Thursday, April 28, 2011

Defense of the Royals: My Two Cents

I'll admit it straight up--- I know very little about England's royal family. I am American and we don't have royalty here. The little bit I do know comes from passing glances at the rack of magazines and such while waiting in line at the grocery store. Therefore my base of knowledge is small and likely inaccurate as well!

This is what I have read. The wedding costs are: 8 million, or 32 million, or upwards of 70 million.

What I want to comment on is the loud level of complaining I keep hearing regarding the cost of the upcoming wedding of Prince Whatever and Kate. Certainly, a gazillion dollars is a lot of money. A quantity as foreign to me as those itty bitty cars built  like a soup can with wheels that they drive over there. I'll never have a gazillion dollars, really. Most people on this planet will not either. What I keep hearing is how folks think that kind of money could be better spent. Opinions. Which we all know are like assholes, right?

(everyone's got one)

I cannot argue that it is not a large sum of money. I know as well, that a lot of people could benefit from that money. There are people starving all over the world. There are people who are homeless. There are people who need to be in a rehabilitation clinic to detox from drug addiction and get treatment but there is no money to pay for it. Children who need surgeries to survive. Women who need employable skills to support their families but cannot afford the education. 

A cake that cost $30,000 better be damn tasty. An orgasm for the mouth. I suspect it will be.

Here is the thing with weddings though. Most of the money spent on a wedding goes to other people. The bride keeps her dress of course, there are tangible items that will go into memory boxes or books. But a good amount of the money is going to go to things that are intangible. I mean, imagine a couple arrives in your community wanting to get married with a 5 million dollar budget. Willing and able to spend $400 on a haircut, per hair. Renting tables. Buying flowers. Hiring a driver and a car. Buying dresses, shoes, jewelry. Security and bodyguards sought out. And I mean, that is like 1% of the services that will be purchased and goods that will be sold or rented. Suddenly the working people in your town are flush with jobs, opportunity and a big financial boost. You, your friends, your neighbors.

Millions will be spent by guests, spectators and media. Food, drinks, hotels, airfare, just to note a few things. 

Maybe it is my perspective as an American (not all Americans, just me, I'm not stereotyping). Maybe, and this is quite possible, this is my personal unemployed way of looking at it. And I know, some of this is being paid for with the tax dollars collected from citizens. However, is there a better way of spending taxed money than pumping it directly back in to the hands of the people who live and work there?

Should the happy couple skip the big wedding and give the money to an organization like Doctors Without Borders?  I can't say that they shouldn't. I mean, the argument essentially ends the discussion. Save a child, help a child, or have massive amounts of rare, imported flowers for a bouquet. Right. I don't have to decide. That's good.

As it is, William and Kate are donating all of their gifts to charity. Now personally, I find that offensive. My immediate reaction was positive. What a great thing to do- certainly they won't want for anything and charities of course survive on donations. It just seems like, here is my token gift honoring your love and respecting your future together, my share of enjoyment in your happiness, my special contribution to your most special day, and you want to throw in the bin? Why don't you throw it at my head while you are at it. If you are going to be so rude as to eschew your gifts, you may as well be rude enough to tell folks "no gifts, just a check please".

From what I see, they are spending huge amounts of money on services, and whatever goods are received will be given away. I don't know, is that so bad? What was spent on your wedding? What more deserving place could that money have gone?

( I know, I know, some people got married at city hall and only spent $40 for the license. I don't mean you. It's just an idea for comparison).

So I will probably watch whatever is still on when I get up. I seem to remember from Diana's wedding that the time difference is unholy. I am sure all the interesting details will be rehashed ad nauseum for months. What do you think? Does it all cost too much? Is it worth it? Will you watch? Do you care?

I put in an opinion poll to the left of this post just for fun. It's right under the blogher ad and should line right up!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dear Oprah, I am Waiting

I am trying to wait patiently but quite frankly Oprah, we are both running out of time. I want audience tickets. And a makeover. I wanted to state my intentions in the beginning because I know you are busy. In case you want to just take care of it.

Oprah, I have read about half of your book club selections.
I have visited the outside of your home to within a half a mile. You didn't invite me in. I waved though.
I have been watching for 25 years.  Mostly.

(although you should know, I have had basically the same hair style that whole time and could really benefit from a makeover. I assure you the audience would say "ooooooh" like never before- think of the ratings!)

I read your magazine and wish I could have all the pretty stuff!
I have cheered and sobbed with the Angel Network. 
I have applied approximately 130 times for audience tickets, including 2 more yesterday. Still waiting on those- thinking positive!

As to upcoming shows, here is my list of excuses as to why I have not applied specifically. I try to be an honest and truthful person and could not live with myself if I applied under false pretenses.
  • I am sorry, so very sorry, that I have never had gross sex with a man I met online like a tramp-ola. Should I really be penalized for that?
  • I have not lost more than 100 pounds. Can I get credit for not gaining it either?
  • I don't know any male fans, let alone ultimate male fans. That's not your fault, I just don't hang around with many males. Is that so bad? I am the ultimate female fan- you know, girl power and all!
  • Chaz Bono's story really means nothing to me. I cannot fake an interest there. Sorry.

I am super pitiful- no really! PATHETIC! Our house is falling apart, something smells rancid in my laundry room, the yard looks like, well I don't even have a comparison. Maybe the Adams Family yard. Our newest car is 6 years old and the other 11. I am staying at home to "mom" when I'd rather be working but try finding a job right now that doesn't suck and would not cost me more than I would earn. Oh yeah, and I look like a train wreck. Severely!
(Please don't anyone chime in that it's not true, cuz it is and Oprah needs to know the facts!). (See evidence below).

I have 2 daughters, one who was adopted from a "disruption" situation by us about four years ago. We struggle mightily every day with basic stability. I keep a blog of our successes and not-successes so other people might learn, get ideas, or see what not to try. See? Altruistic!

Oprah, here's the thing. I know you are taping your last shows next month and we are out of time. If I don't make it to an audience seat, do you have any suggestions of how to spend the next 25 years? Should I transfer my *ahem* attentions to Rosie O'Donnell do you think? What should I do?

I think I'll call this one "Ope-ro-essie". I mean, that just flows, don't you think?

(right side of the photo courtesy of reuters)

P.S. I do have a suggestion for a new show- even though I don't get the OWN. That's the kind of generous I am since I would not even be able to watch it. Anyway, how about a real show about adoption? Like, the kind that shows parents sleeping in the dirt in Haiti and trying to get birth certificates out of a collapsed building. Or when the child has been so traumatized she can barely stop screaming to eat. Or the day to day functioning of a family with a mentally ill child. Or successfully parenting children from hard places. Or having to re-learn parenting to essentially doing the opposite of whatever instinct you might have. Adoption from foster care where the biological parents are still in contact and there are biological siblings living all over with different families. Lots, tons, of ideas there! Maybe you could have Rosie get in touch with me. I know she is moving into your Chicago building and I can get there in no time if I drive really fast.

Okay Oprah, I am waiting. Holding out hope, taking action and thinking "The Secret" thoughts.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

But, you know what?

I don't like winter. I am guessing that is not a secret from anyone. The snow is fun for the kids but I hate the cold. I mean, I really hate it. I get cold fairly easily so as soon as the weather starts to go below 60 degree's I start to dread the rest. Plus winters here seem to go on for about 8 months, which doesn't seem fair.

However, there are a few other things I want to say. I could move. I have the resources and the physical ability. I live in a country where I have the freedom to pick up and go wherever I want to go. There are roads that will take me there, and there are people whose job it is to make sure those roads are well maintained and cleared. I have a car. Even when the weather is vile I can get in my car and go to a restaurant to visit with my friends. I can buy a cup of coffee.

Despite the cold and snow and crummy weather outside, I have a home. Where the heat works whenever I need it. If I want it warmer I can putz right up to the control and make it warmer. I can plug in a space heater if I want to because I have full access to electricity all day and all night. In fact, there is a law that even if I don't pay the bill for 4 months, the gas and electric company cannot turn off my services in the winter months.

When I am hungry I just open the fridge or a cabinet and find something to eat. If there is nothing I like I can go to a store where just about anything I could want is offered for sale. I shop in comfortable warmth. I don't have to buy things I don't like because there is nothing else and we would go hungry otherwise. I don't have to get my hands dirty. If I want chicken for dinner, it has been killed, cleaned and cut up for me. It has been packaged in a pretty way, protected under plastic wrap, and kept cold. I can serve it with reasonable certainty that no one will get sick or die from it (barring of course any incident resulting from my own failure).

If someone does get sick in my family, we go to the doctor. We have hundreds of doctors to choose from and we don't have to drive more than 10 miles to get there. If we need medicine to get better, we get it. The pharmacy does not run out. If we need medicine just to feel better we get that too. No one needs to go around with a stuffy, dripping nose and a headache.

My kids have shoes that fit. They are cute. When it is cold, they have levels of gear to put on up to and including water resistant snow pants and boots. Warm hats, pretty scarves. Does that even matter? They walk from our home to the driveway, get in a warm protected car or bus, and then walk directly into the schools they attend for free. The cold weather gear they wear ensures that they will be able to play comfortably while outside. That's it. That's all they need it for.

That's all I wanted to say today. I live where it is cold and I don't like the cold, but I have choices. So many choices.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What is this picture?

Take a look at this and guess what it is.............

It's a picture of a whole lot of nothing. The world has disappeared. Usually there are trees and a river and a bunch of buildings. Today, there is nothing.

Nothing but snow!

Now, this is not one of those fancy moving pictures with sounds so you have to take my word for it. Thunder- snow is creepy. It sounds like regular thunder only it's along with snow. Weird.
I am NOT EVEN KIDDING, as Genea would say. If there is a fucking snow day tomorrow I am done. DONE.
I will be kicking names and taking down asses.

I cannot be responsible for whatever might happen if tomorrow is a snow day. IN APRIL. There should be a law. Who the hell is in charge of this shit anyway? The gov' a-ment? I bet it's the republicans. That's my guess.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

It's not Mama, to you

I want it to be clear I am well aware that what I am about to write is a luxury problem. No cute wildlife is being decimated. No children are going unmedicated. No homeless veterans are affected. It's just a tiny thing. One of those tiny things that make me nuts. See, in my world there are maybe twelve thousand things happening at any one time that make me nuts. Encrazed*. How I get up every day living like this is beyond me. (no really, its the kids screaming about wanting to be fed, again, that gets me up).

I don't mind my kids calling me Mama. Mom, Mommy, whatever. It's sort of how they know me. That's the handle we gave them to refer to me by. Of course I had no clue they would use it like 911 to put out imaginary fires on a minute to minute basis. Whatever.

A year or two ago we went as a family to one of those popular chain restaurants with all the trendy flashy crap and grubby food. We had a gift card. Anyway, they were kind enough to provide my children with an activity page to keep their attention for like 4 minutes. Of course, these are MY children so after 30 seconds my peace was up, now I needed to explain all the stuff to them, play the games with them, read the instructions etc. One of the activities was that game where there is a grid with dots and you take turns making a line and the person who completes a square with lines gets to put their name in the resulting box. I think it is called "Dots". I was playing with Teena and letting her get a few boxes because otherwise she will go ballistic (I don't know where her competitiveness comes from, certainly not her father or I). Finally I could no longer fake out losing and  had to complete a box. Then I put in my initial. "E". My daughter looked at me with all the pretentious airs of a 5 year old well versed in the alphabet, and said, " MAMA, you put the wrong letter down you are supposed to put an "M", did you forget?".

Oh. Um, yeah, I guess I did.

The point of that little story is I have not always completely identified myself as "Mother". More like, "Other". I do now. I can say that after that moment I did embrace the "M" and took it on and pulled it in as part of myself. I have these two beautiful living beings relying on me to mother them and that's what I am doing come hell or high water (of which both seem to have arrived).

So they are it. I have 2 little girls. Occasionally I think of adopting another and I especially enjoy watching The Husbands face balloon into an epic horror show when I mention it. I also have this strange urge to have another biological baby. I guess once that uterus gets fired up it wants to keep going. But I was trying to explain this to a friend recently, I have this desire to have a baby to make sure I do it right, for Genea. Like a tribute or something. Because she got so very little. I could have a baby and make sure it got extra. I can't say that this makes sense even to me, and I live in my brain. It's feelings and feelings aren't always logical I suppose. She didn't get what she needed, but I could make sure someone else did. Maybe. Anyway.

It has always unnerved me a bit when I hear older people, grandparents whose children have long since grown up, referring to each other as "Mommy" or "Daddy". Like they have no names. Like their identities were eradicated once they produced children. And now that they are older they are still doddering about using titles instead of names. My grandmother always called my grandfather "Daddy" and every time she did it I looked  to my Dad to wait for his response that was not going to come because she was not talking to him. Possibly I am just easily confused. I understand that when you have children, adults refer to each other in parenting titles in order that babies will learn what to say. Babies toddling around calling parents by their first names is also unnerving. I'm known to call my own dad by his first name just to irritate him. Okay, so I get that. I get that children need to be taught to use some variation of Mom or Dad. I also get that parents use the terms with the other when speaking to their children. As in, go tell Daddy it's time for your bath. Okay, fine.

But by bloody jingo, my kids know to call me Mama by now. They have learned. They are bright little girls and they understand that I have a real name and a name that they call me by. Constantly. Incessantly. So I have been telling The Husband he can stop now. He can go back to his old habit of calling me by my first name. The one I was born with. Because it is weird to hear this large grown man calling me Mama.

For some reason he always loses track of me when I am in the laundry room. He will holler across the house from the upstairs..... MAMA? And because I am far away I have to shriek in order to be heard....... WHAT? Without fail he says something like, you don't have to yell, followed by something inane like, I just wondered where you were. Well where did you think I was? It's not a big house. I didn't leave for Vegas. Sigh. Anyway.

The other day The Husband became angry with the girls. They had done something heinous, bad enough that they were sent to bed right after dinner, which is a consequence we reserve for the extremes. I think we have used it twice before. They had been playing with friends in the front yard. Teena gave a bracelet, from Daddy,  to one of them to play with and then lost track of it. "Friend 1" found it. She told Genea she had found it, and was taking it. She told Genea not to tell, and  Genea did not. These 2 friends often bring over loads of snacks for the 4 of them, and my girls are very, very good about asking if they can have some. This day, Genea opened the front door and screamed in...... "Can I have a brat (bratwurst)? Friend 1 wants me to have it". I had to pause before I responded. Seriously, did I hear this right? Friend 1 wants to give my child a sausage from her house to eat standing on my driveway? NO. I think not. Of course Teena tattled later that Genea had eaten it. Genea found out she had been busted and promptly pea'd her pants. Then Genea tattled that Teena had been outside eating cheese with them. And I am like, WTF? When is all this shit happening? Because I check on them constantly. I watch, I listen and I go out and walk right up to them all to make sure everyone knows I am there. I also quietly watch and let them "catch me" doing it so they know that every second I could be watching, just in case they feel like doing the wrong thing.

The Husband is handling this mess and I am staying out of it. That is something he and I need to work on and are trying,  not to steamroll over the other. He decides he is so disgusted he needs my input and hollers out in a strident sort of nasally voice...... "Mother.... are you hearing this? Mother? Maeooooooooooother?

Mother? That's how he refers to his own Mother.
Ugh. Vomit rises in my esophagus (that's for effect, if it is not anatomically accurate please just let it go).
His Mother. My mother- in- law.

Suddenly, the offenses of the children are less important than the fact that The Husband, Man of my Dreams, is lumping me in with his own mom. 

Actually, the offenses of the children were not really that bad with a little distance and clarity. All the crying and hysterics really amp up any situation by adding such a chaotic effect to whatever happened.

My name. I have a name. If you are an adult please use it. I am not your mother.

PS. *Encrazed is a word I made up because everyone else does. I figure it fits.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Places to go, things to see

Rachael, over at Always Wanted Four, has set up a scholarship fund for Ukrainian orphans to come to the US on a student exchange.  She has put together a site where you can donate to help an American family host a child over the summer. She is also running an etsy store from her blog with cute little hand purses and the money there will go to the fund as well. Whether the child is open to adoption or not is going to be different for all the kids. But the opportunity and experiences available to a child through a hosting program are invaluable. Rachael says it so well herself and so I will be quiet now and send you to her page. Simple Wishes Scholarship

Coincidentally, or maybe not so, The Husband called my attention to a story about Chernobyl. After reading the story and following some links, I found this project, called Chernobyl Legacy by Paul Fusco. It's in a slide show format with the photographer (I believe) telling the stories. It is chilling to watch. Haunting.  Comments? Thoughts?

On a lighter note, here is the last link I wanted to put out there

Ok, I am not the type of person who likes foofy and frilly things, but my girls are. These are some of the best hair clips I have ever come across. They are so nicely done and sturdy enough to survive my kids. I ordered a few for the girls for Christmas and I was just so impressed with the quality that I kept it in the back of my mind just in case I was doing a link- post anytime soon. I don't know how she sells the clips so inexpensively either. OK- can you tell I love this shop? This is a picture of one of the bows I ordered:

I mean, gorgeous right? So anyway, just passing it on.

Now I have a favor to ask. I am not well known as a person who cooks. Food. I don't like to be bothered with it most days. I am not a big eater and my kids are only fans of the "beige" food group. You know, noodles, chicken nuggets, biscuits, etc. Problem is they keep wanting to eat. Every freaking day. It's exhausting and I am sick to death of the 5 things I make that we all will eat and enjoy.
The girls are good with most fruits and vegetables, but they don't want their food all mixed up, casserole style. They like to keep their textures separated, thank you very much. They are not adventurous with flavor either. I ordered a cookbook but it's just not rockin' my boat. Too much fussy stuff to do.
So here is the favor..... can anyone recommend a good basic cookbook? Nothing tricky or fancy, just you know, plop the food in a pan and let it cook itself. I have a motto for cooking, which is "no food should take longer to cook than to eat", which in my house is about 20 minutes including time for tantrums and whining fits. I know that kind of limits my options. Anyway. Anyone?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

About Us

So, after much begging and hollering on the part of people who read here, I have decided to give in to one of the demands. I have finally written up an "about us" type of page. Here it is:

"We Are Us"

Right, of course the truth is, seriously, one person suggested an "about me" post might be helpful like, 2 years ago. So *ahem* being as on the ball as I am, I jumped right on it and just finished it up.

So, what do you think? Make sense? Any holes I should fill in? Things I am not explaining? Stuff you still wonder about? Let me know!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Must. Keep. Face. Straight!

Oh my.

Last night Teena and I had one of those conversations I have dreaded. Dreaded! Partly about boys, and partly about parts. Things I have no problem cursing about, I had to discuss nicely, nonchalantly, and without laughing hysterically. I had to be mature. The parent. Guh.

One of Teena's teachers has started referring to their rear- ends as their "bums". As in, "sit on your bum" or "get your bum out of here". I guess Teena thought that sounded exotic, so now she goes around saying "bum" instead, and reminding us all that we can call it that too. No more Fancy Nancy for this child.

So we were sitting on the little couch and we had just finished reading a book together. Daddy and Genea had gone upstairs already, as he puts Genea to bed first and then I send  Teena up and she goes to bed so there is not a log jam at the bathroom and so that Genea is not unsupervised. Suddenly, to my alarm, Teena asked me, "does boys and girls have the same bums?". Well, it's taken me some time to get used to this fancy new terminology from her, and I am greatly used to the Judge Judy form of the word "bum" being you useless piece of human garbage. So I didn't get it right away, and then I did. Guh.

It took me a minute, but I figured out why she must be asking pretty quickly. For me it was quick anyway. I asked her, trying to keep the shrillness out of my voice, "why, did you see something you want to know about?". Yes, yes, of course she did. Great.

Though my left eye was trying to spasm and my stomach was violently contracting, I said calmly, GUH OMG, "you mean a p*nis?". She just stared at me. She didn't know the word. Damn public schools! Whatever happened to kids learning this important stuff on the playground? Anyway. I realized I was going to have to be more descriptive. GUH! I wracked my useless brain for a clear way to convey to her confidence in my knowledge and information.

Useless, I tell you, my brain was useless. I held up a finger. Hmmm, not quite. Then I crooked the finger downward and asked her if that is what it looked like.


She proceeds to describe to me her young cousin needing to use the bathroom right after she had, and an oddity she noted at the time. In positioning. And equipment. Of which, the time had to have been several months ago. She tells me all about it. In detail. GUH!

In an effort to relate, in a confidence inspiring way, I said, you must have been surprised at what you saw. It's different, isn't it. *Smile calmly* What with the standing up and the aiming and the what not. *Smile*. I thought sharing my own experience with a first sighting would be nice. Lay some groundwork for the future discussions I won't want to have either. Keep the lines of communication open like Oprah says I should. Make sure she will be comfortable coming to me later. Guh. I told her the story of the time I first saw one. My own surprise. And interest. And surprise. Guh. 

Then she asked me the killer question. This is where I deserve an award. Of some kind. Because I kept a straight face, did not projectile vomit, and somehow managed to convey the correct terminology. It was my own fault, really it was, but I still want an award. Because this is what she said.....

"does all boys have a pee finger?"

OMG OMG, I am about to bust open my own gut from trying not to laugh. I am almost spitting as I pronounce the word correctly for her and uh, what it is.  A p*nis. Not a pee finger, a p*nis. Note to everyone, I don't even WANT to be having this conversation and I am thinking  pee finger is actually not a bad term and maybe I should just leave it at that, but I didn't. I soldiered on. I used the appropriate words and described to her the things she wanted to know about. I made myself proud. I told her she could ask me any other questions she might have and this is what she said.....

"does boys have eyes?"

And now I am like, OH NO she wants to know more and exactly HOW MUCH of my nephew's paraphernalia did she see that day. Crimeney! Where were the parents? Hmmmm?

Then I realized, oh. She is being silly. She doesn't want to talk about this anymore (THANK GAWD) and now she is asking if girls have eyes and she is closing hers. She is pointing to her face. Sigh. BIG SIGH of relief.


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