Friday, August 31, 2012

dreeeaaam the impossible dream ...

So on my short to do list today we have the following impossible tasks ...
  • Do the laundry because there are no towels.  Well, no clean ones. I actually uttered the words "well we wouldn't run out if you didn't use them so often" to my husband this morning.  I even facepalmed in real life on that one while he laughed.
  • Sweep, mop, dust, and do a general pick-up of the crapalanche all over because my mother in law is coming.
  • Make my house look like I know what I am doing because my mother in law is coming.  Too bad I am not sure how to do this ...
  • Make an impossible, yet thoroughly awesome, cake.  Pictures and blog post to come.
  • Bathe a dog because he smells like human feet.  Why I don't know, nor do I want to.
  • Keep two children alive and cleanish.
  • Not kill the guys next door re-roofing the neighbor's house for the excessive noise they are making, even if they wake the Beans.
  • Maintain my sanity and sobriety.
  • Shower.  After the towels are done.  
Ah yes, the impossible tasks listed right there next to the highly-unlikely-ones.  I debated putting something about cold fusion and finding a political candidate that doesn't lie or annoy me, but I thought that may be a tad far reaching.

But hey, at least I am blog hoppin' again!  Lets see if we can surpass ten followers today!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

"Fat Ass" to "Bad Ass"

So I have been really hard on myself lately.  If you have read here for a bit you might be thinking that seems fairly in character, but this is different.  Here on the blog generally I laugh while sharing failures with cooking, or stupid mistakes I make while trying to recreate some crafty thing.  That is one thing, I can laugh at me there.  It is a safe thing.

But there are other things that are harder to laugh about.

For example, I hate my body.  Okay, hate is such a strong word.  I don't hate my body.

My body has borne two children into this world, carried another two for a short time before they earned wings and went to heaven.  My body takes me through my long day, half sleeping nights.  It picks a kiddo up from school, facilitates homework, makes meals, cleans a house, plays with a baby, walks dogs, and does a million other things.  It keeps this house sanitary (though not impecible), manages a million things at a time, and makes some of it look easy.  While not the fittest body in the world, it is still hanging in there okay and my health is nothing I can complain about having had moments of much poorer health already in my life, and many more to come surely.  My body is pretty amazing when I really think about all I ask it to endure, and how little I give it in return.

But I still have such a love hate relationship with it.

While I can DO all those things, there is stuff that my body can't do too.  Like fit into the jeans I want.

In the scheme of things this whole jean fitting thing is pretty minimal.  But it matters to me.

To my husband, my body is a John Mayer song.  He is more than happy with me as I am, tells my I am beautiful, attractive and other stuff I'd just rather not share even on my semi anonymous blog.

But I know that even he'd be just fine with my body with a little less sag, flab and padding.  He'd never say it,  but we can be honest here.

So I have been wanting for a long long long time to get in to better shape.  Not for anyone other than myself. Because I want to look in the mirror and be okay with the reflection rather than say stuff like "holy shit I have an extra chin in the works."  I do not want to be a twig, I do not want to fit into my high school jeans, I do not have some burning desire to rock a bikini next summer ... those things may be nice and all but I have no desire for it.  Well the bikini would kick ass, but that isn't my point.

My point is that I have been trying to exercise with any regularity and it really seems like fate is just content with my ass being this size rather than the one I want.  Everything feels like it works against me.  If wanting to lose weight, and sucking at it, were enough to have a rockin' bod I would be set.

Take yesterday for example.

After repeated failures at going for a jog or walk, after not being able to use any of the exercise equipment at my mom's house (a whole blog post in which I nearly set off her alarm and had the popo called on me), and many other failures too frustrating to even list I decided to enlist the help of the Wii Fit we bought forever ago.

And the fun really began.

First, I had to find the controller, and the little step-on-me thingy.  Once found, I set them up, and tried to turn everything on.  The batteries in the Wii controller had been pilfered for something else in requirement of a couple double A's.

So I did the only thing reasonable at that moment since I had no spares, I stole some from a kid toy -- seems fitting they contribute since I only started gaining weight because of them! -- and I was ready to go.

Or so I thought.

The batteries in the thingy you stand on were there, but dead as door nails.  So the tally of stolen batteries is now up to six.  Feeling like I have now waisted a massive and precious twenty minutes hunting batteries I got started and discovered that I have in fact gained 2.6 lbs since the last time I used this beast.  Oh joy.  By the time I was done taking my "tests" and updating from ages ago when we last drug this thing out of the corner, the Beans was aware I was doing something for me and promptly began screaming his adorable head off like he'd severed a limb.

If you count my mad dash back to his room, while envisioning the severe yet completely imagined trauma his shrieks implied, I probably burned a total of 27 calories.

Yeah, that is like licking a doughnut.  Gargling a Dr. Pepper, then spitting it out. It certainly has no impact on !@#$ing jean size, hotness, flat tummies, or imagined bikinis.

So here I sit feeling very frustrated and dejected and needing to vent.  Because I know when my husband comes home he will have some stupid-man-line ready like "oh you don't need to exercise" or "why don't you just get the Beans busy doing something and then work out if you really want to?"  Well gee wiz Einstein, why did I not think of that?!  Bleeding brilliant piece of goods, you are.

How do other mom's exercise?  Gym isn't in the budget and my eating options are actually quite healthy an balanced.  I just need something in my home, cheap, and fairly easy that I can do.  If it is an exercise with your kids thing I don't know how to keep a very active and wanting to run one year old in place very long.  He likes to run, but not long enough to make an impact on my waistline.

Any suggestions? Please?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

*sniff, sniff* can you smell that?


It is such a distinct smell.

*sniff, sniff*

It reminds me of something, but I can't quite put my finger on it ...

*deep inhale*

Ah, yes, that would be an upcoming baking fail on my part.

It hasn't happened, but you know I could never pull off something as beautiful as this:

And yet, I am going to try.  Pictures, rantings, and replacement cake options for the Meatball's 11th birthday to soon follow ...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

muffin bricks

Just tell me, is it possible, even remotely so, to make any corn bread mix (from a package) that does not resemble the consistency of bricks once done?

I want fluffy melt in your mouth cornbread, I get rocks.  Hockey pucks.  A dental accident waiting to happen.

Anyway, the Meatball seems to like them.  I guess I should be grateful I am raising him with such *ahem* amazing culinary standards.

Anyway, I made these corn dog muffins yesterday in the hopes that they would be a nice make now and stick them in the freezer for school lunches option.  Not sure yet about how they are post-freezing, but they were a hit in the pre-freeze taste test.  Real simple, figured I'd share.

But seriously, what I am doing wrong with cornbread?!

The general gist of it is this: follow the directions on your cornbread package (clearly, I fail at this).  Dice up a couple hot dogs of your choice (kosher, mysterymeat, fauxmeat, whatevs) drop it all into muffin cups and bake per the packaging.  See, I did say it was simple.

Now you have a corn dog.  Without the stick.  And its smaller, and not a full "dog" and ... well you get the idea.

Step One: Put some corn bread batter in bottom of cup

Step Two: Drop some diced dawgs on the batter

Step Three: Cover with more battery
Step Four: Cook per package instructions
(mine was 15 to 20 mins at 350F)
Not calling this a fail since the minion boy is eating them willingly without bribery ... that's my story and I am sticking to it!

Monday, August 27, 2012

50 Shades of WTF?!

No, I have no read it.

No, I do not want to read it.

Yes, I am aware you think it is sooooo freaking hawt.

No, I still do not want to borrow your copy.

Now that we got that out of the way, what in the hell is all of womanhood on these days?  All my girlfriends are still furiously talking about this stupid book.  I had so hoped that it would die down and be gone by now. Alas, its not.  Why?  How does this piece of crap have any staying power at all?

As the opening line so clearly stated, no I haven't read it.  Wanna know why?  Well, regardless of you answer I will tell you.  Bring in the list!  This one is a shorty because I really can't bring myself to need any more reasons.

1. You say "entertaining" I say "abusive relationship muthah truckers!"  I was able to shelf my inner feminist-logical-being who houses all of my girly self esteem and respect long enough to read the Twilight books and I am ashamed to say that I even enjoyed parts of them.  But all the wishy washy avoidance of the real issues at hand that Twilight had these books apparently lack.  Rather,  these books beat the shit out of you with emotional manipulation, abuse and horrible writing all throat punch ninja style.  He's an asshole, she is an idiot, and you are turned on by that?

2. The sex is soooo hot!  Maybe it is.  Maybe its not.  I haven't read it.  I don't know that its worth it from the reviews I have heard.  This one, is by far the most humorous of them all. And yes, there is one for the each of the three books, highly recommend you read them all.  The reviews I linked, that is.  Not the actual books.  Beyond that, I just can't get turned on by the utterly fictitious bullshit that I do know the book contains, nor do I find the asshole/idiot ratio of the main characters anything better than off-putting.

3.  The tampon scene.  Seriously, do I need to say anything more?

4.  The author's name is E L James.  No periods.  Oh I remember when I went through this adorable phase where I used all lower case letters because I was exploring my individuality and being daring and artistic.  I was also sixteen and stupid.

5.  I'm too OCD for this crap.  The math with her pregnancy is all wrong.  A guy wanting to "educate" and "train" someone but being dumb enough to use soapy washcloths on her girly bits (without a UTI resulting, am I the only one in scientific doubt here?) and thinking that because she is OTR she can't get knocked up.  Oh, and no one can be as wildly insecure and controlling as the main character and not have a penis the size of a well-hung-hummingbird's ... I like truth to my fiction.  I like authors who connect the minuscule dots and make sure the loose obsstrings come together into a clean package.  I want it to add up and make sense.  I want it to sound good, read nice, and be enjoyable.  This book, none of the three, has any of that.

List done.

Oh, but the sex scenes!  Gasp! *fans herself*

Well ladefrikenda, people.  Are you really that sex starved?  Nothing wrong with a little fun, a little passion, and even the dirty spanking kind in my opinion.  But seriously, this?  I am sorry, when the heroine of my books is debating if she needs to wash the butt plug or not, I am gonna check out right quick.

Now, I will freely admit that a good part of the disdain I harbor for this book comes from having been a survivor of abuse. I find stories dealing with rape, control, emotional manipulation and battery to be more triggering than anything and insanely un-enjoyable. So with this said, I was put off by the general vague sketch of the plot line immediately, long before I heard whispers of poor writing quality/continuity, unwashed butt plugs or tampon removals mid-love scene. I am not only baffled and out off by my friends' passionate response to a book like this, but a but alarmed. There is nothing wrong with two consenting adults utilizing bondage and domination if that's their thing. Go ahead, establish your safe word and party on with the whipping and hair pulling until you're both too sore to walk.
Even Gaston can call it what it is!

But to sexualize a relationship that is constricting ... controlling ... downright abusive? That's, well, dangerous. I get that the author was hardly making a social statement or a PSA, but why do women respond so hotly to it?

I suppose it is a case of "to each his own" and my very unforgiving inner Italian bitch coming out to rant a bit. I just can't move past the bad long enough to be open to the good.  Especially when the good doesn't sound that good to begin with.

Friday, August 24, 2012

what the teacher REALLY wants you to know?

Every year around this time I always see articles about back to school, many of them advising parents what their child's teacher really wants them to know.  Many of them hit the nail on the head, but never with nearly enough honesty.

Well, I am nothing if I am not honest.

I feel that these lists often come across as very us-against-them, and I hate that because it shouldn't be that way ever. The point should always return to the fact that parents, students and the teacher are a team, so take this all in the spirit of maintaining the health and equitable respect on that team.

The Twelve Things Your Child's Teacher Really Wants You To Know:

1. You are an expert on your child, but I know my stuff too.  You are one amazingly valuable resource to me!  You know your kiddo better than I do, you can help me make them successful.  But please know that in the hours I have your child I ask things of them you don't, and I get very different results.  Please do not presume that I know nothing about your child and that your little darling is unlike any kid I have ever had the pleasure of working with before.  They may be different, but I do know what I am doing.  Please hear me out and know we are a team, I am not out to get you or your kiddo.
I don't claim to be perfect,
but I do work perfectly hard.  

2. I always need supplies.  Depending on the school, the district, the weather, etc. I may well be responsible for all the "stuff" we use in class.  Consumables for an average of 30 kids on my salary -- oh don't worry, we will get there, check out # 3 -- it isn't a pretty situation.  Older grade teachers often have one hundred or more students.  Regardless of the grade or subject matter I teach, chances are I always need the following: handsanitizer, Kleenex boxes, copy paper.  From there, if I am an elementary teacher I will probably faint if you bring me glue and other art supplies.  Older grades will have more specific needs based on subject matter.  Oh and pencils, I always need pencils.  But seriously, just ask.  I will be grateful beyond belief if you are able to support our classroom this way, though I won't expect it of you!

3. My salary shouldn't be a debate point.  Sigh.  I have heard it all.  According to some I am drastically underpaid.  According to others I am a pampered premadonna with three months vacation and a superiority complex.  The reality?  I know there are some teachers who spend their summers off relaxing ... I just haven't met very many. Most teachers I know spend their "summers off" doing professional development, for example taking classes, developing and trying out new projects, or working on lesson plans.  Good teachers believe they are perpetual students, and they want to keep innovation alive in their classrooms.  We are constantly evolving, constantly getting additional training, certifications, and degrees.  But our salaries do not always reflect this growth.  If your job required you to constantly return to school for additional degrees (they now recommend to bachelors students that they immediately begin work on their masters) and additional certifications while also requiring you to pay for a huge amount of supplies out of your own pocket, how would you feel about it?

4. So you watched Waiting For Superman, read an article, looked into No Child Left Behind or some other bit of legislation and want to debate the state of education or suggest ways for me to do my job better?  Um, with all due respect I would love suggestions if you think they are helpful.  But please, pretty please with a cherry and sprinkles on top with hot fudge, please understand that the "problems" in the education industry are complex.  I cannot fix them all, nor can you.  I want you to try.  I love that you are passionate, but please know that it is likely that I am forbidden by my school or district to discuss these matters with you, nor do I really want to.  Its not that I think you know nothing, just that I think you may be working from a limited frame of reference and you may insult the snot out of me.  Please look into parent groups advocating for your schools if you want to help.

5. I love love love parents who talk with their kids about school!  I want you to ask your child what they are learning, I want you to check that I am doing my job.  I have nothing to hide, and I would much rather parents that speak with their children than the alternative. For some parents this comes natural while their child is in elementary school, they check over homework and impose routines at home with school work and extra reading.  I want to weep with joy for this!  But many parents don't, and even the really diligent ones often lessen this a bit when middle school and high school roll around.  Even if you aren't checking the homework, which I do not expect you to, ask your child what is going on, what they learned today, what they find challenging in class, and so on.  Get that dialog going, it will be invaluable to all of us!

6.  Stuff going on at home?  Let me know please!  Your child's behavior does not exist in a vacuum.  Stresses at home?  Chances are I will see some of this vent out at school.  I am not asking for gossip or your dirty laundry, I will always respect your privacy.  But when I see your child suddenly behaving differently with their peers, their work quality alter, or attitude change I will begin investigating why.  The whole point is to maintain their well being and success, so if you could fire off an email that just says "Hey, we have some stuff going on at home, but all is well.  Just wanted to let you know." It will help me to understand the complexities of your child's emotions, and equip me to better support them.

7. Question your kiddo before you contact me.  I am not a militant tyrant in my classroom.  I may have bad days, I may get grumpy, but I am not evil.  If your child comes home bemoaning how I "punished" them for "no reason at all!" really ask yourself if that makes sense.  Consequences issued in a classroom generally create more work for me, would I really do that without good reason?  You know your child, question them.  Chances are I had a reason.  If you can't find the reason please feel free to check with me so that I may explain what happened, but know that asking for "my side" imposes a situation where it is me versus your child.  I do not like that dynamic, because it is never me against my students.  It is me for them.  It is you and I working to help them.  Always.

8. I will never ask your child to do anything I think they will fail at.  Ever.  Period.  I have high standards for your child, I know you do too.  I also spend a lot of my time assessing and evaluating your kiddo so that I know where they are now and can set reasonable, yet high, goals for them.  Failure is a part of learning, we learn a great deal from our mistakes, but I will never set your child up for failure.

9. I appreciate your generosity, but really I don't need another Christmas tree ornament.  I have more stuff that says #1 Teacher on it than I know what to do with, and I could decorate a whole tree of ornaments from students.  All those spiffy things you're pinning away planning to make me?  I will love them, be grateful for them, and then probably store them or have no chose but to toss them when I run out of room.  I would love a genuine thank you note from you or your child.  I will use a gift certificate, and I will treasure a personalized gift that I can use.  I don't want you to break the bank, nor do I want a cheap after thought of a present.  Giving me nothing is better than either of those options honestly because both are a hardship on you, and I don't want that.

10.  If your child is struggling, please let me know.  Homework should never be "new."  New stuff is for class, homework should be review and practice.  If your child is struggling with it or spending hours upon hours on it because they don't understand it, please tell me.  I assign projects that require them to show me what they know but also to teach about time management.  I assign homework to keep their minds exercised.  If your child is falling apart stressed out I need to know that, because I need to do something to help them.

11.  I respect all that you do, I am sorry if I don't always say so.  Parenting is a hard and thankless job.  I know, even before I was a parent it was obvious enough.  Becoming a parent made me understand just how much.  Please know that I do respect all you do, I know your life is complicated and involved.  When I contact you or ask for your help with something with your child know that I am not minimizing anything else you have on your plate.

12. I truly do care about your child.  Even if your child is a thorn in my side.  Even if your child is a disrespectful mouthy little bit of goods -- I love them, respect them, and want what is best for them.  I will work tirelessly for your child, and do far more than you know toward this goal.

The reality is that just as bad teacher unfortunately get all teachers painted with a bad brush, the same can be said for parents.  The parents I would want to read this list, won't.  The parents who will, well they don't always need too.  If we could all keep our top priority in mind -- the success of your child -- we will be fine. Because if we all have the same goal and are on the same team, what could possibly go wrong?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


So the husband and I have been trying to stash away enough cash to make it to a friend's wedding.  In our efforts to cut corners where we could so as to not create debit with this trip we were thinking about friends we could ask to just stay here that weekend to watch our dogs rather than need to send them to the place we love for dog sitting.  Surely we could find someone who'd want to just chill with our air conditioning, Wii, and dogs for a weekend.  And beer, we will buy you a 30 pack.

We narrowed it down to two good buddies, then one of them got back with his girlfriend ... and so that guy (nice as he is) dropped off my list.  When the husband asked why he was no longer on my list I replied that anyone who is in the Make-Up-Sex-Stage is not welcome in my home unsupervised.

I think I might need to Clorox the house just thinking about it.

This led to a train of thought in my husband that was decidedly male.  We need sex stages in our life.

Huh? I asked.

We don't argue, so we need something else.  We need replacements for Make Up Sex.

While this made me laugh, it did make me think.  I do not think that I am alone in my female perspective and approach towards nookie at the moment.  Its not that it is "bad," on the contrary its quite fabulous.  Its just that sleep is sooo good too.  I am not in love with my postpartum, aging body, so anything that requires disrobing is less than appealing.  I am worn out on the best of days.  My sleep is interrupted constantly, and no matter how much or little of it I get I still have to be up and going every morning.  The house cheerleader, the lone voice of reason and semi-cheer in a house of non-morning people.  So every second of precious sleep is valuable to me.  Its the only time no one is asking anything of me, pulling on me, crying to me, snotting/pooping/peeing on me ... you get the picture.  And I only get that breather for as long as the Beans sleeps.  Neither of my kiddos are sleep through the nighters.

So when faced with the option of mattress mambo or sleep ... yes, I admit that no matter how fabulously attractive I find my husband, no matter how gloriously toe curling he can make me feel ... there are times where the sleep is just a bit more appealing.

But the humorist and sarcastic twerp in me was intrigued at the idea of making up names for Make Up Sex replacements.  What does the responsible, monogamous, non-arguing couple have?  Here are some of my husband approved ideas.

"We are too broke for anything else" sex.
"It is Tuesday" sex
"Everything good on TV is already DVR'd" sex
"We had Mac N Cheese for dinner" sex
"He thinks stomaching through an episode from my The Tudors DVDs is four play" sex

His ideas were far simpler.

"Its day time" sex
"Why not?" sex

I think he got stuck there because in his mind the last one covered every possibility imaginable.

Coming up with funny names/reasons really isn't what I need -- a vacation and 20 fewer pounds is what I need.  Its reassuring to see that despite all my insecurities my husband apparently needs not reason, just enough oxygen.

So, am I the only one in this boat of seeing sleep as sometimes slightly more valuable overall?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

slow down, butt head!

Bam! Gochya!
I admit, I drive a bit like my gas pedal is made of lead.  My husband shakes his head in both frustration and amazement at the speed with which I need new brakes.  I joke that my little Corolla can do anything, it could out four-wheel any truck, I am sure I could blow the stickers off of a race car if given the chance, and I know for a fact that a time or two I have made that bad boy fly.

I am not a maniac, I just like speed.  I am actually working on this, trying to pay more attention to it just in general, but speeding comes quite naturally to me.

I think this is why I am not allowed anything with an actual engine or horsepower.

As a result, when I am driving and I look up to see an esteemed police officer aiming one of those magical little radar guns at me I utter a string of curses.  It is not a sight I typically welcome.

But this morning, while being radar-ed I rolled down my window and yelled back a very genuine "thank you!" to the officer astride his motorcycle.

Why, you ask?  What on earth was I thinking, you wonder?

It is simple, you see, I was in a school zone.

The office laughed and yelled back "you are welcome!" and I noticed he was busy filling out a ticket when I passed on my way back by him once I had dropped Meatball off at school.  Fabulous.

You may be thinking I am a hypocrite, and frankly, I see your point.  But I will blaze on here in all my hypocritical and self righteous glory, so deal with it.

Not the gentleman from my school zone,
but the set up is similar.
If you are going like 10 or 15 over the speed limit on the freeway I may think you are going a tad slow for my taste and pass you.  If you are pulling that on a regular city street I will be probably keeping up with you.

Side streets lined with houses?  Anywhere near a school or park?  You, my friend, are an asshole.

As a teacher I had to do crosswalk duty occasionally, and let me assure you that job sucks worse than a vinyl bra on a hot day.  People would speed through that area with adorable little kindergartners trying to balance on their training wheels.  I had the stop sign ignored on more than one occasion while someone drove right through in front of the crossing children.  And when the pick up lane gets backed up and some jackhole has to pull IN TO the cross walk, blocking it, because they don't want to lose their spot?  Because surly they will die if they have to be two more people back in line! Yeah I want to implant the stop sign I am holding into the hood of their car as a gentle reminder that being a douchecanoe is not appreciated.

Horrible, but to the point. Lets keep it fictional.  
I don't know what anyone is thinking speeding through a place where children are known to be crossing.  I mean, they are kids.  Have you met one?  They are the least predictable little monstrosities on the planet.  Beings with absolutely no sense of logic or safety.  A short list of crap more reasonable, logical, and predictable than children walking on a sidewalk to illustrate my point:

  • Pigeons that play Chicken with my windshield while I am driving
  • RuPaul's wardrobe
  • My uterus
  • A mosquito's flight pattern
  • Politics

Driving at a speed that will not facilitate immediate and sudden response is like asking for tragedy to strike.  But in this case, you'd be doing the striking.  Its too horrible to think about.

So in short, don't be a self absorbed dingleberry.  If you are late for work, the extra 20 seconds you tack on by actually going 15 MPH and not passing people will not make you suddenly "not late."  If you are just impatient think of how much longer you will have to wait if you get ticketed ... or worse.  I mean, it seems simple, don't be an ass hole.  Slow down and we can all be happy.

So thanks again to the police officer dutifully making sure it was an asshole free zone near my kiddo's school this morning.  Thanks, more generally for all you do to keep us safe.  And hopefully you will remember how nice I am if you ever aim that evil contraption at me while I am anywhere other than a school zone.  

Friday, August 17, 2012

it is called perspective

This morning I woke up after a rough night with the baby, tired and worn out.  I got up and was doing my usual morning jobs of getting things ready when I realized what time it was and that my husband wasn't up yet.  I went in to wake him.  Twice.  He groaned some whiny thing at me each time, he is sick and has been soldiering through for the past few days and I guess today was his day to have a pity party and drag himself out of bed with amazing slowness while I muttered angrily about his man cold.

Unfortunately, his pity party came without any prior warning, so I had to throw on some sunglasses to cover the make-up-free face I was sporting, dress the Beans, load up the car and get the Meatball to school.  Of course only when I got in the car did I remember that yesterday I bought a smoothie at a drive through and the lid wasn't on properly, so it coated most of my front seat and gear shift in fruity yogurty sugary nasties.  I had wiped it up yesterday, but clearly my seats and floor mats need cleaned.  So when I got in he car to that lovely smell which had all night in a hot garage to ferment ... oh lovely.

And my gear shift sticks.

Got Meatball to school with no major incident.  But, on the way home, the Beans exploded.  How can a body so small hold so much vomit and launch it with the force of 20 grenades?  So the front seat is day old smoothie, the back seat is carrot baby vomit.  I suppose it is what I get for uttering the phrase "nothing could smell worse than this!" when I first got  in the car.  Touche, karma.

Long story made longer, I was feeling a bit sorry for myself this morning.  A bit unappreciated, a bit screwed.  A lot worn out.

After wiping up the kiddo and the car, I sat down to snuggle with the Beans, who by the way is feeling fabulous now that he'd emptied the full contents of his stomach, and was looking through my blog roll.  I haven't read much in quite a few days so I had some catching up to do.

One of the people I read often is the esteemable and flat out awesome Mary Tyler Mom.  I haven't been to her site in ages, and I thought to myself "this is just what I need."

Well, I got that right.

After reading about their heartbreaking initial steps of their current adoption journey I was reminded that this family has already been through hell, their daughter Donna's story is linked at the top of her blog.   For September last year Mary Tyler Mom documented each of Donna's 31 months of cancer treatment.  I had actually never read it. So I did.

Tears streaming, I wiped my face and snuggled that much harder with the beautiful boy who coated my car in carrot puke this morning.  The grace and grit of the little girl in this story was more inspiring than anything else in this world, and in a close second is her amazing mother's grace and persistence in the telling.  I can do it no justice, you would have to read the story yourself, if you are able.

It is so easy to get caught up in the moments of life, especially the bad ones.  To feel that some cosmic being is having fun at our expense, and to whine about how when it rains it pours.  I often joke that if it wasn't for bad luck I'd have none at all ... but good lord, I couldn't be more wrong.

When the Beans was born he was grey in some places, purple in others.  He eventually developed a massive case of jaundice and when we finally brought him home he had weird vomiting episodes and breathing issues.  My darling little baby was only two and a half weeks old the first time he stopped breathing.  I cannot tell you how many times it happened after that, its not a tally I wanted to keep.  His skin also turned completely raw in most places, he spent the first 8 months of his life with his hands bandaged so that he wouldn't cause himself more harm than his body already was.  He tore out chunks of his hair if I wasn't fast enough in those moments where we let his little hands air out.  Eventually he was diagnosed with a variety of things that contributed to the fun we'd been having -- GERD, MPI, chronic eczema (made worse by the MPI), and tracheomalacia.  With diagnosis came ways to treat, it was a long and arduous road.  But now at nearly 16 months old he is doing freaking awesome.  We never needed surgery, he is off most of the medicine, and his trachea is righting itself with time, much faster than we had dared to hope.  A great many of my stories here involve tales of the Beans being an exhausting ball of adorable energy, and he is.

But what could have been?

When you really stop and think about it, there is always someone who has it "worse" than you.  This is because "worse" is a matter of perspective and what is hell on earth to one person is a manageable sentence to another.  If the worst thing that happens to me today is that my car is coated in nasty smelling goo that I need to scrub out ... well, shit, I have had worse days.  And right now, someone, somewhere, is having a much much worse day than me.

We do not, in our darkest moments, tend to have time for pity parties because we are too busy surviving.

So I am now very grateful for my pity party earlier.  I was upset at my husband for being him, he's always like this when he is sick but fortunately that isn't often.  I was frustrated at my kids for ... well, being kids.  I was frustrated at myself and my situation for a million various, and all of them stupid and beyond my control things.  I am grateful that I could be so dumb, so selfish.  Because if things were really bad I wouldn't have the time for that crap.

It's called perspective ... and now I have it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

bumping into stupidity

You know how sometimes you meet people that are really horrible in some way (rude, stupid, tacky, smell funny, watchers of reality TV) and you worry that it might rub off on you?  Like asshattery might be contageous, like a cold?

I had to deal with an especially annoyng brand of stupid the other day and it really bugged me.  So I am unloading on you.

My sister has something called Angelman Syndrome.  She is awesome all things considered and, like all little sister's, a pain my my rear a good part of the time.  We are only 13 months apart in age, so while we are miles apart developmentally we "grew up" together.  Yesterday was Dr. Harry Angelman's (the man whom the condition is named for) birthday and a friend of mine posted the spiffy graphic that I am including here.  You might have heard of Angelman Syndrome, despite its rarity, recently because Collin Farrell's son has it and he has been doing an amazing job of spreading awareness and stories about his adorable little boy.  As if Collin needed to do anything to be more awesome and attractive.

Here's a clip on Ellen of him where he discusses James, some of the effects of the Syndrome, and mentions the clinical trials that our community is SO excited about:

Anyway, my sister is in her late twenties, an adult, but she looks physically to be a bout twelve.  She is able to walk, completely unable to speak as you and I do, and loves Woody from Toy Story.  She carries a doll everywhere with her and is absolutely convinced he is real and alive.

I took her and my offspring to Babies R Us the other day because they have those little kid couches that can unfold into a "nap bed" and Beans has a Mickey one.  My sister saw it and fell in love with it so I promised her if she was good I'd get her a Toy Story one.

like this, but with a different picture obviously
She was good, so we packed up the car and headed off to the store.

To give you a visual I want you to picture one adult woman (that is me) trying to wrangle a baby who can escape from grocery carts, one easily distractable ten year old talking non stop, and my sister.  My sister who is carrying her Woody doll and rocking a Strawberry Shortcake backpack.  She also feels she has to push the cart (it is an OCD thing) but can't steer worth youknowwhat, so we are weaving all over the place and one big, loud, walking PSA for birth control.

Early on in our walk to the farthest corner of the store a couple cut me off.  When I told this story to my husband it was with a very unpleasant and not very nice description of the couple.  The description involved words like "Dungeons and Dragons" and "man boobs" ... but I will attempt to be a nonjudgmental biotch here.

Annoyed with the couple, who appeared to be about 8 months pregnant, I just let it go knowing that they were in their own little happy world.

Several minutes later, when we finally walked the 17 miles to the back of the store and got to where the couches where, my little sister, who I was ready to strangle by that point because she had hit nearly every aisle display on the way there and was being a little snot, let out and audible gasp and ran to a Toy Story one.  She was so excited and happy and it was precious enough to make me decide to not kill her after all.  So I asked her if she wanted me to buy it for her, she starts nodding and blowing kisses to the couch while trying to pick it up.

I walk over to help her and I see the annoying couple coming down the aisle.  I move the cart out of their way while I put the little couch thing in it and my sister is now trying to hug it.  Then she decides, in that amazing kid-logic she still possesses, that if I will get her one, why not all of them?  Its not like they are $40 a pop or too big to have more than one, right?  So she goes to grab another one.  We have a small exchange that lasts a few minutes where I tell her I can only get her one, and she needs to be a big girl and push the cart.  Apparently my nice words worked and she started to head back to the cart.  It was then I noticed the couple staring at her.

Now I get that people are bound to stare at an adult woman who is not speaking and wearing a Strawberry Shortcake backpack while hugging a Woody couch.  I get it, really.

But when the woman gasped and protectively covered her pregnant belly with her hands and stared at my sister with disgust when she walked by ... ah, well that I have no phucking patience for.

I leaned in as I passed her made eye contact and said in a cold yet calm voice,

Don't worry, it's not contagious.

Her face went white, then red.  As I was guiding my little odd entourage away I heard her sputtering "I didn't mean ... I wasn't ..." So I called over my shoulder that staring was rude, and walked on.

I have felt, since I was old enough to get it, that I should educate people.   When I was 5 my sister had a seizure at a Taco Bell that warranted an ambulance call.  While my mom was busy handling that I walked up to a pair of old women who were gawking at the scene before them and asked them to not upset my sister by staring at her, she could see them after all I said.  I was eight and giving speeches about inclusion in school.  As a sophomore in high school I wrote a letter to my district office asking where the hell the area of refuge in the event of a fire was on the second story for our students and one teacher who were wheelchair bound.  They identified one within a month of my writing it.

I can handle accidental yet rude curiosity, I can handle people throwing the word "retarded" around like it is some kind of funny insult, I can handle educating those that want to be educated.  But if you are an ignorant ass that is rude to my sister, god help you cuz no one else is gonna get in my way.

Monday, August 13, 2012

the 2012 Olympics

It was with mixed emotions I watched the Closing Ceremonies last night. I was constantly torn between conflicting feelings.  Happy that I will not have to avoid all media during the day for fear of prime time results being revealed.  Proud to see how phenomenally our athletes did at representing us, their families, and their years of dedication.  Concern because we are about to resume the nightly battles regarding what we were going to watch on the boob tube tonight.

It was an awesome spectacle, and having been to London once before it was also massively cool, and apparently a bit annoying to the husband, to excitedly call out "ooo I've been there!" with every awesome pan of the city's main sights. But alas, it is over. And now it is time to reflect because I want to drag it out and I just love lists!

Things I learned while watching the 2012 Summer Olympics

1.) They probably spent an English butt-ton (current £ to $ exchange rates can be found here, but not measured by the remarkably accurate "butt ton" scale) but the font they chose for everything looked a bit like artfully placed duct tape.

Seriously, I could have saved the London Olympic Commitee a whole lot of pence. Just get some duct tape and slap it on there man!

 2.) Oscar Pistorius is an absolutely inspiring bad ass.

The only person who may come close to his awesauceness was his mother.  I seriously choked up and smiled every time mentioned how his mom would tell his older brother to put on his shoes, then tell him to put on his legs.

There was no shortage in these Games, or any Olympic Games ever, of people who are awe inspiring to all of us.  Michael Phelps made incredible history and is still a goofy adorable kiddo to me; the Fab Five; Missy Franklin; Jess Ennis; Mo Farah; the women's track and field relay teams; all the world and Olympic record breakers; the men's 4 x 100 relay team who went silver but were soooo close to Usain Bolt and the Jamaicans that I was deeply impressed; the list could go on and on.  But I think a man who can out-run the majority of us who have legs while having the incredible attitude he has ... just awesome.  Bonus, he's cute too!

3.) BMX racing is some scary shit. I do not want my kids doing that. Holy crap I had like 16 heart attacks every turn!!!

4.) Usain Bolt.  There was a lot of smack talk coming into these Olympics about him being out of shape and incapable of doing well because he didn't *beep, beep* fly like the Roadrunner at the trials, but dude put those naysayers to shame!  I think there is a difference between a cocky arrogant ass and a confident one.  I love Bolt, I think he is incredible to watch, fun to listen to and a real athlete in not only the physical talent sense but also in the sportsman sense that would shame a badminton player.  Did you know he stopped an interview with a Spanish reporter because the US National Anthem was playing honoring Sanya Richards-Ross's accomplishment in the 400m?  Seriously, I love the guy.

Plus, he's got flair.  I respect flair.  Did you know he only ran in these Olympics for about 40 seconds?  All together, under a minute of running and he earned three gold medals.  

5.) I've never been a fan of it before, but this year I watched both the synchronized and individual diving because NBS chose to air a whole lot of it.  I realized that diving is quite beautiful.

Then again, maybe not.  In real time.  In real time, diving is beautiful, in slow motion or stills it is a lot like running and all those pretty faces (seriously, is it a prerequisite to be adorable or hot?!) look pretty bad.

6.) Silver medals, and being the second neatest in the whole wide world, sucks.

McKayla Maroney's face made me, and the rest of America/the world apparently, giggle.  The responding meme made me laugh, I wasted a good fifteen minutes on tumblr looking at the pictures, though admittedly nothing made me laugh as hard as I did when I saw teammate Aly Raisman's adorable parents acting out every second of her routines.

I can't decide if it would be fun or annoying to sit near them.

Okay, looks like both.

Even McKayla could poke fun at her pout caught-for-all-time when she tweeted her instagram reaction to the hotel pool being closed.


7.) Ralph Lauren, for all his success and admitted brilliance with clothing design, is an idiot.  Who in the actual frack told him that a big giant Polo logo over the heart of every American athlete was a good idea?  Who was all "Oh yeah, Ralphie, baby, lets totally make the polo player logo of yours really big and on the left breast, then we can just slap an itty bitty American flag on the right side."  Great plan, cuz you know what I think of when I see anything polo related?  America, of course!  I mean come on, isn't it a totally American sport?  We invented that stuff!

Oh, wait, maybe that isn't polo ... I guess I think more of British peeps when I think polo ... I know it wasn't a cultural statement in the sense I am using it here and is just his company logo.  But lets be frank, even if his logo was a baseball player eating apple pie and watching reality TV and embodied something that at-a-glace said "American" it would have still been tacky for it to out-size the USA logo.

I am not even touching the whole made in China stupidity that proves Mr. Lauren really had his head in his tea pot while at the drawing board.

But lets look critically at the outfits in a more general sense.  The Managing Director of the US Olympic Committee said "the Closing Ceremony garments embody our national sentiments of what it is to be an American."  Um, okay.

Closing Ceremony clothes on the far right

Yeah ... that looks kinda like something else ...

Andy Goram --
Scottish Cricket player

Alan Fairfax --
Cricketer from Australia
US closing ceremonies

So we have a big assed polo player -- an English sport -- on our ensembles that look best suited for a cricket match -- that other decidedly Englishy sport -- well at least we are distinctive in our colors.  The good ol' red, white and blue are ... dude, wait a sec ...



Yeah, no wonder I couldn't figure out who was who. 

8.) Badmitton players think they are gangsteh ... but happen to be shitty liars and pathetic actors.  Not to mention really bad sports.

Hint, when the judge at the game is pleading with you to "try your best" you are not only a cheating piece of crap who happened to make it to the Olympics, but you also have no future in acting.

9.) Commercial success: All those world record breaking ones AT&T  has done in their New Possible campaign where the kid changes their goal in light of a new world record being set.  Awesome.  Example:

Visa did, as usual in my opinion, a pretty bang up job too.  The P&G mom ones have been choking me up for months.  And the Nike commercials about "greatness" were awesome!

But there is a yin to the yang. BMW airing a commercial every fifteen seconds with AWOLNation's Sail -- a song with an amazingly limited amount of lyrics in the chorus but can some how still get stuck in your head! -- telling me that they don't make cars for people who want to "look a certain way" or "be seen a certain way" ... as evidenced by all the professionally dressed, young, attractive, white people in the commercial.

Yeah, clearly BMW does not have a "type" and people who drive them are individuals, edgy as all get out in their upper-class-yuppy-trying-to-be-a-bad-ass glory.

9.) Opening and Closing Ceremonies were so completely different from each other.  I love love loved the Opening, but I am a history geek and UK history was one of my primary areas of study for my bachelors in history.  Closing had the Spice Girls, and I must admit I was beyond excited for that.

Meatball says there is no way these women are "old."
Too hot to be moms.
I haven't seen The Who yet because I was so bloody tired by the time it was finally supposed to air that I recorded it and will watch it today.  The giant John Lennon face was cool, but they only showed it from the top about a nano second before the pieces came apart again.

Now I can see it, but then I was all "Whats with the cloud?
Are those Olympic rings on top?"
And the tight rope walker recreating the Pink Floyd album?  Yeah I still don't know what the hell he was walking between because they never panned out.  I assume it was high up though.  

This crappy camera angles and odd video stuff brings me to my final point ...

10.) NBC could air nearly every single diving semi final (there are six rounds!) and a wholota synchronized swimming but would edit the sand right out of beach volleyball matches. Really, they won the last set, but trust us it wasn't any fun to actually watch Keri and Missy make freaking history. You don't need to watch that.  Oh, and medal ceremonies?  Pssh, its not like the song is any different!  We will just show you one of those even though the US received several today.  Its not like we have editors who could do a cool mash up of all of them with one song.  Hey, while we were away on commercial break, the US scored a bunch of points in the game ... WTF, not like anything was actually live!

I was sick of the Twitter plugs.  Confused why on earth it was all taped yet still had dubbing errors, sick of them ruining the prime time outcome for me with stupid flubs.  Ooops!

I will say that Mary Carillo has like the coolest job ever though.  Well, her and this chick.

I have never complained about the coverage of the Olympics before because I have genuinely never had a problem with it.  But this time ... well McKayla says it best.

So not impressed.

Overall, I am both sad and happy it is over.  It had its really bright moments, and I am looking forward to Rio, but I am also a bit relieved to have it be done.

Sorta like this uber long blog post.  Sheesh, no wonder I never do this kind of stuff!