My Superpower

by Abby on November 18, 2015

Calista Flockhart in "Supergirl" on CBSI caught the end of an episode of the new “Supergirl” show on CBS the other night. What captured my interest – besides a female superhero, yay! – was Calista Flockhart, who plays fierce media mogul Cat Grant. Ally McBeal is back on TV! Looking as good as ever at 50, I might add. I daresay she has aged even better than her hubby, Harrison Ford.

Anyway, the show got me thinking about what superpowers I have. As the mom of boys, this is not the first time I’ve thought about this. My kids and I have had numerous discussions about what we WISH our superpowers would be. Invisibility? Being able to fly? The ability to transform any vegetable into candy? But this time I thought about what actual superpowers I already possess. We all have them, you know. We do! It’s just a matter of recognizing them.

I have several superpowers, some more useful than others. For instance, I frequently cause streetlights to go out when I pass underneath them. Weird, I know. I’m not sure if it’s some kind of electro-magnetic thing going on, or if I have a weird aura, or if there are just a lot of streetlights out there with faulty wiring. I also have pretty good parking powers. Not always, but often, I can find a good parking spot where there appear to be none. This came in handy when I lived downtown. I wish it worked better when I go Christmas shopping at the mall.

Lastly, and most useful for my present existence, is my power to transform even the paltriest ingredients into a tasty meal. I can throw together a stir-fry with little more than some soy sauce and the random contents of my freezer. I can whip up a quiche or frittata with a few eggs and some vegetable scraps. Half a block of cream cheese and a handful of dried spices becomes a delectable herb sauce for that box of broken spaghetti in the back of the pantry.

Just today, I lunched on leftover pumpkin black bean soup and goat cheese “crostini” made from bread heels, some cheese crumbles, and a few sundried tomatoes from the bottom of the jar. And the REAL superpower is that my kids will actually eat some of the food I make. Sometimes. If I’m lucky. Supermom indeed! (Just don’t talk to me about the falafel.)

On the scale of superpowers from magnetokinesis to teleportation, mine may seem minor, but hey, I’ll take it. We mere mortals need all the help we can get, especially at dinnertime, amiright?

So tell me: what are your superpowers?


Flu Shots and Other Things I’m Bitter About

by Abby on November 4, 2015

Awkward school photoI opted out of school photos this year. I KNOW. I’m such a rebel! Every year, I get guilted into it, thinking, what kind of mother am I if I don’t participate in this timeless childhood tradition and capture every single one of my little ones’ school years with dozens of identical, retro-looking staged photos? A smart one, that’s what.

I refuse to believe that in this day and age of digital photos, filters, and cloud technology, there is no better system than pre-paying for a photo that you see for the first time weeks later, when it’s too late to do a damn thing about that crazy cowlick or visible booger. I have drawers full of overpriced photo packets missing one or two 5×7’s that I sent to the grandparents. I’m done with it, I tell you. I’d rather pay for one of those professional family photo shoots of us frolicking through a meadow or something.

The next thing I’m bitter about is daylight savings time. I HATE it. I have never understood the point of it. Farmers? Crops? Whatever. For urban families with young children, it’s absolute hell. It gets dark now at 5 p.m. 5 P.M.!! That means that our desperately needed afterschool outdoor playtime gets cut drastically short, forcing us inside before anyone has expended even a fraction of their pent-up energy.

Before I know it, I’m serving dinner at 5:15, we’re done with homework, baths, and books by 7 p.m., I’m serving a SECOND meal because everyone is hungry again, and we’re twiddling our thumbs and getting on each other’s nerves because we are still nowhere NEAR bedtime. It’s a broken system, people.

Lastly, I am bitter about flu shots. Look, I’m beyond grateful to live in a place with easy access to excellent healthcare. With that disclaimer, let me just say that taking my children to get shots is one of my all-time least favorite parenting duties, ranking below cleaning vomit off of Thomas the Tank Engine sheets and above taking an infant’s temperature rectally.

This year, I tried to take the easy way out: the kids’ school was offering the flu mist to anyone who wanted it. I filled out the forms and returned them the same day: done! Then came the bad news: there was a shortage of flu mist and the school wouldn’t be getting it till at least December, if at all. I couldn’t wait and chance it. So I called around to the pediatrician, walk-in clinics, everywhere. No mist.

With no choice but to get the shots, I decided there was strength in numbers and that the element of surprise could work in my favor. So I picked up the kids after school, whisked them straight to the clinic, and announced that all of us would be getting our flu shots right then and there. I really should have waited till everyone was strapped into the car because my 6yo took off running through the parking lot, wailing and sobbing.

kid scared of flu shot

Once I caught up with him, it took all my strength to drag him into the clinic. It was ugly. I would NOT like to see the security camera footage of that incident. So we made our way loudly and tearfully to the front desk, where it took them — NO JOKE — 40 freaking minutes to check our insurance and fill out our paperwork, even though we were the only patients there. You’re KILLING me, Rite Aid RediClinic!

Well, 40 min. with an anxious, irate first-grader who needs a snack is like 6 hours of jury duty sitting next to someone with B.O. on the scale of unpleasantness. When we were finally brought back to the exam room, my brave fourth-grader volunteered to go first. Thank god for that kid. If I’d had TWO runners … Next up was me. BTW, I also hate shots. For a while, I would faint every single time I got one. I once ended up in the ER with a lump on my head the size of a kiwi. Now you know why I don’t give blood.

But I’m a mom now so I’m not allowed to do selfish things like have an involuntary physical response to needles. I sucked it up and got my shot. By this time, my 6yo son was shaking and rending his garments. He was actually trying to hide inside his shirt. Kicking and more wailing ensued. I forcibly restrained him as the nurse – who was at this point writing her resignation letter in her head – poked him with the dreaded needle.

Afterwards, when our heart rates had returned to normal and I’d pacified everybody with processed snacks, you know what that child said? “I barely even felt anything.” I can’t even …

But when I was putting him to bed, he told me something else. Apparently, his class motto is “Do hard things.” The teacher goes around the room and asks the students to share any hard things they’ve done that week. He would share the Flu Shot Story, he said. He seemed pretty psyched about it, actually. So there you have it, the positive outcome to a truly horrendous experience. BTW, that flu shot hurt like hell. Where’s my cookie?


Are We Over Halloween?

October 28, 2015

I have complicated feelings about Halloween. I’m not a fan of the scary stuff or the sugar overload. I mean, I like mini Butterfingers as much as the next gal, but I could do without the fake bloody body parts and 5 lbs. of jumbo Tootsie Rolls. But Halloween is such a big deal when […]

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Micro Home Makeovers and Mouthy Kids

October 20, 2015

How could I not have noticed it before? This glaring eyesore on my kitchen wall? But there it was, plain as day: the switch-plate behind the stove was yellowed, dusty, and splattered with food. Gross! I went to the drawer where I keep various odds and ends and lo and behold, there was a brand-new […]

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Relentlessly Optimistic

October 12, 2015
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You know that saying, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all?” Well, I think that’s my problem. I overdid it on the optimism. Got a little too gung-ho about gratitude. Was hell-bent on happiness at all costs. To the point where, when life wasn’t just a bowl of cherries, I found […]

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My Morning Ritual

September 23, 2015

Every morning, after the whirl of breakfast and teeth-brushing and where-did-I-put-my-keys ends with a slammed door and the boys are finally off to school with their dad, I put on my sneakers and take the dog for a walk. Her ears perk up the minute she hears the rustle of the plastic poop bag I […]

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Happy Moms’ New Year!

September 1, 2015

School is back in session! Otherwise known as Moms’ New Year. Once again, I am positively giddy with freedom and possibility. But it’s not because summer was long and exhausting as, let’s face it, some of our past summers have been. We did get off to a very rocky start when my husband was hospitalized […]

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Things I’ve Learned About Happiness

August 16, 2015

As I wrote in my last post, I’ve started a new project as a way to put into practice some of the things I’ve been wanting to do, like be happier. Happiness is one of those concepts that can easily become vague and elusive. Ask anyone what they want out of life, what they want […]

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My New Project

August 9, 2015

There are 2 kinds of people in the world: those who talk about doing things, and those who actually do the things. My biggest fear is being one of the talkers who never quite gets around to the doing. For a while now, my friend Angie and I have talked about doing some kind of […]

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A Weekend to Myself

July 27, 2015

What would you do if you had a whole weekend to yourself? No one to cook for, care for, or pay attention to except yourself. Nowhere you had to be, nothing you had to do. If you’re like me, you might be confused by the question at first. Wait… 2 days all to myself? I […]

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