Saturday, December 13, 2014

Not A Christmas Letter

Dear Friends & Family,

This year I will not be sending out a Christmas card or letter.

No, none of us has become hideously disfigured making us a photographic nightmare.

No, nothing horrible or shameful has happened in our lives that we are hiding.

Yes, we have done and accomplished things professionally, musically, and academically...but we are not going brag. (My daughter's marching band went to the Competetive Marching Band State Finals this year...little brag)

We, (and by "we" I mean, "me", Allie) have decided to not go nutty this holiday season. Let us be honest, there are a lot of details that go into the holidays. Let's be even more honest and admit most of those details get placed upon moms. That is right, the majority of the frenzy is placed upon the ladies. Or at least that is how I see (and feel) it.

This is my act of rebellion. (I need to get out more, or at least read a book about how to be properly rebellious)

I am taking a page from Queen Elsa's book and "Letting It Go". (Yes, I saw FROZEN a couple times this year).

I love my friends & family.

I wish everyone well.

I will not be sitting up until 2am addressing envelopes to prove my love. Trust me. I still love and care for you, whether or not the postperson drops a card & letter in your mailbox.

The only thing I was going to miss was writing the letter. Lucky for me, I have a blog. So I can write and send this to whomever likes to read it. AND I can be editorially sarcastic and not overly sentimental & sweet. (We all know I struggle with sweetness)

Take some time during this bustling time of year to enjoy your friends, family, and sanity. Pick what you love to do, and do it with joy. And leave the tedious stuff off your list.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, September 22, 2014

An Arguement for Human Cloning

This past weekend was packed full of activities for our family. It is nice to be busy, but it is not great to have to chose who is going to what events. Especially when it is choosing between two really fun and meaningful events. This is why human cloning really needs to happen. (Human cloning does not need to happen for meetings or appointments, just for fun stuff). This past weekend was my daughter's first marching band competition of the season. It was also my adorable niece's 3rd birthday (She lives 3 hours away with my fabulous sister & charming brother-in-law. They are some of my favorite people of all time.) I am not being even slightly dramatic when I say it was a "Sophie's Choice" moment trying to decide what to do. Once again the "divide & conquer" strategy had to be employed. I went with my son to the birthday party. My husband went with my daughter to the marching band competition.  And we all reconnected Sunday afternoon. We shared all the funny and silly things that happened at each of the events.

I would like to say this was just perfect, and we were all thrilled. The truth is we all enjoyed our weekend activities, but we all lost out on being together as a family. If we each had a clone, we could have done it all, TOGETHER. All of us could have arrived at the birthday party and laughed at the antics of a three year old, sang songs with her, and enjoyed the family fun. AND...All of us could have gone to the marching competition and watch the band take first place in there division. We would not have to divide & conquer, we could clone & go.

I am currently ignoring the downside of having a clone (i.e. having to clean up after myself and my clone. My clone borrowing my shoes, when my daughter already does...And what if her clone borrows my shoes too??? Oh the humanity!!!) There would probably be more problems caused by having a spare husband, son, daughter, and self. It would probably end poorly. However, maybe for one weekend I would not feel so out of the loop on one side of my life, and yet so thrilled that I got to have a sing-along with my niece & son. I want it all. (and I kind of want a clone too)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Walking on the Wildside

We had a deer in our fenced, suburban backyard this morning. It was the strangest thing that has happened all week  month. I am not completely surprised that the deer found its way into our yard. Deer are good jumpers. I also saw a deer wandering the neighborhood last week. It was walking in the street (which I did think was odd. Deer should not walk on pavement). Anyway, at 6:15am I went to let Ninja (the greyhound) outside and she immediately took off toward the pine tree. Any other day, a rabbit springs out from under the tree, the dog chases the rabbit around the yard, snatches the rabbit in her mouth, snaps its neck, drops the rabbit, and proceeds to go potty before returning to the house for her breakfast of kibble. Honestly, this is what happens. I pick up and dispose of dead rabbits on the regular. I used to get upset and plead with Ninja to not chase and kill rabbits. First of all, dogs are a lot of great things, but reasonable listeners...not a strength. If it moves, Ninja will chase it. So I let her follow her natural urge to kill at the expense of the rabbit population, which seems to be doing well in spite of Ninja's frequent reduction efforts.

Now the deer, which is considerably larger that Ninja, was a different story. Yes, she chased it. However, the deer stopped. Ninja did not. She plowed into the side of the deer. This scared my sweet little rabbit murderess. So much that she returned to the house, not stopping to potty. Nope, she ran into the house, and curled up into a dog ball and did not move for 15 minutes. She who kills rabbits on the regular, was reduced to a quivering dog ball by a deer. So much for being the apex predator of the backyard. It seem now the local hoofed herbivores own the place.

Not being one to over react, I called 911 and clearly said, "I am not sure if this qualifies as a real emergency".

The dispatcher did not even ask me anything, she just said, "I am transferring you to the non-emergency line."

It would have been nice if she could have helped me sort it out, just a little. I had a traumatized dog in my house, and a deer in my fenced in backyard. That felt like an emergency to me. If not a full blown emergency, it is at least an extreme oddity for this suburban community. None the less, I was transferred to a desk police officer. I explained my extraordinary circumstances. He was unimpressed. Or should I say the tone in his voice said he was unimpressed. Honestly, I am not sure what is going on in this town that makes deer hanging out in backyards seem "normal". It is not. I live a well-populated, developed neighborhood. The extent of creatures, up until one week ago (the initial deer sighting) are as follows: birds, squirrels, chipmunks, skunks, rabbits, occasional ducks & Canadian geese, toads, snakes, and bugs. Some evidence of raccoons has been noted, but I have never actually seen the offending raccoon, it could just be some over zealous skunks. Deer, no. Not normal. Very out of the ordinary. However the local law enforcement, unimpressed.

Here is how the call went down:
(I was standing on my deck staring at the deer the entire call. Why? I am not completely sure.)

Officer: Police. How can I help?

Me: There is a deer in my fenced in backyard. It has terrified my dog. How can get it out?

Officer: Is the deer alive.

Me: Very much so.

Officer: Is the deer injured? Does it appear it has been struck by a car?

Me: Not at all. It seems quite healthy.

Officer: Well, then it will jump the fence and leave when it feels like it.

Me: My dog is terrified.

Officer: Ma'am, keep the dog in the house until the deer exits your yard.

Me: That is all???

Officer: Yes. Have a good day.

Me: Uhhh. Thanks? Good-bye.

Now I can not be sure what types of calls that the local fuzz generally receive, but clearly wildlife emergencies are not cause for great alarm. Perhaps he wakes up to herds of deer in his yard. I have never experienced such a thing in the metro area. Who knows, maybe my slightly panicked call this morning is now station house fodder. Maybe I am the crazy lady that called before 7am with a non-emergency emergency. I honestly do not care. I find the cavalier attitude towards large woodland creatures in fenced backyards disturbing. And the lack of caring toward my traumatized dog? Well that is just plain insensitive.

Here is to living in the Wild West(ern) Suburbs!

Note: The deer jumped into the neighbors yard after I started taking pictures. I was hoping it would neatly eat the grass over there to a respectable length, and perhaps trim up around the trees and fence line. That did not happen.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pop Quiz

Confession: I can not resist the urge to take an online quiz. I do not know why, I just can not. If someone posts a Buzzfeed or Zimbo quiz about pretty much anything on the facebook news feed ..I will take it. These quizzes can really tell you a lot about yourself. Note: Surveys  & questionnaires sent by my kids' schools, my bank, and other places go unanswered until the third reminder (or until hell freezes over) before I might complete and return. I have priorities. 

Here is what I have learned about myself over the past few months:

Where I should live; French Polynesia, London, or Wisconsin. Yup, so many similarities between those places. I am literally all over the map on where I should live. I am staying put until at least a common climate theme emerges.

What color am I? Pink. Apparently "pink" best describes my personality. I can agree if it is hot pink. If it is pale pink, probably not.

My superpower is SUPER SMARTS. Agreed. Enough said about that.

Tina Fey would portray me in a movie about my life. I love Tina Fey, but honestly, I am pretty sure she would (and should) turn down a role portraying a blogging, coffee swilling, car pool driving, soccer mom, who attends football games only to watch the marching band at half-time. I am not saying I am not interesting. I am saying it would not translate to the big screen, or the small screen, or even a pod-cast. I consider my life to be part performance art and part circus (minus the clowns). You have to live this to love it.

Characters (these are my favorite type of quizzes to take)

I am Yoda from Star Wars. (awesome)
I am the Count from Sesame Street (1...1 fabulous result!)
I am Roz from Monsters Inc. (she is fabulous)
I am Belle from Beauty and the Beast. (I like to read too)
I am Derek Zoolander. (This result thrilled me to no end. I love Zoolander. I would totally get in gas fight, if gas was not $3.80 a gallon)
I am Jules from Pulp Fiction (from the What Quentin Tarantino Bad Ass Are You?) (amazing)
I am the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz (I love shiny things!!!)

Fictitious Places

If I were at Hogwarts, I would be placed in Hufflepuff. (meh)

If I were in the really glum and factioned Chicago of Divergent, I would be in the Candor faction. (I knew I was not Dauntless (snakes, clowns, birds...the fears are plentiful) or Abnegation (I think of myself often, and actually find selflessness close to impossible unless it is for my family). I do however suffer from the the blessing/curse of saying what I am thinking. When people say, "Be honest", nine times out of ten, they do not mean it. Trust me, most people want sunshine blown up their ass. I am not a very good sunshine blower. On the record, I do not want live in the Chicago of Divergent, it is just too grim.

My favorite fictional place the quiz has deemed livable for me is Stars Hollow. SQUEAK! If you are out of the loop, this is the setting for Gilmore Girls. One of my very favorite shows of all time. I will watch this on NetFlix anytime. The characters, the quaint town, the witty banter, and fast talking...perfection.  I could live in Stars Hollow. Everyone was a little neurotic, but in an adorable way. This is my utopia.

Self-discovery 7-10 questions at a time. That is the beauty of the online quiz. Thank you online quiz makers. You are doing noble work. Keep 'em coming!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Consciously Annoyed

Have you ever wondered how much further Gwenyth Paltrow can get up her own ass? She will certainly find any polyps on her own colon. I have done a great job of ignoring her "lifestyle" website, and generally ridiculous life choices (i.e. naming a child "Apple"). However, recently she has pulled two very public displays of cluelessness that have shaken me from my silence.

  1. Her desire to call her divorce from Chris Martin a "conscious uncoupling" is the limit. You can call things whatever you want in your little special world, but I am pretty sure if you want your "conscious uncoupling" to be legal, you will need to sign a decree of divorce. No matter what you call it, your kids are still probably not happy that mom & dad are not together. I have no opposition to divorce, or interest in telling people how to live their lives. I do have a problem with people making up kinder, gentler, fuzzy terms for things that are not. Divorce is real. It happens to half of people who get married. People handle the dissolution of their unions in many ways. If Gwennie and Chris want to keep their divorce friendly, great. That is the best choice for your kids and for your state of mind. However, making up new, happy words for something does not make it any more clear for your kids. Along with having wedgie inducing names, now they can sound pretentious saying, "My mum and dad are consciously uncoupled". It is silly. It is pretentious. Using such ridiculous terms makes the general public "involuntarily regurgitate in our oral cavities, a little"
  2. Gwenyth also seems to believe being an actress is so much more difficult that being a mom who works a regular 9-5 job. Click here to read the wonderful Open Letter to Ms. Paltrow about how completely horrific her working conditions must be. All of America, no, all of the world feels your pain. It must be difficult having homes on different continents and managing a staff of nannies and assistants. We feel your pain. We all shake our heads and wonder how you manage. Poor thing, and all while going through a conscious uncoupling.
Perhaps we should have a telethon to raise money for a cure for Chronic Cranium Rectumitis? There is clearly a very fine celebrity sufferer that can be the poster girl for the cause.  

Monday, March 24, 2014

Why I love, #sorrynotsorry

My teen daughter brought home a lovely turn of phrase last summer. I am not sure where she picked it up, but it has become a common phrase in our home. It is a common hash tag on Twitter. It is everywhere.

Sorry, not sorry.

When she first started using this phrase, it made me annoyed. I though she was just being rude, glib, and generally unkind. Sometimes she was. Sometimes we all are those negative things. Then I realized she was just being honest.

We live in a world of false apologies. We hear disgraced public figures say..

"I am so sorry if my words offended you"
"I apologize if my actions caused harm"
"I am sorry but... (anything that comes after the "but" is an excuse, or utter bull****, that cancels out any true remorse)

Basically, those types of apologies deflect blame to someone for being to sensitive, not because they are indeed sorry or intend on taking personal steps to change, or make amends. Many times the apologizer is not sorry for their actions, but sorry they were caught or exposed in an incriminating situation. Carefully listen to someone next time they apologize to you or someone else. Listen for if and but. Especially if it is a public figure or corporation "apologizing" for something. It is truly remarkable how many times there is justification, or blame shifting. No actual apology for the wrong doing. A sincere apology is a truly rare thing. No one wants to say...

"I am sorry stupid statements come out of my mouth when I open it"
"I am sorry I can not keep my pants zipped"
"I am sorry I text out pictures of my junk"
(All of the above could have been public apologies of elected officials, they were not. I will not name names, you can figure it out.)

Sorry, not sorry, has become a beacon of snark filled truth & light in a world of false contrition. Yes, it is snippy. It is very teenage girl. Maybe it is even a little mean, but it is honest. If you are not sorry for what you actually did, if you are only sorry you got caught, then just be sorry that you are not sorry. Save us the trouble of listening to your insincere blathering.

I do not make my kids apologize to each other, or to me. I do talk with them when they wrong someone, or break something that was not theirs to break. We talk about how they would feel if the tables were turned, and what would they want the other person to do. Many times the "wronger" ends up writing a note or drawing a picture or apologizing to the "wronged" party. Not because I tell them they should or because it is "the right thing to do", but only because that is how they would want to treated. We do not have the forced, "I am sorry" spit out with the nasty faces and stomping away. And sometimes there is a "sorry, not sorry". Sometimes we all act with selfish intentions, and do not feel sorry about it. So do not make a false apology.

And that is why I love sorry, not sorry.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Crabby Time Crabbiness

In a perfect world __________________, and we would all be happy.

How many different ways can you fill in that blank? I have several. Today I am suffering with "crabby time crabbiness" (CTC). This was an affliction that my children were plagued with from birth to age five between the hours of 4-6 pm, everyday. It was just a bad time of day. I made up a cutesy name for something that was far from cute. Adult cases of CTC seem to be caused by environmental things, and have no particular time of day that the CTC sets in. My case of CTC seems to have flared at 8am today. It was externally set upon me. So instead of letting the CTC take over my day, I am going to share all the simple, and not so simple things that would happen (or not happen) in my perfect world.

In a perfect world...
  • cancer would not even be a thing
  • people would use "please" and "thank you" with all requests
  • everyone would plan ahead and not create "emergencies" for others
  • other people's actions would not effect my mood
  • dogs would let themselves outside, and not desperately stare at you
  • dinner would make itself
  • everyone would love every dinner
  • no one would sweat the small stuff
  • everyone would be content with what they have
  • people would celebrate other's success
  • jerks would be all banned to one central area away from non-jerks
  • every sandwich would taste like someone else made it, even if you made it yourself
  • coffee would always be the right temperature
  • the litter box would self-clean (just like the cat)
  • dessert would not induce guilt
  • crabby time crabbiness would not exist
                                                                        ...and we would all be happy.

Oddly, just making that list has made me feel better. It gave me an attitude adjustment. Some the items are so minor, and some are monumental. Sometimes making a list helps focus what we can, and can not change.

Make your list.
Evaluate it.
Come to terms with things you can not change.
Focus on the things that you can fix.

And always, everyday, count your blessings. Blessings always outnumber annoyances.