Polly gowns, or watching predictable Disney Channel sitcoms with overbearing laugh tracks. But he learned.

Today Tom is blaring the brand new Black Sabbath album, but now it’s from his family-friendly mini SUV. The late night cigar-infused poker games are few and far between, but he attended one last night and won a whopping 70 bucks. Tom still has 3 dogs (2 of them replaced the other 2 that died), but he now has 3 kids added to the mix.

Tom Jake Raingutter Regata

Tom & Jake at the Cub Scout’s Raingutter Regatta

Tom became the treasurer of our local elementary school even before his own son was a student, and the assistant den leader for Jake’s Cub Scout Pack. It’s a fairly odd turn for a man whose favorite song lyrics come from a guy known for biting the head off a bat.  He also became the head coach for Jake’s Toluca Baseball team. Tom Jake Toluca GrettelTom even built a batting cage in our backyard driveway, complete with enclosed netting, and he pitches wiffle balls to Jake after work.

His life has become much busier than I’m sure he ever dreamed it could be. Tom started his own blog Middle Age Metal HeadParenting With a Heavy Metal Twist. Although I doubt that he’s fond of Talking Heads (probably too conventional), the common theme running through his blog seems to be like the band’s Once in a Lifetime lyric: How did I get here?

Screen shot 2013-06-16 at 8.18.35 PMTom doesn’t spend all weekend watching ballgames anymore. Instead, he mows the lawn and takes out the trash. He washes the dogs, shaves the Australian shepherd’s hairy, poopy butt, and fixes anything that breaks, including the 83-year old brass doorknobs that fall off weekly.

Tom Mary pool

Tom & Mary in our above-ground pool

He sets up our above ground pool in May, takes it down in October and plays water volleyball with Mary and Jake most summer evenings. He’s teaching Emily how to drive and play guitar. He makes us delicious, healthy meals and guides us in 20-minute workout sessions. During family dinners, he has us each go around the dinner table and say the three things we did well, the one thing we wish we could do better, and what we could do to get better at that thing.Tom Jake cowboys

Tom has a twisted sense of humor, and never ceases to make us all laugh. We never get sick of him saying, “We’re off like a prom dress,” or his friend Joe’s line, “Don’t sweat the petty stuff; pet the sweaty stuff.” Tom doesn’t hold a grudge, always tries to get us to look on the bright side, and has a never-ending faith that no matter what happens, together we can walk through anything.

Tom Jake“Tom’s such a nice guy,” his friends still say.

How lucky I am to have become his nice girl.

Note: Thank you to someecards for their inspiration for the title of this blog post. For Father’s Day, I sent Tom their “Happy You-Knocked-Up-Mom Day” e-card. He thanked me by saying he’s happy to oblige any time.

Thank you to Grettel Cortes for the fabulous photo!

Today: Emily, Cathy, Tom Mary & Jake. Thank you to Grettel Cortes for the fabulous photo!

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Filed under Family, Holidays, Humor, Husband, Parenting, Volunteering

Falling Asleep at the Burnt Out Class

falling asleep

I love school! If I won lotto tomorrow, I would just plan to take classes for the rest of my life, whether or not I could earn a degree for it. I don’t care if it’s on auto repair or astrophysics or how to put up an astrological horoscope, if there’s learning involved, sign me up.

Unfortunately, my work schedule during the tv season virtually prohibits the commitment to a regular class schedule. In 2008 I went back to school taking online classes from Clarion University in Pennsylvania, and even though I was working at the time, in 2010 I earned my Master’s degree in Library Science.

It nearly killed me.

I felt like I fell off the face of the earth for two years as I concentrated solely on work, school, and kids – unfortunately in that order. It’s a learning experience I’ll never get from a classroom – even an online classroom. And it’s one I don’t wish to ever repeat.

Now I save my learning fix for hiatus and then search for classes like a dog with a bone. I finished up my last stage fix for Once Upon a Time on Monday night. Only 26 hours later I began a 12-week series of seminars for small business owners which takes place downtown for three hours every Tuesday and Thursday night.

Do I own a small business? No. But if I start one up, I’ll know what to do.

My medical insurance plan offers several workshops throughout the year on everything from nutrition to stress management to CPR so I signed up for three upcoming classes.

I was especially looking forward to Wednesday evening’s “On Empty and Burnt Out” which asked: Feeling as if you are running on empty? … Learn a new approach to your busy life – one in which you will be able to repair mentally, physically, psychologically and emotionally.

For anyone who knows me, I thrive on being productive, and I get a real rush when I have a sense of accomplishment. Unfortunately this rush was causing incidences of embarrassing short-term memory loss, occasional crying fits and the feeling like someone should just shoot me in the head.

Not something I would advocate, even if I do have a blog called Very VERY Busy Mom.

Frankly, I was hoping they would give me some tools to enable me to multitask more efficiently, offer advice so I don’t feel like such a flake if I have to let something go, and ways to make my sleep more productive so I could get by on 4 hours instead of 6.

Instead, the other potentially burnt out attendees and I were greeted with the advice we didn’t want to hear:

  • Get 8-9 hours of sleep each night
  • Remove all sodas, processed foods and refined sugar from your diet
  • Choose one day a week to slow down and perhaps make it a day of pampering
  • Exercise by walking or running 20-30 minutes each day, practicing yoga 3-5 times each week, and lifting weights 10 minutes each day

This is another great reason why I would like to win lotto. If I had time to do all this, I wouldn’t need to take a class called “On Empty and Burnt Out.” As much as I was excited to attend this class and enjoyed learning the information, I was having an extremely serious problem that was holding me back.

I kept dozing off.

The instructor wasn’t boring. She wasn’t repeating herself. She was knowledgeable and passed along information that would be incredibly beneficial to enriching my life.

I was just tired. Beat to my bones. And I was kicking myself that I made myself too busy that afternoon to grab a Monster Energy Drink, and the seminar didn’t have a coffee pot in sight. As I fought to pay attention to the lecturer, I performed wake up tricks like pinching my ears, pressing the web between my thumb and forefinger, tightening my Kegels and flexing my hamstrings – all to no avail.

I probably came across looking seriously ADHD.

It wasn’t until the next morning, after my first full 8 hours of sleep in weeks, that the lesson of the “On Empty and Burnt Out” class hit home.

Whether I’m working beaucoup hours or not, my tendency is to fill up every waking minute with something. The trick is, now that I’m on hiatus, it’s the perfect time to try to put these habits into place. Perhaps I should try sleeping for 8-9 hours, cutting out the things I shouldn’t be consuming, exercising every day, and taking a day to relax.

If I can do that, maybe then my short-term memory won’t be so shot to hell that I forget to do sleep, eat right, exercise and relax in the first place.

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Filed under Anxiety, Career, Family, Humor, Kids, Learning, Multitasking, Parenting

How Do You Feed 50,000 Visitors?

188868068It’s time to stock up on lemonade and homemade muffins because as of around noon yesterday, I have had 50,000 visitors.

It’s a good thing I have a lemon tree.

To a website like The Huffington Post or The Onion, 50,000 is small potatoes, but for my little mommy-turned-humor blog this is a miraculous feat. I am fortunate to know a boatload of people, but I doubt I’m acquainted more than a couple thousand.

I didn't quite capture the exact 50,000 mark.

I didn’t quite capture the exact 50,000 mark.

But 50,000? Who are these people?

How did they find Very VERY Busy Mom?

What lures them to my site? It’s probably not my new posts, since I’ve I only written three new ones this month – a record low. Yet somehow my viewership keeps going up.

If you stretched all my readers end to end on their backs, with stinky feet touching greasy heads (or pedicured toes grazing coifed up-dos, depending on my demographic) that line would reach an astounding 52 miles!

I doubt my readers would be particularly gung ho to venture out on that experiment. Still, it sounds like a bunch!

Granted, this 50,000 total doesn’t include individual people but rather daily visits. So if my husband, my mom and I were the only ones logging on, it would collectively take us nearly 47 years to reach that number.

By then I’ll most likely be either dead, too senile to write a blog, or too dim to log on at all. However by 2060, there probably won’t be blogs but rather mini-mind readings.

Hopefully you’ll just think of me and laugh. The way you do now anyway.

But if you’re not my husband, my mom, or someone who has a vested interest in my happiness (which leaves just my husband and my mom) why do you log on to Very VERY Busy Mom?

Some readers come when I announce a new post on Facebook. Half of me wants to hug and kiss these people for taking a moment out of their day to read what I have to say. The other half of me pities them, hoping that they’ll get a life that includes something more productive than trolling on Facebook.

Other readers are friends and acquaintances who receive an email from me announcing that I have a new post. I often assume that these people have given me my very own folder in their inbox. This folder is called “Spam.”

Another 318 people have signed up for automatic emails whenever I post a new blog. I wish I could buy a gift for everyone who’s done this, but they are all a mystery to me. For all I know, it could be one stalker with 318 different email addresses: iheartveryverybusymom@gmail.com; veryverybusymomismysexslave@yahoo.com; veryverybusymomstalker@nystateprison.com; etc.

Sometimes Google sends viewers my way. The most popular search terms involve Once Upon a Time. As the show’s dialogue editor, I spend 50 or more hours cutting each episode – more hours than I spend doing anything else including sleep – so I occasionally tend to write blogs about the show. Some of my favorite search terms are “once upon a time lesbian” (110 queries), “once upon a time lesbian kiss,” and “regina mills sexy.” I hope these webs surfers are not too disappointed when they land on my blog rather than something extra juicy.

Here are some other search terms my readers like to use:

“shingles face”

“school toilet”

“colon cleanse”

“sleepover party”

“too much poop”

“work at home mum makes $10,397/month part-time”

“is 50 shades of grey nasty”

“my husband loves me too much”

“sexy rubber gloves”

“trough sink at Costco”

“busy mom porn”

I have no idea who’s googling “busy mom porn,” and how they ended up on my website, but it kind of creeps me out.

Although there’s a “mom” in the title of “Very VERY Busy Mom,” there’s not one search term for “coupons,” “recipes,” “crafts,” or “cleaning.” Probably because I’ve never written about them. Well… maybe cleaning, or rather the lack thereof. Hence the “too much poop” search term.

If you’re reading my blog this very minute and it’s Wednesday, January 30, 2013, you are approximately my 50,235th viewer.

If it’s the year 2020, you’re either #6,547,289,136 or you’ve reached something called “Page Not Found.”

Will I put up a McDonald’s sign? “6,547,289,136 Viewers Served!”

What will I feed them all?

Apparently a few more Once Upon a Time predictions and something I can prepare with sexy rubber gloves.

I appreciate you stopping by Very VERY Busy Mom today. Have a muffin and some lemonade on your way out. I’m off to plant a second lemon tree.

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Filed under Career, Family, Friends, Humor, Husband, Kids, Parenting

My New Year’s Resolution this Year: No More Resolutions!

No New Year's ResolutionsThere is one topic of conversation today that dominates all others: New Year’s resolutions.

Correction. For this year only, everyone’s talking about surviving the Fiscal Cliff. However, a close second is the aforementioned New Year’s resolutions.

This year I’m boycotting.

Every year on January 1st I vow to eat healthier and to exercise more. It’s one of those blood oath vows that I am 100% certain will stick. My goal is to lose 20 lbs., which is stupidly unrealistic because in order to maintain 110 lbs., I would have to live on a diet of diluted vegetable broth and run a half marathon on a daily basis. Frankly, I could care less how much I weigh as long as I lose this jiggly abdomen I’ve acquired this year and have arms strong enough to paint a ceiling without taking a break every five minutes.

I’m not going to call it a resolution. But I’m definitely doing more planks and eating less popcorn.

I also think I’m going to get more organized. It actually is a necessity because the clutter is clogging up the good stuff I can’t find. I keep meaning to make the transition from paper Day Planner to Google Calendar so the rest of the family can see what I’ve planned for them without having to decipher my chicken scratch.

Every year I hope that the coming year will be the one that gets us out of debt. This year I’m more realistic. Short of winning lotto, that’s not going to happen anytime soon. I just plan to keep what I’m doing – paying my bills on time, juggling balance transfer deals, and only buying what I absolutely need. There are a lot of folks who are too poor to even accomplish that goal, so I absolutely feel like one of the fortunate ones. Of course I still wouldn’t turn down that lotto win.

Maybe I’ll eat healthier, exercise more, get organized, and pay off some debt in 2013, but I’m not going to make a deal with the devil to do it. If I fail, I’m not going to kick myself, single-handedly devour an entire Boston cream pie, toss out my Thighmaster, haphazardly throw the contents of my entire garage into a rent-a-dumpster or run through the mall like a banshee throwing my Visa card at everything in sight.

It’s the resolution relapse that bites you in the butt every time.

When exploring a list of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, I realize that there’s a bunch that I already do. I’ve never smoked, I already quit drinking, I tell my kids and husband everyday that I love them, I volunteer, I recycle, and I already went back to school. I’d like to learn more Spanish than “¿dónde está el baño?and “con queso por favor,” but if I don’t master the language this year, I can at least practice rolling my “R’s.”

Many people put travel among their list of New Year’s resolutions. I don’t, because it would cancel out the previous paying-off-debt goal.

Some aim for a better job. I actually like my job, and my boss pays me well, but I could use some extra hours in the off-season. I can aim for that, but I’m not going to call it a resolution. It’s more like making some phone calls to see if there’s any freelance work to be had.

Wait. I already do that.

Another typical resolution is to learn something new.  If I had the time, I’d do that more often, but I figure that I’ll have plenty of time for that in the old folks’ home.

A resolution that’s popping up more these days is vowing to manage stress. I could use a little more of that one, but since my bad bout of shingles last year, I’ve really been trying to get enough sleep and not get freaked out by the things I can’t control. So I guess I’ve been sticking to that last year’s resolution. Done.

Here’s what I really want to do in 2013:

I want to write more Facebook comments.

I want to accept that other parents won’t become more courteous drivers just because I roll my eyes at them when they double park at school pick up.

I want to watch more Jon Stewart.

I want to quit obsessing over gas prices.

I want to take a bath one day.

I want to find a better hiding place to store my son’s coloring pages than the recycling bin.

I want to dye my hair before my roots are an inch long.

I want to beat my kids in a game of Apples to Apples.

I don’t want any of my blogs to be stinkers.

Sometimes I just want to do nothing.

I’m hoping to do all these things in 2013. I’m just not going to call them resolutions.

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