Keeping Menopause Classy

I gotta tell you I'm not digging this menopause thing.  It's painful, lumpy, awkward, and odd.  There are also smells.  Years ago, I put together a whole list of the Things They Don't Tell You in Lamaze, all the silly, gross, funny details and shared experiences of pregnancy.  I'm half-tempted to start a new list for menopause.  Except I'm really hoping it'll be over before I have enough for a list.  Really, really hoping.  Who I am kidding?  I've already got enough; I just don't want to relive them. 

The symptom I'm currently enduring is my boobs growing.  Because, apparently, one out of five women's breasts get bigger during menopause!  Who the hell knew that?!  It never even occurred to me that could happen.  I believed that once you were done growing, except by pregnancy or purchase, your boob size was set.  But no!  At first I thought my girls were just bloating, like maybe I ate too much salt.  Then I thought my bras were worn out, that's why everything felt weird.  Then I got mad at the manufacturers for changing the design of my favorite bra because it used to fit!  Damn you bra manufacturers!  Just stick with the design already.  My ta-tas were sore and sensitive, too.  That's when I realized it was hormonal and I thought, "oh, well, the swelling will go down soon".  But it hasn't gone down.  I bought bigger bra sizes and they still didn't feel great.  In fact, some days I don't want to wear anything at all, except now I've got flotation devices bobbing all of the place.  Then I went and got professionally fitted.  It was the fitter who casually mentioned breast growth during menopause.  I still didn't think that was happening.  But my hooters kept swelling, everything kept hurting, it all just seemed out of place.  Finally, digging through the internet, I read up on it.  

One out of five.

The worse thing is how blind-sided I felt. It's not like they went over this in that puberty class in 5th grade. "As your body goes through hormonal changes you may experience sore breasts, mood swings, acne, possible weight gain, and painful cramping. Oh, and by the way, you'll go through all of that again when you have kids. AND when you go through menopause. Enjoy!"  That would have been helpful.  Or any class on menopause would be helpful!  How about just an informational luncheon? Older ladies coming together to share a new chapter of The Talk.  "Well, dear, things may start falling out of your twat now. Or it'll dry up. It's hard to tell. "  It's the stage that no one covers.  You'd think there would at least be a pamphlet on menopausal breast growth because one out of five is, you know, kind of significant.

And that's just the tip of the tender iceberg.  Everyone hears about hot flashes, insomnia, and mood swings, but there's a whole slew of other symptoms that I, at least, had never heard about.  Enough wacko symptoms to make you think you're going crazy.                

So if you've got a menopause story, feel free to share it. I'd love to be crazy with company.

            - wg

Job Opening

It's that time of year again.  New year, same old crap to sort through!  I really really really want an intern to clean out my email for me.  And yes, before you ask, I only clean my inbox about once a year, sometimes twice.  Because it takes a looong time.  And it is boring.  And I get mouse shoulder from all the clicking.  And did I mention boring?  I suppose if I had racier emails it would be more entertaining but I don't.  Maybe I should start an illicit pen pal affair.  Preferably with someone who is slightly outrageous and inappropriately funny, but also kind of unreliable.  Then when I got an email it would always be a pleasant and titillating surprise!  That'd be kind of awesome.  So... any takers?  I mean, for the intern.  I really need to clean my email.  I'll pay $10 an hour plus cookies.  No?

It's especially bad this time of year because of all the holiday ads.  I probably have at least 1000 ad emails alone.  I try to unsubscribe everywhere you can unsubscribe but you cannot order a SOCK without them putting you on the list again!  I mean, that's just unproductive, marketing to the cheapo buying socks.  You're much better off targeting the person who spent $500 on a sweater instead of hanging out in my inbox unread.  Although, I admit, some of the cluttering emails are for good causes that I stay subscribed to totally out of guilt. Like the Red Cross. I know where their office is to volunteer or take a class. But I feel bad for their volunteer marketing teams, because you know it's a bunch of college kids just trying to get enough experience to land their first job, so I keep getting their emails even though I don't want them. (I'm helping!) I used to get emails from some of the civil rights advocacy groups*, too. But then their emails starting getting really obnoxious, like super demanding and kind of needy.  And righteous.  Righteous obnoxiousness is the worst!  Like reformed smokers** or those people who make everything into smoothies.  I mean, seriously, stop making cheeseburgers into smoothies!  It's not healthier because you put it in a blender!  Just eat it regular-like!  Maybe stop halfway through and eat some veggies!  DAMN!  It's not that hard!

Unlike cleaning my email, which, since no interns have applied, I suppose I'll have to do.  (le sigh)  Maybe I'll just do an alphabet letter a day, like all the Zs first.  If I start backwards the emails won't have a chance to multiply, right?

Yeah, that makes sense.               - wg


*I support your cause, not your attitude.

**Just kidding, I love reformed smokers. You are my jam!

"Ignore the bells and pings. You are not Pavlov nor his dogs."

I wrote this as a note to myself. I forget for what exactly, clearly I was irritated, probably something distracting me from the task at hand.  But now I feel this should be emblazoned on a t-shirt and/or needs to be the mantra of my life.  Sadly, my first thought was to put it on facebook or twitter, it is so utterly twitterable, and I wanted to remember it and share it and nod sagely at it, but that is just feeding the chimes.  Then it occurred to me that I could put it up specifically and with intention on where the bell tolls... except I really don't hold truck with the younger gen's notion of doing things, big and small, "ironically".

Call me old-fashioned but I think we should stumble ignorantly and spectacularly into our irony, the way it was meant to be. Flames shooting from our tresses, ashes on our shoulders.   

Now give me a treat.

The voices in my head really stress me out

I do this thing when I'm sick where I sit on the couch and plague myself with guilt.  I look at what needs to be cleaned, I look at all the emails I should answer, I think about my To Do list, I think about what's critical and what's not critical, I think about my overall life goals and I just berate myself for not having the energy to get up and do any of it.  It's like a tenfold mid-life crisis every time I'm sick.  I could be feverish and dizzy and it doesn't matter. I could be pathetically tied to the toilet.  I tell myself that if I was truly driven, that if I really wanted to get somewhere, that if I was adhering to the habits of highly successful people (I don't remember how many habits there are because I didn't read the book... ALSO on my To Do list!) then I would be working even when I'm sick! I would be pushing through. Because that's what the successful people do. I'm not doing aything else while I'm stuck at home so why am I NOT writing the great American novel?!  I mean how sick am I really?  Not that sick!  Stop messing around, you slacker!

Then after days of that going through my head, one morning I'll wake up and start doing dishes or answering emails and it's not even a question of when I'm going to poop out because I have energy and I just get to work.  Clear-headed, motivated, and (relatively) guilt-free. (It's never totally gone, you know.)  And that's about the time I realize, "Yes, I WAS sick."  I wouldn't have been quite so depressed and tired otherwise. I probably WOULD have had some energy to do something. Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on myself.  But then how would I motivate myself when I do have energy?  And there the voices go again.

So my real problem is... figuring out when to listen to the voices and when to tell them to just shut the hell up. 

I can't be the only one who does this, right?

Hot under the collar

I'm in day two of isolation.  Friday I took radioactive iodine to burn out poison me turn me into a huge rampaging lizard monster treat my thyroid.  I have to stay 3 feet away from people for four days because of the residual radioactivity.  The cats are taking it hard.  I've gotten a few pitiful "why won't you pet me" meows while I'm holed up in the den. However, my beloved child, he of the incessant lap climbing and ambush hugs to ad nauseum, won't come closer than ten feet.  He also whimpers when I walk past him from across the room!

So far, I've felt OK; just tired and thirsty and my stomach is upset.  But that could be from anxiety and the low iodine diet.  (Yeah, right.)  And to be totally grossly TMI it feels unusually hot when I pee!  Freaky.  I'm disappointed that there's no glowing, though.  You'd think that if you were going to purposely poison yourself with radioactive materials you could at least glow a little.

The worst thing about this process is the low iodine diet.  I didn't think it was too bad at first; I'd figured you couldn't eat a lot of salty or processed, canned foods.  We always use Kosher salt in our cooking so I knew I could eat stuff at home. What I didn't expect on the "Do Not Eat" list were things like all dairy products and chocolate!  Then came "don't go to restaurants", nothing from a commercial bakery, no lunch meats, and nothing with "red or pink food dyes", and on and on.  But then down at the bottom, almost hidden, were the words "no tea"!  Christ on wheels that is crazy talk, right there!  I mean, you might as well just let the clowns out of their cages.  I think I got the shakes as soon as I read that.

So I was supposed to have dinner at this great French Vietnamese place for my birthday on Thursday which totally got nixed because of the diet.  My best friend baked me a cake instead and brought it over before she knew about the "no chocolate" restriction.  After I blew out the candles and everyone else cut themselves big slices of Mexican chocolate cake and huge scoops of ice cream, my best friend turns to me with fork in hand and says,

"Wow, you know... this is kind of sad."

Munch, munch, munch.


Happy Birthday, thyroid, you rotten bitch.

I swear I'm not doing it on purpose

So I keep accidentally reading porn. And this isn't like that time when I accidentally got a Brazilian bikini wax (hint: if you hear the wax technician say, "whoops"... stop it right there!) because going in to it I knew that we would be dealing with that bikini region but then it suddenly just all got more involved than anticipated.  Like a bad date but with hot wax.  No, this is me picking out books that look interesting and then reading a bit into it and then totally getting sideswiped by porn.  I blame it on my Kindle, actually.  There isn't as much detail as on the regular Amazon page or maybe the info is in a different section so I'm missing it, or maybe it's because I'm being exposed to newer authors that I'm not familiar with, and I also didn't realize that steampunk has kind of been co-opted by the romance industry, but where it really gets me is the samples!  See, you're allowed to try to a sample of a book before you commit to buying it.  But see, these wily writers?  They never put the porn in the first two chapters!  So you buy the book and get into the THIRD chapter and then realize that what you thought was a plot was just a flimsy set up for the porn!  Or the other thing that has been happening is there is a perfectly decent plot that I'm rather enjoying and then the side plot starts dominating with a lot of pulsating and blossoming and other things that anatomically don't really happen the way they describe. (And really, if a boob suddenly "blossomed" in front of you wouldn't that just freak you the fuck out? I mean, that is like some Alien shit going on there! I don't need boobs changing shape, thank you very much.)  Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against porn. I like a good romance with a hot sex scene just as much as the next person (which was SO the problem with Twilight, amiright?).  But I don't want to read a whole book of it.  Because after awhile?  Yawn, manroot, yawn.

And that's how you lose stuffed animals

We've been sick all week.  The kiddo came down with it first, of course, with a really high fever that wouldn't come down, even with the advil/tylenol swap and baths and all that.  I took him to the weekend clinic and they kept us there four hours!  Conclusion: virus.  Then I followed suit and got sick Monday night.  At one point yesterday I woke up from a nap with a high fever and I was probably a little delirious but in my delirium I thought I was lucid enough to write and sent my ramblings to my editor at Culture Brats. They were a fucking trainwreck.  I'm sure he appreciated them. I don't think I've written anything for him in a couple of weeks, I've been trying to remember and I cannot remember so maybe I'm still running a fever. I don't know. At least I haven't started babbling on about LOLcats and noodles or anything because I am having some pretty weird dreams, let me tell you. 

But that's not the part that sucks. The part that sucks is that by the time I start to get sick, Chance is starting to feel a little better and he's bored and he obviously has no sympathy for his poor suffering mother who has diligently taken care of him while he's ill because when I decided that I just really needed to lie down on the couch he decided that was a good time to chuck pillow pets at me. Seriously?!   

Just enough time to bitch

The post I had written, the thoughtful one with a point, just got eaten.  This has been happening more frequently lately.  The ad network was pulled down without notice (and I never got paid out (hello, contract violation)).  The iphone app for typepad doesn't work at all anymore.  I am cheesed off because I pay for this service.  That's the whole point for paying, so I don't have to deal with shit like the program suddenly shutting down.

I honestly don't have the time to move it right now, though, but I may be migrating in the future.

I wonder if they monitor blog posts anymore? They used to back when it was the original, original owners. (I've lost track since then.) Do you think I'll get sabotaged at my hint of defection?  Or will my inbox be swamped by conciliatory helpful hints?  Could I stage a revolution from this blog?  Incite a tsunami of movement, change an assumption to a perception, start a trend and morph it into a mindset?  Inspire the heart wrenching score and the defiant bumper sticker?  Become the voice of something or other in the midst of a sea of other voices of something or other, pushing back the waves, hands desperately reaching... air, air! We need air!

Yeah, let's start some subversive shit.

This is the short version

Lamest reason ever not to post?  My nails are too long.

Fingernails 004

Yes, I know some ladies would love to have natural nails that look like this but trust me typing with them is a serious pain in the ass. It is typos galore and double letters everywhere. I seriously do not know how ladies with fake nails even do it.  My nails grow so fast I have to cut them at least once a month, and I don't give them a trim either, I cut them down to about 2mm in length and now they are already up to 7mm. Chance's are the same but I'm cutting them every other week or sooner. I think he's going through a growth spurt.

Other reasons why I haven't blogged, the short answer...

Stomach flu

Tons of work

Velentine's day (school parties shouldn't be that much work)

Chance gets a cold/pink eye

Trip to Disneyland

Some of those things happened simultaneously or in quick succession. And do you think I packed a file for our trip?  No, I did not.  Just as the edges started to fray into fabric catching, scratch myself accidentally, rough spikes.  The point is I'm sick of 'em (and of fixing typos) so I'm going to expound on all of that later after I cut my fricking nails.                  - wg

Wednesday Mini-Rants!

This really should have been Monday mini-rants (because alliteration makes everything better) but I've been having the type of headaches where it feels like someone has stuck hot lancets right above my eyes so sue me if I'm a couple of days late.  Now if only they would come up with a chocolate lancet cure-all. 

Chance has really gotten into Pokemon lately. Smiling, big-eyed children capturing innocent, even bigger-eyed animals and forcing them into the fighting ring.  When they're not fighting they're pressed into tiny balls to live out their cramped little lives.  It's so wholesome I could choke. 

I don't know what's going on with literacy in America but it seems the haiku has been co-opted by popular culture.  I think it started because someone somewhere in education decided that the haiku was all the poetry American children could grasp.  Regardless of how or why, the haiku is now cropping up all over the place and I am offended, damn you!  OFFENDED!  I wouldn't BE so offended if any of these little gleanings were done well or seriously - a haiku, written properly, can be quite lovely - but they aren't, people, they ARE NOT!  The latest perversion?  Fucking Target coupons written as haikus.

( * _ * )

Yeah. They're calling them haiku-pons!  (*Head exploding*)  But I've discovered that the addition of just three little words to each haiku makes them bearable.  Or at least amuses me to no end.  Ahem... "Sandwich needs loving / slice of swiss should do the trick / give thanks to the cows... on my ass."  Do you see?  Improvement!  Let's do another.  "Date night has arrived / cheeks want a colorful boost / I can see you blush... on my ass."  Ooh, naughty!  Or, "A soft, cushy roll / is a cozy, happy joy / sweet squares of heaven... on my ass."  Now that's just truth in advertising.

                 - the weirdgirl

Have pain?  Choco-Rod can help*!  Just shove a Choco-Rod at the source of your discomfort and you'll feel instantly better!  

Choco rod

*May be laced with opiates. Not guaranteed to work on those annoying you.

a bit of mommy burn out

Chance woke up with a very high fever this morning, 103.7, and I gave him motrin and threw him in the bath and basically did all the things to bring his fever down while biting my nails and feeling very frazzled.  His fever has come down (thank goodness) and we are going to the doctor. Chance was sick the week before we went to Disneyland and then a bit at Disneyland.  Chance also always seems to get sick when Keen is out of town.  The kids at school have been passing around illness in rotating waves lately.  I feel like a very big portion of my life is spent around sick kids (which is exactly why I never had an iota of interest in being a doctor or nurse).  And that in turn affects the other portions because then I get sick and can't participate in my own life.

The portion of my life that I call entirely my own is such a small tiny tiny percentage of what I'm doing on any given day. Usually squeezed in at the end, when I'm tired.

By the way, all you accomplished, incredibly successful people at 30... I hate you.

I've been picking up Chance from school and bringing him home for lunch everyday for the last couple of weeks.  It seemed like all his meltdowns or misbehavior incidences at school were happening at lunch or right after. The cafeteria is just too fucking loud.  We'd discussed setting up some sort of break for him after lunch at school, but things came to a head and I decided having lunch at home would be his break. And it does seem to be helping; he goes back for the afternoon much calmer. 

But now I have a really odd schedule.  

It would be fine if I was happy with just the mommy track, but there are other things I'm trying to do.  Our world is not set up to support moms who are trying to do anything other than be moms.  Being a "good" mom (patronizing head pat, please) means you get screwed.


Don't want to talk about it but then I do

I've been a little bummed this week.  Our school, which has already had some really terrible luck this year - we had a devastating fire in July, a molestation arrest out of the (non-affiliated) after school program, and a school lockdown a few weeks ago because they thought there was a man with a gun - now more trouble has come to light.  I don't want to get into too many details because I really have mixed feelings about the whole affair (and if you live in this area you probably already know about it anyway).  However, the gist is two people were appropriating funds from the PTA and one of them was just arrested. 

The problem - my problem - is I knew this woman.  I knew this woman and I really liked her.  Actually, I still like her.  She was great with the kids, she was wonderful with my son in particular.  I just feel sick over this.  I was absolutely shocked when I heard about the arrest.  I don't know what the circumstances were that led up to this situation but I know the amount taken was cumulative over time.  I think, I hope, it comes down to sometimes good people make bad decisions.

We live in a really great community.  I really like the people in our neighborhood and at our school and all these bad events just don't reflect how much people care and come together in this neighborhood.  It's just been so much this year already. I really hope this means our school has paid our dues in bad karma for a least a few years.

I just needed to get that off my chest.           - wg

My son got in a fight at school today and was suspended for the day.  When I walked into the office I heard, several times, that on the playground "he was running around hitting kids".  They made it sound like he had gone wild.  Chance was hysterical.  When I finally got him to calm down I asked him why he was fighting. Because that was the question that popped in my mind because even though, granted, my son is too handsy, too touchy, and he plays too rough for a lot of kids - there still are other boys who play, or enjoy playing, just as rough - I've never known him to just start hitting kids randomly for no reason.   

It turns out three to four other boys were calling him names, ganging up on him.

Neither of these behaviors is acceptable.

I am so frustrated. And tired. And I'm starting to get angry. 


The skin is thin in California

Temperatures were absolutely frigid this weekend.  OK, probably not frigid compared to the rest of the country but it was cold.  Or rather it was our first winter storm blowing through after a couple of balmy days in the upper 70s - low 80s.  See, the weather around here really likes to fuck with you, staying warm well past when it should and then knocking you down with quick right hook.  It dropped down to the low 50s this weekend, with icy rain and that kind of wind that drives everything sideways. 

Low 50s, you say?  Shut the hell up!  That's hardly winter.

Oh except, EXCEPT! this weekend was also Chance's soccer tournament.  Four games these little tykes had to play in frigid weather.  I mean, really, who makes 4 & 5-year-olds play a tournament anyway, even if the weather is nice?  They're toast after one game as it is.  At one point before a game the rain came crashing down so cold I thought it was going to hail.  If that had kept up there's no way I would have let Chance play.  But it cleared up just enough that we carried on.  These little guys with their shivering lips gamely falling in the fields-turned-mud-swamps.  Because I suppose that's what good parents do.  Or maybe crappy parents who let their small children play in the freezing cold.  I'm not sure anymore.  Obviously sports are confusing me.  I think they're designed that way on purpose.  I can't prove anything but I suspect all of sports culture in Amercia has been orchestrated by the beer industry to sell product.  By joining a league I've probably contributed to teenagers getting drunkenly knocked-up beneath bleachers somewhere.  SPORTS bleachers!  Producing more offspring to continue the sports/beer culture!

It's really obvious now that I've thought about it.  Building character my ass.

How many more years of this will I have to go through?            - wg

The Grumble List

The title should be self-explanatory, no?

1. Spent an afternoon rushing from the party store to the $.99 store comparison shopping to save money on party plates (savings = $4.00!), only to then go to the pharmacy and blow a $100 bucks. All on necessary items like prescriptions and razors. Really?

2. Doctors whom you've just met making blanket statements about you.  Such as, "Oh, you're not pregnant" or "Your hormones are just fine."  You need to actually examine someone first, if not test them and you can't tell just by looking.  And why are these statement always "female problems" related?

3. Hormonal acne (emphasis on the hormones)

4. Erythromycin

5. I am an organized person but mornings have set out to prove me wrong. Bitch.

6. My studies at school included a BA in English Literature, partial completion of an MA in American Literature with an emphasis on mythological archetypes, and minors in creative writing and philosophy. I worked my way through school.  I then spent 11 years working in Marketing (mainly paying off school).  Nowadays I clean up cat puke at least once a week.  Not sure if that's karmic payback or the natural order of things.

Please feel free to add your own.

This is not a new criticism but...

I've been dithering over posting because I've got a couple of different* things on my mind.  The first is all about entertainment and how it's making me into a cranky grandma.  Since I've been writing over at Culture Brats I've been stepping up my media absorption (natch) and there are some related trends that just send me over the edge.  But you (meaning me) don't realize how much those trends send you over the edge until you're ranting and raving over another video of kids partying until you're (again me) throwing walnuts at the screen, you know?

In a nutshell (ha ha, I'm a funny old person), I really don't like all the shows about being famous that are aimed at kids.  Reality TV has changed the whole definition of being "famous" (i.e. you don't have to have talent or achievement to be a celebrity, you just need to be on TV or the Internet, preferably with temperament issues) and I think when those shows were aimed at adults it was OK, because adults have the perspective to understand what they're watching.  But there are more and more shows about kids being famous, or their parents being rich, or being both, and even if the messages of the show are wholesome (such as, famous people are regular kids, too!) the kids still get handed a lot, if not everything, rather than working.  All I can think when I see these shows pop up is, "Is this what we're teaching our kids to expect?  No wonder there's so many entitlement issues." 

Because, for me, the American dream is about working hard to achieve your dreams and building a good life.  NOT "I wish I was rich so I wouldn't have to do anything."  And yes, I DO think there are a lot of entitlement issues out there.

The sad thing is we are at a point in our economic history where lots of people DID work hard to build a good life and they've lost it or are struggling. But is it a good solution to teach our children to rely on a fantasy of becoming famous?  What's happening to the idea of work ethic?  Or even simply the idea of being famous because you achieved something special?  Like curing a disease or going to the moon?  

I've always thought that our obsession with celebrities and the rich took an unhealthy turn a long time ago. But it really makes me angry when I see the same obsession purposely aimed at children, indoctrinating them, teaching them to expect that lifestyle is normal and/or expected.  I know it's always been out there but it just seems to be getting more out of control. Sure, there was the Monkees and the Partridge Family when I was a kid... but that was two shows!  Now there's iCarly, Hannah Montana (of course), I'm With the Band, Gigantic (launching soon!), Gossip Girl, etc. not even mentioning the plethora of teen reality shows. 

Basically, I'm just not sure any of these programs that show the lifestyle of the rich and famous (even if the themes within the episodes are positives) are sending the right message to our younger generations. 

(Now excuse me, I must shuffle off in my houseslippers to buy more ribbon candy.)

What do you think about these shows? Harmless or harmful?

             - the weirdgirl

*The second thing I've been doing is building a robot. You can see where the subjects don't mesh.

What is this thing you call freedom?

I really should get off my ass because now that Chance is in school and they've extended the school day I've got SIX HOURS to myself!  There are fancy stores to visit, and cities, and activities I could do where it would be inappropriate to bring a child along. And before your heads drop too far into the gutter I'm talking poetry readings where I could listen without feeding my child video game cartridges and unendingly nudging him to hush.  I'm talking artsy stores where every single item (including the salespeople) are made up of glass, and not just regular glass made from desert sand, I mean fancy glass from Italy made from tiny ground-up glass elves. I'm talking exotic locales (i.e. local places of interest) where I could be eating something fruit inspired that is not remotely as healthy as eating actual fruit without sharing.  That's what I'm talking about.

And you know what I've done for the last three days while Chance is off scampering on the playground? I've fricking slept.  I've slept through my precious freedom hours and it is all Lady Gaga's fault.  I went to her concert Tuesday night (review at Culture Brats!) and somewhere between the crotch gyrating, heart eating, and the giant angler monster I got a cold!  A fucking cold!  While it's still warm out!  I just know those flaming boobs were spewing germs into the audience.  And the whole concert here she was inciting us to "set ourselves free".

Really, Ms. Gaga?  Because I can't be pretend fabulous with a cold.

Or, as one fellow parent, said to me yesterday, "What, you expect a life?!"

Fuck yeah. Lady Gaga said so.

Bitch.                  - wg

And then

Every time I have a day where I think I'll get caught up on things, something happens.  And that goes the same for blogging.   Yesterday was one of those days.  Looking back at the week it seems to have been a whole series of those days.  (And then the last month(s) seems the same.)  Saturday Chance and I went to an early screening of Despicable Me and we both really enjoyed. It was a very good movie and I wrote a review at Culture Brats.  Then we went to the county fair and 20 minutes after we paid for the stupid tickets in the very hot sun I could feel a bladder infection starting. 

OK? Got to the doctor later that afternoon and got it taken care of. As much as you can "take care" of it.

Then Tuesday morning, Keen woke up sick.  We ended up in the ER.  He was passing a kidney stone.  (He's feeling much better now.)  I actually had a really funny post about our painful peeing all lined up in my head.

And then yesterday I found out my grandfather is in the hospital again.  It's bad.  At the same time, one of my best friends really needs some support for a bad turn in her life.

And then. And then. And then.

Sometimes I feel worn down because life Just. Keeps. Happening.  It's not all bad.  It just doesn't stop.  This week should have be classified as "hard" but instead it just feels " typical".  Hard doesn't get easier, you just get used to it.  And I know a lot of other families in the same boat right now.  Which is about where I start feeling really tired.  I think my family is lucky I'm not a drama queen (and by drama queen I mean those people who get something small like a window installed and call the experience "a fucking nightmare!"  No, it's a window.  Deal.) because I don't think I'd be able to cope. 

(At the same time, I wonder if those drama queens get to deal with less crap because they're so over the top?  hmmm)

I don't know where I'm going with this.  I think I needed to vent a little.  I frustrate myself with blogging because I enjoy writing the funny stuff but there's always so much going on, (and I know I'm not the only one) that I feel like I ping-pong between funny and blah.  Because I hesitate to write about the bad stuff. Like I shouldn't be a downer. Or worse, like it's a shopping list of what went wrong. So I end up writing throw away posts and I don't feel good about those either.

And always, ALWAYS, there is a voice in my head going, "wah wah, whiner."  I call her Perspective the Bitch. 

I'd really like someone else's perspective, besides hers.              - wg           

Hey look, it's fascist mom!

I'm sure I'm not the only one but I'm ready for school to be over and summer to begin.  I need a change in routine.  More importantly, I think Chance needs a change, too. 

A lot of kids with sensory issues struggle with transitions.  They really like their routines unchanged, and there are a lot of strategies around how to deal with this.  However with Chance, I've noticed that if I don't shake things up every once in a while, if he's not challenged then he slips back into bad behavior habits.  Rather like, "Wow, now that I'm completely comfortable in all my environments, even a little bored maybe, I think it's time to defy authority."

For example, just yesterday I made Chance dinner and put a slice of bread on the plate.  Then when I went to make my own plate I noticed the bread was moldy.  Whoops.  So I called out...

Me: "Hey Chance, give me your bread. I think it's bad."

Chance: "Why?"

Me, walking into the room: "I think the bread's bad, hon; I need to check. Give it to me, please."

And Chance, instead of handing it to me, TOOK A BIG BITE!  

Then my head spun around a few times and I vomited freak out words, plus yelling.  Then he got sent to his room and there was some more yelling.  And there were some tears and a general impression that there would be dire, dire consequences, plus drama, to any continued disobedience.

A few of you might be thinking, "Wow, overreact much?" but seriously?  He didn't even look at the bread, he just assumed he knew better (because five-year-olds know everything) and he completely disregarded me.  This has been happening a lot recently but that was the first time where it could have made him physically ill.  (I know, it was only mold, but what if it wasn't?!)  You know, I can deal with the typical kid challenges to authority.  In theory, I even like a good, independent spirit and self-thinker.  But when those challenges turn into potentially unsafe behavior... I kind of lose it.  I mean, what's next?  I yell, "Stop, look out?" and he runs in front of a truck anyway?  

Keen always says, "Don't even go there; you're just worrying yourself. Why do that?" 

Because I'm a mom, that's why.

So anywho, all this boils down to I think we need a big change in routine.  We've got Chance's graduation on Friday and then we're ending the school year early and going on vacation.  When we get back I'm changing up his OT ( we need to work on some new specific skills) and starting some new challenging activities.  I honestly think he's just so comfortable in his current routines he isn't feeling the pressure of consequences when he's acts out.  You know what I mean?  He knows all his teacher's buttons, and grandparents in general are pushovers.  Yeah, I might (maybe, possibly) have my own buttons/control issues but I still recognize and manage the differences between his SPD and his behavioral issues better than anyone else.  I need Chance with me some more so I can keep him on his toes.  Unfortunately, a sad fact of kid life is that obedience is necessary.  

If only for his parents' sanity.

             - the weirdgirl


So I'm filling out (kill me) enrollment forms for Chance's kindergarten (gah! kill me) and I've hit a stumper.

On every single school form I have ever filled out for myself, and now for my child, under Ethnicity (which is different than Race, mind you) there is always a listing for...

White/Not Hispanic

Emphasis on the Not there, did you see that?  Sometimes there is even more than one listing of Hispanic/Latino or NOT Hispanic/Latino, just to make sure that we all know that you cannot be partly Hispanic.  Of course, the issue is that I'm 1/2 Hispanic and 1/2 White... but you can only mark ONE!  For me, in the past I often took the easy route and put Hispanic since I'm fully half that and I'm about eight different European nationalities on the other side.  Or on a perverse day I would mark White, cross out the "not", and then also mark Hispanic because really, who do they think they are?!

Of course, Ethnicity is supposed to mean the ethnic culture of which the child most "closely identifies".  Dude, we're talking about 5-year-olds.  And guess what?  I identify with Hispanic culture AND White culture.  Not that I'm altogether sure what "White" culture is supposed to be... for me it seemed to involve hearing a lot of Irish folk music growing up and not being allowed to drink soda.  Does that count?

And then under Race, they list American Indian/Alaskan Native, African American, White, and 15 different Asian designations.  No Hispanic.  No Other.  No Indian or Middle Eastern for that matter.  But at least you can choose up to five categories of what they've given you!  Ooooh.

So, besides getting irritated, I started freaking out a little (just a little) because if these stupid, inaccurate forms have been the bane of my school career what the heck would I put for Chance?!  But then I started thinking... Keen is 1/2 Italian, and 1/4 each German and Irish.  That makes Chance 1/4 Hispanic, 1/4 Italian, 1/8 German and Irish, and 1/16 of the about eight different things floating around in my DNA... that pretty much makes Chance a wash of European heritage.  I.e. White.

Regardless of what I may have identified with, regardless of his extended family.  Regardless that I had to, at times, kind of fight for my cultural identity because I'm paler than pale and who ever heard of a red-headed Hispanic?  (Everyone discounts Charro.)  

The important thing here is that you check off the box from the options they've given you, right?

Thank you, forms, for chipping away at my cultural heritage.

 School form_ethnicity_race