Sunday, February 23, 2014

Poetic License - Day 1

Begging to be noticed, desperately seeking friendship and notoriety
Undermines authority through manipulation and fakery
Love to be the center of attention, as long as he or she gets their way
Listens to no voice of reason, only the sound of their self-esteem screaming to elevated
Intelligently and masterfully able to get others to follow, through fear or false friendship
Enjoys the game as much as winning - the more they play, the more strength they gain
Some day they will have children of their own and this is when they will learn that what they have done was wrong


Stand tall,
be brave,
be the best you.
You're unique,
You are cool,
So special and true!


Warning: Crazy Mama will Kick Your Arse

It appears as though high school can bring out the worst in a person - and by person I mean me, the adult, the parent.  Last week  you know that we attended the cheer competition and it brought out the nasty in me, as shared in this oh so wonderful blog.  But I can't help it - when you put my kid under a microscope I go all mad scientist, Dr. Evil, and begin plotting world dominance...where everything will be magically transformed into rainbows, cotton candy and unicorns.  Not really,  because all of that stuff makes my gag reflex kick in, but you get my point - mess with my kid and mama bear is pissed and ready to kick your arse... taking a piece of your hide for a souvenir.  Damn, look at me going all Billy Bad Ass - I might even be able to take on a zombie or two, if need be.

But no matter how irritated, angry and irrational I get about my kids being dissed, it's irrelevant because, ironically, neither one of my kids really needs my help to fight their battles.  I'd like to think it is because we've raised them to be their own people - and I'm sure that my continuously telling them 'you are awesome and haters are just jealous arse-faces' has helped, right?

My issue (yes, I said MY) lies with eldest daughter, C: smart, kind and giving- but she is also aloof (a sweet way to say she lacks common sense) and judgmental. She is not (?!) concerned about pleasing her peers, nor does she work at maintaining friendships - if they like her, oh well, if they don't, oh well.  If they ramble on about nonsensical boy issues she doesn't have time for you - she sees the frivolity of being a teenager as a complete and utter waste of time.  Hard work, determination and dedication to making the world a better place, yeah, that's her gig.  Wow, she is so unlike me at that age!

Side Note:  She does seek my approval, especially when getting dressed (Yay! A normal teen trait that I can relate to!).

So, if she can handle herself, what's the issue?  Bullies, that's the issue and believe me, the irony that I want to bully the bullies is not falling short on me.  But isn't it my job, as a loving, caring mother to protect her from the skanks and the skags that are oh so ready to rip her to shreds (mind you, these are spoiled white chicks that are haters, so no real physical fighting will take place, just words via social networks - no racial bias here, just calling it like it is)?  Or is it my job to empower her with the grace and dignity (that she already possesses) and step back and fight her own fight, her way?

Man, this parenting teen stuff is tough and personal...because really, all of this is more about me than her.  Back in the day, I allowed others to determine my worth.  I worked hard, too hard, to be cool.  I skipped a lot of school in junior high to avoid being teased and taunted over things that I should have just brushed off.  And although all of that happened a billion years ago and things got much better as I got older, the wounds are still there and I don't want my kids or anybody else's for that matter, to hurt like I did.

Aww hell, this is not a pity party - just a bit of a revelation that I've had somersaulting around in my little brain for awhile and I guess it was ready to come tumbling out.

Now that I've opened up this big ol' can of worms, what to do?  I believe that there is only one thing to do and that's prevention peeps, prevention through empowerment.  Empower our children, yours & mine, to be unique, kind, caring individuals who kick ass in the face of adversity.  Bam, that's it.  Peace out my friends..until next week.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Mammogram Mash Up

A few days after Christmas I went in for the annual boob squishing...a year late.  No worries, I've only had one irregular mammo in the past six years.  Turns out my 'girls' are dense and fibrous - almost sounds sexy, right?  Well, it turns out that they wanted more pictures this time...yay, selfies of the boobs!

The whole procedure, the actual smashing & manipulating of the mammary gland, doesn't take long and is virtually painless.  In the past it has only been momentarily uncomfortable, my opinion, of course.  And if you aren't shy or worried about your breast being manhandled like a raw pork chop, it really isn't that big of deal, especially if it keeps you alive, right?

January's appointment was a late afternoon visit, so it was already a bit creepy - nobody in the waiting room, just a few people waiting for me, and it was dark outside.  The tech was very friendly, chatty and got to business right quick.  Everything was familiar but the squeezing, hmm, a wee bit more painful than in the past - let's just say that I was visualizing my nipple(s) popping off like a cork off of a champagne bottle.  But it's not like you can complain, because they are just doing their job, right?  So I sucked it up, gritting my teeth and getting through it like the bad-ass that I am.  May have said a few Hail Mary's, but that's beside the point.

Fast forward a few weeks later...I am attempting to clean up one of the many cluttered flat surfaces in our kitchen when I ran across a letter from the hospital.  They were kindly informing me that I would need to come back for more pictures.  Thus the reason for today's appointment - which I had rescheduled twice for no apparent reason other than feeling inconvenienced...I know, I know, denial ain't just a river in Egypt.

Today's appointment was earlier so the radiologist could examine the film and have an ultrasound done, if necessary.  I stayed home with a sick kid today, so I really had no worries about arriving on time...except that I was chilling, pretending to be a stay at home mom, when I looked up and realized that I had fifteen minutes to get there.

Traffic was on my side and I made it on time...even after I went in the wrong entrance.  Checked in and was sent to the room to change.  Now you know, I am not a newbie at this, so I know that the garment opens in the front...but this well-worn, freshly washed scrap of fabric with snaps, hmm, like nothing I've ever seen before.  But I'm not really realizing this as I throw it around my shoulders...where I quickly learn that I have just put on a cape - snaps down the front but totally open on the sides.  I am not a modest girl, but damn, one quick turn and my girls are flying out for all to see.

Yes, I know, that is the point, for them to check out the girls, but the lack of coverage around the midriff was disconcerting...I even went so far to check in the storage bench to see if there was a mistake..nope, they all looked the same, equally bizarre mini-superhero capes.

Turns out that a couple of "pictures" turned into multiple pictures...pulling out the extra plates (da big guns!) to spread the breasts and show more angles.  And then off to the ultrasound room because the density is just to much to see with a mammogram.  Surprisingly, I was not worried, just going through the motions.  The last time this happened it was a routine mammogram, not a follow-up, and they thought they saw something suspicious and ordered the ultrasound - that was freak out time.  By the time I left I had already visualized myself with no hair, both breasts removed and me writing letters to my girls that they can open after I die.  Wow, right?

 But today, not like that at all - not that I wouldn't be scared shitless, because I would.  But I'm in a different place right now.  The girls' are older, I am confident that we, the fam & I, are on the right track with health & money and overall, I am in a better place personally & professionally.  And what would worrying do?  Would it take away the issue or exacerbate it and make everything more stressful?  The latter, for sure.  So I tucked in and went to the ultrasound room for a little more groping and movie watching.

I was blessed with a chatty tech - she talked me through every step, even though I had been through it before.  She explained what she was seeing...I saw bread spores and she saw sands of time. Hmm, if that doesn't show personality differences, I don't know what does!  I told her that was a very romantic vision and she giggled.  Then she jellied up my left breast, placed my left arm above my head and went to town with her little wand...over & over again, exploring the dense/fibrous tissue.  To say that poor little lefty was feeling a bit abused would be an understatement, but better safe than sorry, right?

Turns out she found some spots that were not there two years ago and the radiologist came in to take a turn to double check.  Appears to be extra tissue that wasn't there two years ago but it was not vascular (a cancerous mass needs blood flow and there was none going to these little babies) and they were the healthy shape.  But just to be safe I will go back in six months for a check up. All's well, that ends well.  And in six months I will be mentally prepared for the wacky little cape. Hell, maybe I'll even go full, let's not get carried away.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Poo Pooing Popularity

From a young age we work, some more diligently than others, on getting others to like us.  We want the same shoes as our best friend because they are IN STYLE.  We want to be invited to such & such's birthday party because EVERYBODY will be going.  Because lots of friends means that we are popular, right?  Because sacrificing a our unique and interesting selves to be like others is right, yes?  Hmm...

Yesterday, the fam & I were subjected to one big ol' popularity contest and in hindsight I think I should have taken an additional happy pill just to get through the damn thing. Not only were we obligated to go but we had to PAY to view this craptastic event:  the annual Cheer-a-pa-looza for the neighboring counties.  This means that not only were we subjected to the multitudes of teen fakery and foolery, but we were also able to witness the "trees" in which these fine apples have fallen from...obnoxious, overdone adults there to support their obnoxious, overdone teens.   

Don't get me wrong, it takes a lot of skill and talent to participate in the sport of cheerleading, more so now than it did back in the day.  This post is not intended to bash cheerleaders but rather is an observation of how the sport can be used to perpetuate bullying behaviors.  Although let it be know that being cute, perky, and full of smiles are not the top requirements for making the squad anymore.  Coordination, precision, and flexibility top the list, followed by dedication, determination and desire...desire to win, no matter who you may have to step on...pun intended.  

Yes, it feels good to win and you cannot discount the hard work and dedication put into this sport, or any sport for that matter.  But it's all in the presentation - teaching our girls to be snooty arses with less than desirable sportsmanship skills, well that is just wrong and that's exactly what we witnessed on Saturday.  Not only was the hosting squad rude and poor hosts, but their lack of sportsmanship skills was embarrassing. Condescending and rude one minute, sweet as pie (FAKE) the next.  And apparently the coach was okay with it, as she seemed to be giving off the same vibe.   

So, I've devised a little list for these so-called adults - a list that defines what they are really "coaching."

By promoting the "my crap smells better than yours" mentality, you are teaching our kids that:

1.  Winning is everything - Does everything have to be a competition?  What happens when you are not the winner?

2.  Status overrules brains & integrity - How far is popularity going to get your team members after high school?  How many occupations are looking for a lemming?

3. Blaming others for your own shortcomings is okay - When will  your team members learn to take responsibility for their own actions, learning from their mistakes?

I'm sure I could list more but it's getting late...but before I go, I would like to say this:

Seriously people, GROW UP.  It is not COOL to teach kids to look down on others, especially in the name of winning, and if anything, it is negligent, ignorant and immature.  Period. End of story...for now.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Lessons at the Laundromat

Saturday mornings, time to get as much crap done as possible so that 1. I can take a nap and 2. enjoy a bit of freedom on Sunday before I begin prepping for the week.  Well, the washing machine threw a  major kink in the normal Saturday nonsense as it needs a MAJOR part replaced, which could mean only one thing:  a trip to the laundromat!

Yippee, yahoo, I LOVE going to the laundromat.  No, seriously, I mean, what is not to love?  It's warm, steamy and smells so fresh.  Multiple washing machines, commercial grade, means multiple loads can be done at one time!  Six loads of laundry, washed, dried and folded in 90 minutes - it's like a mother's dream come true.  Rather than washing/drying/folding clothes ALL day long, BAM, the job is done in a fraction of the time, leaving plenty of time for all of the other Saturday nonsense that needs to be bathrooms, dusting, vacuuming, and napping.

It's been about 20 years since we've had to use the laundromat for more than washing large items, items that my own washing machine cannot accommodate, such as comforters and rugs...believe me, I've tried to cram those things into our washer, which is probably why it is out of commission right now.  When D & I were dating we'd go to the laundromat - we'd bring books to read, buy a candy bar and a soda and chill while we were waiting for our laundry.  Probably the most positive experiences I can conjure up in regards to might say it is even a bit corny and romantic.  Hmm, romanticizing laundry, now you know I have issues.

Back to the task at hand...Today I decide to have D come with me so can tag team it (the laundry) and then head to the grocery store after - whew, how daring am I, tackling two crappy chores in one day?  I just know I will earn my Saturday afternoon nap after being this productive.  Little did I know that I was about to become an extra what could be a low-budget Tyler Perry movie:  Madea Does Laundry.

Lights, camera, all starts as soon as we walk through the doors of our local laundromat: "Hey girl! Look, it's Keisha (names changed to protect privacy or some other crap like that)!"

I smile and think to myself, "WTH, maybe this is one of my student's parent's, thinking that I'm Keisha."  Nope, it was the girl walking in behind us, toting her laundry in with her little girl behind her.  Whew, relieved that I was not "Keisha" but excited because this was going to be no ordinary laundromat experience...the sisters' were out for their Saturday laundry experience and we were privy to the drama.  It was not going to be the peaceful experience that I'd anticipated, but possibly even better.

Now I don't really have a lot of details because I couldn't hear specifics but this is what I learned:

1. Most stories at the laundromat begin with "Mmm, hmm, tell me about it girl!" or "Don't I know it!"  Followed by a lot of laughing, knee & back slapping, and sounds of agreement "mmm, hmm."

2.  There is a clique mentality with the regulars - instead of saving seats, they save dryers...even if your clothes are not completely ready, one can throw a few garments in to "hold" said dryer for your belongings.  Even if this means that you have a variety of dryers around the perimeter of the place.  Hmm...I have always been curious about my students and their need to be first in line - apparently this is a learned trait.  Who would have known?  Note:  I believe that I am a confident, self-sufficient woman, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't intimidated by these women - after all, I was on their turf, right?

3.  Single mama's have no shame in hitting on the older, obvious single man (one basket, two loads - darks & whites, neatly dressed).  I'm thinking that next time single mama and crew may want to keep the house slippers, pajama bottoms & do-rags at home...cuz I'm thinking these gentlemen are looking for the whole package, not just the side dish.

4.  No time or patience for children and they'd better not want anything because there is no shame in the laundromat...gotta love the "I'll give you something to cry about" ass whooping, which takes place in the open bathroom.

5.  If you are looking for a peaceful laundry experience, do not go on a Saturday morning - the sign says OPEN 24 HOURS for a reason.

6.  No matter what you may observe and experience at the laundromat, there is one glorious positive:  ALL of your laundry is done, washed/dried/folded when you leave and that my dear people is priceless.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sunday Confusing Sunday

Sunday has always been a day that I really do not look forward to facing.  For a long time, it has been the 'hurry up and get ready for the week' day and I have to say, very little relaxing gets done.  Finish up laundry, plan meals and grocery shop, help the girls' with assignments/hair/eyebrows, etc....sounds like an absolute nightmare of day.  Add on lesson planning and I have a desperate urge to crawl back into bed and hide.  Yeah, this is all self-induced nonsense - everybody is willing to help, it's my issue that all of this needs to get done, quick, fast & in a hurry.  But things have gotten better, way better and it has actually become a day that I look forward to...until today.

As I've probably mentioned in an earlier post, we have been attending a new church.  I love it - it's just enough to get me going spiritually but not overwhelming.  We've only been attending for about five weeks and we normally attend the 11am service.  It's great: I can get up early, get some things done, prepare a nice breakfast or sweet rolls for the fam, and then get ready for church.  We attend the service, we feel good, we stop at the grocery store, come home and I make lunch for us all.  I get the smoothie baggies ready, do a little lesson planning, blah blah blah blah BLAH!  Why am I rambling about this ridiculous mundane schedule?  Because D threw a monkey wrench in the routine- he came down and said 'since we're all up, let's go to the early service (9:15am) and I was too shocked to say otherwise...I am usually the one prompting everybody to get up for church, so the fact that he was initiating it, I was gobsmacked and slightly pleased (I am watching BBC programs today, sorry!).

Although I appreciated his motivation to get the day started, I was not on board with that plan, at all.  If I was an effective communicator I would have spoken up, sharing everything that was rolling around in my freaking Sunday morning head with him. This is what was in my little head:  I woke up and went downstairs to go over new recipes and create a grocery list.  Then I was going to cut his hair and make all of us skillet scrambles for breakfast.  We'd go to church, drop C off at the Wedding/Prom Expo afterwards (no, she is not getting hitched, she had prom committee duty), go to the store, come home to have lunch and prep meals for the week.  See, all planned out so perfectly.  So why would D suggest the early service?  Because of all that information had been planned, in my head, last night, but I did not share it with anybody.  Why would I, we'd been doing the same thing for the past five weeks, right?  

So you're thinking, so what, go with the flow girl, right?  I tried, I really did.  I was able to make a grocery list but once we got to church I could not concentrate - I saw people that I knew at the service and that threw me off; it was the first time having communion at this church, a TOTALLY different experience than at a Catholic church; the sermon was about alcohol and how a little consumption was okay, just don't get drunk and that had me feeling guilty for the glass of wine I had on Friday; the only positive AT church, for me, was signing up for the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace workshop (something we've wanted to do for a while but didn't feel comfortable committing to)- but even then I didn't bring my purse in with me, the girls' had to go out to get it and I felt foolish standing there waiting for them...jeesh, I was just one big ol' ball of stress and anxiety, but honestly,  I had nobody to blame but myself because I was the stressor and the stressee (look at me making up my own language), all in one big bungled up mess of nerves.

When I reflect upon my actions and try to figure it all out, I think that it boils down to being an overachiever or at least that is my best guesstitmate (yep, more new words).  Why do I, or even we, put so much pressure on ourselves to meet silly expectations, expectations that really mean very little in the grand scheme of things?  Everything got done and although there were a few more speed bumps in the day, caused by my anxiety, all that needed to be accomplished got accomplished and everybody was happy.  D & I discussed my "funk" and eventually laughed about it - but not until I was near tears first.  

My solution?  I think it is time for me to check out that meditation app I just put on my phone...cuz some thing has got to give peeps.  Nobody deserves a wound up mama/wife over such foolishness.  And maybe I should start communicating verbally and not telepathically because it appears as though I'm the only one in this household with that super cool power...for now;-)