Harming an Animal…No Big Deal?

“Bang bang.”

During a late afternoon walk around the neighborhood, I passed by a house where three or four children (in the eight to ten-year age range) were playing in their front yard.

Maybe at this point I should highlight the fact that I live in a SoCal beach town; solid middle-class, lots of healthy living, outdoor activities, and for the past thirty-plus years, it’s been relatively crime-free.

I’m still troubled by what I witnessed.

I wasn’t paying too much attention to the children until I heard one of the boys say, “The cat, do the cat!” and I saw a black and white cat running to hide in a stand of low growing bushes near the sidewalk.

I heard a popping sound at the same exact time I saw another little shit boy with a plastic gun-type thing pointing it at the cat. Whatever little plastic thingy that was shot out of the gun actually hit the cat, who yelped and ran in a different direction.

What made this abuse even more egregious to me was that the little shits  boys LAUGHED.

Harming an animal on purpose was a source of amusement.

WTF is wrong with people?

Never one to ignore bad behavior or shy away from standing up for animal rights, I turned to the two laughing and gawking little shits boys (the girls had run off at this point) and stated, “You just shot at the cat. I saw you.”

Pretend you are saying those words with the scariest, meanest tone in your voice that you could possibly conjure up. Add a frown, squint your eyes, and you come up with a fair approximation of ME at that moment. I wasn’t referred to as “Mommy Monster” for nothing…

One of the boys ( the blame shifter) quickly pointed to the other boy and said, “I didn’t do it, he did”as he showed us all HIS true colors. Then he too ran away before I followed HIM home because he’s the one who set up his friend to shoot at the poor kitty.

I said to the future sociopath, “Is that your cat?” He nodded. “Do you live here?” He nodded.

“Go in the house RIGHT NOW and come back with your mother or father.”

“Harming an animal is NOT acceptable. What you did was NOT OK.”

The little future Jeffrey Dahmer went in the house and a few minutes later a man reluctantly opened the door a crack and peered out.

I introduced myself and told him what I witnessed. I explained to him that I loved animals, I’m an animal activist, and hoped he would appreciate the serious nature of what his son had done. He said he would discipline his child and let him know what he did was wrong. I explained to him that in my opinion, he should take away the gun because it’s obvious his son didn’t have respect for animals and should not be allowed to hurt another one.

That’s when it got ugly, guys.

The big shit  dad told me that he didn’t need my help raising his children, and I responded by saying that it’s clear to me that he wasn’t doing a very good job if his son thought it was funny to hurt a cat.  He then informed me in a snotty tone not to raise my voice (I was not raising my voice at all, but that’s something stupid people say to shift the conversation away from the actual content) AND he would raise his children HIS way and I should raise mine MY way and GET OFF HIS PROPERTY.

Since I NEVER miss an opportunity to not-so-humblebrag about my Angel Boy, I pointed to my t-shirt which said “Somebody at Yale LOVES You” as I proudly proclaimed, “I DID my good job, that’s why my son has a Ph.D. from Yale”, and as I sauntered down his driveway, I turned to him and said I might call the police because animal abuse by children could be a red flag sign of future sociopathic crime. He got in the last word by yelling, “Go ahead and call the police!”

I’m drinking a glass of wine now, wondering if I actually should call the po-po to reinforce the concept that abuse of any animal for any reason is horrible behavior and should not be tolerated. There is a very real correlation between children who harm animals and those who commit more serious crimes later in life.

What do you think I should do? And how was YOUR Monday?


This distressing incident made me think of my darling Bandit. I miss her every day.*Sniff*
How could anyone hurt an innocent creature?

banditsofa

IT’S RAINING IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA!!!!

It started raining in the middle of the night, so hard it woke me up.

Rain, wind, five inches of snow in our local mountains — is this May or is it December?

I was worried about my little hummingbird and her full nest.

How would they weather the storm?

First thing this morning, I looked out the kitchen window and there she is, swaying back and forth on the hummingbird wind chimes under the eaves, safe and dry.

See the rain coming down? What a smart mom to choose a home that’s protected from the elements and allows her to survey the entire back yard.

hummyMay8rainHumans can learn a lot about good parenting from other species.HummyMay7

There is no more important job than caring for her young.

Soon enough, they’ll hatch and grow and fly away, leaving her with that empty nest she worked so hard to build.

Maybe that’s what her tiny little hummingbird mind ponders as she sits there hour after hour.

And I know exactly how she feels.

SIGH.

Another Empty Nest, Another Sad Mom

Another empty nest

Poor mama bird, I know how she feels…

 

I found a broken shell from a newly hatched baby under the ficus tree. A pair of warbling vireos make a home year after year in this birdhouse.

 

It’s so sad that she puts all that work into building a nest and feeding her babies and they always fly away.

They always leave mommy. *sniff*

I guess that’s the way Mother Nature intended it to be, but it still sucks.

Facebook is full of moms who can’t wait until their children turn eighteen, almost pushing them out of the nest with a packed suitcase and a sigh of relief so they can resume their “lives”, but that’s not the way I feel about it.

As much as I’m bursting with pride at the independent and successful young professor he’s become, his bedroom is still quietly waiting — just as it always was, with fresh sheets on the bed, clean clothes in the closet, and his favorite books lined up on the shelf.

In the beginning, when he first left for college (years ago), the hardest thing to deal with was the silence — the QUIET was deafening. I have no idea how one child could fill up the space with his presence, but he did.

Now, nothing makes me happier than a call telling me he’s coming home for a visit (sigh) so I can load up on the ingredients for his favorite foods.

You know how mama birds feed their young, don’t you? They regurgitate partially digested insects and worms directly into the beaks of their babes.

I’m not THAT extreme, but you know what I mean.

It’s one of my greatest joys to watch my son eat.

I admit it. I do. I sit across from him at the table and soak it all in, every single mouthful.

(Don’t feel sorry for him, he’s used to it.)

And then he leaves again, and the quiet fills our house and our hearts.

Can you guess that I’m missing my Angel Boy right now?

I Just Want to Pee Alone… A Must-Read Book Review

I Just Want To Pee Alone

Trust me, this is one of the best (and most irreverent) guides to the real world of mothering you’ll ever read.

It brought me back with laughter to the days when the bathroom was a place to hide for a few brief moments of precious solititude — where I’d hide a book to attempt to read and eke out a few sentences before the scratching and whining at the door would start to let me know I’d been discovered.

Ahhh, the good old days!

Way back when my son was a baby, we didn’t have blogging or the opportunity to use humor as an outlet to the rewarding — but unrelenting — job of being a mommy.

Raising kids properly is hard work. Every mom can relate to  “I just want to pee alone!”

I Just Want to Pee Alone is a collection of hilarious essays from thirty-seven of the most kick ass mom bloggers on the web. “Grown Up Words in a Pint-Sized Mouth” by Momaical (Tracy Winslow) is laugh-out-loud funny and is a must-read. She’s in great company with the rest of the bloggers, including People I Want to Punch in the Throat, Insane in the Mom-Brain, The Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva, Baby Sideburns, Let Me Start By Saying, and Rants From Mommyland.

Read it for yourself and I’m sure you’ll agree with me.

This is a super gift for a baby shower or a new mom, as necessary as a stroller or a car seat!

Beginnings and endings: 1966 and 2007

“Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty.”–Coco Chanel

Two special dates: July 1966 and April 2007

Beginnings and endings.

July 1966 – Detroit, Michigan

I’m in the bathroom, calling out to my mom.

“MomMomMOM MOMMEEE!! Where ARE you? Guess what?”

You know what they say, a mom always knows.

“Honey, I bet you just started menstruating, am I right?” (She was a nurse and always always used a medical term instead of slang. Like we always said “urinate” instead of pee; vagina and penis instead of -well– instead of anything else.)

After a hug and a lengthy (yawn) tutorial about personal hygiene, my mom took me out for lunch and a shopping spree to commemorate this milestone towards womanhood. She told me that when she first began to menstruate, all she got was a slap in the face from her mother, some kind of archaic ritualistic symbolism that had something to do with the fact that her father (my grandfather) was a rabbi. She told me that she was horrified and never forgot it, and if she ever had a little girl, she’d mark the occasion with a celebration, not a punishment.

At school it was called “Aunt Flo” or “Secret Sam” (don’t ask me why.)

Back then everyone used cumbersome huge Kotex pads attached by a hellish contraption known as a “Kotex belt.” Made up of white elastic encompassing your waist along with two plastic clips that attached to each end of the pad, it took some getting used to — and felt very much like my biking shorts do now. It was a great day when I graduated to tampons.

That started years of worry. Worry about waiting to “start”. Worry about what to wear to avoid an accident, and later, worry about NOT starting, waiting every month with a silent prayer to the Period Goddess — please oh please let me start; I’ll be more careful next time. And then getting married and wanting to start a family; holding my breath every month and willing my body to NOT– becoming compulsively scientific, taking temperatures and  stressing over ovulation days and counting. Worry, worry, worry.

Worry about the baby I did become pregnant with…will he be healthy, will I be a good mom, will I produce enough milk, can I protect him from all harm and sadness–the what ifs drove me crazy.

April 2007 was the date of my last menses, my last period. At the risk of alienating my peers, I have to be honest and admit that I had no symptoms of menopause — I experienced none of the common complaints. Oh, I had an occasional hot flash–which I actually enjoyed since I’m always cold — for a few brief moments, it felt like I had my own personal heater. And once in a while, I’d feel a bit tingly which brought back awesome memories of a similar feeling when I was breastfeeding and my milk “let down”. I told my doctor all this and she nodded her head and said she had experienced the same sensations.

I am so happy to be done with all that worry.  I don’t have to check the calendar every month and worry about when or if I’m going to need to carry tampons with me.

It’s not that I’m not still kinda crazy, but my level of worry is diferent. Not that I don’t worry constantly about my son, but he’s a grown up thirty-two- year-old Yale professor and my worry for him is a bit less intense.

I feel freer. Tranquil. Confident. Satisfied. I can take a deep breath now and exhale.

Don’t get me wrong; I do believe Coco Chanel. I still work out like a fiend every day to fit in my size two skinny jeans; I fight the good fight with Botox and color my gray hair, but I’m a very happy fifty-eight-year-old, and proud to say it. Bring on the next chapter of my life. I’m ready!

This post is written for a Generation Fabulous BlogHop. Generation Fabulous is a new website for and about women who are rocking middle-age and beyond. Please click here to see more.

“Mom, I’m hungry!”

That’s the rallying cry from the moment my son and daughter-in-law’s plane touched down (an hour late at 12:20 a.m.) until the moment they left Sunday on the red-eye.

And I had such a great story to tell until my words disappeared. I thought WordPress automatically saved drafts, but not this time. All the pithy, witty, funny, poignant commentary is gone-vanished-poof-a chimera that was. How could a draft be deleted? I went through…Oh well, it was an overview of my weekend in which I went back in time to when mom and maid were synonymous, they both start with“m” and who can tell the diff?

I cooked and cleaned, and cooked some more.  Our tradition is to bring a snack for the long (thirty-five minutes) drive home from the airport. Being late meant they were super hungry, not just hungry hungry. They gobbled up the cheese and crackers and grapes and ginger tea like they hadn’t eaten in days. My mom-ESP was on high alert so I had made a Zucchini Pie earlier in the day, as well as Zucchini Cupcakes and Brownies. This hot weather we’re having caused all the zukes to ripen at the same time, so I had to find recipes to accommodate the harvest.  After a 1am feeding, they went to bed. That was just the beginning…the next morning I drove them down to the beach to go surfing and waited and watched-it was a gorgeous day–after a couple hours we came home and while they were showering, I made Breakfast Burritos and a fruit salad. An hour or so after that, it was time for lunch of Tuna Melts and then a mid-afternoon snack of guacamole and chips, and then dinner (we went out for sushi), and an after dinner snack. Sunday was a repeat of Saturday except I washed, dried, and folded all of their clothes and removed a stubborn stain from a pair of my daughter-in-law’s white jeans. I’m the go-to gal for stain removal.  It’s a gift, what can I say. I used hydrogen peroxide and bleach and enzyme release and baking soda with an old toothbrush, and we were able to salvage the $200 jeans.

And just to be clear, they are 31 and 29 and both have their Ph.D.s in Germanic Languages and Literatures (my son) and Neuroscience(DIL) so it’s not like they’re totally helpless. It’s just a mom thing. And what can I say; it gives me great pleasure. I’ve observed that there are two types of Jewish moms: the ones who have maids and cooks and travel a lot and are removed from the daily deets of their childrens’ lives, and my kind of mom who lives and breathes for every breath and word that radiates from their being. Talk about unconditional maternal love! I take it to that uber-level. I still like to hear him say, “Mom, mom, did you see that wave I caught?” or “Mom, I’m hungry”, or “Mom, sew up the hole in my pants, (shirt, sweater, jacket…)” So, it’s just an extension of that uber-Jewish-momness to include his wife under my wings. It’s still nice to feel needed, no matter how old they are.

It was 3:00 Sunday afternoon when I had a moment to check my email. The kids were on the deck enjoying smoothies and cut-up fruit. I’m not exaggerating when I say my son eats from the moment he wakes up until he goes to sleep. He’s a little over six-feet and weighs about 150. He’s not hypoglycemic or anything-no medical problems, just a highly functional metabolism  I’d hate him if I hadn’t given birth to him. He eats anything that 1. isn’t nailed down, and 2. isn’t breathing.

My eyes can’t believe what I’m reading, travel arrangements for the next day–MONDAY–for my captain. Are you kidding me? Tomorrow? Not only was he going to miss seeing the kids, but I was absolutely not at all prepared for a proper homecoming!!! He wasn’t supposed to be back until October, but when we finally talked a bit later,  he was coming home because there was another assignment they wanted him to take, so everything happened fast. Right.  There would be no perfumed and ironed sheets this time. I had loads and loads of sandy towels to wash, the house was a mess, and so was I.

After I returned from yet another drive to the airport, I was so exhausted I fell asleep on the sofa with a glass of proseco in my hand. I woke up around 1:00 a.m. without having spilled a drop (!) and went to bed, setting my alarm for 6:00 a.m. It was going to be a long, long day until my husband’s arrival at midnight…