Wednesday, April 28, 2010

wherein i find out i still have it. sort of. or

so i'm at the library the other day to pick up a bunch of books i have on hold.

i run in and grab the stack and head over to the self-checkout kiosk.

i've got them all stacked and ready to scan when i happen to look up. and right there at the next self-checkout kiosk is a handsome man. and he's looking at me. and he's smiling.

okay, so you have to know that at my library i rarely see a male person who a) isn't a little boy or b) an adolescent boy or c) an elderly gentleman. occasionally i will see a harried father with a preschooler or two. oh, and there is a male librarian there, but he hasn't been around much. in fact, i saw him working a bit in the produce section at the grocery store recently. but, that's neither here nor there.

so. the handsome man is smiling at me.

and i automatically smile at the handsome smiling man.

and then i look behind me to see who he's smiling at. (yeah, i'm smooth like that. probably because i learned how to interact with the opposite sex from three's company.)

and there is no one there.

oh. (face the camera and give them a wide eyed stare.)

so my smile gets a little bigger and i'm thinking to myself how nice it is to be out of the house, standing here, with a handsome, age appropriate man smiling in my direction.

and we're smiling. okay, this sounds like it's going on like an hour, but really it's just split second kinda smile.

and then he looks down. and his smile stops. and then he gets this pinched look on his face. so i follow his smile down. to my stack of books.




my stack is made up of no less than ELEVEN dr. wayne dyer books AND a metric ass load of teen anime/manga. (cue the laugh track.)

okay, in my defense i have to say that i've been thinking about 'intention' a lot. what it means, the power of it. and dr. wayne dyer has a book called the power of intention. and it's something he talks about a lot in his other books. so i got that book and a few others to try and find a quote of his i remember liking. and then i remembered a story he told about a woman and a bag of stones. and i can't remember if it was in his recent books or his older ones. so i got a few more to try and find it. and on top of that, i was picking up the duke's holds. and he is on a HUGE anime/manga kick lately. HUGE. so. there.

i can only imagine what it looks like to him. like i am NOT a good candidate for ANYTHING. like i spend a LOT of time alone. wishing i wasn't. relying on the good dr. and media created for japanese teenagers to tell me how to get out of it, and what to do if i do get out of it. and that i'm probably more often than not covered in cat hair.

i look up to see him walking away really fast.

and even though it's not like it really matters because it's not like we are actually going to meet or date or anything i STILL want to shout "these aren't mine! okay, some of them are! but there's a good explanation! it's not what it looks like!"

but i don't.

because that would be awkward.

even for me.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

if you happen upon a home schooler in the wild.

the majority of people i meet are polite and genuinely curious. and i appreciate the interest and the discourse. this is not for those people.

if you happen upon a home schooler in the wild.

1. do not assume they're all christians. they aren't. some of them are even pagans. and do not assume that just because they home school AND are christians that they are conservative. and not all of them dress up for role playing situations/occasions. some of them do. but not all of them. no two home schoolers are alike. you can actually tell us apart if you actually look at us.

2. do not assume all home schooled kids are 'geeks.' because they aren't. and besides, geeks are really cool people. and you shouldn't call someone that unless they've earned the privilege.

3. do not assume all home schooled kids are 'geeks' who can fix your computer. don't ask.

4. do not automatically start quizzing the home schooled child. they actually do not know everything. even the stuff you think they 'should' know. especially stuff you think they 'should' know. they actually forget stuff they've learned or never learned it in the first place.

5. do not act all smug when a home schooled child can't answer your quiz/question. you look like an ass and it proves nothing. except that you have the ability to make yourself look like an ass.

6. please don't ask the home schooling parent about 'socialization.' ever. really. don't. to you it's curiosity or concern, i get that, but to a home schooler it's like nails on a chalk board. like a tired old worn out myth that just won't go away. it's like saying to a parent, "you've obviously made some whacked out choice and now you need to justify that choice to me."

7. do not assume the misbehaving home schooler is just 'under socialized.' does your child misbehave because they are 'adequately socialized?'

8. do not assume that just because a person chooses to home school that they welcome 'your' opinion on home schooling. i don't automatically give you my opinion on your public/private school choice. because that would be rude. if you're not asked then don't tell.

9. do not ask, "huh. how does THAT work?" when someone tells you they home school. because it's rude. ask me how i know.

10. do not assume that because a home schooler is at home that they are available at the drop of a hat to pick up your slack in the busy day. on call child care, drop ins for coffee, long phone chats about NOTHING, after school pick up, etc. etc. etc. i want to help you, and i want to visit, and i will talk to you if you need me, but i am busy too. you know, teaching.

11. do not assume because a home school parent is home all day that his/her house will be sparkling clean and smell like fresh bread. because, you know, she's home all day. because it's not. ask me how i know.

12. do not assume that because a home schooled child goes back to school that the 'experiment' failed. life moves and changes. nothing is written in stone. and just because a person makes a bold, out of the norm commitment does not mean that it's forever. except for sarah palin. unfortunately she seems to be the exception.

13. do not say to a home school parent, " i should just pay you/get you to home school my kid." as a part jest/part serious proposition when your kid is failing academically or socially at school. what makes you think in a million years i'd want to/would? home schooling is a lot of work. it's not a matter of just folding another child in. like putting up the third seat in a minivan. but if you want some help, please ask. i don't like to see any kid fail if there's something i can do to help, or something i can recommend.

14. do not assume that because a parent home schools that they have endless patience and are saint like or perfect in their parenting. this would not be a correct assumption. oh, some of them think they are. but they'd be wrong. i know that i am not. and i do not have endless patience. i'm just a parent who made a choice. just like you. and being a parent is tough work . so if we all cut each other some slack, and ask questions and observe rather than make snap judgments, then we'd all be way better off.


Monday, April 19, 2010

the old heavy petting threat gets them every time.

okay, i've hinted at this but it's really happening now. the duke is becoming a teenager. and i am not the first mama to go through this, i know, but why is it everything our own children do seems like a one way ticket into no man's land? from teething to girlfriends every step feels like i'm making the one giant step for mankind. bringing you all in is my way of phoning home.

and while i've decided to approach this whole phase with humor and an open mind, some things, while age appropriate, simply will not be allowed in this house. and no, i'm not talking about 'twilight.' thankfully, he's not all that interested. whew.

let me set the stage.

last week at wingman's baseball game we were sitting in the stands. me on one side, my husband on the other, the duke in the middle. and my husband (he needs to be re-named for blogosphere purposes. i haven't come up with anything, so for now he's 'my husband.' wow. lucky him.)

okay, so we were chatting and just being. we were not being overly loud or obnoxious. hard to believe, but true. i do have manners and exercise them. you know, when i need to.

so then we hear the duke pipe up

"shhhh. people can hear you."

"what are you talking about?"

"don't talk so loud."

"we are not talking loud and no one is listening?"

"shhh. it's embarrassing."

really? WTF?

oh. yeah. and so it begins.

i knew this day would come, i just hoped it wouldn't. you know, because i'm so awesome how could i ever be of embarrassment to my son. right?

so i tried to ask him what it was that was so embarrassing about my/our behavior. and he didn't have any kind of concrete answer. just us talking, you know, me being me. so naturally i began to rib him a little, and at the same time to seriously tell him it could be worse. you know, pointing out the things i *could* be doing to really embarrass him. you know, other than just being me.

and it just got worse for him. because of course actually TALKING about it is just as terrible and even worse than it happening when you're that age. i know that. but i wasn't talking about it loudly, i was just trying to have some discussion on this new development. and i have a right to address accusations and grievances levied against me. parenting is a two way street, he's not the only one who's allowed to make a case. then i heard

"shhh! stop! you'!"

okay. i'm done.

"hey, sir, you brought this up. here. and now. and now you need to listen to ME. i've spent a LOT of years working on accepting who i am and being fully okay with who i am. and that's not as easy as you may think it is to do. and i don't change myself based on the people i'm with. i'm me. and i like me. and you may be interested to know that there are a lot of other people who like me and who actually want to spend time with me. and i appreciate that you're going through some hormonal shifts, i get it. but i am not going to change who i am or stop being who i am because you suddenly can't accept it. and if that's really the case, that i embarrass you, then you can choose to sit somewhere else."

"okay. i'm sorry, mama."

to which my husband added

"yeah. and if you don't knock it off i'm going to pull your mama onto my lap and start making out with her right here."


god. it is so hard to be young. how do any of us make it out alive.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

if you think this is really about pants then you'd be wrong.

so i have this pair of white pants that i love. they are like those mythical pants from the books and movies. no matter what, when i wear them they are perfect on me. and by 'no matter what' i'm talking about weight and weight fluctuation. these pants give me curves where i want them and eliminate them where i don't. no matter what, they make my ass look perfect. and that is not a brag, that is a fact. and i think we all need to go easier on ourselves and praise ourselves more. so i'm just callin' it like i see it. and i love them for that.

so, the pants. they're white. and i'm not a fan of white. if it's a shirt it gives me some kind of sickly pallor, if it's pants i just know i'm going to sit in something, spill something, etc. and red wine? oy.

so i rarely wore these pants. even though they were perfect on me. yeah, that's how we women like to do things. well, this women.

and this was dumb so i started to wear them more. like i had to make myself wear them. and every time i put them on i loved them all over again, but i was terrified of spilling wine, food, etc. on them. but the more i made myself wear them the more i got comfortable with the fact that i did actually have the capability to keep myself clean in a social situation.

and the more i wore them the more i loved them. and the more i loved them the more i wore them. garden parties in the out of doors! a kegger! a baby shower wherein i managed to break my toe and catch my hair on fire and win the drinking contest i was having with myself BUT did not get one SPECK on my white pants! and then i started getting cocky. and smug. look at me in my clean white pants knocking back the red wine and getting nary a drop on myself.

my talents are endless.

and then came easter.

i was wearing my white pants. flitting about, plating all the appetizers before everyone got there. and then making bellinis when the guests arrived. pouring red wine. look at me with these drippy oven roasted tomatoes, watch while i make this bellini (peach juice, for those of you who don't know, is incredibly staining. weird, right?) hell i even made pea soup with a FIVE YEAR OLD HELPING ME in my smug white pants. pea soup. using the immersion blender and everything. not a drop.

god i'm good.

i thought this as i was putting the mixed berries on the pavlova and running my mouth about something. sipping at my red wine. look at me in my smug white pants.

and then it happened. one errant, terribly full to bursting juicy blueberry broke from the others and like it was in slow motion as it started to roll down my leg. all.the.way.down. on the white pants.

it was a mess. oh sure, it's not like it looked like a scene out of carrie or anything, but it wasn't pretty.

after all those times, the garden parties, the wine, the soup, etc. and it was the blueberry that did me in.

which just goes to show, sometimes it really is the little stuff. sometimes it's not what you think will happen, but what you never consider. because you've gotten cocky, or smug, or just because it was time. and that's how life is.

which brings me to the ball.

my husband and i don't fight. not because we are perfect (because we are not perfect) or scared to, or we don't know how, we are just REALLY lucky enough to both have good communication skills. and THANKFULLY smart enough to remember to use them. whew. skills which have come in especially handy this past year. and seriously, this last year has been so very hard i'm amazed that we aren't at each others throats. all.the.time. because it would be so easy. but, we aren't. thank you god we are not.


but a few months ago there was a situation. and it started with a yoga ball. and it ended in a standoff of mega proportions. the likes of which have never been seen in this house. and it ended quickly (sort of, i mean in the grand scheme of things) and ultimately with laughter.


and you know what i'm going to say.

it had nothing to do with the ball.

the ball was the little thing. even after dealing with the big BIG stuff for so long and jumping every hurdle, making everything work out of so very little, hanging on by a thread some days, it came down to a fucking yoga ball.

fucking yoga ball. he was the one who ordered it for me and was inflating it for me. and i was looking at this ball and it was way too small. and he tried to convince me it was the same size as my old one it was replacing. that he had checked and made sure to get the same one. and i would not believe him, and i would not budge because i'm not stupid that is not the same size by any measure. i did a lot of pointing and emphasizing of certain words.

it turns out when you inflate a physical therapy grade yoga/pilates ball you have to do it slowly. like over a period of a day or so. and this piece of information was not relayed to me, or i didn't hear it. (the jury's still out on that one) so yes, it was the same size, or would be *eventually.* but it wasn't then. not yet. but since i didn't know this, i just saw it being small and not the same size at all.

so from my perspective i'm right and he's wrong and why is he trying to convince me of something that simply cannot be true? and from his perspective i've lost my fucking mind over a yoga ball. which, to be fair, was true. i did. and it was not pretty. and then came the freeze out. which i'm really really good at. some people yell, some people throw things, i give the freeze out.

good lord. stress is a killer. and sometimes you don't realize you need a reliever until you are losing your mind over a yoga ball. yoga. ball. and no, the irony is not lost on me.

so what do the blueberry and the ball have in common? does any of this make sense? maybe. it does to me. because the blueberry and the ball are what happen when you're busy just trying to get through the day. living. they are the little things you don't count on.

everyone always worries about the big stuff of life. and the what ifs the big stuff brings. but the big stuff isn't all that hard if you really think about it. not really. because you see it coming. (or you don't but you quickly adapt) you make plans. you work at it. you're given a chance to figure it out.

but the blueberry and the ball are the little things you never see coming. until they're staining your favorite white pants or creating the biggest standoff you've ever had with your husband.

and you don't know it until you're in it and you've got to just figure your way out of it without making the little things bigger than they are. and without 'creating' more little things.

and part of this is about not getting too smug in your perfect white pants, and part of this is about how to learn how to take a step back and ask questions, even if you "know" you are right. especially if you "know" you are right. one minute of jumping off your high horse can do wonders. it's like a miracle cure.

and part of this is me telling you that if you have something that you love and that makes you feel good don't hide it away because you're afraid it will get dirty. or ruined. or broken. or lost. drag it out and wear the hell out of it, use it up and enjoy every moment of doing so.

life is just too god damned short for anything less.


Thursday, April 08, 2010


so i've been thinking about the word weltanschauung lately. mainly because it's such an AWESOME word to look at and probably sounds really good spoken in its native tongue.

anyway, weltanschauung is defined as: world view; philosophy of life; a framework through which to interpret the world.

when your life is very different than you thought it would be, or was even a year ago, six months ago, how you perceive life, your own in particular, becomes very very important. in some cases, not only for survival, but for being able to adapt to and enjoy it in some measure. however small. for being able to move forward.

some people just have a world view without really knowing where it comes from, some people pick something by which to define or craft their world view. religion, the way they were raised, what simon cowell throws down on american idol. some people can't figure what the hell i'm talking about when i say 'world view' and that's okay too. (see me after class. maybe i can help.)

for instance, some people craft their world view based on what you 'shouldn't' do. sort of the 7 deadly sins outlook. I SHALL NOT HAVE; wrath greed sloth pride lust envy gluttony. a list of don'ts telling them what they can do. now, i don't know about you, but living by a list of don'ts doesn't sound like all that much fun. not to mention seems a little, well, pre packaged. processed. not a lot of room for free will and creativity. and hell, some of those 'deadly' sins look pretty darn okay to me. right?

and since we're on the subject, why isn't 'being an asshole' on the list? the 8th sin if you will. because it seems to me that THAT is more of an issue and causes way more problems than the rest of the sins. just sayin'.

okay, and then you have the people who don't live by the 'don'ts' but rather the 'cans.' as in they have some particular thing they can do. some talent or creative ability. and that defines them. and subsequently their world view. they can do something, can demonstrate something, can put a really great title on their business cards, can always pull it off. i seriously envy these people because i don't have a particular talent that really defines me. and it seems like it would make those business cards i want to print up for myself a little clearer if i did.

sure, i 'can' write but i mostly write about myself. that's less talent and creativity and more 'abject self absorption.' and which should probably be filed under one of the 7 deadly sins at some point.

then there are people who define themselves and subsequently their world view by their general 'got their shit togetherness.' and by 'define' i mean they don't 'need' to define anything. and if they do, it's just icing on the cake. they are a mash up of the kind of person directly above with the added element of effortless fabulousness. these people are pretty much capable of anything. they always look good, their house is always clean, they have some special talent and creativity, a title to put on a card, and, i suspect, if you got close enough, they would smell like vanilla.

i am not those people.

i spend great swaths of the day in drawstring pants or pajama bottoms, far from camera ready, my house isn't always clean, and i can pretty much guarantee you that i don't smell like vanilla.


if you invite me to dinner i will ditch the drawstrings and put on a pair of kick ass heels, if you come over i will clean my house for you, if you sit at my table i will cook for you, and i always answer the phone. even at three in the morning. especially at three in the morning.

in short, i love you. that's my talent.

oh jeeze not in the 'i love you! now gimme some jewelry!' kinda way. but in the way you love someone just by being there in their life, even if you don't agree, the way you love someone when you say namaste, even if it's just at the end of yoga, the way you love someone when you put a plate of food in front of them, the way you love someone by drying their tears from 3000 miles away, or say a prayer for them when they need it.

it's there, you only need to call it forth. let it prevail. always.

which ultimately brings me to my weltanschauung. my world view. how i have to see my world so that i can be in it and be the best person i can be and ultimately project that out. because as i have come to learn, sometimes your special gifts and talents and creativeness aren't enough. sure, they are 'enough.' always. but when push comes to shove and you really need to rely on something, well, perhaps there's room for something more. that bit of extra padding when the fall gets a little rougher than usual.

so, you know those bumper stickers that say WWJD. what would jesus do. or WWJJD. you know, what would joan jett do. or president obama, or peter pan, bukowski. take your pick of who you would ask to emulate in a difficult situation to get to an understanding and take action.

well, my weltanschauung is the bumper sticker i've come up with.

which is WWXLCD.

the answer to which is,


don't fuck this up.

with all that i've been blessed with and have, with all that i am able to do, which some days is not much, and others all i can do is ask for help and receive it with a grateful and humble heart, with everything i just need to NOT FUCK IT UP.

which some days is a hell of a lot harder than others. not fucking it up just means no matter what, deep breaths, move forward, keep calm and carry on. love as much as i'm able and know how to say thank you and mean it. because i really really do mean it.

if i can just take each day as it comes, one day, this day, and move through it and DFTU then that's what i can do. and i'm happy. and i'm good. and i think that spreads, and in some small way, at least in this little corner of the world, it makes a good and positive difference.

that's my story and i'm sticking to it.

got weltanschuung?