Category Archives: Modern Life

Radiator Springs Is The Best Thing Maybe Ever

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My daughter and I went to California over spring break.  It was just the two of us and we had a great time.  The first part of the week we stayed in Venice Beach, then we moved out to Anaheim and went to Disneyland and California Adventure.  It was our first time at C. A. so we were very excited.  It was great, it was fine, it’s not as good as Disneyland, but it’s fun. It became amazing at dusk when we found ourselves in Radiator Springs.

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Lydia insisted that we get over there by dusk because she said they did “a thing.” She knew what was about to happen and she wanted to surprise me.  By this time, I was hot and tired and had blisters the size of grapes in three different spots on my feet, so honestly, I was done; and then it happened.

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Remember at the beginning of one of the Cars movies when dusk hit Radiator Springs and the lights came on?  They started at the head of the main drag, and one by one, the kitschy neon lights came on until the entire street was lit up?  Well, the “thing” they did, was play Sh-boom over the sound system, and re-enact the light up of the businesses on the main street.  I almost died.  Like seriously, almost keeled over and died. It was the single most 1950’s thing I have ever witnessed in a life that missed the 1950’s by quite a few years.

After this happened, I got a serious second wind, was able to ignore the excruciating pain in my feet, and carry on with the rest of the night.

When my son was five years old, he contracted a very serious case of double pneumonia with pleurisy. He missed a solid month of kindergarten, had to take four different, very seriously strong antibiotics and after it was over, his doctor told me I was lucky he got sick in this day and age, or he might not have made it.  While he lay on the couch day after day, week after week, he watched Cars over and over and over. It was the only thing that made him happy. My goal in life is now to go back to California Adventure with him just so he can see Radiator Springs. It will mean the world to him.

If you have a kid who loves Cars, I highly recommend a trip to Radiator Springs.  It’s done with typical Disney Magic and attention to detail. Plus? Their end of the day water show spectacular thingy is genuinely spectacular.

Have a great weekend.  Remember, Memorial Day is not about grilling out and the beach. It’s a time to remember all the brave men and women who’ve sacrificed their lives for our freedom and so our kids can sleep safely in their beds each night.

Be kind to someone, our world needs it now more than ever. 🙂

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I Went Floating in a Pod Today

I am, and always have been a fan of wellness and alternative therapies. I like to try to stay well, because maintenance is better than repair. I have a hard time relaxing my body, so I’m always looking for ways to de-stress, because everyone knows stress will kill you, and that thought creates stress, so… you see my problem.

I’ve always wanted to try a sensory deprivation tank, because I can’t imagine anything better that floating in warm water in pitch dark silence.  The other day I stumbled across a brand new local place to float. The first in Cincinnati, so I went online and made an appointment. You can find their website here:

http://taofloatloft.com/

When I arrived at the loft, I was escorted into the Yin Float Room.  It’s a fairly small room with dim lighting (you can brighten it if you want) an awesome shower in the corner, and what can only be likened to a space craft sitting in the middle of the room.  You are given a quick, because it’s easy, low down, and left to your own devices. You take a shower first, no conditioner please, it wrecks the water, put in your earplugs and climb into your pod.

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This is what pod looks like. From Tao Float Loft’s Facebook page.

There is about a foot of skin temperature water filled with enough Epsom salts to make you float (think Dead Sea) a blue light, an emergency button, a neck pillow and and an underwater speaker in the pod. You have full control of the lid, I recommend keeping it closed so you stay warm, and the light.

So anyway, I got in and the minute I sat down, my legs shot up. You have to make a concerted effort to keep them down because of the bouyancy of the salt. I laid back, enjoyed the light for a couple of minutes and turned it off. It was completely dark, and the music that is playing when you first get in goes off after a couple of minutes so it’s silent. I booked a 90 minute float because I kind of have runaway ADD, and I knew it would take at least thirty minutes for me to zone out, and I was right. I moved around some, enjoying the sensation of ” mermaid hair” and the feeling of not sinking. I left my arms out to my sides, clasped them across my stomach, put them over my head, you know, getting the feel of things. I put my feet against the bottom and stretched my arms over my head as far as they’d go, and my fingernails, which are longish, barely touched the top of the pod. I’m 5’8″ so I figure it’s at least six and a half feet long. At least. It must be four or five feet wide, and I could sit on the bottom and still have a couple of feet of head space. I’m pretty claustrophobic, and I had zero issues with being inside it.

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Somebody floating with the light on. From Tao Float Loft’s Facebook page.

After another twenty minutes or so of song lyrics, book lists, conversations, to-do things, and general mental buzz, I started to come down. As I began to relax, I decided to give my float an intention, like I do at yoga sometimes. I asked that my creativity be stimulated, and that I would appreciate any insights God had for me. As the relaxation deepened, my body sank into what I guess is good float form. The sitting apparatus sinks down, but still floats. The backs of my heels sank down, and my knees bent slightly as if I had a pillow underneath them. My neck sank below the water, but my face stayed above it. I saw a couple of strange things in my mind’s eye, I’ll share them, because it was weird and I don’t understand. First, I saw a face that I can only describe as Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, carved out of wood. It’s was super weird. He looked like a carving on a piece of furniture from the Black Forest in Germany. That faded away, and I saw a profile of a male lion. It looked like a cross between a line drawing and a wood carving. That morphed into the profile of a wolf (which I believe is one of my spirit animals) then nothing more.

I guess I was asleep. At some point, I half way woke up, and the only way I can describe how it felt is this… I felt like I was in the highest quality, softest, memory foam mattress ever, made for a fairy princess. Every part of my body was supported and I was sunk down in something. I moved a little bit and was surprised to find myself in water. I sighed and was gone away again.

The music comes back on five minutes before the end of your session. If you don’t hear it, the filter comes on and the jet from that will wake you up. I came back about two minutes before the filter came on. I turned on the light and started moving around so I could get up. Got out, took my shower, and was done. I felt like I’d been asleep all night. The guy at the front desk told me that one hour of floating equals four hours of sleeping. I believe it. I bought a three float package. I’m going back next week. I’m excited to see what will happen as I get good at letting go. If you have a chance, do it.

Be kind to someone today. 😊❤️

 

Thanksgiving Reflections

Thanksgiving was kind of weird for me this year. My Mom died in June of 2013 after eight years of illness, leaving me a fully grown orphan, and this year is the first string of holidays that will be carried out normally without either of my parents. Halloween didn’t bother me even though we always did a lot at Halloween, Thanksgiving on the other hand…

Macy's Parade
Macy’s Parade

Last year, my daughter’s marching band participated in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC. Having never been to NYC, my husband, son and I went along as followers. It was a band trip, and she was mostly with the band, and we didn’t get to see her hardly at all, so it simultaneously sucked and was wonderful. We loved NYC and plan to go back next summer for a few days WITH my daughter so we can take her to the Public Library (which she will love) and so she can take US to the top of the Empire State Building after dark. Anyway, last Thanksgiving didn’t tickle my grieving because we were not home. We were gone the entire week and when we got home we were so tired we mostly slept. I don’t even remember putting up the Christmas tree last year, but we clearly did it, because I DO remember it being up on Christmas Day.

NYC Public Library.  That's my idea of heaven right there...
NYC Public Library. That’s my idea of heaven right there…

THIS year, we didn’t go to NYC. We didn’t go anywhere. The only one of my kid’s grandparents that is left is my mother-in-law. She came over for dinner and we played games after dinner. We had a good time. But it was a quiet holiday. It was a little sad, and a little lonely. All of our friends have families of their own to go to, and despite my best efforts, I can never find any strays to invite over.

I usually have a very “Thanksgiving-y” looking table. I love to decorate things. If I had as much money as they do, I could give Martha Stewart or Sandra Lee a run for their money with my “table scapes.” As it is, I do pretty well, but I just couldn’t bring myself to bring out the fall colors. This year, I used my mom’s ivy adorned china, and my grandmother’s silver. Then I went around the house and gathered up a bunch of stuff that reminded me of fall and Thanksgiving and the journey that was taken across the pond in a search for freedom and did my table with all new stuff. Ok, the china pilgrims are always out, but none of the other stuff is. I decided to change things up. Shake up at least the appearance of our celebration. The after dinner game was new too. Usually, we have a wii bowling tournament. I really didn’t want to do it this year because all it does is remind me of people who are no longer here, both friends and family. Plus, my mother-in-law has been going to wii bowling at the Senior Center for the last year and a half or so and would’ve kicked all of our behinds 😉

Part of this year's tablescape.
Part of this year’s tablescape.

I know that these light on people holidays are just a phase of our lives. Someday our kids will get married and have kids of their own, and we’ll have next gen family and in-law family to get together with. I know that as time passes, friends will need a place to go, and I’ll keep looking for strays. I KNOW this is just a temporary condition, but it doesn’t make it any easier. I know that after you lose someone, it takes about three years to begin to recover, so we have another year and a half and the loss of my Mom will get easier, but for now, knowing all that doesn’t really help.

Another view of the table.
Another view of the table.

I am thankful though that we had fun. My food was amazing if I say so myself. We laughed a lot playing the game after dinner and we got a nice drive in when we took my MIL home. It was a beautiful holiday and I’m grateful for everyone that was there. I’m also grateful for the ones who weren’t because they left me with enough good memories to make me miss them. That’s cool, right?

Have a great night, and be the light for someone whenever you get the chance. 🙂

I Forgive You

If you’ve visited this blog lately, live in my community, or if you follow me on Facebook, you are well aware that we are facing a bit of a difficulty related to our band director.   People in the community have created a website to support him, they’ve written letters, attended meetings and written blog posts; all to no avail. Our elected officials only response is let it go. I made my feelings about our director, school district and kids painfully clear in my last post, but I feel like I need to say a few more things.

 

We live in a world in which people are destroyed instead of reprimanded, a world in which you will lose every single material possession you own if you insult (and the bar for insults has been lowered significantly) the wrong person or hurt the feelings of the wrong person, or disagree with the wrong person. We live in a country where we are taught from birth that if you are wrongly accused of something, you shouldn’t worry, because you can’t be punished if you are in the right. We live in a society where we are told all those beautiful things and more, but basically, they are not true. If the wrong person gets upset with you for any reason, they can and will ever so slightly twist something you’ve done, or take something you’ve said completely out of context and hang you out to dry and there seems to be nothing you can do about it, it’s bullying. We elect politicians from Presidents to school board members who make certain promises about what they will do and how they will behave and then, after they get ensconced in their positions of power, they forget who works for who and they disappoint us; over and over and over.

 

Over the course of the last few weeks, we have been disappointed yet again by people who work for us but have forgotten that. Personal personnel papers were released to the public, but then when the public wants to discuss it, they are told that the matter is confidential and cannot be discussed and should be dropped. People who are responsible for miscarriages of justice are by all reports wringing hands and feeling nervous, but they seem to enjoy the sensation, because they won’t do anything to right the wrong. People who are elected and paid by the people, will not respond to the people they work for. They won’t capitulate because they don’t want the parents to think they can tell them what to do.   That is patently absurd, because they absolutely SHOULD be doing what the parents want them to do. We really ARE the boss of them, but they’ve forgotten that. We don’t work for them.   They work for us. Can you imagine going in to a meeting with YOUR boss and telling him to let his concerns go, that you won’t do what he wants because then he’ll think he can boss you around? Really?

 

I have been in hopes that our school board members would respond positively to input by the parents they work for, but I have been disappointed again. As we are struggling with this issue in our community, reports show a father in another part of the country being hauled out of a school board meeting by a policeman because he went over his two minute limit to speak about a book with a pornographic scene in it that he wanted his 14 year old daughter to have the opportunity to opt out of reading; he wasn’t just hauled out, he was arrested. The police officer is shown in the photographs to be looking at the floor and reportedly said that he didn’t want to do it, but he had to follow orders.   Really? orders from the school board?   Hmmm… where have we heard of that kind of behavior before. Why do we wonder that people are afraid to speak out?

 

I was genuinely in hopes that by then end of this week, I’d be writing a post about how our elected officials listened to us, took a second look at some of the legal issues brought up by supporters of the director, listened to their constituents and did something to right a grievous wrong; alas, they have disappointed me yet again.

 

These are people I voted for, people I trusted to run our huge school district in a fair, competent, HONORABLE manner. I have been disappointed. These are people I depend on to protect the kids and keep their best interests at heart.   I have been disappointed. Our school board should be protecting the people who take on the liability to be in classrooms with hundreds of kids every day.   That is one of the reasons I have stopped subbing, it dawned on me that the personal liability I was taking on each and every day that I went into a classroom alone with thirty plus kids was not worth what I was being paid, and subs don’t have a union to protect them.   It seems that regular classroom teachers don’t get much help from the union either despite the hefty dues they pay.   Disappointment. I truly thought that with a bit of time for reflection, these people that we are supposed to be able to trust with the well being of what is most precious to us, our kids, are more interested in protecting their political selves than they are in doing what is RIGHT for our kids and our teachers.   This incident should send a shiver down the spine of every classroom teacher in the district, and maybe the country. If you anger a parent, if you don’t fill out every single piece of paper you have to fill out, you won’t be merely reprimanded and given the chance to fix it, you will be censured; hard, and in a publicly humiliating fashion, and when that happens, the parents CAN’T help you, and the union apparently WON’T help you. Sooo disappointing.

 

With all of that said, I am going to do for our administrators and board what our school board won’t do for our director. I am going to forgive you. You’ve had the chance to listen to the people who put you where you are, and you’ve chosen to ignore and hide. You’ve had the chance to show our children that if they have legitimate objections to an issue, they can fight for what’s right and win, and you’ve chosen to ignore and hide. You’ve had the chance to admit your mistakes, apologize, make the wrong right, show your strength, take the high road, be the people that we thought you were, but you’ve chosen to ignore and hide and hope and pray that by the time you run for office again, or want more of our money again, we will have forgotten your behavior. You have gone from being our friends and neighbors to being politicians. I forgive you. You’ve taken a wonderful opportunity to remind voters that not all politicians get their jobs and turn into the very thing they vowed to fight. I forgive you. You are afraid. I forgive you. You are bullies. I forgive you. I pray that God will forgive each and every one of you for ruining the reputation of a band program that the kids love, the reputation and legacy of the director that they love, and for attracting such negative attention and energy to our lovely district and community. I wonder how the network people will announce our kids in the Rose Parade in January? Since this “confidential personnel matter” was made public by the person responsible for it, you know that the press will know; I have to wonder if they’ll mention it as our kids march on to the screen. Disappointing.

 

I think that the can of worms you’ve cranked open is much larger and full of worms than you thought.   This isn’t going away. People are not going to forget. At last check, my previous post was viewed by almost 1,700 people. If only half of them agree, and from what I can tell, it’s way more than that, in this community, there are enough disappointed people to change elections, including levy votes.   I know you thought it would die down and go away, but honestly I think people are getting sick of lying down and going away. These are our kids. This is the future of our community and our country. I’m disappointed and sad, but I forgive you.

 

Pretty sure I won’t forget, but I forgive you.

BUT IT’S FOR THE CHIIIILDREN!!!!

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My daughter is in band. She’s been in band since sixth grade and she has loved band all the way through. It has given her a place to exist in the shark tank of high school. Most of her friends are in band, the boys she has dated are in band, the band room has been her home away from home, and the director is her favorite teacher.

A couple of weeks ago, the director was suspended and forced into early retirement next February because of “ethics” charges filed by one parent. I put “ethics” in parenthesis because this is the most UNethical series of events I have ever been witness to, and I watch the news.

I have been wanting to write about this since it happened, but I had to let it percolate for a while because the situation made and continues to make me so angry that if I didn’t take some time, it would’ve come out sounding crazy and disjointed and that is not one of my hallmarks in this world. I realized that it was time a couple of days ago when I woke up one morning to discover that I had been organizing my thoughts in my head while I was asleep. Weird I know, but it’s how I roll. Anyway, these are my true, and honest thoughts, and I plan to disseminate this as far and wide as I can, including sending it to school bureaucrats, so here goes.

ChristopherLydia-065-lbO

Dear School Board, Principal, and other involved persons,

I am writing you today with regard to the recent suspension of our high school band director. I know, I know, you’ve heard all you want to hear; it’s a “personnel issue” and we aren’t supposed to talk about it anymore; blah, blah, blah… Sadly, I don’t really care whether or not you want to hear it, you need to listen, because I have some things to say that I’m pretty sure no one else has said to you because most people are afraid of their own shadows and wouldn’t say sh*t if they had a mouthful. I am not one of those people. This ceased to be a “personnel issue” when what should’ve been private papers between an employee and their employer were made grotesquely public; as a band parent and a taxpayer, when that happened, it became MY issue.

I could go on and on about what a great teacher our director is, but I know you’ve heard it all already. I could tell you how much the majority of kids like/love the director, but you’ve heard that all before. I could point out that the charges are ridiculous, that situations have been ever so slightly twisted to make them into something when they are really nothing, but again, that would be redundant. I could make a case that every teacher, regardless of what they teach or the grade level they teach, tutor students on their own time and get paid for it and if you are going to censure one teacher, you need to get busy and censure everyone else. I could add commentary about band clinics vs. sports clinics, about how the board has a say in everyone who is hired to work with our kids, so there should’ve been no way that they didn’t know who was hired to work with the trombone section during band camp. I could say a lot about ALL of those things, but I don’t think I will, because I’m a fan of original, critical thought and I don’t want to repeat what has already been said. Instead, I’m going off on a completely different path. Money.

I have lived in my home for twelve years as of May 1st. In those twelve years, my property taxes have doubled. Much of that doubling is due to school tax levies. Yeah, yeah, we went a few election cycles without getting one passed, but in the end, they get passed and they are usually whoppers. Not long after we first moved in here, I had to pull my daughter from dance lessons because our taxes went up so much that I could no longer afford lessons for MY kid, due to having to increase funding to the schools. I didn’t like that. Haven’t forgotten it. But in my suburban mom fog, I voted for the damn thing, because well, THE CHILDREN!!

In the twelve years I have lived in my home, I’ve had school busing taken from my kids. The high school decided that learning German, the language of the most powerful country in Europe, was no longer an option, because I suppose, we have a huge population of future priests and doctors in my community who need to learn Latin, but very few aspiring business people for whom the German language might come in handy some day. The art department is in the process of being gutted because well, art. Ewww… Who needs that? Oh right, only the kids who’s entire talent base lies in that direction. Future art school applicants and graduates apparently do not have the right to an education that includes the things they are good at. News flash!! There actually ARE kids who want to go into some form of art for a career. A mom friend of mine actually had to email the principal about an unpaid bill for metals supplies so that MORE supplies could be purchased so the kids could do the projects they needed to do at the end of the year. I’ve seen the giant stadium lights burning during a gushing rainstorm, over CHRISTMAS BREAK, adding to the electric bill, yet we are on the precipice of bankruptcy as a district. When I first started substitute teaching, I filled in for a kindergarten teacher who was leaving for a teaching symposium in Italy. The country. In Europe. I guess they don’t have those things right up the road in say, Columbus. Gotta go to Italy. Our district has built a beautiful new administration building since I moved into my home. I guess that was for the children. Of course it was. I could go on, but I’m certain you get my drift. Take more money, cut out things people need and want because well, the children.

Our band program and our band director have meant everything to my daughter. He has taught her far more important things than how to play a French Horn and roll step. He has taught her to be on time, “early is on time, on time is late…”; he has taught her to try her best, “good, better, best, never let it rest until your good is better and your better best.”; he has taught her that when she is hot and thirsty and sunburnt at band camp and feels like she’s going to die, that if she goes and gets a big drink of water she can do it one more time. He’s taught her that things are more fun if you’re good at them and that practicing and trying and working your butt off pays off. He’s had really high expectations of her, and he has demanded that she meet them. He’s called her out in front of everyone else, and praised her when she’s done well. He’s taught my daughter to be respectful of others, and he’s taught her to strive and have self-respect and joy in a job well done. She has more poise, confidence, discipline, self-respect, drive and maturity than she would have ever had without band. These are all qualities that my husband and I instill at home and having them re-iterated by a respected teacher is priceless. He doesn’t even know he’s helping us. He’s just doing his job. Isn’t that what an educator is supposed to do?

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She’s a senior. She has three weeks of school left. He is not coming back until the last week she’s there. He’s been suspended because someone apparently had an axe to grind. I don’t know why, I can only speculate and I won’t do that here. I WILL say that I saw in writing the person responsible say the kids come first. I agree.

Suspending our director doesn’t just hurt him. In fact, if I were him, I’d be on a plane to Florida to spend my two weeks in the proverbial principal’s office on the beach, but I doubt that’s what he’ll do. He’ll start working on next season’s marching band show, or think of ways to improve the bands for their concerts, or ways to help kids learn to try their best. The REAL people being punished over this pointless mess are the children. The ones all the government bureaucrats (and lets be honest, public schools are an extension of the government) purport to always put first. Instead of spending the last three weeks of her senior year enjoying herself, my daughter got in the car today and said she’s done. She told me that band was the only thing that she truly loved about school, and now that he’s gone, it’s no longer the band she loves. Shame on you “put the children first” adults. Shame. On. You.

So what do I want? I want you to rescind the suspension. Let him come back to school immediately to spend these last few weeks with kids who have looked up to him and learned from him and spent so much time with him these last three years. You’ve already pushed him out three months early next year, that’s enough. Quality educators need to be in the classroom. Why should you all care what I want? Next paragraph.

I’ve had it with this school district cutting everything that my kids enjoy. I’m sick of the band having to practice in a dark parking lot because the doc gets on the nerves of the soccer coach who is practicing on the next field. I’m sick of politics and political people. I’m sick of paying over 4000$ a year in property taxes and it’s never enough. I’m sick of the football team getting a giant inflatable football helmet (where’d the money for that come from, hmmm?) and our kids barely get a mention when they win every competition they go to and when they leave for nationally acclaimed parades like Macy’s. I’m sick of all the attention going to jocks who play on a local stage, while our musicians who play on national stages and attract loads of positive attention to our school district get ignored. I’m sick of keeping my mouth shut. The squeaky wheel gets the grease so they say, and I feel mighty rusty. I’ve lived in this community for twelve years. I’ve subbed in the schools and volunteered in the schools, and with scouts, and church. I know a LOT of people. I’ve always voted for the schools, even though it’s bankrupting me. I’ve always supported, for the children. But it has gotten me nowhere. If my daughter has to finish out her senior year without this teacher who has meant the world to her, I will never vote for another school levy in this district ever again. In fact, I will contact the No Lakota people and volunteer for them. I will actively campaign against every levy that comes down the pike. In fact, I may call for an investigation of every school board we’ve had for the last twenty years who let everything that is supposedly so horrible happen. Where have you administrators been for twenty years? If everything our director has done has been wrong, who is not doing their due diligence? It seems to me that would be the administrators.

ChristopherLydia-063-lbO

Please don’t force me into politics. I hate it, but if I HAVE to get involved to right wrongs, and reverse injustices, I will. Free Snyder. Give my daughter back the happiness that band has always given her. Let her graduate on an up note. Do what you say you do, and think of the kids. I’m not alone. I spent an hour and a half trying to get out of Kroger on Saturday afternoon because I kept running into band parents who agree with me. There were two hundred and seventy five kids in band last year. Multiply that over 28 years of service this man has had in our district. Multiply THAT by at least two parents per kid, many have three or four, and remember; band kids grow up and turn into adults who go to the polls. That is a mighty big voting block. Remember, it’s for the children.

No justice, no more of MY MONEY.

Have a day.

Being A Mom

This article may be controversial to some, but I find that I don’t care. Fair warning.

I don’t generally get “offended” by things. I think people who spend their lives being “offended” are self-aggrandizing babies who have nothing better to do than whine; but I just read an article on line that was so mean to a large percentage of the population without whom none of us would exist that I feel the need to address it.

I also generally do not publicize people I think are wrong, or cruel, or misguided because I don’t wish to spread their spew, but here is the link to the article I read that pissed me off. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/18/sorry-but-being-a-mother-is-not-the-most-important-job-in-the-world#start-of-comments
Read it or don’t, but nutshell, mothers are not that important and people who work in brick ovens in India have it worse and women would be happier with actual jobs and what about fathers, and gay men. Here is my response.

Lady, I don’t know the first thing about you. What I DO know about you is that you were grown inside a woman’s uterus. She carried your heavy little butt and all the accompanying fluids, and physical pain around inside her body for nine months. That is a long time to carry around something that is draining you of every resource you have. She then pushed your grapefruit sized head and linebacker shoulders through a space that is usually about the size of a walnut. She then, at what is no doubt the physically weakest point of a woman’s life, took care of you. She had to feed you, maybe directly from her body, maybe not. She cleaned you, held you, worried over you, watched you sleep and listened to you breathe. She made sure the house was locked up tight at night so some sicko wouldn’t come in and steal you or hurt you. She got up every two hours all night long for months or years in some cases to care for you. She loved you. She made you her priority. She defended you. She shut down bullies and mean teachers. She researched your illnesses just in case there was something everyone missed. She sacrificed her own interests for yours. She wore old clothes, made coffee at home and drove her car until it would no longer run so YOU could have the things you needed and some of the things you wanted. She loved you.

Being a mother, or to be inclusive, a parent, IS the most important job in the world. It IS the hardest job in the world. It is the only job in the world that actively goes 24 hours a day for years, and then continues in a less physically demanding fashion for the rest of your life. When I was working full time all those years ago, I didn’t really care about what I was doing. I’d leave at 5 and go about my business. My REAL business. My LIFE. I don’t leave my job now. My children are getting older, and I still love them. I still guide them. I still protect them. I think about them all the time, even if it’s in the back of my mind instead of the immediate thinking involving every aspect of their physical care. I love them. I never loved a job. I liked a job. A job was a way to make a living, but I never loved a job. I love my kids, more than myself, more than the “prestige” that would come with an “important career”, more than the opportunity to run a country, or a company, or a classroom. I love my kids with a ferocity that startles me at times. I would throw myself in front of a bullet, a car, a speeding train, a fully armed military to protect my children or at least give them a chance to run. I love them.

Working is important. We all need money to buy food, medicine, a place to live, but if the shit hits the fan tomorrow and your job is no longer so “important” it will still be important to be a mother, to hold those lives that we mothers and fathers have created, in our hands and try our best to keep them alive and thriving and help them carry on so all is not lost. We love them.

Without parents, there would be no “important” jobs because there would be no people to fill them. Without parents, people wouldn’t be able to write articles that insult the very person who brought them here and cared for them and guided them in being a successful human so they could write those insulting articles. NONE of the things this woman thinks are important, people running countries, doctors saving lives, women working out in the world would be possible without parents, mothers. She has a problem with high paid men not having to participate in the drudgery of parenthood, but she obviously doesn’t understand fathers either. They come home from work and care for their children, and coach sports teams and get up in the middle of the night, and sit vigil at hospital beds praying that their little ones recover. My GOD woman, did you not have parents? Were they bad parents? Did your mother spend all her time doing her own thing and ignore you? Is that why you have such disdain for them? If those things are true, I am sorry for you. Genuinely sorry.

The next time you go on a ripper about the economics of working vs non-working mothers, keep a couple things in mind. The reason the government wants women to work is to add to the taxpayer rolls. The reason industry wants women to work is so they can charge more for everything because both adult members of a household are working and therefore they have more money available to spend.

There are women who MUST work outside the home. There are single mothers who MUST work to care for themselves and their children and there are women who LIKE working outside the home and I say good for them, whatever you have or want to do is fine by me. But don’t denigrate me if my choices are different. Don’t denigrate mothers because you think what they do has little or no value because it doesn’t create revenue. I creates human beings. It creates love. It creates security and a soft place to land in a harsh world, and if you didn’t get those things, I’m sorry, but don’t put down the people who are lucky enough to have it. Parenting IS the most important, hardest, heartbreaking, bittersweet, sweet, rewarding job in the world. We love.

Have a nice day.

Well THIS Day Didn’t Turn Out Like I Planned…

It started out innocent enough, normal enough, as I was planning enough. After getting everyone to school and breakfasting with my husband before he went to work, I puttered around the house a little and decided it was time to go to the gym and run my errands, and that was the first part of things going awry.

We joined a gym a month and a half or so ago, and about a week into it, I lost my ID. May I say I didn’t just lose it, it completely vanished from a secure place, my purse. When I leave the gym, I get my card out of the locker thing and immediately put it in my wallet. Well I did that, and it went away. The same place that extra socks and pens run away to, so I ordered another card. It took three weeks for it to come. I did the same routine with it that I did with the vaporized one and it seems it has happened again. I got to the gym parking lot, got in my wallet to get my ID and low and behold, it was not there. Tore the entire purse apart, gone. In my disgust, I decided to skip the gym and just run my errands.

That went fine. Gas, JoAnn’s for fabric to recover some outdoor cushions, Meijer to return some outdoor cushions that didn’t fit my furniture. You know, regular mom stuff. Oh yeah, I ate lunch at McDonald’s because my family doesn’t like McD’s so I have to go there alone. I don’t mind. But I digress, I got the errands done and was heading home for an hour or so of putting stuff away, picking up junk around the house and maybe reading a little before it was time to pick up the kids when my phone buzzed in my pocket.

I had messages from both kids both sent at 12:25. Older kid – I am 95% sure I have strep throat. Message two – 97%. Younger kid – Mom, I am so sick to my stomach! My internal response? CRAAAAAPPPPP…

I was a half mile from the high school so I just went straight over. When I got there, I texted Older kid and said I’m here to pick you up. Took a few minutes, then left to go up the hill to get Younger kid. Once I had Thing One and Thing Two in the car, we went straight to Urgent Care. I let them know that Older kid’s boyfriend had strep last week, and after waiting almost an hour to go back to a room, discovered what I already knew, both are streppy. The good thing was, we came away with more valuable than gold prescriptions for Z-packs, which they offered to sell me for fifteen bucks each. We went to Walmart got the meds for 95 cents each prescription and came home to eat noodles.

I feel sort of back on track, but now all I want to do is sit on my butt and read, but the stupid dog is whining to go out again after just coming in from going out and the laundry is calling my name. Oh well, I’ll think about that laundry tomorrow, because after all, tomorrow IS another day. One that will stay on track. I hope.

Have a great day 🙂

It’s Official. I Don’t Like a Lot of the Stuff I’m “Supposed” To.

It’s happened again. There is a certain best selling book out there about an explosion in a New York museum, a little boy and a piece of art with a yellow bird on it that everyone is talking about and touting as great, and I don’t like it. Too wordy. So boring. I read about a quarter of it and I laid it down somewhere and I don’t recall where that somewhere is. And I don’t care.

When I was in college, I horrified one of my professors because I told him I didn’t like Leaves of Grass. He said that in all of his years teaching, he had never run into ANYone who didn’t like it. I was an adult student you understand, so I wasn’t intimidated by him whatsoever, and I responded, “No, you’ve just never met anyone who would admit that they didn’t like it. It’s a boring, self-indulgent piece of claptrap, and I like Billy Joel’s version in his song We Didn’t Start the Fire better, although it too was a self-indulgent piece of claptrap, but at least it had a catchy tune.” I thought he was going to swallow his tongue. Although I got A’s on all of my work, I mysteriously had a B on my grade sheet at the end of the quarter. Whatever. Que sera sera. What is college for after all if not to express yourself and learn new things? Even if you’re an old prof, you can learn that just because someone is supposed to like something, or just because YOU like it doesn’t mean everyone else will. It’s a hard lesson I know.

I also don’t like Moby Dick. Yep, hate it. Boring, boring, boring. How many ways can one express their obsession with a whale? Four million, fifty five thousand and one apparently. I had to read it no less than FOUR times during the course of earning my degree. Spark Notes anyone? I got to the point where I didn’t even like listening to others TALK about it anymore.

In addition to “great works of literature” that make me feel like I’m dying, I also don’t care for the Oscars or any other celebrity award show. Yes, I can find better things to do with my life than sit around watching millionaires give each other golden man statues for movies that are not that great.

I AM a fan of books that are well edited, and move at a snappy pace. Having more pages does not mean the book is better, it just means it’s longer; just like singing really loud and subjecting the listener to annoying vocal gymnastics does not mean you are a better singer (half the people on American Idol who all sound the same), it just means you sing loud. The classic literature I like runs more to the Medieval (Chaucer, anyone?), and I like movies that seldom get nominated for Academy Awards, like Saving Mr. Banks for example. I loved that one. I thought it was going to be just another “Disney” movie, but it was really a beautiful representation of overcoming the past and moving forward in life.

I guess what it all comes down to, is that everyone has their own likes and dislikes, and it’s ok. If you like that book about the explosion, good for you! I’m glad you are reading. I won’t argue with you that you shouldn’t like the book just because I don’t. I WILL tell you the truth of my opinion though. I also won’t give you a lower grade than you earned because you don’t like the actual novel Gone With The Wind, even though it’s one of my favorites. It’s ok. Differences are what makes the world go round. How boring it would be if we all liked the exact same things. We’d have nothing to talk or write about.

Just remember, even if it’s the best selling book of all time, or a literary masterpiece that everyone else likes, or maybe a movie about people floating around in space that is supposed to be great, but makes your blood congeal, don’t be afraid to just say no. You can stop reading, stop watching, or not go in the first place, and you can say, outloud, “I DIDN’T LIKE IT!!” It’s ok. Be bold. Be strong. Be yourself, and don’t let anyone tell you that you’re wrong.

Have a great weekend everybody 🙂

The Joys of Christmas Break

Winter
Well, it’s been a year since I last posted on my blog. In that intervening time, my mother lost her battle with dementia, I found out that the depression she suffered from for as long as I knew her was actually much, much more and I am finally starting to recover from the eight years of handling everything.

In the interests of my recovery from the severe stress I was under, I’ve started doing yoga, and I’m taking time off from substitute teaching. I just don’t think I can handle too many needy people right now and if you know anything about school kids, they can be pretty needy.

Even though I am not teaching right now, doesn’t mean that I don’t need and love Christmas break. Or winter break. Or holiday break, or whatever you want to call it. We call it Christmas break and it works for us. Unfortunately, we don’t get a full two weeks, but the week and a half that we ARE getting is beautiful. I’ve been sleeping about twelve hours a night, I’ve seen three movies so far, and I got another pile of books to add to my to-be-read stack that I am convinced will someday fall over on me and crush me to death.

I am becoming even more live and let live than I was before and I am beginning to feel my muscles relax. I am keeping tabs on the events of the world because I don’t like to be taken by surprise, but I’m trying really hard to block out a lot of the buzz. I’m binge watching House of Cards on Netflix and catching up on movies like The Conjuring and Dark Shadows. I think I might add a category on here for reviews of books and movies and such, since I think that would be fun for me to do, and maybe fun for you all to read.

Gonna keep it fairly short today since I’m just getting my groove back, so you all have a wonderful, safe New Year and be kind to one another.

September 11th

For the last eleven years, September 11th has caused me grief.  Nothing like it had happened in my lifetime and I was unprepared for the depth of feeling the incident caused.

My daughter was a brand new kindergartener.  My son was two months old.  My girl was in the afternoon session of school, so I left her sitting on my bed next to the baby who was in his pumpkin seat while I went in to take a shower.  I was only in there for about three minutes when she started pounding on the door.  It frustrated me, because all I wanted was ten minutes of peace and hot water.  I’m sure I snapped at her when I said “what??”  “Grammy is on the phone, she said you need to get out, something bad has happened somewhere.”  So I rinsed my hair as quickly as I could and got out.  Those few steps between my bathroom and my bedroom tv, before I knew what had happened, were the last truly secure moments of my life.

Like everyone else, I thought it was an accident.  Then I SAW the second plane hit the second tower.  I saw it with my own eyes and I knew that nothing would ever be the same again.  This was even worse than Pearl Harbor, because although that was a sneak attack, at least the Japanese had attacked fighting men.  These people attacked civilians.  There were children on those planes.  We found out later that there was a little girl on one of them who was headed for her first trip to Disney World.  Happy, excited, innocent.  Terrified, confused, pain, death.  The juxtaposition of what should have been to what actually WAS, was almost more than I could process.

The morning it happened, I watched it all unfold on tv like everyone else.  I sent my daughter into her room to play.  I held my baby.  I talked to friends on the phone.  Then, another plane into the Pentagon.  The brain of our military.  In my mind, we were officially at war.  My husband was at work forty miles away.  We talked on the phone.  Everyone in his office was watching it on tv.  Then, there was news that there was another plane in the Cleveland area that was not responding.  I live in southwestern Ohio.  That was too close for comfort for me.  Then, a little while later, news came that the plane from Ohio had gone down in Pennsylvania.  I called my husband and begged him to come home before he wasn’t able to get there.  He was already on his way out the door.  In our minds, we were at war and our enemy would have no hesitation in killing civilians, or women, or children.

We watched tv for the rest of the day and nothing else happened.  We were ready to go donate blood for the survivors, but there wasn’t the influx of survivors everyone hoped for.  The buildings came down. Thousands of people died.  President Bush made a wonderful speech that gave us hope for revenge, or retaliation or at least some action against the brutes who would attack civilians who were just trying to go to work.  It was the worst day ever.  I can’t wax more poetic about it, because it was just the worst thing ever.

In the days that followed, everyone watched tv.  We waited for the other shoe to drop.  Is this it?  Was that all they had?  Are they done?  Or are they going to do the horrible things like attack schools and malls and football games like they threatened to do.  The sky was so blue and so quiet.  The only air traffic for a week or so were military aircraft patrolling.  How could the sky and the weather be so beautiful when something so horrible had just happened?  Wasn’t war supposed to be black and white like all the old WWII movies?  Did the people in London right before the Blitz look up and see a blue sky?  Did the people in Dresden see sunshine and birds before they were blown away?  What about Japan, at the end.  Were the flowers blooming in color?  Apparently, because we were at war and everything looked beautiful.

I had to explain to my five-year old daughter what had happened.  I had to tell her that if anything bad happened while she was at school, to do exactly what the teachers told her to do and wait for me.  I would be there to get her if I had to walk with the baby strapped to my back.  I had to teach my five-year old daughter what it meant to be brave, what it meant to soldier on in the face of fear, what it meant to be an American.  We don’t cower.  We don’t run and hide.  We pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, we tip our chins to the sun, we stand up straight and we go on with what needs to be done.  We put a black ribbon on our flag pole for a while, and then we take it off and let Old Glory fly free and proud.  We take care of one another and we NEVER FORGET.

So as another September 11th comes tomorrow, I WILL watch the footage on tv.  I WILL have my kids watch it.  We WILL talk about what happened and who did it and why.  I am not afraid of the truth.  I am not afraid of what happened.  It still makes me sad though, and although it may be politically incorrect, it still makes me angry.  The heat of the slow burn in my chest when I see those planes hit those buildings, when I see my fellow Americans leap to their deaths rather than burn, when I see office workers covered with dust and tear streaks down their faces, when I picture my innocent babies sitting on my bed and remember that I realized that their lives would be forever changed for the worse, when I remember all those brave souls who ran in to save people when everyone else was running out and when I remember President Bush promising that we would come after the people who knocked down those buildings, that slow burn I feel kind of shocks me with its intensity.  I haven’t forgotten how I felt.  I haven’t forgotten all those nameless innocents who died that day because of religious radicals.  I have not forgotten how we all came together in the days and months following.  I have forgotten none of it, and to be completely honest, I haven’t forgiven it either.  And I never will.

Rest in peace, and God Bless this beautiful country of ours.

Be kind to one another.