Monday, October 24, 2011

22 Things I Have Done

Warning:  This is not the kind of thing that I typically post here, however, since so much of my journey is about my teaching and parenting experience, I think it belongs here.  This was written in a response to a writing prompt from Mama Kat's Losin' It.  The prompt was to write 22 things that you have done.  The example was a simple list but, surprise, I couldn't quite get my crayolas to stay inside the lines but there are 22 here.  I put the link to Mama Kat's site at the bottom of this post; it's a great one for writers and blog junkies!  Here goes:

      I have rappelled down the side of a mountain with my heart in my throat.
      I have laughed and wept at the same time.

      I have dreamed of being a mother and seen that dream come true through both the miracles of modern medicine and adoption--and KNOW each way is perfect.

     I have been the "belle of the ball" and I have been "the beast."

     I have held on, white knuckled, with both hands.  I have learned to let go.

     I have seen profound beauty where many saw only imperfection.
     I have railed against injustice and I have turned a blind eye.

     I have sobbed in the arms of a friend and sobbed on her behalf.

     I have loved and lost and dared to love again.

     I have heard the voice of God in whispers and shouts.

     I have crashed and soared, stumbled and danced, stammered and sung and lived to tell the tale, stronger and more at ease in this single skin of mine.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

One Mama's tales of Minion Mayhem: Pretty Sure Someone Shoulda' Thought of That!

One Mama's tales of Minion Mayhem: Pretty Sure Someone Shoulda' Thought of That!: I am not a litigious person. I think if you put a cup of coffee in your lap in the car, you should anticipate what will happen if it s...

Pretty Sure Someone Shoulda' Thought of That!

     I am not a litigious person.  I think if you put a cup of coffee in your lap in the car, you should anticipate what will happen if it spills.  I'm not sure what butt head inspired the warning on hair dryers that say not to use them in the shower?!!  I mean, I have 4 minions, I can seriously multitask but even I would not try to wet and dry my hair simultaneously.  I even shook with rage when they temporarily recalled Bumbo Seats after they were made available to the public at large, (we'd used them for years in special ed,) until they could be labeled with a warning about not putting them up on high furniture and walking away.  Seriously folks, babies are slippery little suckers, so just don't prop them up on anything high and walk away-ever!
    On the other hand, I think consumers should be able to have a reasonable degree of confidence that the most basic safety concerns in an item were considered before they rushed them to market.  For instance, I think we should be safe to assume that baby formula is not made with poison--thank you China.  I think if a motor manufacturer, (which employs over half of the people I know and love,) becomes aware that their brake system isn't working, they need to give a little heads up to their customers.  If your miracle cream that causes increased eyelash growth also causes permanent unibrow and explosive diarrhea, by all means put it right in your commercial, (mostly so I can mock it and laugh hysterically.)
      Today's "somebody really shoulda' thought of that" inspiration comes from Target, (and I do love me some Target,) which recently recalled a frog costume they sold.  The costume has a mask that, apparently, lights up and has sound effects--which is totally cool!  Unfortunately, it also suffocates children.  Yep, somebody hooked up electronics, they presumably checked to be sure they wouldn't shock anyone and the lights wouldn't get too hot.  Somebody designed the packaging and somebody else decided the price but, oops, nobody considered if they had actually made it possible for the child wearing it to breathe.  Really people?  Is it just me or is this just a little bit ridiculous?
     Now, I remember the flammable, plastic costumes that were sold when I was little.  I am not sure how any of us survived childhood without swallowing our Little People who were handily bite-sized at the time.  I am sure that more than one of my 70's era loved ones ate, nosed or eared a Lite Brite piece because they didn't have labels that said not to.  I personally got more than one brain freeze from my cruelly unlabeled Snoopy Sno Cone Machine and burnt the living #$%^$ out of my fingers on Shrinky Dinks.  So, I don't want to take this too far, however, here are 10 items that I think should have to carry warnings or be recalled:

  1. Bikini Wax:  Not just keep away from children, DO NOT USE IN SAME HOUSE AS SMALL CHILDREN: Unless you want them to learn some new words that are less attractive than unwaxed bikini lines
  2. Lego:  Warning:  Your kid cannot build what is on this box without your help and then the little punks are gonna scatter these little crapdingies all over your house
  3. GI Joe toys: Yes, they're back and their little missile thingies are gonna make you cry when you step on them, just like in the good ole' days
  4. Skittles:  With all of the sugar and artificial coloring in this candy, you could just give your kids amphetamines and get the same effect.
  5. The Toilet:  This item will double as a magician's act for your toddler-it makes things disappear, for a while
  6. Washable Crayons:  Will make your kids look like zombies when they hold them in their mouths AND will dissolve in your washing machine, or when juice gets spilled on them, or for fun!
  7. Kidz Bop CD's:  Warning:  Don't buy these without headphones and it is entirely likely the kids will sing these questionable lyrics at church
  8. Barney/Wiggles/Dora/Yo Gabba Gabba:  Warning: May make adults suicidal
  9. Cheerios:  Warning:  Once wet and dried again, these are a permanent part of your furniture/flooring
  10. Any Musical or Talking Toy: Warning:  If you buy this for the children of anyone you love, they will hate you.
So please reply, FB or Tweet, what do you think should come with a new warning label or be recalled?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Listen to Your Mama!!!

     I found myself repeating phrases over and over this weekend, occasionally through gritted teeth.  These phrases almost ooze out of my pores onto the minions because I say them so often to their semi-listening ears and rolled eyes.  I was about to yell, "I would stop saying this stuff if you all would just do it already!!!" (Yes, I was definitely about to say it in a three exclamation point kind of way.) Then, it dawned on me, the things I was saying over and over to the minions are the very same things that could change the world if only grown ups would do them too.  So here goes, a list of the 10 phrases that my children and the rest of the world ignore, that could make life better for everyone:

  1. I'm going to need you to use kind words and gentle hands.
  2. You're going to be bored with your stuff in about 10 minutes, you'll be much happier if you just learn to share.
  3. People are a lot more likely to do what you want if you ask them politely.
  4. God (and your parents,) provides everything you need, no promises about everything you want.
  5. I don't care what anyone else is doing, you are going to take responsibility for yourself and your stuff!
  6. You'll never get people to see your side by yelling, bullying or hitting.
  7. Every living thing has a purpose and deserves respect. (said when I put spiders outside and when they want to pull leaves/limbs off trees.)
  8. What makes you think you should get more stuff when you aren't taking care of what you have? 
  9. No one says you have to like your family, (one could substitute neighbor here,) but you are required to love them.
  10. God made him/her, are you sure you want to treat him/her that way?

     I certainly don't claim that any of these are my own ideas, some not even my own words, but they are certainly the stand-by's at our house.  Funny how much deeper they are when applied globally.  So there you go, folks, listen to your mama and you might just change the world:)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Right Here In My Skin

      Well, for the first time in three months, the Girl's Night Out group finally met again last night.  Right on schedule for our "monthly" meeting;)  Fact is, when you have a group dedicated to dragging way-too-busy mamas out of the house without children, it's darn hard to get there.  Most of the group couldn't make it and we missed them, those of us who went had a great time.  As usual, the process of getting myself ready to go out was filled with craziness that I was eager to share on the blog but somewhere along the line, this post reshaped itself into something sort of different, so here it is--the funny, the sort of gross, and the truth.

      As I was preparing to go out with the girls, I decided that I would like to disguise the ever increasing gray streaks in my hair.  Heaven knows, I don't make it to the salon often so I buy the box stuff.  Now, I have colored my hair all colors, with all types of dyes, fruit drinks, plant products, you name it, over the years so this was nothing new.  I was trying a new product which is always a risk and after putting it on my head, I sent a text to a friend that said, "In 23 minutes, my hair is either going to be awesome or tragic, there's not much room for middle ground here."

      I was wrong, 25 minutes later I texted her, "I would call this color anticlimactic with a side of weird sauce."  It's true.  The dye took to my hair oddly.  It didn't have much impact on the darker parts of it one way or the other.  The gray, now becoming color resistant, is sort of pink and highlighted oddly by the darker parts.  The parts of my hair that were sun lightened and/or previously highlighted, (who really knows after all I have done to it,) looked as if I colored them with a red Crayola (TM)  marker.  Then, when I get under different kinds of light, it explodes into multiple shades of red, pink, fucshia, some colors that I'm fairly sure only have names in physics labs that specialize in light...  In truth, there are probably times in my life that I would have loved this color but I am too old for it now.  There are also times in my life that I would have sobbed and hated my foolishness and hidden under the covers because of this color.  I don't feel like that at all.  I don't even hate it, I think it's kind of funny, and I also know it will fade quickly.  It will be fine.

     Next, I had to move on to the hair removal process.  I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS.) It is a fetching little disorder.  It basically means that I don't ovulate much, my hormones don't work well, I store fat remarkably efficiently and hold onto it like July tick on a hound dog.  The most lovely thing though, is that it makes hair grow in weird places.  In fact, without intervention, I would not be a true bearded lady but I could make a kick ass Jack Sparrow (Darn it! Last night's waxing totally cost me first prize at the Eckman's Halloween party.)  Never the less, I started plucking and waxing, making up jokes to put on the blog about it to distract myself from the searing pain.  In fact, the original title of this post was "Remember When Primping for a Night Out Didn't Require a Weed Whacker?" still a good one!

   Then, it was make up time, which I love.  My husband hates make up and can't believe that women think that they "need it."  Obviously, I don't think that because I don't wear it nearly as often as I should. However, I really like putting it on.  The drama geek in me would probably go out in full costume make up from Cleopatra to zombie just because I love to do it, if I didn't have so many kids and so little time.  Still, I painted on my magic; camouflaging second chins, highlighting cheekbones and carving hollows into my round cheeks, making my dark eyes the highlight beneath newly mowed brows, painting lips with a new shade purchased that day so it wouldn't clash with my weird hair.  I smiled at the reflection in the mirror, it wasn't perfect but I was rocking what I had.

    "Ugh," I thought, "now I have to figure out what to wear."  Do I wear the spanx which force my folds into submission?  Do I wear no shapewear and wonder what lump and bunches were waving at my dinner companions?  I chose a middle of the road,"help-a-mama cami".  It gives me a little confidence but isn't uncomfortable and allows for the imbibing of mass quantities of melted cheese and chocolate on these special occasions.  I threw on jeans, all of mine are a little too big right now, I've lost a few pounds.  I picked out a blouse of which I am tired but it is fairly presentable and I am seriously lacking in non-t-shirts these days.  Finally, I threw on one of my favorite sweaters, mostly because I love it and because, it is finally cool enough to wear sweaters (and I think the advent of sweater weather should be a national holiday.)  Did I love anything about the way this outfit looked?  Nope!  Did I hate it?  Nope?

      "How could that be?" I wondered.  I have spent the bulk of my life detesting how I looked.  I've permed, fried, painted, dyed and starved myself a billion different times over my lifetime.  There was actually a time when I was a thin, beautiful young woman and I totally missed it because I focused on my every imperfection.  I honestly used to hate the size of my rib cage--seriously, I was a doofus.  Still, here I stood in front of my full length mirror, with an ill fitted outfit that I didn't like, with Martian hair, with recently plucked chin hairs, with new wrinkles and an extra chin, and right at this moment, I was totally okay with it.

     You see, I've never had a problem seeing the beauty in people.  I have known and adored human beings with profound physical disabilities and deformities and I can tell you about a girl with a broken body who has the most beautiful smile I have ever seen.  I know a man with facial deformities who's eyes are the most breath taking, spectacular shade of aqua. I remember a young man with fetal alcohol syndrome who was probably the most ill behaved human being I've ever met but his laugh still resonates within my soul as the epitome of the sound of joy.  I have known and loved hundreds of people that the world would have overlooked or even turned from and I can tell you about their spiritual beauty but also their physical beauty.  You see, until now, I've afforded them a luxury that I haven't afforded myself.  I allow the quality of the souls of others to open my eyes to the physical beauty that God sculpted in them.

     So, I am about to do the least southern thing that I have ever done.  I am going to pay myself a complement in the eyes of whoever chooses to see this blog.  I may not be the world's greatest beauty, but I am kind of a cute, if slightly round, mama.  I have straight teeth, thick hair, nice eyes, a cute nose, small feet, a great rack (sorry if any of my preacher friends are reading this, and to my mother-in-law and my husband who are probably blushing,) and I am tall.  I also have a decent way with words, a slightly vicious but funny sense of humor, and a generous spirit that genuinely loves to help people.  I, like my pinkish hair, am okay.

     Does that girl who can see all of her flaws still live here?  Yeah, she does, but her voice isn't quite as loud as it used to be.  I need to eat less and exercise more.  On a dime, I can tell you 100 things I would love to improve about myself.  However, I am standing here in this skin of mine, skin that doesn't hang quite as tight as it used to, and I am okay with it.  In my heart of hearts, I hope someone whose inner teenage self-loather still screams louder than she should will read this and feel better about him/herself.  I promise you, if I meet you, I will see your beauty and I pray that someday, you will see it too.