Friday, May 22, 2015

Happy Mommyversary! Shut up, it's a word...

Today is my Mommyversary!!  *crowd cheers*applause* Others may call it my oldest son Lucas' birthday...actually I think that is what they are all calling it. Fifteen years ago today, I became a mother.  Mom is the title that I will keep regardless of my age, regardless of where I live, regardless of what I do for a living.  What do you do?  I am a banker and a mom.  I am an office manager and a mom.  I am a rock star and a mom.  I am Iron Man...and a mom.  No matter what, I am eternally bound to that title.  The title, however, does come with it's perks.  As a mother,  you can always outdo your coworkers,

Mom:  "Last night was horrible." 
Random Coworker:  "Aw man I didn't get any sleep last night either. *whine*" 
Mom:  "Really?  Really??  Did your three year old throw up on you? Huh??"
Random Coworker:  "  You,"

When you look horrible with bags under your eyes and greasy hair, there is always an excuse.  Yes I do look terrible.  I'm a mom. *understanding nod* Then they walk away believing that underneath my exhaustion lies a supermodel. Maybe DEEP underneath, come to think of it I may just have a magazine with a supermodel in it.  Close enough, you get the point.

When you become a mother, intuition kicks in and you know exactly what to do, right?  Wrong. Motherhood is an adventure of trial and error.  That's the funny thing about your first kid, you try so hard to do everything right and you mess up SO many times, but then when the second one comes along, they pretty much eat dirt.  Well not really but you are definitely more relaxed.  Poor Lucas has survived me crying as I plunged out a clogged toilet, asking him every ten minutes if he is ok when he is running a fever, and numerous claims that he is going to get pneumonia if... Side note, he has never had pneumonia, probably because I have aided him in eluding it so well.  Lucas was also able to survive the First Thanksgiving Diaper Tragedy of 2000.  Yeah it actually has a title.  Baby boys are a funny thing when it comes to diaper changing.  Their, shall we say, plumbing, allows them to pee in so many fun directions. Sometimes on the wall, on your shirt, in your face, it's quite an adventure. I was at my parents' house for Thanksgiving and Lucas was six months old.  We had just finished dinner and I took him back to change his diaper.  We are cooing and talking and I am placing his new diaper underneath him.  I lift him up to slide the diaper in place when with the aim of Wyatt Earp, he shoots a stream of pee bulls eye...right into his MOUTH!  I am horrified!!!  I look at my new baby with terror in my eyes.  What do I do??!!  I grab Lucas and run into the dining room screaming, "Lucas has peed in his mouth!!!  What do I do??"  My family stares at me as if I have grown a horn in the middle of my head.  "C'mon people!  What do I DOOOOOOO???"  My brother looks at me nonchalantly, "I think it's ok as long as he drinks his own pee.  You just aren't supposed to drink someone else's pee."  What???  "You people are useless."  I grab the phone and call Poison Control, "Poison control what is your emergency?"  "Yes my son is six months old and has just peed in his mouth!"  Laughter.  The poison control lady was laughing.  That was when I realized...I might...just maybe...have overreacted. She calmed herself down and asked me about his overall health, etc.  She assured me that he was going to be fine.  Then she thanked me, "for making her holiday."  Yep...glad I could help.

Lucas aka Wyatt Earp
He seems surprised by his aim.

Being a mom is certainly not glamorous, and it's not always pretty.  There is a lot of spontaneous fluids those first few years so you should probably wear a poncho.  There have been major embarrassments and major triumphs, but every day I am thankful.  Thankful to be the not-so-perfect-but-God-knows-I-try mom of two pretty amazing kids.  Today I will celebrate that little pee shooter turning 15 as I look up at him now instead of carrying him on my hip.  But today I will also celebrate the heralding of my most beloved  

Lucas, Mackenzie and I,
much less spontaneous fluid.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Don't Make Me Hit You Like a Girl...

I find it fascinating the things that we say without thinking.  Things that are said without a second thought, things that bring to light society's views on a gender. Words that encapsulate the overall thoughts of a culture.  These are all phrases that seem small at first, but they are the foundation of the sexism that breeds rape culture, unequal pay, domestic violence, and discrimination.  It's why when a woman is raped, she is asked what she was wearing, but the rapist is not.  It's why a woman will be more conservative with her salary requirements than a man.  In all societal problems, there is a beginning.  Every house is built on a foundation.  The foundation is not complicated, it is consistent.  The complicated parts come to play after the foundation is built.  So let's consider some of the things that come out of our mouths to form these concrete blocks...

Man up! Be a man! - As opposed to what?  A girl??  Is that so bad?  This statement contains layers because first, the statement is saying that to be must be a man NOT a woman.  Secondly, if you are showing sensitivity or emotion as a man, that is somehow wrong. This statement implies that strength comes in one form...male.

Grow some balls! -  This one has always confused me.  Why would you want to grow a pair of testicles?  This is to imply that you need to toughen up, but have you been around any balls?  They aren't tough, they crumble at the slightest hint of trouble.  Wanna gain control in a fight?  Kick him in the balls.  Now tell someone to grow a vagina or a uterus...oh yeah, now we are talking.  As Betty White says, "those things take a beating!"

You hit like a girl! - Ever heard of Ronda Rousey?  Just in case you have not, she is the women's UFC champion and a beast in the ring.  So good in fact that she has been posed the question, "Would you fight a man?"  Although she believes she could compete AND win against a man, she refuses to do so because she feels it is unhealthy to promote a man hitting a woman REGARDLESS of the circumstances, in this case, a sporting event.  I would say Ronda Rousey, "hits like a girl", just sayin'. Just for fun, google female boxers and then google male boxers.  Under female you will find a top 10 list of the most beautiful female boxers.  Under don't.  Another fun fact, Ronda Rousey was photographed at an event with the caption, "Ronda Rousey cleans up well."  Don't recall seeing that observation in reference to the guys.  Fascinating...

You're too pretty too... - It doesn't matter how you end that sentence, it all means the same thing.  If you are pretty the rules are different.  So good news for us plain Janes, we catch a little slack.  Whew!  Now I can go out and get a tattoo and have an opinion.  Yay me!

That's so gay... - Do you mean "That's so happy!" or "That's so homosexual!" Is it really homosexual or do you just find it odd/weird?  Are you saying that homosexuals are weird?  That's really not accurate because I find some heterosexuals are completely bonkers.  Heck even my dogs are strange. My cats are gay, no they aren't odd, they are literally gay...male lovers...but intelligent and badass.


My dogs are weird...not gay...


What were you wearing? - This one carries a more serious tone because it is in reference to sexual assault.  There are more questions... Were you drinking?... Did you know him?  Let me clear this up once and for all.  It does not matter what a woman is wearing, whether she was drinking, or how well she new the perpetrator...rape is wrong.  Done. End of story.  No one asks what the rapist was wearing and if they ask the rapist if they were drinking, it is to excuse...not blame.

These are just a few examples of the word vomit that plagues our culture. Anytime we stereotype a gender, race, or culture, we are cheating them of respect and opportunity.  There are many more I haven't listed, feel free to comment with your favorite...

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Crazy Attorney Say Whuuuuuuut?

In case you were not yet aware, the world is nuts...bonkers...crazy...ridiculous!  Every time I read the news, there is something more bizarre to make me question humanity.  Such as...

An attorney in California has presented a ballot to be voted on that would allow citizens to execute homosexuals by "bullets to the head."  Why?  Because as attorney Matthew McLaughlin states, gay sex is "a monstrous evil that the Almighty God commands us to suppress on pain of utter destruction." Apparently, McLaughlin fears a Sodom and Gomorrah repeat and wants to propose that, "anyone who touches a person of the same gender for sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by other convenient methods."  Now if that isn't spreading the love of Jesus, I don't know what is!  There are so many angles to approach here, I think I will just ask them all at once.  What the hell kinda psycho proposal is this!  How the hell did California make it so easy to allow psychos to propose something so ludicrous?  Who the hell is going to sign the petition required to actually make it to the voting booth?  What the hell is happening in California??!!  The good news is that the attorney general and other officials are planning on blocking the proposal.  The legality of the ballot could never pass regardless, but what an eye opener as to how ignorance knows no bounds and surpasses all classes.  Religious extremism is in all religions and it is dangerous.  Which brings me to...

Phil Robertson was recently speaking at a fundraiser, a prayer breakfast I might add, and offered an illustration for atheism.  The illustration vividly depicted an atheist family being the victim of rape, decapitation and murder.  He said in this illustration as the perpetrators were raping the daughters and killing them and their mother, that they would look at the atheist father and say, "Isn't it great that I don't have to worry about being judged?  Isn't it great that there's nothing wrong with this?  There's no right or wrong, now is it dude?"  Crazy Duck Commander say whuuuuuuuut?  Let me get this straight, being an atheist means that you think anything goes?  NO!  Being an atheist means you do not believe in a deity, end of story.  Being an atheist does not mean that you hold no moral code or that you do not respect the laws of society.  It means you do not believe in God.  Hmmmmm...seems to be a common thread here.  Can you say extremism?  Yeah I thought so.

I am not attacking Jesus here, I am however, questioning the religious extremism that shows it's ugly head and labels all believers in God as prejudice haters that have no common sense.  This makes me angry.  This disgusts me.  Remember that whole "love your neighbor" stuff?  Yeah, that means everyone.  Remember how Jesus chose a tax collector as a disciple along with a bunch of simple fishermen?  Remember how he chose a murderer as an apostle?  What about the prostitute that he saved from stoning?  I seem to recall Jesus healing on the Sabbath oh and there was that whole eating with the Gentiles thing.  Seems to me that Jesus showed...wait for, to win souls.  What a concept!!  I do remember him getting pretty ticked religious leaders.  Religious zealot says whuuuuuut?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

50 Shades of Gimme a Break... Part 1

I have avoided reading Fifty Shades of Grey like I would avoid a port-a-potty.  I am not a fan of romance novels, or as some would call them "summer smut," but the way I figure this story is anything but romantic.  I have read opinions and listened to the casual chats, however, if I am going to voice an opinion I do not want to base it on the opinion of others, but instead, go to the source and see for myself.  Thus begins my journey of the much talked about Fifty Shades of Grey...

The reason I have this blog dubbed "Part 1" is because I am still currently reading the book and am only voicing my opinion thus far.  Other parts will be written as I continue reading.  I am struggling with finishing it because, quite frankly, it is poorly written.  A book should have a flow and an enticement to read that is beyond erotica.  This book does not.  I have to admit as I sat and read it, I was reminded of being a young teenager reading the Harlequin Desires (I believe that is what they were called) and hiding them from my mother.  They were the steamy books with lots of naughtiness back in the early 80's.  These were a better read than "Fifty Shades."  Let's be serious, how many times can you say "oh my."  Anastasia Steele, the main female character, is an English major for goodness sakes and all she can say is "oh my?"  Then there is the biting of the lip.  She bites her lip every other sentence..."I realized I was biting my lip. I bit my lip.  Stop biting your lip Anastasia."  I hope she keeps Chap Stick handy.  Geez!  But, this same character who gnaws at her lip constantly and is limited to the vocabulary of "oh my,"  throws around the word "medulla oblongata" like it is commonplace!  Who says that??'!!  "And from a very tiny, underused part of my brain-probably located at the base of my medulla oblongata near where my subconscious dwells," ... Whuuuuut?  I have never sat and thought of what is coming out of my medulla oblongata.  I have however, felt a stirring in the innermost dark places of my soul.  Yeah, if you need advice on your next novel I'm available for parties and bar mitzvahs.  The eye rolling that occurred while reading this almost sprained my levator palpebrae superioris.  See E.L. James, I can use big medical words too.

I understand, this is not a literary classic, but that's not the point is it?  This is a book meant to entice sexual fantasy not for a symbolism discussion at your next book club meeting.  From some of the opinions, memes, articles that I was reading, I expected to be infuriated by a man who practically rapes this poor victimized woman.  That's not exactly what has happened, at least not yet.  The sex has all been consensual, however, the stereotypes are insulting.  Ana has such low self esteem, "oh why would anyone want me, oh I'm not good enough, I hate my hair, blah, blah, blah."  She is ripe for the picking for the dashing and confident Christian Grey.  He is just perfect...perfect hair, perfect body, perfect career, and surprise, surprise, he's a billionaire. The epitome of strength and power.  Oh how nice, a strong man who controls his own company, controls his employees and now he seeks to control the meek, weak, no self esteem, Ana.  I love when books make women the weaker character, it's so good for our gender (insert sarcasm here).  So far the book has taught me a few opinions of women; a large penis equals woman control, a pretty face and hot body equals woman control, and the more money you have the more control you can have over...say it with me...a woman.  No mental connection necessary, no emotional connection necessary, no need to build a friendship; if you are hot and loaded you can basically own any woman you want.  This is what women want???  I once had an old boyfriend who tried to disrespect me, act as though my mind and heart meant nothing and all that he needed was my physical body.  I called him out on it and he became angered and demanded that I return a shirt that he had given me.  I returned the shirt...after I wiped down my toilet with it.  In reality, women want to be taken seriously, we want to be respected for our mind, our talents, our hearts, not used like a prostitute.  This book degrades women and makes the gender appear shallow and superficial and that, quite frankly, disgusts me.  Of course, I am a die hard feminist so what else do you expect?

Some can look past the stereotyping and degradation, as long as they can still get some juicy sex scenes *shiver*.  According to E.L. James, women's orgasms happen with hardly any work at all.  It's like MAGIC!!  And men?  They are ready to go again almost immediately.  Wow!!  In fact, you can read about three distinct sexual encounters in just a matter of a few pages.  Amazing!!  Three sexual encounters and there is still time for a good night's rest.  Who knew?!  No effort necessary. I especially love how the first sexual encounter is "basic training" for Ana as she is a virgin.  Let the experienced male teach the rookie female how it's done.  Men know what to do.  They know how to please their woman.  Women are awkward sexually until the man can teach her.  Ugh!  Who couldn't resist the mature way she refers to her vagina as "there."  Anastasia Steele is a twenty-two year old English major who reads and dissects ACTUAL literature and she refers to her vagina as "there?"  Wait a minute...that's another stereotype.  Women are childlike lovers who cannot even say the word vagina.  Vagina, Vagina, VAGINA!  There, I said it.

I plan on explaining how I feel "Fifty Shades" affects the rape culture that runs rampant in our modern society, or maybe, it does not affect it at all.  That is where my concerns lie.  Maybe Christian and Ana will sit and discuss F. Scott Fitzgerald and debate political views.  Don't tell me what happens next, I know I am one of the last to read this popular fiction.  I'm not sure if my opinion will change with further reading, but there is only one way to find out.  Let the eye rolling continue...

Monday, March 3, 2014

Lent Rookie In Training...

I have decided that this year I am going to participate in Lent.  This is a new adventure for me.  Every denomination does not participate in Lent and I grew up in one of them.  When I was young I lived next door to the nanny of a catholic family and heard all about the kids' Lent stories.  I was always thankful I was not expected to give up my favorite things to eat.  Growing up, I would have been impossible to live with if denied my Little Debbies.   Mmmmmmmm...Little Debbies... So celebrating Lent for the first time in my 44 years the question remains; what do I give up??

I am already on a diet so I have given up potatoes, white bread, milk chocolate, sugary snacks, chips...I have nothing left!!!  I have given up soda, I have given up tea...can I give up diets??  I'm thinking not.  It has to be something important, something meaningful, something that interferes with healthy activities.  Uh surely not...I don't think I can do it...I really have no choice...heavy sigh.  There is only one choice, Facebook.

Yes it is true, I have decided to give up Facebook for Lent.  Facebook is definitely a distraction and keeps me away from important chores, duties, hobbies.  It also replaces face to face interaction which is not very healthy either.  I'm thinking with the time I spend on Facebook, I should be able to accomplish something important like write the great American novel, find a cure for cancer, learn a new language, figure out the thought process of men.  Ok, maybe that is a little crazy, but yeah...I spend a lot of time on Facebook.  Fat Tuesday may be spent pinning every possible cute pig picture I can find.  This will not be easy.  It's going to be a long six weeks.

The point of this time is to prepare spiritually for Easter.  My hope is to not only spend my time wisely and break a somewhat unhealthy habit that I have formed; I am hoping that at the other end maybe, just maybe, I will grow a little...and figure out men.  An Easter miracle!!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Fitness for Dummies...

After several weeks of snow and freezing temperatures, the cold weather has broken and it is sunny and 55 degrees.  Glorious!  I cannot wait until spring!  I will work on the landscaping, put out a vegetable garden, go to the pool...Uh oh.  I can't go to the pool with this winter belly pooch.  And how can I expect to swim any length at all if I have become one with my recliner for the last three months?  This is quite a dilemma.  It appears I must change my diet and...don't say can't be...anything but that...exercise.  *weeps uncontrollably*

I have been doing some research on diets and nutrition.  I thought about going vegetarian, but one day into it and I found myself chewing on the dog's leg.  I require a Viking.  A friend of mine was doing the South Beach Diet developed by cardiologist, Dr. Arthur Agatston.  I checked the book out at the library and read it.  It was actually very interesting to learn about good fat and bad fat and how our body breaks down food.  I have decided to give it a whirl.  The diet is fairly strict about what you eat, especially the first two weeks, but not so strict about how much.  Supposedly if you get hungry that is a sign you may be TOO strict and need to take in more food.  The hardest part, according to the doctor, is the cravings.  I am into day 1 and I would shoot a man for a Nutter Butter.  I swear I would.  But I am not hungry and I feel like I am eating well so I will shoot for day 2. 

While I was at the library, I checked out a DVD on beginner Zumba.  No WAY I am going to a public class until I see what this is all about.  I stared at it for 3 days.  I moved it from one table to another.  Finally, I put it in the player.  Two bouncy young women were staring at me through the flat screen, "Are you ready??  Let's go"  Alright here we go.  "Shake those hips!  Are you moving your hips?"  Oh yeah, hips are going.  Whew!  This is some workout!  "Move to the music!  Don't you just love this music??"  Yeah!  Music is great!  Love the maracas!  Oh wait...those are my knees.  "And step and shake and jerk...You got it!"  Yes I do!!  I am on fire!  I gotta catch my breath... "Great warm up!"  What the hell??!!

So Zumba is fun, but I will probably be a closet Zumba-er...or whatever you call a person who Zumbas.  Walking is pretty straightforward and I can always fall back on that.  Point is I am doing something.  I am getting up off of my growing buttocks and getting least for today.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Living In Creativity...

I would love to have some form of artistic talent. The ability to create a beautiful scene onto a blank canvas leaves me envious.  My brother is an artist.  His sketches are so detailed and life like, I just stare at them in awe.  My daughter inherited his talent...YES!  I love to watch her sit on the couch with her lap desk and work on her drawings or take leftover yarn and knit saddles for her stuffed horses.  It makes my heart sing!  I have zero artistic ability.  ZERO!  I'm even afraid to paint my walls, that is how little talent I have.  How I wish my parents had been able to share that DNA with me.  But alas, my little brother holds all of it...along with the beautiful strawberry blonde hair, blue eyes, and long eyelashes.  But I'm not bitter or anything...

What I have learned from living with two artists, is that they are a bit...messy.  I remember as a child my brother having a drawer in his dresser filled with the pieces of broken toys.  He would pull the drawer out and have the pieces spread all over his bed, putting different parts together to create a new "invention."  He once combined a Barbie brush, a steering wheel, and a magnifying glass to make a moustache comber for our dad.  Dad has always had a thin moustache.  His bedroom walls were covered with portraits of his favorite musicians.  He once sketched a portrait of Jerry Garcia that looked as though he would speak to you!  Amazing.

Now I am grown and my daughter is the house artist.  You know those pictures that you see in magazines of perfectly manicured homes devoid of all clutter?  That will never, and I mean never, be my house.  Currently, there is an entire corner of the dining room devoted to art supplies and display.  I'm not just talking pencils and paint, I'm talking boxes of every shape and size, empty paper towel rolls, and duct tape.  Duct tape is a fact of life, artist or not.  The walls and refrigerator are covered with pictures of horses and various dogs and cats.  I remember being a new single mom and not having a lot of money for decorations, so I took my daughter's drawings and decorated our great room with them.  Made for such happy surroundings. The other rooms of the house have a corner that contains drawing supplies, large books or a lap desk to draw on, and of course...boxes of various shape and size.  You see, a Dairy Queen box may be handy for holding your lunch...but they also make great giraffes.  Couches, end tables, entertainment centers, can all hold a number of pencils, crayons, and yarn.  Need a pencil at my house?  Just look beside you.

Now granted, I have tried to organize this all at various times.  But it is as though it has a life of it's own!  To the naked eye it may appear as clutter, but to my daughter, they are tools.  Not only tools, but creations in the making.  Oh to be inside that mind!  To be able to look at a box and see it's potential.  I get a panic attack planning to paint two colors on one wall.  Can it be done???  The ceiling too?  ARGH!!  Sometimes the mess may be frustrating, sometimes I may sigh as I look around me; but when push comes to shove, I would have it no other way.  I am held captive in creativity, and it is glorious!