Pre Mother’s Day Thoughts

Hannah peed in her potty today.  I didn’t even have to tell her to.  She just went and did it.  She said she had to pee, went to the potty, pulled down her pants and diaper, and went.

How completely wonderful.  It was like a small miracle.  I was sitting here in my husband’s small home office, getting ready to have the luxury of writing something, when I heard her small voice from the other side of the door.  “Mama!” she said.  My first reaction was complete annoyance.  I hear that all day.  “Mama!”  But then she said, “I peed in the potty!”  Well, that was different.  I turned around and opened the door.  “You did?!” I said proudly.  “You peed in the potty?”  My husband had come upstairs behind her and he confirmed it.  It had really happened.  She had peed in the potty.

I bought these little toy surprises at Kroger to give her when she pees in the potty.  Two of them have been LOL Surprise Dolls and this last one was a My Little Pony.  They’re stupidly expensive- almost $3.00 per toy surprise candy but oh well, she needs an incentive, and I like the things too.  Inside a box is a chocolate egg and a capsule.  If the candy companies followed the pattern of Kinder Eggs in Germany the capsule would be inside of the chocolate egg.  It’s a big plastic capsule with a toy inside and almost impossible to swallow, but we have some dumb law in the U.S. that says these capsules can’t be put inside the eggs.  Stuff like that really pisses me off, like unnecessarily so.  Anyway, she opened her little capsule and there was a Princess Twilight Sparkle inside.  We’re saving the chocolate egg until after lunch.

I’m starting to feel very irritable now.  Maybe it’s all the coffee I drink every morning.  I’m a total coffee junky.  There’s just something so reassuring about that morning coffee- how warm it is, how sweet with cream and sugar, the aroma.  And I love the kick, the caffeine buzz, and I overdo it until I’m cracked out and twitching.

Speaking of dumb laws, I also hate that law that children’s pajamas have to be sprayed with these carcinogenic flame-retardant chemicals unless they fit skin-tight.  Ugh, so stupid!  Who came up with that idea?  And why in G-d’s name can’t we change it?  The flame retardants, to me, are far more dangerous than the possibility of my children’s pajamas catching on fire.  We never use our gas fireplace, or we haven’t yet, and we almost never use candles or anything else that you light on fire.  And yet I can’t buy my daughter a cute little nightie dress because every single one of them, even ones made out of fucking organic cotton, have to be sprayed with flame retardants! Ahhhhh!!!!  Things like this just make my head want to explode.  I’ve noticed I get angrier and more hung up on things like this than other people.  I wonder what my deal is…  I guess I just feel so helpless.  I see stupid things happening all the time, and what can I do about them?  Nothing.  Just look at our government.  That’s a whole other can of worms I don’t even want to open.

Also, if loose fitting children’s pajamas have to be sprayed with flame retardants, why don’t loose fitting children’s day clothes have to be sprayed?  Are children more likely to spontaneously combust at night?  I shouldn’t mention using the flame retardants on clothes during the day.  The assholes will probably do it.  And it all probably has to do with some deal with the companies that manufacture flame retardants.  So dumb.

“Did you poop?”  I just heard my husband say.  “Why didn’t you poop in the potty?”  “Well, Chad, one thing at a time,” I called out through the door.  She’s almost 3.  I don’t know why my kids are such late bloomers when it comes to potty training.  I’m so jealous of those parents whose kids do it at one and a half.  Still, she’s doing better than Sammy.  He didn’t potty train until he was three years and eight months!  At least she’s moving in the right direction now, at two years and ten months.

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day.  I don’t want to do much actual mothering on Mother’s Day.  I honestly just want to be left alone.  That would be beautiful.  If that sounds mean and selfish to you, then you’re not a mother, or you’re not a mother of small children and you’ve forgotten what it’s like, or you’re a mother who never had to be solely responsible for your children for long, infinite, never-ending stretches of time.  Maybe you took them to daycare while you worked.  Maybe you had a relative help you.  But if you’re sitting there thinking, “Aw, you should treasure every single second with your children!  How dare you not want to be with them on Mother’s Day, of all days?”  I’ll tell you why.  Because I’m with them all the fucking time.  I’m with them in the morning, and I’m with them in the night.  I’m with them at breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I’m with them when I go to the bathroom, when I take a shower.  You get the idea.  As much as I love them, I don’t want to be with them absolutely every waking moment of my life.  Sorry.  And absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Coronavirus quarantining has made things a bit harder for me as a mom, although not dramatically so.  I wasn’t getting much help before.  My husband and I have lost the ability to go on a date night.  Our old neighbor who used to babysit for us (not old in age, but from our previous neighborhood) has health issues and breathing issues.  She’s one person that should definitely be careful during this time, so she can’t come any more.  My mom is also someone who is in a high-risk category for coronavirus.  She’s 68 years old, and of course the risk of dying of this disease increases exponentially with age, so she can’t come around either.

Maybe it’s for the best.  Before the quarantine we were having so many fights.  I really wanted her help with the kids, and she was wanting to help me less and less.  I feel a lot of resentment towards her about it, to tell you the truth.  It was bad enough that she wasn’t wanting to help much anymore, but at the same time she had to insult me about the kind of job I was doing, telling me I’m lazy, my house is so messy, her house never looked like this, etc.  I just remember so many of the mean comments she made when she was coming to “help.”  It got to the point that I was having a hard time deciding whether I wanted to have her come help or not because I didn’t want to deal with the insulting things she’d say.  It bums me out thinking about it.

Then she would always tell me I didn’t appreciate her.  How could I appreciate her when every time she came over she told me what a lazy slob I am?  She would moan and grumble and insist on doing my dishes, even when I told her not to.  When I said, “Hey, just leave them, I’ll do them” she’d exclaim brightly, “No!  I like doing them!”  Then an hour later she’s moaning about how exhausted she is.

She’d always make a big deal of accomplishing all these things, cleaning, watching the kids, having all this energy, but she knew she was going to be there for only three hours and then get to go home!  It was always like she was trying to show me, “See, look at everything I can get done!  You’re so lazy and inefficient!”  But our deal was that she come three hours a day, two days a week.  I’m sure if I knew I was only going to have to be at it for three hours and then get to go off and do whatever I wanted for the next two or three days that I would be able to run around in a frenzy accomplishing things too.  It’s a lot harder when it’s your 24/7.

My husband is taking the kids to the store with him.  How absolutely wonderful.  I have to watch them all week while he’s working.  He sits up in the office working.  That’s his job.  I watch the kids.  That’s my job.  And try to keep the house clean.  I kind of suck at that one but am working on getting better at multi-tasking.  I have my little goals every day with the kids.  I’m really set on teaching Sammy to read, although sometimes I push him too hard.  I want Hannah to potty train.  Already they are dealing with the burdens of my parental expectations.  Sigh.

This day in May is beautiful with a wide open blue sky.  It was chilly and rainy all day yesterday.  Ah, and there’s Chad pulling out of the driveway in the Highlander with the kids.  Bye!  I won’t miss you!  Sorry!  I do start to miss them after a few hours though.  Stockholm syndrome.

Anyway, the day is pretty, cool with weather in the sixties, not one of those super-hot springs like the ones we’ve had for the past few years that make me flip out about global warming.

I’m enjoying my garden.  That’s one thing that gives me pleasure in these days of coronavirus quarantine and endless parenting.  And I try to go for runs.  Running is good for me, and some days it feels good too.  I enjoy running listening to punk music.

Punk music has really been a special part of my life.  I like how angry it is.  I wish I had been better at being a punk as a teenager, when it was more age appropriate.  I guess I have anger issues, pent up frustrations that have built up through the years that find expression in music that is fast and kind of angry.  Not always angry though.  It’s melodic, or the kind of punk I like is.  And it’s about hope, and change, and yeah, a lot of the time it is angry.

I like Social Distortion.  I’ve really gotten into them recently.  I had Mommy’s Little Monster in high school but now I’ve discovered they had a lot of good tracks not found on that album. My favorite album by them is their self-titled.  I like how classic their sound is. They just have well constructed, catchy songs.  There’s something strangely comforting about listening to to them for me.

I like the Swingin’ Utters, especially the album 5 Lessons Learned, and Bad Religion.  I really like Jesse Michaels’ most recent band, Classics of Love.  And I love the old Rancid album Out Come the Wolves.  That will always be my favorite from them.  I remember when I had that album on tape when I was in high school.  How old fashioned and quaint.  Sometimes I’ll listen to the Dance Hall Crashers on Spotify, or a mix of bands.  I just need fast music when I’m running, something to keep me going.  Ha, and I’ve also listened to eighties pop.  It’s cheesy but those synthesizers will keep you moving.  And I can’t forget Green Day, which were the band that started my love of punk bands and will always be my favorite.  Their first four albums are like the soundtrack to my teenage years.

The kids are gone now.  My husband is gone now.  The house is silent.  This is amazingly, spellbindingly peaceful.  No one is calling, “Mommy!  Mama!  I’m thirsty!  I want to watch videos on YouTube!  Mama boob!”  Hannah’s always asking me for boob.  She’s obsessed.  I’ve been breastfeeding for almost six years now.  I still give it to Sammy sometimes too, even though he’s almost six.  Go ahead and judge me.  Whatever.  He loves it.  The only reason I let him have it is because he asks for it, otherwise I’d be happy to quit.  My kids love their boob.

Maybe I’ll take a nap now. Or go for a run. We’ll see.  But the possibilities are endless.    Later,

Julie

Oh, and here’s some Social Distortion ♥

Random Saturday Thoughts

Chad has taken the kids to the store and I’m enjoying my “me” time, but I always feel like I’m wasting it.  It always feels so short.  Chad was telling me to surprise him when he got home, like accomplish a lot cleaning the house.  And I haven’t.  Sorry.  I did buy a new mop at Target and I cleaned the kitchen floor and picked all the books up off of Sammy’s floor, so I accomplished something, right?

I rewatched the first season of Girls recently.  I know Lena Dunham is younger than me and when I initially watched that show I wasn’t a “girl”, like I was already past the point in my life when I felt like that pronoun referred to me.  I got to vicariously relive my early 20s through that show.  My thoughts on Girls…the first season was really good, and the last season I watched, which I think was season 5, was really bad.  I have a lot of admiration for Lena Dunham.  She’s like a wunderkind.  Ok, that’s kind of an annoying word, but she accomplished so much at such a young age.  It’s super impressive.  I don’t know what happened to Girls.  I feel like that show totally derailed and lost direction and I’m not sure why.  That happens with a lot of shows I really enjoy actually, and I can list others.  Game of Thrones and Mad Men come to mind first.  But that totally happened with Girls, maybe more so than any of the others.  Oh yeah, it happened to True Blood too.  Ha, I can’t even believe I watched that show.  It was while I was breastfeeding and pumping.  Those are my memories of watching True Blood, like being hooked up to a breast pump.

Anyway, I loved the honesty and rawness of the first season of Girls.  That’s one thing I commend Lena Dunham for- she knows how to lay it all out there.  Like, she gets naked all the time in that show.  At first I judged her for it, but maybe it’s being a mom and being used to taking my boobs out all the time now, I don’t know, I don’t judge her so much for it anymore.  I commend her for wanting to show viewers a different body type, like not a model body, or a body of an actress with a personal trainer and a dietician who hits the gym every day and is in impeccable physical shape before her nude scene.  In a way getting naked shows how honest she’s willing to get.  I’ve always loved shows, books, music, whatever, where the artist is being very honest and vulnerable.

And no, I did not name my daughter Hannah after Lena’s character Hannah Horvath in the show.  Chad asked me that and the show was not that influential to me, I mean I liked it but it didn’t change my life, and I’ve just always liked the name Hannah.  I also felt like Lena’s character and her boyfriend on the show, Adam Sackler, had actual chemistry.  So maybe I should say it seemed Lena and the actor Adam Driver had actual chemistry?  I just can’t stand actors that obviously have no chemistry at all (like Eleanor and Chidi in The Good Place, and by the way that’s another show that went way downhill), and that Hannah and Adam’s relationship was interesting to watch, and relatable.  Like I remember being like Hannah when I was younger, like she wants Adam because he’s this kind of unavailable guy, flakey, mysterious, doesn’t reply to her texts, and then when he finally wants to take her seriously and move in with her she’s the one who backs off.  That pretty wells describes the flippant female nature.

I also looked at Lena Dunam’s twitter and it’s so pithy and well written and funny.  I could never consolidate my thoughts so neatly like that.  I have absolutely no interest in using twitter.  Donald Trump could take some twitter notes from Lena Dunham.  Trump, your tweets aren’t funny.  Man, what a contrast.  Ha, one of my favorite tweets I saw from her said, “MOVERN CALLAR is a Christmas Movie.”  Well, it was a retweet but it was funny she mentioned that obscure, strange movie that I remember watching in my friend Callie’s basement then rewatched later because it was really interesting, blah, blah blah.

And Lena Dunham’s book was good, Not That Kind of Girl.  I just Googled it and apparently she wrote another one in 2017 called Is it evil not to be sure?  I’ll have to read that.

And speaking of Lena Dunham I also watched the two seasons of Fleabag written and directed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge.  Phoebe reminds me of my ex-best friend L.  She’s charismatic and slender, and also always subtly poking fun at everyone yet somehow not offending. And L. also has a birthmark, although it is on her back between her shoulder blades and not on her forehead.  I read this article about Waller Bridge and she sounds a lot like L, “Waller-Bridge is tall, gangly, preppy. Head-girl material. But a rebel head girl who likes to get everyone into trouble – herself included.”  Pretty spot on for my old amiga as well.

Waller-Bridges characters kind of stuck in my head:  the uptight sister, the bitchy stepmother, and the insipid boyfriend Harry who kept leaving that dinosaur after each breakup.  They could verge on being “types” but I think the humor helped redeem them from that.  I think they were exaggerated for comedic effect.  So anyway, Girls and Fleabag are two female written and directed shows that I have enjoyed recently.  Oh, and also Russian Doll!  That one is the best of all, good start to finish (they were smart and stuck to one season).  Nice job Natasha Lyonne and Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland.

Today I took the kids to Shul.  On the way to Shul Sammy said in his next life he wanted to be a blue bird, and I thought that was interesting.  I asked him why and he said it was because he thought they had no responsibilities, like they just poop and eat worms and stuff.  Isn’t it funny that he’s five and he already figures life is too much hard work.  Oh, just you wait…Then we discussed how birds poop, and pee, and lay eggs all out of one hole, and I told him about these two times when I was younger when birds pooped on my head and how that was supposed to be good luck but I didn’t really see anything lucky about it.

At synagogue in the tot service Sammy was telling people he was two religions, Christian and Jewish. Oy, fail.  How are we supposed to raise our kids these days?  So many people in my generation just aren’t that religious, and I don’t know how serious I am about it myself, and Chad’s nonpracticing Catholic.  At least Jewish people have kiddish after services.  It’s kind of disappointing that after Church services there’s not this big room full of food.  Christians should try that.  Hannah and I shared a really good piece of cheesecake.  Guess that’s all for now.  More in the possibly distant future, or not, depending on if anyone ever is available to watch my children.

Julie

Cheers in the New Year

2020 and times are bad.  As far as I know, much of Australia is still on fire.  Global warming is accelerating.  This is the warmest winter I can ever remember.  It’s like it hasn’t even really gotten cold this year.  A high of 62 was predicted for today, yet my phone says it’s 66 degrees outside.  In JANUARY.  We have a charlatan for a president, good old Donald Trump.  I don’t know what I’m gonna do if he gets reelected.  I mean, I guess the bright side is he can’t be president forever.  He’ll only get another 4 years if he somehow weasels his way back into the White House for a second term.  I can’t stand his streams of sycophants and liars that prop him up.  Even more confusing are the intelligent people, like my dad, or our friends Jodie and Sam, or Chad’s dad, who are still Trump fans, who stick up for him.

We can’t get his tax returns.  He owns the courts and that fucker Mitch McConnel has appointed so many judges for him now.  I don’t know the exact number.  55? Or more?  I don’t really want to look and be sure, to tell you the truth.  And that’s a strong word for Mitch- Fucker- but what else can you call that awful old man?  All he wants is power, the power to subvert, the power to impede, and not the power to, I don’t know, help our country and pass legislation that could make this world a slightly better place.

Aside from the soap-opera like drama that is the Trump White House, with impending war with Iran, and an impeachment trial held up because Republicans in the Senate are refusing to even call witnesses that want to testify, life shambles on.

I deleted the Facebook app on my phone and also my Instagram.  I can still look at Facebook on the computer, I just won’t look at it as much now, which I think will be good for me.  I think of it as staring into the vat of my phone.  This hypnotic, entrancing device totally addictive to our human brains.  Games!  Videos!  Books!  News!  Trivia!  You can find anything on these amazing objects.  Watch any channel or movie, listen to any music.  I-phones are TVs, Radios, cameras, computers with internet, all wrapped up into one.  They’re crazy and so, so fucking confusing and addictive.

I had fun listening to music on my I-phone today.  I went for a run and used these awesome Jabra Sport earphones Chad got me for Christmas.  They connect with my I-phone via Bluetooth, so I wear my I-phone around my arm in an armband but I don’t have to connect the phones to it.  The wire goes around the back of my head and then the earphones are wedged between two parts of my ear above and below the earholes.  I didn’t know if they would actually stay in.  I was skeptical.  I had a couple cheap pairs of running ear-phones I’d gotten from Target that wrapped around the tops of my ears but they were always falling out and so I would spend a good portion of my run shoving the damn things back into my ears. Running with the new ones made me realize just how much I was doing that and how nice it is to run and not worry about whether your earphones are gradually jostling out of your ears again.

I have the Spotify app, so first today I listened to old Green Day (not new Green Day, just not as much of a fan of their new stuff).  I’ve listened to all those songs millions of times, but they’re still good.  Green Day is to my teenage years what the Beatles were to my childhood.  The songs are so fast and good and they really kept me going.  This day has been gorgeous too with an open blue sky, no clouds.  We had this huge deluge yesterday, an incredible storm, then today it was like it didn’t even happen.  Chad was saying it’s a beautiful spring day, ha, in January.  Weird but I guess we can at least enjoy that the weather’s nice.

Another thing I like about these earphones is that they come with an app that tells me how far I’ve gone, like they told me every mile what my time was, and my cadence.  My time is pretty shitty for today.  I think I’m running about a 10 minute mile, sadly.  So I ran just over 3 miles, took me 32 minutes, average pace 10 min. per mile. Wow!  It even has a little map showing where I ran and markers with 1, 2, and 3 for each mile.  Technology is crazy.  It also said my pace and stuff was a record for this year (of course, because this is the first time I’ve run this year) so I can compete with myself and try to break some of those records if I actually manage to keep running.  I don’t know how I’ll run tomorrow because Chad has work and there’s no one to watch the kids.  I’ve got Hannah all day because she only has preschool twice a week and my mom is out of town for an indefinite amount of time painting the beach houses at Seaside.  Lame.

I got to workout when I got back from my run.  I did my crunches and leg lifts listening to Dance Hall Crashers and then I kept listening to music while I folded and put away laundry.  I got Chad to take the kids to Leapin’ Lizards.  The time is just so fleeting, like now it’s probably almost up and I haven’t finished putting away the mountains of laundry in the other room, nor have I put in a new load, as I said I would.  I also need to empty the dishwasher and do the remaining dishes.  I hate this Sisyphean task that is cleaning the house.  It’s too freaking hard.  Ugh, I just hate doing it and it’s just holding the tide of chaos at bay.  Like even if I finish all that stuff it’ll barely even make a dent.

“So this is the New Year, and I don’t feel any different…” Ha, Death Cab for Cutie.  Brings back poignant memories of my wasted youth.  Goals for this year?  Run more.  Lose weight.  Be more assertive.  Find people to take my kids off my hands.  Write more.  Worthy goals.  I guess it’s back to the laundry for me.  I have to finish it so Chad won’t come back and yell at me and tell me I did nothing, which, to be fair, is close to true, because I haven’t done much.  But I have enjoyed myself and my alone time, so that’s a win.  Adios.

Julie

Not Very Nice…

 

Parry Gripp wrote this song, “I’m Not Very Nice” for a kid’s cartoon called 7D (link here: https://youtu.be/noImU_iFl64).  It won a daytime Emmy, and it’s actually a damn catchy song (like most of Parry Gripp’s songs).  Kelly Osborne sings it too, which is cool.  This song really resonated with me, and it has both a kind of feminist and punk vibe.  I wondered why it struck a chord with me.  After all, I am nice (most of the time).

And it’s funny, but this got me thinking about assertiveness, and one of my new goals is to be a more assertive person.  I’ve been doing some reading about being assertive, versus being aggressive, versus being passive.  Deciding on assertiveness is something that is really empowering to me right now.  I think that girls and women in particular are encouraged by our society to be passive.  To just be “nice.”  And that’s just not me.  I’m an opinionated person, somewhat strong-willed, and at the end of the day I’d also consider myself a nice person, but passivity doesn’t suit me.  If anything, being passive has given me a chip on my shoulder.  I resent certain things people say to me but fail to comment on them or I fail to correct comments I know to be incorrect.  That’s not doing myself or other people a favor.  Here is an assertiveness “Bill of Rights” I got from this site, skillsyouneed.com.  Know your rights and assert them!

I Have…

  1. The right to express feelings, opinions, values, and beliefs.
  2. The right to change my mind.
  3. The right to make decisions.
  4. The right to say, “I don’t know” or “I don’t understand.”
  5. The right to be non-assertive.
  6. The right to be one’s self/ personal freedom.
  7. The right to privacy/ to be alone and independent.

As a stay at home mom, the last right is kind of a laugh, but I think all moms do have a right to be alone and independent, and I need to assert that right, even if family members give me crap about it and tell me I’m shirking my duties as a mother.  There are also assertiveness books for kids that I would like to get so I can get my children started down the right path.  One way to help them be assertive would of course be to model that behavior and be assertive myself.  I also need to make sure I don’t swing it too far and become aggressive or bitchy in my excitement to be assertive.  The prime example of someone who’s too aggressive?  Donald Trump.  That dude needs to tone it down.  Can you imagine Donald Trump quietly and respectfully listening to someone else’s opinions?  Give me a break.

So I say to all people like me, who are too frequently passive.  Go ahead and assert yourself.  You won’t regret it.  Don’t do something just because you feel you should, don’t bend over backwards to please everyone, be “nice,” but first and foremost be nice to yourself, stay true to your thoughts and opinions.  It ain’t easy.  Wish me luck.

“No Control”

I’ve been disappointed the past couple times we ordered Chinese food:  no fortune cookies.  This was from two different restaurants, mind you.  I like to pretend that intimate details about my fate or the future can be disclosed to me from a cookie, ok?  I’m not sure why these restaurants aren’t doing the cookies.  My husband said it’s not authentic Chinese, like they don’t do that in China, and I know that, but dammit, I like my fortune cookies.  They always make me feel uplifted.  I need them, like a boost of luck, or something telling me something good about myself, or that something good is going to happen.  After all, they never tell you bad things.  Yes, I’ve had some tell me indifferent things, or things that are more like platitudes than fortunes.  Some are almost as dumb as, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and those are disappointing, but none ever say things like, “One of your family members will fall ill soon,” or “Someone is thinking nasty things about you today.”

This makes me think about a story my dad told us recently while driving my family to the airport.  He told us that when my brother Michael was little he made one of those finger fortune things that you put on your finger tips, then someone picks a number and the one wearing the fortune teller counts and lifts one of the flaps to reveal a fortune when they’re done.  I don’t remember how to make those, by the way, which makes me feel pretty dumb.  I mean, seven year olds make them. Anyway, my brother made one of these before a flight and every flap said something like, “We’re going to crash” or “We’re all going to die” and he used it on a stranger sitting next to him on the plane.  I think he was 8 or 9 at the time.  I remembered it when my dad told it and he laughed and said, “We thought it was pretty funny.”  It’s actually funnier to me now as an adult.

Anyway, I wonder about myself, and superstitions, and the desperate human need to feel like there’s something out there guiding us, or deciding our future, or advising us about what to do next.  We need to feel in control, or at least to feel like something else is in control, that someone or something knows.  This need is so desperate and so strong that I can’t shake it.  I can’t live without some kind of faith, without the belief that there’s some sort of design in this damn universe.  I feel dumb and petty looking for answers in fortune cookies, but I look anyway.

There are other compulsions or superstitions I have.  I wish on wishing hours, and not just 11:11, but any of them.  3:33, 2:22, 5:55.  If I look at the clock and all the numbers are the same, I start wishing and I stare at the clock until it changes because someone told me that the wish is more likely to come true if the minute changes right after you wish it.  And I try to surreptitiously blow a kiss to the clock because I heard you’re supposed to do that too.  This all makes me think of the Bad Religion song, “No Control.”  Aside from my random superstitious actions, the pop-punk songs of my youth are also a comfort to me.  I like Bad Religion because a lot of their songs are sort of philosophical and have good ideas or messages in them.  Here are the lyrics:

Culture was the seed of proliferation
But it has gotten melded into an enharmonic whole
Consciousness has plagued us and we cannot shake it
Though we think we’re in control
Questions that besiege us in life
Are testament of our helplessness
“there’s no vestige of a beginning,
No prospect of an end” (Hutton, 1795)
When we all disintegrate it will all happen again

Time is so rock solid in the minds of the hoards but they can’t
Explain why it should slip away
History and future are the comforts of
Our curiosity but here we are
Rooted in the present day

If you came to conquer you’ll be king for a day
But you too will deteriorate and quickly fade away
And believe these words you hear
When you think your path is clear

We have no control
We do not understand
You have no control
You are not in command!

 

Good stuff, right?  And true.  I mean, yes, we have some amount of control.  Like I can choose whether to spend this time I have to myself while my kids are at school writing or working out.  Or I can choose what to eat for dinner.  But in the grand scheme of things, about some of the most important things, we do have no control, and that’s what all these weird superstitious things we do are, and what religion is, and what prayer is.  It’s grasping for some kind of control.  If we have no control, does something else?  Is something else going to help us?  And though I have my doubts, I have not let go of that idea.  I still want to believe that possibly yes, something does.

I have another ritual I started recently.  I inherited this little loaf of bread shaped container from my grandmother and it has all these quotes from the Bible.  They’re different colored rectangular pieces of cardboard with quotes on them and have been around since my mother’s childhood.  I remember them on my grandmother’s table when I was a kid.  The Biblical quotes are fortune cookie sized and on the side of the little bread shaped holder it says, “Your Daily Bread.”  I’ve started picking one every day and using it as sort of a “fortune.”  Hold on, I’m going to pick one.  Let’s see which one I get today!  Ok, they have two sides, so two quotes:  1. “He…giveth grace unto the humble.” -James 4:6c.  Crap, does that mean I’m not humble enough?  Isn’t writing this in and of itself kind of arrogant?  Is writing arrogant and self aggrandizing?!  Ah!  Ok, second one, “Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee.” -Job 14:15a.  Really?  What’s your phone number?  I will totally call you.

There’s something blasphemous to me, about me doing this, like using these quotes as my own personal fortune cookies.  There’s an element of gambling as well in it.  I like surprises.  They have an insidious new gimmick that they’re using with all the kids’ toys now, where they make them “surprises.”  You buy the bag and see which one you get.  Which Mickie Mouse figure?  Which LOL Surprise Doll?  Which Lego character?  Which miniature Care Bear?  The scary thing is that this gimmick works on me, and I buy this crap for my kids because I’m sucked in by the mystery of, “Oooh, which one” and that element of surprise.  Human psychology is funny.  I know I’m falling for their gimmick but I do it anyway.  And if all these items were displayed in clear plastic where I could see them, chances are I’d never buy them.

So it’s time to put one foot in front of the other and go into the unknown of another day.  It’s a scary thing that all humans have to do.  We have no choice right?  And no control.  It’s already almost time for me to pick up my daughter from preschool.  And I didn’t get to work out.  And I’ve gained 10 pounds.  Dammit.  I need to work out listening to angry punk music sometimes though.  That is another way I get a sense of “control.” And writing, of course, one of the few times I have almost complete control.  Much love.  Later.

Julie

Throw the Trumpster in the Dumpster

We are in the dark days of the Trump administration right now, as the House of Representatives gears up for public impeachment hearings.  I think a lot of regular people, like me, people just hoping and praying that Trump will get his ass impeached, don’t have high hopes because so far it seems like all the Republicans are saying he should not be impeached, despite a preponderance of evidence.  You like that legal jargon?  A preponderance of evidence?  That’s right, I took a six week paralegal class six years ago and remember almost nothing from it.  Obviously I didn’t learn that phrase from the class either.  You know that phrase.  They love to use it in movies and novels and stuff.  What do I remember?  Statutes and laws, um, criminal vs. civil cases.  Holy crap, almost nothing.  Let’s stop there.

It’s really concerning though that it’s so obvious the president broke the law and his whole party is standing behind him shaking their heads saying, “Nope, he didn’t, no way.  Witch hunt!  Kangaroo court!  Russia!”  It’s like Donald Trump thinks if he screams enough times that this is a witch hunt, that his call with the President of Ukraine was “perfect,” that it will make people believe that it’s true.  The sad thing is, he’s right.  He knows the game.  It’s all about controlling the narrative.  If he says something enough times, and his representatives and fellow Republicans repeat it, and then they say it on Fox News, a lot of people really believe it.  He keeps shouting, “Read the transcript!”  because he knows many people, particularly the members of his base, are never going to read it.  I read it, and it makes him look bad, extremely suspicious, if not downright guilty.

So I am fed up with the Trump administration and think these are dark times for our country.  I listened to NPR this morning and today they’re going to be debating in the Supreme Court about whether or not to throw out DACA, or the Dreamers, these people who came to the country illegally as very small children but have been here almost their whole lives.  They work here, and they’re good people.  “Throw them out!”  Trump said, seven months into his term as president.  Why do things like this have to be deliberated in a court in the first place?  Sometimes all the red tape and political jargon just confuses things.  No, don’t send these students and young adults back to countries they don’t even know.  Let them stay, because it’s the right thing to do.

Aside from the DACA case, I also just read this headline, “E.P.A. to Limit Science Used to Write Public Health Rules.”  The EPA should not go by that name anymore.  How about the T.T.E.A., Trash the Environment Agency.  I mean, what the hell is going on here?  I feel like so many people, people with much more intelligence and insider knowledge than me, are just watching these things happen with their mouths open.  It’s like watching a car crash that just goes on and on and on, and this voice in my head just keeps screaming, “Do something!  Stop them!  They can’t do that!  It’s wrong!”  But what can I honestly do about it?  Not a lot.  I’m just a stay at home mom with pretty much no say so about anything, and I don’t have the time or patience to wade through all the political and legal bull-crap you have to get through to actually make a change.  Bernie does though.  I voted for Bernie and I’ll vote for him again.

Anyway, it is a sad day for our Democracy.  Bad people are always going to try to rise to power and screw things up for the rest of us, and then they have to be squashed back   down again.  This happens over and over.  It’s time to knock Trump off his pedestal before he causes any more damage.  What’ll we do if he gets reelected?  I can’t believe it’s even a possibility.  So many people, including me, never thought he would get elected the first time.  What I think- he’s a bad person, always saying mean, nasty things, denigrating others, exulting himself and his own interests.  And he’s gotta go.  Get the F- out Trump.  You’re fired.

Not Wanted

Do you ever feel, as a mom with small children, that you’re not wanted out in public places?  I have a four year old and fifteen month old, and I have gotten the impression, especially recently, with two small children, that when I’m out in public areas, others find us to be an inconvenience.

We’ve all heard people bemoaning how annoying children are in restaurants, and yeah, I understand that small children should not be taken to fancy, expensive restaurants.  But some people seem to think children should not be taken to restaurants in general.  I’ve seen the eye rolling, the other restaurant patrons who think they’re being horribly inconvenienced because my four year old is being too loud.  I’ve also definitely experienced this sort of annoyance in coffee shops.  I just have to say though, if you’re the type of person who gets annoyed by a mom and her small children in a coffee shop, just stop.  Stop being an asshole.

The fact is, I think a lot of people without children just don’t get it.  I take my two kids to a playground near a coffee shop.  Often we all get hot, thirsty, and hungry, so at some point I wrangle my two kids over to the coffee shop so we can get something to eat a maybe some cold drinks.  When I come into that coffee shop I’ve seen people cover their drinks with their hands, like they’re afraid one of my kids is going to knock their drink over.  I’ve seen annoyed looks.  My kids, particularly my four year old son, are being too loud (even though I try to get him to be quiet, it’s just he doesn’t always listen).

Here’s this thing, and this is what I have to say to those people who get annoyed.  You’ve been sitting peacefully, quietly, in a coffee shop.  Maybe you’ve been there for an hour or more.  You know when I get to sit peacefully and quietly?  Almost never.  And so maybe my kids are going to disturb your quiet for the 15-20 minutes that we’re in the coffee shop.  So what?  You don’t have to watch my kids.  You don’t have to chase my 15 month old around the store and try to keep her from pulling fragile things off the shelves.  You don’t have to sweep up the crumbs from her crumbled cookie, or tell my four year old to put his shoes back on.  You get to sit there on your butt and be annoyed by my kids.  What a freaking luxury!

I would say, if you’re the type of person to get irritated by a mother alone with her small children in a coffee shop or restaurant, cut that woman some freaking slack.  Stop