Friday, November 30, 2012

Now we Play Detective

I just wanted a glass of juice.  I got up out of bed, left my two young children to snuggle, and trudged to the kitchen.  I was miserable with congestion and cough and my body ached.  I had spent the day before home ill in bed suffering from the combination of these cold symptoms and a severe migraine.  My lips were parched and dry and I longed for a glass of cold orange juice.  I opened the refrigerator door, pulled out the pitcher of juice, and poured it into a glass I had retrieved from the cupboard.  The juice felt refreshing as it slowly slid down my throat bringing me relief. 

I began to move toward the sink to rinse out my glass and I felt a definite dis ease in my body.  I felt dizzy and my head felt congested with negative energy.  When the physician later asked me to describe this feeling, I said, “It’s just like my head feels suddenly full of static and just … well, full.”  As an individual who would like to fancy herself a writer, this description is sorely disappointing.  However, given more time to contemplate this feeling and try to put the perfect words to this overwhelming dizziness and heaviness, I still come up lacking. 

I stood still for a moment and tried to steady myself as I was overcome by this dizzy, indescribable feeling. I felt my knees weaken and they bent slowly.  The glass of juice fell from my hand and the last drops poured out on the kitchen floor.  My body crashed down upon the flooring and I blacked out for just a few moments.  I opened my eyes when my dog began licking my face, after first eagerly scoffing the sweet sticky juice to my side.  I closed my eyes again, opened them, stared off not unconscious, but not fully aware of my surroundings and the situation either.  Eyes closing, eyes opening, head still spinning, body still flat on the floor, head and feet jerking and twitching between moments of waking of fading.  This is how I existed until my husband came in the home and to my side.  
He brought me slowly to an awake state, though I was left with an extreme exhaustion.  While I still lay there unaware, he checked on the children, called my employer, and called my mother.  This was the second time an episode like this had happened in the week.  And this time, unlike all the others in the past, I was home alone with our two tiny children.  My husband woke me, and put a pillow beneath my head.  He was asking me questions when I heard my four month old son crying from the next room.  When I heard his tears, I erupted into tears of my own.  I sobbed and shook in fear – a fear greater than that I felt prior to falling upon the floor. 

“My babies. My babies," I began to cry and repeat.  What if I hadn’t been holding a glass of juice?  What if I had my son in my arms?  I didn’t want to consider this.  I don’t want to consider this now because the thought terrifies me.   Therefore, through my sobbing, I demanded that we go to the clinic as soon as possible. This isn't a full seizure as I've had those before. It's a strange, debilitating feeling that frightens and confounds me.  I need answers because I need assurance that I won’t collapse while I’m caring for my children. My husband came back home that day only because I had called him earlier to let him know I was still feeling ill and out of sorts. 

I yet remain feeling out of sorts, but improved enough to compose this story.  I am improved enough to express enormous gratitude for my husband and my children.  I am grateful that my husband will do what is necessary to ensure my health and the safety of our children.  I am grateful for my beautiful daughter, who sat next to me in bed, caring for me while I remained exhausted all afternoon. 

So, what now?  Yesterday, there was blood work.  Today, there was a C/T scan.  And now “we play detective,” the exact phrase of the physician.  We play detective … and we pray.   

Monday, November 26, 2012

I Want Ryan Gosling

Unlike the vast majority of American women, I hate the book and movie The Notebook.  Truth be told, I hate Nicholas Sparks – period.  All of his novels seem to follow the same plot structure: young couple falls in love, couple is torn apart under unfortunate circumstances, couple is reunited and love springs eternal forever and always.  Puke.  Seriously.   I am not the stereotype of a woman who reads romantic novels and weeps while watching P.S. – I Love You.  Like all Nicholas Sparks, that shit is just too sappy for me and romances like that rarely exist in real life.  If they do, the couple is never as attractive as Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams.
Despite my distaste of most romances, I still sometimes want my own Ryan Gosling.  I want Ryan Gosling to nod and tilt his pretty little head at me and ask, “Hey girl, what can I make you for breakfast?”  Then he would let me sleep in a little later while he prepared our morning meal, we would eat french toast, and then we would crawl back in bed and fuck some more.  If you’re a friend or follower, I know the first question you’re asking is, “Wait? Aren’t you married bitch?” Yes, yes I am.  Relax. Having put that question aside, the next logical inquiry for followers is, “Well, then why doesn’t Ryan Gosling make your short list?”
The response to this very vital query lies in a man’s confidence.  If I were to view a picture of Gosling in a magazine, the image of him alone would not be enough to spawn dirty thoughts in my mind.  The reason Gosling has become the admiration of so many women lies in the way he carries himself.  Speaking personally, I am not attracted to Gosling of The Notebook, but my panties would get a little wet if I encountered Gosling’s character in Crazy Stupid Love. I want a man who is cool and in charge, who makes me feel like the sexiest girl in the room. 
I want my man, my spouse, who I adore beyond belief, to gain the ability to carry himself with more confidence.  As my spouse and I were out at a martini bar this past Saturday, I leaned back in the comfortable leather chair I was sitting in and observed the man across from me.  He was still wearing the pink top and tie he had donned for our daughter’s “tutu and ties” birthday party, and I admired him for seemingly disregarding other’s perceptions of his apparel.  But, he didn’t quite pull off this look with the confidence of Gosling’s character.  He still seemed a bit awkward and shy. 
I smiled at him, and he smiled back.  I felt comfortable and cool sitting in the bar’s back alcove with our friends.  I continued to contemplate my husband, wishing he would give me a tiny Gosling glance and make me believe I was as sexy and desirable as Emma Stone.  He didn’t, and I averted my eyes to the floor in a small moment of disappointment I wished to be visible to no one.  As I looked down, I noticed my husband’s pair of New Balance shoes and realized what I then spoke aloud to our friends: “Shit. Sam is just like Steve Carell before Ryan Gosling’s help!” I know that was a bitchy remark to make, but a) I’m a bitch and b) I was also a slightly intoxicated bitch, which makes me even bolder.
My husband is never going to look like Ryan Gosling.   I am never going to look like Emma Stone.  I don’t give a shit about that.  It’s that take charge confidence that I’m missing.  I wish this not just for myself, but for both of us.  Sometimes I still believe that I’m hilarious and sexy and crazy cool, even if others don’t find this to be true.  Their opinions don’t matter because I love those moments when such a high level of self-confidence is my truth.  I just want my husband to know that kind of truth for himself too.  I want him to recognize that he is hysterical, hip, and handsome.  I really just want to make love to my own spouse (who does make me french toast most Saturday mornings), but while he believes he’s just as attractive to me as Ryan Gosling is to the common woman.   
Love really is crazy, and stupid, and complicated.  But if all I really want is a more confident husband, instead of actually wishing for an extramarital affair with an actor, I think my adoring spouse and I will be just fine.  I can keep on bringing the crazy to our love.  Nicholas Sparks might be lacking for material in our marriage, but I wouldn’t actually choose any other protagonist of this plot – not even Ryan Gosling.  This is real life, where New Balance shoes are an affordable and practical purchase.
I decided to link this post up with Yeah Write.  I'm quite certain all the folks on the grid want to read about my sexual fantasies ... quite certain indeed. Smiley face. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I Failed; Fuck It

As most of you are probably aware, November is National Blog Post Month.  The challenge of NaBloPoMo is to add a post every single day of the month, with no exceptions for weekends or holidays.   I began the challenge with a bang, determined that I could easily complete a blog post a day, mocking other bloggers  when I visited their sites and noticed they had missed a few days.  You should not be surprised that I mocked others given my incurable Bitch Tourette’s Syndrome. 

I convinced myself that I would succeed where others had failed.  However, this meant that some of my posts would be far from my proudest writing. My weakest post probably came on Thanksgiving Day – a terrible, quite poorly thought out acrostic poem (I knew it, so I'm not mad if you thought it too).  While the post lacked pizazz, I still managed to complete the challenge despite being in the company of excessive amounts of in-laws.

Then I missed the last two days.   I had wondered how other bloggers had failed to write a post a day given there’s no rule that says every post must contain high quality writing.  Then it happened to me.  I could provide you with a number of excuses – I was tired and I was out of town.  I really don’t like the keyboard at my in-laws (true story), and I just wasn’t comfortable typing in the provided space.  I need time to myself, and I could never find that time to cozy away in a corner and get creative. Regardless of the reason, I failed.
I failed the challenge I had accepted.  I could beat myself up over this and add it to a long list of other failures in my life, goals I have failed to meet.  I still bite my damn fingernails and I haven’t lost the extra weight I gained over eight years ago, although I have sporadically attempted to do so. I will give up diet soda for months at a time, and then fall right back into that addiction.  But I decided to engage in a different approach to my failings.  I decided to just say “fuck it.”  Fuck it.  So what?  Fuck it and keep on truckin’, my friend.

I have to evaluate the consequences of the failings in my life.  I bite my nails, so I have ugly nails.  What else? I can’t think of any other catastrophic outcome to this failure.  My blog contained no new posts the past two days.  What are the consequences of this?  I don’t know that there really are any, expect some bitches may have likewise judged me on the absence of posts. I failed a challenge, but I’m still a good mother, I still contribute to my community, I still enjoyed a wonderful weekend with my friends and family.  Therefore, so what?  I stand strong, pick up from where I left up, and keep movin’ on.  Life is too short to tear down and beat up my own self-confidence.

The next time you find yourself condemning yourself for some minor failing, consider the actual impact of your action or inaction.  Was anyone severely injured or scarred by your failing?  Are you still living and breathing?  Do you still have all your teeth and have not become the victim of inexplicable internal bleeding?  If so, I say you should simply declare fuck it, shake that shit off, and move along.  I failed.  So what? Fuck it, my friends, fuck it. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my friends and followers today.  I’m posting today because I committed myself to National Blog Post Month.  I’m sure you would all be terribly disappointed if I didn’t post today, right? (Damn … I forgot what I formerly declared as the universal sarcasm font.) I hope that no one has killed their in-laws yet or fallen into a serious turkey coma. Should you need a temporary respite from the relatives, please enjoy this simple acrostic poem:

Turkey on the table, and love and laughter fill the halls.

Happy to be with family, and grateful for the company of good friends.

Aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, grandparents, and spouses, both blood and chosen family.

No one feels alone; everyone knows this place may be called home.

Kids laugh and play and peek at the pumpkin and pecan pies.

Sharing special times; making memories that will comfort us in moments of despair, for we know family will always be there.  I will always be here.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Eat your Broccoli, Read your Books

“Mrs. Ryan, do you know they have us reading banned books here?” a student in study hall inquired.

“Do you mean The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?” I returned, possessing awareness that this classic was part of the American Literature curriculum, as it continues to be in most school districts.

They nodded, and I continued to speak, “Yes.  That novel has continued to be one of the most banned books of all time since its publication in 1884.  Many people misunderstand the novel and believe it to be a racist text.  However, the novel is a satire and Mark Twain, its author, was actually an abolitionist.  Do you know what those terms mean?”

Before even fully allowing the students at the table time to respond, I began to explain satire.  I only got a few words into my explanation when one of the young females at the table interrupted me to ask, “How do you know so much?”

Just as I had been interrupted in my explanation of satire, I wasn’t given an opportunity to complete a response either as another student had offered one.  “Because she reads books like all the time,” the girl’s friend offered. “Haven’t you ever noticed that?  If she’s not helping us, she’s reading.  I’ve seen her with three different books in one week,” she continued.  I would like to tell you that her tone hinted at envy and applause of my frequent reading.  Rather, her tone seemed to suggest she was disturbed and perplexed by my evident love of literature.

“Oh yeah,” said the male student who first asked me about banned books, “she does always read.”  He said this as though being an avid reader were the equivalent of leprosy.

I can’t imagine ever having such an attitude towards books.  I get great comfort from being surrounded by those pages of precious words.  When I finally bought a new shelving unit earlier this year, I was exceedingly enthused to fill it up with my volumes of classic literature and contemporary fiction.  I took a photo the instant I completed this task, and proudly posted it on my facebook account.  I was nearly as proud of my books as I am of my babies. 

For those precious babies of mine, reading is already an engrained part of their life.  I hope it is a habit they continue to treasure for all of their lives.  My children both get such joy from having stories told to them, and I try to read them at least one book every single day.  “Book” is one of the first words my daughter said, and she is constantly bringing her Dr. Seuss and Eric Carle books to me asking “Book? Book?” in a request to be read a story.  

Reading is as essential in this household as eating and sleeping.  It’s a requirement of living a good, healthy, well-rounded life.  My children will always know that you are to eat your vegetables, brush your teeth, and read lots and lots of books.  I hope their peers never treat them in the same manner with which these students responded to my regular reading. I want to believe there are still mothers like me out there who are also reading Shakespeare to their infant and toddler children.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Christmas with a Con-Artist

At age twenty-two, for the first time, there was another individual I cared enough about to invite him home for the holidays.  In fact, I cared for and loved him so much that I had visions of the two of us beginning our family together, starting our own holiday traditions, and growing old together. Because I was in love, I felt the holiday spirit that year in a way I had not done since I was a young child who still believed in Santa Claus and miracles.  His love felt like a miracle to me, and I enthusiastically looked forward to sharing the magic of Christmas with this cherished man.

I invited him to spend Christmas with my family, and he declined with seemingly sincere regret.  He informed me he had to work on Christmas day and planned on spending the holidays alone in his apartment.  He said he understood if I still wanted to be with my family.

I was deeply saddened to hear such news, but assured him he would not be alone on the holidays.  I had purchased so many gifts that I eagerly looked forward to presenting to him.  I had bought him several new shirts and two handsome sweaters.  I also gave him a framed photo of us, a DVD, a massager, and the gift I was most excited about – a Chinese tea pot I spent nearly two hundred dollars on.

I entered his apartment bearing all these gifts, and a great big smile.  We sat near his tiny three foot Christmas tree. He opened up my gifts, and gave me hugs, kisses, and expressions of gratitude.  I beamed at the joy I had brought him.  Then I sat up on my knees and asked, “Okay.  What did you get for me?” as I continued smiling naively.

“Uhm, well …” he replied, “I was working today.  I didn’t have time to buy you anything.” 
I tried not to be angry because his love should have been enough of a gift, and Christmas isn’t really about getting presents after all.  But, I was extremely disappointed given the thought and financial expense I had placed into his gifts.  I was silent for some time, but then asked, “What do you mean? Nothing? Really? You got me nothing? You’re kidding, right?”

He wasn’t kidding.  He apologized, but said he had been too busy working long overtime hours.  “But,” I began, “it’s not like you had just the past few days to shop.  It’s not like Christmas snuck up on you and surprised you.  It’s the same damn day every year!”  my voice began rising in anger as I felt I had been fooled.

People say you get what you give, but I have always given way more than I have ever gotten in return, and this Christmas was apparently no exception.  I believed it was going to be the best holiday ever, and my beliefs were knocked to the ground when there was nothing shiny and sparkly for me to unwrap.

I started to cry.  I know this confession makes me sound like a spoiled, selfish, ungrateful bitch, but I started to cry.  Tears rolled down my cheeks and my smile became a deep, disappointed frown.  He said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t know you would react like this.  I think there’s a Walgreen’s open down the street.  I’ll go pick up something quick, okay?” I nodded my head in affirmation while I continued to sob.

He returned with a small plastic bag in his hand, went to his room to wrap the contents, and returned with a card and one tiny, hastily wrapped present.  I opened the card and gift.  It was a framed photo of us, but I wasn’t smiling now the way I was in that image.  I recognized that frame.  That same frame had been in his bedroom all this time, but it formerly held a picture of his family. I was certain beyond doubt it was the very same frame. He only bought a two dollar card.

“You didn’t just buy this,” I said.  “This frame was in your room.”

He tried explaining that it was indeed a new frame, and he liked that other similar frame so much he just bought a like one.  However, when I looked for it, the former frame was no longer atop his dresser. He somehow managed to justify its magical disappearance.  He probably started kissing me, and distracting from his dishonesty.

Although his love first felt like a miracle that Christmas season, I soon learned it was all a lie.  There would be no new traditions because the truth, like that recycled frame, was extremely disappointing and brought me to tears.  He never worked that Christmas because he didn’t actually have a job.  The life I thought we shared was one of deep deceit, a life he wrapped up in shiny ribbons and bows to hide the ugly truth. I only discovered such disguised truths months later, after I believed I had forgiven him for the frame.

He was a thief – a fucking thief.  When he said he was working, he was out stealing.  I found a number of citations in his sock drawer and confronted him. Every day, he had admitted – every god-damn day -- he stole.  Most items he pawned off, but others he kept. I learned that he was once caught stealing hypoallergenic sheets.  He stole fucking hypoallergenic sheets for himself.  What the fuck?  Really? 

As I sit here now and reflect on that Christmas when I sacrificed my funds, my time with family, and my trust for him, I am angry without any guilt.  I wasn’t the selfish one; it was him.  He stole fucking sheets for himself and gave me a shitty used frame. For fuck’s sake! If he was stealing shit every god-damn day, I should have gotten the mother-load of illegally obtained items for Christmas that year!  ‘Twas the season for lying and thievery. 

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Happily Yelling for Help

She’s not even two yet, and I can already identify so many of the ways my daughter is just like me.  She doesn’t look much like me.  As far as appearance, she more closely resembles her father.  In regards to personality, however, that girl is all me.  She wants to be just like her mother.  While this could be perceived as delightful and flattering, it is also frightening.  I don’t want her to be depressed the way I am.  I don’t want her to be moody the way I can be.  There are certain pains I have known that I never want my own child to experience.

If I were to truly protect her from such possibilities though, I would have to lock her away from the world.  I want her to feel great joy in her life, and I know that can’t come without some pain as well.  Right now, thankfully, she is still all smiles, and I am able to laugh at the majority of the actions and phrases she repeats after her mother.  For example, she always brushes her teeth with me in the morning and loves to rub an empty makeup brush across her face while I apply my foundation and blush.  It’s adorable.  It wasn’t quite as endearing, however, when she picked up a razor from the sink and tried shaving her upper lip.  I guess this mother has to take care of her damn mustache in the absence of her daughter. 

“No, Emily, no,” I said, as I took the razor from her hand, “Mommy thinks it’s sweet you want to be like her, but I hope you never have this problem.”  

Will work for mommy's hugs and kisses
One of my daughter’s most appealing mommy aping acts is her desire to help clean the house.  She loves following me around, dusting and picking up toys as I do housework.  In fact, she loves helping so much that I bought her a Swiffer all her own, and she was thrilled.  But, sometimes when she enjoys something, it’s all she wants to do.  She got so excited about cleaning that she started purposely making messes just so she could tidy up.  For one week, she poured her milk all over the floor and couch, and then grabbed a rag and gave her father and me big smiles while wiping up her own messes.

When she first learned how to clap, she was placing her hands happily together non-stop.  When she learned how to identify her body parts, she walked up to us, smiled, and pointed at her nose until she received recognition of her new talent.  When she learned how to say “juice,” my mom loaded her up on this sugary substance because she thought my daughter was thirsty and making constant requests, when really Emily was just proud that she had learned a new word.

Emily just learned another new word.  I know what you’re thinking, and no – she hasn’t dropped any f-bombs.  I try my damndest not to curse around my children, although I admit that this past Saturday I did tell my daughter, “Honey, you have to calm down now or mommy’s about to lose her shit.”  That wasn’t the new word either though.  No curses have come from her mouth.  However, I am still concerned that child protective services might believe there is a need to become involved as Emily’s new word is “help.”

We were visiting my parent’s yesterday, and they have three dogs.  One of the dogs, Lucy, loves to lick as a means of expressing her affection.  I was lying on the floor playing with my children, and Lucy ran up to me, hopped on my chest, and proceeded to furiously lick my face.  In an attempt to be humorous, I began to yell, “Help! Help! Puppy Attack! Help!”  Emily giggled, and then began repeating, “Help! Help!”

We have heard “help” almost every waking moment of the last twenty-four hours.  She screamed “help” when I put her in the car seat this morning. She was screaming “help” while I held her hand and walked her into day care.  She screamed “help” when I put her coat on.  When her father came home from work tonight, she ran to him in the hallway yelling “help.” 

Then, Emily decided it would be fun to intentionally place herself in difficult situations so that she had a reason to yell help.  First, she deliberately fell on the floor, and then sat on the laminate smiling and hollering for help.  Next, she opened the kitchen drawer, pulled out a dish towel, and placed it over her head, again requesting help as though it were the most amusing thing in the world.  Finally, she arranged the lay and play activity mat on her body pretending to be entwined and stuck in this toy.  She walked about for approximately  twenty minutes happily howling “Help! Help!” 
Therefore, I request of all my friends and followers, if you learn that child protective services has become particularly interested in the well-being of my child, please assure them that she, like her mother, is just very easily amused by herself.  Further, when she finds an activity or practice enjoyable, she’s always all in – diving in deep just as her mother does.  She doesn’t genuinely need help, and I already get the help I need from my medication and therapist.  I also get a great deal of help from the affection and admiration of my daughter, whom I want to help live the happiest life possible.

Happily Yelling for Help!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Advent: Celebrating The Coming of Christ (and Also Cash)

Today, I had to send my husband to the store to pick up some staples such as milk, bread, and cheese.  Before he left, we both finished watching the Packers game.  During one commercial break, the Wisconsin Lottery was advertising their “Holiday Countdown” scratch game.  Therefore, before he finally set off to the nearest convenience store, I added this item to my list of necessary purchases. 

“Honey, buy me that calendar countdown card too,” I said. I didn’t ask, “Honey, will you …?” I just told him “buy this.”  I can be a real bitch like that sometimes.  I don’t intend to come across like this; I think it’s a disorder.  If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll recall that my husband has diagnosed me with “Bitch Tourette’s.”

“What are you talking about?” he asked, with clear confusion regarding the item I had demanded he purchase.

“The lottery ticket thing we saw during the game,” I tried to explain, failing to recall that he had excused himself to the bathroom during that particular commercial break.  While I witnessed the uncertainty that remained on his face, I further attempted to clarify, “It’s a scratch game for every day of the holiday season.  You know, it’s just like an advent calendar.” 
When he looked back at me after this comparison, it was as though he was looking at me with his mother’s eyes, judging me for my obviously blasphemous statement. 
Is it blasphemy to ask you to pray that I win? Hmmm ...
To those unaware, the word ‘advent’ has a Latin origin meaning “the coming,” and for Christian believers, the practice of advent began as a means of celebrating the greatest gift ever given by God to mankind – the birth of his son and our savior Jesus Christ.  Originally, this period was acknowledged with a mark of chalk upon the doors of believers.  Eventually, the observance of advent, like most holiday traditions, became a mark of consumerism and profit rather than a celebration of God’s gift to us.

Okay, so advent is meant to celebrate the birth of Christ, and not intended to celebrate cash winnings. Again, I didn’t intend for my comment to be blasphemous; sometimes words just spew out of my mouth like vomit.  Perhaps we should call that “Bitch Bulimia,” which would probably be just as politically correct and sensitive as the former diagnosis.

At any rate, I felt it was a fairly accurate analogy.  Despite my husband’s look of disapproval, he understood my meaning and brought the correct lottery card home.  And quite frankly, I feel it would be a magnificent gift to me if God were to help this girl out with a $100,000 win.  While this gift would not be as wonderful as my salvation, it would still be pretty damn awesome. I think Christ wants me to have a hot tub.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

We the People?

This week's Blogger Idol challenge was a soapbox post.  Bloggers were encouraged to get up on that soapbox and blog about something we feel passionate about.  Ranting and raving was highly encouraged.  Bloggers were told "be completely honest and raw."  Well, being honest and raw is basically "my bag," so this wasn't a challenge.  What I chose to write about, however, is a challenge.  It's an enormous challenge that I strongly believe we all must rise to.  That challenge is putting the "United" back in U.S.A.  So, today I am standing on my soapbox for every American, and I hope you join me too.  I don't care if you're black or white, male or female, Republican or Democrat.  Rise up! Rise up! Rise up! so I can remove the question mark from this post's title.


Unless you live the life of a hermit, and your only source of outside media is very oddly this blog, I assume that by now you are aware that a number of states have signed petitions requesting secession from the United States.  Such requests have largely been made as a result of the recent reelection of President Barack Obama. 

Texas was the first state to petition on the website We the People, and continues to hold the most signatures.  Most political analysts and pundits will tell you that such petitions are almost 100% likely to fail.  No secession will come as a result of these petitions.  More than anything, they are a symbol of disappointment and anger generated at our government. 

To add one’s signature to secession petition holds all the value of posting to your facebook status update: “America is screwed.”  What damn good does it do?  None.  It makes one look like a whiney asshole behaving with all the maturity of a toddler who has been denied his preferred toy at a department store.  Declaring that our nation is damned and you might as well go on welfare because you disagree with the popular and electoral vote is neither respectful nor intelligent. 
The blame and divisiveness MUST come to an end.  We are not screwed because Obama won reelection.  However, our nation could end up damning itself if many cannot learn to respond differently to his position in office.  Do you all remember singing, “This land is your land.  This land is my land”?  I still believe that.  This land was made for you and me – even though the you and me demographic has changed drastically, Mr. Bill O’Reilly. 

If you’ve been following me, you know I recently posted about the mock election in the district where I am currently employed.  I recorded that many students who expressed favor for Romney did so by sharing the cliché of “we can’t afford four more years.”  While it’s obvious I voted for Obama, I agree that we can’t afford four more years like the last. 

We can’t afford four more years of partisan political practices and treason.  It is disgusting that many of our Republican leaders readily admitted that their primary goal the past four years has been to ensure that Obama did not gain reelection.  Even in the midst of enormous economic and foreign troubles, one of the Republican Senate’s most important leaders, Mitch McConnell, told the National Journal’s Major Garret, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” Clearly, those leaders failed to attain such a goal.  Furthermore, in making politics their priority, rather than we the people, they have failed each and every one of us – Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Caucasian, Asian, African American, man, woman, child. 

Given my disgust with such practices, how can I agree with the predominantly Republican slogan that we can’t afford four more years?  It’s four more years of games playing and partisan firewalls that we can’t afford.  It’s four more years of whining and bitching that we can’t afford. It’s four more years of “well, we’re screwed” status updates that end there and never lead to any positive action that we can’t afford.

Instead of seeking secession, those states and individuals may want to try some positive action.  There must be more compromise and less complaining. How can we continue to call ourselves the United States of America when unity is so sorely lacking?

I am not asking that all conservatives become liberals or vice versa.  But we need to stop shouting and start listening to one another.  I do not blame the Republican Party alone, either.  I was also disgusted that some announcements of excitement read as “Four more years! Woo-hoo! Suck it Romney!”  That’s the kind of shit you yell to the opposing football team.  “Go Rodgers! Suck it Cutler!” is acceptable, but the former should not be accepted by any American.

What is there to celebrate right now?  Yes, Obama won reelection.  But none of us, even those who voted for Obama, will end up winning if we maintain the kind of divisive, vitriolic attitude displayed in every arena of social media.  We need to really, truly earn that title of the UNITED States and get on the same damn team.  Republicans and Democrats alike: when we suit up, we all wear red, white, and blue.  Please remember that the next time you complain about the state of our nation.  

Friday, November 16, 2012

Cake is Always the Answer

I arrived at my mother’s yesterday afternoon to pick up my children after work.  I am lucky that she is able to watch them three days a week, so I don’t have the total expense of day care.  I walked in the door, smiling and happy to see my two beautiful children. 

My daughter ran up to me, looked up at my face, and gave me a great big smile.  Something was definitely different about her though.

“Mom, did you cut Emily’s hair?” I asked.

“Uhm, Emily made me do it!  She said she wanted that,” my mom returned, blaming my two year old toddler for the very crooked set of bangs that now graced her forehead.
She's still her Momma's smart, gorgeous girl!
“What happened here?” I asked.

My mother explained that she has been stressed and got distracted.   When the troubles were at their height earlier in the week, she scrubbed the floors on hands and knees and baked a homemade German Chocolate cake. This is how my mother copes -- busying herself with tasks and chores around the home to keep her mind off whatever currently has her under duress.  I understand that her stess load is enormous right now; trust that I do. However, I wanted to scream at her that chopping off my daughter’s lovely blonde locks was not the ultimate stress reliever.  “More cake, Mom! No haircuts!” 

But, my daughter is impossibly adorable in my eyes, and her hair will grow back, so instead I just took it in stride and laughed at my mother as she continued her attempts to defend herself.  “I knew you would probably be pissed because it’s crooked, so I told Emily I was going to blame it on her.  I thought about trying to fix it, but I was scared I would only make it worse and too short.  So, I said, ‘Emily, when your mom gets here, I’m telling her this was all your idea.’ Are you pissed, Angela?”

“No, mom, she’s still cute.  It’s okay,” I answered.  It’s only bangs, and we have to pick our battles.  I didn’t raise my sword to answer her scissors.  I am trying not to “sweat the small stuff.”  But I declare that cake should always be the answer to her stress.  More cake, Mom! More cake!  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I'm a Rock Star (In My Mind)

When my daughter was only three months old, I bought her a fancy toy microphone that amplifies one’s voice, plays a few melodies, and also records about 90 seconds of audio.  I repeat that she was only three months old when I bought this toy.  She couldn’t even hold it in her hands at the time and she was just cooing and babbling out a few tiny sounds.  She wasn’t ready for singing, but I was.  My husband knew immediately when I put this toy in the cart, “Is that toy really for you?”  Yes, it was.

Sometimes, I like to pretend I’m a rock star. I was totally addicted to American Idol when the show first aired.  I voted every time, although I must embarrassingly admit that I voted for that curly haired Justin kid the first season when Kelly Clarkson was the winner.  I grew tired of that show though, especially after crazy ass Paula left.  My favorite comment was when she told one male singer he was so cute that she wanted his head hanging from her rear view mirror.  What the fuck, Paula?  That kind of crazy is, however, why you will be forever my girl. Heart icon.

I have now moved onto the Voice, because I love Cee-Lo and his random cat.  My husband, on the other hand, was never a fan of either show, and must endure my viewing.  If I just had the show on and quietly observed the contestants, I probably would not annoy him so much.  However, I must evaluate every singer – often far more harshly than their judges/coaches.  Quite frequently, my evaluations include the commentary: “Shit. I could sing that soooo much better.”  This is when my husband rolls his eyes.
When I am alone in my car, or it’s just my two children in the back seat, I sing along loudly to radio or whatever CD I currently have on heavy rotation.  Lately, I’ve been rocking along to Rilo Kiley.  My daughter loves it when I sing, and I adore her for this because she’s part of a very small fan base (yeah, I think it’s just her and me).  Often, I will pick up whatever item even slightly resembles a microphone that I can find lying in the passenger seat and sing into that.  Last week, I could be observed in all my rock-star glory singing into a travel bottle of Febreze. It was pretty bad-ass.

I do occasionally still sing karaoke, because there are about five songs I actually sing well.  In my mind, I have been developing a play list of approximately ten songs I would like to do an acoustic set to sometime in my life – and that would be enough to be my ultimate rock star moment. 

When I graduated from high school, my brother’s band at the time (then called Plastic Dog Face … I know, WTF?)  played at my party in my father’s pole-barn.  Since it was my party, I asked if I could sing one song.  I started singing, and my brother literally pushed me off the make-shift plywood stage about three lines into it.  I should probably share that the song was Liz Phair’s flower, which begins, “Every time I see your face, I get all wet between my legs.” Again, I know … WTF? 
Since I was abruptly cut off at age seventeen, I’m still waiting for my rock-star moment at thirty-four.  I am fairly certain it will never happen, but I will always be a rock star in my own mind.  My daughter and I are also now both able to enjoy that toy microphone.  She sings “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and I usually follow her act with Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacherman.”  I then ask “any requests?” as though we have an audience.  Not so surprisingly, my husband never suggests any song titles, but has suggested I stop singing.  But it makes me happy, so you still might pass me in your car someday belting out lyrics into a wrapped snack bar or baby bottle.
I had only kissed a boy.  No one even touched my boobs, but these are the lyrics I wanted to sing at my high school graduation party.  I recognize I am crazy.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Don't Mess with Pat Monahan

If you follow me on facebook, you already have a heads up on the tale that is about to unfold.  If you don’t follow me, why the hell not? Hit that “like” button, yo.  You would know that yesterday  I posted a comment on my writer page about the random dream I had the night before.  In that dream, my friends Angie, Melissa, and I were all out to eat at a fine restaurant before planning to go club-hopping (something we do never in real life because I live in the middle of nowhere).  We were all looking damn good.  I had on a little black dress and a stunning silk black and white striped scarf wrapped around my head like I was Jackie O.  The details are really irrelevant, but this is how well I am able to recall my dreams, and this is also why my husband is annoyed as shit every time I want to share them with him. 
"I'm so gangster. I'm so thug."  Really, Pat Monahan, really?
Okay, so let’s damn the details and get to the part worth sharing.  The band Train was also dining at this restaurant at a near-by table.  My two friends were stirred up by this celebrity sighting, and headed over to excitedly introduce themselves to the band.  I remained seated awaiting my Caesar Salad and glass of Merlot.  They were chatting with the band for a while and then the lead singer inquired about me.  Here’s exactly how I posted about this inquiry on my facebook page: “Then the lead singer (not even bothering to look up his name ... sorry Train fans) nodded over at me, and said, ‘What's the matter with her? Is she shy?’ My friends laughed at his silly question. Then I looked at him and spoke, ‘I'm not shy. Just not interested in meeting you,’ and quickly looked back away. I'm awesome even in my dreams.”
Yes, you can correctly conclude that I am not a Train fan.  Drops of Jupiter?  What the fuck are drops of Jupiter?  And why does he give a shout-out to deep fried chicken and soy lattes in that song?  I don’t want to meet Virginia, either.  Virginia doesn’t really sound all that interesting. Her hair is always a mess, she smokes a pack a day, and she wears high heels when she exercises.  That bitch is crazy, not fascinating.

Further, the singer claims he and Virginia just “like to sit at home and rip on the president.”  People! Stop ripping on the president, for Christ’s sake! If we don’t have respect for the office of president, how can we expect our children to respect their teachers, pastors, parents, coaches, and other mentors? (My apologies for the random soapbox.)

I admit I’m a music snob.  I don’t listen to a lot of “mainstream” artists.  My favorite artist is Aimee Mann, who was only mainstream decades ago as the former frontwoman of ‘Til Tuesday.  I appreciate lyrics, and that’s why I am not a fan of Train and didn’t make the effort to figure out the lead singer’s name.  I mean c’mon: “Hey soul sister – like a virgin, you’re Madonna – and I’m always gonna wanna blow your mind.”  Gonna? Wanna? Go to grammar school! Going to. Want to.

While I want to send Train to grammar school, I got my own ass schooled yesterday for hating on the band.  The following comment was left beneath my random dream posting: “His name is Pat Monahan and Train is awesome.” I suppose we will have to agree to disagree on this issue, but both confirm that music matters.

From this schooling, I learned two very valuable lessons:

1.       The lead singer of Train is Pat Monahan. Recognize.

2.       You can drop all the f-bombs you want on your blog, but don’t fuck with Train. 

Thanks for the knowledge! And to all of you Train fans and non-Train fans alike: Let’s keep music alive and support the band and choir programs in your local schools (both of which are so very sadly currently on the chopping block at my former district).  Dance to whatever music makes you happy and sing along loudly during every commute … especially if you hear Mister Mister on the radio (you’re welcome for that one final Train allusion)!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Holding Hands is, Like, Really Lame

Oh … to be age fourteen and feel the earth-shattering sting of unrequited love.  And how I loved Andrew! I would gaze upon the sun every morning with grand confusion wondering how it would continue to rise and set, how every living organism on earth did not cease to exist, as sadly I did not hold Andrew’s heart in my tiny hands.

August 23rd, 1992

Dear Diary,

I’d like to explain my “love life” to you now.  I don’t have one; yes.  And I think that I want one … but I’m unsure if I would say yes if a guy were to ask me out because I’ve never had a boyfriend before.  I don’t know if I’m ready to start quite yet! I just wouldn’t know how to act.  I mean, like, what if he wants to KISS me?? What do I do then? And, like, holding hands.  It’s, like, really lame.  The only person I hold hands with is my little brother when I walk him across the street.  It all seems too confusing.  I’d never know how to act. 

Love, Angela

August 31st, 1992

Dear Diary,

I like Andrew soooooooooo much.  I wish we could become better friends. I wonder if he even likes me a little.  I dreamt about Andrew last night.  Isn’t that sweet?  Andrew is pretty nice.  He talks to me.  He told me I’m a great actress at the dance.  He kept on calling me “darling” at the baseball game.  And he went on the Ferris wheel with me at the fair.  He said his girlfriend would be pissed off.  He said he would love me and be my bestest, bestest friend if I gave him some candy at the movies.  He’s a great guy, and he’s sooooooooo cute.  All the other girls think he’s cute too.  Gosh, I love Andrew.  He’s such a dream.  That’s probably all he’ll ever be.

Love, Angela

Eventually, I awoke from the dream world of a female high school freshmen with an obvious flair for the dramatic.  No longer did such phrases as “he talks to me” qualify a male for my ever enduring love and admiration, and well … at times, bordering on obsession (I cut a sports photo of him out of the local newspaper and put it under my pillow).  Sharing your Milk Duds with the guy you had a crush on didn’t turn the relationship into always and forever either. 

Furthermore, the concerns I expressed to my diary were absolutely verified when Andrew dumped that pissed off girlfriend and began to take more notice of me.  I was right; I had no damn idea how to behave with a boy I liked. This was confirmed when he asked me to accompany him on a double date to the movies.  I eagerly agreed, my expectations entirely too high for an evening of sitting in the dark, musty local theatre.

My friend must not have shared my opinion of hand-holding, as she happily held her date’s hand and leaned in to him. She knew all the right moves.  When Andrew put the “snake arm” around me in our uncomfortable seats, I shook it right off.  We didn’t hold hands or share popcorn.  I got bored and fell asleep.  I needed to be shaken awake by Andrew when the film ended.  Quite obviously, my dreams were far more romantic than reality, and my crush was ending as the credits rolled.  

Maybe I had watched too many romantic movies (I was also obsessed with Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles) or read too many Judy Blume books, so I had expected my first date to lead into “Forever.”  Instead, I was bored, and I snored, and some little shit seated near me spilled his soda on me while I was sleeping because my pants were all sticky when I woke up.  Fuck, at least that’s what I had always assumed.  I sure hope my date wasn’t jerking off in the theatre as I slept. You're welcome for that imagery.

Either way, I no longer shared intimate desires of Andrew with my dear diary. I threw the picture under my pillow away (thank goodness).  I stopped caring that the other girls still thought he was cute as I had found out he was really a bore.  I didn’t worry about holding hands or first kisses, and I concentrated on loving myself rather than finding the love of my life before it was even legal for me to drive. Some dreams should never be born into reality because they are bound to disappoint.   

                   And ...  OMG! I just found out you can buy this awesome tee shirt!
                                Who is going to buy me this shit?  I so NEED this!  

Sixteen Candles Juniors T-Shirt – Love Jake Ryan Pink Tee Shirt

Monday, November 12, 2012

Who's the Boss? -- or -- Help me, Tony Danza!

I felt certain I was going to be late to work this morning.  My children both allowed me to sleep in until 9 a.m., which is an incredible feat for a nearly two year old and four month old.  As I work part-time right now, my work day doesn’t start until 11:30 a.m.  This meant that I still had time after my 9 a.m. wake up to snuggle with my children on the couch and watch Little Einsteins on Disney Jr. with my daughter, while cradling my son in my arms and listening to him gently coo and giggle at me. 

I got myself showered and ready, and felt calm, content, and relaxed.  I finished another bottle with baby Isaac and then changed his clothes.  I put him in his swing and he smiled at the flashing lights and lullabies.  Then I told Emily it was time to get ready.  I brought her to her bedroom and changed her diaper.  Then, I attempted to dress her, and this is where the day temporarily fell apart for me.

So, as I drove both children to daycare before arriving at work, I began to compose some neurotic, quite unnecessary, letter to my employer.

Dear Boss:

I am so sorry I am late to work today.  I know I don’t start until 11:30, so I should be able to make it here.  I know it’s ridiculous that I’m late.  I know I’ve been working here less than three months and I don’t want to gain a reputation for failing to be on time.  But, you see, my daughter had a very strong aversion to clothing this morning.   I tried; I really did.  Trust me that I tried.  But, she ran all around the house in nothing but a diaper giggling and constantly avoiding my grip.  I know. I know.  She’s not even two years old.  It’s pathetic; I should be able to control my child, get her dressed, and get to work on time.  But, you don’t understand.  You may be my boss at work, but Emily is totally the boss the rest of the time.  I really answer to her more than you or anyone else.  If you have a sincere issue, please take it up with my nearly two-year-old daughter.  She’ll set the situation straight, and you’ll surely understand. 

With thanks,

However, I managed to pull a pair of tiny denim jeans and a pink top, which read “Daddy Answers to Me,” on just in time to make it through the doors at 11:30.  My letter was not required.  For Emily, on the other hand, clothing was not optional and I mandated that she dress before leaving the house.   I guess I’m still the boss, even if there was a bit of a power struggle.  And, I must admit it was an adorable and amusing power struggle.  Such are the joys of motherhood.
This is what happened when I let my daughter dress herself on a different day.