Friday, June 29, 2007

Let Your Freak Flag Fly

Why are we so full of restraint? Why do we not give in all directions? Is it fear of losing ourselves? Until we do lose ourselves there is no hope of finding ourselves. -Henry Miller

Sometimes, well, often, my inner nerd surfaces from the onion skin layer of my public persona. I have always been a dork. I was a dork way before it was cool to say you were one. I see all these awesome internet mamas and writers telling the world that no, really, they're just one big nerd. Uh huh. Maybe they were, or are, but trust me, I made Sarah Jessica Parker in Square Pegs look like Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas.

I've been wearing glasses most of my life, and didn't start wearing contacts until mid-high school, and so I was not only unfortunate looking (I didn't perfect the smoke and mirrors/self-tanner/$200 worth of facial products until much later in life), but I wore these hideous large glasses that always had a glitter heart sticker affixed to the lower corner of each lens. My skin was bad, albeit not terrible, but the art of applying Cover Girl to my advantage was beyond me, so I was usually a greasy beacon (no, not bacon) with shimmery pale pink lipstick. Most. Unfortunate. My best friend, Julie, and I would spend our summers mapping out our goals for the next school year, competing against each other for the best grades, each shooting for straight As. Julie always beat me, but one semester I scored six As and one B. We took every AP class, and stayed late after school to edit the school newspaper, or rehearse a play, or prepare for some other event that was not prom-related. One of my proudest moments was at journalism camp, the other getting an A in Genetics and Embryology, easily the toughest science class offered.

It's been eighteen years since I left high school, but yesterday I was taken right back. I was in line at our local drive-through coffee kiosk, a place known for the nubile young college girls that work there. You know the type. Super tiny tank tops that wouldn't fit my twelve year-old, painted on groin jeans, and enough cleavage to make my baby think about cheating on me. They do an amazing amount of business.

As I waited my turn, I saw in the window of the kiosk a trivia question written on the dry erase board. Which scientist first proposed that the earth rotated around the sun? I made a mental note to answer the question when my turn came. Of course, motherhood has transformed my mind into a sieve, and while I ordered my iced coffee, I forgot about the trivia question. That is, until I overheard the man on the other side of the kiosk attempt to answer the question. He was clearly more interested in engaging Kiosk Girl, and as my girl handed me my coffee I heard, "Uh, it was Galileo, right?" At this point, I had taken a sip of my coffee, and that is when my inner nerd decided enough was enough and started answering for me before my coffee had been swallowed.

"It was Copernicus!" I barked, iced coffee dribbling down my chin. Kiosk Girl only nodded at me, I suspect because her diaphragm has petered out due to all those tight clothes.

"Do I get a prize?" I said, way too excitedly. Again, another cool nod.

"Ooh! Can I get double prizes if I tell you the name of the theory behind the question?" Blank look. "You know, heliocentrism!"

"Um, you get a quarter off your drink."

I didn't care that I was Napoleon Dynamite's mother. I was thrilled to have out-guessed some moron that didn't know Galileo from Copernicus. And it felt good.

I think I'm going to spend more time not worrying about what other people think. It's a lot of damn work, and frankly, it's one of those things you can never win. Being cool is so overrated. My freak flag? Flying high and proud. Snort. Galileo. Idiot.

Don't forget to check out my review blog this week. There's still a $50 CVS gift card up for grabs over at Parent Bloggers, and today's review covers the schnoz.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

When the Day Smells Like Bonnie Bell Giant Lip Smacker on a Rope

There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap. - Cynthia Helmel

I was sitting in traffic when a song I haven't heard since I was a kid just floated over to me. Olivia Newton John's Magic - do you remember that one? Good times. I scanned the cars around me until I found its source. It was a beat-up ancient orange Corvette, driven by a putzy middle-aged guy complete with moustache, and he was just chilling, tapping his hands on his steering wheel to the beat of a song I used to listen to more than twenty years ago.

When I shared this with my cousin, we were swept by nostalgia. She started singing songs from the Xanadu track, and I could distinctly smell scented erasers and grape Bubble Yum as she serenaded me with Whenever You're Away From Me.

This led to a discussion on our shared childhood obsession with stickers, and then suddenly my cousin interrupted and demanded, "Where can we find those tins? You know, those tins with the lids that slide across and have lipgloss in them?"

I remember those tins! I told her of this amazing store I used to frequent as a pre-preteen. It was called "Things Things Things" and it had not only the lipgloss, but EVERYTHING Sanrio. And, I kid you not, an entire wall that housed ceramic unicorns. I'll give you a moment to collect yourself. They were the Cadillac of ceramic unicorns, too. Not the cheap, shiny glass kind. They were made of some sort of matte ceramic, and the flowers (because there were always flowers) were formed so perfectly it just made your heart ache. You could buy a standing unicorn, the kneeling unicorn pointing his horn into the ceramic bed of pink flowers and glass or perhaps you wanted a bit of the whimsy and liked the unicorn in mid-leap. There wasn't a unicorn pose they didn't have.

One Christmas, I saved enough money to buy a kneeling unicorn for my friend, Tara. I was jumping out of my skin to give it to her, and called her house over Christmas break.

"Tara! I have a present for you! Come over!"

"I don't know. Is it bigger than a breadbox?"

I was speechless. Bigger than a breadbox? What good thing could possibly be larger than bread, other than a stuffed unicorn, of course.

It was a wonderful trip down memory lane, and nice to know that I've always been a woman who understands that the best gifts come in small packages.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Judgment Day

Before I pose my question today, I need to point y'all over in the direction of my review blog. If you could use a $50 CVS gift card, you definitely need to head on over for your chance to win one. Oh, you have so much money that you couldn't possibly use $5o? Yeah, me too. Now go!

Here is my question. Have any of you ever been in a relationship where you have watched your friend/lover/spouse/co-worker blaze down a path of self-destruction? It could be drugs, or a gambling problem, or an eating disorder...the details don't really matter.

At what point do you step in and say what's on your mind? At what point do you back off? Is backing off a viable option if you're committed to the well-being to the person?

As a mom, I have spent the last fourteen years as dictator CEO in my own home. This means I make the calls on nearly everything. Like many of you, I've become accustomed to making snap decisions, leading, and acting as the moral majority for my kids. I think one of the hardest things about watching your children grow up is letting go of all that control. I've been a puppet master to my children, literally wiping their bottoms, feeding them, choosing play dates. When your child seemingly overnight becomes a person with autonomous desires, and a will (oh, the pre-teen will. Stronger than a magnetic force field) it's hard to cut the puppet strings and let them at it. I'm in the process of doing this with my oldest, and it's been interesting to say the least. Let's just say we're both growing up/

I think this sometimes bleeds into other relationships. Whether it be going on autopilot and cutting your husband's meat for him (so guilty of that one) to barking orders to people who may not be your kids ("we'll do it this way, now let's go!").

I imagine someday, when my kids are grown, that I would never want to back off. I probably will, but that day just looms too far into the future. I think the line blurs more with people who aren't related to you, or to whom your connection is less.

So, just a question, just musing. Have a great Wednesday and THANK you everyone for being patient with my HUGE blog error of the century. It's really hard being as technologically dumb as me. You have to work at it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I Am The World's Biggest Moron

Somehow, I'm not sure how, my blog got deleted. All the entries, everything. I'm in the process of fixing things, and have maybe half of the old entries I can put back up over time. I have permanently lost all of your great comments, which is so upsetting, because I kept meaning to print them out and never got to it. All is not lost, but it's going to take some time to re-build over here. Deep breath. Computers, they are not my friend.

I need to figure this out. Wish me luck.

This sucks. But it could be worse, I know. So to attempt to cheer myself up, I am going over to watch this. It's hilarious (thanks, Ducks Mahal).

Something Else to Read

The awesome Plain Jane is having a series of guest bloggers, and my post is up for today. Most of you are probably familiar with her blog, but if you're not...head on over!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Hello Mother, Hello Father...

Chloe has been away at camp now for exactly one week. I'm doing amazingly well, due largely to the fact that I had sent Maddie off on a river trip with her class, and she not only came back alive, but happier and more confident than ever. That, plus our Mexico adventures, and I'm feeling a lot more like one of those thick-skinned moms who can wave good-bye to their campers with one hand and sip their gin and tonic with the other.I just finished reading the letters Chloe sent to us from camp, and it they are so stinking cute I can't stand it. She tells us of her schedule (journalism, photography, swimming, sewing, hand crafts, dance musical, western riding, and drama). She is over the moon with happiness because the dance musical class is presenting a performance of...High School Musical. Be still the pre-teen heart. For those of you who aren't aware, High School Musical is to our kids what Grease was to us. Chloe is the kid that I've joked will either end up in Federal Prison or as the CEO of some Fortune 500 company. Or both. When we were packing for camp, I spent several hours labeling her clothes and belongings with a Sharpie marker. Right as I was wrapping things up, Chloe gave me several bags of seashells from Mexico to label. I asked her why she was bringing the gorgeous shells to camp, where she would not only not need them, but would probably lose them."Mom. Except for Samantha, I am going to be in a cabin full of new girls. I thought I could pass out shells to everyone with a note with my name on it so they would get to know me and we could have something to talk about." I would never, ever in a million years have thought to do that at nine years old. Der. This is why I wasn't president of my sorority and Chloe will likely be inducted as a high schooler. Chloe will return to us in another week, with dozens of new friends, and as a ten year-old. That's right. She was not only not sad about turning ten at camp, but thrilled that she would get to be the center of attention on her day in a camp with over 200 campers.I'm thinking of asking her to write a book on uber-confidence and social skills. I could use it.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Ants on a Log

Thank God the weekend is almost here. What a week. Maddie's bedroom was flooded due to a slab leak caused by tree roots, we've switched realtors, and I got to be the lucky lady to fire our last one, the dishwasher broke before I left for Mexico and a repair person is only just getting here today, yadda yadda yadda. I'm ready to sleep in and have Bob make the coffee!On the flip side, it's been absolutely beautiful weather (okay, a little hot, but it's summer for cripe's sake), Chloe has been away at camp for nearly a week and no calls from her counselor stating she's homesick or hurt herself, and today I get to make ants on a log for Jacob's day camp.Last year, when Jacob attended the very same day camp studying bugs, Jack had been born, and we were spending our days in the NICU while the kids were scattered at various day camps. On the last day of Jacob's camp, there was a big "Bug Blowout" and all the parents came at lunchtime with some buggie food concoction to share. I broke away from Jack, right before a blood gas test that was pretty crucial, and went with Bob to the Bug Blowout. Earlier that week, my dad and his wife had made brownies and mailed them in a care package to our family, so I grabbed the tupperware container of baked love and brought that as my contribution. They were delicious, but not "buggy" and I could tell that Jacob sensed my distraction and worry. This year? I am making ants on a log (celery with peanut butter and raisins) and Jack and I are coming to the Bug Blowout. All 23 pounds of him. He'll probably shriek his displeasure at being up and in a hot camp room with a dozen or so little campers, but that will make me smile today, as I think of how strong his lungs must be to wail like he can. We're going to have a blast.Have an awesome weekend.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Letter To My Future Teenager

Twenty months ago, when I found out I was pregnant with Jack, I signed up for one of those online services that tracks your pregnancy and gives you milestones to chart via e-mail updates. You know, "Week 10 of your pregnancy. What to expect. Jen, you're likely feeling queasy and here are some tips to get you through to the next trimester." You get the point. I still get e-mail updates, only now they're weekly charting of where Jack is and what he "should" be doing right about now. Let me tell you, as a boy and the youngest of four, he's not constructing the double helix out of his Duplo blocks.Today I read my "eleventh month update" and I just had to share.Jen, let's project into the future this week. What kind of teenager do you think your baby will be? What kind of parent do you want to be to your teen? Take the time to write your thoughts today. If you think this first year has flown by, you'll be surprised to find how much faster the next 12 years will pass! Make a journal entry now before this moment is lost. I had to smile as I read through this, because I can see all the new mommies grabbing their baby books and sweetly penning their thoughts on their lovely pink-cheeked babies. I know this because I did this with my first two babies. Oh, the letters I wrote. Oh, the envisioning of shared laughter and hair brushing and shopping and "Thanks, mom! You didn't need to buy me that sweater! And while we're at it, mommy? I want to thank you for giving up your boobs, waist, ass, brain, sex-life, career, and respect for me. You're the greatest, and when I graduate Summa Cum Laude from Vanderbilt, you will be the one person I thank."I thought that by giving my kids everything I didn't have, or more of what I did have that was good, and by spoiling the crap out of them, I would not only feel great about myself, but my kids' cups would also runneth over and the Waltons would have nothing on us. Except maybe a few extra kids. It's only taken me 12 years, but I think I can say that isn't the way to go.So how do I envision Jack as a teenager? In all honesty, I see a lot of door-slamming, huffing of the chest and deep sighs to accompany eye-rolling severe enough to warrant a CAT scan to rule out a Grand Mal seizure. I see times where I want to hold him forever because I just got a glimpse of the amazing adult he will become, and other, more frequent times, where I wonder if I can just place him in a cardboard box marked "Free to Good Home." I see an enormous food bill, not to mention the clothing, entertainment, and activities expenses. I see me driving him to all of his enriching activities to keep him out of trouble and yet screaming at him in the car that he is sucking the life out of me and would he just shut up already he is not getting a damn cell phone. Dealing with me, angry and feeling unappreciated, is all the trouble you need.So as much as I appreciate the updates from this service, they are clearly written for and by new moms. You want an update on what to expect that doesn't look like a Monistat commercial, complete with soft focus fields of flowers and scampering deer? Stay over here. Or not. I'm too busy pulling another guilt trip on my preteens to notice.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Excellent YouTube and My Funny Cousin

This gave me chills. I love it when the underdog surprises you. A great watch!Yesterday on a phone call with my cousin, who has a four year-old and an eighteen-month old. They're both in a bit of a terrorist rambunctious phase.Cousin: So we had dinner at Kim's house the other night. It was no fun because the whole time I was trying to make sure the kids didn't totally destroy her home. I was either moving her stuff out of their reach, or yelling at them to leave something alone, or picking up after them.Me: Does Kim have kids?Cousin: No. And after we left, I'm sure she went into the kitchen, poured gin over her abdomen, and carved out her ovaries with a rusty knife.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Good Margarita Fixes Anything, Like Almost Getting Stranded in Mexico

One of the neat things about the house we had in Mexico was that is was literally right on the beach. We only had to walk off the back patio and traverse the white sand for maybe 75 feet or so to get to water. One of the not so nice things about our house was the size (there were 17 of us, my guess is it sleeps eight comfortably) and the, er, condition of the house. It was definitely a piece of crapola rustic. We had solar power, a tiny propane refrigerator, and the water flowed from a large tank downhill into our showers and toilets. What saved us was our good friend who happens to own the Mexican equivalent of a McMansion on the other side of the peninsula from where we were. She also was willing to let us come and use her house, her air-conditioning, and her awesome beach toys as often as we liked. So on day two, we packed up the kiddos, grabbed our directions, and hit the road.

Once we left the coast, it was all desert and scrub. The only thing breaking up the landscape was the pitted two lane highway that we needed to take to get into town, or to our friend's house. We were driving along when Kristi suddenly pulled over to the side of the road. I followed, and our other friend, Steph, pulled in behind me. Kristi's cargo on the top of her car wasn't secured, so we jumped out, put it in the back of her car, and got ready to go.

Then we saw Steph try to maneuver her Jetta back onto the road. Only it didn't move. It just kept sinking lower and lower into the sand until you couldn't see her tires anymore. We all jumped out of our cars again and surveyed the damage. It didn't look good, but at least it was a Jetta. We looked at my car, an enormous behemoth SUV that seats eight, and figured I could get behind her and push her onto the road (we don't have a tow package). So I put my rig into 4WD and gunned it, feeling rather smug that I would get to save the day. Only my car didn't move, either, and I watched the horizon over my dash rise as my own car sank into the sand. I opened my car door, and it was almost level with the ground (I drive an Expedition. Huge, wide, and pretty high off the ground).

I found Kristi and Steph and we all just stared at each other. It was so unreal. No AAA to call on my cell, no husband to call at the office and ask to come over and help me, just me, two of my friends, our kids, and a long stretch of Mexican highway.

I turned off the ignition (the exhaust pipe was buried in the sand and I was worried that the carbon monoxide would back up into the car), gave the kids a water bottle and portable fan, and told them not to move. Then I stood on the side of the road and just cried. For about a minute. Steph was already in action, grabbing shards of tires that were littered on the sides of the road from previous blowouts and yelled over her shoulder to start digging her tires out. I hesitated for a second, only because I was wearing a cute outfit, then got on my hands and knees and started scooping sand away from her tires.

After a while, we managed to clear the sand, place the strips of tires under her tires (for traction) and Kristi and I successfully pushed her out and onto the highway. Short of pushing out an eight pound baby with no drugs, I have never felt so exhilarated. We were screaming and high-fiving and jumping around the middle of the highway in our own She-Ra, Queen of the Desert moment. It was AWESOME.

We got to work on my car, only this time the digging took a lot longer. I was at work on the last tire, completely covered in sweat and sand, when I heard the rumble of the truck approach us. I could hear Kristi say something like, "Well. This could be a good thing. I think." I got up and came around the side of my car and saw this dilapidated truck with wood fencing up on the sides that held maybe fifteen or sixteen young Mexican men on its sides. They didn't look like CPAs. Or even the guy from AAA. But they gestured at me (at this point I was babbling on about the muchos ninos in our cars - I wanted to point out that we were by no means women. Just moms) to get in my car, I did, and I put my foot on the gas as a dozen or so Mexican Banditos (because you know that just sounds better, right?) pushed me onto the road. And then they were gone.

This post has already taken forever, so I will leave you with Kristi's Mexican Margarita recipe and call it a day.

Kristi's Foolproof Margaritas

Lots of small, Mexican limes
sugar or Splenda
Good tequilaMexican orange liqueur (Controi?)

Squeeze fresh lime juice into pitcher. Do not dilute with water. Add sugar, tequila, and orange liqueur. Taste. Add more lime juice. Taste again. Add more tequila. Yell at friends to put some damn music on already. Taste. Get some ice. Enjoy.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful husband, Bob. Having four kids doesn't make this man a good father. Anyone can be a sperm donor. So many things make Bob an outstanding father, that listing them would read like the world's longest and sappiest Hallmark card. But I need to point out that this is a man who works his ass off for his family, and still takes the time to give personal attention to each and every one of the kids. Long after my girls leave home, they will hold dear to them memories of movie Saturday with Daddy (while mom reads a book at home), or shopping with him and cajoling him into yet one more thing they don't need, or time just spent talking to him, knowing that he really listens and cares and adores every child for the person they are.He often comes home from work exhausted, hungry, and drained from a day doing things that would cripple most people. I know he would rather have a beer and just decompress. But instead he throws his jacket on the back of the chair and watches Jacob ride his bike, or helps me avoid total meltdown and takes over homework patrol, or orders Chinese food so that we can all just hang out and not worry about what to make for the crew. I'm sure he would love a hobby, or some free time, but he always tells me the kids are his hobby, his family his joy, and so the golf clubs sit collecting dust in the garage, and this former Oregon Duck season ticket holder hasn't seen a game in years. He's too busy being there for us.I take for granted his devotion, and I think I forget how good I have it. I see so many women struggling with working a job, caring for the kids, and coming home to husbands who do nothing to contribute to the family other than in the financial sense. When I get fed up with some small annoyance, I remind myself that women would line up around the block to be with this man who derives such pleasure in providing for his family, such happiness in making his wife and children laugh.My children are blessed beyond measure, and I love so very much this man my babies call Daddy.

Friday, June 15, 2007

We're Back, We're Burned, And We're Better For It

Hola! The kids and I made it back, we're exhausted, and there is a ton of unpacking/laundry/and preparing of Chloe for summer camp to get done by Sunday. I can't wait to get some of the adventures we had down, but for now, I'll post a few pictures and write again Monday.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Hasta La Vista

Happy Friday, everyone. I am taking off this Sunday with my children and heading down to Mexico. With my kids. For a week. With my kids. And three other crazy ladies and their kids. It's amazing the lengths your average housewife will go to get some good tequila.
Next week, we're having some very special guest bloggers. Why guest bloggers you ask? Because I am too lazy to write things and have my husband post them for me, so I have tapped some other willing people and bribed asked them to post something for me in my absence.
Even my dear husband will be piping in, and I have no idea what that man will be saying when I'm gone. But if the words "Asian Hooker" are used, it's too late, and I have no cell phone or computer availability where I'm going.
I'm a little nervous, given that we're not staying in a hotel, or an all-inclusive resort. It will be hot, I'm pretty sure no one speaks French where we're going, and I'm just a nervous person anyway.
But our house is on the beach. There will be fresh fish, homemade ice-cream while we watch the sunset, and hopefully some really neat memories that stay with my kids forever.
Talk to you in a week!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Totally Useless Trivia Fed My Family Lunch

I've referred to my nine year-old, Chloe, as an onion before. I find it both amusing and yet not exactly surprising that she chooses to call into radio trivia shows on her way into school each morning. I mean, what's a girl to do in carpool to while away her time?The thing is, she's been winning. She's won enough that after she used her own name, she's had to go with aliases (friends' names) in order to get the free lunches at a local Mexican restaurant. Yesterday afternoon I had to sign a document at the radio station stating that she wouldn't call in for thirty days.Apparently, my nine year-old is taking up too much oxygen on the commuter show geared toward grown-ups. And these are the adults who aren't answering the Daily Trivia Question! correctly, forcing my over-achieving kid into exasperatingly calling in and setting them straight.We enjoyed some really good Mexican food compliments of my daughter who eerily knows the answers to things like:What is the number one regret that American newlyweds have about their wedding?orWhat is the most common answer given by housewives when asked about their "dream" profession?Clearly, in addition to studying land forms, Mesopotamia, and the Louisiana Purchase, Chloe has figured out that Americans really want their dogs in the wedding ceremony, and that all housewives pine to write romance novels.An onion.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Organized Blog Blast: Tales From the School Cafeteria

Oh, do I remember my school cafeteria.I moved a lot as a kid, but one of the constants was the cafeteria. To me, they all smell the same, evoking memories of milk cartons, turkey tetrazzini, and the coveted pizza day. To this day, when I walk into one of my own children's lunchrooms I am instantly transported back to Pat Benatar on my Walkman, and tater tots on my tray.My earliest lunchroom memory is from second grade. My parents had divorced, we were living in a new city, and I knew no one. To make matters worse, I had recently chopped off my long, Breck Girl hair and replaced it with the hideous mistake known as the Dorothy Hammill. I was shy, miserable, and embarrassed. My mother was suddenly a working mom, and I had no one with whom to sit at lunch and commiserate over my wretched second grade existence.My teacher, Mrs. White, had intervened, trying her best to smooth the road for the new girl. She bestowed upon me, prematurely, the coveted yellow ISM button to wear on my shirt. ISM stood for Image Self Manager. Kind of like student of the month (my school had the name Image in it). Instead of ingratiating me in to the sorority of previous ISM pin wearers, it made me stand out even more as an outsider. Rather than invitations to the cool kids' table (or anyone's table, for that matter), I simply invited hissed statements like, You didn't really get that pin. You've only been here a week. I had jumped the chain of command and was appropriately punished for my transgression, even if only for my compliance in wearing a button I hadn't earned.I would have been swallowed up at that school, save for one small thing: pizza day. On pizza day, not only was I allowed to have hot lunch (I normally packed something in my pale blue Snoopy lunchbox), but my mom would come and sit with me in the cafeteria. On that day, I had someone to sit with. And pizza. It didn't get much better than that.I invite you today to think back to the seventies, or eighties, or whenever it was (just don't depress any of us and mention the nineties) and recall your favorite cafeteria memory. And, check out School Menu and Family Everyday, two sites that work together with School Food Services Directors to provide and promote healthy eating and physical fitness for kids and their parents. If you have kids in school and want to see if there is pizza on the lunch menu, you can click on your state and check out what's for lunch. I really, really like that feature, because as good as some of the food can be, I don't want to go hang out with my kid on turkey tetrazinni day (although I checked, and I think they stopped serving that back in 1981, so you're safe).

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

What We Do When The Kids Are Outside

Me: Bob, the kids are all playing outside. And the baby is napping.Husband: Really? We could pretend we're D.I.N.K.s.Me: Okay. Um, boy, I had a long work-week. Like fifty hours.Husband: Yeah. I watched a lot of movies. At the theater.Me: And had sex.Husband: And then I counted my money. But I didn't finish because there's just too much of it.Me: Then we had to decide where we were going to eat dinner.Husband: And it was so stressful we had sex instead.

Monday, June 04, 2007


I wish I could change the world.There are times when I am amazed at how far we have come as women. I can't believe I get to live in a culture that allows me to do the things I do. I can express myself, I can live my life the way I want to live it, I can move freely about, and I have a say in how things are done in my country.I'm also amazed at how archaic things still are. I'm amazed at what it takes as a woman to carve a place in this world, and what guidelines people use to judge other women. How we judge ourselves, and how fucking hard women are on each other.I am "lucky" enough to stay home with my kids. I get to be there for them whenever they need me. If they are sick, I'm there. I have the freedom to do certain things whenever I please, even though I have to accommodate the schedules of three different schools and all the various activities my kids participate in. Whatever; that's my choice, too. I suppose I could homeschool all of them and make my schedule completely my own, but that's not what I want to do right now. I run my family, I am CEO in my home, and I am blessed to know that I have a husband who only wants me and our children to b happy. Somehow, we've gotten to a place where we can afford to do this (it wasn't always this way).It's not enough. Why? I don't know. It's killing me that I don't know. I don't want to go back into social work. I don't want to deal with things like abuse or rape like I did as a victim witness coordinator. I don't want to go sit in some fluorescent lit cubicle doing some asinine job just so I can get some credit for "working" (because I don't work, you know. It's all bon bons. All the time). I don't want to be beholden to some bitter employer and ask to leave so I can go care for my kids when and if they need me.I suppose ideally, I would have a career that impacted the people in my community in a positive way. It would be a dynamic, challenging, meaningful job that garnered the respect of my peers and those around me. There would be soft lighting in my office. I would get fifteen weeks off each year (summer, spring, and Christmas school breaks) and I would also have the freedom to leave whenever my kids needed me. I would also make $225,000 a year.You think I'm kidding, right? I'm not. I really think I can attain that. I'm just not sure how, not yet.I'm reflecting on my past weekend. I attended my state's PTA conference, and may I just say that if you have an opportunity to affiliate yourself and your school with the national Parent Teacher Association, do it. What an amazing force, both legislatively and at each school, making the voice of each child heard. I was so inspired by the great things we can do for our future by working together and making things happen.I'm also reflecting on the different types of women I encountered. Sure, you had your bevy of mousy, appliqued smock-wearing moms who have clearly given up any sense of femininity and power to serve their kids. You had the moms who were obviously a force, both as individuals and as involved advocates for their children and their children's schools. I had no idea if they worked outside the home or not, but they were smart, savvy, and interesting. Then you had the queen bees who had enough carats on their left hands to fund a third world army (yes, I admit to some bling lusting. I may or may not have licked the hand of the woman with the SIX carat asscher-cut solitaire). These were the women who immediately let you know what their husbands did (plastic surgeon/ anesthesiologist/ business owner). I wonder why they didn't just outright say My husband is really, really rich. This makes me important and if you couldn't tell by my clothes, my fake breasts, and my Rock of Gibraltar, you obviously are a minion unworthy of sitting at our table. Pay homage, or move on. And by the way, what does YOUR husband do?I encounter these women more than I care to admit. Both because of the town I live in, my own husband's job, and the schools where we send our children. I have decided that the next woman (because it's never a man) who asks me what my husband does for a living is going to be told that he is an out of work trucker who loves me as good as he can, and would maybe be a little nicer to me if only I would remember to bring home the damn Schlitz each night.In the meantime, I am also going to continue to try and work through these issues, and write a letter to asking why the job with the aforementioned description is never listed.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Friday Experiment Check-In

Uh, yeah.A few days ago I may have had some piss and vinegar in me and told everyone in the damn blogsophere that I was going to shadow my toddler and do and eat everything he did. The point being I would be more active! More healthy! Tailing my preschooler would be fun(!) because we're all so sedentary and eat too much. I would re-awaken my inner child and have a stronger core. The Peter Pan Challenge as Nancy said.It didn't go as expected (note to Bossy: shut up.). First, let me just say that it is logistically impossible to do this if you have anything else going on. Like living. Or breathing. I quickly realized two things:1. Five year old boys never stop. Never. Stop.2. Jacob may have rickets.By three in the afternoon on day one I had eaten a small handful of dry cereal (while watching Noggin and laying on my bag bicycling my legs in the air), one slice of turkey, maybe two bites of apple, some hot chocolate, and a Flintstone vitamin (plus many, many milligrams of caffeine). By four, I had become a pusher."Jacob, want a snack? Please?""No, thanks.""How about some cheesebread? Or a raspberry bar? Or a spinach salad with some white wine?"Also? My calves have fallen off my legs from all the damn jump-roping and I am going to auction them off for charity. And if you want your sternum in one piece, stay off the fucking monkey bars.My treadmill awaits.