Archive for February, 2012

What are you gonna do when you’re dead?

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Skeleton

The kids and I were driving home from QT (Yes, Todd, i returned the movie!) and we had the following discussion:

Rollie: “Mom, what are you going to do when you’re dead?”

Me: “Um. . what?”

Rollie: “Like, are you going to go under a tombstone in the ground. Or are you going to let your family burn your skin, so they can keep your ashes? Or are you going to give your body to scientists to use?”

Me: “Uh, I don’t really know yet, baby. Daddy and I have talked about it a little.”

Rollie: “Daddy wants to have his family burn his skin and keep the ashes.”

Me: “You realize that they burn the entire body? But the body is just a vessel for the soul while it is on earth, so it isn’t in the body anymore, so it doesn’t hurt. Because you’re dead.”

I look in the rear view mirror: Rollie and Tiller are staring back at me in the mirror.

Tiller: “So, what does Mr. Poole* do with the bodies?”

Rollie: “He plays with the skulls.”

Now, there’s a comforting thought.

*Mr. Poole is the school science teacher.

Mean Girls in Full Effect

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

So, the mean girls are evidently in full effect in kindergarten these days. I wouldn’t believe it, if I hadn’t seen with my own eyes the drastic change in my own girl. She pouts. She whines. She tosses out ultimatums. She’s all, “I won’t be your friend unless/if” and “so and so says she doesn’t want to be my friend any more. Now she and so and so are BFFS.

I say, “What is a BFF?” She rolls her eyes at me.

Where did my sweet little girl go? She sure as hell didn’t learn this bullshit from me. This shit is why I always had more male friends than girl friends. (Once I was old enough to realize that girls generally suck and are more trouble than they’re worth). I’m not surprised that it’s happening. Just surprised that it’s happening so early. I thought for sure that I would have until fourth or fifth grade, at least, until i dealt with Queen Bees, Heathers, and Mean Girls.

So, where is it coming from? Have little girls always been this way, this early? Is it too much TV, with the bratty, self-centered, smart-mouthed girls? Is it my generation’s fault? As a girl, if you sassed your Mama, that was frowned upon. Were we completely misguided, misappropriating the term, reading our Sassy Magazines, and reveling in our own sassy attitudes? Have our girls just learned from us? What happened to true friendship, or at least the old adage, “Treat others as you would like to be treated?” I fear we have lost it in a whirlwind (an ill girlwind?) of iCarly and Miley and Serena. This is not what i had in mind when I reveled in the awesome women in music of my youth: Joan Jett, Madonna, Sinead O’Connor, Chrissie Hinde, Debby Harry, Terry Nunn, and Johnette Napolitano. What the fuck happened?

So, I’ve been a bit bewildered, dealing with the tears and the tantrums, the stomping and the mirror-smashing door slamming. To say that I am in fear of the age of 13 is putting it lightly. But she’s only six. And worse than the tears over her own hurt feelings? The knowledge that she is picking up the same tactics and using them on others, in some sort of Lord of the Flies scenario. She is not treating others as she wants to be treated, but as they are treating her. And so it is that we have reached the advent of The Mean Girl Note.

Be frightened. Be very, very frightened.

Or if you are me, be very disgusted, a little sickened, and a whole lot disappointed.

We had friends over the other night. They have a girl about T’s age. The kids all play well together and almost never fight. But they fought this evening. Something about not all wanting to play the same game, which was some kind of running club game. (I am of course in total support of this game, as any game that involves them wearing their little asses out is always my first choice. “Here, baby. Tie this rope, the one attached to the cement block, around your waist. Good. Now run back and forth in the back yard, dragging the cement block behind you. Yes, that’s right. Now do it as many times as you can. Y’all have fun!”)

So, the girls disagreed and one of them quit and played with R (the only boy), having become fed up with the arguing. (Girl after my own heart.) After they left, and our kids were in bed, Todd and I came across the mean girl note. It read something along the lines of, “I will be your friend, if you will play the game with me. If not, you are not my friend.”

GRRRRRRRR. This is it. This is the fucking bullshit that girls do that made me want to BLOW UP MY FUCKING MIDDLE SCHOOL. That’s a bit of a lie. I didn’t always daydream about blowing up the middle school. I actually would have been more happy if there was some kind of disfiguring virus that attacked all the mean, superficial girls. They would contract the disease (spread by lip gloss and notes, of course), suffer a deathly illness for weeks, and then come back to school with hair fallen out, a few pounds piled on, complete pizza face acne, and wearing clothes from [GASP] Goodwill. You know who else would get hit? The social climbing brown nosing types. You know the ones: Not really ugly, but not exactly pretty either. Kind of plain, but with a layer of too much makeup that said, I’m trying too hard. They usually still had some baby fat. They did just what the popular girls wanted them to do, and followed them around like god damn puppets. They also threw their also-not-so-popular brethren under the bus in an attempt to impress the popular girls. In my eyes, they were always the absolute sorriest pieces of shit of them all. Because they wanted to be popular so. very. badly.

Oh, wait. This post isn’t about me? My bad.

So, we found the note. The next morning, Todd talked to Tills about it, and about all the ways in which it was wrong to write it, and they decided together that the next day, she would write a letter apologizing to her friend. I would help her write it after school. It was bedtime when Todd came home the next night. He asked if Tiller had written her letter. I did the deer in headlights – Because I am such a stellar parent, I had completely forgotten about it, what with all the Bonbons I was eating, and Facebook and my soap operas. I promised that I would help her with it the next day, and told him the kids were in bed, but not asleep, and they wanted him to come and tuck them in.

He went upstairs. A few minutes, he came back down, with a funny look on his face, holding a piece of paper. This piece of paper:

Alwase

She wrote it some time after school, of her own accord. It is so sweet I could cry. Yeah, she misspelled some stuff, but SHE PUT A PAIR OF SUNGLASSES ON THE SUN, for heaven’s sake. How can there be a mean girl in a child who thinks the sun wears shades?

I would be happier if it said “I’m sorry for hurting your feelings.” I would prefer it dropped the “best friends” language all together, as the premise of Best Friends seems exclusionary by its very nature. But the essence of it, of two girls, holding hands so sweetly together, so full of love and light that the very sun is blinded by it. . . I’ll take it.

Hell, I’ll cling to it. Allwase.

Photographic Black Hole for 90’s Music Lovers (of My Ilk)

Monday, February 27th, 2012

I don’t even know how I stumbled on this bunch of photos (mostly polaroids, for which i have a special weakness). It was one of those things where you click on a friend’s facebook link or Google something and find something unrelated but cool, go down a rabbit hole of interestingness, and find yourself sitting there an hour later wondering how you traveled time. Let’s just say that I finally had to cut myself off before I finished looking through them, because I had to go cook dinner. Because my kids are needy. Very needy. Why are they always asking me for things like food? Parenting is fucking hard.

The photos really, really make me wish I had taken more photos in my late teens/early 20s (but who had the money for that?), because I met lots of interesting people, and I would love to know if they really looked the way that they do in my mind today. Sure, few of my people were famous, like this guy’s, but more than the fact that it’s fun to gawk at famous rock stars (“famous,” again, to people who liked the same shit i liked), there is something about these photos as a collection that captures not just the individual faces, but the feeling of what it was like to be 20 during that time, and what people looked like to me.

It was a beautiful time for me. Terrible and beautiful. This guy captured the beautiful.

Enjoy!

p.s. He also seems to like to take some photos of some random pretty young girls, which might border on slightly creepy, and there are some photos with boobs, so if you hate boobs/cleavage, etc, you might not even want to click. You’ve been warned.
p.p.s. The boob photos and the young girl photos are not the same photos.
p.p.p.s. Oh, hell, just go look.

Want

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Ooooh. . . Really, really, really want one of these prints from Old Try. There are different prints for different Southern states (Mississippi and Arkansas‘ are best, but I have no connection there), and then some that are just generally Southern.

I want this:

Or this:

But most of all, this:

I want it bad.

Via Garden & Gun, which is awesome, if a little hoity toity sometimes.

Funny Notes from The Boy

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

This gem somehow got lost in the leaning tower of procrastination on my desk.

From Rollie to his elf, December 2011

From Rollie to his elf, December 2011

My transcription:

Note to elf. From: Rollie
Elves are good at: Being funny and messy, good with forts, hard to find at morning, good at being awesome, and cool, and small.
Note to Rollie: You are good. I lik cookey.

It cracks me up that he wrote back for the elf and purposefully misspelled the elf’s writing. Funny kid.

But this one, this one will always and forever be my fave. It is hanging on his bedroom door.

scrabblerules

“No cheating. No abbreviations. Just words.”

Awesome.

What is the Point?

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

I have been a little down lately. Might be the weather, or hormones (bitches!). I really wanted to go to the lake this weekend and the weather was awful, so we ditched the idea and stayed home. The kids were kind of driving me crazier, and everything and everyone were kind of getting on my nerves, for simply existing. I felt, as my sis and I say, that i was so sick of everything that i was getting on my own nerves.

It didn’t help that i had three days of upset stomach, and I didn’t run all week. The more I put off the long run, the more stressed out I became, the more guilt I felt, and the more worthless I felt; it becomes a vicious cycle. If I exercise consistently, I get the endorphins, which are simply and purely an antidepressant for me, and I don’t drown the kids in the bathtub. If I get sick, or life gets in the way and I can’t exercise, I feel down. I totally have withdrawal, as if from a drug, and the cycle continues. I feel down and depressed and know that if I exercise, I will feel better, but I am too depressed to get off the couch and do it.

Even after my stomach was better, i was putting off the run, feeling depressed, and then cranky and depressed because i wasn’t running. It’s very hard to explain to you if you don’t fight depression, or if you don’t ever exercise. (And yes, I realize that exercise doesn’t cure all depression – I am lucky in that my depression is not completely debilitating. I get blue, but I function. I know some folks are not that lucky.)

Oh, the negative self-talk came out in force. I came up with a million reasons not to go run:

  • It’s too cold.
  • I don’t have time to finish.
  • We will never get the house cleaned before our friends come over for dinner.
  • I can’t finish the laundry if I am not at home.
  • I feel guilty leaving Todd with the kids.
  • Ad nauseum.
  • Luckily, my husband has been told numerous times to remind me how much better I feel when I work out and he finally told me yesterday, as I revealed a litany of reasons i shouldn’t, to “GO. Just GO.

    And so I went. I should have just walked out the door, and ran at home, but i got it into my head that it was cold outside, and i went to the gym instead. Six miles on the dreadmill.

    Yeah, that’ll cheer anyone up. Not.

    A little background – My friend Megan convinced me (bugged and badgered me?) to run a half-marathon with her, even though we only had 8 weeks to train and I had not been running a lot when we started. I told her that I would train with her until I injured myself, which is apt to be any time now, since we are adding a mile to our long runs every week, which is obviously too much, too fast. So, I told her we would finish, but i was not going to be fast. I figure if I am adding that much mileage, I am not going to make it worse by being fast. This attitude may be seen as cautiousness, fear, fat runner negative self-talk, or self-preservation. It is most likely a little bit of each.

    So, there I am, on the treadmill, running my tortuously slow miles. The frustrating part about being a fat, slow runner is that you are, as mentioned before, slow. So, 6 miles? That can take a big chunk of time. And on a treadmill? Dear God, the boredom. The sheer will and number of Girl Talk albums required to stay on the machine and not get right off and go eat a slice of pizza and drink a beer are staggering.

    So, there I am, listening to my Girl Talk, but having alternating thoughts of reasons I should just stop, and thinking about all the negative things I sometimes think about –

    What is the point? I might get hit by a bus or murdered, wouldn’t I rather that happen with a full stomach, and well-rested, rather than exhausted and sweaty? I will never lose all this weight. How could i? It took years to put on. It’s not just pregnancy weight. It’s fat. Why do you drink so much beer? Oh, fun? Drinking beer is fun, but what is fun about being fat? Nothing. Remember when you thought you were fat in college? That’s a fucking laugh now, isn’t it? You couldn’t fit a pinky in those jeans today. Yeah, even your knuckles are fat. Or maybe it’s not fat. Maybe it’s the beginning of psoriatic arthritis or RA. Yeah, you are at a genetic risk for that. So really, what is the fucking point in all this exercise and eating healthy? You might be in debilitating pain and unable to run in ten years anyway. We could just get off the machine now. You have been on it for 30 minutes anyway. Someone else probably needs a turn. No one would think anything of it if you hit stop and went home.

    And so on. For about the first 2 miles of my run. And then i attempted to drag myself out of the depths of the negative self-talk by looking around at people in the gym, hoping their hot bodies would inspire me to finish another mile.

    And that’s when I saw him. The cute young guy in a wheelchair. He was with a friend, who was wearing camo pants, and not in a wheelchair. Wheelchair guy was talking to the friend as the friend lifted weights. They were doing upper body. I will not lie – Full disclosure: These men had very nice arms. I looked. I might have bordered on ogling. Do not judge me, because I know that when you are on the dreadmill, you also look around and admire the hard bodies at the gym. If you say you don’t, you are a liar.

    So, I am watching, and camo pants guy stands up, and then wheelchair guy lifts himself up out of his chair using only his upper body, and lifts himself onto the machine. He pauses, and I realize, shit, that would be a workout for me before I ever even started the weightlifting. He takes a chain from around his neck and puts it in his pocket. Dog tags.

    Dog tags.

    And I realize, with not a small amount of shame, that he’s not just a guy in a wheelchair. He’s probably a vet. He probably lost the use of his legs preserving my right to sit and be depressed on my goddamn couch.

    I had slowed to a walk at that point, had given into the negative self-talk, and convinced myself that I needed to walk, that I wasn’t able to finish that mile without a breather. And my heart swelled at the thought of this young man, pulling himself around by sheer willpower, who has every reason to be angry and bitter, and yet, he is at the gym on a Monday, on the holiday. And he is smiling and laughing.

    And here I am, thinking of all the things that I can’t do, all the reasons I can’t do them, all the obstacles I have preventing me from doing them.

    Obstacles.

    What do I know about obstacles?

    Yes, the unexamined life isn’t worth living and all that jazz. But why am I worrying myself sick over questions like “What is the point?”

    This cute boy in the wheelchair, with the killer arms. . . he isn’t worried about what he can’t do. He’s doing what he can. And he’s doing it with a fucking smile on his face.

    And I knew then, that I would finish those six miles and that every other mile I ever run, I will probably remember this young man, and what he lost, and what his loss gave to me. It gave me, among a million other things, the freedom to relish in 6 miles on the treadmill, sucking air, and knees aching. For no other reason than that, today, i can do it.

    What is the point?

    The point is not what I can’t do. The point is what I can do.

    Baby Nostalgia

    Friday, February 17th, 2012

    Another way that I know I am old? Nostalgia for the good old days. You know, back when I had babies. I was sick yesterday and got into the old videos. Any parent knows that this is a downward spiral. Videos of my babies when they were babies are just like crack. Sweet, sweet crack. That makes me cry.

    This one killed me:

    And this one . . . ah, the good ole days.

    Now Todd and I do the dancing and they roll their eyes at us. . . .

    Sappy, Sappy

    Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

    “I see my life was brightest where you laughed and laid your head…”
    – Wilco

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Angel. I have never regretted going out for drinks with friends that Valentine’s Day weekend almost thirteen years ago.

    Xoxoxo,
    Annie