Thursday, August 30, 2012

And This Is Why I Can't Make Plans...

Next July, I want to go to BlogHer '13. It's a goal I am making for myself. An expensive goal (which I never, ever do).

It's being held here:

Photo courtesy of
Which is big and scary and all kinds of emotional for me, but also exciting that I am making this a goal and making plans to actually do this for myself, for my blog.

When I go, I want to meet this person and I hope that she is as serious about meeting me there as I am about going. It's not as big of a trip for her to get there. At least I don't think so. It's all in the middle and that gets very jumbly for a East coast, country girl like me. I have been to Texas, which I suppose is in the middle, but it's on the edge so I am not sure if it counts.


I would also really like another one of these in the near future, since Scare Bear informed me that my eggs are all dusty and wrinkly.

I need to figure out how to time that so that I can still go to BlogHer though - because I will be damned if I am not going.

In fact, let's just all be prepared that before boarding the plane back to Tiny Town, I will be popping out a kid that I will then name Cubby (because it will still be baseball season when I am up there ya'll!).

I don't want to go all fat and too big to really enjoy myself though - this trip is supposed to be about me for a change!

And, if I have a kid before I go, then I have to find a wet nurse because I seem to have the only kid that will not accept a bottle, or a binky, or any one other than myself. (We seriously thought that the Supergirl was starving herself for the week that I was in the hospital on IV antibiotics after I had her. She would not eat, she just plain out refused until I was able to nurse again. I am amazed that she is still alive.)

So, maybe I let the eggs get a bit more dusty, just for a little while. (Little raisin eggs...)

Besides, I was thinking I could look a bit more like this:

And whole lot less like this:

20 years can be hard on a girl.
But eating healthy can be expensive, really expensive. It's not often that I get coupons for veggies and lean cut meats...


Do other people do this? Do other people have all of the what ifs and could haves until they are defeated and don't want to even try?

This is why I can't ever make any plans, because I talk myself out of everything. I start focusing on the what ifs and the could haves and the next thing you know, I am too late.

Can she REALLY take care of the Hubs for a week?
Screw that, Universe.

I am gonna get to BlogHer.

I just might be kinda squishy. I might not be knocked up (because I am so old). I can promise you that I will be on a budget.

But I'm gonna get there.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


The last few months, okay, fine, this year have been kind of a mess. Between job loss, infidelity, separation, repairing the broken, learning  trying to relearn trust, car wrecks, and a 4 year old, I am a mess. Physically, emotionally, mentally.

I realized last night, sitting on Scare Bear's porch after assisting in the making of a fine, mostly-fried meal that I had thrown my hands up into the air. I had given up.

And that's when everything went to pot.

I can't pinpoint the exact time or date that it happened, I am just acknowledging that somewhere I broke down and stopped living intentionally, with a purpose, with a drive, with a goal. I had just given up because everything felt so, so very out of control.

Funny how that seems to happen when you are more focused on surviving instead of focusing on living. 

I am done with that.

I have made a budget, a budget that we are going to stick with because we have done it before and I am not coming back to this place ever, ever again.

I have clearly re-defined my goals for my family and for our future, at least our short term future.

I have prayed, everyday, several times a day for the last week (which may not seem big, but is a habit that so easily slips from your fingers when you are struggling to just breathe in and breathe out).

It is time again to step back into my life, to clean up the aftermath, to pull my family from the embers of the before and into the future.

I am not coming back to this place, it's time to move forward from the disaster that was us and into something new and better.

It's time to be intentional.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Letter to Supergirl's Teacher

Dear Preschool Teacher,

Thank you for providing my child homework on the very first night of school. It made her feel important when she suddenly yelled out that she needed to do her homework this morning. I know that she feels like a teen now and I find that that feeling is incredibly important to my girl. (To my normal readers, this is not sarcasm, I am really glad that she got this homework, I just wish that I had had more time to prepare for it.)

The assignment that you gave my girl was to find one item in our household that shows people who she is. One object.

Oh, Preschool Teacher, you have not met my daughter, so I am going to explain her to you.

I could have sent a spatula to school, because she likes to help me cook. She's not a cook and bores quickly when faced with the hurry up and wait process of cooking dinner, but she likes the idea of it very, very much. It's not who she is, it's just something she likes to do.

I could have sent a crayon to school, because she loves to color. She is not an artist and there is nothing about her art that lets me know that she is particularly artistically gifted. She does stay in the lines though and I hear that that's pretty important. It's not who she is either, just another thing that she likes to do.

I could have sent Mulch or Gravy to school, although, I am pretty sure that you would prefer that chickens not come to school. She loves to feed them and she wonders about them everyday; how they feel, if they are sick, if it is too hot, too cold, too rainy for them. She cares about them, but they are not who she is.

I could have sent scissors and glue to school, because it is the bane of my existence as a mother and the source of many arguments. She loves to think that she can cut paper (and fabric and hair) but the reality is that she is just ripping paper while a pair of scissors hangs off of her fingers. And the glue, oh, the glue... but it is not the right thing for her either.

I could have sent a lock of her curls, because it is the first thing that people notice and comment on when they see her. Those curls are not who she is, and even with a bald head, she would still be Supergirl.

In reality, Preschool Teacher, there is no one object that perfectly describes Supergirl and who she is.

She is a believer - she believes in magic and good and love and hope and God in a way that I have never been able to. She has a grasp of all that is right with the world and believes in those things unconditionally.

She is a performer - she sings and dances and mimics so well, that for a moment, you have to remind yourself that the person that you are talking to is really just a 4 and a half year old.

She is funny - her jokes make no sense, none. But the way that she delivers the joke, the excitement that she has when she announces that punchline will make you laugh, even especially when you don't understand.

She is compassionate - she will pray for her friends and their parents every night before she prays for herself or her family. She will happily share everything she has if she thinks it will make someone else happy - please watch out for her.

She is tough - my girl is strong, she can handle most things that come her way, and she won't back down if she thinks that something is unfair. This trait can sometimes come off as bossy or like a know-it-all, just remember, she is really only 4.

She is sensitive - if she thinks that she is being made fun of or she is embarrassed, she will cry and she will hold it in for a very long time until it all spills out in one troubled little puddle. I encourage her to talk through these feelings, to get them out when they happen instead of holding them in. The older she gets the harder it is to see that they are there - encourage the dialogue, please?

She can be lazy - she will "supervise" others doing the work and she will make herself look busy if you don't stay on her. I know these things about her, do not be shy about letting me know if it gets to this point.

She is a writer - more often when she has a crayon and a piece of paper, she will write letters instead of drawing. She really wants to be able to write real words and will ask me to spell things for hours before she goes to bed.

She is a daughter, a daughter that someday will be a fabulous, creative, faithful woman who will never fit into just one category.

I sent a microphone as her "Just One Thing" today, because she is performer. I hope that there are more homework assignments so that she can share all of the amazing things that she is with her classmates.

Thank you again,

Supergirl's Momma

Monday, August 27, 2012

Blogfest and Book Fair!

There are a lot of things that ya'll know about me.

Ya'll know that I love to read.

Ya'll know that I love my kid.

Ya'll know that I struggle everyday to be the best wife and mother that I can be.

But there are things that you still don't know about me, even after all of this time blogging.

You don't know is that my family has an issue with diabetes. A big issue. My grandfather had a stroke and died due to complications with diabetes, my father (his son) struggled with his blood sugar before his death.

And the Hubs and his family are not immune either - his dad is currently dealing with insulin dependent diabetes and has had a stroke because of it.

Which is bad news for the Supergirl when she gets older. And I guess for the Hubs and I too as we trip and stumble our ways down the staircase of old age.

So when I heard about Melynda Fluery's close call with losing her eyesight because of diabetes I prayed that there was something that I could do to help.

Well, this week there is!
In honor of Melynda Fleury and her incredible fight against this evil disease, Wayman Publishing is throwing a Blogfest and Book Fair Giveway during the week of Labor Day. ALL ENTRANTS will have unlimited access to download any of Wayman Publishing's Top 10 Books September 2-4, 2012 (direct links will be provided to all entrants on September 1.)

In addition, Mommy Blog Designs has agreed to contribute one of her pre-made designs with the full package ($269 value) for FREE to one lucky winner.

Finally, we have been donated $200 PayPal cash to giveaway!

Thank you to Wayman Publishing, voiceBoks, Linkie's Contest Linkies, Mommy Blog Designs, and Terri's Little Haven for allowing me to participate in this awesome giveaway!

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20 Questions* With the Supergirl

Today is Supergirl's first day of preschool and the excitement has been palpable in our neck of the woods. While we kept a close eye on the bands of Isaac making their way to Tiny Town this weekend, I asked her a few questions just so that we can remember this kid at 4 and a half.

Favorite Color? Pink and purple
Favorite Shape? Heart
Favorite Song? Smooth Criminal (yes, the one by Michael Jackson)
Favorite TV Show? She-Ra (yes, the one from the 80's)
Favorite Movie? Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (yes, the creepy new one, she prefers the Veruca Salt in that one. We actually own both and watch them at least once a week, Gene Wilder is the Hubs favorite!)
Favorite Word? Stop (it's the only one that she can read, besides her name)
Favorite Letter? Z
Favorite Number? 6 (because it reminds her of her friend from camp)
Favorite Animal? Zebra
Favorite Muppet? Miss Piggy
Favorite Holiday? Christmas
Favorite Vegetable? Mushrooms and Squash
Favorite Fruit? Cherries!
Favorite Food for Dinner? French Fries
Favorite Person? Momma!
Favorite Thing to Do? Play, play, play all day long
Favorite Thing to Do with Mom? Clean up (? WTF? When has that EVER happened? Was I on drugs? Why can't I remember this? How about all of the crafts we do, the picnics we've taken, the birthday parties? Cleaning? Really?)
Favorite Thing to Do with Dad? Go to Build-A-Bear (ha, ha sucker!)
Favorite Toy? My Build-A-Bear (of course)
Favorite City to Visit? Houston, TX
Favorite Candy? Caramel and chocolate
Favorite Dessert? Ice cream, cause it's really cold, very cold actually, and SO delish!

*There are more than 20 questions. I realize that. The post wouldn't sound so good if the title were "More than 20 questions with the Kid" - so I took a few liberties.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Give Him an Inch...

There is a long-standing argument in our household. I know that you are wondering what two high-school lovebirds could possibly fight about given the world's economic climate being so blissfully peachy, the amount of time that they are now forced to spend together, our self-cleaning home, tires and husbands that never go bald, and the consistency of their tastes in all things music, movies, and literature.

Sorry, I must have dozed off for a moment there.

So what do we argue about?

Could it be laundry? Dishes? Fidelity? Finances? Education? Healthcare Reform? The Election? Philosophical arguments over the eternal status of Judas Escariot?


We argue over which one of us is taller. Obviously, we are joking because EVERYONE knows that I am taller (obviously). Or at least, I thought we were just joking.

Then this happened:

The Hubs stands on a stool in the middle of the kitchen as Supergirl and I ready ourselves for school and work. There is really not a reason, he is just standing on a stool. 

Not Amused Mother of Four Year Old at Too-Early-O'-Damn-Clock in the Morning:
"Daddy is standing on the stool to see how it feels to be tall." 
Oblivious Four Year Old, Stuffing Face With Pickle (BEFORE Breakfast):
After looking Hubs up and down, "Oh, are you trying to be tall like Momma?" 
And I laugh myself all the way to the car. In fact, I am still laughing a bit now.

But he seems crushed that Supergirl would think that he is shorter than me, which makes me believe that he REALLY did not know that he is, in fact, the shorter person in this relationship, that this indeed has not just been a joke argument for the last 18 YEARS, and he has no clue that I am looking down at his bald spots when we are walking around.  

How could he not have known? Did he think that everyone was just picking on him, or that for some reason, all people everywhere are bad judges of height?

Denial is strong in that one, it is.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


When I was a manager (which seems so very long ago and yet was really just over a year ago), I found that most of my employees would fall into one of two categories.

What most managers want in their business is a combination of these two types. It is rare and when you find it, you go out of the way to make sure that that employee feels appreciated. Mostly, by piling on so much work and responsibility on them that they would feel guilty about leaving. (Okay, that's not exactly true and doesn't always necessarily work but it's nice when it does.)

This morning on the ride to work, I realized that I am once again in this situation, although not at work but at home.

Supergirl believes that she can do anything (which is awesome, by the way, to know that your kid has all of this confidence and self-esteem) when really, she is incapable of handling most things, overwhelms shockingly easily, and struggles to understand even the most basic of instructions. "Supergirl, put it over there, no, no, to the left, no, your other left. Here, just let me do it."

She likes to prove how great she is at all things by giving herself tasks that she believes are grown up jobs. Jobs that I have explicitly asked her not to do.

Ever wake up to a dishwasher that was loaded by a four year old? No? It definitely gets the adrenaline pumping for the day, I can tell you that much.

She refuses to do  any job that may be suited for or assigned to her. "Supergirl, pick up your toys."

And instead, insists on doing jobs that are not only out of her competence level, but also innately dangerous. "No, I am going to dust the top of the refrigerator. I think it might be dirty."

Conversely, I have quite the capable and competent husband. A husband who is not only able to run AND load the dishwasher, but also the clothes washer, the microwave, AND the oven. I marvel at such genius.

But unless it is written down or distinctly expressed? It's not getting done and he will probably not even notice it until you say something.

That mountain of clothes that have been washed, but need to be hung and put away? I get two very different outlooks on the situation:

Supergirl: "Mom. Mom. Momma. Can I put those clothes on hangers for you?" Even after I tell her no, she still does it, gets bored after two shirts and drops those on the floor. Now I have once clean clothes attached to hangers laying on the floor with 4 year old feet prints running across them.

The Hubs: "Clothes? What clothes? I have never seen clothes. Is that what you call these pieces of cloth on my body? How did they get there?"

In my work life, there are reasonable actions to take here. Perhaps Worker A would benefit from some additional training or hand-holding, perhaps Worker B needs to have a conversation regarding attitude or other positions that they may be better suited for. There is always room for improvement, always ways to better one's self to the needs of the company.

In my home life, the only response seems to be, let the Momma do it. If I try to teach the Supergirl the correct way to hang shirts (or dust, or load the dishwasher), she becomes inconsolable and storms off to her room. Should I try to discuss the obvious passive-aggressive tendencies of an unobservant husband, he shuts down all communication for several days for the slightest question of his ability to do anything.

I can't write them up or threaten termination, how can I coach them to becoming better housemates?

Monday, August 20, 2012

All Growed Up, Indeed

While the schools in Tiny Town are having their first day, we have to wait one more week before Supergirl begins preschool.*

*We're officially starting preschool? I remember being in preschool. How did this happen? Where has the time gone?

We are prepared, or at least I think we are prepared. She has clothes, a backpack, a blanket, and a sheet. She has crayons and can count accurately to 12 (after that it is hit and miss). She can spell her name, can tell you her parents names and where we go to church (which could be useful should she get lost), she knows the President both by name and by face, and can tell you whether to make a right or a left depending on where you are going.

She also has decided that she is going to be raising herself from now on. Her insistence on this being the new fact is exhausting.

"Momma, now that I am a big girl and am starting school, I don't have to go to bed when you tell me to." Stated, just like that, as though there is no other way that things could be.

"Okay, Supergirl, if you say so, but I think you might need me again when your shoes come untied. Perhaps you should listen to me now, because no one will be able to help you when that time comes."

She rolls her eyes and lets out that dramatic sigh that ALL parents love.

"Moooommma. Just because I am all growed up, doesn't mean you can't help me."

"Supergirl, it's okay to be a child for a little while longer. In fact, I would encourage you to take part in it for as long as you can. If you listen to me now, you won't have to pay for it later."

She rolls her eyes and walks back to her room, as slowly as humanly possible. Seconds later, she is back with a new tactic.

"Momma. Now that I am a big girl and am starting school. I should have a midnight snack. I think ice cream would be a good choice. Make me some."

"Supergirl, if I give you ice cream now, there will be no treats for you to have for snack tomorrow. You will be sad if you are the only kid at camp without a snack."



The sigh again. The slow dragging of the feet to the bedroom. Silence.

The keyboard is playing now, loud, pounding notes.
"I can't wait 'til I am all growed up
cause growed up girls don't have to listen to their mommmmmmaaaaas
I can stay up late and eat ice cream
and no one listens to their mommmmmmmaaaaas!"

"Go to sleep, Supergirl."

"Momma. I heard at church that God loves all the little children."

"That is true, God does love all the little children."

"Then God must really hate Mommas."

"Good night, Supergirl."

The sigh, again. "Good night, Momma."

Friday, August 17, 2012

Falling Off The Side of The World

"Momma, I had the worst bad dream. The one where I falled off the side of the Earth? You know that one, Momma? It's the worst of all of the bad dreams, isn't it, Momma?"

I nod and I understand, because I can think of no words better to describe how I have been feeling lately, like falling through space with no one willing to pull you back in, like drowning and no one knowing how to keep you from getting wet.

It's an uphill battle to get out of bed everyday, let alone function and pretend like I am a regular part of society. My child has not gone to sleep before 1 AM any day this week. Since I cannot trust her, I have not been to bed anytime before 1 AM this week. Which really means that I lay there and make lists of all of the things that I need to do, all of the things that have been done, what checks have hit the bank account, which ones have not, whether or not I am due for my pap, trying to remember when her eye doctor appointment is and when my next doctor appointment is, reminding myself for the 80th time that I need to schedule an appointment for the Hubs, because I am fairly certain that that is a hernia and he should probably get that checked out.

Now? I am exhausted and am facing the weekend with dread.

I considered taking up drinking for a moment, then remembered that I can't even do that.

If I were a drug addict, or were going to become a drug addict, I would choose an upper like meth or some kind of amphetamine. My own brain is an incredible downer and I don't need anything else to persuade me not to do the laundry, the dishes, or clean the playroom.

I would not be a very good drug addict though. For one, after I start feeling "better" I forget to take the next so I never really level out. Secondly, as my girl from back in the day told me, I would be a highly annoying drug addict because I never stop talking or moving. On an upper, I would be 10 times worse than that constantly chattering away, stopping every so often to say, "Does that make sense?" while vacuuming, running the dishwasher, and the washing machine. On TV shows, I would be the annoying crazy addict that gets shot in the face. Does art imitate life or life imitate art? Either way, if I were on drugs, I would probably get shot in the face, so I guess that idea just got thrown out the window.

I crochet, but I seldom have the time or energy to do it well lately and since I have been diagnosed as "crazy-35-year-old-with-arthritis-only-in-the-thumb", it hurts too much to really invest the time into it. I would knit or sew, but again, I just don't have the time or energy to devote myself to something that I am not sure I could really even focus enough to pay attention to the details. I am giving it all I got right now and I have still had to rewrite this sentence 3 times.

Now you know, I don't sleep, I am in pain, my mind won't stop, and I fear that I am going insane.

UPDATE: I just found out that I have OFF for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Which means? Momma gets to stay home all alone while those suckers still have to go to work and school and barring somebody getting sick - I get a TRUE vacation, by myself, in the house, with no one but the cats and the chickens asking me for things or yelling at me. Screw Christmas - this is something to look forward to!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Not Normal

For the first twenty-some years of my life, I worked and tried my damndest to just be normal. To not have the frizzy hair, to not be the only girl in the 7th grade that was taller than all of the boys, to not be the girl that got beaten at home or bullied at school. The glasses that I was supposed to wear? In my backpack except for at home.

I just wanted to be feel normal.

The problem with my plan is that I was not embracing the me that I was called to be. Whether it was out of shame, or guilt, or longing, or jealousy, I could not just be me.

After I got married, I became comfortable in my own skin. I become comfortable in knowing who I was and what I was good at. I would try new foods, hobbies, and not fear what others would say about me.

And then I became a mother. A mother who was heavily influenced by her mother-in-law to do this or not do that. I would scramble to hide evidence of pacifiers or formula (not that my child would really ever take either one, but an overly tired and nervous new mother will try anything - even once- in an attempt at peace). The other mothers? With their perfect husbands and babies and dance and gymnastics and money is no object? I ran scared from them too. Because money is an object, because my kid does not need dance lessons (she dances all the time without instruction), but mainly because I did not feel worthy of them, because I am not normal, I am not perfect.

Amazingly, my child grew, not only that, she thrived in my care. She understands the balance between what gets said to grandmas and what gets said at home. She is savvy and knows how to play her audience, no matter where she might be. And she is smart, oh God, she is so incredibly smart.

I got comfortable again and I started this blog. I found comfort in finding a community of women that love their kids, but just don't want to be climbed on and over 24/7, that understand that while I love my daughter, I have to have adult interaction with other people dealing with the same issues - sometimes through humor, sometimes through tears. They let me know that I was not alone.

And on my craziest days? On the days when my kid would slip me a little something extra in my water bottle or ground me for not cleaning my room? This was my release, my own little piece of really cheap therapy, because what mother really has time to battle the demons within, work a bagillion hours, pack aesthetically pleasing, fun, and healthy meals while fighting the monster in the closet and the nightmare under the GD bed until all hours of the night, put out, and then wake up in the morning to do the whole damn thing again the next day? And if I could do all of that, where in the heck do you find that kind of money?

So I had my little blog.

Of course, we all remember February and the train wreck that my life became. And we remember what an asshole I looked like when I seemingly suddenly kicked my husband out of the house after he lost his job. I used the blog to vent, to let it out because bottling it up is not healthy for anyone and because the last person that I needed to go all Momma-ragey on was the Supergirl. Instead, I dumped it here in my blog.

Which drew in readers. Oh, boy, did it draw in readers.  Except these readers were acquaintances from my real world. Nosy people with nothing better to do than read what I had to say and judge me. And the things that I wrote about my relationship, my marriage, my life were used against me to ostracize me within my community, to make me feel the shame and hurt and guilt that I have battled all of my life.

In reaction, I began to edit myself. The words that I would choose, the things that I would say. The snarky comments that I might have about a man's inability to pick up a pair of GD socks from the floor? Tuck that away, it's too harmful, it could sound condescending or demeaning to your husband. The issue that I have with the clinginess of my daughter after a long day of work when I just need 5 friggin' minutes to myself? Probably shouldn't blast your blessing out in the open like that, someone will have something to say about it.

My thoughts have become claustrophobic from sitting too long stuck in my brain with no way to get them out into the open. I am grumpy and irritable that I am being forced to live like this.

I can't live like this. I cannot write a healthy and thriving blog like this. The editing is done. There is nothing else that I can be made shameful or guilty of. All of my truths are here. If you don't like what you read, start your own blog and write what you think I should write about. Stop harassing me about what you are unwilling to do, stop judging me for things that you won't even discuss with me. Just stop.

I don't need your version of normal when I have my hands full trying to be the normal that is right for me.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Living in Circles

Supergirl has a theory about us living in a big circle. It's not always correct, but she is 4.*

She once got sick on Easter. She believes that she will always be sick on Easter, even though it only happened that one time.

We went to Myrtle Beach one year for Thanksgiving. In her mind, Thanksgiving will always be in Myrtle Beach. Even though we haven't had Thanksgiving in Myrtle Beach in two years.

"When will it be Christmas, Momma?"

"After Halloween and Thanksgiving and your birthday."

"And then we will circle to Christmas? And then the circle will start all over again, Momma? Just like every Christmas?"

"Sort of. Not exactly."

"And when we have Thanksgiving in Myrtle Beach? I will see my cousin and we will play in the waves at the beach by the hotel? And eat turkey on the baclony**?"

"We aren't going to Myrtle Beach for Thanksgiving this year. We will probably stay home and have Thanksgiving with our friends and family here."

"So we won't have Thanksgiving this year, Momma? Will the circle stop? If there is no Thanksgiving, then my birthday will never circle, and then there won't be Christmas."

**Baclony every single time. Baclony. It does not matter that I have corrected her nearly every day for two years. It is always a baclony. 

And nothing will change her mind.

I understand where she is coming from. I know that I am destined for much more than what I have been doing over the last few months. I know that my family is capable of doing amazing things. But right now, we are doing all of the tedious back work that has to be done for us to get to that point.

It's frustrating.

I know where we are going. I know the million steps that it takes to get there. But the mundanity? The day-to-day work, work, work, that it's gonna take for us to get where we are going? It's enough to drive me insane.

It's kind of like watching Supergirl try to learn to read. She knows the letters, she knows the sounds they make, but that lightbulb moment when it all comes together? Still not there. Instead, she memorizes things and claims to be able to read. Just this morning, I voted. She got a sticker at the poll, the same as mine, that said, "I Voted". I told her what it said and then she turned to the Hubs. "Daddy, I can read! Look at my sticker, it says, 'I Voted!'. I can read now!"

And then she looked at the air conditioner on the side of the building. The letters that spelled out very clearly "YORK". "Air Blower", she said with confidence as she skipped back to the car, slowly pretending to sound out every syllable. I kept the laugh sequestered in my gut as I got back into the car.

*Shoot. Good thing she cannot read, I would be getting yelled at right now about how she is 4 and a half. This will plague me until she is 5.

"Very good, Supergirl. You will be a wonderful reader someday." And she beamed proudly.

It's frustrating, but it's all of these little steps. These little tiny, insignificant steps that will lead us to greater and better things in the future. It takes patience, which is unbelievably hard for me. I feel like I am revving engines as fast as they can go, just to sit still and spin tires. Someday, I will look back at all of the steps that it took to get us to where we are going and I will know - KNOW- that it was all worth it.

But today? Looking at the early afternoon rain for the 90th day in a row of early afternoon rains and late afternoon humidity, it all feels like I have done this before and before and before.

And I am ready to jump off of this ride and onto something more exciting. If even just for a moment.

By the way - if you do nothing else today, please go vote. You cannot complain about things never changing if you do not do anything to change it. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Back to School Shopping with Famous Footwear

This is the first year for us to do Back to School shopping. Or school shopping, since she has never really been to school so there is nowhere for her to go back to. Whatever. Semantics.

From what I have read online, seen on TV, and heard on the radio, Back to School shopping is an arduous process that is both a huge time suck and very expensive. Great, something else that will take away the precious little time and money that I have these days. Just what I need. 

I was dreading school shopping.

Dreading, that is, until I met my new BFF - Famous Footwear!

Click here to learn more about our fantastic shopping adventure!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Time for Me to Get a Job in Reality TV

Dear TLC (or Lifetime or Oxygen or OWN or Any Other Channel That Specializes in Highly-Edited Reality Television);

I remember back in the good ol' days of television (re: 80's and 90's) that you all had writers that would create storylines and characters. These people (with the help of great actors) could weave tales that would make us laugh, cry, feel good, or leave us hanging for months (I was not old enough- but still wonder to this day - who really shot JR?)

Television did not reflect our real lives, or even people we could meet in our real lives - it was our mode of escape, our way of relaxing after a hard day in the Real World*, our way of believing that somehow, someway we could really be anything we wanted to be

(Not to be confused with the reality show The Real World, in which marginally talented young 20 somethings would drink, walk in on each other in the shower, and make-out with people that they were not even dating. Watching The Real World in high school, I really believed that that was what college would be like. It wasn't.)

You have taken our module for escape and turned it into a distorted mirror for us to look at ourselves through. The problem is that I think you may be sending this program out to other countries and a lot of what I am seeing lately makes our country look very uneducated and very trashy.

My family does not have cable. Or satellite. Aside from the fact that we have a highly impressionable 4-year-old that mimics everything (just like her mother once did), it was a bigger expense than we really needed in our lives. We are able to get all of your content with our Hulu, Netflix, antenna (hooking it up old school, yo!) and internet connections. Total out of pocket per month is $18 bucks, far cheaper than any cable or satellite deals I have seen lately - and NO commercials (which, I have to tell you is amazingly awesome).

I don't get to see a lot of reality programming, but should something pique my interest either through my news feed (is it sad that this phrase belongs to Facebook rather than the Associated Press?) or through a blog - I will check it out at least once to see what the fuss is all about. Last night, the Hubs and I decided to check out Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo due in large part for the shock and silliness that it evoked on Facebook the night before.

Maybe we are a little too far south to really appreciate the humor in showing this family on TV. I could try to tell you that I don't know anyone like that Momma, but that would be a lie. I could try to tell you that I was shocked at people washing their hair in the kitchen sink or couponing so much dad-gum toilet paper. I could tell you that I was amazed to see a 6 year old eating cheese balls for breakfast (but she woke up after 11 so it's not really morning, right?). I could tell you that I was amazed that that woman had daughters more than half her age, but that wouldn't be true.

The reality is, I see those families everyday. They live down the road from me or shop at the Wal-Mart or work at the gas station. Those people are the South. They take pride in being country, having accents, walking barefoot. They love having room to run and be loud. Some of them have pigs for pets (who am I kidding here? I somehow acquired 6 friggin' chickens). We like mud and swimming in sink holes, 4 wheelin' and fishin'. It's what we do.

I know that you edited this to make this family look as gross and crass as possible. I know that because time and time again you have proven to us that reality TV is no more reality than the scripted television of my youth.

And, I guess we, as a nation are good with that.

So roll your teams of producers and cameras right on out here to the semi-rural South of Tiny Town. I'll take you out to the karaoke bars, to the university campuses, to the state legislature (cause we got it all in our little mecca).

I'll take you down to the ghettos and the sinkholes. I will show you what "no-zoning" regulations really mean when you see million dollar homes next door to the cheapest, ugliest shack of a house you have ever seen. I will show you how you can magically and unintentionally acquire animals and pests.

I will show you where what's left of the Occupy movement camps next door to my office and where the homeless people that want off the grid camp. I will show you counties that have the highest per capita AIDS rate in the country and the highest per capita drug use in the country are (and they aren't even the SAME county, but they all neighbor my home).

Call me up reality producers, I am living one heck of a reality and I think it's time that we start looking in a less distorted mirror.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

With A Name Like...

As a culture, we tend to pick on celebrities for their choices in baby names. Suri? Penelope? Harper Seven? Shiloh? Apple? Moses? The comments and commenters all balk, "How dare they name their own child something they like? It's all about us greedy no-talent consumers!"


I personally don't have a problem with celebrities naming their kids anything as long as they are happy with it. Celebrity kids names have to be a little off the wall, a little extra statement because they are (hello!) celebrity kids. Case in point: will Isabella and Connor Cruise ever be as famous as their little sister? Not a chance. While Seraphina Affleck might get some good tabloid fodder one day, unfortunately, Violet and Sam will be lost in obscurity.

I am okay with that.

And, while it seems that everybody wants to have a gripe with celebrity names, I will raise a guess that not one of those commenters are from the South. No, in the semi-rural South everyone wants their kid to be special, unique, awesome (and worthy of their 3 year old mullet or their 7 year old rat tail) from the get-go.

Gone are the days of 8 Jennifers to a classroom, gone are the Johns, Matts, and Marks of my youth. Goodbye, Kimberly, Nicole, Allison, you are no longer the popular girls.

Southerners don't want their kids to have a problem spelling their name.*

*Because your own name is SO freaking hard to spell. Why I remember growing up and struggling to remember where to put all of those Hs...  

Screw that. Your name is never hard to spell. You have been looking at your name (whether you knew what it said or not) for your whole life. You will figure out how to spell your name pretty quickly because it belongs to you. 

So, around here, we have resorted to an entire generation of phonetically-spelled uniqueness usually credited to the last name of an obscure long lost relative but then modified to fit in with the current trend. What are we left with?

I made a Britely to display the names I have seen just this week. I am scared for the future of our world. Very scared.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Hubs' Theory on Pests

It has been raining a lot here in Tiny Town. After 4 years of drought we are finally back in the "normal zone". Everything is green and damp and HUMID (I had forgotten about humidity until I walked outside in my glasses and was immediately blinded by my lenses fogging up).

Due to the rain, the ants have decided to move to higher ground, namely my bedroom and the porch that is attached to my bedroom.

Me: Do you think Noah ever had regrets?

Hubs: What?

Me: Well, the mosquitoes...

Hubs: Were created by Satan, they have nothing to do with God or Noah.

Me: (Sigh) What I was going to say is I understand how they could survive. They can fly and they hatch in water. Their eggs lay dormant for 10 years. I get the mosquitoes. 

Hubs: So, why would Noah have regrets?

Me: Ants. Ants everywhere. All over the boat, in the food, in the bed. Everywhere. It could be a catastrophe.

Hubs: Not all ants bite. The ones that do bite were genetically modified by Satan.

Me: So, every animal that could potentially bite you or harm you?

Hubs: Satan.

Me: I think I need to read the Bible a little more. 

Hubs: Why?

Me: I missed something...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Boys & Girls

When Blade was only 4, he would dress Supergirl up in his old outfits and call her "Cocoa Puff" (he said that was her boy name which made me laugh, and the Scare Bear cringe at the innocent racist-ness of if it, I just thought it was funny that he believed that Cocoa Puff was a boy name).

But children grow and take notice of things (and watch far too much Disney channel programming) and the next thing you know?

Your four-year-old daughter is strutting her way out of the bedroom wearing your heels, a plaid school girl skirt and a top tied tight around her chest like a midget Britney Spears dancer, while the boy stands back, grinning from year to year at the outfit that he helped design. "I'm a teenager," she announces while she sashays herself across the room.

What happened to dressing up as princesses and cowboys? Fairies and policemen?

Where did my baby go?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Other Plans

I struggle with the story of Martha and Mary. You know the sisters from the Bible? 

Martha is a giver, she is constantly working, busying herself to take care of her family, her guests, becoming overwhelmed by the size of the tasks that she has given herself. Her sister Mary, stays and sits by Jesus' feet absorbing everything that he has to say. 

Finally, Martha interrupts Jesus (wha-wha-WHAT?) and tells him that she needs help and that he should send Mary in to help her get the food ready. 

Jesus's reply is what gets me. It gets me every time.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Chaperone - A Book Review

This month, I was super excited to review The Chaperone for the BlogHer Book Club, not only because it is being touted as USA Today's "#1 Hot Fiction Pick" for the summer, but also because I have seen it mentioned in magazines all over the place in the last month or two. Reading the descriptions definitely piqued my interest, so when it finally arrived at the house, I tore into it like nobody's business.*

*Which is a good thing, because this one had the shortest deadline I have ever dealt with. 

The Chaperone is classified as historical fiction and is set in 1920s New York around the start of silent film actress Louise Brooks' career. Coming from small-town Wichita, Kansas, Louise's father insists that she have a chaperone to accompany her for the summer.

Her chaperone, Cora, could not have been more her opposite. A 36 year old stay at home mother of two grown children, Cora has lived a traditional small-town life. It is quite the shock when Cora announces that she will be leaving town for the summer to accompany Louise, not only because she has never even met the Brooks family, or Louise, but also because it is so out of place for her to do anything so extraordinary. Where Louise is looking for a spotlight and attention, Cora is reserved to holding the background

There are mysteries to Cora's life however, and this book leads you to learning more about Cora than you do about Louise Brooks or 1920s New York, which is an interesting twist that you would never have gotten from the cover.

I love historical fiction, and the author, Laura Moriarty, does a good job in transporting you to a New York that is not what we know now, however, there were times that social issues being discussed felt forced, felt as though the reader were being used for a reaction rather than being true to particular characters. I don't like feeling manipulated when I read and I got that more than once with this book.

I find that Louise often comes across as arrogant (which I suppose is common with teenagers), entitled and a bit snobbish. I am not sure if this holds true to her actual self as I was not familiar with anything about her except for her face until I read this book.

To me, she is the face of silent film - but until I read this book I had never even known her name. 
If you are looking for a book to take on that last beach or family excursion before school starts back, The Chaperone (while a bit dry in the first few chapters) is definitely a must read.

I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are my own.

Buy the book through this link! I earn a commission, you get a great book, it's a win, win!
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