Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I Laughed And Then We Cleaned

Sometimes I get all flustered when I read other people professing love for their husbands. Apparently there are quite a few 'best man in the whole world' running around out there. What draws me to Erik is that we have fun together. He makes me laugh. Case in point, after working a few days of extra long hours and not being home for much of the girls waking hours, he walked into their room accessed their game playing looked around for a bit and uttered:

"Did you girls get a gerbil?"

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Slap In The Facebook: Part 2

Long story short: My fourteen year-old cousin has been peppering her Facebook status updates with the 'f'word. And as fourteen year-olds do, she changes her status quite frequently. It's bothered me and I was thinking how I would approach her. I'm sure it's impossible for kids (and adults) to understand the reach and permanency of the internet. So I wanted to offer a kind word of caution.

My concern was two fold. Not only that a future employer, college admissions counselor or the like might take offense to her flowery language, but also what is going to happen to a small town girl that easily uses such an adjective when hormones, boredom and rebellion escalate over the next few years.

So while I was having some phone conversation with her father, I casually mentioned what I had read. He had no idea and was surprised. We discussed and decided that I would send her an email and he would talk to her about it as well. Less than an hour later I sat down with my laptop to compose a quick message and guess what happened?

She deleted me as her friend.

She also deleted every other adult family member from her profile.

Problem solved, at least in the mind of a fourteen year old.


Friday, June 26, 2009

I said the wrong thing

I said something inappropriate, I confessed.

I know, said my husband. You blogged about it.

No. I did not. You must have been reading my iChats, I surmised.

Guess who was right?

A few weeks ago, I kind of snarkely let something sarcastic slip off my tongue. I totally blame the fact that I was nose deep in Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster. That and the economic down turn has been particularly cruel to California. But none the less, I should have kept my trap shut. Lesson learned.

Today, I finally mustered the courage to tell my father that his addiction to internet dating is totally out of control. He didn't take it so well. Again, I wish I'd kept my trap shut.

Who's Bad?

So, that sucks. That Michael Jackson died. Shocking really.

Now back to me.

I haven't been posting a lot because I've been wrought with anxiety over my father's visit. My dad arrived on Tuesday for an indefinite and uncomfortable stay. MJ's passing got me to thinking about Michael and his songs. In honor of one of my favorite I present:

The Incomplete List Of My Father's Complaints
(Muttered over the course of time. Only about half were mentioned today.)

Bad waitress.
Bad food.
Bad service.
Bad foot.
Bad elbow.
Bad eye.
Bad teeth.
Bad knee.
Bad ankle.
Bad hair.
Bad back.
Bad dates.
Bad wives.
Bad weather.
Bad sign.
Bad storm.
Bad wind.
Bad childhood.
Bad attitude.
Bad jokes.
Bad ideas.
Bad cars.
Bad bikes.
Bad vacations.
Bad boats.
Bad timing.
More bad wives.
Bad sisters.
One very bad father.
Bad taste.
Bad glasses.
Bad medicine.
Bad music.
Bad connection.
Bad gas prices.

Monday, June 22, 2009

I'm so Pamela Anderson and I don't Even Know It

I used to say that I could NEVER be a vegetarian. This was because my family farms. My great-great-great grandfather plowed fertile Kansas soil, raised hogs and cattle and now the land has been passed down to my uncle. So therefore, it would be a slap in the face to my ansetory to deny myself some grass fed USDA filet mignon. Am I right?

If you remember, a few years ago my aunt left my uncle and her four children for the hired man. There was much drama. A threat of abuse. A restraining order. A few appearances in the local paper and much gossip around the beauty salon. Their separation left everyone scratching their heads and drinking their beers and in general, trying forget it ever happened. A pesky thing to do when you have four kids.

Long story short, my loyalty to meat has also splintered. I think it was one part Skinny Bitch, one part California, a little too much time on the PETA website and a dash of curiosity.

And a few months into it, I'm here to report that we're all surviving! We eat a lot of veggie burgers. We make pizza with whole wheat crust and soy cheese. This morning, I asked Lula if she liked facon and she enthusiastically replied "yeah, but I like real bacon better." I used to think that it would be too expensive to go veg, but I really haven't noticed an increase at the grocery store. Honest.

Now, just as I start to get all smug, and think OMG, we're really vegans. I'll remember something like the turkey meatloaf or the turkey meatballs. We eat fish. (And apparently turkey.) Then there's the occasional glass of milk. But there is so much more fruit and vegetables in our diet. I never thought I'd actually attempt to make a mashed potato like substance out of whipped cauliflower. I also never thought I'd listen to Kid Rock on the treadmill, but I do that too. I don't mean to offend anyone, I know the definition of a true vegan. I'm just saying, it's steps in the right direction. Tattooed, road-hard, big smiling steps.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Loudest Kids At The Library

It's day three of summer vacation and I feel like a failure.

I took the girls to the pediatrician and while we were waiting, a suggestion was made to play Duck, Duck, Goose. Not a good waiting room game, I said. So how about a rousing Rock, Paper, Scissors? With FULL VOLUME? How about we rock back and forth in our chair while it bangs against the wall and shakes the foundation of the building. At least twenty times. How about I Spy with a What now? What do I look for now? Huh?? WHAT? Whatttttttt????? How about we end up on the floor, with half our body under the chair? How about LET'S TALK WHILE THE NURSE IS TALKING? WHILE THE PARENT IS TALKING? WHILE THE –YOU MEAN YOU WENT TO SEVEN YEARS OF MEDICAL SCHOOL? I. CAN'T. HEAR. YOU. Because I'm talking and I'm not going to stop. Can we go to the yogurt shop? Can I get some Mentos®? How about gum? Can we do that sewing project? Can you take us swimming? You promised you'd......

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Twit, Tweet, Twat: A Twitter Tutorial.

Last month I got a text from my Beaufriend that read: I still can't believe how much you were on the forefront of Twitter!!! It's TOTALLY the hottest thing around right now!

This morning I received an email from another friend that said: I need a Twitter lesson!

So instead of just a reply here's an explanation in a reply all format.

Follow: It's more fun/useful/worthwhile when there's more to read. I found people to follow by clicking around. If you hover your mouse on the little image boxes their name comes up, if you click on them you go to a new page with a whole new group of people to check out as potential followers. I'd say the people I follow fall into categories of advertising professionals, social media gurus and mommy bloggers. There's also a nice mix of brands and things I'm passionate about like The New York Times, Whole Foods and the Austin City Limits Festival.

Follow Back: Check out the people who are following you and follow them. A few weeks ago, there was a bit of Twitter Fun that started by Lindsey at Suburban Turmoil. I was playing along and having a grand time. Later I read this blog post about the event. There's no mention of @amidoingokay's tweets. It took me a few minutes to unfold my wadded up undies, but then it hit me - Lindsey doesn't follow me, so she had NO IDEA I was playing along.Yes, there is a fair amount of spam already on Twitter even in it's infancy and apparently their are slews of subgroups like life coaches, religious zealots and the like. Steer clear. There's no need to follow everyone, just don't miss out.

90% of my Twitter time is via my phone: When I have a few minutes, I check my email, my facebook and twitter on my phone. Rarely do I sign on to Twitter from my laptop. I use Twitterific and I like the functionality that lets me see what people are saying 'nearby' and also what the #(hashtags) or trending topics are. These are the most popular, most mentioned subjects people are tweeting about.

It is what it is: and it's all under 140 characters. Try not to make more of it than it is, it's just typing out loud to a select audience. Sort of. I like people who link to interesting news stories, viral videos and the like. Often I star these stories so that I can go back and read them later (often with good intentions on the road to hell). I like hearing about how famous writers are telling tales via twitter. I like the idea of the gourmet food carts that tweet their locations. Or Shaq is handing out tickets via twitter. Demi and Ashton get on my nerves a bit. I don't follow Diddy. Or John Meyer. I recently started following Joel McHale from The Soup. Advertising is still trying to figure out how to use twitter and I think twitter is still trying to figure out how to make a profit. I struggle with not tweeting every single thing my kids do, because I seriously don't want to offend everyone with their greatness. And I'm a professional. And we all know how advertising embraces those women with children types.

Instant Gratification: when I felt a great bump in the night, I immediately went to twitter for confirmation on an earthquake. I find out about plane crashes, reality show finals, NBA championships even Dooce's new baby all on Twitter. It's the first stop on my information superhighway (do people still say that?) then I go to blogs, books, newspapers for more.

Please follow me on Twitter @amidoingokay and if you have any questions leave them in the comments.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Amazing Lula

In April we attended Stef's daughter's birthday in Austin. Right in the middle of the entertainment portion of the celebration, the clown/magician held the audience to rapt attention as he performed a particularly crowd pleasing trick. Just as he was about to wow us all with the big reveal, my kid piped up with an ear splitting "HEY!!!!! I HAVE THAT EXACT SAME COLORING BOOK!!!!!"

It was equal parts amusing and embarrassing for both me and the clown.

After the party as we were leaving, Stef's mom said something to the effect that she wished that "her grandkids had one-tenth the outgoing-ness of mine."

Later, Erik and I laughed that if you flip that phrase it could be taken to mean that our kids are about nine-tenths too outgoing.

I'm not sure if I mentioned that Lula performed in the school talent show this year. She was the only first grader to do so. Here is part of a post I never published just before the big day:

Lula announced that she wanted to audition for the school talent show about three months ago. There was much talk, planning and a rotation of friends vying for assistant positions. The audition was followed by a series of "call-backs" which I later learned was more about not being prepared vs. being one step closer to getting the role. Wednesday, I snuck into the dress rehearsal and nervously watched as every trick was in some way a fail.

Lately I've had to bite my tongue and sit on my hands when it comes to the girls' different endeavors. It took everything I had to resist the urge to edit Hazel's animal report on lions. But having 12 hours to fix Lula's magic act is a far cry from knocking off the cheerleading or ice skating competition. So I switched it into stage mom mode. A few home rehearsals an the all important set list that outlined her act, whipped her into shape. She ACED the show

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Inappropriate Touch

Have you ever watched your child walk up to a similarly dressed adult and they grab onto this stranger in a way that only a under three feet tall person can? A small arm slides into an inner thigh and wraps itself around one leg.

There's that moment of awkward realization where the adult and the child look at each other and discover that neither is who the other expected. I miss those moments.

My kids have reached a height where I no longer have to move my body to reach them. I can kiss the tops of their heads when we hug. In parenting years, I am mere moments away from looking them straight in the eye.

When my kids used to do that, I stare at the other mother and try to figure out what it was that had drawn my child to them. I'd try to find myself in the other woman. I'd be so happy if the woman was in my eyes pretty. Or skinny. Or fashionably dressed. I realize now, of course, that it was more than likely the unmistakable draw of the wildly popular and characteristically forgiving black stretch yoga pant.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Scarf Only A Mother Could Love

Have you checked out the site Awkward Family Photos? It's a relatively new internet phenomenon and I predict they'll have a book deal right about the time I hit publish on this post. (Although, today I'm not as enamored with the posts as most days, so scroll down because it gets better.)

My first thought upon seeing my first child for the first time was, "Thank goodness, she didn't get my hair." See, Hazel was born with a fairly substantial amount of head covering that was reddish-blond and visible. My second child, not so lucky. Lula was bald and she had a recessed chin that made her look as the off-color joke goes, like a Chinese phonebook. The poor child looked like an old man.

I wasn't about to torture the little soul with those baby headbands and bald baby hair bows. Oh no, instead most of her early pictures of capture the kiddo in a variety of hats or scarves. One particular hat had a bunch of fuzzy fringe that made my Mother-In-Law inquire, "Why is Lula wearing a wig?"

Looking back, my attempts to style her round head seem positively ridiculous.

What was I thinking? Even her little clenched fist is balled up in a fit of exasperation.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

In My Neck Of The Woods

So my morning started with a bang. Quite literally. The loudest and only clap of thunder I've ever heard since we moved back to the Bay Area. In a twist of fate, someone else was experiencing the same weather situation. I related to Dad Gone Mad's post which started like this:

You’re unlikely to find too many California residents who feel really good about living here right now. The jobs are gone, the traffic sucks, gay marriage is illegal, the governor’s a bout to disembowel education and social services…not pretty.

It's funny how you can have an "large, unstable air-mass" hanging over your head andnot even know it. Yesterday, was a simply fine day. And ka-blammmy!!!??!!%*#@! today is a shit storm. I might as well have woken up with my trailer thrown to the next county. I had no idea I was supposed to duck and cover.

I'm often looking for signs from God or the Universe to know if I'm doing the right things with my life. I envy people who seem to have direction on speed dial and just KNOW that this is where they're supposed to be and that is what they're supposed to do. I'm wondering if that lingering thunderclap translates into a warning that should be heeded.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Oral Sex Is The New Swine Flu

A few weeks ago, we were hanging out with another family with two daughters. The other dad brought up a news story that proclaimed that blow jobs were the new good night kiss. And then the adults, lifted there hands to their foreheads, turned pale white and nearly fainted. I piped in with a "whoa, whoa - do I think that girls are giving BJ's on the front porch while their dad's peek through the peep hole? No. But if you think high school boys aren't getting a blow job, you're nuts." And then they all said I was wise and sage and should consider running for PTA president.

But, seriously. I hate it when there's a something that the media latches on to and it is designed to scare the crap out of parents. Because I had given absolutely NO THOUGHT to my daughters and oral sex until that moment. And now my brain is scarred. Permanently. Apparently, there's a book and a documentary by a Canadian author who doesn't even have an Wikipedia page. I poked around long enough to find that she started a few teen focused magazines in Canada. (Canadians are so horny, so of course they wouldn't just settle for a kiss on the porch.) Now that I know there's a book, I'm going to have to at the very least flip through it.

This reminds me of something my cousin Brandon's wife said to me once while she was holding her newborn son: If you're the mother of a boy you have to worry about one penis. If you're a mother of a girl, you have to worry about all the penises.

The most frightening part of this story (so far at least) is the bit at the end of the clip where it says that you have to establish open communication at a very young age and be constantly engaged with your children at all times. I hate it when I have to inspect my parenting under a microscope.

*This post is being interupted by a call from the school nurse.* (And additional anxiety, I've been passing along the link to my blog for some writing jobs. I think posts like this aren't going to endear me to future employers.)

Monday, June 1, 2009

June Gloom

What's the cardinal rule for a child of divorce?

You don't talk to your mom about your dad and you don't talk about your dad about your mom.

My husband admonishes me for this often. But I want to know, who ARE you supposed to talk to?

Sure I discuss with my husband. But his parents have/had an amicable divorce. He thinks that his mom wishes she hadn't divorced his dad. Which I think provides him with a fluffy rosy colored safety net to encase all of his childhood angst.

I guess that I could talk to my closest friends. But I like my friends. And I want to keep them.

One particularly telling incident happened when one of my parents decided to freak out in front of one of girlfriends and her newborn baby. Afterward she uttered these words: I had no idea. All these years, I just thought you were making those stories up.

So maybe friends aren't the ones to unload the heavy burden of my parents and their unconventional choices.

I'm really struggling. Finding myself so stuck with this problem. The only solution I can see is intercontinental employment. *sigh*