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.