Motherhood/Parenting, Uncategorized

Extracurricular Shuffle

img_1748Y’all, I’ve seen a sign that the end is near. No, I’m not talking wildfires, floods, and earthquakes. I actually saw parenthood from my Mother’s point of view – which is a bonafide miracle.  I saw her point of view last night as I sat on a hot as Satan’s balls metal bleacher in calf-high grass watching my son play middle school football. My Mother refused to let me participate in any extracurricular activities. She had every excuse in the world from “We can’t afford it.” to “The Girl Scout leader is a whore who sleeps with all the Dads.”  Yes, that last quote is true. She actually told me that when I begged to be a Brownie. I desperately wanted to wear that cute little uniform complete with knee-high socks and beanie and sell (i.e. eat) those delicious cookies. As I got older, I realized all of her reasons were just excuses.  If I had really wanted to do it, we could have swung the instrument rental or registration fee.  The fact of the matter was my Mother was selfish and lazy.  She didn’t want to cart me 20 minutes across town to a game, practice or meeting. She didn’t want to sacrifice money for her cute clothes so I could have some god awful hot pink tutu that I wore once on a stage and immediately went into the toy box.

When I was old enough to understand, I vowed if I had kids that had the talent or ambition to play sports or an instrument or whatever, I would move heaven and earth to let them have the opportunity.  And, the opportunities they have had.  Between my son and my daughter, they have done soccer, t-ball, swimming, football, basketball, art, theater, golf, dance, gymnastics, horseback riding, band, choir, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and I’m probably forgetting a few more things.  Some of these endeavors have lasted for years while others only lasted a season. I have spent more hours shuttling children from one place to another and sitting on the sidelines or in waiting areas for various lessons to wrap up than I even want to think about.  We have spent enough for a few nice vacations on instrument rental, extra training camps, and hot pink tutus.  We have heard the dreaded, “I don’t want to do _____ anymore. Can I quit at the end of this season?” So yeah, last night as sweat rolled down the back of my legs and the white trash lady behind me rang a cowbell the size of her face everytime our team made a touchdown, I completely understood my Mother’s point of view.

Look, I know I have it easy. I only have two kids and neither of them is at the top of their chosen activity.  I have a cousin with four daughters who all play multiple sports.  I have friends that do elite or select kid sports.  You know, the teams where the kids are recruited like professional athletes and travel all over the state or region for games. These families are never at home. They can’t remember what home looks like.  They barely have time for school and jobs before they are on to the next game.  I actually texted one of those friends last night and told her she’s a saint for being an elite sports mom because I don’t know that I could do it.  Maybe if my kids had really remarkable talent, I would sacrifice and make it happen for them but I don’t know. That’s one of those instances where I’d have to be in that position to accurately make that call.

Tonight, when I sit on a well worn couch trying to read a book while waiting for my daughter to get out of ballet class, I will remind myself I am doing what I always said I would for my kids. I’ll be thankful for an hour that I get to sit on my butt and practically do nothing.  And, I’ll mentally pat myself on the back for not being a selfish twit by allowing my kids the opportunities I never had. But, I swear if that lady sits behind me at another football game and rings that damn cowbell in my ear one more time I may have to snatch it from her and knock her across the face with it.

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Musing, Rants

Self Help

imagesI like to listen to books on audio and podcasts while I workout and do mundane chores.  It helps pass the time and I generally gain some knowledge or it gets the gears turning in my head and thus inspires a blog.  Here lately, I’ve noticed many of the podcasts I’m listening to have a self-help quotient to them.  I don’t think they are aiming to do that, I think it just happens organically.  Now that I think of it, I’ve noticed a bump in the self-help phenomenon everywhere – Facebook posts, Youtube channels, even just text conversations with friends about the latest self-help book.  It’s worse than New Year’s resolutions. It seems everyone is on a kick to make themselves into a better version of themselves.

I have nothing against bettering oneself.  One must do a certain amount of bettering oneself just to sustain – like eating right and getting enough sleep and exercise.  But, as of late, it seems like nothing is good enough.  It almost seems like we are encouraged to find something wrong and fix it.  This isn’t just our looks – that has been going on for generations. I see it more and more with personality traits and behavior.  There seems to be a desire to slap a label on everything and everybody and then once the problem is labeled it must be addressed.

For example, if someone had demanding parents which turned that person into a super overachiever that person is them somehow flawed. When did being a Type A perfectionist become flawed and how is that a problem?  Let’s say a person happens to be the last born in the family and a natural entertainer.  Why is it now a bad thing to be a natural born entertainer or a pleaser or a fixer?  One podcast I listen to is a husband and wife team. The husband in this duo has a medical condition – ADHD.  I love listening to him because I also have ADHD. It’s like I’m listening to myself only with a deep voice. The duo recently had some family therapist on the show telling the man how despite years of learning coping mechanisms so that he can better function in the “normal non ADHD world” he is still broken and he needs to change.  It was taking every ounce of self-control I had not to start yelling out loud back to the podcast.  Why does he need to change?  I understand how hard it is to keep one’s shit together with ADHD. I understand how life with a perfectionist can be hard to live with.  I get that being around the entertainer can be exhausting for those who just want to chill. But, having those traits do not make a person broken or in need of change.  If a person is happy with themselves and a functioning member of society why do they need to change in order to make others happy?  Where would our world be without the innovators, the free thinkers, and the overachievers? In today’s spirit of inclusion, why can’t we embrace that some people have certain strengths and weaknesses that others don’t possess? I can’t help but wonder if this is the modern version of the search for the meaning of life or is this our way of evolving?  Are we so interested in making everyone the same that if you aren’t the same you must be broken?

Photo Credit: Lifted off the internet. No copyright infringement intended. Blood/turnip. I’m broke and do this for free. Don’t sue me just ask me to take it down if it’s yours.

 

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Musing

Man Down

img_1750I’ve found one of the shittiest parts of getting older is watching the heroes and icons of your childhood get older and subsequently die.  Much like half of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, I just read where Burt Reynolds has passed away. Two of my earliest childhood memories involves Burt Reynolds.

The first memory is sort of foggy. I remember my Mother talking about seeing Burt while he filmed a scene from a movie across the street from her work in Nashville, TN. If I’m not mistaken, the movie was W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings. She went on and on about how handsome he was.

The other memory is crystal clear.  My Mother took me with her to see Smokey and the Bandit at the local movie theater.  It was a night time showing. I was about three years old and it was way past my bedtime. In fact, I think I fell asleep shortly after this incident, but I digress.  It was during intermission. Yes, they still had them back then. And, we were standing in line for the ladies room. All of these women in line were going on and on about how good looking Burt was. I mean just really oohing and ahhing.  My Mother pipes up with, “Can you believe he wears a rug?”  Well, I immediately want to know what a rug is so I start asking, “Momma, what’s a rug.”  And. I. Won’t. Shut. Up. Of course, my mother thinks it’s a good idea to ignore her inquisitive child. I’m pretty sure that was a bad move on her part considering I wouldn’t stop asking.  After 30 seconds or maybe 5 minutes of me asking, “Momma, what’s a rug?”, she finally yells, “It’s a toupee.  A man wig.”  I remember thinking that was the stupidest thing I had ever heard. And, then I couldn’t stop envisioning him taking off said wig and putting it on one of those little white styrofoam heads.  It still boggles the mind.  The funniest part of the whole thing is that Burt admitted to the toupee.  God bless him.  He was real about being vain and a skirt chaser and a bit of an asshole.  And yet, the people from that era still loved him despite his flaws.

I think I will pop in Smokey and the Bandit tonight after dinner.  My oldest loves the movie as much as I do.  I waited until he was older than three to let him watch it.   And, just like my Mother, I’ve informed my kids that Burt is wearing a “rug”.

Photo Credit: I totally lifted this photo off of Facebook. Everyone I know has this photo on their page right now. I don’t know why every news outlet picked it to attached to their story but whatever.  No copyright infringement. I’m not making any money off this thing. Blood. Turnip. I’m broke. If you took it and you want me to take it down let me know.

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Musing

Beware of Old Ladies

28911a13b78de54a8c8c2bc3f32fb245I don’t plan to get old. I’m fighting it pretty much kicking and screaming. In all seriousness, longevity genes do not run in my family. My Mother was 45 when she died and her Father was 55 when he died. Although I know they had risk factors I don’t have, it’s still unnerving to look at how old they were and realize how old I am and think, ‘Damn, I may only have a few good years left.’ It is that thought that makes me fight getting old. It also helps that I’m a big kid in an adult human suit.

In contemplating old age, I have made a bucket list.  I also have a mental list of things I have to start doing should I make it to 80. For example, if I make it to 80, I’m going to take up smoking – bonus points if they’ve outlawed cigarettes by then.  I plan to be very ostentatious and obnoxious about it. I’m gonna get me one of those long cigarette holders like Morticia Addams.  I’m going to wave it around and gesture with it. I’ll leave my ashes everywhere and not clean up after myself.  I’ll even light up in places where you’re not allowed to smoke. What are they going to do to me for breaking the rules?  Kick me out?  Bodily throw an 80 year old lady out of a place of business?  It will be awesome.  I can’t wait.  I’ll probably take up skydiving as well. I’ve got big plans.  However, I know I can’t be the only person who feels like getting old might be a good time to thumb my nose at the universe.

So, when I get the following text from one of my besties I knew two things – my spirit animal exists and I am not the only person in the universe that has weird things happening to them.

Friend: I’m at JC Penney digging through the clearance racks when I notice I’m blocking a little old lady (like 80+) looking at the clothes. So, I say, “I’m sorry. Let me get out of your way.”

Old Lady: “Oh, it’s alright, sweetheart. I’m just over here shoplifting.”

My friend: Smile and a nervous laugh

Old Lady: “I’m telling ya they never suspect a sweet old lady and at my age, I gotta keep it interesting.”

My friend was stunned.  I was in awe.  How fantastic is that?  While I don’t want to become a felon, I admire that old lady’s spunk.  She probably really does feel like she only has a few years left in her so why not burn that candle.  I’m with her.  At that age, why not, put me in jail at least I get three meals a day I don’t have to cook and I get medical care.  Let my kids sort out my crap and claim the body when I die. It’s kinda brilliant. You wanta know what else is crazy?  This is not unheard of thinking.  Japanese prisons are bursting at the seams with old ladies.  Don’t believe?  Read it here from a real news source.  As I see it, I’m just planning ahead.

Photo credit:  This photo has been floating around the internet for years with about 1,000 memes attached to it.  I just did a google search old lady drinking at the gym.  This is what I found. No copyright infringement intended. If this is your photo, I will kindly give you props. Otherwise, I aspire to be the old lady at the gym day drinking.

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Motherhood/Parenting, Uncategorized

Orientation

interior of abandoned building

I hated the majority of my Middle and High School experience. Were it not for a close group of girlfriends I met my 8th grade year, I’m not really sure I would have made it out of school. I wasn’t a bad student. I got decent grades and actually loved the learning aspect. I hated the busy work. I hated the halfassed curriculum and poorly thought out assignments. I hated the teachers who droned on like Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off about absolutely nothing of consequence. Even at the tender age of 13, I knew I had better things to do with my time than detail the parts and pieces of a worm and memorize the capital of some Western European State that would get renamed a few years later.

A few nights ago I found myself once again roaming the halls of a middle school, only this time it was for parent orientation. We were given our kids’ schedule and were expected to follow a modified bell schedule for our kid’s classes.  Of course maps weren’t available, so you had to rely on your powers of deduction to find the classrooms.  After going through the motions for two hours, I realized a few things.

First, the middle school experience hasn’t gotten any better.  The building still smells. When you’re short and there are 18,000 people in the halls taller than you it’s nearly impossible to find your classroom.  You will be late to class.  The teacher will give you the stink eye for being late even if your schedule says the wrong room.

Next, educators are still the same. The principal is clueless and only the office staff know what’s going on. Most of the teachers still treat you like you’ve done something wrong even when you haven’t because they expect you to be surly.  To the teacher’s defense, 13 year olds are typically very surly.  Then you have your different types of teacher. There are the ones that have been there forever and are so good you hope every child you know gets to have that teacher just once.  Then there is one that has been teaching forever and should not have become a teacher or at minimum retired 20 years ago. There is the teacher who thinks they are cool and aren’t and the one that is but doesn’t let it go to their head.  There’s also the hardass and the doormat. And, finally, the ones just punching the clock and praying it will all be over soon.

Finally, the kids, err I mean adults, are still basically the same. There are the perfects with their perfect make up, hair and outfits. They are so damn perky you want to slap them because let’s be real no one is that damn happy over mundane crap even if you are trying to have a positive attitude.  Back in the day, they would have called to each other across the hall about a sale at the Gap or maybe a party.  The other night I heard one simper, “Hey Karen, are y’all doing lacrosse again this year? I sure hope we see Chloe next week!”  You know perfect doesn’t give a rat’s ass about Chloe but there she is pretending to care.  There’s the smart kids, the greasers, the hipsters, the artists, the jocks and the suck ups.  You remember the suck ups?  They are the ones all up in the teacher’s face as soon as the bell rings. There were several of those at orientation night. Personally, I know I reverted back.  Much like I am today, I didn’t have time for all the fake bullshit.  I was a jaded adult in a child’s body.  With zero f$cks to give, I was uninterested and above it all. I gave the teachers the ‘Yeah, I’m here because I have to be, now thrill me’ look. In short, think Daria with thing for Disney.

I think the thing that struck me the most was despite how much things have changed since I was in school, it’s interesting to see how much they are still the same. While I’ll never understand the pressure to have a million subscribers on my social media account, I will know what it’s like when simpering Becky or no neck Evan blackballs my kids that never want to grow up or haven’t hit their growth spurt.  Hopefully just being able to remember all those personalities and things that never change will help my guide my kids.  If it doesn’t help at least I showed my face at orientation so the administration will know who I am when I have to raise hell on my kid’s behalf.

Photo credit: Free picture. I’m broke not copyright infringement intended.

 

 

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Musing, Rants

Why Is This News?

300px-Barnum's_animals_examplesWhen one looks back at the discoveries and advances we as a society has made in the past 100, 50 or even 20 years, it quite literally boggles the mind. And, then I see articles like the two I’m going to talk about today and I’m left wondering if all hope for the future is lost. Have we really devolved so quickly?

The first one comes from the Today Show (link here) but can be found at all manner of sources.  Apparently, the Nabisco corporation felt the need to change the picture on the front of animal crackers to reflect the animals roaming freely instead of behind bars. Why are we hearing about this and how is this news?  It’s not. It’s just cookies and it’s just a packing change. Let’s face it packaging changes every five seconds for most products – every couple of years at least. This is not important.  It’s not even real animals. And, yet this change comes apparently because PETA had to make a giant federal case about the issue and pretend to be offended about the poor drawn animals behind bars on the box of Nabisco’s Animal Crackers.  Are you freaking kidding me?  This dear reader is fake news because it’s not really news at all. We shouldn’t have to hear about this. We should all just roll up into the Walmart, reach for a box of Animal Crackers and say to ourselves, “Hum, they changed the package.” No need for a PSA. No need for a Today show article. No need for any hoopla whatsoever. It’s just freakin’ cookies, people.

The next I can’t believe I am seeing this comes from a feature story I saw on Texas news station. However, a quick google search trying to find the link for said story yielded similar stories in Chicago and other cities and are being carried on nationwide outlets like CNBC and The Guardian.  So what was this feature story about? Apparently, not only can you hire a tutor for math and sports for your child but also for video games, specifically Fortnite.  I find this more outrageous than the animal crackers thing. While there’s no doubt computers and augmented reality is rapidly becoming a day to day thing, I don’t for one second think getting my kid a tutor for video games is going to help with anything of substance. Coding classes, design and technical skills and the like will certainly help my children down the road.  But, the ability to kick, username gamer4life’s ass in a game is not doing anything but line the pockets of the tutor. But, God bless that tutor for putting their shingle out there and offering their services. I guess there really is an idiot born every day.

Okay all joking aside, its these sort of stories that really have me questioning what this world is coming to and why are we hearing about this stuff. A million years ago, I was a Communications major with an emphasis on Journalism. I took courses on how to write a story that engages the public, media ethics and the history of journalism. It was drilled into our heads that we were the voice of the people. We were not only reporting the news of the day but reporting the important and influential issues of the time.  We were discouraged against sensationalism and the trivial. We are the informers.  Oh, a feel-good piece is always welcome but keep it just that – feel good drivel.  How in the hell are Animal Crackers and Fortnite tutors important or influential?  Someone, please enlighten me. Maybe this is why I changed my major from a Journalism emphasis to a general Communications degree.  I always thought it was because the head of that department was a mean old asshole and I didn’t want to deal with him. Maybe the Universe knew if I had pursued true journalism this is where we’d end up – talking about video game tutors and packaging for a cookie.  And, that I would end up quitting my job to write a blog (for free) focusing on topics that interest me and hopefully my readers. Now I understand, it was all apart of a bigger plan. (Cue Circle of Life from Lion King)

Photo Credit – I just googled animal crackers and tried to find a picture without a logo. This was it. No copyright infringement – blood/turnip, you know the drill. I’m broke and I write this blog for free. If this is your photo let me know and I’ll give you credit.

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Motherhood/Parenting, Uncategorized

School Slacker

abc books chalk chalkboard

According to all things WordPress and Facebook, I have been an epic slacker blogger in the last two weeks.  Time got away from me.  It happens to the best of us, does it not?  Mainly, I was busy interviewing for a paying gig – I think I was ghosted. And, I was getting my kids ready for school to resume. Being the epic slacker that I am, I refused to go to every big box store within a 20 mile radius looking for one orange folder with brads and one green folder with pockets but no brads.  I chose to buy the pre-packaged kit offered by the PTA.  For the first time in my kids’ school career, I am regretting that decision.  While it did save me some time there was so much extra in that pack now residing in my junk closet that will never get used.  And, since my kids started back two days ago, I have had to go nightly to a store looking for something that my kids need tomorrow that wasn’t included in said pre-packaged kit.  What a rip off and time suck.

While we’re at it, let’s discuss the money drain. Holy smokes, I honestly don’t know how some parents do it.  I would be willing to bet more ramen noodles get sold in the months of August and September than any other months of the year. Let’s face it, with these fees we are all broke as a joke. So far in the last three days, it’s been $25 dollars per kid for a p.e. uniform, a $35 art fee, a $15 lab fee, a $75 choir fee, and $40 per kid technology fee.  This is a public school I’m talking about, not private. And, thank you baby Jesus, it is public because I know it would be double the price if it was private.  No wonder more people are homeschooling.

I’m not even going to talk about dress code and back to school clothes shopping. That will be a separate blog for a different day.  Let’s just say being a girl sometimes sucks and I wish we had uniforms. Consider that last sentence a preview.

On a positive note, in the last three days, I’ve thoroughly cleaned my house and I’ve mowed the lawn, edged and cleaned out the flower beds. This joint looks like a showplace or as close to a showplace as a really lived in, mismatched furnished 25 year old house can look. I guess I haven’t been a complete slacker. I shall resume a regular posting schedule soon.

P.S. For some reason when I publish blogs, Facebook is not including the thumbnail picture I include on most of my blogs.  I thought it might be because I sometimes use stock photos instead of my own. But, I have found this is the case no matter what photo I use. If anyone reading this is smarter than me and knows the solution I would love to hear it.

P.P.S – Today I used a free stock photo. Yes, I took the obligatory first day of school photo. No, my children weren’t holding signs. None of us were that into it. Apparently, we are far too slacker for that.

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