Thursday, December 31, 2009

Eat my Meat

Be forewarned that this post is not so exciting!

Okay so I "gave up " meat for the month of December (except for the 1/2 piece of bacon I had on 12/26 and the Quarter pounder I ordered from McDonald's on 12/27 without even thinking, but I'm choosing not to count either of those transgressions) and it wasn't really all that hard. I have never been a big meat eater, though I really LOVE fajitas and chick-fil-a (just not at the same time). I even spent a couple years in college living in a vegetarian (among other things) co-op, which is where I really learned to love cooking, so giving up meat isn't really all that big of a sacrifice for me. Having said all that, I don't know that I will be able to fully commit to a meatless life right away because I'm just not good enough with food to know how to go completely without it.

Some of my hangups are, going out to eat and finding easy and tasty sources of meatless lean protein.

Starting with the former, we go out to eat WAYYYYYYYYY too much. If I'm being honest I bet I eat about 15 meals a week from restaurants (mostly breakfast from Starbucks, lunch from various sources and an occasional dinner out). A lot of restaurants do have vegetarian options, but they are so greasy and cheesy and otherwise chock full o' fat that I think I'd just rather order a chicken breast and get it over with. Assuming I am going to stick to my New year's resolutions (which I will post later) my going out to eat should drastically reduce almost immediately. It is a big assumption considering 2009's resolution FAIL, but I'll think positive......for once.

Now to the latter, finding sources of lean protein. Another of my new year's resolutions will have to do with my diet (an original concept I know) so I do need to focus on finding meat alternatives. I'm not super keen on filling my diet full of soy products, though I will eat some. From what I can tell the jury is still out on the risk/benefit analysis of soy consumption, so I don't want to go crazy with the tofu and soy meats. I know there are other, meat free sources of lean protein, but I need to do some research to learn how to incorporate them into my diet. I do think I will end up eating chicken a few times a week until I can come up with something better.

As to the reasons why I'm trying to go meat free, well there are a few of those...
1. Reducing meat consumption is an easy way to go green, assuming you can replace meat with less carbon-costly foods. This is my weakest reason, I know, but a reason nonetheless.

2. I guess I've jumped on the Pollan band wagon (In defense of food, The Omnivore's Dilemma, and Food Inc.) and have learned a little too much about the meat industry, and the way the animals and workers are treated to continue, to eat meat with reckless abandon. (yes, reckless abandon is how I approach most eating endeavors)

3. Possibly most important to me, I like the way removing meat from my diet, reduces my food options. I really like food and rarely limit myself to eating only what I need for sustenance, so choosing to go meatless most of the time helps me to stop and really think about what I am eating.

And there you have it... Resolutions to come.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Week of Suck & Resolutions

Welcome to The Week of Suck, Dec 26- Dec 31, No it doesn't mean what my husband wishes it did, but rather, it's quite possibly the worst week of the entire year because everything, well, sucks.
Christmas is over, and even if you weren't let down by lame gifts, whiny kids and asshole relatives, the exhale from all the Christmas anticipation is rather high on the suck list. Add to that the fake merriment of the impending new year, which I'm sorry, is just a lot of fuss over nothing in particular, and the upcoming month of January with weather that is mostly crappy and cold and you have a recipe for a pretty crappy few days.
Rather high my list of reason why the week after Xmas sucks is all the talk of new year's resolutions. I mean really, goals that begin on some symbolic date that we have senselessly attached way too much meaning to, are no more accomplishable (did I just make up a word?) than goals that begin on any other arbitrary date. Why are so many of us so willing to subscribe to such a stupid ritual??? Well I don't have the answer to that, but I'm sure if you go back 12 months on this blog you will see that I set some resolutions this past Jan. and well, since I can't even remember what they were I guess I don't have to tell you how successful I was in achieving them..... Maybe I'm bitter, maybe I am using sarcasm to hide the disappointment I feel about not achieving the goals I set for myself, maybe I'm getting crotchety in my old age, or maybe I'm just practical and straightforward about my own participation in something that I see as pointless.
Nevertheless, I will once again attempt to, try to, resolve to make changes in myself, if not for any other reason that to try to participate more fully in this human experience....
As for what my resolutions will be, well I'll have to get back to you on that one, but rest assured, I will.... I know you will be on the edge of your seat until then.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


So I started my new job yesterday, somehow I think I didn't exactly make the best first impression, although I'm sure many of my new "friends" aren't likely to forget me.
To give a little back ground, over the last few years I've developed a "nervous stomach" which means that I'm basically a gastronomical bio hazard when I get stressed. On top of that, last Sat. night I drank ENTIRELY too much beer, which often leads to what we so lovingly refer to as "the beer shits"!
So just in case you missed it , Stress=an urgent bad poo, beer=a really bad poo.
I can't say that my first day was stressful, but I guess my colon hadn't gotten the message that everything was gonna be okay. About 2 hours or so into my first training I decided it was a good time to sneak into the restroom to drop a quick deuce (sorry there is just NO WAY to say that politely). Of course my colon took this opportunity to seek its revenge on me for my weekend's overindulgence and what followed was quite possibly the most vile bathroom experience of my life. Lucky for me the instructor decided to call a break time for the entire meeting which led to a crowd control situation in the ladies room. Yes, the room I'd just filled with a dense green fog despite my frenzied attempts at courtesy flushes. I was stuck, everyone saw me leave the meeting and head to the restroom, I knew everyone could smell what I'd been up to. Really I just wanted to die, but with a line forming outside the stalls and no magical cloaking device at the ready, I had no choice but to unlatch the stall door and commence the walk of shame to the sinks. I avoided eye contact at all costs and went to sit back down in the meeting room, only to find out that my section of the training was over and I was free to go home.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

My Ex-New BFF!

So I lied a few posts ago when I said my next post would be about my new best friend (who I met at Walmart). Mostly because I just forgot, see what a good best friend I am?

Anyway..... So I went to Walmart a couple weeks ago, which is something I rarely do because I LOATHE Walmart and anyone who shops there. I can't even remember what compelled me to go there, but whatever. As I walked down one of the aisles this really pretty lady came up to me with the original "Wow three boys!" comment. I gave her my standard, "yep, lucky me" response and planned to move on so I could quickly remove myself from the filth pit some people call a store. She kept talking to me, asking me if I ever sleep, if I'm always tired, how I do it, etc. etc. I'm not one to shy away from someone giving me props for living my daily life so I was being nice. I hadn't found her annoying yet.
At one point I began to wonder if this is how people make friends. I probably should give a little background in my social abilities....I have none. I have literally never made a new friend that wasn't someone who wasn't forced to be near me due to some other circumstance, school, work, neighborhood, etc. I occasionally win someone over after they've exhausted all their escape options, but this lady, she was interested in me. I wasn't even trying that hard and she was still talking. Maybe this is what popular people feel like, people just stopping them and asking to be their friend. Yes I could get used to this. I started to engage in a hazy dream sequence about how, 20 years from now, we'd tell our kids how we just bumped into each other at Walmart and had been best friends ever since. But, just as we were skipping through a field of daisies together, my fantasies were rudely interrupted, by my new potential bff.
"So are you married to teaching?"



If she was gonna be my bff she needed to listen a little better and get used to my bitchy sarcasm, "well since, as I told you, I'm about 1/3 of the way through a doctorate in the field, I'd say, yep I'm pretty married to it!"

"Oh, I see, have you ever thought about keeping your options open?"


"Well I've met a lot of teachers who are also looking for a way to make extra money"

"well I'm not exactly a sales person, and the only sales party I'd be willing to have is a Passion party", and that would be for the free dildo's, and really how many dildos can one person have?

"no no that isn't what I meant. I'm in the financial industry and the teachers I've recruited do really well once they are up and going."

I told her I wasn't interested between quite sobs of grief, she didn't want to be my friend, she needed someone below her on the pyramid. She then asked for my cell number and I gave my standard fake number. I thought she was happy enough to leave me alone and I was getting away from her lethal grip, BUT my son, my sweet pain in the ass of a son says,
"Mom, that is not your cell phone number!!!! Its ########." Did you mix up our phone numbers on purpose? Are you trying to trick that lady?"
Now my son and my ex/new bff were just looking at me, one with genuine confusion the other with a bit of annoyance. So, I did what any self respecting loser would do, "Um yeah, I gotta go", and walked away a little faster than necessary, paid for my stuff and made sure no one followed me to the car.
I guess my old friends are stuck with me, all two of them.

Monday, July 27, 2009


As my stay at home mom days come to a rapid close I find myself feeling more and more unsettled. I knew this was coming, but knowing something is going to happen doesn't equal preparation for it. When I am alone (usually in the car) I imagine this new sense of empowerment I am going to feel when I get to explore this whole other side of me, professional working me, and I really start to look forward to it. Other times something as small as a sigh from my two year sets me off and I think I am making the worst mistake imaginable. I know everyone will be okay, I know this will be good for me and subsequently for my family, but getting from here to there is torture. I keep waiting for a new version of myself to emerge, the person I always assumed I'd become once I was no longer mostly just a mom who does a few other things. The thing that ends up feeling the most shocking is that I'm not starting to feel different, I'm not starting to feel like less of a mom. I'm starting to feel like more of myself, which is something I didn't realize I was missing. I know how cliche it sounds, but it really is how I'm feeling. No I haven't completely lost myself, but when all your days are spent as only the caretaker for your children, squelching some of the "me-ness" is a survival tactic. Otherwise the more mundane aspects of motherhood would be too much to deal with. I do know that I will miss some of the good stuff, but I'm not delusional enough to believe that I haven't been missing some of it all along. I'm just not good with major life changes, they usually send me into a mild (at least) depression, but I am determined not to let that happen this time. I'm fighting the urge to stay in the cocoon of my bed until the day I leave to go to work for the first time. In some moments it really is overwhelming...
I'm just taking each day as it comes, and really just trying to soak the rest of it all in!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

On the Verge

I'm starting to feel like I'm in some weird movie sequence where I am standing still and the rest of the world is a complete blur around me. I'm waiting to get re-engaged in my life again, but for now I'm just not dialed in.

For starters, this doctoral program is probably one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. I have brief moments where I really feel like I will accomplish this goal, but most of the time it just feels insurmountable.

Then there is my two year old, who is quite possibly the biggest pain in the ass kid that has ever lived in this house. I am so glad he is cute because that is the ONLY thing that is saving him from being placed in a shipping crate and getting mailed to outer Cambodia.

Then there is this whole work situation. I can't even begin to tell you what a failure I feel like being completely unwanted in my hometown school district. I am making one last feeble attempt at getting employed here, but I'm not expecting too much to come of it.

Isn't it fun listening to me complain? Let me try to make up for it...
Here is a link I found on the List of The Day Blog. If you're at work don't click on it, it's jewelry and pillows sculpted to look like vulva's and other female parts. I mean really, is a pillow shaped to look like a giant pu$$y really an inconspicous place to hide your dildo? I found the pendants rather disturbing too, but I am happy that I found my brother-in-law's belated birthday present there. =)

Next time I'm gonna tell you about my new bff (who I met this week at WalMart).

Monday, July 6, 2009

BIG issues.

If you've been reading you already know that I have issues. One of which is the fact that the diameter of my ass is bigger than I would like. When you combine this with the fact that I am 6' tall it's not a far stretch to use a Mack truck reference as a descriptor of yours truly. My weight, has always been an issue for me, even when I was skinny, but in my years staying home with my kids I have watched my waistline do the inevitable upwards climb. Now that I am going back to work, I'm really trying to get into a smaller size just because no matter how cute the clothes are, there is a certain point that everything starts to look tent-ish.
Tonight I stopped in at the local Big Gals R'us to see if I could get something new to wear for, what I hope is, my final interview tomorrow. Looking over the racks, I found it increasingly difficult to find anything that looked even remotely professional. You should know there are a few hidden, though universal, rules for fat girl clothes.

Rule 1. Big girls have big boobs which should be shown off at all costs. I guess it's the "flaunt what you got philosophy", but seriously, squeezing my boobs together and shoving them in your face is a pathetic way to avert your eyes from my hips.

Rule 2. Ruffles, Sequins, Collars and sleeves, the bigger and more copious the better. I think this may be used for distraction as well, but if you walk in to any fat lady store you cannot avoid all the embellishments all over everything. Its like a pirate ship full of rhinestones exploded in there. Again, I can't always buy into this look, it just makes me feel ridiculous. "Hey you could look at my fat rolls, but not if I can hypnotize you with my sequins and wizard sleeves first!"

Rule 3. Sassy music is a must. This one I find the most offensive, its like some kind of fat girl mind control. I can just imagine the board meeting where the soundtrack, full of upbeat tunes about how I'm better off without your love or how I am the life of the party, was decided upon.
CEO: You know the big girls aren't buying enough, what to do, what to do?
Eager employee # 1: If there was only some way to make them feel like they have control of their lives, since society tells them they are worthless and ugly.hmmmmmmmmm???
Eager employee #2: Oh Oh I know!!!! We need to set the mood with some sassy music, so when they are trying on the clothes they get a false sense of power and a boost in self-esteem.
Eager employee #1: Perfect!!! That way when they are dancing around in all this shit full of sequins and ruffles and over sized collars they won't just feel like ridiculous pirate hookers, they'll feel sexy and confident....

Well I'm not sure if that is exactly how the conversation went, but it seems like it may be in the ballpark!
Needless to say, I left empty handed, because unless the principal, I'm interviewing with, is a big pirate or cleavage fan, I wasn't likley to increase my chances of a job offer. I guess I'm gonna have to buckle down if I'm gonna have more options for work clothes in 5 weeks, until then I'll stick to my 1 professional outfit and my biggest loser dvd's....sigh!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Bloggy Blahs

I haven't blogged much lately, partly because I was really busy with school, but mostly because I've just felt kind of blah lately. There is probably nothing less interesting to read than a pointless blog post written by a an uninspired blogger, so I've been sparing you for the last several weeks. Honestly, I don't even know why I blog. I really have nothing of interest to say, I'm not interested in a trying to fill my blog full of advertisements to make extra change, and I'm not about to fill the pages full of the mundane details of my family life, after all that has been done, and done and done again. In the spirit of full disclosure, I'm a little embarrassed that I even blog in the first place. It's just so......trendy, something I've never been accused of being....But every time I think of hitting the delete button I just can't do it. So I'm here and if you get bored please feel free to exercise your right to click on the "X" in the upper right hand corner.
The job saga continues, but I do have a job available for the taking, but I'm still interviewing and hoping for lightening to strike. I'm supposed to be sad that I am abandoning my family to go back to work, but I'm not. I can't wait to get out of this house. I think I might literally be going crazy. I do get a little sad that I will be giving away some of my parental duties, some are moving over to my husband (don't get me started on this), and some will be going to my 2 yr old's babysitter, but I'm not sad enough not to do it. Hopefully I'll know more by the end of this week, until then I'm just to blog about anything.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

part 2

Scroll down if you missed the first part of this little story (I'm too lazy to put the link in here).

About an hour after my response to Principal Bitchface I received a phone call from her. She was full of apologies and started saying something about how God was giving her her "come uppence".

Gotta love the way some people throw God around. No you moron, I'm sure your God was dealing with real problems while he let you muddle around in your own stupidity. I'm sorry but being too stupid to use email does not equal God.....

She promised that she would only give me good reviews from here on out and that if she had a position at her school she would hire me on the spot....

(thanks but I think I'll pass).

I was too nice, I even felt bad for her being so stupid, I should have jumped at the chance to say a few things to her, but I didn't and now the opportunity has passed.
I did end up getting an interview from the principal who may or may not have gotten an earful about how much I suck. It was for a first grade position which isn't my first choice. Though I probably would have taken it to be close to my own kids. A week after that interview I finally received this email.

I am so sorry that it has taken so long to get back with you about the first grade position at our school. We had a long list of applicants and we wanted to make sure that we allowed everyone an opportunity to meet with us. We want you to know that we enjoyed meeting with you and were very impressed with all that you have to offer. It is obvious that you are passionate about teaching children and making a difference in their lives. However, we have decided to offer the position to another applicant at this time. We would like to keep your application on file for future reference should we have another position come available.
We wish you the best of luck in your search for a new teaching position. You are an amazing applicant and will be a definite asset to the school you choose to team with. If I can ever be of any assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Take care-

Depressing, right? I know it is a form letter, but really I would much rather be a "sucky person who has no business around small children" over an "amazing applicant" that just wasn't good enough for them. Who writes this bs, I mean really? I'm not completely sure that this was a legitimate job offer to begin with. It very well could have been a c.y.a interview to help out Principal Bitchface since she had gotten herself in a bit of a pickle with the illegal job reference and all.......who knows?

Stay tuned for more. There is a happy ending

of course "happy" is extremely dependant on where I happen to fall on the hormone spectrum on any given day.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Interviews, Emails and Rejection. part 1

Over the last two weeks I have really amped up my efforts to gain employment, turning my lackadaisical attitude into one of total determination. The reality of the ever shrinking numbers on my husband's paycheck helped to light the fire in me to find a way to bring more cash into the house. Back in the old days when his pay went down we just cut way back on our living expenses, but now that our kids are older, and more expensive on their own, I don't want the ebbs and flows of the economy to interfere with their activities. On top of that I am really ready to get back into the mix, even if that does cause me much maternal conflict.
If I am being totally honest, I am not a dream candidate, my job history is skitter scattered around my stay at home mom years, and I've never really stayed in one position long enough to get off of a probationary contract (usually 3 years is the minimum). No matter how impressed any school might be about my education (I can't tell for sure if they care or not) the fact that I am all theory and no (or very little) practice means that I am a risk.
The school district that I really wanted to work in advises applicants not to contact school principals because it just gets "too overwhelming" for them. So imagine my dismay upon discovering that they are only giving interviews to applicants who make personal contact with them..hmmmmmmmm?!?!?!?!?! I sat at my computer for an entire day customizing emails to all the schools I'd hoped to possibly work for, remembering to attach my resume most of the time. I only addressed one female as a "Mr." so all in all I felt pretty good about my effort. At that point I thought I'd just sit back and wait for them to come begging......
Cue the crickets........................................
I have always been granted an interview once I'd turned in an application, so not hearing from even one principal in a period of 2 months of it being on file and then after a few weeks after making "personal contact" was only slightly discouraging. Then a small clue to my lack of success landed in my inbox in the form of an email that was never intended to come to me. It was from my former principal, who assured me that she would give nothing but rave reviews on my behalf
It read:(names have been changed to protect the innocent and the bitchy)

She is smart, calm, and easy going. Almost too easy going. Very low key and low energy level. She had a tendency to be negative if the people around her were negative. She didn't start it, didn't cause any problems, or wasn't a drama queen, but she doesn't stay away from it either. She was a special ed teacher for us and she was paired with a nasty, opinionated special ed teacher that was used to home schooling her kids. The other teacher is Fred so and so's wife. I can't remember her last name. I think a lot of people in our district know Fred. Anyway, Suburban Psychotic may be too low key for you, but she may be a pretty good teacher.

Two faced Lying Bitch
Dill Weed Elementary

Well holy mother of Mike, who in their right mind would grant such a candidate an interview???? I won't even bring up the fact that offering such personal opinions in a job reference are illegal in my state, though I guess I just did.
I had no idea how to react, so I replied as diplomatically as I possibly could. The yellow is obviously personal commentary that was not inlcuded in the actual email

Dearest Bitchface liar,
Did you mean to send this to me? If so, I do appreciate your honesty
. (even though I think you're a hooker who wears too much make up)
I'm not sure how to respond except to say that the year I worked at Dill Weed Elementary was very difficult for me in my personal life, my husband was not working due to a severe back injury and I had two jobs and two small children to care for at the time. I was purposely "low key" because my partner (who is still my very good friend and was only disliked because she called everyone out on their bullshit) and my department head(who did not do her job, but was best friends with the building admin)hated each other. I did my best to focus on the students so as to stay out of the drama and negativity that was inescapable.
I did think I left on good terms
(mostly because you told me two months ago that you remembered me fondly) and was hopeful to come back to the district (but I guess I can bend over and kiss that dream goodbye).
Like I said, I do appreciate your honesty (even though it seems to be a relatively new concept for you).
Suburban Psychotic

You'll have to wait for my next post to find out how all this ended up...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

D is for Depression....

As it always happens, I sat down to blog about something else entirely, and this is what came out....

I've been diagnosed with clinical depression no less than 3 times in my life. Two of those times were post-partum depression and the other was a garden variety kind that took over my life at the beginning of 11th grade. I also suspect that there was a moment there, after my last miscarriage that might have warranted a note in my medical file, but since I wouldn't get off the couch I guess we'll never really know.
I'm lucky that I have such a supportive family, since my personality is naturally prone to some intense and lengthy lows at any given point, and though I've not been officially depressed for the last 4 years or so, I'd be lying if I denied the fact that melancholy was always in my line of sight, peering in my windows on dark nights waiting so patiently for me to take a step in the wrong direction. I'm sure my issues are genetic and biological (though I'd like to believe it is a function of misunderstood brilliance) but I've refused to take medication (since I've spent the last 8 years somewhere on the pregnancy and breastfeeding spectrum and back in high school I was worried that anti-depressants would interfere with my future appointment to the Air force Academy). In a conversation I had recently, my friend asked me how I knew that my depression was any different that the normal feelings everyone experiences. I didn't have an answer for her at the time, but I do now,

Depression is not just about feeling sad or upset or the inability to feel happy at the appropriate times. It is more the inability to feel at all. You know you should feel sad, but the process of emoting requires more energy than you can muster, so you're not sad, you're just..... nothing. You understand that you're not experiencing things in the appropriate manner, but again, giving a shit is just beyond your grasp and exchanging oxygen for carbon dioxide is about the biggest accomplishment you'll achieve in those days, weeks and months (and even that would be set aside if it were possible.) there are many appropriate adjectives to go along with it, hopeless, despondent, detached, but there is no way to understand unless you've traveled to that place. Even now, as I am not depressed, I have a difficult time pin-pointing the emotions because they are so context dependant. When I've been depressed, I don't care, I don't care that I don't care and I have no desire to care. There is nothing anyone can do for me until I care enough to let them, and sometimes that takes a while. As a mom I do worry that one day the bomb will drop again and I'll become unavailable to my kids in a way no parent should, but luckily I've gotten very good at attending to all the warning signs and fending them off with exercise and projects and through other means (the details of which would bore you to tears).

So there is my answer, the reason I know that depression is not on the normal spectrum of emotions is because normally I do exist within the same spectrum and there is a marked distinction between everyday ins and outs and full on depression. I'm not sure who has it worse, the depressed or their loved ones since it can be so frustrating and infuriating to someone who wants to make it better but has never seen it from the inside out.

I've accepted the fact that I will permanently reside right here on the edge between normalcy and the abyss, and though I can't make it better for anyone else going through the same things, maybe knowing that you're not alone is help in itself.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

When I say "Tball" you say "Hell"

"Tball" "Hell" "Tball" "Hell"
I'm sure what I'm about to write means I am a bad mom, but it wouldn't be the first time.

I hate Tball. I don't just dislike it, I hate it. It is hilarious to watch, 4 and 5 year old running around on the field, fighting over the ball, picking flowers, doing cartwheels, etc., but, it is just another "fun" extra curricular full of politics and despicable grown up behavior.

When my husband volunteered to coach this season, I knew it would be a huge commitment, but I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. There are coaches in our league who have been caught cheating, CHEATING in tball. Oh, don't worry, they won't be allowed to coach next year, their reign of terror on the Tball field will end with this year's playoffs.

I'm not even going to go into the politics of how the teams are picked, especially after my husband made the mistake of pointing it out to the league president. I am still talking about a program for 4 and 5 year olds, just in case you forgot how ridiculous this all is.

I have even stooped to offering to sign my 5 year old up for drum lessons if he'd just agree to not play anymore, no takers.

Don't get me wrong, I like to watch my kid play, but the adults around me totally suck the fun out of it. Thankfully we lost our last play-off game (don't get me started on the ridiculousness of tball playoffs) last night, so our season is over........except that it really isn't. I happen to have some inside information about the fact that we have another 2 weeks of even higher stakes tball coming up. A good mom would be happy about that, right? What's the appropriate response?
"Tball" "Hell", "Tball" "Hell"!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

On being a Liberal

Until the last presidential election, I'd always considered myself to be a political moderate (even though I'd always voted Democrat). The year or so preceding the election, was the first time I'd ever really engaged in any type of serious political discussions with people who both opposed and/or agreed with my views. This really helped me to reflect on my ideology and reasoning, upon which, I discovered that I'm about as liberal as you can get, (A fact that my Republican mother is patiently waiting for me to outgrow).
With all the talk about the (lack of) direction and new emerging (and desperately needed) definitions of Conservatives and Republicans, I thought I should explore what it means to be a liberal.

Here is the American Heritage Dictionary definition of "liberal"

Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.
Of, relating to, or characteristic of liberalism.
Liberal Of, designating, or characteristic of a political party founded on or associated with principles of social and political liberalism, especially in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States.

I think I like my new label, how can you go wrong with not being limited by orthodox views, being free from bigotry, tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others, and being broad minded? Of course, this isn't to say that not being liberal means that you are bigoted and intolerant, but I do need more time to craft a description of conservatism that doesn't sound overly negative.

Living in the South, I do find myself with the need to seek out like-minded people, which isn't isn't necessarily difficult, but I'm not going to win any popularity contests in my small suburban town. Even among the liberals I have found on the Internet, I haven't always been met with tolerance and broad-mindedness. There are still a lot of sweeping generalizations and finger pointing that goes on amongst even the most liberal people, and I'm just not sure why. There are accusations of snobbery and elitism that go along with Liberalism, that I can't always defend or explain. Nevertheless, I'm still proud to be a liberal, and much to my mom's chagrin, I don't think I'll be growing out of it anytime soon!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Matrimony, minutia and monotony..

My life is always in a perpetual state of waiting to get to the next phase and, I must say, it is really getting annoying. If you go back a few posts you'll probably be able to sense the urgency with which I was wanting the semester to be over, but now I'm finding myself with the same feeling for the next semester to start back up.

When I have nothing on my plate I become much to finely attuned to the minutia going on around me, and, well, it is as lame as it sounds. Aside from the fact that my days are now filled with planning and logistics control over every freaking ceremony involved with being a parent. (I mean really how many graduations do you need before you even start kindergarten?) My husband is now artificially inserted into our days due to some "emergency vacation" he HAD to take to attend t-ball play-offs. I do love my husband, don't get me wrong, but I do find that he is much more lovable on a part-time basis. His time at home is usually spent setting the example for "stay-at-home" behavior. These are all the things I still have yet to master even after 8 years of being a "stay-at-home" mom. I'm sorry but laundry sucks, and I'd much rather take my kids out to a sit down lunch at say, Pei Wei, than eat something bland and sandwich-like at my own kitchen table.

Today he thought he was being smart in "cooking" a real meal, proving to me that eating at home is as much fun as not. As I sit here typing the dear man is coming up with some vomitous concoction that is filling my house with an aroma reminiscent of regurgitated excrement. As I look over at the stove from where I sit, I can see empty packages of turkey sausage, bison meat, mushrooms, brown rice and white flour, along with some other things that are just out of my line of sight (Thank God). I know I'll be getting a feigned silent treatment when I refuse to taste it sighting my acute olfactory sense and tendency to gag, but he's stuck with me anyway.

Later I'm sure I'll get a lesson in how to properly water the garden and organize the piles of research papers that litter my desk and seem to multiply in the night. I hate that I sound so ungrateful, I do have a husband that "cooks" and I couldn't be more excited about the "this is not pink eye" pink-eye infection that he gave me (the same one that sent me to the grocery store minute clinic for a 40 dollar, impossibly tiny bottle of antibiotic eye drops), BUT it is time for his vacation to come to an end, or my school to call needing my immediate assistance, surely there is some pressing research opportunity that only I can handle!

The good news, for me, is that these little life lessons are easy to ignore as I'm pretty sure my superior intelligence and winning personality mean that I am above it all anyway (excluding, of course, the pink-eye).

I am having some fun "researching" all things Texan and I look forward to writing some of the posts that are budding in my head about it, but, fear not this will not become an "all Texas all the time" type of blog, because well that would be just as bad as eating lunch at home everyday. I'll strive for, maybe, a once a week "Texas" post (until I get tired of it), separated by posts about other things that help me to display my contagiously positive outlook and charming wit.

Now I think I'll sneak out for something that looks and smells more edible than the steaming pile of goo sitting at my place on the "lunch" table.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Don't Mess With Texas?

After a spirited back and forth with another blogger about Texas (her dislike and my defense of) I've decided to try to examine the phenomenon of Texas pride (as objectively as possible and with some humor).
I mean really, where does it come from? I'm not even afflicted with true Texas pride, but I do find myself on the defensive when someone speaks negatively about us. Being Texan becomes an inextractible part of our identity, even when we don't fit the "Texan" stereotype. Why? This doesn't happen in other states, at least not to the degree it does here.
My plan is to elicit some responses from Texans and non Texans about Texan pride, I may even get brave and try to get some video responses. I think it will be alot of fun and very eye opening, to say the least. I'm sure anything short of painting Texas as the perfect place, is going to put me up for some pretty harsh criticism, but I'm a big girl.

To begin with, check out this video. It is tongue and cheek, but I think a lot of the country feels this way towards this state.

Are you still proud?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ralph the gay giraffe

My son (who is 8) approached me with a question about same-sex marriage, mostly wanting to know what the big deal is. I didn't really see any reason to dance around the issue, I don't have a problem with homosexuality, I am not threatened by same-sex marriage, if my kids were gay I'd be totally fine with that, and I do not think civil law should rely on a biblical definition (but you already knew all that).

After trying to explain both sides of the issue (emphasizing my belief in civil equality) I told my eldest offspring that all I really want is for him to be happy. If he marries a woman, great, if he marries a man that's great too. My goal as a mother is to raise happy, healthy, independent creatures, I don't care if they are gay or straight or somewhere in between. He was a little irritated with me for mentioning any possibility that he could be gay.

#1 "Mom, you know I'm not gay"

Me: "How do I know that?"


Me: "Okay, I didn't say you were"

#1 "Yes you did."

Me: "No, what I was trying to tell you is that I don't care who you marry as long as that person makes you happy."

#1 "well that person is going to be a girl."

Me: "Okay, but I don't care if it is giraffe named Ralph, as long as you are happy."

#1 "MOOOOOOOOM I told you that I'm not gay"

Me: "I still didn't say you were"

#1 "Look mom, I'm not gay, and if I do marry a giraffe, it will be a girl giraffe." he said as he walked out of the room in a cloud of indignation.

I guess he's not gay....but maybe I should keep a closer eye on him when we go to the zoo.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The problem with being uncool...

My final class for this semester was last night, at a brewery/restaurant. It had potential to be a great time as there are a lot of interesting characters in this particular course. Unfortunately I was the second to last person to arrive so I ended up in the cheap seats, just far enough away from the good conversations to be excluded from most of them. Sadly, it seems, this is the story of my life..Always on the fringes, just close enough to see the cool kids but just far enough away to be unnoticed. I'm sure it is my fault, I'm sure it somehow goes back to some deep self loathing that keeps me in a perpetual state of exclusion. I'm also sure that the fact that most of the time I am apathetic about my social status doesn't help elevate it in any way. Never-the-less, sometimes it makes me sad.

I've never been accused of being cool. I had some glory days in late elementary because I got boobs before everyone else, but the boobs were soon followed by a ridiculous growth spurt that left me taller than all my 5th grade teachers (I was known as Paul Bunyan from that point forward).
In seventh grade I had a short lived resurgence of cool just because I switched schools and the new kid is always popular for 5 minutes. They soon caught onto me too and I was once again relegated to the ranks of social mediocrity. High school was a blur (where I was re-nicknamed Amazon woman), I spent most of it in a "relationship" (with 3 different boys, not at the same time). And even though I would never have signed an abstinence pledge, my promiscuity was more myth than reality, leaving "coolness" elusive once more.

Then there was college....still uncool. I lived in an all female co-op for 2.5 years. I got along with most of the girls in the house, at least I thought I did, until I found out after I had moved out that everyone (almost everyone, I did make a few good friends) had either hated me or seriously disliked me... Boo freakin hoo, right?

Since then I've been married and breeding, and even still, have somehow managed to procreate a group that I am still excluded from. This house is definitely a boy's club, and since I lack the necessary equipment, I can only sit on the sidelines and watch. I get to be the utility player here, the one that makes it all happen, yet I'm never invited to the secret meetings where they must discuss how to find worms, aim farts, and come up with names for their balls.

Then there is always facebook where I get to see all my friends and family socialize with each other in ways, quite frankly, they just don't with me (nor I with them).

Like I said, most of the time, I really don't care. Even last night, about halfway through my 2nd beer, I decided I didn't want to hear about treks through Peru, or adventures on The Great Wall anyway. Who cares about travels to Vienna or conversations about national education standards? I had my pizza and beer and all was well with the world, well, except for swine flu and my secret, nagging desire to be one of the cool kids.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I'm sorry, I know I've already established my nut-job status when it comes to the swine flu, but I am very annoyed with our CDC (and the news media).

There has been a death here in Houston from the swine flu. I keep hearing about it, reading about it, trying not to obsess about it, etc. etc. Then the CDC comes out with this report saying that the death may indicate that it is becoming more serious in the U.S. What most of the reports are leaving out is that this U.S. death is actually a Mexican child brought here for treatment.

Think about it, and if they are giving us all the facts how the hell was there a death in a city that was, until that point, unaffected????

Don't get me wrong it is still unnerving, especially since I have a 24 month old in my home, I am scared. BUT I would appreciate is some accuracy in reporting. I'd rather hear facts instead of scare tactics.
I'm a mom, I live in fear of what might happen to my family, I don't need any one's help with that. What I do need are facts and information.

If you listen carefully to the CDC they keep saying they fully expect to see more deaths, which may or may not be a result of an increasing viral danger. It may also be the result of looking a little deeper, finding cases previously unknown. You won't hear much about the latter because, well, it isn't scary enough!

Reports out of Mexico are scant if anything. I think the cases of flu there are now hovering around 1600 with 170 deaths. BUT if you look deeper you will find that many communities there have been experiencing this illness (with high rates of recovery) for several weeks (if not months). Even their "patient zero" lives in a community where 3000 people became ill. How did they come up with 1600 again???? Oh that's right because they aren't telling us everything.

Yes this flu is scary, so is the regular old flu.
Yes this flu is serious and contagious and sometimes deadly, but so is the regular flu.
Yes most people who get this flu will recover, as they will from the regular flu.
Yes this flu responds to antivirals, just as does the regular flu.

Enough already, I'm scared, the CDC has my attention, but I refuse to rely on the media for any accuracy in their reporting. I am now (as I suggest you should) reading the reports myself, and listening to people who don't have a vested interest in scaring the crap out of me to get me to watch their prime time news shows.

I can't allow anyone (read: the news media) to feed off my fear and vulnerabilities...

This is funny if you have 5 minutes to watch...
The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Snoutbreak '09 - The Last 100 Days
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisFirst 100 Days

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pandemic issues.

Okay, I know what I am about to write could make me look like a complete nut-job....but I'm gonna write it anyway!!!

I CANNOT handle anymore Pandemic, Swine Flu news flashes. I just can't.... I'm a bit of a germ-a-phobe/hypochondriac and I'm pretty sure I've done enough Internet research, on rare but deadly diseases that may or may not be causing my (insert symptoms here) on any given day, to have earned an M.D. with honors!!!
I also CANNOT watch any Armageddon type movies or documentaries. I can't do it. I mean when Al Gore came out with An Inconvenient Truth, I was depressed for weeks, thinking I had brought three children into this world just in time to see the end of days. (Maybe I'm just a tad melodramatic too, as is evidenced by my husbands permanent state of eyeroll directed towards me.)

All these little idiosyncrasies about my personality in combination with the fact that I somehow sat through 2.5 hours of "Armageddon week" on the History Channel last weekend and am currently watching every last one of the latest news reports about the swine flu, has me in a state of psychotic frenzy. I keep having to talk myself down off the ledge.
This is happening in Mexico, I mean I can throw a rock from my house and have it land across* the border.
*of course, by "across" I mean approximately 400 miles away from the border, but you get my point.

In an effort to ease my mind I've been doing a little "research" on the 1918 flu pandemic. It is staggering to know that that flu killed 50million people world wide. Keeping it in perspective 500 Million people actually had the flu, which means 450,000,000 people lived through it. Now 10% is a very high death rate for a flu and from what I can tell the deaths were pretty fast, but still 9/10 is still pretty decent odds right? Not to mention the advances in anti-virals and modern medicine ,we may even have a better chance at surviving, right? Please say yes!!!

In all reality we will probably be okay, I know that logically, but the chance that something so totally out of my control could come into my house and take me away from my kids, or vice versa, just makes me C-R-A-Z-Y, and the media just eats this shit up. I keep waiting for some cheesy graphic with the sound effects of doom playing in the background to come up every time they talk about it.
I will try not to panic, I'll try to act (relatively) normal, but I can't promise that I won't stockpile canned goods and attempt to order a bio hazard suit and matching mask ! For now I'll try to be happy overusing my Purell.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Global Rich List

One of my Facebook friends posted this link. It shows where your income ranks you in comparison to the rest of the world, and gives a bit of perspective about how much we really have here in the US. Interesting!!!!
I am the 31,845,353rd richest person in the world, who knew???

Yes, I know I'm being a lazy blogger, but really, my brain is fried from the end of the semester stuff and job hunting.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Now we know....

...what will happen to us if we lived out this occasional fantasy.
You know you've thought about it too, or is it just me and the crazy lady from New York?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dear Miss California,

Dear Miss California,
If you are feeling cheated and discriminated against because of your political views, imagine what it would feel like to experience that just because of who you are....
Hugs and Kisses

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Blogger Interrupted

Since my blogging is being interrupted by my life and I have no time to say anything of interest or value, I figured this was a good time to share a blog I really like...

Check him out and watch some of his videos, I think he could be my new best friend (in a totally non-creepy, non-cyberstalkerish kind of way)!!!

back to the grind.....

BTW, I changed my comment format since a few people were having problems responding. See if it works now, comment all you want just don't give me a complex I already have enough issues.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Senator's Response

You may recall that I wrote my senator a letter of disapproval recently over his over his "no" vote on the Lilly Ledbetter act. I am highly unimpressed with his response, in fact it makes me just a little nauseous, but regardless, here it is.....

Dear 2nd class citizen who should shut up and do the same job for less pay,
(I may have taken a liberty or two in the greeting but the rest is his (or one of his minions) writing.
Thank you for contacting me regarding pay equity in the workplace. As the father of two daughters, I believe it is important to protect women’s rights, especially in the workplace, and I appreciate having the benefit of your views on this matter.As you may know, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it illegal for employers to adjust an employee’s pay because of their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Additionally, this legislation requires that any pay discrimination claims brought under the Civil Rights Act be filed within 180 days of the discriminatory employment practice. In 2007, the Supreme Court in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Inc., upheld the 180-day statute of limitations for pay discrimination claims filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. I believe that victims of discrimination deserve their day in court; however, we must protect the rights of those who are discriminated against without creating a system that is subject to abuse. Unfortunately, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (P.L. 111–1), which was signed into law during the 111th Congress, is likely to jeopardize the right to a fair and speedy trial. P.L. 111-1 effectively eliminates the 180-day statute of limitation for discrimination claims, allowing employees to file claims for lost compensation decades after the act of discrimination occurs. As a former Texas judge, I know that justice often suffers when trials are delayed. The statute of limitations exists to ensure that trials are held while the event is still fresh in the memory and records of the victims of discrimination, the employers, and the witnesses. Finally, Congress must work to ensure that claims for discrimination are filed in a timely manner, while protecting the rights of employees who are unaware that they are victims of pay discrimination. For this reason, I cosponsored the Title VII Fairness Act (S. 166) which reaffirms the importance of a statute of limitations for filing discrimination claims, but also recognizes that, in some cases, a person may not know that they were a victim of discriminatory activity at the time. S. 166 was offered as an amendment to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and would have improved protections for employees against workplace discrimination. I am proud to have voted for this amendment, unfortunately, S. 166 was not included in the final version of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. I appreciate having the opportunity to represent you in the United States Senate, and you may be certain that I will keep your views in mind should S. 166 or other relevant legislation be considered during the 111th Congress. Thank you for taking the time to contact me.
United States Senator

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Ever since having my third child, my life has been out of control in one way or another. There just never seems to be enough of me to go around. I can never get anything done because someone is always needing something and I am the go-to person in our house. I kinda feel like I am in a never ending game of Tetris (yes I am that old) where as soon as I figure out how to make the pieces fit, new pieces start falling from the sky faster and faster until they all end up in a big messy pile. I'm sure there are moms out there that can handle 3 kids with ease and grace, but I'm not one of them. Someone always needs more of me than I have to give at the moment, and someone is always left out.

I was under the false impression that once I got my kids weaned, out of diapers and in school they wouldn't need me as much. I have found that reality is quite the opposite and my mind is full of worry over whatever issues my kids are dealing with at the moment. The thing that sucks the most about all of this is that my dear (no) sweet (eh) loving (Bleh) husband is totally unburdened by all of this. How is it possible that we live in the same house, produced the same offspring, and I am the only one losing sleep over my 8yr old's conduct grades, my 5 yr old's broken arm or the ever increasing possibility of my 2 year falling into our unattended pool??? Clearly the benefits of being a man extend beyond the ability to pee standing up!!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sayonara Sucker

Until last week, I imagined I would not be going back to teaching until I had earned the Dr. in front of my name (or the Ed.D. behind it, depending on how you look at it), but in some weird conversation twist, the hub and I discussed the possibility of me going back to work next school year. Mostly the benefits seem to be obvious, more money (maybe we could actually make those hurricane repairs to the house before the next hurricane season), I'd finally be chipping away at those "years of experience" that the persnickety academicians require before you are allowed or invited to join their "Dr." club, and the opportunity to receive the outside stimulation for which my subconscious has been begging over the last eight years.
Really the only hang up is the kids, those pesky little offspring that need to be taken care of. My oldest two aren't an issue, they will be in school. Dealing with them will just be all logistics because my work day (assuming I get a job) will be about the same length as their school day.

My biggest issue is with my (almost) 2 year old.....I feel like I'm throwing him to the wolves.
"Sorry kid you were born too late", "Mommy is brain fried from too much breeding" or "Mommy's got to go now, but I hope you win big" I keep saying all these things to him in my head, how can I be so ready to go back to work, when the thought of putting his older brother's in day care used to leave me in a sloppy heap in the corner? See, it isn't so much the fact that we are putting him childcare that is bothering me, it is the fact that I couldn't even fathom doing it to his brothers. I feel guilty that I can't seem to guilt myself out of wanting to do this. (Are you starting to get why I call myself psychotic?) The irony is that he is the baby that we had to try so hard to have. We went through SO much to get him here and now I feel like were saying "Syonara SUCKER"

I don't know, I am sure my perspective is all wrong. There really is so much to be gained from taking on a second income, especially while we sit and watch others ,who work in the same industry as my husband, losing their jobs at a ridiculously fast pace. We would be foolish to sit here with our fingers crossed hoping we'll make it through, when I could have a perfectly good opportunity to provide us a little breathing room in the worst case (financial) scenario.

The "mom guilt" just really makes me want to vomit. See how twisted this is? I know I should feel bad, but I don't, then I start to feel bad because I don't feel bad, then I get pissed off that I"m feeling bad about not feeling bad. Seriously?
I surrender, its time for an adult beverage...

We're off to Remember the Alamo for Spring Break! I'm sure I'll return with tales to tell.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Un-Gifted

My almost 8 year old son was recently tested for placement in his school's GT (gifted and talented) program we are awaiting the results, but I have received some indications that he did not qualify. As a former teacher I am fully aware of how much of a joke this school district's GT program is, but still one hour of stimulating lesson plans a week is better than nothing. As a former "GT" student I am fully aware of how much it is not only a joke, but also how little being labeled "GT" really means to one's future success.

I know all this, logically I get that it really is no big deal, BUT when its your kid up for scrutiny you can't help but want others to see in them what you see. I can't help but be just a little disappointed that he didn't get in.

This kid is literally one of the smartest people I know, he can play music by ear, and well, I could go on an on, but I'll spare you. What I have been told (when I worked for this school district) is that there is a certain type of "GT" that they are looking for when they do the testing!?!? What, so they only have the desire to (attempt to) meet the needs of a certain type of student? What is to become of the rest of the riff-raff? In looking at the way this school looks at "GT" one could only assume that most of the world's population would not qualify, the fact that we don't see fit to take everyone else's learning one step further, to promote creative thinking, and to offer differing perspectives to the vast majority speaks volumes for our education system. Would we not be better served to also offer up the best to everyone else, since our world is mostly made up of everyone else?

In a conversation I had with my son's teacher a few weeks ago, she expressed to me her sincere hope that he would qualify because he so obviously needs something more, she can tell he gets bored and doesn't have to apply himself to learn the subject matter they present him. He also doesn't have the most accomodating personality so when he gets bored he becomes a major pain in the ass. Then just a few breaths later, she suggested that he has attentional issues and that maybe I should talk to his pediatrician about it because she just doesn't know how they will get him to sit thorough the entire TAKS test in 3rd grade. ) That, roughly translated, means "please drug your kid into submission so we can better deal with him." I must say that she did think he'll still be able to pass the test, but the more kids they can get to receive a "commended" rating, the better their standing with the state. I could blog for days about the pitfalls of teaching for the discrete skill memorization and regurgitation that the emphasis on standardized testing has led us to, not to mention how many more kids are alienated by this type of teaching, but then I'd be getting horribly off topic and I might never stop.

On that note, I'll go attend to my average, un-gifted, run-of-the-mill kids!

Ode to the Unhappy, Conservatism let you down?...

One of my facebook friends posted a link to this article and I loved it so much I thought I'd share. The complete title is

Ode to the unhappy
Conservatism let you down? Obama nothing more than Bush II? Oh, you poor thing.

I haven't blogged in a while because I am swamped in school work, children and a house that should probably be condemned, I'm pissed at my husband for blowing off my birthday, and I am completely exasperated with my seven year old's elementary school because they want me to drug him into submission while telling me he is too smart for their classrooms, but not the right kind of smart for a better one (WTF?). Once I get things under control around here, I will tell you all about my Garden of Death, Candy Farts, my senators response, and I might even bitch a little about some other things.
Until then.....

Friday, February 20, 2009

Foto Friday

Thought I'd participate in Foto Friday!
This is a pier near my house that was destroyed in Hurricane IKE!

Now that I finally know how to upload pics w/o messing up my entire post (Thank you Stacey) I'll finally be able to blog about my little garden, and show you the nutria rat that tried to eat my children.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Letter to my Senator

I am, by no means, a political activist. I don't even enjoy talking politics with my friends and family. I can't even believe I am blogging about anything political, but I've been reading a few blogs written by some well spoken, politically minded women, and I was moved to contact my senator for the first time ever.

Here is my Letter.

Senator Cornyn,

I am writing to you to express my sincere disappointment in your "no" vote on the Lilly Ledbetter Act. I have read through this legislation and cannot begin to understand your opposition on a measure that would require employers to pay women as they would pay men for the same job. I realize that there is some concern over "frivolous lawsuits", but I don't consider the desire for fair and equal pay to be a frivolous request. The fact that this is even an issue in 2009 is amazing to me, but the fact that my Senator voted against it is utterly disheartening. I do not think women should have to constantly look over their shoulders to make sure they are being treated fairly, but I suspect this is something that you, as a man, can simply take for granted.
I hope, in the future, when women's equality is on the table, you'll consider the perspective of the women you represent, and vote for giving them the rights that you have been able to expect for yourself.

Hugs and Kisses, (Actually it was, Sincerely)
The Suburban Psychotic (Yes of course I put my real name).

If I do get a response, I'll post it here.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Nurture Assumption, food for thought.

If you're a parent you know that if your child does not turn out to be a perfect adult who can cure cancer, find a means for world peace and end the climate crisis then it is all your fault. Starting as far back as Freud, our culture has been force fed a steady diet of accusation and responsibility aimed at parents when anything goes wrong with their children. B.F. Skinner taught us all about learned behavior via stimulus/response, and John Watson said that if he could be given 10 babies to raise on his own he could make any one of them turn out however he chose just by the way he raised them....I could go on and on, BUT what if we've been led astray by these behaviorists, psychoanalysts and child development experts!? The belief that parents are the main influence over their child's social behavior is a relatively new idea (when compared to the length of human existence on the planet).

What if it is really okay to parent in ways that feel authentic to us without feeling the inevitable parental guilt (I would have said mommy-guilt but I know I have at least one y-chromosome reading) that goes along with not being perfect??? What if we choose to ditch the nurture assumption for something that makes a little more sense?

In her book, The Nurture Assumption, Judith Rich Harris provides a pretty convincing argument against the belief that "parents are the most important part of the child’s environment and can determine, to a large extent, how the child turns out" (p.15). Instead she proposes that it is, in fact, the child's peer groups that socialize children, not the adults in their lives. As parents, we maintain personal relationships with our children, we teach them how to behave in our presence, but their peer groups have very different rules than ours. You can bet that when we aren't there (and sometimes even when we are) they are following the rules of their peer groups. I am reminded of this everyday when I drop my 7 year old off at school. I'm not allowed to tell him that I love him when we are in the school's parking lot. Even if we are inside the car with the doors and windows closed, apparently there is the smallest chance that someone might hear me. God forbid anyone find out that his mom loves him!!! Parents do give them the tools and knowledge that they take with them to their peer groups, but it is their peers who help them shape what they believe about themselves.

There is a mountain of research that "proves" that the home environment determines a child's outcome, but as Harris points out, even in cases where identical twins have been reared apart, they are just as alike as identical twins raised in the same home by the same parents. Hmmmmm genetics anyone??? She has so many more examples to support her theory, but for time's sake I'll refer you to the book in you're interested.

I know you're skeptical, I was too. The entire time I was reading the book I wanted to find some glaringly obvious counter-point to prove that I am Numero Uno in their lives.

I never did.

No, it will not change the way I parent my children, but it has given me a new perspective about my role as their mother.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The White Knot

I was going to blog about my new garden (which is really just a box of dirt right now) but a conversation I just had has my mind on other things.

It makes me sad that marriage equality is even an issue. I was in complete disbelief when Prop 8 passed in California, I just can't believe that some people are so short sighted and judgemental of others. I will never buy into the "But the Bible says...." argument because God and religion do not make our civil laws, they just don't. By asking to be legally married, homosexuals are not asking for entry into anyone's heaven, they just want to be treated like humans while they are here on earth. One of my favorite arguments against gay marriage is that it threatens the sanctity of traditional marriage....well if the fact that two people love each other and want to commit to spending their lives together is a threat to your marriage, your issues go beyond homophobia!!!
I could go on and on and on, but I'll spare you!
This is a petition for Californians to sign against Prop 8, but there is a slide show worth watching (even if you're not from Ca), and here is way to show support for marriage equality. Just in case you're interested!!!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

An Open Letter

To the lady who sat next me at Panera,

There is no way you could have known what kind of weekend I'd had up to the point of our meeting. You didn't know I woke up at 7 am so sore from Saturday's gardening I could hardly breathe without pain. I know you had no control over the fact that my not quite 2 year old drank some laundry detergent this morning while I was trying to get the house cleaned. It also isn't your fault that the detergent drinking happened while my husband was gone cleaning the car for almost 2 hours before I packed up all the kids to go see what we could do to persuade him that home is really where he needed to be. It's not your fault that poison control told me the little guy would be fine unless he started struggling to breath and drooling, which he proceeded to do 1hour after his sudsy cocktail.

I don't blame you for the fact that he coughed up bubbles while we went to his pediatrician's after hours clinic only to be greeted by a doctor who's English was so sparse I had to explain what "detergent" was. I'm sure it wasn't your fault that I mistook her lack of command for the the English language for deafness which led to me yelling my English description of detergent loud enough for the entire waiting room of sick kids and their families to hear. You didn't tell them to look at me like I had leprosy as I walked out of the office on my way to the emergency room as per the non-English speaking doctor's orders. You didn't cause the 10 hour wait at the emergency room which led us to look elsewhere for treatment. Did I mention how uptight and OCD I get around sick people and in the places where sick people congregate? Well that isn't your fault either, but I thought I'd mention it. I can't hold the four hour ordeal against you, nor can I blame you for the bloody nose my seven year old gave to my five year immediately upon us picking them up from their grandma's house.

How could you know that we then dragged all 3 of our offspring on a wild tour of furniture stores for the 2 hours immediately preceeding our trip to Panera. You had no control over the fact that my kids were so enamoured with the nude Greek statues' butt cracks at one of the stores that the sales lady would no longer help us. You wouldn't know how much fun a toddler can have with his hand up a statue's ass proclaiming "stinky in der, stinky in dat butt" loud enough for everyone to hear. It's also not your fault that the guy at Office Depot was parenting my children because I was too busy to notice that they were causing such a commotion in the empty office chair section. I wish you could have been there to tell him that we were the only customers in the entire store, and he should spend more time worrying about the grease collecting in his hair. I'm even willing to give you the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the 2 inches of your butt crack that was hanging out of your pants, and the back acne that was visible, well that wasn't your fault either. Maybe I could have chosen to ignore the fact that you were not even eating, but instead studying your infectious disease text book so loudly that I wasn't sure whether to go take the test for you or vomit in your lap.

All this aside, the one thing I must hold you accountable for is the fact that you blew your nose no less than 12 times in the 20 minutes we sat next to you. As much fun as it is listening to the copious amounts of snot evacuating your nasal cavities accompanied by an annoying goose-like honk, I must say you made our dinner an extremely unpleasant experience. Next time I'd ask that you either stay home, take a sinus pill or, at the very least, take your snot rockets to the restroom where expulsion of bodily fluids is welcomed and accommodated.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Check it out!!

2 posts in one day!?? Yay for you!

I'm done stewing in my own self pity, well not really but I do think I'm done blogging about it anyway.
Here are some sites I've come across that I really like.

Suburban Turmoil
I just came across this blog this afternoon, but I really like her sense of humor and she links to alot of cool sites.

Suburban Turmoil Product reviews
This one should be pretty self explanatory, if not enroll yourself in the nearest GED program.

Create your own experience
Maybe I'm a bit partial to her because we seem to have a lot in common, but she has some cool links too.

Thoughts from a Liberal Mom
Living in the armpit of conservative America , this is the blog of my dreams.

Then, I found this Site when I searched for articles about IKEA (Oh how I love thee) and its' green-ness. They post about 30 articles each day so there is plenty to keep you busy.

Snorg tees
because a plain t-shirt is just a waste of space!

Check this List Of The Day (LOTD) post. Somehow inappropriateness with balloon animals just seems so wrong on so many levels.

When I'm not feeling so lazy I'll put these on my sidebar. For now I have to go do some damage control. While cooking dinner, I set off 2 smoke detectors and burnt my finger, which led to some inappropriate language in front of tender little ears.

Sometimes it just sucks!

I found out last night that the only way I can use the degree that I am working on right now is to be able to move away from Houston. I'm totally fine moving away from here, I like Houston, I've lived here all my life, but I don't feel any need to stay, especially since the chance to do what I want to do with my life exists elsewhere. The problem is this little thing that I call my family. For starters, my husband never wants to leave, he has his dream job here, he wants to work there forever. Honestly, he can't make near the money anywhere else. His skills aren't marketable anywhere but here. He loves this craphole house that I only agreed to buy because he promised we'd redo most of the bottom floor. He wants to retire here, in this ignorant armpit of a town, that I can hardly tolerate even on good days. Ick, ick ick. Then there are the kids, who I think would be able to survive a move even if they are in elementary school. I'd rather have kids that understand how big the world is, that know that we can exist outside of this place. Because of the kids I really really want to find a solution that will keep our family together, but it seems that it is a choice between who gets to be happy, who gets the life they want. Do we move so I can chase the career I want or do we stay so the hub can have the career he wants??? Who wins?
I am getting way ahead of myself since I have a few years before I will be done with school, and in the mean time I am hoping to come up with some sort of niche for myself here in Houston, but it is iffy at best. Then there is the issue of how I can even finish my degree with the lack of decent childcare where we are. Even the 'best' daycare here is only adequate, in my opinion. I have found a few good places but they are all out of my way by at least 20 minutes. Then there is the issue of dealing with the shift work schedule, coaching a little league team (not me, him), and being cub scout den leaders (both of us). Somewhere in there I am supposed to find time to study, attend class, write publishable articles, present at conferences, participate in some sort of assistantship, get all the household crap done (this one is, admittedly, with some help), exercise, maintain relationships, and be a mom to my kids ,all without completely losing my freaking mind.
I'm trying to be more productive, to make use of my time in an efficient manner, but there just isn't enough time in the day. I feel like I may explode.
The real kicker is that none of this even really matters. My kids are healthy, my husband is a great companion and he loves me to a fault, and we are living a comfortable lifestyle in a time that is very hard for so many people. I just can't find the happy place between, keeping it all in perspective and getting absolutely nothing accomplished.
I'm drowning.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


I really hate to admit this because I used to pride myself on the way I always got things done in a timely manner but I have become a MAJOR procrastinator in my oldER age. When I was at UT, I would get all my syllabi on the first day of class and write down all the due dates for all my projects papers and tests, then I would move them all up by at least a week, so I would never feel stressed out and down to the wire. (does that mean I was a nerd?) Now I push things back until the last possible minute for no real reason other than I am being completely lazy. I do have moments of insight where I realize that every moment I waste is gone forever, but somehow I can't reason with myself. Instead of returning emails, studying, doing housework, and running errands I find that I am just much happier to mess with facebook, blogging and online (window) shopping.
Every now and then I think I will turn off my computer for a set amount of time just to see how much I can accomplish, but somehow I always end up sitting here. What a time suck!!
I guess I'll start now, right after I watch the anti-aging segment on the Today show and check my facebook!!!

Monday, February 2, 2009


Ever since I entered the blogosphere a couple years ago, I have always been drawn to the more raw, real-life stories that so many people share via their blogs. I don't even know how I found my first 'sick baby blog', I'd almost bet it was during a post miscarriage google search frenzy, resulting from a desperate need to feel "normal" or just, at the very least, not alone in my experiences. Since then I have come across many stories of people dealing with hardships and grief, some seem to have an unshakable faith in a god or some other higher power, while others unabashedly admit to being absolutely pissed and resentful toward the unfairness of life (understandably so). Sometimes I feel guilty peeking into other people's lives without really being invited, but sometimes I can't help but be compelled to read their story. I'm always, always, always hoping for a happy ending.
The blogs that are started for some innocuous purpose but then shifted to an online prayer vigil after a devastating diagnosis, or accident, are the ones I am most drawn to. I have to read all the old posts until I come across that invisible line between before and after. As if I could find the switch that was flicked that changed everything for that family, that moment where it all went wrong, so that I might be able to avoid it myself. I guess I'm also desperately searching for ways in which these families differ from mine, so that I can continue to feel immune to whatever they are going through. So I can continue to exist as if it could never happen to me. Unfortunately, I have found without exception, that that switch, that difference, does not exist.
I wish I could say that reading these blogs helped me to remember how precious life is and how blessed I am to have everything I have today. Some days I do feel that way, but sometimes, some stories just strike me as so unfair, so ridiculously unimaginably unfair that there is just no making sense of them. It doesn't matter if you believe in God, Fate, Karma or all of the above, sometimes the human-ness of this life just sucks. Plain and simple.
I came across Tuesday's story this weekend sometime between cub-scouts and nap time. There are just no words.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Swagger (2 minutes you'll never get back)

Slang is defined as A kind of language occurring chiefly in casual and playful speech, made up typically of short-lived coinages and figures of speech that are deliberately used in place of standard terms for added raciness, humor, irreverence, or other effect.

Swagger (as defined my (traditional use)
 –verb (used without object) walk or strut with a defiant or insolent air. boast or brag noisily.–verb (used with object) bring, drive, force, etc., by blustering.–noun
4.swaggering manner, conduct, or walk; ostentatious display of arrogance and conceit.

Swagger (as defined by Urban (slang use)
How one presents him or her self to the world. Swagger is shown from how the person handles a situation. It can also be shown in the person's walk.

It is hard to tell from up here on my high horse, but for all practical purposes these definitions are pretty much the same. According to my morning news, Swagger is now a slang term. If the term is being used in keeping with the traditional definition, it isn't slang, even if all the cool kids are saying it. Instead of teaching those of us with vocabularies larger than a third grader's the new "slang" term, we should be celebrating the fact that people with double digit IQ's know how to correctly use a two syllable word.

Why, you might ask, does all this matter?
Well, it doesn't. It just doesn't take much to annoy me and you had the misfortune of coming across this post.

Stay tuned for pictures of my close-encounter with a nutria rat.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

In Memory of.....What!?!?!?

Have you ever seen those "In Memory of (fill in the blank)" stickers on random cars out on the road? Those things drive me insane, for a couple reasons, not the least of which is that fact that I have serious issues for all things that (I deem) are stupid!! In my view when the words "In memory of" are part of some sort of memorial (obviously) it implies that something physical has been commissioned in the memory of a loved one, i.e. a headstone, a planted tree, a donation to charity or something, ANYTHING! When we see these stickers, are we to believe that the vehicle on which they are affixed was purchased in someone's memory? Could it be that they are saying "Ha! I bought this with the inheritance", or "My (so and so) died and all I got was this lousy car"? Or is it the sticker itself that has been commissioned in loving memory of whomever? Now I know my hatred for most vanity-type bumper stickers may be clouding my judgement on the matter (don't get me started on the stick figure family stickers), but if someone commissioned a sticker in my memory, I may have to rise from the ashes to haunt the hose bag who paid money for said sticker.