Saturday, August 6, 2011

I'm the queen of bad TV

Let me tell you what I endured today.

1. Somehow I got caught up in a marathon of "Dance Moms" on Lifetime.  I danced as a child.  I competed in various things.  It was always a supportive environment.  Sure there were expectations that we do well, but never pressure.  Coaches didn't openly fight with parents.  There were no shouting matches.  There were no crying children.  Last, there were no injured children being required to continue performing.  On Dance Moms, one child has a hurt hip and the camera crew filmed a doctor saying, "You are in no shape to compete this weekend."  Mom says, "We have too." Don't you love the use of the word "we" there?  Ya know, cause Mom is up there in pain against her will.  Did I mention the child mentions not wanting to dance many times in the episode?  Then Mom says something like, "Brooke is a dancer, and dancers get injured. Being in pain is just part of it."  Her dance coach says it's just her hip flexors grinding and she should just live with the pain until that process is complete.  I know this is extreme, but CPS needs to be called in.  I would never, ever, ever, ever, ever push my child to perform in pain when a doctor says not too.  EVER.  I know competitive dance is extremely expensive and there is so much put into success.  None of that is worth my child's health.  Period.  This show combined with Toddlers in Tiaras sicken me.  It's like watching a car wreck.  I can't seem to look away, but they disgust me.  How could these parents capitalize on their children's talents to profit by being on the shows.  And how unethical of the production companies to pump them out.  Shame, shame, shame. 

2. I'm having a private Twlight film festival. My family is off visiting in-laws for the night and I'm all alone.  I'm just waiting in anticipation for Jacob to take off his shirt.  And that, my friends, makes me a dirty old woman because I'm in my late thirties and he's an infant.  Bella and Edward are currently at the prom and this scene makes me miss the intensity of youth.  When you're a married adult with children, life can really dial down the passion level.  Work, childcare, households, and obligations suck your passion tank dry.  I remember the long, hot make-out sessions that left us breathless.  I remember wanting, so badly, to...you know.  I remember being out together somewhere, with others, doing something and the sexual tension was so thick between us.  Slowly that fades until you get here and look back at it like it's something lost.  Can you get it back?  It takes work.  But seriously...it's my work.  Like many, my husband wants more sex.  And it isn't that I don't.  I'm just tired.  There I said it.  I'm tired.  I feel like people have needed things from me all day long, most days, that I can't take one more obligation, which is sad.  Sex is a act of love.  I have a marriage that I cherish with all my heart.  I was watching The Doctors the other day - a major rarity - and the OB on there said something about sex making the wife feel good about her sexual being and body, and the man having his physical needs met.  It's win/win.  Yet still...I'm tired.  What's weird is that I'm sitting here watching this movie, wishing for the magnetic pull there used to be between my husband and I when we were teenagers.  What's up with that?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I'm not against pagents, but Toddlers in Tiaras makes me sick.

It's not a new show, but still, I can't control my myself.  I have to write about Toddlers in Tiaras.

Here are some wicked generalizations.  The moms all think they aren't stage moms, but I'm wondering if they change their opinion after seeing their ridiculousness on the show.  "I want her to feel good about her inner beauty."  Okay, so then why try to make your three-year-old look like an adult and prance her around a stage for people to judge her in a "beauty" category?  "She is the one who wants to do the pageants, I don't push her."  Flash-forward to the day of the pageant and you see the kid crying about getting her eyebrows waxed, hair pins stuck in her head, and that she's tried.  My favorite was last week when a child said she was hungry early in the pageant day and Mom told her, "You can't eat until the pageant is over."  Yeah, that doesn't sound crazy.

I'm not against pageants.  There are some kids who just love them.  I knew a little girl like that.  She was really motivated and, I swear, her and her mom had a great attitude about them.  It was time together doing something they both enjoyed.  Who can criticize that?  What bugs me so much about the show is that these are the types of parents featured.  Worse, they are salivating to have their child included, neglecting to recognize the colossal humiliation at risk for the child if she doesn't do well.  Not only did she fail in front of these pageant people, but the whole world too.  No pressure there.  Sickening.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dear Checkout Lady at the grocery store

Dear Checkout Lady at the grocery store,

I have shopped in your store twice a week for the last 7.5 years.  There are only like 10 cashiers.  You and I have met many, many times.

I use coupons.  I love coupons.  I take lots of time to make sure the coupons I'm giving you are correct and valid on the products I'm buying.  I walk out of your store every week after spending lots, and lots of money.  So when there's an issue with one of the 30 coupons I've handed you, please spare me the hyper-dramatic scrutiny and anger when I have the audacity to ask why it didn't work.  I don't have five shopping carts filled to the brim with 400 box of cat food.  I haven't cleared your shelves of mustard.  I have never ever saved more than maybe 30%...and that's very rare. 

You're watching more TLC than me and this is just another example of how Extreme Couponing has ruined my life.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

That weiner doesn't need treatment

Here's what's humoring me.  Anthony Weiner has taken a leave of absence from his congressional duties and is in "treatment".  Hahahahaha!  So like the next time a student gets busted for cheating on an exam he should get treatment for his indiscretions?  Or the next time I cheat on a diet I should seek professional help?  I'm hoping this course of intervention includes a class on freakin' accountability.  You were carrying on with a woman who wasn't your wife and sent her inappropriate pictures of your body.  Bad boy.  Bad bad, boy.  Can we move on, please?

I'm beyond laughing that Obama is on record for saying he should resign.  Okay, Mr. Morality.  Let's see if you feel the same when it's your turn.  I'm hopeful for your family that you don't get one, but we'll see.  And for all of those Washingtonites chanting for him to resign, same to you.

Weiner is an absolute jerk for acting as he did.  Does it really mean he was distracted from serving his country, not really.  I have a healthy sex life (my niece is reading - hide your eyes) with my husband.  Does that distract me from doing a good job for the company that employs me?  What really is the difference other than some compromised morals?  Did his constituents *really* think they elected someone standing on some moral high ground?  Is anyone really that ignorant anymore? 

To Mrs. Weiner, I'm so sorry you're going through this.  I'm also sorry that I'm giggling at the irony associated with you being on a business trip with your boss, HILLARY CLINTON, when the news broke.  I can just see the knowing, sad smile and slow nod she gave you when she found out.  You couldn't ask for a better mentor in getting through such a scandal.  Girlfirend has definitely BTDT. 

Here's wishing the Weiners less media coverage and some peace.  Get over it America.  It's just a picture of the Weiner Jr. in some boxers.  After five minutes of shock, I have moved on.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Why do they always make the Bachelorette look like a fool?

I can't stop myself.   I wish I didn't watch this stupid show, but clearly it's beyond my self-control.  It's so stupid.  It makes no sense.  Blah blah blah...now let's analyze tonight's episode.

Mask guy removed the mask.  Did anyone else think it was hilarious that every time they showed him with the mask, there was creepy Phantom of the Opera organ music?  Classic!  So he takes off the mask and reveals an older-than-anyone-expected guy who is attractive...but there was just something about him that made me want to say, "just put it back on."

Then there was the guy who "roasted" her by saying something like "imagine how I felt when I saw you.  I thought it was going to be Emily or Chantal."  Ya know, but since I'm all signed up, quit my job, and am here I'll stick around.  K?  Then he cries because he hurt her feelings.  Okey doke, jackass. 

Then there's Bentley.  He's the jackwad that has had tidbits of, "I don't like her much" peppered in from day one.  Ashley got a text that he wasn't there "for the right reasons."  So like any other woman, she falls for the bad boy and suddenly can't live without her.  Leading up to his departure tonight, we get little flakes of "I'm not attracted to her."  Nice.  What kills me, though, is how they string the poor girl along so that we see this big build up and then get to enjoy watching her cry her heart out.  Ugh!  Why oh why oh why!  They NEVER EVER set the Bachelor up like that!  Wonder how dumb she'll feel when she watches it later.

So on a date the day after Bentley's big departure, she forgoes the huge shindig everyone else got to hang out in her glasses and jammies in front of a fire.  WHAT?!  I get it.  You're sad.  You are having a bad day.  You're in a heightened emotional state.  But that means big glasses and plaid jammy pants?  And wait...he brought his too?  AND you pinned his rose onto his white cotton undershirt?  Okaaaaaaaaaaaay.

On final rose night, she's still crying over Bentley.  She wasn't sure she could go on.  Mask guy gets the ax.  "Wish you were someone else" got one.  Oh Lord.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I, unknowingly, committed a mom crime

I got River Trekker shoes, similar to these, from Landsend several years ago and they've taken me through countest Disney, camping, and other walking-intensive trips.  I love them.  They are so very comfortable.  The one major problems - they're fugly.  But when I tried on a thousand pairs of really cute shoes today, none were very comfortable.  And here's the mom crime.  Since when did I choose shoes based on how comfortable they are held at a higher priority than their cuteness?  Evidently the answer is "for quite some time."

The half-off diet

Have you heard of the half-off diet?  I'm creating it today after a particularly discouraging clothes shopping trip.  My desperation may have been exacerbated by my children who weren't behaving very well.  But I left at least 10 shirts and 4 pairs of pants for various reasons, the most common one being I looked pregnant.  Nice.

So I'm embarking...again.  I feel really sick of doing things like counting points, fitting in a certain number of servings of this or that in, in a certain order, and various other approaches.  I think I'm just going to eat less - like half of what I'd normally eat.  It's unscientific, at best.  But, lordy be, I have to do something.  I'm sick of feeling self-conscious about how I look and what I wear.  I'm not shooting for a size 4 or 110 pounds or anything.  I'm just shooting for something better than here.  Boo.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The RHONY in the middle east...oh Lord

When did Ramona Singer turn into a legend in her own mind.  Jill was accused once of letting her fame go to her head.  That was nothin', though, compared to Crazy Eyes. 

I've never seen anyone so demanding, yet dismissive all that the same time.  I want this, I want that.  I don't care what you think, it's just how I feel.  It's not a big deal because I say it's not.  And somehow, at the end of it all, she still thinks she's fabulous.  I guess that's what happens when you surround people like yourself.  News flash...those outside of that 1% of the population don't think you look young, find you obnoxious, and aren't envious.  You're so busy spouting off how wonderful your life is and how you have no regrets that you totally overlook how badly you behave sometimes.  Watch and reflect, darling.

Sonya, I need for you to do one of two things.  1) Wear underwear or 2) stop reminding me and everyone else that you don't.  I'm sure you think others would find you more alluring with this nugget of information.  I'm thinking a larger group of people are hoping you don't sit on their sofa. 

I was thinking today, as I watched my DVR'd RHONY and RHONJ that I roll my eyes at the notion of watching soap operas, yet here I am watching my own version of them.  And now that I think about it, soaps have a higher level of editorial integrity because they are fiction.  They don't pretend to be "real". 

I'll keep watching even though they make me nuts.  But Ramona and Sonya, you're making Kelly look quite sane this year.

 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The diary of a mom with a wimpy kid

Many people would call her "delicate" or "prissy".  I see right through it though.  Sadly, sometimes I think I'm the cause of it.

I went to Field Day at my daughter's school this morning and thirty minutes into our two hours together, she turned into a cling-on.  She was hot.  Her belly hurt.  She didn't want to participate.  The more I assured her she was okay, that everyone was hot, and that she should drink water, the more she turned up the urgency.  She started throwing the v-word (vomit) around.  When we came back inside, she wanted to go to the nurse to get her temperature taken.  She was hinting at me taking her home.

No. Way. Sister.

Now before I come off as totally incompassionate, this is a pattern of behavior.  Oddly, it's behavior that is ONLY associated with me.  I even asked her teacher if she did this when I wasn't there.  She assured me she was very much in the mix of the class without me there.  :-( 

What makes me sad is that I truly enjoy going to my daughters' respective classrooms to help out.  It helps me learn about her teachers, her classmates, her school and how she interacts with it all.  But if every time I do it turns into pouting, isolation, and refusal to participate it looks like we know the solution. 

The kindergarten teacher said, "Part of this may be because she's six."  Let's hope she's right.  Because being the mom at the school event with the velcro kid isn't fun.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What the GaGa?

Did I just see that right.  I just finished watching Lady GaGa performing "Born this Way" at the end of last week's Saturday Night Live.  Let me see if I've got it.  She's wearing a prosthetic pregnant belly under black leather.  At the end of the performance, her dancers lift her into a set of literal stirrups.  They gather around her, rubbing her inner thighs.  From somewhere above a load of glitter and liquid substance is delivered between her legs, as if she's birthed it.  Her dancers then proceed to spread it around the surface she's sitting on, rubbing it like one would spread sunscreen - except this is, I believe, trying to appear as if it's amniotic fluid.  It spills down on the dancers below.  The dancers beside her rub it on themselves.  Ew.  What the GaGa?  Fast forward to 3:37.





How many personal care items do you use before walking out the door in the morning?

Toothpaste, dental floss, mouthwash, bar soap, facial wash, razor with lotion on the blade shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, deodorant, facial moisturizer, mouse, hairspray, concealer, foundation, powder, blush, mascara, lip balm, lipstick, perfume.

In case you lost count, that's 21 products!  Whoa.

Monday, May 23, 2011

How "Extreme Couponing" has ruined my life

So maybe this title is a little dramatic, but the show "Extreme Couponing" does sincerely make me mad.  Sure, sure...it's cool to watch these men and women get $1000 grocery bills down to $0.42.  But let's identify what we're really watching.

1.  People cheating the system.  Just in the past two days I've seen folks print their limit of internet coupons on their five home computers, steal Sunday papers from the fronts of homes being foreclosed upon because she doesn't think someone lives there anymore, and use coupons intended for one item for another, lower priced, item. 

2.  People can buy lots of crappy food for really cheap.  Is that the goal?  Who doesn't love 20 boxes of cake mix, but who needs that unless you're planning to open a sham of a bakery.  One can only live on pasta and frozen pizza for so long.  Eventually you'll need milk, a chicken breast, and apple.  I'm not the healthiest of eaters, but this show puts a spotlight on how poorly Americans eat. 

3.  Folks on this show dedicate entire wings of their home to storing their stockpile.  Making up numbers here, we can estimate that a garage adds about $25,000 of value to a house.  A typical storage unit is about $50 a month.  It would take you 500 months, or 41.7 years, to get back the amount of money you spent on this portion of your house to store your 450 bottles of laundry detergent.

4.  And who the heck needs 450 bottles of laundry detergent?  Seriously there was one couple with something like 150 sticks of deodorant.  In my humble opinion, this is just organized hoarding.  Even the narrator said something like, "That's enough to last the average adult 70 years."  Many extreme couponers are diligent about donating and I commend them.  But to those who just hang onto everything and continue buying more, there's therapy for that.

So how did this ruin my life?  I recently emailed my local favorite grocery store, asking them for their most recent coupon policy. Suddenly there is a 20 total coupon limit, a limit on the number of duplicate items you can use a coupon for (you can only buy two cans of tuna with two coupons, for example), a doubling policy only on coupons with up to a $0.50 value, blah, blah, blah.  The reigns have been pulled in.  This woman, who used coupons ethically and relied on them to lower her weekly grocery bill is now seriously limited because of those who abused them.  Gee thanks.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Something Borrowed - Loooooooooooved it!

Something Borrowed, written by Emily Giffin, was, along with the sequel Something Blue, was one of my favorite summer reads last year.  I was elated to learn it was being made into a movie.

This afternoon my mom, mother-in-law, and I took it in during a matinée and it did not disappoint!  If you've read my blog for more than ten minutes, you'll know I tend to be a smidge critical.  I admit it.  But this movie did not disappoint!  If you read the book, you MUST see it.  If you haven't read the book, you MUST read it.  Then you MUST immediately get the sequel.  Still, a year later, I yearn for more Rachel, Dex, Darcy, and Ethan.  Emily Giffin, please?  Pretty please?

Monday, May 16, 2011

RHONJ - Are they going too far?

Oh brother.  Now we've got Teresa's sister-in-law, brother and cousin on the show.  Danielle is out.  We traded someone who came from an abusive past craving attention so badly that she exploited herself and children to express that to a guy who is crying to his dad and fighting with his brother-in-law at his son's christening.  I have a question.  WTF?  It was painful to watch this season premiere I was looking forward too.  I'm not sure I can stomach another. 

Andy Cohen, I adore you.  Adore!  I live for WWHL games.  But seriously, are you kidding me?  I know these folks are willingly signing the contracts.  But, particularly in the RHONJ, you're dealing with families.  Maybe I'm getting old, but it just feels like you should have a higher standard than knowingly meddling in relationships of families in a way that promotes conflict.  It was tough watching the kids in such close proximity of physical violence.  I remember on the Real World, a hundred years ago, physical altercations between cast members resulted in immediate removal from the show.  Have you considered something similar?  Please do.  Kthnxbye.  XOXO

Friday, May 13, 2011

If you can't get along, don't play together

What do you do when your kid is at odds with another kid?  My older daughter has this oil and water relationship with the little girl next door.  One minute they are besties, the next they're fighting.  They tell on each other.  They laugh.  They make each other cry.  They do gymnastics.  Someone is yelling at someone else.  It's so frustrating.  The interesting thing here is that this child, along with her older sister and younger brother, are ALWAYS at our house.  That's not a big problem because 1) we have a playground, and 2) I can supervise.  However, I can't help but to think, "If it's so bad, then why don't you go home?"  Today it was hubby that sent everyone home after some crappy behavior on everyone's part.  I think the quote was, "I've given you (the whole crowd) three warnings and now I'm done.  The three of you, it's time to go home.  The two of you, it's time to go inside.  Done."   Game over.

So what do you do when your child insists on playing with another with whom they do not get along?  I don't care to be a referee all summer.  Earlier today I told them, "You have two choices.  Work hard at getting along or don't play together.  It's your choice."

Help me!!

Here's your list of manners, ma'am.

I saw this great article on the 25 manners your child should know before age nine.  Is it wrong to print it out, carry it around in my purse and pass it out as needed?  "I'm sorry.  Your child is in violation.  Here's a copy of the list for your reference."  Think that would be a problem? Mwahahahaha!

Seriously, it's a great list.  While I think it's imperative that your child should be the center of your world, it does not crush their delicate little ego to learn they are not the center of everyone else's.  You'll never got wrong with teaching manners.

The one that made me laugh was about expressing negative opinions.  I think I need to work on that one personally and I'm waaaaaaaaaaay over nine.  ;-)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Before redshirting for kindergarten, consider this...

If you're not familiar with the term "redshirting" with regard to kindergarten, it's when a child qualifies to attend, but his or her parents decide to delay his entry by a year.  I'm not aware of the exactly limitations, but in my experience, there are seven-year-olds in kindergarten. 

Let me preface this by saying I haven't had children that made me question their readiness for kindergarten.  So this is a little like a mom of a six-month-old proclaiming to the world that she'll never feed her little one chicken nuggets.  Yeah, report back on that in 18 months.  We'll see how strongly you feel about it then.  But I digress...

I've had a few interactions with kids who fell into the redshirted category and I'm just not a believer.  In talking with their parents, here's what I hear:

"He's just not mature enough."

"He's just so small."

"He isn't solid enough in the basics like letters and numbers."

"He just turned five.  I don't want him to be the youngest in the class."

"Socially, he's struggling."

I don't mean to suggest it's only boys dealing with redshirting.  Weirdly though, my only encounters have been with boys.  We all know this applies to girls as well.

I was talking with parents of a redshirted kindergartener recently and they went on and on about how their son wasn't mature enough last year, had difficulties academically and socially and they just thought holding him back a year at home would be the solution.  Now they have a seven-year-old kindergartener who is no less than 6 inches taller and 10 pounds heavier than the rest of the class.  His maturity, social, and academic issues feel a lot more like a developmental delay or learning disability.  He's a sweet kid who is very loving, but his behaviors mimic a child who is more like three-years-old.  My heart hurts for him because it feels to me like he missed out on a full year's worth of services that may have been offered to him if he had entered the school system at the appropriate age.  True, he may still be in kindergarten this year due to being held back, he at least this go-round would have a higher chance of being successful.  Now, at age seven, how will he feel if he's held back this year?  Think it'll be socially easy for him to be eight and in kindergarten?

Using "he's so small" feels like code to me for "he'll be bigger in high school when athletics are important."  And the flip side of this is that if he has a growth spurt, like most kids do, he'll eventually be the biggest in his class - and how is that more socially acceptable than being among the smallest?

This is purely my opinion, but I believe there should be an evaluation required of all parents who opt to start their child in kindergarten on a delayed schedule.  You don't want her go because you don't think she's mature enough?  Prove it to the administration.  Let them tell you if she's ready or not.  And if not, then she should get help in getting her ready, perhaps even including her in the classroom in the second half of the year.   If she is ready, put her in or show proof of homeschooling.  Have a little faith that everyone is concerned about how well their child will do and we all get choked up when we send our babies through the big front doors of the elementary school. 

So if you're considering redshirting, consider this before making that final decision.  If you're doing so due to maturity, size, academic, or social issues, could this delay ultimately be harmful?  Have you talked to your child's doctor about it?  And have you considered what kindergarten will be like for your seven-year-old when he or she is classmates with young five-year-olds?  The gap between those ages, both in size and development, is pretty big.  I've often wondered how it would work out for schools to construct kindergarten classes based on age. 

If you've redshirted, tell me about your experience.  I don't judge because I fully believe we all do our best to make the best decisions possible for our kids, so no need to feel like you have to defend yourself.  I'd just like to learn more about this growing trend.

Friday, May 6, 2011

I went to DC and I got the cupcakes

I've been dying to write about our Washington DC trip, but time hasn't permitted.  I'm going to have to break it up by attractions, with the first one I'll cover being Georgetown (DC) cupcakes.

To begin with, we almost died making our way through Georgetown.  I badly wanted to attend American University for grad school, and after driving through, I'm pretty sure it would have filled me with anxiety.  It's a lovely town, rich with history.  It's gorgeous!  It's just that the streets seem to get more and more narrow the closer you get to the Potomac.  They also have a varying right lane presence.  The traffic lights are different from any I've ever seen before.  God gave us a freebie when hubby drove through a red one, unknowingly.  Thankfully there was no cross traffic, otherwise our cupcake quest could have turned into an ER visit.  There's also zero parking.  It took quite a bit longer to get where we intended than I thought.  Plus, the stupid GPS brought us to the Georgetown Cupcakes "lab", rather than their main store.  It's just a few blocks away, though, so no biggie.

We parked in a paid lot for a $10 bargain.  (insert sarcastic snicker here)  The line for the cupcakery was a full block long.  I expected that, but I had no idea how long that actually equated too in time.

Those around us in line were fun.  Everyone was chatting about the show and the cupcakes.  As anticipated, we were all tourists.  The folks in front of us were from NY.  The other cool this is that there was this gal who worked for the cupcakery who handled the line, so to speak.  She walked up and down it, encouraging people to step away from the curb, as to not be plowed down by a car on this narrow street.  She handed out menus and answered questions about the cupcakes.  She handed out water, and subsequently collected garbage.  I don't know her name, but she was nice. 

I believe we were in line for about an hour and a half.  During our time, I swear I saw Katherine from the show pass in a white/pearl Mercedes SUV.  I may have been delirious, though.  The family had a few moments of whining, but I promptly reminded them that I have waited longer than this for the Dumbo ride in Disney World on many occasions. 

When it was our turn to enter the cupcakery, I was surprised at how small the counter area was.  It looks so much bigger on TV.  I haven't gotten the chance to catch an episode since we got back, so I can't compare.  Still, it seemed tiny.  We ordered one dozen cupcakes and three adult small shirts.  Our total was $114.  Yeee-ikes!

Sophie and Katherine were no where to be seen.  To be honest, I was secretly hoping they would be around.  I didn't care about an autograph or anything.  I just really wanted to thank them for being part of a fun show I could watch with my girls.  It's PG-rated, at the very worst.  And who doesn't love the concept of sisters and cupcakes combined?

When all was said and done, our dozen included Chocolate2, Chocolate3, Vanilla2, Vanilla Birthday Cake, Chocolate Birthday Cake, Lemon Berry, Chocolate Coconut, Red Velvet, Girl Scout Thin Mint, Cherry Blossom, Hummingbird, and Cookies-n-Cream.  They were all really good with the exception of Cherry Blossom and Lemon Berry.  The Cherry Blossom cherry/vanilla icing combo tasted a little like vomit to me.  The berry icing on the Lemon Berry had that same effect, just a different strain of vomit.  Red Velvet wasn't my favorite, but the rest were awesome.  It seemed like the chocolate and vanilla variations were the best.  Each time we'd try a new flavor, we'd split it in four so everyone got a taste.  It worked out well!

If we find ourselves in Georgetown again, I'd definitely get more.  The trick, though, is to place your order 24 hours in advance.  That way you can prance on it and pick up your order without waiting in line.  How I missed that detail, I'm not sure.  It would have been useful.  :-)

My one request for Mother's Day

My wish for Mother's Day is simple.  I want my family to plan, shop for, cook, and clean up dinner and dessert.  It doesn't have to be fancy in the slightest.  I'm fine with hamburgers and ice cream.  My only exception was sausage.  No hot dogs, Italian sausage, kielbasa, or bratwurst, please.

When I presented my request to my husband you would have thought I asked for him to climb Everest.  There was some resistance and whining, but I think they'll pull through for me.  It's kind of funny because I *thought* this was letting everyone off easy.  I don't need anything (other than a coffee pot, but a cheap $25 one will do), and don't particularly want anything.  I've deemed this "No Merch(andise) May" in honor of our very pricey April.  I thought I was saving hubby the process of coming up with something and purchasing it.  Who knew dinner would throw the poor guy over the edge.  LOL  Welcome to my every damn day, big guy.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What about pregnancy turns women into a Playmate?

My job requires me to look at photos of pregnant women all of the time and they're beautiful!  I loved being pregnant and I loved showing off my new figure.  There's a weird, in my humble opinion, trend emerging though.  I can't flip through ten pregnant photos without seeing something that belongs on the pages of Playboy. 

We're not talking about full-frontal or anything, but I'm talking about elaborately staged bedroom scenes, literally, with a scantily clad mom-to-be.  In 99% of the cases, she's gorgeous.  Obviously she's celebrating her pregnant body.  But when I look at the rest of the pictures on her profile, there's nothing that suggests that her inner sex kitten was so close to the surface until her belly popped out.  So what gives? 

Does being pregnant release inhibitions about body issues since there is supposed to be extra weight and curves?  I'd love to know the age of these sexy moms-to-be.  Are their photo shoots motivated by a younger generation's provocative style?  I mean seriously - if I see one more butt-crack/cleavage combo on a 15-year-old at the mall, I might barf.  You've got a great body, but no need for me to see it almost nude.  Where are your parents, young lady?

My last question is what drives these women to post their photos in such public forums?  The photos I used were on a photographer's site, so they're slightly less racy and a smidge more artsy than others I've seen, but still.  Maybe I'm getting old.  I don't see these things as inappropriate, just private.  When I show my kids my pregnancy photos - particularly ones I share with the world - I'd be fine with nudity in the "pregnant body is beautiful and nothing to be ashamed of" sense, but the trend is hedging more towards, "the pregnant body is beautiful and Daddy couldn't wait to be done taking pictures so we could practice making your little sister."   Imagine your own mom in lingerie, sprawled out on a bed, covering only her nipples with her fingertips giving the camera bedroom eyes.  Are you cool with that?  Imagine that picture on Facebook for all of her friends and family to comment on.  Now imagine you are your child in 20 years and the mom in the picture is you.  Just sayin'...

Monday, May 2, 2011

The major world events trend when I travel

There's a weird trend associated when I travel - major world events transpire.  I was visiting family with my mom from Friday to Monday.  On Friday, Wills and Kate took the plunged and made it for reals.  Kate looked gorgeous.  On Sunday night, Osama Bin Laden was pronounced dead.

I woke at 5:00 AM for my flight this morning and drank coffee to video footage of 20somethings celebrating in front of the White House and at Ground Zero.  My stomach turned.  It was a victory, no doubt.  Lives were risked for this accomplishment, and lost in the effort.  I'm prayers, truly, go out to all.  But isn't anyone else concerned about retaliation?  I mean, one guy is only so powerful.  His commands are executed by others, who are still breathing.  I'm just not cool with running nude through the streets about this.  It's inappropriate and sickening.  I've read horrid things on Facebook like "let's hang him in front of the White House, hitting him with a stick like a pinata."  Literally my stomach turned.  I'm shaking my head in disgust.

I met someone who is in the armed forces this weekend.  I told him I loved him.  He looked so handsome and we're all proud to have him as a new part of our family.  I think about people like him who are heading over into the war zone who may have to pay the price for those so publicly celebrating.  Sure, sure...we're free to do so.  God bless the USA and the rights we have.  I value them as much as anyone.  But because we CAN do something, doesn't mean we should.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

My gestational ship has sailed

I have the extreme pleasure of spending time with my new great-nephew this weekend.  Yep.  Great-nephew.  Like, I'm not saying he's a "great" nephew.  He's my niece's baby boy.  I, at 36, am a great-aunt.  As luck has it, this little guy is also quite great.

He's four-months-old and super sweet. It's been awhile since I've been around a little baby that I could, unashamedly, snuggle, cuddle, and kiss on without the mom wondering if I make off with her little one when she uses the bathroom.  "No, go ahead.  Take as much time as your need."  *evil grin*

I've enjoyed, more than I can put into words, the time I've had with my family, even though they're nuts.  Who isn't, right?  And every time I get asked, "How about you have another?" I've responded, "Talk to you brother-in-law/son-in-law/uncle/my hubby." because he's been to blame for us ending our gestational journey.  He's done.  No more.  Two is the max.

For the longest time, I wasn't into more babies.  Then, just in the past six months or so, the baby bug has been nibbling at me.  Yet, when given the opportunity to change diapers, I declined.  When talked to my niece, who was up with him several times during the night, I felt sympathetic.  When there was ample amounts of spit-up, I mildly panicked.  "His shirt is wet.  Like really wet.  You should change it."

So as this weekend visiting family, sans my children I should add, ends, I'm wondering if maybe I needed a little reminder of what life is like with an infant.  It's filled with smiles and babbles and sweet little baby toes.  It's also filled with poop, sleep deprivation, and fussy times.  I'm probably good.  But before I leave bright and early tomorrow morning, I'm going to soak up every last minute of babyness they let me.  I'll get to see him again in December and my girls, who will be meeting him for the first time then, will be out of their minds with love!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Feel sad for my feet

I have had no more than three pedicures in my whole life.  I'm going to a big family event this weekend and intend on wearing very cute sandals.  Yesterday afternoon I thought, "What the heck?!" and went into my local nail salon, asking for a spa pedicure.

What was immediately frustrating was that the gal taking care of me did not understand me, nor did she attempt to communicate with me in ways beyond manipulating the tootsies.  I tried to convey, when the pain started, "No need to cut the nails" but was unsuccessful.  The woman next to me told her service provider that she was allergic to latex, so, please. do not use latex gloves.  The woman smiled and nodded and said, "okay", while her client's feet began to swell.  Unacceptable and kind of irresponsible.

There were several moments of pain throughout my relaxing procedure, but sometimes facials hurt too, so I endured in the name of beauty.  When I got home, I realized I had cuts all over my feet.  I immediately applied Neosporin, hoping to ward off infection.  Today, one of my big toes is absolutely killing me because it is now ingrown.  I think I can actually feel the pus being produced.  :-(

I want, desperately, to march in there tomorrow and demand my money back but there was one man running the place and a dozen worker bees.  Call me nuts, but this guy sort of feels like the pimp and I don't want to get this girl in trouble.  But I'm mad!  And I'm in pain!  *sigh*  I will never get a pedicure again.  Ever.

Only 27 days of school left!

As I mentioned, there are a few things I dread about summer, but there are lots of things I'm looking forward too.

1.  Time at the beach and pool.  If I had to choose one, I'd go with the beach every time.  If my kids had to choose, they'd go with the pool every time.  We're pretty good compromisers, though.  I'm shooting for one day a week at each.

2.  I'm a horrible bowler, but we love the Kids Bowl Free program!  It entitles children to two free games per day at participating bowling alley.  There is no catch!  I'm shooting to do that twice a month.

3.  Two local movie theaters host free kids' movies a few days a week.  One of the theaters has, historically, had $1 concessions, so the three of us get to see a fun movie for about $4, total.  Can't beat that!

4.  Our local library does a Summer Reading Program that rewards kids for reading 15 hours during the summer with prizes, a party, a medal, and free tickets to a minor league baseball team.  The kids really get into it and I love to read, so it's win/win!

5.  Minor league baseball games in our area are the best!  And during the summer, they run fantastic deals like "kids eat free", "Webkinz night", and hubby's favorite "$1 draft".  We love it!

Up until February, I worked 35 hours a week, which, in the past, has stressed me out over the summer.  It was tough to work that much while having the girls in my care full-time.  While I'm hopeful more working hours will come my way soon, I admit that I'm sort of looking forward to a lesser schedule, just for the next four months.  :-)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mom, can I... Mom, can I... Mom, can I...

I'm going through a frustrating phase with my newly turned 8-year-old.  For her birthday, she received a $40 gift card for Build-A-Bear Workshop.  I was really looking forward to going with her!  When she got it on her birthday, almost two weeks ago, we told her we wouldn't get to redeem it until this week due to some travel plans.  I *thought* we were all on the same page.

Since that day, I've been asked approximately 2459213 times when we are going, can we go now, how much longer until we go, can we go sooner and every other variation you can imagine.  It's gotten so bad that I threatened to take away $1 in gift card value for each time she asked.

So today was the big day.  I, intentionally, committed my husband from this trip, knowing he'd be impatient and probably a smidge grumpy.  He's anti-stuffed animal.  Having once been a little girl, I'm only reluctant about stuffed animals. 

We joined some friends who were making bears for their new baby cousins.  My younger daughter brought some holiday money along.  The day was set to be wonderful.  We got her a cat, with an outfit and shoes.  I thought she was over the moon.  That was until 30 minutes later when we got into the car to go home and she asked, "When are we going back to Build-A-Bear?" 

I'm ashamed to admit that my child is living in a material world.  'Cause she's a material girl.  You know it, we are living in a material world and she's a material girl.  Lovely Madonna flashback, right?  But seriously, no matter what she gets, or what we do, she's always looking for the next thing.  Not necessary an upgrade.  Just the next thing, totally failing to enjoy the here and now. 

Then when we got home, it was like rapid fire requests.  She wasn't this needy as a baby, for crying out loud!  Can I, can I, can I?  And the second I begin on satisfying one request, 13 more fly my way.  Never did I get, "Thanks for taking me to Build-A-Bear, Mom." or "Thanks for planning a playdate with our friends, Mom."  There's zero appreciation, just anticipation for the next thing.

She wasn't this needy, even as a baby!  God help me during the summer.  I work from home part-time.  This year my hours were dramatically reduced and I'm down to 18 from about 33, a week.  My plan is to work for three hours in the morning and one in the late afternoon, leaving the middle of the day for the pool or beach or library or whatever.  I am under the silly impression that this will keep everyone happy and entertained.  Given how our ten days together during Spring Break have gone, I'm doubting it.  No matter how many things we did on any given day during vacation, we always missed her mark by just a hair because we didn't go to the pool while it was 64 degrees, or wouldn't let her go to the playground by herself.

Seriously, God help me maintain my patience.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

When did Easter turn into Christmas?

My disdain with the onslaught of Easter gifts started several years ago when we'd get together with my in-laws and they seemed to be coming from every direction.  Don't get me wrong.  Presents are nice.  And I'm grateful for them.  Our family is wonderful and incredibly thoughtful.  What stuck in my throat, though, is that I always thought the giving at Easter time was some candy from the bunny in the morning. 

I was just on Facebook reading the status updates of my friends, who are listing things like a hockey net and an American Girl as gifts brought from the Easter Bunny.  WTH?  Did you put up a tree too?

I don't really judge.  I just wish my kids weren't subjected to it.  I'll never give in $100 Easters.  But I suppose it isn't much different when one family gives a child the world on Christmas and another family has a $50 limit.  It just stung a little when my younger daughter was happy with her Easter basket for a full three minutes, then looked up at us and said, "I didn't get anything good.  Is there more?" The new dress, bubbles, and candy didn't cut it.  Guess she was looking to add to her collection of more than 20 Webkinz.  Ya know...cause she needs more junk.  Hmph.

Friday, April 22, 2011

How much does your little girl idolize who/what she sees on TV?

And how much does it bother you?

I just saw a piece on MSN.com about how updated versions of the cartoon characters we loved as children are getting sexy makeovers.  Here's a link for your viewing pleasure. 

What's humorous to me is the tease on their homepage.  It lured me in on the premise that Tinkerbelle had somehow gotten a significantly shorter skirt and hourglass figure.  I was intrigued because I know the movie Peter Pan pretty well.  I didn't recall her getting that much of a makeover in her recent starring roles. 

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="304" caption="Tinkerbelle - then"][/caption]

 

What IS making me nuts, though, are the clothes female teen actress wear on shows like Hannah Montana and Wizards of Waverly Place.  Am I naive to think that my early teens daughter won't be wearing four-inch heals?  Am I loco for thinking not all of her friends will have exposed cleavage up to their chins?  Is there not some middle ground here?  Yet...at 8 and 6, my daughters are obsessed with high-heels, wearing spaghetti strapped tank tops, and lip gloss.  And be assured, they don't get it from me.

 

It's bugging me.
I'm a worrier.  Not a call-the-doctor-every-thirty-seconds kind of worrier.  But I've got children who are sick with a fair amount of frequency.  Just over a year ago one of them sustained a very serious injury.  I worry.  What kills me, though, is the mixed messages the medical community sends us. 

We hear, "No question is too small.  Call if you're concerned.  That's what we're here for."  But when you do, sometimes you wait more than a day for a return call.  Then there's this whole attitude of "if something is wrong, you'll know it" method of thought some doctors subscribe too.  And I've often heard stories of doctors seeming quite dismissive.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I'm sick of sh*tty food

I’m sick of sh*tty food.  Sorry for the profanity, especially in the title, but it’s true.  Is it me or is the quality of the food at low-end table service restaurants rapidly declining?  I’m talking about places like Ruby Tuesdays, Applebees, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, and Buffalo Wild Wings.  With tip, you can’t get out of there for under $40 and I end up feeling like I ate at my kids elementary school cafeteria, which is a whole ‘nother topic.

I feel bad because I’m kind of picking on Buffalo Wild Wings, but let me talk about my dinner tonight.  I’m traveling, so the menu was a smidge different than my own local BWW, so perhaps some of the disappointment was based on my familiar expectations being met.  My husband ordered an ultimate nachos with chicken and six Asian Zing wings.  I had a Buffalo Ranch Wrap.  My girls each had a kids’ chicken tenders meal with fries.

The chips in the “ultimate” nachos had the same texture of Old El Paso taco shells directly from the package, before you heat them in the oven.  The chicken was some chicken-flavored mealy substance.  Calling it “processed” was kind.  For the love of God, this is, basically a chicken joint.  How is it unable to provide me with good quality chicken in the nachos?

The cheese was this watery and salty queso-style cheese.  Also on there was lettuce, tomato, and jalapenos.  Maybe this is just a preference, but when I think of nachos, I think of some kind of melted quality.  Melted cheese.  A warm plate.  Something.  There was nothing warm or melty about this dish and it was pretty gross.

My entrée was accompanied with more of these hard and stale-tasting chips and super-sweet salsa.  No thank you.  My wrap was okay.

The girls’ food, though ordered with ranch, didn’t come with any.  They won’t really touch it without the dressing, so we waited ten minutes for our waitress to come check on us, then another five before she returned with the ranch.  Mmmmm…cold fries and chicken tenders.  And the fries were coated in so much salt that you crunched on it.  The majority of their meal was inedible and they let us know.

Sadly, I feel like we’re pretty much having similar experiences in all of these low-end table service chains.  Low-quality food coupled with “eh” service.  Thanks, but no thanks.  I’m out.  I’ve declared May to be a no-eating-out month, including fast food.

Last night I walked around Washington, DC smelling the scents of amazing outdoor cafes, dying for some really good food.  Tonight I ate crap about BWW.  No joke, my focus is to go home from vacation tomorrow and work on a month of mouth-watering meals.  I’m ditching the rotation of hamburgers, hot dogs, spaghetti, tacos, and fajitas.  Who knows…maybe this will turn into a food blog of good, kid-approved, meals.  Stay tuned…

Friday, April 15, 2011

Random musings for a Friday...

Random musings for a Friday...

1. I typically like it when cashiers chat me up about the products I'm buying until the gal at the grocery store asked me about a face lotion in my cart.  "Does it work?" she asked.  I replied that I was really happy with it.  And she said, "I am thinking about buying it for my mom."  This cashier was probably about 20.  Do I look like I'm the same age as your mother?

2. We walked outside the other morning, getting in the car to go to school.  My older daughter said, "Oooh!  It feels like a camping-at-the-state-park morning!  It's cool out.  The birds are singing and I think I hear the ocean."  The "ocean" she was hearing was traffic, but whatev.  It was sweet.

3.  Why is the word "impeccably" always paired with "dressed" or "groomed?"

4.  Remember when you were a kid and you'd have an Easter Egg hunt in the yard on Easter?  It was special, right?  So why does every damn organization host one now?  No joke, there are no less than 20 in our area.  They cheapen it.

5. I loved, loved, loved the Twilight Saga and a) Taylor Lautner, without his shirt, is so hot even though he's an infant, b) I saw him on a re-run of SNL last night and he, very much, looked like an infant *almost* ruining his werewolfiness for me, and c) despite my deep desire, I just can't seem to get into "The Host."

Monday, April 11, 2011

Here's a gift for your new boobs

I think I'm growing out of The Real Housewives of Anywhere.  I'm watching it via DVR right now and this new gal, Peggy, from Orange County is ridiculous.  I know it's a little early, but I'm putting her in the same category as Danielle from NJ. 

Let me list a few things I know about her...

1. On the first episode we talked about her Bentley and followed her to a shooting range.

2. She's in this weird Mommy competition with Alexis.

3. On vacation her daughter cut her finger, didn't cry a bit, and Peggy insisted she be taken to be seen by a doctor.  God help this child when she gets a zit.

4. She was featured on some other television show about postpartum depression.  During the interview, there were tears and lots of talk about good and bad days.  I don't judge about the depression.  I only ask this.  If you know you're struggling with a mental disorder, why would you put yourself on national television?  When my dad died and I was dealing with "good and bad days" the very last thing I would have wanted was a television crew following me around.  I had to take care of ME and my family, and not worry about entertaining the nation.

5. On today's episode, she's having new breast implants put in.  She's hoping they help her move to the next step in getting over her PPD.  While being prepped for surgery, she starts to cry because she's concerned that if something happened to her during surgery, she'd be leaving behind two children.  When I was being wheeled into surgery to have my gallbladder removed, I started to cry for the same reason.  The difference is that one surgery was necessary, the other wasn't.  She mentioned something about trying to get over feelings of being selfish and she knows she's not.  That's laughable.  What's more laughable is how her husband was invited into the surgical room to approve of the size, and then presented her with massively, chunky diamond earrings before the anesthesia had worn off yet.

I certainly don't know the details, but surely the women featured on The Real Housewives are handsomely compensated for their participation on the shows.  Beyond that, though, I don't get the motivation of some.  Bethenny Frankel turned her role into a platform to highlight her businesses.  Good for her!  Other women have don't similar on a smaller scale or have brought attention to their charities.  Good for them too.  Others baffle me.  If you're struggling - like Peggy...and Danielle - why? 

If you have to work so hard to play a role of bad ass, princess, mom-of-the-year, supermodel then it's not natural and that's how it, sadly, comes across.  This show has become another lesson in the "Just be yourself" genre.

Friday, April 8, 2011

I have a small passion for baby names.  I can't keep from reading the Social Security Administration's 100 most popular list each year.  And I delight in baby naming discussions in online communities.  Yesterday I was reading this blog post on BabyCenter and the debate about "unique names" rages on.

You don't want to have one of four Jacob's in kindergarten class, but there's a balance to strike between that situation and naming your child something with entirely too many "y's" or that no one can spell or pronounce.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Everyone has a hand out

They're all good causes, but in the past two months we've sold Girl Scout cookies and been asked to participate or donate to the American Heart Association, March of Dimes, the American Cancer Society, the Avon Breast Cancer Walk, a charity for a friend who recently lost her husband, and charities for the tragic earthquake in Japan.  I am tapped out and I'm done asking family members to contribute.  Yet, my older daughter just mentioned how she feels badly that her class doesn't have any March of Dimes babies on her classroom door.  The class who has the most gets a pizza party. 

How about this.  If it's the kids' project to support these charities, give them an opportunity to earn it.  Have bake sales.  I'll bake you cookies before I give you $5.  Have them sell plants at the local grocery store.  I don't know.  Something.  Anything.  Maybe it's my recent lay-off from one of my jobs that has me mildly obsessed with money (even though, thankfully, it's not a serious issue), or maybe I'm just tired of the overload of requests.  Either way, I'm out.  If my daughter wants her class to have more March of Dimes donations, she's welcome to donate some of her allowance.  Hmph.

White flags

For some unexplained reason, when my older daughter's fingers wrap around a pencil intended for homework, her sweet demeanor transforms into a snarky, defensive attitude.  Needlessly today it escalated to her screaming, "I hate you!" "I wish you weren't part of our family!" and "You're the meanest mom EVER!"  I sent her to her room for the rest of her life (kidding - until dinner) and must have said 100 times, "go to your room" every time she cried, shouted, and whined.  At some point I ended up going in my bedroom and closing the door just to get away from her.  Trust me, it was best for everyone.

Somehow that situation got resolved and she's gone to bed on a better note.  Thirty seconds before that happened the younger daughter came into the living room asking to get her hair dried.  No problem.  I just required that she brush her teeth first, because it seems lately that she gets lost between my bathroom getting her hair dried and her bathroom to brush her teeth.  Fifteen minutes later, she's still not in bed.  The schedule rework wasn't that big of a deal, or so I thought.  Refusal ensued.  I told her to either follow my direction or go to bed with wet hair.  I'm a fan of natural consequences.

Twenty minutes later, she's still in her room, screaming her head off.  The point is lost.  She's just delirious now, keeping her sister awake.

Why?  I kid you not, I'm marking this on the calendar and looking for a cycle.  *sigh*  I need a drink.

The logical reason to buy a teeny, tiny garbage can

We needed a new garbage can, which is a bit of a bummer because the one we had was pretty much new.  It was rendered useless, though, when the lid disappeared on our last trash day.  After an inspection of our neighbors' yards, the only conclusion we could make, but not prove, was that it somehow landed in the garbage truck and is not sitting in a landfill.

Flash forward to yesterday afternoon.  "We need a new garbage can.  It's supposed to rain tomorrow."  Hubby agreed to buy one.  "Make sure you get one with a permanently attached lid so that doesn't happen again."  He agreed.

This morning, as I backed out of the garage to take the cherubs to school, I saw, what I can only describe as, a slightly larger than a kitchen trash bin sized garbage can at our curb.  The old cherub asked, "Whose tiny garbage can is that?"  The younger one chimed in, "Did he get two?"

Later this afternoon my darling hubby called.  "What's up with the garbage can mini you got?  And was the lid permanently attached, because it's not now."  Round and round we went in a discussion where he denied ever having known about the "permanently attached lid" requirement and seeing no issue whatsoever about the size.  We talked about holidays, parties, family gatherings, yard work, the occasional negligence to take out the garbage thus causing overflow...what will we do then?  "It won't be a problem," the big guy said.

What's hilarious in a sort-of-angry way here is that he talked all about how he got mulch too, since he had a $10 off $50 coupon.  He tried desperately to lead me into believing he had been cost-conscious.  Then, when his exhaustion over this conversation set in, the truth came out.  The bigger cans with the attached lids were $50 and he didn't want to spend that much.  Aha - but you had the coupon, so it would have been $40, right?  He argued that we should just go with a garbage company that provides cans.  The next cheapest one is $10 more a month, and doesn't include recycling.  Any other arguments, counselor?

So you see ladies,  I have a teeny, tiny garbage can with a separate lid because my husband was trying to save money and buy mulch all at the same time.  Makes perfect sense, right?  Not to me either.  And the cherry on this sundae?  Now his Saturday is filled with a yard project instead of helping me prepare for our daughter's birthday party.  Not. Happy.

Friday, April 1, 2011

I love Gymboree, but...

In the world of children's clothing, I'll admit that even though my girls are 7 and 6, I still love Gymboree above all.  No less than 98% of what I buy for my older daughter gets passed down to the younger one with very little signs of wear.  When she's done it all gets consigned or donated - still with only minor evidence of wear. 

My problem with them this morning comes in the forms of socks.  Dear Gymboree, please please please please stop making your awesome socks in slightly different colors.  I would be ever so thankful if you would stick to a few standard colors.  White, off-white, light pink, dark pink, light purple, dark purple, black, and red.  Carry that handful of colors through all of your collections.  Because when you don't, I get leftover socks in my laundry loads that leave me with situations like this one...



When I line up the full collection, it's like looking at rows of paint samples at Lowe's, each of them two drops of white lighter than the previous.  Grrr!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

$1500 for a Donkey - sounds like a good price

Normally my husband comes home from work talking about this or that he heard on Bloomberg News courtesy of his Sirius satellite radio during his commute.  Tonight, while sitting down after the kids' bedtime, he said, "Don't you think it's nuts to pay $1500 for a double stroller?  And that wait list!  People are nuts."  My head titled to the side like Scooby Doo and I looked confused.  "Huh?"  "You know...the Buggyloo something.  It's a new double stroller unveiled in NYC today."  Thanks to Google, I found it.

It turns out Bugaboo (hubs was close) unveiled "The Donkey" today to the squeals of delight by moms like me, the strolleristas.  This, seeming, mother of all strollers converts from a single to a double, with all kinds of bells and whistles that are made to convince you that you'll never need another stroller.  And let's be honest, ladies.  Every time we buy a new one, we convince ourselves, and everyone else who will indulge our affirmations, that *this one* has a unique purpose that can't possibly be filled by another.  There's the single, the lightweight single, the jogger, the umbrella and the double variation for each of these.  I'm afraid ladies.  If we get a partner on board for this extravagant set of wheels, will we ever be able to plea a convincing case for anything else? 

My stroller days just recently ended with the sale of my jogging stroller.  I never did get that City Mini Double Stroller I always wanted, but rented many times in Disney World.  It's all for the better, probably...the Donkey looks like something I would have been relentless about!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Would you ever engage in reality television tourism?



They're mesmerizing, aren't they?  They're pretty.  They make your mouth water.  It's like they're talking to you...

I always thought the answer to the question, "Would you ever engage in reality television tourism", for our family, would be a no.  Yet, I just found myself on the internet a few weeks ago looking at the store hours for Georgetown Cupcakes, better known to many as DC Cupcakes, the focus of a TLC "reality" show.  The show has taught me that there will be a line around the block, but it hasn't deterred me.  The cupcakes look beyond delicious.  My girls are jazzed and we've been talking about dressing like Katherine and Sophie with the black pants and shirt, pink apron, and pink boots.  We'll pay no less than $30 for a dozen cupcakes and surely $100 in shirts for the girls and as gifts.  I've even declared that we need to go there on one of the first days of our trip so that we can enjoy the treats throughout the week.  You'd think a vacation to our nation's capital would be more about monuments, museums, and politics.  Instead, the focus has truly shifted from history to baked goods.  How did this happened?

What's next for us?  The Jersey Shore?  Been there, done that from the ages of 13 - 17.  My sister-in-law is planning a stop at Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, site of the very popular show on the History Channel called Pawn Stars.  Maybe I can talk my husband into touring the restaurants of Top Chef contestants next.  Yum!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I'm a Mommy, but that's not all...

Being a mother is the biggest honor I'll ever be given.  My kids make me nuts, frustrate me, and sometimes even get me angry, but they still rank the highest on my "what would you grab on the way our of your burning house" list.  I loved being pregnant, despite aches and pains.  Lots of women say "I wish my husband could do it."  Not me.  Well actually I wish I could have handed it to him for about three days at a time, just to get a little damn sympathy.  But beyond that, pregnancy was my gig.  I'm a mommy and I'm proud of it...but that's not all there is to me.

Don't get me wrong.  If your child falls in front of my house and she has a bloody knee, I'm going to patch her up, give her a hug, and lovingly bring her back to your house.  If your teenager opens up to me about some personal issues, I'm going to listen attentively and try to give her solid advice.  Once you're a mother, it's almost impossible to walk away from situations like these.  I just hate it when it's what others use this information to define me.

I was at a coffee shop awhile back with two friends.  While ordering my bagel and coffee the owner, a very chatty gal, asked if I was there with my "Mommy friends."  To be honest, I was a little taken aback, but indulged it.  "Yes," to which she replied, "Oh how nice you mommies can get away for a little while.  I know even mommies need a break."  *insert impatient sigh here*  "Do you work, or are you a full-time mommy?" she asked. 

I work AND I'm a full-time mom.  The day of the coffee break, my boss was on the Today show.  One of my friends with me?  Later that day she was off to teach her medically homebound student.  You know - bring school to a child who was too sick to attend.  My other friend?  She was off to show one of her rental houses to support her real estate business.  Our children were at school.  But how obnoxious it would have been to stand there and spit out resumes and credentials, right?  So why was I so tempted? 

It's interesting to me how PR firms and marketing agencies really play to the mom market nowadays, but there's a fine line between recognizing me as a decision-maker and patronizing me.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The crummy spring morning

Forgive me...this post will be rambling.  This morning I'm just feeling very bleah.  For two mornings this week, my younger daughter played donkey.  She wasn't getting dressed.  She wasn't putting on shoes.  She wasn't brushing teeth.  She dug in her sweet little heels and did a full refusal on getting ready for school.

I wish, so very much, that I had some infinite supply of patience and great, logical tools to deal with such bouts of resistance.  Instead, I got from asking, to instructing, to insisting, to demanding, to yelling, to feeling like I want to cry.  Mornings should be filled with a gentleness and soft voices.  It's my time to get my girls ready to start their day over at the big elementary school.  It's a time I am protective of and I HATE it when it goes badly. 

My husband took the girls to school and I insisted that he walk our younger daughter in.  It breaks my heart to send her out of the car with a big, red, crying face.  I stayed behind listing all of my failures.  Why do moms do this?  I should get her up earlier so there's less of a time crunch.  There was an issue of one last piece of homework that needed to get done.  I shouldn't have let that happen.  She was tired because she went to bed a little late.  My fault. 

Two of my friends are teachers and they said this is the time of year they dread.  The kids have spring fever.  They're ready for summer.  Consistently behavior declines and frustration rises.  Maybe that's what we're experiencing.  In fact, my older daughter is having issues on the playground for the first time. 

As the weather warms and afternoons stay lighter longer, the tendency is to relax.  Instead, I believe I should get more structured just to hold this ship together through our remaining weeks of school.   Early bedtimes, early rises, all homework done immediately following school, outfits picked out the evening before for the next day...  At least when we have another crummy morning I'll feel like I did everything I could to prevent it.  Hmph.  I can only hope my little cherub is having a good day and I'm the only one sitting around with a heavy heart.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Phase out the phrase

I don't know why, but I've grown super annoyed with the phrase "date night."  It's feels so cutesy and patronizing.  It stems from every stupid parenting magazine that encourages us to reconnect with our mates by scheduling a "date night".  Yeah...wanna know how my husband likes to reconnect with me?  In an effort to keep a PG-13 rating, I'll gloss over the experience.  Sure we like to go out to dinner, maybe a movie, perhaps for a few drinks, and we even enjoy a nice walk on the beach.  But it feels so ridiculous to pretend we're dating.  So urge others...please stop using the phrase "date night".  Sure, you'll get those sappy responses to your Facebook status, "Awwww...you kids have fun." but I will secretly think you sound ridiculous no matter how sophisticated you may actually be.

Another phrase I'm trying to eradicate is "man cave".  If you're the male in the house and want a room for your xBox, huge flat-screen TV, tools, toys, porn, whatever, that's cool.  Enjoy it with blessings.  Just please don't lower your position on the evolutionary scale by calling it a "man cave".  One friend mentioned liking the term, "media room."  For some reason that reminds me of something that exists at the NBC studios.  That's probably, technically, a media center.  Who knows and who cares - just don't call it a cave.

My friends (and I) added a few more phrases that have to go.   Enjoy!

"It is what it is." -  Profound.  A friend says this is said by a woman when she's pointing out there's nothing you can do to fix the situation.  I suggest it always be followed by, "So what the hell are you going to do about it now?"

"Nothing for nothing" -  This one makes little sense to me.  True - rarely do you get something for nothing.  But I pretty frequently get nothing for nothing.

"To boot" -  I've heard this one when someone adds something to any given conversation in a way that indicates, "on top of it."  To boot is like the cherry on the sundae, I guess.  I'd rather have a cherry, than a boot.  Unless, of course, it looks something like this.

"Honey-do list" -  Unless there's an actual melon somewhere it's simply called a "to-do list".  And in our house, there's little sugar-coating it with a "honey".  My list is long too, buddy.

"Man-date" - This is one I wasn't familiar with, but evidently it refers to the time men spend together.  I suspect the "man-date" is a phrase used fairly exclusively in the married circle.  I couldn't see one of my single guy friends thinking humorously of such an expression.  So let's separate ourselves from the term "date" and more towards something more along the lines of "meeting" or "visit".  Sound good?

If you've got one to add, lay it on me!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

GoDanica.com

I have a bee in my bonnet today, inexplicably.  What's aggravating me right now is how Danica Patrick, accomplished IRL driver and newbie NASCAR driver, is forced to use her sexuality in advertising when no other (male) driver is put in that same situation.  Let start this rant by saying, for all I know, she sought out her Go Daddy sponsorship and was the mastermind behind their campaign of Go Daddy Girls.  If that's the case, good for her.  If she did not, it's so gross, especially since there's a distinct Mark Martin absence in this marketing effort.

Let me describe to you the commercials we'll never see from her male counterparts. 

Imagine a steaming shower.  In it is a, presumably, nude Carl Edwards with his magnificent upper body, pimping out body wash.  How about Jamie McMurray selling me beer and he's shirtless whilst tailgating in the sun?  Or maybe we could convince Kasey Kahne to do a suggestive little video series for just about anything that leads me to a website that sells whatever, and lets meet see more of him in compromising positions, exposing skin not otherwise seen while he's suited up for a race.  How 'bout that?  Because, correct me if I'm wrong, the fastest growing demographic of NASCAR fans isn't men.  So why is Danica portrayed in such a ridiculous way?

And for the record, I went to my first race in 1994 and have been to 20+, so I'm not among the rookies, trying to change the way it's always been.  Those people get on my nerves.  :-p

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Does Craigslist sometimes make you nuts?

I'm so frustrated.  Why do some Craigslist shoppers want you to give them your stuff?  I've got a fabulous jogging stroller for sale, barely used, and listed for less than 50% of retail.  There is zero wear, other than a little dirt on the wheels.  It's a piece of gear a family could bring on, use for years, and still sell it for $75 when they're done.  So why is it that I keep finding people who want to pay me $50 for it?  I love the defense, "Well other people are selling theirs for $35."  Yeah...I sold a stroller once for $15 too, but that's because it was beat up!  If you want something as close to new as possible, you have to pay for it.  Ay yi yi!

Dear Craigslist shoppers, thank you for your interest.  I really do appreciate it.  I never mind answering your questions. I don't even mind meeting you so you can see the stroller before agreeing to purchase it.  I believe this is all very reasonable of me.  Please offer me the same courtesy and offer a price that's realistic, show up at the time and location we agreed and don't make me uncomfortable by trying to haggle on the spot.

With that all said, I love Craigslist.  I wish I could get my butt in gear and move more stuff out the door!  :-)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Searching for a MFF...not to be confused with MILF

I remember when my girls were younger, the produce department is my new bar.  There’s a pretty little one over by the cantaloupes.  I’m not a freaky stalker or anything.  I genuinely need fruit, so I wheel my cart over there.

“Your daughter is beautiful!  How old is she?”  I look to the other mom, hopefully.  Do we have anything in common?  Does she seem nice?  Is she into me?  Do I ask for the digits on the first meeting to arrange a playdate or do I hold back, hoping to bump into her somewhere else?  Making mom friends has thrown me back into some strange parody of the dating world. 

 When my daughter was just eight-months-old, our family relocated to an area where we knew no one.  Talk about isolating!  I did my best to get involved in things like library story time, yet still I found myself really yearning for the BFF, or in my case a MFF (Mom Friend Forever) that I could call and whine too when the baby was teething and drink wine with while we mastered potty training.  She was harder to find that I had imagined.

I’m an outgoing gal.  I can strike up random conversations.  I take rejection well.  Yet it felt like everyone had friends already. 

Seven years later, I think I finally have some valuable tips to share, brought to you straight from the frontlines. 

  1. Don’t worry too much if a potential MFF seems to have a child who isn’t the same as yours.  She may have good advice to offer if her little one is older than yours or may make you feel pretty good about yourself when you get to offer her advice when you’ve BTDT.

  2. Watch out for the MFF who needs you more than you need her.  Great examples are the “urgent” need for you to babysit often or constant requests to have a Pampered Chef book party to help her get her business off the ground.

  3. Don’t freak out if she doesn’t return your calls or emails right away.  She’s busy and probably slept 45 minutes last night.

  4. Don’t judge a mom by the choices she makes that differ from yours.  Bottle-feeders can make great friends to breastfeeders, for example.  One of my MFFs never even considered it while I did it for a combined three years over the course of two children.  I wished she saw the value and emotion associated with breastfeeding.  She probably wished I didn’t whip out a boob when my girls whimpered.  Dare I say “tit for tat”?

  5. Don’t rely on the crutch of your children getting along to have a relationship with a MFF.  Kids can change their mind daily about whom they like and dislike.  Part of the beauty of a MFF is your ability to enjoy each other’s company without having to rely on interruptions from little ones to fill in the awkward pauses.

  6. And last, if a budding friendship falls flat, don’t take it personally.  Sometimes nurturing a friendship is a lot of work and not everyone has the energy.  When you stop hearing from a MFF candidate head to the grocery.  I guarantee you another possibility is somewhere near the bananas. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Is it fever-reducer or blood-infused vomit? You decide.

I sent my husband to the drug store to get a new bottle of children's acetaminophen.  Since the Tylenol recalls, we've been using generics and I assumed that's what he would come home with.  Instead, he bought Triaminic's new product, which, much my to sarcastic delight is red. 

Dear Triaminic

When you make your product that shade of deep red I'm immediately concerned about two things.  1.  How much dye did you use?  That can't be good for anyone.  2.  How am I supposed to determine if my daughter's vomit contains your medication or blood?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Birds, bees, and when they touch themselves

I always thought I was a cool mom.  Looking ahead to when my daughters ask about the birds and the bees, I didn't panic.  You just tell them the truth right?  The mechanics aren't anything to be embarrassed about.  My focus would be 50% physiology and 50% relationships.  It's important to me to convey the merits of a relationship that would warrant sex. 

Yeah...that was all true until I saw someone share this video.   In it, Dr. Laura Berman guides a mom through talking with her tween daughter about sex.  Being blunt, I can't imagine talking to my daughter about her clitoris and how it's normal to touch around to see what feels good.  I hadn't anticipated a discussion about masturbation.  Yikes!  You know darn well that ten seconds after you tuck your baby in at night and kiss her head the exploration will begin.  Not that there's anything wrong with it, I'm just not as cool as I thought.  I'm squeaming. 

I know self-exploration is normal.  I know it's healthy.  I know there's nothing wrong with it.  I just have a hard time saying, "now that you know, have at it".  Am I nuts?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The poignant words of another drowning mom

A friend of mine posted a link to this blog post from another mom, renouncing a version of my hero, Wonder Woman.  Can you believe?  She can't get stuff done.  Work suffers.  Kids suffer.  The household suffers.  Hubby suffers.  She suffers.  There aren't enough hours in the day.  If I could be so bold as to paraphrase, she functions at a percentage lower than ideal.  Nothing is as good as she knows she can do.  She feels like a failure.  I have two thoughts for the author.

1.  Honey, I can relate.

2.  Brava for eloquently puking it all out in a way that makes sense.

My circumstances and details aren't exactly the same, but I end many days with guilt and regret for missing the mark on any given task.  I should have put down the computer and engaged with the kids more.  I should have worked more to hit a deadline.  I should have stopped both of those things so that I could have cleaned the house.  I should have come to bed earlier so that I could "spend time" with hubby.  And a day that left me feeling completely spent from spinning my wheels from dawn to...well, almost dawn again, I don't think about the accomplishment.  I dwell on what didn't happen.

So what's the solution?

Work less?  Oddly, I'm about to get that wish.  And what have I done instead of relishing it?  Started my own website and that will, hopefully, grow to a profession.  Gee, that sounds like a schedule-clearer.  *insert eye roll here*

Hire someone to do some of this work (cooking, cleaning, errands) for me?  I'm cheap and that'll never happen.

Spend less time with my family in hopes of getting other things done?  Not an option.

I hang a lot of faith that getting myself organized, both in the literal sense of decluttering our home and my brain by working on meal plans, for example.  The irony is that those things take time.

I usually like to wrap up my posts on something funny or an upnote, and in that tradition, I think I'm going to commit to some baby steps.  I'm guilty of getting overwhelmed and making mountains out of mole hills.  Seriously...instead of doing two loads of laundry a day (the mole hill), I wait until there are nine loads to do (Mt. Washmore) and I'm weighed down by the thought of completing that task. 

Thank you to Jessica for her poignant words that really made me take ten minutes and think this through today.  I needed that!  Today, Wonder Woman can move over.  You're my hero.  <3

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sometimes you have to intentionally make yourself smile

I don't know what it is, but the change from winter to spring makes me a little melancholy about my dad.  He'll be gone two years next month and I miss him more than I can say.  While the grief isn't part of a normal day for me anymore.  The tangible pain I feel when it grips me is crushing.

I've spent the weekend feeling a little blue, so in an effort cheer myself up, I'm going to have to go with dancing hamsters.  Thank you, Kia, for your unique flavor of advertising.







What's the deal with the hamsters in the toaster?  Or the one in the washing machine? 

And here's my new my favorite commercial. 







Bless you, Peppers.

Grudges are like boulders

Today in church, our second and third graders put on a play, where each of them held "heavy" boulders and talked about the weight associated with holding grudges.  As I listened, I thought about how I could review this message with my girls and ask for ways it applied to their worlds when it hit me - I'm the one weighed down by a grudge right now.

The details aren't important, but I'm in a situation where someone's behavior has bothered me more than I should have let it.  Literally, my family can't wait for this situation, which is coming to an end, is over just so I'll get my normal level of blood pressure back.  I would refer to many interactions with this person as toxic.  Many chances have been given.  There have been fresh starts that keep going wrong.  Have I been holding a grudge?  In the great words of Sarah Palin, you betcha.  Has it been weighing me down.  Heck yes.

This afternoon, at a birthday party, another party-goer asked to trade favor toys with my daughter.  She, excited about the possibility of a new friendship, agreed.  Three steps away from the exchange, she held an obviously broken toy in her hand.  Do I think there was ill-intent on the party of the trade initiator?  You betcha.  Did my daughter carry her hurt feelings and anger well beyond the end of this party?  Heck yes.

We've all heard the expression, "turn the other cheek."  And while I don't typically disagree with the bible, I am going to with my own interpretation on this one.  I think by turning the other cheek, we're giving someone a second chance to do the right thing.  When they don't and we have no more cheeks to offer, it isn't necessary to keep allowing them to hurt us.  Yet, it's not healthy to carry that grudge.  So what's the middle ground here?  Forgive and forget?  I wish I was better at that.  So how about forgive and move on?  If that leaves some behind, so be it.  Pray for them.  Wish them the best, and mean it.  Go forward.  Sometimes, as quickly as possible.  Run.  Fast, if you must.  :-)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What motivates someone to go on the Bachelor?

I can't stop watching The Bachelor.  I know it's ridiculous.  I know it's not at all about finding true love.  It's stupid.  No one argues that point.  Yet I watch.  And I can't help pointing out obvious things.

There were six women on last night's episode and Brad had to choose four at the end.  I'm mid-way through the episode via my BFF, the DVR.  Chantal is crying her eyes out because she didn't get the rose on a group date.  Her feelings are hurt that he didn't pick her as his favorite out of the three.  Poor sweet girl.  The emotions are obviously real, but weren't they anticipated?  Surely she's seen the show before.  They start with like thirty women and only one makes it to the end.  Your odds going in are pretty bad.  And with Back Again Brad, they're even worse when you throw in his first set of 30 women who didn't make the cut. 

I suppose we all get ourselves into situations with a known emotional consequence.  I'll just never get why these women do it to themselves to publicly.  It sure can't be the shot at fame anymore since reality TV makes up such a large portion of airwaves these days.  These "stars" are a dime a dozen.  They can't *really* think it's likely they'll find love.  I suppose there's the experience.  I mean I just saw these women in Costa Rica and now Anguilla.  I'd love to go hang out at these locations.  In fact, watching tonight I had the thought, (insert whiney voice here) "I wanna go away with my husband!"  Though I, without doubt, wouldn't want to go on those trips with the strings of watching him mack on other woman while I watched attached.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Will Justin Bieber be my son-in-law?

My daughter loves Justin Bieber.  The other day she told me she wants to marry him and today she called him, "my man."  When shopping for Valentines last weekend, she choose a set with his picture on them.  When she pulled out an included poster, she gasped because it had his autograph on it.  All of this seems pretty typical, right?  The only concerning detail here is that she's six-years-old - and doesn't have a CD of his.  We've never seen him on television except for commercials for his upcoming movie.  Today she asked why his voice used to be high and now it's lower.  So no only is he stealing the heart of my baby, but now forcing conversations about puberty.  Where did this all come from?  And how do I redirect her back to playing Mommy to her dolls?

Disney is disappointing me

Today was the long-anticipated launch of Disney Junior, a channel running shows all day  for the preschool crowd.  I'm reading that the change in formatting is to focus on healthy living.  When my children were a little younger, I desperately wanted this option.  Nickelodeon turned me off with their dedication to inundating my children with loads of commercials.  Our playroom looks like Toys R Us and AmericanGirl.com ate Christmas morning, had some sort of breeding session with it and puked it back out.  We're good in the toy department.  The last thing I need is pleading for junky toys that look amazing on TV and fall apart in your hand.  Disney channel, up to this point, has shielded me from that. 

Now that the gals are 6 and 7, I'm hearing some grumblings about "baby shows" and I can't blame them.  Handy Manny is cute, but is definitely designed for the five and under crowd.  So this morning I searched out Disney XD on our TV, looking for Hannah Montana, Sonny with a Chance...something.  I did find The Suite Life on Deck - sandwiched between commercial breaks for some crappy erasers and robot toys.  Really?  This is my new option?  No thank you.

Disney, I'm mad at you.  I was okay with the promos for your movies coming out on DVD.  I was only mildly annoyed when you ran that commercial for the Tangled tower that my little one wanted for Christmas and was $160.  And now you've got that Selena Gomez song "Round and Round" permanently stuck in my head.  All excusable.  But now, not only are you saying, "Be exposed to advertising for crappy products or watch baby shows," but by looking at the programming schedule on both Junior and XD, you've got nothing *really* age-appropriate for kids my daughters' ages in the before/afterschool hours.  No Phineas and Ferb.  No Good luck, Charlie.  Why was this age-group completely dumped?

So I'm wondering.  What did parents of young grade-schoolers gain?  I'm thinking it's a strengthened commitment to PBS.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

My 6-year-old is a flu-sy

I'm starting to get a complex about how often my kids are sick this year.  I recall strep around Thanksgiving.  On New Year's day my older daughter got sick with a virus.  My younger daughter got that same virus a few days later.  Each girl missed a full week of school and were the sickest I've ever seen them.  The flu tests were negative on that, but I wasn't convinced.  Two weeks later, the older daughter got the actual flu.  On Friday, the baby was diagnosed with the flu.  Are you kidding me?

I've heard it from several people - EVERYONE seems to be extra sick this year.  Strep throat went around our school like wildfire.  The viruses are swirling like little tornadoes.  And now the flu is taking kids out left and right.

I'm one of those moms who deliberately does not get the flu shot for the family.  In general, I'm a nervous vaccinator.  We don't get it, but I don't renounce it completely.  My mom has some health issues, dealing with heart disease and COPD.  It's absolutely necessary for her to get it.  Earlier this year I talked to our doctor about how us not getting it could possibly harm my mom.  She said that if she felt strongly we should get the shot, she'd tell me.  With that information, I went with my gut and we skipped it again this year.  Now I'm reconsidering that policy. 

In the meantime, I'm doing some research on immunity boosting foods and stocking up on Clorox and Lysol wipes.  Fingers crossed we'll stay healthy.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What I love and hate about Facebook

Yesterday I got to tell my kindergarten boyfriend that his new baby daughter is just gorgeous.  He and I were in love about 31 years ago for a short time that involved a few hugs and perhaps a kiss on the cheek.  We went to school together clear through senior year and graduated in the same class.  Though after kindergarten, the spark faded and we just passed each other in the hall.  He's married now.  So am I.  Yet somehow Facebook has brought us back together in a "Hey there!  How's your family?  It's so nice to hear from you!" benign way and I was able to share in the joy of him posting pictures of his first child.  So cool!

The downside of Facebook is getting that friend invite from someone you have known your whole life, but was never really part of it.  Someone who has never said more than five consecutive snooty words to you, yet somehow thinks you should be connected via social media.  She's pseudo-family, so there are some repercussions for denying the request.  But, come on.  Seriously?  I wish her and her family well, but beyond that, I'm good.

Oh and then there's that co-worker you absolutely do not get along with who has requested "friendship", likely to just spy on you.  But you're the witch if you don't accept.

Thank you, Facebook engineers, for lists.  :-)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I chickened out

I'm so ashamed to admit I did not attend the funeral for my daughter's teacher's husband.  :-(

Before my dad died, I was anti-funeral.  I did, and still do, feel like grief is a very private thing.  Yet thinking back to the visitation and mass, I remember who was there.  I remember who I talked too.  I remember seeing our preschool teachers walk in and crying in appreciation.  My mom and other family members have similar stories.  So despite being blinded by tears, I still know who I saw those days and how much it meant to me.  I wanted my attendance credit for this one.  Not for any selfish interest, of course.  More like as a means of letting this woman know, "My heart hurts for you and I'm here because I care about you and your family."  I failed.

I was on the way home from dropping my mom off at the airport and was delayed due to an accident on an entrance ramp to the highway.  Then I called home to see if the fam wanted bagels.  Then I started really calculating the time and thinking it would be tight for me to get home, change clothes and go.  Of course I would have to find the address of the church and put it into the nav.  Tick tock tick tock.  Then I realized I was desperately trying to find reasons why I would be late and it wouldn't work out.  I was already tearing up, trying to figure out exactly what I would say.  I thought back, again, to my dad's funeral, also a Catholic mass.  I thought, "would the family sit in the same position?"  "Would it be like deja vu?"  I started losing it and getting angry about my tears.  I'm the Jasper of my family and my empathy skills are off the charts.  I didn't want to go to this funeral and fall apart.  I hardly knew the deceased. He was such a pleasant and friendly guy who, so outwardly, loved and was proud of his family.  He was a valued acquaintance, but my grief isn't deep over my loss of him.  It's deep for our friend's loss of him.  Unfortunately, teardrops don't fall with post-it notes attached and I was afraid they'd be misinterpreted - in front of MANY people from our school. 

I'm a chicken.

My mom got a breast exam from a TSA agent today

Let me be the first to say I support security in our airport.  I don't gripe about screening lines.  I wear slide-on shoes to expedite the process.  I wouldn't freak out if I had to walk through one of those x-rayers.  What happened today, though, got under my skin.

My mother flew out of our tiny airport this morning.  She has had her knee replaced and will set off the metal detector.  She loaded her carry-on baggage into the trays and sent it through the scanner.  When she was called to walk through the detector, she informed the agent she would set it off due to her new joint.  I had to stand quite a distance away since I wasn't flying with her, but I could hear bits and pieces of the conversation.

He asked her to stand to the side.  For several minutes, she was in a secondary line with another traveler in a wheelchair in front of her.  Then I saw a female TSA agent talking with her, demonstrating some methods she'd use to pat her down.  My mom was smiling, this gal was smiling, so I don't believe it was a tense situation.  But seriously - how much resistance will you put up when you have 30 minutes until your flight and you just want to get off the ground.  Besides, Mom is a rule follower and even if she had two extra hours, she probably would have obliged.

Then the screening began.  I actually thought there would be the wand used.  Mom intentionally wore loose-fitting pants so she could show security her scar.  In the past, she has had the wand waved over her entire body.  If only her knee region set it off, she showed that scar and went on her way.  Not thing time.  She got the full-body pat down.  I basically watched this TSA agent give my mother a breast exam.  Literally she rubbed her back, then reach around the sides of her breasts.  Then she ran her hands over her shoulders, and down the front of both breasts.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! 

I'm not suggesting that this TSA agent acted unprofessional, in any way.  But was this procedure really necessary?  Why should I, as an air traveller, be forced to submit to this violation?  I've read many airport security horror stories and this isn't quite as bad.  But isn't there a better way? 

As my mother's two-layers-short-of-a-gynecological exam came to an end, I mouthed, "Oh my God!" to her and she waved me on, "It's okay.  I'm fine."  But again - what else would she have said as the agent stood 12 inches from her?  Unreal.  Again - there HAS to be a different way.