Monday, November 21, 2011

Are you kidding me?

This doesn't seem like a big deal to most of you. I however have been boycotting the news for years, I only read specific news articles that I go seek based on what I hear from the rest of the world is going on. For example, if everyone in the neighborhood is talking about the bat infestation, I will go look up several articles from several sources on the bat infestation.

I startled myself this morning, just casually reading the news. It only took a moment to remember why I don't read the news anymore, however, I kept clicking on various headlines that captured my attention.

A parent is whining that their child was "grabbed" by the driver of his school bus and made to sit in the front row near the driver. A review of the video from the bus revealed that the student had been behaving uncontrollably and screaming in the back of the bus. At the next stop the driver called the student to the front of the bus and gently guided him to a seat near the driver.

You have not taught your child to respect authority, adults, their peers, rules, or just basic good behaviour in a moving vehicle, and you are going to be pissed when an adult that you have CHOSEN to have authority over your little brat handles it as they see fit.
If you don't like the way other people handle your stinking rude little brat, then you shouldn't put anyone else in charge of them... EVER. Of course for those of us who have dealt with the kiss and go lane at any school (or as Marie likes to call it, the stop, drop and roll lane), we know that if these parents drive their child to school, all those parents in the kiss and go lane will probably pay the price; it's clear the parents probably have no manners or courtesy or respect either. UGH

Also on the news page -- PETA has put up billboards of puppies trussed up like turkeys and asks "Kids: If you wouldn't eat your dog why eat a turkey?" -- well isn't that just a delightful expression of gratitude for the season, warms my heart that someone actually thinks my meat loving kids would eat crap that tastes bad because PETA is still a bunch of idiots.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

We made it to fall break...

All three kids were deposited at their various institutions of higher learning in August, trips to Walmart, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Costco and the grocery stores all completed with relative ease. Technically the oldest didn't come home this summer, so she was simply moved from an apartment to a townhouse in July.

Side Note: Bed Bath & Beyond has an awesome program for those who are going to a school far from home (ahem, and that is in a city large enough to have a BB&B) - you can shop at your local store, and then, just as if you were registering for a wedding, they will scan all your products, look up the store closest to your university/college, and send the list to them. You drive your darling, his/her clothes, books, etc. to the new town, empty the car into the dorm room, then rock on over to BB&B and pick up the rest of the stuff at the local store!

The precious darlings were all of course asserting their adulthood and independence, the part you know you should be proud and happy about but that cuts to the core because they don't think they need you anymore. Let me just reiterate they don't THINK they need you anymore.

It didn't take long for the oldest to have a reason to come home, a very short time later the youngest needed things shipped to her (we have shipped 4 boxes to her as of this writing!), and only a couple weeks into the school year the boy messed up his elbow again -- Ulner Nerve Subluxation if you are really interested in the nitty gritty details, go google it, and maybe include the term 'post Tommy John surgery'. The boy needed to come home for his previous elbow surgeon to fix his elbow, he was home about a week. The oldest got a pretty bad strep infection that also infected her partially erupted wisdom teeth and begged Mommy to come and care for her, then a visit to the ER, then she came home to have us care for her, then she came home again to get the teeth extracted. Somewhere in the mix of the two older kiddos having their medical crises, the youngest began to finally feel homesick, thankfully this past weekend her brother had a fall break and a teammate from Flagstaff took him down to visit his sister. Oh we also lost the cat for a few days, thankfully we found it. Actually hoping for them to be independent for the next few weeks so that things are uneventful until Thanksgiving!

So the question we keep hearing "How does it feel to have your next empty" -- we haven't noticed it too much yet.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Labor Day Weekend

Yesterday was my dad's 79th birthday. The occasion of his birthday generally falls near/during Labor Day weekend, which has made for some great celebrations on given years. I can't believe it's been 9 years, for his 70th birthday - we went on a "quick little day hike". We were planning on doing a hike we both knew well, subtle easy hike, not much elevation change, gentle groomed trail through the trees of Rocky Mountain National Park - when a friend told us he would like to join us, and his friend had told him about a different hike, sounded easy enough - 20 minutes up, 20 minutes back (we knew we wouldn't be quite that fast, the two of them were both 70 years old that year, and I can hike all day, always have, but I'm not fast, and I'm outta shape... So we started out on this trail, heading south, we headed south for a good ten minutes before we even began to climb at the first switchback in the trail. The grade was pretty easy still, and we hiked another good ten minutes before the next switchback... we knew we were planning on climbing to the top of this small mountain, and we should have realized twenty minutes in that we had not gained much in elevation and that this was in no way going to be "twenty minutes up, twenty minutes back" -- and that the information we gave to our families "We'll be back shortly after lunch" was now a bunch of BS. We didn't really think about it, we sipped on our extraordinarily small bottles of water and just chatted and talked on our way up the trail through the trees on the side of the mountain. With each switchback the trail became a bit steeper, and the distance between switchbacks shortened -- that is pretty standard for trails that traverse the sides of mountains. After about an hour we ran into some people, "hey how much further to the top?"; their reply "oh, not too much further, you're probably more than halfway there" -- they couldn't have been more incorrect. We hiked on a while longer, my dad was wheezing a bit with his asthma, not unusual though and I wasn't concerned, he was also mentioning that his new shoes were really bothering his left foot. We stopped at a stream (probably should have risked giardia and refilled our water bottles), and rested a few minutes for his foot and his asthma. We saw another group of hikers, "are we near the firewatch tower?"; and the reply "oh, it's wonderful, so worth the climb, it gets steeper now, but it's only a couple more switchbacks up" -- again, misinformed -- apparently descending this mountain plays with people's minds and they become delusional. We trudged on, a good couple of hours, maybe three hours into our one hour hike now. We were thinking, hmmm, they probably missed us at lunch, but we'll be back before dark, no worries - and besides, we've come this far, and we are almost there. That was probably about the time we ran across our first sign of cats in the area, a nice steaming pile of cat scat - oh and by cats, I don't mean the sweet adorable little cuddly ones that the old lady down the street has a dozen of... I mean Mountain Lions. And by steaming, I don't mean actually steaming, but I do mean still quite fresh, left there in the middle of the trail for us by a fellow forest dweller that probably was watching us right now. We are now clearly quite a ways up this mountain, and can see down to the bottom that we must be near the top, and it's becoming rockier, and the switchbacks are quite close together now, and we hike on, not mentioning the cats to my dad (who is both allergic and afraid of them), well look there, on that rock... that's a mountain lion, watching us... but he's not interested and we must be just around the corner from the top now. Another 4 or five switchbacks and a long stretch of trail, this has got to be the final stretch, and look there a cat leaving the trail and heading into the brush. How about we stop for a little rest and let him have plenty of space. Wow, good thing we are almost to the top, we are out of water. We have broken out of the trees now as well, so we've got to be close. Well that's a long enough rest, lets trudge on and make lots of noise to scare the cat off. It's nearing evening now by the way, probably why these cats are so active. Eventually, I would say at around 4:00 or 4:30 (2-3 hours into our twenty minute hike) we achieved our goal -- the firewatch tower! What an amazing view, we could see for miles in any direction, and beautiful up there overlooking the lakes and the park and the meadows. Well can't dawdle, we are out of water, have no asthma meds amongst us, even if we make it down the trail much faster than we made it up, we are racing daylight now... and of course there are those pesky cats that might get the munchies as it gets darker. Remember Dad's boots are hurting him, and we are descending now, well, even though physically going downhill is less demanding on out of shape/older folks, it is much more painful on sore feet. Dad can barely go a few hundred yards without stopping to give his aching foot a break -- damn those new hiking boots, he'll never wear them again. Still we moved along as quickly as we could, being particularly noisy anywhere that felt a little vulnerable to the cats. Now before you go jumping ahead thinking we had a bad encounter with the cats, we did not, that is not where this story is going. In fact, we are done with actual cat encounters at this point, although we don't know that for certain yet and we are a bit nervous about it. It's getting darker fast, it's late in the summer, and the sun is plummeting below the western horizon at breakneck speed. We turn a switchback to see a nice long trail stretched out in front of us and we are feeling pretty good about having covered a lot of the descent already, but it is getting pretty darn dusky - at least we don't feel as concerned about the cats down here. What is that, a guy running UP the trail, in the evening, what a dumb ass, who would start up in the near dark on this fucking long ass trail... oh it's my husband, come to check on us, very concerned because well, it's now well past "lunch time" and edging toward "dinner time", and in fact past dinner time for a lot of folks. It's about 7pm now. "Do you have any water?" we ask him, we've been without for hours now. "No", his answer. "Do you have a flashlight?", again he answers us with a 'no'. He agrees to stay with Dad and go at his pace, his foot is really bothering him now. They trade shoes in fact. Our friend and I now nearly jog out of the forest in an effort to get out before darkness completely takes over. We walk the last hundred yards or so in pitch black, sort of reading the trail by braille with our shuffling feet. As we exit the trailhead we are met by more friends, armed with lights and gun (in case of mountain lions or bears... amusing now of course). They head in to take light and more help to my husband and father. By nine thirty both the old guys are back on oxygen, have had some asthma meds, and we've all had plenty of water. In addition, we've had some beer and food - a great story in retrospect.

By the way, the fellow who recommended the "twenty up and twenty back" hike in the first place... that would be STRAIGHT up through the fire cut, a whole different kind of hiking than any of us were prepared for, that's actually mountain climbing to be more accurate, and haha, I've seen the firecut now... you'd have to be in pretty killer shape and practice to make that in twenty minutes, either direction!

After Dad returns to Denver, he sees his doctor for his foot that is still bothering him a great deal. Turns out, it's broken. He made that whole hike on foot with two broken bones in it. Yeah, he's actually that badass - and at 70 years old no less. At 79 years old he still works every day, a somewhat physical job, and he camps most weekends in the summer. He's even been known to throw a raft on a river or play a round of golf (at altitude). With severe lung damage from having breathed some toxic acids about 20 years ago and a lifetime of asthma, I would still rank him as pretty badass!

Next year both those guys will be 80, I told them I'm taking them back up there. Of course it probably won't happen, they both require oxygen quite a bit of the time now when they are at altitude (this town is just over 8,000 feet above sea level and the firewatch tower is at 10,000 feet. According to the trail advisor where I just looked up that bit of information -- it's a moderate hike, 4.8 miles, 1.5 easy, 3.3 moderate to hard uphill. Estimated 2.5 hours up and 1.5 hours down. (that's 4 hours, we took 7 hours). Also, according the advisor that I just looked up, the tower was built in 1932, the same year both of those guys were born. Maybe we will figure out how to drag them back up there next summer... high country all terrain wheel chairs maybe.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Counting Down...

My last baby is starting to have boxes of beloved things (and new, hopefully to be beloved things) and bags of things ready to take far away to Arizona. As these preparations progress she is getting more and more excited, and as happy as I am for her, and as delighted as her excitement makes me -- every time I am alone here in the front room of our home with these boxes of her books and laundry supplies and plastic cups, I feel a tremendous wave of melancholy pass over and through me. I remember when she was a baby, and I would hear her wake in her crib, and I would be disappointed that my quiet mom time had come to an end because she was awake and would require my constant attention and have me running all around taking care of her, but then I would walk into her room, and she'd be standing there (hopefully still in the crib, as she was quite the little escape artist) with her HUGE blue eyes and that dark black shock of hair giving me her best betty boop/spanky smile, lighting up the entire space with her joy and I would forget all of my silliness and just revel in the wonderful blessing that being with her was. I remember when I would pick her up from elementary school, and she (now with glowing blonde streaks in her long, thick hair would run toward me, anxious to share every happy, exciting moment of her day - those bright blue eyes sparkling with that glow that filled up all the space, even when out doors, she shined more brightly than even the Colorado sun. I remember when she finally took a trip away from home without her dad and I, and on her return, so much excitement about all that she had seen, so many stories to tell, that beautiful radiant glow filling the space again.

I feel like I can't bear the idea of not being in the presence of that radiance for such a long time. I don't know how I will get through my days with only her voice on the end of the phone or a grainy image on my computer screen if I can get her to skype with me for more than 5 minutes. I felt a tremendous sense of loss each time my other children moved away for college also, but there was always that comfort that my darling Spanky would be there at home, wrapping me up in her joy and excitement, sharing her stories, her woes and concerns, her gossip about friends, her unbelievable curiosity about the world and her absolute enchantment when she learned new things. Now they are all away, and I just imagine these empty bedrooms, and nowhere to go, nowhere to "have to be", no excitement because I decided to surprise them with a favorite meal for no reason, or bought something silly that reminds me of them and brought it home. No end of the day, best and worst stories. It's in some ways as if I am losing all three of them at once to have her going - I thought that an empty nest would be hard to bear. I knew that when people talked about it, they meant that it was really hard for a mom like me - I had no idea I would feel so utterly heartbroken and lonely. I love my husband, and there is a certain anticipation of lovely times of just the two of us - but honestly, I'm afraid that without my children I don't have much to offer to anyone... I don't know who I will be, my identity feels at risk, my happiness feels doomed, and I want my mommy to help hold me up.

I must make these moments of celebration, moments of gratitude for all that is wonderful and amazing about this huge milestone in all of lives. And I am so grateful that my children have these opportunities, that they are capable to taking advantage of them, and that I have completed that part of my job as a parent, to prepare them for this, and to let them have this. I may need a little reminding now and then that it is about celebration and gratitude -- so if your reading this, and you are experiencing anything similar -- here is your reminder to be filled with gratitude and celebrate with gusto, now please remind me!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Packing for College and Remembering Baseball through the years!

I'm overly sentimental... not quite as bad as the people on Hoarders... but I do catch hell for saving stupid sentimental stuff all the time.

So my son has decided today is the day to go through his room and well... clean out his childhood. Part of the reason those things are even in there is because they knew I wouldn't let them throw away possible sentimental mementos when they were too young to understand the significance. Now he's going through old clothes, which shouldn't really be all that sentimental, and I'm sort of an idiot when it comes to things like your first baseball uniform or the first dress you wore in a school picture. Anyhow, a boys life is pretty much reflected in his t-shirts. For a good many years baseball uniforms are a t-shirt and baseball pants. Most years of any sport include a "camp t-shirt" or a "workout" t-shirt; just about every tournament includes a t-shirt; many championships include a t-shirt; then the team mom's often love the "we kicked ass this season, here are the tourneys we won, here are the names of the players"; add to that particular school events that include a t-shirt, like outdoor lab, or some school award; then as you travel and see cool places 'Cooperstown', 'San Diego Zoo', 'Capilano Bridge', or places you love and want the world to know you go there 'Grand Lake', 'Breckendridge', 'Steamboat Springs'. I knew it was going to be emotional just thinking about it, so I asked him just to make piles in his room - give to charity, throw out, and most recently because well frankly, the t-shirt is sentimental and in perfect condition, a small pile for a drawer of sleep shirts for his little cousins who sometimes stay over spontaneously.

A few minutes ago, in spite of the piles plan, he brought out a shirt, and now I know he's sentimental too. Oh sure he acted pretty casual and cavalier about the whole thing, but he wouldn't have said "I thought you might want to keep this since it was a weekend when Dad wasn't home and it was just you and I and it was my first world series and I hit a walk off homer." Then he walked away, turning just as he was going around the corner and asking "did that make you cry?"... of course I lied and said "no."

As I write this, he's also brought me his Cooperstown Jerseys and his best year in baseball Jersey.

I wish for everyone to have a 'Best year in baseball' AND a 'first walk-off homer' memory that lives with them forever!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Finally inspired...

...during my shower no less. Probably more information than you needed to know. I will absolutely deny it with every fiber of my being, and it's not actually enough to make me want all my children scattered hither and yon, but it will be nice to share the bathroom with only the DH.

There are 8 ALMOST empty bottles/tubes/cans in my shower at the present. One of them is mine, the other seven are... the children's. They are not there because they haven't been replaced with a new bottle/tube/can. They are there because no one in this damn house ever gets the last two servings of anything out from the bottom, be it toothpaste, shaving cream, ketchup, cheese, shampoo, dog food, what have you. There are also several bottles/tubes of products in my shower that I'm certain NO ONE uses, that have been going in and out of the shower each time it gets cleaned properly, (and shoved aside the other eight out of ten times). Also, there are any number of products in there that I would never allow to touch my skin; can't stand the odor of; or have been there so long that they are beginning to change color - I swear that nasty doesn't rinse off body wash used to be pearly white and now it's sorta beige. Probably I should just bite the bullet and throw it all out, but the last time I did that, I supposedly threw away shit that people actually use. Nevermind the fact that before I did it, I took it all out of the shower in a tub (to clean properly) and left the tub out of the shower for a couple of weeks and then discarded everything that no one put back in.

As I stood there surveying the empty containers, strange smelling nasties, four razors, four sploofies, and the anti-bacterial hand soap (not sure who is washing their hands in the shower), I realized that DH has two things in there that are "his" - shaving cream (which I share with him) and a razor (which I do not share). He uses whatever shampoo is in there, obviously a smorgasborg of choices, because he has practically no hair - and will wash with whatever body wash I put in there as long as it doesn't smell like a girl - easy enough, I don't like girly smelling stuff either. He, like his children, does have a problem using the rock bottom last two servings, but I can deal with that as long as the empties get thrown away, my towel isn't rumpled on the floor and my wash cloth from the day before isn't in the tub soaking wet because someone knocked it in and didn't wring it out and hang it back up.

At least I'm clean for the day.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Found this while reading "the news" this morning.

I don't know how to feel about this...

I completely agree with this statement: "There's absolutely nothing sexual about breast-feeding, "Berjuan Toys U.S. spokesman Dennis Lewis said. "It's good for mommies, it's good for babies, it's good for society."

But just because it's not sexual doesn't make it appropriate for little girls who don't even have breasts. I mean they don't actually give birth to their dolls either. On the other hand, I believe strongly that it is absolutely natural and as long as a mom exercises a bit of discretion, she should be allowed to breast feed her baby anywhere that she chooses (by discretion I mean some sort of little cover to ease the embarrassment of anyone who might happen to be nearby). I feel like a bit of a hypocrite thinking that it is wrong for a bunch of little girls to be breastfeeding their dollies, but not their having dollies in the first place.

And it's not like some of this doesn't just happen naturally anyhow -- I'm certain that little girls, particularly those who have mommies who are nursing a sibling, have probably "nursed" their dolls for ages. I happen to know from my own personal experience that sometimes little girls alter their dolls to be more anatomically correct -- my sister drew pubic hair onto her Barbies, which I inherited from her and had to explain to my friends! (ps. she used a blue pen - Barbie was pretty punk in the 60's & 70's - ahead of her time for sure!). And strangely, I don't really have an issue with "anatomically correct" dolls, nor do I think it makes your doll play experience less satisfying to have "traditional" dolls with no apparent gender. I suppose what bothers me most is the idea of foisting the idea of nursing upon little girls. While I am a huge advocate of nursing, believe it to be natural and wonderful and healthy, I do NOT believe it is right for every mom/baby. Well I'm just babbling here, would love to hear what others think.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Memories... and then some

Browsing around a bit this morning on blogs that include the words "baseball mom" - the theme of the day seems to be "do I enjoy giving up my whole summer to baseball".

I can't speak for everyone, and there were a couple of years of dance/softball/baseball/swimming/football that I thought might kill me... I remember one particular year my husband and I had to travel in the spring and try to get someone to do just the driving for our three darlings -- that was the year of Killer Thursday - drop off boy at baseball practice in neighboring town at 4:45 (hope someone is there early to watch him while I leave to drop sister off at dance at 5:00, drop other sister off at softball at 5:15, back to dance to pick up youngest and take her to softball at 6:00 (changing from leotard to softball clothes in car on way); pick up oldest at softball a little before 6:30 (before practice over) for swimming at 6:30 (again changing in the car) race from pool to baseball field to pick up son at 7:00 and then home for dinner... sigh G-d forbid there was a game instead of practice to disrupt the flow.

... but I wouldn't give back a minute of it - missed camping trips, family vacations all centered on baseball tournaments, changing to theatre appropriate clothes from sweaty baseball mom clothes, baseball games in formal gowns, freezing in the rain, sizzling in the heat, hat head, sore feet, sunburns, bug bites, late (I mean really late) dinners, fuck tons (I do mean fuck tons) of fast food and sunflower seeds, smelly car*, dozens of unfinished and even un-started summer projects, etc.

There is a sign that hangs in our home it says "We Interrupt this Family for Baseball Season" (it could just as easily say 'softball season' - 'swim season' - 'dance' - 'Job's Daughters' - or 'cheerleading'.

Years ago I also said that I would write a cookbook for "baseball moms" that included some actual non-fast food, healthy, easy options for those crazy days of summer. In honor of those moms who are struggling with their own baseball season right now and are sick of fast food and hot dogs I will share a favorite.

Taco Salad
(feeds 5-ish)

1+ lbs ground beef
chile powder (1 Tbsp ish)
garlic powder

brown the ground beef with the above seasonings, stir frequently to break into small pieces, drain fat

>tortilla chips (preferably not too salty - we like the white corn strips from Costco)
>1-1.5 heads lettuce (we use romaine because I'm a snot that doesn't like iceberg)
>2-3 tomatoes (diced for salad - we have two tomato lovers, and one tomato hater - I use 2-3 roma tomatoes)
>sliced black olives (optional, I love them, but we don't have them all the time)
>sliced scallions (again, if we have some I will slice them, but I don't make a special trip to the store for them)
>1.5-2 C shredded cheese (cheddar or cheddar/jack)
>sour cream
>guacamole (it's baseball season, just buy the packaged in the produce aisle - we like Wholly Guacamole - it tastes homemade!)
>Salsa (replaces salad dressing)

We all put our salads together differently - my oldest daughter loves the round chips and makes her salad a work of art worthy of a photo contest - I will tell you how I put mine together.

Crunched up chips in the bottom of the bowl, a little lettuce on top of that, then the rest of the veggies topped with a few more crunched up chips, meat and cheese -- then top the whole works with all the gooey yumminess ending with the salsa.

I can make all of this ahead (and in fact I sometimes make a HUGE batch of meat and freeze it in bags enough for one dinner [tacos or taco salad]) during the morning/afternoon and then when I come home I re-heat the meat for a minute or two and snip the corner off the bag of guac and we are good to eat!

*smelly car -- One day I was chaperoning a group of girls, and one girl who lacked a bit of a filter said to me "Mrs. Momumo, what is that smell?" -- Me: "Well, it could be sour milk/chocolate smell from the huge air pot of spilled hot chocolate a couple of years ago, I shampoo all the time, but the smell never goes away; or it could be some sweaty football/baseball/softball socks that are stuck under a seat somewhere; or it could be sweaty dance wear in the trunk; or it could be some old fast food in a bag under one of the seats; or it could be the beer that blew up in the hot sun and splattered all over the car; or it could be that I used to smoke; or it could be one of the girl's swim bags in the back; or it could be vomit; what does it smell like honey?" "oh, well it sorta smells like all of that, could you roll down the window?"

I have a new car now -- same girl "wow this car smells so much better" ME: "probably not for long, lol"

my car did not smell that badly, and I febreezed, shampooed, vacuumed, often to eliminate the odor... she had a very sensitive nose.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Woke up to the Graham Norton show and this:

Following a crazy day of ups and downs, I won't lie, mostly downs, we all sat down to a delicious dinner together.

Our dinner table conversation, never boring, usually more along the lines of "offensive" at most people's dinner tables had gotten out of hand, and I found myself suggesting we all try teapot blowing. HILARIOUS! I strongly recommend you try it yourselves.

The boy had woken up at about the same time as me, so I rewound the Graham Norton show and forced him to watch the teapot blowing with me. Thus he was quite excited to be the first to show us all how it's supposed to be done. I can only hope that when you try it, you have someone just as confident.

Also, you might want to make a best effort to protect any small animals from being in the line of fire... our little corgi mix was quite drenched!!

I ended up going to the Harry Potter premiere (unplanned) and was rather impressed with how amazingly crazy the whole affair is. The crowds, the cheering and booing during the movie, etc. Also, I am NOT a fan of 3-D, but I was impressed with the 3-D technology of this movie (and besides, I can really rock the Harry Potter special 3-D glasses!)

There were some Jr. High aged kids in the crowd that shouted out 'Vagina' a few times, the girls I was with were so disgusted with their immaturity that they were prepared to shout out 'Masturbation' as a retort if it were to happen again. I think that would have been a wonderful expression of how mature people deal with things - lol.

Today the boy is off to a baseball "double header" (at two different fields); I'm working; and the husband is hitting 18 holes with his boss. I just dropped by my youngest's bedroom to discover that she is... applying for scholarships! (Better late than never)

Friday, July 08, 2011

Sexism and the Classics

My children all attended two very conservative schools, filled mostly with very conservative students from very conservative families -- and by very conservative, I mean both politically and morally (religiously). I confess, I am a sexist -- in that I believe there are certain things that are better delegated to members of either gender - I can change a lightbulb, if there is a male in the building, I think it should be delegated to him - I can take out the trash, if there is a male in the building, I think it should be delegated to him - My husband can do laundry, he does his laundry, he never does the household laundry (towels, bedding, etc.) - My son can assist with first aid (bandaids, etc), but I usually ask one of his sisters. I do not teach my children that there are specific gender roles, or that they are incapable of anything because it should be done by the other sex, in fact I have many times encouraged my girls to learn about changing tires, oil, mowing the lawn, and I have encouraged my son to learn about baking, cooking, laundry, and have insisted that they do both.

My two youngest children are absurdly sexist - chauvinistic even - they stun people with the shit that comes out of their mouths. Youngest daughter to the History Channel a couple of days ago "Silly History Channel, women can't be spies, no intrigue ever happens in the kitchen" - my son to me yesterday "you don't understand because you have a vagina" (yes he really does talk to me that way, and yes I laugh hysterically-his dad not so much). I had blamed this on their right-wing, filled with fundamentalist bible-thumper schools. I was right, but not because they have teachers that praise George Bush and Jerry Falwell in the same sentence, and not because they have friends who might actually secretly have several mom's. Turns out that the somewhat rigorous reading requirements at their High School includes "a favorite" (not something you hear from a 19 y/o boy often), and my son chose to re-read this classic novel about a week ago, as he was reading it this morning, he started demanding from his sister that she get busy making him some food (which she gladly agreed to do) and then revealed the real culprit... Pearl S. Buck, 'The Good Earth'. Who knew?

Friday Bullets

• I clicked “next blog” almost obsessively the last two days – I’m not sure how to say this diplomatically (because I’m not very diplomatic, even when I desire to be) – I remember when my children were young, I thought that I had no spare time at all for anything – however, I had a ridiculous internet gaming and chat habit, and had blogs existed I would have been so prolific. I also had time to go to EVERYTHING for my kids. I don’t actually have time for this now, I make time for it by getting up early and staying up late, and apparently other parents of teens don’t have time either, there are bazillions of blogs with sweet pictures of darling families filled with babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers, and elementary aged athletes/dancers/etc. Maybe I’ve found a niche – possibly one that will have no readers, because it is entirely possible those same parents who don’t have time to write a blog, also don’t have time or interest in reading one. (Second highest population [not a scientific study] seems be “Christian” blogs – again, not seeing a real need for everyone to spout the same opinion over and over)
• I have a group of friends that is most definitely the funniest women alive, I fucking love them – I find myself seeking out a good laugh from them whenever the day begins to drag
• My children are as funny as my friends (this is mentioned many times in previous posts), I hope to include some brief posts of “overheard in my house” “shit my kids say” – something of that nature, I am terrified of a return of the circumcision debacle though
• Baseball (no list from me would be complete without it)
• Oh yeah food, I love food blogs, but they intimidate me – I actually don’t have any desire to try Kale chips, no matter how many foodies assure me they are all the rage, kids love them, and they are so easy to make – ewwwwwwwwww kale (from a landlocked girl who grosses out at the smell of the ocean and did have a short stint as a vegetarian that served mostly to put me off most things green)
• Today’s college preparations – sending the youngest off for a weekend with older sister at her out of town college apartment… I am assured that because said older daughter partied last night with her boyfriend, she will be better equipped to keep her baby sister in check at the street festival and rodeo

Thursday, July 07, 2011

I don't have time for this...

... or anything else that seems important enough to be distraught about, and yet not important enough to lose sleep over, or to stop checking email, facebook, this blog (that I forgot about for so long), or to actually do work that I get paid for.

Way down in those older posts I am pretty sure there is something written about my inane inability to say 'no' to volunteer opportunities. I like to call them opportunities, because misery loves company and I have also been guilty a time or two of twisting an arm or two into joining me on these adventures.

One of these "opportunities" that presented itself, I would say a good 5 years ago, was to be the chairman of an ongoing HUGE fundraiser that goes all summer long for my daughters' youth organization. Today, is the first big day -- there were a few days of preparation for today, all went smoothly and easily, I had somehow fooled myself into thinking the whole season would be that way. HAHAHA MOMUMO, fooled you!!

I laid awake last night - as I do most nights - thinking of what projects absolutely had to be done today, and how much time each would take - basically budgeting my time for the day. I budgeted 1.5 hours for the at home prep/printing/bookkeeping portion of this project - and of course another 2.5 hours for the at the event portion. Ahem, I started on this at 9:30, took a couple of short breaks for various familial interruptions, and I just finished at 1pm. OOOps.

Why did this take me so long... because my new printer is as slow as a one legged dog chasing a squirrel, and of course a watched printer doesn't move any faster; because my DH (I do love him, I really do) has been moving all my crap around on my for the last several months and I can't find anything... like last years files; because I never budget my time well (although I thought I was very generous with this one - I really thought it was more like 45 minutes of work).

So, am I rushing to get those other projects done? Am I in the shower grooming for my rare public appearance at the event? Am I kicking back with a cocktail saying 'fuck it' to the whole day? No, I'm fooling everyone else in the house into thinking that I'm working while I write a blogpost, because yesterday I told myself I have some GREAT new fodder for blogposts with these college kids making me crazy, and I can even write some shit that if it doesn't at least improve someone else's similar experience will make them laugh. I should post every day, it will be good for me. Well here's today's post - not funny, not helpful, not interesting, and certainly not a good use of my time.

Cheers! I hope someone else is procrastinating for no good reason too.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Parenting Teenagers

Pretty much freaking out this summer as my last baby prepares to go off to college. We bought a Brita pitcher (green of course) and some bookcases. Her older sister is handing down her dorm bed sheets (green again, yay!) and her brother gave her a pretty decent TV after he won a better one in a poker game. All that stuff is basically handled - although, this is our, hmmm how do I put this, well she's our hoarder. Pretty sure it might require a full size moving truck to take the stuff she wants to take. On the other hand, it's not just about what will fit in whatever vehicle/method we finally determine will best move her to college, but also what will fit in her dorm room - so at least we don't have to be the total bad guy in this. The University she is attending actually provides rather large dorm fridges, so she won't be needing that, even though we have one left over from the older sister. Three kids in college at the same time does tend to present the requirment for two of almost everything, pretty much the same as when they were babies and we needed two cribs, two car seats, two strollers, etc. Haha, we thought all that baby shit was expensive -- two things, people have a lot more baby shit they are willing to hand down. We had big family collections on both sides that we handed around. Most of my nieces and nephews who shared baby clothes, kid furniture, and even sports equipment have not had a single dorm thing to hand down... hmmmmmm, do you think they all lost their shit in poker games? These details are not freaking me out.
Also -- God Bless America -- yeah that's right, every single school wants us to do a verification of our FAFSA. If you don't have (or haven't had yet) a college student, then you probably aren't familiar with this "college lingo" that has evolved quite a bit since we packed up our toaster ovens and hot pots and trundled off to college on a wing and a prayer and hopefully some $$ from our grandparents. These days, regardless of how affluent you are, you have to fill out the FAFSA (it means Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The name would imply that if you have your college $$ all taken care of (great savings, scholarships, blackmailing your mafia uncle, etc) that you don't have to fill it out. I'm told EVERYONE has to fill it out, although, with three in college and basically nothing saved toward their educations, we didn't bat an eye at "Federal Student Aid". 1st year, one student in college, FAFSA returns an EFC (more new lingo - Estimated Family Contribution) about equal to what I was being paid at the time - and not something we could possibly have come up with. Many student loans and three years later, that child is still enrolled, her tuition is still being paid, and I only owe several thousand dollars to various entities -- she owes tens of thousands of dollars, sure hope she gets a good job! Second student added 1 year ago, and I lost my job in the meantime (love this economy) - FAFSA returned a slightly more swallowable EFC, still impossible, but several scholarships later, we only paid out of pocket a couple thousand dollars for his education last year. Third child not even enrolled yet, but registered -- FAFSA returned a very reasonable EFC (which we pay little of) and THREE PELL GRANTS - one for each kid - YAY (Federal $$, does not have to be repaid). However, there's this little thing that I think is at the discretion of each school, called 'verification'. Second year that oldest child was at her University - we had to do a verification. Third year that oldest child was at her University was the first year that the boy was at his college -- his college required a verification -- this year ALL THREE SCHOOLS want the verification. It's not that big of a deal, it's just sorta like filing your taxes all over again (or filling out your FAFSA a second time). This is also not freaking me out.
Our house will be empty - okay this is freaking me out a little. Part of me thinks, "wow, no more shit to wash/pick up/cook/shop for/etc." (usually when I'm washing, picking up, cooking and shopping) -- and part of me thinks things like "I will love just cooking for the hubby again, special little romantic meals, etc." (this is usually when I'm up to armpits in cooking for 28 people something that I don't actually like to eat) -- and part of me thinks, "geez how long has it been since we had sex in the middle of the living room in the middle of the day" (usually when he wants to and the kids are home with 12 friends on their way over) but mostly I think, "who the fuck am I going to talk to?"; "who is going to go to Costco with me?"; "what will I do with all that time?"; and of course I cry (not as much as I thought I would). This does have me a little freaked out - but...
My BABY is going to be further away than her brother and sister, the reality is, flying, driving, anything short of a science fiction transport of some sort, is going to have her a minimum of 15 hours away. I don't like this, I don't like it at all, and I'm totally freaked out about it. I don't know how people send their children half way around the world, I now have a much deeper understanding of how my mother felt when I went to Spain. I can't bear the idea of her having some sort of emergency or crisis and I can't get to her for 15 hours. My other daughter is two hours away, from my front door to hers. My son is right at 3 hours away. This fifteen hours thing is literally taking the breath out of me. I sometimes look at the clock (1:49pm) if she had an issue right now, I couldn't be with her until 4:30 tomorrow morning. ACK!!! Also, much more than my other two (maybe because we are closer?) she is pulling away from me. Spending less time with me, not being as affectionate with me, acting like any of our shared interests are boring and mundane -- this is freaking me out. Logical me can tell myself that this is probably a very natural part of the whole transition that was either less obvious with my other kids because they are by nature very sanguine and their methods of showing affection are not what other people would call affectionate, or because I still had other children at home to spend time with, to share activities with, etc. Logical me can tell myself that this is good for her, it will assist her in becoming independent, it will make the change less severe, etc. Logical me can also tell myself that this is temporary, and that after she is gone, and she misses me, she will express her affection, she will want to call up just to watch a television show together over the phone, she will get a cold and want her mommy, just as her brother and sister have done. Emotional me doesn't give a shit for anything logical me has to say, emotional me wants to kick logical me in the shins and pee on logical me's pillow. Emotional me just wants my baby to come running up to me and tell me how much she's going to miss me and could we just go get pedicures and hang out for the day, just us. Today emotional me is winning -- logical me is sleeping sitting up in a chair with one eye open.