Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Love Hate with the V day

I like love (in theory) and I really like scrapbooking and all things Paper, so you would THINK that I LOVE Valentine's Day. Nothing could be further from the truth.

If I dig, I think about the paperlunch sac bags taped to my desk and even as a very young child I was horrified that THIS might just be the year my bag was totally empty at the end of the day. It never happened, but there was always that chance. How could I possibly think that my luck would be better than Charlie Brown's?

Enter 8th grade and my first boy/girl dance. I was so excited and I got my first perm. Then tragedy (well the perm was pretty bad too!) Boys should not EVER kiss 7th graders while their date is in the bathroom, but this is especially poor behavior at the Valentine's Dance and deserving of the cold shoulder and screaming match at the Dairy Queen. That's right, hell hath no fury.

Let's see......then there was the fender bender trying to make late dinner reservations with my high school boyfriend and then countless broken dates and promises in a series of guys that followed. I think the best Valentine's Day I can remember involved girlfriends, basketball and beating the Fab Four in Assembly Hall. The worst in recent memory involved my sister, a place called Cape Disappointment (what were we thinking?) two incredibly sick babies and two very sick adults.

Valentine's Day also happens to be in February. Enter icestorm upon snowstorm upon just feet of snow in the midwest. Truly it is a recipe for disaster.

I know most people will think it is weird, odd, unromantic that my spoiuse and I do not celebrate Valentine's Day. If you know us, then you'd know that his reason for hating VDay is like way worse than any of mine but also in hindsight kind of hilarious but that is another story.

I think that for us it is practical and smart decision to avoid chaos in the universe by sidestepping crowded restaurants with fixed menus and over priced flowers. I don't even like chocolate very much. Listen people, sometimes love is just solidarity and the sense to not anger the gods.

So for those of you that LOVE LOVE LOVE Valentine's Day, enjoy! I'm not here to rain on your parade. Just know that my spouse will be out of town and I'll be sipping pinot and snuggling my babe, which is an incredibly wonderful way to celebrate love as well.

Don't worry, we are not trying to proselytize our daughter with any of our beliefs. She learned about Valentine's Day from Charlie and Snoopy and she received a heart shaped PB&J for lunch.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Today I can't stop talking about breasts

This was supposed to be about something else. I've had ideas kicking around my brain in a very busy week and then it became unavoidable. Everywhere I turn everyone is talking about boobs.

That's right. Breasts, Boobies, BooBoos in my house. It seems everywhere I turn breasts are under attack. It doesn't make sense. I mean breasts are pretty incredible.

In case you've been drunk all week in SuperBowl village and missed the news--the Susan G. Komen Foundation took away a ton of money from Planned Parenthood. If you are Pro-Life, that is your Choice. This is not a debate I am opening. My musings are about women's health in general. When did we as a Nation become Anti-Woman?

Confusing conservatism and women's health is a scary and dangerous place to be. I happen to be pretty liberal. That being said I think we are all on the same page when it comes to wanting our mothers, daughters, and sisters to be cancer free. Having safe and affordable healthcare for women without insurance SHOULD matter to us all. Planned Parenthood serves many poor women. Mostly women without insurance. Mostly women without a choice. Planned Parenthood gives birth control to women who don't want to get pregnant, which happen to be women we don't want to get pregnant.

I am not judging other women. I am being honest. Going to Planned Parenthood isn't fun or glamorous. I've done it. Getting briefed on emergency exit procedures is not a welcome part of a routine doctor visit. Having a papsmear when you are nervous isn't a good time. However, I am thankful there was a place I could afford to get an exam and walk away with birth control when I was 20.

Women need Papsmears. Women need breast exams. That's right. That is what we are talking about. Cervical and Breast exams. These are things women need.

This isn't a Pro-Choice Issue. This shouldn't be a Women's issue. We should all care about keeping cancer away from cervixes and breasts. We should all care about early detection.

I started by saying that breasts are on my mind, but I'll save my thoughts regarding the ridiculous attacks against public nursing for another day. I am busy, I need to write a small check to repay a debt.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Muppet Magic and the day I became that mom

This is a story that is hard to begin. I could start at the hair salon or really early, like at the beginning.

When I was a little girl the first craze I remember revolved around the cabbage patch kids. There were countless others, but the first time I remember true consumer insanity had to do with the weird looking chubby faced dolls that women were beating each other over in parking lots to grab for their daughters around Christmas. Perhaps it was my mom's good sense or maybe it was purely financial, in any case I would not be getting one. I  understood and even then thought it was kind of gross the way people were standing in line for hours and hours for a doll.

Fastforward to being pregnant. I imagined that I would never ever be "that mom". You know the crazed lady in the line for the next new hot pink plastic object of adoration. Not me. I am far too hip and cool and strict and moral to be taken in by the glitz and glam of whatever princess unicorn glows in the dark makes you happy toy they try to shove down my throat.

Enter the perfect storm of Muppet nailpolish, working mom guilt, and a really bad day at school.

I felt guilty because I had just left my daughter overnight for the first time for a conference in the Big Apple. She was crying a lot and having a hard time and I had to keep on acting like being separated for the first time in her life was no big deal and make her go to school. And I really needed to get my hair colored. See there isn't anything cool about having a child later in life when it is obvious from your grey skunk stripe that you waited a while for your baby. So I did what any good mom would do, I packed her off to school and took an afternoon off to fix my roots.

This type of self indulgence doesn't come easy for me. I've had a handful of manicures in my life and most of my hair care is the home improvement kind that comes in a box despite knowing better. In fact the reason I was at this nice salon is that I received a gift certificate. Upon arrival I was taken in immediatly by the new mupppet mini nailpolishes.

They were sparkly. Indulgent. And they spoke to me. I wanted me some Muppet nailpolish in the worst way and rationalized it would be a perfect stocking stuffer "for my daughter". Inappropriate sparkles remind me of happier times, carefree days at the beach, and well the muppets really to their core have that Dreams Come True bottom line that is what I am all about.

I sat in a chair seemingly forever while I had a nice girl make my hair a shade unknown in nature and I thought about how fun it would be to see my little girl open her fancy polish on Christmas morning. Then I got the email from school. There was a scuffle, she was ok........

What horrible mother has her hair turned red while her poor baby is hurt! What is wrong with me? I was fighting tears when I decided the rational thing to do was buy the nailpolish and give it to her today instead of waiting for a special occassion. The sensible thing was to buy more nailploish than originally planned in lieu of running to school and waking her from her nap to smother her with hugs. Surely that would fix her bad day and hurt feelings!

While I sat upstairs sipping my tea in the flavor of calm an evil villian with a french manicure bought the last 3 boxes of Muppet Minis and I felt the tears welling up against the cruelty and unfairness of the world. Then an angel appeared in a black apron from a room in the back and said she'd be happy to place a special order for me. And I became that mom. The mom that special orders sparkly fingernail polish for a child that isn't even three. The mom that thinks that OPI's Rainbow Connection can cure the working mom blues or paint over a bad day.

Although I never planned to be that mom and I still hope against hope that I never stand in line for anything plastic, I am here to tell you that every time I look down at my Warm and Fozzie toes I feel like things are going to be ok.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Osoji: or my bizarre take on the clutter free home equaling inner peace

So a few years ago I read an article about the ancient Japanese practice of Osoji. To my Eastern friends, I assure you that I have not studied up on Osoji other than taking time to google articles. That being said for the purpose of this blog we shall pretend I am an expert.

I love the holidays. I love to wrap gifts. I love all the trappings and merry makings. I was overjoyed that I convinced my spouse this was the wonderful year of two trees (one real, one not so much) and I go overboard in decking the halls. The problem is that once the holiday ends you are left with so much stuff and such a mess.The holiday joy is no free lunch.

I think that the first time I found myself googling "unclutter" had a lot to do with my first post Christmas as a mom. Not only do I have my halls to undeck and my belongings to put away but oh my the toys, toys, toys, toys. It was truly enough to make me understand the Grinch a bit better.

Enter Osoji. Translation: Free and Clean. Of all the resolution making we do in America it seems so simple and speaks to me. A clean house and tidy affairs...what better way to enter the New Year? In Japan they clean and clean and enter the New Year free of the burdens of the past. Being busy over the holidays I have given myself a westerner's pass and try to spend the month of January (because it takes a month) purging, forgiving, and loosing the clutter. I figure the Chinese New Year comes later and so as long as I am in the ballpark it will work.

What is it about the clutter that drives me so insane? I think it has something to do with control. Like a table covered in mail is a visual that I didn't have the self discipline to open and sort mail. Piles of dirty laundry just scream that I am not a mom on top of her game. Perhaps it is an article I read ages ago claiming that people with dirty houses tend to gain weight faster and afterall--aren't we all conditioned to want to shed pounds in a New Year?

Now I could read a ton of self help articles telling me not to beat myself up, but I know I feel better surrounded by tidiness and order. Getting there is simply a battle. I consider control and how around the holidays I feel so out of control by the demands of my job, the hectic schedules, family obligations, unpredictable weather and for me there is no worse feeling than being out of control except perhaps being controlled.

And so I clean. Yesterday it was maybe the unseasonable sunshine or the 4 bags at Goodwill but I felt better. Lighter. Happier. And it only took 10 days.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

First Day of the Last Year

So if the Mayans are right, and I hope they are not, today begins the last year. What would you do, how would you live if every day were numbered? Some live like this already. They have their reasons. Now I have mine. Sitting at my desk at the beginning of the last new year I wrote 3 things on a piece of paper: Write More, Complain Less, Be Thankful. I thought of it as a mantra, not a resolution. Turns out I am no better at keeping up a mantra than a resolution.

And so here we are. The blog I meant to start last year is getting off the ground before the clock strikes midnight. I will write more. I'll try to complain less. I intend to be thankful every day for the crazy wonderful life I have. Along the way I hope we'll have some laughs.