Friday, April 28, 2006

I am a good mother

When you become a parent, it's impossible not to compare yourself to your parents. I was still young and immature enough to have a firm grip on all those angry feelings towards my parents when I had Gabe. I promised to break the cycle of daily oatmeal. I swore I would never give him a bedtime and wake him at 8 am on weekends to do chores. I would look him in the eye and say, "THAT is a p*n*s" and act all normal about it instead of blushing, shushing and giving it a ridiculous name like, tweeterbird.

Of course I now know I had weekend bedtimes because my parents wanted me out of their hair, delegating chores does help teach responsibility but mostly it's cheap labor, and I like oatmeal now but I don't force it my boys (I draw the line at sugar cereal though and I'm sure Gabe and Asher's children will be eating Trix and Cocoa Puffs daily in rebellion to my draconian ways.) I plan to break out the medical dictionary and go straight to all the ugly details of sexuality, so they will avoid it until I'm dead and I don't have the mental image of my babies being poisoned by some hussy.

So as you can see I'm a much better mother than mine. And I made a particular reform yesterday by bravely attending another elementary school event. Sounds innocent enough, but my mother NEVER took me to school events and at the time of course I hated her for that. I missed out on all the dances and parties and open houses and had to hear about it from my friends the next day. One memory stands out. I was supposed to bring a dress for another girl who didn't own any for our seasonal performance but the night of the event my mom wouldn't take me. I would have rather died then face this girl the next day. She embarrassed me by yelling at me in front of our friends because SHE was embarrassed to be the only girl in pants for the all-dress performance.

So yesterday, with the "don't be your mother" badge burned into my soul, I took Gabe to his school's book/math/science fair. After spending almost $50 on books and software we headed over to the math fair. It was eerily quiet (except for Ash squealing my arms like a baby pig of course.) I peeked my head in and thought, "Hey this isn't so bad!" We approached the first activity booth and we learned that this was no ordinary math fair. Gabe could earn money at each booth and was suddenly determined to complete every-single-one. We played math beach ball, decimal bingo, measured posters and guessed the distance between DC and Houston. And I actually had fun! I was so proud of Gabe. He was eager to do even the activities that were over his head. He wanted to LEARN (for pay, but whatever, the information made it into his head. Beggers can't be choosers!) After an hour and thirty minutes of every conceivable activity to teach the love of numbers we cashed in at the Chuck E Cheese like store with his plastic coins.

We headed home with his erasers, bookmarks, and pencil sharpeners, promptly lost them in the car during the five minute drive home, never to be seen again, and I realized the evening was a success. We all had fun, except Asher after he was strapped to a stroller, we learned about math and some new games that we could play at home. ( I highly recommend math beach ball. Get a cheap plastic ball and write math equations all over it. Toss the ball back and forth with a partner and you have to answer the equation that your thumb is on when you catch it. It's edge of your seat action!)

Bleary-eyed we read "The Giving Tree," one of my favorite books that, thanks to the book fair, was finally now part of our collection. It was past nine but Gabe wanted to read his new Sponge Bob chapter book and I couldn't say no. He fell asleep reading to Asher.

Oh, you know why my mom didn't take me to all those events? She was a young, single, working mother of two little girls and she was tired. Feels familiar. While I don't blame her I won't be her either.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Class in America

Oprah's show today was about class in America. No, she wasn't talking about the avalanche decline in public behavior with Paris Hilton as the resident expert. It was an eye opening, frank discussion about the rich, the poor and the rest of us, who apparently are quickly being absorbed into one of the two extremes.

I caught only half of it, but the most interesting guest was the granddaughter of Warren Buffett. You know, the second richest man in the world? Worth $40-something billion? After college, his heirs are cut off. They get no money. She works for a family less wealthy than hers "organizing things" for them (whatever that means) and painting. She seemed very well spoken, smart and maybe a little embarrassed at her situation. Juxtapose that with Jamie Johnson, of the Johnson and Johnson family, who is rebelling by making documentaries such as The One Percent and Born Rich, exposing his tight-lipped world of the wealthiest one percent in society (using his father's money of course). Daddy Johnson is none to happy with him about that, but apparently not upset enough to go all Buffett on his, uh, butt.

A few things about the show disturbed me. One was this hint that the very wealthy are to blame for the very poor being poor. The expert made a good point, that the old money continues to pass down to the heirs and continue to make money, so it doesn't exactly trickle down to the middle or lower class. But if you are hinting that our country should MAKE people give their money to the poor...well that's just unthinkable. I'm going to work my butt off and no one should be allowed to tell me what to do with it. I believe in philanthropy, but I'm not going to legally punish those who don't. Make sense?

The other was a black man who when asked if he thought there was a chance for his son to be rich in America, he looked at his son and said, "He got no chance to be a rapper. He got no chance to be rich." So sad and so GOOD that Oprah pointed out that his view of wealth was limited to 50 Cent. Why couldn't his son be an entrepreneur, a biologist, an architect, a cop, a soldier, a businessman, an artist, a lawyer, a doctor, a teacher, etc? I disagree with any notion that you can't get to where you want in America. Sure, we all have challenges, but we also have choices. I had the same opportunity as my sister and brother (the two right below me in our family of six kids, ages 24 and 18, respectfully) yet they made choices that lead them to be sans high school diploma and I made the choice to go to grad school.

That leads me to my last point. I was actually scared by the expert's statement that the biggest determination for what class you'll end up in - are your parents. It seems obvious. They determine where you go to school as a child and that leads you to a certain quality of education and the odds that you'll go to college (or the value you see in college). But it's so scary that millions of kids will fall into the cycle of their parents lives. Not so bad if you're born rich, but daunting if you're born poor. And that's not just about money. It's about quality of life.

For reasons I don't know, I wanted more than six kids and a trailer. I wanted more than making ends meet and my siblings so far, haven't. I don't get it. That's why I think poverty is really a state of mind. I don't think of myself as poor. I want more out of life for myself and my kids.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Alias - the final season of Jen kicking ass...and giving birth?

I'm watching Alias, the two hour special, and I realize that, while I love Jen, she has only one cry. Seriously, watch the show (she cries and runs a lot on that show). Her eyebrows go up and in, her lips protrude and her nose goes narrow. It's weird, I mean, I've been watching this show since it first started (but missed the last season because Terry deployed and I couldn't focus on anything, not even television) and when she really gets the chance to stretch those "I'm in pain and sadness" acting muscles during a birthing scene, she grunts out a baby with a whimper about missing Vaughn.

Puh-thetic people. You're in a building on a super secret mission, nine months pregnant and you suddenly go into labor (duh.) There's J.J. Abrams' version, above, and here's mine.

"What the heeeeeeeelll!!!!! Whyyyyy, whyy am I here? Why did I let you DAD talk me into a mission the day that I'm due? Why MOM do I keep believing that you are NOT a spy and -

OOOWWWWWWW This hurts worse than the time that Asian dude pulled my teeth out without any anesthesia. Son of a B**** take the thing OUT so I can kick Vaugnh's ass for knocking me up and then dissapearing on me!!!"

That's more how I would have done that scene but, whatever, I suppose that's why she makes the big bucks and I'm pounding away on a blog.

Blogging obsolete?

So I read that bloggers paid to write snarky comments will be obsolete in ten years. I say if they keep producing content like this they'll be in a Newseum :)

An excerpt:

From Brad Pitt to Ben Affleck to Luke Wilson, it was a delight to watch
Gwyn date. Brad called her his “angel.” They wore matching hairstyles. And you
just know that Ben called home and said, “Ma, I’m seeing a real lady.”

When each relationship inevitably crumbled, I waited for Gwyneth to be “just like
me.” To show up at Brad’s house, tear-stained and wearing footie pajamas. Or
perhaps drunk-dial Oprah, or rebound with someone wildly inappropriate — like
Flavor Flav.

The blogger from whom this article was written resides here Read her blog. Make your voice be heard. We smart ass bloggers will never retreat!!!!!

Monday, April 17, 2006

No news is good news

So, I'm doing better. I'm really motivated to get some things done, make that final push to the end and be more active with the FRG duties I've taken on, get my house in order and prepare for Terry to get home (3-4 months, not that I'm counting. Right.)

Anyway, one of the side effects of this deployment is that I can't watch the news. My body physically reacts to the stress that seeing bad news inflicts on me. Isn't that weird? I get tics in my eye, numbness in my face and headaches. I can count on it when I see another bombing or hear about bird flu. I just have to not watch the news at all, since you never know what's coming. I even changed my homepage from MSN to something else because I always caught the headlines. So I say all this because I feel like I live in a cocoon now! I want to know about the news that is going to affect me you know? Ok, so it's mostly the weather and I can get that online, but it brings up the debate about what's newsworthy.

We all complain about the negativity of the news, but we all know we need to know some of those negative things too. And by the time we've seen too much, it's too late. This discussion in my head led me to thinking about news like the genocide going on in Darfur. I don't want to turn away from these stories because it's like saying, "I don't care."

If I'm anything, I'm compassionate. It's the one emotion I can always count on and it's served me well in this deployment. It puts my life in perspective and I don't want to be sheltered from news/issues that I care about or can actually DO something about you know?

And you can't talk about bad news like death and destruction and wonder how in the world we can watch shows like CSI, or movies like Titanic, Saving Private Ryan or Schindler's List (saw in three times). I'm strictly limited to Survivor, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy and other reality shows I will have to confess to on another post. I can't find enjoyment in death, crime and natural disasters anymore - real or not.

Right now I do have to survive emotionally so I've turned off the negativity for now. I breeze through my national and local sections in the paper to the Style, Food or Weekend sections, but it's hard. How much do YOU want to know about your world? How much can we take on?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Why the US Navy is better than the Iraq Navy

So un-PC, I had to share

The United States Navy

Iraq Navy

Sunday, April 09, 2006

I am Carrie Bradshaw

I took the poll Nicole did. Which Sex and the City character are you most like?
I'm most like Carrie, 30 percent like Charlotte. Yawner. Except the fact that at one point she was making $4 a word writing for Vogue. That's pretty cool.

You scored 40% Carrie
Your answers peg you as a Carrie-type, much influenced by the Air Sign qualities associated with Gemini, Libra and Aquarius. Like confident Carrie, a sex columnist, you're curious and perceptive, always seeking answers and never satisfied with the superficial. An Air Sign influence can lead to indecision and an avoidance of tough issues, like with Carrie and her on-again, off-again attachment to Mr. Big. Forward-thinking, incredibly intelligent and witty, you just exude quirky charm. You'd be utterly bored by someone who's just a pretty face or hot body -- though you don't mind looking and flirting! You're more turned on by an equally smart and funny mate, someone who challenges your mind and makes you laugh. You love to talk, so you need a good listener who's open to playful and eccentric ideas about love and lovemaking.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Act III in "The deployment insanity and the desperate housewives it creates"

I think I'm over this blog. I have no desire to write in it at all. This is probably mostly due to the second funeral I'll be attending this week. From what I hear, it's true that only the good die young.

What I should have done is be anonymous, then you'd REALLY know what I thought about this deployment and how it really feels.

Now for streams of conciousness...

I've also idealized my relationship. All you think about is getting your soldier home alive, until the end, when you start thinking about life afterwards. Our relationship is not perfect. Maybe it's good enough to last forever, but when you set yourself up to think that you'll overlook the "small" things because he/she is home alive, you're wrong. You'll start thinking about them again. Not as much, but they are there. Then you're confused as to how you can be thinking about all the old nuances of the relationship when they're not actually home safely yet.

Plus I've become a royal bitch. I walked out of my son's pediatricians office after waiting for over an hour for an appt. On my way I stopped at the counter and kindly, but firmly said, "I just want you to know that I'm leaving. I've been waiting for over an hour for Dr. X. You guys do this all the time. Making customers wait for 30, 40 and 60 minutes when they have an appt is bad service - and we are customers. You tell Dr. X that we're gone and we're not coming back." I shove the glass door open and stomp off to my car. My son never even was seen. So today, I go to the new Dr. He's nice. He's Jewish and recognizes Asher's name. His office is in an exam room. He asks about Asher's birthing history, full term? weight? normal pregnancy? yes, 7.7 lbs and yes. He asks why I switched and I tell him. He knows the docs at our old place. He offers a defense for them, "Pediatrics is unpredictable, long appointments, etc." I say, my other son is seven, we've been doing this for long enough to know what we should expect. My time is valuable (can you see I'm still pissed?) You know what he does? He shakes my hand and says, "Well, we'll be sure to go above and beyond for you. But please let me know if you have a problem. We want to try and solve it." Sold! We have a new doctor.

And I lash out at everyone in my head. You see I've tried to tame my tounge, but in my head the conversation is downright vitriolic. I have to step back and say, ok, calm the heck down!!! It's just a cookie!!! or whatever. And for some reason, I really want to smoke! I never smoke. I hate cigarrettes. I also have a strong desire to shoot a gun (at a target, people). I need to channel all this anger and frustration and what better than a speeding bullet? And if you're getting ready to prescribe the usual excercise, eat well and sleep. Well, I do that, except the sleeping part. I run, I swim, I chase my kids around and I eat at least a good dinner every day. Sleep is just impossible when you're body still expects another warm body to be in the bed when you get there.