disclaimer or something

A mummy-hand holding, (former) biker gang affiliating, hippie influenced semi crunchy granola mom's ramblings and reminisings on an off-kilter life

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Social (media) Peer Pressure

Facebook is a microcosm of society, which means peer pressure exists. Cliques exist. Social faux pas, drama, it's all there, virtually. I am not talking about the serious offense of cyber bullyng, just the "hey, do what the cool kids do" of Facebook.

What do I mean, you ask? Let me give some examples.

courtesy of Let Me Live on Facebook
Let's start mildly....so if I have a daugher and do not share, does that mean I don't love my daughter? Do my Facebook friends automatically assume I am a giant arse for NOT sharing this? Will my proverbial daughter end up in counseling in college, lamenting the fact that her issues all began when mommy didn't prove her love by sharing this specific image?

To kick it up a notch, there are those images I wish  I could find, where it shows, let's say, a baby on life support and it says "share if you want to cure leukemia, ignore if you don't". Again, I end up looking like an arse if I ignore it, like I'm some sadistic twerp that says, "yeah...give every child leukemia". But if I share it, I'm perpetuating the peer pressure and guilt-tripping my friends into sharng it as well which makes me an arse  of a friend.

Then, there are those ambiguous drama posts, like, "I had the worst day. Is it worth it anymore?" and you think, is this person suicidal or...? You post a reply like, "what's wrong?" and they either ignore it or say "nbox me". Well f you are so concerned about....whatever, why post about it and then be all, "tee hee, inbox me, I don't want anyone to know what's going on." Then why did you post the dramatic post in the first place if you didn't want the attention?

And lastly, the simple etiquette of status updates and comments. If I don't "like" your post or comment, does that mean I don't actually like it? Am I forced to "like" everything to make you feel validated?

On facebook, I end up feeling like the Grinch, but I refuse to promote the peer pressure culture or drama or anything done merely to get attention. And yet,  I still go on Facebook like an addict and grumble at the stupid posts and drama and do nothing to stop it. I guess  I am part of the problem after all

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Desert Adventures

Camping once meant a tent and a fire pit, nothing much else. Often that meant using bushes for a restroom. I appreciate roughing it, and always went "pshaw" at the RV crowd but with scoliosis, kids, and an appreciation for comfort and flush toilets, I have succumbed to the inevitable- an RV.

This weekend we decided rather last minute to go camping. We loaded up the RV and I drove behind the RV past urban sprawl, wind farms, date palms, tumbleweeds bigger than my car (holy cow!), and then, dirt and rocks. We found a little remote town with, supposedly, RV spots that opened at 2:00pm. It was 4:00 pm (we'd have got there on time but pregnant ladies, ahem, that's me, need to go to the bathroom. A lot.) The campground was booked and then some. We drove around and found out a friend would be tent-camping nearby but gave us GPS coordinates and you know, not real directions. We did consider camping at another campground/resort but I put my foot down.

Why? Well the RV "resort" meant the RVs were parked so close you literally had just a walking space between them, and it was like The Stepford Wives. We drove through the park and like clockwork, each RV door opened and out walked a blue-haired lady and her overly tanned husband, each carrying a dish of food. A mass exodus of the elderly, each with the requisite potuck dish, mindlessly walking in unison to an unknown location. We got out of there fast.

I said we could just dry camp, using what water and generator power we could muster if in need. So we drove around some more until we found our spot off a dirt road and made camp.

We were going to have a campfire, smores, the whole experience but right as we set up, a gust of wind arrived and dd not leave. In fact, it strengthened, and kept going strong. As we slept (or tried to), the RV rocked back and forth like bad airplane turbulence, the wind howled and whistled (can a whistle also scream? Cause it was whistle-screaming).

I did enjoy looking out the window though, the landscape illuminated by a three-quarter full moon. A few stars peeked out and the moon lay shadows from the flowering mesquite bushes. The remoteness meant we were in an official dark-sky area, without the omnipresent orange glow of civilization. I have never been anywhere without a bit of the ugly orange hue, and I was in awe of what real night looks like. The sands reflected back in opalescent blue-gray, the mountains a different shade of blue gray, and the sky, another. It was other-worldly and gorgeous.

The sun came up, bathing everything orange and giving a gorgeous high contrast view of the landscape, quickly replaced with the typical dull soft desert tones. We packed up and left, our brief trip done with, but  I do hope to return.

Desert Adventures Reflection

I have a love-hate relatonship with the desert.  I don't do well in the heat, dust, or relentless beating sun, but it is a part of me. Growing up, my family's idea of fun was going into the Mojave Desert on a windy freezing winter day and looking at petrogylphs or looking for rocks like quartz crystals or opals. Hours and hours spent literally in the middle of nowhere, hiking away from a remote jeep trail, nothing but us and the harsh desert. Or come summer, we'd drive out of state, in the middle of hot hot August, in a black truck withoug air conditioning...hours of hundred-plus degree heat.

I keep going back though. Hubby's ancestry seeks sun and heat and he wants to retire in Palm Springs, and plus, to go anywhere means crossing the desert. I find the subtle hues of desert tones and the endlessw vistas kind of beautiful.  I wonder, what is over there? Has man ever stepped foot right over there? Why is there a trailer here, who would live here?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hobo Babysitter

Let's just say my town has its share of wierdos, drug addicts, and other types society shuns. Being a sort-of remote town in the woods, the black sheep of society can hide out here. But really, most are very kind...this mountain takes care of its own and is close knit enough that the bad guys are well known and often driven away.

So the local post office is their mecca, they sit on the bench at the entrance smoking cigarettes and begging for money. However, its like they have radar because they end up striking up conversations with me like I am a long lost friend. They are all very friendly and um, interesting. There was Charlie, who was in and out of homelessness, a veteran, run up on bad luck but a good guy. Disabled, he spent his days (when not begging at the post office) rescuing animals worse off than him. He had a 18 year old blind dog who had cancer or something, who had been left to die. I commended Charlie for being a very caring person and we chatted for probably ten minutes until hubby ended up finding me, worried I'd disappeared, and took me home. Sadly, Charley passed away about a month ago, and hs dog was scheduled for surgery that day and passed away two days later. Such stories make me sad.

Today's post office folk were a lady and her boyfriend, probably in their 40s or 50s but you can never tell. They were homeless, looking for change to buy breakfast. The lady was super chatty and gave my son a mardi gras necklace (which  quikcly shoved in my pocket, saying he can have it at home where he won't lose it....really, it got a good scouring in bleach). It did touch my heart that someone with nothing gave away a small gift and, funny but sad and sweet, she said she wish she had saved the old wagon she saw in the dumpster to shine up to give to him. She then told me about being "ghetto" and stopping a knife fght st dawn (showing me her wound) and how she had eleven kids, fhe first was a miscarrage at thirteen, yes, thirteen. Wow. Such stories and people like this do make you feel blessed for what you have, and make you want to give to those without such blessngs.

The thing that stuck with me in yet again a darkly humerous but sad and sweet way is this...she offered to babysit my kids anytme, free of charge. My mama bear instinct and logic say, give her some spare change but not your children for Christ's sakes! So I gave her some change. However, after the oddity of a self-professed "ghetto hobo" offering child care wore off, I realized that even people with nothing, and a life time of tragedy and stuggle, can have hearts of gold. I've met far more well off a**holes in my life. Therefore, my lesson learned is, no matter who you are or what you have, give love, kindness, and help to others.  As the Bible says, And be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another just as God has forgiven you in the Messiah.

A mother's intuition, doubt, concern

I knew at 22 months that my son was behind in speech. However, I also told myself that some learn speech later, that I was being too much of a helicopter type parent, tryng to label my child. I told myself he just hadn't hit the language explosion yet. (quick FYI, the language explosion happens around 18 months to 24 months; by their 3rd birthday they go from a few words before the "explosion" to 1,000-3,000).

However, I felt uneasy. My intuition told me, be concerned. It is okay to be concerned. Act on it. So in November I went on a google-quest and called here and there and everything directed me to a regional center. If you've read my blog, you may recall the voice mail said responses take months. I finally got an email from them two weeks ago.

However, two weeks ago my mom was visiting from out of state and went to visit her former co-workers before heading over to my place. She found out from her BFF/co worker that the teacher's aide was on leave as she was busy with three newly fostered special needs children who were in speech full time. On campus. Come to find out there is a free early intervention program at the school to those that qualify.

I weas going to call yesterday, as they are on campus Tuesdays. However, my cell reception sucks so often I have to drive to town to make a call, driving past the school, so I dropped by instead. I was nervous, but the secretary I know was there so she calmed me down and reassured me. I walked into a room full of toddlers and toys, my son hollered and clung to me, thinking it was day care and that I'd drop him off. The head speech therapist was busy with an IEP so her aide took down my name and number, address, son's name and birthdate and a quick one sentence response to "what brings you here?". We were encouraged to hang out and participate, it was a group setting and we sang phonics-based nursery rhymes. Usually the 3 and unders go with the aide and 3-5s with the therapist but today was different so we all crowded together. We dipped eggs in dye. We had a small snack, trying to encourage speech and choice (water or juice? Cheese or cracker?) and we did a quick craft.

I felt bad. My son was the least talkative. I could tell others had speech issues, but they spoke. They spoke English and my son just babbles if even that. I thought, oh gosh its worse than I thought. But then again, the other kids have been in speech therapy and my son hasn't so of course they are likely to be ahead.

The aide will call me at some point for an intake interview. I hope we qualify and that this setting and process is what will work. Especally because it is walking distance from home, and during my day off, verses going with the regional center 45 minutes away. Plus it looks like we will get services asap.

I started to feel bad though. I'm a mom with a child who has speech delays. He therefore could have a language disorder or dsability. Here I am a teacher and I'm freaking out because my special little guy is, well, special. He will have a label. I don't like this. But even my husband said, after I came home yesterday, yeah...he has a speech issue, we cannot ignore it. I was so happy to have found services for him but so bummed that he isn't "perfect". I went on facebook and found two of my friends' toddlers are in speech therapy. I felt relieved. I was no longer the black sheep, speech issues became more "normal" to me, and I have supportive friends who will help me on this journey. Their kiddos have progressed amazingly. So now I am filled with hope. And no matter what, my special boy is perfect, even with imperfections, because he is my son. I love him no matter what, and he is perfect just the way he is. God gave me the best gift ever and  I love my son, my gift, more than the world itself.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

the store I love to hate

Why I hate Babies R Us

The apathetic workers

I would say they are like zombies but zombies occasionally grunt and move about, and even have some passion for their job at hand (albeit for brains). You can rarely find a BRU employee and when you do.....well, why did you just go around the store twice to find this imbecile? They either say "I dunno" or point you in a vague direction (umm, thataways?) As if they didn't work there, as if they were more lost than you. I want an employee to be like employees at the grocery story or heck the home improvement stores that walk you to the exact spot in the exact aisle and even recommend an item or two.

The nasty bathrooms

Oh my, my biggest "hate" here! The door handles must be touched to exit and without paper towels, you cannot make a germ mitt. Instead of towels, they have louder than a jumbo jet, make my baby scream bloody murder blow fans. The garbage pail is miles from the diaper station, making poopy collisions with strangers likely. The diaper stations are missing straps on baby changing tables so it is a safety hazard. Recently, twice, they were out of toilet paper and soap. Freaking great. I wanted to catch dysentery and my you know, my son's poop smears on the wall really did add a nice touch that wouldn't be the same if I could reach the trash can and use some towels to wipe up. And about that...if I forget wipes I am screwed. I have a brilliant marketing scheme, have freebies of BRU diaper items so you can sample the goods!

No disinfecting wipes for the shopping carts

So my son can happily play mystery diagnosis by licking the cart that fourteen other kids just sneezed on. Heck I will touch the cart too, no one wants a healthy mother!

3/4 of a crib

That's right folks. I got a crib on clearance as it was so last year's model, and they had to order it. Okay. So I went to pick it up and the to install it and what the ****!?!! A brand new unopened crib box came with three, count them three crib sides. Three. I got 3/4 of a crib and played hell trying to explain, you sold me 3/4 of a crib, no I am pretty dang sure I know the difference between 3 and 4 sides and no I'm not joking or trying to get you know, a fifth side of a crib.

Pretend sales

Items on clearance that I can find elsewhere, not on sale, for less. Coupons for every thing in the store except, well, every brand they carry. The Murphy's Law of whatever you need that second (crap the last bottle leaked, darnit diaper blowout and baby needs new pants) was on sale. Last week. Or is sold out.

Aisles that make no sense.

I mean. I think diaper rash cream should be by wipes and diapers, but instead, nipple cream and baby food is. Okay I get it, food first then poop but eww BRU, eww. And crib bumpers belong by bedding not hampers and room decor, and sleep sacks and snuggly wraps should not be by humidifiers, okay? But I digress...

I am a big fat awful hypocrite cause I love their front row expectant mother parking and the fact I can get in and out way quicker than Target. Everything is baby themed so I'm not all " diapers, diapers, ooh as new garden rake! Pear scented lotion! That book I wanted to read! Chocolate pop corn! Then I get home and realize I needed diapers and spent $100 and forgot diapers. My loathing of BRU keeps me focused, a mom on a mission to get in and get out before I go postal.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

In a Flash, it all Changed

(A fiction piece for The Speakeasy. Warning: Sensitive Topic)

A flash sparked across the sky, the Perseids were an interactive canvas for her special night. Jess felt the closeness of Jake, could feel his breath tickle the hairs on her neck, and she held her breath, savoring the moment. Any second now, here in the backyard under the stars, Jake would be her first kiss! How romantic!

He leaned in and she felt tingly with excitement. He reached over and suddenly his hands were in her shirt. Another reached down there, a special secret place. She froze. Is this how it goes instead? Will the kiss ever come? In her mind it was as if she locked the door and threw away the key, this never ending moment a secret, a dark place to never visit again. She closed her eyes and did her best not to think or feel.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Finding out

This week was my ultrasound. With my son, I never wanted to know the gender and this time, the scientist hidden deep inside said, let's see how it is to find out!

The week sped by surprisingly fast, but I prepped myself for the "surprise". I am a weirdo and so I said, if it is a girl, no pink, no tutus, no diva or princess or slutty club wear on my baby. When she is old enough to request that mind driveline, not very empowering over-gendered stuff, she can. So I took my mom "browsing" to point out not what clothes horrified me but those which were acceptable. Dark blue polka dots, turquoise overalls, and the like. I HAD to take her "browsing" because ever since I got pregnant, all my female relatives have turned into these weird squealing creatures (that sound like those rabbit call whistles hunters use) and say "oh we can dress her up!" Like I am giving birth to a mindless doll.

I HAD to take my mom browsing because I HAD to prove a point, to just one female relative since no others were around to "teach". One relative said, when I told her, "if it is a girl and you get pink/tutu/princes/slutty it goes to Goodwill" (see, I am charitable and kind) she responded , telling me I was actually being cruel and in humane to my baby by making her not feminine. I wanted to go on a tirade of how feminine is anything but pink princess...feminine is like Joan of Arc or Sarah Palin or some other powerful strong woman who gasp doesn't wear tutus or flannels and combat boots and is feminine and....I decided to just shut up.

So then I find out my father in law, who is visiting from out of state, had to reschedule his flight. That meant my mom, and both in laws were in town. While I dreaded revealing the gender (as you can tell I'm not the super cheerful type, so the gender hype was not desirable) I figured, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. I was going to have hubby come in for the ultrasound and then afterwards, walk into the waiting room, image in hand, and uncharacteristically squeal, "it's a....".

Then fate either turned against me or went my way and no one could make it to my ultrasound. So I went in alone and waited.

It. Took. Forever. With my son, the screen was turned so I saw everything in real time (except for the moment the tech swiveled the screen away to check genitalia) but this time I was left in the dark, literally. A half hour of just laying there dead still. Finally the tech said, well first she said, "use the restroom your bladder is so full" to which I gladly obliged, and she printed out some images. I returned ready for "it's a..." And she asked me to get on the bed again and swiveled the screen and showed me te head. And neck. And spine. You get the idea. All the way to toes. Then she gave a funny look and said "oh baby is in a funny position buuuut" and handed me an image. It showed an arrow at a blob and said, "boy".

I teared up. A boy!

I left and went to hubby and said "here, pictures of little penises". We called family and la de da.

However, since then, it is like I don't believe it. Like some psychic said "boy", or I dreamed it or something. With my son, I knew nothing till birth so it was different. I am happy but finding out the gender is surreal. And while I teared up finding out. it seems a little like a let down. Not finding out the entire time is my tested and true preferred method but hey, I had to test the theory.

So boy #2 here we come!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Mystery solved in a few days

I went "team green" with my son, meaning I did not want to know the gender/sex until birth. I am so glad I went that way, a memorable surprise that was priceless. But I am finding out this time.

Wait, you may say, if "team green" was so awesome, why contradict yourself and find out this time? Well this time I simply feel like I should know ahead of time. It's just how it should be, the universe sending me that direction.

However, things are so over gendered these days...part of my "team green" drive with my son (along with the universe leading me to not finding out). I almost thought of finding out and not telling a soul aside from my husband. I cannot stand the whole gender obsession and how everything from now on will be about gender, which does matter but is blown out of proportion.

But then my mom came down from out of state and hubby is likely too busy to go to my ultrasound appointment this week. I need someone to watch my son and why not let my mom find out the gender and see the baby? She didn't get to last time.
Then my father in law's flight got cancelled so he is stuck here and cannot go back to the Midwest so he and my mother in law are all excited to come to the "reveal". Sure, I think only one adult can actually come in and see the ultrasound (my mom) but everyone else can camp out in the waiting room, right? There still excited and cannot wait to see the ultrasound photos and find out the gender.

So as much as I dread the "it's a..." And a never ending over gender-ing from now on, something I loathe, it seems the universe wants it another way. It's quite apparent. So this week I step into uncharted territory, a scary place full of basketballs and boy names or frilly pink and girl names, where everything centers around gender. I guess it is meant to be. So *** it. I will reveal the gender here in my blog when I find out, and on Facebook too. If you can't beat them, join them, right?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Why I don't cook

Sometimes hubby complains that I don't cook much. I should cook more because he works 14, 16 hour days more often than not. He is totally right.

However, in my defense, there are reasons I don't cook. Tonight, I was all excited...pizza night! Sure, gluten rips me a new ***hole, literally, but sometimes one must suffer for their favorite food. No pain no gain, right? So I let the dough rise as hubby got ready to cook. But then hubby got an email that essentially said, you will be working till 2:00 am when India starts and then 6:00 am when NYC comes on. All weekend. So get to it! So I was the kitchen fairy tonight.

So I was like, I'm gonna do this. I'm making pizza. I have pre made dough and toppings and...it's on! I even cleaned part of the kitchen and was ready to be Suzy Homemaker and clean the damned house too. It needs it. Then I had an asthma attack from hell. After recovering, I was still gonna be Suzy, dammit. I was determined.

The pepperoni went missing but I found it after 15 minutes of looking. Then I went to do the dough but the rolling pin was, still is, missing. No prob, Bob, I told myself. The directions say you can stretch OR roll it into a 12" disc. Makes sense. Wiggle the round ball into, well, pizza. I can do play dough. I can do this.

I tried. I tried some more. I googled and you tubed to see how to do it after a few failures. Then I tried some more. I can do this! I am woman! I have a gifted intellect! I can make this kitchen my *****!

Then I decided I am going to cry. And give up. And I did. My son can eat a microwaved hot dog. I will have some yogurt. I will quietly toss a pop tart at my busy husband.

'Cause this is my 6" shy attempt number 10 or so at pizza dough. With pre made dough. After almost an hour of trying. I surrender, you evil dough bastard. Call
me a bad wife, I don't care. Case in point...my shameful evidence...which my best friend says looks like some new species of fungus.